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November 23, 2011
Truth is the ninth chapter of the fanon series
Finally arriving on Whaletail Island Takeo and Jin quickly come to find a horrific sight and Takeo finally hears the truth about his journey from Jin.
A good nap and some dinner were all that Takeo had needed, apparently. Once he woke up from his nap he felt the feeling return to his arm and legs, his fatigue wear off and his head stop pounding. He was still a bit dizzy by the time he stood up, but that might have been from just waking up. He almost felt as good as new, the only thing that still hurt was the knee where Jin had kicked him almost a week ago, he still had trouble bending it properly, looking back at the whole thing, he never once stopped to complain about the pain, during the fighting he barely noticed it, huh, maybe he was cut out to be an Avatar after all, he managed to ignore his own problems and save someone, that was good, but at the same time he murdered so many people. That was a dark thought. He mumbled quietly under his breath as he sat back down onto the soft bed of the captain. Who was he to decide who lives and who dies? Just because a person wasn't the most honest, just because he was a pirate, doesn't mean he deserves to die. Did their lives mean less than of those he saved? An even darker though, it was something that Takeo had never thought about when he was first told he was the Avatar, he would now decide who lives and who dies. He covered his face with his hands, using this moment of silence to pretend he was home.
He was sitting there, with Zhin Tsu, playing Pai Sho and talking about his classes, discussing various subjects, joking around and generally not caring about the world around them. He wished everything could go back to that, but now... would it ever? The thought of killing someone had never fully crossed his mind in the past, just remembering the fight itself horrified him to no end, not to mention what happened to him after the fight, that scary glow, that voice that spoke with an echo of a thousand voices, he had heard it somewhere before. He felt dizzy again. What if those pirates had families? What if those families are waiting for them? Relying on them to bring home food or money anyway possible that they could survive? No, it wasn't just as simple as good and bad, for the first time in his entire life, Takeo wanted to die.
I'll never do it again...
We'll never come back!
All of them, apologized, all of them begged for mercy, yet Takeo only stood there and watched as the glowing monster, that was apparently him, killed them- without mercy, without emotion, without remorse. Destroy or be destroyed, was that the lifestyle Takeo had to live by now? No, he didn't want to. He didn't want to kill anyone anymore. Tears began to form in his eyes and he shook his head. Why me. He wanted to go home, he couldn't continue. But there was no way out and that thought hurt more than his knee ever would. He wiped his eyes into the sleeve of his red tunic. The tunic reminded him of home, his slightly darker apprentice vest, worn over his red tunic, was slightly torn in the collar, but it was barely noticeable. His armguards. They saved his life more than once. Everything reminded him about the life he had left behind. The life, he would never get back. Was it a good or a bad thing? He always wanted to see the world, he always wanted to be something more than a sage, and he always felt the call of destiny. But he remembered safe walls of the temple, where nothing could harm you, where you were safe and shielded from the horrors of the outside world. He suddenly felt sick again. He stood and he ran to the nearest window, opening it wide and hurling his insides into the ocean that the ship was passing.
"Hey Limpy, stop puking your guts out into the ocean and go pack, we're about to reach the island" Jin's voice came from above. Tak stepped back and closed the window after taking a deep breath of the ocean air.
Surprisingly enough, once Takeo had packed and gotten onto the deck, he found that the whole crew was there to see him off. Some sailors tapped him on the back, others clapped, others cheered his name, it was a great feeling, but it was short lived. When Jin descended from the helm platform he was already carrying his bag and sword and immediately pushed Tak forward, though not ungently, as the ship neared the land.
"Geezer, let us off on that cost, by the trees." He pointed over the railing towards the shore.
"Don't you want me to circle around the island to the village?" the captain shouted from the helm.
"With this piece of junk? That'll take hours; we'll get to the village in minutes." Jin retorted and the captain sighed
"Have it your way." He muttered.
"Wouldn't it be safer if we travelled by ship?" Takeo asked, a bit concerned.
