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Fire World


One (Heart)



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Release date

May 27, 2013

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Book I: Heart

Chapter Three: Chaos

Korra stumbles out of the throne room, her stomach clenching into uncomfortable knots, her eyes dimming with fear and reminiscence as the Phoenix Lord's last words ring in her mind.

"What if I fail? What if I fail to capture the Blue Spirit? I—will you still let it go? You won't harm me?"

The Phoenix Lord plays with a strand of hair from her world-famous bangs, fingering the glossy black locks. "That was incredibly naïve of you to think so, wasn't it, Korra?"

Her voice is as smooth and about as innocent as honey, but Korra instinctively flinches at the mention of her bare name. Coming out of the Phoenix Lord's mouth, it sounds like a death sentence.

"Yes, my Lord."

"To answer your question...if you fail, my dear corporal, you will certainly not be harmed, but I am sure that your relatives will begin to wish that they had never been born." She waves a dismissive hand. "Go, corporal. Do me some good. You will find that one of my personal guards are waiting for you at the entrance. Consider the guard as an asset to your journey. You are dismissed."'

Korra cannot even begin to fathom what the Phoenix Lord would do to her parents if she failed to capture the Blue Spirit.

Besides the point, she doesn't want to think about it.

It isn't the first time that her family has come under fire from her superiors, used as a driving force to get her to cooperate. Hell, that's why she put up with the master at the compound in the first place. Having not seen them for years upon years did not change a thing.

They're still family.

But this is the Phoenix Lord she is dealing with now. No matter what the master would have done if Korra went blatantly over the line during training, the Phoenix Lord could easily do it ten, twenty, a hundred times worse than she could have ever feared. And this time, she would be absolutely powerless to stop it, especially with the condition of her back.

She really does not want to get whipped another ten times around.

She doesn't notice her friends, lost completely in her thoughts, until she wobbles straight into the concerned gazes of Ruan and Mako and promptly buckles into the sergeant. He catches her, his warm hands closing around her biceps as he hauls her up again, and looks as if he wants to say something, but he apparently decides against it.

Ruan has no such qualms.

"So. What happened in there?"

Korra's teeth grind against each other as her jaw tightens considerably. Her own cerulean gaze refuses to meet Ruan's inquisitive golden irises, instead drifting down to land on the foot of the stairwell.

There is a strange guard dressed primly in form-fitting, strong black armor. His face is not quite turned towards them, but it is evident by his posture that he is waiting for them.

Mako follows Korra's line of sight and nods. "That guard's been waiting down there for quite some time, now," he informs the corporal. "Maybe he was sent to escort you?"

"Um. No," Korra responds, her throat growing dry. "That guard is supposed to come with us."

"...Us." Mako's eyebrows rise at her choice of words, and Korra can tell that there will be trouble between them later on.

"Wonderful!" Ruan takes this as an opportunity to pounce on Korra yet again. "So, did the Phoenix Lord tell you that? What else did she tell you?"

"Ruan, I hate you." Korra starts making her way down the stairs. "I hope that you know that you're incredibly manipulative."

"That didn't even make any sense," she hears Mako mumble.

"Whatever!" comes the heated grouse. "Then don't blame me when I leave you to die alone when your back opens up again, because the feeling is absolutely mutual!"

"No, the feeling certainly is not mutual; you know you love me!"

Ruan turns to Mako incredulously after Korra leaps down the stairs, well before she can make a biting retort. "Spirits! Does that girl know the meaning of awkward or not?"

"Why are you asking me?" the sergeant frowns. "You've known her for quite a while longer than I have."

"Five silver pieces says that Korra will turn an innocent conversation with the guard down there into one fit for a graceless turtle duck."

"Ruan, whatever you may think, I am not stupid enough to place a bet on terms that I know I will lose."


The guard at the foot of the stairs unfreezes, his head snapping right to face her as soon as Korra approaches him.

"You are Corporal Korra, yes?"

Korra jumps at the tone of the guard's voice, which is not masculine in the slightest—on the contrary, it is quite girly—and thus, the only thing that comes tumbling out of her mouth is, "You're a girl?"

