Jian Chi Yi
Chapter information

The Not-Avatars


Book 1, Winter



Written by




Release date

October 28, 2012

Last chapter

Under the Ice

Next chapter

The Solstice

"Well, we've been walking a while. I have no idea where we are. Have you guys at least got some mussel squid?" Sura ventured, whilst stooping to pick up yet another one.

"Wait, mussel squid?" Naomi pulled an 'innocent' face, and opened her satchel. It was full of random pieces of stone. "I had no idea we were supposed to get those things. I've been filling my bag with these pretty rocks!"

"For the moon spirit's sake!" With an enormous noise, half groan, half frustrated shriek, Suluk turned, and stomped off down the tunnel.

"You guys are so frustrating! W... Why should I have to do all the work?!" The effect might have been impressive, had he not been holding a bucket full of shellfish, which was overflowing with slime. Some splattered onto the floor, and he tripped over in it, the bucket landing on his head. The two girls watched him go, half concerned, half trying not to laugh. Suluk shot a venomous look back at them, which made them laugh all the more. Sura was the first to come to her senses.

"Who needs him? We can get by just fine, without my useless brother."

"Ha, yeah." Naomi took a few steps, before turning with a grin; "It's not like there's anything dangerous down here right? No monsters, or anything. Hehe... That would just be stupid."

Sura opened her mouth as if to speak, before deciding against it. She scurried to catch up with Naomi, and the two of them continued down the tunnel.

"I need go bathroom!"

"But... We're so far away from the entrance... can it please wait?"

"! Need bathroom NOW!"


Well, at least it had been a reasonable amount of time, and nobody had died. Henka was starting to relax. Of course, there was no way of knowing how the other groups were doing, but there had been no signs of danger, or screams for help (yet,) so as far as he was concerned, no news seemed to be good news. "Amak, could you take Kiki back to the surface, please? Don't give me that look- we'll manage without you!"

"Fine, Whatever." He stomped off, fears of being useless confirmed. Henka watched them go, before turning back to the herd of children, and ushering them further down the tunnel.

"Is it time to go back now? I swear I just heard the ice rumble." Sura shook her head, and Naomi found herself thinking that her dark hair looked almost blue in the dim light.

"Believe me, we'll know when it's time to go back. But it has been a long time, hasn't it?"

"... I'm bored." Naomi kicked up a small pebble. It appeared to hover in the air for a moment, before falling back to earth. No. It had to be her imagination. She blinked to clear her head, and took to humming a verse of a distantly remembered song. The older girl cleared her throat, and said somewhat uncertainly; "You know, Naomi... I've never told anyone this, and it's a pretty big deal, but... I'd like to leave the village some day." It didn't sound like a big deal to her. It sounded pretty reasonable. She couldn't imagine living her whole life in the tiny camp. She replied with those thoughts, but Sura shook her head, once again making her hair flow like a cascading waterfall. Naomi made a mental note to borrow her shampoo.

"It's different for you. You could go wherever you like... But I don't mean just visit the big city... I want to see the world. Travel around the Earth Kingdom, see the air temples... Maybe even visit the Fire Nation, once the war has died down." She paused, to no reply, and continued.

"I could even see myself settling down with someone from another nation. Hey, speaking of other nations, what do you think of Water Tribe guys?"

"They seem nice enough, I guess," replied Naomi, missing the point.

"What about Henka? You're staying with him, right?"

"I guess we're friends. But remember- I had nowhere else to go! Anyway, he's really reeeeally old."

"Oh really?" A small smile crept onto Sura's face."

"If he's old, I dread to think what my age must be! I'm actually... quite a bit older than him..." Naomi opened her mouth to retort, but all of a sudden, a rumbling growl issued from nowhere.

"That wasn't you was it?"

"No..." Naomi tried her best to stay calm.

"Don't look now, but...I think it was him." As she turned around, the Water Tribe girl was faced with an enormous, sabre-toothed polar-cat.

"Don't make a move." The cat moved, as if to spring.

"Okay. Run!" The two of them hurtled down the tunnel, pursued by the furious creature. As they ran, Sura cursed her brother, and Naomi hoped there were other people nearby. Preferably with a chainsaw. This thought confused her- she had no idea what a chainsaw actually was. The tunnels ahead twisted deeper and deeper into the cavern, eerily silent except for frantic footsteps, and the heavy breathing of the polar-cat. A rock fell suddenly from the ceiling, but instead of clattering to the ground, it hovered a while, then flew out of sight. The chase continued. People can't run for as long as polar-cats, nor as fast, and eventually, they came to a dead end, the only way out being lost, as the creature closed in.

"What do we do now?" Naomi tried to keep her voice quiet. The creature stepped forward some more, sure of an easy meal. It did not anticipate the knife pulled from the sleeve, slashed across its face. It roared in pain and fury, slashing the air with its great claws. Sura struck again, and it was blinded.

"How did you do that!?" Naomi gasped. She was so afraid, that her feet were getting away from her, falling into a 'fear dance'. Sura replied with an urgent look, and she knew they weren't out of the woods yet, so to speak. The little knife was unable to inflict any major damage on the cat. It crouched down low, and pounced. And suddenly, they were flying through the air, on a platform of earth.

"Naomi!" Sura was almost shrieking. "You're an earthbender!"

"I am? Wow... this is so cool!" Down below, the snow was stretched out like an enormous white blanket. There were herds of animals grazing near the forest, and the sky was filled with stars. The echoes of a hungry cat's frustrated roar sounded from far below. The platform began to slowly descend, before it hit the ground with a slight bump, not so far away from the empty village. It was an amazing feeling, a sense of adrenaline and accomplishment.

"I can do magic rocks!!" Naomi giggled, and began to think about how she would tell everyone. No- she would show them! And they would all think... All of a sudden, she was struck by a terrible thought, like a blow to the gut. If girls couldn't waterbend, she might not be allowed to earthbend. Sura detected her thoughts, and hugged her.

"I guess that was pretty crazy, right? If you don't tell anyone about me, I won't tell anyone about you. We can both keep training in secret."

It was a while before everyone else returned. Henka rushed up to Naomi, almost tripping over the horde of small children who had decided he was cool, and that they would follow him everywhere. He told her about how nothing had gone wrong, and the kids had had a great time. He seemed like a little kid the day before Christmas. Naomi just smiled. She didn't know what Christmas was either.

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