Chapter One: The Call
A rough boisterous laugh erupted from the large muscular girl as she easily shot powerful, bright blue, fire blasts towards a younger looking bender. Her long wild hair that was pulled into a messy braid, random strands falling into her face, whipped around as she shot her attacks chaotically yet controlled.
The large girl grinned, sharp teeth jutting out of plump thin lips. "You're getting lighter on your feet," She shot another attack, just as powerful as the last. "But—you're no fast enough!" She shouted into her attack, chuckling as the shorter girl barely dodged the hit to her face, but still managed to lose her balance and came tumbling down on her back.
"No fair," The younger girl groaned as she continued to stare up at the unmoving white clouds in the Firenation sky, eye brows knitted together in aggravation. "…I don't know how, but you cheated Jasper," She mumbled immaturely, looking up as the large girl blocked the sun.
Jasper, wearing the common firenation royal silks, grinned softly with an out stretched hand. "No cheating here little sis," She helped the younger girl up, patting the thick black curls on her head that were pulled back into a pony tail. "It took my years of practice before I was able to last twenty minutes in a ring with mom, so it's going to take some time for you to hold your own against me. But you're getting better,"
The younger girl kept the frown on her face, not wavering.
Jasper snickered. "I mean it, Ruby!"
Ruby, dusting the dirt off her red baggy shirt and black loose pants, sighed. "Whatever, I'm just glad I finally got to practice with you." The younger sister followed the eldest as they walked back into the royal palace from the roof and to the cellar door; leading to the hallways. "You've been gone for months and I've been stuck here without anyone to practice with. Mom is always busy with running the dynasty and Amethyst—it's too dangerous," She trailed off biting her lower lip.
Jasper nodded, understanding why Ruby couldn't practice with their younger sister. Ruby's firebending was far too reckless and she had little control over it. Amethyst had just come into her bending and showed great potential, but she refused to practice and settled for watching Ruby practice alone or make jokes in the background until her older sister finally gave up training and hung out with her.
"But anyway, I had to practice by myself in the court yard," Ruby concluded, smiling as she nudged the elder. "How was the long journey over the seas? Did you meet anyone? You traveled to the Air Nation, right? Did you see the avatar?"
Jasper shook her head, taking a towel from the servants who were waiting for them at the entrance to the kitchen. "Thank you—and no, I wasn't lucky enough to find the Avatar. I will soon, I have to," She mumbled as she wiped the sweat off her face and neck.
"Mom is still looking for him, or her?" Ruby frowned, letting her towel fall around her neck as she lightly held the ends. "…what does she want with—"
Jasper cut her off, snatching a couple of dumplings that were piled up on a silver platter; probably for their dinner tonight. "Don't question mom…it's not our business to worry about the means to her actions, we're just supposed to carry them out."
Ruby picked up a green apple instead, shrugging. "I was just curious." She mumbled in between bites before she followed her sister into the large dining room where the servants were running around hectically as they prepared the tables. "…pretty sure you shouldn't be here for your own welcome back diner, it's supposed to be a surprise." She teased with a grin.
"I'll act surprised," Jasper said, gesturing to the left as they managed to dodge hot plates and large pitchers of water the servants were carrying. "I'm going to dress for the occasion, but I promise to tell you about my trip at the dinner table,"
Ruby nodded, already halfway down the opposite hall towards her room. "You better,"
"What do you have for me?" A stern, monotone voice asked.
A slim girl with long hair smiled, gesturing the map she had laid out before the monarch. "This is a map of all the locations I think the Avatar may be hiding. Jasper returned from the Air Nation, I studied her reports and she's right about the Avatar not being there. I've drawn up a few areas where we haven't searched an—"
"Amethyst, get to the point," The large woman sighed, rubbing her temples as she leaned further into her throne. "Where do we need to look?"
Amethyst swallowed, clumsily gesturing the area she circled in a red marking. "Th-the Water Tribe Mom,"
"The Water Tribe…" Yellow Diamond sneered, snatching the glass that was being offered to her by her servant; taking a small gulp of the dark liquid. "I knew those fish lovers were hiding something…we need to send a search party out there first thing tomorrow." She concluded. "…Jasper just returned and I have some things I need her to take care of here so that's off the table,"
Amethyst smiled. "I can go! I don't know the seas very well but it's a great way for me to get out there and—"
"No." Yellow Diamond said.
The youngest sister's smile dropped, her hands clenched at her side and her eyes narrowed. "…why not?"
"If you have a run in with the Avatar I want an experienced bender there just in case they try to run for whatever reason, which they probably will. We've sent letters all over asking for a sit down and it's been months without a response," The short haired woman mumbled, leaning her face into her hand as a small smile graced her lips. "…send Ruby,"
Amethyst's lips twitched. "Why?"
"Ruby's been waiting to do some exploring ever since I let Jasper go out on her own and her firebending has improved a lot over these last months. I want her to go out, get her hands dirty, and find herself; let the dragon inside her run free,"
The younger girl frowned. "Mom, stop talking in riddles."
