CH 5 | ROUND 4
The random selection resulted in the elimination of Fire Lord Zuko. The actual Fire Lord! The chemistry formed between the players of this (truly historic) gameshow episode dissolved whatever "starstruck" jitters Katara might have had if she'd met him in a different context.
"How did your Uncle force you onto a gameshow?" she asked him after they shared a friendly hug.
Fire Lord Zuko laughed and shook his head. "He's a nosy old man. Really wants me to find "The One". His helping hand has always been...well...heavy handed." After one final hug, Katara and her remaining three contestants sat back down.
"Round 4 is about the good times. What do you do for fun?"
Contestant 3 hummed happily. She liked this question. "Everything. Anything! I agreed to this show for fun. I go to the parties I'm invited to; I join my friends on their adventures. Anything is fun if you come at it with the right attitude."
"I love that sentiment. I need to remind myself to think like that more." Katara complimented.
"I've been accused of being a prankster" Contestant 5 began. "Though anyone who's been on the receiving end of my flying fruit pies have always reassured me that they are delicious."
"How do you make a fruit pie fly?" Katara wondered out loud.
"I can show you on our date." Contestant 5 replied smoothly. It should have provoked more 'woos' and cat-calls from the audience, but the tone of the room had taken on a hushed, awed turn since Round 3.
"I honestly wish I had a better answer…" confessed Contestant 6. "The truth is, I let fun get away from me. I've been buried in my work."
"THAT I can understand" commiserated Katara.
"Yeah. And I think, with the right person to pull me out of my bubble, I could give you a better answer to your question." Katara smiled happily. It was a good answer.
"Katara, will you now read the answer you provided earlier?" The Boulder asked, handing her the card she wrote Question 1 on: "I used to have a lot of fun. I love to go dancing; I love beach days and lake days. When I was younger, I used to penguin sled almost every day at home. I need to be reminded to make time for fun, though."
"Question 2: What makes you laugh?"
Contestant 3 laughed at the question itself.
So did Contestant 5. "That's actually a super-existential question in disguise, Katara…"
Katara shivered a bit at the sound of her name on his tongue. His voice was sexy.
"Laughter comes from the joy we pursue. I guess I find the most joy when I have time to spend with my found-family. We're all adults now, but when we get together it seems like we're kids again. I'm grateful that they still indulge my antics…" he said humbly.
"Cryptocurrency." Contestant 6 said flatly. Katara rolled her eyes.
"Katara, will you now read the answer you provided earlier?" The Boulder asked, handing her the card she wrote Question 2 on: "My brother Sokka makes me laugh. He still acts like a kid sometimes, but he's probably my closest friend. The times I laugh the most I think are when I'm home for holidays. Even though we tell the same stories over and over, there's something about being with the people you love that makes it easier to laugh."
"Katara this will be the final question of Round 4 before elimination. You'll be down to your final choice! The Boulder feels like it needs to be said…this is an uncommonly tense episode for this game show and the audience is witnessing some historic human connections being formed."
Katara swallowed hard, feeling her heart racing. During much of the last two rounds, she'd forgotten about the cameras, forgotten about the crowd. The Boulder was right. Even with her eliminated contestants, there was kinship and catharsis not usually captured on television.
"Question 3: What could you do for the rest of your life and not get tired of?"
"Sex." Contestant 3 stated firmly.
"Flying" said Contestant 5.
"Reading" confessed Contestant 6.
"Bending" said Katara.
The audience rewarded them all with respectable applause before Katara's elimination. "Contestant 6, I can tell you're an upstanding, hard-working, man. You're impressive, but I think we both need someone who will put some fun in our lives. Thank you so much for sharing with me, though!"
A tall, tan man in a green suit appeared from behind the barrier. He was broad shouldered and wore long hair in a very neat bun. "You just gave up Haru Yao. Haru is the co-founder of Cabbage Corp. and Wunderkin tech designer of Metal Bent Inc. He's the youngest multi-millionaire in the Earth Kingdom."
Katara and Haru shared a warm hug. "You were right, though." Said Haru. "We both need to try and have more fun." Katara laughed and nodded. "I hope we can be friends?"
"Definitely. Drinks on me at the After Party." Haru said with a professional handshake and a warm smile.