"Don't worry, Limpy, I'll protect you." Jin replied, somewhat mockingly as he placed a hand on the railing and watched the steadily approaching island. Tak sighed as well.
He limped over to the railing next to Jin, leaning against it to not apply weight to his hurting knee. He looked at Jin, who seemed to be anxious to get off of the ship. He wondered whenever or not he should question Jin about what happened a few hours ago. The suspicious behavior, the obvious lying. No, Jin and he were finally starting to get along, even if just a bit- Takeo didn't want to ruin that. When they ship reached the cost, the captain informed the two that due to the tide and rocks he couldn't get too close, so he sailors carried out a plank and laid it onto the deck and stretched it out to the nearest rock. Takeo and Jin carefully walked across it, saying their last goodbyes to the crew. When they finally reached the deck, Jin looked around and walked into the forest, but Takeo couldn't help but look back at the ship as it sailed away, the old man raised a hand in salute as they drifted further and further from the coast. He hoped their journey would end okay, that they'd be safe, but even more so he wished his own journey would end okay.
He ran after Jin, his knee burning with pain, and slowed down his pace to match Jin's once he was a couple of steps away from him. Jin seemed to know where he was going, so Tak didn't question him, until it seemed like they had been walking for five minutes along a dirt road in a lush forest.
"Do you even know where you're going?" He tried to make his tone as less confrontational as possible.
"To the village." Jin answered plainly and only added once they came out of the forest onto an empty road, surrounded by the forest "There's only a couple of villages here, you'd be surprised. There are so many untapped resources, unexploited land, they're lucky, I'd say."
Takeo had to agree, the smell of the air was different here, so fresh and warm, the weather was fair and warm and everything seemed so lush and beautiful. The Avatar, a physical manifestation of the planets will. Takeo recited in his head, something they learned at the temple when they were kids. It was a strange feeling, to think of himself being part of the planet, but at the same time Takeo somehow felt more inclined to enjoy beautiful, untapped nature, his job as the Avatar was to make sure nature was respected and he promised himself, he would try, if only there were more places like this on the planet.
"So, I've been meaning to ask you." The Avatar tried to start some idle chat, to pass the time quicker while they walked "Where did you learn to fight like that? You're pretty good."
"Pfft, pretty good?" Jin snorted, unable to take the compliment without a snide comment "When I was a kid, I used to train in my fathers workshop, with the swords he used to make." They passed under a large fallen tree, ducking their heads under its large trunk and coming out the other side, somehow neither of them stopping to question how it laid there, above the seemingly peaceful road "I used to train eight hours a day, even more, I'd practice, I'd throw them around, I'm hurt myself, but I was training."
"Sounds like you were goofing around...hehe" Takeo tried to make a joke.
"I was actually." Jin confessed- his tone calm "It wasn't until I joined up with the Fire Nation Military that I actually started training, I doubt you'd find a better swordfighter in the Fire Nation than me..."
"What about the Captain of the Royal Guard? Aren't you his apprentice?"
This seemed to have thrown him off a bit, he stopped and looked at Takeo, his face a bit annoyed and concerned at the same time "I suppose, him and no one else." He continued walking "And what about you? You just spent your whole life in that temple?"
That temple. Takeo wanted to make a snide comment of his own, but somehow those words clenched his heart. His home, the only home he had ever known and his family, such as it was, the way Jin said it sounded like it was some sort of... word, but to Takeo, it was so much more.
"My dad was a Fire Sage, and so was his dad and his dad before him... it was kinda a tradition..." he finally answered, a bit sad.
"I guess you broke that tradition, huh?" Jin noted as they walked up a small hill.
Takeo had never thought of it before, but now, it brought sadness to his heart. He broke that tradition. Such a long generation of Fire Sages and he wasn't going to be one of them. Yeah, sure- he was the Avatar, but what would his father say? What does it matter, its not like Tak had ever met him.
"So, your father..." Jin looked for the appropriate word.
