[LF] Hiding from Jun Da [Flashback 3]

edited February 2013 in In-Game
This took place when Keela Zu was ten years old.

You've been stuck at Jun Da's for two years now. The last year, after Jun Da's wife died, have been extremely sad and he has grown more and more distant. You were always trying to escape, but recently, Jun Da has stopped searching for you, instead letting retainer and the Earth Kingdom guards hunt you down. You were always brought back, never harmed, but always reminded, scolded and locked away until your next attempt.

This is one of those attempts. You're down in Lower Ring. Why did you come here? You've heard rumors about some urchin kids, have you met up with any of them?

The streets are rough dirt, very little plant life, the road dominating the place between houses, the shadows of the wall making life seem darker most of the day. Colder, too. There is a small troop of guards down here, combing the streets looking for you, probably you. Where are you hiding? How do you know the leader of this troop?


  • I'm hiding in a dead-end alley, behind a pile of empty crates next to the wall that's blocking my escape. It's a terrible hiding spot, and I know this, but I've gotten myself trapped....again. My only consolation is that I'm not surrendering. I know they're going to find me. It's inevitable. But I won't make it easy on them. I'm going to sit here until they find me and drag me out.

    I can hear Mingli calling out orders. He's the leader. I know this because the last four times I've run away, he's been the one to catch me. He's not a mean man. But last time he told me he was getting a little tired of my games. I scowl. If he's tired of it, maybe he should just stop and leave me alone.

    I tuck my bare feet under the tattered remains of what used to be a rather nice kimono and wrap my arms around my knees. It's chilly in the shadow of the wall and I'm cold and hungry and miserable. I failed again. And I didn't even find any of the urchin kids I was looking for. I thought maybe if I could find a gang of them, I could stay with them, at least until I found a way out of the city. Maybe they could even help me. But it took me too long to get down here. I got lost in the Middle Ring. Mingli spotted me there and tailed me all the way to the Lower Ring. He must have put out an alert too because by the time I got to the Lower Ring there were already guards on the streets. So I was too busy running and hiding to look for the kids I was trying to find.

    This is so stupid! I hate this. I hate it here! Why did I get sent to this awful city just to spend all my time locked in my room? Jun Da doesn't even talk to me anymore! Why won't they just let me go home? My eyes well up and spill over. I just...I just want to see Ji-Ji and Rui. I want to see my Father. I want to go home.
  • edited February 2013
    As you wait, huddled by those crates that smell of tar, you hear a hiss. At first, it reminds you of the sound of a whistler, a type of firecracker one of your ancestors created that makes a shrill hissing sound as it shoots into the sky, then explodes high high up in the clouds.

    Then again, you hear it again, followed by, "Hey girl." Where could it be coming from? Nobody is down the alley. Not yet.

    "Up here." You glance up to the edge of the roof to your right and see two boys, both a little older than you probably. One has a wide-brimmed hat and a lean face with squinting eyes, the other is maybe the most adorable ruffian you've ever seen all sparkling eyes and an easy confidence.

    The cute one says, "I'm Dash and this is my buddy Chopsticks. Who are you?"
  • I gape at them in astonishment, blinking up at them, dirty tear tracks down my face. How...how did they get up there? And are they...are they the ones I've been looking for? A loud noise from down the alley makes me jump and send a frightened look in the direction of the voices of the guards. Then I look back up at them. My tongue feels like it's tied in a knot. My name? I can't tell them my name. If they find out who I am, they might not help me. I want to ask them to help me, but I'm frozen. I want to be brave and strong, but my lips are trembling.
  • The kid with the hat, he jerks his head up and glances down the alley and nudges the cute one, Dash. Dash nods once, then grips the edge of the roof and within a second, he rolls over and hangs off the edge, lets go and drops nimbly to the ground. "What's wrong? Cat-owl got your tongue?" It's a chiding thing, he says it with a grin, like he would to a friend.

    Chopsticks hisses at him, his voice a little shrill, "Hurry, five coming." Dash holds a hand up, trying to stay casual.

    He looks at you with his big brown eyes, a grin still on his face while he squats down near you. In a soft voice, he says, "I've been watching you. We-we've been watching you, girl," he corrects himself, "Looks like they're about to catch you again... unless you can make your way up to the roof. You think you can make it?"

    He starts to stand, to offer you a hand up, and adds, "I... I dare you to come up to the rooftops with us."
  • Dash crouches down in front of me, and I watch him with large eyes. He's been watching me? I've never met a boy before who looked so...so carefree. I take in his sparkling brown eyes and disheveled hair and easy smile, and I can't help but slowly smile back. He...he wants to help me? I didn't even have to ask? A tiny part of my brain reminds me that this boy doesn't know I'm from the Fire Nation, but I push that part away. Dash doesn't need to know that. It's not a lie, not really.

    I take his hand, a little shyly, and let him help me to my feet. I've never been with a boy besides Ji-Ji unsupervised. The roofs? I glance a little dubiously upwards towards Chopsticks when Dash dares me. Then I look straight at him, my eyes suddenly a little fierce. He dares me?

    "Show me how!" I demand a little bossily, but then I grin. Maybe everything isn't so awful after al.
  • Dash nods, still smiling. He skips over to place his back against the wall he just dropped down and plants a foot forward, pushing out his knee.

    "You run to me and put a foot on here," he points to his knee, "Then you push up and I boost you to Chopsticks. Easy."

    It doesn't look easy. Chopsticks hisses down, "They're coming. Hurry up." Dash nods again, like he knows you're going to do this.
  • I watch and listen closely, nodding gravely. Ok. I can do this. It's like training. I know how to spar. It's kind of like that, but instead of attacking Dash, I'm using him to jump higher. I can feel the fear of the approaching soldiers making me tense, so I take a quick breath to focus like I've been trained.

    Then I run towards him.
  • As your right foot plants and you begin to move forward, you see the Earth Kingdom soldiers out of the corner of your eye.

    "Hey! She's here!" One calls out while moving down the alley.

    "Over here!" His partner yells and follows.

    Dash locks eyes with you, not paying heed to the guards coming, he stays perfect still and ready for you.

    And you plant one foot on his knee. He grabs you by your sides to give you a boost. Chopsticks reaches down and grabs your hands.

    And you use the momentum to go up Dash and you move with Chopsticks and in a couple heartbeats, you're scrambling over the edge of the roof.

    "She's with the Clay Street Bunch! One of the guards yells from below.

    Dash pulls himself up as you get your wits and then Chopsticks is running across the roof, "C'mon!"

    Dash grabs your hand. You notice he's barely winded, still grinning, that infectious grin of his, "We're going to jump across a few roofs, alright? Stay with us!" He's pulling you along and over the side of the roof you see the guards trying to watch you, to anticipate where you're going.
  • I hold Dash's hand tightly, following him the best I can. Jump across a few roofs? He said it so casually like it was nothing! What if I can't do it? What if I fall?

    I set my jaw stubbornly. No. I am Keela Zhu. I can do this. I glance sideways at Dash, this boy who just saved me from the guards. I don't know why, but I just...I just trust him. His hand is warm on mine and when he smiles at me, I smile back because I just can't help it. I can do this. I got up here, didn't I?
  • We'll end the flashback there.

    You're refreshed!

    Head back to the conflict with the red-haired bounty hunter here.
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