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|Return to the Spirit World, Part 2: Against all Odds|
February 11, 2011
With the White Lotus Spirit gone, the Spirit World is thrown completely out of balance. The gang make a desperate attempt to escape from Azula and form a plan in the wake of this disaster...
Book 3 Chapter 6: Return to the Spirit World, Part 2: Against all Odds
Katara cried out in agony as she and the rest of the humans fell to the ground in a futile attempt to avoid the blunt of the explosion. The ball of fire containing the Spirit of Peace burst and sent fiery chaos and destruction speeding off in all directions. The White Lotus's final, agonized, call echoed through the open air as the spirit was ripped to shreds by Azula's violent attack.
The ground shook as huge tremors cut enormous gashes through the landscape. The Lotus's temple was shaken from its foundation and plummeted from its high height all the way to the ground, where its thousands of mirrors all simultaneously shattered in a terrible noise that seemed to suck all remaining hope out of the dire situation. In half of a second, black, turbulent storm clouds filled the sky and emitted violent bursts of lightning that added to the chaos ensuing in the wake of the bird's death.
Zuko opened his eyes a crack and peered at the outline of his sister high up in the sky. She was catching bolts of lightning as they crashed down around her and redirecting them in other directions, cackling insanely all the while.
"THIS!" she cried. "This is how you all will die!" She waved her hand and five more possessed badgermole spirits rose from the cracks in the decimated landscape. "Minions! KILL them!"
"Everyone! Follow me, hurry!" Aang shouted over the clashing of the lightning and the incessant cackling of the evil princess. The six of them stumbled across the trembling plateau, hurtling great gaps, dodging crumbling cliff sides, and sidestepping bolts of lightning and a relentless barrage of the elements from Azula from above.
"Quick!" Suki cried. "We can hide in that cave!" She led the others as they bolted for cover. Toph veered off-course. Without her Earthbending, she couldn't see a thing. Sokka backtracked and grasped her hand, and together they ran as fast as they could to catch up to the others.
The moment they were all underneath the rocky overpass, Toph stomped firmly on the ground and the mouth of the cave closed up. They were safe...for a moment.
"How'd you do that?" Aang asked. He spun his arms around and was delighted when a small dust devil formed on the cave floor and tossed the dirt around. "Our bending is back? How is that possible?"
Zuko ignited a flame in his palm and waved it around the cave, illuminating their surroundings. "I think it's because the White Lotus died," he said as he ran his fingers along the cave wall. "That spirit acted as the protector of the Spirit World. So with it gone, the line between the spirit and physical worlds must be...fading."
"But what does that mean?" Katara asked. "What's going to happen?" She remembered the destruction of the Order of the White Lotus's headquarters. If Azula's meddling had caused that much trouble before the Lotus's death, she couldn't even imagine how bad the conditions on Earth must be now.
Toph broke the silence: "Hey, what's...?" She reached out her palm into the shadows. Zuko waved the flame toward her and was shocked to see a large stone with delicately carved calligraphy inscribed upon it.
"Please tell me that's what I think it is," Sokka said, dropping to the floor and drawing his legs close. "We could use some good luck for once." He rested his elbows on his knees.
"It is!" Suki cried. "We found the first Spirit Amulet!"
"Only three more," Zuko confirmed. "But there's just one little problem with that. The Lotus Spirit's death has thrown the entire Spirit World into chaos. Without its protector here to maintain balance and peace, I don't know how much longer we have until this entire world collapses in on itself."
"But the White Lotus is a spirit," Sokka said as he furrowed his brow in intense thought. "How can it die? I thought the spirits were, you know, immortal?"
"I don't know," said Aang. He sat down beside Sokka. "I didn't know that a spirit could die. Maybe it didn't. Maybe it's just...somewhere else. But regardless, wherever it is, it can't protect the Spirit World anymore, and Zuko is right: the Spirit World is unstable. It's falling apart."
A sudden tremor rumbled the cave and sent a cascade of dirt raining down on them from the cave roof.
"Not to rush anything," said Toph through gritted teeth, her fists firmly pressed against the closed mouth of the cave, "but I'm just one Earthbender. I can't hold back two giant badgermoles and a crazy evil Avatar forever."
Aang went over to help her, but it wasn't more than a couple more seconds before they were both overwhelmed by the combined Earthbending power of the two badgermoles. They were blasted backwards and Azula strolled into the cave, wickedly holding one hand on her hip and the other dangling at her side, a hint of fire singeing the air surrounding her fingertips...
"Welcome," she smirked, "to the end of the road..."
I really like this chapter. Yeah...yep. :D Hopefully you guys do too. And believe it or not we are getting toward the end. You should start seeing within a couple chapters how everything starts coming together ;)
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