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Previously on The Avatar Rhythm
|"Watching the water trickle below him kind of made it better. It focused his mind. He clearly saw the world for the first time. For so long Shinji was tormented by The Quadrination Bandits, he used to be corrupted. But now that he was finally at peace, the world seemed to be betraying him. Again. "|
|— From The Polar Revolution|
|"Shirou dumped eleven hundred of our gold coins into the bottom of the ocean, almost destroying the world's economy, throwing us in debt."|
|— Markale from Special Operation|
|"Shirou looked down to the ground, just coughing out the truth. "I'm in love with Asaki.""|
|— From Special Operation|
|"All their intimidation grows from more and more recruits coming. And a file we've stolen says that 100 more are planned to come next week. When we attack them, we'll catch them off guard. We'll make them look foolish. We'll make their reputation fall." |
Shirou's eyes widened. "What do you mean?"
|— Asaki talking about The Procession in Special Operation|
|The Battle at Glacier Cove|
October 26, 2011
This is Chapter 31 in The Avatar Rhythm Series.
The sun was rising over the North Pole as Hotaru and Ken practiced Waterbending in the training room of the Water Tribe Royal Palace.
"Your skills are increasing," Ken said. "Show me that last set of moves again."
Hotaru sighed, despite the fact that she finally was getting to the point where water was easily movable. She brought her hands to one side, flowing but strong, pushing a wave of water, half frozen, to one side of her body, as a block. She stepped backwards, bringing her hands over to her left, quickly melting and solidifying the water, blocking her other side. She brought a fist back, under her other arm, and sent out a steady punch, shooting a jet of ice forward. "Was that good?" she asked, looking over at her Waterbending teacher.
Ken clapped his hands, a chuckle erupting out his large stomach. "You're getting there, Avatar, I'll tell you that. You surely are getting there."
Before Hotaru could respond, the sound of footsteps bounced into the room, and the duo turned to see a Water Tribe soldier walk down the hall, towards them.
"Avatar," the soldier said, "Chief Riku needs you and your teacher to report to the Great Hall immediately. A militia of boats have been spotted off the coast of Glacier Cove, and they're coming quickly. We're under attack!"
Hotaru and Ken quickly followed the soldier down the hall, worrying that this may be worse than just a rebellion.
Meanwhile, Asaki was holding onto the large mast of a boat, barking orders to The Polar Revolution from above. Her ship, and four others, were headed straight towards Glacier Cove.
"Get your weapons!" she shouted. "Get your gear on! Get your shields! Get your bombs! Get your maps! We are here for battle!"
The men and woman across the deck of the ship shuddered.
Asaki, who apparently did not realize everyone was afraid of her, or maybe just did not care, kept shouting. "We will land at Glacier Cove in five minutes! The Water Tribe must have spotted us by now - they'll be ready, and we must penetrate their forces and make our way to the main Airship dock so when The Procession arrives, we can destroy them and their reputation! Everyone below decks!" She hopped off a peg of wood, sliding down the mast she was hanging on, jumping on to a sail halfway down, which gently lowered her to the floorboards, springing up afterwards. Smiling of her skills, she ran down a small flight of stairs to the cargo hold, where hundreds of members of The Polar Revolution were held, shouting, sharpening weapons, strapping on armor. It was chaotic.
"Silence!" Asaki yelled. "Silence!" She waited, looking around, as everyone in the stuffy bottom of the boat slowly stopped what they were doing. "We are in open sea right now, but will most likely enter a shallow are with an icy bottom-"
Suddenly, a large rumble erupted from below the boat.
"Right about now," Asaki continued. "Things are going to get rough."
Another large crunch shook the boat, making soldiers across the cargo hold stumble.
Waves crashed against the side of the wooden ship.
Tension was building up.
The Polar Revolution had been preparing this battle for weeks. The moment that they touched the icy shores of the Northern Water Tribe port seemed so far away. They didn't want the climax to come.
But the climax came.
A huge explosion of water and ice crashed against Glacier Cove as five stone-framed boats crashed into the port's walls. As screams filled the air - from both sides - waves showered over everyone's heads, and huge chunks of ice smashed through The Polar Revolution's boats. People were already dying.
"Get out of this place!" Asaki shouted, corralling all of her soldiers onto the main docks of Glacier Cove, where enemies were waiting. "You need to get out!"
