Interest Piqued
Chapter information

The Darkest Flame



Written by

The Scollard

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The Mysterious Stranger

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A Dangerous Game

Lin Beifong sat at her desk, various documents strewn about in front of her. Being Republic City's Chief of Police was a tough job, though it felt good to be back in her old position after Amon's defeat. She felt grateful for the everyday busywork she had to do, the signing of warrants, the meeting with city councilors. They gave her purpose. She didn't know what on earth she would do with her life when she was eventually forced to retire. Her work was practically her life. That being said, she still enjoyed the excitement that occasionally came with a high profile case, the organization of raids, that sort of business. Her train of thought was disturbed when one of her young officers approached her desk with a file.

"Chief Beifong," the young man said, slightly nervous.

"Yes, what is it?" she replied.

"There is a file I think you'd want to see," he sai., "It's a Missing Persons Report."

"Do you think I have time to deal with every small report or Missing Persons case?" she asked, suddenly growing angry. "That's why I have officers like you, to solve the less important cases and enforce justice for the smaller crimes that happen in this city."

"Bu-" the young man said, meekly.

"No buts," she said. "I am the Chief of Police, and I personally deal with bringing people like Amon, dangerous and powerful people, to justice. I don't deal with regular missing people. If you think it's worth investigating, give it to a detective, not me."

"Well, Chief Beifong," he said, "It isn't exactly a simple missing persons case, it could may as well be a murder, in fact. It's just that what the witness says happened is unbelievable, and we couldn't find any trace of a body in the area. The details are very interesting, and if our witness is telling the truth, absolutely terrifying."

She couldn't deny that her interest was now piqued by the young officer's claims.

"Alright," she said, "hand me the file."

He placed it on her desk and attempted to scurry away.

"Stop! Come back here!" she said. "If it isn't as interesting as you made it out to be, well, you won't exactly get off easily. And besides, I may need some clarification or extra information."

He quickly came back to the side of her desk, as she skimmed the file. Apparently, according to a witness, a young waterbender, she and her friends were approached by a strange man. The man apparently wanted to talk to her firebender friend, and her friend sent off the rest of the group after assuring them of his safety. The waterbender had stayed behind to see what was happening.

"Looks like our witness wasn't convinced that her friend would be safe," she remarked.

The waterbender had apparently seen the strange man pull an impressive feat of firebending after a conversation with her friend, but, sadly for the police, she was too far away to hear anything. After the display, her friend firebended, then the man did something, and her friend fell to the ground. As he was getting up, her friend seemingly caught on fire, then he exploded in a bright ball of light. The girl had run away after that, worried that the man might see her.

"You're right," Lin said. "This is worrying. If we have a firebender that has the ability to completely destroy people, and is using that ability to kill, then the people of Republic City could be in grave danger."

She closed the file; knowing that there was only was person who could peacefully stop this. Well... peacefully might not have exactly been the best word.

"You may go," she said, dismissing the young officer.

The young man departed from her office, leaving her to her thoughts. Something about the case seemed familiar, though she didn't know what. Pushing those thoughts aside, she picked up the phone. She had an important call to make.


The phone of Councilman Tenzin, located in his bedroom on Air Temple Island, started ringing. As it was early in the morning, most of the airbender's family was sleeping with him on the bed. His wife, with the newest member of the family, a boy named Rohan, shrugged in her sleep, having recently crawled back into bed after being awoken by his crying. The two middle children, Meelo and Ikki, were awoken by the phone and crawled across the bed in a race to answer it. Ikki won.

"Hello, you have reached the home of Councilman Tenzin. How may I direct yo-" she said.

All Lin heard after that was a brief, and loud, struggle. Suddenly, after the sound of a yawn filled her years, a familiar voice spoke up on the other end.

"This is Councilman Tenzin, how may I help you?" he said.

"Tenzin, good to talk to you again," she said.

"Hello Lin," he said with a weary sigh. "What is it? This better be important seeing as it's a holiday and it's before noon."

