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|Village of Hope (The Adventures of Qi)|
Many weeks had passed since Qi and her friends left Ba Sing Se. Nothing could get worse! Now the group had two competitors to get the Avatar: Aimei and Shoo. Qi and her friends had visited tons of villages and states over the past few weeks, all to no success. Over the past few days, Maia fell ill, and Huo soon caught the fever. Liu had tried to heal them, but they remained sick.
"How are they doing?" Qi asked Liu.
"Well, I tried to heal them as best as I could, but they are still stick," Liu explained. "They'll be fine within a few days though, they're back in their rooms resting right now."
"Well, we've arrived at another village," Qi said. "Apparently, it's called the Village of Hope. Looks like just the two of us are going to step out and explore."
Qi and Liu walked out of the airship to the Village of Hope. The only words Qi could use to describe it were: a complete mess. A fire was burning in what looked like a tavern yet no one seemed to care; it looked like people had gotten into an earthbending fight due to the large rocks and piles of rubble everywhere; the buildings had all collapsed; most people lived out on the streets and they looked like they were dying.
"There is no hope for the Village of Hope," Liu remarked.
A man quickly hurried up to Qi and Liu. His clothes were tattered and torn and he was covered in dirt.
"Who are you? Are you with the Earth King? If you are then you had better scram!" He yelled.
"What? No! We're not with the Earth King and what happened to this place?" Qi asked.
"The Earth King's army came here a week ago and turned this place upside down in search for the Avatar," the man explained. "Not to mention they took all our supplies and an innocent woman."
Qi and Liu looked at each other in surprise.
"I can't believe Shoo would do this," Qi muttered.
"What do you mean by an innocent woman?" Liu asked.
"Well, you see," the man began to explain. "The Village of Hope is named after Hope. She happened to be the one who created this village. Not to mention she's famous for being born in The Serpent's Pass. Her descendent, Yaya, now lives here. When the guards came, they accused her of fighting the Earth Kingdom Army when in reality, she was defending our village. They took her away and ever since, our village has been struggling to survive."
"I'm so sorry this happened," Qi said. "We would love to do something to help."
"Why are you here in the first place?" The man asked.
"Well, don't take this the wrong way, but we were tasked by the Order of the White Lotus to find the Avatar," Liu explained. "But we promise our ways are NOTHING like the Earth King's."
"I'm sorry but I'm afraid the Avatar isn't here. But you could help us!" The man suddenly said.
"Find Yaya! Bring her back to us!"
"You want us to find Yaya?" Qi asked. "She could be anywhere within the Earth Kingdom!"
"No, the Earth King keeps prisoners that aren't from Ba Sing Se in a prison camp very close nearby," the man said.
"How do you know?" Liu asked.
"Well, I should have told you this, but when the soldiers came, I was caught stealing food. I had to do it to protect out village! I was locked up with Yaya but I managed to escape two days ago," the man explained. "Please help us, bring back Yaya!"
"Fine," Qi agreed. "We'll do it."
Two hours later the man had told them the exact location of the prison camp. Qi and Liu couldn't afford to take the airship in case they were spotted in the air. The two of them dashed a deep, dark forest full of massive trees.
"There's no way they'll spot us in here!" Qi said.
Soon the forest came to a clearing and a running river blocked them off.
"Not a problem," Liu said.
He waterbent a block of ice through the river that allowed them to cross the bridge. A moment later, the bridge crumbled to pieces and collapsed into the river.
"What the..." Liu muttered.
"There must be something under there," Qi said.
"I'm going to investigate!" Liu said.
He plunged himself into the water where he came face to face with a carnivorous crocodile. The crocodile lunged at Liu, who dodged. Liu encased himself in a ball of water so the crocodile wouldn't have such an easy time attacking him. He then created a bubble of air around his head so he could breathe. Next time the crocodile lunged at Liu, he simply turned the ball to ice, and the crocodile smashed his head against ice. Then, Liu bent the water all around them and sent the crocodile spinning away. Just when Liu thought everything was alright, the crocodile came swimming back at top speed much to Liu's surprise. The waterbender then increased the pressure of water around the crocodile, stopping it in its tracks. Liu took advantage of this opportunity and froze the crocodile to ice. Meanwhile, Qi was having troubles above ground. Out of nowhere, a platypus-bear came out and tried to attack her.
"This is so strange, platypus-bears usually have a reason for attacking," Qi muttered.
