When we landed it was morning. We stopped on the Black Cliffs. Located on an uninhabited island in the
Fire Nation, the Black Cliffs were a very secluded place.
"This is the spot." Sokka said. "This is where we decided to meet for the invasion." I paused. What was he talking about? What invasion?
"Why here?" Toph asked. "It's just a big cliff."
"Well, first of all it's far away from any cities so no one will know we're here. The secluded harbor makes it the perfect place to hide the invasion ships." Ships? What ships? I thought.
"I like it." Katara said. "It's nice. And we'll have plenty of time to relax. We're hear three days early." Aang's face fell and his eyes widened.
"Three days?" he cried. "I have to fight the Fire Lord in three days?!" I threw my hands to the side, stepping forward.
"Hold up!" I cried. What had I missed that couple weeks I was gone? "What invasion? What boats? What is going on?" Everyone looked at each other. I could tell they were all thinking, "Oops." Aang took a step closer to me.
"I guess we forgot to tell you." he said. "While you and I were out we met up with Katara's father's group. We took over a Fire Nation ship and disguised ourselves as Fire Nation and came up with the invasion plan. Hakoda and the others went to find more people to help us with the invasion and then we found you." I nodded.
"Alright," I said. "Well, what's the invasion plan?"
"In three days the solar eclipse will be here." Katara said. "When that happens we're all going to invade the Fire Nation palace and Aang's going to face the Fire Lord while the eclipse is in effect." I took a deep breath, taking it all in. I tried to accept the fact that they were talking about my uncle. I knew he was evil and needed to be stopped, but he was still my uncle. He still loved me as a child. He was still family.
"Three days..." Aang muttered. "I'm not ready for that."
"Me either..." I said, sitting down. Katara walked up to me and sat down next to me. She put her hand on my shoulder.
"I know it must be hard." she said. She looked up at Aang and took his hand, pulling him down gently next to her. "For you too, Aang." she continued. "But, it needs to be done. This war needs to end."
"That's easy for you to say." I said. "He isn't your family."
"And you don't need to take him out." Aang said.
"But, I'm helping with this, too." Katara said. "We all are. It's hard for all of us." I shook my head, standing up.
"It isn't the same, Katara." I said. "And you know it." I turned and walked to Appa. Without asking if I could take him I just flew off with him to the nearest inhabited place. I landed him on the edge of the island, not wanting him to be seen and I stared walking. I kept walked and walking, thinking of what would happen. A few things popped into my head. Aang would burst into the throne room only to be ambushed by guards. He would burst into the throne room and kill me uncle. He would burst into the room and Uncle Ozai will be gone. So many things could happen. I touched the necklace Katara gave me as I moved a rock from my path. I had to be loyal to my friends. They accepted me into their group despite everything about me. They cared for me and helped me and loved me. But, I had to be loyal to my family, as well. They're my family. They loved me on occasion. They housed me for 15 years of my life. I was torn. Torn between people who loved me and my family. Tears started coming to my eyes and streaming down my face. I wiped them away quickly and cleared my throat. I sniffed and walked a little faster. I had no idea what to do. I couldn't betray my family, but I couldn't betray my friends either. I didn't want to see my Uncle die, but I wanted to see the war end. I shook my head, tucking my hair behind my ears. Everything boiled up inside me. Anger, sadness, hatred- everything I had been put through my whole life came through in an aggressive display of Fire and Earthbending. I raised the ground and tossed rocks and set things on fire. I screamed, tearing up the Earth and ruining everything around me. I fell to my knees, surrounded by fire and broken trees. Tears fell to the ground one after another as I cried to myself. I looked around. Destruction. That was all I was capable of was destruction. Bad things. It ran in my veins. There was no stopping it. I slowly got to me feet and stopped the fire before it spread too far nad got out of control. I leveled the ground, unable to do anything about the fallen trees. Things were black from the fire. Trees lay on the ground, cracked and lifeless. I buried my face in my hands for a second then bolted. I just kept running and running, not knowing where I was going. I didn't know if I was running to something, or away from something. To my family or away from my friends. To comfort or away from fear. To safety or away from my destruction. I just kept running, pounding the ground as I did. Tears kept coming to my eyes, blurring my vision. I kept wiping them away, not slowing. Not even for a second. I was panting. My chest heaved as I breathed. Finally I stopped, putting my hand on a tree for stability as I gasped for breath. I leaned against the tree, looking to my side. My mouth was opening, drinking in the air to fill my lungs. I pushed my hair from my face and cleared my throat, trying to breath through my nose. I started walking again, forcing my legs not to buckle from exhaustion. I moved rocks from my path as I went, too tired to move around them. Eventually I zoned out, thinking about what would happen during the invasion. I wasn't paying attention, but my legs kept walking, taking me where they wanted to go. Before I knew it I had walked from the woods into a small Fire Nation city and it looked about noon. I had been walking for a good three hours, I assumed. I looked around and walked down the road, looking at the tea shops and houses and restaurants. I tried to look as if I hadn't just had a total meltdown. I took a deep breath and walked upright. I reached into my pocket and pulled out the one gold silver piece I had. I walked into a tea shop and up to the counter.
