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A Tale of Rebels



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Last chapter

Chapter 13: Prisoners of War

Next chapter

Chapter 15: Into the Desert

Prisonbreak is the fourteenth chapter of Sep0815's A Tale of Rebels.

Previously in A Tale of Rebels

Senqok and Zoruka are imprisoned in the Northern Air Temple after the Battle of the Five Armies, and later confronted by Head Elder Dalit, who orders them to be interrogated, to reveal information at every price, and to also take revenge for Zoruka's treason to the Earth Empire and Yi Ming. Thus, she suggests to break out to Senqok.
Near Misty Palm Oasis, Shizon and Kabura are held captive. Distrusting their warden for promising them proper rations and also for his affection to Kabura, Shizon swears to protect her from whatever their guards intend to do to her.

Chapter 14: Prisonbreak

"So... what will we do with that knowledge?" Shizon's question was indeed an excellent one, Kabura found.

"Well, we could... perhaps... " The healer seemed to be at a loss for words. Before thinking much, she simply stated the truth. "I was just curious! I mean, what can we do with the knowledge we're near Misty Palm Oasis?"

"The use for knowledge of our location is greater than the use for the knowledge of how long we have been in here!" The firebender rolled his eyes. "The probability of us escaping is greater than- whatever we could possibly use it- er- for us to have our lives depending on whether or not we know that we've been here for four months! And you know how high the chance of us escaping is!"

"For the last fucking time, I was just curious! And I do know that this chance equals zero." Whereas Kabura had previously been just beneath the door's window, she now crawled back into her sleeping corner. She sighed and continued to breathe loudly for a few minutes before she spoke again. "Listen to ourselves - what's got into us?"

"What do you mean?" Shizon's tone had returned to his normal one as he spoke from his the darkest corner, almost completely obscured by shadows.

"We used to get on with each other so smoothly for years," Kabura stated simply, staring at the floor in front of her, "and now we share one room for four months and we get into a fight, or at least an argument."

"That", Shizon concluded, "is likely because of the fact we were free and had our friends around then, but now? We're isolated and surrounded by enemies. And slightly put under pressure by them."

At the last comment the firebender spoke, Kabura shook a bit. Quickly, she looked at the only part of Shizon's she could see - his eyes' reflections - and assumed a concerned expression. "Especially me, eh?"

Slowly, Shizon moved into the light, and nodded.

Somewhat fearful and frightened, Kabura lowered her voice. "Can I still count on you?"

The firebender stood up and sat himself cross-legged just before Kabura, and laid his arm on her shoulder, nodding. Just as he nodded, however, there was a loud knock on the door, and the warden's angered voice sounded, louder than any before, "BACK AWAY, SHE'S MINE NOW!"

The door was thrust open, and a soldier accompanied the warden into the room, the latter's other guard remaining outside. The soldier quickly took Shizon by the shoulder and thrust him against the wall, to which he pressed him with his mere body. The warden, however, aimed right for Kabura. He took her upper arm and hauled her up on her feet, and was about to start ripping off the rest of the healer's uniform in the area of her shoulders and her chest, had she not slapped him right across the face with all the strength she could muster in her current position. The warden retreated the hand he had been about to use for the act and instead moved it all over the cheek she had slapped, then assuming a twisted smirk. With an equally, or possibly even more twisted voice, he spoke, "You like it rough, right?"

Kabura quickly shot Shizon a look, a silent cry for help, but the firebender was busy not getting smashed by the massive soldier that confronted him. The warden, however, knelt and started ripping off a piece of the healer's skirt's remnants. Kabura, naturally displeased, angered and at once also frightened, decided to defend herself once more, and intended to kick the warden in the face as well, but her knee was stopped. Just as before, the warden spoke with a twisted voice, "Don't think that will stop me."

With that, he pinned the arms to the wall and partially submerged Kabura's feet in the ground, just barely enough for her not being able to move them. As he then resumed his previous activity, Kabura's breathing increased as she panicked, attempting to prevent the seemingly inevitable. With his bending, the warden then spread her legs, and made the last preparations. Shizon, on the other hand, noticed an interesting detail of the soldier assigned to guard him - he had a dagger. In his rather invidious position, he drew it from its sheath and cut his guard into the side. The guard, confused, spun around, freeing Shizon, and wondered aloud, "What the fuck?"

