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Previously on The Avatar Rhythm
|"Shirou replied. "My troubles cannot be fixed. For all my life, I've wanted to hunt down the Avatar for what he did to my grandfather Kaito. So I came here to do just that, and the only friend I make happens to become my enemy. Hotaru is the Avatar!""|
|— From The First Seminar|
|""Compromise. I'll recruit the Air Nomad armies while you kill Hotaru. Sora said she'd be back soon, and saying that she runs the place, I bet she runs the military. I'll go with her, and while we talk, you find out where Hotaru is. That's fair enough."|
|— Shirou from The Temple|
|"The Quadrination Bandits laughed. "We're going to the Western Air Temple." "|
|— From The Temple|
|"What good would that do? If you killed her, Hotaru's family would be mad at you, and then they would want to kill you, then your family would want to kill them, and so on. What difference does it make? "|
|— Sora describing the consequences of killing the Avatar in The Second Seminar|
|The Winds of Destruction: Part 1|
August 25, 2011
This is Chapter 23 in The Avatar Rhythm Series.
Wind was blowing.
The rustle of leaves stirred through the air.
All was calm.
Hotaru felt the peaceful heat of the sun graze her back through the window in her room. She took a deep breath, and closed her eyes, continuing meditation.
A sudden knock pounded on the door.
Hotaru's eyes opened. She walked up to the door, and put her hands on the doorknob, and then it immediately jumped backwards, howling in pain. The metal knob was scalding hot, and had burned half of the skin of her palm right off, falling to the ground. Something, someone, a firebender, was behind the door. "Show yourself!"
The wooden door burst open, and flames exploded from every crack in the wall. Heat and fire enveloped the room. Hotaru saw a shadow move through the flames, and in worry, she shot her hands forward, blowing away the fire, revealing a tall man with scraggly hair, thin and dirty. It was Shinji.
"Who are you?" she asked, moving her feet into a fighting position, raising her fists, ready to attack. The Avatar's palm still seared with pain.
The attacker said nothing, and shot a huge blast of swirling flames at her, which she blocked with a simple fire shield. Hotaru thrust her fist out, and a gust of roaring wind was sent at Shinji, who spread his feet out, and kept balance. He smashed a wave of fire at the floor, and the tiles cracked and erupted with heat and sparks.
"What are you here for?" she asked. "Why did you come?"
Another voice shouted through the distortion of the fire. "I came to give you what you deserve."
Shinji brought his hands down, the flames disappeared, and there, Shirou was revealed.
Hotaru gasped. It was Shirou. Shirou, the boy who was once her friend. The boy she blasted off a cliff. The boy who saved her from an ultimate death in the Fire Nation. He wasn't the same Shirou that she remembered. He was taller, more rugged, more beat up. Any amount of sympathy that he once had was drained out of his eyes. "I've traveled farther than you can imagine," Shirou said, drawing his sword. "I've forced my way through deathly challenges that would be painful just to retell. I've had to make decisions and create enemies. And now, I've come to my reward." He lifted his sword level to the Avatar's neck. "You."
"Shirou." Hotaru stated. "You of all people? Why?"
He scowled. "You are the spirit who ruined my life. You are the dread that conquered anything I could have done with myself. You are the Avatar."
Hotaru looked down. "You don't have to be my enemy."
"Yes I do."
"You weren't. We were friends before you knew I was the Avatar. I liked you. You liked me. I'm still the same person.
"No you're not."
"Why do you hold this grudge?" Hotaru shouted, shaking her arms in frustration. "You didn't have to turn against me!"
"I didn't want you to be the Avatar," Shirou stated. "I never did. But in all reality, you are. Pretending won't do anything. You are the Avatar, so you are my enemy."
Hotaru yelled furiously. "I didn't want to be the Avatar either! I wanted to be a veterinarian! I was on your side! But I dealt with it, I didn't need revenge - I did what I was told anyway, and now look." She turned her palms upwards, creating a ball of fire in one hand and a small vortex of air in the other. "Now I can bend two elements at once and I'm a master of each! You could have dealt with it too!"
Shirou grumbled. "The Avatar is a monster."
"You are a monster! And so is your little friend there too. You're not the Shirou that I remember." Suddenly, a large crash erupted from a distant tower. "What's that?" Hotaru asked.
"The Quadrination Bandits," said Shinji. "They're here. Get this over with quickly, we got to run."
Shirou held his sword up, trembling, faltering. He brought it up next to Hotaru's neck, and stopped.
"If you came all this way to kill me," Hotaru shouted, "Then you should atleast have the guts to do it!"
Memories, lessons, and laughs ran through Shirou's head. He tried to slash his sword, but his hand wouldn't budge, in fear. Had his journey to The Western Air Temple changed him? Was he the Shirou that Hotaru remembered? Voices from his trek to this place bounced through his head.
"Think before you make the greatest mistake of your life."
"Choose a non-violent solution to your troubles. Killing only leads to more killing."
"Tranquility is something you have to treasure."
"In times of trouble, you didn't take help for granted. You helped each other, and succeeded."
"All life is sacred. You can't just go killing the people you hate."
Shirou screamed in frustration, tears flowing down his cheek. He thrust his sword on the ground, filling the room with echoing the clang of metal and stone. He started shaking violently.
"Well, are you going to do it, or are you too much of a wimp?" Hotaru asked.
"I don't, I don't know."
"You are a pathetic excuse for a - Look out!"
