The quiet on Gong Li street was only broken periodically by the general shuffling and scrapes of market stalls being packed away. Meanwhile many of the merchants and their families were gathered and chatting among each other. In one such corner a few gentleman were stood around a street light. A burly gentleman with a thick, brown mustache and a receding hairline was stood with his arms folded, talking away, whilst the shorter, stouter gentleman to his left puffed away on a pipe, coating the scene with smoke. A lanky fellow with thin eyes and a pointed jaw was leaning against the door frame to the home behind him. On a barrel next to him there was a young man sat cross legged, his entire body covered in a thick animal skin cloak, only his chin and nose poking out from under the hood. A rather simple looking staff rested on his shoulder, his bandaged hands clasped around it gently. "So I tell's this guy..." the burly man continued, "...Look buddy I don't care how much they're sellin' this for up north! Down here you won't get any cheaper than I'm sellin' for, that's for sure" "Of course!" replied the lanky fellow with a smirk, "Where in world is cheaper than here for Komodo Rhino? Unless you want to go hunt them yourself out in the west." "Exactly, Fei'lun" The burly man replied, "These Northern back packers are constantly trying to take advantage. They think we don't know our own trade!" "Actually, There's a sizeable herd of Komodo Rhino in the North." came a response from the cloaked man. The burly man and his partner, Fei'lun, both turned and eyed the cloaked man suspiciously. "And what are you a hunter? farmer?" Fei'lun asked, raising his brow and eyeballing the cloaked man. "Nah I'm just a traveler" the cloaked man replied, his voice calm and polite. "I spent some time up north in the mountains. There's a pretty big herd up there. It was part of some conservation act...they moved a group of them there years ago. It's really helping the trade. 500 Yuans a kilo I hear." "500!?" Fei'lun spat, "Y'hear that Balko? That's almost half of what we charge!" "Hmph!" Balko responded as he stroked his mustache. His pipe-smoking friend had still not spoken, seemingly minding his own business. Fei'lun was still staring at the cloaked traveler. "So what about these merchants up North? Are they looking to undercut us? Move the trade up north?" Balko asked finally. The traveler was quiet for a moment. He seemed to be pondering his response. Balko huffed impatiently and finally the traveler spoke. "I can't say I know. Pretty sure they were running a couple of restaurants specializing in traditional fire nation cuisine. It's cheaper to rear the stock nearby I guess. A couple of fire benders from my camp worked for them for a while. They only take on chefs who can fire bend. Something to do with the way they cook the meat." "Hmph! Fire Benders!" Balko spat, "bunch of stuck ups! Always trying to hold on to tradition. They can't just get with the times!" "Actually, there were benders from all walks in my old camp" the traveler responded, "Earth benders, water benders, fire benders, and some non-bending folk. We picked up people along the way for about 4 or 5 generations. By the time I was born we were all just family. Nobody cared about where you came from. All that mattered was our community. It didn't matter if you were a bender or not, everyone was equal." "Sounds dangerous to me!" Balko replied, shaking his head. "No offence to you, boy, but I wouldn't be spending my time around benders if I were you." "Who's to say he's not a bender?" Fei'lun snarled, leaning in close to him. The traveler looked back at him calmly. He heard a small twitch of a noise above them and briefly looked up to see a pair of legs hanging over the edge of the roof. He returned his eyes to face Fei'lun, and he simply smiled politely. Balko screwed his face up and folded his arms again. "You're not a fire bender are you, boy? Water? Earth?" Balko asked "Nope" the traveler replied, "And it's Chen by the way. Yangchen." he nodded his head politely. Fei'lun leant back against the door frame again but continued staring down the traveler. "Well good. Bender's only cause trouble round here. Making a fuss! Damn Free Elements do nothing but cause trouble for people like us. There's nothing wrong with Imperial City, they should just stay out of it. Not to mention that damn sport muddling up our children's heads, making them wish they were benders too. damn rebels are just trying to make the Empire look bad!" "And you don't think they might speak a bit of truth?" The traveler said with a soft smirk, lifting his head so that his face could be seen. He was a young man, 19 years of age, with green eyes like jade stone. "You sit around all comfy in this city, you don't see what goes on outside of these walls. I suppose when the Empire destroyed our entire caravan simply for being short enough money to pay a toll, I suppose, that was reasonable? To attack innocent people, and no not just benders, but people just like you. Most of my family perished because of the Imperials. But I suppose we shouldn't have been causing trouble, right?" "Are you sympathizing with those rebels? With benders?" Balko asked, his fist tightening. "Are you a Free Element, scumbag!?" "Oh, you got me!" Chen said with a grin. Balko roared and charged forward, swinging his fist down on Chen. The young man moved quickly. pushing his staff up into the air with his foot, with an invisible force sending it up past the rooftops of the buildings. As he did so he leant backwards, rolling so that he was stood on one hand, his legs pointed up in the air. Balko's fist crashed into the wooden barrel and he yelped in pain, whilst Chen vaulted over him and on to the ground. He landed with a soft tap, and spun on his heel immediately as Fei'lun swung at him from behind. He ducked and weaved, effortlessly avoiding the strikes, his feet constantly moving, winding around Fei'lun in a constant rotation of movement. Fei'lun swung at him aggresively as he re-positioned himself, until finally Chen ducked and Fei'lun's fist crashed into the jaw of the man who had been silently smoking. The man roared in pain as Chen pulled the cloak from himself and thrust it forwards, a fgust of air spiralling from his palm and sending the cloak in a heap over Fei'lun and the now furious smoking man. Balko turned to him in a rage once more but Chen simply crouched low and spread out his palms once more, causing a gust of wind to knock the broad-shouldered Balko off his feet and crashing on to the ground. As he lifted his head up Chen's staff finally returned to earth and smacked him on the forehead with a clunk. As the Balko collapsed in a heap Chen picked up his staff and looked up at the boy who was still watching him from the roof. Well, perhaps watching wasn't the word, judging by the blank, pale eyes that looked back at him. "People in this city, huh?" Chen said with a smirk and a shrug, "So aggressive. I think they just need to cool off. Yeah...I'm sure." Without his cloak Chen could be seen for what he was, a young man with shoulder length, shaggy brown hair. He was dressed in a red, sleeveless jacket that reached down just above his knees. It was strapped at the chest by pins much like a tunic, as well as a black sash around the waist. He wore black shorts and his wrists and shins were wrapped in bandages. On his feet he wore a simply pair of black, split-toed plimsolls. He tapped the end of his staff gently against his forehead and then pointed it back at the boy. "Probably best I'm not around when they come to. Don't go telling them which way I went!" he said with another warm smile before running off fown the street and into the darkness.