Almost everyone had gotten out of her boat when a final block of ice fell down on the ship, breaking it in two, and Asaki quickly leaped off for her life, leaving two or three of her men to drown.
Outside, even more havoc was taking place. The Water Tribe Military were mixed in with The Polar Revolution, fighting, trying to push each other back. Shirou, Shinji, and Takumi were running down a street, taking out soldiers as they went, trying to find the airship dock. Whether it was the chilling temperatures or the essence of death in the air, they were scared.
"Watch out!" Shinji yelled, and jumped forward, burning a hole through a soldier who had snuck up behind Shirou. He turned at his friend. "Why do I always have to do that for you?"
Shirou sighed. "What do you mean? I've killed, like, three people already."
"Well that was my fourth."
"Are you sure?"
As another man ran towards them, Takumi raced forwards, and took him down with a huge gale or air. "Ha. Five."
Shinji laughed, but quickly stopped.
"Get over here," Shirou said, and his friend followed, scratching his oily black hair.
"Guys," Takumi mumbled. "Look." He pointed up to a huge elevated dock stretching out over the ocean. "The airship dock."
"You two hold that down," Shirou said, "I'm gonna go help the others."
They nodded, looking at each other, and quickly ran off in separate directions.
Shirou, taking out soldiers as he went, sprinted into a mob of war, slashing his sword wildly, breaking apart whips of water and slicing through blocks of ice. He felt the intimidation come out of him that he always wanted to. A soldier came towards him from behind, but Shirou simply kicked his spear into the air, chopping it in half with a slash of his sword, letting the pieces fall over the soldiers head.
"Nice one," Shirou heard a voice shout out from the crowds of battling men.
At the airship dock, Takumi and Shinji were racing up a huge ramp, towards a line of men, armed with clubs and spears. They ran forward, shooting their hands out, blowing fire and wind at them, knocking some of into the ocean below, burning others. Shinji took out the rest with kicks, and signaled the rest of The Polar Revolution with a column of flames, shining a blaze of red through the desolate blue sky.
"Duck!" Takumi suddenly yelled, and Shinji fell flat to the ground, watching a razor-tipped chunk of ice fly over him, his heart beating insanely.
The duo looked over at a large Water Tribe man come towards them, who stepped backwards, gliding his hand into the air, sending a wave of semi-frozen water out of the floor, shooting towards them.
Thinking quickly, Takumi jumped forwards, shooting a gale of chilling winds at the attack, instantly freezing it, and paused as Shinji jumped onto the icy wave, sliding towards their attacker, and he threw his hands to the ground, spitting darts of fire that melted a circle of ice below him, sending him flying to his death below.
"The Procession's airship should be getting here soon," Takumi mumbled. "Then the real battle will start."
Meanwhile, Shirou was taking down soldiers by the minute, dozens after dozens. He wasn't even sure what was happening.
He was leading The Polar Revolution to the airship dock, trying to push them away from the field of corpses and blood, snow and water, chilling death.
"Move forward!" Shirou yelled to them. "Move!"
The mass of soldiers walked away, leaving a large area of warfare finally uncleared.
But he still sensed danger.
"What are you doing?"
Shirou jumped up, slashing out his sword, but quickly put it down when he saw who had approached him. "It's nothing." He started backing away.
"No, no," the young woman who had snuck up behind him asked. "Stay here. I like your fighting skills, and your guts."
Shirou looked her in the eye. "Stop. I don't want any teary confessions or seminars this time." He looked Hotaru in the eye. "I've had a mission since we met. You know it. I know it. Well the mission is coming to an end today. And I'm sad to say it's going to end quite violently."
Hotaru and Shirou were finally facing each other in the icy, blood-stained streets of Glacier Cove. Shirou raised his blade up again, and Hotaru resentfully raised her fists.
Why she asked herself. Why is he acting like this?'
Shirou could tell she was deep in thought, and broke the silence. "Get back on planet Earth, Avatar. Get off planet Earth. An overpopular jerk like you doesn't deserve to exist here."
Why? He isn't who he used to be. I liked him, but now he just isn't the man I know, Hotaru pondered.
Shirou grabbed his sword with his other hand, and staggered, bringing it closer to his former friend.
Why? Why has he transformed? Is it his insanity, these rebels? I want him back to his old self. I want him back on the good side.