Shirou and Shinji turned around, and gasped. There, in the doorway, was Gephel of the Quadrination Bandits. "Oh goodie," he announced sarcastically. "I get to kill the cursed one and his bodyguard, all in one hit. He raised his arms, and before anyone could do a thing to defend themselves, Gehpel started earthbending the room, and suddenly shot a blast of rock that knocked the floor off the rest of the tower - with Shirou, Shinji, and Hotaru on it, hurtling the trio on a slate of stone down to the bottom of the canyon below.
As that was happening, Anil, Kyong, and Zhena, the other three bandits, started marching towards a group of powerful airbending nuns, guarding the way to the rest of the temple. Among them were Palden and Sora. "Why have you came here?" shouted the nuns in unison. "Why have you came to disturb our peace?"
"We have no time for wise monk-talk," Kyong said. "Get out of our way."
The group of airbenders just bunched together more.
"I said," Kyong shouted, "Get out of our way! Now!"
Sora stepped up. "You will leave now. Or we will make you."
"Was that a challenge?" Zhena asked.
"So be it."
Zhena started furiously throwing fire at the nuns, who created a shield of air that barely blocked the attack, and then split up to take down each bandit. Sister Palden thrust a huge blast of air at Anil, who simply jumped over the attack, and shot a large gale at the nun from above, who started to collapse, but got back up again, huffing and puffing - out of breath. Anil on the other hand, was quick and tricky, fully ready, and sent a wake of air at Palden, who toppled over. Only a few feet away, Kyong was taking on ten nuns at once, in an octopus form, throwing one airbender back after another. As all ten charged nuns him at once, he jumped up high with the help of Anil's bending, and froze the water beneath him, watching the nuns slip and slide into each other, beaten. Sora was against Zhena, the firebender of the group. She whipped out a jet of flames at the nun, who extinguished the attack with a wave of air. Sora thrust her palm forward, and watched Zhena duck below the attack that was sent for her, and running towards the nun, angry as ever. Sora turned around and shot a large gale of wind at Zhena's large blast of fire, and watched the forces combine and explode.
Meanwhile, Shirou, Shinji, and Hotaru were falling down to the bottom of the canyon on a slate of rock, screaming. They watched themselves pass farther and farther down, and the harsh rock ground was not that far away. The end looked near, but as soon as Shirou and Shinji were certain that the floor they were on would shatter into a million pieces, it stopped. The falling stopped, but they hadn't hit the bottom yet. The duo looked over at Hotaru, whose kness were bent and fists were clenched. She shouted towards them, and pointed back up at The Western Air Temple, looming hundreds of feet above them. "I've creating a ball of air beneath this platform that's holding it up from smashing on the bottom of this place and killing us. If I wanted to, I could airbend myself back up this canyon and leave you two fools to rot. But you have information that I, the Avatar, want to know. And if you don't answer my question, you'll spend the rest of your life in the bottom of this place. Am I clear?"
The duo nodded their head.
"So who was that guy?" she asked. "Who was that earthbender?"
"His name is Gephel." Shinji stated.
Hotaru lifted her hands up, and the platform rose a couple feet. "Is that all?"
"He's part of a group. A group of called the Quadrination Bandits."
"What do these bandits want with you?" she asked, lifting the platform up higher.
"Nothing," Shirou lied. "They're just evil."
Hotaru brought her hands over, and the platform descended back down. "I'm not stupid, Shirou. Tell me why they're attacking us."
And Shirou and Shinji told her everything. About the curse from Koh, the bandits, Sora, the Temple. They told her everything they knew about them, and before they knew it, the trio were raised back up to The Western Air Temple. "You're not going to kill me." Hotaru stated. "Because I can kill you first - and you know it."
Shirou backed away. "Okay, okay."
But the fight was not over. The sound of trumpets burst through the air, and everyone looked over at a large green airship marked with the Earth Kingdom insignia that was landing at the other side of the temple.
"Oh no!" Hotaru shouted. "It's tax day! The Procession has arrived! They're going to get slaughtered!"
"And we might, too," said Shirou. "Remember how I dumped thousands of their coins into the ocean? I don't think that there here solely for collecting taxes."
"You did what?" Hotaru asked. But by the time she had finished her question, Shirou and Shinji had started sprinting away. "Get back here!"
As hundreds of members of The Procession filed into the temple, as Air Nomads ran and fought for their home, while the Quadrination Bandits killed nun after nun, and as Hotaru raced after Shirou and Shinji through winding halls and bridges, everyone was certain of one thing. Utter chaos.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
|The Avatar Rhythm Chapters|
|Book 1 - The Fire Saga|
| The Stranger - The Fire Lord - Everburn Academy - The Lesson - The Fire Days Festival - The Meeting - The First Seminar |
Into the Fire - Out of the Ashes - The Heat of the Moment - The Laws Ignite: Part 1 - The Laws Ignite: Part 2
|Book 2 - The Air Saga|
| The Island - The Fire Nomad - The Poison Farm - The Procession - The Airbender - The Swarm - The Black Market - Nun Gate |
The Temple - The Second Seminar - The Winds of Destruction: Part 1 - The Winds of Destruction: Part 2
|Book 3 - The Water Saga|
| The Land of Ice and Fear - Frostbite - The Stars - The First Strike - The Polar Revolution - Special Operation |
The Battle at Glacier Cove - Eleven Hundred - The Third Seminar - Tax Day - Drowning Hope: Part 1 - Drowning Hope: Part 2
|Book 4 - The Earth Saga|
| Survivors - Royalty and Poverty - The Peak of Power - Avatar Mikio - The Lady and the Koto - The Final Seminar |
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