"Of course!" The guard pulls her helmet off, letting luxurious wavy, raven-black hair tumble down, its length exceeding well past her shoulder blades. Friendly emerald green eyes meet Korra's blue irises, and the guard breaks out into an amiable smile.

"I'm Asami. Asami Sato. And, really, you are the corporal, aren't you? Phoenix Lord Azula informed me that you would be arriving shortly after she talked with you." Korra rapidly nods. "Right, right. That's me. Korra." She points a thumb at herself.

There is an empty sort of silence after her remark. Korra scratches the back of her neck, feeling rather self-conscious as Asami patiently stands there as if she is expecting Korra to say something else, and so, after a few more seconds, Korra obliges, blurting out the first thing that comes to her mind.

"Um...nice teeth you've got there."

She privately thinks that Asami's teeth are abnormally white.

Asami tilts her head, a hint of confusion entering her green eyes. "Er, thanks...?"

Behind the two of them, there is a bark of triumphant laughter as Ruan shoves her finger in Mako's breastplate. "Told you so!"

"Technically, I agreed with you," the sergeant grumbles, his neck turning red as he looks anywhere but Asami.

"Told him what?" Korra asks immediately, looking suspiciously at the two of them.

"Mako and I were going to make a bet on five silver pieces that you would turn the conversation awkward," Ruan immediately replies, "but Mako said that he wasn't stupid enough to place a bet on something that he knew he would lose."

Asami chuckles softly while Korra's jaw promptly becomes unhinged. "Hey! Who're you to go and make judgments about me? You've only known me for so long!"

"You are pretty much an open book," Mako politely informs her, "and I have come to the conclusion that you are also crazy."

"Oh, really?" Korra challenges, not liking the fact that Mako seemed to be prodding at her ego, "As I recall, only yesterday, you were telling me that I did a good job in subduing the raiders."

"And yesterday, you also threw yourself into a situation that could have been avoided." He glares pointedly at her back.

Korra bad-temperately turns away with a huff. Jerkbender. "Are you guys coming with me or not, because I'll be perfectly happy to do this by myself."

"Hey, we never agreed in the first place to come with you," Mako points out unhelpfully. "You can't just assume that—"

"You seemed perfectly happy to accompany me to New Ozai just half an hour ago," Korra argues, her temper flaring. "How is this any different? It's just going to be a...much longer journey."

Ruan nudges her on the shoulder—"I'm with you all the way"—and Korra smiles uneasily at that; a feeling of growing apprehension is blossoming in her chest area, but she can't exactly pin down why. Shouldn't she be happy that someone else (well, Asami would probably be in this, too, considering Phoenix Lord Azula's orders, whether or not she wanted to be in it) would be following her into this mess? She had been quite fine a few moments ago with the idea.

Mako snorts, rubbing his arm guard. "And I don't suppose that you know where to start?"

"Yes, I do!" Korra immediately snaps, on the defensive.

"So, where do we start, captain?" Sarcasm laces his tone of voice. "Or, why don't you just admit that you don't know where to start, tell us what this vendetta that you will be embarking on is, and then go?"

Korra feels her fists clench at her sides, a bolt of white-hot anger coursing through her body.

If he knew how important this quest is to her, he wouldn't be acting like this now, but she really isn't sure if she is ready to share her motives of taking this trip to anyone else, yet.

"Right, right, right! But, you know, like Mako implied, we won't know what 'this' is until you tell us what happened in Phoenix Lord Azula's throne room," Ruan hints for a third time, speaking loudly to override Korra and Mako's quickly-rising voices. "And therefore, we won't know where to start with you until you tell us."

Korra gives her a half-glance and carefully responds, "Phoenix Lord Azula wants me to bring in the Blue Spirit, dead or alive."

A heavy chill appears to land upon the air as soon as the words leave her mouth, almost as if the sentence had brought upon blizzard conditions in the room. Mako looks absolutely mortified, and even Asami's eyebrows disappear into her perfect hairline, although the guard doesn't say anything.

"The...Blue Spirit," Ruan repeats, an uneasy yet clueless undertone entering her voice. "Who's that guy?"

"Oh, I don't know," Mako sarcastically responds, "only the most wanted criminal in Phoenix Empire history."

Ruan gives him a dirty look. "I'm sorry."

