The man in the coat offered his hand, with a frown. In his other hand sat a knife, close to the neck of a downed man… a man wearing a black coat, who shook violently, his hands continued to shake in strange spasms.
“No Aang… don’t give it to him.” The prince ordered, Azrael had a deep frown on his face, while Aang simply eyed the slated stone in his hand… when holding it, he could feel a sort of voice in his head, though he couldn’t understand what it was saying. The man standing with the knife, continued.
“You’re an air nomad… taught that these lives, are worth saving.” Solomon explained, eying Azrael. “If you don’t give me that stone… I will kill him.” He threatened, Aang breathed, his grip on the stone was weakening. This was the Mirage stone, the great secret, hidden behind Shiloh’s walls… what Solomon wanted.
“And what will you do if I do give it to you?” Solomon smirked at this.
“The exact same work I had intended the moment I learned about the stone.”
“You mean to destroy his tribe… and bully the others into serve you, then they’ll die as well.”
“Shall I destroy you, Aang? Or will you give me what I want.” Solomon continued, Aang doubted he could kill him, but Solomon proved to be rather crafty.
“…” He frowned, if Solomon got the stone, stopping him would be so much more difficult, but Aang couldn’t allow Azrael to die, not when he could fix his own tribe.
“I see you’re having second thoughts… let’s play this logically… first thing, I will kill Azrael to prove my resolve, and if yours remains, I will have no choice, but to escape you and destroy every soldier that entered this city, I know their style, their movements… they wouldn’t stand a chance… if you remain refusing, I will kill you, and I will walk over your cold corpses, to recover what I came for.” He breathed, while Aang looked down
“Now… shall we begin?” Aang slowly looked back to him, before looking to Azrael,who shook his head, he was slowly regaining his motor functions, the look from Aang’s eyes said everything… he was gonna give it. Aang immediately the tossed the stone across the room, Solomon caught it… he had a surprised look on his face, as he held it, slowly stepping away from Azrael, who immediately crawled away from him. Solomon shook for a slow moment, and then Aang saw something… an aura, fell down Solomon’s skin, a black aura surrounded him.
How is he doing that?
Solomon breathed slowly, and then after a moment, his eyes opened back up, to reveal a rather darker shade of green they had been… his pupils were dilated, it was strange… This man already followed darkness, allowing it into his heart merely amplified his own inner darkness. The negative energy was rather apparent… but slowly it disappeared, and Solomon appeared in complete control. He dropped the stone into his pocket. Azrael stared, while Solomon breathed, nodding.
“…Thank you, Avatar Aang.” He slowly turned away, noticing something… soldiers were entering the building.
“Seems apt I should leave you here… after all, you made this world what it is… it’s fitting that it should die with you.” His hand tensed, and suddenly the room shook… like a can was being squeezed by a hand. Before Solomon could continue, a voice immediately erupted.
“Freeze!” a soldier yelled, a group of them stood positioned at the door, Solomon eyed them for a moment, the men weren’t focused solely on Solomon, most of their focus was on Aang, and Azrael, like they had specific orders… orders to kill. The soldiers immediately attacked the three, and before anyone could do anything, Solomon immediately stepped downwards, and at that moment, the man standing there was blown away from massive force. Taking a quick step, Solomon followed this movement by bending towards the ground, and raising his hands. The ground quaked and shook, as the tiles lunged up like a wave. The men in the past room were immediately down and on the ground… Solomon breathed, excited by his new power. He slowly eyed the Avatar, with a dark smile… he wanted Aang to pursue. Aang was practically frozen, from shock of what had just happened… that was the power of a realized avatar. Solomon disappeared, while Azrael slowly stood up, breathing… the reality of what happened became much clearer, Solomon would kill every Chun soldier within the city, including Zion… and he practically challenged Aang to go ahead and try to stop him.
“…what have we done?” Aang slowly stepped forward, sighing.
“…I need to stop him.” Azrael turned.
“Are you crazy, did you not see what he just did?” Aang breathed.
“…” That’s when it hit Azrael, the reality of who Aang was… the man who ended the hundred year war, the man who as a child, defeated Fire lord Ozai(later Phoenix King, but…) He brought peace to the situation in Yu Dao, and created republic city. Solomon was powerful with the stone, but Aang had possessed that kind of power for years. if anyone could stop Solomon, and save the world… The Avatar could… the Avatar had to.
“But I can’t do this alone.” Aang explained, Azrael nodded.
“…What do you want me to do?” Azrael asked, Aang would need him to do something, while he fought Solomon.
“I was getting to that.”
Aimee shook immediately, her breathing quickly returned to normal, though a frown was very evident on her face, as the elevator continued to move down.
Aang gave Solomon the stone, in exchange for Azrael’s life, and with it… unleashed chaos. Aang would stop him, she knew that… but just seeing it unfold, like Aang was allowing this... he didn’t take Solomon seriously, until now… And really, Aimee was surprised to see the power of what could be done with the Mirage stone, shaking the entire building, and shooting people away at such high speeds… what would Ronin do, if he had the stone? And frankly… what could aimee do, to stop him? Her hand nudged at her pocket, inside was the stone Lune gave her… for some reason it felt calming, maybe it was because of Lune’s words, that it protected him.
The elevator kept moving, as Aimee breathed, Dai eyed her for a moment, frowning.
“No… I’m not.” She replied, truthfully. Dai sighed… really, they needed a way to free themselves, and get away from Ronin and his men… and he was slowly coming onto a way, eying a key, that sat in Naomi’s back pocket… that would be the first step. After a moment, the elevators finished moving, and Dai looked towards the city, it looked so small from up on the ground floor, but now it seemed so massive, here at a different altitude than the entire desert… how could this place sink into the ground like this? Ronin stepped forward, turning.
