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Book 1: Peace
January 28, 2013
reunites with and continues the journey West.
Kento's eyes narrowed slightly. He had encountered bandits like these before, as they sometimes set up shop in the ghost towns that dotted the landscape. Nevertheless, he knew how to handle men like these. Very slowly, he lowered his hands and pulled the stoppers out of two of his water skins.
"Hand the goods over!" snapped the man with the broadswords, holding them up slightly for intimidation.
"Come and take it from me," Kento replied, his voice cool and level. The man with the bow quickly drew the arrow back and lined up a shot with Kento's heart. Suddenly, fast as snake strike, Kento slashed his left hand outward. A blob of water shot from one of the water skins, freezing the arrow in place. The man began to panic, as his hands had been frozen to the bow as well.
Turning his attention away from the archer, he focused on the staff man. He sent out two more blobs of water, one freezing around the man's knees and the other around his head. The man simply fell to the ground under the weight of the ice.
The man with the broadswords looked at his fallen companions before he let out a yell of anger and charged Kento. Controlling water with only his left hand, Kento tore one of the man's swords from his hand with a tentacle of water. Reaching down, he snatched the war club from his belt and blocked the remaining broadsword from striking his back.
Reversing his defense into an attack, Kento used the water tentacle to sweep the man's legs out from under him and hurl him across the village. Just as quickly as it started, the fight was over with Kento being the victor. He returned the war club to his belt and all the water to his pouches before putting the stoppers back in the water skins and returning to his mount.
Turning west, he began to ride out of the village, stopping only once to scribble the name of the village down at the old sign that sat at the entrance. A cobblestone road had once led from here to the coast, and technically it still did, only the sand like soil of the landscape had buried large portions of it. Just outside of the village, another rider appeared on the sandy ridge above him. She wore a green shirt with a short red poncho over her shoulders. A traditional Chinese style straw hat sat on top of her head.
"You get what you want?" the female rider asked, leaning forward on her saddle slightly. Kento didn't bring his mount to a halt, rather just continuing to follow the old road.
"It was just a few notes Spree, not like I was raiding the town bank," he replied. Spree's ostrich horse trotted down the ridge and began to follow alongside Kento's, the two creatures nipping at each other every once in a while.
"Sometimes I wish you would rob a town," she said. Kento rolled his eyes and spread his arms out in a wide angle.
"Does it look like we have a place to spend it out here?" he asked. Spree shrugged in response as Kento took a similar hat to hers that hung on the saddle horn and sat it on his head.
"You could buy me some fine dining in Yue City," she said. Kento snorted in response to this.
"Fine dining in Yue? There's never any fine dining in a shipyard city, besides it's all sea food anyway," he said, sticking out his tongue slightly to solidify this. Spree's eyes held a look of general surprise on them, although a small grin on her lips showed that she was purposely messing with him.
"But I thought all Water Tribe people loved the bounty of the sea," she said, her voice slightly replicating that of an opera singer. To over do it, she held one hand to her heart and stretched out the other in front of them, pointing toward the sea somewhere ahead of them.
"I lived on that stuff for nearly twelve years, I'm in no hurry to go back," he replied. The wind kicked up a light dust devil that blew across the road ahead of them. Sometime passed and the two remained in an awkward silence.
Three years, Kento had traveled with this girl, wandering back and forth across the harsh landscape as Kento mapped out the area. Over that time he had established an attachment of sorts to her. There were times where he could almost call it love, although that didn't help him much. Growing up quickly doesn't really give you time to grow up.
Undoing a stopper on one of his water skins, Kento bent two balls of water out and navigated them to Spree and his mouths. They rode on, ignoring the blistering heat as much as they could. Talking sprang up now and then, but mostly it was just silence.
All of that silence gave Kento time to think. He thought of the life he'd had back in the South Pole. He thought of his brother and sister, Sokka and Katara. It had been a few years since he had seen them last. Even longer since he'd seen his father Hakoda.
Some thoughts he rushed to banish away from his mind before they could plague him. Like that of his mother Kya, or his friends who had been with him in Ba Sing Se. If Kento was many things, he sure wasn't a stranger to loss.
Finally, the sun began to sink behind the horizon ahead of them. They stopped in a small ravine near the road, hitching the horses near their campsite. Pulling out his spark rocks, Kento got a fire going, which both Spree and him huddled close to. The day may have been blistering hot out here, but the night was freezing cold.
"So what's the plan for tomorrow?" Spree asked as she began to roll out her sleeping bag. Kento took a moment to look at the hammer that hung in her belt before he recovered his own sleeping bag from his mount.
"Tomorrow we'll reach the coast, and then ride north toward Pat To, after that we'll head to Yue City," he replied before lying flat on his back, looking up at the clear night sky above them. Not even the moon was present to dim the light of the stars tonight.
"I thought you wanted to stay away from Yue," Spree said, confusion in her voice. Kento shrugged as he continued to gaze up at the stars.
"Someone thinks they need fine dining in Yue City," he replied, a small grin on his face. Although he didn't see it, Spree's face lit up as well, and with that the pair drifted off to sleep.
Unlike in the last chapter, we see more of the landscape in the wasteland. The Chinese culture usually found in The Avatar Series has been sort of blended together with that of the old American West. A result of sorts is a "Chinese Wild West" if you will.
In the next chapter we will learn who The Independents when Kento and Spree reach Pat To.
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