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Elements

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This was the moment Floor had been working for during the last months. Her parents, Merel, and the full moon had come out to watch her. Just looking at them gave Floor more courage, and she would need all the confidence she could get. It was no coincidence that there was a full moon this night. Not only had Charlotte chosen this moment because she knew how much Floor liked the night, the power of fire benders was also weakened during the night. Floor had to prove herself with her firebending powers at their weakest.

In these last few months, Floor had become friends with the fire within her. She’d learned to understand it and how there was no evil in the soul of the element. It was the person that controlled the fire that decided if the element was good or evil. Floor was determined to only use it for good, and now the time had come to prove she could do it. It was time to seal her friendship with fire.

Floor knew she had to be calm and focused, but her heart was racing in her chest. Charlotte’s smile was so confident, as if she already knew how this duel was going to end. Floor had seen her teacher’s skills. The redhead was very powerful, and Floor feared she hadn’t even seen all of it yet. No one should be allowed to fight their teacher, not even as a test. It was not that she was scared that Charlotte would hurt her, not at all, she would trust her with her life if necessary. The only thing Floor feared might get hurt was her confidence.

‘Alright, are you ready?’ Charlotte smiled.

‘I… think so.’

‘Hey, you don’t have to be scared. I’m not going to hurt you and I know what you’re capable of. I should be the scared one here, and yet there’s a smile on my face.’

With the mentioned smile Charlotte stood in front of her and raised her hands into the traditional start position for an agni kai. She waited for Floor to do the same, and then the battle started.

There was so much to focus on. Her feet, her hands, her breath, the energy within her, her opponent… But most of all, there were the other elements. This was a test of fire bending; using any of her other skills would mean immediate failure.

The fight started off easy. Charlotte used simple attacks that were easy to avoid and left space for Floor to attack. Adrenaline buzzed through her veins after the first flame she shot at her teacher, making the energy even more present in her body. It wasn’t long before the heat rose and more dangerous moves were used, but Floor was ready. Gasps sounded from the side of the field every time fire was shot towards the Avatar. Floor’s parents had never seen her train with fire and for a split second she regretted not preparing them for this. It was just a brief moment that she thought of them, and then she had to focus on her opponent again.

Charlotte was no longer going easy on her. There was no time between the redhead’s attacks that gave Floor the chance to strike back. She had to create her chances, block her teacher’s attacks and use them against herself. Floor tried to do exactly what she was taught, but it took several attempts before she finally succeeded to strike back. Sweat was running down her back as she surrounded herself with the fire both she and Charlotte had created. She used it as a shield while running towards her teacher, at the same time collecting every spark of fire she could find in her body. One last attack and then it would be over.

A shout sounded as the entire field was lit. Every part of Floor’s body was burning as she released the energy and turned it into the most powerful flame she’d ever created. Felix seemed to smile at her, as if he was proud of how far they had come together, and then he crashed against the wall at the other side of the field. Floor and Charlotte, who hadn’t been anywhere near the last flame, looked at each other while their chests were still rising and falling at a fast pace. She had meant not to hit her teacher. Floor only had to prove that she could finish the fight, show how powerful her last attack could be, but not towards another bender.

For a few very long seconds the field was quiet. The few people in the audience held their breath, while the breathing of the two battlers was all that was audible. Then Charlotte bowed forward with a smile before she looked up at Floor again.

‘You have passed your test, Avatar Floor.’

‘Yes!’ Floor shouted while jumping in the air before she remembered it was not an appropriate reaction. ‘Eh, I mean… Thank you, master Charlotte.’

Merel and Floor’s parents joined them on the field and one by one they pulled her into a hug. Never before had she felt so happy and she didn’t care that people were hugging her. She even hugged them back, and the hug with Charlotte lasted just that little bit longer.

‘Honey, we’re so proud of you,’ Floor’s father said. ‘But your mother is very tired.’

‘Oh, sure, I understand. Do you mind if I stay here a bit longer?’

‘Of course not, but be careful on your way home.’

‘Mom, I’m a trained Avatar now, I can take care of myself.’

With a smile, Floor watched her parents disappear in the dark, dragging Merel with them. According to them it was irresponsible for such a young girl to be outside at this hour, even if she was with a firebending master and the Avatar herself. The silence and peace returned to the field but Floor didn’t mind. Slowly the adrenaline wore off and she finally felt how tired she actually was, but there was one thing she still had to do before she could go to bed.

‘Thank you so much,’ Floor said when she and Charlotte’s were the only ones left under the full moon. ‘I never thought this moment would ever happen, that I would ever get over my fear for fire.’

‘I have always believed in you, Floor.’

‘But, why?’

‘Because you’re the Avatar!’ Charlotte laughed ‘And also…’

With a smile, Charlotte placed a hand on Floor’s shoulder. She stood on her tiptoes before leaning in and softly pressing her lips to Floor’s. The kiss only lasted a few seconds, but it instantly woke the fire in the Avatar’s body.

‘Is that also because I’m the Avatar?’ Floor breathed after Charlotte pulled back.

‘No, that’s because you’re Floor.’

Once again, fire blazed inside Floor when Charlotte pressed their lips together, and this time Floor kissed back. Earth, water, fire and air all seemed to spread through her body, mixed with something else. Just when Floor thought she had mastered all the elements, Charlotte introduced her to a new one. The element of Love.