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September 28, 2013
As Jiàn was closing his office for the evening, he noticed Bayne and Byron walk past him. It was the first time today that he had seen them that day. "So when were the two of you going to tell me you were working for someone else?" Jiàn asked them. The two froze dead in their tracks and turned to face Jiàn. Byron began fumbling his words trying to make an excuse, but his brother quickly quieted him.
"Our loyalty is to you before anyone Jiàn," Bayne replied seriously. "We joined this organization because it seemed like it held a lot of our own ideals. We only are helping facilitate a few meetings and have acted as recruiters of sorts." Jiàn nodded in acceptance, not showing much emotion. Bayne continued. "It is simply a side group my brother and I joined to help other non-benders. In no way will this impact our work with you. However," Bayne lowered his head and bowed. "We are deeply sorry for not notifying you personally about our actions." A hint of a smile appeared on Jiàn's face.
"Lift up your head Bayne, you know I hate it when people bow to me," Jiàn answered jokingly. "Don't worry, either of you. No harm was done, and technically, it really isn't my business to know what organizations my employees are a part of, so long as nothing illegal is taking place of course."
"Thank you for understanding," Bayne answered, nodding his head, almost bowing but catching himself. However, Byron forgot about the no-bowing policy, causing him to receive a soft punch to his head, sending him to the ground. The three friends once again shared in laughter.
Later that evening, The Lieutenant, Ping, Bayne, and Byron were all sitting on two sofas facing one another, with Ping and the Lieutenant on one and Bayne and Byron on the other. It was a pretty fanciful meeting place. Jiàn did not personally like the design of his guest room, as he personally like simple things. However, he had the room built in this way to make any guests feel as comfortable as they could. Byron and Ping were nosily munching on snacks Jiàn had left on the table while the Lieutenant and Bayne were talking.
"Jiàn knows my brother and I are with the Equalists," Bayne told his comrade in a disappointed manner.
"I was the one who tipped him off in hopes he'd consider seeing our superior," he replied calmly. "I should be the one apologizing to you and your brother. I hope neither of you got in trouble because of my rashness."
"Naw 'rits all good!" Byron answered, his chewing muffling much of his speech. Much of his saliva began hitting Ping in the face, causing him and Byron to argue vehemently. The two were ready to throw punches until they notice the very eye-catching figure of Talia watching them as she entered the room. All four men ceased any form of activity as they turned to look at her. Talia sighed.
"I was hired for the same reason as all of you," she told them quickly, wanting to obliterate any misconceptions these men could have about her. Byron immediately knelt in front of her, kissing her hand and asking in what he believed to be a charming voice, "My my, just what lovely part of the street did Jiàn find you on?" Talia's face became bright red as she immediately slapped Byron across the face and kicked him in the gut shortly after, causing him to keel over.
"You... you pig!" Talia stammered. "I'm quite a few years younger than you yah know!"
"And I'm sure that's not the only problem you have with him," Bayne replied sarcastically whilst rolling his eyes at his brother's desperation. He then stood up from his seat to shake hands with Talia and introduce himself. "My name in Bayne Blade. Please excuse my brother Byron's, behavior. He's very, um... impulsive when it comes women." Talia seem neither impressed nor humored by his comments.
"I noticed the rest of you staring too," Talia replied, looking past Bayne to Ping and the Lieutenant. She shuffled awkwardly in her place as she spoke, as she still felt a bit uncomfortable about the whole situation.
"I believe it's only natural for a room full of men to take notice when a young woman enters," the Lieutenant answered seriously, attempting to ease some of Talia's tensions. Taking note of the knives at her waist, he quickly noted, "You seem like a fighter capable enough of undertaking this task."
"Speaking of that, where in blue blazes is Jiàn?" Ping interrupted inquisitively. "I like shootin' the breeze as much as the next guy but I ain't got all night." Just as he spoke his final words, Jiàn, clad in his usual informal attire, entered the room.
"Glad you all could..." Jiàn began to say to everyone. However, he suddenly stopped talking when he noticed a groaning Byron on the floor in front of him. He then covered his face with one hand in shame before shaking his head and saying. "I don't even wanna ask."
After the incident between Talia and Byron was shamefully explained and Byron's apologizes were finally accepted by Talia (although just barely), Jiàn had his guests return to the sofas whilst he pulled a small wooden chair by the ends of two sofas so he could join them and sit while still being able to see everybody.
"Well then, I believe now is as good a time as any for me to tell you all what you..." Jiàn began but found himself quickly interrupted by Talia.
"I think I speak for a lot of us here when I say that you have not told us a whole lot about yourself," she told him honestly. Ping and the Lieutenant were surprised at how vocal Talia was, but they nodded in agreement to her statement. "That's not to say I think you're dishonest Mayor Jiàn. However, I would like to know a bit more about the person I am working for before I fully commit myself to this." Jiàn put on a fake smile; he figured someone tonight would ask him to reveal more about himself.
"Well I suppose it's only fair," Jiàn answered in mock happiness; he really was not in the mood the talk about himself much. In fact, it was the last thing he wanted to talk about right now. "I was born in a pretty normal part of Republic City, I honestly do not remember exactly where. I have very little memory of my parents or my home." Jiàn's voice began rising steadily in rage. "When I was five my parents were both brutally tortured and murdered in front of me by Yakone." Everyone seemed to cringe at the mention of Yakone.
