Soon, Karna led Nik to the beautifully carved ice palace that glittered akin to a rare jewel embedded within the centre of the tribe.
Meanwhile, a group of tribal members were already standing in front of the entrance. The young one felt a bit nervous while the older ones simply showed a complicated expression.
"I'll wait for you... it wouldn't take long. Remember..."
Karna slowly patted Nik's shoulder before smiling, "... you have to remain confident. Even though you had your ass handed down by a few fire soldiers, you'll get your chance."
Nik's lips couldn't help but twitch as she shook his head.
"I was caught by surprise, that is all. If given a chance, I could've definitely outrun them."
Snickering at his words, she smacked his back playfully before hinting him to move forward.
"YOU WOULD BETRAY THE AVATAR!!!"
A loud, bestial roar shook the inner halls constructed out of the ice that wouldn't melt even when the sun reached it's peak hour while the surviving group of the sister tribe aka the Southern Tribe members displayed a stunned expression, save for their leader, a young one.
"Lower your voice, Southern Chieftain."
Bhiman uttered as a deep cold spread from his body, his eyes narrowed down coldly while he snorted at the naivety shown by the youth, fully displaying his incompetence and ability to read the situation.
Even the four beast masters shook their head in dismay as they remained silent.
"I said, lower.your.voice."
Bhiman sighed and stood up, his hulking body and the already alleviated position created a domineering pressure over the people standing in front of him.
"You lost your tribe in the presence of an Avatar."
Bhiman stated while taking a step down one of the many stairs.
"You were taken captive and used as a means to contact us."
He took another step, the cold slowly condensed into natural snowflakes that slowly started to descend over the group.
"You were unfed for days... even your tribe was. Your young ones, that you should have protected with your life faced the crisis of malnourishment.
As a Chieftain, not only do you disappoint me, but you also disgust me."
Bhiman spat as he glanced at the youth with slowly diminishing aura with a cold face.
"Even now, in front of another chieftain, you cower. Standing in front of your tribe is the moment when your back should be straight and mighty.
But you... you have no spine."
Gazing at others, he smiled grimly.
"Betraying the Avatar? The selfish elemental master who does things in accordance with 'destiny'?
Avatars are only stronger being. They are no savior. They do not save out of the good of their heart. They do not protect to accomplish their destiny.
History has been a witness as many Avatars were born only to destroy and cause mayhem.
Even now, the previous Avatar committed suicide and the most recent Avatar... he still troubles humanity by spreading false hope."
Taking a deep breath, Bhiman's eyes snapped wider and his roar shook the heart of everyone present, excluding Nik.
"OPEN YOUR GODDAMN EYES!
We can only depend on ourselves! Only trust our own tribe!
Not a goddamn kid riding a flying bison!"
The youthful chieftain stammered back, his face pale as he felt his belief, his ideals swaying under the mighty roar of the Northern Chieftain.
Even though he wasn't short by any sense, when compared to Bhiman, he couldn't point out any redeeming quality present within himself.
Was he strong? Right now, he understood, he wasn't strong.
Did his heart remain courageous? No, he despaired when caught, wallowed in his own disappointment while spectacularly failing to ease the tension of his own brethren.
His calves felt weak and he soon found himself kneeling in front of Bhiman, tears drowning his face while a desolate expression took cover of his face.
Amusingly, Nik actually saw a pained expression flashing in Bhiman's face, which was suppressed as quickly as it emerged.
Taking a deep breath, Bhiman looked at the group and spoke seriously.
"I have come to understand that two of our young ones travel together with the Avatar.
I swear on my pride and in the name title of the Northern Chieftain that I would bring them back before destroying the hypocrisy named Avatar running amok within the world."
As Bhiman softly consoled the young chieftain, he assured the southern tribe once again that they would be able to return to their native land and finally, asked the only 'hybrid' to stay in the room.
"Son... life's been hard on you."
Bhiman sighed, he still didn't return to his seat, instead, stood in front of Nik and smiled sadly.
"I feel terrible to ask this of you... but I don't plan to let you live with your grievances. Even though it might not be much, I have still come to understand that you failed to gain the bending heritage of your parents.
While I cannot reward you with the prerequisites to learn Earth Bending, I can surely help you in learning Water Bending."
At this moment, the countenance of the four beast master turned a little grim, but they stayed quiet. They might be cruel and unforgiving to outsiders, Bhiman being even more extreme than them, but they all were also extremely kind to their own tribe members, Bhiman, once again, being kind to the extreme.
Hearing his words, Nik did feel quite astonished. For him, the prerequisite of learning elemental bending, according to him, was to bend women, or in this world's term, p.u.s.s.y bending.
But jokes aside, Nik already had a feeling that where he might be asked to go to achieve such a miraculous transformation.
Feeling the refreshing breeze once again, Nik found himself standing at the entrance of the palace. The awesome thing about this city was that despite the bone-chilling cold, the waterbenders would occasionally group together to affect the temperature of the surroundings by heating up the water vapours in their surroundings.
Of course, this level of manipulation was always undertaken during the presence of the four beastmasters and the Tribe Chieftain since it was extremely hard to achieve.
Gazing at the waving youth who stood on a boat, Nik raised an eyebrow before moving forward.
"Aunt Karna had to leave for something important and asked me to take you back to your igloo.
He grinned while almost shouting as Nik's eyebrows twitched at the apparent liveliness.
"Your ligaments are affected and you had the nerve to freeze your blood? Do not want your left foot anymore?!"
A raspy voice berated as pained Karna as she simply bit her lips and looked away.
Meanwhile, an old-woman with pure white hair had her wrinkled forehead covered in sweat as she slowly defrosted her leg while keeping the temperature of the glowing water under control. Meanwhile, Karna's left ankle was now adorned with a slash that failed to spill any blood.
"You'll have to rest for a week before you can even start walking."
"Or, I can create a stable frozen structure."
"No! No, you won't!"
The old woman immediately hissed as Karna rolled her eyes. Right now, her body wasn't covered by the overcoat and her curves were completely exposed.
"Don't worry... mom... I won't cast it myself. I'll ask for somebody's assistance."
"Then... that's fine."
Kanna, Karna's mother, sighed in relief as she slowly patched Karna up before she frowned and looked up.
"Why would you even commit such a foolish act? You, of all people, should know that internal injuries cannot be treated traditionally unless the water belongs to the Spring of Eternity."
Karna fell silent at her mother's words as the sight of Nik kneeling before her kegs flashed by. Shrugging, she simply spat out.
"Maybe I have gone senile, just like father."
A/N: In this timeline, Pakku's wife, Kanna didn't run off to southern tribe. This change will bring two to three effects.
1) a new character named Karna
2) katara won't be that proficient as a waterbender early on
3) Pakku will remain more stubborn than ever.
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