Author's Note: The third chapter. Oh yeah. Sorry for the late entry! I almost lost the data to my current stories.
Guest: Yep. And thank you so much for being my first review.
Disclaimer: I don't own Avatar: The Last Airbender. I own only Naya, Rinzen and all the original content here.
Book 1: Water
Chapter Three: King Bumi
The Avatar found us in the Temple. At first, Rinzen was protective and wary but he grew to like him and his companions, Sokka and Katara. As for me, I was happy to be away and out of that Temple. It wasn't exactly suited for living in – the skeletons, the rotting clothes, and dried blood. How we survived in there is still a question to me but then again Father and Mother fed us the right food to boost up our immune systems.
We were in Kyoshi Island a few weeks ago and a group of warrior women captured us. But when Aang – the Avatar – revealed himself to be an airbender, they let us go. I bonded with the leader of the Kyoshi warriors, Suki, and she taught me some self-defence, although I'm not that good yet. Sokka bonded with her too but they got off in a rough start at first.
The trip was awesome until the prince of the Fire Nation arrived and tried to capture Aang and almost burned down the island. God, the Fire Nation always ruin everything!
But the Good and Righteous always prevail – Father always says.
Naya closed her book with a sigh, feeling accomplished. She was a few weeks late on her diary entry but she managed to summarise everything that happened into one entry.
Naya smiled, seeing Aang peering at her book curiously.
Our heroes were camping on the outskirts of a pyramid-like city. Sokka and Rinzen had just woken up and were now frying bacon, much to Aang's disgust. He kept sending Rinzen patronizing glares to which the older boy smiled sheepishly.
Meanwhile, Sokka and Rinzen bonded. At first, they were suspicious and cautious of each other and for their sisters but now they rubbed elbows talked about how annoying their sisters were, hunting and fighting or about girls. The conversations about girls were short as neither of them had any real experience with females, other than their sisters.
Like their brothers, Katara and Naya bonded. Katara showed Naya how to wash and condition her hair properly and how to braid it properly. They talked about fighting, their backgrounds and sometimes about boys. Like their brothers, they had no experience with the opposite gender.
Aang was just cheerful that everyone got along and though he hadn't officially started training Rinzen and Naya, he still showed them tricks and moves that were easy to master. He and Naya often practiced and played Airball while Rinzen judged and counted the scores. They got along easily as they were around the same age.
"Writing a Diary entry," Naya replied, smiling at Aang's curiosity.
"Why?" he asked.
"For fun. Writing poems and short stories calm my nerves."
"Oh! Can I read one of them?"
Naya shook her head, "They're personal," she said, flushing slightly.
"Please! Please! Pleaseee!"
She laughed loudly and shook her head. In retaliation, he grabbed the book from her hand and sprinted off. She ran after him, screaming at him to give it back. Sokka and Rinzen watched, amused, as the two fought each other down for the brown notebook, with Aang easily winning. He grabbed his glider and flew south, landing on a cliff, miles away.
Naya glowered in rage, vowing to kill him when he got back. She shrieked at Sokka and Rinzen to stop laughing.
Katara who had woken up with all the screaming and shrieking, asked wearily, "What happened?"
"Aang stole Naya's diary and flew off," Sokka answered before Naya could yell out her answer.
"Well, he has to come back," Katara shrugged, much Naya's offense.
"I have personal stuff in that book!"
"Geez, Naya, relax and have some bacon," Rinzen pressed his lips, trying not to laugh. He knew how important that notebook was to Naya. Their parents had given it to her for her 8th birthday, seeing that she loved to write. So it was natural for her to feel attached to the book.
Naya grabbed the bacon from him and munched on it muttering to herself. She held out her berries to Momo who ate them happily.
They finished breakfast, leaving berries and nuts for Aang. They packed up camp, just as Aang returned. Naya immediately jumped on him and pummelled him with her fists as he landed.
