"Good evening folks! Tonight we bring you another great match in the Pro Bending circuit. Tonight's match-up is between the fan favorite Fire Ferrets and the positively powerful Penguin Seals. It looks like this may be a close one folks and to all our radio listeners out there we wish you could be here in this arena tonight to watch what is sure to be an amazing match."
"Alright. Korra, Bolin and I have faced off against these guys before. They hit hard and they hit fast but they burn out so just keep on your toes and let them do the hard work for us. We'll outlast them and then go in for the win." Mako said as the Fire Ferrets were coming out to the arena.
Korra smiled as she nodded her agreement to the tactic. She loved playing fast but she knew that wearing her opponents out was just as important as knocking them out of the ring. She double checked the strap the held her helmet in place as the three of them stepped out onto the ring and waved to the fans.
It was funny to Korra how, even though the entirety of Republic City knew she played for the Fire Ferrets, when it came to game time, the whole crowd treated her like just another player from a really good team. The cheers weren't for just the Avatar but for the Fire Ferrets as a whole team. Bolin and Mako were just as important here as Korra.
Korra's thoughts instantly went to fighting as she heard the bell ring for the first round. A barrage of Earth and Fire lashed out at both her and Bolin. Korra blocked the fire easily with a shield of water and lashed out at the Penguin Seal's Firebender. The hit caught him and tossed him back into Zone Two and he was quickly followed by his two teammates whom Bolin and Mako had forced back as well.
The Fire Ferrets advanced and put pressure on the Penguin Seals, trying to conserve what energy they could and forcing their opponents into committing to big attacks that would wear them out. The buzzer went off as the Penguin Seals' Waterbender went sailing of the back of the ring courtesy of a really well placed one-two shot from Bolin and Mako.
Korra went on the attack and soon had the Earthbender off the back of the ring and into the water below, leaving only the Firebender standing. All three Fire Ferrets hit the lone player with everything they had and quickly had their first one round knockout of the season.
The bell rang as the match was announced over and Bolin jumped up and down. "WHOOO! We're the best. Oh yeah! Totally kicked butt out there! Fire Ferrets are so the best ever!" He turned to Mako and Korra hugging the both of them. "Great job you guys! A few more wins like that and we can go hit up the next tournament."
Mako smiled as he said, "It's not always going to be that easy. We'll keep working on our skills and keep training."
"Mako….it's always more training with you. Can't we just enjoy the win and take a break for a few days?" Bolin begged.
"Last time we took a break you ended up out of play for a month when the Rabbaroos' Earthbender broke your arm." Mako said bluntly.
"That was one time! And it was a lucky shot."
"Come on you two." Said Korra with a giggle in her voice. "We can take the day off and train tomorrow."
As the three of them were coming back from changing out of their uniforms, a messenger boy ran up to Korra and said, "Message for you ma'am. The sender said to read it when you got the chance and to do so in private."
Korra took the letter and eyed it. "Who sent it?"
"They told me not to say. I'm sure you'll find out when you read it." The messenger boy smiled and sped off on foot yelling back, "Have a nice day!"
Bolin peered over at the letter in Korra's hands. "Wonder who'd send a messenger boy to give you a letter. Not like it's impossible to find you."
"Maybe they wanted to give it to Korra without knowing who they were because they're a fan and would be nervous. Come on Bolin, you know we've gotten fan mail like that before." Mako said as he headed off. "Anyways I'm off. I'll see you guys at practice tomorrow."
Bolin smiled as Mako walked off and the slyly said, "Sooo, you going to open that letter Korra?"
"Yeah" Korra said, pausing long enough to let Bolin get excited. "When I get to Air Temple Island."
Bolin's face went from completely excited to totally saddened by the news that he wouldn't be seeing what the contents of Korra's mystery letter was. "Aww…you're no fun."
"I'll see you tomorrow Bolin." Korra said before whistling for Naga and heading back to her home on the island.
After dinner with Tenzin and the rest of the family, Korra went to her room to relax for the evening and took the letter out of the pocket she had put it in. The only thing on it was her name written with very crisp and neat handwriting. Korra hadn't seen her name look that good written since one of the members of the White Lotus taught her how to read when she was little.
She slid a finger under the seal and unfolded the letter. She took her time and made sure not to miss anything in case it was something important. The letter simply read, "Korra, I guess you're wondering why I'm writing you this letter. Well it's because I want to meet you and take you out for tea. I know it is short notice, but I want you to meet me at the Jade Dragon tomorrow evening. I can explain things better in person than I can a letter. A. Sato."
Korra re-read the letter over a half dozen times. Surely this wasn't Mako's Asami sending her a letter. And even if it was, why would Asami care if Mako knew that she was sending her a letter? Korra's thoughts raced as she tried to calm her mind and fall asleep.
Sleep didn't come easily to the young Avatar and when it did it seemed like all she could dream about was Asami. Korra tried her best to put thoughts of Asami out of her mind and focus on some of the Airbending basics. Even though Korra slept, it wasn't a nice, gentle sleep. She felt totally unrested when Jinora woke her for morning meditation.
"Ughh….Can't I just skip morning meditation?" Korra said as she groggily got to her feet.
"Nope. Daddy said you had to do morning meditation no matter how tired Pro Bending makes you." Jinora said sweetly.
Korra sighed as she put on her boots, recalling last night's dreams as her reason for not sleeping well and not the match. She joined the Airbenders for meditation and sat down, crossing her legs as she did so.
"Good morning Korra. Jinora tells me you didn't sleep well." Tenzin said quietly. "Thinking about Amon again?"
