Rosh whispers: “What took you so long? I was waiting to walk here with you.”
Macai retorts: “It’s a long story. Well, maybe not THAT long of a story, but I’ll explain later.”
Mr. Booman exclaims: “Alright, settle down students. Today, we will be talking about the History of Admiral Zi’s conquest of the East.” The class goes on with Macai dominating the student discussion and Rosh making some insightful points. Most students listen in admiration then Booman changes the subject or activity.
Macai’s team always comes up with the fastest solution in group projects, however, Rosh is actually the best long term planner. Having beaten Macai in some strategic scenario classes. But Macai dominates the debates in every class against everyone. Towards the end of this class, Mr. Booman asks everyone a question: “If you are out in the cold and lost at sea with dwindling fuel reserves and all nearby land territories are controlled by enemy positions, what will you do?”
Macai immediately raises his hand and says: “I will dock my ship to the closest landmass and bombard any local enemy troopers with cannon fire if necessary. My plan would be to find a settlement that has lacking defenses and is less important. Then I will dock in the area and send a distress signal to meet reinforcements.”
Another student quickly counters and says: “That is a foolish scheme Macai. I would have not risked a fight not knowing what I am up against. Instead, I would have retreated further into the sea and taken my chances. Studying how to find where I could discover nearby Fire Nation ships to get reinforcements.”
The student is none other than Paz. Macai’s bitter rival. Paz has light green eyes, black straight hair, yellow skin, small ears, and is slightly shorter than most of his classmates. Paz looks for every chance he can get to embarrass Macai, embarrassed that he consistently comes up at second place during class debates, science projects, and history discussions. The only area where things are fair is essay contests, where someone different seems to dominate every week.
Macai chuckles, “No Paz, you are running out of FUEL reserves. That means that you would likely be stranded at sea. And since your ship is alone, there is a chance that enemy ships might intercept and attack you. Though the other navies are inferior, it is an unwise position to be in. I also doubt that YOU would be competent enough to find other Fire Nation ships if not for pure luck and would likely starve your men out. Being stranded at sea also increases the odds of mutiny.”
Mr. Booman laughs and claps shouts: “Great point Macai. Ok, students that is it for today. I hear there is a new special soup that they will be making for lunch and apparently, band class has acquired new instruments, so have fun.”
While Macai and Rosh exit the class Paz travels with two friends and shoves himself past Macai. Macai shouts: “Hey, you better watch yourself. You and your friends are no match for us.”
Paz laughs, “You think you’re so smart, being a show-off ALMOST every class. But you know you don’t have the intellect to do that in math class. Because you suck at it. That’s right, the one class that you are so bad at that you almost failed our last test. I saw that grade.”
Macai then gets angry, knowing he was raised to be a perfectionist. Macai grunts and his fists tighten. Rosh pats Macai in the back to calm him and Rosh responds, “But he still is better than you at almost EVERY other class. And you are not even the best at math, I am. Everyone knows that, so you will only be second best at everything in your life.”
Paz grunts, “Oh yeah, well I can’t wait until we have more combat tests. So that I can pound both of your faces in. That is the most important subject anyway.” Paz and his friends storm off.
Rosh grins and pats Macai in the back. Rosh: “Sure showed them. I can’t wait to try that soup at lunch and find some crazy instrument at band class.”
Macai: “I’m cool with the drums and trumpet. I’ll never switch.”
Rosh: “I don’t think anything will ever beat the flute but, I’m willing to try anything. Funny that Paz forgot to mention that you aren’t the best at band, but neither is he. You BOTH suck with instruments.”
Macai: “Hey, I am getting better with the trumpet.”
Rosh: “That you are, but I don’t get how you are so offbeat with the drums. Like dude what?”
Macai: “You never even played the drums.”
Rosh: “Yes, I have. Not as a studied instrument, but just for a few minutes. I still had better rhythm than you. The drums are not a very complex instrument.”
Macai: “To be fair, the Fire Nation doesn’t teach us much about rhythm. They don’t even let us dance. I hear people can tear it up in the Earth Kingdom.”
Rosh: “It does sound fun, can you imagine Eyre dancing? Ha ha ha, he would be so terrible at it.”
Macai: “I would NEVER be caught dead trying to dance. I will not risk that embarrassment. My father taught me to be strong, but that burden is too great.”
The two laugh as they head off to lunch.
