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|A Warning Part 2|
18th August 2013
There he laid. A soldier, a fighter, a son, a boy.
"Consider this your warning" Shao spat. He laughed as he looked at the boys' motionless body.
"What's wrong child?" Shao sadistically said. "Come out and play." With that Shao fired a lightning bolt at the Avatar statue, shattering it to pieces.
Shao wouldn't stop. He set the place ablaze, constantly launching fire all over the area. He laughed at Toph huddled in the corner behind her pathetic bit of cover.
He approached her ceasing his fire attacks. His eyes flashed green. He was going to do it. He remembered how he had felt when he had done the same to that pitiful mongrel of a man back in Omashu. The way he wept and cried and screamed. The way he placed his hands on the man's head, how he knew what he was about to do but held nothing back. How he had bent his energy and not only took away the man's soul but ceased his earthbending for good. A gift from the almighty his dad had told him. To be able to take away someone's bending and how the Avatar slayed the last ever lion turtle to learn the ability himself. He hated how his brother had always ranted on about how it was a curse, but it was a gift and now he was about to send a message to the Avatar about his power.
Toph knew he was only a few feet away. She had felt so scared, as he had approached her but yet more exhilarated. She stood up slightly, blowing her fringe out of the way of her eyes to stop it from tickling her nose which broke her concentration. She was ready, just a few more steps. The daemon was right in behind her.
"Now it's your turn."
"No" Toph said raising her head as she did. Shao couldn't believe it. She hadn't shriveled and given up hope like he had predicted.
With that Toph punched him right in the mouth with her earth fist knocking him over. She had split his lip but had barely noticed. She was already up and earthbending boulders in Shao's direction. Shao didn't hesitate he jumped over the boulders then side stepped followed by breaking them with lightning. It was only when he finally put Toph on the defensive did he realize he was bleeding; not just in his lip but his arm and his leg. Toph had caught him with the sharp edges of the boulders. He eyebrows lowered, his face darkened.
"What's wrong scared of a little scratch poor thing." Toph mocked barely hiding her smile.
"GRR... I'll show you; ungrateful grunt."
Shao was enraged. He breathed steam from his nostrils. He raced at Toph about to launch fire at Toph yet she simply side stepped then raised a section of the floor slightly causing him to trip and fall over. Toph was unable to not giggle at the sight of the man fall so easily. He was so helpless. She raised earth shackles wedging him into the floor. She raised him up. She wanted so much to end it right here... and she could. It was so easy. She could grab Sokka's sword and do it. But she never would. That was something Aang had taught. She turned away from him.
"Oh well my loss."
Toph smiled but then stomped the floor blasting him right into the air followed by her launching a boulder right into his chest smashing him into the wall. She forced him to stick to the wall. He looked a bit like the son of the almighty in old Earth Kingdom mythology. It spoke of how the people nailed him to a cross and laughed at him while his followers cried. Maybe that was what she had done yet that's what he'd done to Sokka. So he deserved this. Does he? Something was telling Toph that this wasn't right to just leave him here. She couldn't think she turned around in shame.
"Poor child; poor stupid child."
Shao seized the moment. He blasted the couplets right off using lightning. He fell right down. No sooner he landed did he launch fire right at Toph. Toph knew what he was doing and went to dodge but found she couldn't move. The fire struck her right in her back causing her to fall forward. It was only when she started to lose consciousness did she realize there was another man in the room.
Zuko never knew how he would feel if he ever would be Firelord. He always thought he would collapse from pressure and fear of what would be expected of him yet he should have known he would always be safe and happy with his uncle at his side. Uncle was the one who had been there for him, not his father. If only his mother was with him now. Maybe she would give him what he needed for this situation. He had just got word that Omashu has fallen under military rule. Now king Bumi was imprisoned whilst the army have taken over the city declaring that king Bumi went insane and tried to kill them and Aang as well as allowing convicted criminal Shao escape. This was something he couldn't do alone. He had to find Aang and find out what was going on. He stood up and removed his amour and crown which allowed his hair to enter its rough and natural style once more. He then grabbed a quill, some ink and a piece of parchment.
