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I do not own anything from The Knife of Never Letting Go or Chaos Walking! All rights go to Patrick Ness and Candlewick Press!
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Todd encounters problems in the Spirit World. In the Physical World, Zuko has an enormous fight with Mai over something (or someone) that can not be ignored.
I let out a long, low whistle as I looked at the wolf. But as I looked around at the swamp some more, I heard a rustling sound above me-
And as I hear it I realize-
I ain't alone in here.
(Wherever here is)
I slowly backed away from the tree, but as I turn around-
I see a girl.
She has flaming red hair and eyes that match and she looked at me with this expression of disgust and hatred on her face. I look at her and she looks at me too for a bit, but when I try to walk up to her, she runs away.
"Wait! I just wanna talk to you!" I yell as I run after her, but she's too fast and I lose her. I lean against the tree next to me, and a bird suddenly takes flight. I look up and do a quick double take.
(are birds supposed to be that big!?)
I walk away from the tree and try to find someone else, because I know from the girl that there are people here.
And they don't have Noise.
How are you supposed to know what people are thinking if you can't hear their Noise?
A twig snapped behind me, and as I turn I see the girl again. She still has that weird look on her face, like she smelled something bad.
"What's yer problem?" I ask.
"You," she replies. "Humans don't belong in the Spirit World."
"Where you are now, stupid," she answers with disdain. "Only the Avatar has permission to be here, and I don't like him either," She leans in close to my face-
And says in a voice dripping with malice-
"You don't belong here, Todd Hewitt."
I look at her with surprise. "How do you know my name?"
"All the spirits know about the boy and girl brought by The Sisters," She says like she doesn't care about it that much.
"Girl... Is Viola here too?"
"Oh, I don't know... It's a pretty big realm, with lots of things that don't like humans... For all you know, she could be dead, or worse..." She says, inspecting her nails, which are as bright red as her hair and eyes.
"But you know."
"I may, I may not, but mostly, I just don't care. I mean, why would I care about a stupid human girl?"
"Tell me!" I snarl and I shove her.
(I wish I hadn't done that)
Her eyes flash, and in the blink of an eye, she grabs my wrist. She starts to squeeze it so much that it feels like my bones are about to break.
"You'll regret that, human!" She yells and she starts to grow taller and she pulls me up with her until my feet are dangling off the ground and my arm feels like it's going to be pulled out of its socket and I cry out in pain and shock and the girl just laughs like she thinks it's funny-
But then a force knocks her down and I fall to the ground and I just sit there but as I look around, I see a girl who looks just like the girl, red hair and all, but she's got this look of concern for me but she also looks downright angry at the other girl and the mean one just cowers at the base of a tree-
And the new girl strides over to the other girl and shakes her, screaming in rage and it sounds like she's saying-
"GET OUT OF MY SKIN!"
And the other girl runs away, and the new girl walks over to me. She looks like she's about 15.
"Are you okay, Todd?" She puts out a hand and pulls me up. "I'm really sorry about Wangji. He has a grudge against humans."
I gape at her. "She's a he?"
"Wangji is a shapeshifter. He likes to take other spirits shapes to stir up trouble. He seems to be using my shape more and more often," She scowls. "Oh, by the way, my name's Sentaku, but you can call me Sen." She held out her hand, and when I don't take it, she drops it. She flashes a huge smile. "You know, you should show more respect to one of the people who brought you here." Her voice is kind, and sort of bubbly, but it has a power in it, like it echoes.
"You brought me here?" I say in surprise.
"Me and my sister need to ask you a favor. But first, you need to come with me. Wangji was right about one thing. Humans aren't welcome in the Spirit World unless you happen to be the Avatar."
"Who's the Avatar?"
"Don't worry, I'll explain on the way. You've got a lot to learn, Todd Hewitt." She grabs my hand and pulls me away.
I looked down from the tree and saw the boy and Sen disappear. I felt myself slowly slipping into my natural form.
"Let the games begin, Sen. And this time, I'll be sure to win." I hissed as my tongue flickered in and out of my fangs.
