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|The First Battle|
19 February 2011
Iandao looked into Song's eyes. "Stay here," he said urgently. "I don't want anything to happen to you."
Song looked up at him, a thin smile on her lips. "I'll do as you wish, Ian. But stay safe." She touched his cheek. He grabbed her hand and held it for a moment before coming down to the base of the tree where the rest of us stood.
"Cheng, I would feel better if you stayed with Song," I said.
"But I'm an Earthbender!" Cheng complained. Seeing the utterly annoyed look on my face, he clamped his mouth shut and climbed up into the tree.
The rest of us got ready. On Ji already had her bow out and ready. Iandao pulled out his swords. Jin just smiled at me.
"Jin, are you sure you can do this?" I asked, unsure.
Jin put a hand on my shoulder. "Just trust me, Shoji. Is that really too much to ask?"
I sighed. "Just promise me you won't do anything stupid," I said.
Protective, aren't you, On Ji said snidely. Like her or something?
No! I retorted. Well, okay. A little. But I still like you.
It's okay, Shoji. I have other interests.
Other interests?! Now is not the time!
Just get on with it, Shoji.
Charge and Fire
We charged towards the army. A bunch of mildly-armed teenagers against a hundred soldiers. Yep, we were on the crazy side.
I noticed adults joining us, carrying whatever they happened to be holding – from a pitchfork to a stale pie.
In seconds we found ourselves in the midst of the battle. On Ji stayed distant, causing soldiers to fall randomly on the battle field. Iandao hacked his way through the crowd, swinging his sword randomly, although avoiding the heads of the opposing side. I refrained from using my Firebending, preferring to use my fists. Jin stuck beside me, and together we made a pretty impressive team.
My powerful feelings didn't last, though. I soon found myself in tight spots and was relying on luck rather than skill. Jin disappeared from my side and I began to search for her.
Then I heard a piercing scream that could only belong to Song. I raced towards where the sound came from to see Qing tree about to catch fire. The trunk was smoldering. Soldiers stood around the base, staring at me through their masks.
What should I do? I wondered.
Firebend, Shoji, came On Ji's quick reply.
But what about our secret?
It's Song or your secret, Shoji. Make a choice.
She was right. I breathed in deeply. Hisa was standing nearby with a terrified look on her face. I felt bad for her. Surely she would spare me if I saved her daughter!
I put my hands out and pulled the fire towards me in a swift, sudden move. The soldiers surged towards me. I flipped behind them. Iandao rushed into the circle and pulled Song away. Hisa watched me, her eyes wide. I shot off a row of fire rings and dodged several fireballs.
Your new girlfriend needs some help, On Ji informed me. I didn't bother pointing out that Jin was not my girlfriend – I knew who she was talking about, and that was enough.
I evaded another strike and ran off, scanning the battle field. I soon spotted her, a little girl in a green dress held by a large, burly soldier. How could he even think of harming her? I rushed towards them, but I was too late. Just a couple yards away, the man pulled out a dagger, thrusting it towards her.
A moan of despair escaped my lips. Time seemed to slow down. I charged forward. Jin smiled weakly at me, a parting glance of love.
Then, everything changed. Jin stepped away in the nick of time, causing the soldier to fall over with momentum. When she looked at me, her irises and pupils had turned gold. She evaded every strike and punch like she could predict the future. I watched in amazement as she lashed out in just the right places, causing soldiers to go limp, and I joined her.
What to Do
And suddenly the battle was over. As quickly as they appeared, the soldiers slunk over the hill. We looked around. There were many casualties, but no deaths.
"I can't believe you're a Firebender," Song said. "I thought that all Firebenders were evil, bad, people."
"Neither can I," Hisa said, stepping towards me. "You saved my daughter's life. For that, I am eternally grateful."
"You musn't stay here," Song said. "You must leave tomorrow."
"So soon?" Jin asked.
On Ji looked at Jin with a hint of hostility. "Yes. We have places to go."
Jin glared at On Ji and crossed her arms. "Well, I'm going with you." Uh-oh. I sensed a face-off coming.
"What?!" On Ji cried.
Just then, Mitsu approached, Tiji trotting at her heels. "Going where?" she asked.
"With Shoji," Jin said, ignoring the furious look on On Ji's face. "They're going on an adventure and I want in."
Mitsu sighed. "I knew it wasn't going to last."
"What, mother?" Jin said.
"Your company," Mitsu said. "Let me tell you a story. Soon after you were born, I was visiting Makapu Village. There was a fortuneteller there by the name of Aunt Wu. She told me you would leave me for adventure."
Mitsu looked at Jin, who smiled sadly. "I'm sorry, mother," she said.
"It's okay, dear. Destiny should not be thwarted. Aunt Wu said this was the path you should take to understand your abilities – whatever that means."
I presumed this referred to Jin's gold-eye-psychic stuff.
Jin and Mitsu embraced. A warm feeling filled the air before Song broke the silence.
"Sozin's comet is coming in ten days," Song said. "You guys have to do something about it."
"What can we do?" I asked. "We're just a bunch of kids."
"We're not just a bunch of kids," On Ji said. "We're an archer, a swordsman, a Firebender, and an Earthbender-in-training."
"Hey, what about me?" Jin asked.
"And a psycho," On Ji added.
"What can we do?" Iandao said, exasperated.
"You guys have to find the Avatar and help him win the war," Song said.
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