|By Rockjaw Grang||Genre||Rating||Reviews||Updates|
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|Chapter XLV:Ba Sing Se|
Phoenix Estates airship hallway
Mainyu walked down the hall of the airship as it flew towards Ba Sing Se. As he walked, he saw Bharato coming towards him. "Mainyu, I need to talk to you", he said.
"What is it", Mainyu asked.
"I'm going to need your help when we attack the city. Only elite Firebenders can generate lightning, and we'll need lightning to break through the wall. I need to show you how to generate lighting."
Mainyu was taken aback be the fact that Bharato wanted him to learn lightning generation at such a young age. "Okay, teach me", he said. The two Firebenders then walked towards catwalks at the front of the ship, where they would be practicing their techniques.
Phoenix Estates airship catwalk
Mainyu was not happy. After about an hour of training, he still had yet to perfect the lightning generation technique.
"Concentrate", Bharato said. "Focus on your positive and negative energy, and separate the two." Mainyu then closed his eyes, and focused. He began to move his hands, his fore and middle fingers straight, while his other fingers had their tips to his hand. As he moved them, lightning began to form around his fingers. Mainyu continued doing this, until he thought that he was ready to release the lightning. He moved his right hand away from his body, and let the lightning fly away from it and into the sky. "Well done", Bharato congratulated.
"Sir, we're approaching the city", a soldier said, as he walked out so speak to the two Firebenders. Bharato, who had been looking at Mainyu, turned so he could see what was ahead of the airship. He could see the large wall growing in his eyes.
"Excellent, tell the crew to prepare for our attack", Bharato ordered. Bharato then turned back to face Mainyu. "Mainyu, we're going to attack. Start generating lightning." Mainyu then began to move his hands like he just had, and created lightning. He sent the lightning towards the wall, next to the bolt Bharato produced. The two bolts hit the wall, and a large chunk of the wall was blown away. As the airship continued towards the city, the two Firebenders created another two bolts of lightning, and sent it at the wall. Once the second bolts hit the wall, the airships were safe, and could enter the city without having to deal with the soldiers that had been stationed on the wall.
Fire Nation Airship
Aang watched from the top of the airship as it closed in on its quarry. He saw that the Phoenix Estates fleet had been able to enter the agrarian zone, and had their sights set on the city. Aang then began using Airbending to lift the airship higher into the sky and forwards. After a few minutes, it was above the Phoenix Estates fleet. When it was, the Fire Nation airship started dropping bombs on the Phoenix Estates airships.
Phoenix Estates airship
Bharato watched the green ground slide beneath the airship from the bridge. He thought that if he was going to be defeated, he would at least be doing significant damage to his enemies. Without warning, the airship began to shake, and then it started to fall. "What's happening?" he asked.
"We're being bombed from above sir", a soldier responded. "We're losing altitude fast. I'd say we'll hit the ground in five minutes."
"How could they get above us? It's impossible."
"They must have the Topaz", Mainyu said. "The Avatar's using it to gain altitude, and get above us."
Fire Nation airship bridge
Zysor began to take the airship down towards the ground. "Atenar, you'll need to lead our squads of gliders into the sky. I'll be back up there after I've dropped the troops on the ground."
"Okay. With the airships grounded, this'll be an easy fight", Atenar responded. He then walked to the hanger, and got his glider. He waited a few minutes before the other glider pilots had assembled, and then watched the hanger door open. Atenar then jumped out of the hanger, holding his glider in his right hand. The first thing he saw was fifty Phoenix Estates gliders slowly flying up towards him. He began to maneuver his body as he fell, getting ready to attack his enemies as he fell past them. When he began passing them, he began spinning, sending a whip of fire out of his left hand. When he had passed through the Phoenix Estates gliders, he used his own to gain flight. He pulled back up, and prepared to re-engage the pilots who had survived. As he climbed, he estimated about thirty-five remained. Those thirty five were falling victim to attacks from the airship. After a while, the pilots from the Phoenix Estates flew down to the wreckage of their airships, and stopped. They're surrendering Atenar thought. He then flew back to the airship, followed by the other pilots.
Bharato looked around from the wreckage of his ship. He could not believe that he had been attacked, and that the attack had been successful. He was prepared to make sure that he destroyed the airship, however, he doubted that he would be able to reach it. The Fire Nation airship was landing far away, and he knew there was no way he would be able to reach it in time. He had a feeling that the Fire Nation forces were so confident about their victory, they were just sending some troops on the ground to confirm his surrender. He wasn't going to though. He was going to fight to the death, not wishing to degrade himself by going to prison. Bharato watched as the Fire Nation forces came towards him. His troops from the other airships were surrendering to him, and he knew that the ones from his airship would do the same. He was holding the gem, and ready to face whoever would come to fight him. Mainyu stood next to him, just as determined to fight to the finish as he was. As they watched the Fire Nation forces draw closer, Bharato sent a stream of fire at the group. He was not pleased to see it blocked by a massive amount of water that seemed to come from nowhere. He then attacked again, and again the attack was blocked. The small group of soldiers that had been sent to make sure the Phoenix Estates forces surrendered, separated from small handful of people who were prepared to face him. One of them was a female Waterbender, and he recognized the man who was next to her as the Fire Lord. Following them was the prince and a girl.
