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The second chapter of Book Two of
October 5, 2010
Leah attempts to convince Sierra to come with her to New York.
Gerald, Sierra's butler, walked groggily and annoyed towards the ringing doorbell. Who in heaven's name is stupid enough to knock on the door at this hour? he thought angrily to himself. He approached the massive door, pushing slightly to let it open.
"May I help... Ms. Sanchez? Goodness gracious, what's happened to you?" he asked in shock.
Leah stood in the doorway of Sierra's mansion, oblivious to Gerald's shock. Her arms bled profusely on the welcome mat, sand mixing with the blood occasionally. She clutched her broken ribs with her right arm, her left dangling uselessly, dislocated. Finally letting the exhaustion and blood loss overcome her, she collapsed into Gerald's arms.
Leah tried to open her eyes, currently sealed shut by eye booger and grains of sand. Cleaning them off with her working arm, she grimaced as waves of pain rolled through her from her arms and chest. Her left arm lay in a splint while her right was covered in stained bandages. Her chest was raised up on pillows, a large gentle cast covering it. Numerous band-aids covered her face and forehead.
Sitting next to the bed was a worried Sierra, starting to realize that Leah had awakened.
"Shh, hold on there Leah, lay back down."
"Don't make such a fuss Sierra, I'm fine." Leah said, her voice scratchy.
"A couple broken ribs, a dislocated arm, a lot of cuts, and terrible sand burns, no, you are not fine. I have to say you gave my butler quite a shock."
"I didn't mean to shock him. But I just feel bad about dropping in on you."
"Leah, it is no problem, don't worry. I would like to know however what got you in such a state, and why you are still here in Australia. Shouldn't you be back in Chicago by now?"
"I promise that I'll answer all in due time, but can I ask you a few things first?"
"How long have I been out?"
"About two weeks now."
"Well, you collapsed on the doorstep on the 21st of December, and it's the fourth of January now, so two weeks to the day. We were starting to worry that you wouldn't come to."
But what about the Elite? Leah thought to herself.
"Has anyone come looking for me?"
"Why is someone supposed to be?"
"No, I'm just simply curious."
"Well, a woman came by the other day. She said she was looking for you, that you had missed your plane to New York, and she had come to get you."
Kumara. "Did you tell her anything?"
"Well, she came off as the wrong type. I also recognized that you were going to Chicago, not New York. But no, I told her I hadn't seen anything. She hasn't come back since, but she's still in town by the southern road. There are also two men constantly by the airport, and another by the northern road."
Which must be Vayu, Jordan, and Adam. "Thanks Sierra, I appreciate what you're doing for me."
"Now I have a few questions for you. What happened to you?"
"It's kind of a long story, and it may be a little shocking."
"Well...first of all I need to confess a few things. I wasn't supposed to go back to Chicago at all."
"Then where are you from?"
"Technically Chicago, but I haven't been there for a few years."
"Then where did you come from?"
"This is going to sound a little bizarre, but I'm from a government prison."
"What? You can't be, you're only 16."
"It's a different kind of prison. It's for people called benders."
"What are those, some kind of new gang?"
"No. Benders are people who can...who can manipulate the elements."
"What? Are you tricking me or something?"
"No, I'm not kidding Sierra. There are people like that out there. Tons of them. But the government has kept them locked up in a prison out in the desert south of here. In a rock formation called Uluru."
"The Uluru? The giant rock just a couple hours away from here?"
"Yes, it's within the rock, with an entrance on the north side."
"Come on Leah, I've been to Uluru dozens of times, and there is absolutely no sign of a prison."
"Can I try to explain before you disregard it?"
"The prison is specifically designed for benders. It's deep in the rock and made of an incredibly resilient glass that forms the entire thing."
"A prison made of glass?"
"Yes, you could see through the entire thing, what everyone was doing, at anytime, anywhere. My cell was on the top floor and I could see the Enforcers come in from the garage on the bottom floor. My cell was on the top floor, the training courtyard and all the entertainment on the next floor."
