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|Resolutions and Solutions|
Some matters are resolved, and others are left hanging
"'Hopeless'?" August repeated, his brow furrowing. "The hell? Why the sudden change of face?"
"I've always expected great things from you, but it's obvious that you can't achieve any of it on your own." In one swift motion, Meelo stepped forward and seemed to magically appear behind August, the bounty hunter's belt of weapons in his hand. "First of all, don't fight with guns. They're rubbish." He dropped the belt to the ground.
The other's face flushed with anger. "Guns don't have anything to do with being hopeless!"
"For most, true. But for you, they're the embodiment of all the errors you've made in your life. All the choices you could have made, and you chose to go down a path of obsession."
"FYI, I'm also finished with hunting the Corsair."
"And now you choose to hunt the Avatar." To this, August did not respond. The Air Nomad continued, "A battle is coming. A battle between the old ways and the new. A battle in which one side will prevail, and the world will either return to its rightful state, or be forever in ruin."
"You're crazy, old man," August wrinkled his nose in disbelief.
Meelo laughed at this comment and stroked his beard. "So I am. I promised to raise you right, and now I shall. I have some friends I want you to meet, some friends who are preparing for this battle and will help you to find yourself."
"Tch. If I'm hopeless, why bother?"
"Being hopeless is exactly why I'm doing this. To help you to stop obsessing over the hunt and begin looking towards the future."
"I guess you're not giving me a choice. Who are these bastards anyway?"
A sly smile passed the Airbender's mouth. "We call ourselves the Order of the White Lotus."
The Northern Airtemple shook with a force like an explosion. "On your toes, Leadfoot!" Haneul swung his foot around in a circle, launching a stream of air at the Avatar's feet. With a grunt, Ishio lost his balance and fell backwards. "You won't get anywhere by planting your feet like that! Get up, get up!"
Ishio lifted himself up and quickly jabbed his foot into the ground. Stone split into a crevasse, which Haneul avoided with his nimble stepping. "Dammit! Shut up already!" The Avatar hollered at his instructor.
"You're the one who asked me to teach you! If you don't like it, then quit!" Haneul replied smuggly.
"Like hell I'll quit!" Ishio moved his right foot in front of him, creating a semi-circle, and stomped forward. His arms swung around as his body pivoted in a full circle, and he released a powerful stream of air. The other ducked under the attack, closing their distance to a few inches.
Practically nose to nose, Haneul grinned. "Not bad, but you're still slow. Two weeks and this is all you can do?"
Ishio's fist lodged in the arrogant expression plastered across his teacher's face. Shock rendered the Airbender immobile while he jumped backwards and widened the distance once again. Haneul wiped the blood off of his broken lip and glared at Ishio. "We're practicing Airbending! Why did you punch me in the face?!"
"Personal bubble, man! Don't break it again or I'll break your face!" But before Ishio could back up his threat anymore, Haneul was once more within inches.
Another wild punch aimed at Haneul's face, but the Airbender easily saw it coming and used his Airbending to quickly dodge and push the punch away. "Your threats suck. But if you want your personal bubble, you're going to have to earn it by being quicker on your feet."
The Avatar took a step back, and Haneul took a step forward. "Shit..." Ishio muttered. He stepped to the right, followed by the other almost in unison. For a while, he just moved around in one or two steps, as if the two were dancing.
"You're still planting your feet!" Haneul remarked.
"Still going on about that rubbish?" Ishio grit his teeth and continued to try and find a way around the Airbender. Another step back, followed shortly by Haneul. Lift up my feet... As Ishio tried to step again, he looked at the Airbender's feet. They barely touched the ground with each movement, in a way that seemed hardly possible for any human. Or, at least, any non-Airbender. Slowly, Ishio took a deep breath. Air began to surround his feet as he took another step back...
And lost control of the air. In the split moment that his balance was most of the ground, the air kicked his leg upward and sent him spinning on his back. His teacher began to laugh, and stood towering over his fallen body. "You got the idea, but you're far from having the skill!" Ishio rolled his eyes and grimaced at the comment.
