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|The Blind Bandit|
It's SO hard to be this patient, I thought.
More rocks smashing...
"UGH!" I said out loud.
I was waiting for my turn in the Earth Rumble VI tournament. I was the best Earthbender so far. I knew I could take down my opponent. I've taken him down seven times before.
"Now, the moment you've all been waiting for...the Boulder vs. your champion, the Blind Bandit!" said the host, Xin Fu.
"Yes!" I said as the platform began to rise.
I came up onto the ring with a cape on and holding the champion's belt. The ladies beside me took off my cape and took the belt.
"Thank you," I whispered, secretly handing them each a gold coin.
After a few minutes, my opponent, the Boulder, started Blabbering.
"The Boulder has conflicted feelings about fighting a young blind girl!" Again.
"Sounds to me like you're scared, Boulder!"
Got him there!
Then the Boulder decided to get back at me again. "The Boulder's over his conflicted feelings and is now ready to bury you in a rockalanche!"
"Whenever you're ready, the Pebble!" I said, laughing.
The Boulder decided to get back at me one more time. "It's on!"
That's when the real battle started.
I could tell that he was getting ready to attack. I'm blind, but I can feel vibrations in the ground.While one foot went up, I Earthbended at him. As his foot touched the ground, my earthbending deflected it sideways, made him do the splits. "The boulder" made a loud sound of pain. Then I bumped him off the ground and out of the ring, finishing the round.
"Your winner, and still the champion, the Blind Bandit!" said Xin Fu.
"To make things a little more interesting, I'm offering up this sack of gold pieces to anyone who can defeat the Blind Bandit!" said Xin Fu.
Yes. A chance to do another round, I thought.
But there was silence.
Xin Fu spoke up again. "What?! No one dares to face her?!"
I knew there had to be someone who wanted to. I could feel some one just jumping out of there seat.
Suddenly, a boy chirped up. "I will!" he said.
By the sound of his voice, it sounded like he was a kid, about my age or a little older. I figured this would be an easy match.
As soon as he got in his (really bad) position, I made a hurtful remark.
"Do people really want to see two little girls fighting out here?!"
"Oohhh." I could hear the crowd say.
"I don't really want to fight you. I want to talk to you." said the boy.
I wasn't in the mood for talking. I want to get this match over with, and go home so nothing seemed suspicious.
Anyway talking is not what this was all about.
So I then attacked him.
He swiftly moved off the rock, landing on the other side of me.
"Somebody's a little light on his feet! What's your fighting name? The Fancy Dancer?!"
I Earthbended at him again while he shrugged. He again moved off the rock, some how floating.
I couldn't tell where he went.
"Where did you go?" I whispered to myself.
"Please, wait!" he said from behind me.
"There you are!" I said, picking up a boulder and throwing it at him.
He pushed the boulder away from him, a strong breeze blew from him which push me go out of the ring.
I fell hard on the ground.
...How...? I was upset.
For a split second, there was no sound, I just lay there.
Then I could hear the crowd cheer for the boy. I got up and started walking away.
Then the boy came to bug me again.
"Please listen!" he started. "I need an Earthbending teacher and I think it's supposed to be you!"
Oh my gosh!
"Whoever you are just leave me alone!" I said angrily.
Then I made a door through the wall in front of me.
"Wait!" said the boy.
But I then closed the wall behind me. I wanted to cry the whole way back, but, I knew that if I did, once I got home, my parents would wonder why I was crying. So I just stayed mad and hoped I didn't have to meet up with that boy again.
Once I got home, I ran quickly into my room and got changed into my fancy dress. My parents ran over to me.
"Toph, where have you been?" said my father, Lao Bei Fong.
"We were worried sick about you!" said my mother, Poppy Bei Fong.
Then I simply replied, "I just walked around outside for a little bit."
"Was there supervision with you?" asked my father.
"No, but there was no trouble." I said.
"Are you hungry?" My mom asked, changed the subject.
"No. I'm just a little tired." I replied.