Korra cracks a tiny smile, bumping Ruan's arm with her elbow while her eyes narrow playfully. "Never did pay attention in World History, did you?"

"Yes, because you are totally one to talk."

"I totally am," Korra smugly sneers, "I got the highest final grade in the class."

"Braggart." Ruan blows a half-hearted raspberry at her. "You don't need to rub it into my face again."

"You were the one who—!"

"The Blue Spirit has last been sighted in the outskirts of the Earth Kingdom Resistance's territory," Asami thoughtfully interjects, cutting into their light banter. "That was...what, four, five days ago? If we set off right now and make good time, then we might be able to catch onto his trail."

"It'll be weak," Mako jumps in, looking at Asami. "Maybe too weak, even for you."

Asami responds with a cool glance directed towards the sergeant. "But it's the only lead we have, yes?" Her voice is heavy with meaning.

Mako snorts, catching on. "I am terribly sorry to disappoint, but may I point out the fact that I still haven't agreed to this. I have matters to attend to on my ship as well. I can't just go prancing off with you girls, with no questions asked."

"Fine!" Korra snaps at him, her expression souring quickly as she jabs a finger into his chest (although she ends up smashing it painfully against his armor). "If you're going to keep on prattling on about how you never agreed you'd come with me, which I admit is true, then keep on going, and I'll leave! I don't need you, anyways!" There's a frosty pause in the air, and Korra continues to ramble on; words are simply tumbling out of her mouth like an unrelenting torrent of water. Never mind what comes out of her mouth; she can regret her words later.

"Who knows? You may as well just be a hindrance to this—to this whatever-they-call-it, bounty hunt or something, and I'm going to find that damn Blue Spirit and bring him back if that is the last thing I ever do!"

With a heated, furious air around her, she turns on her heel and storms out of the double doors, into the outside world.

Asami glances at Mako with a question in her eyes. "Er, she does realize that your ship is pretty much our only means of transportation, right?"

Mako rolls his eyes. "Evidently, she doesn't."

"No matter!" Ruan brightly interrupts, her eyes showing a rare shine in them at the thought of adventure. "We'll walk!"

"When you gain the ability to walk on water, you do that, yes," Mako tiredly says, frustrated out of his mind. "Ruan, please, think logically...we're on an island. You know, a landmass surrounded on all sides by water?"

Ruan sheepishly scratches the back of her neck. "Er, right. Got caught up in the moment. Sorry."

Asami interrupts again, although her emerald gaze is still fixed on Mako. "Look, can't you just make some arrangements?" she quietly asks. "There's got to be another side to this other than just a simple hunt for a criminal to redeem herself."

Ruan shrugs. "She's always been rather...prideful. It wouldn't be hard to imagine that she is simply doing this to regain approval and...I dunno, honor."

"That sounds a lot like Prince Zuko's purpose for searching for the Avatar," Mako grunts.

Asami gives him a fleeting yet sharp glance.

Ruan cocks her head. "Um, what's an Avatar?"

"That's not important," Mako quickly replies, trying to amend his slip-up, although everyone in his presence can see him thinking, What do they teach in school these days?

Asami cuts in again, but this time, there is a twinge of impatience to her pleasant tone that was certainly not there before. "Look, my point is, this hunt might mean more to Korra than it appears. are her friend, right?"

"I only met her, like, yesterday," Mako argues, throwing his hands up into the air in exasperation. "And if this quest means so much to her, well—that's not my problem, is it?"

"Why don't you stop thinking only about yourself for once," Asami counters viciously, "and give a hand to someone else's predicaments for a change? Your brother—"

"Leave Bolin out of this!" Mako angrily snarls. His hands have curled into bloodless fists.

Ruan looks between the bristling soldiers and uncomfortably steps in, never one for mediating. "Um, shouldn't we be going after Korra to make sure she doesn't do something stupid, like...try to walk on water?"

Mako snorts, brushing past her angrily. "Idiot can do that for all I care. I'm leaving." He storms of out the hallway, the doors closing behind him with a final boom.

"Well, that worked wonderfully, didn't it?" Asami bitterly asks, staring at the entrance.

They are left to stew in an uncomfortable silence until Ruan uneasily pipes up again.

"So, Asami...what's an Avatar?"

