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|A Long Hallway|
A Journey Comes to an End
I'll figure a way out of this... I have to... I'm the leader... I'm the Avatar...
I will find out how to get us out of here... I must... I'm the leader... I used to work for Tang... I have to stop him...
I'll find some way to fix this... It's my job, as the leader... I've been in more difficult pinches in the ring...
There must be some way out of here... I'm sure we'll find a way... I've known Liwei for so long, he's not an idiot... Nor Frost or Ishio, deep down...
Each had their own hopes, their own beliefs. Though their thoughts differed, they each knew escape lay as the only hope of survival. Ishio had watched as officers had come by their individual cells and rounded up Liwei, Frost, and Ai Shi, leading them all in different directions at different times; undoubtedly to keep them from being able to know who went where. A shiver ran down Ishio's spine as he remembered Tang's description:
"A machine. A machine that is the old days meeting the new days. People were perplexed by Avatar Aang's ability to simply remove Fire Lord Ozai's bending. They studied it, and could only figure out the theory behind it. In the past years, we have developed a technology which will remove a bender's ability to bend. It will turn them into a normal human. Through a mixture of a special sort of Chi Blocking, targeting the nerves which regulate bending, and another sort of energy controlling technology, these machines should be able to completely remove a bender's bending. The perfect way to create a society free of the threat of bending while still maintaining its loyal citizens."
They weren't taking Ishio, which meant that they weren't sure of the machine's ability to work. Ishio doubted they knew Liwei was a bender, and so he was probably being led to some other fate. Probably death. But they wouldn't kill Ishio. If he died, the Avatar would just be reborn. They needed to completely stifle him. Standing in front of the door of his cell, tears streaked his face. His teeth grinded against each other while he clenched his fists so tightly that his finger nails cut into his skin.
"Dammit!" he swore and slammed his fist into the wall. Hitting metal at such a speed hurt, but Ishio did not care. The crimson from his hand dripped between his fingers and onto the ground. After a moment of standing with his hand against the door, Ishio could do little more than fall to his knees and hold his head in his hands. In sporadic motions, his back rose and fell: sobs.
A hand pressed against Liwei's head, forcing him to look at his feet as he scuffed along. They did not know he was a bender—they couldn't—which meant that they were taking him to some other fate. He knew this, and the others obviously knew this. Death awaited him at the end of this hallway, and Liwei would not sugarcoat anything. Still, he had the highest survival rate out of any of them: they did not know he was a bender, and they would underestimate him. Before leaving his cell, Liwei could have sworn that he heard the sound of Ishio's voice; somehow that idiot had gotten himself captured. That or it was Liwei's delusion before facing death. The last hope the world has, ringing in his ears.
Down the hall he proceeded. He figured Frost had already met her fate, and it was just a matter of time before he shook hands with death. Or was it? The police officers lead him into the room, and before him sat a single chair; knives and the like on either side, Liwei presumed that Tang wanted to torture him to suffer for what he "did". If only the public knew what went on behind closed doors. Head low, Liwei had resigned himself to death. His chest rose and fell steadily, preparing himself. Just as he reached the chair, a realization flashed through his mind. Maybe, just maybe, there was hope. It would be foolish to die now.
The police loosened their grip for a moment, and Liwei spun around. He ducked low, and spun into a low spinning kick. Bluish flames, with a hint of green, came from his foot. An unnatural color for flames, hinting at Liwei's hidden prowess. Flames licked at the officers' trousers, and their startled amazement made them unable to react as Liwei used the force of his flames to push the door open.
Using his flames to propel himself out of the room, Liwei quickly turned around to close those two officers in the burning room before he launched himself down the hall. His left hand created another quick burst of flame which shot him down the halls. A single shocked guard stood, and as he passed Liwei pulled his right hand back and slammed his fist into the guard's face, knocking him unconscious.
A few staggering steps to catch himself after propelling, and Liwei's feet carried him in a sprint down the hall. Down the hall, towards freedom.
The halls seemed to swallow Frost as the police officers pushed her along. As she left her cell, she thought she could see Liwei heading in the opposite direction, but the watchful eyes and close guard of the officers kept her from looking. She knew her fate: to lose her bending. They had delayed it for so long, a few days at least, for no apparent reason. A slight sigh. The officers stopped and pushed open a large metal door.
Before her stood a grand upright steel coffin, hooked up to wires and some sort of other machine. Not a perfect coffin, of course, but for Frost it would serve such a purpose. Her life was bending; without it, she would be an empty shell. One of the officers lead her towards the coffin while the other began booting up the machine. The steel case opened, and within was a remarkably not sophisticated structure with straps to hold down the victim and incredibly thin needles. A lump formed in Frost's throat: she remembered Tang describing the technology, how the needles were controlled by the machine to stab and block the channels for the Chi which controls bending. If the machines were successful, they would do absolutely nothing else to harm the bender.
Frost found herself moved into the metal coffin by the nearest police officer. Straps on her wrists and ankles, she could do nothing more than wait as the machine began to work. Her teeth grit, and her mind wandered back towards her past. They say that just before death, all of one's life flashes before their eyes. She thought of her family, of her past life, how much had changed simply because she had faced off against some cocky new fighter in the ring.
"FROST!" A voice resonated against Frost's ears. The machine had barely started to whir to life as she heard the crackle of uncontrolled electricity. She felt a slight shock before the machine's noise died down.
