|More from AvatarAero|| Adventure|
|PG-13||In Comments|| Every Two Weeks|
|The City Underground|
November 30, 2016
Previously on Kun: The New Avatar
Izumi arrived at Air Temple Island, to teach Kun in the ways of firebending, but she and Lin shared some past history. Lin was angry at Izumi's refusal to help protect the city in the fight against Kuvira 10 years ago, and they dueled on the hillside. However, it was Kun who remained the peacekeeper, when he developed his firebending in an effort to stop their battle.
Tenzin proposed a theory to escape from their prison, but they would have to meditate in order to gain the energy and skills necessary. Jinora and Tenzin were easily able to do it, but it took Kai much longer to find himself spiritually. However, when he did, he realized that he was totally prepared to try and escape.
The masked man gives more information to Naoki about his plan to defeat Kun. He explains that he won't kill or even severely injure Kun if he is able to, he will simply incapacitate him in enough pain to make him useless. Finally, the masked man says that Naoki is only being given this information out of the goodness of his heart. If she continues to act aggressive or insubordinate, he will cut off the supply forever, leaving her to think about what happened to her son for the rest of her life in the cell.
This is the fourth installment in the "Kun: The New Avatar" series. This, like the previous one, has some length problems, but it is jam - packed with action and escapades, if you read the last chapter.
If you haven't, then that's okay. This is the first chapter that is affected by the results of the polls two weeks back, and while I won't reveal the result now (since I don't know what it is yet; written on 10/25/16) it is quite obvious in the first few paragraphs.
Also, this is the first chapter where the use of the "T" rating really comes into effect. There is some shock torture in here (nothing sexual, purely vindictive and evil) and some description of pain. If you are squeamish, I suggest you don't read this and just read the summary for this chapter in the next one.
I hope you enjoy, especially if you've stayed past that warning.
Chapter 4: The City Underground
Pema missed the days of the past decade when she could wake up to a normal household, filled with airbenders, yes, but that didn't shake from the rocks thrown at it. And she absolutely detested the firebending. It ruined her flower garden every single day, although it never seemed to damage the airbender fruits and vegetables that they grew.
Nevertheless, just like every morning since Lin arrived, Pema awoke to the shaking of the temple, loud grunts from outside and the largest sounds made in Republic City since Unalaq tried to destroy the world. Her hair still frazzled, she walked over to the used her "mother" voice to try and silence Kun and Lin.
"CAN YOU PLEASE BE QUIET DOWN THERE? SOME OF US NEED OUR SLEEP!"
Startled by the yelling, Kun dropped a gigantic stone right onto Pema's flowers, and looked up at her with a weak smile. Groaning, Pema retracted her head, and began the slow walk down the stairs into the surprisingly empty dining pavilion.
Pema looked around startled. Ikki poked her head into the pavilion, and saw her mother. Dressed in normal airbender robes, with the head of her arrow tattoo poking out of her hairline, she tugged on Pema's sleeve. "Mom, come on! Mako's sailing into the harbor, and it's been a while since we've seen him!"
Pema ran outside, completely forgetting she had just woken up. Every single airbender at the island, totaling over 150 airbenders, were waiting at the dock for Mako. And they were not disappointed.
In a subtle ship made solely for journey in the bay, Mako docked at the harbor. Tying it down, he jumped off. Clad in a police outfit solely for detectives, Mako was one of the highest ranking police officers, reporting only to Chief Lin Beifong. His scarf was around his shoulder, courtesy of the chief, and he was wearing loose pants and combat boots.
Trained for years by a member of the triads, as well as being a pro bender, had shaped Mako up quite nicely. He retained that physique into his thirties, keeping in shape in his fancy apartment. Even though he was called on the odd mission around the world with the airbenders, Mako stuck to his job as a police officer, and was one of Beifong's best.
Lin stood at the top of the hill. "Looking good, Mako! Get your sorry butt up here! It's time to train."
Mako smiled, and began jogging up the hill, followed by the airbenders.
Kun walked up to Mako. They were about the same height, eye to eye. Kun, as an earthbender, reminded Mako of Bolin, off somewhere in the Earth Kingdom. However, his physique was more suited for someone of Mako's style of bending. As such, Mako felt the need to train him as he himself was taught.
