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|More from BlueDagger||Adventure||PG-13||Positive|
August 22, 2011
The fifth chapter of the first part of Dancing Shadows.
Feng, Wei, and the newly recruited Nekku find the nobleman they were sent to kill, then fight their way out of his compound.
Feng took the boy's hand. He winced as he stood up. The boy reached into a bag and pulled out a bandage, offering it to Feng.
"Here." Nekku was a young boy, with long, blond hair. He was wearing blue clothing, and had an intricately carved bow on his back.
"Thanks. So, Nekku. What are you doing here?" he asked as he applied the bandage.
"Same can be asked of you."
"Alright, fair enough. I'm Feng, this is my partner, Wei. We've been sent here to assassinate the nobleman who lives in this house. He's been running a slaving ring, and one other nobleman doesn't like it so much. So, he contacted us. Alright, now it's your turn."
"Fine. Like I said, I'm Nekku. I came from the Northern Water Tribe a few years back with my dad and some of his friends. Here, we started up a caravan. We had a good thing going. Until two weeks ago, that is. The man who lives here, I still don't even know his name, hired some men to ambush us during one run. Apparently, he had a caravan, too, and we were cutting into his business. My dad... my friends... They were all killed. Only me and one of our warriors, Oran, managed to survive. We fed off the attack, and managed to capture one of them alive. From him, we learned who had set up the ambush. Oran brought me here, to Ba Sing Se. I snuck in with the Merchant's Guild. Now I'm here."
"Well, that was... detailed," Wei said. "Now, if you two ladies are done, Feng, we have a job to do." Feng nodded.
"Wait!" Nekku said as the duo turned away. "Let me come with. I can help, you guys saw what I can do! Come on, I don't know where else to go!" Wei sighed and pulled Feng to the side.
"Feng, are we going to take him with us?"
"Well, I dunno... I mean, he has nowhere else to go... Plus, you saw what he can do..."
"But, still, dragging some kid along with us?" Feng sighed.
"Come one, Wei! If it weren't for him, we'd both be dead now."
"Alright, fine. We'll bring him along. Just for now, alright?"
"Okay." Feng turned back to Nekku.
"Alright, Nekku. You can come with us, if you'd like." Nekku ran forward.
"Alright! You guys are the best, you know that!?" he exclaimed as he put an arm around each of them. They both shoved his arm off.
"But first, you tell us something," Feng said.
Nekku nodded. "Yeah, sure, what is it?"
"Why do you want to come with us? Are you really going to help us kill a man? I mean, this is a big thing. You're taking someone's life." Nekku's face darkened suddenly. He spoke slowly.
"Listen, Feng. This isn't a man. This is less than a man. This is... this is a monster. Thanks to him, my dad, my friends, my way of life, they're all gone. Now, all I have left is this. If I die tomorrow, so be it. But I swear on my father's grave, this monster will die today."
"Seems you're serious about this. Alright, then. You can come with us." Nekku nodded again, and picked up his pace, walking right alongside the two assassins.
Between the three of them, the guards' bodies were hidden quickly. They moved out, now getting closer to the house. There were two small gardens directly in front of them. Feng quietly motioned for Wei and Nekku to stay down. He quickly ran for the gardens. He crouched down behind a hedge, and motioned for the other two to follow. They crawled through the hedges, to the other side of the garden.
By the time they were at the other side of the garden, they were nearing the house. They only thing in between was a large expanse of open ground. Guards were patrolling the length of the house. Feng swore, and said,
"Great. How do we get in?"
"You did that earth tunnel thing before. Try that," Wei suggested. Feng looked at her.
"I can't. I can only do that at short range."
"Damn. Alright, then what?" Nekku spoke up.
"Can you guys see any guards?" Feng nodded, and pointed to two to the left of them, and another three on the right.
"Alright, then. Feng. Ready your bow. Wei, you get your knives."
"That won't work, There's five of 'em!" Wei said.