Lin chuckled, all the council members she had met as Chief of Police always seemed to anticipate the days council wasn't in session the way a child anticipated the Winter Solstice.

"Actually, it is," she said. "Sadly, not for you. I need to speak to Korra, this is of the highest urgency."

Tenzin let out an exasperated sigh on his end. He really needed have some phones installed on the island, so that all calls to the island didn't need to wake him up. He hung up the phone and exited the room.


The young Avatar was meditating at this hour. Having recently unlocked the Avatar State and consequently, the ability to communicate with past Avatars, she spent a lot of time trying to gain information and insight on how to best perform her Avatar duties. Recently though, she had been having trouble connecting to the spiritual side, as these past few days it had been harder for her to talk to her past selves. Actually, harder was an understatement. She couldn't communicate with her past lives at all. She heard the door slide open behind her and opened her eyes, a look of annoyance appearing on her face.

"What is it, Tenzin?" she said.

"Lin wants to talk to you," he said. "She says that it is very important."

"Well," Korra said, "maybe it will have something to do with why I can no longer contact the previous Avatars."

"Korra," Tenzin said, "I know that your ability to contact your past selves is weakening, and that it is saddening you, but don't worry, it's probably nothing and your abilities will come back soon."

She stood up and faced him, putting one hand on the opposite elbow.

"I don't get it, Tenzin," she said, "I can still airbend. See."

She sent out a small gust of air, which ruffled Tenzin's robes.

"But I can't seem to contact my past selves anymore, even though I was able to do it pretty well," she said. "It just doesn't make sense."

Tenzin placed a hand on her shoulder to comfort her.

"Well, maybe there is some reason for it that is unrelated to your abilities," Tenzin said. "We should head off to see Lin. See what is so important down at the station."


They found the Chief of Police standing in front of a door leading into one of the rooms used for questioning.

"Good to see you two. Tenzin. Korra," she said, while nodding to them as she said their respective names.

"What's so important that it involves the Avatar, Chief?" Korra said.

"There is an interesting case that one of my officers alerted me to this morning," Lin said. "It is technically a Missing Persons report, but it seems to be something bigger."

"How?" Korra said.

"Well, it is only a Missing Person case because we can't find any evidence of anything more, except, of course, our witness's statement," Lin said.

"And the witness is in the room behind you?" Korra said.

"Yes," she replied, "the witness is a young waterbender, female, around your age."

Korra was about to open the door when she realized that she had absolutely no idea about what she was supposed to do.

"Ummm," Korra said, turning to Lin. "What do I do in there?"

"Ask her about what she saw last night, and if you want to know more information or have something clarified, tell her," she replied.

"Oh, and here's the case file if you want to quickly go over it in there," she said, handing Korra a file which she hadn't noticed that Lin was holding the entire time.

She opened the door and stepped into the room. The metal walls made her nervous. In the centre of the room, there was a table with two chairs, one empty and the other occupied by the waterbender. She turned her head to see Tenzin and Lin follow her into the room. She sat in the empty chair, and placed the file in front of her. She opened it and quickly looked through its contents; a photo of the missing person, a written copy of the witness's statement, and various other details. She looked up to see the waterbender, visibly nervous.

"Are... Aren't you the Avatar?" the young waterbender said.

"Yes," Korra replied, "Can you tell me what happened?"

"Okay," she said, "Last night, me and two of my friends were just walking home from dinner when a strange man cut us off. He said that he wanted to speak to Kuzon, my boyfriend and a firebender, to offer him unbelievable bending power. Kuzon sent us away to talk to the man, but I stayed behind and hid, just in case he got in trouble. They talked for a bit, but I was too far away to hear what they were saying, and then the strange man shot this huge flame up in the air".

"How big was this flame?" Korra asked.

"Huge. It was definitely over fifty feet. I never knew you make a fire blast that big," she replied, "Anyway, then Kuzon did some bending and dropped to his knees. Then the man did some strange gesture on him, and then... then..."

She started crying as she said that. Korra sat up from her chair and put a hand on the girl's shoulder to comfort her.