Shizon's answer was the dagger being thrust into the guard's back, before then also penetrating his throat, the firebender making sure of his death. As he then noticed that the warden was only seconds away from his goal, he mobilised his whole strength, leapt there, tore the warden from Kabura, and punched him in his face with a fiery fist. The flames engulfed the warden's entire face, and although the perverted officer shielded his face with his hands, all of it was more or less burned. Shizon then thrust the warden's weakening figure at the remaining soldier, who was utterly surprised by the act. Shizon quickly generated fire daggers which he held near Kabura's hands' and feet's earthen shackles, the heat making the rock porous enough for her to move freely again. Then, the firebender walked up to the warden, who clutched his burnt face with his burned hands, only to see the fruit of his rage - a face that looked as if it had molten, with all hair at the face's front burnt, and the nose being partially being burnt away. The eyes were unscathed as the hands had guarded them, and they had a look of fear and of rage.

"You... little... fuck! Do you think... you can... you can... " spoke the warden between heavy breaths - apparently, Shizon's fireball had damaged even the warden's lungs. "You will... you will pay for this! Pay for this, you will feel pain!"

The soldier whom the firebender had hauled the warden at now got up and was ready to kill Shizon, but he hesitated, as the latter had assumed a bending stance, and aimed at the warden. "Whatever, " he spoke, "as long as it isn't Kabura who has to suffer. Promise me it won't hit her anymore!"

"Or what?" Despite his position, the warden remained stubborn. Somehow, it reminded Shizon a bit of Senqok.

"Or else" Shizon coated his hand in fire, clenched his fist and aimed it at the warden's privates demonstratively. "your crotch will be next!"

Having seen his power, the warden nodded. Shizon looked over his shoulder at a frightened, fearful - fearing for Shizon - and yet grateful Kabura, nodding, and then walked to the soldier he had hauled the warden at, who was being reinforced by other soldiers. Without a single word, Shizon was led away in shackles, to an unknown fate.

" ...and how do you plan on us planning without them finding out?" Senqok inquired. To him, the plan of breaking out simply seemed idealistic. "We're under constant surveillance and have neither opportunity nor the instruments of implementing any plan."

"Well, if you wouldn't shout it that loud, perhaps, it would be a first step into the right direction!" Zoruka hissed at him, pointing at the door as to signalise the presence of more than just one guard beyond the wooden barrier. She then continued to do what she had done before - forming snow into a single, small plain, into which she then drew the rough outlines of their cell, corridors and finishing with a kind of platform.

"So... what would this be, exactly?" Senqok wondered at the massive set of lines quickly drawn by the Crown Princess.

"Our escape route." she spoke, only barely above a whisper. As she earned the waterbender's confused glance, she added, "We got to plan out escape, I mean, we can't improvise everything!"

" ...and you have such extensive knowledge of the Northern Air Temple's footprint because... ?" Senqok rose an eyebrow. Either, he concluded, Zoruka was excellent at lying, she had gone insane or she was indeed speaking the truth.

"I was interested in the Air Nomads when I was a child. I read about them a lot, and wanted to visit the Air Temples... " She sighed, and caught a glance of an even more confused Senqok. "That was before Dalit rose to power, when the Air Nomads still followed all their traditions, all their principles. I wanted to flee from all the duties, the whole procedure of the life of a royal for once, I wanted to experience their freedom for once, but the closest I ever got to that was looking at paintings and floor plans, the latter of which I only came across such of the Northern Air Temple. I would sit before them, staring at them for hours, imagining how it would be to stroll through those... Now I'm here and I can't say I'm satisfied." The firebender let out a bitter chuckle before she looked at the warrior across her, whose expression had changed to an interested one. "Was this explanation sufficient?"

"You bet." From interest, the expression morphed into amazement. "But seriously, what kind of memory do you have?"

"I stared at the floor plans for hours, almost daily. For almost five years. It burned itself into my memory." Zoruka returned to the previous topic almost instantly. "Now, we need to analyse potential occasions when we could begin our little prison break... By the way, I think I saw your sword hanging just outside the cell, like a kind of trophy."