After Naya finished taking her anger out on the monk, she took back her notebook and scanned it – it was fine. Rinzen and Katara gave Aang a look that said 'Was all that necessary?' He merely smiled and glanced at the city.
"The Earth Kingdom city of Omashu!"
They were now looking at the pyramid-like city and the path leading to it. The monk's four companions watched it in awe.
"I used to always come here to see my friend Bumi," Aang explained.
"Wow," Katara gasped. "It doesn't have cities like this in the South Pole."
"Really?" Rinzen asked.
"Yeah, and they have buildings here that don't melt," Sokka's baby blue eyes were wide.
"Well, the city is certainly much bigger than our old village," Naya remarked, her anger and irritation at Aang faded.
"Let's go you slow pokes! The real fun is inside!" Aang sprinted off but Katara stopped him.
"It could be dangerous if people found out that you're the Avatar."
"You need a disguise," Sokka added.
"Sooo, what am I supposed to do? Grow amoustache?"
"Ugh, this is so itchy!" Aang now sported white fur that gave him a bushy moustache and large wad of hair held on together by rope.
"How do you live in this stuff?" the monk asked Appa. The bison growled and blew air from his nose at the monk.
"Great, now you look just like my grandfather," Sokka said.
"Technically Aang is one hundred and twelve years old," Katara pointed out.
"Now, let's get to skipping, you young whippersnappers!" Aang wheezed, making his voice sound like an old geezer. "The big city awaits!"
Naya and Rinzen snickered while the Water Tribe siblings shrugged.
The five headed to the entrance of the Earth Kingdom city of Omashu. It turned out to be longer than expected and Rinzen whined and complained about his feet aching. The girls told him harshly to shut up and stop complaining. Sokka laughed at the other boy's mishap. The journey continued quietly after that.
"You guys are gonna love Omashu," Aang broke the silence. "The people are the friendliest in the world."
"You bought in cabbages?! What kind of slum do you think this is?!"
The voice came from an Earth Kingdom soldier who snatched a cabbage from an old man, threw it on the ground and used earthbending to somersault the cart of cabbages. The cart fell into the depths below.
"No! My cabbages!" the merchant screamed.
"Yeah sure, if the people are friendly like that, imagine when they're not!" Rinzen snapped, still irritated about earlier. His companions looked over the edge in awe.
"Just keep smiling," Aang gritted his teeth. The foursome obeyed.
They walked closer to the soldiers and Aang limped forward. The same soldier from before rose a large rock over the boy's head and shouted, "State your business!"
Aang moved from under the rock and said in his old man voice, "My business is my business young man!" the rock dropped in front of the foursome who flinched. "And none of yours! Why I have half a mind to bend you over my knee and paddle your backside!"
Naya smirked, Katara shook her head profusely, Sokka gaped with wide eyes and Rinzen nodded in approval and muttered, "He's playing this role really well."
"Okay, settle down, old timer," the guard said in a much calmer and more respectful tone. "Just tell me who you are."
"Name's Bonzu Pippinpaddle-Oppsokopolis the Third!" Aang grinned. "And these are my grandkids!"
The two girls walked forward, holding hands and Katara said, "Hi, June Pippinpaddle-Oppsokopolis, it's nice to meet you and this is my sister April Pippinpaddle-Oppsokopolis." She gestured to Naya.
"Hello sir," Naya did her signature cute puppy face look. It worked on everyone, everyone but her mother. The look made her younger than she really was, besides her height.
"Aww," the guard cooed and the boys choked back laughs. The guard pointed at Katara.
"You look like a responsible young lady, see that your grandfather stays out of trouble and feed that poor baby!" He cooed at Naya again who smiled sweetly. Rinzen covered his mouth to choke back laughter. "Enjoy Omashu." The guard stepped to the side from them to pass.
"Thank you, sir," Naya smiled and Rinzen wrapped his arms protectively around the girls.
"We will," Katara assured, as she, Naya, Rinzen, and Aang walked past the soldier. Sokka lagged behind, looking at the guard with a cautious look.
