I’ll just have to get your tongue educated when it comes to tea next time then, hm? I’ve enclosed a few bags of tea for your friend, and you’ve got to be sure to get them to her. There shouldn’t be any problem with that, right? It’s white jasmine, by the way. Send my regards and thanks to Ms. Fa.
Hopefully, she’ll become one of the people that you can tell just about any and everything. I’ll bet that she’s not just interested, she probably genuinely cares, too. You deserve and need more people like that in your life, Skoochy.
Who knows, she might even become something like a mother, maybe a grandmother. She reminds me of my own Gran Gran and mother.
I look forward to hearing your laugh again. Since my last few stories have obviously failed, possibly this one might even get a manly giggle of sorts?
Finally made a friend, or at least a friend of sorts. Bumped into each other, we did, and noticed we were reading the first and second books of a particular series. See? They are good for something, aren’t they?
Lian’s a pretty good friend. We’ve been studying for a couple of our classes together, and -gasp- my grades have actually gone up. A cause for celebration, don’t you think?
It’s been nice. Walking around with a friend, it’s made me forget about the curious glances my arrows attract. I can’t thank you enough for asking me to go out like that. (Honestly, I think you’d like him.)
In higher spirits than ever. Tell me how Ms. Fa reacts to the tea!
It’s been so long since I last wrote a letter to you, I wish I knew how to apologize. Saying sorry was never one of my strong suits though. I hope you’re not too mad at me, but if you are, I understand.
The tea you sent was delicious, probably the best tea I’ve ever had. Of course, I haven’t had much tea, and certainly none of the really fancy stuff, so my taste isn’t quite as….developed, I guess you could say, but Ms. Fa agreed that it was very tasty. (She may have just said that to make me happy though, I told her you were the one who sent it down, and she’s far too polite to say anything mean when I’m excited about something.)
Coffee’s becoming the next big thing around here, and I have to admit, it’s pretty good! If you find any coffee shops in Ba Sing Se, you should definitely try some! It takes some getting used to, but I think you’ll come to love it like I do.
Ms. Fa sends her best wishes, by the way. She’s made it a sort of tradition that I come over once every month or so, and has made it very clear that I am not to give her the slip. I believe sometimes that she has a better eye than I do; or at least, she always manages to catch me when I haven’t shown up in too long.
I think you may have been right though, that perhaps she does genuinely care. I’m still at a loss as to why—the idea of having a friend other than you that I don’t have to keep my guard up constantly with is…kinda unbelievable. I’m not really sure why she even lets me in her house, to be honest. She seems so completely separate from my life, as if the idea of crime and violence and distrust are just a distant dream to her, which is not too unlike you, now that I think about it.
But I want to hear more about you, too! How are your studies going, and what have you been learning? Sometimes I wish I could study, like you. I’m sure there are plenty of things I could learn, but I guess my life isn’t so bad, when I think about it anyway. There are plenty of people who have it worse, after all. What’s Ba Sing Se like? Have you done any exploring? What about Lian? How is he doing? Do you have any new friends since you last wrote?
Republic City has been pretty crazy lately—lots of stuff you were talking about earlier with the non-benders is pretty much happening right under my nose here, worse I think even than when we were kids and Amon was causing all that trouble. There’s too much going on right now for just this one letter, but I’ll be sure to update you on the details next time I write!
Again, I’m really sorry I haven’t written in so long. Even though I have no reason to expect it, I hope to hear from you soon.
Dearly Aggravating Skoochy,
Honestly! I didn’t know for the longest time whether to rip up your letter into tiny shreds, blow them all the way back to Republic City, and land them in your tea, or if I should hug it to my chest, read and re-read it over and over again, and reply as quickly as it had sunk in that you were truly alive. I obviously followed through with the latter, although I am still upset with you!
I never know what you’re getting yourself into, if you’re alive and meeting with Ms. Fa. and laughing over tea, if you’re swollen up and dead in a dark, dank alley somewhere, or what! How could I know?! Everyone else that I could think to ask are all but refusing to speak of you. Likely my father’s doing. You know how he is.
I’m glad to hear from you, though. I missed your letters. It sounds like Ms. Fa really is good for you, don’t you think? You need someone like that, to keep you from going in too deep again. Like how you keep me from going into my books and libraries and never returning. I’m sending my love to her, as well as more tea. Darjeeling. Pomegranate. If you steep the Darjeeling too long, it gets very strong very quickly. Please, be careful with it.
As for the coffee…well…as you can guess, it’s wildly popular with us at University. Late nights rushing to finish an assignment, just having some with friends, and oh, breakfast! It’s lovely with breakfast. I don’t have it all that often, though I do like it with sugar and lots of milk. We’ll have to get some together when I return, won’t we?
My studies are going well. I’m focusing on histories of benders and non-benders alike, and I’ve been searching and searching the libraries all over Ba Sing Se to see if there’s anything concerning the lost Air Temples and airbending itself. There was so much lost during the war, but I just keep hoping that maybe, maybe there’s something left. It would be a dream come true to find something. But Ba Sing Se is as large as ever, and when I have the time, sometimes I do go exploring. Sometimes, Lian tags along and we turn it into a grand adventure!
For the record, yes. I have made more friends. Not many, but I am happy. We have wonderful times together, and it’s not always studying! (Just thought I would remind you of that.) None are from Republic City, though, so when the time comes, I might have to simply write them as I do you and hope we can remain friends.
But Republic City! I have heard very little of what is going on. Is my family safe? Who is being targeted? Are you safe? You get yourself into so much, I can’t help but worry. Please, Skoochy, please stay safe. I have no desire to return home and find you dead, or worse.
I hope to hear again from you, and soon. None of this…waiting for months and hearing nothing, please. I’ve also included a little charm in this letter. They’re popular here, and this particular one is for good luck and safety. I miss you.
With much love,