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|The Revelations of One's Past Dictate his Future|
Not only did I have to release a chapter on 11/11/11, but I also wanted to dedicate this chapter to this special day. Many members of my family, both living and deceased, served in the United States military and I feel that Veteran's Day is an important holiday to honor the brave men and women who have served our country (I know a lot of you aren't from the US, but still I feel that it's appropriate to honor any veterans around the world).
Today is also a special day when one can honor the release of Skyrim (went to the midnight release last night and am dying to play it while I finish posting this chapter).
The Revelations of the Past...
An awkward silence fell over the three women. After Liwei left, these three had no connection to each other. Liwei's mother eventually turned back to her mysterious incense, leaving Ai Shi and Frost standing awkwardly in a corner.
"Excuse me," Frost spoke up hesitantly before Liwei's mom could become too involved in whatever she was burning. These two words attracted her attention away from the incense, allowing for an opportunity for Frost to speak up. "I know I'm the only one here who is surprised to find out that Liwei is Fire Nation nobility..." she trailed off nervously, but luckily Liwei's mother understood her awkward introduction to a query.
"You want to know more about his past. Why he gave up the throne, why we aren't on good terms, why he left home, and why he became a police officer, of all things. Am I correct?" She guessed everything on Frost's mind.
Liwei's mother sighed and closed her eyes for a moment to think. When she opened them, they seemed apologetic. "I don't know how much I can tell you about Liwei. All I can tell you are the facts. To this day I don't know why Liwei doesn't like his father or I. I don't know why he left, I hardly know anything. Do you still want to hear what I can tell you?"
"Yes, ma'am." Frost repeated her earlier affirmation without hesitation. She knew that she wanted to find out more about Liwei's past, even if it was hardly anything.
"Fine, I should start from the beginning, then." Liwei's mother sat on a pillow on the ground with her legs folded, and gestured for the two girls to do the same. Once they were seated, she continued, "When I was pregnant with Liwei and Junjie, my husband and I already had a daughter: Ying. She was eight, and though she was a Firebender, she was never too fascinated by bending. Liwei and Junjie were born, and Liwei quickly became the favorite of everyone in the palace...
"Mom!" A twelve-year-old Ying raced towards her mother. Though it was quite obvious that she was preoccupied with hanging up the laundry to dry, the pre-teen still tugged on the bottom of her mother's dress urgently. These days, Ying was old enough to know how to help her brothers if they ever got into trouble, and so their mother felt no urgency in responding to the hurried call.
"Yes, sweetie?" she responded once all of the clothes were appropriately hung.
"It's Liwei! It's just not fair! He's only four years old and he's better at bending than me!" Ying's lower lip jutted out into a signature pout, inducing a sigh from her mother.
The two looked over into the distance to see a young, barely past toddler, Liwei shooting fire from his hand. He controlled it with a grace not seen in most benders Ying's age. Amazing how with such little tutelage he had already become so proficient. Even many years into the future, Liwei's mother would remember looking at the small figure and wondering just what sort of man that young child would grow up to become. But her attention was directed back towards the figure nearest her, still pulling on her skirt.
"It you practiced more, you'd be as good as Liwei is. He hardly does anything other than bend." she smiled and patted her daughter's head. Despite these attempted comforting words, Ying still had a pout drawn across her face.
"But mommy, he's my little brother. I'm supposed to be better than him without even trying."
Their mother sighed and looked to see another figure less gracefully making his way towards her, trying to mimic the bending movements he saw his brother doing. "What about Junjie? He really looks up to you."
Ying rolled her eyes. "He doesn't count. It's not even like he can bend."
"Not only was he better than his much older sister at bending, but he was just the perfect child in every way. Never disobeyed us, always played by the rules. Wish I could say the same about Ying and Junjie; Ying was always a trouble maker and, while we were always paying the most attention to Liwei, she would always drag Junjie into trouble with her." Liwei's mother explained all of this and took a deep breath and a pause.
Frost nodded, showing that she had taken in all of this information. "So it makes sense that Ying would become the Corsair, since she always thirsted for attention."
A smile crossed Liwei's mother's lips. "Ying never really thirsted for attention... I could never figure out what was wrong with Ying; she would misbehave even if no one noticed her."
"I'm sorry to change the subject, but I'm quite curious." Ai Shi spoke up, adjusting her glasses up her nose. "I've known Liwei for many years, but what brought him to come to the Library?"
"Ai Shi?" the older woman's brow furrowed as she examined the girl's face. "Dear Firelord, I didn't even recognize you. I suppose it's not surprising that you'd be travelling with him." For a moment, she became lost in thought before returning to the question. "I suppose that before you know why he came to the library, you ought to know about what happened when bending first became illegal.
A messenger burst through the dining hall. All five members of the Royal Family sat at a table, and ten sets of eyes turned to look at the man, panting from a lack of breath.
"Your highness," he said between gasps, "just this morning, it was announced. Bending... Bending is illegal."
The announcement hit the dining hall like a missile. Silence fell, and no one could find the appropriate words to fill the situation. The Firelord and his wife as well as Ying all understood what the man had just told them, but to the two younger twins this was some sort of athlete who was talking about bending. Until they saw their father slowly stand.
"Why?" the monarch asked this question in the form of a single word.
"Those portals... They think it's the benders' fault. Republic City. Since all the countries are united, it's put into international law."
The Firelord was shaking now. "Why didn't we get a say in this?"
The messenger gulped. "They know many leaders, or advisors, are benders... They thought it best to leave them out completely."
"Will they arrest us, the leaders?"
"Not unless you give them reason to."
