Chapter Fourteen:

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Ruka

It was the middle of the night when I heard footsteps coming from outside. I slowly got out of the bed of hay and went to the small window.

I saw a group of fire nation men walking toward Haru's house. Leading them was the man who we saved earlier today.

I furrowed my eyebrows, "What's he up to?" I whispered. The man who asked for more tax money from Haru's mother was the one who knocked on their front door.

When Haru opened the door, the old man pointed to him, "That's him, that's the earth bender!"

I gasped. What a little - I quickly left out the big hut we were staying in and ran toward them. The man grabbed Haru's shoulder but before he could take him anywhere, I pulled water out from the hand water pump and splashed the man away from Haru.

I froze the rest of the men's feet, and Haru ran over to me. "What are you doing?! You're going to get yourself arrested!"

I grabbed his hand, "Its worth it. Now come on!" I tugged on him but before we can run away, the man I splashed grabbed ahold of us. "You're not going anywhere." He smirked. "Men, come on!" When he turned his head, he saw that the other men were trying to unfreeze their feet. "Um, after you're done with that."

Haru looked to me, "I can't earth bend us out of here. I don't want to risk hurting our home or my mother."

I shook head, "Don't worry about it. I'm sure we'll be fine."

>>>

Haru, me, and some other earth benders walked off the ship that lead to the prison. It was already morning when we arrived. We had to put a raggedy, dirty long olive green shirt over our own clothes. Our hands were tied in front of us.

A man in different fire nation clothing walked over to us. "Earth benders, it is my pleasure to welcome you aboard my modest ship yard. I am your warden. I prefer to think of you not as prisoners but as honored guests. And I hope you come to think of me as your humble and caring host. You will succeed here if you simply abide to my rules. Simply treat me with the curtesy I give you and we'll get along famously."

"Now, lets go and take a small tour, shall we?" The warden walked back the same way he came, and we followed him, one guard in front of the line and another behind.

"You will notice, earth benders, that this rig is made entirely of metal. You are miles away from any rock or earth. So, if you have any allusions to employing that brutish savagery that passes for bending among you people, forget them. It is impossible. Good day." The warden said before leaving us.

A gate opened to the courtyard and we all walked in. People were either sitting down in either small groups, alone, or standing somewhere.

They untied our hands and let us roam freely in the courtyard. I hung my head low, looking down at the floor.

Haru looked over to me, "What's wrong Ruka?"

"I'm so sorry, Haru." My voice cracked. "This is all my fault. I'm the one who told you to Earth bend. I'm the reason we're stuck here."

"To save that man, Ruka. Who unfortunately ratted me out." Haru chuckled. When I didn't reply, he put his thumb and index finger on my chin and lifted my head up to face him. "It's not your fault. You were just trying to save a man who was almost going to die. We were heroes in that moment, don't forget that."

I went up onto my tippy toes and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, "thank you."

His cheeks turned a soft shade of pink but he shook it off, "My father's here."

I widened my eyes, "He is!" I looked around. "Let's find him!"

Haru nodded, "His name is Tyro. I'll check on that side of the courtyard and you check on this side." I nodded and then went opposite directions.

"I have no idea what this guy looks like," I said to myself. I walked over to a small group, "Hi fellow earth benders." I waved awkwardly to them. "I'm looking for a Tyro. By any chance, do you know where he could be?"

They shook his head and I thanked them, leaving to another group. "Hi, I'm looking for a man named Tyro. Any chance you know where he could be?" I asked. They all nodded.

I grinned, "Really? Do you think you can point him out to me please?"

One of the men stood up and pointed to a tall man with a white, long beard whom was also bald.

I thanked him and walked over to Tyro and tapped his shoulder. When he turned around, I gave a small wave. "Hi, my name is Ruka. Are you Haru's father? I'm a friend of his."

He nodded with a sparkle in his eye.

"Would you mind coming with me?" I asked him. He nodded his head, following me as I walked over to Haru who was looking around.

"Haru!" I called over to him. He turned his head and when he saw his father next to me, he grinned with tears forming in his eyes. He ran over to his father and they embraced in a tight hug. I got teary eyed, "I'll leave you two."

I walked away from the two and sat on one of the squared, metal benches. I was fiddling with my fingers until I felt someone sit next to me. I looked over and it was Haru. "Hey, where's your dad?" I asked.

"Over there. Come on, he wants to properly meet you." He grabbed my hand and lead me back to where his father was with other men.

"Dad, this is Ruka." He introduced. "Ruka, this is my father, Tyro."

"It's a pleasure to meet you." I put my hand out and he shook it. "Any friend of Haru's is a friend of mine. Especially one who is so pretty."

I gave a shy smile, "Thank you, sir."

"Come and sit with us, Ruka. Have some breakfast." I nodded as him and I took a seat next to each other on the floor. "Haru, get this nice girl a bowl."

Haru nodded, leaving him and I to talk.

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