Negima Uzumaki for reviewing this story
cabrera1234 and Negima Uzumaki for adding this story to their favorite story and story alert
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
The artisan bender that had 'created' the Katara statue that stood in the middle of her home village was pacing around the room he was staying on a boat heading towards the Earth Kingdom. It was rather easy to convince Chief Hakoda and his family that the incredibly lifelike and detailed statue that he had given them was in no way connected to his missing daughter. It was not that hard really as he had reputation for making some of the best statues in the world after all, so the while they question him on how he had managed to make something so incredibly detail in only one year. He simply told it was a gift to craft a statue like this from life itself he explained to them. They of course had no idea how literal he was being when he said this but since there has never been any reports of an earthbender actually turning someone to stone, so they took him at his word.
As they laid in bed looking at the creature that was the true creator of 'The Dancing Master of Water' the title that he had decided on calling the transformed Katara. The BaguBagu he had rescued that day seem to follow his every command almost like it understood that he had saved itself life and was repaying that debt by serving him. Various other 'statues' were now dotting the Southern Water Tribe as well in addition the main attraction this small little bug had made Katara into. Of course there were only a number of people that had this creature could go after before reaching the limit. It would be very unlikely that anyone would believe he could more then one statue that was the same magnitude of the Katara 'statue' in only a year's time. They only bought his story so easily because he told them that he spend time working her statue every day. The others 'statues' that dotted the village would one he had done in his spare time as he never wanted his skill or focus to dull thus he did those to be constantly in the zone.
He knew that the BaguBagu he saved had to have been some kind of gift that he was given as he make statue that inspire people and cause them to gaze in awe at the sheer perfection of each of them for years to come. This was earth bending should be used mostly for instead of fighting. To creature marvel of which the world has never seen before as this was his dream the reason he had tolled so hard to become the master artisan earthbender that he was today. A world where not only earthbender but all kinds of bender used their craft to make the world a more beautiful place filled with artwork beyond his wildness imagination. With the BaguBagu at his side he might exactly see his dream come true or at least set the ground work for it.
He knew there was only two people in this world that might be able to at least suspect that something was off about the statues he given to the small Southern Water Tribe village. He had the talent and reputation to claim that something as masterful as petrified Katara was done by his hand.
The two people that the artisan bender was worried about committing a crime against art itself and jeopardizing his dream in learn that Katara statue was not just a statue but girl herself turn stone, are King Bumi and Toph Bei Fong. The old crazed king was not something he had to really worry about as it was unlikely he would be heading to the South Pole anytime soon as it was far too cold up there and despite his youthfulness as he was the second known oldest person alive today(Guru Pathik being the oldest at 150). Going to such an extremely cold climate could not be good for his overall health as the shift might too much for him. Running around in the Earth Kingdom like he does have no ill effect on his 113 year old body because it well adjusted to climates of the his homeland. Just seeing a picture would not be enough to capture the sheer perfection of the stoned Katara nor realize that she was not done by human's or spirit's hands
The other however was more of problem. Toph was young and though she would literally be blind at the poles because the ground is under untold amount of snow and ice. Plus she would have to wear shoes while there to keep her feet from freezing over and falling off because of frost bite. However regardless of these things if she taken to the Katara's home village, all she had to do was touch Katara's stone body to know that something is wrong. The sheer amount of detail and the very crafting of the stone itself, someone who is so close to the earth would more then likely be able to tell that there something off. This could lead to Toph coming after him for question about what happen to Katara. Though even if she did ask him the same question that others had asked him before he would answer the same way and Toph would not be able to detect that he was lying because he was not.
The artisan bender really did believe that Katara had vanished after she had shown off her skills to him. For he no longer consider the statue currently on display in Katara's hometown was even human. It was a work of art that was meant to be on display for the everyone else to marvel at the perfection created by the BaguBagu. Crafted from life was not a lie even since that really what happened Katara herself became the statue so that was no lie. However Toph might keep drilling him until she got the answers she wanted as after touching her stone form she would already know the truth because of her skills as earthbender.
So he had come up with a plan to keep her from ruining a work of art that no mortal nor spirit would ever be able to reproduce ever in his mind. He would just have to ensure that Toph would never be able to make contact with the Katara statue and he knew the perfect method to he fell asleep dreaming of how it might turn out.
Toph Bei Fong had just returned to the Earth Kingdom herself after another trip around most of the world. Shortly after the war and party at the Jasmine Dragon everyone went there separate ways. Leaving her alone as she was the only one in the group that did not have someone and that really did not bother her too much. Though they each offer her the opportunity to go with them because she would feel like a third wheel, she declined their offers. They had just won hundred year war and did not have to worry about getting chased (or be the chaser in Mai's and Zuko's cases) anymore. The couples that her friends had formed between themselves could enjoy the peace they well deserved as winning the war was only the beginning as keep the peace and dealing with their new found status as war heroes would kick in soon or later. So of course Toph took her own advice use the chance to just travel the world going to places knew about from books (that had been read to her of course) before her own new status and responsibilities fully kicked in. She traveled all over the place minus the poles as not only would not she been able to see clearly in snow but her feet would mostly freeze since she did not own a pair of shoes.
