The rumors brought Brother Asuki to the house on the edge of the town. It made sense that the family would live a bit removed from the others but this seemed to be a bended land the family settled on.
Asuki pulled his hair back in a ponytail and moved his bag to block the front of his body.
He didn't want to suffer another protective earth bending parent or a crotch-kicking "stranger danger" shouting child. This time, he was prepared.
and stood a couple of feet away from the door.
He flicked his wrist as three pebbles hit the front door and shouted, "Hello?"
"Hello." A man said, standing behind him. The member of the White Lotus nearly jumped out of his skin at the voice, and turned to see a man standing with a boulder in his hand. "Been a while since we had visitors! What can I do you for?"
"I... I hear that you have been having some problems with your child?"
"Problems? Oh, the village elders sent you?" The father's face fell a bit, "I thought that moving the house a bit further away from them was all they wanted but no, I was right. They want us gone."
"May I ask why?" Asuki asked, unable to stop his eyebrows. The previous child was simply a terror. He needed to make sure this child was a terror because of uncontrolled powers.
"I made deer soup the other day and-- honey?" the man called, walking toward the house. "The councilman is here."
"Well, I'm not exactly the village councilman--"
"I thought we'd moved far enough away from the village?" His wife called from the kitchen once they entered the house. "At least far enough that when Peng sneezes that--"
"sshh!" the man stressed before forcing a laugh, "I guess some water dropped onto the kitchen fire there. I have to fix that leak."
"Oh, haha," the wife forced, "Yes the leak. And well, maybe fixing how close we are to the river will fix that leak?"
"If I could get a word in edgewise--"
"I guess not. With the councilman here, it seems we'll have to pack up and actually move this time."
"Well, we can't go to the city-"
"Is your problem a leaky roof or your child?" Asuki blurted out. The small family looked at him with unblinking eyes before Asuki caught himself.
"I am dreadfully sorry. You see, I work in particular childcare. There is a certain care I give for particular children that seem to give whole villages trouble."
"Oh! A childcare worker!" The parents sighed in relief, "Well, you should go down the river to the Li Cheng's house,"
Her husband started nodded profusely as she continued, "They have a delightful but really kind of awful little boy named For--"
"Yes, I couldn't forget such a meeting." Asuki sighed, moving his bag of items again. "No, no.... I actually deal with teaching bending styles for children."
"Well, I'm a bender also--" the father started.
"Yes, yes dear." Mother simply pushed him into the kitchen and told him to grab the things to serve tea, "Now, what kind of bending styles do you teach?"
"Excuse me?" Asuki asked, surprised at the question. Most parents don't ask for specifics and it would be a bit odd to suggest anything but Earthbending in the earth kingdom outright.
"Bending. What kind? I know there are different styles of earth bending."
"OH!" Asuki breathed, "Yes, plenty... I know them all, actually, but there is another wisdom to it that I am too old to pursue."
"You're looking for an apprentice."
"There can be added skill in an Earthbender learning the styles of other elements." His hint was heavy and was not lost on the discerning mother. "But again, there are only certain children with certain, village sized issues, that can take and succeed in this training."
The mother was silent for a few moments. She watched the straight brow of the guest as her husband set and poured tea in the silence of the room. When the tea was finished pouring, they each took a sip and she continued.
"How could one know that the child can succeed in this particular training?"
"A test for the child can be given."
"What if the child does not take the test?"
"Then there will be, somewhere, a child that had unfathomable power like the Avatar... nearly.... who may very well become the evil in the world the Avatar must defeat."
"And how is the test given?"
"The child chooses a specific item. This will determine their ability to be trained by me."
"What item is this?" Asuki smiled at this. Either the mother is an evil being attempting to block him from getting to the avatar or she intended to give the test to her child herself.
"An ancient item that is one of it's kind and only in the possession of those who train the avatar. But I happen to have their copies. The results are less accurate but still worthy."
"And if the child fails the test?"
"Then you can go about your normal lives. No one need know your child took, let alone failed, this very special test."
"And if I lie, kill you and take the test from your bag? I presume it is in there."
Asuki blinked at this before he chuckled and put the tea cup back down. "You will never know the results and time will tell of your foolishness in either training unskillfully or not training an intense potential."
When the table was finished being set, she looked to her husband and nodded her head. She stood and cleared the table, returning to the kitchen while here husband took over the conversation.
Let me take you to the woods.