"I doubt that we would get any other occasion than when one of us is taken for an interrogation, but even then it'd be extremely difficult." Senqok decided to leap over the snowy floor plan and sat just beside Zoruka, starting to use the floor plan for showing his plans as well. "Likely, you'll be the first. It could be that I would end up chained to the wall again, like last time, and in that case, I could likely plan my escape alone. But let's say that isn't the case. You're taken by two soldiers, with more of them waiting outside, I'm guarded by a single one. In that case, I would try to take out the one guarding me as quickly as possible, seize my sword and free you from your guards. Then, we need to run fast, faster than any before, as if our lives would depend- oh wait. Just run as fast as possible to escape potential reinforcements, and to head to... whatever... this would be."

"Ah, the gardens! I've seen wonderful paintings of them- " remarked Zoruka. "Oh, well, anyway, sounds neat to me."

"Which brings us to the next problem. Those gardens are situated on a platform, right? Like the whole Air Temple, built on a mountain's peak. That means the way down would be extremely long, thus likely deadly." Senqok rose an eyebrow again, and, in thoughts at least, resumed questioning Zoruka's sanity. "How do you plan on getting down there?"

The question was clearly one the Crown Princess hadn't prepared for. She was taken aback, sat there, with a risen index finger and an opened mouth as if to say something, but stopped before she had started. She then closed her mouth and lowered her hand, and suggested, in a tone that radiated pure insecurity, "Perhaps... I as a firebender... could slow down our fall with my bending, and you... as a waterbender, weaken the impact, since, you know, snow's all around us and stuff and... yeah."

"Great. We'll have to improvise the most important part." Senqok remarked sarcastically, just before the Crown Princess shushed him, distributed the snow in the whole cell to destroy her floor plan and sat back in her corner, before the door was unlocked.

He was indeed grateful he had passed out on the way to the chambers he was in now, given the bits he had seen of them. The cell was about the same size as the one he had shared with Kabura, but it was cooler in this one he had for himself, and also did he notice dried blood on the floor. He sat in a corner of the room, staring at the floor, when the door opened, and light flooded the room. A soldier carrying a lantern had entered, and dog-like barked at the prisoner, "Up, ye cunt!"

"Oh, shut up, you scum." came Shizon's reply as he stood up and walked out of the room. However, he stopped in his tracks and, after a few seconds, started cowering - the soldier had begun striking him with a bamboo stick.

"You think you're really smart, don't you?" the soldier teased as the firebender stood up again, feeling for potential injuries the hitting might have caused. "Well, let me tell you one thing: you're not."

Having felt the effect his remarks had on the soldier, Shizon remained silent, although he would have burnt him alive, had he not been confronted by three other soldiers immediately after getting up. "Well, what do we have here, hm?" one of them spoke, then stating once he was assured of Shizon's attention. "The warden told us you're to get twice as much torturer as he won't shag your little friend."

Shizon's thoughts were very theoretical at the moment - had his hands not been chained to the ceiling, he would've burnt all of the soldiers alive, without mercy or discrimination. His clear thoughts were soon to be replaced by mere sensing, however. Just with the swing of a hand, the soldier who had taken him out of the cell tore off the firebender's clothing covering his body's upper part. What then followed was most unpleasant for Shizon, although his foes seemed to have their fun. Each crack of the whip was pain, and he only had endured a handful of them, hundreds were still to come.

"So... willing to give any information yet?" asked one of the soldiers between the whip's cracks, only earning a clear "No." from Shizon.

"Very well then, so it shall be." was his torturer's answer to the firebender's defiance, immediately followed by three extremely hard cracks of the whip. Normally, Shizon's back would've been numb already, but each lash struck deeper. Being too exhausted, or for whatever other reason unable to scream from pain, he found it quite interesting, although naturally worrying, to feel his own blood run down his naked back. The whip struck and struck and seemed never to stop, never ever - not that Shizon expected it to stop. On the contrary, he could picture himself dying from the torture, that in the end he sacrificed himself for Kabura, likely in vain. Between all these thoughts, he somehow kept track of the whip's lashes, or rather, their number. Minutes passed and slowly, his vision became black and white, while he tried to count on. Then, it stopped all of sudden. From the feeling of it, his back now was reminiscent of a ploughed field, after exactly five hundred lashes of the whip. It was relieving at first, but then it struck him - into the stomach. A bamboo rod was the weapon his torturers now were using, partially surely for their amusement, partially for the information they suspected him to have.

