|More from Kyra+Kuzon||Adventure||PG||9.0||Done|
Find a flaw in your opponent before you even begin to battle
I took a few deep breaths to slow my heartbeat. The Sun, at high noon, breathed its heat on all it shown on. As I walked to my Fire Breathing spot, I pulled my bow from my back. I sat down on the ground legs crossed and head tilted slightly to the sun.
Everyday I climbed the volcano wall surrounding the Capital to practice my Fire Breathing. Fire Breathing was a forgotten ancient art, often practiced by the Sun Warriors now extinct. It was a technique to help Firebenders become aware of all the heat sources around them. But means to practice this skill had long become distorted and altered, by the modern practice of Firebending.
I breathed in and out, with every breath energy flowed through my body. The Sun warmed every corner of my being. My eyes were closed, but I could see everything around me. Every plant had its own heat source, emerging from the leaves and coursing around the entire plant. I could see all of the plants around me in a large diameter. With time I could even see the different types of plants, like the difference between a Fire Lily and a Rose. Their slightly altered ways of using the Sun's energy to grow.
I continued this for some time, when a giant burst of heat became apparent at the corner of my solar vision. I opened my eyes and saw the that burst of heat was a Tigerdillo. It looked at me, menacingly, and growled. Instincts took over, it wanted my submission, but it wasn't going to get it. I growled back, but it was a growl of power, confidence, authority, passion, and rejection. The Tigerdillo whimpered in fright and rolled away on its shell. Proud of myself, I decided that it was time to report my Master, Regis. I strung my bow on my back again and ran back down the path that led to the city below.
When I entered Regis's mansion, I asked a passing servant where The Master was. He politely replied saying that he was in the Candle Room. I thanked him for his time and went on my way. The Candle Room was a dark room with a small circle of candles, all different shapes and sizes. Representing the many forms and uses of Fire.
I entered the room silently, sat cross-legged outside the circle, and waited patiently for my Master to speak. This didn't take long.
"How was your exercise, Kyza?" He asked in a sonorous voice.
"I distinguished the difference between plants, master," I replied announcing my findings.
"Good, good, did you have any, visitors?"
"Only a Tigerdillo, but he was handled."
"Not rashly, I hope."
"No, all I had to do was frighten it."
"Good," he nodded, pleased with my actions, "may we begin?"
Faster than anything remotely human, Regis jumped to his feet and raised the candle flames to the ceiling. I rose to a sturdy, balanced stance, a few paces away from the candles. I shot a volley of fire balls at Regis, which he easily escaped. In return Regis let the candle decrease to their normal flame, and stepped out of the circle. He bent a fire whip and took a couple of strikes at me. I danced out of the way, and, fire fist in hand, tried to bash Regis in the chest. He effortlessly batted away my fist and engaged with hand and hand combat.
I exchanged more blows to my offender, but it was obvious that my Master was at the advantage. My strategy was to shower him in blows in hopes to find a flaw in his walls. But his defenses were impenetrable, for everyone of my hits he had a firm block, he was untouchable.
I was too focused on breaking Regis's defense, that I didn't pay attention to the walls of the Candle room. Suddenly, Regis changed to offense and attacked vigorously. Caught by surprise, I backed up a few steps, but to my dismay I backed right into a corner. My eyes glanced to the ceiling as my head hit the corner. The distraction gave Regis the opportunity to lock his foot in between mine and trip me. He caught my hand as I fell, my head jerked back at the sudden halt of the fall. I lifted my head, my gaze still fiery and ready to continue the battle.
Regis pulled me back upright, and retreated back to the candle circle. I resumed my previous position, and waited. "You need to understand your opponent," he sighed, obviously disappointed with my performance.
"But--" I fell silent, I knew he was right, but didn't know how I could get better, so I let him elaborate.
"You need to understand," he continued, "what drives your opponent, their strengths, their weaknesses, their path of thought, their character. Weather they know that they can beat you or know that you should be dealt with caution. If they fight you out of anger or confidence. Find a flaw in your opponent before you even begin to battle."
"Yes, Master," I consented, "I will try to do better in the future."
"Focus on this until tomorrow, I expect improvement."
"I will," I stood to leave.
"Oh, and Kyza," he said, amusement plain in his voice, "pay attention to your surroundings."
I loved the Capital, the bustle of merchants, crowds of shoppers, and the liveliness. Yes, the Capital was music to my ears. It brightened my day that Regis's mansion and my archery master, Rhea, were on different sides of the large metropolis. It was amazing the things you could find in the market, jewelry to hippocow delicacies. Anything was possible at a marketplace.
But today was no such day. Today was not the day for casual ambling, today an unnamed urgency filled the air. A premonition that a giant step was about to be made. For good or bad it was unknown, but someone had made a gamble with life that much was sure.
