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|The Legend of Morra|
January 4, 2015
The Legend of Morra is a one-shot by.
Much had changed in the Water Tribe of the South Pole since the Hundred Year War reached its grand conclusion. With no ever-looming threat from the Fire Nation, the bulk of the villages had rebuilt themselves, and the bundled-up inhabitants of the snowy continent had grown infinitely more accustomed to the presence of airbenders. They stood out in their appearance, but not for their actions, save for when they were bending, of course. Today, one was performing the mundane task of getting the mail, a few years older, though not necessarily any wiser than his father the Avatar had been when he had saved the Earth Kingdom from burning down.
"Something big just arrived in the mail," the gangly, bald teenage boy stated casually as he strode inside one of the ice huts closest to the waterline. "From a princess of the Fire Nation, no less."
"Wow, that is pretty big," a pony-tailed, bored-eyed waterbending boy remarked from a sturdy armchair. "It's got to mean something, Tenzin, if Neinei's sending you something that large. Things dropped off pretty awkwardly the last time you two saw each other in person, if I recall correctly."
"That's not it, Kaddo," Tenzin rose his voice slightly to hide his downcast tone. "We're just friends now, and we both understand that." He tossed the thicker-than-average package onto the table in front of Kaddo's seat. "Whatever. Anyway, it's not for me, and it's not from Neinei. It's addressed to you."
"Ummm...thanks, Tenzin," the waterbender of the Southern Water Tribe surveyed the article with suspicion. "A different Fire Nation princess?" Suddenly, Kaddo's eyes lit up. "It can't be!" Kaddo leapt to his feet, excitement shining through. "She and our other companions must have found a way to write letters somehow. How did they manage to contact me across the dimensions?"
"Across the dimensions?" Tenzin eyed the surprised waterbender. "What in spirits name are you talking about? It's from Neinei's sister Viola."
"Oh," said Kaddo, not having much time to dwell on his disappointment, for his look of thrill almost instantly melted into one of horror. "What could she be sending me?" he wondered aloud, tossing the parcel back down and slowly backing away.
"Something for your birthday, obviously."
"It's not my birthday anymore, though," said Kaddo. "Well, then again, if she sent it all the way from where she lives, it makes sense that it would get here now. Is the package safe to open, do you think?"
"Yes, of course it is," Tenzin rolled his eyes as he spoke aside to Kaddo. "She's in the Fire Nation and you're in the Southern Water Tribe, so you don't need to worry about her doing anything to you now. It's not like the package is going to explode the moment you open it."
"Are you sure?"
Slowly and carefully, Kaddo dug his fingertips into the wrapping paper that held the contents within. Tearing it open, Kaddo found a sizable stack of scrolls. "False alarm," Kaddo called out, relieved. "It's just the new edition of The Legend of Morra."
"About time," remarked Tenzin. "It's an ironic occasion that your birthday had to coincide with the last book of the sequel series to The Legend of Ong being released. After I finally got you to give Ong a try, you managed to catch up to the end of it. Now, you're ready for The Legend of Morra. Viola's got the right idea, giving this to you."
"Yeah, and I'll admit it wasn't as lame as I thought it might be," Kaddo admitted. "In fact, it wasn't lame at all. It was awesome. The next series, I'm not so sure about."
"What do you mean?" the bald airbender questioned him. "You haven't read it yet."
"Yeah, but from what I've heard the new series will be all...different than the original," Kaddo searched his mind for the right words as he spoke, his eyes facing up into his head. "In a lot of ways. The technology of the universe supposedly takes a big leap forward and a lot of the themes are more mature. Not that I would normally mind, that's great and all, but I think I'm too attached to the old-fashioned would of the original, and the setting it built with its crystalbending and shadowbending."
"All that's still there," noted Tenzin. "Just...evolved, a little."
"Also, I can't get those lame advertisements out of my head: 'So you liked The Legend of Ong; well, get ready for more with The Legend of Morra.'"