"Willing to give information now, perhaps?" inquired one of the four soldiers. The three comrades of his continued striking him with the rods, and, although he was unsure of it, Shizon heard something crack when one of them hit his ribcage. Nonetheless, he shook his head. He had sworn never to betray any of his comrades in the Liberation Alliance, and he was sure he wouldn't break any of his pledges. As the bruises continued to increase in number, joined by two more cracked or broken ribs, a thought crossed his mind, If I continue this defiance, I might not make it out of this room alive... I couldn't and wouldn't hold my pledge to Kabura...

One of his foes thought it to be a good idea to hit him straight on his head, while another one struck both his cheeks with an immense force that almost made Shizon black out, while the other two delivered various instruments of torture. The others ceased striking him as he let his head hang, and noticed blood running down from his vertex, drops of it falling from his nose, while his cheeks were smashed on the inside, or at least felt that way, and so he couldn't help but spit out blood straight downwards, unintentionally hitting a soldier's boot. Unfortunately for Senqok, said soldier handled one of the torture instruments, a small knife and was displeased, readying himself to thrust the small knife into Shizon's crotch.

"WAIT! I'M SORRY!" cried out the distressed firebender, breathing heavily, catching another soldier's attention, who then made his way to the chained-up warrior, snatching the small knife on the way. "I'm willing to tell you... everything I know."

The soldier smirked and held the knife's blade to Shizon's throat, demanding, "So... What DO you know?"

Letting out a sigh, Shizon realised his decision to value himself, his life, and most importantly, his promise to Kabura, higher than his pledge to the Liberation Alliance was about to backfire. "Not much. I only know that all Generals but Anyang are dead, that the Southern Water Tribe and the Fire Nation Troops managed to evacuate and that Anyang fled somewhere, just as Noki, Skado and Ranju did... "

Disappointed, the soldier retreated from Shizon again, shaking his head. "It's frustrating when you yourself know more than the prisoners you want to interrogate, really frustrating... Cut him free, dress his wounds and throw him back into his cell, perhaps we can re-educate him."

The door opened, and a body was flung inside. To no doubt, it was Shizon, but what had happened to him was beyond Kabura's understanding. He laid there, groaning from pain, most of his upper body covered in dressing material, as well as parts of his head. Without a second thought, she hurried to him, and kneeled beside him, secretly pulling out her healing water. Shaking her head, although warmly smiling, she whispered in a grateful tone, "Oh, Shizon, what did you get yourself into to protect me... "

The door swung open, and quickly, three soldiers entered, two confronting Zoruka, the other one, an especially bulky one, grasping both of Senqok's shoulders, rendering him immobile. As he was risen a bit into the air, the waterbender was able to see above the monstrous human beast, and caught a glance of his royal comrade being led away in bonds, guarded by the two soldiers who had confronted her. She shot him a quick glance, nodding, before she entered the corridor, signalling for Senqok to enact his only just conceived plan. Letting out a voice not unlike a grunt, the human beast put him down again, and neared the door. Now or never, Senqok thought, shifting into bending stance, and melting the snow. Too quick for both, the soldier outside the cell and the human beast to notice, he coated his finger tips with it and froze it immediately, before leaping beside the slow-moving human beast, thrusting four of his ice claws into his uncovered throat, pulling them away again after they had done their work. More from shock than from the - though lethal - injury, the beast fell, clearing the way for Senqok, who then shot the other four of his ice claws at the guard holding the door, quickly puncturing, like before, his throat, then proceeding with pulling them out again. To make sure he lost no time, he was quick grasping the sword - including the sheath - and the water skin that hung on the wall opposite the cell door, filling the latter with the water he had coated his hands with and also all the water he could gather from his surroundings. He took a brief glance down the hallway, where he saw Zoruka still being led to her interrogation, and, while running towards her with huge leaps, sent his water at both her guards, freezing it. Once he had reached her, he unsheathed his sword to chop off the two - now frozen - hands that still held her upper arms in a firm grasp. She then slid out of her somewhat cramped position, took the keys for her shackles from one of the soldiers' belt and unlocked then with amazing speed. In the moment she had freed herself, Senqok had withdrawn his water from the two soldiers and made sure they had perished, before taking the Crown Princess with his left hand, shouting, "RUN!"

