Three Months Later...
Heavy machinery continued to work tirelessly outside of Rohan's new office. The sight didn't bother him, the continued re-construction of Air Temple Island following its annihilation by the Star Flower's spirit vine cannon. And to give the construction crews credit, since the groundbreaking ceremony, they had done a phenomenal job of rebuilding from nothing.
Looking outside, Rohan smiled at the recently re-completed Garden of Old Masters, where the statues of the former Grandmasters following Avatar Aang proudly stood. The statues and the garden itself culminated in a gazebo, which offered a spectacular view of the statue of Avatar Aang which rested in Republic City harbor. He offered a slight tear looking on at the statue of Opal Bei Fong, lowering his head slightly.
"You weren't there when he was born. Neither was Bolin. If you were, he wouldn't have gone down that dark path."
He still remembered the groundbreaking ceremony. Avatar Tong had made a speech about the resiliency of the Air Nomads as a people and the world as being better with the diverse nations, rather than one absolute power. He had been quick to point out that the Avatar was never meant to be a tyrant, nor was he or she meant to make the decisions for the world. The Avatar was a balancing force that would help the world find its way, but the world had to walk the path of its own choosing.
Notably, he also called upon the world to not demonize Korra, following the media and the citizens of the world doing just that. Most notably, the same day as the destruction of the Star Flower, an angry mob tore down and defaced the statue of Korra in Avatar Park, while graffiti all over Republic City showed Korra's defeat at the hands of Avatar Tong, art that only made it more important that he say something. Korra, he argued, was just as much a victim of the manipulations of White Lotus as anyone else, her visage corrupted into a clone that would do whatever they would say. The real Korra would not support horrors like the ones in Ba Sing Se, and should not be blamed for what the impostor had done. The speech, along with numerous others he had done in trying to heal the wounds caused by White Lotus and the now disbanded 'Avatar Affairs' had helped in dealing with that resentment.
The speech had seemed so long ago, and following the celebration and everyone going their separate ways was the reality that it would take some time to restore the island completely. Still, after three months and the constant efforts, Rohan had to say; he was enthusiastic about the progress being made.
The noise however, he could do without. But with the noise came progress, like wiring the entire temple with wireless Internet, the dedicated servers neatly tucked away so as not to disturb the natural scenery. It was thanks to that access that he was able to look at the tablet in front of him, seeing the photos Shing had sent him of the Fire Nation. The photos showed Shing standing in front of a storefront that had the words "Airbending Academy" on the front, Shing showing off the apartment he was staying in, and him hugging the woman Leena even as she towered over him. Finally, there was a photo of him with a class of fifteen eager students sitting on their knees for a formal photo.
This is what I've been up to since moving to Capital City with Leena. On my travels, I've run into people who took Wind Razor as gospel because they had no other alternative source of information. The world has changed, and we can't expect every single person to abandon their lives to come to the temples. While there will always be those that desire a deeper, more spiritual understanding of their element, many seem daunted by the idea of abandoning all they knew just so they could learn Airbending.
With that in mind, I have opened up a school in Capital City dedicated to teaching Airbending techniques the same way you and Ikki taught me. I've already got enough students to pay the rent for the building, and I'm going to need to hire assistant instructors soon. They're new to this, but then again, I'm new to teaching. My formal explanation of what I want to accomplish is in a separate document. You can show it to Grandmaster Nam-Ka if she asks.
I'm staying with Leena, who got a two-rank promotion and an office job in the Fire Nation. We enjoy each other's company quite a bit, but I'm sure everyone figured that out by now. Still, I suspect Leena isn't completely happy with working in an office, and wants to go back to work in the field. That'll be her choice when the time comes.
I'm hoping to have the business be sustainable in six months so I can see you again. There's a desire for people to learn, but the knowledge couldn't be accessed until now. Please don't look at this as me competing with the Temples, but look at it as me spreading our techniques and culture to those who would not have it otherwise.
Please take care, and hopefully we can see each other soon. If you need any help concerning the rebuilding of Air Temple Island, let me know and I will do my best to fly over.
Shutting off the tablet screen, Rohan looked forward at the man entering his office, a middle-aged gentleman with a thick beard and baldhead. He smiled at his guest.
"Kalden! How are you?"
"Grandmaster, I've been busy with the preparations to reintroduce the new set of students. Why do you ask?"
Looking outside the window, Rohan smiled. "I've spent the last several months putting my retirement on hold ever since the…incident with Yuza. Since that time, I've been wondering if I want to fully retire or if I've just been burnt out."
"What are you saying?"
"I'm saying after everything that's happened, the rebuilding is finally far enough along that I can take a vacation."
Removing his robes, Rohan revealed he was wearing a set of beige shorts and a t-shirt decorated with flowers underneath it, hanging up the robes nearby. "I want you to act as Grandmaster in my stead while I take some much-needed time off."
"Me?" Kalden asked. "Grandmaster?"
"Probationary," Rohan answered. "I'm going to be testing out a bunch of people for the role by giving them trial runs that I will observe. You came first because of how well you handled the reconstruction efforts."
