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|Liberty is Falling|
The supply truck exploded upon being hit by the massive boulder propelled by the combined strengths of Kupo and Batu. At that, the Earth Kingdom commander ordered his archers focus fire on the who appeared to be their main obstacles. The father-son team effortlessly blocked the arrows with an earthen wall. Fong Lee then took advantage of the archers' distraction and fired an arrow of his own, although this arrow was equipped with a case containing pure volatile and explosive chemicals. The bomb detonated on impact, blowing the commander's forces to pieces.
"It's good to see you break that thing out again, old friend," commented Kupo with a smile.
"If anything, this invasion is an excuse to use it!" replied Fong Lee just before he narrowly avoided a rock that took off part of his mustache.
Batu was becoming overwhelmed by the amount of Earthbenders surrounding him. He was able to send one back into the tailor shop across the street just before another one snuck up from behind. He would have been dead if Kroopook hadn't impaled him with his boomerang. He then continued to lune his spear into the throat of a female attacker while blocking an incoming rock with his shield. He killed the Earthbender with the bloody spear he ripped out of the clearly dead woman. After that, he turned to Kupo. "I may not be from this Kingdom, but if someone were to threaten the freedom of the Water Tribes, I would stop at nothing to defend it," he said with a bow.
Speaking of attacking the Water Tribes...
Onjing stared down his latest target with pure animosity aversion. "As we grow closer, I can almost smell the Cha Jin Des' filth." His tone was cold and emotionless.
"Not for long, my lord," assured Kimma. She too was eyeing her home as she moved the small barge through the frigid, Northern ocean using her bending. She let out a vile laugh as she rolled her head.
"I too foresee success in this city," stated Zhouray. "It's only a matter of time before we vanquish all non-benders from this great Tribe."
"Well then," started Onjing. "Let us begin." With those words, he sprung into the air at the speed of lightening. Neither Kimma nor Zhouray could see his black drapes speeding towards the icy city.
After another short, cynical burst of laughter, Kimma leapt off of the barge and formed a round platform of ice for her to land on. After Zhouray joined her, she pushed her arms forward, propelling the ice towards their target. As they moved closer, Kimma flicked her right wrist to send Zhouray through the air in a gush of water like a canon. Just as he began to free-fall, he forced himself over the city wall with blast of fire from his feet. Kimma soon joined him.
They were met by teams of guards. Zhouray torched all incoming spears and burnt the encircling Waterbenders to a crisp with a blazing arc.
"Not the benders!" Kimma gasped.
"Those who defend the non-benders are our enemies too!" responded Zhouray angrily.
This only enraged Kimma to the point to the point of pure insanity. She waved her arms and an entire wave of warriors melted collapsed without any physical contact. She turned to her right and entrapped eight spearmen in their own, icy columns. With one, swift motion, she sent an icicle through the skulls of each of them. Immediately following that gruesome display of her power, she used water to revolve a boomerang around her body and back at her assailant.
The Northern Waterbenders utilized yet another system of defense. A few of them pushed their arms forward, shooting an enormous blast of water out from a tube at tremendous speed. For the first time, Kimma's eyes showed fear to someone other than Onjing, but only for a split-second. Surprisingly calm, she simply faced her palm outward and the blast of water froze six feet in front of her. She smiled just before she split the water into two streams and bent them back the defenders.
Zhouray decided that it was a perfect time to unleash his lightning. He punched the icy ground and sparks flew around him, instantly killing everyone in a twenty meter radius. He hurled himself into the air with a blast of lightning then, like no member of the Northern Water Tribe had ever seen before, he hailed bolts down upon them from his mouth. He landed to strike a man on buffalo yak calvary down to his electrified death.
With great stealth, Onjing had made his way through the frozen palace and was nearing the chamber of his target. He couldn't help but smile at the thought of what he was about to do.
"So, how far did you say these Sun people were?" inquired Brek.