"What the Koh, Kaddo," Tenzin shook his head, the memory of the ads with a picture of one of the goofier main characters saying the slogan in a speech bubble sparking a chill down his back. "Don't remind me of those. Forget about the way they announced the new series, though. The series itself is enjoyable...for the most part. It's not as great at first, but it gets better later on."
"I see," said Kaddo. "Well, on that note I'll go practice waterbending. Maybe if I have time later, I'll check out the first couple chapters." Kaddo stumbled back, an overwhelming force causing him to fall back into the chair behind him. "Hey, what was that for?"
Tenzin held out his presently-shut glider staff, ready to shoot forth another blast of air. "You'll read it now so that we can talk about it after. I haven't been able to talk to anybody about it since I finished reading."
"For crying out loud," Kaddo resigned himself, frustrated. "Don't you have your buddies at the Ong Global Infodex that you can gossip about The Legend of Morra with?"
"They're all the way in Ba Sing Se," Tenzin pointed out. "Letter correspondence is too slow. I need to talk to someone about it in person. Besides, half of the people I know there spend all their time at the infodex either mouthing off about policy to someone or monitoring their fan stories at all hours a day to see if anyone reads them or comments."
"Ugh," Kaddo pouted, turning back to the pile of scrolls. "Fine. Which one of these is the first chapter?"
It took a few days for Kaddo to read all the scrolls he was sent by Princess Viola, during which time Tenzin was constantly prodding him. Within a few weeks, Kaddo had plowed through the rest of the entire series, finally reaching the "big finish", which everyone who was anyone was talking about. It was famous to many and infamous to some.
Tenzin's continued patience had finally paid off as Kaddo finished his last word just in time for the two to pay a visit to the one who had sent him his late birthday present. Kaddo began to make his thoughts known as they approached the recently rebuilt royal palace, which was much like it had appeared before it's predecessor was destroyed in the Fire Nation Civil War.
"It did drag at times, but it got better," Kaddo told Tenzin, carrying his unneeded Water Tribe overcoat on his shoulder. "I still prefer the first series."
"The Legend of Ong is indeed a tough act to follow," stated Tenzin. "I'm glad the writers continued the story with another in the same universe, though."
"Meh, I don't think I ever got quite as invested as you. But you were right," Kaddo admitted. "It did get better as it went along."
Tenzin pointed at the grand entranceway to the dwelling of the rulers of the Fire Nation. "Look, it's your lover," he teased, smirking.
A girl slightly younger than the two boys stood before them, garbed in a crimson red robe and allowing half of her long, black bangs to cover one of her eyes. She wore no armor, as her nation was comfortably at peace once again. "Hey guys," she grinned mischievously. "Think fast!"
Tenzin lifted his wooden glider stick with haste to block a rounded ball of ice that Princess Viola had thrown from hitting him in the face. Kaddo hastily assumed his bending stance and melted the flying piece of frozen water before it was deflected into hitting him.
"What's wrong with you?" Tenzin blurted, bewildered.
"Where did a piece of ice that shape come from?" Kaddo wondered aloud. "You're not a waterbender."
"I remember you saying that you liked snowball fighting last time you were here," explained Viola. "But there's no snow around here, so I went to the ice tray in the palace kitchen and fashioned some ice cubes of the perfect shape to give you that whimsical feel of back home."
"A rounded piece of ice is not the same as a ball of snow," Kaddo panted, exasperated. "You can't just go throwing those around!"
"You boys look like you're in the mood for some fun," said Viola, even though that was not the case, judging from Tenzin and Kaddo's looks. "Why don't you try and catch me!" With that, she bolted to retreat inside the palace, inviting Tenzin and Kaddo to follow.
The interior of the palace was dark and desolate. Since there were no windows nearby and they were far from the courtyards, the way was lit only by scattered red candlelight. "Have either of you seen Princess Viola?" Tenzin asked a passing pair of guards.
"No," the closer of the two grown men shook his head and continued on his way, as though he couldn't be bothered by the antics that the two foreign boys shared with Princess Viola.