"I never met him, he died when I was still unborn." This whole conversation seemed to have taken a depressive turn. They had been walking by a large cracked boulder on the side of the road when Tak asked the same of Jin "And what about your dad, still making swords?" his tone was friendly, but Jin came to a stop by the boulder and didn't turn around to face Tak. Had he offended him? A long silent moment passed of Tak watching Jin's back "Jin... are you al-"
"This boulder." Jin stated, focused. His hand brushed over the cracked surface of the boulder he was talking of "This isn't... look" he kicked the ground, there was a small circle of dirt underneath it, the boulder had sunken into the ground a bit, like it had fallen from the sky. "Look there." Jin pointed forward, on some of the trees, the leaves were missing, the branches were broken, scorch marks marked various trees with black burns that spread through their trunks, and a Fire Nation helmet lay near a tree, cracked and burned. Takeo turned to Jin, he didn't understand what was going on and before he could ask, Jin ran. Tak stood frozen for a moment, unsure of what to do, in shock by Jin's abrupt dash, but he shook his head and followed.
As they ran, Takeo had to swat various branches out of his way, jump over boulders and make quick turns just to keep up with Jin, at the same time his knee felt like it would snap at any moment. Regardless, he caught up to Jin, but before he could say anything, Jin jumped through some lush bushes and disappeared, Tak followed; he jumped from the bushes with full force and landed on the edge of a hill. His feet skidded across the dirt as he tried to stop, but he ended up bumping into Jin and falling onto his back. He expected Jin to say something, but instead, Jin was silent, he stared into the distance. Tak lowered his gaze to see where Jin was staring and his jaw opened in terror and awe.
It was a battlefield, or what remained of it anyway. The grass below the hill was heavily charred and burned, black as coal, several red banners, or rather red, torn pieces of cloth that were once banners and flags, fluttered in the wind as it blew across the field, bringing up ash and dust. There were weapons and armor, scattered through the battlefield, helmets and shields, bodies and limbs, burned, but recognizable. The whole area seemed dead, several large boulders were scattered throughout the whole field. Tak stood, but couldn't keep his eyes off of the battlefield. Nothing but death, hatred and greed. He felt sick; this whole place gave him a bad feeling that stretched to his very core. Jin stepped forward and carefully skidded down the hillside, Takeo followed him. In a slow pace the two walked through the battlefield, ash and dust crunching beneath their feet. A crow squawked loudly and flew off, carrying a piece of torn flesh in its beak. Nothing but silence and the sound of the wind. No survivors, no one moved, the broken and burned bodies of the men that wore red armor were the scariest sight of all.
Jin stared blankly at the whole field, before screaming out of anger and kicking down a pole that once held a banner, stuck in the ground, it flew off and fell a few feet further.
"What happened here?" Takeo mumbled, still scared and sick, he walked forward and felt something press against the sole of his boots. He looked down, it was cloth, but it was a different color than the torn banners that fluttered in the wind. He bent down, a few feet away lay a body, burned so badly he was almost completely as, but his armor... it was green. Takeo picked the cloth up from the ground and gently brushed his hand against the black dirt and ash until it slowly came off and the cloth became recognizable again. On the light green piece of cloth was the insignia of the Earth Kingdom. Everything went pouring into Takeo's head, everything made sense now, all of this, the bodies, the boulders, the battlefield, but why? Anger boiled inside of him, they hid this from him "JIN!" Takeo screamed across the field and his partner looked genuinely startled. Takeo rushed at him.
The Avatar grabbed him by the collar and slammed him against one of the large boulders that stood stuck in the ground. Jin didn't resist much.
"When were you planning on telling me this?!" Tak shouted, he felt so angry, so betrayed... so used. "What is this?!"
Jin only lowered his gaze, he didn't answer, and he didn't look like he could.