“Let’s get moving… time’s wasting.” A small group of men would remain with the elevators, while Ronin and his men would go to the destination of the Mirage stone, a center building within the city... where one of the greatest threats to mankind was sitting.
The inside of the wall was empty, tiles littered the area, while an earthbender stepped towards a blue pillar, a groove for a blue triangle was set there.
“no key…” Naava muttered. Ronin definitely used her necklace in it, Shiro crossed his arms.
“You sound surprised.” Naava turned.
“Figured he wouldn’t think it’d be important, getting him in.” she explained, the older Yamazaki brother didn’t have the bond Ryuu had with the girl, but Shiro got along well enough with her. Naava was surprised this was Ryuu’s brother, the one he talked on and on about… She heard more voices, as more of their own soldiers came in, Weiss was among them, directing.
“Where’s the hidden city?” he asked, confused. Tarrick turned.
“Underground, only one elevator.” He explained. Weiss eyed the room, sighing.
“That and, the rest of the wall?” Tarrick shrugged, Weiss snapped to another soldier.
“Get our people through here… this is a prime vantage point.”
“Sir, were overtaxed as is-“
“Do it.” The merc ordered, the man sighed, stepping away. Weiss seemed to be showing his A game, a cigarette hung from his mouth like a piece of straw…
“That guy is so cool.” Tooru muttered, Minami sighed.
“Of course you’d think that.” More soldiers moved in, as Ryuu eyed the inside of the wall, it was rather thick, and shone a bright blue, one of the alarms the people set up… it likely was here to improve visibility at night time. Kokoro eyed the blue for a moment.
“…You know, the color’s actually very beautiful, the way it’s set up.” Ryuu turned.
“Too bad Ronin’s going to use what it was hiding to take over the world.”
“Not if you guys can stop it.” Tarrick directed, the others quickly turned, while Tarrick breathed.
“Ronin’s down there now, it’s going to take him awhile to find what he wants… you guys head down there… and take him out.” Aria slowly looked down at her bow, before nodding.
“Sounds like a plan…” Naava crossed her arms.
“I don’t have much of a choice… what about the other forces?” Tarrick’s head turned, to Weiss who was busy spouting out orders.
“Me and him can take care of this.” Naava shrugged.
“I dunno Tarrick, a firebender? I don’t remember you liking those very much.” She answered, Tarrick turned, the two had actually been in school together as kids… he sighed.
“Well… in the long run, you’re in charge here… so I have to put up with it.”
“I’m in charge?”
“You’re the princess… your authority supersedes ours.” She frowned at that, while Tarrick scratched the side of his head. “Figuratively… when you guys left, Zorn actually went into your old room, found your tiara.” He explained, she raised an eyebrow… she completely forgot about that, it was only something she ever wore to public events… Zorn’s opinion of her rapidly changed, after fighting Ferris with her, he likely really wanted her to take back her place
“Survive this, I figure you can be re-coronated.” And then Naava frowned… that would also mean ceremonies, seeing strangers show up on their door for the first time in ten years(when Ronin wasn’t running amock), even if she did survive… she had no idea if she wanted that, or even if her Dad would go for it.
“Let’s just handle this first.” She turned away, Tarrick frowned.
“You don’t want it?”
“I don’t know, I’m not the same kid I was ten years ago.” Tarrick crossed his arms.
“Of course you’re not… you’re stronger than she was, the fact that you had Ronin running scared… honestly, I like this you better.” He explained, his voice seemed partially off, like he was embarrassed to say this.
“Tarrick…” He liked her, didn’t he? She noticed a slight blush on his cheeks, which sealed it.
“In case either of us die… figured, you should know.” As much as she wanted to like him that way, she just couldn’t, she wasn’t right for him, and they both knew it.
“Stop it.” Tarrick raised an eyebrow, while the girl sighed. “…I appreciate what you’ve done for Lune, and my father, but… I can’t think of you as anything, like that…” she couldn’t even understand what she felt for Ryuu, she definitely didn’t want to send mixed messages to Tarrick. “I’m sorry…” The earthbender breathed, before regaining his composure.
“You’re right, don’t need to apologize, what’s important is stopping Ronin.” She nodded, while the others looked to him. Tarrick eyed the back of the room, noticing two remaining elevator shafts.
“…We’ll watch the point, the outcasts are bound to start attacking again.” Minami eyed him.
“But what about reinforcements?” Tarrick frowned, they still didn’t have their full force, Lylos was taking a while.
“They’ll over-run you.” Minami countered, Tarrick looked away, he sighed.
“We’ll take care of them… just worry about getting your people back.” Josa scratched the side of his head.
“Maybe you guys should just come along… it’d atleast be safer.” Tarrick turned.
“That’s not happening.” He didn’t need to explain, everyone understood, this was his way of taking one for the team.
“…” Naava slowly turned, eying the elevator shafts…
“Let’s go.” She quickly stepped over to one of them, eying a strange symbol over it. Ryuu noticed it as well.
‘…There are ten shafts, and the other shaft has a symbol… are they just numbers, that the people of Shiloh used?’ it’d make sense, the fact that Ronin went out of his way to acquire a codex in order to translate this kind of stuff. Ryuu looked to Naava.
“There’s two shafts… how do you wanna divide up?” Naava eyed them, they had roughly fifty people to take, but that was too much for the shafts, and Tarrick needed allt he help he could get, they’d need to cut some out. Naava looked to the soldiers, quickly pointing to twenty of them, they all came, and she divided ten to each elevator. Shiro, Ryuu, Josa, Kokoro, Tooru, Aria, Minami, and Naava would go, so Naava decided quickly to simply separate by sex, Ryuu could lead one half of the group, while the she could handle the others, on Josa seemed disappointed by this, but the other’s coped. Naava stepped onto the left one, followed by Minami, Aria, and Kokoro, while Shiro, Ryuu, Tooru, and Josa got on the other one. The elevator could take on more than just 14 people, but she didn’t want to test this. On the inside was a strange stone panel, with a plate, attached to some sort of mechanism. Tooru eyed his for a moment, casually touching it, the panel fell in, and immediately the shaft began to move downwards, only Tooru seemed to react, as they disappeared. The finalty of seeing those guys seemed to bother Weiss, Aria sighed, before looking up.