Kun extended his hand, saying, "It's an honor to meet you, Mako. You're a legend. I'm proud to say I've known someone who saved the world - four times." Mako chuckled a bit at that statement, responding, "Korra did most of the work."
Kun's face instantly fell, before mumbling, "About that, uhhh - I'm sorry. I should have done more to save Korra." Mako patted Kun on the shoulder. "I'm sure you tried your best. And if it wasn't for you, then there wouldn't even be an Avatar. We are all proud, and thankful, that you were there when it went down. Now - " Mako's eye twinkled - " let's get down to business."
Tenzin woke up first, on the day that they had planned, completely prepared. For the past few weeks, he had trained spiritually for this very moment. He was completely in control of his airbending, more so than he would like to admit, and practiced his meditative exercises to prepare himself.
Across from him, Kai was just waking up, groggy as could be. Kai didn't look as grimy as Tenzin himself, due to his darker skin, but his clothes were torn from the attack. Next to Tenzin, Jinora was also waking up. She looked much healthier, obviously a product of the spiritual enlightenment they all experienced a few weeks back, and had been honing her skills mentally ever since.
They all took some time to freshen up, eat, drink and generally prepare themselves. Tenzin closed his eyes, and said, "We have five minutes. In five minutes, the guard above us will leave, and that is when we will strike. Prepare yourselves."
The clock ticked by with immense sluggishness, giving all of them time to process their possibility of escape. The adrenaline began to rush through their body, leaving a chill through their bodies. In their meditation, they began to hope for the best, while making sure that they were completely ready.
Above them, the guard's boots clinked. Tenzin whispered, "Wait for my signal." The consistent "ping" from the metal slowly began to fade, and just as they were too far away to be heard, Tenzin whispered, "Now!"
All 3 of them, simultaneously, began to stretch and pull their chains, ripping them right out of the pole. Even though they had been practicing and preparing for this one moment, they all took a second to marvel at their prowess.
Thankfully, for them, they had weakened the links to a point where they didn't make much much noise when they were jerked off of the pole. However, the grate above their head would be a different matter. Jinora asked, "Dad, what are we going to do about that?"
Tenzin, instead of proposing a plan, began his breathing exercises. Kai looked on in confusion, but Jinora knew what he was doing, as her understanding dawned on her face and she broke out into a smile. Tenzin grunted, "The instant I break this, you two have to be prepared to airbend your way out of this room." Kai responded, "How do you plan on breaking the bars?"
Tenzin, instead of giving a direct response, collected small balls of air in his hand. With one swift move, he jumped up towards the bars, using the balls of air to push against the crisscrossed bars. With a final grunt, he pushed upwards on the airbender proof bars and knocked them off of their hinges, finally flinging it towards the ceiling of their cell.
Kai and Jinora launched themselves up with their airbending, completely prepared to face any and every guard that entered through the door. Tenzin launched himself up behind them, and charged the door, blasting it open with his bending.
The halls were a peculiar mix of earth and metal, with the floors they ran on pure steel, but the walls were made of tightly packed soil and dirt. It was so precise, that it could have only been accomplished by earthbending, and Tenzin made note of this as they ran helter-skelter down the halls.
Generally they were able to defeat any group of guards, benders or not, even though they hadn't practiced their bending in a long time. Apparently, their spiritual journey allowed them to retain full bending ability, even after being restricted for a long time.
They ran with no clear idea of where they were running until they reached a solid wood door. There was nothing ornamental about it, but regardless, Tenzin looked shocked, and yet went up to the door, using his airbending to push against the door. It creaked open, and he stepped inside.
"What's up with him?" Kai asked. Jinora shrugged. "He's seen a lot of things in the past few years, and this may be one of them. If it is, though, we have to get out quickly." From inside, they very nearly heard Tenzin go pale and whisper "Oh no, not him" before bolting out of the room and yelling, "Follow me! We have to get out of here!"
Without hesitation, Kai and Jinora immediately followed behind Tenzin's billowing robe. They ran with no direction for a few more minutes, before stopping in a large hall with a multitude of doors facing the center of the room, on the opposite end of which was a door with light visible on the other side. All of a sudden, guards, both benders and nonbenders began to stream into the chamber, using their bending or physical prowess to attack the airbenders.