"Wait a minute!" the guard grabbed the Water Tribe boy's shoulder and pulled him back. The other four looked back with scared looks.
"You're a strong young boy, show some respect for the elderly and carry your grandfather's bag."
Rinzen rolled his eyes, "As if you did that, five minutes ago."
"Good idea," Aang smirked and tossed his bag over the older boy's shoulder and into his hands.
Sokka grumbled as the five walked to the entrance. The walls split into halves byearthbending, opening them to the city inside. Rinzen chuckled cheekily at Sokka who swiped at his head. The five some walked in and Momo's ears popped out of Aang's fake hair and the guard looked on in surprise until the walls closed in.
The five walked around the city, mesmerized. The city looked a lot bigger on the inside.
Rinzen turned to the girls, "How did you two come up with that act?"
"Just in case something like that happened," Naya winked.
"That look works wonders," Katara opined.
"This the Omashu's delivery system," Aang explained pointing at the stone chutes. "Miles and miles of chutes. Earthbending brings the packages up and gravity brings them down."
"Great so they get their mail on time," Sokka said, bored.
"They do get their mail on time," Aang confirmed. "But my friend Bumi found a better use for these chutes." He grinned mischievously for a moment.
"I don't like that look on his face," Rinzen whispered to his sister and friends.
"One ride, then we're off to the North Pole, airbenders' honor," Aang promised as the five were squished on one little cart. The order was Aang, then Rinzen, Katara, Naya, and Sokka behind.
"Um, it kind of sounded fun at first but now I have discovered that I'm terrified of heights!" Naya squealed in fright.
"No wonder you're so short," Sokka joked.
"Wait, let's get think what, AH!-" Katara began but was interrupted as Aang, with the help of Rinzen, tipped the cart and soon they were racing down the chute. Aang and Rinzen laughed merrily while the other three screeched, Naya being the loudest.
"This is more fun than I thought!" Rinzen shouted. "Right you guys?"
The three didn't answer other than Naya's screaming.
A cart full of spears merged next to them, reducing them to silence. As the carts raced on, the cart filled with spears appeared behind them, making them scream in terror.
Sokka looked back and ducked as the spears nearly stabbed him. Naya pressed herself closer to Katara who gave cries of fright as she did.
"We're on it!" Aang and Rinzen nodded at each other confidently. They both rocked and tipped the cart so that they were able to launch off the chute they were on and land on the roof of a building. The five screamed in unison as the cart landed roughly in front of a group of Earth Kingdom soldiers, causing Aang's foot to kick Rinzen's forehead, Rinzen smacked his head into Katara's face, Naya almost flew off the cart but Sokka grabbed her and wrapped his arms protectively around her. They crashed into other carts and one of the carts broke and spilled its fruits. They continued down some rooftops and into another chute until Katara yelled, "You guys do something! Use your airbending!"
"Good call," Rinzen grinned.
"It'll make us go even faster!" Aang cheered.
"No! No! NOOO!" Naya screamed in agony.
The two boys ignored her and waved their arms, giving them a boost. People watched as the kids rode on the chute. As they slid down, an earthbender placed a cart on the same chute. The five screamed louder this time as they crashed into the cart, making them fly off their cart.
Aang waved his arms again, pushing the five back into the cart and they landed on another rooftop. A man was painting a large vase, until the five crashed through the window and sped past him, smashing his vase into tiny pieces.
"Sorry!" Aang cried.
They rode into another house and when they came out, Momo was fighting a cat on Aang's furry head. Momo threw the other animal off the monk's fake hair. The cart moved toward some wood and it smashed the wood, along with the ledge of the building.
The cabbage merchant was rubbing his face affectionately on his cabbage until he heard the sound of the cart and the children's cries. The five landed directly on his carriage of cabbages, destroying the cart and the vegetables.
"My cabbages!" the man yelled, in horror. "You're gonna pay for this!"
The city's soldiers immediately surrounded them, hearing the man's yell.
