Whooo! Chapter six is here and ready to go! I had a lot of fun with this chapter, actually. I'm rather proud of it. I hope you guys like reading it as much as I liked writing it!
Disclaimer: I don't own Avatar. *cries*
Ch. 6: Waterbending is Hardcore! Pt. 1
Katara wasted no time in beginning her new training regime with Aang. Right after breakfast, they went over to Lake Logai to practice. In was nothing but drills for the morning, starting with the push and pull technique they did together with a single sphere of water. After that, it was time for a break… or not. Katara showed him a drill he'd never seen before. She water whipped a boulder, and the strike only destroyed a teeny tiny pinch of the rock. You wouldn't even notice it unless you put your face right up to it. Aang repeated the move, but his strikes took out large chunks of rock.
"More control, Aang!" Katara emphasized. "You need complete control of the water and its movements. You must know the exact area you're striking. I'm not talking inches. I'm talking millimeters."
Katara had never been this pushy or tough in training, but they both knew it was for the best. Aang had a lot of ground to cover and apply in just days. Katara really preferred her positive reinforcement methods, but there simply wasn't time now. She kept observing his whips, and with every one she could see the chunk that crumbled off, even from feet away.
"Precision, Aang! You need precision! Slow down. I didn't say you had to do it fast. I prefer you do it right. Take your time. Observe your target, pinpoint it, and then strike. I shouldn't be able to see the point of impact from here."
Aang did as she said, and slowed down. He focused on his target, pinpointed the striking area down to a speck in his vision, and struck again. This time, it was harder to see, but still rather noticeable compared to the single strike she had made. Her strike was practically invisible. Still, Katara was impressed, and nodded at the sudden improvement.
"Good! Now keep it up. At this rate you should master it in no time."
After another hour of that drill, Aang had slightly improved, but still had a ways to go. Nonetheless, Katara had to move him on onto the next part his training at the moment. Now he was sparring against Toph and Zuko, who had been dragged by Katara to this training session for assistance. Zuko kept shooting basic fire strikes while Toph launched am occasional fair sized rock. Aang was simply defending at the moment. He would form a water shield to block Zuko, and turn it into a temporary ice wall to stop Toph's attcks. Katara observed while sitting on a nearby rock, shouting at him.
"All right! Stop thinking like an airbender. Take the offensive! Show these two the power of water!"
Aang blocked another incoming fireball and then turned the water shield into a long range water whip to strike at Zuko. Zuko jumped out of the way and Aang suddenly realized another rock was coming from Toph. He quickly wrapped his water whip around and actually grabbed the small rock with it like a lasso. He spun around and threw the rock back at Toph with the water. Toph was actually caught off guard by this move and was knocked down. Katara smiled. That was a genuine water attack; turning defense into offense.
Katara motivated Aang from where she sat. "That's right Aang! Waterbending is awesome, and you know it! Water can move a mountain! It can turn a plain into a wetland!"
Zuko was attacking again. He kicked some powerful waves of fire at Aang. Aang blocked with a water shield but it was evaporated after doing its job. Zuko wasted no time in sending a large fire blast at his defenseless opponent. Not having enough time to draw enough water from the lake, Aang was knocked back by the blast.
"Don't give up, Aang! Don't think strength, think strategy."
Aang quickly got to his feet to see Zuko send an enormous column of fire right at him. Aang panicked for a second, for he couldn't draw enough water to douse the flames in time.
Think strategy, Aang. Think strategy!
Then it hit him.
Aang summoned just enough water to encase himself completely. It was just in the nick of time, but the wall of fire passed through without touching him. The water evaporated, but Aang was able to recollect it and separated it into four streams. He circled the four streams around him to build momentum and then shot them all at Zuko in a spiraling pattern.
Zuko tried to blast fire at the attack, but the spiral motion made it hard to hit. The four streams were small but when they hit him together it had a lot of force. He went down.
Again, Katara smiled. He had lots of room for improvement, but he was quite impressive.
Aang was suddenly jolted in the air from underneath. Toph had shot the ground under him. He fell hard, and she repeated.
