River village
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Tales of Their World


New Beginnings


The Old Life

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Guilt Peaches


In this chapter you learn about the Pong-Jai's life back in Mingyun.


Mingyun Village, Summer of 98 AG

The sun was setting upon the coastal Earth Kingdom village. It's glare upon the sea caused nostalgic shades of red, orange, and yellow. The waves pulled back and forth at a slow, steady pace, calming the villagers as they headed home for dinner. Really, it seemed like the perfect way to end your day. Little did they know that is wasn't the only red they would see that night.

"Meimei! It's time to come home!" called Joo Dee surveying the village.

Mingyun was part of the Tri-Ming empire that consisted of two other villages. Their motto was "Land, sea, sun". Mingyun was the sea aspect of it. They supplied fish and other marine-related goods. Sho was the governor of the village and also Joo Dee's husband.

Sho was at the government office with the other villages' mayors discussing the security issues. It was the highlight of his day because he was usually cooped up in an office conversing with others on different ordinances.

"I just don't see the need for it." Chit-Seng said. He was Mingsei's leader which is located about half a kilometer southeast of Mingyun.

Mingsei supplies everything agricultural to the villages. With Tri-Ming's excellent irrigation system and fertile soil, miles of farms have been produced making trade overseas great. Also, the abundance of crops has made even the lowest of beggars full every night.

"Please tell him building a wall around the villages is useful, Sho." asked the chief of Mingcho, Soro

Mingcho was five miles east of the two villages. It had hot summers, cold winters, and lots of rainfall because of its location in the forest. They contributed to the villages' clothes, furniture, lumber and did lots of mining. It's crime rate was the highest which isn't saying much for the Mings. Small villages have been recently attacking Mingcho but have failed to do much damage, although they made Mingcho afraid that worse attacks may come.

"I'm sorry Chit-Seng but-"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah I know what you're going to say." Chit-Seng rudely interrupted. "How much is this going to cost us?"

"Well we have a couple thousand gold pieces left for the month so if we hire 300 workers at one gold piece a week we can have it finished next month." Soro explained

"I guess we have a wall." Sho said while standing up and shaking the men's hands

Sho left the building and rode his rhinoceros beetle to the market remembering that Joo Dee wanted him to buy some groceries for tonight's dinner.

"Hello Chief Pong-Jai what can I getcha? I just got a new shipment of papayas." the merchant woman asked

"Thanks Lin. I'll take two papayas, a bag of Leechi nuts, and three plum blossoms. How much will it come out to?" Sho asked before putting his hands in his pocket looking for change.

"For you? I'll give a special discount." she said then handing him the bag of food.

Sho handed her a silver coin anyways knowing that she was struggling financially and walked away. Today was a good day, he said in his mind.

"Come on Lee! Do it! Do it!" a group of children chanted in unison

Lee was looking down at the sea on top of a cliff. To him it was as high as Mt. Makapu. Lee never said no to a challenge, no matter the consequences. Just last week he took Ms. Song-Fein's rabaroo for a joyride all the way to Mingchu and back. He was still occasionally coughing up chunks of the rabaroo's fur.

Although he lived in the village of sea, his overprotective mother never let him learn to swim. As a matter fact, he wasn't even allowed near the coast. But Lee had only two choices- jump to his potential death or be called a wimp at school for the next week and there was no way he was going to lose his daredevil reputation. Lee chose his only option. Jump.

"Okay everyone, move back." Lee said motioning the children away

The peer-pressured daredevil jumped off the ledge. I did it! I jumped! Wait, I jumped? Oh my spirits! He thought before landing into the cold water.

Suddenly something grabbed his arm. Was it a se tu getting ready to have its dinner? No, it was a fisherman that became Lee's lifesaver. A man who Lee later thought was sent by the spirits to give him a "second chance".

"Thank you." Lee said before bowing and running home to await his punishment.

The emerald front door slowly opened as the family impatiently waited for their final member to arrive.

"Hi guys." Lee said scratching the back of his head. "I see you haven't started eating yet. How nice of you."

He was drenched and smelt like fish. As he walked to the kitchen he tracked mud through the house. Luckily, the floor was tile making the mud easy to get rid of.

"I don't want to know. Just go clean up." Sho said rubbing his head confused.

By the time he had cleaned up the food had already became cold.

"Great, Lee. Now the food's cold!" Meimei cried almost in tears. This was her favorite meal that she'd been waiting for all week.

"I don't suppose anyone knows a firebender that can heat up our food?" Lee asked trying to lighten the mood

"Don't mention the Fire Nation! Are you trying to curse us?" Joo Dee yelled at her son

"We've stayed out of the war all of these years and we'd like to keep it that way. Especially with that thirty foot high wall we're biulding we'll have better protection. Sometimes you need to learn when not to speak." Sho said angrily

"Yeah Lee!" Meimei screeched

"Fine then! If annoying I might as well leave!"

Lee picked up the nuts and papaya, put it in a bag, and left.

He ran into the forest, crying. With the tears blurring up vision, he tripped on a rock and scraped his leg on a tree. Looking up he saw the red blur that would change his life for good.

To be continued...

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