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|The World Meeting, Pt. 3- Family Matters|
Chapter 12: Family Matters
Lu Ten waited beside San in the arena for the guards to arrive. They had been summoned to help get her to the tower. The battle that had just taken place played itself through in his mind again and again, and it pointed to one inevitable fact. It's my fault she's injured. If only I'd taken this match, she wouldn't be lying beside me with burns and bruises.
San opened her eyes. "We lost..." She stated weakly.
"Yeah..." Lu Ten replied.
"You stepped in front of me." She attempted to prop herself up on her elbow. "Why? He could've killed you." As she struggled to sit up, Lu Ten placed his hand on her back to steady her.
"Easy..." He smiled warmly, something San rarely saw from him. "I don't want you sustaining more injuries."
"You didn't answer my—."
Her train of thought was interrupted by Sora arriving with the guards. "San, I'm gonna heal you as best I can here so that all you'll need when we get back to the tower is rest."
Sanaki nodded. "Go ahead."
Lu Ten moved to give Sora room. "We'll talk later, San; I promise."
"We're obviously in over our heads, Tenzin!" Kyani paced back and forth in his cousin's room. "I mean, you heard what he said. These guys obviously have some sort of rivalry with the Equalists!"
Tenzin nodded. "I know, and I agree."
"Of course you're going to continue to—wait, you agree?!"
Another nod, "Yeah, we can't fight them both, so I vote for neither. But..."
Kyani rolled his eyes. "Here we go..."
"If we do well against the other two teams we have to face, we will be facing the Brotherhood again. We have to be prepared for that."
"Or we could just drop out."
"C'mon Kyani," Tenzin smirked. "You know I don't operate that way."
As the Airbender turned to leave, the swordsman jumped in front of him. "San could've been seriously injured! You guys can't beat Gareth!"
Tenzin grew serious. "I hate that what happened to Sanaki is partially my doing, but I know that I'm not the only one itching for payback."
"Okay, so now Lu Ten obliterates the arena?" He shook his head. "Besides, San's dad is coming for the World Meeting. If he was hesitant to allow her to even come, how do you think he'll react to this?"
The airship touched down on the landing pad, with the giant, golden Fire Nation insignia emblazoned on the side. As the ramp lowered, Tenzin bit his lip. The Royal Family was here, and he didn't quite know how they'd react to what had been going on. San, who had just finished her healing session with Sora, stood with them, but Tenzin saw that she was still shaken and injured.
We're all shaken, though. None of them had expected that loss, and none of them, except he and Kyani, knew what had really taken place. Maybe we should quit....no one was supposed to get hurt...
Fire Lord Zuko and Fire Lady Mai stepped out of the flying machine flanked by several Imperial Firebenders, followed by the major military personnel. Tenzin winced. Captain Yun Zhen strode out with his wife, Ty Lee, beside him.
Zuko glanced over at the teens and motioned to Lu Ten and Fiora, and they obliged by quickly walking over. The young Airbender watched as they embraced their parents and noticed that there was something missing.
Yun and Ty Lee ran up to hug San, but Yun stopped short, his expression of elation changing to concern. "Sanaki, are you alright?"
San, for her part, knew that it was futile to attempt to lie to her father, and she shook her head.
Both mother and father embraced their daughter, and she smiled as they did so. "What happened?"
Yun nodded. "And you were hurt."
"Yes..." She hung her head.
Both parents knelt down, and Yun lifted her chin. "Are you okay?"
San offered him a small grin. "I'm fine now; please don't kill anyone."
Her father stood up and helped both his wife and daughter up as well. "Even so, I still need to speak with whoever it was that decided my daughter could participate in a Pro Bending tournament." He didn't even turn around. "Tenzin, don't even think about walking away."
Tenzin, who had been inching away, slowly stepped forward again. "Yes, sir."
"I am aware that this was a collective decision, but you should've studied your opponents beforehand."
"I know, Sir."
Ty Lee slid her hand across Yun's shoulder. "Go easy on him, honey; you know you'd have done the same thing."
The Captain grinned. "Perhaps..."
Tenzin swallowed. Why am I the target of aggression here?
Yun turned away. "My daughter's safety and well-being is my top priority, but I also feel that she needs a little freedom now and then. That being said, be careful and take no unnecessary risks. I've made my decision. When you face this Brotherhood again, win."
The Warriors' Legacy now sat in the tower's banquet hall with the Royal Family and their confidantes, and as the adults' discussion focused on the World Meeting, the teens focused on their activities during said meeting.