"Hello, miss." said the girl at the counter. She paused. "Say, you look familiar. Do I know you?" Uh-oh. I thought. I gave her a smile, untucking my hair from my ears without making it look like I was trying to hide my face.
"I don't think you really know me." I said. "I make my way around." She smiled sweetly.
"Well, what can I get you?" she asked.
"Some spiced tea would be lovely." I answered, putting my silver piece on the counter.
"Of course." she said. I turned as she went to the kitchen and I sat down at a table. I rested my head on my hand. I didn't want to think. I just wanted to drink some tea and pretend to be a normal person. A minute later a waitress gave me my tea. I thanked her and sipped the hot liquid. I slipped down my throat, warming my body. I couldn't help but smile. It was so relaxing. Spiced tea was my favourite tea ever. I took a deep breath as I drank, letting out many of my troubles. Though, I knew it wouldn't last long.
Someone tapped my shoulder. I turned and looked up to see a Fire Nation officer standing next to me. My first thought was to stand and run, but I knew that wouldn't do any good.
"Are you Meiza Kozai?" he asked.
"Yes." I answered.
"May I sit?" he asked.
No, leave me alone.
"Of course." I answered. He gave me a little smile and sat down. He had a troubled look on his face. He cupped his hands together on the table and took a sip of my tea.
"Mei," he started. He sighed. "I have some troubling news about your father." I froze, swallowing hard. When someone's doing something involving the war you never want to hear troubling news about them.
"Yes?" I asked quietly.
"Chan Kozai-" he stopped. "Um, your father was killed a few days ago. We still don't know how, but we found him dead." I couldn't move. I couldn't think or feel anything. "I'm so sorry, Mei." he said. Tears came to my eyes. I stood and flipped the table over.
"No!" I cried. "You're wrong! He isn't dead!" I smashed my chair on the ground and all the legs snapped off. "Why would you lie to me like that?!" I screamed. The officer stood up, putting his hands out to me, trying to get me to relax. He moved his chair out of the way so he could step back.
"Mei, calm down," he said. "I'm not lying to you. I wouldn't lie to you about something like that."
"No!" I cried, shooting a blast of fire at him. "You are lying!" I lifted my head to the ceiling and breathed a hot ball of fire up before racing from the shop. I ran back down the road and into the woods before collapsing. I sobbed into the Earth, not bothering to make it quiet. I screamed and yelled at the top of my lungs. Calling out to my father as if he was there to help me. I sobbed until I finally gave way to sleep in the middle of the day.
I woke up to a rustling sound. I gasped, standing quickly, trying to gain balance. I looked around. It was dark and I couldn't see anything.
"A- Aang?" I asked. I turned, trying to see in the darkness. "Toph?" I took a step back, not sure if I was moving closer or farther from whatever was there. I gathered fire, holding it in my hands for light. I knew that if it was one of the gang they would have spoken by then and made themselves known. In a panic, hoping that maybe Aang and them would see, I tossed a large boulder far into the air and sent a thin, strong line for it, making it explode in the air like a flare. The rustling got louder and closer, so I decided to just run. I started running, but I hadn't taken seven steps before I was grabbed. I ran right to them. I was cuffed and gagged and dragged away. I couldn't see anything except a bit of light from the moon trying to peek through the trees. I was struggling for a second, but gave up. What's the point? I thought. It isn't helping... I don't care what happens to me... So, I let them drag me off. We walked and walked for a good hour before reaching our destination. I started struggling again when I saw the building in front of me. A Fire Nation prison. I started trying to Firebend and quickly found out who one of the people was when they punched my side and I couldn't bend. Ty Lee. I wasn't sure who the others were, but Ty Lee was there. She stopped me from bending so I couldn't get away. They dragged me inside the prison and I could finally see. It was Ty Lee and a few other lackeys. They pushed me to Azula, who was standing in front of a hall way, and pushed me to my knees in front of her, taking off my gag. Azula had the same smug look she always had as she looked down on me. I scowled up at her, wishing Ty Lee hadn't blocked my chi so I could bend.
"Hello, Mei." Azula said. "Long time no see."
"Not long enough." I said. Azula laughed. "What do you want, Azula?" I snapped.
"I missed you, Meiza." she said. "I wanted to see you again. You are my favourite cousin, after all."
"Don't call me that!" I cried. Hearing Meiza made me think of Father. I didn't want to think of him.