Soon, however, the two guards were split up as the swift form of Viola herself oozed her way between them and turned about just long enough to hurl another ice ball at Kaddo, who ducked and melted the ice once more at the same time. His timing was very slightly off, as some of the droplets landed on his backside. When the waterbending teenager turned back around, he saw two soaked, frowning guards peering at him. "Sorry," he grinned guiltily as both he and Tenzin took off in the same direction that Viola had been seen going last.
"Where is she?" Tenzin wondered out loud as they reached a crossroads of corridors.
"I don't know," Kaddo looked left, right and straight ahead. "But we should make her pay."
However, the two adolescent boys had no time to make a decisive judgement on which corridor they should go down, as the very floor beneath them began to give way. When they lost their footing, the newly-opened trap door whisked them in. Tenzin and Kaddo both yelled in vain as they were swept into riding a stony slide which spiraled them down, one dizzy loop after another. Anxious about what other secrets this newer royal place hid, Tenzin and Kaddo pondered what they might find at the bottom of the booby trap.
Fortunately, when they reached the bottom, it was not a dungeon, set of spikes or a torture chamber that greeted the two boys. That did not mean, necessarily, that it was less frightening. "I knew you two would make it!" Princess Viola giggled. "It's just like when we used to play hide and explode, eh, Kaddo?"
"So Viola led us here," Kaddo muttered to Tenzin.
"At least her saner older sister is here as well," the bald airbender shrugged. "Hello, Neinei."
"Hey Tenzin," greeted the other girl in Fire Nation royal robes. "Hey, Kaddo."
"So...what's all this?" asked Kaddo, looking around at the cramped, albeit cozy room they were in, which was not what he had expected on his trip down the slide.
"It's our clubhouse," explained Viola. "I could've just told you where to go, but I figured making a game of it would be more fun."
Kaddo blinked. "That was...a game?"
Neinei scowled. "I already told you, Viola. This is not a 'clubhouse'. It's a hideout. Why do you always have to make everything sound so childish?"
"Hey, you're telling me to not act weird?" Viola countered defensively. "Says the girl who thinks she impresses everyone with her moon white hair."
"Viola, you shouldn't make of serious events," Tenzin frowned, recalling all too well the disaster that the spirit of the moon had saved Neinei's life from.
"It's okay, Tenzin," Neinei shook her head. "I'm used to her immaturity."
"So, Kaddo, I take it you got my gift?" asked Viola.
"Yes, I did," replied Kaddo. "I finished reading The Legend of Morra on the journey over here."
Princess Neinei beamed. "Excellent!"
"That's all of us, if I'm not mistaken," said Tenzin.
"So, what did you guys think?" the white-haired Crown Princess asked the two boys.
It was Kaddo who spoke up first. "As I was beginning to tell Tenzin before we were ambushed, I enjoyed it, but not as much as The Legend of Ong. Don't get me wrong. It was great, but it wasn't as spellbinding as the original was."
Viola folded her hands and batted her eyes. "It had one thing the original didn't. There was the love triangle."
"Ugh, that got way too much attention," Neinei sighed, shaking her head. "But speaking of which, how did you guys ship?"
"I was actually pretty disappointed that Morra and Diko didn't get back together at the end," Tenzin told them. "They should've worked it out."
"For some reason, I knew you'd be a Dikmorra shipper," Neinei let out a bit of mild laughter.
"Oh please," Kaddo shook his head, clearly begging to differ. "A wannabe like Morra should've admitted she was outclassed by Samyu."
"Since he chose to go after Morra even while he was dating Samyu, Diko would obviously disagree," Tenzin countered.
"Whatever," said Kaddo. "You gotta admit, it wasn't nearly as well put together as when Ong and Priscilla kissed at the end of The Legend of Ong."
"The romance as a whole was like that, unfortunately," Tenzin said regretfully. "What did you think, Neinei."
"I pretty much gave up on shipping Morra with anyone after the first book was over," said Neinei. "The clunkiness of it all just left me too disillusioned, but I did sort of enjoy the way they ended it. Heh, didn't it seem like poetic justice for both ex-girlfriends to end up together as one?"
