48 Clash and Honor

It was a chilly morning, small snowflakes were falling on the dry bushes nearby while sounds of metal clashing and fire could be heard echoing through a now empty village.

The occasional "woosh" sound of strong winds could be heard from time to time as well, followed by pained grunts and yelps.

In a field surrounded by soldiers wearing dark red armor that covered them from head to toe, to the point that one can't even tell the gender of the person wearing them, was a small group of teens.

Two teens with tanned skin tones, wearing classic water tribesmen's clothes, a handful of others wearing green kimonos with dark armor and war fans.

A bit far away from that group, a two on one battle was taking place.

An auburn haired girl with a painted face, wearing a black kimono and armor, together with a tattooed bald boy wearing old fashioned Air nomad clothes, yellow and orange in color, were fighting a tall teen with a bald head, a high ponytail and a scorched eye scar that complemented his dark red armor.

The bald kid was breathing heavily trying the best he could to use his airbending skills to force the teen to lose balance, but he was getting more and more frustrated as the teen could just dodge it with some effort.

The bald boy knew that if it wasn't for the painted girl by his side he would've been screwed already, he still remembers the last time he tried to go against this teen, it wasn't pleasant at all!

After a few more minutes of fighting, the bald kid decided to retreat and take a breather, it was the girl's idea, he was starting to slack in combat and it was bringing disadvantage to the painted girl.

"You fight well," said the teen with the scorched eye, while grinning.

"Can say the same, haven't met someone that could push me like this in a long time," the girl replied with a somewhat feral grin, despite her exhaustion, she was enjoying the fight.

The two kept clashing again and again until both of them were breathing heavily.

"This is taking too long…" the teen narrowed his eyes, while breathing through his mouth, one could see a spark of respect in his eyes.

"Yes, it is…" the girl replied in a similar state, finally satisfied from being pushed this hard in a battle.

""…then let's finish it!"" Both said at the same time while assuming their combat poses, aiming for their final strike.

The bald boy could only smile wryly while watching those two behaving like that, the battle lasted for at least thirty minutes by now, and they are still fighting like battlemaniacs 'The world is scary… I miss the peace of the Air Temples…'

But then the atmosphere quickly became awkward, the boy didn't notice at first but after a few seconds of both of them not moving, he paid a bit more attention.

They both were standing in the same stance! Preparing for the same attack! How the hell is that possible?!

"… Y-You…" The teen was the first one to speak, his eyes went wide while looking at his adversary.

"…" The girl didn't say anything, but her wide eyes were enough to explain her dumbfounded expression.

"".. How is this possible?.." Both spoke at the same time, once again.

Then another few seconds of silence until the teen decided to be upfront about it.

"You, Kiyoshi girl, who's your teacher?!" He spoke in a rather panicked way.

The girl narrowed her eyes. "I am the one that should be asking that! How can you possibly know that stance?!"

The staredown continued once again until the teen decided to speak first.

"I can't say the name of my Teacher…" Zuko said.

"Neither can I!" Suki replied.

Then it finally clicked for them, they kept staring at one another like the world stopped making sense, how the fuck…

"… Long spiky hair, wears black and red and a fan shaped sigil…" said Zuko, testing the waters.

"…Uses weirdly shaped throwing knives and metal wires…" Continued Suki, with a weirded-out expression.

The awkwardness of the situation increased by a thousandfold after they spoke those words.

Aang who was watching from the sidelines couldn't help but get confused, what the hell were those two talking about? Did the world stop making sense during the hundred years he was in that iceberg?

Taking a deep breath, Zuko sighed and dropped his stance, obviously abandoning the fight, much to Aang and his team's surprise, even the firebender soldiers also retreated after that.

The Kiyoshi Warriors caught it instantly and also stopped their attacks, retreating to see if anyone was seriously injured.

The completely absurd scene made Aang, Katara and Sokka lose their minds.

"Hold on, Hold on! Can someone explain to us what is going on here?!" Sokka was losing it, was that some secret password, of a secret society that could stop even long enemies from attacking right away?!

"I usually don't like when Sokka intrudes in other people's business like that, but I have to agree with him this time, can anyone tell us what is happening?" asked Katara while helping her brother stand up, looking around and seeing the evil Fire Nation soldiers retreating without saying a word, which creeped her out.

The Kiyoshi Warriors were no less surprised, but they didn't say a word and simply looked at Suki, not only was she their leader, but she also was the one that knew the most about this.

Suki on the other hand, approached Zuko and stared at him with narrowed eyes "I can't believe he would teach someone from the Fire Nation…"

Zuko raised an eyebrow. "And I can't believe he would teach someone from a backwater village…"

"Suki!" An exaggerated shout came from afar as Sokka positioned himself between the girl and the teen, with his boomerang at hand ready to continue fighting. "The Fire Nation are enemies; we can't lower our guards like that!"

"So, your name is Suki" Said Zuko, completely ignoring Sokka and nodding to the girl.

"Yes, and what is yours?" She replied.


Both of them bent in a martial bow and walked away from each other, going back to their groups, and it seemed that they completely abandoned the idea of fighting one another.

