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Serpent's Pass
Crossing the Serpent's Pass
Chapter information
Series

The Kyoshi Chronicles

Book

Book 1: Earth

Written by

Kyoshidude

Word count

5401

Chronology
Last chapter

Chapter 4: Spirituality

Next chapter

Chapter 6: The Agent

"We can't catch a ferry. There would be guards everywhere," Bako debated. The friends were enjoying the warm day, but the fact they were fugitives to the Earth State constantly sat at the back of their brains, and needed frequent reaffirmation for them to truly understand the weight of their circumstances. The East Lake quay was barely five hundred metres away and crowds of people could be seen mingling with Earth State soldiers who were checking the papers and passports of the visitors. Bako pulled Jin Jin from the path and into a concealing thicket as a group of travellers moved past. Bako turned around to face the others and raised his eyebrows. 'I told you so' was what Kyoshi got from it. And with that Bako tugged on his stirrup and Jin Jin began walking back from where they came. Kyoshi sighed. She was tired of being cautious and having to slink around. As much as she loved the outdoors, she desperately desired a comfy bed to rest on, or a cushioned chair to sit on rather than a spiny backside that wobbled with each footstep.

"Can't we make a disguise?" Kyoshi suggested, taking Tori's face in her hands and shaping it to something new. The bird squawked through its scrunched face as her purple tongue flopped out.

"With what? Leaves and dirt? They'd never know," Bako hissed. He was annoyed too that they couldn't take a ferry across, but knew he had to be the voice of reason. For if he wouldn't the two of them would get themselves killed.

"Well how else do we cross, Bako?" Momzen replied, smiling as he prepared an oncoming joke. "Fly? Oh, of course! Let me just get my dragon and we can fly on that! Or should we all grow wings?" Kyoshi laughed and Momzen winked at the smiling girl. Bako didn't bother with a reply. He took Jin Jin through the scrub, which was becoming thinner and smaller in comparison to the vegetation of Sing Se Forest, and to the shore of the East Lake which was further upstream than the quay, continuing west. The blue water was refreshing to the kid's tired eyes and Kyoshi enjoyed the smell of sand and fresh water. The Sun was gleaming yellow upon the still water and the dirty shores showed signs of decay and age. It could've been the cloudless sky and warm weather, or the emptiness of the surroundings, but the kids soon felt relaxed and at ease. From a distance a trail of earth could be seen snaking across the water to the other side. Bako smiled, he had no intention of having the fortune of finding a bridge like this for them to cross but nevertheless made it out to be as if he knew about it all along.

"There we are. I knew it was around here somewhere," he said airily, taking in Momzen and Kyoshi's cheers and applause. He smiled at their naivety.

"The Serpent's Pass," Bako read from a decrepit sign as Jin Jin stopped at the shore of the East Lake.

The sand here was brown and gravely and the blue water stretched forever both east and west. On one side of the pass there was a broken and worn down track, and on the other was a relatively unscathed route – seemingly safer.

"We'll take this path across the lake," Bako said as he led Jin Jin to the rocky passage. The gradient steepened and soon Kyoshi could understand the enormity that was the East and West Lakes. The quay was a mere speck and, if she looked forward, the southern shore seemed like thin stroke of earthy paint against a giant blue canvas. Suddenly the ride wasn't as uncomfortable as it had been, suddenly Kyoshi was buzzing like she was before she left Gao Lin for Ba Sing Se. The thought of truly being a great distance from Ba Sing Se and getting closer to her earthbending teacher was stewing deliciously in her gut. And the buzz seemed to be infectious. Momzen's eyes were alight with interest and the expansive scenery soothed even Bako's usual intense expression. Soon peaks of grey stone obscured their vision of the destination but nonetheless the trip was still pleasant. They reached a clear platform of stone with a singular, craggy slab on its left side. Below them a stretch of water darkened and coursed about erratically, and a large creature rose from the lake, streams of water flowing from the folds and coils on its body. It was coloured in black and teal scales and had two long yellow barbels that stretched out slowly. It screeched ferociously with bulging eyes, and suddenly Kyoshi understood why the passage was called the Serpent's Pass. The creature bared its jagged teeth and fired a protrusion of water from its mouth.

"What the hell is that?" Momzen squealed as he fell off Jin Jin and into the dirt, the shirshu knocked back by the force of the water.