The guard duly blanches and, recomposing herself, blankly looks at the soldier. You're persistent, she muses internally. A little too unrelenting for your own good.

Phoenix Lord Azula had declared it illegal for any discussion upon the subject of the Avatar in the whole Empire. Something about not wanting to alarm the loyal citizens of the Empire, but Asami has suspected for quite a while now that her charge is hiding something from even her top advisors and courtiers, save for perhaps Prince Zuko. Zuko was never that much around, anyways; always running some errand or the other for his sister and the Empire.

And so, Asami casually replies before jogging out of the palace to intercept Korra before she could do something stupid, "I have no idea."

Korra storms from the palace, steaming mad and scattering a knot of servants carrying fresh white bath towels at the foot of the stairs.

Stupid Mako. Stupid, stupid, stupid freaking Mako.

And she had pegged him as friendly. The guy from the prison complex and the ship ride was gone, only to be replaced by a brooding idiot.

All around her, the citizens of New Ozai are bustling on with their daily, normal lives. Merchants line the streets, bawling about great trades and prices on fire flakes, fowl, assorted meats, and cabbages, trying to get the harried civilians on the streets to buy some of their stock. Tantalizing aromas rise from the carts, creating a delicious mix of sweet, salty, spicy, and sour scents that, on any normal day, would cause Korra to drool like a moo-sow faced with slop. But this definitely isn't a normal day, and she is resolved to solve all her problems pretty soon.

If her difficulties didn't disappear right now, New Ozai and its awesome food would also be on fire.

A scream of desperation begins to bubble up at the base of her throat, and her mind whirls in a chaotic spiral of blending emotions and thoughts. First and foremost in front of all of them is, Why me?

She quickly stamps it down. There is no time to be wallowing around in the muddy waters that is also known as self-pity. If she wants to regain her integrity as quickly as possible, she will have to leave the damn Phoenix Empire capital, and fast.

The only question was, How?

However much Mako irritated her at the palace, he was right about one thing: she isn't getting out of this stuffy city unless she had a ship or could walk on water. Seeing as she isn't a waterbender and she doesn't have a ship, she is basically stuck in New Ozai unless she could somehow persuade (or bribe, or terrorize) a merchant to drop her off at the outskirts of the Earth Kingdom Resistance, which they would never do—bandits from the Resistance are notoriously well-known to stop and frisk ships carrying valuable cargo.

Korra slams the ground besides her with a fist in pure frustration, a small burst of flame emanating from her knuckles as she does so. She feels so, utterly helpless right now—stuck in New Ozai with an impossible quest to fulfill, and she doesn't even know where to begin with it other than a vague clue into the Earth Kingdom Resistance. If she is lucky, she will be spending the next three years of her short and miserable life scouring the whole area and its colonies for that damned criminal.

Of course, she could get started right now and not have to waste a month of time searching for a ship that would take her to the afore-mentioned place, if Mako hadn't so rudely flaunted her some help.

"...Korra?" Ruan taps her on the shoulder.

"What do you want?" she snaps back, her voice shaking somewhat with fury and desperation.

"I, uh," Ruan stutters, which is totally uncharacteristic of her, "don't get me wrong, but...why are you so adamant on this? I mean, I get that your ego's got to be bruised—"

"That's not the point," Korra savagely snarls. "You don't get it. You—you don't know how it feels like to lose family for almost all your life. You don't know how it feels like when they're so close, yet so far—I haven't seen my parents in thirteen long years! And"—she chokes down a wet sob—"if I don't catch the Blue Spirit, they'll die. I don't even remember them that well! The best I can do is conjure up a fuzzy picture of my mother, and I don't even remember what my father looks like, much less the sounds of their voices."

"That's where you've got it wrong," Ruan calmly tells her, her fingers tightening slightly on Korra's shoulder, "I do know." She pauses for a moment, and when Korra doesn't speak up, she continues speaking. "I have an older brother by five years. His name's Kouta. He's a non-bender."

"...And what does that have to do with anything?" Korra grouses, sulkily scuffing at the well-worn wooden dock with her boot.

