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|"I always wanted to learn the spiritual ways of the Water Tribe"|
|— Unalaq told Tonraq|
February 9, 2015
After returning home from the Southern Water Tribe, my brother and I found my father's secret chamber and diary which contained secrets, secrets we never knew ourselves.
So the two of us flicked through the logbook, until we got to the first pages, titled 'Early'
Growing up in the Northern Water Tribe was... different. My brother and I didn't have a normal childhood. Our mother has passed, and our father is the Chief of the Water Tribes. We went to school like everyone else, studied the same subjects, but often, we were treated like lords, even by our teacher during primary school. No one really knew who we were or what we wanted in life.
My brother took up geography, and warrior training as his course of study, early in his teenage years, while I was still learning the basics. This was the last year for me, before we can choose our own course of study. My teachers really wanted me to take warrior training, but I've always had a disdain for it, so I went on to study the art of healing, and philosophy. My teachers weren't too pleased, but I really didn't care. On the other hand, my brother was a favourite to many of his teachers, especially his warrior, and waterbending masters, since he has always excelled at the art.
Our classes used to be a decent twenty per class. The end of the last year at middle school draws near. "So, what subjects are you guys going to take over the next few years?" I asked my classmates.
"Uhh... I'm going to take waterbending and economics," One of my classmate answered.
"You must be taking warrior training, right Unalaq?" Another classmate asked.
"Surely, you must be doing just that..." Tofa asked me slyly.
"Why are you always like that?" I asked him.
"Why do you act so high all the time? Just because you may be the Prince of the Water Tribes doesn't mean you have to be like that," Tofa replied.
"I'm not! If anyone is trying to act high, you are, Tofa. If only you would zip it for just a short while, maybe the world would feel a little better," I answered back at him.
"Oh you wish you didn't just say that, prince boy," Tofa replied.
"Fight, fight, fight!" Everybody goaded us.
"Listen, I've got to go," I told everybody.
"Are you too scared to pick a fight with me?" Tofa asked me.
I knew it wasn't worth it fighting Tofa, because this would get my father in a lot of trouble, even his job possibly. So I just did what I always did, sit inside my room and did my homework, like I always did. Then my brother came knocking on my room's door.
"Unalaq, are you alright? We've called you three times to come for dinner," my brother told me.
"Sorry, I just fell asleep... I'm coming," I told my brother.
So I headed down to the table, where I faced my parents.
"What's the matter son?" my father asked.
"Nothing..." I stumbled.
"If there's anything, you can come to us," my mother told me.
"Just tell us what's the problem. I know there's something up," my brother told me.
"You know what the problem is, having to live up to become like you! I always wanted to learn the spiritual ways of the Water Tribe, but my teachers keep telling me to learn the way of the warrior, following you as a role model. Ugh... I'm sorry for blowing up at you like that," I told him.
"Well, do what you want to do, but protecting the tribe is the most important thing, at least for me," my brother said.
"Now, with that sorted, let's continue eating," my father said.
So we kept on eating. The next day came, the last day of school. We were all assembled by the courtyard to make our farewells, to our classmates that we are split up from. Then suddenly...
"Go Mei!" Somebody screamed out.
More people ran towards that area as a duel broke out between the two waterbenders. Mei clearly had the upper hand, and won.
"That was some smooth moves you've got there," I told her.
"Thanks, Unalaq. I know we've hardly ever talked before, but I am Mei," Mei told me.
"A pleasure to meet you," I told her before bowing to her respectfully.
"So, I was thinking we could, you know, meet up sometime," Mei suggested.
"That's real nice of you, if you have the time to, that is," I told her.
"I'll meet you by the bridge here, tomorrow night, seven o'clock," she told me.
"How come?" I asked.
"That will be a mystery," she told me.
That was one of the few days when nothing chaotic or stressful happens, and peace can finally settle into mind. So I managed to get myself ready in a surprising half an hour. I then headed over to the bridge to meet her.
"Hey Unalaq!" Mei called out.
"Hey Mei, or should I say beautiful," I told her.
"Thanks," she said while blushing at the same time.
"So, what's your grand surprise tonight?" I asked her.
"You will see, I'll take you somewhere for now," Mei told me.
"Okay," I replied.
So she took my hand and ran along the streets and the alleyways of our tribe. First, we walked along the alleyway, where there were many buskers playing their rapturous melody.
