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|The King and the Peasant|
April 16, 2010
The King and the Peasant is the twenty fourth chapter of Avatar: Guardian.
Cheng begins his Earthbending training with Bumi, in a typically unorthodox way.
Cheng walked towards his new classroom. Bumi had told him that he would be studying as well as training to become an Earthbending master at the palace. He walked into his room and sat down on a chair in front of a table. He looked around for a book or some sort of lesson plan but could find none. A loud rumble shock the room and forced Cheng to his feet. Bumi rose out of the ground and sent an earth wave towards Cheng. Cheng used the table, conveniently made out of earth, to stop the attack, but was still knocked back.
While getting steady, he yelled towards Bumi "What was that for? I still haven't begun to learn Earthbending yet, so why attack me?"
"You're starting" Bumi said with a small grin. "I will be in the arena, meet me there. Don't try to go through the doors, since the guards have orders not to let you through. Use your Earthbending to get through the walls."
"I don't know how! How can I do something you haven't taught me?"
"Feel the earth, and listen to it. Don't worry about the walls, the guards can fix them later. Trust me, it's what I pay them for. You need to learn to cut loose a bit, and this is a good idea." At that, Bumi sunk back into the ground, covering the hole and leaving Cheng in the room all alone, and the door suddenly was blocked by a massive wall.
"Great... Crazy old man..." Cheng mumbled to himself. He walked towards the wall closest to him and began to breathe slowly. "I can do this. I'm an earthbender." He assumed the stance he had seen the soldiers use and punched at the wall. Cheng had no idea what happened, but he looked up to find himself on the floor about ten feet from the wall. He got up and tried again. This time, he punched the wall, and was pushed back five feet, but remained balanced.
"Okay, maybe if I try it a little different..." Cheng assumed his stance once more, and twisted his feet into the ground. He hit the wall with an open palmed strike, and a massive part of the wall crashed down. "Yes!" Cheng rushed through the hole to find a note sitting on a table in the middle of the room.
Cheng, you have managed to make it through the wall, congratulations. Unfortunately for you, you broke the wrong one. The correct wall is the one behind you. Go back and try again, Bumi.
"That guy is crazier than a wild hog-monkey..." Cheng puts the note back down on the table and went back through his hole. He walked towards the wall and smashed it down.
He crashed through the opposite wall, only to find another empty room. He randomly decided to break the wall to his right, and did so. On the other side, he found a quiet woman waiting on the other side. "What just happened here?"
"I'm sorry ma'am. I'm looking for the King. Do you know where he is?" Cheng politely asks.
"If you're looking for the arena, it's in the other direction. And don't worry about the wall, I'll have the guards fix it. Good luck in your search, and never forget your goal." The woman say, reassuring Cheng.
"Thank you." Cheng said with a bow. He turns around and knocks a large hole in the opposite wall to the room with the woman. In the room is a note, telling him to go to his right. After breaking through the wall, another note told him to go two rooms forward, then one to the left. Following his instructions, he broke through the walls with ease and entered the King's arena.
Bumi was sitting on a chair made of earth in the middle of the arena. "Great, you made it. I was beginning to get worried." He got up, finished the small bit of rock candy that was in his hand, and sunk the chair back into the earth.
"What was the point of that? Couldn't you have just brought me here yourself?" Cheng exclaims.
"You learned didn't you? It took you a while, but you learned that skill yourself, and you can now use it at any point by yourself. Like now." Bumi raised an earth wall in front of him and sent it towards Cheng. Cheng reflexively assumed his stance and punched through the attack, causing it to crumble around him.
The king sent more, and Cheng crushed through all of them. "What are you doing?" Cheng shouted towards Bumi.
"Reinforcement!" Bumi shouted back while raising another wall, this time from a different angle. Cheng side-stepped and used a kick to crush the wall.
Bumi stood out of his stance and began explaining his logic. "You see, by learning it yourself, you can get a feel for the earth on your own. You have to open your brain to the possibilities! You just blocked about 20 attacks from a master earthbender, you still think you haven't learned anything?"
"Wow, you're right! I didn't realize I was learning!"
"I knew from the start that you had enormous potential. You knew how to do this all along, but you just needed some refining. That is my job!" Bumi then assumed his stance, motioning for Cheng to do the same. When he was in his stance, Bumi told him to raise some earth in front of him. Cheng thought back to when he saw soldiers do that sort of technique. He stomped on the ground, and rose off the ground on top of a column of earth. "Close, but still far from what I asked." Cheng looked down at Bumi, confused. Bumi then walked up to the column that Cheng raised and gave it a tap, causing it to crumble. "That was going to be our next lesson. Are you some kind of mind reader?"
"Not at all."
"Oh. Okay, just checking. Now, back to the matter at hand. Your foot placement was off. Excellent job at moving the earth though."
Bumi nudged the earth with his foot and Cheng was placed back in his stance, this time with the correct foot placement. "Try it again."
Cheng crushed his foot into the ground and a large rock levitated itself out of the ground in front of him. Bumi seemed pleased. "Good job. Now move it in a circle around you by rotating your stance." Cheng slowly changed his footing and watched the rock float around him, a special glow in his eye.
"I'm doing it! This is amazing!"
"You're right, it is. Now, send it to the wall."
The boulder drops in front of Cheng. "How?"
"The same way you crushed the walls, of course. This bending stuff, it's all cumulative. Master a few basic movements and have an open mind, and then you will be a force to be reckoned with!"
Cheng realized the wisdom the crazy old king had and stomped the ground, levitating the boulder and then sent it into the far wall with a powerful punch. "I did it!"
"Now do it about 20 more times, and we'll call it a day. Then we will have a feast!"
This chapter was written in 2009 during the time The Bos was waiting for Waterkai to finish writing Flood Damage. The Bos, concerned with keeping Guardian running on schedule, decided to write a filler chapter in case Waterkai ran into problems. When Waterkai published the chapter, The Bos still maintained the chapter, increasing its size and adding references to future plot events he conceived at a later date.
- This chapter is meant to show Cheng's progression in Earthbending, as well as Bumi's strange teaching style
- This chapter was originally called "The Mad Genius" but it was changed to reflect the relationship between Bumi and Cheng.
For the collective works of the author, go here.