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March to Omashu
Chapter information
Series

Fire of the Red Lotus

Chapter

4

Written by

AvatarAero

Release date

January 12, 2017

Chronology
Last chapter

Rescue Operation

This is Chapter 4 of Fire of the Red Lotus, called "March to Omashu". This was published on January 11th, 2016. Fire of the Red Lotus, written by AvatarAero, explores the possibility of Korra being taken by the Red Lotus as opposed to being saved during their invasion.

Author's Note

DEAR GOD DID THIS TAKE ME A LONG TIME TO WRITE. 

I don't even know why. The majority of the chapter is pure crap, and it's a Great Divide episode that does nothing but fill for the next chapter. The only reason you're reading this trash is because I can't jump directly from "isolated missions" segment to "We know where the Avatar is" segment. Ughh.

Just...just go through this. And if you don't want to, I'll be on the other end.

Story

Mako began to wish that his job only entailed sitting in a room for 9 hours and getting a paycheck at the end of the day. Much more boring and mind - consuming, but with an active imagination and complete freedom, Mako could practice his bending or conjure stories in his own little room.

Now, however, his muscles ached every day, and while Bolin was living the life at the government facility, Mako was tracking sand into their house on a weekly basis.

At least you have a house now, a voice inside his head chided. And it was true. Just a month ago, Mako, his girlfriend Asami, her fallen businessman father Hiroshi and Bolin were living in an alleyway, with barely enough food to go around, much less buy anything unnecessary. Now, thanks to the handsome salaries that Bolin and Mako brought home, they were able to rent out an apartment on the very edge of the city, at low prices. It was a far cry from Asami's mansion, but it was enough to live in, until Mako found a way to earn more money or Hiroshi's products began working once more.

For the tenth time this month, Mako slammed the door of his apartment open, scaring the daylights out of Hiroshi, who almost dropped his new device. According to him, it would be a pocket - sized version of the radio, that would allow you to communicate with others quickly. Such a device would rocket him back to the top of Republic City, but he constantly needed more parts, and neither Mako nor Bolin brought in enough money to supply Hiroshi.

Mako crashed down onto the couch, the old piece of furniture groaning as the springs recoiled and whatever elasticity that remained began to stretch itself out. He let out a slow moan as his body relaxed into the soft material, thanking his lucky stars for the comfort of the mattress.

Before he knew it, Asami sidled up behind him, kneading her fingers between his shoulder blades. Mako didn't realize it from walking all day with a 20 kilogram rucksack on his back, but the muscles near his shoulders had been stretched and pulled at the same time, causing insane muscle strains. But Asami always knew how to relieve the pain.

Asami dug her knuckles into Mako's back, driving him onto the couch, but also sending pain throughout his body. "What's new in your one man effort to save the world, my handsome?" Asami cooed as Mako began to buck from the pressure. Between pants, he managed to choke out, "We're ... cross...checking...the location...of the...Avatar."

"And where might that be?"

Bolin strutted into the room, having been released from his shift mere minutes before Mako. "In Omashu, most likely..." Bolin's voice trailed off as he saw the scene on the couch. "Bad time? Don't worry; I'll sleep on the floor."

Asami stopped, and Mako turned over so that he faced her. With his head movements, he sent a simple message: What's up?

Hiroshi looked at Asami with a knowing nod.

"I know you're not going to like what I'm about to say, but I don't care." Asami took a deep breath. "I want to come with you to Omashu. or wherever you're going."

Mako tried to interject a statement, but Asami continued. "I know you might not like it, but I really want to take part in it. I know how to fight, I can handle myself, and my father is close to perfecting some device that can let people communicate on the go. I'm sure that if he could mass produce it, the army would be certainly willing to -"

Mako had had enough. He put a finger to Asami's lips, trying to get her to stop talking. "Hey, Asami, I get it. You want to join, right? Let me put in a word with Beifong, and I'm sure you'll get accepted. Thanks, Asami, and thank you very much, Mr. Sato."

Hiroshi glanced up from his work long enough to smile and reply, "The pleasure is mine."

Mako nodded, and slumped down onto the bed, exhausted and snoring within seconds.

******

Within the shell of Omashu, Korra relaxed and threw herself into her left bed, Unfortunately, the bed wasn't as soft as she expected, as she landed directly on the hard stone below the straw of her bed.

The pain lanced through her shoulder as she arced her back in pain. A shout escaped her throat, and she could feel the broken bone as she tried to shift into a better position so that it could heal. The crunching between her shoulder and her neck led her to believe sh'ed broken her shoulder blade, a pretty place to have an injury, as it dictated her upper body.

Korra groaned again as she attempted to move into a better position. It took her a good 10 minutes to sit up on her beed, feeling the scratching of the hay underneath her as she adjusted herself. Bracing herself for the incoming pain, Korra pushed herself off of the bed, propelling her body several meters forward into the stone wall. Her left arm was virtually useless, as moving it would cause the grating of her shattered shoulder.

