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Previously on The Avatar Rhythm
|"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!""|
|— From The Winds of Destruction: Part 1|
|"Asaki slid her dagger over to him. "Yeah, I did. Now I should be getting back to the Polar Revolution." Suddenly, she put her hand over her mouth, realizing too late that she said something she shouldn't have."|
|— From Frostbite|
|"He didn't sound very excited to Shinji. His voice was lower than usual. His eyes were lower too. The warm, excited feeling of him was gone. Shirou's skin was pale, and lifeless. But somehow, more feelings than ever could be seen in his face. It was confusing. "|
|— From The Stars|
|""No. When we first got here, I said that I was over with hating the Avatar. I'm ashamed of myself. I forgot about Kaito. I forgot about what he could have done to me. I forgot about who he was." |
Shinji gasped. "Shirou, wait-"
|— From The Stars|
|The First Strike|
September 27, 2011
This is Chapter 28 in The Avatar Rhythm Series.
Night had fallen.
A cool polar gale flew through the air.
But two men had already set out for a mission.
They ran up towards a large icy building with towering blue pillars atop it.
"This is it," one of the men said. "This is the Avatar's training center."
The other pushed his ear against the cold wall, hearing voices from inside. "She's in there."
The duo kicked down a stone vent on the side of the wall, and crawled in. After going through a large tunnel, they popped their heads out of a floor, and looked around an empty foyer of the building.
"The coast is clear."
They sprinted across the hall, and jumped into a small closet on the other end of the room. Inside there was a ladder, which they climbed up, leading to another room. The ceiling was about three feet off the ground, but the room was covering the area of the whole building. This was usually a place to fix leaks and damage. Now, it was a place to attack from.
"We stay here until dawn," one of the men said. "Then we strike Hotaru."
That next morning, Shirou and Shinji were walking down the streets of the Northern Water Tribe, looking down. It had been three day since they visited the Palace, but Shinji still hadn't convinced Shirou to stay off attacking Hotaru. He was too confident.
"I know it's around here somewhere," Shirou stated. "I used come to the training center to watch my siblings compete in bending tournaments."
"What if we bump into Hotaru?"
"She's probably training right now."
Shinji sighed. "What if you can't take her?"
"What do you mean?"
"When we fought Hotaru at the Western Air Temple, we lost."
Shirou shook his head. "No, we ran away."
"Because we couldn't take her." Shinji looked over. "What? I'm just warning you."
They walked silently for a while, dodging Procession members who patrolled the streets as guards. Icy buildings towered over their heads, and light snow fell onto their thin canvas sweatshirts. They wouldn't be able to take this cold weather for much longer, and if they could, one of The Procession members would get them instead. They both knew that time was running out to be in the North Pole. They both knew that they needed a backup of some sorts. If they didn't get it soon, they would fall.
"Here it is," Shirou said. "Here's the Royal Training Center."
They looked up at a massive blue building, covered in snow. Pillars spiraled out of each of the walls.
"Okay then," Shinji said. "Lets go." He realized that Shirou wasn't going to step out of this. Now, it was just about getting it over with.
They walked up the stairs, unfortunately not noticing the shadows moving across the windows above them.
Meanwhile, Hotaru was practicing waterbending with her teacher, Ken, trying to figure out how to turn water into ice.
"You have to feel the push of the water," he said. "You need to be steady, but flowing."
Hotaru brought her hands up in a circle, with a trickling stream of water following. Then she snapped her wrists forward, one in front of the other. The water just fell to the ground. "I don't get it," she said. "It's not like firebending or airbending. It's just, I don't know."
Ken shook his head. "You can create fire and move air anywhere. But you can't always do that with waterbending. You've never bent substance before." He demonstrated the move perfectly, freezing a splash of water into a perfect circle without even looking. It was aggravating. "Try it."
She tried to do it again, but this time the water didn't even follow her hands. "Augh!" she yelled, picking up the bucket of water, splashing it against the light stone floors. "I don't get it!"
Ken sat down, rubbing his large stomach. "You don't get it. At all."