Shirou scowled, a low, raspy scowl. He twisted his head, his eyes looking out at nothing in particular, unfocused. His body shook, coming back. His eyebrows furled. His muscles tensed.
And then, they attacked.
Shirou leapt forwards, slashing his sword, only being blocked by a huge sheet of ice which Hotaru brought upwards quickly, sending frost bursting in the air. She brought her hands up, and whipped them forward, shooting a blast of water at her opponent.
Shirou merely ducked, blocking the attack. "I'm stronger now," he said.
Hotaru did not respond. Clenching her jaw muscles, she brought her hands upwards, and punched forwards, sending a ball of fire towards him that scorched through Shirou's shirt and charred his hair, barely missing his face. "I am too."
They glared at each other for a moment.
Hotaru, angry, thrust her fists at Shirou, and sent a gale of howling winds at him, knocking his body into the thick icy wall, shaking everything inside of him. He staggered upwards, his eyes trying to focus back. He raised his sword, and jabbed it at the Avatar, who barely had the reflexes to jump out of the way, just missing the razor sharp blade.
She shook her head in confusion. From the outside, Shirou looked as if he was a deformed, corrupted, madman. Inside, he was extremely powerful. Maybe he was a madman on both sides. She needed to end this. She was the only person who could end this.
Hotaru raised her hands, and suddenly, a wheel of water seemed to condense right out of the air, and spun around her body. She tightened her fists, and the water cracked, turning into ice. She stepped backwards, bringing her hands up, crushing the ice into one huge arrow. She turned, facing Shirou, and brought her open hands up and forward, shooting the arrow of ice straight at him.
The attack pierced through Shirou's jacket, and sent him flying back into the wall of ice behind him. He tried to break loose, but wouldn't move. Hotaru was coming towards him. It looked as if the end was coming closer.
All of a sudden, when Shirou thought that all hope was lost, the arrow holding him back shattered. In shock, he jumped forwards, dodging the Avatar's attack, and looked down at the pile of fragments on the ground. There, in the middle of it all, was a single, metal dart.
Shirou looked up, and smiled.
There, in a nearby alleyway, Asaki was leaning against an icy wall, twirling multiple metal darts and knives around her fingers. "This is no longer a one-on-one fight, Avatar."
Meanwhile, coming closer, five Procession officers stood around the control panel of their airship, staring at the port of Glacier Cove, their destination.
"What are we going to do?" one of the officers asked. He pointed towards the airship dock, where hundreds of men were fighting, falling off one-by-one into the ocean. "Landing there would most surely be illegal."
"Like what they're doing isn't?"
The officer scoffed. "We're supposed to peace-bringers, idiot. Tax collectors. Not terrorists."
Another man looked harder at the battle unfolding through their window. "We need to land there. There's a battle. We'll settle it. All is swell. Continue the operation as planned."
The airship lowered, as steam shot from pipes and howling beeps and crashes erupted from the huge pieces of machinery in the nooks and crannies of the ship.
The noise made everyone look up.
Water Tribe soldiers and The Polar Revolution alike backed away as they saw The Procession's huge green airship fly towards them. Some thought it was some sort of attack. Others just knew it was fate.
Everybody cringed as the ship came closer to them, backing up. It was almost tranquil - but the long-waited peace only lasted for a moment.
When the airship crashed against the docks, it crashed hard. As soon as the shards of ice shot out from below and it had really landed, dozens of Procession members stormed out, immediately taking the upper hand. Green, earth, The Procession, it slowly started migrating across Glacier Cove.
Shinji and Takumi were still on the airship docks, some of the last still alive. The tax collectors were coming out of the airship so fast, it was startling, trampling. They ran over past everything, everyone, as they stepped over Shinji's bruised body he finally he realized how insane they were. It was if they were robots. No feelings, just listening to their leader.
Shinji and Takumi popped their heads up. It had happened so fast.
"Those guys are too strong," Takumi said. "The Polar Revolution is good, but they've just got numbers on their side, it's almost as if I feel like-"
Shinji cut him off. "Like we're going to lose. The Procession is going to search this place through. They're going to find Shirou eventually, and they'll arrest him if they get the chance. We need to find him.
Takumi stood up, shaking the blood of him. "The battle is ending quicker than I expected. Lets go."
