The young girl quickly kicked up her leg and blocked her opponent's incoming hand.
Again, the young girl's kick blocked her opponent's hand.
"Finish! Your opponent is defenseless!"
With that, the young fighter swung her leg low, and tripped up her opponent, causing her to fall to the ground.
"Another successful test, Talia," the instructor said. "Congratulations. You are now at the top of the class. Impressive for someone just ten years old."
Talia bowed respectfully to her instructor. "Thank you very much, Ms. Jai. It's been an honor to learn under you for the last six years."
Ms. Jai returned the bow to her student. "I have seen many students come through this class who were just like you. Most of my students are now the very same Kyoshi Warriors who guard this island. All of them also were in the top of my classes at some point. However, they really haven't reached it until maybe weeks before age thirteen. You have a gift, Pupil Talia. You will be a Kyoshi Warrior someday, and perhaps sooner than you think."
Talia's green eyes beamed. From early in her years, when she first saw the Kyoshi Warriors in action, she had dreamed about being among their ranks one day. Never did she even think it would be this fast. A smile grew on her face from cheek to cheek. "Those words mean a lot to me, Ms. Jai. I mean, I am only ten, so I don't know....but, thank you very much."
"You are sincerely welcome," Ms. Jai responded before turning back to the class. "Okay students, that is all for today. Tomorrow, we will continue the final round of spars! As a reminder, winners will be judged before the panel to determine if they are ready to graduate. However, anyone in the top five automatically does so. Advanced congratulations to Talia...."
The rest of the names didn't matter to the ten-year-old. She was on cloud nine; she had essentially graduated, and was well on her way to achieving her dream.
As Talia exited Ms. Jai's academy to the sunny day that greeted her, she wanted nothing more than to run home to her family and tell them everything that had happened to her that day. However, she was cut off by the approach of another girl, who screamed her name. "Talia!!!"
"Mikitsu!!!" Talia yelled back, and opened her arms up to prepare from a hug from her.
Within seconds, Mikitsu and Talia were locked in a tight hug, happy to see each other once again. The nine-year-old Mikitsu couldn't help but beam at the cheery look of her best friend. "Did you do it? Did you pass your test?" She spoke rapidly, hyped up because of what this day meant to Talia.
"Yes, I did!" Talia replied excitedly. "I'm at the top of the class now!"
Mikitsu squealed with excitement, and hugged Talia again, this time lifting her up into the air and twirling her around for a moment before putting her down. "Oh my gosh, I'm so proud of you! I knew you could do it!"
"I was a little nervous," Talia explained, "But I just settled into things, and I wound up succeeding! I can't wait...Ms. Jai said I might be a Kyoshi Warrior in the future!"
"That's so awesome," Mikitsu replied, still in an excited tone. "We'll have to celebrate at my tenth birthday party next week!"
"Oh, come on," Talia said, shaking her head. "We don't have to. It's your birthday party, after all. Your birthday is your day."
Mikitsu placed her hands on her best friend's shoulders. "No, we're going to celebrate this, Talia. I'm not going to let this go un-noticed!"
"Mikitsu!" Another voice called, belonging to a dark-haired man in his thirties. "Time for your lessons!"
"Well, I got to go," the young girl told Talia. "Time to continue my earthbending training. By the way, when will graduation be?"
"Probably not for a couple of weeks," Talia answered. "Ms. Jai still has to complete the tests, and then everything has to be arranged. I'll let you know, Mikitsu."
With that, the two girls hugged each other warmly again, and then parted ways after saying their goodbyes to one another.
After this, Talia ran up the remainder of the way to her home, which was situated just two houses down from the mayor's large-scale house. Talia's home was a simple one, like anything that could be found on Kyoshi Island. It was a one-story structure with a living room, a kitchen cut out on the right side, and then three bedrooms in the back for Talia, her brother, and their parents.
Talia ran through the open door and yelled, "Mom! Dad! Guess what!"