An epiphany occurred to Frost as she and Ai Shi rode to Republic City on Odraz. "Wait a minute! That Air Nomad guy told us we were the least renowned members of Team Avatar! We're totally as famous as Liwei and Ishio."
Ai Shi paused to think. "No, we're not. Some pro-bender and a library assistant compared to the Crowned Prince of the Fire Nation and the Avatar. They win out."
"Yeah, but we've been travelling with them long enough to gain enough renown to be wanted criminals, right?"
"Actually, Meelo's probably right. It's not likely that they'll recognize us. Or, at least, less likely than it would be if we were travelling with Ishio and Liwei."
"So that means that we need to one-up them." Frost concluded, determinedly bring a clenched right fist into her open left palm.
"No, that is not what that means."
"Come on Ai Shi. Take a chance. We have a month. Let's do something to make ourselves names."
With a sigh, Ai Shi adjusted her glasses and turned away from her companion. "Think about this for a moment. Is it really wise to go out and gain notoriety just before we join up with two very high notoriety criminals? What we should do in Republic City is try to scout out the police and Anying Jiaoben so that we know our enemies. Undoubtedly, after Ishio learns Waterbending, our next task will be to take down those organizations and restore the rightful way of life."
"Tch." Frost clicked her tongue and leaned against Odraz's saddle. "Who died and made you queen? All you did was follow Liwei like a desperate puppy, and now that he's gone your taking the reins like you've always been the leader."
The Library Assistant's face flushed with anger. "You're unbelievable. You don't get your way and so you start criticizing me? Not to mention your hypocrisy—I can tell you have eyes for Liwei, too."
"What do you mean I have 'eyes for Liwei'?!"
"You insisted upon following him to the Fire Nation just as much as me. No one else has noticed it because Ishio's got the social awareness of a rock and Liwei is too caught up in his own thoughts. But anyone else could tell that you look at Liwei differently."
"Yeah? Well so what if I do! You're the one who just let him rot in prison with his psychotic brother."
"You left, too! It's not like you insisted upon staying behind with him. When Liwei's mom told us to leave, you were just as quick out the door as I."
"I've only known him for a couple of months, you call yourself his childhood friend."
"If you really loved him, you'd know that it didn't matter how long you'd known him!" Ai Shi's voice rose with anger now, and Frost backed off.
"I'm sorry I snapped at you, Ai Shi. I know you've been friends with Liwei for a long time and it wasn't right for me to insult you... And I know that we both left Liwei because we had to, not because either of us didn't like him..." Frost's voice seemed strained with the apology, as if she really didn't want to say it.
"It was completely random and uncalled for. All I did was reject your idea to get ourselves arrested in the next month." Ai Shi spoke, and Frost scowled at her response. With a sigh, she continued, "But I suppose I should apologize as well. I've been terse with you, maybe even a little jealous when I knew that you had been with Liwei more recently than I... And later..." she paused, and swallowed deeply. For a moment, she said nothing. She found the words to continue, "When I lost my bending, and you could still bend... It was hard for me... But when we went looking for Odraz we showed that we can really work better together. Let's call a truce, and not bring up anything about Liwei again."
The ex-Firebender held out her hand, which the Waterbender grasped and shook in response. "Truce." She agreed.
Legs folded, eyes closed, Liwei sat within his prison cell. His chest rose and fell as he breathed in deep meditation. The ruckus outside of the reformers breaking down palace walls did not disturb his concentration. Shouting, smashing, and fire tearing through the air surrounded the outside of the palace, slowly working its way closer and closer. For several days now, a plethora of citizens of the Fire Nation had been pushing the soldiers farther and farther back. Even from his prison cell, Liwei could hear them near. The defense would not last much longer, and once they had broken into the palace... Or so he thought.
- THE LOVE TRIANGLE EXPLAINED: I made it not UBER noticeable but kinda hinted at because I wanted the reader to know as much as Ishio knew, for the most part. I kinda remained detached from these particular emotions (thought it has been planned for a long time) because it makes it more "wait, what?" when you read it.
- I have something I've been meaning to mention in the Trivia. It's important, but I can't remember what it is...
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