Asaki and Shirou were putting up a good fight against Hotaru, even without bending. When she would shoot fire, the would dodge it. When she would blow wind, they could stay put. When she would throw ice, they could cut it. Power was getting the best of them.
"You can't withstand me much longer," she said.
Asaki threw a dart towards her, just barely missing her neck, and laughed. "Yeah, that's what I thought."
She lept forward, sending a stream of fire at them, causing them to jump out of the way, where she thrust a huge wave, and toppled them over. Before she could send a finishing flame though, Shirou leapt and whipped his knife at the Avatar, but she sent a pillar water up, and froze it as the blade passed through, locking it in ice.
Hotaru, huffing and puffing, looked up at the sound of crashed down a nearby alley. "The Procession is here," she mumbled. "And they've got numbers."
Reality hit Shirou hard. He was facing the Avatar or the law. Both could result in death.
"Hmm?" Hotaru asked. "You seem distracted. Maybe I could wake you up." She stepped forward, pushing outwards, and a great gust of wind shot towards Shirou, who stumbled backwards. "Did that help?"
"Don't hurt him!" Asaki shouted, and took aim, preparing to toss her knife.
Everyone turned to see five armed members of The Procession come towards them, raising their fists. "That's Shirou, and the Polar Revolution lady," one of the tax collectors said.
They chuckled. "Markale'll pay us a load for this find."
Shirou stood up, wiping the blood from his torn tunic. "I'm not paying up. You're a cruel organization, and the reason I only owe you money is because you put me in jail! I barely trespassed your property! You're not tax collectors - you're robbers! The Procession is a fraud!"
Everyone was taken aback, but quickly regained composure. "I don't think Markale will be happy to hear that-"
Shirou cut the Procession member off. "And your leader Markale is a fraud too!"
The five Earthbenders glared at him, and simultaneously pulled up their sleeves, revealing stone bracelets which they quickly flicked into the shape of a bullet, ready to shoot. "Stop."
"Go ahead and make me." Shirou smiled, and motioned to Asaki, kind of telling her to watch out. They were ready. Ready for chaos.
The Procession instantly shot the bullets at them, and they only barely escaped. The first sliced through Shirou's hair, the next were destroyed by Asaki, the last two missed completely, shattering the outer wall of an icy building behind them, sending bits of frost flying through the air.
Shirou looked behind him, and saw how the bullets which crashed into the wall had made so many cracks. An idea suddenly came into his mind.
As The Procession ran towards him, taking out clubs and hammers, Shirou quickly leaped out of the way, grabbing Asaki's hand, smashing his sword into the wall behind them, hard.
Suddenly, a huge white crack almost leaped out of the ice, and the whole ground seemed to shake. Hotaru and The Procession stopped, as a huge crash erupted out of the building behind them, Shirou and Asaki barely had enough time to leap out of the way, watching the snow and ice of the building topple over their opponents. Water whirled through the air as the floors and floors of the huge tower fell off, one-by-one. They'd live, but it would take a while to get out of the freezing mess.
Shirou and Asaki were hurtled off to the slide, only getting a bit of frost on their backs, and they landed hard onto a sheet of icy road, falling onto their backs. Laughing.
Asaki rubbed her side. "That was quick thinking."
Shirou crossed his fingers behind his back. "I owe you one."
"Shirou, I think," Asaki stuttered, looking down. "I think I need to tell you something."
"What is it?"
"Well, I just need to tell you," she mumbled. "Look out!"
He turned around and saw a final wall of the building they had destroyed fall towards them, and knew he wasn't quick enough to avoid it. The duo held each other tight as the sheet of ice fell on top of them, instantly shattering, sending frost into the air, like diamonds. It was beautiful.
Shirou smiled. "You were saying?"
"Thanks," Asaki whispered, and Shirou blushed as she gently kissed him on the cheek. "Lets get out of here, before Miss Avatar and The Procession get out of the rubble."
They sprinted away, running from anyone, killing any enemies that got in their way.
Suddenly, a deep shot of wind pierced through the air, and Shirou looked over at a Procession member who had snuck up on them. He shot another rock their way, which barely missed.
Under attack, they jumped backwards to avoid him, but Asaki suddenly felt a sharp pain run through her side. Stepping back, she looked at a rock on the ground, then at another Procession member who had snuck up behind them. She raced forward, whipping out a dart, pinning the man to a wall, and sent another which pierced through his heart. She laughed, but quickly stopped at the sight of more and more insane tax collectors coming out from the alleyways, towards them.
