Equalist trainees
The Prodigy
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The Avatar Arrives


My feet thudded down the street as I ran to work. Virote'd said to drop early by tomorrow, and I worried that if I came too late I'd give him another reason to dislike me.

I pushed open the door and heard the bell ring.

"There you are!" Virote said, "Good for nothing tardy–" I couldn't make out the rest of his mumblings.

"Here, put on an apron." He said tossing me a red one. "Now, your job is simple. Since you can't bend, all your job is to sit at the register and ring up totals. Notice the black tiles?" he said pointing on the floor, and I noticed the black tiles forming lines all around the store for the first time. "Periodically earth carts will come through and collect merchandise using the earth levers behind the produce, it will either cause them to fall into the cart, or the cart will place produce on the shelf. I have had to do this for myself since your sister left when she usually would do it for me," he scoffed, his voice dripping with an almost sarcastic sort of frustration. "Oh, and whatever you have to do, never leave your station." he said before leaving.

I didn't like Virote, that was definite, but at least I had a job. I set to work at the register and began serving the customers that came in. Most of them seemed like regulars, and were able to find everything. However, we had one new customer who came in and asked me where to find fruits.

"I'm sorry, ma'am, but I'm not supposed to leave my station."

"Please, miss, I'm new here, the other shop in town just closed."

"It's somewhere in the back," I said pointing, directing her to the section.

"But miss, I looked over there and I didn't see it!" I sighed, and peeked around to see if Virote was anywhere nearby. Not seeing him, I led the woman to the back. I had no clue how the woman had missed it; it was very clearly in the back left.

"Thanks miss!" she said. I nodded my head in recognition and headed back, she grabbed a couple of fruits from the shelf and began to head toward the front of the store, and so did I. However, by the time I got up front, she was gone, and only Virote was there.

"That woman got away with my merchandise! I told you to never, ever leave your station!" I felt my face go pale as my heart started to beat loudly.

"I'm sorry, sir... She just kept pestering me, and–"

"You are extremely lucky that I can't find any more help. Otherwise you would be gone!"

"I'm sorry, sir. I'll do better next time, I swear it!"

"You'd better hope you do, or you are fired!"

"Thank you for the second chance, sir." I nodded and, sulking, I walked over to the register thinking rude thoughts about Virote and the thief. Somewhere deep down though, I knew it was my fault.

Finally, my workday ended and Virote came over to me and handed me 10 yuans.

"Ten yuans?! My sister got paid forty!" I exclaimed in frustration.

"Do good work for me, and you'll get more. Today you did more harm than good, I suggest you fix yourself unless you would like to be kicked out!" he huffed, while I left in frustration.

I headed home tossing around the coins in my hand. Once again, I ate leftovers and, realizing I was low, I decided I'd stop at the market tomorrow. The sun was already dipping into the skyscrapers and it left an orange glow throughout the house. I ate quietly, feeling extremely lonely. After a while, I felt hot tears coming down my face as I relived my last conversation with Isra... I would not lose her. I swore it to myself; I would do everything I could to get her back. I had to...

I finished my dinner quickly and I turned on the radio to have some noise accompany me as I continued to practice my airbending. I sent blasts of air around myself and attempted to shape it as the book told me to, but ultimately I failed.

After that training session, I headed off to the training facility underneath the library. As soon as I came in, I saw Jakobe run toward me.

"67! Wow, I have to say... I am extremely impressed with your chi-blocking skill!" he said excited.

"Hm? What? Why?" I said, startled, my heart beginning to beat loudly.

"Well, you have got one strong block, I couldn't move my arm for hours!" he said, grinning and looking proud.

"Is that normal?" I asked, worried.

"Normal? Normal blocks barely last more than 30 minutes, you have some sort of super block!"

"Oh... really?" I said, my heart sinking. I had no idea that using airbending to help my chi block would have an effect on my overall performance; I could only hope that nobody would eventually guess why I was so "skilled".

"You will make a great addition to the Equalist army with a block like that. But now that you've got the technique down, you shouldn't have to spend many more days training here. Alright, now you're going to want to use these," he tossed me a pair of gloves, "So you can't hurt anyone. You can keep practicing on the C-BAT-D as well. Good luck, 67, you're a true prodigy."

As soon as he left, I sighed and let my whole body sink. I practiced for around an hour, but I was too busy worrying about what others would think. It seemed I would get into the Equalist army faster than I had anticipated, but at what risk? And who would begin to suspect that there was something special to my technique?"

I thought about all of this while hitting the C-BAT-D. I was able to hit several jabs correctly with air, but still missed all without it. I wondered what would happen if somebody found out about my secret. After an hour of just hitting the device, I still didn't get any real hits in. A man then came over and challenged me. We fought with the special gloves, but since my mind was elsewhere, he wound up getting the best of me.

I headed home with my mind on other things. Maybe this whole situation is not so bad. If nobody discovers you, your abilities would allow you to be close to the leaders of the Equalists and let you to become one of them. If you are trusted, it would be easier to find out where Isra is being kept. I continued thinking on my new situation until I arrived home. I promptly jumped into bed and curled up in my sheets.

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