The Avatar cometh!
Note: If I spelled anyone's name wrong, please let me know!
(Is it Appa or Aeppa?)
The rays of the afternoon sun stretched out over the sky like reaching arms. I laid under the shade of a towering tree. A gentle breeze blew through my long hair, carrying with it the fragrance of early spring.
I whisked my hand around, and a swirl of air came forth, knocking down a drifting dandelion seed.
"Taneiko! Could you come here for a second? I need you to run an errand for me!" I heard my mother calling me. I sighed, reluctant to leave the comfort of solitude. Couldn't she just leave me to my Airbending?
I raced to my house, running as fast as I could. I arrived at the doorstep, and bowed respectfully to my mother. She shook her head at me. I turned around to notice cloud of dust trailing behind me on the path.
"Sorry Mom." I shrugged my shoulders. My mother's expression was mildly cross. She shook her finger at me.
"You need to be more careful. What if someone saw you? They might discover our secret, then where would we be?" She scolded me. I hung my head in shame.
"Don't be so harsh on your daughter, Yumei. Nobody did in fact see her. We should look at what is, not what could have been." My grandmother grinned at me from the dining room table. Mom sighed, and handed me a basket.
"Alright, I'll let you go this time. But be more careful about your air bending!" I nodded at her in reply.
"Your father forgot his lunch today. I need you to go into town and give it to him."
"No problem." I smiled, and then was off.
As I went off into town, I took a peak at my father's lunch. Mom had packed him TWO peaches instead of one! She never did that for me. I glared enviously. I was the one in the family who loved peaches.
Soon my attention was no longer on food, as it was now focused on a man coming up the road.
"Taneiko! Boy am I glad to see you! You have to come quickly! We have special guests in town." It was my neighbor, Honda. A spark lit up in my eyes. This guest must be important if Honda came to tell her about it.
"Thank you Mr. Honda, I'll go see right away!" I bowed and bid him a due. I raced excitedly to town, but made sure I wasn't going at airbending speed.
There was a small gathering of people outside the Meeting House when I arrived. I excused myself as I gently pushed my way through. I couldn't believe my eyes.
Standing outside the Meeting House was a Flying Bison. There hadn't been a Flying Bison around since Eyo had died. Could it belong to another Airbender? I asked one of the people next to me what was going on.
"Why, weren't you here earlier? The Mayor is in there… and he is speaking with the Avatar about the problem we've been having."
THE AVATAR WAS IN THERE??? I couldn't even believe what he told me! So, if that was what this was all about…then the Bison…did he belong to the Avatar? Was the Avatar an Airbender? But, the town wasn't having any problems… were we? Nobody had told ME about this!
So many questions filled up my head all at once. Being the curious person that I am, I pushed my way up to the door, and proceeded to go inside.
"You can't go in there! That's a private meeting!" The man called. However, he was so far off in the crowd I could not hear him. So, I opened the door and went inside.
Surely enough, there was the mayor, sitting at the table with four people I had never seen before. I noted the appearance of each of them carefully.
Looking to the Far right, the first of them was a girl with jet-black hair rolled up into a bun. She wore an interesting Earth Kingdom robe, and her expression was a little impatient …and yet… blank. Next to her was a tall guy, about sixteen or so, with a strange blue outfit with a boomerang shaped weapon held in a sash. His hairstyle was quite peculiar, and his demeanor seemed very relaxed…maybe even goofy.
Then, next to him, was a girl with a blue robe. Her hair was exquisite- I could never get it into a hairstyle like that. I saw the necklace around her neck, with the Water tribe symbol engraved on it.
Wow, is she a Waterbender? I thought.
Then the boy to the far right caught my attention especially. He was short, and had the same color eyes I did. He was bald, with an arrow tattoo pointing down his forehead. He wore what looked like monks clothing, similar to the kind my grandmother kept hidden away in the closet back on the farm.
He must be the Avatar…I thought.
"Hey! What are you doing here? This is a private meeting! Shoo!" A guard tried to push me outside.
"Wait! I don't understand what's going on. Nobody ever told me that our town had a problem! I want to know what's going on!"
"Guard, stand down. Taneiko is a trustworthy person. Please, come sit down." The mayor gave the guard a stern look. If there was one thing I could count on, it was the kindness in the Mayor's heart. The Mayor was well acquainted with my father, and I'm sure my father must have said many good things about me.
"Taneiko, I would like to introduce you to our guests. These people are Toph, Sokka, Katara, and this is Aang, the Avatar." He pointed to each of them as he said their names.
"I would like you all to meet Taneiko. Her father is the Blacksmith in this town." I waved to all of them.
"So, Mr. Mayor, what was the problem everyone was talking about?" The Mayor shook his head.
"We've been seeing mysterious trails of dust along the roads, and long paths of flattened grass have been found. We think there is a strange creature running around and we don't know what it is. We think there may even be a restless spirit running lose. So, we're asking the Avatar to find out what's leaving behind these dust clouds, and if it's an animal or restless spirit, try to calm it down, and let it return to the forest, leaving us in peace."
I knew what was causing it. It was ME. I had made sure a million times nobody had seen me using my Airbender speed. Apparently, somebody had seen the trails I had left behind and complained about it. If they were asking the Avatar for help, that person must have complained bitterly… would this mean I would soon have to confess my secret?
Just then, a felt something tug at my ankle. I look down under the table to see a small, furry creature staring up at me with green eyes.
"Prrrr." The creature climbed up to my shoulder, and down my arm, going for my father's lunch.
"Momo! That's not yours." Aang gently scolded the creature. It ran back up my shoulder and sat there.
"It seems you lemur has taken a liking to Taneiko." The mayor chuckled. Suddenly, I got an idea in my head.
"If you're going to be staying here awhile, maybe you can stay on my family's farm. There's a barn where your Bison can sleep, and lots of wide-open space. I'm sure my parents won't mind."
The mayor looked at all four of them.
"Well, what do say? You can't get a better offer than that around here." The mayor encouraged them. They agreed. So, the five of us headed down to my father's workplace where I gave him his lunch. He thanked me for it, and I explained to him what happened in the Meeting House. He put his head up for a moment and thought. Finally, he said it was ok.
"They would have to stay in the big barn though; we don't have enough room in the house." Aang assured them that this was not a problem for them. My father, even though he supported keeping our family's secret…well, secret…he wasn't as paranoid about it as my mom. If he said it was ok, there was little use for her to argue with him about it.
Besides, my grandmother would probably back him up.
As I guided the group back to the farm, the sun had gotten lower in the sky. It was now late, and it would soon be time for me to help mom with cooking the evening meal.
She set some extra places for the Avatar and his companions. But, she made him leave Momo out in the barn with his Bison, who I learned was called Aeppa.
The conversations we had at the table that night mostly involved the Avatar and his friends describing there adventures, and how he thought he was the Last Airbender. I wanted to say, "BUT YOU'RE NOT!"
But, I kept silent. It wasn't fair. I finally knew our family wasn't alone in the world and I had to keep my mouth shut! This could be our chance to stop hiding! I thought.
I would soon get my wish. That night…the cat would begin its way out of the bag…