"Two cabbages please," Aang smiled nervously, his fake hair ruined by the fall.
The soldiers arrested them, forced them to identify themselves and they all walked to the palace.
The five, now in the palace and still escorted by the soldiers, walked slowly and nervously to an old man sitting on a throne. Rinzen saw the man stared at Aang for a quick second.
"Your majesty," the leader of the soldiers began as the others pushed the five kids on their knees, "These juveniles were arrested for vandalism, traveling under false pretenses and malicious destruction of cabbages."
"Off with their heads! One for each head of cabbage!" the merchant yelled. Rinzen glared at the old man.
"Silence! Only the king can pass down judgment," the soldier rebuked. "What is your judgment sire?" he asked the aged king.
The king peered at them closely. The monk with the azure blue arrows on his head and hands and the boy with the spiked up hair – looking and studying at them closely gave him an idea. The two girls looked at him with pleading eyes and the Water Tribe boy muttered some words. The spiky-haired boy looked resigned and the monk looked bored and started to whistle.
"Throw them-" the king began. And the kids snapped their heads at his voice. "A feast!"
Everyone gasped and the cabbage merchant slapped his hands on his head in exasperation and anger at the unfairness of life.
A large table was laden with delicious foods and Rinzen was stuffing his face merrily. The old king studied him for a moment and then peered at the other four kids. The order of the seats was Naya, Katara, Aang, Rinzen and Sokka.
"The people of my city have gotten fat because of too many feasts so I hope you like your chicken without skin," the king cackled, pushing the drumstick near the monk's face.
"Thanks but I don't eat meat," Aang declined.
"How about you?" he asked Sokka. "I bet you like meat." And he stuffed the meat into his mouth before he can answer. Sokka munched on his meat happily.
As the king walked off, Katara whispered, "Is it me or is this king's crown a little crooked?"
"At least he spared our lives," Naya whispered back.
The king walked back to his seat at the end of the table.
"So young bald one," he went on. "Where are you from?"
"I'm from Kangaroo Island!" Aang answered, cheerful.
"Oh, Kangaroo Island eh, I heard that place is really hopping!"
There was silence except for a cough from one of the soldiers. Sokka burst out laughing suddenly and everyone looked at him.
"What? It was pretty funny."
"No, Sokka, no," Rinzen shook his head.
The king yawned, stretched his arms for a moment, and said, "All these good jokes are making me tired. Guess it's time to hit the hay." He dug his robe and with a speed, threw two drumstick chickens at Aang and Rinzen.
Rinzen reached out for the meat and caught it with his airbending. He bit a piece off the meat and glanced at his sister's horrified expression. He glanced at Aang who had done the same thing.
"Oh crap," he groaned.
Gasps echoed in the place.
"There are airbenders in our presence and judging by the blue arrows on one of them, the arrowed monk is the Avatar!" the king accused.
"We're toast," Naya ducked her head.
"Now what do you have to say for yourselves huh? Misters Pippinpaddle-Oppsokopolis?"
"Okay you caught us," Aang stood up. "I'm the Avatar. Rinzen and Naya here are my students who also happen to be airbenders as well. I'm doing my Avatar thing, keeping the world safe." He looked under the table. "No firebenders here, so good work everybody," he hugged his companions. "Love each other, respect all life, don't run with your spears. We'll see you next time!" the five of them tried to back out of the room but the soldiers blocked them.
"You can't keep us here!" Katara yelled. "Let us leave!"
The king picked a lettuce from his plate. "Lettuce leaf?" And he munched on it.
"We're in serious trouble you guys," Sokka whispered. "This guy's nuts."
"No kidding," Naya groaned.
"Tomorrow," the king began. "The Avatar and his male student will face three deadly challenges. But for now, the guards will show you to your chamber."
"My liege, do you mean the good chamber or the bad chamber?" the guard next to him asked.
"The newly refurbished chamber," the king answered.
"Which one are we talking about?"