"But that was blatant fan service!" said Kaddo.
"Morrasamyu did pretty much come out of nowhere, Neinei," Tenzin concurred.
"I know it came to fruition suddenly," Princess Neinei conceded. "There were subtle hints toward it throughout the last great story arc, though."
"Not as many as there were for Priscong," Tenzin argued. "Sure, you can find a way to go back and justify anything as foreshadowed if you look around and nitpick hard enough."
"Like I said, I was surprised by it, too," Neinei admitted. "But it did seem appropriate from looking back to the start. I just wish that I could read an epilogue about the expression on that cheater's face when he found out."
"Do you really have to be so critical of him, Neinei?" asked Tenzin. "I mean, I get the fact that he was technically unfaithful, but-"
"Technically unfaithful?" Neinei interrupted suddenly. "My, you do have a way of describing things, Tenzin."
"My point is that Diko was just...confused," Tenzin went on. "The guy deserves a break."
Neinei shook her head. "I guess it would've been better if they gave him some more development. "With a lot of the characters, actually, it seemed like they had so much more potential, but it was all wasted."
"The antagonists included," added Tenzin. "Think of things realistically, too. My dad and your dad spent years fighting rebels in your nation after the Hundred Year War ended. In The Legend of Morra, the villains and their threats disappeared too rapidly to be believed."
"A lot of the plots weren't wrapped up right," Kaddo added, backing away from Viola as she leaned in closer. "Come to think of it, a lot of the side stories, even in the final chapters, seemed to surface out of nothing, too. But a lot of the action made up for the awkward timing."
"Like the gigantic mechanical lion turtle," exclaimed Viola. "Wasn't that a cool twist? Especially with that secret, forbidden combination of crystalbending and shadowbending Morra and the others needed to use on it."
"That was a little too much for me," Tenzin responded.
"I remember how they described the move," Princess Viola stepped into the center of the group and assumed a mock-fighting stance. "I pictured it going a little something like this." As she jumped and swung her legs in the air, though, she found herself slipping and tripping on one of the half-melted ice balls that had fell from the inside of her robes and knocking her off balance and causing her to hit her head on the floor, nose first. "Ow..."
Kaddo crouched down and bent some of the water from the frozen sphere over his hands. "Here Viola, let me help."
"What's that, Kaddo?" a brand new voice came from the entrance to the princess's hideout. "You're healing again? I thought you said that was 'women's work'." This was Sakema, dressed in an aquatic blue Southern Water Tribe even gown, fit for a formal occasion, though whatever formal occasion it was for her had nothing to do with her cousin's birthday. Beside her was another girl close to her age, with the front of her head shaven and the remaining hairs fashioned into braids, her yellow outfit not unlike that of Tenzin's.
"I did say that before, but healing does come in handy," Kaddo continued to attend to Viola's bruised face without giving the new arrivals a full welcome. "I've accepted it now. Say, what are you two doing here?"
"We heard that you had all finished reading The Legend of Morra," said Vameira, Sakema's companion of the day.
"Yeah," said Sakema. "We figured we'd crash the party, in case you all were talking about it."
"Sure," Neinei shrugged, somewhat approvingly. "The more, the merrier."
"That finale to it all was so satisfying," said Sakema. "An image of perfection if there ever was one, wasn't it?"
"Image of perfection?" Tenzin raised an eyebrow. "Are we talking about the same finale?"
"Yes," smirked Sakema. "The Legend of Morra has only one ending, silly."
"Vameira, I didn't even know you read The Legend of Morra," remarked Kaddo.
"Neither did I," said Tenzin, still perplexed.
"I didn't before," clarified Vameira. "Then Sakema was telling me all about how great a series it became."
"I always told you how good it was, but you never listened," said Tenzin. "I guess Sakema must've made the case differently than I did."
"Well, she knew what was important," replied Vameira. "The ending of the series was the most amazing and progressive thing I've ever read."
Kaddo raised an eyebrow. "Progressive?"
