The boy crouched on a large tree branch, watching the Fire Nation camp. He pulled out his bow silently, half-hoping he wouldn't have to use it. "Are you sure we should stop here captain? This forest is rumored to have spirits of past warriors that live in the trees." He smirked. Warrior spirits? Try a couple of kids. The captain turned to the quaking general who was looking around nervously as if someone would jump out of the trees any minute and ambush them. "I don't care about the rumors! If you want to walk 5 miles to the next village by yourself in the middle of the night, be my guest!" Captain Lo snapped. "Otherwise, we'll be staying here." The general bowed his head. "Of course captain." Captain Lo nodded and turned to the rest of the group who snapped to attention. "Men, set up camp!" All of the soldiers nodded. "Yes sir!" A young-looking soldier asked, "And what do we do with the prisoner captain?" The boy froze. A prisoner? That hadn't been in the cards. He leaned forward to hear more about this prisoner. "We'll be stopping in the next village tomorrow night. Give her enough to last until then.
The soldier gave a curt nod and rushed off to do what he was told. The boy followed by the trees, slipping between the branches. The soldier came to abrupt stop and so did the boy. He held on to the trunk and watched as the soldier approached a small girl tied to a tree. She couldn't have been more than 8. She was covered in mud, blood, and burns; her hair was singed and her clothes torn and ragged. She flinched as the soldier walked towards her, as if he was going to hit her. Instead he just looked at her with a malicious grin. "Y'know, we're stopping tomorrow night. Then the captain's gonna sell ya. I'm sure someone will pay a pretty price for a new servant." The girl cowered back against the tree as he roughly stroked her cheek. The boy narrowed his eyes and quickly nocked an arrow and shot the soldier down before he could continue.
The girl looked around bewildered. Quietly and slowly, as to not scare her, he jumped down. He held a finger to his lips and looked around. Get the intel, get out. That was the plan. He sighed internally and looked at the girl. He couldn't just leave her. "I'll be back, promise." The girl nodded and he slipped away.
It only took ten minutes of creeping around the camp and listening to the soldiers talk for him to figure out where they were going. He had stolen some food while he was at it, slipping a loaf of bread and a small pack of dried turkeyduck meat into the small bag on his back. Making sure he didn't go too far out of the shadows, the boy crept back to the girl. She looked up at him, relief flooding her face. He pulled his knife out and got to work cutting the ropes that bound her arms to the tree. He looked at her feet. They were shackled instead of tied. He reached into the small pocket on his tunic for the small metal piece he used to pick locks. With a quick flick of the wrist, the locks clicked open and the shackles fell to the ground.
When they fell off, her wrists and ankles were raw from the ropes and chains. She had had been underfed and dragged along, making her lack the strength to walk. He gingerly picked her up as to not hurt her. She hid her face in his shoulder. He looked at her and began the trek home. After a while of silence broken only by occasional bird calls, he asked, "What's your name?" She looked up at him and after a moment, quietly replied, "Bao Yu." He nodded. "I'm Isamu. It's nice to meet you Bao Yu."