A Leaf in the Wind
Written By: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko
Directed By: Joaqium Dos Santos, Ki Hyun Ryu
Storyboard By: Ian Graham, Kang Sung Dae, Kim Sung Hoon, Lee Dae Woo, Han Kwang Il, Kim Young Chan, Lesean Thomas, Alan Wan, Hyun Joo Song, Adam Lucas, Colin Heck
Animation By: Studio Mir
Transcribers: Momo_toph26, Loopy
(It is morning over Republic City's bay. The camera pans down to show a Sky Bison descending past Air Temple Island's tower. Korra's voice starts as the scene shifts to show her reading a newspaper inside.)
Korra: (excited) -and in the final round, the Buzzard Wasps won with a decisive knockout. (lowers the paper and looks across her table to Tenzin) What do you say we go to the arena tonight, catch a few pro-bending matches?
(The camera shifts to a wider view, showing that Korra and Tenzin are seated together at one of several tables in a communal dining area. Air Acolytes of both genders are dressed in red and yellow robes, eating and drinking together.)
Tenzin: That sport is a mockery of the noble tradition of bending.
Korra: Come on Tenzin. I've dreamed about seeing a pro-bending match since I was a kid, and now I'm just a ferry ride away from the arena. (motions out the window behind her to the golden Pro-bending Arena across the bay)
Tenzin: Korra, you're not here to watch that drivel, you're here to finish your Avatar training. So for the time being I want you to remain on the island.
Korra: (slumped, leaning her head on her hand with a dejected expression) Is that why you're keeping the White Lotus sentries around, to watch my every move?
(The view pans out further to show one White Lotus sentry standing guard at a door in the background, while two more flank the camera's view in the foreground.)
Tenzin: Yes. In order to learn Airbending I believe you require a calm, quiet environment, free from any distractions.
Korra: Alright, you're the master.
(Korra turns around to look out of the window, a reluctant look on her face. The camera follows her gaze, zooming in on the standout edifice of the Pro-bending Arena.
The scene changes to an exterior covered pathway on Air Temple Island. Tenzin and Korra are walking along, while a lemur flies by them. Korra is wearing a classic Airbender outfit, but she has the sleeves rolled up to completely expose her arms.)
Tenzin: So, my mother informed me that you've never been able to Airbend before.
Korra: (stops abruptly and sighs, before motioning dramatically) Yeah, but I don't know why, the other elements came so easily to me. But every single time I've tried Airbending... (Korra sticks her tongue out and blows a raspberry, then puts a hand on her hip.) Nothing.
Tenzin: (puts a hand on Korra's shoulder) It's perfectly alright, we just need to be patient. (starts casually pulling Korra's sleeves back down to their proper length) Often the element that's most difficult for the Avatar to master is the one most opposite to the Avatar's personality. For Aang it was Earthbending.
Korra: (dejected) Yeah, well, I'm about as opposite an Airbender as you can get.
Tenzin: (starting down the path again) Let's begin your first lesson.
(The pair ascends a set of stone steps to arrive at the Airbending training area, where Ikki, Jinora, and Meelo are waiting in front of the stilled Airbending Gates. The ëgatesí are a cluster of large wooden panels- all decorated identically with the Airbending symbol- mounted on poles so that they stand straight up. Meelo is waving happily while Ikki is jumping excitedly with clasped hands. Jinora is simply standing at attention with her hands behind her back.)
Ikki: Korra's gonna Airbend, Korra's gonna Airbend!
Korra: What is that contraption?
Tenzin: A time honored tool that teaches the most fundamental aspect of Airbending. Jinora, would you like to explain this exercise?
Jinora: (steps towards the Airbending Gates) The goal is to weave your way through the gates and make it to the other side without touching them.
(The view pans across the wooden panels)
Korra: (smiles) Seems easy enough.
Ikki: (speaking quickly) Jinora forgot to say you have to make it through while the gates are spinning.
(Tenzin steps forward, and circles his bent arms in front of his body. The Air responds to his motions, and when he suddenly pushes his open palms forward, a large gust of wind erupts towards the Airbending Gates, setting them all spinning rapidly. The camera closes in on the many spinning panels, then returns to Tenzin, who now has a small green leaf in his hand. He holds it up towards the gates, and lets it go to ride the wind. As he speaks his lesson, the leaf is carried right into the twirling gates, but passes through without touching any of them.)
Tenzin: (voice over) The key is to be like the leaf. Flow with the movement of the gates. Jinora will demonstrate. (As Tenzin continues the lesson, Jinora nimbly enters the Gates. She moves between the spinning panels in a circle-walking style, spinning and turning as needed to easily avoid every panel. With each step, she cycles which of her palms is held out in front of her.) Airbending is all about spiral movements. When you meet resistance, you must be able to switch direction at a momentís notice.
(Once she has emerged from the Gates, Jinora turns around, and thrusts out another gust of powerful Airbending, powering the spinning panels back to full speed.)
Korra: Let's do this.
(Korra eagerly runs forward, but without any discernable stance or style. She runs headfirst into the closest panel, and hits it hard enough to ricochet into the next panel beside her. Tenzin winces, and Korra gives in to panic and breaks out into a full sprint that once again crashes into a Gate. She proceeds to do an impressive impersonation of a pinball in a machine as she stumbles out of control into a series of panels. She finally gets tossed out of the gate area completely and lands hard on her backside.
The camera shifts to show everyone looking at her. Tenzin's face gives nothing away, but Meelo is smiling and Ikki has a look of horror about her. With a groan, she gets back to her feet in the foreground, and with an angry look, runs back towards the Gates. She barely gets by the first pair of panels before she is again caught by one and sent careening around.)
Jinora: (shouting through cupped hands) Don't force your way through!
(Korra gets hit by another panel.)
Ikki: (clenching her fists and motioning expansively) Dance, dance like the wind!