Last she hear about the South Pole was that some artisan earthbender she recommended was heading up there to work on making a statue of Katara. She wonder just what type of statue would get done eventually and if it was good enough she would go up there possibly to 'see' it for herself. Figuring out how to pull of making really good statue of Katara was not her problem yet apparently the guy had managed to pull it off she heard nothing but good thing about the statue he made. In addition to how he actually refuse to take the money he was given for the job.
Of course when it came to dealing with things Toph had her own problem to deal with that extended beyond simply her role in the new post war world. There was the question of her parents and weather or not she should go back to them. Part of her was worried that even though she had not only taught the Avatar earthbending, created a new form of bending, played a huge role in ending the war. Hell she even help take down an entire fleet of airship along with Sokka and Suki. However despite all of this she was worried that her parent would still see her as that defenseless blind girl.
That was why she was out here in the area where she first taught Aang Earthbending just having a blast doing what she did best. Though while she was just playing around thought of that artisan earth bender came to mind. She only really knew him because he had done a job for her parents once before when she was younger and just starting out as the Blind Bandit. The way she felt him looking at her with her 'sight' as she pretend to be novice in front of Yu kind of made her wonder if he would actually knew she was better then she was letting on.
Clearly that from her mind she decided that maybe she take a crack at making something as she already had once created a entire mini replica of Ba Sing Se out of sand back during their stay at Ember Island(complete with mini Earth King and Bosco). So stretching her arms, legs, and cracking her knuckles she decided to get too and recreated the scene from Earth Rumble VI where she had first met Aang.
The easiest part to remake was the ring itself and though she did not realize it she had created two seat on the right side of the ring. Next came the hardest part as though she was technically able to see her surrounding thanks to the her earthbending she was still blind. So when she went about making stone replica of Aang there was only so much that she could do as she never really tired something like this before. Miniature person and bear she created in sand Ba Sing Se did not really have that much detail to them as they really did not need it. She could go off her memory and recreate their likeness based off that.
Though a life size statue was different as she barely could describe in that much detail what she looked like herself. Sure she get the basic stuff down but when it came more fine details she would be at loss. Aang well he was pretty difficult to make a statue of because his footstep were so light she only had vague image of what his outline looked like. Then there things like his arrow tattoos which she had no idea how to recreate since they just something that on his skin not really a part of it. So she just went with basic statue based off what she knew.
This was when the artisan bender had come into the area. Though Toph may have recommended him she was unaware that artisan bender of his caliber could make their feet so light that they rivaled those of the airbender and since she was too preoccupied with working on her stone Aang replica. It was at this point that the artisan bender was having second thought as he did not know Toph was capable of doing something like this. She was creating something out earth that rivaled his own skills as she was not adept at earth bending as simply means of defensive but as art as well. However she posed too big a threat to his plans thus this was the only way to ensure she would screw it up. He released the BaguBagu to fly over in her direction and seal her fate and place in the world just like it had with Katara's over a year early.
With her Aang replica complete she then move into one of her usual fighting stance, where her feet were firmly planted on the ground with her legs spread out just enough so that she could move with moments notice from slide to slide. Barely needing to having her feet leave the ground more then necessary. Her arms at her side with elbows facing upwards and hands sticking straight up with the fingers pressed together looking like her hands were blade. She had rather determined look on her face as that fight against Aang was one of the only few solo fights she had ever loss in her life. Toph was just about to make her move when heard a buzzing sound coming towards. If she could have seen what was coming towards her she might have move from her spot or at least do more then try to blow it away with quick rock before returning to her stance.
The rock she threw flew by the BaguBagu missing it by inches as it went to carry out its objective, stinging Toph right in her shoulder. Once that had happened the artisan could only watch in amazement as the same process that had transformed Katara into the work of art she now was currently, was now working its magic on Toph.
Toph never even stood a chance against the BaguBagu's petrifying liquid as it entered her system. She did not even realized that she had been stung as the moment it happened the effect spread across her body like wildfire in dried out field. It would seem that Toph's close connection to the earth in this case proved to be a negative as it only supercharge the transformation making something that usually at least take a minute or more to actually fully take effect. Do it thing almost instantly Toph was captured in the moment between finishing one attack and returning to her usual stance. One arm caught in the motion of returning form while her body was had after began shifting itself to stance it never fully taken again thank to the BaguBagu.
