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|The Curse Begins (The Adventures of Qi)|
Aimei, Cici, Sha and Wang stood at the entrance to the Cave of Two Lovers. Currently the only way to get to Omashu by foot was to travel through the Cave of Two Lovers. However, some said it was cursed and you could only travel through the cave if you carried love. Years and years ago, Avatar Aang and his friends travelled through the cave safely, and now Aimei had to do the same.
"This cave is cursed, isn't it?" Sha asked.
"Yes, they say the cave is cursed and can only be travelled through if you had true love," Wang explained.
"Seriously? You believe that?" Cici asked.
"It's actually true, Cici," Aimei said. "You should study your history around the the time of Aang."
"So how are we supposed to get across?" Cici bewilderedly asked.
"Don't worry, Cici, we'll find a way," Aimei said.
The four started to head into the cave, Aimei leading the way. She first entered the cave with the others behind her. Inside, the cave was dark and pitch black; none of them could see a thing. Aimei lit a small flame in her hand, giving them a small yet effective source of light. The cave lit up and revealed what looked like a labyrinth. There was a main, huge tunnel with loads of mini side tunnels. It was dark and gloomy and rocks were everywhere. The exit to Omashu was obviously connected to one of the secondary tunnels as you could see if you had great vision that the main tunnel was blocked off with a wall. However, it was known that the secondary tunnels also had even smaller forks in them... it was almost impossible to get out to Omashu. The tunnels twisted and turned, like a labyrinth.
"Where should we start?" Wang asked.
"We should split up," Aimei replied.
"What? No!" Cici protested. "We'll get separated or lost!"
"Well, what do you want to do?" Aimei replied.
"This place is a labyrinth full of dangerous creatures! We need to keep together and protect each other!" Cici said.
Before anything else could happen, a swarm of angry wolfbats emerged from a tunnel and surrounded the four friends.
"What's happening?" Sha yelled in the confusion.
"We must have disturbed the peace and quiet!" Wang replied.
The four had no other choice but to fight the wolfbats slowly. There was no water, which pretty much made Cici useless. However, it was a different case for the others. Sha summoned his earthbending and caused all the nearby stalactites to collapse around the wolfbats. Aimei generated her lightning and spun it in a circle, frying several wolfbats and Wang created tornadoes, causing the wolfbats to get trapped in them. As they were defeating the last of the wolfbats, the wolfbats knew they couldn't win. So, they grabbed Cici and flew off with her, leaving the other three alone. Aimei chased after the wolfbats and Cici who was screaming her head off, but it was no use... the wolfbats were too quick.
"ARGH!" Aimei yelled in frustration.
"Don't worry, we'll find a way to rescue, Cici," Sha calmed Aimei.
"But how?" Aimei said. "This place is a labyrinth! It's cursed, for Heaven's sake!"
As they were, speaking, the cave began to rumble extremely loudly. The whole place was quaking as if it was about to crumble to pieces.
"It must be badgermoles!" Aimei warned.
Anxious to get away from the badgermoles, the three began to run towards the nearest tunnel. However, the badgermoles emerged from a nearby tunnel and startled the group with a large boulder. Aimei and Sha quickly fled into the nearest tunnel but Wang tore apart from his friends in an attempt to dodge the boulder. As he swerved away, he swerved away from the tunnel and closer to a different tunnel. Hoping to get away from the tunnel, he quickly ran into the other tunnel, away from Aimei and Sha. He had gotten used to the darkness by now. Wang found himself walking down a dark tunnel. As he began walking, he heard noises that sounded like chitters. He noticed the noise was coming from above so he looked up and found... wolfbats. Everywhere. Wang had found the lair of the wolfbats, which could only mean one thing: Cici was nearby. Wang continued walking down the tunnel, trying to ignore the wolfbats hovering in the air above him although it was awfully hard. The wolfbats began their chitters and they circled around Wang. Wang just pushed away the annoying noises. He continued walking down the dark tunnel, further and further and further inwards. Wang had to do it though; he had to save Cici. Secretly, he had a deep secret he had never ever told anyone, not even Sha who was his best friend. Secretly, he had a huge crush on Cici. As Wang kept on walking, he came to a fork... and only one could have Cici. He looked at the one on the right hesitantly and set off for the tunnel on the right. He