Zoruka quickly found she had no choice but to obey, and so she did. Slowly, but steadily and in increasing numbers, soldiers, most of whom were of the Air Empire, flooded into the corridor that formed the first stage of their flight. An Earth Empire soldier came from the right, wielding a guan dao, and attempted to lash out to strike the two, that was, before a stream of fire set him aflame, while two of his Air Empire comrades, casually patrolling the hallways, had their heads smashed into the walls on either side, the one on the left by Zoruka, the right one by Senqok. The fact the hallway they travelled was winding slightly, upwards and to the left, made it difficult for the two fleeing to prepare what was ahead of them. Retreating, however, was no option, and not only because the trail of destruction they left was flooded with soldiers. They continued running, only to notice that, behind a quite sharp turn shortly before the corridor's end, a dozen or two of Air Empire soldiers had gathered to form a blockade, their glider staffs - all bearing guan dao or naginata blades - threatening to cut them into pieces. Thinking quickly and lacking any alternative, Senqok believed to have found a gap in the middle of them, and shouted to Zoruka, whom he still held with his hand, "DUCK!"

The firebender, who had readied herself to burn the blockade, was slightly confused by this command. "What? Where?"

If he had had a free hand, Senqok would have used it to palm his face, but since his left hand was constantly occupied with keeping Zoruka close and his right one was used for spreading out the water of his to form the path he intended to take, he was quite unable to do so. In the last split seconds before freezing the water, he answered the Crown Princess' question, "NO! DUCK!"

She obeyed, and followed Senqok's example with sliding through the miniature blockade on a thin but firm film of ice at an amazing speed. Before she had noticed it, the two were on the way again, although on foot. It was a corridor of impressive size, with quite a few people rushing through it, mostly civilians, who fled from the two fleeing benders to either side of the large corridor. Too little time there was for either of them to marvel at the actual artwork, a massive mural depicting the Air Nomads' history, not that they even tried. Within only a few seconds, they had left the corridors once and for all, entering a kind of platform - which was almost completely occupied by Air Empire soldiers standing in a semi-circle, a somewhat familiar face right across them - Head Elder Dalit. Who apparently attempted to stare the two down, telling from the expression he wore. "SURRENDER!" was what he then shouted across the rather wide platform. "LEST YOU FACE THE SAME FATE LIKE HER!"

All of sudden, Senqok pulled Zoruka close, and grasped her completely with his left arm, rendering her almost unable to move, while he at once unsheathed the sword he had come to recognise as his. While her breathing and pulse were already high from the running and the omnipresent fear, it now rose beyond good and evil - she was genuinely afraid of Senqok for the first time as he held the blade of his sword to her throat, its edge only millimetres from ending her life. "LET ME GO!" was Senqok's demand. "OR SHE WILL DIE!"

Dalit seemed not to understand what Senqok had said, not acoustically, but in terms of meaning. "She will die anyway. It's merely a question of- "

"IMAGINE WHAT YI MING WILL SAY IF HE CAN'T GET HIS REVENGE! LET ME THROUGH!" Senqok pressed the sword against Zoruka's throat, barely enough not to cut her skin as a threat, while nearing Dalit, at the same time whispering into the firebender's ear, "Don't worry. Trust me."

"And what will you do if we let you through?" spoke Dalit somewhat suspicious. He himself decided to near Senqok, but soon found it was a mistake. Without a second thought, Senqok sheathed his sword again and charged through the gap Dalit's advance had left, jumping off the edge to what seemed to be his ultimate end.

He let go of Zoruka, who seemed more confused than ever before, and enjoyed the brief freedom from everything, even gravity. Then, it began to pull him down. The wind pulled him from his all too brief fulfilment, and so he decided to come up with a way to land, as the cold, thin air filled all of his pieces of clothing, enabling him to steer his rapid descent to some extent, the same happening to Zoruka as well. She was a bit in front, or rather underneath him, but her hand was in reach, and so he grasped it, as reaction to which she was very startled. Through the whistling wind, he shouted, "CAN YOU, uh, LAND US?"

The firebender was hesitant to reply, not only because they had just sailed past a kind of cliff. "YES... NO... MAYBE. I'LL TRY TO DECELERATE US."