He took a deep breath and began to right a letter to May whilst the rain patted softly against the walls of the palace.
The girl had awoken from her sleep. She seemed quite dazed on the chair in the cold, wooden shack. Shao didn't really care though. He was too focused arguing with his ridiculous excuse of a brother, Lee.
"No, you can't do this it isn't right," said his dummy of a brother obviously quite scared.
"I have two, it's what dad would want" said Shao quite serious.
"You really think dad would really want you to do this?" said his brother much sterner as though new confidence had crept into his voice,
"Yes, he would now step out of my way," Shao said.
"No!" his arrogant brother responded.
"What?" Shao spat back taking a step closer as he spoke.
"I said no!" Lee shouted in defiance.
He couldn't believe it. His own brother was going to get in his way. His faced morphed red with anger, the vein at the side of his head pulsed violently. "Then on your head be it!"
With that, Shao punched his brother clean in the face, followed by a left hook knocking him over. His brother quickly recovered, got back up and returned with a spinning kick to Shao's thigh followed by a fast paced fist heading straight for Shao's jaw. Then they were at it; a big scrappy brawl. Shao blocked it with his arm then punched his brother right in the nose. Crack. Blood rushed down Lee's face. He was dazed. This didn't stop Shao from laying into him even more however. Blood and sweat and saliva flew out of his face, each time becoming more and more lifeless. A crony in the room seised the moment to attempt to split them up but ended up getting knocked back by Shao roaring a flash of fire in his face, smashing his head on the wall. He didn't get up. He was too busy wailing and screaming in pain.
Shao didn't care what he did to the crying crony. All he cared about was teaching his stupid excuse of a brother a lesson. Lee gripped Shao's hand to his astonishment and kicked him off him and into the wall. Lee went to get up but stopped to stare at something moving.
Shao saw something zoomed past him but didn't think anything of it; he just grabbed his stupid brother and punched him again. "Stop...her" Shao raised his head to see what the dazed crony was groaning about. Then he saw her. The girl had escaped. He dropped his beaten brother and raced right to the door not carding that Lee covered in blood and his crony had a dell gash in his head.
He chased her through the meadow. The sound of the wind began whistling in his ear while the corn started rustling as he ran through it. He couldn't lose her. He wouldn't let his idiotic brother ruin everything. He soon caught up to her. She was bending the floor with her feet to increase her speed.
"Oh no you don't you clever girl."
Shao was starting the fire bend at her. She was dodging his attacks but not for long. He soon got a perfect strike. Slam. Down she went crashing right into the floor, tumbling down like a stack of logs. Now he had her with no distractions. He ran at her before she recovered and chi blocked her.
Toph was trying the get up but could not find the strength. She tried to bend the earth beneath but it would not yield to her. She could see. She felt cut off from the rest of the world. She was scared. Something she hadn't felt in a very long time.
"Now it's your turn." Shao hissed. "Consider your friend's injuries and what I'm about to do a warning for the Avatar." What did he mean? Was this something Aang had got her into? Toph was then picked up quite roughly by the daemon.
Shao stared at her helpless in his arms. He had her. He could do it and he was going to. He dropped her onto her knees then raised his hands to her face. He was so close he could touch her. But something wasn't right. They weren't alone. He saw out of the corner of his eyes a small object whizzed towards him. He threw himself back barely avoiding the object as it whizzed past him that had been shot with extreme precision.
"You can't kidnap a girl without someone noticing" said a voice obviously that of a man. Shao and Toph both turned their attention to the voice. It was a Water Tribe man.
"A lovely old man tipped us off about where you were going. Said he saw you wonder up here. Who've thought you'd choose the cliffs near the royal rumble arenas; and it seems he was telling the truth." the man finished quite pleased with himself for having found Toph.