"So, first time here? What do you think?" she asked me.
"It's amazing," I told her. "I've never seen this part of the tribe before. I guess my father hasn't showed me much either," I told her.
"Well, shall we get going?" she asked me.
"Sure," I replied.
We then carried on the street until we reached Quan's restaurant, well known for its incredible music and its romantic charm. As soon as we got in, I saw Tofa and his other friend there. We both glanced menacingly, exchanging glares from each other, but we both gave in.
"Come on," Mei called out, as she called me to where we were seated. "Anything you would like to request?" she asked me.
"A kwankwatt salad, along with some aloe juice please," I told her.
"Nice choice," she told me. "Excuse me, could I order one kwankwatt salad, one aloe juice, one yak, and a fruit punch please," she asked the waiter.
"Of course. So just to check, you have ordered one kwankwatt salad, one aloe juice, one yak, and a fruit punch," the waiter asked.
"That's correct," Mei said before smiling. "Thank you," she added. "Did you know that Tofa is really funny?" Mei asked me.
"Yeah..." I said with disdain. "Did you ever look beyond the cover of a book?" I asked her.
"I'm sorry, what?" Mei replied.
"I mean, do you judge people, only as how they appear?" I backed myself up.
"Hmm... No," Mei told me.
Though I knew she was lying, I decided not to blow my cover. I began to ponder upon the idea whether she had a thing for Tofa, but little did I know. The dinner went smoothly on my part, but on hers, I'm not too sure. We went our separate ways as night fell.
"So, how did it go with your lady friend?" my brother asked.
"First off, she's not my lady friend, not just yet, and... um... it went alright, I guess," I told him.
"Not bad, little brother," he replied.
And that was how the last year of school went. A new year began and everyone went their different ways. Mei studied in the art of healing, and geography. Fate has definitely played in my favour, as I studied in the art of healing. During the first year, we were only allowed to take two subjects. The next year, three, and the final year, one must achieve their highest standard possible in these three fields. The new year began and all of us returned to the campus. Tofa was the same as always, that being said...
"Tofa!" Mei called out, before hugging him.
I was just walking in the cafeteria, to witness this ungodly event. I walked up, stood my ground, but no avail. The two just walked away. That changed my perspective of her forever. First day of class went well, the teachers didn't really find me such a bother, or treated me like a royalty, but an equal instead. The next day came, where I managed to talk to Mei.
"Hey Mei!" I called out cheerfully.
"Hey Unalaq! Have you seen Tofa?" she asked.
"No... sorry," I told her.
"If you see him, let me know," she told me.
"There you are!" Mei told Tofa.
The two of them began touching each other's heads, flirting in the corridor, right in front of me. No sorry, no guilt was felt inside Mei. After their flirting ended, they embraced each other with a warm hug.
"Tofa," I called him. I glanced at him, before turning my head away from Mei.
Now that the truth has revealed itself, I was devastated. I don't know what I have done to hurt her, but whatever it was, I still can't figure. Maybe she likes Tofa because he is a funnier guy, more talkative, and flirty. Personally, I never found him sincere to his words, and rather cunning to most of his teachers. I thought she was the type who would wouldn't judge a book by its cover, but sadly, I am mistaken. However, whenever there was a grey cloud, a silver lightning would appear, and Valentine's came. It was just another day of school. I devised a plan, a plan to get my love back. This was the day when Mei approached me for the first time in weeks. My plan is halfway there.
"Hey, have you seen Rina?" she asked.
"Nope, sorry," I told her. "Mei... um..." I added, as I attempted to stammer a request.
"What is it?" she asked me.
"Um... Nothing. I should get going," I told her.
That was frustrating. I didn't even get a chance to tell her the truth. Both of us shared different breaks that day, so I had to wait till the last class of the day ended. I stood by the terrace as she walked along the corridor, towards my direction.
"I'm ready," I told myself.
"Hey Mei!" I called out. "Do you have a minute?" I asked her.
"Sure, but I'm kinda running late," she told me.
"I just need a few seconds," I told her. I got through my stuff, to find a paper crane, and a note on its back.
"Here, this is for you," I told her.
"Uh... thanks," she told me. "Am I supposed to be surprised by this?" she then asked.
"Depends?" I told her.
That was when she left the school campus for the day, and I just realized something. The next day, a big reward, or the game of death.
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