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January 24, 2013
This is the nineteenth chapter of the series,.
6 Months later
Hokori has progressed her training since being on the island as she is in the middle of her earth-bending exam with Tahno, Nilak, the acolytes, and the White Lotus members watching. Her opponent, a slightly older Lin Beifong, has little difficulty keeping pace with the new Avatar despite the gap in their ages. The girl shifts to her left and brings up a large boulder, chucking it at the former chief of police. Lin takes it head on, breaking the rock in half, then hurling both pieces back at Hokori. She jumps to the side, kicking up a large cloud of dust that obscures Lin's vision. The experienced bender easily remedies this problem with her seismic sense, hitting her foot against the ground. She gets a solid view of the entire area and finds Hokori attempting to sneak up from her left. She shifts the ground beneath the girls feet, tripping her. She then hurls another stone at the girl before clearing the debris in the air. As the air is cleared she looks at the spot where the rock hit, alarmed that the girl is nowhere in the vicinity. She pauses for a moment as a large sink hole forms beneath her. She grabs on to the edge holding on with both hands as Hokori stands above her smiling. The two look down into the pit which is full of rock spikes.
The sand-bender girl raises several rocks above her head and looks at Lin. "Do I win?" she asks helping the metal-bender up.
"Not bad kid, not bad at all." Lin says patting her on the back. The two stand side by side as the White Lotus leader steps forward with the others. "Well done young Avatar. What do you think Ms. Beifong?" he asks Lin.
"No doubt, her earth-bending has improved ten fold since we began. She's shown great ability with being able to adapt to her surroundings and, in my opinion is one of the strongest earth-benders I've trained."
"Thank you master." Hokori says bowing to the older woman.
"Well, I believe that concludes your earth-bending exam. We shall see how well you perform in your water-bending exam in two months."
"Oh right, of course." she says stumbling over her words. Even under Tahno's excellent teaching, she was still unable to perform water-bending with any great skill. The most she'd been able to do was move a cup of water a few inches. She bows and says her farewells to the Lotus members as they depart. After they have left she falls back sitting by the shore. "Well that's great, when they get back they can be amazed at my ability to pour them all a drink of water, provided the cups'll have to be an inch or two away from the glasses." since she'd been on the island, she'd become more outspoken, having many opportunities to socialize with Ikki, the most chatty person she can recall meeting.
"Eh, don't sweat it." Tahno says sitting next to her, his face now clean shaven. "You've got two months to get some solid training in. Every Avatar has their block, but they get passed it."
"Yeah, for Korra it was air-bending, you've got that down, so you've got something else in your path."
"You've got nothing to worry about. We've got your back no matter what." Nilak says in his gray Republic Forces uniform, presenting Hokori with a bouquet of flowers. He had become enamored with the girl in the months following her rescue.
She takes the flowers and gives them a peculiar look. "Oh, um...thank you." his affection however, had gone seemingly unnoticed; or unwanted.
"Hey son, you mind helping me over here?" Tahno calls to Nilak as he stands off in the distance. The young man runs over to his dad, who slaps him in the back of his head. "Ow, what was that for?"
"Seriously, trying to pick up a girl who is basically your mother? That's just wrong on so many levels. Didn't they teach you anything in the training program?"
"Yeah they taught me you can't date female cadets. She's on an island of all acolytes and kids, and the only girl here who'd hold a long distance relation with me." he sees Yi walk over to Hokori as the two talk and cringes. "And who also won't burn my lips off. So she's fair game all the same." his father respond by slapping him again.
"Okay, knock it off, alright. When's your ship leave anyway?"
"Tomorrow at noon. I'll be getting assigned to a ship and meet my commanding officer. Don't know where we'll be going from there."
"You know your mom would be proud of you." Tahno says, patting him on the back.
"I know, thanks dad. So pop, can I ask you something?"
"Why do you wear eye liner?"
"What, I don't." he says sweating slightly.
"Really? Because Sakari says you put it on every morning."
"My eyes are naturally shaded that way."
"But Sakari said you...."
"She says a lot of things." Tahno interrupts, then turns to Hokori and Yi. "Hey Hokori, how about I take you on your first trip into the city to celebrate you passing your first exam? We could buy you some new clothes"
She looks down at her tattered, yet favorite sand-bender clothes. "Maybe that's not a bad idea. I've really been anxious to see what's out there too. Hey Yi, you wanna come?" she asks her friend.
(Sure, sounds like fun.) she signs.
The group disembark to the mainland and head to the clothing shops. Hokori is still a little nervous around all the people and stays close to her friends. She accidentally bumps into a teenager with his friends. "Hey watch where your going." he shouts at her before looking at her clothing. "You better watch yourself, this ain't the desert carrion breath." he and his friends start laughing at her as she can see two of the girls in the back pointing at her, obviously taking shots at her garb. She slowly balls up her fist before calming down. She slyly gestures her fingers, causing a small amount of dust on the ground to wrap around the teen's legs and yanks, knocking them all to the ground. She smirks as they fall. "Oh real funny sandy. Laugh at this!" the boy says rushing her with two fire-balls in his hands.
Before they can make contact, Yi intercedes, grabbing the boys arms and pushing him back. "Yi? I uh...didn't know she was with you." the boy says with fear as Yi stares him down with her gray eyes.
"My advice; beat it kid." Tahno says walking up.
"Uh yeah, come on guys." he says as the group leave.
"Are you alright?" Tahno asks her.
