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"Questions and Meditations" is the twenty-third chapter of The Rise of Kyoshi.

Overview

Lao Ge takes Kyoshi to the Zigan market to convince her of Governor Te's corruption. After they return to the camp, Kyoshi overhears Rangi and Kirima creating plans for the attack on Te's palace. Later in the day, Wong attempts to teach Kyoshi how to dust-step. Several days later, Lao Ge reveals the secret of immortality to Kyoshi.

Synopsis

Kyoshi and Lao Ge stroll through the markets of Zigan Village together. Kyoshi is confused about why they are there and asks why they are not buying rice as they were sent to do. He tells her that any other member of their group could have bought rice on their own but they are there simply to observe. Kyoshi's attention is drawn to an argument between a peddler and his rice supplier. The peddler argues that since the harvest was good this year, the farmer's products should not be as expensive as they are. The farmer explains that since Governor Te confiscates most of his rice, he has to overcharge the grain that he has leftover. The peddler asks how the farmer can justify overpricing the rice while Te has an overflowing silo just sitting there. The farmer informs the peddler that Governor Te has not opened the silo for five years and his stash should be considered as good as gone. Lao Ge influences Kyoshi to keep moving, not allowing her to offer a solution. She realizes that he is trying to show that Governor Te deserves to be assassinated for his corruption but she argues that there's nothing immoral with saving food for an emergency. Lao Ge informs her that he is secretly selling the grain for his own profit while his citizens go hungry. Kyoshi chooses not to respond, prompting Lao Ge to ask whether Jianzhu has ever wronged his citizens to the extent that Te is. Kyoshi has no choice but to admit that Lao Ge has a point. 

Kyoshi and Lao Ge hike up to the Flying Opera Company's hillside camp. Lek asks if they bought rice but Kyoshi answers that they were only able to get sweet potatoes. Lek groans that he is sick of eating sweet potatoes but Kyoshi ignores him. She secretly sits down behind Kirima and Rangi, who lay on their stomachs, watching Te's extravagant palace. Rangi mentions the complex architecture of Te's ancient mansion and suggests the best angle for them to break in. Kirima asks Rangi how she knows so much about ancient Earth Kingdom architecture and she answers that she studied how to attack all kinds of fortifications in the Fire Nation academy. Kirima, who is of Water Tribe descent, asks if she was taught how to break into polar ice walls. Rangi admits that the Fire Nation teaches how to potentially attack every nation, including Ba Sing Se in the Earth Kingdom. Kirima keeps her comments to herself and instead suggests how Lek could be most useful during the attack. Rangi frowns and says the area Kirima suggested that Lek's attack could cause major casualties on their side. Kirima notes that Mok and his army seem to be more than willing to sacrifice their lives for the cause. Kyoshi worries about how many lives the daofei will take if they successfully break into Te's palace. Kirima suggests that they seize the entire palace to have enough time to search for the prison, allowing Mok's men to freely slaughter the people inside. Kyoshi finally speaks up, saying that she will not allow for that many casualties. Kirima is surprised by Kyoshi's voice behind her and asks how she was so stealthy considering her giant feet. Kyoshi explains that the days of a servant taught her to walk silently and then says that she needs their wisdom regarding the Lao Ge situation. 

The remaining hours of the day were used to train with Wong. Kyoshi is standing high up on a column, preparing to attempt dust-stepping. Wong reminds her that she needs to maintain momentum as she soars twelve feet between each pillar and that she is going to correctly do it three times. Kyoshi asks if she can use her fans for dust-stepping but Wong is not sure if it will work or not. Kyoshi pulls out her fans and Lek prompts her to get going. Kyoshi begins to dust step but immediately crashes down, clumsily grabbing onto the nearby column to soften her fall. Kyoshi lays on the ground, realizing that Lao Ge, who is also an earthbender, must have sabotaged the dust underneath her, causing her to fall. Wong alerts Kyoshi that she made it to “zero” pillars and commands her to start over. 

Kyoshi continues to fail at dust-stepping after many attempts using both water and earth to support her. Out of concern for her, Lek suggests that she skip out on the attack after a particularly hard fall. Kirima says that the plan only works if they have Kyoshi helping them. Lao Ge suggests that they take advantage of her brute strength and offers to watch over her during the attack. Kyoshi, who knows that Lao Ge is manipulating the situation, agrees to partner with him during the raid. 

Several days later, Kyoshi meditates privately with Lao Ge, who asks whether she has thought about why Mok is not planning on killing Governor Te during the attack. Kyoshi suggests that Mok assumes that Lao Ge will be the one to do it, which causes him to laugh. He corrects her, explaining that Te likely has a hidden safe room to flee to, making it a waste of effort to hunt him down. Kyoshi becomes horrified that the Governor would hide while his household is slaughtered by daofei. Lao Ge asks her what else she expected from the corrupt leader. Kyoshi tries to return to her meditation but is interrupted once again by Lao Ge who asks if she has ever wondered about his own age. Kyoshi says that she has not thought about it before. He is surprised by her lack of interest and admits that the only two people that have never asked for the secret of immortality are her and her mother. Kyoshi, who does not believe that he is as old as he claims and is not interested in using him to gain power, still charismatically asks what the secrets to immortality are. He happily tells her that immortality is gained through maintaining order and tidiness. As a former maid, Kyoshi is genuinely offended by him suggesting that she needs to improve her hygiene. He goes on to explain that to fight against aging, you must preserve your body using mental focus. Kyoshi says that the way he has explained it makes it seem as though you get to pick the version of yourself that you want to permanently remain as. He recites Kyoshi one of his proverbs regarding immortality, prompting Kyoshi to ask if it belongs to Guru Shoken. After he corrects her, he reveals that he is going to teach her about the mind, rather than the Spirit World. Kyoshi jokes that spirits are more interesting than the mind, but Lao Ge disagrees.

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