"Why?" Azula asked. "Because Uncle Chan called you that?" I lowered my head, fighting tears of anger. I knew I hadn't a chance against her, since I was being restrained. Azula sighed. "Since you've been through so much, I guess I'll tell you why you're here so you can relax a little. I've brought you here as a trap for the Avatar. I had Ty Lee leave a note so your friends could find you and I could finally have him." I lifted my head, staring into her eyes. I felt so angry with her. I had so much hatred towards her, but I couldn't do anything about. My body wouldn't attack even thought my brain said to. I just let her lackeys take me away to a cell and lock me in. I could see that both of them stayed. Azula knew I had gotten out before I would again without proper guarding. I bended all the dirt on the bottom of the cell to one corner and sat down. I gave up. I wasn't going to fight anymore. I knew I would just be captured again. It was no use. Azula won. I lost. And that was it.
In the cell I passed time exercising and sleeping. I'd take a 20 minute nap after doing 100 pushups. I practiced Firebending and defense moves. I cried for my father and for everything that happened, I threw a fit out of anger, I meditated (Aang showed me how), and I sat boredly. I looked up out the window. I didn't want Aang and them to come find me to save me because I didn't want them to fall into Azula's trap. I paced the floor, trying to think of how to get them not to save me. I walked over to the window and stood on my toes to grab onto the bars. I pulled myself up, then grabbed onto the cell bars above my head. I picked up my feet and pressed them against the wall. I had a perfect view outside. I looked out at the woods that surrounded the sides and back of the prison. I looked at the sky, wishing to see Appa flying through it so I could stop them. I stood there for an hour, waiting and watching and hoping to see them. Then I gave up and dropped to the floor, laying against the wall. I knew I could manage to get out of the cell, but there was no way I could get out of the room or out of the building. Then I paused. What was I thinking? I was a prodigy Firebender who could control lightning! Nobody but me, Uncle Iroh and maybe Zuko knew how to redirect lightning! I stood up and faced the bars. Then paused again. Toph knew how to Metalbend, maybe I could if I Firebended at the same time. With a deep breath and held a big flame in each hand and grabbed onto the bars. I inhaled it and pushed on the bars as hard as I could. It was hard. Very hard. Not as hard as holding off the Ba Sing Se wall, but I would say one of the hardest things I've ever done. I tried to hold in cries as I pushed so the guards wouldn't hear, and finally the bars bent just enough for me to squeeze through. Then I gathered up lightning and shot it at the door. Why didn't I think of that before? I asked as his exploded in front of me. The guards started to rush in, but I pointed my fingers at them.
"I exploded that door with lightning, guys." I said. "I can do the same to you." The paused, then slowly back up with their hands in the air. I held my fingers to them until I was safely away. Now, how do I get out of here? I thought. The place would be crawling with guards, I knew. It was a prison, so it had to be. I thought, for a second that maybe I could put on one of the guards suits and pretend to be one. But, they didn't really have female guards, and the suits would drown me. Everyone would notice. Then I paused. I wasn't in prisoner clothes. I had on my normal clothes. And as far as I knew, only Ty Lee and the those two other guards knew that I was here under Azula's orders. Maybe if I pretend I came to visit someone... I thought. I fixed my hair and stood up straight. I started walking down the hallway in a confident manner, hoping I didn't look as nervous as I felt.
"Hey!" I heard. I stopped and turned. I could see a guard walking towards me. I gave him the look important people give anyone who stops them from doing anything. The, 'Excuse me? Do you know who I am?' look. "What are you doing here?" he asked when he reached me. I scoffed.
"Excuse me?" I asked. "Excuse me? Do you even know who I am?" I could tell he was a bit taken aback by the way I was acting. He believed I was someone important. Someone to be feared. And I was.
"Uh, uh- well," he stammered. I tried to keep looking at him as if I was shocked he didn't know who I was.
"My father would not be happy if he found out you spoke to me this way." I forced out. Talking about my father made my stomach turn. And I didn't lie about it, either. He would have been angry to find out someone disrespected someone in his family.
"No, I'm sorry." the man said. "I- is there anything I can do for you, miss?" I smiled. Perfect.
"Yes." I answered. "You may escort me out. But, make sure no one sees me. People always want to talk with me because I'm so important, but I'm in hurry."
"Of course." the guard said. "I can take you out the back, miss." I nodded at him and followed him back down the hall. He took me down a few hallways and down some stairs before we got to a back door. He opened it for me and bowed to me as I left.
"Keep up the good work." I told him. He closed the door behind me. As soon as I heard it lock I bolted into the woods. I might as well have been running with my eyes closed. The sky was cloudy, blocking out the moon and stars. Even if it wasn't, the trees would have covered most of the light, anyway. I wasn't even thinking of lighting a fire for light. I was too focused on running as fast as I could away from the prison. I ran as fast as my legs would carry me until I slammed into something and fell backwards. I pegged the something as a someone because they made an 'oof' sounds when they fell, too. I quickly stood, shooting fire in their general direction.