"You think you can beat me? You can't even bend" said Shao not really agitated by the appearance of a non-bender.
"Who says I can't bend?"
"No true waterbender would point an arrow at a bender. They would face them on bending ground."
"You know the water benders laws of battle?"
"Yes. Besides that, I have this girl. One move and I kill her" Shao drew a knife and held Toph as a shield. The knife pressed on her neck.
"Oh you're right that is unfortunate" the soldier said with a half-hearted smile.
"Then it's a good thing I brought some friends." With that it must have been around thirty soldiers all rose from the meadow's complete cover. Toph, although she couldn't see, knew that they all would have weapons.
Shao knew he was beaten. He couldn't make a move without getting shot at by about fifty arrows (despite them being poorly and roughly made by amateur "warriors"). He had to do something: something to allow him to escape and not be captured but still get the message across of how worried they should be. He raised a very sadistic smile. "Well." He raised his hand to mouth and pulled his bottom lip down. He let it go and allowed it to flop for a moment. With that he continued to speak while the soldier looked at him smiling. "Oh well. I guess I should get to work."
With that he threw Toph into the to the side, launching fresh fire in Toph's direction.
The soldier ran forward. He wouldn't make it. He only had one choice. He leaped a good four meters and collapsed right on Toph taking the blast for her. Shao then launched lightning at his captors which set the meadow ablaze. Toph had finally recovered from the chi-block. She could "see" again. She threw herself up ready to go toe to toe with Shao again but he was gone, he had escaped in the confusion. Toph kicked the ground in frustration. She had him and he'd slipped away again.
"Miss. Beifong we have to go now!" said another soldier picking up the injured soldier who was groaning in pain. Blood dripped from his thigh were the fire had burnt through the skin. He screamed as he was lifted off of the ground.
Toph stumbled back, even she couldn't bares the mans agonising screams. Toph controlled herself quite disappointed she couldn't return the favour. "Yes sir."
Zuko had finally finished the letter. He knew May wouldn't like it but he had to do it. He had to find Aang and get answers before another war starts. He packed his things. There was only one problem. He was Firelord now. Who was going to keep the Fire Nation in check while he was gone? He made his way towards the only people he could trust. Once there he told them what his plan was.
"I need you two to be in charge while I'm gone. I would trust Uncle with this but he is all the way in Ba Sing Se. If you guys try to stop what me and Aang have spent all this time restoring balance and start another war so help me-"
They both raised their hands. "Zuko we realized a long time ago how corrupt your father had become."
"We both realize how important this is for you."
"We will control the Fire Nation whilst you go and find Aang."
Zuko smiled. "Thank you both of you." With that he stood up and made his way to the door. "Erm...Firelord Zuko." He turned back towards the old frail ladies.
"You are sure about this? You really sure?"
"Yes goodbye." With that Zuko embarked into the rain of the night off to the Earth Kingdom to find Aang and keep balance.
It was strange to think that all that had happened this morning. Going to school, getting into a legal fight with Jostin, seeing Sokka again, seeing what a monster he had become, then feeling depressed when seeing his motionless body, then being rescued by Southern Water Tribe soldiers.
Now here she stood on a boat heading all the way to the South Pole. A door opened. It was the doctor. Toph ran straight towards yet still didn't go right to him as she couldn't "see straight being on wood and not earth, sand or metal.
"How are they doctor?" Toph said concerned.
"The soldier has a severe scar on his back and can be helped no more here. As for the acting captain he has a severe burn mark on his stomach and may not be in the best of conditions but-"
"But!?" Toph said quite hopeful.
The doctor sighed and smiled. "He will live and be back on his feet within the next few days."
Toph smiled as and turned to the ocean. He was alive. Sokka was alive and she was going to see Aang and Katara and Appa and Momo again. She knew right there and then that, no matter how messed up it was going to be, her life was back to normal.
For the collective works of the author, go here.