"That's what... why... YOU LIED TO ME!" Takeo released him and took a step back, he suddenly felt dizzy again "The Firelord LIED to me!" his anger returned in a burst of shouts. He was being treated like a child, the Avatar. He was being lied to by everyone; he was so tired of all these lies and secrets, all of this. He was so angry that the only thing he could do was shout, he threw the piece of cloth at Jin, but it didn't even fly towards him because the strong wind blew it away the second it left his hand.
"Takeo, listen to me..." Jin wanted to explain
"No!" Takeo shook his head, took a step back and shouted "I'm tired listening to you, to your insults, your jokes and your lies. Are we even going to the Air Temples?! Was this some sort of ploy all along?!"
"We're still going to the Southern Air Temple." Jin stated, somewhat scared and unsure about what to say.
"Then please, by all means, explain this!" Takeo spread his hands out to their surroundings, a ruined forest littered with bodies and weaponry of Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom soldiers.
Jin opened his mouth to say something, but closed it before he could even say a word. He released a heavy sigh and began "Takeo, most people that live in the Fire Nation, especially the capital-don't know this, but... we're at war with the Earth Kingdom." Takeo's eyes widened at those words, he took another step back, fear spreading through his face.
"Then why didn't he say anything..."
"He saw how scared you were, how frightened, confused and unprepared for the duties of the Avatar, though he has faith in you, he realized that you still weren't ready to find out, because it might have scared you." Though Takeo hated to admit it, the notion of a war scared him so much that his knees began to bend again.
"So he just thought I wouldn't find out?!" Takeo snapped after a moment of fear.
"He hoped so... he wanted for you to travel a bit, master at least two more elements before you were ready and given that the Southern Air Temple and the Southern Water Tribe are so close, he hoped that you wouldn't find out, but it seems like the turtle-cat is out of the bag now, I'm sorry."
After Jin stopped talking, Takeo took a moment of silence to take everything in and it erupted from his lungs with a loud shout "And after I mastered the elements, what then?! He planned to use me as a weapon to win a war?!"
"The Firelord wanted for you to solve this diplomatically, he never wanted war." Jin seemed distraught "The unmarked islands near the Fire Nation... you wouldn't know it, but the Earth Kingdom has been raiding and occupying them one by one, their fleet slowly making their way to the Fire Nation, the Firelord hasn't retaliated any of the attacks, he's trying to hold their fleets and armies back until you are ready to help him stop any sort of conflict from happening."
That's why they couldn't wait another year. The thought of people dying while Takeo trained made his heart weep, he was so angry, but his anger was nothing compared to the fear he felt.
"If you're telling the truth, then what's this?" Takeo gestured to the battlefield around them.
After a moment of silence, Jin merely shrugged "Honestly? I have no idea." Was the Fire Nation lying to both of them? Was that why they sent Jin? To make sure he never found out? No, that didn't make any sense; he just told him everything about the so-called war. They stood there, silent, for a long moment until finally Jin broke the silence.
"I'm sorry, Takeo, I'm sure the Firelord never meant for you to find out this way, I'm sure he would have told you had you been more confident the first time you met."
Zhin Tsu lied to me- was the first thought that burst into Takeo's mind. The one person he always thought he could trust turned out to have been lying to him his whole life.
"Look I understand you're sad, but you have to realize, the sooner you finish your training, the sooner all of this-" Jin pointed to the surrounding battlefield "-Can end"
He was right. There was no use crying or whining about it. it just made Takeo mad, he felt betrayed. "Then from here on out, promise me- no more lies, tell me everything."
"Promise me, Jin." Takeo shouted angrily.
"Fine, I promise, there's not much else to tell, now, let's just get off of this island and go the Air temples."
Takeo kept silent, but he nodded. The sooner he finished all of this the sooner he could go back to the Fire Nation and confront Tsu about it and the Firelord. They walked through the destroyed battlefield, carefully stepping over the dead bodies, which Takeo didn't even want to look at, and after a few minutes, Takeo came to a stop.
"What's that?" Takeo pointed to the ground, a bit to the side of where they were walking; it looked strange, out of place.