Yellow Diamond shook her head, handing her glass to the servants as she stepped down from her throne to stand tall over her daughter. "Ruby is one step away from becoming an amazing bender, she doesn't know this but I've been watching her. I think this is the push she needs and Jasper is ready to take on more diplomatic duties in the kingdom,"
"But what about me?" Amethyst huffed. "I want to explore the world, help out with diplomatic duties, but you never let me—"
The large woman placed a hand on her daughter's shoulder. "In due time, Amethyst; but you're young and you have a lot to learn." She nodded her head to the door. "Go, we'll talk more about it at dinner tonight,"
Amethyst huffed, walking away from her mother with a frown. "…fine,"
"It may not seem like it now, but I have great things planned for you Amethyst," Yellow Diamond said with a smile, her expression widening as her youngest actually believed her words. "Just wait on it,"
Amethyst sighed, nodding. "Okay,"
The high pitched sound of a fork clinking with a wine glass caused everyone at the table to quiet down as their queen stood up at the head table. "Thank you all for attending Jasper's welcome back dinner," She smiled, gesturing to her oldest who was at her left, next to Ruby. "I know we all look forward to talking about her exciting journey and I'm sure she has many wonderful stories to share, but first let's just enjoy her presence as well as the food,"
"Enjoy," She finished, sitting back in her seat with a smile as her daughters and other close royal friends dug into the wonderfully cooked meal.
Ruby nudged her older sister, placing her napkin in her lap and rolling her silk sleeves up. "Speed round,"
"Oh boy," Jasper grinned, swallowing the rest of the roast duck. "…okay, let's do it," She finished once the food was down her throat.
Yellow Diamond shook her head, daintily cutting her roasted duck and watching her children in bewilderment. "…after all these years you two still play this game?"
Jasper nodded quickly before facing her sister.
"Most unique person you've met on your trip," Ruby asked, shoving a dumpling in her mouth after.
The oldest hummed. "There was this really annoying woman named Pearl, she was really upset about me and my crew showing up unannounced," Shaking her head at the thought. "Hope I never see her again,"
"Coolest thing you saw?"
Jasper grinned. "These kids were bending these cool air scooter things where they sit on it and they're off, it's so cool. I wish Firebending could do something like that,"
Ruby shook her head with a grin. "Okay last one," She took a moment to think. "Best thing you gained from your journey,"
Yellow Diamond couldn't help but actually find interest in this question and listened closely as Jasper explained. "…I would have to say, just seeing a new part of the world with a unique culture. It really helps put things into perspective." She ended with a smile, gaining a look of awe from Ruby and a respectful nod from Yellow Diamond.
Ruby sighed. "You're so lucky you got to travel overseas, Jas. I can't wait until I get to meet new people, see new lands and learn about different bending styles and their culture." She was seventeen and she had never traveled outside the firenation, but she hoped it would change soon.
Yellow Diamond couldn't contain herself any longer; she wiped her lips with a napkin before grinning. "Lucky for you, I need someone to travel overseas to the water tribe for a few months to see about some issues we have been having over there. Jasper needs time to rest, Amethyst is far too young, and Ruby," Her eyes twinkled. "You've earned this, I have seen you training and I believe you deserve this,"
Ruby's face brightened, she couldn't believe it. "A-are you serious? I get to go to the water tribe? I've always wanted to see what it was like there," She barely stopped herself from jumping around before she remembered they had company and that she was a royal; composure was everything.
So, with a deep breath to calm her exciting nerves, Ruby nodded to her mother respectfully. "This is a great opportunity and I will use it well, thank you mother."
Yellow Diamond nodded rightfully, accepting her daughters well practiced response befitting a royal. Jasper smirked and patted her younger sister on the shoulder; even Amethyst couldn't help sending a grin Ruby's way. Despite how jealous she was about not being able to go, she was happy for her sister.
"This journey," Yellow Diamond began. "I want you to enjoy yourself and meet new people but you must remember you are there for a reason. Handle the diplomatic duties within the three months you will be staying and if you find the avatar try to bring him to me, or send a letter and tell us of his whereabouts."
Ruby nodded, curls bouncing about. "Of course, I will let you know if I see the avatar."
Months from now, when Ruby finds herself in the water tribe with the amazing people in the village, she will understand how hard such a simple task will seem.
Okay, I have had this thing stored in my computer for a while. This is just a rough draft to see what you all think of it. If you like it, I'll delete this and add more to it and upload the real first chapter. In the longer version I will have some insight on what's going on at the water tribe. But this story is like an alternate universe to my story The Firebender, in a world where Ruby actually respects her mother and her and Jasper never had a falling out.
In this one however, Ruby will travel to the watertribe alone and her views will change. Then when she returns home she will be different and it will cause problems with her and her mother. But Yellow Diamond will rarely be around for a while because it will focus on Ruby and her adjusting to life in the watertribe where she will meet a certain waterbender (Sapphire) where they will start a nice friendship.
If you're up for this story to continue let me know, if not I'll trash it and leave it here until I finish The Firebender and maybe return to it later.