"After this was announced, Liwei and Ying were told that they could not bend anymore. We figured that Ying, attending a private girls' school at this time, would be occupied with school work and friends, thus we would not have to worry about her. But Liwei on the other hand... Liwei had grown up bending, and did not know of any other way to occupy himself. So what better place to send him during the day than a library?
"Now, I don't know all that went on in the library," Liwei's mother continued to explain, "but I do know that he became friends with another little girl who spent much of her time at the library as well." her gaze shifted towards Ai Shi, yet did not say her name. "Regardless, my husband and I soon found out about some suspicious activity regarding Master Geming; he was involved in some suspicious bending supporting protests. Liwei was still young at this time, only ten, and we didn't want him to get the wrong ideas. We supported bending, but we didn't want our son to get mixed up in any of this. So we forbade him from going back to the library."
"So that's why one day Liwei just didn't show up. I never knew that Master Geming had already begun to be shady at that point..." Ai Shi trailed off, a note of concern in her voice.
Liwei's mother nodded. "Not long after this, Ying suddenly left home. Things went downhill from there. I'm not sure what happened with Liwei, but a little while after his and his brother's fifteenth birthday, he just left. He said he was going to punish the horrible people in the world, like his father and I. He was so young, I never thought he'd survive. But that's how he left, and that's why he went and joined the police."
Silence fell once more. This didn't entirely answer Frost's questions regarding Liwei's past, but it did give a bit more insight. A loud clanging resounded throughout the halls, followed by some shouting of unidentifiable voices. Liwei's mother turned pale. "I'm sorry I could not be of more help, but it looks like Liwei's talk with his brother did not go very well. It would be best if you girls left..." Without any other urging, they stood and bowed politely to Liwei's mother before waiting for a gap in the noise and hurrying throughout the halls.
"Anying Jiaoben did?" His father's words met Liwei's ears as he walked through the halls. At the sound of this gang, Liwei froze. When he spent time at the library, he recalled a conversation that lead to the rumor that this gang controlled all of the countries from the inside. As the Firelord's son, Liwei obviously thought that this theory was rubbish. Though his father was in the throne room, doors closed and obviously holding a meeting, Liwei still snuck closer so that he could hear the conversation.
The door opened a crack and fifteen year-old Liwei peeked through to see his father rubbing his forehead, speaking to an unknown man. Creases across his father's face, illuminated by the burning fire in front of him, from the added stress were apparent. Liwei could not see the other man's face, or clearly understand their conversation. Since Ying had left, Liwei found that he didn't entirely trust his parents anymore. All his life, he had been their little pet, and his sister's departure made him question everything they had told him to do. He hoped that his father dealing with these horrible criminals would bring back his old faith in the family.
"Fine..." the Firelord began quietly once more, after some unintelligible words from the other man in the room. He glanced shiftily around, as if checking to see if anyone was listening. Obviously, he did not do a very good job of checking. "Let Anying Jiaoben occupy the country, let them make another underground society. And if our police start looking for them, tell the police that they're not there."
Liwei's face flushed with anger. Not only was his father negotiating with these criminals, but he was actually letting them into the country. Maybe he and Ai Shi's conversation in the library, though dismissed by Master Geming, hadn't been nearly as insane as Geming had made it out to be. All the countries really were dealing with Anying Jiaoben. In another society, all of the world leaders would be executed for this. But here, now, the world was so corrupt that they all got away with it. Not only that, but they were accepted for it.
Without making a sound, Liwei stormed from the hall outside the throne room. Where he was heading, who knew. But one thought filled Liwei's head. The only people in the world that understood how evil Anying Jiaoben was: the Republic City Police. Sure, they hated benders, but if all the benders allied with Anying Jiaoben, it was worth exterminating them. A figure passed him on his way down the hall, and smiled in recognition.
"Liwei!" his twin began, stopping him in his tracks, "Were you just at the throne room? That's so cool that dad let you in on such an important meeting."
The angry teenager spun to face his brother. Junjie took a step back, noticing just how angry his brother was. "You idiot!" Liwei shouted, "You don't understand a thing! You're not even a bender, so just shut up and get your nose out of where it doesn't belong!"
Tears filled Junjie's eyes, just as their mother walked down the hall as well. She saw the sight of the livid Liwei and the distressed Junjie and knew that something was up. "Liwei! What did you do to your brother?" she asked with motherly authority.
In a spurt of intense rage, Liwei spun around and slapped his mother. "How could you do this?! How could you and father do this?! I trusted you all my life, and all this time you were scum! Lowlife scum!" Both his mother and his brother seemed shocked, but they knew that now was not the time to figure out what he was talking about. "I... I will destroy scum like you! I will punish all of the filth of the world!" he screamed these words while his hands visibly shook with anger. Without another word, Liwei spun around and simply ran away from his life. He had no clear goal in mind, he just ran. Ran away from his parents and their betrayal. Ran away from this corrupt life.
Blindly following mother and father. The years had quelled Liwei's rage at age fifteen, and he recalled how he had thought the same thing about Junjie when he was that age. His brother's accusations were thought provoking; maybe by being angered by hearing his father admit to aiding Anying Jiaoben was still blindly following him. Still, after travelling with Ishio and being in the police force for two years, Liwei had learned better. And as he was being lead towards the dungeon, Liwei knew that in this case he was not the one at fault: Junjie was. Even if he had blindly followed their parents, he knew that in this case Junjie had fallen way out of what he was capable of handling.
Somehow, Liwei was supposed to pull him back into reality.
- Liwei's mom doesn't have a name (I tried to use a trick in writing where you don't say the name of a character who is closely tied to another character and you say their relationship as a name to emphasize the point)
- Ying is the Corsair--I don't remember if I mentioned that or not in this chapter, but it was mentioned in
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