Above a vast mountain range, high enough to even spot some trees, a Flying Bison slowly makes its way southeast while carrying three teens in its saddle.
Seeing Aang pacing around on the saddle, breathing heavily, was really irking Sokka "Would you sit down?! If we hit a bump, you'll go flying off. What's bugging you anyway?"
Worriedly, Aang replied "It's what Avatar Roku said. I'm supposed to master all four elements before that comet arrives."
Amused, Sokka spoke with clear sarcasm while facing Aang "Well, let's see. You pretty much mastered airbending, and that only took you a hundred and twelve years. I'm pretty sure you can master three more elements by next summer."
Frightened, Aang was losing his cool; "I haven't even started on waterbending, and we're still weeks away from the North Pole! What I am gonna do?!"
Katara gently held Aang's arm, speaking with a soothing tone "Calm down, it's going to be okay. If you want, I can try to teach you some of what I know."
That surprisingly was enough to make Aang smile "You'd do that?"
Nodding and looking over the side of Appa's saddle, the girl continued "We'll need to find a good source of water first."
Feeling the need to input his sarcasm in this lovely scene, Sokka grinned and commented "Maybe we can find a puddle for you to splash in..."
Water splashes high after Appa jumps into a river, turning soaking wet and almost knocking poor Momo off the rock he was standing on, then turns over and just floats on his back.
Sokka's eyebrows trembled while he stood there, soaked and holding a big stick with a large gathering of leaves at the end. "…. Why did I have to suggest that…."
"Don't worry Sokka, Appa likes you very much, he won't create a ruckus, I promise!" Aang said with a huge beaming smile.
Katara on the other hand could only grin at her brother's misfortune. "Go on, go clean Appa while I teach Aang… "
"Uncle! Someone's changing our course!" Shouted an angry, prideful Fire Prince, clearly afraid of a possible mutiny in his crew.
"Oh… Actually… I assure you; it is a matter of utmost importance, Prince Zuko, " says the old General while scratching his beard.
Zuko had a hopeful expression on his face when he heard the serious tone of his legendary Uncle, he rarely talks like that "Did you manage to get the Avatar's trail?"
Iroh's eyes narrowed "Even more urgent… it seems I-" he stopped talking to rub his forehead in stress, which made Zuko rather afraid… Iroh was never that serious and distressed! But then the old man continued…. "-I… have lost my lotus tile…"
"For my Pai Sho game, of course! Most people think that the lotus is insignificant., but it is essential for the unusual strategy that I employ." He concluded with a serious, stern expression.
"You… You gotta be kidding me..." Said Zuko in utter disbelief.
"No, unfortunately, I am not, I indeed lost the lotus tile." Iroh nodded sagely.
"You've changed our course for a stupid lotus tile?!" Shouted Zuko in anger, Madara as a teacher or not, Iroh knew how to push his buttons like no one else! It's like the old man had a manual on 'how to piss off Zuko' always in his robes!
"I see. You, like most people, underestimate its value. Just give me ten minutes to check with the merchants at the nearest port." Iroh said excitedly. "Hopefully. They will have the lotus tile in stock and I can get on with my life.
Zuko was literally breathing fire at the ceiling in anger.
"I'm lucky to have such an understanding nephew."
"ARRRGHHH!" The room is filled with smoke from Zuko's outburst, clouding the view of everyone as he storms out, shouting in anger.
Sokka was amused while watching his sister trying to teach Aang how to waterbend. He considers it "trying" because Aang was doing it even better than his sister does! Even after years of 'practice' Katara's mastery over water is nowhere close to the ten minutes of training that the Avatar just went through.
'Well... he IS the Avatar… but it's still funny, and I will never let her forget this' he couldn't help but chuckle.
"WHAT ARE YOU LAUGHING AT!?" Shouted an angry teenage girl.
Then things escalated to the point that Katara even felt bad in the end and apologized to Aang for her temper, but completely ignored apologizing to her brother… screw this guy!
As they kinda…. Washed away…. their supplies during their extremely brief waterbending lesson… they had to find a nearby trading port so they could spend their massive fortune of three copper pieces! Madara would've snorted at that from the other side of the world if he wasn't busy at the moment…. Peasants….