What stood before the artisan bender now was statue of Toph that was caught in the moment showing off her mastery of neutral jing, someone who waits and listens before striking. Struck in amazement once again at the work his little fellow had done he gave the creature praise and restore it normal like he seem to need to do every time it created a master piece.
Circling around the stone Toph as he no longer had to worry about her detected him as she was completely obviously to the world around her being that she was just a statue after all. The detail, the expression, the feeling that he got from the now petrified earthbending master were almost overloading for his system. Thanks to the BaguBagu Toph had once again done something do earthbender before her even the badgermoles or the avatar themselves had managed to do. She was now fully and totally at one with her element though she did not know this as she was just statue after all.
However taking a close look at her and taking time to feel how her body was now that it was made of stone, something he could not really do with Katara. That being because she had petrified surrounding her and keeping him from doing this. Toph on the other hand had never to keep the artisan bender from railing his hands all over her body from her blank orbs that once her eyes yet still had so much detail in them even for blind person. Her small breast that would never grow as thank her never starting puberty as she quite possibly a late bloomer. Those fine and detailed hands which she used direct around her element like it was part of her though now she was a part of it. Then there was the area of her body that she never liked anyone touch just at random, her feet. Oh what marvel they were as he knew these were her window to the world as she 'saw' the world around thanks to her feet thus they very important to her. Touching them in the stone state send jolt through his body as for some reason the level of detail seem almost even more detail here, just like how with Katara her stone arms seem the most detail part of her petrified body. Though there was something not right here as she facing in the direction of where BaguBagu stung her but he moved her around so that now she was facing directly at the stone replica of Aang and with some adjustment was made to look like it was the target of her attack instead.
After he did this he noticed something different about Toph then with Katara. While Katara was made of type of stone that was very resist to erosion, cold weather, and despite being very sturdy had the appearance of being gentle and fragile rock. Toph was literally embodiment of earthbender as statue but the type of stone she was now made of was unknown to him. Then it hit him a one of kind earthbender like Toph Bei Fong had turned into a one of kind statue that was like nothing available on this world at present. Toph was a statue that was made entirely of meteorite rock, same as her bracelet which she still wore underneath her normal clothes and could actually been seen if one looked close at the arm she normally wore it. Of course it did not stand out very much any more since her entirety of her being and clothes were now made of the same material.
Once he was done examining Toph statue again, he moved on the Aang one that she had created and thought it was pretty well down for someone that was only able to see the outline of people. The plan that the artisan bender had worked like a charm as Toph would no longer pose a threat to reveal the fact that Katara statue was the real person turned to stone, because she too was now a statue.
Yet what he did not expect was for her to actually create a scene that he could use himself. So carefully removing the ring that had petrified Toph and replica Aang statue from the ground and moved it over to his workshop near Gaoling. Then he went about carrying out the next phase of his plan as Toph may not be reveal his secret but he did not want her just stay locked away somewhere but out on display for everyone to marvel and her just like they did with Katara.
This where her parents came into play as he was use them as part of his to have Toph statue seem as nothing more then ordinary statue and that despite being so life like and detail had nothing to do with Toph's disappearance. Little did she know that her parents were actually trying to get in touch with her as traveling around alone like she had been doing had made it somewhat hard to get a hold of her as no one really knew where she would be and for how long. They wanted to apologize as they have come to see the error of their ways and wanted their daughter back in their lives. She did not have to stay with them if she did not want to but Lao and Poppy at least wanted her to know that she was always be welcome as long as she desired to stay and they would not hold here if she did not want stay.
This change of heart came around when the Boulder of all people came to the Bei Fong estate wanting to extend his thanks for what she had done and causing him to realize what where he place in life should be. The reason he came to her parents place as he had feeling that she would eventually come back as he had run into her awhile back before she left on her trip around the world(minus places she could not 'see' like the poles). He had not been able to say what he wanted back then so he left that message with her parent. When they started going on their rant about how defenseless and helpless Toph was well the Boulder was not standing for that. He put the two of them in their place and force them to acknowledge that she was more then capable of handling herself. In addition to inform them that it was their 'defenseless and helpless' that help take down an entire fleet with her metalbending which she created herself.
This when the artisan came by offering to give them set of statue that would be a recreation of their daughter's fatefully first meeting with the Avatar. If word got around that they had this then just maybe Toph would come home to give them a second chance, which what her parnets were thinking. Thus they readily agreed to it and offered him a fortune but he turned it down claiming he was going to do only for the sake of bring a family back together. Little were they aware that Toph was on her way home already but would never make there and be aware of that fact because she had been turned to stone by the artisan's BaguBagu.