"Well, he was resentful of benders," Ruan softly says, "and...well, my parents and I were all firebenders. I guess that one day, he got too fed up with everything—Mom and Dad had never treated him that well, and they constantly implied that he was a failure to the family name—and ran away. I was only five. I never saw hide or hair of him again. I don't even know if he's alive. And unlike you, I don't have a chance to get him back." She looks as if she wants to say something else, but she stops herself and looks at Korra. "And I'm still here, aren't I? I'm not wallowing around in self-pity, sulking away my time. I moved on. What I'm saying is, stop being a piece of driftwood that's being carried on by a raging river while doing nothing about it. We don't need Mako...we can rent a ship, or something. And besides, Asami's a member of Phoenix Lord Azula's elite guard, right? I'm sure that she'll get us a mode of transport sometime soon."

Korra wrings her hands in irritation and darkly responds, "'Sometime soon' isn't good enough."

Ruan scowls a little, her eyes darkening a shade. "Well. Better late than never, huh?"

Korra glares back stubbornly, and Ruan's eyes narrow into cool slits. A moment later, her hand is flashing through the air, and there's a loud slapping sound she delivers a sharp, stinging cuff to her fellow firebender's cheek.

"Ow—!" Korra nearly curses, lurching away as she rubs the left side of her face furiously. "Dammit, woman, what was that for?"

"Snap out of it!" Ruan says into her face, taking her by the shoulders and shaking her. Korra's eyes begin to tear as the cuts in her back open up again, but Ruan doesn't seem to care by this point. "You're never going to get to the Blue Spirit if you keep going on like this! You're just staring and glaring and acting all mopey and pouty, but I don't see you doing anything about it! If this means so much to you, than talk! Do something! For Agni's sake...anything is better than sitting around in the docks right now in your situation."

"That's because I can't just 'do anything'!" Korra weakly protests, flinching away from Ruan's irately twitching hands.

"That is such a high and mighty load of crap, and you know it," Ruan curtly replies, roughly slamming her hands down on Korra's shoulders again. "We're trying to help you, Korra, but I really don't see you doing anything of worth. And it is your quest. I could just leave like Mako did." Her eyes narrow even further until they are no more than slits, the light of the sun reflecting off of what is visible of her golden irises, contributing further to how flame-like her irises look at the moment. Korra involuntarily flinches as she says her next words.

"I think I understand why he flaunted you in front of your face, now. You don't do anything. You leave it up to others to do your own dirty work, and then reap the awards for it."

Korra jumps up, her bright blue eyes flashing dangerously. "What the hell are you talking about?" she spits. "All my time at that compound, I've had to earn everything I do! I've had to work and do more than the rest of you, always, to get to the same destination, because all the trainers and all of the trainees, except for you, were prejudiced! Just because of my ethnicity! I do my own dirty work!"

"I mean exactly what I said," Ruan coldly counters. "And what you say is true, but everyone's had to help you for you to reach where you are today. Me. Even the Phoenix Lord, out of all people, for sending you to the complex in the first place. And as sad as it sounds, the firebending master at the complex, because as stupid and biased as he was, he still taught you. And you just use them, use us, like stepping stones, and don't bother to pick them up when they leave pieces of themselves behind. For you to get across the river, other people pay the price."

Korra coldly laughs. "I hardly think that the Phoenix Lord or the master lost any sleep over me."

"Well, that may be all well and true," Ruan coolly replies, "but they don't really know you as a person, do they? Those who know you's your friends who are hurt the most."

"Yes, because I've never expressed my thanks to you," Korra sardonically says, rolling her eyes.

"No," Ruan shrugs, shaking her head. "No. You haven't really."

"All right!" Korra throws her hands up in exasperation. "Thanks! There, I said it!"

Ruan gives her a long, unreadable look before turning around to a waving Asami, who is near a small ship. "Because that sounded incredibly convincing." Without another word, she marches off towards the guard, leaving Korra to stare dumbly at her retreating red-clothed back.

Korra kicks at the ground angrily, trying to keep her growing rage at bay before storming off after her former roommate.

Spirits, why does everything I try to handle end up turning rotten?

She notices Asami giving her a questioning look as she hotly clambers onto the ship (avoiding Ruan at all costs while she is at it) but thankfully, the non-bender doesn't ask any questions as she crosses over into the belly of the boat, looking over the controls and flipping a few switches on. Korra assumes that they are meant to start the boat, because the engine rumbles to life after a few moments, heavy black steam puffing out of the vent, releasing ash and smoke into the clear air outside.