"There's too many..."
All of a sudden, the Earthbenders started shooting stone bullets and sharpened rocks at them rapidly, some missing, others not. Through the rocky chaos, Shirou and Asaki tried killing their attackers, but there were too much.
"They're going to get us eventually!" Shirou shouted, running, as a sharp volley of sand was launched into his chest.
Shirou slashed the man who was attacking him with a swipe of his sword, and tried to look for Asaki. "Huh?" The last sight he got of her was through the crowds of tax collectors, but he knew what he had to do. Shirou leapt onto the wall of a nearby building, and started scaling it's side, barely missing hundreds of sharpened pebbles and stones. One rock pierced through a part of his sleeve, which he merely tore off, determined to reach the icy roof. Shirou lunged forwards, rolling over a final window, and quickly hopped onto the top of the building, where he could take in the war-torn landscape of Glacier Cove for one second. Streaked with fire and ice, the once beautiful city was now stained with blood, and it was hard to even comprehend the damage which had fallen. Which he had brought.
Shirou snapped out of his thoughts and a huge chunk of ice flew towards him from the ground, at least fifty feet below. He quickly peered over the roof he was standing on, and was frightened to see that the Water Tribe military and The Procession were now teaming up.
Suddenly, a deep screech filled the air, and Shirou saw the ice beneath him shake, slowly turning. Apparently, he wasn't the only person who thought of using buildings as weapons. The building he was on was falling.
Tension was filling the air.
Shirou ran to one side of the roof, and jumped as it's icy structure started to crack. He looked around, realizing that he had about ten seconds of life left unless he thought of something fast.
The building beside his. It was about twenty feet shorter, but was still an island from the mob of Procession members. He had to try it. As the broken ice he was on slowly slid onto the ground, crashing into pieces, Shirou ran towards the long side the roof and jumped straight into the air. Spinning in a circle, he fell onto the building beside his with a thud, safe, to some extent. He looked around. The new building he laid on was also surrounded by enemies, and they wanted him dead.
Shirou realized that they were going to destroy this tower too.
He ran across the roof, and jumped onto another building, this one a huge complex of different sized structures. From there, he leapt onto another tower, and then onto another.
He was sure he had lost The Procession.
But he was wrong.
A huge chunk of imported rock suddenly flung into air, and Shirou fell straight over as it crashed into the roof he stood on, shattering everything. He tried to grip onto the ice, but it was too slippery. He was sliding right towards a huge drop, where an army of tax collectors were waiting to capture him.
Shirou searched the falling roof, anxiously. There. A chunk of whale bone was jutting out of the ice from the rooms of the building below. He quickly swung himself over to it, and grabbed onto the point. It would hold for a couple minutes. He could possibly get out of here alive.
In fact, he probably would.
Standing in front of him was a friend.
"Shinji!" Shirou smiled. "Thank god!"
Silence. Shinji looked off into the horizon, pretending not to notice him.
"Shinji? Are you there? Get me off here, please!"
Shinji spoke one, confident word. "No."
Shirou's grip on the whale bone loosened. "Grab my hand! Get me off here! I'm your friend!"
Shinji still looked off into the distance, but spoke. "Friend?" He stomped his foot over Shirou's straining hand. "What about slave?"
"What are you talking about?" Shirou stuttered. "Why aren't you helping me?"
Shinji leaned over, and looked Shirou in the eye. "It started back in the Western Air Temple, when you double-crossed me. I went into that battle all confident and proud, and I left with a fake friend, stuck in a crate."
"You better be sorry, kid! You stuck me in the cargo hold of The Procession for a month! And when we get off, the least you could have done in a kingdom that your family runs was get me a job! Well you just stuck me in a cave, and turned me into a criminal. Whenever I nudged you to do something helpful, you ignored me! Whenever I tried to make you good, you ignored me! I finally have seen the light! I finally am good! I'm not the Fire Nomad anymore! But now I'm wanted, in the biggest band of rebels in the Water Tribe, with a bad excuse of friend turning me worse and worse every day!"
Shirou looked at his friend with longing eyes.
He scowled. "And now you want my help. Goodbye, my friend. We'll meet again in Hell." And with that, Shinji brought his foot off Shirou's hand, and sent him flying down to the dozens of angry Procession members below.
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