"It's some sort of giant sea monster!" Kyoshi shouted through the tremors of the creature's voice. Bako toppled off Jin Jin, soaked, and panting heroically. They were out in the open, another hit from the forceful stream could knock them off into the water and there was nothing to shelter you from the oncoming sprays.

"It's a Unagi Serpent!" Bako yelled, a hoarse and manly tone clutched his throat as he got up with a rock in his hand. He lent his torso back and threw the stone to the Unagi Serpent. Though he threw it with great force, the stone did not even dent the serpent's tough scales. It screamed at him and fired a jet of water directly onto his body. Bako put his arms in front to try and protect himself but he was knocked off his feet and forced onto a pointy stone slab.

"Bako!" Kyoshi screamed as she watched Bako's eyes widen and his pupils dilate in pain. He could not get a breath in as water continued to pound his entire body. His heartbeat fastened and he could feel a numbing starting from his toes. Bako tried to scream out, but with no use. The blast ended and he slithered to the floor in exhaustion, seeing Momzen with a flame at his hand. Momzen had fired at the serpent for it to stop, and was successful. The Unagi Serpent writhed from the firepower and roared furiously. Momzen ran forward and rolled to one side, avoiding the monster's attack, then kicked himself into the air and fired a blast from his foot. The fire landed in the serpent's mouth and, in shrieks of pain, the creature returned to the depths of the dark water.

"Are you okay?" Kyoshi said as she approached the dripping boy. She grasped his back and let him lean on her. Tori came to his side, her eyes full of worry too.

"I'm fine," Bako replied defensively. He went to get up but from the force of his fall fell to the ground again, groaning.

"What is it?" Kyoshi asked instantly, jumping at the sound of his pain.

"It's my ankle. I think I sprained it," he said, holding her hand like a baby to its mother. Momzen came over and hoisted Bako onto Jin Jin.

"Well you shouldn't walk on it," he said as he handed Bako the stirrups. He looked back down at the water and then to the remaining stretch of earth left to cross.

"And we'll have to go on the other side if we want to avoid that crazy water-breathing fish dragon thing," he said as led Jin Jin to an opening of the other, more dangerous path. Kyoshi and the others were now soaked and wearied. The arrival of such a gargantuan monster was not expected. Kyoshi wanted to wring out her cloths of the water and scrape off the chunks of grit and gravel that were scratching at her skin, but manoeuvring across the dilapidated path needed concentration and precise footing. It was single file for the majority of the trip, as the path only allowed less than a metre width; Jin Jin had to suck in her broad torso to stop herself from teetering. The atmosphere was intense as Momzen and Kyoshi clung to holes in the rock face, keeping a cautious eye on the sleeping Bako. The two did not speak. All that could be heard was the occasional snuffles from Jin Jin and croaks from Tori, and the whistling wind that seemed to sneak into their ears and goad them to jump off. Albeit the mind-numbing caution and the aches in their muscles from holding and walking in odd positions, they felt much better knowing the Unagi Serpent could not attack from this side of the pass. The sun was soon on full bore, golden rays burned their soaking skin and Bako would moan sometimes at his discomfort. A splattering could be heard from the water and as Kyoshi leant forward to examine, the darkened slither of water that could only by the serpent's enormous body came from under the pass.

"I think we have company," Kyoshi told Momzen with a squawk of fear.

"Jin Jin, can't you go any faster?" Momzen shouted to her. "Move your big butt!" Jin Jin let out an annoyed roar as she began to scramble dangerously across the path and rocks and debris tumbled from the sides as everyone picked up their pace. The serpent rose from the water and Kyoshi could feel the wind pounding at her body as panic clung to every muscle.

"Go! Go!" she screamed, pushing Momzen's shoulders so he'd stumble faster, as the Unagi Serpent leant back. It came crashing forward onto the cliff face, Kyoshi could feel rubble and dust pushing against her back, and the unstable ground beneath her collapsed. She screamed as she reached out for a hand, her arms grating along the course stone. Her body arched backwards and her eyes were shut tight. Water suddenly flowed all around her and the screams of the boys and the rumble of rocks were dulled out. The cold clenched to every inch of her hurting body, her back stinging from the impact. Kyoshi opened her eyes. Polyps and weeds of dark green grew on the submerged walls and the riverbed was dark and slimy looking. Kyoshi could see a tunnel further down the wall, which must have been how the serpent was able to attack this side. And then she remembered the serpent. She swam up to the surface, examining the monster's meaty body treading beautifully underwater. From the surface Kyoshi could see that her friends had made it to an overhang and were hiding behind a wall of rock. She caught eyes with Momzen who was screaming her name out to the water.