(Korra gets hit by another panel.)
Meelo: (waving his arms with an undulating motion) Be the leaf!
(Korra gets hit by another panel. She ricochets around a few more times, before stumbling back out of the Gate area. There are dark circles around her eyes, and she has a punch-drunk expression on her face. She collapses flat on her back in front of Tenzin and the kids. Tenzin gives a heavy sigh and shakes his head.
The scene shifts to a nighttime view of the whole Air Temple Island. Even in the low light, flying Sky Bison are visible in the air above the island. A cut reveals Korra practicing aggressive Airbending motions just outside the main Temple buildings.)
Korra: Airbend. (The view zooms out, to reveal that not only did the move have no effect, but her target is a newspaper strung up on a line so that a picture of Chief Lin Bei Fong is prominently displayed.) What is wrong with me? Airbend. (Korra tries again, and the view shifts to a close-up of a bored Naga. When the view returns to Korra, her eyes are wide and she is shaking with frustration. Finally, she punches a fireball at the newspaper and incinerates it.) Ugh, maybe I'm just not cut out to be an Airbender, huh, Naga?
(Suddenly, the sound of a radio announcer carries through the night air, catching Korra's attention. She looks around and finds a lit-up guard shack a short distance behind her.)
Shiro Shinobi: (voice over) Ladies and gentlemen I'm coming to you live from Republic City's pro-bending arena, where tonight the best in the world continue their quest for a spot in the upcoming championship tournament.
(The scene cuts to a close up of the radio in question, within the guard shack. The view changes to show three White Lotus sentries clustered around the radio, then pans upward to reveal Korra crouched on the shack's roof, settling in eagerly.)
Shiro Shinobi: (voice over) Grab your snacks, and grab your kids, because this next match is gonna be a doozy.
(The scene fades into a time jump, revealing that Korra is still listening as she gazes with relaxation at the distant Republic City.)
Shiro Shinobi: (voice over) This Mako's got moxy. He advances, fires two quick shots, (cut to shot of the White Lotus sentries leaning with smiles over the radio) Yomo is hammered back to zone three. (cut to shot of Korra leaning with an identical expression) The clock is winding down, can Yomo hold on? (cut back to the guards, who are pressed closer together with wide eyes) He's teetering on the edge of the ring now. (cut back to Korra with a wide grin and clenched fists) The Fire Ferrets line up to strike--
(The view briefly shows the radio's lit dial, but it goes dark as the announcer abruptly cuts off. Korra's expression falls and her irises shrink with disappointment. Back in the guard shack, the surprised White Lotus sentries turn around to find Tenzin standing behind them with the radio's unplugged power cord in his hand.)
Tenzin: Korra, come down here, please.
(Korra peaks down from over the roof's awning. The White Lotus sentries finally notice her, and leap back with surprise as she flips herself down to the ground.)
Korra: (frustrated) You shut it off at the best part!
Tenzin: I thought I made myself clear, I don't want you listening to this distracting nonsense.
Korra: (walking to Tenzin but motioning at the White Lotus sentries) But it's their radio, and technically you said I couldn't watch a match, you didn't say anything about listening to one.
Tenzin: You... (growls) You know what I meant. Anyway, shouldn't you... shouldn't you be in bed by now?
(Tenzin abruptly turns around, sending a wind through the shack as he snaps his cape in place.
The scene cuts to the morning. The camera shows the rocks at the base of Air Temple as Sky Bison fly by, and pans up to the Meditation Pavilion. In the gazebo on the edge of the cliff, Tenzin is crouched with eyes closed in a meditative position. Opposite him, Jinora, Ikki, Meelo, and Korra are seated in similar manners. Korra reaches around to scratch her backside. She goes back to meditating, but soon starts sniffling. After another moment, she peaks a look at the Airbender children beside her. Finally, she gets back to a whole full second of meditating before slumping forward and opening her eyes.)
Korra: I think I'm doing it wrong.
Tenzin: (close up view, opening his eyes) There's nothing to do. Let your mind and your spirit be free, for air is the element of freedom.
(Korra gives a sarcastic, thigh-slapping burst of laugher.)
Tenzin:Is something funny?
Korra: (crossly) Yeah, you're telling me to embrace freedom but you won't even let me listen to the radio. And forget about leaving this island.
Tenzin: Please, Korra. Look at Meelo, he is able to meditate peacefully.
(Korra looks next to her at Meelo, and a close-up reveals that his head is slumped, he's breathing heavily to inflate a bubble of snot out a nostril, and drool is leaking out of his open mouth.)
Korra: Actually I think he's asleep.
Tenzin: What? (leans forward to look at Meelo) Well at least he has the relaxing part down.
Korra: Whatever. None of this Airbending stuff makes any sense to me.
Tenzin: I know you're frustrated but these teachings will sink in over time. Then one day they'll just click.
(Korra takes a deep breath and goes back to meditating. She lasts three seconds before sighing and slumping forward.)
Korra: Yeah, it's not sinking in yet. (stands up and walks away) I'm gonna go get a glass of lychee juice.
Tenzin: (sternly) Korra, the meditations not over yet.
Ikki: Daddy, can I have some lychee justice too? (smiles and clasps her hands endearingly)
(Ikki pouts, Jinora sneaks a look out of one eye, and Meelo begins tottering in place.)
(Meelo falls backward to sprawl across the ground, still asleep.)
(The scene cuts to night. White Lotus sentries are on station around the Air Temple. Korra peaks out of a second-story window, and drops to the ground once she ascertains that none of the guards will see her. She dashes for a nearby cliff, and keeps going straight over the edge. As she falls towards the bay, she sweeps her arms upward in a Waterbending motion. The bay water rises in a funnel to catch and ease her below the surface. Korra transitions into an undulating swim that quickly carries her towards Republic City. The camera pans up to reveal her target, the golden Pro-bending Arena. Floodlights arc through the sky as the camera zooms in rapidly.