"Okay, then, sweetie. If there's nothing else that you want, then good night."
"Good night." I said. Then my parents left the room.
I shut off the light and went to bed.
The next morning, my mother woke me up.
"Toph, breakfast time!" she said. I sat up.
"Good. You're awake. Meet us at the dining table in five minutes."
I got up out of bed, took off my pajamas, and put on my fancy dress.
Then I walked out of my room down to the dining table.
"Good morning, Toph." said my father kindly.
"I hope you don't mind, but Master Yu will be coming here tonight." he immediately started saying. "I hope to hear good comments about you. Is there anything that might be bad that you would like to tell me right now?"
"No, father." I said simply and kindly.
"Very well, then." he said.
The rest of the time we ate in silence. No one spoke a word. After about fifteen minutes, my mom and dad walked away from the dining table and sat in the living room. I decided to get a breath of fresh air.
When I got outside, I sensed some footsteps coming over my family's wall.
That kid who beat me, Twinkle Toes. Twinkle Toes was my name for him because he was light on his feet.
I Earthbended a hill at them, making them fly and fall into some bushes, except one of the kids, a water tribe boy, who fell on the ground inbetween the bushes.
I walked over to Twinkle Toes, laying in the bush. "What are you doing here, Twinkle Toes?" I asked.
Twinkle Toes got up. "How'd you know it was me?" he asked.
Before I could say anything, the water tribe boy spoke up.
"Don't answer to 'Twinkle Toes'. It's not manly."
Then I heard the girl that was behind me say, "You're the one whose bag matches his belt."
I realized the belt they were talking about was the champion belt that used to be mine.
Before they could say anything else I asked, "How did you find me?" The boy quickly started talking. "Well, a crazy king told me I had to find an Earthbender who listens to the earth, and then I had a vision in a magic swamp, and--"
Then the girl cut him off, saying, "What Aang's trying to say is, he's the Avatar, and if he doesn't master Earthbending soon, he won't be able to defeat the Fire Lord."
I didn't want to hear anymore of this magic swamp and avatar stuff.
"Not my problem." I said. "Now get out of here or I'll call the guards."
Apparently that didn't quiet them, because the water tribe boy started talking.
"Look, we all have to do our part to win this war, and yours is to teach Aang Earthbending."
I sat there, looking like I'm thinking.
Anyways, I didn't want to hear another word. So I did what I had to do. "Guards! Guards! Help!" I cried.
That made those kids running. "What is it, Toph?" asked one of the two guards.
"I thought I heard someone. I got scared." I answered.
"You know your father doesn't want you wandering the grounds without supervision, Toph." said the other guard.
I didn't want to feel like the little helpless blind girl, but it was the only thing that made those kids go away.
I walked inside with the guards. Once in there, my father asked why there were guards surrounding me like something was wrong. The guards simply just said that I had called them because I thought I heard someone and got scared, so they were just escorting me back into the house. My father understood and dismissed the guards.
After a few minutes of quiet, my father spoke up. "Master Yu should be here any minute. Please be on your best behavior." He said.
"Yes, father," I replied.
We waited in silence until Master Yu came. When he did, our servant simply said that Master Yu was here, and my dad said it was fine for him to come in. Master Yu sat down in a chair across from me, in front of my dad.
"She is do very well," said Master Yu.
"Good to hear," said my father.
"she is a natural, I would move her on, but, because of blindness, she can't."
Father asked, "Are there were any complications?"
Master Yu simply said, "There is not."
"Well, I'm pleased to hear that Toph's private lessons are going well, but I want to be sure that she's not trying anything too dangerous." my father said.
"Absolutely not. I'm keeping her at the beginner's level. Basic moves and breathing excercises only." replied Master Yu.
"Excuse me, sir," said one of our servants,"but you have a visitor."
"Who thinks they are so important that they come to my house unannounced?!" my father abruptly said.
"Um, the Avatar, sir." said the servant. I immediately drew a quick quiet breath.
I blew some hairs out of my face in a little anger.
The Avatar and his friends came inside as my dad said , "Welcome, Avatar."
