Eyrie Productions, Unlimited
Dec-06-13, 02:26 PM (EST)|
"Teaser 3: S5DS03 Goodbye & Hello"|
Back in town, Anne Cross spent the morning training with Azana
in a corner of the Zuko Academy's vast main dojo. This was the first
time they had done that, instead of going up to the roof or meeting in
one of the practice gyms at Shiro Shinobi Arena. It was Anne's first
real experience with communal training at all. Her studies with Kaitlyn
were necessarily one-on-one now that Kate's other student had gone
walkabout, and even before he had done, Kyouichi Saionji had not exactly
been a crowd.
Of course, they weren't all training -together-, strictly
speaking; the other students and their instructors were scattered around
the huge room in little groups, ranging from pairs like Azana and Anne
up to clusters of four or five, and each group was pursuing its own
agenda. Still, all being at work in this same space conveyed a sense of
community that Anne hadn't really felt before while training in a
martial art. She quite liked it, at least as a change of pace. She
would never want to trade her solo sessions with Azana for training in
here all the time, but as a special-occasion kind of thing, it worked.
On the downside, one of those other instructors was Deng, and he
would occasionally take a moment out from berating his students in
slightly shrill drill-instructor Tongyu to give Azana and her student a
baleful glower; but that meant nothing in the grand scheme of things,
and Anne found herself fairly well able to tune him out most of the
time. She was much more interested in what Ito-sensei and Kaitlyn-
sensei were making of it.
They, in turn, were making a great show of -not- observing,
though both Anne and Azana knew very well that they were. The two
masters, with Sergei sprawled at their feet, were sitting at a pai sho
table in the very back of the corner where their students were training,
pretending to be so engrossed in their game that they were paying no
attention at all. Anne's developing zanshin, though, told her plainly
that her every move was being scrutinized, and Azana clearly had a
similar sort of facility. Such was the rapport that they had developed
between them, to boot, that each knew the other was aware of it without
All in all, a very nice set of feelings, even marred by the
occasional searchlight-beam sweep of Deng's disapproval.
"All right! Very good," said Azana, squaring up to trade bows
and firebender salutes with her student. "You're coming along in great
bounds, Juni-chan," she went on, smiling. "It won't be long before
you're taking my place on the Fire Ferrets."
"Don't lay it on -too- thick," Kaitlyn cautioned her with a
grin. "She still needs to be able to get her head through doors."
Anne gave a self-deprecating laugh. "No, sensei, I'm OK. I
know she's only joking."
"Perhaps," said Ito, "but I have to say I'm also impressed. You
do learn quickly, and I can sense your respect for the craft. It's a
rare thing in someone who comes to it as late as you have." He smiled.
"I'm satisfied. If you wish to return this summer and train with Azana,
you'll be most welcome. I may even take it upon myself to show you a
trick or two, if your sifu doesn't object to an old man's meddling," he
added, his smile becoming a grin.
"That depends on whether they're -firebending- tricks," said
Azana wryly, "or your infamous practical jokes. I'm not having that."
Ito laughed. "I suspect this young lady could come up with
pranks of her own that would leave my feeble repertoire in the shade,"
he said, giving Anne a wink.
"I don't know what you mean, Ito-sensei," Anne replied with
Azana smiled fondly at the pair of them. "Right, you, let's hit
the showers and get some lunch before Grandfather corrupts you further,"
she said, tagging Anne's shoulder.
Ito and Kaitlyn watched them pass through the side door to the
ladies' changing room, then turned to each other and smiled.
"Korra was right to send you here," said Ito. "She'll be a
credit to my granddaughter's name."
"I hope so," said Kaitlyn. "Shall we go in search of lunch
"Let's have one more game before we go," said Ito.
Kate considered that, then nodded. "Very well."
Ito sat back in his chair. "It's your turn to make the first
move," he said.
"Hmm, so it is." Kate considered the tiles for a moment, then
picked one up and placed it in the exact center of the board.
Ito raised an eyebrow. "Hmm," he said. "I see you favor the
White Lotus gambit... "
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