"Come on, Aang! Remember that water can move a mountain! Fight back!" Katara encouraged.
From midair Aang found an escape. He managed to pull some water over the shore and form an ice slope over him. When he fell, he slid gracefully across it down to the ground. He quickly melted the ice and sent a tidal wave at Toph. Toph raised herself on a high plateau to avoid the raging water. She jumped off and launched the whole pillar right at Aang. Aang quickly summoned more water and shot a thick, condensed water jet, hoping to crack through the rock.
It wasn't powerful enough.
The pillar was slowed down but beat the water and Aang was struck hard. If it hadn't been slowed down, he would've been knocked out.
At this point Zuko was back up and they double teamed the Avatar. Aang encased himself an ice fortress to block their assault, then melted it and sent two separate water whips out.
"All right! That's enough!" Katara ended the match and walked over to her pupil.
"You've still got much to learn, but you did some impressive things. You're starting to develop better strategy. Now we can finally take a break. It's lunchtime anyway."
After lunch Aang went right back to water whipping rocks. His progress was slow but noticeable. Toph and Zuko Took off on Appa for a bit as Aang continued this drill until sundown. Before they could head back, Katara had him kneel before her and spoke in a true teacher/student manner.
"You did pretty well today, but before today's training concludes, you must answer a few questions. How many you answer correctly will influence tomorrow's training."
"Yes, Sifu Katara." Aang responded respectfully.
"First, why did I have you spar before nightfall?"
"Because waterbending is weaker during the day, and you wanted me to rely on skill instead of power."
Katara nodded. "Why did today consist of mainly one drill?"
"So I could focus on it and only it."
"What was today's drill about?"
What else?" Katara inquired.
Aang was dumbfounded. "Um… endurance?"
"Persistence?" He tried again
Katara shook her head. "Incorrect. Today's drill was also about fighting other elements with water. Why do you think you sparred with Toph and Zuko, but not me?"
Aang bowed from his kneeling position. "I understand, Sifu Katara. I must learn how water can affect other elements, and how it can overcome them."
"Exactly. You must learn how water can be used in different scenarios. In every situation, how to use it effectively is different, but it can work. Like I said, water can move a mountain."
"I fully understand."
"Good. I have one last question." Katara looked him square in the eyes.
"Yes, Sifu Katara?"
"…Wanna make out when we get back?" The water tribe teen grinned as she asked.
Aang laughed. "Of course, Sifu."
That concluded the training for the day.
Today it was just Katara and Aang. There would be no sparring, just drills and lessons. It would quite repetitive, Katara had told him ahead of time, but it was for the best. There was much for Aang to learn, and much for him to improve upon. Today's lesson wasn't at the lake; it was in between the walls of Ba Sing Se, where there were luscious fields of green and several grazing animals. Aang took notice that there was no major water source, except for a few ponds and such. He voiced this concern.
"That is part of today's training, my young pupil." Katara handed Aang a water canteen identical to her own. "Part of today's lesson is efficient bending with a limited amount. What is in that pouch is all you may use for the drills today."
Katara directed Appa to land where a group of decent sized boulders, about 5 feet tall, lying in a nice arrangement, completely out of place. Aang figured that Katara had Toph come here while he was doing drills to make these for today's lesson. That was why Toph and Zuko left yesterday for a while.
For the first hour Katara had Aang continue the water whip precision drill. She did the drill along with him, to keep her own bending skills solid. Aang was getting closer to perfecting his technique. Katara could stand no further than a foot away to see his marks on the rock.
"You're precision is coming along nicely, but we need to move on to new things."
With that Katara took her water and sliced a rock clean in half with it. The rock fell in two identical halves. Aang was mesmerized by the power of such little water. For a liquid to slice solid rock like that was incredible. It truly is a force to be reckoned with.
"Your turn. Show your ability to beat earth with water." Katara pointed to one of the rocks.
Aang took a deep breath, focused on the rock, and sliced the rock just like Katara did. It wasn't as clean a cut as she made, but it looked pretty good.
"Now the halves," Katara said as she sliced her two halves of rock into a total of 4 identical pieces.