Tenzin, Jinora and Kai gritted their teeth, not giving up without a fight. Kai used his athleticism to dodge the pieces of earth and rock thrown at him, while blasting each offending party with air. Tenzin airbent a rim of air, using it to travel around the room and try to clear the room of guards. Jinora also helped, by leaping up around the room and protecting Kai and Tenzin from unsuspecting guards.
Even for the three masters, the consistent influx of guards became too much. Jinora was forced to stay grounded as earthbenders began attacking her from the ground. Kai was unable to dodge all of the stone thrown at him and was hit multiple times. And Tenzin, looking at how poorly equipped the three of them were to escape, hung his head in defeat, allowing himself to be captured.
Luckily for the masked man, the bars narrowly missed the camera he placed on top of their cell. He peered into the screen as they leaped out of their confined space. And he almost smiled when they ran out of the room and into the hallways.
His captain stood behind him. "Your orders on detaining them, sir?" The masked man waved his hand. "Tell your men to stand down. The ones on patrol will be a good test of their skills."
As he watched their journey in the halls through his multitude of screens, especially their speed in dealing with the guards, the masked man could not hide his surprise. Here were 3 airbenders, trapped in a confined space for a month, that were able to defeat dozens of guards within minutes of their escape.
They reached his main room, the so - called elemental room. It somewhat amused the man that he was sitting close to 10 meters from Tenzin's current position. Watching Tenzin go pale as he gazed around the room almost made his squirm with pleasure. And watching Tenzin run out of the room in more of a rush than he left his cell almost made him laugh out loud.
Finally, they entered his circular room. He was honestly intrigued at how well they performed as a team. He would have to try out some of their moves in his practice. But inevitably, they failed to escape from the room. For some reason, the man wanted them to leave, to surpass his expectations. But, like all the others, they failed to leave the circular room.
Mako lowered his arms. They had been practicing Kun's firebending for the entire day, and both of them were tired. Mako found that Kun's style had gradually gone from defensive to offense based, with quick attacks.
He also noted the similarities between Bolin and Kun's earthbending. Even though Kun's body type was more related to Mako's, he still kept with the high defense position of Bolin. In this, Mako found him to be quite the opposite of Korra, who was very aggressive with her earthbending.
As Kun took a break, Mako walked over to him. "Hey, we've been working pretty hard for a long time now. You want to take an extended break into the city?"
Kun is surprised on the inside that Mako would like to do something with him, Kun scratched his head in thought. "I don't know. I haven't been off the island ever since I got here, and I wouldn't want to disappoint the others."
Mako slung an arm around Kun's neck. "Don't worry about it. It's only for one night, and you deserve the break. Besides, I'm a police officer. Do you really think anything's going to happen?"
Kun, reassured by Mako's statements of authority, nods his head in excitement. "Then it's settled. Let's show you around Republic City."
Naoki woke up, startled, for the third time that night. Like always, it had been about Kun, but this time, she had a recollection to 20 years ago, that night that she left Republic City for good...
Naoki looked at Saan, knowing that this may have been the last time that they saw their children, who were walking between them. The plan had been a quickly devised one, so that they could leave the city. Unfortunately, they weren't able to take their children out of harm's way.
The wheels had already begun rolling, and there was no backing out. Naoki quickly pulled everyone quickly into an alley, from a speeding Satomobile down the road. She almost breathed a sigh of relief. Everything was going according to what they had discussed. All of a sudden, she heard the unmistakable sound of a knife scraping out of its sheath.
She whirled around, to see Saan in combat with another man. Even though she knew this was a part of the escape, she still screamed and cried, to make it as realistic as possible. The knife plunged into Saan's kidney, and he dropped like a brick onto the attacker.
The knife was a fake, folding easily into the handle. But the children didn't know that. Naoki ran towards the man, hoping to put on a show. He did not disappoint. With a deft flick, he stabbed her in the heart, wherein she crumpled to her knees and fell forwards, nearly face to face with Saan.
The man with the knife sheathed it and easily picked up the couple, slinging one over each shoulder. As Naoki looked back, she could see her children crying and scared. With a heavy heart, she dropped her head, only to hear the pitter-patter of their shoes as they ran away, never knowing that it was all a ruse. Naoki knew she would never see them again.