Aang, Sokka, Aknur, Ila, and Kun walked away from the airship. They were prepared to go underground, and to get the last gem. Ila and Kun began bending the earth to create a tunnel, and the group descended into the ground, towards the catacombs. Aang walked in the center of his group, using Firebending to light the way. Ila and Kun walked ahead, using Earthbending to create the tunnel. They continued to walk down the tunnel for some time, until they came into the catacombs. When they entered the massive underground tunnel system, they continued walking until they reached the room where Aang had been killed many years ago. "The emerald should be somewhere in here", Sokka said. "Let's split up. We'll have a better chance of finding it that way." The five searchers then began to separate, looking for the emerald. Aknur was heading towards where a house had been, when he heard something. He looked to where the sound had come from, and saw nothing. Dismissing the noise as nothing, he continued searching. As he came closer to what had been a building, he heard rumbling. He looked around, trying to see what was making the noise,. As he turned his head, he saw several men and women in black robes coming out of the earth. He knew that the men and women had to have been Earthbenders, as there was no other way that they could have been hiding in the earth.
"Go away or we will be forced to kill you", one of the men said. As he said this, Aang, Sokka, Ila, and Kun came running towards Aknur.
"We don't want to fight, we're just looking for some gem", Sokka said. After he said this, one member of the group stepped forward and spoke to Sokka.
"If you want the gem, then you'll have to fight all of us for it", he said. The people in Aang's group looked at each other, knowing that the sheer numbers of their foes would be enough to make them lose.
"No", Aang said. "I'll challenge your leader to a one on one fight for the Earth Emerald." There was a short moment of silence, before the same man who had just spoken.
"Very well, I, Hafiz of the order of the Emerald, accept your challenge", he said. The group of men and women in robes then began to form a circle around the five friends, letting Aang and Hafiz stand about twenty feet away from each other. "You four, step away from the challenger, it's one on one", Hafiz said. The members of the group had doubts about this action, but they decided that they should do it. They walked away from Aang, and left him to face Hafiz alone. Hafiz then began to bend the nearby crystals towards his body, forming a powerful earthen armor. Aang looked at Hafiz, and prepared to face him. Aang used Earthbending to lift a rock up and throw it at Hafiz, who caught the rock like it was a ball, and threw it back at Aang. Aang dodged the rock, and used Earthbending to send a pillar of rock speeding towards Hafiz's chest. Hafiz spun- an impressive feat for someone wearing armor- and brought another stone up. He then sent the second stone at Aang, who raised a pillar of earth to block the attack. Aang then created a pillar of earth that shot up from behind Hafiz, and struck him in the back. Hafiz fell over, and quickly got back up. He then used Earthbending to move himself towards Aang, his two fists extended out in front of his body. Aang used Earthbending to create a hole in the ground in front of Hafiz, and as Hafiz moved over it, he fell in. Before Hafiz could get up, Aang threw himself on Hafiz, and began tearing the armor off of the Earthbender. As Aang tore the armor away, Hafiz slipped out of it, and made a fighting stance. Aang then transferred all his weight onto his hands, and spun on them so his feet would strike Hafiz's face. Though Hafiz blocked the attack, the sheer force of the attack knocked him off balance. Aang then sent two rocks flying up to Hafiz's arms, planning to incapacitate the Earthbender. The plan worked. Hafiz was thrown further off balance by the two rocks, and fell over. Aang then made a stance, making sure Hafiz knew who had won the fight.
"Give up", he said. Hafiz could see that Aang had won the fight, and decided it would be best to give up.
"I surrender", he said. Aang then broke his stance, and helped Hafiz up. "Now where's the emerald?", Aang asked.
"It's in that building. We only revealed ourselves and threatened you because you almost fond it. If you had headed in any other direction, we would have stayed hidden."
"How did you know we were looking for it?" Sokka asked.
"You said emerald, we put two and two together", Hafiz explained. As he said this, Aknur walked into the building. He looked around, and saw a spheroid placed next to some other green crystals. If no one stopped to look closely, the gem was well hidden. Aknur then picked up the gem, and returned to the rest of his group, knowing that their mission was almost over.