Clutching her arm, Korra walked out of her room and onto the ground floor of Omashu's inner city, quite literally. Korra had been to the map room, as she colloquially called it, at least half a dozen times since her arrival a month ago, and she knew the way by heart.

Ignoring worried looks from others within Rayan's organization as she stumbled down the hallways, Korra slammed through the platinum door, barely waiting long enough to enter in the pass code that she had been calibrated for.

Zaheer and Rayan were in the middle of a conversation, but they immediately stood up when they saw Korra stumble inwards. She tried to remain on her feet and not show pain until she could be secluded, but sacrificing comfort for speed meant that she would be in legitimate agony until she was able to make it to the map room.

Zaheer rushed towards her, grabbing her left arm, sending her into much more pain than before. Her eyes rolled back into her head, and Zaheer took the hint early, and laid her to rest on the stone floor. The last thing that Korra remembered before she passed out was Zaheer's kind face, an expression that was both worried and happy.

******

Korra awoke in a tub of water, with cold water on her shoulder blade. Rayan looked up, a harangued expression on his face, most likely from worrying about losing the Avatar. Zaheer sat next to him, his shaven head crinkled with concern.

As soon as Korra opened her eyes, Zaheer rushed forward and told the waterbender to stop. He cradled her head in his hands. "Are you alright?" Korra squirmed under his grasp. "I'm fine. What's the problem?" she complained.

Rayan looked up, bags under his eyes as his hair flopped around his head. "It wasn't your death that we had to worry about. It was you not being able to fight in the upcoming battle. We don't need to explain the purpose of these whole missions again, do we?"

Korra slumped her head back. "I thought I explained it to you. I know I've changed, but I haven't been paying that much attention at our meetings. Really, I only listen when you tell me where I'm going." She winced as she tried to get up. "Poor choice now, I suppose."

Rayan clutched his head in his hands. "This is just getting worse and worse," he whispered to himself. Finally, he stood up. "Korra, the main reason that we need the entire Republic City force here, leaving the precious capital city of the United Republic undefended. We can take it with a small force, like we have done to other cities in the past, but we need you here to defend against the massive wave of troops. You're the only one in the world who could defend against them. That means, if you're out of action, then we lose our most valuable headquarters."

Korra wilted under the words as Rayan began to shout at the final moment. Rayan once again pushed his hair away from his face. "I'm sorry, Korra. It's just that..." Rayan glanced helplessly at Zaheer, whose face didn't change. "There are people higher up in this organization that want to see this as successful as possible. I've already made mistakes, and this would have been the final straw. Just...please, don't get into any more trouble."

Nodding fearfully, Korra relaxed once more in the bath, apologizing to all three of them for causing them so much grief. Sinking down deeper into the bath, she blew bubbles under the surface, truly repenting her actions.

******

"That's it; they're in Omashu."

Lin made the final declaration, handing it down like judgment in court. Mako took a hard look at the map, and he could find very little flaw in Lin's allegation. There were over a dozen green dots on the map, with each one being a location where the Avatar had saved a village from attackers. Mako and Lin had traveled to each one of those locations; Mako had the calluses and sand tracks in the house to prove it. From each village, they had taken a direction of exit for the Avatar, but it wasn't until they had compiled the list of possible locations that Omashu stood out in 9 of the 13 scenarios.

Bolin had taken leave from the task force for the day, citing illness, just to evaluate the location of the Avatar as compared to where the task force was camped. Instead of remaining in the center of the desert, for more access to the villages that peppered it, the task force chose to stay on the edge, allowing easier access to supplies. The captain may have been a fearsome military persona, but he valued the lives of his soldiers more than anything.

Breathing through his nose, Mako said, "Okay, we know that. What do we do now?"

Lin continued looking at the large map in front of her. "We go to the council. Bolin told me they're having a meeting today with the captain of the task force that he's on. We reveal what we've been doing for the past month, we organize an invasion of Omashu, and we storm the city, taking the Avatar with us. It's pretty simple from here."

Both Mako and Bolin were taken aback. "Reveal the secret operation?" Mako asked incredulously. "You know what the meaning of secret is, right?"

"Don't talk to me like I'm stupid, okay?" Lin scoffed. She straightened. Folding her arms, Lin stared right into Mako's eyes, reminding him, oddly, of Asami. "I created this thing. The whole point was to find the Avatar. Now that we have, there's no point. We can keep this place, if we need it in the future, but for now, we can reveal the whole operation."

Mako shook his head. "You got guts, Lin. I might just consider being a police officer, especially if it means that I get to work under you." Lin smiled, a rare occurrence for her. "Just doing my job," she humbly admitted.