Senqok nodded, and so she began firebending with her feet. The thrust was sudden and hard, and would almost have dislocated both of their shoulders, but the stream of flames did little to slow their fall. Senqok decided to take his eyes off Zoruka and the surrounding mountainous landscape, and to glance downwards, which immediately let his pulse rise - the ground was only a few hundred metres downwards. Zoruka had stopped bending, likely out of exhaustion, and so it was upon him to get them down alive. With all his might, he summoned the snow below, melted it as he rose it into the air, shouting, "TRUST ME!"

Senqok formed a waterspout out of the molten snow, extending it further up as they kept plummeting down, Zoruka only thinking, Your trustworthiness is put on trial today., which she also was about to say, but by then, the two were surrounded by water that slowed them down far more effectively than fire would ever. After only seconds in the water, Senqok drew a bit out of it and froze it in the form of an iceboard, also freezing the waterspout, and rode it down his massive creation with Zoruka tightly grasped, until the iceboard got stuck at some stone and, rolling over, sent the two flying into the snow beyond. The two both quickly rose, and Senqok stretched, looking up at the Northern Air Temple that loomed more than a thousand metres above, shouting, "FREEDOM!"

"We've made it. I don't bloody believe it." was Zoruka's remark, and she couldn't help but wholeheartedly laugh out of relief, while snowflakes began to fall.

"We need to find shelter." Senqok interrupted her as he noticed dark clouds nearing from almost all directions. "A storm is coming, come on."

Having seen the clouds herself, Zoruka decided to obey, and followed Senqok on his search for shelter, continuing to marvel at their escape, "I still can't believe it... "

With an upward thrust of his hands and a light blow from his mouth, the cave's entrance was blocked with a gigantic block of ice. Behind, Zoruka had gathered firewood from further inside the cave and had built a small fire, at which she warmed herself. The two had only barely escaped the blizzard's full might, and so she suffered from slight hypothermia. Senqok too crawled up the fire, but not for long. "Just... ", he started off, before ending in a question, " ...where did you get this firewood from?"

Zoruka was rather focussed on the flames, into which she stared, but after about ten seconds, she noticed the waterbender had spoken to her. "Hm? Oh, those? Just go down a bit further into the cave. You'll find some there."

Senqok nodded, rose again and took off into the dark, before returning after half a minute with a torch he had found, which he lit, afterwards restarting his journey into the depths of the cave. Zoruka remained with the fire, which she kept going with the little firewood she had in reserve, staring into the flames, reinforcing it with a thrust of bent fire from time to time, and then, said to no one in particular, "It feels good to bend again. Really good."

"Is that so?" spoke a voice from the shadows, startling the firebender. A man wearing a thick coat, matching gloves, high boots, a fur hat and a thick scarf covering his head, leaving only his eyes out, all in different shades of blue and brown, stepped out from where the voice had come. As he neared the fire, Zoruka also noticed he was wearing a knapsack with two pairs of differently formed sticks bound to it, but what she found most confusing was that he carried almost everything he wore a second time, including even the pairs of sticks. As he laid it all out near the fire, he pulled down his scarf and laid his hat aside, which answered one of Zoruka's questions, and rose many more.

"Dammit, Senqok! Stop this shit!" she complained, then inquiring, "And- what is all this stuff? Where did you get it?"

"Water Tribe hunting equipment." explained the waterbender. He motioned at the clothing, stating, "Those can make you sweat even in a blizzard!"

"And... where from?" The Crown Princess began examining the equipment.

"It all was gathered down there in some kind of, uh, smuggler hideout or depot or whatever." recalled the warrior, going to the icy barrier he had erected, putting the hat back on and the scarf back up, then deciding, "We need to get out of here, get food and out of the mountains. We won't make it long here."

Zoruka clothed herself in what she had been given to the best of her abilities, and succeeded until it came to the sticks. "What about those?"

Senqok spun around as the firebender held the two pairs. "Oh, those?" He smiled. "They're used to keep up with the prey when hunting down south. Those right ones are called skis, uh, worn on the feet, the other two are the ski sticks, used to- "

"SENQOK! YOU KNOW EXACTLY THAT ISN'T WHAT I ASKED FOR! WHAT SHALL I DO WITH THOSE!?" Zoruka was quite infuriated by her comrade's off-trailing. "What shall I do with them?"

After melting down a part of his barrier, Senqok motioned her to follow him outside, stating, "You'll see."

