Walking around the Earth Kingdom I felt nervous. Like at anytime Azula and her little lackeys were going to swoop in and take us all away. My eyes were dodging from one person to another, making sure none of them seemed like Fire Nation. Aang and Katara were watching me, but I was too preoccupied to react.
"Um, Mei?" I heard. I looked at Katara. She seemed worried. "Are you okay?" she asked. I smiled and laughed nervously, trying to regain my sanity.
"Yeah, yeah." I answered. "Fine."
"I dunno." Aang said, stopping and turning to me. "You seem... pale." I touched my face and cleared my throat.
"No, I'm fine." I said. "Maybe just hungry." And it was true. I was starving. And I knew that wasn't helping.
"This place looks nice." Sokka said. We all turned and looked at this big restaurant in front of us.
"The Lotus Blossom." I read. We all looked at each other.
"Sounds good to me." Toph said as she started to walk in. We entered the restaurant and were seated right then. We the waitress came we all ordered white rice and tea. I looked around the restaurant. So many warms smell wafted around. Rice, tea, noodles, vegetables, fruit. All the faces were so kind looking. Happy children eating their fruit tarts. Elderly ones drinking their tea together. The service was nice, too. The people were kind and quick to get your food to you. We weren't waiting five minutes before our food came with a smile.
"Here you are." the waitress said. We all thanked her and she left. Sokka and Toph went to town of their food. They ate like animals. Me, Aang and Katara, on the other hand, ate like normal people. I took a sip of my tea and felt the rush of warmth slide down my throat. It warmed my whole body with a soothing feeling. I love green tea. I set down the cup and continued eating my rice.
"I sure hope we can get to the Earth King soon." Aang said. "How can information on the war not be important enough to be seen right away?" I shrugged.
"She seems kind of strange. She's always got that weird smile and doesn't seem to like it when we mention the war." I said.
"The war isn't exactly something people want to think about." Katara said. "It's depressing and upsetting."
"No! Really?" I cried sarcastically. "I thought everyone loved it and wanted to talk about it all the time." She scowled at me.
"You know, you don't need to be so sarcastic all the time, Mei." she said as if she was my mother. "We get enough of that from Sokka."
"And Toph!" Sokka said blamingly. "It isn't all me, you know!" Katara rolled her eyes. I was really getting sick of her attitude.
"Quit being such a brat, Katara." I said, taking another sip of my tea.
"I'm not being a brat!" Katara protested. "You're the one who's acting like a child."
"Can we all just get along?" Toph asked.
"We weren't talking to you, Toph." Katara said. "Mei and I- well, maybe just I am capable of having an adult conversation."
"Uh, guys?" Aang said gently.
"Excuse me?" I snapped. "I'm older then you! I'm obviously more capable of an adult conversation!"
"Guys." Aang said again. What me and Katara didn't notice, was people were staring at us and getting angry at our yelling.
"Just because you're older doesn't mean you're more mature." Katara said. "Look at me and Sokka!"
"Hey, leave me out of this!" Sokka said.
"Guys!" Aang cried suddenly. We all stopped and looked at him.
"Aang, don't yell in a restaurant." Katara said. We looked up and saw the owner of the restaurant coming towards us.
"I'm sorry," he said. "But, I'm going to have to ask you to leave." I shook my head.
"No," I said. "It was us," I directed at Katara. "Let the others finishing eating."
"Very well." the owner said. Me and Katara stood up and started towards the door.
"Why don't you guys help clean up the slurry?" Aang called. "We'll be there later." So, we went to the Outer Wall to help clean. We walked on different sides of the road, not looking at or speaking to each other. Me and Katara never got along. She always insisted on acting like the group mom. She was younger then me. There was no way I was letting her tell me what to do. When we came to the Outer Wall the guards opened a doorway for us and we walked through. There was a huge mess of Earth and water. We sighed and started cleaning. Everyone else who was cleaning looked they were trying to push it away. But, I had a better idea. I made a huge hole in the Earth, deep and wide. Then I started pulling the Earth from the water.
"Put the water in the hole." I told Katara.
"I'm not stupid. I can see that." she said. I rolled my eyes.
"Then do it." I said.
"Stop telling me what to do."
I growled and sent the slurry into her face.
"Just go!" I cried. She was about to retaliate when we heard a deep rumble.