"Yet another victim of that madman," the Lieutenant added in a concerned manner. However, Jiàn, frustrated at having to recount such events, grunted and closed his eyes as he continued speaking, trying to control his emotions. He did not expect himself to get quite so worked up over retelling these events.
"He apparently wanted some old artifact or something my old man had. I didn't know what it was, and to this day I still do not know. But Yakone..." Jiàn paused, breathing in heavily, still struggling with his speech, "That BASTARD took me hostage in hopes I'd eventually fess up to him. HE..." Jiàn paused; he just could not continue. No matter how hard he tried he could not at this time; recounting all these events at the same time carried terrifying images that nearly caused him to break out in tears. Jiàn, the mayor known for his quick wit, confidence, and sarcasm was nearly brought to tears. He opened his eyes to notice the concerned look on everyone's faces, including the tears on Talia. Her tears nearly broke him, but Jiàn knew he had to keep his composure on the outside if he had any hopes of ensuring everyone would feel confident about his plan.
"I'm... te..rribly sorry," Talia said whilst frantically whipping tears from her eyes. Everyone in the room remained perfectly silent and still. Not a sound could be heard in the room. A few seconds of dead silence went by, but those few seconds seemed like hours. Jiàn took a deep breath and continued. The rest of his story was the joyful part. He knew he could finish that.
"The Spirits spared me, however. I was strong enough to belt out one loud shout, which was loud enough for Avatar Aang to find me after he had apprehended Yakone. Even though I was only five at the time, I agreed to tell my story to the judges. Aang told me the bravery and justice I had to retell such horrific events in front of Yakone and the judges at such a young age helped convince the judges to rule Yakone guilty. As a result, Aang offered to let me live with the Air Acolytes on Air Temple Island. However, after I met his son Tenzin and we became close friends, Aang took me along with him and Tenzin on a few trips." Jiàn closed his eyes again, but this time he had a wide smile on his face. "I know he had his own family and I was just a friend of his son, but Aang was probably the closest thing I had to a parent." Everyone seemed quite shocked at this statement; even Bayne and Byron did not really know how much Jiàn really knew Aang. Jiàn continued quickly, trying to wrap things up. "And so outside of that, I spent a lot of my time reading books and getting knowledge and so-forth, which is how I learned about chi-blocking and swordsmanship. However, I also studied the four bending and their various forms, which is how I've become so efficient at combating benders." Noticing he had started rambling, Jiàn decided to cut to the chase. "I eventually ran for mayor and, with the help of Tenzin and Aang's endorsement, I became the mayor. And that's my story. So, are you all in?" After taking a few seconds to take in Jiàn's words, the five nodded.
"So are you finally gonna tell us this grand scheme of yours?" Ping asked irritably. Although he was a bit touched by Jiàn's past, Ping had neglected to write his article for the paper that was due tomorrow and needed to leave as soon as possible to write it.
"Yes Ping I will finally talk about my plan," Jiàn replied, slightly irritated at his lack of patience. "So, I have been trying to think of the best possible way to reduce the gang activity in the city. As such, it got me thinking; there is no way to completely obliterate every gang in the city with just a few people, just like it is next to impossible to stop an entire nest of buzzard wasps without a large group of people. However, you can weaken the nest yourself with just one person. And how do you weaken a hive and stop it from growing? You take down its queen." At the word "queen," Jiàn pulled out a scroll from his pocket and unraveled it across the table, revealing the layout of a warehouse with the Triad insignia at the top of the warehouse. "Thanks to a nice bribe of a few yuans, I managed to barter for a map of the Triple Threat Triad from an 'informant.'" The five were hoping there would be mention of the informant's name, but Jiàn withheld the information. "The key plan is to send the Triad into such disarray that hopefully the other gangs will follow. However, unlike what you may think, Zolt is not out only target. While Zolt is certainly the head of Triad operations, he has an enforcer whom is far more dangerous; this enforcer is the main reason why Zolt is so feared." Everyone in the room got the same chilling reaction at this news as they got from hearing Yakone's name. "That's right; I've found that the rumors on 'The Necromancer' are true. Getting rid of a blood-bender almost as skilled as Yakone will be difficult, but if things go according to plan, this will put a huge blow on the Triads and make other gangs think twice about acting out. Now, here's how our plan will be executed..." Everyone leaned in close as Jiàn pointed to various areas in the warehouse whilst going into detail about the plan.
A night or so later, Jiàn decided to take a brief stroll outside. After having walked for only a few minutes, Jiàn heard a very loud bang followed by what sounded like the lashing of whips in the air. Suddenly, a silhouette emerged from a nearby alleyway, seemingly flying past Jiàn whilst launching shards of rock and metal at his pursuers, all of whom wore the distinct uniform of metal bending officers. As they were just turning the corner, the policemen had no time to react to their opponent's attack and were quickly sent to the ground, unable to move. Jiàn looked behind him to see if the mysterious assailant was still in view. He noticed the silhouette of the man shrinking almost completely out of sight. Jiàn scratched his head a bit and then smiled. "I can still catch up to him," Jiàn said to himself.
For the collective works of the author, go here.