"Trust me," he said, as he notched an arrow to his bow. Feng nodded, and did the same, as Wei grabbed a knife.
"Alright," Nekku said. "You two take out those two guards over there. On my signal. One... two... Three." Feng released his arrow as Wei threw her knife, both of them entering their target's hearts. As they fell over, dead, Nekku pulled some water out of his pouch, and made several shards of ice. They floated alongside his bow as he aimed. He released an arrow, and, as he did, the shards launched as well. The guards were peppered with ice, all of them falling, dead.
"Wow," Wei muttered. "Nice."
"Thank you," Nekku said in reply. "Glad you have me now?"
"I guess. Whatever, let's keep moving. There's a window up there." The trio ran up to the wall of the house, as Nekku converted the ice still stuck in the guards' bodies into water and swept it into his pouch.
In the House
They got to the wall, and, wasting no time, Wei deftly jumped up, then kicked off the wall, propelling herself upward, grabbing the window ledge before she could get too far away.
"Showoff," Feng called up to her. She smirked and moved inside. Feng put his hand to the wall, clinging on to it using Earthbending. He deftly bended his was up to the windows and followed after Wei. Nekku launched himself up with a pillar of ice, converting it back into water as soon as it was in the air. They got up to the windows, leaving no trace. Feng climbed through, and looked around. The room was lavishly furnished, with expensive furniture all around, with large, beautiful paintings hanging on the walls, and statues lining the room. There was a large bed in one corner of the room.
"Man," Wei whispered. "This dude has some bedroom. Whatever, let's just find him and get the freak out of here. This had better be worth the money..."
Nekku stepped forward.
"I am killing this man. Okay? Neither of you. You two can keep the money. But let me do this." Wei nodded.
"You'll get no complaints from me there. Now, let's find him."
The trio exited the room, into a large hallway.
"Alright," Feng said.
"Now we gotta find him. Should we split up?"
"Hell no," Wei said. "If we get separated, and caught... Yeah, let's not do that."
"Noted. Okay, then what?"
He stopped suddenly, as a man came walking down the hallway. Him and the others quickly dove back into the room and shut the door part way, peering out. The man was dressed in lavish robes, holding a large book, and whistling to himself. There were two guards flanking him. Feng nudged Nekku.
"That's gotta be him. You wanna take it from here?" Nekku nodded. He drew his water out of his pouch.
"You guys might wanna stand back a bit." Feng and Wei did as he said. He suddenly kicked the door open, making the water rush out into the hallway, throwing all three men down the hallway. He ran out, and made the water into a whip, knocking them all guards unconscious. He took the water and put it around the nobleman's wrists and ankles, freezing it. He took his bow and notched an arrow, pointing it at the man.
"You," Nekku said. "Are you the man who lives here?"
The man, sweating and shaking, didn't answer him. Nekku spoke again.
"Y-y-yes," the man said. "I live here, this is my house. What do you want from me!? Money, power, fame, you name it!" Nekku replied, coldy.
"You don't know what you did to me. Let me tell you. You ruined my life. You murdered my family and friends. Destroyed my way of life. And now, I'm going to take yours. Goodbye." The man looked away, closed his eyes, and cringed, as Nekku released the arrow into the man's heart.
Feng walked up to the man's corpse. He took out the arrow and handed it to Nekku. He kneeled down, crossed the nobleman's arms.
"Rest in peace," he muttered. "Sleep in death." He saw the book the man had been carrying, and picked it up. Standing up, he turned to Nekku.
"How are you?"
"He's dead... Wow. He's really, truly, dead. I... that was my only goal. What... what am I going to do now... And..." His eyes widened. "I just... I just killed a man. I took his life... I think I need to... sit down..." He fell down into a sitting position.
Wei walked over to him and put a hand on his shoulder.
"It's okay. It's done now." Nekku acknowledged her silently. She continued to speak. "Didn't you kill guards out there, earlier?"