Katara turned around and we both saw Azula, Mai, Ty Lee and some of Azula's mindless lackeys come out of a huge tank. I knew I would have to be ready to fight. They all stepped closer. Azula folded her arms, shifting her weight to one side with a snobby look. Mai and Ty Lee stood on either side of her. Mai looked as miserable as ever, and Ty Lee looked... pink.
"Hello, cousin." Azula said. "How nice to see you again." I scowled.
"What do you want?" I demanded. She chuckled.
"Well, if you insist on getting to the point, rather then catch up." she said. She took another step closer. "I need more help, and you're going to do it." I laughed right out loud at her.
"Me? Help you? Oh, that's a good one Azula." I said. "Why don't you all go back to the gutters you crawled from and leave us alone, huh?" Mai's face grew angry. She started to walk towards me, but Azula stopped her.
"If you wont come willingly," she said, looking at her guards. She flicked her neck and the guards stormed inside, grabbed me and Katara. One guard held me back while the other carried Katara towards Azula. "You'll have to come by force. If you want to ensure your friends safety, you'll have to come along, wont you?"
"Leave her out of this, Azula!" I yelled.
"Oh, what's the matter?" Mai asked. "I thought you cared for no one?" Mai was referring to something I had said years ago. After one of my best friends moved awya, in order to keep my tough look, I said I didn't care. That I cared for no one, in case they left. I scowled at he. I wasn't about to be captured again without a fight. I hung my head, as if I was going to give up. I could fell the guard loosen his grip just enough. I twisted myself around and shoved the guard over. I used a fire whip to help Katara get away. I was using the best of my Firebending to defeat Azula and her little friends. But, I had forgotten one thing about Ty Lee. She did some acrobatic move towards me and Katara and punched our sides in the right spots to paralyze us. She was an expert in chi blocking. I came crashing down, and of course, I slammed my head hard on the wall of the tank behind me. Everything went black.
I groaned quietly, moving my head. I could tell I was leaning against something hard. A wall, maybe. I sucked in a breath as I blinked my eyes open. After they focused it took me a second to realize what was going on. I wasn't home. No, I haven't been home for a long time. I wasn't on Appa. I wasn't in our home in the Earth Kingdom. I was in a tank. A Fire Nation tank. Azula came to my home and took me and Katara. Katara. I thought. I looked over and saw her leaning against the other wall. She was awake, as far as I could tell. She was hanging her head. I propped myself up. Then I realize I wasn't cuffed. I looked at my hands. Then something shadowed me. I looked up and Saw Azula standing over me.
"That's right, we didn't cuff you." she said. "Why would we bound an unconscious person?" Then I remembered everything that happened. Why I was there and how I got knocked out. I groaned again, laying my head back. It was throbbing. "Headache?" Azula asked. She folded her arms. "I'm not surprised. You hit your head awfully hard on the tank." I rubbed the back of my head and slowly stood up. I wobbled for a second, but gained my stability. Mai and Ty Lee were sitting in chairs. An empty one in between them. Azula's, I assumed.
"Where are we going?" I asked weakly.
"To overtake the Earth Kingdom." Azula answered. My eyes widened and I was totally back to reality.
"What!?" I cried.
"That's right," she said with a smile. "You're going to help us get into the Earth Kingdom and overtake it."
"Why would I do that!?" I cried. She looked over at Katara. Katara had her hands tied behind her back and her head was still hanging. Then I knew I was beaten. "As long as you don't hurt anyone," I said in a quiet voice. "I'll help you..." Katara lifted her head. I looked over at her. I gave her a sorry look and she hung her head again. I saw a tear hit the floor.
"We wont hurt anyone." Azula said. "As long as you do as I say, there's no need for that." I held my arm and looked down. I was so angry with myself, but I had to protect Katara. "What do you want me to do?" I asked.
"I will have Quin Lee take you to the front of the tank. From there you will open up a wide enough doorway for all of our tanks to move through." she said. My heart sank. But, then I had an idea.
"How do you know I can do something like that?" I asked. "I would need to Earthbend for that." Azula scoffed.