Yet if Toph was a statue made entirely of meteorite rock how would that be explained away as there was not just large quantity of that material just lying around. Well in what some might call dumb luck or the artisan called the spirits being on his side for his fulfilling his goal. Another meteorite stuck the planet not too far away from where he found and petrified Toph. Taking this space rock into his possession he was able to tell the Bei Fong he would use it to make the Toph statue so it would stand out amongst her surrounding to make her the focal point of the piece.
He had no need to make something that he already had stored safely away in his workshop as the only thing he really worked on for the next four years was three other statues that he would have on display with Toph.
The first year was spend working on adding the details to stone replica the avatar. He knew that he could not have match the perfection of stone Toph but that was not what he was trying to do. He just did his best and would claim that the since Toph was the suppose to be the center of the piece he purposefully worked the most on her so would stand out the most.
However the other two that he would claim to spend the next two years on where Toph's own parents. For the artisan noticed what the two chairs might represent even if Toph herself had been aware that she had even created them. They might be her wanting to had her parents there when she was fighting as the Blind Bandit supporting what she loved to do and found that she was really go at. Rather then assuming because she was blind that she was unable to do anything on her own.
So then after the first year he invited the two Bei Fongs over for a secret viewing as long as that they were alone and no one was aware or inform of it. To say they were amazed by the sight of statue they had no idea was truly their daughter petrified was what he would have expected. Both Lao and Poppy were absolutely sure that something like this would mostly certainly capture their daughter's attention (even though she really standing right in front of them). This were he informed them of his plan of more then simply having a recreation of that fateful day be out on display. He offered them a something he claimed would make the piece perfect and show them to the two seat that were positioned right behind Toph like they were in her corner. There he told Toph's parents to pretend as if they were cheering for their daughter to win this fight. The reason he gave them would be that he then use this as the base for statues to sit in those chairs. They would serve as possible proof of them having really change their ways rather then just ploy to lure her back to be the daughter they wanted her to be not who she really was.
Poppy was all for it as she cheered as if she had actually been there herself getting really into as it would seem that Toph inherited a majority of her personality for her mother. She had been just like her daughter when she was younger. Though the life of high society women and maternal instinct to protect her child especially know that she was blind really mellow her out a little too much she realized as got fully in the act of pretending cheer for Toph.
Lao on the other hand was the exact opposite as apparently fatherhood cause him to become more serious and less like his former self which was actually a lot like Aang in many ways. He did not want to cage up Toph like he had all he truly wanted was for her to be safe as he could not imagine the danger of being blind top with possibly having her mother's old ways.
The artisan was amazed at this sort of role reversal her parent had gone though yet still managed to release his BaguBagu. Shortly afterwards the workshop went quite as there were no longer cheering coming from Lao or Poppy. All there was in the place was utter silence as no one made a move or a sound. The artisan broke the silence when he began laughing and graduating his partner BaguBagu on what he saw as another job well done.
Lao and Poppy were now nothing more then stone statue stuck in the moment of cheering for their daughter. He then went over to the now petrified parents and patting them both on the shoulder informing them that they had been reunited with their daughter and the three of them would not be separated again.
The final and four year was just him selling off his meteorite as he claimed it was putting the final touches on his latest masterpiece but that was only because he had turn all three Bei Fongs to stone thus he need to wait three years to avoid anyone catching on as he claimed last time it took a year to 'create' his Katara statue. So ones of entire Bei Fong family would take three time as along. Even though he had added her parents to be statue that were sitting right behind her Toph was still the focal point of the piece.
As what people thought happen to the Bei Fongs now that they were all statue of stone. Well Toph was still thought to be roaming the world after having second thoughts about going home. Lao and Poppy were thought to be missing as they just could take anymore and went out in search of their daughter on their own without paying anyone this time around to possibly serve as proof they have changed.
He called the piece the donated to the city Gaoling that would 'Bei Fongs and the Avatar' display in courtyard of what was once the Bei Fong Estate but had later been turned into the largest Bending Academy in the world.
The statue of Toph like Katara before her had served to make much bigger influence on the people of the world. Toph became a role model to all sort of people just like Katara had. Only rather then just appealing to those that come mostly from small village, Toph's appeal effect everyone from all walks of life. From disapproving that short people or girl in general would not make good master earthbenders. To how she managed to not only come to terms with being blind but actually find that her blindness is what lead her to discover one of her greatest strength use bending as way of getting around her eyes not working and even creating a whole new form of bending itself in metal bending.
Of course while there were people that never met them looked at statues of the Bei Fongs and Katara and getting inspiration and hope for bright future. There were those like Aang, friends, and those that personal knew them only wonder what they had vanished too without a trace. While the artisan bender had no guilt or anything eating at him about what he had done as he truly did not care about any of that as both Bei Fongs and Katara had been made into works of art. In his mind that was far more important and have far bigger influence as statue.