Mako smiled, completely filled up with courage, joy and eagerness. "I think that the Republic City Council has a meeting with us that they didn't know about."

******

"Based on these statistics that the captain has shown us, I think we should all take a vote on whether or not to continue the task force-"

Tenzin stopped midsentence as the doors to City Hall swung open, and in walked Lin, Mako and Bolin, as if prepared to invade City Hall. Lin spearheaded the attack, walking in front with her stern gaze turned to maximum. Mako and Bolin flanked her, ready to back her up in any situation. They stalked towards the arc of chairs that stood in front of the chairs that made up the audience.

Tenzin was flabbergasted. "Lin, what is the meaning - We are having - I don't think this is the time -"

"Save the chitchat, Tenzin, we have more important things to do," Lin snapped, scaring Tenzin into silence. Lin slammed down a thick stack of papers onto the table, creating a resounding boom throughout the empty hall. "In these you'll find maps, witness statements and information that corroborates the claim that the Avatar is in Omashu. I've been running a secret organization underground for the past couple of months, long before you even creating this task force. It's done better work than you ever could, no matter how much time you had."

The captain, spluttering at the mention of his operations in such a degrading way, began furiously looking between Mako and Bolin. Finally resting his eyes on Mako, he roared, stomping forward with every word. "You think that just because you're off the task force, I can't do anything to you? I'll make your life miserable, and you better believe -"

Lin stepped between the two men, shutting up the captain. "No, you won't do that," Lin venomously said. "You're the reason that this entire operation has been at fault. No one can deny your excellence in the field, but when it comes down to it, you're too much of a wuss to try anything. I made this operation because I care not only for the future of my friends and family, but also because I care about the world. The reason that you're not standing in my shoes today is because you don't understand that."

Mako and Bolin sucked in air, quite relieved that they were not on the receiving end of Lin's anger. All of the council members were taken aback at Lin's rage, concealed under her mask of a face. "Let's move on," said Lin, slightly uncomfortably. "I propose that we create a system of attack to penetrate Omashu and take the Avatar. We have to be prepared for any number of things to go wrong, so we should take a massive force. I propose we vote, right here and now. None of you will have to worry about a thing: Let me take care of the whole operation."

"That's preposterous!" The words seemed to explode out of the captain's mouth, as he tried to find an expression that would fit his incredulity and rage at the same time. "You cannot just barge in here and make accusations and then call for a vote. That is not how Republic City -"

"I think you'll find that you're wrong there, captain," Lin retorted, the word dripping with sarcasm. "As Chief of Police, I have as much say in the city's affairs as the council members themselves."

Tenzin and Tarrlok, who hadn't said a word, sighed in tandem. "I'm afraid that she's right, captain," Tenzin admitted. "So, to a vote?" he asked, as the captain fumed. "Whether or not we should create an invasion force against Omashu, with the complete cooperation of the city itself?" All the members of the council raised their hands, more so scared by Lin's change of attitude than by their own will.

But, they had to admit as they leafed through the packet, long after Mako, Bolin and Lin had left, it was a compelling argument. With all the information, proof and corroboration of evidence that Lin had provided, it would be hard to refuse her. They were so engrossed in the outcome of their decision that they didn't see the captain grind his teeth in pure rage, threatening death upon them all within his own mind.

******

Lin gazed upon the great city of Omashu, the largest living structure that hadn't modernized. A gigantic mountain, the city's main method of transport remained the gravity - borne rollercoaster, whisking away goods and mail faster than the eye could see. It was a shame that Lin was the one who had to invade it.

She saw something move out of her peripheral vision: Mako moving up next to her. "It's beautiful," he breathed. Lin nodded, a diamond of a tear in her right eye. "My mother used to bring me here to recount all her adventures here. Even when I was a little girl, I traveled the world with my mother's friends, and Omashu was still my favorite. I've had so many memories here..." Lin tried to remain emotionally sound for the mission.

Crossing his arms, Mako took a deep breath. "Everything else all right? Has the government of Omashu found anything noteworthy about any activity below the streets of their city?"

"Nothing so far, but they've given us full reign to go through. As long as we don't destroy the city in trying to defeat them, we should be fine. Besides," Lin remarked with a glint in her eye, "They won't be expecting this."

Mako looked back at the thousands of soldiers, multiple tanks, airships and artillery, along with generals, captains and commanders of the highest quality, presided over by two of the best benders in the current world, Tenzin and Tarrlok. Nodding appreciatively, Mako remarked, "I guess you're right."

THE END

Author's Note

Now that you stumbled through that garbage dump, I'd just like to apologize for forcing you to go through that. The lack of anything in this chapter is probably the worst part. 

This Saturday, you can witness the next chapter of Kun: The New Avatar, so if you want to cleanse your brain, be ready for that. Or don't, in the likely case that I fail to do well writing that as well.

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For the collective works of the author, go here.

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