Ba Sing Se agrarian zone
Katara had pulled water out of the air and the grass so she would have a sufficient quantity of it to face Bharato's enhanced Firebending. Every blast he sent at her was blocked. He could not believe this. He was a master Firebender, and during the day, he was unable to defeat one Waterbender. Bharato began to generate lightning, and prepared to strike Katara, but as he attacked, she stepped backwards behind the Fire Lord. As the lightning sped towards the two, Zuko took it, and began to redirect it back at Bharato. Bharato used jet propulsion to avoid the attack, and then sped towards the pair. As he flew towards them, slightly above the ground, Katara used Waterbending to attack him below the waist. Bharato tried to gain altitude, and kicked the air, sending a large stream of fire at Katara. She blocked the attack by moving water in the way, and Zuko sent a quick fire stream at Bharato. Bharato was able to block the attack, but he left himself exposed. As he landed, he prepared to send another blast of fire at the Waterbender, but he was stopped. He stopped moving, unable to do anything. As he stopped moving, and was forced onto his knees, Zuko called to two Fire Nation soldiers. "Get over here and handcuff him", he ordered. The two soldiers came running over, using a pair of handcuffs they carried, in case they needed to take a prisoner. They then placed them on Bharato, and used another pair on his ankles to further secure him.
"What did you do, and how did you do it?" Bharato asked.
"Bloodbending", Katara responded. "I control the liquids in someone else's body, and make them do what I want them to." Zuko then thought back to the time he had seen her use the technique on a Fire Nation ship captain, and asked her a question
"Why didn't you do that in the first place?!" he questioned angrily.
"I was too busy blocking Bharato's attacks to do anything. When you took his attention off me, I could perform the technique", Katara explained, with a hint of anger in her voice.
Kumaro had been blocking the attacks Mainyu sent at him for a long time. Between attacks, he'd try and convince Mainyu to surrender, but Mainyu knew what would happen if he did that. As the two fought, Aidti was sneaking around behind the young Firebender, preparing to incapacitate him. Mainyu saw this, and prepared to fire lightning. Kumaro prepared to redirect the attack, but at the last second, Mainyu shot the attack at Aditi. She was a good distance away from Mainyu, so she had time to use Airbending to evade the attack. Mainyu turned back to block an attack he heard coming from Kumaro. It wasn't a full-power attack, so Mainyu was able to block it, but Mainyu turned away from Aditi when he did. The Airbender sent a powerful attack to Mainyu. He was knocked off of his feet by it, and sent towards his older brother. Kumaro then ran forward, and grabbed Mainyu's wrists before he could attack again. Aditi then ran over to where Kumaro was, and helped her friend restrain Mainyu. Two more soldiers, seeing the situation, ran over to Mainyu and placed their handcuffs on him.
Agrarian zone, one hour later
Zuko looked at the prisoners that had been taken. He had waited for Aang and Sokka to return, so he could discuss with them what to do with the prisoners. "I think we should send them to a Fire Nation prison", Katara said.
"I don't know", Zysor said. "If we let them live, we may be sending a message of weakness to those who agree with Sozin".
"So we're supposed to kill them?" Zuko asked. "They're not all the leaders, most of them are just soldiers, almost all of which were forced into the army. We can't kill them."
"Plus, we could make martyrs out of the leaders if we kill them", Sokka mentioned.
"We were merciful last time, and I think that's what made Bharato think he could restart the war", Zysor stated, hoping that the others would agree with him.
"Well we can't kill a defenseless person, can we?" Katara asked.
"We shouldn't have to kill anyone, period", Aang said.
"Aang, it was probably our mercy lat time that caused more people to die in this war. We need to kill Bharato. But, like Katara said, we can't do it while he's defenseless", Zysor argued.
"The fact that the people who agree with Sozin have lost twice should be enough to demoralize them, and make them stop", Sokka reasoned. "We should just imprison them." Sokka then saw a look of distress come across Zuko, knowing what it was about. "I know you don't want to Zuko, but it's the best possible solution."
Zuko then thought about this for a moment, before responding. "No, there's another way. Sokka, I think the best way to help Mainyu is by making him live among the people he hates. He may come to like them. I did."
"So what are you saying we do?" Sokka asked.
"I'm saying I have you watch over Mainyu for two years. Maybe then he'll change. After those two years are up, I'll take him back", Zuko said.
"I don't know if that'll work, but I'll try it", Sokka replied.
"Good, then we know what to do. I'll go to Ba Sing Se with Kumaro, and have the Earth Kingdom hold these soldiers prisoner until we can transportation here. Aang, the gems", Zysor said. He then walked away to get Kumaro, and left Aang to do what he had to do.
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