The scene opens with a sweeping pan over a lush Earth Kingdom valley where a large town is situated. This appears to be a bustling community with merchants and schools. We catch up with Katara, Aang and Sokka as Sokka is contemplating the purchase of a bag. His indecisiveness bores the other two, but they try to be supportive as Sokka weighs the pros and cons of the purchase. Aang and Katara start walking away and while Sokka finally makes his purchase, the other two are approached by a man handing out flyers for a local earthbending teacher. Katara convinces Aang to give it a try.
At Master Yu's Earthbending Academy, Aang uses the flyer's coupon to receive his "free" lesson. However, it appears all Aang gets is a face full of dirt and rock and Master Yu's attempts at selling him a year's worth of lessons. As the trio departs Master Yu's, they overhear two young men discussing Earth Rumble Six, an earthbending tournament. When Aang asks them where it is located, one of the young men says laughingly "It's on the island of Nunya… Nunya business…" and the two walk away. Katara follows them around the corner (leaving Sokka and Aang behind) and manages to get the information from them by encouraging them with her waterbending skills. The scene cuts to the guys encased in ice up to their necks horizontally attached to the sides of the buildings – heads touching each other.
Earth Rumble Six is held inside a jagged mountain, the stage illuminated by many glowing crystals above. The trio looks for seats, wondering why so many front row seats are vacant. Suddenly a rock comes crashing toward them providing a clear explanation as to why the seats were vacant. From center stage, a huge column of rock comes up with an announcer on top (who then pushes the column back down into the stage) welcoming viewers to the event and announcing himself, Xin Fu, as the host.
Bored with the upcoming rock-chucking festival, Katara turns away. However, as the action begins and The Boulder (kind of a cross between several wrestling stars such as The Rock with a Hulk Hogan-like voice) begins battling his opponents, Katara's interest appears to be at least somewhat restored. Aang doesn't seem too impressed with The Boulder because, as Aang puts it "Bumi said I need a teacher who listens to the earth, he's just listening to his big muscles." Sokka, on the other hand, has become The Boulder's newest #1 fan. After defeating several challengers, it is time for The Boulder to take on the current champion, The Blind Bandit.
On center stage is a young girl holding her champion belt over her head in pride as the crowd cheers. Her eyes are clouded and seem to indicate to the viewer that she is blind, despite Katara's wondering if she's really blind or if it is just an act. The Boulder briefly has reservations about fighting a small blind girl, but soon those vanish as The Blind Bandit taunts him by saying it sounds as if he's scared to fight her. As she laughs at The Boulder, Aang hears something familiar in her laugh and realizes she's the girl with the flying boar in the vision he had in the Swamp. The viewer is then shown how The Blind Bandit senses the vibrations and uses the information to strategically make her move, easily defeating The Boulder. Sokka is devastated, Katara is amazed and Aang appears to be happy as he explains to Katara, "She waited and listened.
Xin Fu then offers a bag of gold pieces to anyone who can defeat The Blind Bandit. After a short silence, Xin Fu dramatically says "What? No one dares to face her?" Aang pipes up, "I'll will." Aang tries to explain to The Blind Bandit that he doesn't really want to fight, but talk to the champion. However, the champion begins to fight. Aang manages to use his airbending to evade the champion's attacks and she is clearly unsettled by her inability to fully track him. As she hurls a rock at Aang, he defensively uses airbending, but in the process, manages to push the champion off the stage and erroneously (as he did not use earthbending) wins the match. Aang rushes to catch the Blind Bandit to tell her he thinks she's supposed to be his teacher, but she won't stay and listen. Disappointed, Aang heads back on stage, where Sokka collects the gold pieces and belt.
The next day, the trio heads to Master Yu's earthbending school in search of The Blind Bandit. Katara tries her intimidation tactics on the young men she froze the day before, but they end up not having the information she asks for. Aang then realizes they are asking about the wrong person. When he describes the girl from his vision, the young men don't recognize the description, but they do know a local family who's symbol is a flying boar – like the one in Aang's vision. The trio leave to check out the lead, but not before Katara enforces her intimidation on the two young men by telling them, "Hey! I've got my eye on you." Leaving the while Sokka whispers "Water Tribe.