It was a large hole on the burned ground; Jin knelt besides it and examined it. "It's a footprint... it's fairly recent." Jin stood and gently brushed some ashes from the ground with his foot "There's more..." he walked forward and revealed several more, leading to the east "Let's go!" Jin shouted and broke into a sprint.
"What about the air temples!" Takeo shouted from behind him, fruitlessly. He sighed and followed.
They ran only for a short while this time, cutting through a small section of another lush forest they exited on another cliff. They stood near what looked like a cliff surrounded by forests and in a large opening stood a camp. Both of them fighters stopped and looked in awe for a second. It was a large camp, red tents, Fire Nation banners and soldiers dressed in their red uniforms going about their duties. It was day time, everyone was vigorously preparing for something. Shouts and loud conversations could be heard all over the camp. In the middle, surrounded by rows of another small tents stood a large pavilion, it was red and boasted a red flag on its top, which fluttered in the wind, regardless, the black insignia of the Fire Nation was easily noticeable on the red background, it felt kind of like home."Fire Nation." Both Jin and Takeo said in chorus, their voices somewhat rejoiced. Before Tak could say anything, Jin started walking forward and he had no choice but to follow. As soon as they entered camp, passing soldiers gave strange glances, some of them picked up their swords, and others just lifted their heads for a moment.
"Hey, Jin!" a soldier shouted and waved from a far tent, Jin waved back and nodded, a few more did the same, a passing soldier shook Jin's hand, another tapped his shoulder but gave Tak a queer look.
"You know them?" Tak muttered a question as they kept walking.
"Of course, I am a soldier, after all."
"I though you were a Palace Guard." Tak rubbed the back of his neck.
"I am... it's a long story, I'll tell you some other time." Jin fastened his pace as they walked through the camp, they only stopped to let other soldiers passed, who seemed to be carrying crates and weaponry somewhere. Strangely enough, for Takeo, he felt at ease here, safer- surrounded by large amounts of soldiers that could protect him from pirates if need be.
"Where are we going anyway?" Takeo finally asked
"To the main tent," Jin pointed forward with his finger; in front of them was the large tent that stood in the center "I want to see who's in command here."
As they got in close to the pavilion, both of them slowed down their pace, but before they could get even ten six feet to the tent, the flap spread open. In front of them walked out a young man, baggy, ear-length black hair, golden ember eyes, a strong square jaw and tan skin, his face looked somewhat familiar. He was dressed in the same armor as the other soldiers, however his seemed... nicer, better kept, at the same time it looked sturdier and cleaner. He stood as tall as Jin did, easily a head above Tak himself, he looked sturdy himself, well-built, yet lean and athletic at the same time. As he left the tent, he came to a stop to not bump into Jin and Tak, obviously not expecting to see them there. Jin and Tak also came to a stop, but nothing was said. Takeo stared at the man for a moment, looking into his eyes and somewhat unable to shake the feeling that he had seen the young man somewhere before, yet Takeo was surprised Jin wasn't saying anything. Takeo turned his head to look at his companion, who was supposed to be at his left side, but when Takeo turned, he wasn't there. Takeo looked left and right, but he wasn't there either, until finally he looked down and saw Jin kneeling on one knee and bowing his head.
Then, it came to him. Takeo immediately realized who this guy was and dropped to one knee, the one that wasn't in agonizing pain and bowed his head as well.
" ." Jin said respectfully.
The prince looked confused for a small moment, his lips pressed tightly together as he looked at the two out of place young men bowing before him. "Jin," his tone was calm, somewhat stoic "It's great to see you." He made a gesture with his hand, which implied for them to stand, and they did, Jin first, because Takeo had to shift the weight to his hand to stand because of his knees was in pain, no thanks to Jin.