"I heard that they were going to have a Unification Ball in conjunction with the World Meeting to celebrate the United Republic's founding." Sora said.
Kyani raised an eyebrow. "The one that's happening in conjunction with the party?"
Sora nodded. "We could alternate between the two."
Fiora leaned forward. "Is that something everyone is interested in?"
Each member nodded their assent. "Okay, we've got our plans for the World Meeting, then." Tenzin smiled.
"Wait, you're willing to go with an idea that isn't yours?" Sora cocked her head. "What's going on? What have you done with my idiot brother?"
Tenzin shook his head. "We really need to work on your sarcasm, and I see you inherited Mom's sense of humor."
The door to the Banquet Hall opened, and the Avatar stepped through the doorway. "I'd be careful, Tenzin; if your mother was here, there would've been nothing I could have done to save you."
Both twins whirled around. "Dad!" They yelled in unison as they ran to embrace him.
Aang wrapped his arms around both of his children. "I missed you both! How are things going here?"
"Well, aside from losing our most recent Pro Bending match and Chikyuu and Fiora getting attacked, not too bad."
Aang smiled. "Well, I imagine you'll work at not losing any more matches. Although, Toph told me about the attempted mugging, and it has me worried." He looked at Tenzin. "Is there anything I should know about this 'Equalists' group?"
The Avatar's son shook his head. "Nothing that Mrs. Bei Fong hasn't already told you."
"Alright, then, forget all this depressing stuff for now and enjoy yourselves. You can tell me about your experiences after the banquet."
As Sora and Tenzin returned to the table, Kyani leaned forward. "I just found out from one of the guards that my dad isn't getting here until tomorrow afternoon."
Lu Ten nodded. "So that accounts for everyone, then? What about your dad, Chikyuu?"
The 11 year-old shook her head. "He mostly stays in Gaoling so he can keep an eye on the Bei Fong Metalbending Academy. He doesn't go on too many vacations."
Chikyuu grinned. "Oh, no, it's not like that! He just doesn't get out much, but he's still really awesome! I love him so much!"
"Oh..." Lu Ten sagged. "Lucky you..."
"Anyway..." Tenzin interrupted, "I think we've come to a general consensus with this 'Brotherhood'. But I want to make sure that we're on the same page. How do we feel about dishing out some payback?"
San visibly shrank back. "I don't know if I can..."
Lu Ten laid a hand on her shoulder. "You don't have to worry." He smiled warmly. "I'm calling in your promise."
"Thanks, Lu Ten." She grinned. "I don't really feel like fighting him again."
"I thought that might be the case."
Sora affected a serious gaze. "That's all fine and good, but we need our best." She turned to her twin. "I'll be the Waterbender on the team for that fight."
Her brother raised an eyebrow. "Really? I thought you—."
"I want to make sure they know who they're messing with."
Tenzin nodded, and Chikyuu cleared her throat. "Am I still the Earthbender?"
"Seeing as you're our only Earthbender, yes." Tenzin replied as he picked up his fork. "Now I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm starving. I propose that we forget Pro Bending for the next day and a half and enjoy the festivities."
As they all affirmed the plan, the Airbender grinned. We're back in business.
"So your little Spirit World journey went well, I take it?" Zuko asked.
Aang smirked. "What makes you say that?"
"You're not dead."
Aang nodded. "I guess that is one measure. But in all seriousness, they put me on trial for killing Koh."
"What?!" Zuko shook his head. "Why would they do that?"
"Several spirits apparently were allied with Koh and sought to have me executed, but the Judge found me innocent. Sort of."
The Fire Lord rolled his eyes and muttered under his breath. "Sort of?" He turned to Aang's right. "What do you think is happening, Uncle?"
Iroh leaned into the light of the torch, his face bearing over eighty years of experience and wisdom. "I can feel the Spirit World moving, Fire Lord. Events are about to come crashing down on us, for better or worse." He looked to Aang. "Avatar, the spirits' hatred of you will only boil over; are you prepared for that?"
He nodded. "I can handle myself. But, General, I want to know something."
"Ask away, Avatar."
"Since you've been here the entire time, how are our children doing?"
The Dragon of the West smiled. "They have inherited your best traits, but they are yet young and impetuous. The way they stood up for each other during the Pro Bending tournament was inspiring. You both would have been proud to see them."
Aang sighed. "My next question might be harder to answer, if you can answer it at all. What is going on between the Brotherhood and the Equalists?"
The General nodded. "Indeed, that question may be the most difficult of all."
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