Naoki screamed internally. She had almost lost two children to the same man who was going to take away her third son. And the worst part was that she could do nothing about it. There was once a time when she could have, but she had lost all her skills. She didn't even know if she could firebend anymore...
Mako and Kun walked the busy streets of the marketplace. Kun noticed nearly everything, but it was more of an amazed observation than anticipatory.
Mako chuckled at Kun's naivety and did some observation for himself. As a police officer, his type of observation—at least in a very familiar location—fell more into the category of anticipatory.
Firstly, they went to City Hall, a majestic building larger than any Kun had seen thus far. He desperately wanted to meet President Konna, whom he had been told was two years into his administration, but Mako restrained him. "The President is dealing with pretty important issues. Even as high up as I am, I can't even hear about what's happening in there."
Mako then took Kun to the Arena for pro bending, where he lived for a few months as a pro-bender. Of course, he gave that occupation up when he decided to be a police officer, and because his travels around the world severely affected his ability to compete. Truth be told, his new job was affected in nearly the same way, but here he had a boss who understood his needs.
They walked for a bit, down some alleyways, Mako using Kun's interest in the city to scout some locations that he would need to look at later for his job. It was getting pretty late, and Kun, in his infinite subtlety, said, "Mako, this has been great. But can we go home now? I'm sure they're looking for us, and Lin is not going to be happy."
Mako turned around slightly. "Just one more thing, kiddo. Then we're heading home. Besides, did you remember what I said on the island? I'm one of the highest ranking police officers. Nothing in this city would dare do anything to me."
As if waiting for Mako's exemplary arrogance to raise its ugly head, as soon as Mako's voice finished echoing off of the hollow walls of the alley, two small dart shots were heard, hitting Kun's and Mako's neck at nearly the same time. The both of them crumpled to the ground, and the shadows of nearly a dozen men appeared from behind crates and boxes.
Tenzin cracked open his eyes. Unlike the last time he found himself chained in a room with no exit, he was not in pain or any severe discomfort. In fact, he felt spiritually cleansed and ready to fight. Unfortunately, the aforementioned chains restricted his movement and suspended him in midair by each of his limbs.
Also unlike the last time he woke up, there was no one else in the room with him. He was chained at one end, and there was a door about 10 meters away on the other end of the room. The room itself was quite bare, only a few torches at the very top of the walls to provide light.
Without warning, the door cracked open, and the man Tenzin hoped he would never have to see again walked through the door. Tenzin gritted his teeth and breathed, "Arnaq. It's you." Just about to close the door, Arnaq stopped. "Why yes, old friend. It is me."
Tenzin, in a fit of rage, yelled, "Don't you dare call me 'old friend'! Where is my daughter?"
Arnaq slowly walked up to Tenzin. Had Tenzin not been suspended, they would have seen eye to eye, even with Tenzin's height. "Let's not worry about them for now, shall we? First, let's take a trip down memory lane." At this, he began to circle Tenzin.
"The last time we met, you left me for dead. I don't think that leaves us in much of a good position for discussion. Therefore, part of my ultimate goal is to bring you to your knees, and have you beg for mercy. And then, I will show you exactly what you showed me 25 years ago."
Tenzin, horrified, stares into Arnaq's one visible eye. "You're mad. No one - not even your old friends - will help you in this ridiculous journey." Arnaq laughs a hearty laugh. "They already have, my friend."
With that, he produces from his belt a stick made out of electricity. His rubber glove protected him from the bolts of lightning shooting out from it. "One of my old friends from school manufactured this for me when I told him of my plans. However, he backstabbed me, and sold it to the Equalists. Good riddance, I say. So I improved on it's design, past what even the Equalists could do. And it works perfectly."
Arnaq walks over to Tenzin. "They also work wonders as an interrogation device. About your daughter, they'll be fine: I've lowered the settings on their Echidna sticks. But you - I told you I'll make you grovel."
Tenzin's eyes were fixated on the Echidna stick, as it barely avoided touching him over his torso. Then, without warning, it rammed itself near his kidney. Tenzin's screams could be heard down the hall, all the way to Kai's room, and even further in the other direction, to Jinora's room.
