Chapter Twenty:

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Ruka (1)

I gasped as I regained consciousness. I was on the back of a rhino - still in the forest and still dark out.

I looked around but I saw no one. I heard grunts and groans coming from up ahead, but there was just a big opening in the ground.

I got down from the rhino and walked over to the edge of the cliff. My legs felt wobbly, I'm guessing I haven't walked on them for a while.

I peeked over and saw a naked Iroh and Zuko fighting against a couple earth benders. I widened my eyes and quickly moved away from the cliff.

I have to warn them. But I have no idea where the village is.

I don't have time for this! Er... I'll go this way!

I ran straight ahead, running under branches and through spider webs. I was starting to breath in and out heavily again, knowing that I need to get to my siblings and Aang quick for two reasons, 1. To warm them about Zuko and 2. I need my remedy

Everything looked the same, I felt like I didn't get anywhere. I stopped in my tracks and ran my fingers through my hair.

Ruka, stay calm! Focus on the sound of my voice.

I thought of Sokka's voice and his words. Focus on the sound of my voice.

My breathing started to get under control again and I was grateful in that moment. I can't flip out now.

Listen to what's around you.

I closed my eyes and focused on the natural sounds of the forest.

All I could hear was the sound of my heart beating and the sound of leaves swaying together.


I shot my eyes open.


"I'm here." I whispered.

I ran the way I heard my name being called, running faster and faster by each second.


I saw Sokka with his hands cupped around his mouth, looking out for me. "Ruka!"

"I'm here!"

He quickly turned to me and smiled wide. We ran to each other and embraced in a hug. When he was about to pull away, I shook my head and put his arms back around me. "Don't let go yet."

Sokka realized why and hugged me tight for a few minutes.

I sighed in relief, "I'm okay now."

Out came Aang and Katara running to us, "Ruka! Thank the spirits that you're okay!"

Aang and Katara hugged me and I quickly hugged them back, "Yeah, yeah. I'm here, yay for everyone! You guys have to leave, now."

"We were waiting for you. But what's going on?" Aang asked.

"Zuko is here and I have a feeling he's on his way." I said.

"What?! How do you know?" Katara asked.

"There's no time for what, why, when, blah blah blah. You guys have to leave now!"

"Why aren't you saying 'we have to leave'? You're coming with us."

"No, I'm not. I'm going to stay here in the village until they come and make sure no one gets hurt."

The three looked to each other with uneasy expressions.

"I wouldn't do this if I didn't know what I was doing. But I do." I reassured, "I'll be okay. We'll see each other again. Now go!"

They nodded and we ran back into the village.

Appa was already loaded so all they needed to do was get on and leave.

"Ruka..." Sokka said from Appa's saddle.

"I'll be okay, Sokka. I'm not alone anymore." I shook my head with a weak smile.

"But -"

"We'll see each other again." I gave them a small wave.

"Appa, yip - yip!"

And with that, they flew out to the sky.

"Why didnt you go with them?" The younger man from earlier asked me.

"There's someone coming and you'll need my help."

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