“If you’re gonan consolidate forces… you should probably get the bison and the tiger squirrel in.” she directed, Tarrick nodded, the bison was a useful asset… and they could fit it in with over half the wall missing.
“And find some way to clear out that blind spot.” Tarrick nodded to that as well, before crossing his arms, he eyed Naava shortly.
“You can do this Naava… after all, you’re a Chun.” She nodded, while Aria stepped away from the panel, practically offering it to Naava. She breathed…
‘This is it, no turning back.’ Her hand touched it, and immediately the elevator began to shift, likely from a crack in the gears, it was now moving. Tarrick, Weiss, and the others disappeared from view. The elevator was gone, as it began to move. Tarrick breathed slowly, they were gone now. Weiss took a slow drag from his cigarette(he could smoke on the job, never in the office), before punching Tarrick in the arm.
“Getting all misty eyed, aren’t you buddy?” and then Tarrick frowned, realizing something… he’d have to work with this guy.
‘Gonna be a long day.’
The ground of Shiloh was rather… normal, as Ronin would notice. The city was rather massive, with large buildings eating up the blue hued cityscape, it looked like their normal color was likely yellow, but it was definitely different from the different lighting. The large force stood at the outskirts of the city, quickly regrouping and about to enter. Large bridges connected the ten elevator shafts, on one side of the city, into the area. The city itself was rather intricate, with multiple passes, a waterway, and unusual walkways.
Naomi simply stood at the edge of the group, eying the buildings, they weren’t anything like skyscrapers, but they were a rather decent size. Javik stood behind her, noticing her curiosity.
“You didn’t believe… didn’t you?” she turned.
“Didn’t think I’d need to… honestly I thought this was all some trick he had, especially since you bought into it.” Javik shrugged, he had just recently gotten back on Ronin’s good side. The group stood at the edge of outskirts into the mirage city, the bridges all led back to the elevators, he eyed them.
“Some of the men want to head back.”
“We’ll they’re cowards…”
“Not like they can, unless they can talk to the master.” He explained. He had noticed a sort of slot inside the elevators, meaning they could be interfaced with the key Ronin had, likely affecting one could affect all of them. She rubbed her head for a moment, groaning.
“You sound like the airbender.” Naomi was silent, while Javik sighed, she likely wanted to be left alone. “…They’ll be here, soon enough.”
“I know.” Javik turned away, from there he noticed something, some of the soldiers stood at the railing, eying something, two elevator shafts lowering down.
“They’re here…” Ronin sighed, nodding.
“Yes…” the two shafts were separated, as were their landing spots, each looked to contain a certain amount of people, they seemed quite surprised from this… peculiar city.
“Your orders?” Javik quickly asked, Ronin’s eyes studied them, as he was silent. Aimee, Mika, Dai, and Lune eyed the elevators as well, they knew who had to be on them, not any more of Ronin’s soldiers. Looking closely, Lune could see a familiar girl with black hair, on the left elevator, while he noticed two twins with black hair as well, Naava, Ryuu, and Shiro… and likely the rest of their group.
“They’re coming for us…” Lune muttered, Mika smiled partially at that, Ronin sighed, before nodding to Javik and some soldiers.
“Deal with them… they can’t interfere.”
“If you didn’t want that, you shouldn’t have activated the elevators.” Ronin simply wanted Naava to come down, well aware she’d bring more with her.
“Do as I say.” Javik breathed, nodding his head, while Ronin looked to the others.
“And for the rest, let’s get moving.” The men nodded, as they began to walk into the city, Naomi partially turned to Javik, before looking away, hand at her head, she had an obvious headache… she knew Javik would be fine, Ronin was counting on him to help get them through this city, as Javik seemed to know the most. Dai walked in the front of the line of his friends, noticing how close Naomi was… he could use this, the others eyed him, quickly understanding his plan… wait for the right moment, free himself, attack, and hopefully get the others out… it was a stupid plan, but it had to work. He stepped behind Naomi, noticing her groan downwards, hand at her head, she was really reacting to the stone’s presence, he noticed the key open itself to Dai, it was clipped onto a loop on her coat… he casually looked over to Lune, a metal bender. He nudged, and quickly Lune turned slightly, edging his hand forward for a brief moment. The bottom of the loop broke, it was now clear for anyone to take. Quickly Dai waited for Naomi to rub her head again, and then he took it, perfect, they had their way out.
Lune smiled, happy he could hold some role in this break, now Dai had to wait for the perfect moment.
Javik watched as the group began moving, he could catch up with them, Ronin was going at a snail’s pace, to keep the force together, and Javik had a decent amount of men on his side… this was simple, Ronin would want him to deal with the group as quickly as possible, and get back to him.
“What should we do, Sir?” one man asked, Javik crossed his arms, studying the groups, Kokoro was among the girl group.
“We come to them.”
The Elevator kept moving at a steady pace, as Naava would notice, though… she was speechless.
“This is Shiloh?” Aria asked, surprised. The city was practically a natural wonder, blue light glimmered from the wall, and upwards, shining down on the city, giving it a natural light. Buildings etched upwards, with a rather advanced design, they looked like some actually used metal framework.
‘Grandpa Azrael always talked about Shiloh, about how the people traded with the Shen for metal.’ Naava was surprised to learn Azrael actually came to Shiloh, but she was past that… she and Lune were the first true Chuns to be in this city in decades. She eyed the elevator to the left, the one still moving down, they were still down a little further. Naava stood there silently, before feeling a slight rumble, from her… Transceiver? Naava had gotten it back from Jack, who found it in the wreckage, he quickly repaired it. She started it,, listening.