"Who are you?!" I cried. "Show yourself!"
"Mei!" I heard. I froze, breathing heavily. "Mei, it's me! Sokka!" I sighed, closing my eyes before falling to my knees. I pulled Sokka up onto his knees and sighed.
"You scared me, Sokka." I said. "I thought you were another one of Azula's lackeys."
"I scared you?" he asked. "You shot fire at me! I thought I was going to die!" I smiled a little.
"Sorry..." I said. "I just got a little flustered. How did you get here? I had Appa."
"He flew back to island after a few hours. So I took him over here." I held a flame in my hand for lighting. I looked around to see no one else but us.
"Where is everyone?" I asked.
"It's just me." Sokka said. I looked back at him, a little surprised.
"Why?" I asked.
"I told everyone else to stay behind." he answered. "I knew it would be easier for one person to save you then for everyone to. Especially Aang. Why else would Azula capture you other then to get to Aang? I knew it would be safer if just one of us went. So, I did. And it's a good thing too, because I found the note Azula left and it just sounded so evil." I smiled, trying to hide the fact I was blushing.
"Oh," I said. "Well, thank you."
"Don't thank me," he said. "I didn't even get to save you!" I laughed and stood up with him and we started walking back to Appa.
"It's the thought that counts." I said. We started walking back through the woods and I kept a flame for lighting.
"Oh, by the way, there's someone back at camp I want you to meet." Sokka said after a second.
"Okay." I said with a little smile.
"She's really cool." he said. "She's a Kyoshi warrior. She taught me some fighting moves."
"A Kyoshi warrior?" I asked. Kyoshi sounded familiar, but I couldn't peg what it was.
"Yeah. They named themselves after a previous Avatar. Avatar Kyoshi. She was a great warrior." Sokka explained. "And so is Suki." I hid a small scowl. He was interested in her, I could tell. Then I paused. Why am I jealous? I asked myself. I don't care if Sokka likes someone else! I tried to leave the thought as we walked together in silence.
Finally we got back to camp. I rushed out of the woods into the clearing. Katara, Aang and Toph were quick to meet me. I grabbed Aang and hugged him tightly, then Katara.
"I'm so sorry you guys..." I said. "I shouldn't have run off..."
"We understood." Katara said. "You're going through a lot." I looked down.
"More then I thought..." I said. "My father died." Everyone gasped, even the one I assumed was Suki. She was pretty. She had short brown hair in a half ponytail. I didn't like her.
"Oh, Mei," Sokka said. "I'm so sorry."
"Yeah," Katara said. "We understand what you're going through." Aang touched my shoulder.
"I'm really sorry." he said. I could tell he was sorry not only about my father, but about what he would have to do to my uncle. I touched his hand before walking away to the edge of the cliff and laying down. It was almost morning, but I had nothing else to do. I didn't want to think about anything, and I knew sleep would help. Aang, on the other hand, didn't sleep. He kept waking up and having nightmares about the invasion and having to take out the Fire Lord. I felt bad for the poor little guy. He seemed really tired and distraught. But, I couldn't focus on him. When I was awake I was only focusing on my own problems. Everyone else was trying to relax him and get him to sleep, but I spent most of my time down by the water, thinking. I sat with my feet in the water, playing with a bit of fire. Memories of me and my father flooded my mind. The good memories, before the twins were born.
I was laughing and chasing after my father. He was laughing, pretending to be scared.
"Oh, no, mighty Meiza!" he cried. "Please! Spare me!" I leapt on top of him as he fell backwards onto the ground. I was laughing hard.
"Got you, Dad!" I cried. "I win!" He lifted me up in the air with ease over himself.
"Oh, you sure did, Meiza!" he said. "You're the mightiest eight year old that ever lived!" We laughed together and he hugged me tightly. I rolled over onto my back next to him and we stared up at the sky.
I shot a ball of fire in front of me, then kicked with a spin and shot another.
"Good job!" Dad called. "You're so good!" I smiled at him and bowed.
"Thank you, sifu Dad!" I cried.My mother came out from the house with a pleasant smile.
"Mei," she said. "Don't forget your chores." Dad looked at me sadly.
"Uh-oh, Meiza," he said. "Looks like we have to wait. A big girl does her chores." I smiled.
"I'm a big girl!" I cried. He lifted me onto his shoulders.
"You sure are, Meiza." he said. "Let's go get those chores done!" I giggled as he walked me into the house.
Me and Dad were fighting out in the lawn. I was beating him.
"Oh, the might Meiza strikes again!" he cried. I gave him an evil smile.
"I am the best!" I cried.
"Mei!"My mother called. "I have great news! Come in the house!" Dad picked me up and walked me into the house. He set me down and I saw on the floor in front of my mother and Dad.
