|"Your feelings of pleasure and love are butting up against a wall of grief. And guilt. Grief I can work with, but guilt makes for a poor killer."|
|— Lao Ge informs Kyoshi.|
"Preparations" is the twenty-first chapter of The Rise of Kyoshi.
Wong teaches Kyoshi how to properly use her war fans. Lek and Kyoshi have an argument about Jesa. Later on, Rangi has a serious discussion with Kyoshi as she trains her in firebending. Kirima interrupts their training and has a quarrel with Rangi. After Kirima leaves, Rangi opens up to Kyoshi about what's bothering her and then flirts with her as she practices firebending. Later that evening, Lao Ge teaches Kyoshi about chakras and past guru's.
The Flying Opera Company trains Kyoshi along the way to Governor Te Sihung's palace. Wong passionately teaches Kyoshi how to properly handle her war fans and makes her sing as she practices to improve her breath control. Kyoshi pushes through Wong's war fan training since it enormously improves her earthbending, making it easier for her to bend smaller objects. As the others set up camp, Lek tells Kyoshi that using the war fans is "cheating" and that she should not rely on them so much. Kyoshi argues that she will always have them when necessary and asks how anyone could take them from her. Lek argues that she may leave them behind like Jesa did when she left the fans with Kyoshi in Yokoya. Kyoshi is infuriated by the fact that Lek brought up her parents and still feels bitter about them raising Lek while abandoning her. Instead of opening up to Lek, she cracks a few flying pebbles perfectly in half, shooting them towards him. Lek yelps in pain and falls to the ground. Kyoshi cries out in apology for her careless actions. He stands up with a frown but smirks as he decides to tattle to Rangi. He tells Kyoshi that he is alright but that he will have to tell Rangi about her impulsive attack. Kyoshi no longer feels sorry for him and begins to insult him. However, Lek interrupts her by holding up his finger and demanding that she treats him as her respected sifu.
Though Kyoshi can now firebend without using war fans, Rangi continues to train Kyoshi. She tells Kyoshi that her firebending success is from her recent lack of inner turmoil, proving that she is now more relaxed than before. Kyoshi does not understand the issue with her feeling at peace with herself but Rangi explains that she should not feel relaxed while joining the daofei and dishonoring the Earth Kingdom. Rangi shoots a blast of fire towards Kyoshi, who avoids it by falling on her belly. After the flame passes, Kyoshi stands back up to see Rangi's disapproving face. Rangi tells Kyoshi that since she is now a decent firebender, they should ditch the daofei and reveal that she is the Avatar to the sages. Kyoshi thinks that her suggestion is ridiculous and argues that the only sages they know will send her right back to Jianzhu. Rangi hesitantly suggests that they go to her mother for help, which makes Kyoshi feel extremely guilty for taking her from Hei-Ran. Kyoshi questions whether Hei-Ran would actually help them since she is possibly more loyal to Jianzhu than her own daughter. Rangi sorrowfully answers that she is not sure whether she can trust her mother, letting the issue go. Kyoshi apologizes for separating them and asks how to make it right. Rangi tells Kyoshi that she can pay her back by promising to become a great Avatar that leads with justice and virtue, which surprises her. Exaggerating her movements, Rangi lines up an attack, hoping that her firebending student will be able to hit her back. However, Kyoshi humiliates herself by backing up and failing to produce a substantial flame.
Kirima approaches the girls and says that it is her turn to teach Kyoshi. Rangi argues with Kirima and shoots a flame far above her head. Kyoshi wonders why Rangi has lately been acting so hostile towards Kirima. Unfazed by Rangi's rage, Kirima calls her "top-knot" and asks her to be a better example for Kyoshi. Rangi demands that Kirima stop teasing her about her hairstyle that is heavily linked with honor in Fire Nation. Kirima mockingly bows to Rangi and says that she will come back in five minutes.
After Kirima leaves, Kyoshi places her hand on Rangi's shoulder and asks what is going on between her and Kirima. Rangi does not answer and instead tells Kyoshi to do her stance training. Kyoshi argues that she has already done it but Rangi says that since she went crazy on Lek, she needs to do it again. Kyoshi groans and shifts her stance in compliance. Rangi observes her stance and then tells her not to move. Rangi stands on Kyoshi's bent knee, who responds with hatred for making her practice more difficult. Rangi reminds her to maintain facial composure, even while distractions arise. Rangi eventually climbs off of Kyoshi's knees and tells her that she does not want Kirima to teach her waterbending. Kyoshi asks Rangi why she feels that way as Rangi climbs on her back in an effort to distract her. Rangi answers that she wants her to learn waterbending after mastering the other elements, following the cycle of the seasons. Kyoshi asks why it is important for her to learn airbending before waterbending. Rangi tells her that bad luck has come to past Avatars that refused to follow the natural order of bending. Kyoshi refuses to make a promise that she will not keep so she informs Rangi that she will have to use every weapon available to her. Rangi lets go of Kyoshi's back and tells her that once she begins training with Kirima, she will forever lose her chance to do things properly. Kyoshi begins to understand the gravity of what Rangi is saying and gloomily stares at the ground. Rangi begs Kyoshi to cheer up, but she responds that it is not possible to cheer up while in horse stance. Rangi compliments Kyoshi's focus and decides to give her another challenge by kissing her. Kyoshi struggles to maintain composure as Rangi runs her fingers through her hair. Eventually, Rangi deliberately breathes on Kyoshi's neck and breaks contact from her. Rangi seductively whispers to Kyoshi that she still has seven minutes left of her stance training. Kyoshi, who is content with Rangi's flirting, decides to keep her complaints about the horse stance to herself.
Later that evening, while the others are at the campfire, Kyoshi secretly meets with Lao Ge. He informs Kyoshi that her water and air chakras are overflowing, saying it as though she should be embarrassed about it. Kyoshi tells Lao Ge that she does not know what chakras are. He tells her that they are either open or closed, and he prefers working with people that either have all seven open or all seven closed. He explains that someone who just has few of them open is too vulnerable to their emotions. Kyoshi guesses that chakras have something to do with moving energy through the body. Lao Ge tells Kyoshi that her feelings of love and pleasure are being blocked by guilt and grief. He says that feeling guilty is not good if she wants to become a killer and asks if she has changed her mind about killing Jianzhu. Kyoshi firmly tells him that she will never change her mind about that matter. However, she also tells Lao Ge that she is not so sure about helping kill Governor Te. He asks her if she has heard of Guru Shoken and she shakes her head in response. Lao Ge says that the guru was an ancient philosopher and a contemporary of Laghima's. He informs her that he was not very popular and then recites his proverb about slaying the spirit of enlightenment. Kyoshi mentions that she understands why Guru Shoken was not all that popular. Lao Ge agrees, adding that Guru Shoken was viewed as heretical by some, while wise by others. He explains the proverb to Kyoshi, reminding her that the judgments of others should not distract from her singular purpose. Kyoshi tells Lao Ge that she is not able to do that since she cares about what Rangi thinks of her. He says that Rangi is possibly what is making her feel guilty and keeping her from achieving Guru Shoken's ideals. Kyoshi begins to feel like an illegitimate Avatar, so Lao Ge informs her that even Avatar Yangchen was a devoted reader of Shoken. His words catch Kyoshi's attention and cause her to remember what her mother's journal said about Tieguai the Immortal. Kyoshi wildly accuses Lao Ge of being Guru Shoken. Lao Ge laughs at her crazy accusation and says that he is much better looking than Shoken.