Hotaru looked at her teacher. "Is that supposed to help me?"
"It was a joke."
"A bad joke. I hate waterbending."
"That's too bad."
Hotaru twisted her head back, and stared at Ken. "What is this to you? A game? A show? I don't care for jokes right now, I need to learn this stuff and all you do is make sarcastic comments and laugh!"
"You are the Avatar," he replied. "You are a waterbender - you need to learn this. Hate doesn't fuel waterbending."
"Neither do annoying comments."
Ken shook his head. "Do you need a break?"
"No. I need to learn this move!"
"Take a break."
"Teach me how to freeze water! Now."
Ken leaned back on his chair. "Take a break."
Hotaru turned around and stomped down the nearest hallway, away from her waterbending teacher's reach. "Who does that guy think he is?" she mumbled to herself. "Always playing around, making jokes. I want to learn this stuff and -"
She stopped. There, in the crack of a doorway, she saw shadows move across the room in front of her. There was someone else here. She opened the door, and saw footprints in the icy floor, leading to the basement. She looked down the stairs, and saw the dim outline of two men walk down the steps. Hotaru put her foot out to follow. She had to settle this. She had to prove that she wasn't a wimp.
Suddenly, a voice shot at her from behind. It was Ken. "Hotaru, we need to talk!"
"Yeah, I know. I need to control my anger and follow your rules. I'm sorry, but right now I have to-"
Ken shook his head. "It's not that. I think there are people sneaking around this building."
"You saw them too?"
"Through vents in the ceiling."
Hotaru rubbed her forehead. "That's weird. I saw people in the basement, you saw people in the attic. It might just - Watch out!"
Suddenly, the wall in front of them burst into pieces, and through the fear in the air, an explosion of water and fire shot from both sides. As the steam cleared, Shirou and Shinji walked into the hall.
"Fancy meeting you here," Hotaru said, scowling.
"I don't think it was a coincidence."
Shirou lashed out his sword, and attacked the Avatar while she was off guard - only just missing her head. Shinji joined in, shooting a stream of fire that Ken quickly put out with a wave of water, which he turned into icicles that he blasted at Shinji, who evaded the attack, and kicked his foot out, creating a flame that burned through the bottom of Ken's sleeve, only scorching his arm.
At the same time, Hotaru was in the midst of fighting Shirou, who was putting up a good fight. He evaded every ball of fire she blasted, every wind she sent flying towards him, always swinging his sword skillfully past her head. She, the Avatar, was trying very hard not to lose. But she was slipping. Shirou jumped towards her, blocking an attempt of the water whip with a chunk of ice he slashed out of the wall, deflecting the attack in perfect time, quickly catching his blade and thrusting it towards her face.
"What did you do to yourself?" Hotaru asked.
"Besides eat fried sea prunes and drink tea made out of seaweed?"
Hotaru didn't laugh. She stared at Shirou with cold eyes. "I'm not sure what's happened to you, really. I remember the morning that we really met, back in Royal Chaldera. You were loving back then, nicer, and happier. I wanted to be around you. Now, now you're different. You've lost all the warmth from your face. You've hurt yourself, in more ways then one, and have been corrupted by revenge. I think that power has taken the place in your body where a soul should be. Power does that sometimes."
"You don't now what you're talking about."
Shirou, overwhelmed by truth, slashed his blade at Hotaru, quickly to be blocked by a blast of air. She threw a stream of fire at him, jumped over his next sword thrust, and knocked him over with a kick. Before she could say something to him, though, a new voice shot out from behind them.
"Hands up, Avatar."
Hotaru, Shinji, Ken, and Shirou looked around, and watched five people file into the room and surround the four of them. Each of the people wore thin, navy blue outfits, black masks, and intricate necklaces with a modified versions of the Water Tribe symbol on it, instead of the moon, there was a curved knife. You couldn't see their faces. Whatever they did, they were professionals.
"Who are you?" asked Ken, frightened.
The leader of the mysterious group looked at him. "That's confidential. Hand over the Avatar and no one gets hurt."