On Appa's Saddle
"Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God..." I bit my lip and looked over the saddle. We were almost above the clouds, and the only thing keeping us from dropping to the ground (and our deaths) was a gigantic flying cow.
"First time flying?" Katara looked at me with some concern.
"No, but first time on a flying bison with six legs who shouldn't be able to fly. I mean, he doesn't have any wings or anything, just a huge tail."
"It's airbending! It works through his tail and keeps us up!" Aang shouted from Appa's head.
"Even that doesn't make any sense," I grumbled and sank down into the ridge on the saddle. Toph scooted over next to me.
"Do you not like flying?" She whispered
I thought for a minute and remembered how badly the last time I flew went. "No, I really don't."
"Good. That makes two of us." She murmured darkly. "Just be glad you never had to do this bareback."
"So Viola's with this Avatar guy and his friends? And you're sure she's okay?"
"Trust me, she's in very good-" Sen stopped and I bumped into her. She started looking around frantically and as she turned around, she had true fear on her face.
"Todd, get behind me, turn away, and cover your face with your hands. Now!" She whispered. I did as she said and waited.
I didn't have to do that for long.
I heard a slithering sound and then an equally serpent like voice came from behind me and in front of Sen.
"Hello, Sentaku. It's been a while."
"Back off, Koh. He's with me." Sen said with a voice like steel.
"I never would have guessed you'd ever have a human as a companion, Sentaku. Apparently you and your sister have low standards." The voice hissed. I could feel her shaking with fury.
"There's nothing for you here Koh. Leave. Now."
"Sen, Sen, Sen... You know nothing stops me from getting a face I want. Even you, with your boundless energy and oversize ego, can't protect the boy forever."
"I told you... to... LEAVE!" A skittering sound came from in front of her and then a muffled thump. Then the voice came back, and it sounded angry.
"One day Sen, you are going to regret crossing me." Then I heard a small scuttling, and the voice was gone. I finally turned around, and saw what looked like the back of a giant centipede making its way quickly through the swamp, and then it vanished.
"What was that?" I asked, still staring at the place where the centipede thing disappeared.
"One of the main reasons why you shouldn't be alone in here. That was Koh, the Face Stealer." I gaped at her.
"You mean he can actually-"
"Yeah, he can. C'mon, we need to keep moving." She grabbed my wrist and pulled me towards a dense part of the swamp. I fell into step next to her.
"So what makes this Avatar guy so special?"
The Firelord's Palace
"How can you be okay with this!? You saw what she did! She's evil and now she's unstable!" Mai yelled.
"But she's still family!" I yelled back.
"I don't care! What kind of family member shoots her brother with lightning!? Huh? And now you want her to move into the palace with us!"
"The doctors say that she's lost all of her memory and that she can't even firebend any more." Mai drew her hand over her face and took a deep breath. "I still don't want her here. It maybe would have been okay if it was just us and your uncle, but now with the baby coming, I don't want this." I saw her gently caress her stomach, which was getting a little bigger everyday.
"Could you just try to give this a chance? If you saw her, I think you would change your mind." I pleaded.
"Nothing will change my mind." She crossed her arms.
"Please just come and see her. Once you see, you'll understand."
"Nothing can change my mind." She stared at me.
"Please. There's just something about her that isn't dangerous. She reminds me of a little kid. And if nothing can change your mind, then come with me."
"What?" A sudden look of alarm crossed her face.
"You said that nothing can change your mind. If that's true, then come with me and see her, and if you don't like what you see, then I'll never say anything about it again."
"Fine! But if this turns bad, I'm blaming you." Mai promptly turned on her heel and walked away.
Fire Nation Asylum
"We believe that she has lost almost all of her memory, and her ability to firebend." I heard the doctor as I watched my sister in her room. She was wearing all white, and she had a cat on her lap that she was petting absentmindedly as she looked out the window, which had bars on it.
"How can you be so sure?"
"She could have overpowered the guards at any time," I looked at him in alarm. "Not that we would have let that happen," he said quickly, noticing his mistake. "But she has never used Firebending to attempt to escape. She hasn't attempted anything."