Aang could hear Zuko shouting to his soldiers. "Prepare to retreat, we are leaving this place and I don't want to see a single injured person, be it ours or theirs!"

The soldiers bowed and went to check the injured.

Then he heard Suki talking to the other Kiyoshi Warriors near him. "The battle is over, you can contact Oyaji and tell him that there won't be a fight with them anymore, they will retreat and won't attack us again."

After a few minutes of bandaging and cleaning the battlefield, Aang, Sokka and Katara asked again what happened. They still couldn't understand what was going on and how could they simply parlay for peace with just a few sentences, and then suddenly treat each other with such respect… They were aiming for the kill earlier!

But before they could get their answer, they immediately shifted into their battle stances again as Zuko approached.

"We won't attack this place again, even if the Avatar is hidden in here." He said while he glanced at Aang quickly, "But I cannot speak for other soldiers, only my own… all I can say is that it's not safe and I won't be able to help you against others, I hope you understand." He said while looking at Suki.

Suki nodded in return. "I understand, and from what I get from your words, it's safe to assume that the Fire Nation knows about the Avatar's existance…"

Zuko frowned, his loyalty towards his land was at stake here, so he decided to answer in a way that would at least help him out with his predicament, "One high officer is after the Avatar, he doesn't have honor, he will do anything to capture him… and he also hates Teacher, if he finds out about you… " leaving the rest unsaid, he closed his eyes.

Before Suki could respond, Sokka interfered, shouting as usual, staring daggers at Zuko. "And WHY would you warn us about it? What are you scheming, huh?!"

Staring at him, Zuko replied "I don't need schemes to beat you and capture the Avatar, and I am not helping you, I am paying respect to a fellow disciple. You should just be grateful that you ended up profiting out of it."

Turning his back to the group, Zuko started walking back to his group.

Sokka wasn't happy with it and prepared to throw his boomerang at Zuko's back, but his wrist was held by Suki. He wasn't happy about that either, not one bit! "Are you siding with the Fire Nation now?!"

"We are Kiyoshi Warriors, we don't strike from the back, especially a fellow disciple… if you can't respect and follow honor, you are not welcome here anymore."

"THEY ARE THE ENEMY!" Sokka shouted.

"Yes, yes they are" said Suki, much to Sokka's surprise. "But even enemies can show honor and respect to those who are worthy of it."

"I am not warning you about all of that because I want to help you!" said Zuko from afar, jumping on top of his rhino mount along with his soldiers and turning to departure from the battlefield. "I am warning you because only I am allowed to capture the Avatar!"

With those final words, the Fire Nation soldiers retreated back to their ships, while the Kiyoshi Warriors and Team Avatar retreated to one of the houses.

After a few hours, it seemed that life came back to the village, the people returned to their homes and noticed that nothing was stolen or destroyed, which left them speechless but happy regardless!

Sokka was waiting outside Oyaji's house for over half an hour until he noticed Suki walking outside with the mix of a frown and a sneer on her lips, something inside really pissed her off it seemed, so timidly he approached "Uh…. Hey. Suki…"

With hostility, Suki replied "Hoping for another dance lesson?"

Sokka started sweating bullets, after gulping hard and using all his willpower to make sure that his legs didn't tremble… much… trying to figure out how to act, he spoke "No… I… well, let me explain."

Still hostile, Suki wasn't having it "Spit it out! What do you want?" she was still pissed at him, not only did he belittle her, but he also showed a lack of honor, something that all Kiyoshi Warriors respected and followed religiously.

Dropping down to his knees, in a classic dogeza position "I would be honored if you would teach me."

"Honored?!" She lost it, and grabbed him by the collar of his shirt "You aren't one to talk about honor, Sokka!"

He stared deep into her eyes, displaying clear shame "… Please… Give me a chance…" The last battle opened his eyes, his pride be damned, he'd rather be alive without any pride than die a prideful death in his teens.

Suki's eyes narrowed "Even if I'm a girl?" she asked with a sarcastic grin, clearly enjoying the show.

Averting his eyes, Sokka replied "I'm sorry if I insulted you. I was… wrong…"

Silence fell as Suki kept staring at Sokka for several seconds with narrowed eyes, but after calming down a bit she took a deep breath, closed her eyes and said "We normally don't teach outsiders, let alone boys."

Pleading, Sokka insisted "Please, make an exception! I won't let you down!"

With a friendlier expression Suki replied "All right, but you have to follow all of our traditions."

Eagerly Sokka nodded "Of Course!"

Smiling Suki said "… All of them!.."

With a happy smile Sokka kept bobbing his head like a chicken. "I wouldn't have it any other way!"

"And you can't give up half way, we train warriors!"

"I would never quit!" Said Sokka pridefully, placing his closed fist on his chest with a solemn expression.

"Then off you go, find the other Kiyoshi Warriors at our Dojo and tell them that I allowed you to learn."

Nodding, Sokka instantly turned around and jogged towards the Kiyoshi Dojo fully energized and with hope in his eyes.

Sadly he couldn't see the expression on Suki's face when he turned around, her sweet friendly smile turned into an evil feral grin, her eyes narrowed and a shadow seemed to be cast over her painted face "Finally…. Time to learn why Teacher loves teaching so much…"

Next chapter