Fade to commercial break.)
(The scene starts with another look at Air Temple Island, and pans over to the Pro-bending Arena. The building rests on a wooden pier out in the bay, connected to the rest of Republic City by a long boardwalk path. Korra emerges from the waters right next to the Arena, and looks up at a series of tall windows on the building's upper stories. One of the windows is open, and Korra smiles with satisfaction. She spins in the water, creating a spiraling Waterbending funnel that shoots her straight through the window to land lightly on her feet. Shaking herself dry, she sets off down the hallway.
Korra stops when she finds an open doorway into a large gym. Among the equipment are punching bags, dumbbell weights, nets, pommel horses, and earth disks. Korra smiles and enters the gym without hesitation, looking around at everything. She is surprised by a voice from behind.)
Toza: Hey! What are you doing in my gym? (The camera shifts to reveal Toza. He is wearing a towel around his neck.)
Korra: (friendly) Uh, I was just looking for a bathroom and I got lost.
(As Korra and Toza converse in the foreground, a Pro-bender all done up in his uniform and pads walks by in the background. He catches sight of Korra, and comes to an interested stop.)
Toza: (pointing) Ah, the old ëI had to peeí excuse. (The background Pro-bender, still unnoticed, runs a smoothing hand through his hair.) You know, I'm sick and tired of you kids sneaking in and not paying. I'm taking you in to security.
(The background Pro-bender enters the gym and approaches the arguing pair with a smile. As he comes into focus, the face of Bolin is revealed.)
Korra: (panicked) No, wait!
Bolin: (waving to Korra) There you are! I've been looking everywhere for you. It's all right, Toza, she's with me.
Korra: Yeah, I'm with him.
Bolin: So, you see, we're together.
Korra: (worried) Well, not ëtogetherí together. More like friends.
Bolin: (surprised and blushing with chagrin) Right, friends. No, no, I didn't mean to imply-
Korra: Oh, you implied it.
Toza: (throwing his hands up with exasperation) Ah, I don't care what you are. I've got work to do. (walks a short distance away and throws his towel to the floor. Korra's eyes follow him as he uses his Bending to lift and throw a special dumbbell with spherical canisters on each end instead of weights.)
Bolin: Right this way, miss.
Korra: And thank you sir. (whispering and covering the side of her mouth conspiratorially) Seriously, thanks.
(Bolin leads Korra out of view. The scene shifts to their arrival in another room. Korra looks around curiously.)
Bolin: What do you think? Best seats in the house, huh?
(The camera zooms out to reveal that they're in a Pro-bender locker room, situated even with the main playing field and open on one side to offer a great view.)
Korra: Whoa! Unbelievable! This place is even more amazing than I imagined.
(In the background, Mako and Hasook enter the room in their Pro-bending uniforms.)
Bolin: Name's Bolin by the way.
Korra: (distracted and looking around) Korra.
Mako: (whispering) Psst, Bolin.
Bolin: (going over to Mako) Yeah?
Mako: I told you. (putting on a pair of padded gloves) You have to stop bringing in your crazy fangirls in here before the matches. Get her out of here.
Bolin: Ah, come on Mako. All right, look, I kinda promised her she could stay. But man I've got a good feeling there's something special about her. I know it.
(Bolin goes back to Korra, and guides her to over to face Mako.)
Bolin:Come here, I want you to meet my brother, Mako.
Korra: (smiling, impressed) Mako? Wow, I heard you play on the radio. (Korra holds out her hand to shake, but Mako walks right by her, putting his helmet on.)
Mako: Come on, Bolin, we're up.
Korra: Or I could meet him later.
Bolin: Yeah, sorry about that, my brother just gets real... focused before the match. Okay, I've gotta go. Wish me luck. Not that I'll need it.
Korra: (laughs) Good luck. Knock em' out.
(Korra offers a punching salute as the three Pro-benders emerge out into he arena. The view switches to an overhead view of the arena, and the lights all shut off expect for the spotlights shining down on the playing field itself. From a rising platform in the middle of the field, the announcer rises with a microphone in hand.)
Ring Announcer: Introducing the Fire Ferrets.
(The Announcer points to one end of the field, where an extending platform carries the three Fire Ferrets forward. Mako waves to the crowd with a small smile, while Hasook sports a grim expression as he waves. Bolin grins fiercely, and holds up a hand to his ear in a mock call for more noise. The crowd roars and applauds.)
Female Fan: (voice over) Ahh! I love you Bolin! Ahh!
(The scene shifts to Shiro Shinobi in his observer's office.)
Shiro Shinobi: The rookie Ferrets came from out of nowhere and made it further than anyone expected this season. (The scene shifts around to show the Ferrets talking their place on their side of the field, while Korra watches with delight from the locker room. Shiro Shinobi's commentary continues as a voice over.) But tonight, they face their toughest test yet folks. (The two Pro-bending teams line up on either side of the field's center line and assume hunched Bending stances with fists held high. In the background, a referee on a platform signals for the match to begin and a bell clangs.) And they're off. (The two teams leap back to the back of their first 'zone' and start flinging elements at each other. Bolin summons an earth disk from a slot in the floor and kicks it over to a Firebender Tigerdillo, who blocks with a fire wave.) The two teams waste no time trying to blast each other out of zone one. (The Tigerdillo Firebender throws a fireball across the midline, forcing Hasook to roll out of the way. As he jumps, he summons water from a stream beneath a grate in the floor.) Hasook is the first to feel the heat of the Tigerdillos. (His Tigerdillo target dodges, then kicks an earth disk back across the midline.) He tries to return the favor but they're too fast for him. While Mako showcases his trademark cool-under-fire style.
