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|The Mayor of Yu Dao|
January 17, 2014
Chapter Four: The Mayor of Yu Dao
"We have two things that need to be done. We have to check into the Firelord's vacation home and we have to go to the city building to meet the mayor. I'd like to split up, if we can," I said as we were escorted into Yu Dao.
It was about three o'clock. I assumed that most people would either be working, or at school, but I was wrong. The streets were filled with people doing their afternoon activities. It was noisy and there were scents of all different kinds of food, probably from all four nations and the Republic. There was music and people dancing. There were men gambling in the street.
ChoHee wasn't in uniform and the Fire princes and princess were not in their distinct armor or sporting their headdresses. We were all wearing sunglasses, though it wasn't particularly sunny. It wasn't obvious that we were the Avatar, a fraction of the Fire Nation Royal Family, or a Kyoshi Warrior. As far as these people knew, we were just a bunch of kids being escorted by cops. But whatever people perceived us as, it didn't matter. I was loving the fact that I was not being followed by the paparazzi. The anonymity was great.
We walked into an empty parking lot next to a Satomobile dealership and stood in a circle. "So what do you guys think? Who wants to do what?" I asked. I pushed my sunglasses up onto the top of my head. ChoHee, David, Chi-Ji, and Caleb all did the same. "I at least want David to come with me."
"I think we could head over to the house," Chi-Ji said excitedly, gripping Caleb's arm tightly. "We know where it is."
"I'll go with them," ChoHee said. "I don't want them to run into any trouble."
"Good idea," David replied. "Not that my little sister and brother would ever get into trouble." David winked at Chi-Ji, making her giggle. Caleb laughed, too, which was probably the only reaction I had seen from him today.
"Is that all?" I asked, looking at the group.
"Where would you like to meet?" One of the Fire Soldiers asked.
"Good question," ChoHee muttered.
ChoHee was extremely annoyed with the soldiers. Stella had taught ChoHee to be independent and ChoHee had basically raised her sister all by herself. So she believed that our 'bodyguards' were completely unnecessary.
And honestly, I didn't blame her. The soldiers practically tormented us. A couple of the guards refused to be called by their real names and instead wanted to be called Kung and Fu. The other guards sat around and did nothing when we wanted to go places, so we were constantly stuck inside. And when we did coax them out, they weren't much fun.
I hadn't been alone with ChoHee since before we left the Caldera, which was also bothering me. Between the guards following us, my job, and my training, I was spending less and less time with her. She didn't seem to mind (she was usually helping me), but I was worried that she was harboring some anger toward me. I wasn't quite sure, but I was hoping I could ask her.
"We could just meet at the house, if you want," Caleb said with a nasally sounding voice. He had been really congested and had the sniffles for about a week. I thought it over. "That might be a bad idea. I don't know how long I'll be with the mayor. And if I'm there for a longer time than I expect, it'll already be dark. We need to be outside at night. The only sketchy business happening at night should be our investigation," I said.
"Our investigation?" Caleb asked, not quietly. He sniffed.
ChoHee shushed him. "Caleb, we are in a parking lot that is five feet away from a busy street. We need to stay low profile."
"Someone is bound to recognize one of us. Taylor is the Avatar. I mean, Raava is the most important being in the Physical and Spirit Worlds. She's recognizable," Caleb said.
"Look at me, Caleb," I said stepping back from the group. "I don't look particularly remarkable. Do you see some sign of Raava in me?"
"We'll talk about it later," David interrupted. "Why don't Taylor and I just call when we finish meeting the mayor?"
"Nah. That's too easy," Chi-Ji joked. Everybody laughed except ChoHee.
"We just need to be thorough," ChoHee said, without any vocal inflection. She crossed her arms across her chest.
I stepped a little closer to her. "Okay," I said, awkwardly. I tugged at the collar of my parka. "It's time to go." My voice cracked a little bit. "We'll see you soon."
David and Taylor
"Everyone is staring at us," I said as we were walking. David had stopped to change into his royal clothes, and we'd been getting weird looks ever since then. "Should we be more discreet?" I asked, self-consciously, as I turned to face a staring girl. I cringed away.
David laughed. "They aren't staring at you. The top knot has power. They've never seen royalty walk around like a normal person. We usually use litters and palanquins to travel. The citizens probably don't realize that we can walk," David said chuckling.
