The four regions of the tribe have an identical training ground in each one of them. A massive clearing of ice right next to the separating stream of water next to the connecting bridges.
Right now, in the Water-Horse training ground, Pakku's students were sparring with each other as the group rapidly manipulated water in many shapes wh.i.p.s, shield, ice spikes, ice wall.
But most of the time, the students bent the water in shape of massive tendrils as it is far easier to attack and defend in such manner.
Gazing at the lively students, Nik slowly tried to understand the fighting methods of this world. Though he didn't wish to battle people, it didn't hurt him to make observations.
Unlike the earth benders, the water benders used martial arts movement to control and bend water at their will, signifying that not only are they dangerous near water, they are pretty much lethal to quite an extent without the use of bending, unlike the Earth Benders, who used their superior physique to crush their opponent.
The water benders flexibility also made Nik's heart cautious. To be able to bend your own shoulders so unnaturally... they could possibly get themselves out of common bindings if captured, allowing them to attack their opponent unprepared.
As opposing to the Water and Earth Benders, Nik still had to carefully observe the fore benders and the last airbender... even though he had to kill the kid named Aang, for his side mission, Nik still wanted him alive.
The reward from the Incubus Society was extremely tempting. This could actually remove the major concern Nik had over his transportation, but this also made him wary of Nirdai's motive.
"Kid, we will start with basic exercises. Before bending water, one must know how to bend one's own body according to the situation."
With his thoughts broken by Pakku's incredibly misleading explanation, Nik looked back at the stubborn old man without any expression and bowed politely.
Even though Pakku was a stupid old man who did not know how to treat a lady, the fact remained that Nik had to learn a bit of waterbending from him if he really wished to stay here without raising any suspicion.
At least, for a month.
"Thank you for accepting me."
His statement pulled an approving nod from the old man before he entered into a stance without any explanation, gazing at Nik calmly, inducing him to enter the stance himself.
A basic horse-stance with his hands extended forward and palms pulled up, forming a serene scene, but soon, Nik found out that things weren't so easy after all. Silently, a layer of thin ice slowly crawled over his furry boots, making him feel slightly tingly and of course, the same layer of ice slowly grew over Pakku.
With the objective of the training clear, he simply remained in the position without even breaking a sweat. Even though the glutes, hamstrings and the calves are more muscular than the muscles of the upper body, it still took almost month of regular training in this kind of weather to pull a horse stance for almost 20 minutes.
Keeping that in mind, Nik didn't pull a 'super' stunt and slowly went onto his knees after a few minutes with a troubled and tired expression.
Sure, it would have been easy for him to pull the stance under the effect of ice for almost an hour, but what would that achieve?
Making others aware that his muscles were way denser than others of his age? Or would it be taken as a sign that he had already gone through intensive training?
While the former would play in Nik's fortune, the latter was more reasonable and a person like Bhiman would easily conclude that Nik didn't actually have a need to train any longer which might then lead upto the suspicion that Nik did not have the tribe's best interest in his heart.
After all, his origin was shady. It was already a miracle that he was allowed to gain the ability to bend water and he didn't feel like pushing his luck.
Nodding, Pakku slowly opened his stance. The ice receded at a visible pace while he slowly moved his lower body to warm up his old chicken legs, at least, this is what Nik thought since he didn't have the ability to see past the hide-cloth of the old man.
The already shrouded sun slowly descended for the bright and clear moon to take up the post of lighting up the sky as the tribe grew even more excited. Most of the member usually trained at this hour to maximise the benefits received from training, making Nik realise what Karna meant with: They always find out.
But no matter, he still had one more destination in his mind.
As he walked towards the outskirts of the Water-Horse region aka outwards from the separation stream, Nik slowly extended his hand as he let the remaining current of energy gush out of his hand, slowly turning the energy into elemental energy which was converted into a blob of water in almost a snap.
'Manipulation doesn't use my energy at all... but to actually create the element using water... it almost took a whole unit of my energy.'
Looking at the fist-sized blob, Nik calmly analysed his gains.
Not only did he find out that he could use the elemental energy to manipulate the said element using an extremely small amount of his energy, but he could also create the element using chunks of his energy.
Just like he created the two variants of fire crimson and blue, he could also create water, an impossible feat in this world.
The blob of water immediately morphed into a tendril before freezing instantly, creating a hovering spike of ice.
This was another use of his host energy to create the said element.
Not only would the element won't require any more energy to be manipulated efficiently, but Nik could also continue to produce simple variants of the element.
Immediately sending the spike of ice against the floor, the spike crashed and broke into pieces before Nik continued onwards and finally found his desolate igloo with a beautiful maiden with a cyborg-like ice leg standing guard.
Who else could it be other than Karna?
"Man... that Jet was a total bust!"
A humongous bison, white-furred with a natural dark-brown arrow-like painted fur over its forehead could be seen flying over the vast land while a tall, dark-skinned youth grumbled with a disgusted expression.
Hearing his words, a beautiful girl let out a frustrated sigh as the young man, almost a boy, bald with a similar blue arrow tattooed over his head simply raised his voice.
"Can we not talk about him?"
On his shoulder, another white-furred creature with the combination of bat and mink features sat with an innocent and curious expression.
"I agree for one."
The girl laid on the large seat attached over the bison's back.
"So? Can we finally make a trip to the Northern Tribe?"
The youth asked while the girl felt even sadder.
"I don't know... we still don't know anything about the members caught."
"Katara" the youth spoke with a dark expression, "Instead of waiting, I wish to do something good. The war will continue and the status of our members my never reach us... but I don't want those things to stop me.
One day, we will find them and we will stop the war!
What do you say? Aang!"
The youth looked at the bald kid and smiled brightly, to which, the young Avatar simply grinned.
Katara sighed at their antics and slowly closed her eyes. She was too tired.
To get her emotions betrayed, to actually fall for a man who wasn't what she thought he was, she felt way too tired to deal with those emotions.
Slowly, she drifted to deep sleep, a hopeful smile on her face while her gentle snores travelled to the duo.
Slumping, the youth looked at the girl with a kind smile and then looked at the youth with a wry expression.
"Next time... put more brilliance in your acting!"
Shaking his head, Aang felt tired himself.
"Sometimes, even I can't act that long, Sokka. It's tiring... too tiring. We have only started our journey but I feel like giving up...
Maybe I should just"
"Just die and let a new avatar, an infant take your burden?"
Sokka asked, his words frank that managed to strike Aang's heart.
"I didn't lie, you know..." Sokka muttered as he gently grazed his hands over his sibling's hair and smiled hopefully.
"We will definitely stop this war... we have to."
With their only mental and emotional support fast asleep, the two remained quiet for the rest of their journey.
NOTE: Katara is just like azula, slightly older... maybe 16-18 and sokka 17-20 while Aang is still a kid... so there is no way Katara would feel for Aang... huehehehehe! I am not evil!