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This article is about the episode; the character with a similar name can be found here.
|The Yu Yan Archers|
20 January 2011
The DreamRemember what Commander Zhao said? The Yuyan's precision is legendary. They could pin a fly to a tree without killing it. From a hundred yards away! They're perfect for the job. If anyone can get rid of that boy, it's them.
What's so special about them anyway?
I don't know. Azula said he was the boy in the prophecy.
It's a secret prophecy. It's rumored that a fortuneteller gave a prophecy to Fire Lord Sozin. She said that one day, a boy who knew the ancient ways of Firebending would rise and help the Avatar defeat the Fire Nation.
Send the Yuyan after them. Now.
Surprise AttackI was preparing to extinguish the campfire when I heard voices in my head. On Ji shrieked, jolting up in bed. She looked at me, her eyes wide in horror.
"What? What is it?" I asked. "Did you hear the voices?"
"It was my dream," On Ji said. "Colonel Shinu is sending those archers after us!"
"It's fine, On Ji. We're far away from the Fire Nation."
"I don't know, Shoji. I get this feeling like we need to get out of here, now."
Suddenly something whizzed by my head. I heard a loud whack and turned around to see an arrow plunge deep into the trunk of a tree.
"On the other hand, maybe we should go," I said. We ran to Tij and climbed on. I pushed my heel into its hind leg. It took off like the wind. Arrows flew past us. We stayed just barely ahead of them.
But expertise won out. Tij collapsed. Apparently it had a bad knee or something. Another arrow ended its misery. On Ji looked over at him mournfully.
Five arrows pinned my clothes to a tree, taking me with them. On Ji slammed into the tree next to me. I squeezed my eyes shut, waiting for the final blow.
"Um, you can open your eyes now."
It was a girl's voice. I opened my eyes to see a small group of people with funny mask-like marks on their faces.
"The name's Kai," the girl said.
"Aren't you...supposed to kill us now?" I asked. It was an awkward question; Kai looked hurt.
"No one tells us what to do!" Kai said, eyes flashing. "The Fire Nation may think it can control us, but we are as free as the wind."
"You're really good at archery," On Ji said. "I wish I could do that."
Kai looked at On Ji thoughtfully. It reminded me of Azula, but Kai's face was softer, less ravenous.
"You never know," Kai said. "You could be a highly skilled archer."
On Ji smiled.
"Enough with the small talk, Kai," an older boy said. "Let's head for camp."
"Are you guys going to be refugees too now?" I asked, realizing what their decision meant for them.
"Yeah, probably," Kai said lightly. "But before the Fire Nation...enlisted us, we were always on the run. So it won't be too hard for us to get around."
"Where will you go?"
"We'll probably head north to the Northern Water Tribe," the boy said. "It's practically the only place that the Fire Nation doesn't have in its clutches."
"Oh," On Ji said.
"We'll probably be traveling in the same direction as you all until we get to the harbor," Kai said. "Then we can go our separate ways."
"My name's Iandao," the boy said.
"C'mon, children. Let's head for the hills," an older, burly man said, making a large sweeping motion with his arms. "That is, the forest."
As we started our trek into the forest, On Ji began to talk. "Why did you kill Tij?" she asked.
"Who's Tij?" Iandao asked.
"My ostrich horse," she said. "You shot him."
"His leg was broken. If I hadn't ended its life then and there, it would die a slow, painful, drawn out death, which would make it more miserable. It – Tij – probably thanks me for what I did," Iandao said.
"Okay," On Ji said, accepting his explanation.
We walked a half mile or so into the forest and set up camp in a small clearing about seven yards across. There were three tents. The girls slept in the smaller ones while the guys took the medium one. The adults took the largest tent as they were the largest (in more ways than one).
Shrieking (again)I awoke (yet again) to shrieking. However, this time it was not shrieks of shock or pain but more battle-cry-sounding. I looked around my tent to see everyone was already up. I unzipped it and peeked out.
The shrieking was the sound that one of the boys made when he shot his arrows. It was kind of weird. Then I saw something weirder: On Ji, aiming a bow. It looked so big compared with her small frame, I almost laughed.
Then she shot her arrow, and my smile vaporized.
It was a bull's-eye.
On Ji turned around to see me looking at her in awe.
"Hey, sleepyhead," On Ji said sweetly. "Morning."
"Hi," I said, suddenly bashful. What was up with me? Get a grip, Shoji!
We sat down by the fire and enjoyed some burning-hot oatmeal.
"Nice new skill you got there," I said. "Next to future-telling, running, and evading."
"Time to pick up camp," the burly man said.
"Who is he?" I asked Iandao.
"My dad. Call him Kaizuh," Iandao replied.