"Momzen! There's a tunnel down here! I'm going to see if I can get back up!" she shouted to him over the serpent's cries.

"Okay! We can get to the safer route from here!" he replied, "I'll see if I can help from there!" The serpent stopped banging against the cliff and noticed Kyoshi, a small yet tasty morsel, bobbing in the water. She knew instantly she was bait and dived under the water and headed for the tunnel. The serpent's face, over triple the size of her body, came in just behind her. Bubbles exploded from the force and obscured her already blurry vision, and the wake of the monster's speedy entrance pulled her closer to its mouth. Kyoshi kicked frantically, her long green dress was heavy and flowing in erratic and unhelpful directions. The serpent swirled its body into an easier position then propelled towards her as Kyoshi made it into the tunnel and swam up, hoping for an opening. Water was being pulled into the serpent's direction and Kyoshi could hear the swivels of water made by the monster's slithering tail. Holding her hand out, Kyoshi felt a nook and hoisted herself up and out of the water and onto a small grotto.

The serpent's head poked out of the opening, crunching rabidly at nothing and Kyoshi kicked with the spire of her shoe, causing it to shriek and swim back out of the tunnel. She clambered as far in as possible and took in deep gulps of stagnant air. Beads of water slid down her numb face and her chestnut hair was strewn across her shoulders and back. She wanted to lie down and rest, but knew there was no point staying in the cavern. She crawled over to the waterhole, foam and dark water spluttered out with each wave. She held onto the ground and lowered herself down to have a look. The opening to the other side was a fair distance away – doable – but even after making it out, the opening was still very deep. There wouldn't be enough air for the entire trip to the surface. From the other end the Unagi Serpent saw her dangling body and Kyoshi scrambled back up and into the depths of the cave before the serpent could make a move. Thankfully the deepest part of the cave was a few ten metres into the pass and it curved around and away from the waters edge quite a bit. The end of it would be fairly close to the external face. Kyoshi leant back and rested on the slippery wall. Looking up to the wet ceiling Kyoshi saw a ray of light. She jumped to her feet and began scaling the wall. Moss and slime made the task a chore, but Kyoshi was determined to get out alive and dug her nails into any holding she could find. The light was tickling her eyes as she neared it but every time she got too close she'd slip and slide to the floor with a thud. Again and again she tried and soon she was exhausted, her voice hoarse from screaming with frustration.

Perhaps, she thought, perhaps she could make it to the surface in one breath. She moved to the hole and dived back in to take another look. This time though, the Unagi Serpent was already in the tunnel waiting. It saw her body jump in and raced forwards with a mighty speed. Kyoshi lost her breath and water gushed into her lungs, she lunged through the water, feeling the monster's teeth on her dress, and scrambled into the cave. The serpent arched its body and got its head into the grotto, squirming frantically to get more of its body in. Kyoshi was screaming with terror and could not get to her feet. She felt behind her, expecting a sword or blade to somehow appear, and kicked at the monster's chomping snout. She twisted her body around to get her arm back in front of her, and felt a sort of magnetic force on her palm. With the swing of her arm a rock followed and slashed the serpent's face. Blood dribbled out from the open wound and the serpent cried and writhed, it's head stuck in the opening of the cave. With enough struggle the hurt and frightened serpent slid back into the water and away from Kyoshi, the potential threat.

Kyoshi was left on the ground, barely breathing and covered in dark, slippery moss and sweat. Her eyes were wild and filled with awe and her heart was going so fast she couldn't even feel it. She laughed. And then laughed again. She was ecstatic. Kyoshi got up, numb with amazement, and then – either from a blood rush or from the enormity of her feat – sat down again. She earthbended. Though not entirely by will, the rocked moved because of her. She lay back and wiped her grimy face, laughing and smiling to herself. She had to tell her friends. With her newfound vivacity, Kyoshi got up and made for the oily wall and the ray of light. She almost ran up the surface and clutched onto the small hole with one hand. With the other she pushed out the soft rock to make the hole larger and stuck her head out. The fresh air and sunlight further induced feelings of bliss and she shouted out Momzen's name. The boy's head poked from the edge and his eyes twinkled with relief upon seeing her.