“Hey, it’s me.” Ryuu’s voice said.
“How are you doing this?”
“Short distance, no radio towers, but…”
“Okay, what’s going on?” she asked, she could tell something was on Ryuu’s mind.
“…Look out, towards the bridge.” That was another thing, at the destination for the elevator were these bridges, that led into the city. It was looking here, that Naava noticed something.
“They’re heading in.”
“I know, but look who’s staying behind.” As Naava watched, she then noticed something, a man in a black coat, leading men in brown cloaks, roughly thirty men…
“Yeah, Zhao’s here…” the tone in Ryuu’s voice gave it all away, he wanted to take this chance to kill Javik, something which wasn’t going to happen… Javik was too smart for that. He stood at the bridge leading to the boy’s group, while some guards simply led to the girl’s. Kokoro was closest to the edge of the elevator, looking out. She had her eyes on Javik, with a slight frown.
“It’s almost like you want to die…” she muttered. Naava turned.
“Nothing…” she wasn’t happy that Javik kept opening himself up to one of them possibly killing him. The elevators kept moving, Naava breathed.
“We’re outnumbered… can we get the elevators to head back up?”
“No… we tried pressing the button again, nothing.”
“…” Naava looked back inside the elevator, she could see a a strange triangle shaped crevice.
“I’m seeing a triangle shape, same for you?”
“Yeah, must mean all of them are like this.”
“So the only way up, is taking back that key.”
“Seems so.” Naava breathed, they had to beat Ronin, or else… Javik stood at the base of the bridge, standing uptight, hands behind his back, he seemed to be looking forward to this. “He’s on your side…”
“I noticed… I think I have a plan though.”
“Kokoro’s the only waterbender, so…” she then noticed something, under the bridges ran water, which led into a ravine into the city, a sort of sewer system.
“…That could work.”
“My thoughts exactly.”
“What about you?”
“…Still working on that.” Kokoro could handle 14 people, but not 28, that was too much, especially since she didn’t know about the plan… Naava breathed.
“Alright, just don’t do anything stupid.”
“I’ll consider that.”
Javik stood at the bridge, hands behind his back, he watched as the stone elevator came to the end, and finally paused in place, the other did the same after ten seconds. Looking to the side, Javik snapped his fingers to the outcasts on the other bridge, they began moving, they would try to solve this peacefully, if that didn’t work, well… there was always that other way. The bridge itself was rather wide, and made of stone, it looked old, like this was something Aang left intact from the old layout of Shiloh. Two JAvik’s left and right, were two soldiers, walking beside him, they looked ready for anything, hands at their sides, ready to pull out their weapons, earthbending wouldn’t do them any good. He eyed the elevator opening, as Ryuu stepped out, beside him was his brother, Josa, and Tooru. Behind them were ten other guys, each either an earthbender, a firebender, or neither. Ryuu stood at the front of the group, eying Javik.
“Javik… I recognized your foul stench the moment I got onto that elevator.” He frowned, while Javik breathed… he didn’t have time for Ryuu’s shit.
“We don’t need to fight, just come with us, and-“
“Not need to fight? This whole time we’ve been fighting.” Javik crossed his arms, slowly.
“…” he looked to the side, seeing Naava facing the soldiers, alongside her was Kokoro.
“Which is why, this is meaningless… we outnumber you, plain and simple.”
“That never stopped you.” Ryuu countered, Javik eyed him, Ryuu was trying to edge him on. “Except for now… quitter.” He liked calling Javik that, a quitter. “It’s a shame you’re bringing Koko down with you.”
“It was her own choice… it’s yours as well.”
“No… it isn’t.” Ryuu countered, his friends eyed him, while the bearded teenager breathed. “I said when I have the chance… I’d kill you, and I’m not turning back on my word, traitor.” At this moment, Ryuu’s hand edged slightly, and then Javik caught what Ryuu was doing, by wasting their time, Ryuu quickly shot forward, and a flash of lightning shot out of his fingertips, Javik quickly edged out of the way, bending water from the ravine towards him, it immediately redirected the flow of the lightning upwards, hitting the cava wall. Rock fell and everything shook from this.
Shiro followed up on his brother’s attack, shooting blasts of fire towards the waterbender, he blocked, as he stepped back . The outcast forces facing Naava’s group immediately broke into a brawl, as Naava threw one overboard, followed by Minami quickly shooting two precise blasts of fire to trip a man. Aria pulled out her bow, aiming towards the attacking force, dislodging an arrow into a man’s leg, hitting him in the knee. The man fell to the ground, as the rest of the group of rebels joined into the fray.
Javik could notice of this, quickly whipping a blast of water in the direction of the bridge, water shot up, and Naava fell back, to the edge of the bridge. She turned, eying Javik, as Ryuu shot forward with his sword, slashing fire in the waterbender’s direction. The man evaded each slash, kicking Ryuu away. At one point Aria’s focus changed to Javik, as she fired a few arrows in the man’s direction, he avoided, using his waterbender to block each arrow. They shot into an icy wall, which he immediately shattered towards Ryuu’s group. The other soldiers were busy fighting, as Ryuu quickly slashed fire down at JAvik, the man fell back, as Ryuu quickly stepped past him, followed by the other soldiers. Shiro had wanted to brandish his own blades on JAvik, but he knew the plan… they had to overwhelm him. As the group got onto the other side of the bridge, JAvik’s gaze turned, noticing four continuous blasts of fire went in his direction, he evaded with waterbending each time, but already he seemed at the end of his rope. Aria held her bow closely, aiming an arrow… immediately she released the draw string, and a bolt shot out, quickly firing into the man’s stomach. He lowered slightly in pain, at that moment Kokoro watched as Aria aimed another Arrow, she quickly shoved at the shorter girl, breaking her balance.
