|""It's pathetic! The way they step on you. You serve the Avatar! Have some dignity!""|
|— Rangi to Kyoshi after defending her.|
"Nine Years Later" is the second chapter of The Rise of Kyoshi.
A group of Yokoyan teens attempt to force Kyoshi to take them to the Avatar mansion.
Nine years after she ran off with the clay turtle duck toy, Kyoshi is walking to the Avatar mansion, where she now works, to deliver the last jar of pickled spicy kelp that Yokoya Port would see that year. Carrying her precious cargo, she tries her best to employ the principle of neutral jing and remain as passive and unresponsive as she can to the taunts of Aoma, Suzu, and Jae, who are trailing her every move. Just shy of the outer border of the terrain on which the Avatar mansion was built, Aoma turns her verbal assault more physical and uses her earthbending to bend the clay jar of kelp out of Kyoshi's reach, threatening to drop it. While Kyoshi focuses on not giving her aggressors a reason to accost her any further, Suzu and Jae resume their taunts about the fact that Kyoshi is an orphan without a family. Although Kyoshi inwardly bristles at their remarks, she bites her tongue and hopes to quickly reach the outskirts of the Avatar estate.
As they finally reach the private terrain belonging to Jianzhu, Suzu offhandedly remarks that their parents had made a mistake by selling Yokoyan land to a "Ganjinese". Although the rest of the village saw the manor as an eyesore, for Kyoshi it was the most beautiful sight in the world, as it represented her home. Hurt by the comment, Kyoshi mutters under her breath that their parents had possibly known that the land was as "worthless and unproductive as their children", but her remark is heard by her bullies. Suzu and Jae realize that, while Aoma had Kyoshi helpless under the threat of breaking the clay jar, they have Kyoshi at their mercy and move in to physically assault her.
Before the two girls can lay a hand on Kyoshi, who has made no move to defend herself, Rangi, the Avatar's bodyguard, appears and her presence alone is enough to instantly intimidate Suzu and Jae into backing down. Aoma holds her ground, however, and accuses the Fire Nation soldier to be slacking off as she has left the Avatar's side. Rangi spits back that the girls are not allowed on the private terrain, nor to lay hands on the Avatar's property or accost his household staff. Still trying to play it cool, Aoma explains that they had been merely helping Kyoshi carry the enormous container inside the house. The genuine, plaintive tone of the remark makes Kyoshi realize that Aoma actually wants to be invited inside the mansion to see the Avatar up close and that she is jealous of her, as she gets to do that every day due to her job at the estate.
While Kyoshi starts to pity Aoma, Rangi is not swayed, however, and orders Aoma to put down the jar and leave the premises to not return lest she burns her. Aoma realizes her defeat but, as opposed to gently lowering the jar to the ground, uses her bending to launch it high into the air before running off with her two friends. Rangi reflexively wants to give chase but checks herself, as the impending seaweed missile has to be dealt with first. She prompts Kyoshi to catch the jar with her earthbending, but Kyoshi replies that she cannot. Imitating Aoma's Crowning Bridge stance, Rangi tells Kyoshi to do the same, but Kyoshi just screams at Rangi to look out and throws herself on top of the firebender to shield her from the incoming ceramic, causing them both to fall to the ground, entwined.
As the expected impact never comes, a flustered Rangi orders Kyoshi to get off her, her face and ears nearly as red as her armor. When the servant girl helps the bodyguard back upright, they notice that the jar is steadily floating waist-high above ground. The pebbles at their feet start to form messages that reveal that it is Avatar Yun who has saved them and who is now controlling the jar. Kyoshi giggles as the messages continue into smalltalk, Rangi sweeps the pebbles away with her foot, claiming they are distracting Yun from his training and Kyoshi from her work.
Kyoshi plucks the clay jar from the air and follows Rangi toward the manor in silence. Halfway to the gate, however, Rangi suddenly yells at Kyoshi that she is pathetic for not having stood up to her bullies. Kyoshi, knowing that her friend was only yelling because she cares, smiles and murmurs that she had been trying to de-escalate the situation. Rangi scolds Kyoshi for her lack of control over the earth before and continues to formulate a battle plan to exact revenge on Aoma and her friends. Kyoshi misses the majority of the plan as she has become distracted by the mussed collar of Rangi's armor that is no longer covering the delicate skin of the firebender's nape and simply asks why she would resort to violence when she has "strong heroes" like Rangi to protect her, eliciting a sound of disgust from Rangi.
- This chapter marks the first appearance of Rangi.
- Kyoshi is a servant at the Avatar mansion.
- Aoma is an earthbender.
- Rangi is a military-trained firebender and serves as the bodyguard of Yun.
- Jianzhu hails from the Gan Jin tribe.
- Yun is presumed to be the Avatar.