Tenzin still wasn't buying it. "Vameira, with all due respect, this is just so random. You never had much of a nice thing to say about The Legend of Ong, and now you're telling me that the finale of The Legend of Morra is one of the best things you've ever set your eyes on?"
"It's understandable," said Sakema. "Morrasamyu was a true milestone. Not enough popular scroll-by-mail series dare to feature anything like it."
"I see," Tenzin stared from one to the other. "Well, as I was saying before, I personally would've preferred to see Morra and Diko get back together."
Vameira narrowed her eyes. "Homophobe!" she blurted.
A tense silence reigned over the group for a brief few seconds. "Excuse me?" said Tenzin.
"What she means is that you're opposing the landmark of Morrasamyu due to your viewing things exclusively through a hetero lens," explained Sakema. "You're rejecting it because they're both women."
"That has nothing to do with my liking Dikmorra over Morrasamyu," Tenzin rose his voice angrily. "My dislike of the latter is because of the way it was executed, not the sexes of the parties involved."
"Yeah," Kaddo chimed in. "The whole pairing was rushed and undeveloped."
"I can't say I'm surprised that you're also homophobic, Kaddo," said Sakema. "You should educate yourself more."
"There were mountains of misgivings we all shared about the story," said Tenzin. "We talked about the ending before you arrived."
"That's right," said Kaddo. "Tenzin had some perfectly reasonable arguments he brought up, too."
"Bah! If you guys really look inside yourselves, I think you'll find what those mountains of misgivings and perfectly reasonable arguments are really standing for." Sakema paused and made sure to have eye contact with everyone else in the group present. "Homophobia."
"Most of our points didn't even have to do with the shipping part of the ending," Tenzin grasped his glider staff tightly, beginning to really lose his temper.
Sakema grinned. "Sure, keep on telling yourself that."
"It's no use, Tenzin," Kaddo stopped him bitterly. "Apparently you don't have to hate Morrasamyu to be called homophobic. You just have to criticize the finale that it was in, according to Sakema."
"Excuse me," Neinei interjected, considering Kaddo's words. "I kind of liked some of the finale, but didn't like other parts of it. While I did enjoy the hand holding at the end, I'm more or less neutral on shipping. Am I homophobic, too?"
"Yes," sneered Vameira.
Crown Princess Neinei threw her hands in the air in resignation. "Okay, then."
"I'm afraid so, my dear," Sakema spoke more softly than Vameira, albeit wearing the same smug facial expression. "Not quite as much, though. You're much closer to the enlightened, worldly viewpoint here than these two ignorant buffoons."
"By the way," Viola stared at the sparkles on Sakema's evening gown. "Not to change the subject, but that's a very nice dress you've got there."
"Thanks," Sakema smiled. "You're making me blush."
"Don't let's change the subject," Kaddo cut back in impatiently. "Morrasamyu made no sense. It should not have happened, end of story."
"How can you be so close-minded, Kaddo?" asked Vameira, clearly disappointed in her brother.
"I'm not close-minded," said Kaddo. "There was no build-up to it, at all."
"There was," Sakema narrowed her eyes, now less amused than she had been when she first arrived. "What about the blush? The blush!"
"Oh, right, the blush," Kaddo said sarcastically. "How could I forget the blush? Thank you, Guru Sakema, who's here to bring us all enlightenment, for bringing that to my attention. So, I guess that you're saying you're attracted to Viola, too."
"What?" Sakema widened her eyes in surprise, along with the rest of those present, save for Kaddo. "No. Where did you get that idea?"
"When you told her she made you blush like two seconds ago," said Kaddo. "After all, blush equals romance."
"You're missing the point," Sakema half-shouted. "The Legend of Morra has themes to it. It's about tolerance, and diversity, and diversity, accepting people that live different than you or think different than you. Ergh! How can you all not understand it this way? This makes me so angry!"
"Whoa," Tenzin's mouth fell open. "Calm down, Sakema."