walked until he came to a dead end with a nest of wolfbats... and no Cici. One second passed... then two... then three... then, the wolfbats attacked. They flung themselves at Wang, gnarling, biting and scratching him in any way possible. Wang tried to fight them off but there were just too many. He tried shrugging the wolfbats stuck to his shoulders off but they hung on with their talons. Then he bent air at the other wolfbats, a blast here, a whirlwind there. He propelled himself with air and fled out of that end of the tunnel at high speed while the wolfbats tailed him all the way. He gave on final, colossal blow of wind that sent all the wolfbats down the tunnel and back to their nest. Now, Wang found himself in the same fork... but know he knew to take the left path. He started to wander down the path on the left and found skeletons on the ground. Wang shuddered. People must have died trying to get across the Cave of Two Lovers. The left path was extremely long and Wang thought he had almost walked a kilometre. Eventually, he came to the end of the tunnel, where he found Cici. She was unconscious and surrounded by six large wolfbats. The wolfbats snarled with their ugly, wolf-like faces. They extended their big, bat wings and flew towards Wang. Wang dodged the first wolfbat and trapped it in a ball of air. For the second wolfbat, Wang slowly pulled all the air out of the wolfbat's lungs and trapped in a ball of air around the wolfbat... this technique was called asphyxiation. However, the other wolfbats would not remain calm and still while Wang bent the air out of their fellow's lungs. They lunged at Wang, and he quickly made the ball of air dissipate, leaving the wolfbat to suffocate and die. The next wolfbat gives Wang a small bite on the shoulder, which stung painfully. Wang immediately jerked his shoulder, making the wolfbat fly off and smack against the wall, leaving a dent. The next wolfbat started to back off, but Wang bent the air around it so the wolfbat was pushed right into the other two. Because they were all so large, they simply just bashed into each other and collapsed. Wang hurried over to Cici, who was just beginning to awaken.
"W-what happened?" Cici asked in a daze.
"You were taken by wolfbats," Wang replied. "But I wasn't going to let them keep you."
Cici blushed. "You saved me. Thank you."
"I would do anything for you," Wang said.
And ever so slowly, Cici leaned in towards Wang... towards his lips. Their lips were ten centimetres apart... four... three... two... one... zero. Cici and Wang were passionately kissing like the rest of the world meant nothing to me. Suddenly, all Cici could think about was Wang and all Wang could think about was Cici. As they were kissing, blue crystals lit up one by one, showing them the way out. And slowly, the two lovers walked out of the Cave of Two Lovers, guided by the blue crystals.
Meanwhile, Aimei and Sha were in the other tunnel.
"Where did Wang go?" Sha asked.
"He must've ended up in some other tunnel," Aimei replied. "We should keep walking down this tunnel and see where it leads us."
The two of them walked down the tunnel, but it came to a dead end.
Sha sighed in dismay. "There's nothing here and I'm really hungry and tired."
"Me too," Aimei agreed. "But we're going to have to find our way out before we can even think about food or shelter."
"You know, I've always had feelings for you," Sha said.
Aimei was taken aback; it was just so sudden. "W-w-w-w-what do you mean 'feelings'? This really isn't the right place or time!"
"Yes, it is!" Sha protested. "We're in the Cave of Two Lovers! The only way we can get out of here is with love! You've always known I've had feelings for you!"
"And maybe I return those feelings... a bit," Aimei shyly replied.
Before the two of them knew it, they were kissing, just like Cici and Wang. They did have feelings for each other, they just both never realised it. Suddenly, a blue crystal lit up; then another; two more; three more and soon the whole tunnel was lit with crystals.
"Maybe I do love you," Aimei whispered.
The two of them held hands and followed the blue crystals, which led them to the end of the tunnel. They emerged into the sunlight, which they were all happy to see. There they found Cici and Wang waiting for them.
"You made it!" Cici said and gave Aimei a friendly hug.
Aimei was happy to see her friend again. "How did you escape?"
"Wang saved me!" Cici replied.
"Guys... there is something you should see..." Sha nervously said.
The other three spun their heads in his direction and saw the grand city of Omashu. However, earthbenders were racing down the tunnel by sliding on rock slabs, and they didn't seem too happy to see the four friends...
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