Disclaimer: I DO NOT own Avatar: The Last Airbender (...thought it would be pretty kick ass if I could xD )
RATING:M-Mostly for language and some teenage innuendos, but things get pretty violent in later chapters.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I am terribly sorry for keeping my readers waiting and waiting and waiting and...you get the picture xD This is the sequel to my first fanfic, The Memoirs of Sankari: Pride of the Fire Nation. Unlike the proceeding story, this one will follow the series from season two on to almost a tee except for the fact that one of the main characters is a creation of my own, so obviously things will be different too. So if you haven't already got an idea of what this fanfic is about from the title, then I do not know how to help you, sir or madam :p thanks and enjoy!
"Toph, you know how risky this is." I turned away from my cousin, gazing off into the red and orange sunset with my good eye. After Azula's ridge-hand to my right years ago, my right eye could never see the same way again. In a way, I was like Toph, though my sight wasn't completely gone in that eye.
My cousin strolled over to where I stood at the edge of the garden. She wore a beige and green tunic with a brown belt with little yellow dots. She adjusted the brown and green armbands around her wrists, then looked up at me. "Karuna, I have to do this. It's the only thing I have- it's the only thing keeping me going." She explained. I looked down at the younger girl. Eyes that had never seen the light of day stared back at me. I could never imagine being hushed away from the rest of the world; and by parents, even. People who loved and cared for you. My cousin had never been able to live her life the way she wanted. For twelve years, she had been denied this.
I exhaled, letting my breath tumble out of my mouth and join the night's air. If I had told myself once, I had told myself one-hundred times; Toph can handle this. She's way more skilled than you were at her age. I worried so much about my cousin, though I knew she was one tough cookie. I wasn't just worried that she could get hurt, I was concerned that her parents would find out about what she had been doing. Neither of us knew what their reactions would be, and quite frankly we didn't want to figure that out any time soon.
For months, Toph had been sneaking out of her home to fight in tournaments. She justified it as pre-teenaged angst, but I knew better than to buy that one. It was pure defiance. The same, in fact, that ran through my veins. This bond proved our relations to one another. And these tournaments she fought in, they weren't against just anyone. Toph fought her way to the top against the best earth-benders in the world. I should've been proud, and I was. Extremely proud, even. My little cuz, I mused. My dream had been crushed; my aspiration to be the greatest fire-bender. And it seemed unfair to do the same to her. For this reason, I had to let Toph continue her dream.
I leaned over and put my arm around my cousin. "You lead the way." I decided at last, smiling into the horizon. Her parents couldn't overprotect her forever, and I sure as hell couldn't either. Toph gasped in surprise at my change in decision.
"You're coming?" Glee and admiration lined her question, like a small child during a fun filled holiday. I patted her on the back and replied, "You bet. Earth Rumble VI, right?"
I was not fond of Xin Fu. Not in the least bit. Though the crowd the crowd cheered and applauded whenever he made his grand entrance as host, I still didn't care for him. To me, he seemed shady and money crazed. That was a reason why I wasn't as supportive of the tournaments Toph enrolled herself in; they were hosted by him.
It was just about a full house that night, except for the first five rows, of course. Oddly enough, I spotted three kids about my age, sit in the very front row. They seemed oblivious, so they must not have come there often. A chunk of the arena shot out towards them, shocking the trio; it was then when they probably realized why none sat so close to the action. Xin Fu earth-bended himself up from the center of the arena on a large rock column, and then addressed the audience.
"Welcome, to Earth Rumble VI!" Screams and applause sounded. "I am your host, Xin Fu. The rules are simple, just knock the other guy out of the ring, and you win!" The host explained. After that, he jumped from the ring all the way up to his commentator's ledge, clearing the area for the fighters. The bell rang out and the first fighter made his way out onto the arena. He had big, strong arms and a charcoal colored tattoo on his back. "Round one! The Boulder versus the big, bad, Hippo!" The crowd roared. The Boulder's opponent was enormous! His bell was round, his feet were huge and a small puff of brown, spiked hair was atop his head. The Hippo growled, revealing four large, square shaped teeth. Though the fighter was big and intimidating, I doubted he was very bright. My bet was on The Boulder for that round. As the fight began, I put my arms behind my head and lay back. Let the entertainment begin. I thought to myself.
