One part of the Western Air temple sat deep within the mountain; unlike the rest of the rooms it was protected from the air by thick, windowless walls. Once the room had been locked by doors that only airbending could open, but someone must have opened them just before the Fire Nation soldiers came and didn't get them shut in time. Those doors now hung partially off their hinges, and parts were singed black. Inside, shelves lined the walls from floor to ceiling, each stacked with scrolls.
“Looks like a library,” Teo said, rolling slowly into the room.
“The writings of a long dead people,” Haru mused as he followed. “Might be worth a look.”
“If they don't crumble to pieces in your hands.”
The Duke, meanwhile, backed out of the room again. “I'm not much for reading. I'm going to check out another part of the temple.”
Haru carefully lifted a nearby scroll and unrolled it. “Wow, these are actually in pretty good shape for being a hundred years old.”
“This place was built to keep out moisture and sun,” Teo picked up another and peered at it. “For a people that embraced impermanence and change, they sure knew how to make stuff last.”
“How do you know so much about the Air Nomads?” Haru asked.
“Stuff we found at the Northern Temple.”
“Oh, right.” The earthbender peered at the delicate characters inked in small columns on the parchment. “'Because the existence of essence-less things does not exist,'” he read aloud, “'it is incorrect to say: “When this exists, that arises.”' What does that mean?”
“We could ask Aang."
“Ask me what?” came a light-hearted voice from the doorway. Aang entered, covered with a sheen of sweat from training.
“You look beat,” Haru said.
The Avatar let out a big sigh. “Toph thought it would be funny if she and Zuko alternated every five seconds. Earth form, fire form, earth, fire, back and forth, bam, bam. You know, even though Zuko never smiles, I swear he's laughing at me on the inside.” He wiped his forehead with an arm. “So what are you looking at?”
Haru showed him the scroll. “Some kind of philosophy discussion. Any idea what it means?”
Aang gently took it from him and held it up to read it, then handed it back. “Nope.”
“You didn't study this stuff?” Haru asked as he placed the scroll back on its shelf.
“Mastering airbending came first. I had just finished that when I was declared the Avatar. The finer points of Air Nomad thought and practice were for older students. We spent our whole lives learning and refining our philosophy and traditions.”
Teo looked a little sad. “It's a shame for it all to be forgotten.”
“I won't let that happen,” said Aang. “I just have to deal with the Firelord first. Then...I dunno. I'll donate them to a school or something.”
“Um, are you sure you want to donate all of them?” Haru had picked up another scroll. His eyes were huge. The other two crowded around to see.
“Whoa,” Teo breathed.
But Aang had a nostalgic smile on his face. “You found the sacred scrolls.”
“Sacred?” Haru gave him a puzzled look. “Aang, these are...pornographic.”
“No,” Aang corrected. “These provide essential techniques for engaging in sex with mindfulness in accordance with the spiritual path and the pursuit of enlightenment.”
Teo snickered. “I thought the finer points of philosophy were for older students.”
Aang cheeks went bright pink. “Um, the older boys talked a lot about this particular subject.”
Haru laughed. “I can think of a few girls back home that I'd like to pursue enlightenment with.”
Teo cracked up, but Aang just turned redder. Haru clapped him on the shoulder. “Sorry, Aang. I meant no disrespect.”
“S'okay.” The boy gazed at the collected knowledge of his people. “It would be great if the nuns left behind a scroll explaining how to talk to a girl without sounding like a moron.”
“That would be a valuable scroll,” said Teo. They all nodded in contemplative silence.
Aang broke it with a sigh. “I better get back to practice.”
“Spar you for a bit, if you want,” Haru said. “I won't be as rough as Toph.”
Teo watched them go, then spun his chair around, picked up the scroll Haru had left behind and unrolled it again. As he gazed at each illustration, his eyes got bigger and bigger. He made a mental note to come back with some parchment and something to draw with, then he rolled out of the room.