(The view lingers on Mako, who dodges blasts of all three elements by bobbing and weaving in place. The action slows as Mako draws tight and punches out a powerful fireball, then returns to normal speed. The attack passes out of the scene, but two Tigerdillos come forward beneath the fire and throw their elements at Hasook and Bolin. Both attacks hit and knock the Ferrets off their feet. In landing, Hasook and Bolin tumble into the second zone, prompting a buzzer to sound and the zone border to light up.)
Shiro Shinobi: (voice over) The Tigerdillos score with a walloping one-two combo. (quick cut to an anguished Korra, clutching her head with both hands) Can their teammate hold on for their zone one territory? (Mako dodges elemental attacks with flying leaps, but after a series of backflips is hit by an earth disk and slides back so that one foot is just over the zone's back line. The buzzer sounds and the border lights up again.) Guess not; Mako's over the line. The Tigerdillos get the green light and advance into Ferret territory.
(The center line of the field lights up green, and all three Tigerdillos step forward into first zone of the Ferret's side of the court.)
Korra: (pumping her fist in the air) Come on Ferrets!
(The Pro-benders are once more trading attacks. Bolin fires an earth disk over, but it is deflected back with a kick by the Tigerdillo Earthbender. The disk hits Hasook, knocking him into the final zone.)
Shiro Shinobi: (voice over) Look's like Hasook's in trouble. He's in zone three teetering over the brink. (Hasook lands just short of an opening at the back of the field, and the overhead view reveals an artificial lake below. After the buzzer, the playing continues. The Tigerdillo Waterbender kicks a disk of water at the Ferrets, and while the others dodge it, Hasook is knocked off his fit by the impact. An earth disk attack immediately follows up, and Hasook is knocked over the edge and into the water below.) And Hasook takes a dip. He'll be back for round two- assuming the fabulous bending brothers can hold their ground until the next round.
(Mako and Bolin cluster together before splitting apart again to dodge water and earth attacks. Bolin tries to block another water attack with a disk that he kicks up in front of him, but the water breaks through the shield and knocks him back into zone three. Mako follows shortly after taking a hit of his own. With that, the bell clangs repeatedly, and the view shifts to a series of four tall light bulbs. The first on the right lights up blue, revealing writing. The crowd cheers.)
Ring Announcer: Round one goes to the Golden Temple Tigerdillos!
(The Ferrets take their places back in their first zone.)
Mako: (annoyed) Come on Hasook, get you're act together.
(The bell clangs and the next round starts. The Tigerdillos immediately attack one after another, and all three attacks connect with Ferrets and push them immediately back into the next zone. )
Shiro Shinobi: (voice over) The Fire Ferrets are knocked into zone two and the Tigerdillos advance. (The attacks immediately start again, and as Bolin punches an earth disk forward, the view goes into slow motion. A Tigerdillo fires off a short stream of water, but is hit in the stomach with the disk. Bolin punches two fireballs out, and Hasook kicks out a pair of water lashes that knock another Tigerdillo to the floor. Bolin sends out another disk that hits the center Tigerdillo and sends him back to zone three. Simultaneous fire and water attacks from the other Ferrets send the other two Tigerdillos back to join the first, and the bell clangs as the speed returns to normal.) The Fire Ferrets cinch the round in the closing seconds. (Bolin and Hasook cheer, but Mako just tries to catch his breath. Sweat is visible behind his helmet's face shield.) It's one a piece. Still anyone's match as we go into the third and final round. (A vertically split screen shows the two teams lining up again. The round starts with the bell, and all the Pro-benders leap back. The Tigerdillo Waterbender targets Hasook, who dodges two water attacks and winds up stumbling across the field.) Hasook stumbles, and now he tumbles right into his teammate. (Another water attack pushes Hasook onto Bolin and knocks both of them to the floor. Hasook lands facing down on top of Bolin, and both look panicked.) He and Bolin better untangle quick if they don't wanna- oh, too late.
(The Tigerdillo Earthbender kicks a disk at the two tangled Pro-benders, striking them as they're in the process of getting back up. Both are sent flying out the back of the field and land in the water.)
Korra: (clutching her face) Oh, no!
Shiro Shinobi: It's all up to Mako now. (The Tigerdillo Waterbender kicks a shot at Mako, who dodges under it. Additional attacks of all three elements come at him as he runs across the arena, ducking and spinning to avoid every attack.) He's bobbing and weaving, he's weaving and bobbing, but he's not hitting back. (Mako is backed up against the edge of the field. His right foot is placed just short of the fall into the pool below.) If Mako's knocked out the Ferretsí fabulous season is over. (Mako pants for breath.)
Korra: (pulling her own hair-danglies down, expression strained) Ohhh!
Shiro Shinobi: (voice over) He is dancing on the edge of the ring, surviving the three on one barrage. (The view is back to Mako, who is bobbing and weaving around attacks of all three elements.) It seems his plan is to let the Tigerdillos punch themselves out. (Mako finally throws a fireball back.) And his plan is working! (The fireball passes right through the Tigerdillo Waterbender's prepared water, turning it to steam, and continues to slam into the Pro-bender's chest and send him tumbling straight over the back edge of the field.) Hahn is in the pool, they've got nothing left in the tank and Mako is on the offensive! (Mako rushes forward with a steady progression of strong fire attacks, culminating in an extra large flare generated with both arms.) It's two on one! (Although the remaining Tigerdillos block some of his attacks, the Firebender takes a hit, flies backward into the railing, and bounces out the back and into the water.) Scratch that it's one on one, and it's an earth and fire slugfest. (The Tigerdillo Earthbender and Mako both go on the offensive, tossing attacks with abandon. The attacks all collide over the field's centerline, causing the disks to explode. Mako kicks an especially strong attack into the dust cloud, connecting with the Tigerdillo and pushing him back into his zone three.) There's so much smoke and dust from the fire fight I can't even see where the Fire Ferret is. (Mako comes leaping out of the dust cloud and brings down a flaming fist that pushes a wave of fire right into the Earthbender's chest just as he is about to launch a disk. The last Tigerdillo crashes back over the edge to fall into the water. The bell clangs, ending the game, and the crowd roars.) It's a knockout! What a wingdinger of a hat trick, folks! (The view zooms out to show Mako standing alone in the field, then cuts back to the score-keeping light bulbs. The last three are lit up red.) Mako pulls off the upset of the season, winning the match for the Fire Ferrets.