Hotaru stood up. "That's not going to happen." For some reason, Shirou recognized the leader's voice, but he couldn't place it. He listened again.
"I was afraid you'd say that," the leader said. "We'll have to pry you out the hard way." You could almost see the smile growing behind the person's mask. "Men, retrieve the Avatar."
Suddenly, the four other ominous warriors leaped out of the row they had formed. The first one struck Ken, who was on the ground, knocking him to the ground. He tried shooting a blast of water but the attacker just redirected the attack and shot it back, freezing him.
The next one went for Shirou, who tried to stab him, but the attacker bent a blade of ice out deflecting the attack, knocking Shirou off balance and sending him tumbling to the icy floor.
Shinji thought he could take on the next mystery waterbender, but they were too strong. His first blast of fire was quickly doused, and before he could make another move, a square of floor beneath him melted and hardened again, freezing Shinji in the icy ground of the hall.
But Hotaru was ready for her attacker. She ducked down before he sent a wave of icicles at her, and sent a blast of air that smashed him against the ceiling. When the attacker landed, half-conscious, he could barely raise his arm before Hotaru whipped a perfect wave of water from the ground, turning her hands over, bringing them upwards, skillfully freezing the water around the man who toppled over from the weight of the ice around his body.
"Great work!" Ken said, frozen to the wall.
The leader of the attackers looked over. "Shut up. If that slob can't take down the Avatar, then I'll have to."
"You think that I won't dodge your waterbending like I did to his?" Hotaru scowled.
"I'm not a waterbender," the leader said. "I prefer to use more, lethal tactics."
Before Hotaru could run, the leader shot a wave of darts from her pocket, one hitting her sleeve, pinning her to the wall.
"That's all I need to defeat you."
Hotaru winced as a knife skimmed past her face, just barely slicing through her ear, cutting through her jacket and smashing her to the wall. It hurt.
"Men, retrieve her, and kill the rest of these fools."
Shirou's eyes fluttered open. He had to start helping himself. Before anyone saw him stand up, he spun around and threw his sword across the room, right at the leader's head, splitting the mask in front of it in two. Shirou didn't expect what he saw underneath it; a young woman's face with dark brown hair. It clicked. The leader of this band of warriors was Asaki, the girl he lost the Venomsprout to in a game of Frostbite. Shirou stood up, and looked around. He knew what this was. It all fit together. "The Polar Revolution."
Asaki gasped, and stopped dead in her tracks. There was a pale sense of guilt and shock in her eyes, just a tad of annoyance. She was surprised. "He knows. He knows who we are."
Hotaru looked around, confused. "What's happening? How-"
"That boy knows about The Polar Revolution," Asaki said, looking at the men around her. "Our target has changed. Take him and his friend. We need a talk."
An hour later, Shirou and Shinji were chained against a wall of ice, several stories beneath the tundra of the North Pole. Asaki stood in front of them. "We've never had anyone know the name of The Polar Revolution before, you know. And we've definitely never let someone back into the public who had."
Shirou stared her in the eye. "What are you going to do to us? I don't even know why you were there, and I'm not sure if this was-"
Asaki cut him off, annoyed. "Don't worry, we're not going to kill you. Not yet anyway. I believe it would be a bit disrespectful to murder the Water Chief's own son." She smiled, watching Shirou's eyes open wider, not believing what he heard. "Yes, I know about that too. You see, The Polar Revolution knows all the deepest secrets about the Water Tribe. Especially about royalty." Asaki started pacing back and forth across the room. "I run a group unlike any other. All members are disciplined, stealthy, and can take a hit. We are rebels, fighting for freedom against the general rules of this nation, royalty, poverty, The Procession. We work hard to free our people, and never stop. Each and every one of us know that if they don't do what is told, I will break them. Don't underestimate a seventeen year old girl. I've been leading this rebellion since I was twelve, and could kill a full grown man back then, too. I won't let our reputation fall, and I've never had someone out of this group know of us. Shirou and Shinji, welcome to The Polar Revolution."
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