"Why is there a cat in there?"
"We wanted to see how she would react to it. So far, she hasn't harmed it at all." The doctor noticed me staring at the door. "Would you like to go in there, Firelord Zuko?" I thought for a minute, and came up with my answer.
"Yes. I would." The doctor nodded and opened the door. "Mai's gonna kill me." I muttered as I walked inside. Azula turned her head towards the sudden noise and a huge smile exploded on her face.
"Hi, Zuzu!" she said brightly. "You came to visit!"
"Yeah, I guess I did..." I stammered, surprised at my old nickname.
"Have you seen Ta De?" She held up the cat to my face. "Isn't she precious?" she cooed as she rubbed the cat against her face.
"Umm, yes. She's very nice."
"Will you stay and play?" Her eyes were shining with anticipation.
"Will you stay?"
"I have to go, Azula." I turned to leave.
"But Mom said you need to!" She pouted. I stopped dead in my tracks and turned around slowly.
"Yeah?" She continued to pet the cat.
"Why would you say that?"
"Because Mom's right there." She pointed to the wall and as I looked, there was nothing there but an empty space.
"No, she's not." I turned back to Azula, who continued to pet the cat. She looked up at me like she was about to cry.
"Yes she is! She's frowning and shaking her head like this." She frantically shook her head like she was saying no.
"Azula. She's not there. I'm going to leave if you're just going to lie. Just like you did before." I muttered under my breath. A loud sob broke out from behind me. I looked behind me and saw Azula's tearstained face looming just inches from mine.
"She needs to talk to you! Mom told me!"
"You're a liar."
"I'm telling the truth!" She sat down and began to cry. "If I don't tell you, I may not see Mom again! You have to believe me!" Azula sobbed.
"What do you have to tell me?" She looked up and said in a very quiet voice-
"Beware... Birth... Mai..." she mumbled. Ta De slunk over and Azula started to pet her, staring off into space.
"Azula?" I clicked my fingers in front of her face, but she didn't even blink. I sighed and walked out the door. I turned to the doctor, who waited patiently.
"Would it be okay if I came again tomorrow?" I asked.
I'd been following the boy and Sen for over two hours. Or two minutes. Time is loopy in the Spirit World.
"And the games begin... Now." I willed myself to change, and after a couple minutes, I was the splitting image of the Other Sister, that no one ever seems to think about, but comes across everyday in their lives; Kekka, the Spirit of Consequence. I slid down from the tree and tread silently towards a clearing that I knew they would stumble across. I smiled as I laid down on the ground and stopped breathing-
the only thing that I did-
Was move a bright red bloodstain-
Across the front of Kekka's chest-
Moments later I heard a scream of pain and horror-
I had to stop myself from smiling again.
- When Viola recalls the last time she flew, she's remembering the crash in which her parents died.
- Viola's starting to return to her old ways of thinking, evidenced by the fact that she can't figure out how Appa flies.
- Todd has never known a world without Noise, which is why he is so surprised that everything is silent.
- Todd's thought's are sometimes purposefully chaotic, which is what is happening in the first section.
- So if you're confused, I'm doing something right...
- There are 13 months in a New World year.
- When Todd says Sen's 15, she's really about 16 or 17.
- Todd thinks he's 12, but he's really about 14 and one month.
- And Viola would be 12 on New World, but she's really about 13.
Production Notes and Other Notes
- Evatar wanted the parts with Azula to be almost comical in a way, because she has a sick sense of humor...
- But hey, taking advantage of crazy people is a regular joke among some stories.
- This is the first chapter to have parts in Zuko and Wangji's points of veiw.
- If you can't tell already, Sen and Kekka are the Sisters.
- The part where Todd says, "are birds supposed to be that big?" is a discreet reference to , a fanon that the author loves.
- Wangji translates to "forgotten" in romanized Chinese.
- Ta De translates to "her" in romanized Chinese.
- Sentaku translates to "choice" in romanized Japanese.
- Kekka traslates to "consequence" in romanized Japanese.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
|Avatar: Choices Chapters|
|Book One: White Bones|
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