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September 13th, 2013 (6:25 AM).
Christina - Crossroads
Central Harbor/Bending Arena
As the sun had slowly descended beneath the horizon, Kalden had been lounging in his seat on top of the building underneath the little tent/pavilion thing, facing the sea. He’d been snacking on some kind of nuts that had been named ‘Bison Bites’, which was one of the two snack-bags he’d brought up here a couple of days ago. Finally though, the sun had completely disappeared, leaving the sky above a soft orange with the dark-blue of the night’s sky looming in the horizon to the north of the city.
Getting up from his seat, he stretched his arms out above his head and yawned deeply. “Right, that’s enough relaxing. I think it’s time to go see the others and get some training done before the match. Not that I’m worried we’ll lose.” He smirked to himself, happy that their rivals, the ones that had beat them to the punch in the finals last year, had already been knocked out of the tournament early on.
He took in a deep breath and stepped onto the edge of the building, looking down at the still rather busy streets below before making a little hop forwards, causing him to plummet to the ground, the wind whipping around him and tearing at his clothes and the ponytail behind his head. Just before hitting the ground in what would be quite the anti-climax for a story, he took a deep breath through his nose and stretched his arms out to the sides before spinning around, creating an opposite-going gust of air, which quickly slowed his descent. He then landed on the sidewalk with the impact as if he had jumped down from a small box.
People around him were staring at him and muttering to their partners or friends as Kalden began his stroll down towards the bending arena, smiling to himself, quite happy with the reactions he’d gotten from people. And as he walked down the harbour with large and small ships docked in, several people and satomobiles passing him by, the Bending Arena came into view out on its lone pier. He came to a stop just before the pier began and closed his eyes, raising his hands up to hold them horizontally, flat, with his palms upwards at his chest, taking in a deep breath before exhaling. After having cleared his mind, he opened his eyes again, brimming with excitement over the match that was about to take place soon.
“Look, I ain’t askin’ you much!! Just that you actually ANSWER me when I talk to you, a’ight?!”
Kalden peeked around the corner of the entrance to the training dojo that his team had gotten permission to use before the match. The tall, rather thin and lanky firebender, Jian, was sitting on a bench with his hands on either side of him, looking off to the side, while the shorter, more robust and –definitely- more muscle-y earthbender, Dominic, was standing in front of him with his arms crossed, looking annoyed.
“Hey fellas! Hope I didn’t interrupt anything! No marital disputes or anything going on here, right?” Kalden shouted as he stepped fully into the dojo, grinning at the other two, whom then turned to look at him, Dominic looking visibly relieved and Jian looking… well, as uninterested in everything as Jian always did. He did, however, nod at him in greeting.
“Oh, hey Kal’. Y’dunno how glad I am t’see you. I dunno what’s gotten into Jian lately, he’s been at my throat all day, man!” Dominic said while flailing an arm towards Jian, who simply shook his head lightly. “… No I haven’t.”
Kalden raised his brows a little, looking from Jian to Dominic, who stared back for a moment before letting out a huff. “A’ight, maybe not ‘at my throat’, but he ain’t talkin’ to me when I talk to him! I say hey, he keeps trainin’, I go ‘You want a cup ‘f noodles?’ he goes ‘Salty’. T’hell’s that s’posed t’mean?!”
Letting out a chuckle, Kalden patted Dominic’s arm before wrapping his arm around his shoulders. Kalden was about half a head taller than Dominic, but Dominic looked like he could more or less break him in two by giving him a massage. “Look, Dom’, we’ve been a team for a long time, right?” “Right.” “And every time Jian wants to say something, that we offer or suggest him, he often replies with…” “Uh. Short sentences?” “Exactly! So when you ask if he wants noodles and he goes ‘salty’, that means…” Dominic looked up at Kalden for a moment, and Kalden was worried the guy was going to go cross-eyed for a moment before the earthbender let out a grunt and looked down, folding his arms across his chest. “… That he wants ‘em extra salty, I get ya.”
“… With soy sauce.” Jian added from the bench, looking up at the two of them. Kalden snickered and gave Dominic’s chest another pat before letting go of him and leaping up onto the bench besides Jian and plonking himself down with his legs crossed, sitting on top of the bench. “See? You just have to give it a bit more thought and not get so angry at a moment’s notice, Dom’. It’s good in the arena, but you’re just gonna frighten poor Jian one of these days.” Jian glanced over at Dominic, as if scanning him over before shaking his head lightly.
“… Right. Always so talkative, aren’t you, Jian? It’s okay though, you’re a great firebender and a nice guy anyways. Come on Dom’! Let’s do some sparring before we get started on proper training!” Kalden smiled up at Dominic, whose anger seemed to have defused almost in an instant, and he nodded, following after Kalden, going over into the other side of the room. Before moving on though, he gave Jian’s shoulder a slightly-too-rough pat. “… ‘Ey, sorry ‘bout yellin’ at ya. We good?” Jian glanced up at Dominic before nodding, raising his hand into a fist, giving a smile, which Dominic returned and gave him a fistbump right back.
Kalden turned around and took a deep breath, watching as Dominic stepped over in front of him, both of them going into their respective stances in preparation for the fight. After a moment of silence, Dominic stomped his foot into the ground, sending a stone disc from the ground into the air, which he knocked at Kalden, who swiftly lept to the side, retaliating with a high kick, sending a blast of air at him. While the two of them were sparring, Dominic started speaking.
“’Ey, Kal’. I dunno ‘bout Jian. He’s usually really quiet, but somethin’ just seems… off with him, y’know? More so than usual. ‘S like somethin’s botherin’ him, but he won’t tell.” Kalden ducked under a disc and gave a small shrug before punching a blast of air at Dominic, which he blocked with another disc. “I’m not sure about that, Dom’, he’s seemed about the same to me. Besides, he never did spend a lot of time with us anyways. Just… training, match, go home. We don’t either, but we’ve been out eating lunch and stuff every so often the two of us. Hey, remember when we got caught after making that secret tunnel from the public toilets to the base of Firelord Zuko’s statue?”
Dominic chortled quietly before getting smacked in the chest by an airblast, sending him staggering backwards, shaking his head to get his bearings back. “Urgh… hah, yeah! Where we pretended to’ve been stuck in there for years, ‘n all the people ‘round t’statue got really worked up, ‘n we had to run away from t’cops? ‘S good times.” He huffed a little, worry overtaking his rather chiselled face. “… I still can’t help but think somethin’s wrong with Jian.” Kalden waved a hand dismissively, glancing over at the quiet firebender, watching them closely, as they’d agreed that the one not sparring should be doing.
“… I’m sure it’s fine. I’ll keep an eye on him as well, alright? Oh, and you remember our secret attack? We might need it in the arena. It’s more show-off-y than anything, but the audience’ll love it.” Dominic grinned and stomped into the ground again, making a disc float up in front of him. “Pfah, yeah, I remember. ‘N it’s gonna be good! Ungh!” He pushed his fist forwards, sending the disc at Kalden’s stomach in an arc, which forced him to push his hands forwards, sending a compact blast of air our at the disc, which slowed it enough to let him use his air to keep it hovering between his hands while he grinned in return. “It’s going to be a show the likes of which none of us has seen, I feel.”
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