“No!” she yelled. Ryuu turned, frowning straight at the waterbender. Javik regained his composure, pulling the arrow out, it didn’t go in too far, his hand edged to the side, pulling up water, as he quickly shot at Ryuu, Ryuu ducked, and looked to Tooru.
“Now!” Quickly at that moment, Tooru stepped downwards hard. A large cut was seen among both sides of the bridge, as it immediately fell apart into the water. Javik and his men unlucky enough to be on the bridge quickly fell into the water. Ryuu frowned, watching as JAvik quickly bended himself upwards, feet turning to ice in order to float on the water. Javik’s hands shot outwards, as two massive tentacles quickly formed, aiming directly towards Ryuu’s group. A man avoided, while another was pulled in. the soldiers in the water quickly began swimming away, seeing the sewers. To the remaining men, Javik looked upwards, they still outnumbered Ryuu and Naava’s groups.
“Get them!” he yelled. Ryuu quickly kicked at a soldier, while Shiro blasted another away, followed by Ryuu throwing stray shots. The group began using Naava’s bridge as a vantage point, focusing more on the girl’s group. Javik was about to look to them, when he saw Ryuu shift his attention back, firing bolts of fire right at the man, who blocked each one. He quickly saw where this was going… nowhere good, for the most part the men fulfilled their purpose, slow down Naava’s group… and they’d keep slowing them down, at least for an hour. Javik noticed the archway that led into a sewer line, that led deeper into the city. The waterbender’s hands moved in a consuming motion, as he made his way towards the line, and disappeared… Ryuu lost his chance. Kokoro watched this happen, and noticed how Ryuu frowned towards her, how she ruined it… that was likely their best chance at killed that bastard.
The two groups kept fighting, though it seemed hopeless, they could take out these guys, but it’d take way too long… and so Naava came up with an idea, she looked to her group.
“Time to jump in!” she yelled, she and the others quickly got to the edge of the bridge, and immediately jumped out into the water. Kokoro fell in, and quickly used her bending to slowly stand up in the waves, she was rather shaky, and so formed icy rafts. Aria was the last one standing on the bridge, she frowned.
‘Great… swimming.’ She didn’t like water, even when she got over it, she still didn’t like water. Naava looked up,
“Come on!” Aria shook, before sighing.
“Damn it.” She putted her bow to her side, and quickly jumped into the water, dog paddling over to a raft. Her sister quickly pulled her up, as Aria shook, despite being sick, she really hated being cold.
“You okay?” the younger sister asked. Aria frowned.
“Bad question…” she seemed even paler, and more shaky, she was still relying on the drugs Snake gave them, burning right through them, eventually she’d run out. Naava looked out towards the fight, seeing Ryuu take a quick nod, they’d have to separate, at least temporarily. She nodded, and looked to Kokoro.
“Take us out of here… see that sewer?” she asked, with that, Kokoro nodded, quickly bending them towards the same direction Javik went, disappearing. Ryuu breathed, immediately looking back to the enemy forces… they were their only target now, as Naava’s group went up ahead… Ryuu frowned.
The inside of the sewers were rather clean, as Javik would notice, it was very advanced, likely a sort of precursor to the system inside Republic city. Parts of water was sectioned off, and that part played as the main sewer line, while what Javik was in was mostly a passageway, likely meant for boats, or that sort of thing. His hands waved forward, as he built up with speed, before gripping his side painfully, he breathed, and quickly regained his composure. Pausing at a part of the waterway… eying it. Stone works shot out of the ground, supporting the landmass of a city still there, blue stone was imbedded even in this lower lever, illuminating the area.
Stone work was all around him, it was likely the people of Shiloh built much of this by themselves, and then in the later years employed the help of earthbenders from inside the desert to assist, it was likely how those rumors of it being a city made of gold began.
Strange lettering littered the beginning of passageways, as Javik noticed. Pulling out the codex, he quickly turned the dial, translating the words.
‘…Dock 7.’ He muttered to himself, the people likely had a small collection of docks, with a large lake built into the city, it was probably a recreational activity. Moving forward, Javik noticed a waterway that continued… he needed to rejoin Ronin’s group, Ronin didn’t intend for Javik to take out Ryuu’s group, it had to be to slow them down. The man edged forward, going straight. He felt a pain return to his stomach, as he kept moving, eying his wound… after a moment, he slowly did a pulling motion with his hand, shifting the blood partially. Finally he reached enough distance to find stairs heading to the upper levels. He stepped off of the water, looking to hear slight talking… likely from Naava’s group. Javik approached the stairs, quickly stepping up them… he could feel something strange.
”Javik, are you sure about this?”
“…Positive.” Rufus looked away, frowning…
“Well… I guess we have no choice.”
“What about Fox?” Koza asked, officially they hadn’t had contact with Fox in years, ‘officially’ of course. Javik turned, breathing.
“The Chun girl, she could pull it off.”
“Why would she even bother?”
“If it means saving her family, anyone would do anything.”
“Still… she’s estranged from them.”
“Aren’t you from your wife?” Rufus frowned, if Mizu had shown up at his door, he’d likely accept her with open arms, not asking anything…
“That’s beside the point.”
“I’m just saying, the airbender is coming this way, she’s likely to enter the desert, the strikers have an agent coming this way, he’s likely to follow.”
“And so you want to use the Chun girl?”
“She has potential… I’ve seen her records when she was a striker, ace agent, but very opinionated, she can lead.”
“And her status makes her very important, if she dies, she’s a martyr, if she lives, she’s a symbol.”
“Exactly, if it means saving her people, she’d do it.” Javik’s proposal was for Naava Chun to take on the Fox identity, to trick Ryuu into working with her, since he’d need assistance, but none of them could do it. They needed someone who would go to great extremes to hold up a lie, someone who hated Ronin that much, the daughter of Orion Chun was likely a very brilliant(if dangerous) choice.