(The camera spins around Mako, who cooly takes off his helmet and looks out at the cheering crowd. The view cuts back to Korra, staring wide-eyed with admiration, a small smile on her face that blossoms into an open-mouthed grin.)
Bolin: (leaping back into the locker room) Woohoo, yes! One more win and we're in the championship tournament. (snaps fingers, and then calms down) So, what'd you think Korra? (taking his helmet off) Bolin's got some moves, huh?
Korra: What did I think? (grabs Bolin roughly) What did I think? (shoves Bolin away) That was amazing!
(As Bolin stumbles back, the camera pans to reveal Mako and Hasook walking back from the arena into the locker room. Mako has taken his helmet off, but Hasook is still wearing his.)
Mako: (angry) You did more harm than good out there. You almost cost us the match.
Hasook: We won didn't we? (takes helmet off)
Hasook: Get off my case, pal. (Hasook throws his helmet to the floor, growls, and continues to walk right out of the locker room.)
Korra: (turning to look from Hasook's exit to Mako, her smile quickly returning) You guys were incredible out there. Especially you, Mr. Hat Trick. (points with both hands at Mako)
Mako: (not even looking at Korra) Oh, you're still here?
Korra: (frowns with disappointment) Oh, you're still a jerk?
Bolin: Oooh, ha ha.
Korra: Anyway. (perking up and turning back to Bolin) I've been immersed in Bending my entire life but I never learned how to move like that. It's like there's a whole new style here. Think you could show me a few tricks?
Bolin: (excited, relishing the word) Absolutely.
Mako: Right now? Come on Bolin.
Bolin: (aside, from behind his hand) Just ignore him. (smug) Yeah, I could show you the basics. I'm just not sure how my Earthbending would translate to your Waterbending. But we'll figure it out.
Korra: Won't be a problem. (crosses her arms over her chest) I'm actually an Earthbender.
Bolin: (blinks with surprise, then becomes awkward and embarrassed) I'm sorry, no, no. I didn't mean to assume. Cause I, ya know, I was just figuring, with your Water Tribe getup... that you are... a water tribe... gal.
Korra: No, you're right I'm a Waterbender... (arches an eyebrow) and a Firebender.
Bolin: (puts a hand to his chin, thinking it over calmly) Mmmhmm. I'm very confused right now.
Mako: You're the Avatar, (lowers his head and closes his eyes) and I'm an idiot.
Korra: Both are true.
Bolin: (shocked, cycling through exaggerated facial expressions) No... way. (aside to Mako, pointing at Korra) The Avatar!
(The view briefly goes outside to the Pro-bending Arena's exterior, still glowing gold in the night sky.)
Bolin: (voice over) Alright, let's see what you got.
(The scene returns to the interior, now in the Pro-bending gym. Bolin has shed his Pro-bending gear so that he's down to a tank-top shirt, pants, and boots. A few rips are visible in the shirt. He stands beside two stacks of earth disks and motions to Korra. She floats a disk into the air with an upraised fist, and then throws it at a distant net with a punch, immediately following it with a second attack. Both projectiles hit the netting at about the same spot.)
Bolin: (impressed) That was great. Good power. But in a real match you'd be a sitting turtle duck. (Still in her horse-stance, Korra frowns.) Not so upright and flatfooted. (Bolin takes a stance like a boxer, legs bent, fists held in a high guard over his face. He throws a couple of practice punches as he talks. The view is zoomed out to reveal Mako a short distance away, leaning against a ladder-staircase. He is dressed similarly to Bolin.) Stay light on your toes, right up until the moment when you need to dig in and strike. Then... (He throws a pair of stronger punches, and two earth disks leap up and fly straight at the camera.) Pop, pop.
(The camera follows the flying disks as they curve slightly through the air, hitting the net just as they intersect. When the view comes back to Korra and Bolin, the Avatar is staring slack-jawed at the display. Bolin smiles and waves at the net.)
Korra: Okay. Let me try it again.
(Korra looks down at her feet, and mimics Bolin's bent-legged stance, giving a few short hops. Then she braces herself with a twist of a foot, and throws a pair of strong punches that launch two more earth disks. The camera zooms out to retreat from their flight, revealing Mako still in the background, pointedly not looking at Korra or Bolin.
The disks hit the net in a similar manner to Bolin's previous shots. Korra puts her hands on her hips and looks back to Bolin.)
Bolin: (excited) Wow, nice adjustment! You're a natural at this.
Mako: (mostly off-screen) Not bad.
Korra: (expression drooping) What's it take to impress this guy?
Mako: (eyebrows furrowing) What? I said not bad. (The view shifts briefly back to Korra to show her quizzical expression, then returns to Mako as he shakes his head.) You know what, it's getting late. I think I'm gonna turn in. You kids have fun. (As he talks, he walks away, but pauses to look back at Korra.) Nice to meet you, "Avatar Korra."
Korra: (waving, but with an amused expression and speaking sarcastically) Yeah, been a real pleasure.
Mako: See you upstairs bro.
Korra: Upstairs? You guys live here?
Bolin: Yup. In the attic. It's nothing fancy, but we have some great views. So, back to bending, why don't you throw that combo one more time?