Aang did as she said. He sliced the rock, but his pieces were rough and jagged. Katara took notice.
"Slice every rock here in half first. Then slice those rocks all in half. Take your time and focus. Your precision has improved enough, that if you truly focus and aim your attack, you can cut a rock like this into 4 clean pieces."
Aang did as she said, taking his time to focus his precision on each rock. They all cut clean the first time, but the second slice only looked clean on the last few rocks, and even they were far from perfect. Nevertheless, He was showing definite improvement. After lunch Katara had him practice stances and forms over and over again. She would make him hold several tough stances for long periods of time. At one point, she made him freeze in the middle of a form just to adjust one arm about an inch. The practice of simple forms and such lasted until sunset. When darkness had fallen, Aang figured he was done and headed for Appa.
"Ahem!" Katara cleared her throat. "Where are you going?"
"The sun has set. I thought we were finished."
"Did I ever say your lesson was complete?" Katara asked firmly, crossing her arms.
Aang bowed quickly before her. "No. I apologize, Sifu Katara."
"First, give me your pouch. That part of the lesson is over.: Aang did as told.
"There is a very important ability I want to teach you, but I had to wait until night. This will help you if you are in need of water and see no obvious source."
This caught Aang's attention. That sounded rather helpful. This was one of the reasons he didn't use waterbending that much.
"This is something I actually learned from Hama. Back then I could only do it on the full moon, but now I can do it on any night except the new moon. Observe, my young my pupil."
Katara looked down at the grass, extended her arm out, and draw water right out of small portion of grass. Aang was in shock and awe as he witnessed Katara perform the technoque it a few more times. She pulled the water right out of the plants. It was limited water, but it was water.
"Now you do it."
Aang nodded and gently moved his arms, focusing out the plants. Nothing happened.
"Feel the water Aang," Katara insisted. "You know it's there. Feel it. Pull it from the field. Focus your mind."
Aang took a deep breathe and tried again. After a few second, a few droplets of water emerged, leaving a few withered blades of grass."
"That's a start. Now I want you to draw all the water from the grass in… let's say a 10 foot circle around you."
"Katara, I could only-"
"You must start somewhere, Aang. I didn't say do it all at once. I just said draw the water." With that she walked over to Appa and hopped on.
"I'll be back in about an hour. By then I want all of your drill complete." With that Katara took Appa for a quick ride.
Aang sighed heavily, but did as she said. His progress was very slow at first. For the first fifteen minutes he could only draw a few drops at a time. His frustration started to get the best of him, but he remembered her words from yesterday.
Take your time. Don't do it fast. Do it right.
Upon recalling those words, Aang took a deep breath and focused. Feel the water. He lifted his hands, and a few decent drops of water came up. He could draw a bit more… then a bit more… then a bit more. It still wasn't as quick as Katara had done it, but he could draw a decent amount in one shot. It was still taking a lot of time though. He was worried he wouldn't be finished by the time Katara returned. After an hour Katara came back and observed his circle where he drew from the plants and grass. It looked about ten feet wide.
"I had actually hoped you'd have been able to draw a little more, but I am impressed nonetheless. You met my requirements."
Aang bowed before her, and she noticed the shattered rocks from before.
"Before we leave, I think we should scatter those rocks around a bit. You know, make it look a little natural."
"No problem, Katara." Aang started to lift the rocks with earthbending.
"DROP THOSE ROCKS RIGHT NOW!"
Katara's thundering voice made Aang do as she said. He shivered with a little fear as he hesitantly faced Katara, who was obviously upset. Her stare was definitely not a good one.
"You agreed to only use waterbending while we trained. You have disobeyed me. Drop down and give me 50 push-ups right now." Katara's voice was not loud, but it was rather strong and firm.
"But Katara, you said to-"
"Talking back to me now?" Katara cut Aang off harshly with her hands on her hips. "Talk back again, and it'll be 75."
Aang sighed in defeat and carried out his punishment. When he finished, he kneeled before Katara, awaiting her instructions.
"Now move the rocks without earthbending, Aang."