"Yeah, I'm..." She stops for a second to look down at her clothing. "i'm fine." after confirming this, the group continue on their way.
Tahno takes the two around a few places as Yi points out some good shops and she and Tahno head in. Hokori starts to follow, but halfway in she notices a group of men loading some crates with live animals inside. Two of them lift one of them into a truck, but one of them loses his footing and the crate falls, breaking open. The animal, an armadillo-wolf, panics as it rushes down the street toward Hokori. "Kid, get out of the way!" the worker shouts as the sand-bender stands her ground. The animal jumps up and tackles her. Hearing the commotion, Tahno and Yi rush back outside to see what's happening. "Hokori!" he shouts as they see the scene. They crowd quickly change their tone however, as they see the girl laughing, the animal licking her face.
She looks over at Tahno and Yi, who are breathing a sigh of relief. "He's really hungry and scared. Can I keep him?" she asks.
"How much for the armadillo-wolf?" Tahno sighs as he asks the men who were supposed to be transporting it.
"I'm not actually supposed to be selling the thing." the guy whispers to the water-bender. "But then again, the only thing waiting for him is a cooking pot. So how about you give me three-hundred Yuan and I'll conveniently lose him?"
Tahno almost falls over at the price but, seeing how happy Hokori is with the creature, gives in, handing him the money. "Thank you so much." she jumps up and hugs him.
"Yeah, yeah, so what are you going to name him?"
"Alright then. Well we've still got shopping to do, so what do you say we get going?" By the end of the day, Hokori now sports a new look; a pair of light green pants with matching boots and a white jacket over a black shirt.
"How do I look?"
(Great, like a million Yuan.) Yi responds.
"Cool." she says as Yoroi sits next to her. The armadillo-wolf suddenly perks up as it sees a cat in the distance. He instantly rushes off as Hokori gives chase.
"Wait up!" Tahno shouts as the two fade into the crowd. The two quickly follow after her.
Yoroi attempts to corner the cat in an alley, only for the animal to hop over a fence and escape. The wolf attempts to claw at the fence as Hokori catches up. "Come on boy, we need to get back." just then she hears a noise from behind her. She turns to see the group of teenagers that was bothering her before.
"Well well, didn't expect to see you again so soon, and all alone too." the fire-bending leader says. "Yi's not here to save you this time." he launches a fire-ball at her. She moves to the side with little effort and remembering what Jinora told her about keeping a low profile, launches a piece of pavement at him, which he blasts with a fire burst. His friends move to the side as the two battle. "There's no way some desert dweller's going to beat a fire-bending master like moi." he unleashes a torrent of fire at her that keeps her on the defensive.
She brings up an earth wall that blocks the attacks, then pushes it forward as he dives out of the way. "Shut up and fight." she shifts the ground under him, unbalancing him for a flurry of earth discs that knock him out of the alleyway and into the street.
"That's it!" he says furiously as he jumps up and launches a lightning blast at her. She jumps side-to-side, closing the distance between the two. She grabs him by his arm, pushing it up just as he unleashes another stream of lightning that strikes a water tower on an adjacent building. The structure teeters over the edge as the group panics. Hokori instinctively reacts, using her air-bending funnel to keep the massive container suspended in mid-air. She lifts off of the ground on a wind spiral and places it back on the roof, then uses her fire-bending like a torch to weld the tank back in place. The fire-bender gets up as he and his friends stare in amazement as she levitates back to the ground. "You're the Avatar?" the boy says stumbling back.
"Come on we need to find her before..." Tahno says as he and Yi see a flash of lightning in the distance.
(That's not good.)
"You took the words right out of my mouth." the two then rush in that direction.
Hokori finds herself bombarded with questions and pictures. She and Yoroi are backed into a corner as reporters stick their microphones to her. Seemingly out of nowhere, Dogu shows up and uses his earth-bending to take the two underground, taking them several blocks away. The trio pop blocks behind the crowd. "You okay?" he asks as she nods.
"Thanks. But I think I'm in big trouble now."
"Oh you have no idea." Tahno says as he and Yi walk up behind the two. "Thanks for the assist Dogu. Lucky for us you were there at the right time."
"Yeah well it's rekindling day at home so I was out and about."
"What day?" Hokori asks
"Once a month my parents decide to show how much they love each other and dad chases ma around the house, and I'd rather not be there when he catches her." he explains as the other three cringe at the thought.
"Come on, we should get back to the island. I'm going to have a heck of a time explaining this to Jinora." Tahno says as they head to the dock.
In the Si Wong Desert, located in the Earth Kingdom, a man sits in a tent inside a large camp, looking over a map as he and several others mark off spots. As they plan a young boy runs in. "Master Sakyu." he kneels, handing the leader a newspaper. The man takes it and begins reading.
"Where did you get this?"
"From one of the traders." the boy explains.
"Well done. Gentlemen, we'll go over this another time. If you'll excuse me." he says, exiting the tent, walking across the large camp as he reaches another with two guards in front. A quick gesture allows him entrants into the tent where an older man is chained to a pole in the center, his clothing worn and tattered, with cuts on several parts of his body, his face extremely thin from lack of food. The younger man walks over to him and lifts his head to show him the article. "Do you see that uncle? We've found her. Now all we need to do now is bring her home." the man's only response is to spit in Sakyu's face. He immediately jumps back in anger, wiping the saliva from his face. "Soon I will have my sister back, so it makes little difference what you do." he storms out of the tent and addresses one of his men. "Dochu, prepare a team, we're going to Republic City."
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