"Just tell me what happened?" she said, softly.

"He... He... He fell down to the ground in pain. Then his skin started cracking and blackening as though he was being burned, except there was no fire. He started screaming and his clothes caught on fire. Then... Then there was this big flash of light and suddenly he was gone. I ran away after that, so that the man didn't see me, and then, this morning came here and reported what I saw."

"I have a question," Korra said, interest piqued. "The police station is open all hours. So why didn't you come here as soon as possible?"

"Well," the girl said, "I couldn't believe what I saw, and I... I had to work up the courage to head here."

"There is another reason, isn't there?" Lin piped in.

The waterbender placed her head in her hands, letting out an exasperated moan.

"Me and Kuzon, and the other friend I mentioned, we..." she paused.. "We are all part of the Triple Threat Triad, and my other friend, an earthbender, said I shouldn't go. He said that you guys would arrest me, or call me crazy, and that everyone would think that I was a snitch."

"Wait!" Tenzin said, "If this girl is with the bending triads, isn't it possible that they are using this strange case to divert police resources away from stopping their illicit activities."

Lin raised her foot, placing it on the edge of the table, revealing that one of her feet was bare. Her mother had spent countless hours training her to pick up on when people were lying.

"The girl isn't lying, Tenzin," Lin said. "So I wouldn't worry about that."

"But..." Tenzin started.

"And since I caught her in her lie earlier, she isn't the type that can lie without me knowing it,"

"Okay," Korra said, "I have another question. Where was the place you were eating before you encountered this man?"

"Qin's Famous Noodles," she said. "Best Earth Kingdom-style noodles in all of Republic City."

"Well that makes finding the restaurant and alleyway easy," Lin commented.

"When we were there, the shop wasn't crowded by any means. If you wanted to know," the girl said.

Suddenly, the waterbender started sobbing.

"What is it?" Korra asked.

"I-I... It's just," she started, still crying, "That night, before we left the restaurant, me and Kuzon were arguing. It was over some stupid thing. That was the last real conversation I had with him. I don't know if I would count when I warned him about that man as one. But... But... now he's dead, and I never got the chance to apologize to him."

"It's okay," Korra said, comforting the waterbender again, "I'm sure he thought the same thing about you, and I'm sure he wouldn't care if either of you apologized or not, because he cared for you. Don't worry. We'll find the person who did this."

"T-Thank you," the waterbender managed to get out in between her sobs.

"One final thing, what was this gesture the man used on your friend?" Korra said.

"Umm," the girl said, "Let's see. So you see, he took a couple fingers on each hand..."

She began to mimic the actions she was describing.

"... and he placed a couple fingers on the forehead and a couple on the chest. Wait, why are you looking at me like that?" the girl said, noticing the shock appearing on all three of their faces.

"It's nothing," Korra blurted out before getting up out of her chair, exiting the room, and slamming the door behind her.

The other two followed suit, minus the door slamming.

"That... That can't be right," Korra said, "It's impossible. Only the Avatar can energybend. It's impossible."

"Relax, Korra," Tenzin said. "He could be using something that looks like energybending, like Amon did."

"Well, it looks like we have some investigating to do," Lin said. "You have the time, Tenzin, and it would be nice for me to get out of this office for a while."

"Fine," Tenzin said after letting out an exasperated sigh.

"I'll have my officers release the witness," Lin said. "Let's go check out this Qin's Famous Noodles. See if we can find out anything important."

Author's Note

As the dialogue implies, this story takes place in the six months between Books 1 and 2. The interrogation scene was inspired by the interviews in the video game L.A. Noire, as well as the cross examinations from the Ace Attorney games, with pressing to gain more information. Of course, having a Beifong allows lies to be detected easier than looking at someone's face for tells.

In the next chapter, Smith and Korra will meet for the first time, to give you guys something to look forward to. If you guys have any questions about the story, put it in a review. In fact, even if you don't have any questions, a review would still be nice as I appreciate constructive criticism.

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