I ran through empty alleyways, and reached Rhea's residence faster than ever before. I went into the courtyard and started my archery warm-up. I did an easy "roll and quick-shoot" that involved me shooting at a target, perched on one knee, and rolling back and forth between two targets.
Rhea was no where to be seen until she called from the balcony surrounding the courtyard, "here a little early aren't we?"
I paused and shrugged, "I really wanted to get here." I heard Rhea snort at that.
But before I could convince her, she was gone with flash of white hair. I resumed my warm-up until she returned to the courtyard. I had to change my aim ever so slightly every time I shot, to avoid harming the other arrows embedded in the bull's-eye of the target. I had quickly discovered that each of the two targets could only fit six arrows in each bull's-eye. To put my arrows to good use, I began to not only aiming for the center of the target, but specific parts of the target. In doing this I began to become creative, I made a five-pointed star one time, once I even shot the Fire Nation insignia. It was a crude connect-the-dots picture, but even though Rhea wasn't impressed, I was proud of myself.
I was working on a cloud on one target and the Sun on the other. Like I said, it was hard to do curves, so the cloud looked like a spiked ball, and the Sun looked like an octagon with dots surrounding it, but if you used your imagination it looked a little more reasonable.
"What are you doing?" I heard Rhea behind me, she sounded irked.
I said nothing, too embarrassed by my cloud and Sun. I briskly stood up to retrieve my arrows.
"None of your arrows hit the middle of the target, Kyza," she continued after I had retrieved all of my arrows.
"I am sorry Master, I thought that it might be good to know how to attack other areas than the center." I explained cautiously.
I could see the wheels turning in Rhea's mind, digesting what I had said. She looked at me skeptically, "continue," she said after consideration.
I continued, gaining confidence, "Like if a Water Tribe spear man was about to throw his spear it might be better to aim for his arm instead if his center, especially if his core was protected by armor or something."
"Very perceptive, Kyza," she consented with a thin smile. Relieved, I let out a breath that I didn't know I was holding. I never quite knew what would please the elderly woman, I guess that always kept me on my best behavior around her. Rhea was a complex puzzle of questions without answers and secrets. I had heard rumors that Rhea was a close adviser to the Fire Lord, but I could never weasel out whether or not the rumor was true.
Rhea's thin smile grew into one of glee, "today we will practice World Domination, with Firebending," Rhea announced excitedly. I smiled; No matter what Rhea did to try and hide that she loved to watch me practice World Domination, she always failed miserably. The fact was World Domination combined both archery and Firebending into one perfect challenge that I always met with determination.
World Domination was a complicated process that took weeks of preparation. The Fire Nation kept captives from all of the surviving nations, in a prison called Boiling Rock. Every few weeks Rhea sent a message to the prison. The message usually said something along the lines of: Rhea of the Fire Nation requires two prisoner Earth, Water, and Firebenders escorted to the Capital City Prison. Once escorted to the Capital, Rhea would visit them and explain that if they could defeat her archery student they would be granted freedom and a ride to the Earth Kingdom. This ensured that the prisoners would battle as hard as they could, making the practice more challenging. They would be kept at the Capital City Prison until Rhea thought I was ready for them. I would first fight one of each nation independent from another, then all at once. I had never lost World Domination.
Rhea had had rooms in her estate constructed especially for this purpose. The Water level of World Domination had several pitchers of water in it, Earth level had a metal flooring and walls and a couple of piles of rocks of varying sizes, the Fire level was constructed entirely of stone to avoid lighting anything on fire, and the final level was a combination of everything.
I always forgot how big the World Domination rooms were, they were about 15 feet tall with a small window near the top - for a small backup guard in case trouble arouse - and about 30 feet long with about another 15 feet in width, torches lined the walls for light and several piles of stones were spread around the room.
Despite how many times I forgot about the room, I never forgot the opponents I fought in them. Earthbenders generally looked the same, bulky, green eyes, burning fury for their Kingdom, and the broken sadness of a prisoner. This individual was arrogant he gazed upon me, who was cross-legged on the floor, with confidence.
Me on the other hand had already beaten him several times in my head. I breathed in deeply drawing heat from the torches around the room. The Flames flickered for a brief moment, the Earthbender glanced around quickly before returning he gaze to me. My eyes locked with his, I saw a flash of uncertainty in the Earthbender's eyes, I smiled maliciously, he was in over his head.
"Positions!" I heard Rhea call from the viewing window. I stood casually and pulled my bow from my back, along with an arrow from my quiver.
"Ready!" The Earthbender widened his position and pulled his arms close to his sides, hands in fists.
"Begin!" Before Rhea even finished the word, the battle had begun. The Earthbender launched a rock at me and I quickly released an arrow to meet the rock and crumble it.