Back at the arena, The Boulder tells Xin Fu that there was no earthbending being done in the defeat of the champion, which leads Xin Fu to believe The Blind Bandit intentionally lost in order to split the money with the challenger. He is not happy at this apparent cheating.
The trio looks at a guarded entrance gate with a flying boar symbol above it and Aang indicates this must be the place. They head around back and climb over the outer wall into a garden area. Suddenly, the trio is thrust into the air by the earth being pushed up from underneath them and lands in various bushes (with the exception of Sokka, who hits the ground). The Blind Bandit asks what they are doing there and Aang counters by asking how she knew it was them. Aang then explains that a crazy king and a vision led him to believe she was to be his earthbending instructor. The Blind Bandit tells them to leave or she'll call the guards and after they try to talk to her again, she comes through and yells "Guards, guards, help!" which causes the trio to scatter. When the guards arrive, her name is revealed - Toph. Observing this, Aang smiles and appears to have an idea of what to do next.
Toph's father and mother are meeting with Master Yu to confirm that she is not trying anything dangerous in her lessons and Master Yu assures them that he has kept Toph at the basic level. A servant comes in to tell them a visitor has come – the Avatar.
At dinner, Aang, Katara, Sokka and Master Yu have joined Toph and her family. Toph's father inquires of Aang how long he feels the war will go on. Aang explains he hopes to defeat the Fire Lord by summer, but still needs an earthbending teacher. Although Master Yu is mentioned as a candidate by Toph's father, Aang attempts to bring up the possibility of Toph as a teacher, but is thwarted by Toph who eventually pulls Aang's face into his soup. Not to be outdone, Aang returns the favor by sneezing and airbending Toph's soup at her (as well as Master Yu and Toph's mother). Toph's father seems confused by both their behavior.
Later, Sokka, Katara and Aang are getting ready for bed (as guests of Toph's family) and Aang is surprised by Toph's sudden appearance. She calls a truce and the two of them walk the grounds of her family's estate while she explains to Aang how she uses earthbending to see. Toph appears to envy Aang's carefree life, but knows she has commitments to her family that prevent her from just leaving. Just then, the two of them are ambushed by Xin Fu and his wrestling thugs. A ransom note is left demanding 500 gold pieces for the safe return of their daughter. Toph's father enlists Master Yu's help and Sokka and Katara state they are coming as well.
They arrive at the arena with the ransom and Toph is lowered down and she and her father and Master Yu begin to leave. When Katara asks about Aang, Xin Fu states that he plans to turn the Avatar over to the Fire Nation for reward. Katara runs after Toph to enlist her help and despite her father's protests that she cannot help, Toph says "Yes. I can". Toph heads back into the arena demanding Aang's release. The Earthbenders begin to attack and Toph forcefully tells Sokka and Katara, "They're mine." As Katara and Sokka work to free Aang from the metal case, Toph defeats each opponent almost effortlessly. This amazes and shocks Toph's father and Master Yu. Finally, Toph faces off with Xin Fu, but again easily defeats him. Master Yu exclaims, "She is the greatest Earthbender I've ever seen."
Back at home, Toph tries to explain herself to her parents stating that she's kept her abilities secret from them, but they have kept her secret from the world and hopes that what they now know about her will not change their feelings about her. Her father says they won't, but then decides that Toph has had too much freedom and must have tighter controls on her, much to Toph's dismay. Aang, Katara and Sokka are then told to leave and Toph sheds a tear at losing the possibility of gaining friends and what little freedom she had.
They prepare Appa to leave, but are surprised when Toph comes running up to them telling them her father has changed his mind. Aang excitedly jumps off Appa when Toph says she wants to show him something - only to be shot up into a tree by Toph as payback for knocking her off stage at the championship battle. Toph then requests the belt back and Sokka tosses it down to her, forgetting she cannot see, and the belt hits Toph on the head. Sokka sheepishly says "Sorry" to Toph and then Aang falls out of the tree.
Toph's father brings a small chest to a table in front of Master Yu and Xin Fu saying he knows they are different, but have a similar interest. He then opens the chest to reveal gold. He's offering it to them for the safe return of his daughter, who he states was kidnapped by the Avatar. As the quartet fly away on Appa, Toph appears to be enjoying her first taste of freedom.