Mako opens his eyes to Kun, strung up with his hands over his head, to prevent his bending. When Mako tries to get up, his hands are chained in a similar manner to the top of the ceiling. Kun groans. "Where are we?"
A bump from beneath them answers the question nicely. Mako responds, "We're on some kind of truck. Most likely, from the guys who shot us. But whose truck is it, and why are we chained up?"
Kun begins to rummage around near him, to see if there's any items that might give them a clue about their captors. "Mako, check this out." Kun kicks over a lid of a crate towards Mako. The insignia on the top is a triangle of the 3 common elements, with the letters "TTT" in flowing script below the logo.
Mako threw his head back against the side of the truck. "It's the Triple Threat Triad. They must be ready to ransom us off for money. That's the only thing they're after." Mako leans in towards Kun. "All right, we're going to have to work together here. The best thing we can do is get out of these chains."
"Here's the plan. When we stop, we need to melt these chains off of our wrists. But keep your arms up, so they don't know we're free. When they check this compartment, I'll knock them out, and I want you to earthbend a wall around the truck. I'll get to the wheel, and you have to defend the truck when we make our getaway."
Kun nodded, and immediately began to focus his fire onto his wrists, mimicking Mako's actions. He soon felt the hot metal slide down his arms, and quickly waved it off, hoping to avoid burning himself or his clothes further. Mako kept his hands up in their same position, motioning for Kun to do the same.
They kept their hands up for the next 20 minutes, allowing themselves short breaks to rest their shoulders, always anxious that during one of their breaks the truck would stop. However, it did stop, and Mako clenched his arms, preparing to attack the instant the doors opened.
At long last the doors opened, and they saw a triad member in the blinding light. As realization dawned on his face, that his prisoners were unchained, Mako leaped forward, hand blazing with fire, so much so that the triad member was thrown back 5 meters and a large flare of fire erupted from the truck.
They were in some sort of underground chamber, built from rock, probably under the city. Around them milled close to 50 triad members, all benders. There was an opening from which they came, but it was heavily guarded. They would need some serious firepower to be able to escape, but luckily for them, that was exactly what they had.
As soon as the guard was down, Kun erected a sturdy wall of earth, surrounding the truck, just as the remaining triad members blasted the truck with fire, water and earth. Mako punched through the barrier between them and the unsuspecting truck driver, knocking him out of his seat. "Kun, open up this wall!" Mako commanded.
A hole emerged in the wall as Kun struggled to maintain multiple layers of earth. Unfortunately, one bright triad member blasted fire at the cab of the truck, forcing Mako to exit the truck, and dragged Kun along with him. Hoping to create a diversion, Kun created some giant stone pillars, trying to block the path of the triad members. However, their numbers outlived the strength of the rock, as they melted it down with fire and water.
"Kun, you can bend earth and fire, right?" Kun nodded, too focused on the battle to respond with words. "Then lavabend!" Kun raised a wall of stone that reached the ceiling of the underground chamber before turning around. "You're crazy! Do you know how hard that is?"
Mako scanned their side of the wall. "That's really our only chance. There are too many of them to take out, and they just melt down your walls. Watch out!" he yelled as the wall crumbled from the ceiling. Kun pounded the ground and shook up the entire cavern, before filling all the nooks and crannies with earth. Without warning, lava shot out of the ground, and it took all the triad members to avoid being engulfed in flames.
"Run! Now!" Mako called out to Kun. They sped towards the truck that brought them into the cavern. It, through sheer luck, had not been burned to a metal crisp, and Mako found he was able to commandeer it. Kun remained on the top of the truck, to defend against any unfocused triad members. As Mako sped away down the tunnel, Kun got a glimpse of an overturned crate, filled with the electricity sticks that he saw in the swamp.
As soon as Mako and Kun made it out of the lair, Kun dropped into the cab, next to Mako. "Hey, that was some good bending out there." Mako chuckled. "You're talking to me?" he asked. "You're the lavabender here. I should be thanking you."
Kun smiled at the friendly words. "Hey, it was a team effort. Thanks for saving my butt in there, about 8 times. If it wasn't for you, we'd still be in that truck, heading to who knows where."
Mako thought for a solid 5 minutes. "This isn't like the triads." Kun, startled, queried, "Isn't that what you said they're after? Money, and ransoming people off?"