"It's a pleasure to meet you." said my mom.
"Who's your friends?" asked my father.
"The girl's Katara, and the boy's Sokka." Aang quickly replied.
"You two don't look like you're from around here. Where do you live?" asked my mother.
"We're from the Southern Water Tribe. We've had a lot of nice adventures with the Avatar ever since we found him in an iceberg." answered Katara.
"An iceberg? What was the Avatar doing in an iceberg?" asked Master Yu.
"It's...kind of a long story." said Aang.
"Like... 100 years long," Sokka sarcastically remarked.
... I like this guy...
"You guys must be hungry. Would you like to have some dinner with us?" asked my mother.
"We'd love to." Aang said.
So Aang, his friends, my parents, Master Yu, and I walked to the dining table. We sat in silence for a few minutes while we were waiting on our soup. Finally, the cooks gave us the soup.
"Blow on it. It's too hot for her." my father told our servant.
"Allow me." the Avatar said, making a swooshing sound. I couldn't tell what he did, but whatever it was, my parents and Master Yu started clapping once it was done.
"Oh my," said my father, still clapping.
Once all the clapping stopped, my mother started talking. "Avatar Aang, it's an honor to have you visit us." she said.
Then my dad spoke up. "In your opinion, how much longer do you think the War will last?" he asked.
"I'd like to defeat the Fire Lord by the end of summer," Aang replied, "But I can't do that without finding an Earthbending teacher first."
I knew he was talking about me. But I didn't say anything. I did want to go with them.
Then my dad talked. "Well, Master Yu is the finest teacher in the land. He's been teaching Toph since she was little."
"Then she must be a great Earthbender! Probably good enough to teach someone else." Aang started. I Earthbended with my feet, making him jump up.
"Ow!" he exclaimed. I could sense some people looking at me. But I just smiled and kept eating.
"Toph is still learning the basics." said Master Yu.
"Yes," my father said, agreeing with Master Yu, "And sadly because of her blindness, I don't think she'll ever become a true master."
"Oh, I'm sure she's better than you think." said Aang.
Before he said anything else, though, I scooted his chair in, making his head go into his food. Some people stared at me again, but I just smiled and kept eating. Suddenly, Aang sneezed, making my food come up onto my face.
"What's your problem?!"
"What's your problem?!" he asked, getting back at me.
My mother then spoke up. "Well, should we move to the living room for dessert, then?" she asked calmly.
When we got into the living room, everyone sat quietly while eating dessert. No one spoke a word. After dessert, I got changed into my pajamas.
Then I went into the room where the Avatar and his friends were staying.
When Aang saw me, he freaked out.
"Relax!" I said, trying to calm him down. "Look, I'm sorry about dinner. Let's call a truce, okay?" That seemed to relax him.
We started walking outside in peace. Then when we got to a bridge, I started talking.
"Even though I was born blind, I've never had a problem seeing. I see with Earthbending. It's kind of like seeing with my feet." I explained.
"I feel the vibrations in the earth and I can see where everything is. You. That tree. Even those ants." I explained some more.
After a few moments' pause, Aang started talking. "That's amazing!"
I started explaining some more. "My parents don't understand. They've always treated me like I was helpless."
"Is that why you became 'the Blind Bandit'?" He asked.
"Yeah." I simply replied.
"Then why stay here when you're not happy?"
"They're my parents. Where else am I supposed to go?"
"You...could...come with us."
"Yeah. You guys get to go wherever you want. No one telling you what to do. That's the life. It's just not my life." I finished.
Suddenly, I felt something, Someone.
I knelt down and put my hand on the ground to see what it was. "We're being ambushed!" I said.
I quickly got up, grabbed Aang's hand, and started running. But we got trapped before we could really go anywhere. I felt some banging on my cage. After a few stompings, the guy got off and another guy started talking. "I think you kids owe us some money!" he said. I quickly recognized the voice. It was the Earth Rumble VI's host Xin Fu. Suddenly my cage got picked up and was moved onto a wagon. We started travelling somewhere, but I couldn't tell where. Finally, when we got there, things seemed a little familiar. I realized it was in the Earth Rumble VI arena. I got put up on a chain high in the air.