"Kyoshi! Thank god you're alive!" he shouted with glee. "If you were dead already, I mean, that'd suck. I mean, you only just-

"Momzen!" Kyoshi interrupted. "Get a rope!" Momzen turned around and took the supple rope from Bako's bag.

"She's alright?" Bako asked. His tone seemed genuinely worried and his curved brow said so.

"Yeah she's fine," Momzen told him. Suddenly the serpent appeared and screamed at the boys, Tori screaming defiantly back – she had had enough of the monster's impertinence.

"Maybe not so much," Momzen muttered with defeat.

"Come on, give me the rope," Bako said quickly, hopping off Jin Jin and hobbling to the cliff edge with the rope in hand. "You distract the thing and I'll pull her up." Bako lowered the rope down to Kyoshi, who took a firm hold of it. The serpent fired a jet of water to Momzen who jumped and spun forward, so to increase his force, landing with his feet firmly positioned and his side parallel to the ground, blasting a mass of fire from both fists. Water and fire collided creating a burst of steam.

"Get it in its mouth!" Bako ordered over the hissing steam, as he continued to pull Kyoshi up. Momzen was hit suddenly by another pressurised stream, rolling along the ground from the attack. Jin Jin pounced forward and shot her bumpy tongue at the foe, hoping to stun it with its toxins. The serpent winced on contact with Jin Jin's tongue and fired water to her direction. The shirshu jumped over the jet while Momzen leapt to his feet and jumped out of the way, the water striking with stone and sending debris flying. Momzen held out his arms, and followed his head through with a forward roll to launch three loads of auburn fire. One flame singed the monster's cheek while another hit it's chest and dissipated into the air. The final flame landed in the Unagi Serpent's mouth, which closed upon feeling the heat. Smoke wafted out between the creature's teeth and agony could be seen swelling in its large, blue eyes. It recoiled and fell backwards into the water and swam west in search of safety. Bako had now pulled Kyoshi to the edge and the girl pulled herself up to the ground.

"Are you alright?" Bako asked, as he sat himself down. He was tired and his ankle was throbbing, but he was thankful the Avatar was safe.

"I earthbended!" Kyoshi told her friends with a grin. Momzen came over and Jin Jin nuzzled Kyoshi's face as a congratulations.

"That's incredible!" he said as he patted her shoulder with his warm palms. Bako smiled back to and then got up, groaning.

"Well," he started, "we should keep going. We don't want it coming back." And with that Kyoshi took Tori in her arms and saddled Jin Jin, and Momzen hoisted Bako up and took the stirrups. They moved along the Serpent's Pass with more caution now, and soon enough the dry wind and searing sun dried Kyoshi's sodden dress. Kyoshi could still feel sweet pride tingling in her cheeks, and she tried hard not to smile, while Bako – still feeling sorry for himself – lay down on the saddle with his arm over his eyes and the bags over his body.

It was almost late afternoon when Kyoshi saw the first sign of greenery on the pass. Momzen had found a sheltered stone bower, protected by an overhanging wall on the east and west sides. In it was a small pool with fresh water and scraggy trees growing from the cracks in the walls. Their grey wood was streaked with a faded brown and the green of their leaves was like that of an old pea. Jin Jin was removed of her saddle and went over to the pool to drink while Momzen used the dull, dry wood to start a campfire. Kyoshi laid out the sleeping bags and Bako limped onto one to rest. Fish caught from a stream in the Sing Se forest were taken from the food satchel and skewered over the fire, while Kyoshi filled a tin with water from the pool and began boiling it. The warm air kept the crisp smells of crackling fish close to the kids' nose and Tori would often get too close to the fire to have a better sniff. Once the water had boiled, Kyoshi put a cup of rice in and cooked it until it was smooth and soft. Momzen gave a handful of seed to Tori, who protected it viciously from the hungry Jin Jin, biting down on the tentacles on the beast's nose. Momzen threw the largest fish to Jin Jin, who began gorging noisily and Kyoshi scooped the rice into three bowls and lay the crispy fish on top.

"Dinner is served!" Momzen shouted, licking his lips with wild eyes. Bako rolled over, dazed from his nap.