"The one that used to be the bad chamber. Until the recent refurbishing, that is. Of course, we've been calling it the new chamber but we really should number them, uh…Take them to the refurbished chamber that was once bad!"
"Wait! Wait!" Rinzen yelled and everyone stopped. "Why do I have to do the challenges? Why can't she do it?" He glanced at his sister who glared daggers at him.
"Because I said so!"
"Oh come on! Yeow!" he yelled in pain as the girls kicked his shins.
The king continued to munch on his lettuce.
The guards led them through a series of hallways until they stopped in front a wall. A guard cracked the wall open to reveal a room and push the five forward and sealed back the wall.
"This is a prisoner cell?" Katara asked in disbelief. "But it's so nice."
"Says the girl who isn't going to die tomorrow," Rinzen hissed and his sister punched his shoulder. He glared angrily at her for a moment before turning away.
"He did say it was nicely refurbished," Aang added.
"Nice or not, we're still prisoners," Sokka reminded them.
"I wonder what these challenges are gonna be?" Aang asked himself.
"Probably something life threatening and horrible," Rinzen snapped.
"Rinzen, please, leave the negative stuff to Sokka," Katara sighed.
"Hey!" Sokka yelled.
"Look, we're not sticking around to find out," Naya looked around. "There has to be a way to escape."
"The air vents!" Aang yelled, pointing at the hole in the wall. The foursome looked at each other in confusion.
"If you think we're gonna fit in there then you're crazier than that king!" Sokka declared. "Well, Naya might fit…" he studied her closely and she glared at him.
"We might not fit, but Momo can," Aang pointed again, to the lemur who was lazily licking a chewed up apple.
"Momo, I need you to find Appa and bust us out of here," Aang said to the lemur who looked at him questioningly.
Minutes later, Aang was pushing the lemur into the small hole. But it didn't work.
"Well, how was Appa supposed to save us anyway?" Sokka was lying on one of the three beds.
"Appa is a ten-ton bison, he might know something wrong," Aang said, hopeful.
"Well, he might, but there's always Naya." The younger girl threw a gust of air at him, making him fly off the bed.
The girls were going to share one bed, while the boys argued for a moment. The argument ended when Rinzen and Aang decided to share a bed since they were doing the challenges, making Sokka happy that he had a bed for himself.
"Get some rest you two," Katara ordered Aang and Rinzen. "You'll need it for tomorrow."
Rinzen turned his back on Aang, his heart pumping quickly as fear crept in him.
Aang and Rinzen were unknowingly hugging each other while they slept. A guard opened the wall, startling them awake. They looked at each other and jumped away in horror of their position.
"Naya? Sokka? Katara?" the boys looked around in shock and terror.
"Where are they?!" Rinzen yelled.
"The king will free them when you complete your challenges," the guard answered, sternly.
"And if we fail…" Aang asked in slow tone and Rinzen's eyes widen.
"He didn't say. Your staff please," he nodded to Aang. He handed him the staff.
They followed the guard to the throne room of the palace. Rinzen's heart ached at where his friends may be. If he failed….he didn't want to think about it.
"The one thing I've learned in life is to fight. Fight for what you believe in. Fight for those you love. And when you fight, never, ever, give up. Because when you do, you lose the battle and you will perish. Not only physically, but emotionally and mentally. Do you understand Rinzen?"
The two boys stood in the throne room and the king said, "First, Avatar and Airbender, what do you think of my new outfit, I want your honest opinion."
There was silence.
"I guess it looks fine," Aang shrugged.
"And you, Airbender?"
"It looks good, cool even," Rinzen nodded.
"Good, you both passed the first test."
"Holy crap really?!"
"Well," the king said, thoughtfully. "Not one of the deadliest ones. The real challenge is much more challenging."
Aang raced up to the king with a rush of air and glared up at him, "We don't have time for your stupid games! Just give us our friends back!"
The king smirked, "Ah. I thought you might refuse."