"Don't pretend, Mei." she said. "Word travels fast. I know you can Earthbend." I lowered my head. That was it. She won. I was defeated. Quin Lee took my to the top of the tank and led me to the front. The whole fleet came to a stop in front of the Outer Wall. I took a deep breath. I could se Earth Kingdom soldiers at the top of the wall, waiting for defend themselves. This would take a lot of energy and strength. I turned around and saw a different lackey holding Katara. Motivation, I assumed. I turned and looked up sadly at the Earth Kingdom soldiers. I wasn't sure if they caught my apologetic look. I took another deep breath. I put my hands together and lifted my arms. With great force I flung them to the side, opening a narrow slot. I di this over and over again. left, right, left right. It got harder and harder, especially because the soldiers were pushing back on me. And there were way more of them then there was of me. The wall closed a couple of sections. I glanced back at Azula who I found out was watching me. She stepped to the side, showing the sad Katara. I closed my eyes and looked back, pushing the back. I started yelling as I tried with great difficulty to keep the wall back. I was screaming as this point. My arms were shaking and my face was red. as I finally opened just enough for Azula's fleet.
"Go, Azula!" I screeched. "Go now!" I was still yelling, trying with all my strength to keep the wall back. If I let it go then we all would have been crushed. Our tank rolled forward, but we had to stop so I could keep the wall open for the rest of them.
"Keep going, Mei." Azula urged. She had had Quin Lee take Katara near the wall. I didn't think she was ever shove Katara into the wall. But, I was not about to take a chance.
"Hurry!" I yelled. I was still screaming and yelling, trying to keep the wall open. The wall slowly started closing more.
"No!" I cried, pushing it back. "Please! Stop!" I cried out as the last tanks rolled through. Quin Lee pulled Katara away and I felt to my knees, letting the whole wall smash back together. I was on my hands and knees, gasping for breath. I was sweating, weak, exhausted and I hated myself. Azula walked over to me.
"Very good, Mei." she said. "Come. Let's get back to the tank." I took in a sharp breath. It took all I could just to stand. I stared her in the face, trying to relax my breathing.
"No." I said. My chest heaved as I breathed heavily. "I- helped you- open- the wall." I pushed out between breaths. "Let me and- Katara go." Azula made a thinking face.
"Well, alright." she said. "There's not much you can do now that we've infiltrated the Earth Kingdom." She turned back to Quin Lee. "Let her go." she said. Quin lee let go of Katara, who ran over to me. She caught my as my legs gave out. Once again, everything turned black.
I blinked my eyes opened once again. Taking in my surroundings. It took me less time to come to the before. I sat up. Katara was sitting next to me, pouring tea.
"Are you alright?" she asked, handing me the cup of tea. She held my hands around it until she was sure I could keep it there myself. "That's the second time you've passed out today."
"Uh, yeah." I answered after a second. "I'm okay." My arms shook. They ached. "Moving that wall was..." I exhaled. "You don't even know how incredibly hard- and painful- that was." Katara set down the tea pot. She had a sad look in her eye.
"About that." she said. "Um, I wanted to thank you. What you did was amazing." She smiled at me. Not just a smile. She was sincerely thanking me for what I had done. I shook my head, sipping the tea. It felt like it weighed 10 pounds.
"It was nothing." I said. "You would've done the same thing for me." I paused. "Well, uh, if it was a wall of water." Katara shook her head.
"No," she said. "Don't just act like it was nothing. You saved my life. You endangered yourself, you stretched your limits... All for me. And after I was so mean to you."
"Katara, I would have done it for anyone. Azula could have pulled a complete stranger and said the same thing. I would have done what she said." I told her. I didn't want her to think I was some sort of hero.
"What did you do?!" I heard. Me and Katara turned to see Aang, Toph and Sokka in the door. Aang looked furious. "How could you let the Fire Nation into the Earth Kingdom?!" He stormed over to me. I stood to try and defend myself from an honorable stance.
"Aang, listen, I-" I held my hand up. It shook terribly. I was very, very weak. Aang interrupted me by shoving me into the wall. My head was throbbing and my arms were aching. I felt horrible. I hit the wall with a grunt, too weak to do anything.
"Aang, no!" Katara cried, holding him back. My knees buckled a little and Sokka caught me before I fell. He eased my down to the floor. "Aang, you don't know what she's been through." Katara said.
"I don't care!" Aang cried. "She ruined everything! She's not staying with us anymore! She ruins everything!"
"Aang!" Katara cried. "She did it to save me!" Aang stopped and stared at her. I groaned a little, closing my eyes. My head was killing me. It felt like someone was driving a spear through it.