"Do you think you can manage to get over here?" Kyoshi teased, biting into the fish. The skin was charred and salty and the meat flaky and pink with flavour. Though unseasoned, it possessed a satisfying earthy taste. Bako grunted at her remark and moved over by the fire. They began eating. The well-received meal filled a space in their stomachs that was made empty by the rushing thrill that was the day. It was only after she had eaten that Kyoshi realised how sore she was. Her muscles were stiff and her knees and elbows were scuffed from all her scrambling. The others, too, were exhausted from all the fretting that occurred. She moved her sleeping bag close to the fire so that the heat would sooth her aches and Bako returned to his. Momzen climbed onto the settling Jin Jin and lay sprawled across the saddle. Tori continued to chirrup, pecking at the dusty ground for any forgotten seeds while the others fell quickly to sleep before the sunlight had even fully disappeared. The warm air allowed for no blankets and the fire crackled through their sleep until it was reduced to glowing embers by the morning.

The morning was met with a chilly awakening, as the overhanging walls had blocked the entrance of the warm morning sunlight. Kyoshi was up making breakfast, slicing the staling bread and smearing it with the honey Bako had brought from his home in Ba Sing Se, and throwing the remainder to Tori. Jin Jin was given another fish and she finished in almost one bite. Kyoshi felt sorry for the shirshu. The meals she received were not at all big enough for a creature her size, but they had to ration what resources they had left – they only caught enough fish to fit in the satchel.

"Jeez, my back's still damp," Momzen exclaimed, bending his arm back and patting his shoulders down. Kyoshi's dress was still wet at the ends but overall the fire had completely dried her off. Bako awoke and packed the sleeping bags away before joining the others for breakfast.

"How's your ankle?" Momzen asked, looking down at his tight shoe. "Are you sure you don't want to take your shoe off?"

"If I take it off, it'll swell even more," Bako replied flatly. "Then I'll never be able to get my shoe back on."

"We need some ice," Kyoshi said.

"We need a waterbender," Momzen stated jestingly. They shared a laugh before packing up the food scraps – anything could be saved for a later meal – and straddled Jin Jin, continuing down the pass. The day was marvelous. Fluffy, white clouds rolled by happily and the lapping of the waves below was refreshing to their ears. Along the course of the trip they talked lightly about what would be on the other side – a town to buy supplies from, a forest to shelter in – and what the reception would be like – perhaps the news of the fugitive Avatar hadn't reached any southern town, perhaps the Avatar was loved. Whatever was waiting for them on the other side of the Serpent's Pass, Kyoshi was eagerly waiting to find out, for any new area to discover and explore was an exciting thought.

*

From afar the abrasion along the pass seemed recent. And it was. Astrid could tell the Avatar and her friends were here at some point. The scorch marks on the stone, and the faint footprints of some giant clawed beast told her so. Mitinari was standing absently behind her, staring out across the water as if it were whispering some sweet lullaby to him.

"Mitinari!" Astrid yelled at the dumb looking boy. "Come with me." Astrid stepped onto the craggy terrain of the Serpent's Pass.

"Astrid," said an Earth State soldier, of which there were many. "That's the Serpent's Pass. Are you sure you don't want some of us to come with you?" She turned to the soldier and scowled at him.

"I don't need your incompetence slowing me down. Besides, I need men waiting on the other side," she replied with a mean hiss. She turned and looked out at the thin strip of earth; somewhere on it was her unsuspecting prey. She was relishing the oncoming hunt.

"We'll force them out," she smiled. With enemies on both sides, she thought, the Avatar will have to surrender. "If you are late by even a second," she turned to face the squadron. "I will personally throw you to the Unagi Serpent, one by one for you all to watch." The squadron nodded and made off down the shore of the East Lake to the quay, while Astrid – rolling up the sleeves of her crimson garment, ready for a fight – stepped forward onto the Serpent's Pass in fast pursuit of Kyoshi.

*

The wind had picked up and the sound of gushing water could be heard. The kids came to a steep hill and down below could see that there was a break between the pass. The water level was high, separating the trail, and a strong current moved through the opening and continued out into the middle of the East Lake.

"We don't want to get caught in that," Bako huffed. Jin Jin made her way down the hill, loose stones falling down making it difficult and awkward to move safely. Finally they got to the shore. Sand crunched under Jin Jin paws, and she found the sensation startling, jumping a little on each step.

"We really do need a waterbender," Momzen sighed. Kyoshi got off the saddle and moved to the water's edge. Through the channel were stones of various sizes, slippery but the only way across.

"We can get across if we used the stepping stones," Kyoshi said with a smile, happy she had found a solution. It was as if she was doing her first good deed as the Avatar.