"How do I do that Katara?"
Katara sighed. "Aang, look around you. Think about the drill I just had you do. Think about it."
Aang thought for a second and finally understood. He gathered up all the water he had drawn from the plants, which was enough to form a shallow pond around him, and used it to scatter all the rocks with a small tidal wave. Katara smiled at him and bowed.
"You got it Aang. Like I said, water can move a mountain. Now our training for the day is over."
They got on Appa to head back. As soon as they took off, Katara quickly pulled Aang into a long, passionate kiss. While still kiss, she embraced him in a tight hug. After she pulled from the kiss she kept her arms around him, looking right into his eyes.
"I'm really sorry, Aang." She said with a little sadness. "I hate yelling at you like that, or punishing you."
"Don't be. This intense training and tough attitude your giving me is for the best. It's okay to discipline me like this for now." Aang assured her.
It was day three and today they weren't going anywhere special. They would just practice in Iroh's courtyard. It started off with Aang practicing his stances for about a half hour. After that Katara had him start water whipping a rock, seeking to increase his accuracy even more. His progress was slow, but noticeable.
"Well, there are a couple more tricks you could learn." Katara said. "I also think we could do some more sparring today, and discuss strategy in a fight. You need to learn how to turn defense into offense."
Those ideas were scrapped suddenly as Sokka and ZUko came rushing into the courtyard.
"Fire rebels!" Sokka exclaimed. "The rebels are attacking Ba Sing Se as we speak. They are almost at the outer walls!"
"How many?" Aang asked.
"A lot," Zuko answered. "A fairly big army. It could possible for them to take city by force if they aren't stopped."
"How exactly did a whole army of rebels pop up without warning?" Katara inquired.
"This is what the meetings with the Fire Nation officials were about. We were afraid the rebels were on the move, but had separated in groups to make them harder to track. Now they've united back up and are invading. Watchers say they could be here within the hour."
"And why exactly didn't tell me about this Zuko? As the Avatar, I should've been informed." Aang had a hint of anger in his voice.
"I didn't want to distract you from this test, Aang. Besides, you can't access the Avatar state now. I could be dangerous for you."
"It's always dangerous to me, Zuko! That's part of the job!" Zuko lowered his head, slightly regretful of his reasoning.
After that little quarrel. Sokka jumped in to volunteer.
"I'll join the defense. I'm not standing here while some crummy rebels destroy what we worked for."
"Good, Sokka.," The Fire Lord stated. "We could use you to lead one of the platoons. The attack is massive, and we need all the help we can get."
"I'll help too," Katara said. "I think a master waterbender could be of some help, and I'll likely be needed after the battle for healing."
"I appreciate your assistance, Katara." With that, Zuko and Sokka turned and left to prepare for battle.
Katara turned to Aang. "I'm sorry Aang. It looks like today's lesson has to be cut short. Can you practice on your own"
"No I can't, Katara," Aang said. "I'll be too busy fighting the rebels out there."
Katara gave him a look of concern. "Aang, I don't know if that's a good idea. You can't use the Avatar state now, and the rebel army is dangerous. Besides, you don't have a lot of time before the rematch."
Aang looked her straight in the eyes. "I may not be able to use the Avatar State anymore… but I'm still the Avatar. It's my duty to keep peace and protect people. I can't just let the people down because my powers are limited now. What kind of person or role model would that make me?"
Katara looked down. "I know Aang. I'm just worried about you." She looked back up. "But your practice is still important."
"Isn't this a good time to apply what you've taught me so far? Katara, the whole idea of this intense training was to help me get better at using waterbending in real life situations. This is the perfect opportunity to put it to the test!"
Katara couldn't help but smile at his wise deduction. He was completely right.
"You're right Aang. This is the perfect time. And I'll be able to judge your abilities in combat myself, because I'm going to be with you the whole time."
Aang smiled back. After they hugged, they left the courtyard to prepare for battle.
Warning! Awesome and epic fight scene is coming up in the next chapter! Hope you enjoyed this chapter. Reviews, like always, are greatly appreciated!