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Earth fissure
Change Does Not Come Easily
Chapter information
Series

Emblem of the Outlaw

Book

Three: Water

Chapter

36

Written by

MibuWolf

Release date

13/2/11

Chronology
Last chapter

A Dragon's Fangs Hurt as Much as its Flames

Next chapter

Loyalty is Difficult to Find in a World of Betrayal

Change does not come easily, nor quickly

The ground began to split into a great crevasse, trembling the earth for miles around. And at the origin of the shatter, Sumi's fist was ground firmly in the dirt. Just in time, Tuzo and Meelo had leaped in opposite directions, successfully avoiding being caught in the blow. Yet, a lump formed in both of their throats. This man was powerful enough to create an attack of this scale. Though they outnumbered him two to one, doubts began to rise in their chests. August had already been eliminated by Sumi's dragon, even if he was able to take the great reptile down with him. And if Sumi's claims about besting the dragon himself were true...

"Do you expect to win by leaping around?" The villain's voice broke through their panicked thoughts. He had risen, now standing in a standard Earthbending position and awaiting their move. This time it was obvious that Sumi would not move until after Tuzo or Meelo--egging them to fight most likely so that he could counter. "The so-called greatest Firebender and greatest Airbender, dying like rodents."

"'So-called' by whom? Last I checked, we were just two crazy old men." Meelo smirked as he retorted Sumi in a calm, controlled manner.

"Two crazy old men who are going to kick your ass, to boot," Tuzo added.

Expression unchanging, Sumi sprung a few inches into the air and landed, making several sharp protrusions of stone spring from the ground in a line towards his opponents. Using his Airbending, Meelo gracefully launched himself above the attack, landing and balancing on the very tip of one rock. His comrade pointed his palms sideways and used the force of his flames to propel himself away. "We've all been around for a lot longer than those kids, and I seem to recall everyone excitedly mention that powerful young Airbender and his Firebender friend."

A blast of flames shot from behind Sumi. Tuzo had quickly moved behind his opponent--left hand using flames to steady himself in mid-air while his right hand was clenched into a fist, punching the fire attack towards Sumi. With a twitch of his right foot against the ground, Sumi created a wall of earth which absorbed the flame. Immediately after, the earth was lowered and a rapid bullet broke through. Tuzo dodged, but the bullet still grazed his right arm. He continued in the same direction and landed beside Meelo to face the police chief crime lord once more.

"It's funny, this really isn't much of a battle at all. I expected more." Sumi smirked as he blew the smoke from his handgun.

"Tch. The battle hasn't even started." Tuzo wrinkled his nose in irritation as he spoke.

"And yet you're already injured."

All at once, Tuzo pivoted on his left foot and kicked another blast of flame towards Sumi with his right. The Earthbender ducked below the attack in a simple motion, digging in with his right foot at the same time. Cracks in the earth formed around his foot as he was about to Earthbend once more. Before Tuzo could react, Sumi shot forward and was inches from the Firebender's face. But as Sumi aimed a punch at Tuzo's face, the latter seemed to vanish. His punch broke through air, and Sumi staggered to the solid ground as his eyes found his opponents once more.

Meelo gently settled to the ground a few feet away, holding his dazed friend by the collar. "I know your a very passionate person, Tuzo. But don't get too angry."

"I know... That's just what he wants." Tuzo regained his footing and brushed Meelo's hand from his collar.

"How excellent. The two 'wise old men' exercising self-control." The dirt shifted in barely noticeable motions around Sumi's feet as he spoke. A normal opponent wouldn't be able to tell that he was preparing for an attack, but Sumi was not fighting normal opponents. Tuzo and Meelo's muscles tensed slightly, so that they would be prepared for an attack without being obviously in a fighting stance.

"Oi. Only we can call ourselves old." Meelo smirked, winking arrogantly as he continued, "'Sides, you're older than we are."

"You are not incorrect there," Sumi brought his foot down hard and a cloud of dust shot into the air. The entire fighting area became veiled in dust, making it impossible to see or tell where the other fighters were.

A gust of wind tore through the dust, but the hole was quickly covered once more. Sumi successfully used his bending to make it so that the cloud would not falter under Meelo's Airbending. Second by second, their breathing steadied until it was almost silent. Tuzo closed his eyes to better focus, making each slight noise stand out even more. The sound of feet shifting in front of him to the left met his ears. He leaped into the air and spun around while launching a crescent shaped stream of air towards the noise.

Sparks shot through the air. Tuzo's blast of fire was met by a shield of wind created by Meelo. Between the air and fire, the attack dissipated in thin air. But it created a break in the dust cloud just long enough for the two to see the attack come. Sumi rushed, shooting forward with the power of the earth. His hands were open, and the two members of OWL did not have time to dodge as the hands clasped around their faces. They were thrown through the air, out of the dust, and hit the ground hard several feet away.

Meelo twirled his arms in a hasty circle to bring Tuzo and himself to their feet and out of the way of an incoming boulder. As the cloud disappeared, Sumi was nowhere to be found. They looked about in a frenzy until something grabbed their ankles. Before they could react, the ground beneath them turned to sand. Quick sand. Before they could react the sand was up to their chins. Then it solidified. A few feet away, Sumi emerged from a hole in the ground and grinned at the heads of the two sticking out from the earth.

"Now then, I wanted you to understand just how outmatched you were." Sumi explained, creating a few rocks to twirl around his hand. "But this isn't exactly a fair fight, is it? I could cut your heads off at the earth and be rid of you, but I will show you that I can defeat you in head on combat as well." The ground turned back to sand. Meelo and Tuzo quickly freed themselves from the earth as Sumi stood as well.