After a few minutes of being up there, I started talking. "You think you're so tough?! Why don't you come up here so I can smack that grin off your face?!" I said angrily.
"I'm not smiling." said Xin Fu.
Suddenly, I heard a familiar voice. It was my father. "Toph!" he cried.
Then, one of Aang's friends, what was his name, oh yeah, Sokka, started talking.
"Here's your money. Now let them go!" he said.
After a few seconds, I could feel my cage being brought down. Suddenly, I fell out of it and could see again. I ran to my mother and father.
"What about Aang?" I could hear Katara say.
"I think the Fire Nation will pay a hefty price for the Avatar. Now, get out of my ring!" said Xin Fu. I couldn't make out what else was said.
As we walked down the hall, out I hear Katara. "Toph, there's too many of them! We need an Earthbender! We need you!" she said.
But before I could speak, my father spoke. "My daughter is blind! She is blind and tiny... and helpless... and fragile! She cannot help you!"
After this sayed, I got angry and pulled my hand away. "Yes! I can!" I said.
I ran back out to the ring.
"Let him go!" I said. "I've beat you all before and I'll do it again!"
Then one of my opponents started talking.
"The Boulder takes issue with that comment!" he said.
Then I felt through vibrations that they had thrown Aang's cage to the ground, making him groan. Sokka and Katara started to move towards them, but I stopped them.
"Wait!" I said. The opponents started running towards me.
"They're mine!" I said.
I could feel that the two were shocked. But I didn't care. I fought every opponent until they were all thrown out of the ring. I smiled and started walking back home with the Avatar, his friends, and my parents. During that walk everything was silent.
Once back home, I decided to confront my parents. "Dad," I started, " I know it's probably hard for you to see me this way. But the obedient little helpless blind girl that you think I am just isn't me. I love fighting. I love being an earthbender and I'm really, really good at it! I know I've kept my life secret from you, but you were keeping me secret from the whole world. You were doing it to protect me, but I'm twelve years old and I've never had a real friend. So now that you see who I really am, I hope it doesn't change the way you feel about me." I finished, hoping he would understand.
"Of course it doesn't change the way I feel about you, Toph. It's made me realize something."
"Yes. I've let you have far too much freedom! From now on you will be cared for and guarded twenty-four hours a day!"
"We're doing this for your own good, Toph." said my mother.
"Please escort the Avatar and his friends out. They are no longer welcome here." said my father.
"I'm sorry Toph." said Aang.
"I'm sorry, too. Good-bye, Aang." I said sadly, with a tear running down my face.
"Now, Toph, I want you to go to your room!" said my father.
"Just because you don't want me using my bending doesn't mean you can keep me guard forever! I'm going to do whatever I want!" I said, then I reluctantly walked to my room. I started crying, but then remembered I had a window in my room. I quickly ran to it and opened it up. I crawled through it and ran to where Aang and his friends were.
"Toph!" said Aang, apparently surprised to see me. "What are you doing here?!" he asked.
"My dad changed his mind!" I started to lie. "He said I was free to travel the world."
"Well, we better get out of here, before your dad changes his mind again." Sokka said.
"Good idea!" I replied.
"You're going to make a great teacher, Toph!" said Aang.
"Speaking of which, I want to show you something." I said.
"Okay!" Aang said, then he jumped down. Just when he was about to land, I Earthbended a rock beneath him, making him fly up into the tree.
"Now we're even." I said. "Um, I'll take the belt back." I said, remembering that they took my champion belt. Suddenly something hit my head, making me fall. "Ow!" I said.
"Sorry." said Sokka.
I could feel Aang finally fell out of the tree. "Climb on, Toph!" he said. I quickly did. "Yip-yip!" I heard him say, then we flew off. Though I couldn't see anything, I was glad to get away from home, and I slept peacefully that night.