"Are you kidding me?" Bako chortled from his seat. "If we slip we'll be sucked out into the middle of the lake. And there's no place to swim onto." That was true. As Kyoshi craned her neck to see what was further down the pass, there were no dips in the path or areas close enough to the water to climb onto – and the distance from where the current took you to the shore was far too long.

"Exactly," she replied boldly. "So we'll just have to do it my way. Come on Jin Jin." Kyoshi tapped Jin Jin's side and directed her to the first stone. The beast, with Bako gripping the saddle tightly, leapt onto the first stone, slipping slightly. Suddenly a fire flew over their shoulders, roaring as it went. They turned around to see Astrid and Mitinari, the bounty hunters they met in Sing Se forest.

"So nice to see you all again," Astrid said with an evil tone. The two of them slid down the hill and onto the sandy shore, Mitinari taking a slither of water from the lake ready for a fight.

"We don't wan-

Before Kyoshi could finish her sentence the Unagi Serpent burst from the western side and cried viciously. Astrid rolled her eyes and charged forward. She kicked herself up from a rock and punched in the air. A furious amount of fire surged from her fist and singed the serpent's body. In retaliation the serpent lifted its tail from the water and smashed it down on the hill. Rock and dirt flew from their wobbly positions and the trail above crumbled away too, rendering it impossible to climb.

"You stupid thing!" Astrid groaned through gritted teeth. She spun around, kicking her leg out twice, and two flames hit the serpent in its face and eyes. The poor creature squeaked in defeat and swam off. It had learnt its lesson.

"We can't back up," Kyoshi said brazenly. "So we'll just have to co-operate if we want to get past this rapid and onto the other side."

"Fine with me," Astrid replied with a twinkle flashing in her dark brown eyes. "Mitinari! Freeze over the water! And make it quick!" she ordered. The round boy chuckled and moved to the shore. He took in a large breath, his chest protruding outwards, then breathed out, stretching his arms out smoothly. The water channel froze over.

"Hurry, before it breaks," Momzen said as he made for the ice. Cracks from the current were breaking the ice, and everyone was dashing across the channel as fast as possible. As one part of the ice shattered, it caused a domino effect, and the ice broke in pieces and water spluttered everywhere. Jin Jin, Momzen and Mitinari got to the other side and Kyoshi, feeling the ice break beneath her feet, jumped quickly and landed on solid ground. Behind her Astrid plunged into the water and began to move down the channel. She was swimming frantically to the shore but to no avail, and cried out for help as she choked on gulps of water. Kyoshi followed her down the channel out held out her arm.

"What are you doing?" Bako screamed at her.

"I can't let her die!" she replied, taking a firm grasp of Astrid's hand and hoisting her onto dry land. Astrid, soaking and panting, looked up at Kyoshi and smiled at her menacingly.

"Wrong choice." Astrid pulled Kyoshi's hand down and stood up, taking Kyoshi's arm behind her back and restraining her. Momzen shouted out and ran to Astrid. Mitinari, however, blocked the way and whipped at Momzen's body with a tendril of water, pushing him back. Kyoshi struggled under the grip of Astrid, but managed to bend over and flip the girl over and onto the ground. Astrid then quickly rolled to the left as Kyoshi was about to kick, and, now squatting, fired a blast to Kyoshi. Kyoshi kicked the flame with her golden boots and, as it disintegrated, Astrid charged forward and tackled her down. Momzen dodged Mitinari's next attack and shot a flame from his fist. The fat boy turned seemingly with ease, like a ballerina, and attacked again, wrapping water around Momzen's wrists and freezing it. Astrid, through Kyoshi's screaming and squirming, tied the Avatar's hands behind her back. Jin Jin, now – with Bako on her back, was circling the pair.

"Run Jin Jin! Go get help!" Momzen ordered. But the loyal beast did not break eye contact with Astrid until it charged forward, projecting its toxic tongue at them. Astrid jumped up, her form perfectly pointed, then took a chain from her belt and flung it at Jin Jin. The chain coiled around her four legs and toppled her over, Bako sliding out. He tried to get up and fight, but his injury got the better of him and he was soon easily defeated. Astrid moved over to the attained Kyoshi and bent down to speak to her face.

"It's times like these when I just love my job," she smiled. Mitinari laughed softly behind her as Kyoshi sighed with defeat. Her marvelous day had just been ruined

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