Asami beckons Korra up to the wheel, expertly guiding the small metal ship out of the harbor and into the clear blue waters.

"I take that you want to get to the outskirts of the Earth Kingdom Resistance, right?" she asks, her friendly tone a welcome sight after Korra's rather botched argument with Ruan.

"Yeah." Korra's response is more curt and short than she would have liked it to be, and she forces herself to smile, although she herself can feel that the action is forced and strained.

Asami doesn't spare another glance at her, although she does ask with her eyes trained on the open seas, "Are you okay? You seemed a bit...ah, tense after Ruan came to get you."

Korra grunts off-handedly, placing a hand against the cool glass of the windshield. The iciness of the hard, clear substance sinks into her hot palm, offering a welcome coldness to combat her heat. "I'm fine. Just a little worn out." Asami doesn't answer immediately, twiddling with the steering wheel for a while, leaving Korra to vent steam. After long last, she turns to look at the firebender. "Well...what did she say to you?"

"Huh?" Korra jumps slightly. "Oh, um...nothing, really." She looks down, the darkness throwing half of her face into shadow, giving her what she knows is likely an irritated look to her face.

Asami gives her an appraising look. "Oh, yes she did. Otherwise, you wouldn't be this blue and downright furious."

"...I'm blue?" Korra looks at her hands, which are decidedly not remotely close to any shade of blue.

"It was a metaphor," Asami patiently says. "As in, you're in the dumps."

"Um, o-okay." Korra licks her lips nervously. "She said a few things to me, stormed off, and I thought a few things about her that I now regret."

"That's all well and fine, but what did she say?" Asami presses.

"I don't want to talk about it." The tone of Korra's voice is suddenly curt and short.

Asami gives her one last appraising glance before turning back to watch the wheel, although Korra thinks that she detects a little disappointment in her gaze.

"Try and get some sleep," the guard suggests quietly. "It's not going to be a short way out to the Earth Kingdom's shores. But—do you have any idea which city you would like to search through first? Considering that the Blue Spirit could be anywhere in that realm..."

"Omashu," Korra bluntly says, spewing out the first city that comes to her mind. "And I'm not going to sleep." The thought of having another dream like the last few she had for the past couple of days, quite frankly, scares her to death, and she doesn't want to hear any more from "Avatar Aang" and his loony-bin–esque comments about the "City of the Moon" (which she's never heard of in her life) and "first master" (didn't she already go through this for thirteen years at the compound?) and, most irately, the "we are one and all" Zen attitude.

"Why not?" Asami's voice is underlain with a current of curiosity.

"Bad dreams."

"...Oh?" The reply's tone holds an unconvincing atmosphere to it.


The conversation is getting more and more awkward (and pointless) by the second, causing Korra to fidget impatiently in her boots. "Okay, look, can't I just, like, keep watch with you or something?"

Asami hesitates for a moment, but she drops the subject and smiles softly. "Of course."

Korra tilts her head. "And, uh, I have a question."

Asami's green eyes tell her that she has a pretty good idea as to what the question is, but she continues to humor the shorter girl. "Which is?"

"What's an Avatar?"

"You and Ruan are both so fixated onto finding the answer to that one question that it's starting to get a bit...well, stupid, for the lack of a better word," Asami tells her, not looking at Korra. "Some questions are simply better left unanswered."

Korra scowls, obstinate to get her question answered. The whole Avatar crap in her dreams are driving her absolutely nuts, anyways—she has to find out what it means. "Can't you just give me a simple, one sentence definition or something?"

"Sorry, Korra." Asami gives her a genuinely apologetic smile. "But the Phoenix Lord likes to keep that information under wraps, most of the time."

"Then why does Sergeant 'I'm-so-awesome' Mako know what the hell an 'Avatar' is?" Korra asks brusquely, inflamed.

"Well...." Asami shrugs. "His family has...ah, ties, shall we say, to the upper courts in the Phoenix Empire's court."

"No wonder he turned out so prissy and arrogant. Hey, why does the Phoenix Lord want to keep that information under wraps, anyways?"

"Did anyone ever tell you that you ask too many questions?" It's not said in an unkind way, but it still pokes at Korra's conscience.

