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Old September 16th, 2013 (05:12 PM).
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Geras32 Geras32 is offline
Slightly less of a noob
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Everything's bigger here, apparently.
Age: 19
Gender: Male
Nature: Serious
Posts: 739


Xiu Lim
Central Station => Arena

Xiu’s encounter with Angelique and Julienne seemed to go by perfectly, definitely having made a positive impact. When she sat back down, though, the boy next to her started talking to her. Apparently she had even less endurance than she thought because he had quickly noticed that she wasn’t exactly a frequent buyer of fire flakes and called her out on it. "You really shouldn't eat those things if you don't like spicy food, some people just aren't built for it, I can tell you don't like them, you're turning pink. The most stoic man in the world carved out of granite still has tells, besides you're sweating, if you keep eating those you'll get a stomach ache, your acid will go into overdrive and the next few meals you eat will be none too enjoyable either." He then stood up and turned, tossing a coin at her with his back facing her. "Get yourself some food that'll make your stomach leap for joy instead of whimper in self pity."

The coin was missing the typical square hole in the middle showing that it wasn’t a Yuan, maybe a foreign currency. It had a gold color, and judging by the arc at which it fell, it was probably heavy, supporting the idea that-

“Ow!” Xiu yelped in her high-pitched voice so that it was almost like a squeak as the gold coin hit her in the head. It seemed that her reflexes weren’t near as quick as her mind. Reaching down, she picked up the fallen coin, finishing her thought that the weight during it’s fall supported the idea that it was actual gold. Now that she had it in her hand for closer inspection though, she realized that it was simply a Veleri coin. How did this metalbender boy get his hands on something like this, though? He likely had connections to the village from which these came because otherwise he wouldn’t be so willing to just give one away. Soon after donating the rare coin, the boy simply left. “Thank you very much! I don’t think I’ve done anything to deserve this, but it’s rude to refuse a gift, isn’t it?” she shouted after him, assuming that he was less likely to respond if she had tried to refuse the gift or give it back. She was tempted to follow him and see if she could learn more about this boy who had piqued her interest, but one look at the sky told her that she had other things to do.

The sun had already gone down and the pro bending match would soon start. She didn’t have a ticket yet, so that was an issue. What I would give to be able to teleport wherever I wanted, she thought as she got up and left Central Station. Angelique and Julienne had already gone, so she didn’t have to bother with saying bye. Finally having shoved all the fire flakes down her throat, Xiu took off running to get back to her study. As she ran, though, two factors caused her to change her course. First: the sun had just finished its descent so unless she used her airbending to run she wouldn’t make it to the arena in time. Second: Her desire to keep her Avatar identity hidden led her to not use airbending to run and so she was getting tired very quickly. In fact, she hadn’t even gone two blocks before she was gasping for breath. How could anyone think running marathons was fun? She stopped and leaned on a wall, catching her breath as she considered another course of action. She could probably pay her way in with the Veleri coin, but something like that was probably best saved for something else considering that she only had one. She could also try her hand at persuading the ticket checking person, but there was too much uncertainty with that for it to be attempted without backup plans, one of which being the coin. So she had intended to create a fake ticket with the materials she had at her study to use in case persuasion failed so that the coin could be saved for second-to-last, the last option being to sneak in. Thanks to the aforementioned factors, though, the ticket plan was no longer viable.

Xiu closed her eyes and focused on her mental map, seeing if there were stores around with what she needed. Unfortunately, even if there were she probably wouldn’t be able to afford all the stuff without using her coin. She slumped to the ground with a sigh. After deciding she was going to see the match, why didn’t she just go back and forge a ticket right away? Her intelligence was great, but it seemed like her wisdom still needed some work. Regardless, there wasn’t much she could do about it now so she instead started making her way to the arena. She hoped that she had enough backup plans to get her in without too much trouble, and if all else failed she could always play the “Avatar” card, although she would prefer not to.




By the time Xiu got there, it was probably around 7:30, give or take a few minutes. It was difficult trying to tell time without the sun, but she hadn’t gotten around to getting a watch. She should probably get on that sometime soon. For now, though, she had to worry about getting into the arena. There was a massive line waiting to get in and see Force of Nature’s showdown against the Beetlefrogs so Xiu situated herself at the back of it. While in line, she debated whether it would be easier for her to try persuading the ticket checker for admission, trying to get one of the few tickets that hadn’t been sold yet (with only front row seats fitting that category) or trying to get one of the other people in line to get her in. The final option would mean getting another person’s ticket if it worked and then they wouldn’t be able to get into the game they paid to see. The little bit of guilt she’d feel if she were to succeed might be enough to throw off her ruse and give her away. The second option was probably not very likely to work either, considering how difficult it was to get those tickets it would probably be just as difficult to talk her way to one. That left the first option and how she would go about it.

Xiu was steadily approaching the arena door where the tickets were being checked so when she thought she was within earshot of the checker she started looking through her purse. She wasn’t actually looking for anything, but she then started rummaging through it vigorously as if she couldn’t find this thing she wasn’t actually looking for. Donning an expression of panic and worry, she said, “Oh, no. No, no, no, no! Where is it? Did I drop it? Maybe someone stole it…” She spoke quickly and frantically, making it clear what was wrong while trying to ensure that it wasn’t obvious she was making a scene. Xiu’s voice was hushed as if she were trying to keep it down, yet she ensured was still loud enough to cross the distance she needed it to. Alright, time to get this started.