“What if she tells the truth?”
“It won’t matter, she just needs to keep lying until the time is right.”
“Right for the real Fox to see this through.” Rufus finished, Koza thought about this, it did seem like an interesting plan, especially if it worked. Naava would have to keep lying, but being a former striker gave her easy reason to keep up the ruse… she knew the desert well, and would assist Ryuu if it meant protecting her family. Javik nodded to his friend.
“…Are you in?” he asked, Koza slowly nodded, it seemed like a good choice, while Rufus sighed.
“It’s reckless, you know that.”
“…But it’s crazy enough to work.”
Javik breathed from the sudden memory, he rubbed his head for a moment, Koza and Rufus continued to have troubling contact with Fox, but their limited contact with Fox was necessary, he would be the one to make sure everything within the city goes according to plan… despite what Javik would think. Koza had no idea Javik intended to join Ronin, at the end when Koza died, Javik’s betrayal was complete, all that was left was to handle Fox, which would be a rather easy feat. Javik kept moving up the stairs, finally reaching one of the streets, it was a bit compact, likely meant for airbending, he could hear sounds in the distance… marching. Looking to the side, he saw Ronin’s group moving at a relative pace.
Ronin led the large group, a scar ran down his face, it has slowly become a part of his face, atleast that’s how Ronin noticed it. He slowed his footsteps, and then stopped, seeing Javik facing them, the man quickly rejoined the group. Ronin seemed practically disturbed that Javik could get here before they could.
“How did you do this?”
“There’s a waterway, that goes through the entire city.” Javik explained, Ronin only half-heartedly listened.
“Where’s your men?”
“Probably still fighting…” Javik explained, taking a quick breath. “The Chun’s are definitely being slowed down.”
“Good, though I didn’t say ‘slow them down’.”
“It’s semantics.” Javik replied, after a moment, Ronin gave in.
“Welcome back to the group…” Javik nodded his head at this, before he could do anymore, he heard a sudden shifting. Turning to the side, he watched immediately as one of the prisoners broke free. Dai Kimura practically ripped off the shackles, quickly following this up with a quick blast of fire, all the men turned away to avoided. Dai quickly shot more fire, and shook to attempt to undo the lock of another prisoner. Dai accidently shook and dropped the key, as a quick attack fo rock went his way. Dai evaded and jumped out of the group, quickly moving the opposite direction they had just been going for half an hour.
Ronin watched as the boy who scarred him took off and ran, he quickly turned his gaze, eying a short group of men.
“After him, now.” With that, the three quickly left the group, going after Dai Kimura, the other guards quickly secured his friends, unfortunately having trouble finding the key, it didn’t seem like anybody had it. A guard looked to Ronin, frowning.
“What do we do sir?”
“We keep moving.” He barked, looking to Naomi.
“You had the key… how’d you let that happen?”
“It wasn’t my idea…”
“You’re sloppy today, I shouldn’t have to remind you.” Naomi bowed head, breathing.
“Yes… I know.” Ronin wasn’t going to get rid of her, not yet… not when he was this close, and needed all the men he could get… besides, it wasn’t like Dai was really that important, he was just a hostage. He quickly motioned to the others with a frown.
“Keep moving!” everyone returned back to moving, as their speed increased. They quickly made it to the edge of a tariff, giving Ryuu vision of the building in the center, the one they were travelling to. Aimee eyed the area, feeling a slight shake, she had a headache obviously, but it became more apparent.
The soldiers stood together, from the first sudden shifting, they had thought the Avatar was using the Avatar State, in order to fight them… they were very wrong. They quickly saw a man step out of the shadows, he walked with a strange movement, his hair was gray and he had dark green eyes. The men knew him as Solomon Shen, they quickly pulled out their hands, ready to do whatever necessary. Zion stood a couple levels away, eying this from a distance. The earthbenders had bending disks, ready to move directly at Solomon.
“Stand down!” one man yelled, Solomon took little notice of this, taking a step forward.
“…If you think you can kill me… I’d attack.” At that moment, the man leading the charge, a commander Carro breathed, immediately nodding.
“Fire!” With that, a massive collection of bending disks began shooting out directly towards Solomon, who simply raised his hand. Disks were shot out at break neck speeds, intending to kill him on impact, one of the disks hit the ground, and quickly dust built up in the air, as everyone slowly paused… The dust dissipated, as Solomon remained standing, the disks all stood above him, floating. He eyed them for a moment, before turning his gaze back to the men, fingers twirling partially. The disks each began to move like an oiled machine, rotating in place, Solomon relished in this new ability. He breathed slowly, and immediately opened his hand partially, the disks moved out of their spots, immediately Solomon was ready, and he quickly released his grip on them, shooting forward. The disks vibrated and knocked directly into each of the soldiers, each of which attempted to escape, but was cut down immediately by Solomon’s will. Earthbending was no use against him, as the disks exploded on impact of each soldier. A group of warriors immediately hurried toward Solomon, intending to slice through him, at this, Solomon’s gaze turned, and his hand shook. As suddenly as this happened, a man’s sword shattered, blowing apart and into his friends. They all fell down wounded… like a grenade going off.
“Come on Chun, I’ve known you to be better than this!” he yelled… the Mirage stone was doing this, gave him all the power in the world. His grip tightened, as he turned, to see Zion had disappeared.
“Don’t you run from me!” he yelled, hand clenched. Immediately a nearby building fell apart from a sudden crushing movement. More soldiers quickly ran away from the building, while Solomon turned, hands shooting forward, debris from the building immediately blasted into the men, killing some on impact.
“Solomon!” a familiar voice yelled, he slowed down, noticing something… the Avatar approaching.
“Enough of this… or you’ll leave me no choice.” Aang threatened, Solomon took this with a grain of salt, turning.