A pause quieted the room for a few moments; I fired two arrows in quick succession, both aimed for either sides of his head. This attack was supposed to infuriate the Earthbender without any fatal damage. The Earthbender ducked the arrows and they embedded themselves firmly in the soft metal walls. He growled angrily at the what he thought was an attempt on his life. He took two piles of rocks and shot them across the floor in a venture to knock me off of my feet. I gracefully leaped across the wave of earth and somersaulted once before landing once again on my feet.
We were within 10 feet of each other; I took a short breath before releasing it in the form of furious Fire out of my outstretched fist. The Flame stopped just short of his face, but not before startling him into stumbling back a couple of steps. As soon as he began to stumble I shot an arrow through his loose pant leg, the arrow stuck securely in the floor and made him fall instantly to hard metal floor. The Earthbender lost consciousness, and I drew another arrow from my quiver and loosely aimed it at the unconscious Earthbender.
I am Kyza of the Fire Nation, and I never lose.
All of my opponents were allowed five minutes to work out a strategy to defeat me and earn their freedom. This never really worked well, but Rhea thought it fair to give them the chance. Now my opponents were lined up next to each other, an obvious sign that they had come out with a strategy. None of them were allowed to watch my previous battles, nor were they allowed to know the outcome of the battles. All of their planning was done in ignorance.
The Waterbender was the only one who seemed to gaze at me with caution, the Earthbender was cocky, and the Firebender knew that I would be well-trained for my age, but not strong enough to defeat three prisoner benders.
"Positions!" Rhea shouted from the viewing for the final time.
"Ready!" The three benders settled into their general bending stances.
"Begin!" Simultaneously, all three Benders rained attacks down on me. I dodged their blows with complex maneuvers that Rhea had drilled me in.
A small pointed rock cut my cheek, drawing blood. I winced and hesitated, unfortunately my hesitation provided the perfect timing for the Firebender to burn my leg, "Aaaahhhh!!" I yelled in pain.
My leg gave out from underneath me, and I fell to the cold metal floor. A flash of blue brought me back to my senses. The Waterbender missed because I fell to the floor, but he wouldn't miss again if I stayed where I was.
I coiled and sprung at the Earthbender's feet. I rolled mid-spring and launched myself upward to my feet. I landed right next to the Earthbender. I heated my fists and struck the Earthbender with several punches and kicks. This not only scorched his clothing, but would leave bad bruises and would take weeks to heal completely.
The Earthbender yelped in pain, and clutched his new found bruises, I seized the opportunity to secure him in place with several arrows.
I heard the rushing water behind me and turned just in time to evaporate three lethal icicles aimed for me. I shot a fireball at the Waterbender, he easily blocked it, but the movement gave me time to move in closer. I knocked the air out of him with a heated punch that probably bruised several ribs. The Waterbender fell to the ground gasping for air and I neatly pinned him in place.
I turned my attention to the Firebender. His eyes flashed horror before infolding themselves once again with confidence. I blocked the Firebender's feeble attacks on my defenses, and moved forward to battle in closer quarters. Instincts told him to retreat backward, but in doing so led him right into a corner, I quickly tripped him, using the very strategy that had been my downfall earlier this afternoon with Regis.
I stood at the Firebender's feet arrow pointed at his chest, "surrender?" I asked.
The Firebender nodded solemnly as his freedom slipped away.
Clapping emanated from the metal doorway, I quickly re-aimed my arrow to the figure. My eyes focused in the dim room, I realized that the figure to which my arrow was aimed, was the Fire Lord.
I quickly dropped my bow and arrow and fell to my knees in respect. My Burnt leg shrieked with protest at the sudden downward movement. It was a wound that would take a few weeks to recover. I knew that in those few weeks I would have a slight limp. I hated limping it made me feel weak, sadly it was something I had to deal with.
"Well done," Ozai clapped, "that was exquisite. Please, Kyza, stand." I looked up nervously, the Fire Lord was smiling warmly. I stood cautiously, Rhea was standing a couple of paces behind the Fire Lord and looked pleased with my performance.
"That was a marvelous. Tell me, Kyza, how old are you?" The Fire Lord asked curiously.
"Fifteen, your majesty," I replied politely.
"Really? Only a year older than my own daughter, yet you seem extremely more advanced than her," he commented.
"I have two very good teachers, your majesty," I immediately gave the credit to Rhea and Regis.
Ozai nodded in agreement, "I hear you are known as the Wild Flower, are you not?"
"It is what Rhea calls me, your majesty," I explained my nickname.
"Oh? And why is she called that?" He was now addressing Rhea.
"Kyza, cannot be tamed in the usual ways of Archery and Firebending, but all stand in awe at the natural beauty of her own tactics," Rhea replied, pride filling her voice.
"I see," the Fire Lord pondered, "Well, Wild Flower, tomorrow I will send you a messenger, they will escort you to the palace, I have a job for you."
"Yes, your majesty," I bowed as the Fire Lord and Rhea left the room.
I am Kyza, Wild Flower of the Fire Nation, and I never lose.
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