The platypus-bear made a lunge at Qi with its claws, but Qi swerved out the way. She then created an air spout from underneath the platypus-bear, causing it to float. Qi then created an air spout from underneath her own feet so she floated side by side to the platypus-bear. She spun the platypus-bear upside down, and eventually found that there was a needle stuck in the platypus-bear's foot. Qi took it out, and let both the bear and her back to the ground. Noticing the girl had taken out the needle, the platypus-bear scrambled. As the platypus-bear ran away, Liu surfaced.
"There was a crocodile underneath the bridge," Liu explained.
"What did you do to it?" Qi asked.
"Ah nothing, just froze it in a block of ice," Liu said.
He created another bridge of ice and the two crossed together. After a while, they arrived at the prison camp. There was a large building for the prisoners to be kept in at night, and a large outdoor area fenced off with platinum for the prisoners to be in during the day.
"We're here, now we have to be quiet if we're going to break Yaya out," Qi explained.
The prisoners were all in the outdoor area milling about but eight guards, one in each corner and four patrolling the perimeter, guarded them.
"How on earth are we going to break Yaya out with so many guards?" Liu asked.
"This'll be easy, just follow my lead," Qi said.
Qi led Liu into the actual prison building and took him up a flight of stairs, where they came to the door of a room. Qi pressed her ear against the door and tried to hear what was going on inside. She could hear several guards hanging out inside.
"So, you got any plans for the night?" One of them said.
Qi turned to Liu.
"Okay, we're going to open this door and take the guards out," Qi said.
"Wait, what? Qi, stop!" Liu exclaimed.
Liu tried to stop Qi but it was too late. She busted the door open and charged into the room. There were four guards sitting there who were shocked to see an intruder. Two of the guards duelled Liu and two took Qi on. However, the guards were no match for Qi and Liu. Qi simply blew a gush of air and the two got knocked against the wall and fainted. Liu bent water out of a water pouch turned it into ice and used it to bonk the guards hard on the head.
"Okay, we're going to take two costumes and wear them," Qi said.
Qi and Liu took the uniforms and put them on. They then discussed the plan before heading outdoors. They immediately approached one of the patrolling guards.
"Oi! You there!" Liu said. "The warden wants to see you! Get inside and wait further instructions!"
The guard immediately hurried inside. They did this to six other guards, but when they came to the final guard, the plan didn't work so well.
"Excuse me? The warden wants to talk to you, please go inside," Qi ordered.
However, the guard turned and around slowly and angrily with a mad look on his face.
"I am the warden," he muttered.
"Uh oh," Liu and Qi simultaneously said.
The warden sent a large column of rock out of the earth and sent it zooming towards Liu. He took water out his pouch before turning it into ice and cleanly quartering the rock. He then turned the ice into a large sword and began to duel the warden with the ice sword. Qi on the other hand raced towards the prisoners and asked around for Yaya. One of the prisoners pointed towards a girl with a black ponytail.
"You see her?" The prisoner said. "She's Yaya."
Qi bent air behind her so she was boosted and rocketed all the way to Yaya.
"Excuse me? Are you Yaya?" Qi asked despite all the commotion.
"Yes," Yaya replied.
"We're getting you outta here and back to your village," Qi explained.
"Um-" Yaya tried to say something but was cut off by Qi.
"Liu! Hurry!" Qi called.
Liu gave one final blow of the sword and so the warden thought he was going to strike with the sword, but he quickly swerved to the side. However, Liu turned the sword back into water and struck the warden with it. He pinned the warden to the fence and froze him in ice.
"Coming!" Liu yelled back.
Together, the three of them escaped the prison camp. They dashed through the woods quickly and silently in case they were being followed. When they reached the Village of Hope, they were greeted like heroes.
"You really found her!" The man cried.
And once again, the Village of Hope was happy again. They celebrated in honour of Qi and Liu, the heroes who brought back their village's defender. When it was time for Qi and Liu to climb aboard the airship, Yaya stopped them.
"Before you guys leave, I wanted to say thank you," Yaya said. "Without you, I would still be stuck at the prison, I really appreciate your help."
When Qi and Liu climbed aboard the airship, it took flight.
"I'm going to check up on Maia and Huo," Liu said.
He dashed off towards the dorms, leaving Qi alone. The captain of the new ship walked over to Qi.
"Ma'am, what is your next destination?" He asked.
"Make it the State of Yi," Qi said.
Man from the Village of Hope
For the collective works of the author, go here.