(Korra takes her Pro-bending stance again, and throws another pair of disk-launching punches. They strike the net perfectly again, and Korra pumps her fists with victory and takes on a thrilled expression. The scene immediately transitions with a wipe that follows the spinning of one of the panels from the Airbending Gate. Korra is back on Air Temple Island at daytime, standing in almost the same pose, but she's now wearing her Airbender outfit, her expression is frustrated, and some of her hair is sticking up. Tenzin, Ikki, and Meelo stand visibly behind her, with Jinora eclipsed by Korrra.
Korra exhales angrily, clenching her fists, and makes another reckless dash at the Airbending Gates. She gets into the thick of the Gates when she once again slams into one, getting pushed into a spin that ricochets her around several more panels. The camera briefly switches to an upset Tenzin.)
Tenzin: Patience, Korra.
(Korra stumbles backwards into another panel, and falls to the ground. She gets visibly angry, and rises into a Firebending attack at the Gates. She throws a flurry of punches that unleash fireballs all around her, then lets out a massive attack that explodes outwards and takes out all the spinning panels. The camera cuts to Tenzin and family, who are staring with shock, before returning to Korra. She is panting for breath, standing in the center of a cloud of smile while the wreckage of the Gates burns around her.)
Tenzin: (shell-shocked) That was a 2,000 year old historical treasure. (furious) What... what is wrong with you?
Korra: (emerging from the Gates, angry and gesturing dramatically) There's nothing wrong with me. I've been practicing just like you taught me, but it isn't sinking in, okay? It hasn't clicked like you said it would.
Tenzin: Korra, this isn't something you can force. If you would only listen to me.
Korra: (screaming) I have been! But you know what I think? Maybe the problem isn't me. Maybe the reason I haven't learned Airbending yet is because you're a terrible teacher. (runs off screen)
Meelo: (steps forward and points at Tenzin with a big grin) Yeah, you're a terrible teacher daddy. (runs into the wreckage of the Gates, and starts kicking and throwing pieces around with wild glee) Wahh, ahh, ahhhh!
(Tenzin looks down with defeat, but Ikki and Jinora both move as one to solemnly hug him. Fade to commercial break.)
(It is sunset on Air Temple Island, and the Sky Bison are once more circling the sky above the grounds. Cut to Tenzin's family's dining room. A low table rests in the center, atop of which is an unused cooking pot. Tenzin is sitting at the table with his eyes closed and his arms crossed over his chest. Meelo, Ikki, and Jinora are also sitting at the table, but the latter is reading a book.)
Pema: (walking in with a tray of food) Okay, everyone here? (looks around) Wait, where's Korra?
Tenzin: (puts a hand to his head, and speaks quickly) Honestly Pema, I am at my witsí end with that girl. IÖI don't know how to get through to her. (slunps and looks down)
Pema: (going to Tenzin and putting an arm around him) Dear, the best thing you can do right now is to give Korra some space.
Tenzin: (looking across the table to his children) You must promise me that your teenage years won't be like this.
(The view cuts over to center on Jinora. She looks up from her book with lidded eyes.)
Jinora: I will make no such promises.
(The scene cuts to the interior of the Pro-bending Arena. Three players are already standing out on the playing field, while the crowd hums. The scene moves to the locker room. Bolin and Mako are hanging out morosely, while another team is taking off their pads behind them. Korra enters through the door to no reaction.)
Korra: I didn't miss your match, did I? You guys look like you lost already.
Bolin: We might as well have.
Mako: (angry) Hasook's a no-good no-show!
Pro-bending Referee: (peaking in through the door) You have two minutes to come out ready to play or you're disqualified.
Mako: Well, there goes our shot at the tournament... and the winnings.
Korra: (pointing at the other team) Can't you ask one of those guys to fill in?
Bolin: Nah, the rules say you can only compete on one team.
Korra: Well, then... how about me? I'm a top-notch Waterbender, if I do say so myself.
Bolin: But, you're the Avatar. Isn't that cheating?
Korra: (smiling) It isn't cheating if I only do Waterbending.
Mako: No way. I'd rather forfeit than look like a fool out there.
Korra: (glancing angrily at Mako) Wow, thanks for the vote of confidence.
Pro-bending Referee: (peaking through the door, speaking quickly) Times up. You in or out?
Korra: (answering quickly) We're in.
Mako: (immediately interjecting) We are?
Bolin: (immediately pumping his fists) Yes!
Mako: (surprised, looking at Korra and Mako as they hurry to the lockers) Hey, I didn't agree to this.
Korra: You can thank me later.
Mako: (dour) This girl is crazy.
(The scene cuts to the main arena. The camera is positioned just over Shiro Shinobi's shoulder, so that the referee is visible below, and the playing field beyond him. The Fire Ferrets taking the field.)
Shiro Shinobi: Looks like the Fire Ferrets have ferreted out a last minute replacement Waterbender. (now a voice over, as the scene zooms in on the Fire Ferrets; Korra is adjusting her pads, which are obviously too big for her) Let's she if she's another diamond in the rough like the brothers from the school of hard knocks.
Mako: (whispering as Korra takes her stance) Don't do anything too fancy or aggressive. In fact, don't do anything. Just try not to get knocked off the ring.
Korra: You got it captain. (her helmet sags to cover her eyes, and she pushes it back up)
Pro-bending Referee: Players, are you ready?
(The camera zooms out dramatically as the referee blows his whistle and motions to begin the match. Korra immediately grins and performs a strong horizontal kick that summons a heavy stream of water to pound one of the opposing players straight over side-ropes and into the pool below. He screams as he falls. The camera peaks at his fellow players, who look surprised and upset. A quick look at Mako and Bolin shows the older brother face-palming.)
Korra: (jumping with fists raised victoriously in the air) Woo-hoo, man overboard! (starts running in a circle)
Pro-bending Referee: (blows whistle) Fire Ferret Waterbender penalty. Move back one zone.
Korra: What? Why?