Cross that, two copper pieces… Aang HAD to buy a stupid whistle, and now they are almost out of the money that King Bumi gave them back in Omashu, guess being the Avatar isn't that profitable after all… well Aang lives on "grass" so... there's that…
As the group was led by some weird guy with a clearly evil appearance towards a shop owned by the most obvious pirate in the Avatar World, Katara decided to follow their "high-risk trading" style and hijacked a pristine waterbending scroll, which led them to their current situation…
An angry shout echoed "MY CABBAGES! EVERYWHERE SOMEONE RUINS MY BELOVED CABBAGES! THIS PLACE IS WORSE THAN OMASHU!"
Aang decided to use the tactical retreat maneuver, carrying both Sokka and Katara with him and leaving the Pirates behind, eating dirt… quite literally at that…
After landing near the river, they set up their tent and made Appa comfortable, as Aang was putting his glider away, he commented "I used to kind of look up to pirates… but those guys are terrible."
Katara answered mischievously "Oh I know, that's why I took this…" She said while pulling the waterbending scroll from her tunic.
"No way!" Aang was surprised.
"Isn't it great?!" Katara was excited.
"No wonder they tried to hack us up, you stole their waterbending scroll!" Sokka was enlightened.
"Well... I do prefer to think of it as high-risk trading…"
Aang laughed out loud "Good one, Katara!"
As they continued to discuss how stupid Katara's idea was, well Sokka was doubling on that considering that they could've ended up dead if it wasn't for Aang's flight, they ended up deciding to agree to disagree, with Sokka walking away and Katara and Aang moving towards the river and unfolding the scrolls.
"Look at these moves! It's almost a complete move set of waterbending!" shouted Katara excited, she has never seen such complex postures and movements before, being the only waterbender in her tribe.
Aang was equally excited "Right?! And look, it seems that it has a signature!" he pointed to the bottom right of the scroll.
"Uh... I didn't notice that… hmmm it says… Ka… Kaliya… I think? I mean it does sound like a Water Tribe name." She probably would've ignored such a small detail if Aang wasn't beside her when she opened the scroll.
"It sounds girly," Said Sokka while chilling under a tree with a straw between his lips, not even looking at the duo.
"Yeah… as girly as the Kyoshi Warriors that kicked your ass so hard that you decided to run away…" commented Katara with a respectable level of snarkiness.
"Yeah… just as I thought…" Concluded the girl while turning her attention back to the scroll. "…she should be a powerful waterbender if she was the one to create such a well-made scroll…" The scroll was in mint condition, so she thought it is a rather newly made scroll.
"If we find her, she can teach us both Katara!" Said Aang in excitement.
"Sorry to interrupt your enthusiasm," said Sokka lazily "But I rather put my faith in that Madara guy, he did teach Suki and the Kyoshi Warriors, and he also taught that guy that keeps following us around to capture Aang…"
"Well, I disagree… this Kaliya obviously is a very skilled waterbender, while Madara's bending is still uncertain at best! For all we know… he could be a firebender…" shrugged Katara.
Sokka started laughing out loud "Firebender?! HAHAHAHAHA yeah right…" sarcasm was oozing out of his words.
As time passed, the situation repeated itself. Aang had a clear talent for waterbending, that was no joke, the baldy could do almost every single move from the scroll on his first try! It drove Katara into madness.
She had to take the scroll away from Aang, to prevent herself from exploding again, and walked while carrying it to a more secluded area with the intent of learning on her own without feeling pressured by the Avatar's extreme expertise with the elements… oh how happy she will be when he starts to learn earthbending….
While reading the scroll again and again, using the water from a small puddle to do the movements in repetition, time passed.
"Come on!" She shouted in anger, failure is frustrating... repetitive failures are even more so.
"I can't believe it is this hard, why couldn't this Kaliya have made a more step-by-step guide, or added some notes?!"
"What name did you just say?"
Katara jumped in fright, that voice… she recognized that voice!
Looking back, over her shoulder, she could see Zuko coming out of the foliage, staring at her with wide eyes.
"Repeat that name!" He demanded.
"W-what does it matter to you?"
Loud voices came from behind the bushes "We got one of them!" she recognized those voices as well...
"TELL ME THE NAME!" Shouted Zuko, expelling some flames from his fists, he wasn't kidding.
"K-Kaliya…?" answered an extremely confused Katara, even more confused after she saw Zuko's eyes trembling after he had confirmation of the name.
"There you are! And you got the scroll too, great!" Said the Pirate Captain, still carrying his green Iguana Parrot on his shoulder.
Taking a deep breath, Zuko stared at the scroll for a second before turning toward the Pirates, and his uncle who was right behind them.
"Well, gentlemen…." He assumed a combat stance "…It seems that the deal is off."