The wall opened to reveal the trio who was held down by soldiers.
"So I'm giving them souvenirs. Those delightful rings are called genomite, also known as creeping crystal."
The soldiers put a genomite ring on each of the trio's index fingers; Katara's mint green, Naya's sky blue and Sokka's royal purple. The rings immediately tightened around their fingers. They pulled hard at it but it was completely stuck.
"These crystals grow remarkably fast, and in a few hours, your friends will be completely covered in it. I'm the only one who could release them, but I will do so if you two cooperate."
Immediately the ring began to creep and the trio cried out.
"We have no choice Aang," Rinzen sighed.
Aang looked resigned, "Fine. We'll do it."
The king smiled, "Good. For the next two challenges, the both of you will each have a separate challenge. Neither of you can move on to the next challenge if the other fails."
Aang's first task was to retrieve a key so the king could have his lunch. He had to avoid falling and getting killed in the sea of spikes.
Rinzen's first task was to retrieve the king's treasure box which had his bank account. He had to jump away and avoid erupting mud volcanoes to get the box. But when he opened the box, it was completely empty. Except for a White Lotus tile.
Aang's second task was to get the king's pet, Floopzy. At first, he thought Floopzy was a small rabbit but the king's pet turned out to be a huge goat-like creature.
Rinzen's second task was to find a white rose that was surrounded by a sea of poppies that were spurting out sleeping powder everywhere. In the end, he had to protect himself by bending the air around his face. When he found the flower, in it there was another White Lotus tile.
By the time each airbender finished his task, Naya and the Water Tribe siblings were almost covered in crystal.
"Ok," Aang yelled as Rinzen stared at the tiles in curiosity. "We're ready for our third challenge!"
The king chuckled crazily and led them all to a balcony of a battlefield.
"For your final challenge, you will work together in a duel. You both will be to pick an opponent as a specialty."
Two brutal-looking assassins came out, eying them both in paedophilic interest, sending chills up their spines. Rinzen clutched Aang's arm.
"So you're saying the person we point to is our opponent, right?" Aang asked, trying to ignore the looks the assassins gave him.
"Yes, choose wisely. You may discuss quickly on who you want."
The two boys turned away from the king and the others.
"Ok, I say we take on the guy with the bow and arrows," Rinzen whispered. Aang shook his head.
"Listen, each task was a riddle, showing us how to think outside the box," Aang whispered back. "I say we fight the king."
"Oh, he'll expect us to pick one of those guys, but not him. Fine." Hey, at least the king didn't seem to have an interest in younger men.
They turned to the king.
"Well?" The king asked, impatiently.
"We choose you!" the boys yelled, pointing at the king. The two assassins walked away, looking disappointed.
The two assassins walked away, looking disappointed.
The king cackled loudly, "Wrong choice!"
Suddenly the king stood straighter and took off his robe, showing his tall and muscular build.
"Oh crap!" Rinzen cried out and the others gasped in shock.
The king stomped his foot cracking the floor and a rock launched the both of them into the battlefield. Rinzen whipped an arc of air around them to soften their fall. The king jumped after them, landing in front of them.
"Thought I was a frail old man huh?" the king smirked. "But I'm the most powerful earthbender you'll ever face!"
"So much for thinking outside the box," Rinzen muttered.
"Can we fight the guy with the ax, instead?" Aang attempted to back out.
The king wiggled a finger in a patronizing manner, "There are no take-backsies in my kingdom. You two might need these."
A guard threw Aang's staff at his hand and Naya's fans at Rinzen.
The king began to throw rocks at Aang who dodged every one of them.
"Typical airbender tactic: Avoid and Evade," the king looked unimpressed. "I hoped the Avatar was less predictable!"
He threw a rock at Rinzen who leaped over it and sent a gust of air at the king with a fan. The king raised a boulder to deflect it. Rinzen kicked an arc of air just as the king threw a huge rock at Aang who jumped away from it.