Mako: You're only allowed to knock players off the back of the ring, not over the sides!
Korra: Oh... whoops.
(Korra moves back to zone two as the player she knocked out returns to his team's first zone. The bell rings to start the game again.)
Shiro Shinobi: (voice over) And we're back in action after that hiccup. (The two teams are trading elemental attacks. Korra takes an earth disk to the stomach, and slides back.) But I'm not so sure this replacement player knows what she's doing.
(Korra rushes forward into a leaping kick that catches an incoming stream of water and tosses it back, but she lands with one foot back in zone one.)
Pro-bending Referee: (blows whistle) Foul. Over the line. Move back to zone three.
Korra: (growls and punches the air as she moves back) Argh. I'll show you over the line.
(Mako and Bolin watch her move back to the final zone. As the bell rings again, Bolin taps his fingers together with chagrin, as Mako merely looks down in resignation.)
Shiro Shinobi: (voice over) The Platypus Bears take round one. (The view shows the four score-keeping light bulbs, and one on the left lights up blue. The bell rings again to start the next round. The Platypus Bears immediately begin launching elemental attacks.) The Platypus Bears know a green player when they see one, and they are focusing the brunt of their bending on this poor girl. (Korra dodges and blocks a storm of attacks, getting forced from one side of the field to the other. She finds herself at the focal point of simultaneous fire and water attacks, and with a growl brings up a shield of earth disks to intercept the incoming elements.) Wait a minute? Did that Waterbender just Earthbend?
(The crowd gasps in the darkened stands. Play stops as the Platypus Bears stare in shock. The referee's whistle blows as Korra looks around warily.)
Pro-bending Referee: (voice over) Foul... I think?
(Korra gives a chagrined laugh and shrugs at the audience. Her helmet once again slips down over her eyes. Elsewhere on the field, Mako and Bolin stare with dismay, and Mako gives a weary sigh.
The scene shifts to a zoomed-out look at the guard shack on Air Temple Island. The porch is lit up, but the White Lotus sentries are all seated at a table outside under the night sky, listening to a radio positioned at the center.)
Shiro Shinobi: (from radio) Did I see that right? Hold on folks, we're just waiting for the refereeís official call, but I think this replacement player could be-
Tenzin: (walking up to the guards from behind) Pardon me everyone-
Shiro Shinobi: (from radio) No, there's no way.
Tenzin: -have you seen Korra this evening? She's not in her room.
(One of the guards starts taking a long drink from a cup)
Shiro Shinobi: (from radio) You've gotta be kidding me, she's the Avatar folks, playing in a Pro-bending match. (The drinking guards abruptly spits out her mouthful all over one of her comrades.) Can you believe that?
Tenzin: (face reddening, eye twitching) I'll get her myself!
(Tenzin turns around and stalks off with a swish of his cape and a trailing wind.
The scene cuts back to the Pro-bending Arena, where the referee steps forward to speak to the player and crowd.)
Pro-bending Referee: (raises hand) The Avatar will be permitted to continue, so long as she solely bends water.
(The crowd cheers.)
Platypus Bears: (upset and gesturing) Ohh, aww!
(The view cuts to the two teams all lined up for the latest round. The bell rings, and they once more go into action. The camera pans across the three Platypus Bears, who each launch an elemental attack as the camera focuses on them.)
Shiro Shinobi: (voice over) This girl may be the Avatar, but she's no Pro-bender, and the Platypus Bears are intent on exploiting that weakness. (The view follows Korra as she dodges and blocks another series of attacks, but this time she just sticks to water.) Theyíre giving her their best, and her best ain't good enough to stop it. (Korra tries to block a fireball, but it pushes her back and off balance. An earth disk hits her immediately after, leaving her open for a line of water that upper-cuts back. Two buzzers sound as she passes into zones two and three.) Annnd she's in the drink.
(Korra goes right over the back of the field and into the pool. The view follows her as she swims underwater to a platform where she can pull herself out of the artificial lake. She just gets hold of the edge of the platform and leans onto it when a shadow falls over her, surprising her. The camera turns around and pans up to reveal Tenzin.)
Korra: (nervous) Oh, hey Tenzin. I thought you didn't like coming to these matches, ha ha. (climbs fully out of the pool and onto the platform)
Tenzin: Once again you have flagrantly disobeyed my orders. You were to stay on the island. Let's go. (turns around to lead Korra away)
Korra: (clenching fists) No, I'm kind of in the middle of something.
Tenzin: I have tried my very best to get through to you by being gentle and patient, (angry) but clearly the only thing you respond to is force! So I am ordering you to come back to the temple, right now!
Korra: (also angry) Why, so I can sit around and meditate at how bad I am at Airbending? You know, I'm beginning to think there is a reason I haven't been able to learn it. Because maybe I don't even need it!
Tenzin: What? That is a ludicrous suggestion! The Avatar needs to learn Airbending; it is not optional!
Korra: No, this (motions back towards the playing field, while the sounds of Pro-bending are audible) is what I need to learn: modern styles of fighting.
Tenzin: Being the Avatar isn't all about fighting, Korra. When will you learn that?
Korra: (turns around) I have a match to go finish. (Korra walks to the elevator that will take her back up to the playing field.)
Ring Announcer: (voice over) The Platypus Bears win round two! (The scene cuts back to the playing field, where Korra is ready to go with her teammates. The two teams are lined up and the bells rings.) Round three!
(The Platypus Bear Waterbender fires off a pair of attacks. The view cuts over to Bolin, who throws an earth disk and then takes one of the water blasts with crossed arms. He's pushed back, but stays steady. He comes to a stop near Mako, who is throwing and blocking attacks.)