The archers wiped out camp pretty fast. Soon we were traveling deep into the heart of the forest. Along the way, Kai and On Ji were constantly shooting arrows, betting on who could hit what while running, skipping, walking – you name it, they did it.
The archers, it seemed, had an unlimited supply of arrows. I found the source of this miracle when I discovered Iandao and Kaizuh making arrows.
I tried archery and failed. On Ji helped me string the bow and then I shot the arrow...behind me, right at On Ji. It barely missed her as she flipped out of the way. She had become increasingly agile as we stayed with the archers.
Emotions, Dances, and Emotional Dances
The second night we were with the archers, I was greatly surprised. After we pitched camp, the archers pulled out instruments and began to play. I was like, what the flip?
Kai twirled over to me and grabbed my hand, pulling me into the center. We spun around the fire. It was kind of weird and I was ready to head for the sidelines by the time the dance was over.
You like her, don't you. I was surprised at the bitter thought and scanned the circle, spotting On Ji sitting by a drummer, frowning.
Oh...well, she's okay. We only met them yesterday. She's a...friend.
Then what am I?
I...don't know. A close friend? A really close friend? My best friend? I don't know! What do you want to be?
There was no answer. On Ji looked away, her hair shining in the firelight.
Hey. I don't...like her! No crushes or anything. On any girls.
Well, I don't mean all girls...Come on, On Ji. I like you!
On Ji glanced over at me from behind her hair, which she wore down. She stood up slowly and came over to me. She stopped a few feet in front of me.
"Well?" she said.
What am I supposed to do? I thought frantically. My find zoomed back to the last dance I had – in Kuzon's cave. I remembered Kuzon go to that girl and offer his hand. Was that what I needed to do?
I stretched out my hand. When On Ji made no movement, I wondered if I had done something wrong. Was I supposed to say something?
"Uh, may I have this dance?" I asked cheesily.
On Ji smiled and grabbed my hand. We danced around the fire. Several times, I thought we were going to slip and fall right into the flames, but we managed to stay upright. Some of the archers clapped their hands to the music and others danced alongside us. It was amazing.
Then Kaizuh stepped into the ring, raising his right hand. "I have an announcement to make," he said. The music floated away into the night. We gathered around.
"On Ji, come forward," Kaizuh said.
I squeezed her hand.
Thanks, Shoji. She stepped up to Kaizuh. He turned her around to face everyone.
"Because of her natural skill in the art of the bow and arrow, On Ji has been accepted as a member of the Yuyan Archers," he announced.
There were cheers all around.
"I bestow upon you the name Miri," he added.
Everyone bowed down. After realizing I was the only one standing – and not wanting to make a fool of myself – I bowed down as well. Then, Kai stood and stepped forward. She knelt on one knee and raised an oak bow in her hands.
On Ji/Miri took the bow. "I accept," she said with a bow.
Archers came up and patted her on the back or high-fived her or hugged her (well, only Kai hugged her).
As I got closer to On Ji, I began to wonder. What if On Ji was going to go with the archers when we went our own separate ways? I didn't want to be alone! As petty as that sounded, I wanted On Ji to be with me. I needed her to be with me. Maybe I did like her after all.
When I reached her, I lost control. "Are you going to stay with them?" I blurted out, voicing my fears. "I don't want you to go!" I bit my lip. Yeah, show the world how weak I was. Great. Now she probably thought I was a loser.
You are not a loser, Shoji.
Great. So now you can read minds, too?
I could always read minds, Shoji.
Okay. That was kind of creepy. Who knows what she might've overheard me thinking my whole entire life?
Please don't tell me you're some kind of psycho-stalker person, I said nervously.
"No, Shoji," On Ji said aloud. "Of course I'll stay with you. I wouldn't leave you for anything."
Thanks, I thought.
Later that night, the fire had almost sizzled out. I lay on the grass, looking up at the stars. Movement on the grass nearby startled me. There was a slight rustling and a body was laying beside me. I looked over to see On Ji. Or Miri.
"What should I call you then?" I asked.
"What do you mean?" On Ji said.
"On Ji or Miri? Pick one. Or I'm going to be calling you On Ji-slash-Miri for the rest of your life," I stated. Not trying to be rude or anything. Or threatening."I don't know, Shoji. I'll figure it out later. But until then..."
She was lost for words as the two of us looked up at the starry sky. And who knows?
(It was a good time – a perfect time – for a kiss, but I'm not going to tell you if we actually did. That would be an invasion of my privacy. It would also make this whole thing very sappy. And who wants that?)
For the collective works of the author, go here.
|Shoji's Journey Chapters|
|Book 1: Fire|
|The New Kid Part 1 - The New Kid Part 2 - On Ji - The Firebending Master - Deception - The Runaways - The Yu Yan Archers - Second Act - Stowaways - The Trap|
|Book 2: Air|
|Song - The First Battle|