“…You can’t stop me, I have the power now…”
“But I’m still the Avatar.” Aang replied, at that, Solomon practically smiled, here Aang was… challenging him.
“…Not for long, air nomad.” In the background, Azrael was running up a pair of stairs, towards his brother.
Aimee clenched partially from the memory, a lot of this town already looked partially damaged, likely from some sort of massive fight. Aang had to beat him, she was only partially disappointed the current memory ended there, she’d have to see more images retaining to Aang being in Shiloh…
‘It’s not a good thing I want to keep watching.’ It was actually really entertaining, if she didn’t take it for what it was, but as maybe… a mover. Mika moved beside her, silently. Aimee breathed.
“That’s one of us gone… only a couple more to go.” Aimee reasoned, Mika nodded, sighing. The guards paid even closer attention.
Dai found himself running from the guards, they followed but had difficulties keeping up, so quickly they began using their bending to trip Dai up… he ahd to make a quick turn to avoid. Quickly reaching the side of a building, he ran up it’s stairs. From the stairs he reached a strange pot that was being hung down from the air, he quickly grabbed onto it, and watched as he turned the corner of the building. He landed at a railing. He looked down to see a guard running after him, under the probender. At this sight, Dai quickly jumped off the railing, impacting the guard who fell to the ground from the startling attack from the firebender.
“Sorry…” Dai muttered, which wasn’t very honest. The other guards kept following, and quickly Dai shot a blast a fire towards them, while resuming his run. Eventually he returned to the edge of the city, which was relatively close by. At the edge, he noticed a continuing fight at the bridge, the guys and some soldiers were quickly holding off more outcasts. The two guards reached behind Dai, but he was too fast for them, kicking fire downwards, the two men tripped from that. Dai looked to the fight breathing before quickly moving closer.
For Ryuu, the current fight was no a good one, especially with Javik surviving. The girls had escaped through the sewer line, and so they’d continue trailing Ronin. Ryuu quickly blasted a man away, while Tooru shot more pieces of the broken bridge at more guards… this fight was going way too slowly. The men used defensive techniques, to slow them down and waste their time… and frankly Ryuu was this close to considering their chances if they just made a run for it. He then looked to see a man quickly get shot by fire, at his blind side. The man fell into the others, quickly toppling a few more men down like a deranged domino. At this moment, Ryuu then noticed a newcomer, Dai had broken away from the group… he didn’t look very good, with tears all over his clothes, and some bruises… but he could look much worse.
Ryuu worked with this, as he looked to Tooru, who quickly quaked the ground around these guys, knocking some out, and others over. Josa and Shiro worked well enough ogether to quickly go through more guys, using long range firebending techniques. At long last, these guys were taken out… it was about time. Tooru turned, smiling towards Dai.
“Dai… he didn’t kill you!” He yelled, excited, Dai scratched his side.
“Er… right.” He sighed, they likely needed to recuperate.
“Sow hat happened?” Shiro asked, the other soldiers on their side were busy getting out of the fight, one helped another up, while another began going through the outcast soldier’s possessions.
FIVE MINUTES LATER
The group could finally get back to moving, as they had readjusted from the fight. Dai explained what exactly happened with Ronin. Shiro was disappointed Aimee couldn’t get out, but it’d be only a matter of time. Dai was only slightly disappointed to learn about the girl’s current situation, though they were likely a little bit ahead. So with this, the group decided to go back to tracking Ronin’s small caravan. They made their way to the streets, quickly to find Shiloh… seemed very modern.
Tooru bent down at the road, eying it.
“This is good quality stuff… like they got earthbenders and just steam rolled everything.”
“They probably did.” Ryuu replied. Josa studied the buildings for a moment, they all looked well kept, it was likely the type of stone they were made from was really resilient. Shiloh had a sort of stacked layer design, since they had such little space to work with, most buildings simply built upwards, like an air temple… though Josa noticed something.
“…What the hell happened here?” he asked, the others turned, as Josa eyed a few ruined buildings.
“What did this?” Dai asked, surprised, Josa turned.
“That’s what I’m asking.” From what Shiro could see, this building wasn’t collapsed by any sort of weaponry, nothing was shot into it… it looked like it was torn apart, from the inside.
“It looks like… and earthbender did this.” Josa turned.
“But doing it to a house? That’s way too big-“
“Not if you’re the avatar.” Ryuu muttered, the others turned. “Hell, that stone Ronin’s looking for could accomplish something like this… maybe there was a little fight.”
“…” Ryuu turned away.
“This is wasting our time.” He pulled out his transceiver, as they kept walking… maybe Naava had some thoughts to share.
“what the hell was that?” Aria asked, annoyed, the ice rafts drifted at a decent speed, with Kokoro controlling them.
“I um… don’t know what you’re talking about.” Minami turned towards the waterbender, frowning.
“We could have stopped Javik, but you… you just-“
“I wasn’t comfortable with letting him die, okay?”
“comfortable? You think any of this is comfortable for any of us?” Aria asked, annoyed, Kokoro looked down. Naava paid little attention to this ordeal, she didn’t focus too much on killing Javik, not like the Kuroda girls did.
“Hell… he was Ronin’s right hand man, without him, a lot of this crap would collapse, why did we even let you come down here, if you were just going to mess this up?” Kokoro was silent, that was another thing Aria didn’t like, the girl’s shaky confidence, she had learned it from Naava, but hadn’t mastered it, the whole “I don’t need to explain anything to you”, persona. It was a lot like Ryuu, though he seemingly felt bad about doing it, Kokoro didn’t.
“Why did you come?” Minami asked, curiously… Kokoro wasn’t especially skill full, she simply wanted to come along… was it to protect Javik? Aria turned, looking to Naava. The girl sat down in a sort of meditation stance, eyes closed.
