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January 10, 2014
When I thought things were going good, they weren't. The ferry trip costs 20 gold pieces! I don't even have one piece of copper! From what I was hearing in town, things weren't looking good in the Fire Nation. The Earth King thought that all of our towns were going to attack the Earth Kingdom with Sozin's comet. In order to prevent that, there were multiple attacks launched on the Fire Nation. The Water Tribe was staying neutral, and the Air Nomads support us. Not that it really mattered, they were with too little to make any difference. And so, to prevent the Earth King from destroying the Nation, Fire Lady Zola has decided that all citizens who can fight must, for their nation. Fire Lady Zola is already old, but she won't retire. She has been one of the best rulers for our country in quite some time.
Back to my problems: I can't find a place to sleep. Nothing in this city is free. I can't find any food. I'm fearing for what I must do, but there is no other way. If I become a farmer, I'll perhaps have 20 gold pieces at the end of my life. Nobody else will pay me. I can't believe I am this desperate, but I will have to join the gangs of this city. I will have enough money in a couple of months, and I can also practice my bending.
There! I see someone running away from the market! Nobody runs that fast unless they have something to hide, right? I follow her. She has long, black hair. Pretty convenient for a criminal. Where did she go? She had gone in here and...
What? No. That can't be.
"Elena? Is that really you?!"
"Lan? How did you get here?!"
Her voice changed, and so did her look. She sounded like she went through a lot. The weak, helpless girl in orange from the village had died. She had bruises and scars.
"What happened to you?"
"I asked first!"
I told her everything. She didn't even interrupt me. When I was done, someone came passing by. I realized that in a city this big, an alley two streets away from the market wasn't really the place to have a talk. She must have realized too, because then she said:
"Follow me. I have a place to stay."
It wasn't far from the marketplace. I realized the reason I chased her and asked:
"Why were you running?"
"I had to steal some food. I thought no one saw me! I was so surprised when I finally heard you!"
We arrived. It was very small, but cozy. In the fireplace was an actual fire, which was nice in the middle of winter. We were gazing into the flames when I asked.
"How did you end up here?"
"I was in the forest, picking fruit. Then I heard them. They were pretty loud, you know? They were heading towards the village. They were talking about attacking the village. I wanted to stop them, but I am weak... Then I discovered my gift. You know my family originally came from the Earth Kingdom and moved to the Fire Nation because of the Isha attacks? Turns out, I am an earthbender. I found out when they were marching into the village. I was so mad, I caused a little tremble. I used it to delay them a little bit. I got away just before they caught me. From then, I was just going from town to town, stealing what I could of food. I found this place when I came here first. It's not much, but I am surviving out here. What are your plans here?"
"I want to join a gang and then quickly make enough money to take the ferry. From the capital I can ask Fire Lady Zola for food, a place to stay, and a teacher."
She was staring at me.
"You are going to join a gang to get enough money? Why didn't I think of that? Look, we are all what is left from our village. If we are separated again, we won't make it. So whether you like it or not, I am coming with you!"
I was smiling. I would not have wanted it any other way.
"Let's find a gang to join tomorrow, and I'll introduce you to Sudu.
The next morning, I woke up, and I saw that the fire was no longer burning. It was still hot in the room. When I looked at Elena, she was saying:
"Big day today. Find gangs who could kill us, make money. And before I forget, last night you were breathing blue fire in your sleep."
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