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Chapter Forty-Two: Standing Still
"I thought about what you said. I promise, I'll be more patient." He smiles hopefully at the Firebending Master, who gives him the tiniest shake of the head.
Jeong Jeong. "We're going to work with fire now."
"Yeah!" he yells joyfully, leaping up and Airbending-flipping himself a few times. I'm going to learn to Firebend, hey! I'm going to learn to Firebend, hey! I'm going to learn to—
Catching sight of the Firebending Master's clearly peeved expression, he grins and falls back onto the stone, placing his hands behind his back. "I mean, let us begin."
With the reflexes of a viper cat, Jeong Jeong snaps a leaf from the air, burning a small hole into its center. "Concentrate on the fire . . ." the Firebending Master explains. "I want you to keep this flame from reaching the edges of the leaf for as long as you can."
He rolls his eyes and takes the leaf, widening his stance to squat on the stone. Concentrating on the leaf, he struggles not to yawn of boredom.
"Master, there is trouble!" One of the other rebels. The other deserters?
He glances up, interested. "What's going on?"
"Concentrate on your leaf!" snaps Jeong Jeong, leaving.
Stupid stupid stupid, he complains to himself. He's the worst Firebending Master ever. Firebending's boring, the way he talks about it.
Practicing on the riverbank, she gazes at him, and he realizes that he now has an audience.
"This is the worst Firebending instruction ever," he whines to her. "All he does is leave me alone for hours to concentrate or breathe."
"I'm sure there's a good reason . . ." she answers.
But this is so stupid! he muses. I can control it. Think about the Waterbending. I was such a natural! I bet you Firebending will be the exact same way. There's no way I'm going to be standing still for a few hours while Jeong Jeong gets to go fight some Fire Nation soldiers. I mean, I don't like fighting . . . I only use it for self-defense . . . but this is ridiculous. This is about as much fun as watching ink dry, and even then maybe you could read it!
The little flame on the leaf begins to spread. He inhales and exhales properly, in through the nose and out through the mouth, and the fire slows.
"But I'm ready to do so much more . . ." he whispers, and he smiles, his gaze shifting to the green leaf in his hands.
To the ember upon it.
I'm ready to do so much more.
You know what? I'm going to impress Katara. I'm going to show that Jeong Jeong's wrong. I'm going to prove that I can Firebend just like that.
With a quick glance over to his love, he prepares himself mentally.
I'm tired of standing still.
I'm going to do something worthwhile.
I'm going to Firebend.
I'm going to Firebend.
You are all going to kill me. Why? This is the set-up for the actual "burning" chapter . . . and do you know what chapter that'll be?
"With the reflexes of a viper cat, Jeong Jeong snaps a leaf from the air, burning a small hole into its center." -> I like viper cats. Why do I keep mentioning them? Oh yes, because they should be real creatures, daangit!
"Stupid stupid stupid, he complains to himself. He's the worst Firebending Master ever. Firebending's boring, the way he talks about it. " -> You can't say you've never thought that. Tee hee, Firebending is boring.
"Practicing on the riverbank, she gazes at him, and he realizes that he now has an audience." -> He Firebends because he's bored and also because he wants to impress Katara.
"This is about as much fun as watching ink dry, and even then maybe you could read it!" -> I've watched ink dry. And then I switched to drawing in pencils and then inking.
"I'm going to Firebend." -> And now you'll have to wait until Chapter Fifty-Nine to get the other part! Aren't I fun?
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