‘Even worse than Aimee…’ Aria had always hated when Aimee avoided these conflicts, by simply getting in position and claiming she was meditating. Naava seemed to be doing the same thing, though maybe it was something else.
“Something wrong?” Aria asked, Naava looked down.
“I just… have this headache.”
“Sounds tough.” Aria replied, sarcastically, Naava breathed…
“…How much longer can you go?” she asked, Aria raised an eyebrow, while Naava turned, quickly repeating her question. The shorter earthbender shrugged, thinking over the drugs she still had, along with how she was currently feeling, she was thinking… a couple hours at best, maybe more, maybe less.
Naava breathed, closing her eyes again.
“…You don’t look the type to mediate.” Aria pointed out.
“It’s ‘cus I’m not…” Naava replied, but she needed to focus.
“…” Kokoro eyed the older earthbender.
“Do you um… see anything?” As Naava sat there, she tried focusing, all she could see was blackness, the same darkness she saw every time her eyes were closed… she breathed for a moment, before hearing something… a voice she did not recognize.
”Light within the Dark…” the voice was oddly… familiar, but she knew she didn’t know where it came from.
“Light within the Dark…” Naava muttered to herself, the others turned, curiously, while Naava breathed.
“What does that mean?” Naava shrugged,
“No clue.” The phrase actually came from the art of spiritbending, a technique that simply required bending to perform, there was a rather common waterbending technique associated with it, while also more obscure Earth, Fire, and Air techniques. Thought he official phrase was actually Light IN the dark, within just sounded more natural. She closed her eyes again, meditating over the words, saying it to herself.
‘What do you mean… what is the light in the dark?’ she thought to herself, she was surprised she got anywhere with meditating, though being a member of the Chun tribe, she was well versed in the techniques… she just never really did them, not seeing any use for it… Lune was probably much better, without realizing it. Now that she thought about it, Light within the Dark was a direct parallel to an old Shiloh saying, of… Dark within the Light, which related to the Mirage stone, being a stone imbued with negative energy.
‘Light… within the Dark…’ she shook slowly, as her breathing tensed… there had to be some sort of meaning, some sort of-
‘Don’t be afraid-‘ Her eyes opened widely, as she sat back, breathing.
“Naava?” Kokoro asked surprised, the girl sighed… she still hadn’t finished the training, as Joshua had wanted… but it didn’t matter, if this point was to beat Ronin, she had that in spares.
“I’m fine…” Naava replied, before slowly standing up. She eyed the water way they were moving through.
“…We can’t go this way forever.” She announced, Aria nodded.
“I agree… we need to find the others.” Aria liked Naava, the very fact that she was a compelling leader was a nice change of pace, back in shaylim they had Shiro leading, but… most of the time he had no idea what he was doing(except at that race). Before Anymore could be said, Naava felt a familiar vibration, it came from the transceiver she had. She quickly pulled out the walkie-talkie, putting it to her ear.
“You guys are okay?” he asked.
“I’d be asking you the same question.”
“We took care of them, making our way through the street.”
“Okay…” she muttered, she looked back to Aria and the others.
“It’s them.” Naava mouthed, Aria nodded.
“So I take it you didn’t see Javik?”
“No, he was too fast, master waterbender.”
“Okay, Dai said he just got back to Ronin’s crew.”
“Great…” she frowned, Minami tunred, hearing that.
“Wait… Dai?” Minami tookt he communicator from Naava.
“You guys found Dai?”
“Yeah… he escaped Ronin’s group, Mika and Aimee are still there though.”
“Okay, but… how is he?”
“…He’s fine, we need to find you guys, then we can go as a group.” Ryuu replied.
“I agree, but…” Minami began, Ryuu was silent, noticing something.
“Shit.” He swore, Minami raised an eyebrow.
“What?” Ronin has guards posted, he knows he has enough people to overwhelm, these are probably scouts… like the couple guards he left at the elevators.”
“Can you handle them?”
“It’d be a waste of time, you guys keep travelling that way, we’ll catch up with you.” Naava took back her walkie-talkie, listening to it.
“You got it…” she trailed off.
“…Naava, where exactly am I going?”
“From the old stories, I heard the Mirage stone was kept in the center of Shiloh, you see a building in the middle?”
“Yeah, Ronin’s marching to it.”
“go there…” Naava directed.
“Okay… be safe.”
“… Why did Kokoro stop that arrow?” Ryuu concluded, Naava wasn’t going to answer that, she ended the call. She looked to the others, sighing.
“Okay, the others are okay… Ronin has guards posted around the town, so we need to sneak by, keep going this way.” She explained. Minami sighed.
“We don’t have much of a choice… could we go faster?” she asked, turning to Kokoro. The waterbender nodded.
“Yeah, we can… we just need to keep going this way.” She explained.
“Koko, make it happen.” Naava directed, Kokoro eyed the icy rafts, pushing forward, the waves built up and moved them all forward. The other members of the group didn’t like this, but it was either this, or walk above ground where they could be spotted… it was only a matter of time before they’d see Ronin’s crew again… only a matter of time. Kokoro kept her eyes focused outwards, she didn’t want to talk, as Naava would notice, it was strange… Kokoro was different then she had been days ago, she was more mature, but… her actions really bothered Naava. If she was still a striker, she would have killed Javik on the spot, but she wasn’t, so she didn’t care… neither did Kokoro, it seemed.
‘She’s working with him… but hiding it from us, Ryuu knew about that, didn’t he?’ she wasn’t going to press the waterbender, especially with how much they needed her for this, but… it was an interesting question, what did Kokoro know, about Javik… about Fox, about Shiloh? She couldn’t think on it, turning herself against Kokoro would do no good. With that said, Naava slowly returned to sitting down, breathing… whatever it was, this Light In the Dark topic had her interest… she breathed.
‘Find the light… within the dark.’