"And you are?" he asked, looking Takeo. His tone was a bit snobbish and stuck up, but Takeo didn't get annoyed or angry, only a bit flustered.This was the first time he had to introduce himself to anyone in a long time. His whole life was in the temple, most people knew him there and now that he had left, nearly everyone had known who he was before he had to say his name. How does he introduce himself? Takeo, Avatar Takeo? Takeo sounded a bit rude and... common, when standing in front of the prince, yet Avatar Takeo sounded stuck up and weird. Avatar Takeo, he still had trouble thinking it sometimes, yet thankfully, he didn't have to answer.
Jin stood up straight "This is Avatar Takeo, your grace." This was the first time Takeo had heard Jin speak respectfully to someone.
"Oh?" his face lit up and a thin smile spread weakly through his face, he began to slowly walk closer, his hands behind his back, his posture straight and his head held high. He slowly circled Takeo, examining him as he spoke "Then I assume you are here to help?" his tone was curious this time around.
Jin rubbed the back of his head, confused and a bit flustered "With all do respect, your grace," he looked at the prince's eyes "Help with what?"
The prince chuckled, amused "With the battle, of course." He brushed a hand gloved in leather through his straight, black hair, but then saw that neither of them had any idea what he was talking about. "I see..." he muttered under his breath, he took a step back and opened the tent flap with one hand, gesturing inside "Please, come in then, I'll explain everything." And they did as commanded, his voice was confident, strong and loud, Tak was somewhat jealous of his confidence. Jin walked in first and Takeo followed, both of them bent their heads a bit to go under the tent flap and walk inside of the big tent, once both of them were inside, the prince walked after them and the tent flap fell closed.
Inside of the tent, there was a large carpet draped onto the floor, in the middle, there was a large table with several seats around it, on the table were several maps- one of the Fire Nation, one of Whale Tail Island and the other, Tak didn't know, but guessed that it was a sketch of the area they were in, because the plan included a large cliff and forests, with two open areas drawn into it. "Sit." The prince commanded and both of them did so without hesitation, getting onto their knees onto the small pillows in front of the large table. Zhu sat down in front of them, on the other side of the table. "As both of you probably know, we're at war."
Takeo clenched his fists below the table. He didn't know that until about an hour ago, it made him so mad to even think it. But no, he couldn't show it to the prince; he couldn't show how scared he was. But was it fear or anger that made him clench his fists? That he could not say. He glanced at Jin, who focused on the prince.
"I was sent by my father to lead the defense against the Unmarked Islands," the index finger of his right hand tapped the detailed map of the Fire Nation islands gently and slowly slid down to the image of the Whale Tail Island "I captured one of their commanders, who revealed to me that their hidden base was located on this very island." His lips pressed together for a moment "When I arrived here, I tried to parley with their commander, a Lieutenant by the name of Daisuke." He shrugged lightly "However, he refused my offer to not harm them if they agreed to leave and instead we had to resort to violence." He pointed at several locations on the islands maps "They repaired and built ships here, brought supplies to the front and even trained recruits here, this was a very strategic and well guarded island, and we took out all of their shipwrights and forced them into the island itself." His finger pointed to a small dot "This village here was destroyed completely by their raids." After a short moment of silence he continued "My forces weren't that big however and I had to call for reinforcements, I sent several hawks, however only Captain Cho answered my call for aid and brought his forces, small as they are, with him, together we pushed them back even further," his finger slid to the detailed sketch of the area they were in and tapped a location on the other side of the cliff, right through the forest, maybe four miles at best away from here "To here."
"Why here?" Jin asked, Takeo wanted to ask the same question, but he couldn't muster up the confidence to do so.
"The shores of the Earth Kingdom near the unmarked islands would be closer, have no doubt, however we can reach them much faster than they can reach our islands and destroy our docks, just as Captain Cho had been doing when my hawk reached him." he paused for a moment "This is a strategic location, they though we'd never suspect that they'd choose such a relatively far off location, but they can hit us anywhere from here and at the same time they can be sure that none of their docks and barracks would come under attack, however that's not the only reason, from the intelligence that we've managed to gather, the Earth Kingdom had set up in this island almost a year ago, before the attacks even began. At first I thought it was a preemptive move, however, recent events led me to believe that it wasn't quite so, they were after something else."
