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|More from Triple0||Action/Adventure||PG||None||None|
March 16, 2014
"Come back here, you little runt!"
As seemed to be a regular occurrence, Julian was, yet again, chasing his little brother, Jeon, through the courtyard to the city streets, because Jeon had mustered up the nerve to steal one of his brother's many things that were considered "off-limits". It always ended the same way, as thirteen-year-old Jeon could outrun Julian for only so long until the nineteen-year-old Julian started accelerating. It wouldn't take long for Julian to catch up, but in this particular instance, Jeon had managed to keep enough distance between him and his obviously fuming brother to cool him off in the community fountain, as Julian speared both of them into the cold water with a resounding splash.
"Hey, Jules! You know, if you really need to cool down, I do have a pool we can use."
Only one existence in the universe would ever make that statement. This was Val, Julian's best friend and occasional bane of his existence. Val had always been sarcastic and crass, and he had come to expect no different.
"Do I look like I want to go for a swim?" he retorted. "I have to be at Zakh's for training in half an hour!"
Val noticed his dire frustration, but, as was her custom, she carried on with her satire. "I take it that you didn't even get your knife back?"
Julian was indignant. "Does it matter? Either way, I must be going."
"Maybe Zakh can help you dry out your clothes!" she remarked as he walked away.
When he was sure Julian had left, Jeon pulled out the shimmering tanto that had caused the skirmish and scurried to go show his friends.
Julian's ire didn't halt at his training. His rage continued to tower until it was incapable of standing any taller, and with that, Julian took a fire-augmented kick to the jaw, sending him reeling backwards.
"What's gotten into you today? You normally control yourself better than you have today. This is the third time you've found yourself on the floor, and we've barely started the sparring portion of today's training," Zakh admonished as Julian caressed his left cheek, which had colored itself a bright scarlet hue.
Zakh was Julian's firebending master. Although only marginally senior to Julian, two and a half years, to be precise, Zakh was a fully realized firebending master and prodigy, and his skills rivaled even those of the great Commander Zhao and were still developing to the point where he could someday match blow-for-blow with General Iroh. Even with all the skill he had refined, he had managed to keep his personality to a minimum, never seeming to be out of control; a trait Julian had always admired.
"Eh, Jeon's being Jeon. Other than that, it's been great." He wondered if he was trying to convince Zakh or himself.
Zakh saw Julian's lie before it even emerged from his vocal chords. "You sure you don't have a different answer for me?"
At this point, Julian had no choice. With a sigh, he replied somewhat sheepishly, "You ever get the feeling that something's about to go horribly wrong, even though you don't know what, where, or when?"
Zakh shook his head, "I don't know why you think things like this, but I gotta be honest, it scares me sometimes."
And with that, Ramira, Zakh's fiance, burst through the door with a force that would have toppled the 30-foot statue of Fire Lord Ozai standing about a hundred yards the other way.
"We have to go!"
Zakh turned once more to Julian, "See what I mean?"
For the collective works of the author, go here.