My bet had been a good one. The Boulder had one every single match so far. Many of the other earth-bending opponents ended up knocked clear out of the ring and painfully into the stadium and crowd. I couldn't help but notice one of the three kids from earlier. He was garbed in practically all blue and had his hair in the style of a 'wolf's tail', a symbol of the Water Tribe. So they were from out of town. The boy jumped up and down excitedly throughout most of the matches and he seemed to really be enjoying himself. I guessed that he was rooting for The Boulder, like most of the audience members were at that point. I had to admit, The Boulder had some good moves, but he was no match for Toph.
After a number of rounds and speaking in third person, it was time. Xin Fu returned to the center of the arena on a platform. The outer parts of the stadium dimmed and a light shined down on him so that he was the main focus. "And now..." the long haired man began dramatically. "The moment you've all been waiting for," That was the cue. I stood up in my seat, already anticipating what would happen next. "The Boulder versus your champion, the Blind Bandit!" The audience went wild, and so did I. I felt like an overly proud parent, embarrassing the hell out of their kid from the sidelines. But Toph probably appreciated it, seeing as how her parents weren't present to see her succeed in fighting.
"Yeah! Woohoo!" I cheered loudly, hoping somehow that she could hear me. Toph came to the middle of the arena and held the green and beige champion's belt high above her head.That's my little cuz.
The Boulder stomped onto the ring. "The Boulder feels conflicted about fighting a young, blind girl." He stated, glancing cautiously at his opponent. Toph pointed a finger at him and laughed.
"Sounds to me like you're scared, Boulder!" she taunted. Yep, that was definitely my cousin. The muscular man glared at the small girl in front of him.
"The Boulder's over his conflicted feelings and now he's ready to bury you in a rock-alanche!" The Boulder's threat had no affect on my cousin whatsoever. She simply dished out the trash talk right back at him.
"Whenever you're ready, 'The Pebble'!" She mocked him. She then threw her head back in childish laughter. A thing I loved, yet hated about that girl; she was so confident and ready for anything. She was utterly fearless, that one. I wished I could be as headstrong as her.
"It's on!" The Boulder shouted. It was clear that he did not want to be intimidated by a little girl. He narrowed his eyes at Toph and began to think. He charge forward, and before his foot even touched ground, I knew he was toast. The sudden movement sent vibrations through the floor straight to Toph. She held her hands up at the ready and slipped her right foot out smoothly. The Boulder's left leg was suspended in air for a split second as he ran, but my cousin was faster. Much faster. She swung her right leg back and then drove it into the arena floor. A primary wave of rock shot out across the ground and as The Boulder's leg touched the floor, the wave directed that half of him sideways so that his legs were parallel and very spread out.
The Boulder howled in pain, for he had been forced into the splits. It did not look very pleasant. Toph drew her right hand up in ridge-hand form and brought it down Sudo style. Three rock pillars emerged, angled, up from the ground and hit The Boulder from behind, launching him right out of the ring. He face-planted against the outer wall of the arena and slid all the way down.
Toph grinned impishly, the same way she did whenever she won. She rose her fist in the air triumphantly. The stadium erupted in shouts, whistles and cheers.
"You're winner, and still champion, the Blind Bandit!" Xin Fu announced. The host hopped down from the ledge and joined my cousin at the center of the ring. "To make things a little more interesting, I'm offering up this sack of gold pieces to anyone who can defeat the Blind Bandit!" Silence greeted the man's offer. It was no shocker, Toph was undefeated. It wasn't surprising at all to see no one in the crowd volunteer to fight her. "What? No one dares to face her?" Xin Fu challenged the audience, eyes scanning the hundreds seated in the stadium. I sat smiling ear to ear from my place eight rows from the top. I folded my arms as I watched with amusement.
All of a sudden, a friendly voice broke the silence. It called out, "I will!" Xin Fu and rest of the crowd turned to see who it could possibly be, At the far corner of the arena, a boy no older than Toph herself stepped on. He had been part of the trio I noticed at the beginning of the tournament. I wondered how someone so meek and humble looking could challenge someone so skilled and lethal as Toph; but then I remembered that things are not always as they seem, and that went for people as well. The boy had a traditional earth-bender warrior helmet strapped on his head. He wore a sleeveless tunic that was dark green with dandelion yellow edges. Like Toph, he was also barefoot. And something else...I would not have caught on if I hadn't been so intrigued by this kid. There was a light blue arrow on the top of each of his feet. My eyes widened. Even at my distance, I noticed the same color blue lines running down his arms. I had not seen these markings in half a year, and I had only known one another person to possess them. My sight was locked on him and only him, taking in his entire image. No way. My mind raced. The avatar?