"B…but where do I begin?" Rohan smiled, patting Kalden on the shoulder.
"Just do what you were going to do with the students and delegate responsibility accordingly. If you have any questions, call my cell phone." Picking up two briefcases, Rohan began to walk out of the office.
"Where are you going?"
"A cruise for a few weeks, and then maybe to see my sister for a day or two. Take care!"
Atop one of the cliffs where the Northern Air Temple stood was a grave for Air Nomads who fell in service to the Air Nation. It had been adorned with trees, natural light, and dozens of plaques commemorating the fallen. Spirits flew around the area, adding to the bright yet somber ambiance.
In front of one of the newest plaques, a woman in Air Nomad robes placed a bouquet of flowers inside a stone vase. She looked on, smiling.
"Hi Mi Hee. I know we haven't spoken since back in Ba Sing Se. I…didn't want to come here until I had the right words to say. Now I do." Breathing deeply, the woman continued.
"I don't want to say you've been 'avenged'. We're not supposed to believe in revenge, and you were as serious a member of the Air Nation as any of us. What I will say is that your sacrifices weren't in vain. Amit and I are just fine, and that mission helped to expose White Lotus and their evil plans. So rest easy."
"I…I still miss you though. I miss having someone to show me places, I miss having someone to talk about my training with, and I miss…I miss those nights we spent together, the ones on the cliff, where we, well, you know." A slight blush on her cheeks accompanied the last words.
"Don't worry about me though, and don't worry about Amit. We're practically brother and sister now, and I'm going to make sure nothing happens to him. I'm not exactly ready to date again, but I know you wouldn't want me to be alone either. Just remember, I'll always love you."
Smiling, she walked away from the plaque, only to look up and see another Air Nomad running towards her.
"Amit? What are you doing here?"
"I got a letter from your cousin. Are you ready to get back to work?"
"What do you mean?" Tashi asked.
"Well, have you ever been to Capital City before?"
Ignoring the members of the press that constantly asked him questions, the man stepped off the airplane into a car that was waiting for him. Once he looked on at her, the pair exchanged a laugh.
"Welcome home. How was your little speaking tour?"
"The man smiled, leaning back into the car seat even as it drove through the crowded streets of Capital City.
"It's going to be a while before the title 'Avatar' means what it used to, but people are coming around, slowly but surely."
"What makes you say that?" Smiling, the man held up a contract for the woman to glance at.
"Capital City University?"
"I've been asked to do a lecture series while I get my doctorate. 'Spirit-human relations throughout history'. They think having the Avatar as a professor will boost their credibility."
"You gonna take the offer?"
"Let's see, it pays well, it lets me get my doctorate, it keeps me by you…"
"Hey, I'm driving," the woman playfully protested as he kissed her cheek.
"And I get to do something besides be the world's cop. I think Dad…would have been proud."
"Of course he would have been proud," the woman, answered, putting a hand on the man's shoulder. "You're the Avatar."
"And his son is with a lovely…"
"I said stop it, brown-noser," she shot back.
"Sorry, but I missed you, what with you starting the new job, and me having to tell the world not to burn every single picture of Korra in effigy. I'm just happy all the formal speeches are over."
Rolling her eyes somewhat sarcastically, the woman straightened up in the driver's seat and asked a question.
"You think the Earth State's going to go back to war?"
"Finding out they were being manipulated made everyone a bit more agreeable to start talking about a formal peace treaty and not just an armistice again. They won't be one nation for a long time, if ever, but hopefully they can look at each other without shooting Shockers."
She smiled. At least the last few months weren't a complete waste.
"So what are we going to do now?"
"Well, the next semester that I'm supposed to start at isn't for a month, and last you told me, everything at work was going great. What do you say we take a vacation? A real one? Somewhere, just the two of us, no cameras, no gunfire, no evil Airbending masters, just you, me, a couple of lemon shandies, and a beautiful beach."
"Sounds boring," she answered before breaking into a fit of laughter.
"I'm kidding. I could use a break. This new vehicle is taking a lot of work to design."
"Then it's settled. Right after we meet up with everyone, we head to the airport!"
The woman rolled her eyes again. "Tong, you are headstrong, impulsive, and sometimes completely out of your mind." As the car pulled into a parking spot, she added, "But I love you anyway."
"Kushina, that makes me the luckiest man alive," Tong replied, kissing her again. This time however, she returned it.
The car stopped, as the pair looked on at the outdoor café, getting out and seeing the four people waiting for them, the table empty save a basket of bread and some utensils, while by it, four familiar faces looked on at the pair. The four were all dressed casually, in shorts and T-shirts to deal with the summer heat in the city.
"So we're all neighbors now?" Leena asked with a chuckle.
"I guess so," Tong answered, sitting down. "You don't mind, right?"
"Of course not," Leena answered. "It'll be nice to get meat without having to eat out."
Giggling, Kushina sat by Tong, asking, "You guys didn't order yet, right?"
"Actually we've just been having some bread," Shing answered. "So, how's everyone doing?"
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