Kaddo shook his head. "Those themes are great and all, but it's best to not get too caught up in possible parallels to our world. Otherwise we lose track of experiencing the universe that we're reading about. It's more fun to be immersed in the story that's being told than to get caught up in all the messages."
Neinei, spotting Sakema reaching toward the pouch on her side that carried her bending water, seized the latter by the forearm. "Alright," she stopped Sakema from motioning out a water whip. "We all like the same series. Everyone has a right to enjoy it in their own way, so we'll have to agree to disagree. It's time for a change of subject. I know...who's your favorite character?" But Neinei found the entire group had fell into awkward silence. Kaddo and Sakema were staring at each other, beedy-eyed. As for Tenzin, the airbender was scratching the back of his neck and staring at the ceiling, acting like he was allergic to eye contact. Viola, meanwhile, had retreated into a corner of the small room, as though she wanted very much to disappear into the wall and not be seen by anyone. "Vameira, why don't you go first."
Vameira jumped as she was addressed by Princess Neinei. Despite the crowd she was part of, she had actually seemed the least comfortable of any of them. "Morra."
"Mine too," Neinei flashed an encouraging smile. "Who's your second favorite?"
A few seconds went by before Vameira answered again. "Samyu."
Kaddo crossed his arms. "Vamiera, have you read any of The Legend of Morra besides the final part of the finale?"
"No...I mean yes," Vameira cringed, her cheeks growing redder than the royal robes worn by the two Fire Nation princesses present. "Yes, of course I did!"
"Uh-huh," Kaddo rolled his eyes. "What did you like best about Morra, then?"
"I like her because she's a strong female main character, and because she's inspiring, and...strong...and...she's a really strong female character."
"Wow," Kaddo replied sarcastically. "That was deep."
"What do you know, Kaddo!" snapped Vameira.
Extending both his arms out and pressing all ten fingers together, Kaddo whirled his body about in a bending motion. In response, two of Viola's fallen ice balls materialized into liquid water, which he directed in a stream at Vameira, shoving her against the wall of the palace hideout before freezing it once again, sealing her upper and lower body in a frozen trap. In vain, she whipped her shoulders back and forth, attempting to free herself of the crooked ice shell.
"Kaddo!" Neinei called out in astonishment.
"Don't do that to Vameira," Tenzin scolded.
"I don't think she's Vameira," Kaddo shook his head, assuming a full fighting stance. "She's sounding more like a clone that Sakema programmed."
An enraged Sakema unfroze the icy trap that held Vameira, who punched both her own fists forth, sending quick jabs of air toward Kaddo, who side-stepped in a successful dodge. Before getting involved themselves, Neinei and Tenzin stood side-by-side, unsure of how they should go about their intervention in the water-on-water-on-air struggle.
"If only Aiko and Oyaji were here," Vameira called out, kicking up to block a whip of water that Kaddo had sent her way. "They'll help us resolve this."
"I don't think that we can wait that long," Sakema responded, not taking her focus off the rival waterbender she faced. "Where's your pouch, Kaddo? Spirits, you're as sloppy as ever."
Almost in direct reaction, Kaddo bent another stream of water from a brown sack hanging on the back of his belt, which he sent straight at Sakema's chest, knocking her against the wall. "I remembered it this time."
In less than a minute, the relatively-small room endured the chaos that was a flurry of water, air and fire shooting back and forth, seriously threatening to endanger the foundations of the royal palace from underground. Princess Neinei, as the closest of any of them to being the master of the house, erected a small fire wall between Tenzin and Vameira to separate them, but that was in vain as one of the whips of water extinguished it as quickly as she had formed it. The Crown Princess of the Fire Nation hesitated, looking for an opening to use a blast of fire to protect Tenzin from Vameira, and protect Vameira from Tenzin, and neutralize the two waterbenders, all while protecting herself, too.
Tenzin pointed out his glider staff like an extended right arm and swiped a diagonal air blast across the floor from one of the corners of the room, before bringing it back up to his opposite shoulder. He managed to knock everyone else in the room off balance, to differing degrees, in this instant. "Dikmorra!" he yelled in triumph.