"Please," Korra snaps, somewhat disgruntled. "As if I haven't heard that before. So...are you going to answer my question?"

"Only if you tell me why you want to know so badly."

Korra stops short at that, balking at the crossroads. Honestly, she's not sure if the dreams are to be shared with anyone, and she is strangely hostile to the suggestion that she reveal to anyone what they are truly about. There's this weird feeling in her gut that tells her that it won't be taken very well by anyone—for Agni's sake, she's dreaming about a person that, as far as she knows, never even existed, and this guy has a strange title to nicely top the unbelievability factor off. And if it happened once or twice, she would probably pay it no mind, dismissing it as part of her crazy imagination, but it's been happening for almost a week now—definitely nothing to be ignored.

Asami seems to sense her hesitation, and her eyes soften. "Listen, Korra, whatever the reason is, you have to understand that this...funky business about the Avatar is simply something that the Phoenix Lord doesn't want to share, and there's nothing you can change about that. Maybe if you gain her trust, you'll find out, but until then, it's not information that is simply there to be flung around like a wet rag."

Korra stubbornly folds her arms. "Yeah? Well, I'm not leaving you alone until you tell me."

Asami grins at her. "You are very determined, I'll give you that, but all the badgering in the world won't make me give up the information."

"Annoy, annoy, annoy."

"Korra." Asami's voice has become slightly patronizing, although a hint of a pleading tone has entered it as well.

"See? It's working! Annoy, annoy, annoy, annoy..."

"Korra, go to sleep."

"No!" Korra is very aware of the fact that she sounds incredibly childish, as if she's just a kid trying to get her mom to extend her bed time.

"Korra, just go to sleep." There is authority in Asami's voice now. "I'll wake you up when we get to the shore, I promise. Then, we can get to Omashu and see if the Blue Spirit's hiding somewhere there, okay?"

"But the nightmares—and an Avatar—"

"Sleep. Now."

Korra reluctantly gives in and bad-temperately stomps off, huffing in exasperation. As expected, the voice and its stupid premonitions return.

She wants to scream at it to go away, but it continues to haunt her, to follow her, and she can't say a damn thing.

The disembodied voice, bouncing up and down and side to side in her head, is driving her more insane than usual this time. Jagged clips and flashes of experiences she has never experienced before runs through her brain as a current clogged with branches and garbage. A red dragon. Exploding volcanoes. A short, squat man. Airbending. A creepy, spidery thing with flickering faces. A baboon who is, inexplicably, intoning the word "Ohmmmm".

She wonders why she keeps on getting these dreams, because she shouldn't be, and it's practically unbelievable—no, it is unbelievable. No normal person should be getting visions about the same thing, over and over and over again, for a week straight.

And, of course, that begs the question, Am I normal?

She stays there in a half-conscious state of mind, close to raving mad, until dimly, very dimly, she senses someone shaking her shoulder violently.

"Korra. Korra, wake up!" Asami's voice cuts through the haze of sleep, and Korra bolts upright with a strangled shout, a sheen of sweat covering her forehead.

"I am never listening to you again," Korra manages to choke out, wiping a hand hurriedly over her forehead.

"You won't have to," Asami answers briskly. "We've docked."

"...Really? I thought that Omashu was more inland."

"No, we've simply docked at a strip of sandy beach. Come on, Ruan's waiting outside."

Korra sighs and heavily follows Asami off the boat. "So, after I gave you quite a bit of time to contemplate, are you going to tell me what an Avatar is?"


"Annoy, annoy, annoy, annoy—"



"Shut up."

"You know I won't."


"Annoy, annoy, annoy, annoy..."

See more

For the collective works of the author, go here.

v - e - dFire World
Book I: Heart
1. Power | 2. Resistance | 3. Chaos | 4. Breakout | 5. Scars | 6. Cosmos | 7. Vortex | 8. Phoenix | 9. Fire
10. Fallout | 11. Betrayal | 12. Avatar

4.5. Shades of Gray

Book II: Mind
To be announced after "Book I: Heart" has been completed.
Book III: Body
To be announced after "Book II: Mind" has been completed.
Book IV: Soul
To be announced after "Book III: Body" has been completed.

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