Shiro Shinobi: (voice over) The Platypus Bears come out of the gate and quickly go after the Ferret brothers. (Mako and Bolin are pushed up against the ropes at the edge of the field. They alternate trying to throw attacks between blocking, but they start getting hit too often to do anything but hunker down. They get hit by several strong streams of water, but stay on their feet.) Theyíre corralled in the corner, wedged in the edge of zone one, unable to come to the Avatar's rescue. (The Platypus Bears' Firebender and Earthbender throw attacks at Korra. She dodges and blocks them with water whips, while Mako and Bolin take another strong hit of water.) And boy does she need it. (The view cuts to Tenzin, who is walking through the audience stands towards an exit. The crowd cheers, and Tenzin turns around in the exit tunnel to look at the ring. He sees Korra get hit and knocked back a zone by a strong blast of water, and he takes on a worried expression.) Looks like the Avatar's Pro-bending debut is going to be cut short. (Korra dodges a fireball and actually catches an earth disk in her hands that she throws away, but she is still pushed back. Tenzin sighs and face-palms.) She's been pushed back to zone three, and the water is calling her name. (Korra skids so that her feet are right up against the back edge of zone three. She teeters on the edge, ducking under an earth disk but nearly falling. She grits her teeth with determination, and steps back into the center of zone three.) It's only a matter of time before- (Korra starts circle-walking right in zone three, enabling her to easily step around the Platypus Bears' attacks. Her form is perfect, cycling her hands so that they alternate positions, and stepping easily to change direction instantly.) Hold the phone, stop the presses, she's still in the game folks, and she's moving like an entirely different player. All of a sudden the Platypus Bearsí strikes are only striking air.
(The Platypus Bears focus exclusively on Korra, throwing attack after attack, but none of them so much as touch her, and she continues to calmly step around every disk, fireball, and water-stream. The view shifts and zooms in on Tenzin.)
Tenzin: (quietly, stunned) How about that.
(The view cuts back to the field, where a close up of the Platypus Bears shows them panting with exertion. They try to continue their barrage, but their movements are slow and lethargic, and the pace of their attacks has lessened considerably.)
Shiro Shinobi: (voice over) The Platypus Bears have no juice left, (The view cuts to other side of the field, where Mako and Bolin are still hunkered down with their arms crossed over their faces defensively. The latest stream of water doesn't even reach them, slowing midair and splashing to the floor.) but Mako and Bolin are still fresh and juicy. (Bolin is surprised, but Mako immediately goes into action by jump-kicking out a wave of fire. He lands and pins the middle Platypus Bear with a series of weak attacks, and Bolin quickly joins him and throws an earth disk. The other team is pushed back, and the Waterbender is even knocked off his feet. Korra makes a spinning jump that catches an incoming stream of water and throws it right back. Mako throws three Fire attacks at his opposite number and knocks him out the back of the field. The Earthbender Platypus Bear gets hit by an Earth disk, and a water attack knocks him to zone two, then a fire attack keeps him tumbling straight over the edge. The Firebender takes a water hit and keeps his feet, but a second stream uppercuts him into the air and over the back edge. The camera watches from below as he falls into the pool. The bell rings, signaling the end of the round.)
Shiro Shinobi: Knockout.
Tenzin: (excited, pointing dramatically with both hands at the playing field) Woohoo! (looks around, realizes what he's doing, and quickly stands straight and adjusts his cloak before walking out of the arena)
Shiro Shinobi: (voice over) The Fire Ferrets come from way behind and steal the win! What an upset folks! (The camera zooms out over the entire arena interior, then cuts to the score-keeping bulbs. They remaining bulbs light up red.) The rookies, Avatar and tow, have nabbed a place in the championship tournament. I can not believe it!
(Korra looks around with joy, then the view cuts to Bolin, who is making exaggerated 'I can't hear you!' gestures at the crowd with his other hand on his hip. Korra walks over, and they laugh and high-five.)
Korra & Bolin: Ah, ha, ha, yes!
Mako: (walking over) Korra, what can I say? You really came alive in that last round. The way you dodged their attacks, you are a natural. (smiles)
(Bolin is waving to the audience in the background.)
Korra: Thanks, but I can't take all the credit. (smiles wryly as her eyes shift to the side) Someone else taught me those moves.
(The scene changes to Air Temple Island. A half-moon is lighting up the night sky. The windows on the main temple and tower are lit. The camera pans over to the Airbending Gates. The restored panels are being re-installed on their spinners by Air Acolytes while Tenzin watches. Korra walks up to him from behind.)
Korra:I'm really sorry, about everything I said. (puts a hand to her chest) I was really frustrated with myself and I took it out on you. (motions to Tenzin)
Tenzin: (turns around to fully face Korra) I think I owe you an apology too. I was trying to teach you about patience but I lost mine.
Korra: No hard feelings?
Tenzin: Of course not. By the way you were really good out there tonight. (points at Korra, and waves his finger playfully) You moved just like an Airbender.
Korra: Wait, (leans forward) you stayed and watched?
Tenzin: I did. Pro-bending turned out to be the perfect teaching tool for you.
(Korra smiles, and Tenzin returns it.)
Korra: (jogs away and waves) I'll see you tomorrow for Airbending practice, bright and early. (turns around as she jogs) And, by the way, I kind of permanently joined the Fire Ferrets and we're playing in the tournament in a couple of weeks.
(Korra runs down the stairs and out of sight.)
Tenzin: (wide-eyed, sighs) Ugh.
(The view fades to an exterior shot of the Pro-bending Arena's tower. The golden facade still glows in the night, but one of the tall rectangular windows is open to a darkened interior. Mako is sitting at the window, looking out at the camera. The view zooms in on him, sitting quietly, then cuts to show that his line of sight corresponds to Air Temple Island.
The view cuts over to Korra's room. She is seen from the back, leaning out of a hexagonal window with her head resting on one of her hands. She is looking out at the glowing Pro-bending Arena. A cut to Korra's face reveals she is smiling with shining eyes.)
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