The victory was short-lived, as Sakema had taken up position in the exact middle of the room, beside where the stony slide began, and formed an octopus formation with the remaining water at her disposal. She then began swinging her watery tentacles left and right, so no one in the room was spared, even Vameira. "Morrasamyu!"
Kaddo gathered up all the water he could from the ground and what remained from his pouch, whisking it into a sphere in front of him, then releasing it in a stream that knocked Sakema in the head. "Diksamyu!"
Shaking her head back and forth, Sakema recovered herself. Eyes blazing, she focused all her attention on Kaddo, her night gown drenched and hair in a saggy mop. "Why couldn't you just be more open-minded, Kaddo?"
"I was open-minded when I read The Legend of Morra," Kaddo scowled, his own watery arsenal dangling in front of him, ready to block the next oncoming attack. "I came to the conclusion I did. Surely, an open-minded person like yourself can understand that."
"No," a glaring Sakema thrust her arms forward and sent a thick stream of water toward Kaddo with a rage that would be rivaled by a firebender. "That's impossible!"
The heat of battle had not daunted Kaddo's spirit, and he reinforced his defensive water whip to block the onslaught. However, a rounded sphere of ice which was initially soaring in Sakema's direction became swept up in the jet of water and the thrown piece of ice was carried over Kaddo's whip and hit him in the forehead. Kaddo lost concentration and collapsed to the ground.
"Sorry, Kaddo," Viola rushed over to the waterbending boy, biting her lip with guilt. "I was just trying to help."
Kaddo smiled to her weakly. "Maybe I can forgive you just this once. After all, you did give me the gift of introducing me to The Legend of Morra in the first place."
Viola smiled back.
Kaddo's attention was soon drawn back to Sakema, however, who had reformed her octopus formation and was looking down upon her fallen opponent with fury. "Sakema, let's stop," Kaddo changed his tune, trying to reason with her. "I'm not sure you have any room to like your own ship anymore. It seems all you have is hatred of other ships."
Sakema shook her tentacles furiously. "You empathy-deficient, intolerant homophobe!"
"Please, Sakema," Kaddo begged. "I know that I started it, but we shouldn't be fighting like this. We're family."
"I now see there is no chance to save you!" The tips of the tentacles within Sakema's octopus formation shaped into sharp icicle spikes.
"Enough!" With a single-word declaration, Neinei tightened all the muscles of both her arms and set up a ruckus of flames, burning on all four sides of the room, trapping the crowd in an erupting furnace. Viola, Kaddo, Sakema, Vameira and Tenzin all dropped their respective bending stances and gathered in a panicked huddle in the center of the room. To their relief, Neinei took a deep breath and released the fires a few seconds later. "Let's take a step back," the standing princess told the five crouching figures before her. "This is my palace and I won't allow for this to get any further out of hand. It's time we take a break, and I bet some of you are hungry. I believe there's some flaming fire flake appetizers in the palace kitchen, how about we have a quick snack and calm down."
Vameira's mouth twitched, the thought of flaming fire flakes not coinciding with her own fruit pie-loving tastes, but neither she nor anyone else put up an objection.
"Sounds like a plan," said Kaddo. "What do you say, Sakema?"
"Fine by me," said the other waterbender, nodding in agreement.
As the others marched from the room one at a time, Neinei put her hands on her hips, tired of discussing The Legend of Morra for the time being. If anything, the whole ordeal had given her necessary experience, though, as resolving violent disputes would come in handy when she ruled her nation.
"Well done, future Fire Lord," Kaddo turned and flashed a relieved grin over his shoulder. "I owe you one for that."
"Yeah, Neinei," Tenzin concurred. "You're like our own personal deus ex machina."
"Awww," Neinei beamed. "Thanks, you guys."
"Really, it's a good thing you stepped in," Tenzin went on. "We may all be fans of the same series, but that doesn't mean the fights we have with each other should be like those of the crystalbenders and shadowbenders that we read about."
"I don't know about that," said Kaddo. "Sometimes, it seems like they can be equally as rough."
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