Korra grimaced slightly at the mention of Amon. "No, it's nothing like that. Just some…bad dreams. That's all. Nothing to worry about.''
Tenzin sighed inaudibly. He worried about Korra and knew that dreams often had a reason for being. He decided to let it slide this morning and quietly composed himself to meditate. It didn't last too long though as Korra huffed loudly.
"I'm sorry Tenzin; I can't focus at all this morning." Korra said, trying to word how she was feeling in a way that wouldn't anger her Airbending teacher.
"Korra, we've been over this. Patience is something Airbending requires and I know you're tired and a little frustrated, but you can't let that get to you."
"I know, but it's not that I'm frustrated or tired or anything like that. I just can't focus today." Korra said, turning her eyes away from Tenzin and staring at the ground.
She knew her focus this morning was shot because she kept thinking about her dreams from last night and even worse, found herself daydreaming about Asami. Korra silently yelled at herself trying to say that the Avatar shouldn't be this confused or conflicted about someone and a letter they sent. Korra slowly stood up and said, "Sorry, but I'm going to take a walk to clear my head."
"Korra, wait…"Tenzin said, but his words fell on deaf ears as he watched the Avatar walk off. He sighed to himself, wondering if it there was something that Aang would have been able to say to her that would have done something.
Tenzin's thoughts were broken when Ikki giggled and said, "I bet it's about some boy she likes."
Tenzin cleared his throat and stared at Ikki who immediately went back to meditation with a loud and over-done "Ohm." Tenzin sighed again and wondered why the fates had decided to give his children his father's childish nature.
Korra wandered over to a cliff on the island that was well over sixty feet from the water. For anyone but a Waterbender, the fall would have broken bone. Korra however willing jumped off and pulled the water towards her to cushion her fall into the water. The cold water felt good as it wrapped around her body. Korra loved feeling the sensation of being wrapped up in the water. Part of it was the fact that water was her original element and the other part was that there were no distractions under the water. Everything down here was completely silent and even the sea life that was normally around usually gave anyone swimming a good bit of space.
Korra just swam under the waves for a good ways before surfacing about halfway out to a small island she had found on her first trip out into the bay. There wasn't anything overly special about it, but it gave her a place away from Air Temple Island to think. Her thoughts were still stuck on Asami's letter and why it had been sent. Korra knew Asami was going to explain the letter to her when they met up at the tea house. The thought of the tea house Asami had mentioned made Korra worry. She didn't have any fancy clothes that would be appropriate for a place like the Jade Dragon.
She did have that one more slightly formal version of her usual clothes, but she had a feeling that it might not be good enough, even if she was the Avatar. Korra did have a few Yuan she could spend but anything fancy would be well out of her budget and she knew it. She sighed and jumped off her little island and headed back to where she called home.
After arriving back and drying herself off using her Waterbending, Korra rejoined Tenzin and did her best to meditate and found that she still couldn't focus. Her ability to focus still hadn't come back even by the time she was in the middle of practice with Bolin and Mako. She kept missing blocks and didn't take easy shots that both of the boys knew she should have taken.
"What's with you today, Korra? Yesterday you were playing the best we've seen in a while and today you're all just, blah" Bolin said as Korra got back up from yet another strike from Mako.
"Sorry, I couldn't sleep well last night."
Mako look at Korra with concern in his eyes. "Dreams of Amon again?"
Korra took her helmet off and tossed it into the catch net Bolin used for simple practice. "What is it with everyone thinking I' not sleeping because of that...that lunatic! I know Amon is a threat, I know I have to do something about it but right now I can't, okay?"
"Whoa…Korra, calm down." Mako said, gesturing with his hands. "It was just a question. You're not the only one who doesn't sleep well because of Amon."
Bolin had hidden behind Mako during Korra's tirade and whispered over his shoulder, "He does evil things in dreams! Like taking Pabu's talent!"
Korra genuinely laughed at Bolin's comment. She didn't have the heart to tell them anything about the real reason she couldn't sleep. After that, the practice went fairly smooth, only a couple of hiccups on Korra's part, but Mako seemed happy as they all went their separate ways for the rest of the day.
Korra was about to head over to a snack stand when the same messenger boy who had given her Asami's letter ran up holding a package. "The sender told me to tell you that this is for you, and that they think you'll appreciate it." And just like that, the boy was off running again.
Korra walked back into the arena practice area and up into the girl's changing room. When she was sure no one was around she opened up the package. Inside was a tastefully designed, deep sapphire colored evening dress and a note.
"Korra, I thought about it after sending you the letter and realized you might not have something to wear to the Jade Dragon. I had to take some guesses, but I hope this fits you just fine. I'll see you this evening. A. Sato."
Korra held up the outfit and was stunned. The blue silk shimmered gently and had an almost iridescent ripple like water. The clasps that held it together were gold in color and Korra imagined that gold was exactly what they were made out of. She stripped out of her normal clothes and slipped on the dress. It was surprising to her how well it fit, but the thing that struck her as the most wonderful thing about it was that it felt exactly like diving head first into the cold waters around Air Temple Island. It was this that let Korra know that, no matter what Asami had to say tonight at the tea house, she would enjoy her night out.
(Author's note: I don't think I've ever had a setup to a story literally take up a whole chapter before, but this series is totally worth it. Despite being relatively new, seeing as it's still currently airing, I wanted to take a crack at writing a Legend of Korra fic and I wanted to do something that, after much looking around in the community, not too many people have jumped on. Hopefully you will all enjoy it. Happy reading.)
Shinobi of the Onyx Sands