But Sumi did not plan on giving them time to fully recover. Another boulder flew directly towards them. Meelo's foot traced a half-circle in the dirt before he quickly spun around. Pressurized air followed his outstretched hand, which he directed to slam into the side of the rock. It flew out of the way, creating a small crater in the earth where it eventually hit. Tuzo used this opportunity to spring into a counterattack. He leaped into the air, extending his right leg into a crescent flame attack. After this had exploded towards Sumi, Tuzo landed on that same foot and followed with a sidekick with his left, blasting a more focused stream of fire towards his opponent.

Both attacks met another rock wall. Immediately after, Sumi slammed both his fists into the stone and launched it towards his opponents. A small gust of wind--created by Meelo--lifted the two into the air as the rock passed beneath them. Gently they returned to the ground with the air still swelling around their feet.

"Tuzo! Look alive!" Meelo's words broke through Tuzo's concentration on the battle. He turned to the other in alarm, but before he could do much more, the Firebender was suddenly propelled towards Sumi. The plan occurred to Tuzo a few feet in front of their opponent, and he quickly created a shield of flame to collide with the villain. Caught off guard, Sumi could do little more than sidestep his opponent launching forward like a missile.

After Tuzo had continued to fly for a meter or so, Sumi created another rock wall which the Firebender ran into head first. "Shit!" Tuzo swore in surprise as his forehead slammed into the stone. He seemed in a daze, thus Sumi directed his attention towards the still fully conscious opponent.

"Launching your friend into a wall. Clever." Sumi stated sarcastically.

"Oh? Maybe I wanted to incapacitate him." Meelo's tone was mischievous, matched with an equally sly smile.

"Do you expect me to believe that?"

"Indeed. He was just getting in the way anyway."

"Of course," Sumi replied dubiously. After their interchange, he slammed his fist into the ground and rippled the earth. A rounded wave lashed across the earth, and Meelo gracefully pushed off of the ground into the air. In response, Sumi created several tall pillars of rock which attempted to strike Meelo out of the air. Each was unsuccessful. Meelo soared over the other, twisting into a front flip as he neared the ground.

As soon as his foot touched the ground, he sprung forward towards Sumi. With his leap, he had easily moved behind the police chief crime lord and was now behind him with a brief moment of surprise to use to his advantage. But Meelo's timing was just off enough for Sumi to have the opportunity to turn around and acknowledge his opponent. At the same time, Meelo changed his course and spun forward into a downward kick aimed at Sumi's head. The latter simply blocked the strike with his forearm, creating a brief moment where Meelo simply hovered in midair. Now, Meelo turned backwards and aimed an upward strike of air with his opposite foot. This caught Sumi, and sent the criminal flying over Meelo's head.

Despite this turning of tables, Sumi easily regained himself and skidded against the ground as if it were all according to his plan. He quickly pivoted sideways and slammed the side of his foot into the earth. Another crack broke through, but Meelo was able to easily avoid it and once more appear alongside Sumi. His fists flew with punches accelerated by his bending, and Sumi miraculously seemed to have a reaction speed high enough for him to match each punch. And then, he quickly drew his handgun and shot a bullet at point blank range.

The bullet pierced Meelo's robes, but he had managed to avoid receiving any real damage. "I told you. No matter the game you play, I will win." Sumi stated arrogantly as he twirled his gun on his right index finger.

"Yeah? Try wrestling." From out of seemingly nowhere, Tuzo appeared and slammed into Sumi. Even with his bending and marksman prowess, Sumi was not the most athletic. Tuzo's muscular build easily overpowered the other, and slammed him into the ground. As Sumi's body collided with the dirt, his gun flew from his hand. "Meelo! Grab the gun!" Tuzo commanded while quickly wrapping himself around their opponent in a sleeper hold.

Meelo didn't need to be told twice. He sprung forward, and used his bending to propel himself towards the firearm. Once it was in his grasp, Tuzo tightened his grip and spoke to the subdued Sumi, "You can be the most powerful bender in the world, but you're still just a fat, out of shape, old man."

"Imbeciles," Sumi growled, air obviously becoming scarce, "do you know what you're doing?"

"We're saving the world," Meelo replied, wrinkling his nose in disgust.

Tuzo tightened his hold, but Sumi still found the words to speak, "I run the world! Killing me will... Urk..." he grunted for air as Tuzo tightened further, but still struggled out a few more words, "throw everything into chaos."

"Then that's a chance we'll have to take." Meelo said finally. With those words, Tuzo quickly shifted his arms and easily snapped Sumi's neck. The criminal's body fell lifelessly to the ground and Tuzo stood to face his colleague.

"That wasn't easy," Tuzo stated with a smirk. "Old fart put up a fight."

"You're one to talk. That move there in the end was bad ass." Meelo approached Tuzo and patted him on the back, smiling impishly.

"Yeah, and you did pretty well while I was out, too." Tuzo quickly returned the compliment.

Their back-and-forth was soon interrupted by an explosion in the distance. "Looks like the others might need our help."


Using a match for his cigarettes, Donghai lit the gasoline of the toppled van. It burst into flames and created an explosion which killed and sent several members of the police force, Anying Jiaoben, and the Order of the White Lotus flying. He approached the girls and used a nearby flaming corpse to light his own smoke and face them. They had just worked to fight off several of their opponents, and the battle seemed never-ending. But now, Donghai had narrowed the fight down to himself and a couple others against them. A smug expression on his face reflected satisfaction with the new match-up.

The gangster removed the cigarette from his mouth and exhaled a long stream of smoke before speaking. "Much more personal now, wouldn't you say?"

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day! You get to go into tomorrow with the image of an evil, short, fat old man getting his neck snapped.

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