"When The Great War ended, they felt that Fire Nation soil was okay to inhabit again. They moved from Air Nomad territory and settled just down this mountain range. It can't be more than a two day trip," Zola informed.
"And you're sure it's worth it?"
"Positive. They are the only ones who know how to prevent the Fire Nation from achieving evil."
"Then where were they the last time?" Berani cut in. The others responded with silence. Brek shot her an annoyed look. "What?" she continued. "Do you really think that these people are going to have some magical answer? Let me guess, their just more benders? Because that's exactly what we need! More people who think they're so much better than everyone else!"
"Berani, you know we don't feel that way," said Kaeta.
"Now, if everyone is ready, I think we should start," Brek stated. The others agreed, including Berani.
Zola watched as her pet mongoose dragon picked away at ants as it walked. She turned to her side to pet Pumi, who seemed tired of carrying the other three.
"You know, one of my ancestors used to ride these," said Zola in reference to Fire Lady Mai. "Of course, she was using it to hunt the Avatar down." "But then they became friends," she clarified. "They say some friendships are so powerful, they can last lifetimes."
Brek smiled. "I guess so."
It was a few hours before they reached a small town.
"It's past midnight! Why is everyone still moving around?" asked Kaeta.
"It looks like some kind of public gathering," said Berani.
"Let's check it out," Brek suggested.
The four made their way to an alley where they could view a well-attended event from what appeared to be the town's center.
The two prison guards spun around in shock as a nearby metal wall was torn apart from the other side. They ran towards it until a man jumped through and hit them with a thick metal bar. The man continued to run down the prison hall.
"Halt right there!" ordered a guard upon seeing the intruder. He punched the air as to create a fireball, but his fist was covered in metal by the time he had fully extended his arm.
"Huh?" That was the last thing the guard said before he was hit by twelve metal pellets up through the middle of his body.
When he reached a door, the man put his hand up against the metal. He pulled his fist back and punched through, sending a metal fist into the chest of a guard inside. The man then tore up the split the door in to so he could enter.
"Brone!" shouted a voice from inside the cell located in the room.
"It's good to see you, Huang. Are you alright?"
"I am now. That Onjing guy, he's ruthless. He killed the Firelord... and his wife. The Avatar and his friends escaped with their daughter."
"That's all that matters. If the Avatar is okay, then there is still hope." Brone was beginning to free Huang from his chains.
"What about the rebellion did you-"
"The rebellion was quashed. Our forces were defeated by the Bao Hu Zhe. As a result, the Earth King ordered military action against Revolutionist cities."
"Have faith Huang. Have faith. The Order is ready. All we need is you. Let's go!"
Back at the small Fire Nation town, Team Avatar was confused, then appalled at what they saw.
A man slowly made his way to a stage in the center of the crowd. Zola recognized his uniform instantly. "A royal messenger," she whispered to the others.
"The following is an official decree from Fire Lord Zhouray," the messenger began as he read a scroll. He paused to wait for the murmurs, gasps, and outbursts of "Luzan is dead?" to silence. Zola couldn't help but tearing up. The messenger started again. "The following is an official decree from Fire Lord Zhouray. A new era has begun. No longer will- Silence! No longer will the Fire Nation be tainted by the filth of those without bending. Effective immediately, those who fall under that category will be eliminated, and anyone who harbors them or attempts to conceal them will be treated as equally guilty of the crime."
"Crime?" muttered Berani.
"The executions will commence tomorrow at noon. Because the Fire Lord is generous, he has given those condemned to die time to say their last goodbyes to family and friends, in the unlikely event that any of their neighbors consider them friends given their circumstance. Those who are planning to escape this town be warned: you are, at this moment, surrounded and being watched by the military of the Fire Nation. Your only option is to wait to receive the justice you deserve." The herald folded his scroll and stepped down from the stage. The villagers were frozen in terror.
"No," Brek couldn't comprehend what he had just heard.
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