"Mei," my mother said. "You're going to be an older sister." I smiled wide.
"Really?" I cried. "An older sister! This is great!" Dad smiled.
"That makes you practically women!" he said. I grinned wider. "You'll have to take on more responsibilities." I stood up and saluted them.
"I'm ready, sifu Dad!" I announced. "I'll be the best big sister ever!" Dad smiled.
"I'm sure you will."
I wasn't so excited about 2 weeks after Shoa and Shoza were born. That's when everything changed and my parents began to stop caring for me. I started bending a small rock into different shapes as I zoned out, staring at the water. I heard someone coming up beside me. I hoped it was Aang or Sokka as I looked up. Suki. I tried not frown bluntly at her and I looked back at the water.
"Can I sit?" she asked. I nodded. She sat down next to me and watched the water, too. "I'm sorry about your father." she said. "I know I don't know you or your father, but that's still an awful thing to go through."
"Yeah, it is." I answered. "So, how did you and Sokka meet?"
"Oh, well, he came to my hometown and I taught him some Kyoshi warrior style fighting." she explained.
"Yeah, he said you were a Kyoshi warrior." I said. I scanned her face. Usually, as far as I understood, the Kyoshi warriors had on face paint like avatar Kyoshi did, but Suki didn't have it on then.
"We have been properly introduced." she said after a second. "I'm Suki."
"Mei." I said. We shook hands and stared back at the water. We sat in a kind of awkward silence for a moment.
"So," Suki said, breaking it. "How did you meet all of them?" I smirked, remembering what had happened.
"I tried to take some of there food after I left home, and Toph stopped me." I explained. "They grilled me for a second, but I asked if I could travel with them since we were going the same way." I shrugged. "They said yes, and I never left. Even when we got to the Earth Kingdom, which was where I was going, I decided not to leave." Suki smiled and nodded.
"Got too attached?" she asked. I thought for a second. I never really thought about why I stayed. I just- didn't leave. I stayed with them until I was captured by Azula. Then when I got away, I just stayed with them. I guess maybe it was because I got attached. I mean, I was devastated when I had to be without them, and couldn't wait to see them again. Maybe it's just because I didn't think about leaving or maybe it's because I got too attached. Whatever reason it was then, I was too attached at that moment with Suki to ever even think of leaving them. I didn't like to think about what would happen after Aang took out Uncle Ozai. I wondered if we would still be together. And if we would, what would we do? We have a mission right now. We have something we need to do and that's what we're headed for. So, it hurt to think that after everything's said and done, we might leave each other.
"Yeah," I answered Suki with a distant look out to the water. "I did get attached." Suki smiled and stood up.
"Sorry, again about your father." she said. "Just remember- you have us." She turned and walked back up to the others. I smiled faintly, resting my head on my arms, my arms on my knees. For a second I actually felt okay, until I heard Aang scream. I looked up and immediately rushed to him. When I found him and was sitting on the ground, looking sad. I sat down next to him, looking him over for some kind of wound or something. He didn't have his shoes on and I could see the nasty scar on the bottom of his foot from where Azula's lightning exited his body. He had a big scar in the middle of his back from where it entered, as well.
"Aang, are you okay?" I asked. "I heard you scream."
"No," he said. "I'm not okay. The invasion is in two days and I'm not ready for it."
"Why did you scream?" I asked. He shook his head.
"Toph wanted to give me acupuncture..." he answered. I smirked a little.
"Have you slept yet?" I asked.
"Barely." he answered sadly. "I keep having these awful nightmares... I just can't sleep. My best bet is to stay awake straight to the invasion." I sighed.
"That's an awful idea." I told him. "You'll be way too tired to fight Ozai. You need to sleep."
"I can't!" he cried, standing up. "I can't take the nightmares. And besides, I have a lot more training to do anyway. I still don't know any Firebending!"
"You don't need to know it." Sokka said. He was laying a few feet away, looking over a map. "The solar eclipse will take away all Firebending. Besides, it's a stupid element." I scowled.
"Hey." I said. Sokka gave me a sheepish smirk.
"Fine," Aang said. "But, I have a lot more training to do anyway." I sighed. He bowed crazily to all of us and rushed off. I laid back.
"He needs help..." I said.
"Tell me about it." Katara said.
I was laughing. I was happy. Smiling.
"Meiza!" Dad called. "Meiza!"
"I'm here, Dad!" I called back, running to him. It was slow motion. I was moving too slow. I wanted to reach him. He seemed to be moving farther away. Then his eyes widened. He started falling backwards and screaming. Only it wasn't his scream. It was- I gasped. "Aang!"
With a huge gasp I sat up and looked over to see Aang sitting up, panting. Katara yawned and rubbed her eyes.
"What's going on?" she asked.