Mako inclined his head. "Good memory, but hear me out. The triads are a secretive bunch. Only a few non - gang members know where they are, and where they meet. And I would bet you big money that this was the largest gathering of triad members they have ever orchestrated. I'm guessing some aren't even triad members." He shrugged. "Besides, who would they ransom us to?"
Kun turned away from Mako, towards the window of the truck. "I - I guess you're right." But deep down, Kun knew that he wasn't. Somehow, the triads were linked to the men in the swamp, and it was Kun's job to figure out how.
Tenzin breathed in and out heavily. The constant shocks from the Echidna sticks left him in great pain, and leaving him to hang by his limbs forced him to clench his muscled to avoid from chafing his wrists on the chains, hurting him even more.
He looked down at his bare torso. The month of imprisonment had left him more ripped than before, even at his old age. Even so, he couldn't stop the random muscle spasms that came from being shocked, and he had red marks over the front of his body.
Tenzin was so tired, he didn't notice Jinora appear in front of him. Not the real Jinora, she was locked in a cage in solitary confinement to his left, but her spiritual self. Blue, floating and hologram - like, Jinora came closer to Tenzin.
"Dad, it's me. Don't panic." This warning was unneeded, because Tenzin could not have shouted if he tried. He wearily lifted his head. "How - how are you doing this?" he croaked. "Thanks to our meditation, I went back to spiritual normal, meaning I can do this again."
"I already talked with Kai. He had the same idea I did - they didn't kill you for a reason. That means that we have a purpose. I say we wait this out, since we know Lin will get suspicious. I'm sorry Dad, there's no other way out here."
Tenzin smiled. "Don't worry about me, Jinora," he rasps. "I'll be fine." He groaned. "You and Kai take care of yourselves. If Arnaq does more of this - " - he inclined his head downwards, to his scarred torso - " - then I'll need all the strength I can get."
Jinora nods, and dissipates into thin air. Tenzin relaxes his muscles, allowing himself to be held up by his wrists, which already began to hurt. He finally understood his purpose at Arnaq's hands: It was to make him suffer the way Arnaq had. Tenzin calmed his body, and continued his breathing exercises. There was only one person who was going to lose this fight, and Tenzin wouldn't let it be him.
A swift punch to Kun's shoulder sealed the punishment for wandering off. He rubbed his arm, amazed that such a small girl could deliver such a powerful shot. He was, of course, talking about Ikki, and she was the last in the list of people wanting to punch him and Mako for leaving the island on a whim.
"To be fair, the idea was all mine," Mako offered in his defense. "Then you should get double his punches. Everyone, ready yourselves again," snapped Lin. Mako raised his arms painfully. "No, no, I think I'm good. But at least one good thing came out of this. Kun can lavabend!"
"And don't any of you think that I'm going to show you after what I've gone through for the last five minutes," growled Kun, still rubbing his shoulder. He stormed off towards the door. Ikki called behind him, "Show us or it didn't happen!" With a yell of pure rage, Kun shot lava in a perfect circle around Ikki. By the time the lava had settled back into the earth, Ikki was well and truly scared, while the rest congratulated him. With a small smile, Kun slammed the door to the temple behind him.
Lin turned to Mako. "At least you weren't hurt when you were underground. What do you think about that big a group, associated with the triads?"
Mako replied, "I don't think they were working all alone. I think there's someone else behind this." Lin gritted her teeth. "And I think I have a hunch who it might be. Just in case, I want to wait until Tonraq and Izumi come back to make sure, but if I'm right, then we'll need Kun more than ever right now, especially since he can lavabend."
She turned away, and starting walking towards the women's dormitory. "And I'll see you early tomorrow morning, rookie."
Mako had to smile at the "rookie" jab. She had been using it since they took down Amon. He also began to head down towards the docks. He had some semi - important business to attend to, both police work, and off the books. Speaking of which, let's figure out what those electricity sticks are.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Chapter 5 of Kun: The New Avatar will be releasing on December 24th, 2016, called Global Assault (Part 1). Stay tuned!
If you're wondering why, please see my latest Fire of the Red Lotus chapter, which explains everything.
For the collective works of the author, go here.