Xiu stepped up to the man checking tickets, still searching through her purse, and prepared to continue with her plan, but then something unexpected happened. “She’s with me,” said a man’s voice from behind her. Her head turned quickly to see who this unexpected turn of events was and saw a tall, handsome young man in a fancy black suit holding up an emblem that was most likely some sort of family crest. The man was probably the son of a wealthy family stopping by to see the finals, nothing too far fetched, but why was he helping her? There was the chance that he was just being a good samaritan, an idea most would consider supported by his gentle smile, but she remained skeptical and kept the possibility of him having ulterior motives open. It wasn’t like she was the first one to try getting in without a ticket. It was then that something occurred to her. This mystery man was influential enough to get in with just his identity, although unfortunately she hadn’t been able to see what it looked like. Normal seats were sold out so that meant only front row seats and VIP seats remained, and if he wanted a front row seat he would have flashed his crest to the ticket salesman so that meant he was going for the VIP. A person with that sort of clout wouldn’t even need to wait in line, and even if they did it wouldn’t be the back of the line. But then that meant...had this man targeted her specifically?

Several questions and thoughts raced through her mind as to what could be going on, the most prominent being whether or not this mystery man knew of her identity. Her processes were interrupted by the person whom she was now the guest of. “Shall we go, milady?” He put his hand around her waist and led her on, Xiu donning a smile to prevent any suspicion of her suspicion. They walked in silence as he led her to the VIP seats just as she had suspected. While it would probably have been best to hightail it outta there, she couldn’t help but wonder who this man was and what he wanted. Also, she had an airbender sentry on her tail to keep her safe in case it went wrong.

The two got to their seats in a luxurious balcony area reserved for rich people who preferred to watch the games in comfort where Xiu finally broke the silence. “Thank you so much for helping me, but how could I ever repay you for taking me as your guest? These seats are marvelous! We don’t even know each other’s names!” She stood up and bowed at him. “My name is Ling Xiao, it is a pleasure to meet you.”

The mystery man looked to her and smiled, chuckling for a moment before saying, “Very nice to make your acquaintance, Ling. May I ask you to please stop insulting my intelligence by lying to me?” His voice remained just as gentle and kind throughout, contrasting with his finishing words. Xiu could now safely say that he was planning something, but what? She looked at every aspect of him she could see to try and figure something out. Hair: well groomed, soft, brown. Nothing. Face: clean shaven, robust chin, bright blue eyes. Nothing. Clothes: fancy three-piece fitted suit, equally nice pants, equally nice shoes. Nothing. Body: tall, lean, toned, flawless skin that is neither tan nor pale. Conclusion: most likely able to handle himself in a fight but has either never had to or has only had one-sided encounters. Nothing to indicate bending affinity, interests, past, or identity besides that of a handsome, wealthy young man. Has clearly put much effort into both maintaining the appearance of the perfect man as well as into hiding anything that could be spotted by eyes such as hers and reveal anything about him he doesn’t want to reveal. He is clever, perhaps even genius, constantly seeing and reacting, playing a mental chess game with the world. Likely has connections and safeguards to ensure that anything he wants to do gets done without a hitch. Nobody else would take this much care to be unreadable while sending out an alternate and conversely easy-to-read message, nobody besides herself anyway.

Xiu sighed and took a step back from him, preparing for any possible situation to come. Someone like this couldn’t be talked out of anything. “What do you need from me, then?” She dropped the cheerful-yet-humble girl act and was now pure Xiu. “You wouldn’t have revealed the fact that you knew I was on to you unless you had something to gain from me that you couldn’t get from Ling. With her, you only need to ask, but you clearly asked for me. So I’m asking you again, what do you want?” She stared straight into his eyes as she spoke, trying to place him on equal grounds with her. “Also, would it be too much to ask you for a name, or is that a secret too?”

While Xiu had discarded her persona, the man continued talking with a smile as he always had as if he had seamlessly integrated the mask and the face into one. “Must you be in such a rush? Sit down and enjoy the match. You’re my guest, remember?” Was he using that last line to suggest that she was bound to him in some way? She needed to confirm this and she also needed answers she wasn’t getting.

“Tell me or I walk,” she said firmly, walking in front of the exit. “As you said, I’m your guest. The arena security won’t bat an eye. You don’t have any private security here either, goons to trap me here for you, and even if you do they’re too far away to catch me if I decide to make a break for it.”

The man seemed unfazed, his kindly smile unwavering. “I don’t need security because you’re not going to do it.”

Xiu halted. What was he talking about? Was he suggesting that he had other measures to keep her from leaving such as a trap or bloodbending? Blue eyes could mean waterbender, but it wasn’t a full moon and benders able to bloodbend without it were extremely rare. Or was he suggesting that he had some sort of leveraging information to blackmail her into staying? The man waited a few moments before explaining. “It’s simple. You won’t leave this room until you have your answers. You’re clever, able to decipher a person with a look. With a talent for finding answers, it bothers you to not have them. I can only imagine how you’d feel when they are right in front of you but just out of your reach. You won’t rest until you can figure out what you need to reach just that little bit farther and take what you want, what you need. That’s why you won’t leave. So I ask again. Come back here, sit down, and enjoy the match with me please.” Xiu was speechless. This stranger was just as skilled as she was, maybe even moreso. He was a dangerous person who probably didn’t have a single weapon on him. He didn’t need any. She walked back to her seat because, while she didn’t want to admit it, he was right. “Oh, and for a name? Just call me Shun Feng Er." Xiu realized that this was a fake name, but he had chosen as his name a word meaning "all-knowing". For now, Xiu couldn't determine how true or untrue that was, so instead she turned her gaze to the empty pro-bending platform and waited for the match to start while trying to figure out how to get answers, just as he had said she would.
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