"I would think you guys would have given this up. The corsets and crowns and the servants. Doesn't it ever get old?" I asked, opening the door to the city building.
"The paparazzi and all the speeches?"
"I suppose. I've lived as royalty my whole life. It's our job to be leaders. Hana will be Firelord and I'll probably be a governor or a judge, while Chi-Ji will be a Fire Sage and Caleb will be a general. Or whatever," David said.
The front room was a small square paneled in a dark-colored wood. From the outside, you could see that there were several hallways stemming from a main part, but it appeared that the hallways even existed from this area.
"We have an appointment with the mayor at four thirty," I said to the young receptionist sitting behind an enormous desk. She didn't even glance at me: her eyes were on David.
"Y-yes," She stuttered, red-faced. "I'll let him know you're here." She said, not directed toward me at all. She picked up a phone and started dialing. She covered the receiver and said, "You can sit down, if you'd like." She gestured behind David to a row of wooden chairs that were along the wall.
David and I sat down. "Looks like it's going to be a while," he said, looking at his wrist watch. "It's only three forty-five."
"Funny. I thought we were going to be late," I said.
We probably sat for about ten minutes when a shrill voice yelled out of the receptionist's intercom. "Hey!" The receptionist jumped about a foot off her chair, leaving her scrambling to quiet the person on the other end. I stifled a laugh.
"Send the Fire Prince and the Avatar back immediately!"
"Right away, sir!" The receptionist said. She rolled her eyes and flipped her hair, trying to compose herself. "He's ready to see you." She said to us, smiling warmly at David. "He's through those doors and at the very end of the hall. And I apologize in advance for anything he might say or do to offend you. My dad... err... the mayor doesn't have any social skills."
"It's okay," I assured/
"Hello, Prince Tae Hun!" The mayor said, shaking David's hand vigorously. "It's so great to finally meet you! I'm so glad that we can finally meet! I just love your sisters! That little Chi-Ji is such a sweetheart! My daughter is the same age as you, Tae Hun. Isn't she gorgeous? Oh gosh, I'm rambling!"
The mayor reminded me of both MiHee and Chi-Ji. Just in the few minutes that David and I had been in his office, the mayor had spoken incessantly and none of the conversation had rhyme or reason. The mayor just took it too far. He was simply annoying. He just bounced around the office like he'd had entirely too much tea. It was also incredibly difficult to understand what he was saying because he spoke so quickly.
"So what can I help you with? Firelord Dukran told me that this was a very important matter. Is it about the bombing in Ba Sing Se?" the mayor asked.
"It's related," I said.
"How is it related? Are we starting a war?"
"No! Not at all!" I almost shouted. I was surprised that the mayor would think that we would start a war. I took a deep breath. "We have suspicion about Yu Dao's safety. We've received a message about the Independent Nation possibly setting off some bombs. We want your permission to look around the city and monitor any criminal activity."
"Oh! You'll want to talk to Chief Beifong. Meng is a wonderful girl. She's so talented. She's SoonMin's cousin. They are such a talented family. But of course, you both know that. She was your Earthbending master. Have you met SoonMin's sister, Yun-Hee? She's a sweetheart, too. Oh! There I go again! I'll give you Meng's number."
"Thanks, but is there a way we can meet her sooner? Like, later this evening maybe?" David asked.
"She might be in the Metalbending Academy helping the new recruits. You could check there. It's just outside of Yu Dao. It's sort of in the forest. It's real beautiful out there. Full of Lotus Blossoms. Toph Beifong picked a wonderful location to build her legendary school," the mayor responded. He scribbled on a piece of paper and gave it to us.
"It was great to meet you," I lied. I figured the mayor would see right through my lie and fake smile, but he didn't. David disguised his laugh as a cough.
"We'll be in touch. Thank you so much, Avatar Yukio. Pass along my congratulations to your mother and father, Your Highness. A new child is so wonderful!" The mayor said, smiling widely. "If there is anything we can do for you, just let us know! My daughter and I would love to see you again."
Behind the Scenes!
- Taylor is a bit paranoid about his relationship with ChoHee after seeing how girls react to David.
- Stella was actually the person who planted the Lotus Blossoms, not Toph.
- Metalbending Police Forces are popular in the large cities of the Avatar Universe.
- Taylor's friends have become celebrities by association.
For the collective works of the author, go here.