"Yeah, but this... I saw him cringe. I saw the fear in his eyes. He didn't want to die. He..." Nekku shuddered.
"It's okay, man, it's okay," Wei said.
As Wei attempted to comfort Nekku, Feng flipped the pages of the book.
"Hmm... Now, what is this?" he muttered to himself. "Some sort of shipping manifest... Wait." He examined one page more closely. "Spirits..." The book was full of names. Names of people the man had traded. Slaves he had captured and sold. "Wow... This man truly was a monster."
He walked over to Nekku, whom Wei was still comforting, and handed him the book.
"What's this?" he asked as he took it.
"A shipping manifest. Of slaves that monster sold." Nekku flipped through the pages.
"Wow... I knew this guy was bad, but... Wow. Thanks, Feng. This makes me feel a lot better, knowing that the guy I... offed... was really this bad."
"No problem. Hey, we should get moving." Nekku nodded, and stood up.
"And hey," Wei said. "Trust me, you get used to the feeling." Nekku smiled.
"Hard to believe that you did," he said sarcastically. Wei punched him lightly on the arm.
"Alright, let's get moving," she said.
The trio got the guards whom Nekku had knocked unconscious, tied them up, gagged them, and put them in a closet. They then took the nobleman's body and stuffed it in a chest.
Once they were finished, Feng led the group back out of the window. He climbed through, carefully, and dropped to the ground softly. He motioned for the others to follow.
As Nekku and Wei hit the ground, however, he stopped, suddenly. A band of guards had just come around the corner of the house. They stopped, too, staring at the trio. Suddenly, one of the guards started running towards another large bell. The two others drew their weapons, and one of them yelled
"INTRUDERS! GUARDS, COME!"
"Dammit," Wei swore, as she drew some knives. Feng unsheathed his sword, and Nekku took water from his pouch.
"Let's fight," Feng said. He charged forward.
As he neared the two guards, he put his sword in the ground, and swept it upward, making a large slab of earth come from the ground to slam into one of the guards. He propelled himself forward with Earthbending, and slashed his sword at the man he had hit. His sword sliced across the man's shoulders and down through his heart, killing him.
Wei quickly threw three knives at the remaining man. One hit his eye, another his heart, and the last his shoulder. She ran up and pulled her knives out, and ran towards the man running towards the bell.
Feng joined her, running towards the man. Unfortunately, they were too late. The man, an Earthbender, pulled a boulder out of the ground, and launched it at the bell. He made it strike the bell repeatedly. It rang out loud, making the whole compound hear it.
Nekku turned around, quickly. Three more guards had run up to him, one with a large spear, and the other two Earthbenders, who pulled boulders out the ground, and launched them at Nekku. He slashed one boulder in half with a slice of water, and dove to the side to avoid the other one. He used the water to pull the spearman off his feet, then used the water to launch one Earthbender high in the air, then used it to send him crashing down, leaving him unconscious, and with many a broken bone.
Nekku brought the water back to him as the other Earthbender launched a quick series of rocks. He used a water whip to hit them all out of the air, then knocked the man unconscious. Suddenly, Nekku was aware of the spearman, who had gotten to his feet, running at him. He grabbed the spear out of the man's hands with his water, then grabbed the spear, and thrust it through the man's heart. He turned around, leaving the man dead, killed with his own weapon.
He put water in front of him, converting it to ice, and sliding along it, all the way to Feng and Wei. They had both become surrounded by guards, and were desperately blocking and countering their attacks. Feng had lost his sword, and was using only Earthbending at this point. He launched a slab of earth connected to the ground, which took out one guards, and brought up two small boulders, which he launched again, which took out two more.
Wei was whirling around, a fury of steel, disarming and killing guard after guard. She quickly threw three knives out, each one hitting a guard.
Despite their best efforts, however, they were getting pushed back. More and more guards just kept coming. Feng had a long scratch across his shoulder.
Nekku, seeing their dire situation, charged forward, whirling his water around his head.
