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Chapter Forty: Rated Edit
“Time for my Airbending Mastery exam!” he chirps excitedly to himself. “I’ve been waiting for this day since, well, forever!”
“Right, right,” says Sonam, adjusting his shawl. “I’m sure you’ll do perfectly.”
He snickers. “Yeah, I’ll be the youngest Airbending Master ever, I think.”
Sonam rolls his eyes. “Well, hop to it. You don’t want to be late for your big exam.”
“Oh, yeah . . . I should probably start moving, but first, I’m hungry.” He yawns. “And a little sleepy, I guess.”
“Want some of my fruit pie?” Sonam flicks a piece at him, and he catches it gratefully. “Moon peach. Your favorite, eh, Aang?”
He gobbles it down. “Absolutely. Yum. I mean, can you imagine, Sonam? Getting your arrows at eleven?”
“With my luck, I won’t get mine ‘til I’m Monk Gyatso’s age!” He shoots Sonam a dirty look, and the other Airbender shrugs. “Just kidding, Aang. Really, good luck.”
He flashes a grin. “I’ll represent.”
Quitting the dining room, he decides to forgo the usual route and whips out his glider. “I’m going to put in an appearance they’ll never forget!” he decides gleefully, soaring through the air. “Whoo, this is going to be fun!”
The monks testing him do not seem too pleased with his disheveled appearance as he lands, his clothing plowing every which way. “Oh, you decided to grace us with your presence, Aang. You’re just on time,” remarks the first monk.
He glances up, grinning manically.
The monk frowns. “No. You’re late. We’ll have to take off . . .”
He inhales sharply. “No, wait, you’re—”
Monk Gyatso smiles. “Of course I am, my young pupil. Now, are you prepared for your examination?”
He bows before each Airbending Master in turn. “Yes, Monk Gyatso,” he adds respectfully.
“Then let us commence.”
The girl is laughing at him. “You have the reflexes of a Waterbending Master,” she compliments, beaming. He doesn’t understand. What? Was he just . . . just Waterbending? What just happened?
“Thanks, Katara.” The not-him pauses. “Sifu Katara.” The not-him bows to the girl, and after a moment’s hesitation the girl returns the favor.
He sits up suddenly, his face in his hands. “What—?!” he starts, unable to comprehend what occurred. Rubbing his eyes, he realizes that he is in the infirmary.
“It’s all right, Aang,” answers a voice he identifies as Monk Gyatso. “I think we need to just quietly calm down, yes?”
He runs a hand over his head. “Did I . . . did I pass my test?” he whispers weakly.
“I’m afraid not,” responds the monk. “You passed out before we could begin. I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until next year to take the exam again.”
“What?! No, but I’m ready! I can’t wait another year! Please, Monk Gyatso, surely there has to be something I can—”
“You’ll have to wait,” the monk answers.
He groans and rolls over.
Uh . . . I put it during Bitter Work . . . but it's sort of not during Bitter Work. O_O It takes place before the series. Ha, ha!
That's the reason Aang didn't get his tattoos until twelve. Bad Katara, bad Katara!
Sonam is the Airbending version of yours truly. He was featured in Nathan Miranda's Avatar Writing Contest and won me the first round. Whoo, go Sonam!
"“No. You’re late. We’ll have to take off . . .”" -> Not as in fly but as in take off points. [scribbles on clipboard]
So why does Aang trust Katara so much? That's right!
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