"What?" Takeo asked, meekly.
"You." Prince Zhu responded calmly and Takeo felt himself gulp. "They've been planning your capture for quite a while, it has come to my attention that recently one of their letters contained a detailed description of you, looking back on it, it was quite accurate." He shrugged "It seems they are quite aware of your presence, though I had thought my father planned for your travels to be stealthier than this, the who world knows."
"But, how...?" Takeo remembered back to the travelers that left the ship, the pirates that probably managed to escape, the glow and the sailors, that no doubt drowned themselves in alcohol that night.
"That I cannot say, however, there isn't much advice or help or guidance I can offer you, except a proposal- help us fight." Zhu raised a hand before Takeo could say anything "Your presence by itself will no doubt put the soldiers of the Earth Kingdom on edge, they'll be more occupied on looking for you in our ranks, making them hesitate, scaring them, exciting them and our own men will no doubt have a boost of morale once they find out the Avatar is fighting among them and even if you can only bend one element, I expect you are a master." His voice was so confident, so calm and soothing that Takeo actually felt confident himself. Maybe he was a master, though he always doubted that, he doesn't have enough real fighting experience to be an actual master. "Tomorrow, we'll be sending our last wave to annihilate our forces, so, will you two be joining us?" he smiled as he asked.
Both Jin and Takeo stood and in chorus they answered "Yes." "No."
Jin turned to glare at Takeo "What do you mean, no?"
"I just found on there's a war, and now you want me to fight in it, without knowing why, how or-"
"Why does that matter?! You're from the Fire Nation and you're the Avatar! The Earth Kingdom is attacking us; it's your duty to stop this!"
"I just... I can't... I'm sorry" Takeo lowered his head. He was scared and though it wasn't the only reason why he couldn't do it, it was the only one he didn't want to say out loud.
"I cannot force you to participate, if it is your wish to leave, you can do so, you are welcome to spend the night in our camp." The prince sounded a little bit disappointed. "And for now, you'll have to excuse me; I have some matters to attend to." He stood, nodded and walked out of the tent, followed by the two fighters.
That night, Takeo spent one of his first nights surrounded by soldiers. Regardless, he quickly found himself enjoying their company. As Jin and Tak sat around a camp fire with some of the men, who told various stories, some included Jin himself. They told a story about a group of pirates that stole a ship while Jin was still sleeping below deck and how Jin retook the ship nearly singlehandedly. They ate food, for what seemed like such a long time. Though it was simple meat and broth, it tasted delicious. Takeo went to their tent first, he felt tired, mostly because of his hurting knee and the various surprises he was met with today. A war, lies all around him and now, he is expected to save everyone. It was too much, he couldn't help but lose consciousness the send his head touched the pillow of his small bed that laid on the grass inside of the red tent. However, he was awoken by the sound of a voice.
"Tak, you awake?" Jin asked as he came into the tent and sat down onto his bunk.
"No..." Takeo muttered weakly, switching to his other side so he couldn't hear Jin.
"I have to tell you something."
"Unless it's another war, it can wait till tomorrow." Takeo dismissed it.
"I'm staying here." Jin spoke loudly.
Immediately, Takeo fell out of his sleep, his eyes went wide and he found himself sitting up.
"What do you mean you're staying here?" Takeo asked, shocked
"I want to help them fight... the temple isn't that far from here; you'll make it on your own."
"But I though you had orders from the Firelord to bring me to the temple!" Takeo snapped. He was scared, he didn't know where to go, and he had never been this far from home, especially alone.
"I'm sorry." Jin stood.
"Whatever... fine... it's not like I needed you anyways, I'll go there myself." Takeo lay back down and turned his back to Jin, covering himself with the sheets. He didn't need Jin; he'd make it by himself, without any help. Jin didn't answer, he didn't say a word, but from the gust of wind, Takeo could tell that Jin had just left the tent and the second he did, Takeo bit his lower lip- he would never make it.
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