"She... what?" Aang asked. Katara looked down.
"Azula captured both of us. She threatened to hurt me if Mei didn't do what she said. Mei opened the wall to save me." she explained. I looked up at Aang. I tried to pull myself up. Sokka grabbed my arm and helped me up.
"Aang," I said. "You don't know how awful I feel about this. Letting them in was the last thing I wanted to do. But, I had to." I took a deep breath, wincing in pain.
"Why are you hurt?" Aang asked. "Did Azula hurt you?" I shook my head.
"Holding the wall open." I said. "There were so many soldiers trying to close it. And I was trying to hold it open myself."
"Ouch." Toph said. "That must have been hard." I nodded, shaking hair from my face.
"Do you forgive me?" I asked Aang. He looked down. "I have a plan to get the Fire Nation out. If that helps." He looked up at then smiled. he hugged me gently.
"I'm sorry..." he said. "I should have known you wouldn't do something like that." He pulled out of the hug. "And what I said- about you ruining everything-" I pressed my finger against his lips.
"Later." I said. "Here's the plan."
After I explained the plan to everyone, we wasted no time to get out and do it. Everyone tried to convince me not to do it and to rest, but I insisted I do it. I tried to play it off like I was fine, but really I wasn't. My arms still ached and my head still hurt, but I wanted to help. We had to hide, though. We had to make sure that no one in the Fire Navy saw Aang. So, we went out and got him a cloak to cover up. It had long sleeves to cover the arrows on his hands, and a hood to cover the arrow on his head. We ducked behind fountains, bushes and buildings, trying to make it to the Outer Wall. Aang went ahead of all of us to be sure it was safe. We all raced to the Outer Wall and looked up at the soldiers who were throwing boulders at the tanks. The metal tanks. I rolled my eyes. I started to help Aang and Toph Earthbend a platform for us to ride up on, but they stopped me. Reluctantly, I let them to it all. We all stepped on the platform and Aang and Toph moved us up to the top. As soon as I set foor on the wall soldiers raced to arrest me.
"That's the girl they help the wall open!" one cried. "Get her!" I tried to fight back, if not only to show Aang and them that I wasn't too weak, but the were too strong, compared to me in my state. She held my hands behind my back with Earth. I knew that I could get out easy, since I could Earthbend. But, I figured it was no use.
"Let her go." Aang said, removing his hood to show he was the Avatar. "She's with us. She only held the wall open to save her friend and now she's going to help us get the Fire Nation out." The soldier eyed me. Aang slammed his staff on the ground.
"Let her go!" I cried. The soldier nodded and released me. I fixed my clothes and went to the other side of the wall.
"It was about there that we buried the water." I said, pointing. Again, Aang and Toph bended a platform for us and we rode it down to the outisde of the outer wall. After we all got off, Aang went back up to explain our plan to the soldiers. Meanwhile, me and Toph began uncovering the water. We moved pile after pile of dirt, creating a huge mountain of it. A pool of muddy water sat in front us. Me and Toph took all the Earth from it to leave clean water. Aang came back down moments later, telling us they agreed to help us.
"You and Katara take the water back to the other side of the wall, okay?" I said. "Take it far back." Aang nodded. He helped Katara carry the water to the wall. Then he bended another platform and took her to the other side of the wall. Me and Toph filled the giant hole back in. We took our places in front of the wall and looked up at the soldiers.
"Now!" I cried. Me, Toph and the soldiers opened a gigantic doorway in the wall. I felt bad that Toph wouldn't be able to see amazingness that was about to take place. I could see Aang and Katara in their places, holding the water high above their heads, standing in front of a huge fountain. Me and Aang sent a boulder into the sky, making it explode to let Aang and Katara know it was time. The moved the water back then sent it flying towards the tanks. They took the water from the fountain, moving it with great force at the tanks. Aang also moved the ground beneath them to make them move more. They flew towards the opening we had created and me and Toph made the Earth move even faster to send them farther away. By that time the water had become mud, making it easier to move them. We sent them far away. The last tank was moving towards the opening. I looked at Toph in triumph. Big mistake. Toph couldn't warn me, and I didn't notice, but Azula was hanging off the side of tank. Her and Mai grabbed me, catching me off guard and pulling me into the tank.
"Get ready for another lights out." Azula said. Hers was the last face I saw before she hit my head against the wall and I was knocked out.
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