"Any surprises Avatar?" the king asked as he dodged Rinzen's attacks. "Why don't you be like your student and strike back?"
Aang flew into the air and the king launched a rock to the ceiling, knocking him off the air. Rinzen kicked and punched speedily at the king, who dodged and launched Rinzen into the air with a slab of rock. Rinzen landed next to Aang, and their weapons were knocked off their grasps.
"We have to work together," Rinzen whispered as they stood up, shakily.
The king marched on the spot, raising boulders at them. They leaped away from the attacks.
"Come on!" the king yelled. "You gotta be a little more creative than that!"
The two airbenders created two air scooters and together they whipped a powerful arc at the king who blocked it with a wall.
"Did someone leave the windows open? 'Cause it's chilly in here. Wait, are you hoping I'll catch a cold?"
He then surfed on a sea of rocks and sent a wave at them. They tried to leap away but they were knocked away across the rocky field. The king attacked again and Aang's arm wrapped around Rinzen's waist, helping him run on the wall, flying away from the king's attack. They grabbed their weapons and glared at the king.
"Now how are you going to attack me if you're way over there?"
They looked at each other for a moment and then began running to the king, aided by their bending. The king softened the floor under their feet, making them stop running and trapping them. He then raised two huge rocks on either side of them, to crush them.
"No!" Naya and Katara's cries were barely audible as the crystal almost covered their faces.
Aang and Rinzen grabbed each other's shoulders and jumped out of their captive state just as the rocks smashed together.
They flew up together and whipped another powerful arc at the king, knocking him across the field and into a wall. The king, impressed and irritated at the same time, launched a huge rock at them from behind they barely dodged it as Rinzen landed on his back. Aang whipped the rock at the king who quickly turned it to dust. The king raised his arms and broke a huge piece of the balcony.
"Rinzen help me!" Aang screamed as the older boy got up and threw up on the floor. Rinzen shrieked as he saw the king throwing the balcony at them.
Together they ran in circles in one spot, creating a massive tornado, to deflect the huge chunk of rock back to the king. He sliced the chunk in half in time to see Aang and Rinzen flying in the air, then landing in front of him, their weapons in his face. The king smirked and they looked up to see that they all were under an enormous rock.
"Well done Avatar, Airbender," the king breathed. "You both fought with fire in your hearts."
He threw the rock away and buried himself onto the ground, only to appear next to Naya, Katara and Sokka, who all were almost covered in the crystal. The two airbenders landed in front of them with the help of their weapons.
"You both passed my tests," the king continued. "Now you must answer one question each."
"Really?!" Naya and Sokka shouted in frustration.
"Hey, bub! We had a deal! We did everything you asked!" Rinzen yelled.
"Yeah, yeah but what's the point of all those tests if you don't learn anything?" the king waved his hand dismissively. "Answer these questions and I'll free your friends."
"Aang, what's my name? Rinzen, what's Nolan's greatest fear? Judging by your friends you guys only have a few minutes." He walked away.
Aang looked confused, "How am I supposed to know his name?"
"Think of the challenges, maybe it's some kind of riddle," Katara suggested.
"Maybe his name is Rocky! You know because of the rocks!" Sokka suggested. "By the way, who's Nolan?"
"Our father," Rinzen answered. Aang and the Water Tribe siblings looked surprised. They didn't even know Rinzen and Naya's father was called Nolan. "Naya, you and Dad were close, what's his greatest fear?"
"I don't know!" Naya looked hopeless. "I know he hates it when people fart in public and papayas."
"He hates papayas?" Katara looked impressed. "I'm starting to like this guy."
"Ok, let's think this over. For our challenges, I had to get a key and his pet, Rinzen had to get a treasure box and a flower and we had to work together in a duel." Aang scratched his head.
"What did you guys learn?" Katara asked.
"They were different, each of them something I didn't expect."
"A-And?" A shard of crystal covered Katara's cheek.
"I had to think differently than I usually would," Aang then smiled. "I know his name." He turned to Rinzen.