"Wait, a training courtyard for what?"
"For bending Sierra. It was enormous, with a field and trees, and an open view of the sky, with the exception of glass mesh covering the top so we couldn't get out."
"Leah I've climbed to the top a lot and there has never been a glass mesh net at any place at the top."
"Have you ever arrived at Uluru and they say the trail's been closed because of "dangerous winds" or "slippery water?"
"A few times."
"They only opened the sky opening on certain days, because otherwise the tourists would be able to see it."
"But what about satellites, planes?"
"Right over the rock was a no-fly zone, and they alter the satellite images to show unaltered rock."
"This is all sounding a little bizarre Leah, I don't know if I believe you."
"Perhaps a demonstration will persuade you?"
"I don't know Leah.."
"Just please here me out Sierra. Do you have anything made of glass or rock, or perhaps some water I can work with?"
"Here's some water." Sierra said as she handed a water bottle to her.
Leah struggled to sit up, her arms starting to bleed through the bandages. She took the water bottle, putting it between her knees. She took her working arm and made the water come out of the bottle, visibly shocking Sierra. Leah swirled it in the air, around Sierra's head, back in the bottle, then froze it, handing it back to Sierra.
"Is that proof enough for you?" Leah asked, lying back down.
"I..I don't believe it."
"But do you believe my story?"
"I don't know. If there are as many benders as you say there are, how come I haven't seen them?"
"About 90 years ago, the U.S. government set up an organization called the Bending Defense Agency, or BDA for short. They've either killed all of them or forced them to join their secret police known as the Enforcers. The only free benders left have migrated to colonies."
"Where are the colonies?"
"There's a water bender colony in New Orleans, and an air bender colony in New York."
"What about earth and fire?"
"I don't know about any earth bending colonies, and the fire bending colony was completely destroyed in an explosion in Mexico. It happened the same year you and I were born."
"Do you not believe me?"
"It's a little far-fetched Leah. Even with your example. A few more questions. How many elements can "benders" bend?"
"Only one. Except for a person called the Avatar. They can bend all four."
"And I'm guessing from your example that you are this Avatar?"
"How did you escape from the prison then, if it's supposedly made of glass?"
"Do you remember what Mr. Hardy told us about the chemical composition of glass? How it's made of sand? I found a way to bend the glass and use it for my advantage."
"Then why are you so injured?"
"The BDA sent a group called the Elite, the three men and that one women who came to your door, to hunt me down. They caught up to me at the southern entrance to the city."
"Then how come it wasn't in the news?"
"The whole point of the BDA is to keep all of this away from the public eye. They were ready for me to arrive, and they constructed a room beneath the earth to trap me in."
"And you escaped and came here."
"Yes. I came here because I need your help Sierra."
"I need to go to New York to find the colony of air benders, as I need to master air bending. I certainly can't do it alone, as all of my supplies were lost on the way here. I need you Sierra."
"What makes you think I'm going to drop everything and come with you to New York?"
"Because I'm your friend. Without you, I have not a friend in the world. My mother has moved on, and all of my bender friends are back at the prison. I couldn't escape with them because I was afraid for their safety. Without you Sierra, I won't make it to Sydney."
"I don't Leah.."
"Sierra, there's no one I can turn to. I have no chance without you. Without you, I might as well go back to the prison."
"I don't know."
"You can see your father in New York while I'm training."
"Give me some time to think about it."
Four weeks passed by, Sierra only checking on Leah for food and helping her with daily activities. Leah could tell that Sierra was visibly confused, given the huge amount of info she had to take in in such a short amount of time. When the doctor finally deemed Leah healed, she confronted Sierra for an answer. Sierra was standing next to an ornate fireplace, clutching something in her hands.
"Well Sierra, I'm not trying to be pushy, but I need an answer. With or without you, I'm leaving today. Will you come with me?"
"What if I just gave you a ticket and some money, would that help you?"
"Yes, but I would prefer that you come with me. I don't want to be alone on this trip. What's the matter? Don't you want to see your father?"