THE SPECIAL GIRL
As Rosh and Macai get their orange soup and a plate of bread to go with it, they head to their lunch table with two other friends, Barge and Spengi. Barge is a heavy set child with curly black hair, a long plump nose, hazel eyes, and tan skin. Spengi has olive skin, light brown hair, light blue eyes, and a small soft nose.
Rosh interrupts his friends, “Macai has some news.” Then Rosh giggles.
Barge: “Well, spit it out.”
Rosh: “Macai has a massive crush on Azula. Ozai’s daughter.”
Barge’s eyes widen and Spengi chuckles. Then Spengi asks: “Does he know her?”
Macai: “Yes, I meet her at the park.”
Barge takes a deep breath and clinches his hands. Spengi stares at him. Then Spengi asks: “Why are you acting like that?”
Barge: “Because I heard she is crazy.”
Macai protests, “Who told you that?”
Barge: “I have heard from some guys. They said their sisters said that Azula excels in EVERY class she is in.”
Macai laughs, “Sounds like me.”
Barge: “Noo, I mean EVERY class. Not MOST classes. Do you know how obsessed you have to be in order to be the best at every class. Only thing she sucks at is music, but I can see how a crazy person sucks at that.”
Spengi: “Actually she isn’t the best at gymnastics, not even the tenth best. Ty Lee runs that. She also isn’t a track star like Mai or Sorra.” Macai shakes his head and Rosh shrugs his shoulders.
Macai: “So that’s it? That’s why you think she’s nuts?”
Barge: “It’s not just that. I heard she has slapped another girl in class and didn’t even get suspended because of her dad. I heard she spilled her soup on another girl one day because she said it was gross and she didn’t like that girl anyway. I heard she beats up and bullies her older brother Zuko, who is still a year older than us.”
Macai: “I’m sure I could take Zuko and I heard that he is a total kiss-up.”
Spengi: “Who told you that? I heard Zuko is very honorable and kind.”
Macai: “Too kind, he hasn’t the temperament of a great fire nation warrior and leader. He is soft mentally. I talked to Azula a couple of times, found her a couple of times.” Then Rosh looks at Macai with his mouth wide open.
Rosh: “You didn’t tell me that.”
Macai: “I know, I didn’t see you this morning and I would always make sure that I saw her when I got out of school but right before sunset. That’s why I haven’t played with you as much in the last few weeks. I tried to find her several times, at first I didn’t. I’ve been with her about twice and missed her at least four or five times now.”
Barge: “For how long?”
Macai: “Around 10 to 15 the first time and about 35 minutes the second time.”
Spengi: “What did you guys do?”
Macai: “The first time, we just talked and shared some jokes. The second time we talked a bit and then went on an adventure. She and I stole some apples from the Apple Lady and she never caught us.”
Rosh’s jaw drops in surprise, “You did what now? Eyre HATEs thieves. He would have blown a fuse if he knew that.”
Macai: “I know, she dared me and I just did it. It was a lot of fun. Then I asked her to not steal anymore. So she agreed and we did something else instead.”
Rosh shakes his head and says: “I don’t think I even want to know.”
Macai: “We bothered a Fire Nation guard. She threw a pebble at him and I snuck behind him and touched his suit. We moved so fast that he didn’t see us. He broke out in a fit of rage in confusion, then his boss yelled at him.”
Rosh: “Now, THAT is stupid. You both could have been scorched or caught. That girl sounds like trouble.”
Macai grins: “You know you have a sharp sense of humor and a knack for adventure. She has a knack for adventure but is more daring than you. She has wit but is not as funny as you. I think your personalities will balance out.”
Rosh: “I don’t, I like responsible fun. And she sounds messy. We should find Zuko, he doesn’t have our lunchtime but we see him every now and then when we are heading to class or leaving.”
Macai: “No, Zuko is irrelevant. We don’t need to see him and we don’t need his opinion on anything. He is a momma’s boy and he is jealous of her.”
Rosh: “You just believe everything she tells you, huh. Have you not thought about testing her claims? Meet him yourself?”
Macai nods his head, “Ok, we can try that after class. But I am going to see her again today or at least I’ll try. She is going to be around a couple of friends I think, this time. I think it is that Ty Lee girl that you guys heard about and maybe some other girl that’s a bit older.”
Barge: “Aww, but I have band practice right after class.”
Macai: “No one plays the trombone like you, don’t let anything get in the way of those skills. My dad always said a strong man never lets anything stop his growth. Especially when it relates to natural talent.”
Rosh: “Your dad is over-the-top Macai, but I agree.”
Spengi: “I can come.”
Rosh: “Oh, this will be interesting.”