Rinzen looked thoughtful, "When I completed each task, there was a White Lotus tile in each of the items I got. The flower was a white lily which was Mom's signature flower at her and Dad's wedding. The treasure box was gold with diamond studs. Dad's favorite color is gold and his birthstone is the diamond."
"And..." Naya's voice was muffled.
"Never give up without a fight." His father's voice whispered in his mind.
Rinzen blinked, "I know the answer."
"Well?" The king looked expectantly.
"I solved the question the same way I solved the challenges," Aang explained. "As you said long ago I had to open my mind to the possibilities."
The king laughed crazily, snorting.
"Bumi, you're a mad genius!" Aang ran over to the king and hugged him. Rinzen smiled.
"It's good to see you, Aang, you haven't changed a bit," King Bumi chuckled. "Literally."
Aang pulled away and the king glanced at Rinzen. A guard walked in with the other three whose faces were almost unseen.
"My father's greatest fear was to lose to the battle," Rinzen declared, ignoring the confused looks of his friends. "I don't only mean a physical battle but the one thing he learned in life is to fight – to fight and never give up. You have to fight for what you believe in, fight for your loved ones, fight until you've achieved true freedom and you must never give fighting, never give hoping. The one thing I've learned in my short life is to hope. Hope for the inevitable. Hope for the things that are impossible. Case and point: Aang. My father's greatest fear was that he'd give up hoping."
There was silence as everyone was shocked. Aang gaped.
"Excellent," the king smiled, widely. "To achieve true freedom is to work at it and never give up. Life is a never-ending battle but we all must cope with it and learn from our mistakes."
With a wave of his hand, the aged king released Naya, Katara and Sokka from their crystal prisons. Pieces of crystals flew everywhere and King Bumi caught a piece.
"It's made of rock candy," he muttered, happily and munched on it. Rinzen picked up a piece and bit off it. It was tasty.
"So this old king is your friend Bumi?" Katara asked and as she and the others walked up to them.
The king looked offended for a moment, "Who you calling old? Okay, I'm old."
"Why'd you do all this? Why didn't you just say who you were?" Sokka asked.
"Okay, listen," the king began. "It's fun to mess with people." He snickered. "But I do have my reasons." He turned to the young men in front of him. "Aang, you have a difficult task ahead. The world has changed in the hundred years you've been gone. It's the duty of the Avatar to restore balance to the world by defeating Fire Lord Ozai. You have a lot of work to be done. You must master the four elements and confront the Fire Lord. When you do, I hope you think like a mad genius." He winked.
Aang smiled and bowed respectfully.
"And I believe you're in good hands. You'll need your friends to defeat the Fire Nation." Momo flew in and rested in Rinzen's shoulders. "You'll need Momo too."
The king turned to the airbender, "Ah, Rinzen. As you realize, I knew your father and mother. I recognized you right away when you came in. You're the splitting image of your father. Actually, I was in the hospital tent the days you and your sister were born and I was a guest of honor at their wedding," he chuckled as Rinzen and Naya smiled. "Your parents knew you both were special, they knew that you both would do great things in life. So I'm not surprised that you're with the Avatar. You both must help him defeat the Fire Nation and bring peace and freedom to the world again. I have something for you both."
He handed Rinzen and Naya packages.
"Keep them safe and open them later."
The five kids bowed and Aang said, "Thank you for wisdom, Bumi."
"Yeah thanks, really," Rinzen agreed, his heart soaring.
"Before we leave, we have a challenge for you," Aang looked at Rinzen knowingly and the older boy gave him thumbs up.
Moments later, King Bumi, Aang, and Rinzen were in a cart, sliding down on a chute, yelling and laughing happily. They crashed into the cabbage man's cart, destroying the cabbages.
"My cabbages!" The man shrieked.
AN: My God, I have to work on my fighting scenes. I hope you enjoyed this chapter! It was semi-filler chapter about the Nomad siblings' parents. More to come, I have lots planned!