"I had a nightmare..." Aang said. "I fell asleep." He stood up and stretched. "I have to go train." he turned and rushed off. I shook my head and pushed my hair back. The sun was rising, so I stood up. I stretched and went down to the water to wash up. I took off my shirt and pants and slipped into the cool water. I sighed as I gently swam through it on my back. It was so relaxing. I dipped under the water then came back up. I turned onto my back and closed my eyes, swimming backwards. I took a deep breath then heard a small thud. I stopped and opened my eyes just in time to see a rock head for me. I gasped, but before I could move enough out of the way, or even think about Earthbending it, it crashed down onto my arm, pulled me under the water, and pinned my arm down the ground. In a panic I managed to gather myself enough to Earthbend the rock off of me and struggle to get to the top. I gasped for breath as I surfaced and clutched my arm. I cried out a bit in pain and slowly left the water. I pulled myself onto shore and sat down. I groaned.
"Katara!" I called. I winced, holding my arm. "Katara, help!" Not only Katara, but Aang, Sokka, Suki and Toph rushed down to me. Katara fell to her knees beside me and reached out for my arm. I faced her more, still wincing.
"This doesn't look good, Mei." she said. "What happened?" I bit my bottom lip so I wouldn't make anymore noises of pain.
"A- a rock fell on my arm." I answered. "Ouch... It hurts really bad." Katara pulled water from the ocean and gently touched my arm. I closed my eyes tightly as the shooting pain got a little bit better.
"Does that feel better?" she asked. I nodded.
"A little." I said.
"Where does it hurt most?" she asked. I pointed to the middle of my forearm. She gently touched it with her glowing-water-healing hands. Aang shook his head.
"I'm sorry, Mei." he said. "I feel so bad for you."
"Why are you sorry?" I asked. "You didn't do it. If I wasn't such a moron I could have Earthbended it away before it crushed me."
"You panicked." Aang said. "It happens to the best of us." I looked him in the eye with a serious face.
"Yes," I said. "Panicking does happen to the best of us. But, we pull through and do what we need to do." Aang's face grew sad and he looked away. I looked back at Katara. "What's the damage, chief?" I asked. Katara sighed.
"It doesn't look too good." she answered. "But, I was able to fix some of it. Let it rest and we'll try another healing session later." I nodded and stood up. We all walked back up to camp and I sat down by Appa. I held my arm, sitting on Appa's foot and leaning on his leg. I just needed to do some thinking. I needed to think about everything that had happened to me since I left so I could try and figure some things out. Trying to avoid it wasn't helping. I sighed and sat up, not wanting to concentrate on it. Aang had already gone back to freaking out. He was yelling at Sokka.
"Climb that cliff!" he cried.
"What?" Sokka asked. "Why?"
"Because in one of my dreams we were being chased by the Fire Navy and you had to climb a cliff, but you were to slow and got you!" Aang said, his sentence running together as he spoke faster and faster. I smiled a little. His dreams were amusing to me, but scary to him.
"I'm a great climber!" Sokka cried.
"Then climb the cliff!" Aang said, pointing to a cliff coming up from the Earth. Sokka grumbled and started climbing. I looked over and saw Toph drinking from the water canteen.
"Don't drink that!" Aang cried. Panic, Toph spit the water out all over Katara.
"Why!?" she cried. "Is it poisoned?!" Katara bended the water from herself and dropped it on the ground.
"I had a dream that we were in the middle of the invasion and we had to stop because you needed to go to the bathroom. We all died because of your tiny bladder!" Toph scowled.
"You need help." she said. Aang fell to his back and Sokka fell from the cliff. I giggled and laid back again. Okay, Mei, I thought. Focus. You need to think about this. Okay, so first, think about Dad. He's gone and you need to deal with it. You need to grieve. That's the only way to let it all out. He loved you at one point in your life and no he's gone. He's gone! Dead! Died! Not living!
"No!" I cried out loud. I froze as everyone stared at me. I blushed and turned away. Smooth, Mei. Now everyone's going to think you're a freak! You don't just yell stuff out loud like that!
"Mei," I turned to see Katara standing behind me. "I think it's time for another healing session." I gave her a forced smile and walked with her to the edge of the cliff. We sat down and I slowly held out my arm, wincing. It hurt to move it at all. She pulled water from the ocean below and molded it to her hands. She gently put them over my forearm. I took a deep breath, closing my eyes. Relax. I thought. It feels good.
"Mei, we should talk." Katara said.
"Okay... shoot." I said, keeping my eyes clothes.
"I just don't think it's very healthy for you to keep everything bottled up." she started. "You been through a lot lately, and I think you should try to talk it out." I sighed and opened my eyes. I looked down at my arm.
