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Previously on The Avatar Rhythm
|"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. "|
|— The Laws Ignite: Part 1|
|""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. "|
|— The Laws Ignite: Part 1|
|The Laws Ignite: Part 2|
July 1, 2011
This is Chapter 12 in The Avatar Rhythm Series
Back in the Royal Arena, the crowds were aghast. Under their feet, the ground was shaking violently as Hotaru clenched her fists, up and down and side to side.
"She's Earthbending!" somebody in the audience shouted, and others seemed to nod their head in agreement. But as the air became hotter and hotter, Taro figured out his own reasoning.
"As you know," Taro announced, trying to keep balance on the shaking ground, "Royal Chaldera City is built upon a dormant volcano. Hotaru is currently bending the magma that's been asleep under our feet for the past five thousand years."
He could not continue, because suddenly, in between the two Agni-Kai opponents, a huge crack formed in the ground, spitting out hot lava by the second. Taro realized there was no time for speeches. He had to fight now, and win.
As more and more molten rock poured out from the arena, Hotaru sped towards the Fire Lord, punching jets of fire all the while. Taro, trying to duck, lost his balance due to the shaking arena, and fell down, taking a huge stream of fire right on his arm, burning away his sleeve, his skin, and his muscles, charring his strength.
As he managed to get up again, dodging a fire blast from Hotaru, another crack suddenly smashed into the ground behind him, with more lava spilling out onto the grounds. He managed to hop backwards, shoot a beam of flames that just missed Hotaru's head, and went to the other side of the arena. But to his surprise, one more crack formed near Taro, and then another, molten lava pouring from all sides near the Fire Lord. But Taro still had his wits of a Firebender, and formed his arms in a way so that he redirected the heat of the lava through his arms and into the night sky. Without any heat, the clump of lava hardened, and formed a platform Taro could stand upon, and then he started firing. Huge blasts of flaming anger shot out at Hotaru, none of them hitting.
"You're going to run out of time soon enough girl," the Fire Lord shouted, "That lava which you brought here is going to eventually get you, and since I assume you never learned how to redirect heat in Everburn Academy, I'd advise you to get out this the easy way and stop trying to dodge my attacks."
Taro raised his hands, collecting fire, ready to shoot a colossal inferno straight at Hotaru. But a new voice in the crowd didn't let that happen.
And everyone looked up at Shirou in the audience holding Goro, wrapped up with rope, over his shoulder.
"Stop!" he commanded. "This is a criminal I'm holding, and you shouldn't be having this Agni-Kai! Goro planned this so he could become Fire Lord, Taro would fall, and his own daughter would die!" The audience raised an eyebrow.
"Goro set up a team of professional villains," Shirou explained, "For his plan to work. They framed Hotaru killing our Fire Lord, and according to the law, that would instantly put them in a fatal Agni-Kai match. Now Goro assumed Taro would win, and because of a fault in our law, it would be considered murder and he would go to jail. Because Taro has no wife or children, Goro would become Fire Lord, and he was going to create a law that made no Fire Lord able to have two coronations, so Goro would stay in office and accept the royal bloodline, even when Taro got out of prison. This man is a child abuser, corrupt governor, and he burned our official record of laws," Shirou said, holding the blackened piece of parchment."
As the sun started to rise, Taro shouted to the crowds. "Arrest him! And stop this duel. And Shirou," he paused. "Thank you."
A week after the Fatal Agni-Kai match, Taro stood atop the huge Fire Nation Capital Gate overlooking the Royal Plaza, which was filled with citizens. This was a day to remember.
"Ladies and gentlemen," he announced, "We have a very special occasion to celebrate today. Just one week ago, our nation could have fell into very bad hands. Just one week ago, one of our governors who I thought was loyal used his power and almost took control of the nation. Just one week ago, a brave young hero stood up for us and saved everyone here from a disaster like none other. Citizens, welcome to our community Shirou of the Water Tribe!"
On command, Shirou walked up to the balcony next to Taro. Since the battle, he had been healed of all wounds, and now was dressed in royal Fire Nation armor. His charred hair had been tied up in a topknot, on which he was wearing a headpiece marked with the Water Tribe insignia. And for once, he really felt happy in his life. There Shirou stood, looking into the horizon, with millions of citizens who barely even knew him clapping and screaming and cheering his name. Never in his home did he ever feel even half like this.
"Thank you!" Shirou shouted, as a small tear he hoped no one noticed ran down his cheek. He looked up at Taro, silently praying that he wouldn't have to talk anymore than he already did.
The Fire Lord seemed to understand.
"We have one more hero to commemorate today," Taro announced. "Bow down in presence of Avatar Hotaru."
The crowd gasped, then bowed their heads down, as Hotaru walked in, also with royal armor on.
They slowly looked back up as Taro resumed speaking. "Although she still won't turn sixteen for two months, our new Avatar found out her identity by herself, and it was a crucial part in the saving of this nation last week. And, as a master Firebender, in five days she will leave for the Western Air Temple to learn the bending discipline of Air, so we needed to present her now. I actually have had some experience with Hotaru before. Earlier in the month, I presented her in the Fire Days Festival to perform. And just last week, she was my opponent in a deadly match of Agni-Kai, which was drawn to a tie." As Taro kept rambling on about Hotaru's many life achievements, Shirou scowled. Ignoring what the Avatar did to his grandfather was still impossible. Mikio had killed him, and Hotaru had completely burned the only picture he had left of him. Shirou didn't forget about things like that.
After the ceremony, Shirou sat in the corner of the balcony while the crowds started to leave. Taro was the only other person there.
"I still cannot thank you enough for what you did last week, " he said quietly. "You saved my life, the Avatar's life, and the life of this nation. So I wanted to give you something." Shirou looked up, and gasped when he saw Taro hand him a large shard of the Fire Lord headpiece.
"It was the only piece I could find."
As he accepted the present, Hotaru stepped out on the balcony.
"I was looking for you guys," she said, and then looked down. "Shirou, it feels really weird saying this after I blasted you off that cliff a week ago, but, well, thanks."
Shirou grimaced. "Don't mention it. At all."
The End of Book 1
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