Going outside, both were temporarily blinded by the reflected light, even though the still heavily falling snow allowed little light through to the ground. Senqok took the flat and long sticks he had referred to as skis, laid them out parallel to each other, and then connected them to his boots with a belt-like construction, slow enough for Zoruka to watch and do it herself, then taking the other pair of sticks, which he took by their grips, after having got his hands through the sticks' loops. To ensure Zoruka had no problems with the basics, he then asked, "Understood?"

He saw the answer when he took a quick glance over his shoulder, seeing Zoruka already finished. "Good. Good for you." he commented as the firebender motioned herself to be ready. "Now, follow my example."

He pushed himself forward with the ski sticks and thus, made it a few metres forward along the mountain's slope. Zoruka had no problem keeping up with him as he continued with the procedure, and so the two managed to travel a few kilometres before Zoruka urged them to stop. "Hey! Could we... stop, please? I... I'm quite exhausted and... I think... "

"Of course, and you think... what!?" Senqok agreed to pause their journey, then realising what Zoruka could've meant, and continued in a worried tone. "Please nothing serious, no- "

"No, nothing like that. I think I saw a house down there." She gestured somewhere down the slope.

"Hm... " Senqok took a glance, then pushed himself forward to swing down the slope a metre, and then continued to stare into the falling snow, before he concluded, "You're right. There's some kind of building down there, movement's there also. I think... I think there's a wagon right in front of it. Just what we need, eh?"

"I guess... ?" Zoruka attempted to replicate Senqok's movement, and succeeded in some way, finding Senqok's observations proved.

"Want an example on how to get down a slope?" asked Senqok with a slight grin on his face, readying himself to assault the wagon.

"Why not?" Zoruka attempted to replicate his movements in any way.

"Watch closely then." Without a second thought, Senqok pushed himself downwards, making a few swings, before crouching to accelerate. However, the wagon stood on a road, and what he thought he could glide over with his speed proved to be quite more than just that. The skis flipped over, including Senqok, who managed to detach the sticks, both the skis and the ski sticks, as well as unsheathing his sword and impaling the soldier he had found leaning against the wagon.

"CAPTAIN!" was the last word the soldier could utter before Senqok removed his sword from there, letting he body collapse. He then went to the wagon's back, where he found Zoruka threatening an officer, whose uniform denoted him as a captain, with a fire dagger of hers.

"You! You two really... really are of those four we had to... encircle at the Five Armies! You... bastards!" The Captain spit at Senqok's boot, and he was about to ask a question, but Zoruka was clearly the one interrogating him.

"Where. Are. Our. Comrades?" To make her threat more effective, she moved her fire dagger close enough to the Captain's throat for his skin to be slightly burned.

The Captain was about to speak, when a rumbling noise from the building, either a storehouse or an inn with an ill-conceived location, Senqok had found, interrupted him. After a few seconds, however, he answered. "I'll never tell you!"

All that it took for him to change his mind was Zoruka's expression to darken. "Alright! I mean, two are in, well- One of them is in- oh, wait, you don't even know- "

"WHAT!? WHO!?" shouted Senqok, surprised at the fact that there was one prisoner more than anticipated.

"Nevermind. They're near Misty Palm Oasis." came the answer both of them were looking for, before Zoruka pushed him aside, and examined the wagon, while Senqok decided to feel for the Captain's body temperature.

"He's going to die in the next half of an hour." stated the waterbender, then commenting, "Serves him right, this fucking bastard!" He took on his gloves again, decided to sit at the coach box and, from there, took a closer look at the draught animals the wagon was using, ostrich horses by name.

"That wagon belongs to a high official - I mean, it's got a hearth inside! And tons of provisions from what I can tell. Nice." stated Zoruka as she emerged from the interior of the wagon to sit beside Senqok.

"Nice. Now, onwards! To Misty Palm Oasis!" shouted Senqok with a risen fist and about to crack the reins when his firebending companion stopped him.

"Do you even know where Misty Palm Oasis is?" Zoruka asked, somewhat worried.

"Not the slightest clue." spoke Senqok, making Zoruka palm her face.

"In Si Wong Desert. In the Southern Earth Empire." stated the Crown Princess with an expression that could almost kill.

"Well, where was I?" asked the waterbender rhetorically, then shouting, raising his right hand as a fist and cracking the reins at once, "TO MISTY PALM OASIS!"

Notes and Trivia

  • Too tired to write notes, as simple as that.

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