"I think you're right." I said. And she was right. Talking it out probably would make it a whole lot better. Sometimes speaking things makes you come to realize it happened. Which in turn makes you feel a little better. "But, I have so many things..." I said after a second. "Where would I start?"
"Well, what's bothering you the most?" she asked as she moved her hands in circles on my arm. I sighed, trying to think. There were so many things, I couldn't focus on what hurt the most. Probably my father...
"Maybe my father?" I said. "I think his death is effecting me more then I ever thought it would. After Shoa and Shoza were born, neither of my parents cared for me like they should have. They turned me into a teenager at eight years old." Katara nodded, showing she was listening. The pain in my arm got a little better. "So, when I left, I thought I wouldn't need them anymore. I thought I didn't care if I ever saw them again. But, now I realize that I felt that way because I knew I could see them again if I wanted to. Now that I can't see my father no matter what..." I stopped, choking back cries. "Now that I can't see my father no matter what," I said again. "It hurts. A lot. I never knew I could miss him this much." Katara nodded. She pulled her hands back and dropped the water back into the ocean. I pulled my arm gently back into my stomach, holding it.
"Losing a parent is hard." she said. "I lost my mother when I was just a little kid. And I up until a couple weeks ago, I hadn't seen my father in two years." She took a deep breath. "Anything else?" she asked. I shrugged.
"I don't know." I said. "I'm sick of being captured... I'm upset that Zuko's doing the wrong thing..." I looked away. "I don't know what to do about my Uncle Ozai..."
"What do you mean?" Katara asked. I looked back at her.
"Katara, do you understand that I have a choice?" I asked. "I can either let Aang kill him, or not." She looked a little shocked. "I have a say in what happens. And-" I looked down at the ocean, watching it whip up the edge of the cliff. "I haven't decided what I want to do yet..." Her eyes widened and she stood up. I closed my eyes and heard her walk away. She was shocked. So was I...
Later on Suki brought me some bandages and helped me wrap up arm. I was worried I wouldn't be bale to help in the invasion as much as I thought I wanted to. I still wasn't sure of exactly how I felt. I was going to go with them to the invasion, but it wasn't clear if I was going help them or not. It's going to be this whole big thing. It was confusing and scary and I didn't know if I wanted to help. I held onto my arm. It hurt. I assumed it was broken, but I wasn't sure. I probably wont be able to help because of my arm anyway. So, it doesn't matter. I thought. But, that didn't resolve the fact that I wasn't sure if I was going to let Aang take out my uncle or not. I sighed and laid back with a little moan.
"Mei." I heard. I sat up to see Sokka walking towards me. "Come on, we need your help."
"With what?" I asked, slowly sliding off Appa's foot.
"We're going to shear the koala sheep that are over in the field and make a bed for Aang. Maybe that way he'll get some sleep." he answered. I smirked. I had seen the little koala sheep before. They were so cute. The koala sheep and it's natural enemy the boar-q-pine are the only inhabitants of the Black Cliffs. I smiled and nodded at Sokka, not being able to say no to him for some reason. I followed behind me as he led me to the herd. Toph, Katara and Suki were already there with sharp rocks for shaving the little koala sheep. I got one for myself and we got to work. We sheared so many sheep, it took a few hours.
"I really hope this works." Katara said.
"I'm sure it will." Sokka said. "Look how comfortable these things are!" I smiled with a little laugh. They all paused and looked at me. For the most part I wasn't a happy person, so for me to smile and actually laugh at a joke someone said was different. I would laugh as someone's stupidity, but at a joke was different. I cleared my throat, my smile fading, and gently pushed the rock against the koala sheep's wool. Momo bounded towards us and jumped onto one of the un-sheered sheep. He curled up with a little coo and closed his eyes. I smirked.
"Yeah, I'm sure it will be fine." I said. "It has to be. He needs to be rested before tomorrow- ouch!" I pulled my arm back quickly, cradling it in my other arm.
"Use your good arm, Mei." Katara said. I sighed.
"I would- but, it's just that I'm a righty." I answered. "I have to use my bad arm for stuff like this."
"Just try." Katara said. "You really shouldn't be using that arm. I'm going to make you a sling for it." I frowned.
"I don't want to hurt the sheep..." I muttered. I grabbed the rock and gently pushed it against the koala sheep's wool with my left hand. It felt weird and awkward and my hand shook. I sighed, shaking my head. I switched hands, hoping Katara wouldn't notice and started shaving it with that hand. It hurt, but I wanted to help with Aang's bed, but didn't want to hurt the koala sheep.
"Mei!" Katara cried. I jumped at the sudden noise, jerking my arm. I dropped the rock with a gasp of surprise and pain. I drew my arm in, wincing. Katara groaned. She stood up and walked over to our supplies, taking the bandages. She walked over to me and wrapped it around my shoulder a couple of times, making it hold my arm up. She tied it behind my neck and stepped back.
