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Previously on The Avatar Rhythm
|""Finding your options is good, but choosing the right one is the real task you must face. Which you choose, I can't change, but always remember that sometimes the world's balance must come before personal satisfaction. I cannot disrupt your destiny, because then it would be mine." "|
|— Taro from The First Seminar|
|""We will fake a crime with a child I have chosen, making it look like the child was attempting to kill Taro. Then, the child will have to face the Fire Lord in a fatal Agni-Kai match. When the Fire Lord kills the child we have chosen, because it won't be in a duel that both players have agreed on, Taro will be sent to jail because of murder.|
"Boss," asked the female voice, "Who is the child that you chose?"
|— From Out of the Ashes|
|"The Fire Lord's room was empty. Goro's henchman had already came, and were probably already bringing him and Hotaru to the Agni-Kai arena. If Shirou didn't intervene now, one of them would die, and the other would be brought to prison for the rest of their life. "|
|— From The Heat of the Moment|
|"The two players of this Fatal Agni-Kai looked at each other, and they knew that neither of them wanted this to happen.|
But it had to.
|— From The Heat of the Moment|
|The Laws Ignite: Part 1|
June 30, 2011
This is Chapter 11 in The Avatar Rhythm Series
It was just turning midnight, and Shirou had clumsily scaled a side of the Royal Arena and was watching this Fatal Agni-Kai duel from above. As the night darkened, soon candles had to be lit around the stadium so the crowds could see what was happening. When they did, a brawling Taro and Hotaru were revealed, shooting fire at each other, ducking, and rolling around the arena. The Avatar was facing the Fire Lord, and the match seemed equally life-threatening. Although Hotaru was only fifteen years old, she had entered the Avatar State, and still could be a fair opponent of Taro.
But Shirou had bigger things on his mind. Everything he had learned since coming to the Fire Nation was now going to be necessary to end this conflict, but to use them would mean to break all of his morals, including the biggest thing that had troubled him since he was a year old. That the Avatar was an enemy. If he was to go along with Goro's scheme, then Hotaru would be killed by the Fire Lord, and then the Avatar would be dead, and he would be happy.
But there was a price. If that was to happen, Taro would fall, and Goro would accept his place at the Fire Nation throne. One fourth of the whole nation's government would burn to a crisp. It was a lose-lose situation, really. Either Goro would win or the Avatar would live, and neither left a very pleasing thought.
Suddenly, something that the Fire Lord had told him before clicked into his mind. "Every lose-lose situation is a win-win situation from an optimistic point of view.". And it finally made sense.
When Shirou rethought the circumstances, they had become that either Goro would fail or the Avatar would die. But then he remembered another one of Taro's teachings. "Finding your options is good, but choosing the right one is the real task you must face. Which you choose, I can't change, but always remember that sometimes the world's balance must come before personal satisfaction."
And Shirou thought very, very, hard.
In the arena, the Fatal Agni-Kai battle became fierce. Both players were breathing heavily, fighting against their will. Neither wanted to hurt each other, but both wanted to end this conflict fair, square, quick, and easy.
Hotaru was punching rapidly, shooting flames out her fists by the second. But because Taro was skilled in the fire shield technique, and just about all of the attacks aimed for him had been completely blocked. Nobody could tell how this battle was going to turn out. Until what happened next.
Suddenly, Taro brought his hands up, with shimmering blue sparks following his fingertips.
The angry Fire Lord put a foot out in front of him, raised his arm, and attacked.
A short blast of electricity that was crackling with thunderclaps leaped out at Hotaru, immense power shown by its sparkling blue color. But as it shot towards the Avatar, miraculously, it did not harm her. It actually stroke right through Hotaru's arm, through her stomach, and out through her other arm's fingertips, completely redirecting the lightning strike, and she shot it back out at Taro.
But the lightning did something unexpected. Because electricity always attracts to metal, her strike flew to the nearest metal object in the arena.
The Fire Lord's headpiece.
The bright blue strike of lightning flew to the garment in Taro's topknot, and then the crowds saw an explosion like nobody had ever seen before. Smoke, sparks, and bits of hot metal rocketed away in all directions, and when it cleared, both players of the Fatal Agni-Kai looked at the arena floor in disbelief. There, lying between them, was the official Fire Lord Royal headpiece, shattered into three pieces that were all streaked with ash, and burnt around the edges.
Everyone, the crowd, the players, even Goro's henchmen, they all gasped. But Hotaru used this distraction to her advantage. When no one was looking, and Taro still stared at his shattered headpiece, she took a deep breath, clenched her fists, and the ground beneath them slowly started to shake.
Meanwhile, Goro sat in the basement of the arena, filing his nails while reading the Fire Nation lawbook. Suddenly, he got the chills, and knew somebody was watching.
"Who goes there?" Goro asked, shaking.
There was no need for an answer. Shirou, thick with burns and scars, stomped into the room, and clenched his fists, one of them being around his short-sword.
"Oh, hello Shirou!" he said in a fake, kind-hearted voice. "Did you hear about what my daughter Hotaru did? It's very sad your friend wasn't so loyal to her Nation. I promise you that even-" Shirou broke into his speech. "Goro, be quiet. I know that Hotaru's the Avatar, I know your plan, and I know what you were discussing this afternoon in the Fire Lily Inn. I know what your doing to your own child. It's cruel."
He was taken aback, but quickly regained composure and spoke. "So I see we have a little spy here. Whatever. The public won't listen. Soon I'll become Fire Lord and take control over everybody."
"What about Hotaru?" Shirou pleaded. "She's your own daughter, and your giving her life up for political power!"
"Maybe Hotaru is my daughter, Goro continued, "But the Avatar is not. I loved her more than anything, but I never wanted her to leave so quickly. My own daughter, away for twelve years, only coming back as a fully realized Avatar that would probably leave quickly afterwards to help some frightful citizens somewhere faraway. So I decided to make the best of the sixteen years I would know her. I recently forced her to participate in the Fire Days Festival to show me her talents before I had to say goodbye. And now, I was going to use her to obtain ultimate power in the Fire Nation before anybody even knew of her identity. But you neglected my desires, and now she's in the Avatar State in front of every noble in the Fire Nation! Do you know how fast that word will spread? But it won't matter. I'm sure Taro has the upper hand right now, and is about to defeat her and I will win this ultimate game!"
Shirou gasped at the insanity before him. "No..."
"And in the meantime," Goro announced, as he held the scrolls containing every official law of the Fire Nation, "I will conquer these too, so no one can prove my ways guilty."
But he did something that Shirou did not exactly have in mind. Goro brought the scrolls over his fist, and created a small flame that ever so quickly latched itself onto the parchment, and starting scaling up the now-blackened sides of the official record of the Fire Nation laws.
"I will ignite these laws, and out of their ashes, a new revision will rise, written by Fire Lord Goro. I'll go to the Royal Palace, and stay in office till my death! I will create the law over again. The Disabled Re-Coronation Law. It will state that no previous Fire Lord can have a second coronation. That means, when Taro gets out of prison for murder, the royal bloodline will be mine, and he won't be able to resume office!" As he cackled loudly in the dark basement of the arena while the law scrolls began to burn, Shirou knew he had no choice, and thrust his short sword straight at Governor Goro.
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