Sierra turned around from the fireplace, holding a plaster cast of small hand in her palm. "My father abandoned me here Leah. I haven't seen him for seven years now. Of course I want to see him. But I'm slightly resentful towards him. He left for a business trip, and has never sent one message, one little checkup. This hand cast is the last thing he did with me. I don't know how I would feel about seeing him. But I can't just leave you to fend for yourself. I'll come with you. I have a private plane at the airport, and I can fly it myself. We'll use that to go where we need to go."
"Oh thank you Sierra!" Leah said, throwing her arms around her.
"But there's one problem. The two men are still at the airport guarding it. How are we going to leave?"
"Are you packed?"
"Yes, I have everything I need, along with a few full debit cards that should last us indefinitely."
"Then I want you to go to the airport and put your stuff in the plane. I'll take care of the guards and meet you on the plane, but we are going to need to leave pretty quickly."
Leah watched Sierra store her luggage on the small plane, waiting for the signal. Sierra was right, as the two men, recognizable as Vayu and Adam, were guarding the runway as traffic control officers. Leah prepared for a fight, checking to make sure everything was healed, and tunneled beneath the earth, trying to sneak past them. Almost to the plane, Adam recognized the familiar vibrations as Leah shot out of the earth between Adam and Vayu.
Taking the element of surprise, Leah took water from her new canteen and froze Adam's hands with ice while simultaneously imprisoning Vayu in the earth. Amazed at her good luck, she rushed to the plane and shut the door with a thud. The plane started to take off, Sierra at the controls, when suddenly Leah looked out the window at the two men. Using his brute strength, Adam had broken the ice and freed Vayu.
The plane was now out of reach from Adam's attacks, so Vayu conjured a sphere of air and took off after them.
"One of them is after us, I need to go shake him off." Leah told Sierra.
Leah jumped and attached herself to the metal of the roof, sliding through it to the top of the plane. Shredding off bits of the plane, she attached them to her now bare feet and magnetized herself to the plane. Vayu sped up, catching up with the tail of the plane. He began to kick at the plane, sending waves of air at the tail.
Leah countered with an air shield, then using some metal from the top, she made a spear and threw it Vayu. He evaded the spear and swiped at Leah, trying to knock her off balance. Leah shook from the force of the attack, but stayed attached to the roof of the plane. Knowing very little air bending, she tried to grab water out of the air, but it was fruitless as they were flying above the desert now.
Leha slid back into the plane, poking her head into the cabin.
"Sierra, I need you to fly into a cloud!"
"Just do it!"
Leah came back to the surface, trading blows with Vayu as the plane switched directions. Soon Leah was surrounded by fluffy cloud and Vayu was nowhere to be seen. Taking the moment of temporary safety lifted her arms until she was spread eagle and began to freeze the water to match the shape of her body. When the plane came out of the cloud, there was a six-inch thick plate of ice that was roughly her shape.
She waited for Vayu to emerge from the cloud, and used some remaining water to make a feeble square shield of ice. Vayu came out of the cloud, sending air swipe after swipe at the ice shield. As the shield began to crack, Vayu sped up and flew just a few feet behind the shield, directly in front of the tail of the plane. Sending one final swipe, the shield shattered, Leah dove into the plane, and the ice version Leah detached from her, smacking straight into Vayu. Leah watched happily as Vayu clunked into the tail of the plane and tumbled through the sky and to the desert floor.
"Is he gone?" Sierra asked as she watched Leah patch up the ceiling.
"Yes, he's currently tumbling down to the ground as of now. Thanks for the cloud, I needed it to throw him off."
"Anytime Leah. So where are we going?"
"The Elite have no doubt informed the Enforcers where we're headed to. It would be safer to make a few detours and take an indirect route to New York. Is that okay with you?"
"Sure, we can ditch the plane and go by train or something else. So where to?"
"Umm...let's go to New Orleans. I might as well get water bending taken care of along the way."
"New Orleans it is."
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