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|Tales of Yukio, Chapter 3|
January 6, 2014
Chapter Three, Part One, Stella
I twiddled my thumbs in nervousness as Taylor walked into the dojo. He looked surprised when he saw me sitting cross-legged on the floor. "Please have a seat, Taylor," I said. He sat down across from me.
He looked excited and eager to learn, but I wasn't calling him down to teach him anything related to earthbending. I wished that I was. Because telling people bad news was not my area of expertise. Plus, the fact that it jeopardized the lives of all the people who lived in various locations of the palace. Take it easy, SoonMin, I thought.
"So, what are we learning? How to make a suit of earth? How to metalbend?"
"Not today," I said laughing quietly. Then I composed myself. "We actually need to talk about some suspicious activity that has been happening."
Taylor's smile faded. He was scared. It was completely evident. I wished that I could wrap him in my arms and tell him that everything's going to be fine. But I couldn't guarantee anything. "There was a breach in security last night," I said, nervously.
"Okay. Why is this a problem?" he asked.
"It was a breach in the student house," I answered.
I saw the information sink into his mind. He opened his mouth to say something, but closed it again. He rubbed his forehead with his hand. I decided to speak. "Taylor, have you ever heard of the Independent Nation?" I asked.
"My grandfather mentioned it," he said, "It's a group of people who live separately from the Four Nations."
I could tell that Keskae, his grandfather, had left the worst parts out. I believe that Anana kept Taylor too secluded, which made him naive and sheltered. I knew that it was only to protect him, but the way he interacted with the other kids proved how socially inept he was. And he hadn't been able to earthbend at all, even after four weeks of training.
"Kind of. But there's more to them than that," I said.
"Yes," I replied, "They're actually an organization."
"They are? What do they do?"
I took a deep breath, "They try to smooth over conflicts without intervention. They don't believe that the Avatar shouldn't exist; that people should solve their own problems."
"So that's why my mom hid me. She knew all along," Taylor said. His lip quivered, as he tried not to cry. I wanted to hug him, but something inside of me said that now was not the time to comfort him.
I'd never had children of my own, but I had developed a maternal side from working with children and teenagers. I'd worked with David for almost all his life and Caleb for all of his. And I loved them as if they were my own. And I'd known Taylor for all of his life, too. "It wasn't her idea," I said.
"Whose idea was it?" he asked.
"It was Lyn-Chen's idea," I answered.
"Who?" he asked.
I felt even worse for him, then. If he didn't know anything about Lyn-Chen, he didn't know anything about the past Avatars. He didn't know Hitomi. He didn't know anything about Anana's past. And, most importantly, he had no idea what the Avatar even did. "Lyn-Chen was the Avatar before you, Taylor. I would tell you more, but I need to talk to your mother first."
"Okay," he said.
"Take a break," I said. "Go have a snack and drink some water. Practice will begin at regular time."
It was time to talk to Anana.
Part Two, Taylor
After Stella and I talked, I tried to walk out of the dojo, but I just couldn't. Something was calling me there. I was pretty sure I was crazy, until I heard Stella's voice.
"Anana, you've completely desensitized him. He doesn't know anything about your past or Lyn-Chen's. Does he even know the job of the Avatar?" Stella said.
Then, I heard my mom speak, "Stella, of course he does. He just won't talk to you because you're not me."
"Anana, that's the problem. All he ever did was talk to you and Keskae. Yukio has very little people skills. You should see him with my other students. He talks to them, but not very much."
"So? Maybe he doesn't like them," Mom said.
"He has a crush on one of the girls. I doubt that he doesn't like them," Stella said. I could feel my face getting red.
"Maybe he should come home and put off his learning for another year," Mom suggested.
"I don't think that's a very good idea. He hasn't made any progress with earthbending at all. I think time away would make it worse. Hitomi and Dukran agree with me."
"So I'm the last person to know about my own son?" Mom asked in her fake-angry-voice.
"No. We talked about it yesterday. I wanted to talk to Taylor - I mean Yukio- before I talked to you. But now I know he needs to learn much more than I expected."
"And I suppose you are going to teach him, SoonMin?" Mom questioned sarcastically. "You don't know anything. You're just a baby."
"It doesn't matter who teaches him. The point is that Yukio needs to learn about his duty. And obviously about himself, too. He may have needed protection, but hiding him didn't mean he wasn't allowed to have a normal childhood. Did Keskae Jr. even know about his son being the Avatar?"
I felt a pang of pain at the mention of my father's name. I was eager to hear her response, hoping that she (and apparently some rogue Order of the White Lotus) let my father in on the secret. I was shocked when she said, "No. Keskae didn't know."
"Then how did you explain moving to the North Pole to him?" Stella asked.
"I didn't have to. Keskae wanted to go to his home anyway."
"Look, Anana, Taylor is immature. We need to teach him about his job before we can proceed with training," Stella argued.
"Once again, who is going to teach him?"
"We figured it would be more beneficial if someone closer to his age taught him."
"Do you even have anyone like that?"
Stella laughed. "Of course we do! Have you ever met any of Dukran's children?"
"No, but I talk to Dukran often."
"Well, she has a daughter who is amazingly gifted. Not just in Bending and archery, but in knowledge," Stella said.
"Please tell me you aren't going to bring Hana there," my mom pleaded.
"No. Hana is staying with Dukran while Myung Dae is away. Chi-Ji is whom I am speaking of."
Behind the Scenes!
- Dukran is the Fire Lord, for those of you that didn't read the character description on the main page.
- Dukran's name is a very old-fashioned Korean name. The American equivalent would be "Sue".
- Stella, Anana, and Dukran are all good friends.
- Stella is the youngest of her friends and gets called 'the baby' often.
- Part One of this chapter is the only time Stella has the point-of-view.
- Myung Dae is the Fire Lord's husband. Normally, that would make him "Prince Myung Dae", but he changed the law to make his title "King".
- Suggestion: Pay extremely close attention to anything mentioned about Myung Dae.
For the collective works of the author, go here.