UGH, I am gonna stop naming my chapters if you don't mind. Feel free to share your ideas for what might happen next. I'm kind of having writer's block right now, but at least I got a new chapter up finally! Right?
I nervously made sure my headband was still on. I couldn't take it off for a while considering On Ji was following me. How did she follow us? Did she use an animal? Surely she didn't hear any of our conversations involving the invasion… But what if she did? That would be bad. And I want to trust her; I really do! It's just… she's from the Fire Nation, and we've had trouble with flameos in the past. There's no reason that I should trust her. She could be a spy or something – I mean, she is related to Zhao.
We walked down to the village.
"Look at this town! All these poor people have lost hope!" Katara whined. She looked towards me. "Something needs to be done!"
I shook my head and put my hands up. "Don't look at me! Besides, I agree with what Sokka said: we're on a tight schedule. We hardly have time to take bathroom breaks at the rate we're going."
"In fact, by the looks of it, we're going to have to eat while we take bathroom breaks!" Sokka added.
Katara rolled her eyes as we made our way to a shop for food. The man at the counter grinned. "Welcome to our village! What would you like to eat?" He pulled out a bucket of food full of dirty water and fish. "One-headed or two-headed?"
Katara and I made sounds of disgust as he pulled the fish out of the contaminated water, but Sokka inspected the fish closely and said in a casual voice. "Two-headed!"
He handed some coins to the guy at the counter. That guy will eat anything.
"Two-headed?" Toph repeated, and then added, "Cool!"
We followed Sokka back to where we set up camp.
"Let's talk about our plans!" Sokka said enthusiastically as he put down the fish and picked up the long to-do list. "So once the eclipse is here, Aang will kill the Fi-"
"Hey! Why's - the bison's tongue purple?" I interrupted so On Ji wouldn't hear everything.
"Aang, that is SO off-topic, it's not even funny! By the way, why'd you call Appa 'the bison'?" Sokka yelled, exasperated.
I laughed nervously. "Sokka, that's funny. Maybe we should all take a break."
Everyone laughed then Toph explained, "You don't get breaks. You're the Av-"
"I know." I cut her off. "Can we just not talk about this right now? I'm going to bed early today, okay?"
"It's daytime…" Katara raised a brow.
"I need some downtime! Okay?"
"We don't have time for downtime!" Sokka screamed. "You, more than anyone. If you are ever going to defeat Firelor-"
"Sokka-" I tried to interrupt again.
"-FIRELORD Ozai, you need to be prepared," Sokka said, louder than I had hoped. "And downtime isn't going to help you! Or anyone for that matter! Keep your head on straight. We can't lose again."
I could only hope On Ji wasn't close by.
"Well, I'm taking my bathroom break," I said, to get away from them.
Sokka shrugged. "Be my guest. Don't blame me when you don't get to eat though."
I left and went to find On Ji. Just as I was out of earshot, I called her name. "On Ji?"
"Kuzon?" A hopeful voice asked. "What were you talking about with your friends?"
On Ji came out from behind a rock.
"All I heard was that guy – the loud, goofy one – call you Aang? Is that your real name?"
"Uh – well, I mean – " I started to scratch my head anxiously.
"It's okay. I was just wondering… Is everything I know about you a lie? And why are you named after the Avatar?"
"Not everything's a lie. On Ji, I – I really like you, but I don't know if this is the best time for you to be around me…" I admitted, sadly.
On Ji looked at me with sorrow all of the sudden and then buried her face in her hands and started sobbing. "I'm sorry, Ku – Aang, I just – I've been lied to countless times and I thought I could trust you, and I thought you liked me and I really like you and I've never met someone so sensitive and nice and sweet like you," she gasped to catch her breath.
Whoa, I thought. I bit my lip not sure what to do.
"Aang? Aang?" Katara called out.
My eyes opened widely. "On Ji," I put my hand on her shoulder. "I'll tell you everything, I swear. And you can travel with me and my group. We'll keep you safe. There are some things about us that you might not understand and some things I might not ever be able to tell you but you can trust me. I'd never let anything happen to you."
She blinked. "Really? Thank you, Aang." She rushed over to me and hugged me.
Line Break. On Ji's PoV
He took me back to where they were, and I could tell from the moment I saw his friends' faces that I wasn't welcomed. No one said anything against me staying with them, but I could sense their discomfort. Where are they from? Certainly not the colonies.
"Hey guys," Aang said with a strange look on his face. He was grinning, but in a way that was obviously masking another emotion. Was he scared?
His goofy friend put a hand to his mouth.
The younger girl, who seemed to be blind, smiled and reclined on a stone. Somehow she knew exactly where I was…
The other girl kept looking back and forth from me to Aang with a skeptical look on her face, as if trying to decipher some cryptic code.
I broke the silence. "Um, hi, I'm On Ji."
The blind girl nodded. "I see."
Strange for a blind person to say that…
Aang spoke. "Um, yeah, so everyone, this is On Ji as she said. And um, that's Sokka, Toph and Katara."
I smiled. "It's nice to meet all of you."
This is so awkward.
Aang shrugged. "Someone please say something."
Sokka looked at me, then at Aang, then back again, just like Katara had done. "Uh, Kuzon, can we talk in private?"
"I already know his name is Aang," I informed him.
Sokka raised a brow. "What haven't you told her?!"
"Sokka, it's okay. She's harmless."
"Is she? How much did you hear?" Sokka gained up on me.
I put my hands up. "Nothing, I swear. Just that his name is Aang."
Sokka narrowed his eyes.
Toph spoke up. "She's not lying."
"How'd you get here? How'd you follow us?" Sokka asked.
"My dad was a general. I stole is old mongoose dragon."
"Mongoose dragon?" For some reason all four of them shifted uneasily. "Where is it now?"
"It's back over there," I pointed to it. "It's pretty far away."
"How convenient," Sokka narrowed his eyes.
I kept a steady gaze. I don't know why but I felt like I had to prove myself to Aang's friends.
Toph shrugged. "She hasn't told a single lie Sokka. Get off her case. I'll tell you when she does."
How does she know I haven't lied? Does she have some sort of power?
Sokka nodded half-heartedly. "I still need to talk to Aang alone."
Aang looked reluctant but went off with Sokka anyway.
I heaved out a heavy sigh. That was very stressful. Aang is a decent person, but this Sokka guy? I don't like him. And those devilish looks Katara is giving me? I wouldn't be surprised if Sokka and Katara were brother and sister!