"GET SOME, YOU SONS-A-BITCHES!" he shouted, as he hit guard after guard with his water. With their attention drawn away from Feng and Wei, the duo was able to fight their way out of the crowd of guards.
"Wei! Nekku! Come!" Feng shouted. The two ran after him. They ran for the edge of the compound, dodging boulders and arrows fired by archers and Earthbenders. At the wall, Feng quickly lowered a section, and the trio slipped through.
Unfortunately, the guards of Ba Sing Se had heard the commotion. A short ways away from the group, some guards were charging towards the compound. Feng quickly submerged the trio underground before anyone saw them.
"Alright," he said as they were under.
"Do we have to?" Wei asked.
"We just have to hide down here for a few hours."
"Ugh," she groaned. "This'll be fun. Do we at least get some light?"
"Depends. Can you Firebend?" Feng replied. He got no response. "That's what I thought. Don't worry, it'll only be a few hours." She groaned again.
Welcome to the Crew
Three hours later, Feng finally brought the three of them to the surface. It was night, and the moon was shining bright.
"Aah," Nekku said. "The moon. Too bad we didn't fight during the night, Waterbending gets stronger with the moon."
"Yeah, that's a shame. But, we are alive, so that's something. Now, let's get back to the Lower Ring, huh?" Feng said.
By the time they got back to their house, it was almost midnight. Feng got a bandage out of the cupboard, and applied it to his wound. They were all covered in dirt.
"Well, I dunno about you guys, but I'm goin to sleep. Nekku, you can spend the night here," Wei said, and she dragged herself into her room.
Feng turned to Nekku. "You can sleep in the room to the right of mine. We'll talk in the morning." Nekku nodded. Feng walked into his room and shut the door.
Nekku stood, alone, in the middle of their kitchen. The moon shone through the window. He smiled. "Feng and Wei." He chuckled. "Thank you, guys. So much." And with that, he went to his bedroom, and fell asleep.
Wei woke, groggy, in the morning. She walked out into the kitchen. Feng and Nekku were already sitting at the table, eating. Nekku smiled at Wei. "Morning!"
Wei pulled up the seat. "Yeah, morning." She grabbed an apple.
"Hey, Wei," Feng said.
"Me and Nekku have been talking."
"We're going to let Nekku stay with us."
"He has nowhere else to go, Wei!"
"We can't drag a kid with us everywhere!"
"He helped us in the job, a lot! He'll be a great addition. We were fine before him, we'll be great with him."
She munched on her apple as she considered it. Suddenly, she turned to Nekku.
"Why do you want to stay with us? I mean, sure, you have nowhere to go, but, can't you stay somewhere else? If you stay with us, you'll be an assassin. A fighter. What are you fighting for?" Nekku replied, slowly.
"I... I don't know. I don't know what I want to fight for. Maybe for my dad. Maybe for Oran. Maybe for myself. I don't know. But I do know that I want to help you guys. Isn't that good enough?
She took another bite of her apple.
"I guess so," she replied, smiling. She extended her hand. "Welcome to the team, Nekku. Glad to have you."
Nekku's face erupted into a smile. He took Wei's hand and shook it enthusiastically.
"Thanks a lot, Wei, Feng! I won't let you guys down, I promise." Feng smiled, patting Nekku on the back.
"Yeah, welcome to the team."
"Now let's go get cleaned up."
- I really liked writing this chapter. Not only did it introduce a new main character, but I got to write a large fight scene. I also felt that this chapter fleshed out Wei's personality a bit more.
- Oran may be included in a future chapter. If I do include him, don't expect to see him until Part 3.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
|Part 1: Beginnings|
|First Blood - Bar Fights are Fun! - Civil Unrest - What Goes Around - Comes Around - The Shroud - Battle on the Wall - Starry Skies - Sister Dearest - One Last Sale - Horizon Part 1: Stormy Sky - Horizon Part 2: Farewell|
|Part 2: Journeys|
|That Long Road - Morning Never Comes|