The cover of the coffin swung open, and Frost's now met Liwei's. Around her savior, she could see the machine a now destroyed mass of metal and static. Bending lightning using Firebending: it was apparent that Liwei was not "in the closet" anymore about his ability to bend. Liwei bent over to untie her straps; once she was freed, the shock kept her from holding her own weight. She fell forward into Liwei's arms, and blushed as he caught her and helped her to regain her balance.
"We have to get out of here," Liwei stated in an urgent tone. Frost nodded, and the two began running down the halls, with no exact location in mind other than 'the exit'.
Cold. The metal which met Ishio's hands was freezing to the touch. So detached; Ishio could never like machines. Metal, machinery, it all seemed so cut off from the world. As if people were straying from the bending which had guided them in the world. Impossible to bend, relying on only human nature to conduct them. He was going to die, alone in this metal tomb...
Metal. How could he have been so stupid? Ishio remembered that metal was not cut off from the world. All those years ago, an Earthbender in a similar situation had realized that metal had some minerals of the earth in it. Pushing himself from the ground, Ishio hurried towards the door and pressed his hand against the metal. Even up until bending was outlawed, Metalbending police officers had been prominent. If this bloody issue was ever resolved, they'd probably come around again. Stupid, stupid.
Slowly, Ishio felt the minerals in the earth, tried to sense them by closing his eyes. They were there. He knew they were. All he had to do was control them. His hand carefully closed on the door, seeming to wrinkle it a little bit. Almost there. Ishio used his ability to see, without his eyes, to see everything in the area. Most importantly, those tiny pieces of earth lodged within the detached exterior.
His hand closed into a fist, wrenching the door from its hinges. Ishio threw it forward, and stepped into the halls. Something collided with him, and he fell to the ground just beyond the door he had just loosened to free himself.
"Ishio?!" After the three involved in the collision managed to get a grasp of the situation, Frost spoke in alarm at the sight of their friend.
A moment of silence, after a nod from Ishio, before Liwei had a realization. "Wait, Ishio, did Ai Shi get captured as well?" his voice was panicked, as though he had just remembered something very, very bad.
"Yeah... We thought we were being clever, getting captured to find you guys, but it was all planned. Tang knew what we were doing..." Ishio spoke, his voice dazed.
"Dammit! I thought I heard another machine..." He didn't need to finish his sentence.
The three ran down the long hallway, not needing to voice their haste for everyone to realize how precious every minute was. A door, not far away, with a figure collapsed in the frame. Liwei ran ahead of the others and bent down near Ai Shi. Behind her stood a wall of flames: undoubtedly the machine hadn't worked out as well as expected, or Ai Shi wasn't so willing to give up her bending.
Liwei carried her away from the burning room and took her wrist, feeling her pulse. He nodded towards the others, signaling that she was still alive, most likely weak from what had happened. Without more than a slight pause, Liwei shifted Ai Shi so that his arms wrapped underneath her legs, her torso slumped onto his back, and her arms hung over his shoulders: making her appear even more like a ragdoll in her lack of consciousness.
Continuing down the long passage, Ishio ran ahead of the others: head ducked low, any police who came in his way were thrown over his shoulder, behind the rapidly moving team. Liwei ran behind Ishio, with Frost in the back to assure that no officers came up behind them. No officers came behind them, but what did follow was a wall of flames. Between the two destroyed machines and Liwei setting the torture room on fire, the entire building was beginning to collapse, adding another variable to their escape.
Finally, they could see a light before them. All three picked up their speed, until a figure stood and blocked the light. "Now you've destroyed this facility," Tang spoke carefully, precisely.
"Move out of the way, Tang. You've lost here." Liwei stepped forward, hoping to knock some reason into his former boss's head.
"I've lost?" Tang's gaze wandered to the unconscious Ai Shi before facing Liwei once more. "I will bring justice, and I will not 'lose' to a bunch of kids."
"Then I'm sorry, Tang, but we need to get out of here." Shifting Ai Shi on his back, Liwei quickly drew his gun from his holster. Four bangs, four shots, and Tang fell to the ground. Team Avatar did not wait to make sure he lay dead; the collapsing building would kill him if the bullets didn't.
Sunlight burned their eyes. They emerged from a bunker of sorts. Flames licked out from the door, and though no one from the outside could see it, a major step had been made in taking out the people who controlled this corrupt society.
But nothing comes without cost...
Book One: Fire - End
Or is Just Beginning?
- Blue green flames, as I learned in chemistry class, are caused by a chemical being added to normal flames. So it is possible and I am not simply basing Liwei's flame color off of Lunatic's.
- Death of old self much?
- The thoughts at the beginning are all of the thoughts of the members (duh). I think one of the best ways to reveal character traits is through thoughts: it shows how cocky all of the characters are at this point by saying that they all think of him/herself as the leader.
End of Book Trivia
- When all of the chapters are combined, it totals in one hundred and thirty seven pages on Microsoft Word. Give yourselves a hand, those who read all of the first book; you just finished a novel.
- I was originally planning twenty chapters. I got to chapter thirteen and figured that it was better to keep it short than to drag it on with needless fillers.
- So I tried to fill the first book with lots of symbolism, metaphor, irony, etc. Some symbols and metaphors are obvious, like the Tigerbunny, the hallway, etc. But some are less obvious, like the Iguana Seal (at least in my opinion). Anyway, it's kinda fun sometimes to go back and look through for symbols and stuff once you've finished reading something.
- EotO weather forecast: it's going to be a long winter.
For the collective works of the author, go here.