"Leave it on." she said. "Your arm needs rest." I scowled. The sling was wierd and uncomfortable, like doing stuff with my left hand. "Leave it." Katara warned. "We'll do another healing session later." I nodded. Then paused. If she can heal my arm, maybe she can 'heal' my mind... I stood up.
"There isn't much more I can do here." I said. "Let me know when you're going to set the bed up and I'll help you then."
"Okay." Katara said. "Get some rest." I nodded and walked off. I sat on the edge of the cliff, my feet hanging freely off the side. I watched the water far below smash against the edges of the cliff and the shore. Suddenly memories of me and Uncle Ozai took over my mind. It was like all I could see was him and the good times we used to have. That too mostly ended after the twins were born.
I was in the throne room, showing Uncle Ozai a Firebending move I had learned.
"Very good, Mei." he said. "You are doing very well." I smiled and bowed to him.
"My father has taught me well." I said.
"And who taught him?" he asked me with a smile.
"You, Uncle Ozai." I answered.
"That's right." he said in a powerful voice. "I'm very proud of you, Mei. You and Azula are doing very well in your Firebending. I only wish Zuko could be as good." I nodded, not wanting to say anything mean about Zuko, but not wanting to disagree with Uncle Ozai.
"Thank you, Uncle Ozai." I said with another bow. "I'm trying to make you proud."
"Well, you've succeeded." He smiled down at me from his throne and I left.
Me and Zuko were playing in his backyard, pretending to have an Agni Kai. That time, I was winning. I was about to strike my final blow and win when Uncle Ozai called my name. I turned and upon seeing him fell to my knees and bowed immediately.
"Hello, Uncle Ozai." I said. Staying on my knees I looked up at him.
"Come, Mei." he told me. "I have something I would like to show you." He turned, hands behind his back, and started walking away. I stood up and looked back for a moment to see Zuko's sad face. He lowered his head nad turned from me. I felt bad for leaving, but I knew I had to. Quickly I went after Uncle Ozai and followed him the training room.
"I have a Firebending move I would like to show you." he said. "You must learn it. And being a prodigy like your cousin, Azula, I feel you will learn it quickly." I smiled, eager to learn from the master. He took a breath in. He held his hand in a fist with his index and middle finger sticking straight out. He put them together then in smooth motions moved them apart, to the side, then forward again. As he moved them I could see lightning generated from his fingers. When he shot them forward lightning came shooting out from his fingers. I gasped. It was amazing. Such power being controlled by one person. I had to learn it. And I did.
After the twins were born all Uncle Ozai could talk about was how they better become master Firebenders. Whenever I tried to show him something new I learned he told me to stop being rude. Every once and a while he would pay attention to me and let me show him my work. He gave me more attention then Zuko, but still it wasn't enough. Eventually our relationship withered, as did all relationships I had with anyone.
When I came back to the real world I found I had started crying a little. I quickly wiped the tears from eyes and thought about how all I wanted was to show Uncle Ozai how amazing I was at Firebending now. I was way better then when I had last shown him when I was 11. I sighed and closed my eyes. I had made up my mind about letting Aang take him out or not. I have to do it. I have to-
"Mei," Aang said, walking up behind me. He had huge bags under his eyes. He sat down next to me, letting his legs dangle off the edge, too. "We need to talk." I nodded with my head down.
"That's probably a good idea." I said. He took a deep breath.
"I feel really bad about having to do this." he said. "Not only am I extremely nervous about facing the Fire Lord... But, I feel bad because he's your uncle."
"I understand." I said. "To tell you the truth, I actually wasn't sure if I was going to let you do it or not." I could see the surprise on his face. "I knew I had the choice of at least trying to stop you, or just letting you do it."
"I've made up my mind. I'm not going to have anything to do with it." I looked him in the eye. "But, I'm going to let you do what you need to do to him. I'm not going to stop you at all."
That night we hung around the bed we made for Aang. Katara bended some misty fog around it for a more tranquil setting. When Aang saw it he walked up to it and poked it all around.
"Oh great, another hallucination." he said. (he had been getting a lot of them) "A poofy bed made out of clouds."
"That's isn't a hallucination." Sokka said as we all stepped forward. "We spent hours making it for you." He pointed to all the naked koala sheep. Aang smiled. He sat down on the bed.
"We were hoping maybe if you had a nice bed you could get some sleep." Katara said. "The invasion is tomorrow and you need to be rested." When she that my heart dropped. Tomorrow... Aang laid down with a peaceful smile.
"Thanks, guys." he said. "I think I'm ready." We all smiled and walked away from him so he could sleep. We went back to where we all usually slept. Katara and Sokka slept on their sleeping bags, Toph slept in her Earth tent and I slept on the ground. I sighed and yawned. I was ready for some sleep, too.
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Book / Young Adult
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