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|By Wonderfully weird||Genre||Rating||Reviews||Updates|
|More from Wonderfully weird||Action, Mystery, Romance||PG-13||None||As they come|
The Story Thus Far
While Toph is on her way to work, Iroh and Poppy are visited by palace guards who have a message for the young Earthbender. However, Toph comes back early from her teaching with terrible news: her student is now dead.
Meanwhile, as the detective team try to decifer the new riddle, Khan has a startling flashback to when he was held captive by the Dai Li.
Seeing that no one in the Upper Ring would dare come out of their houses with there being a murderer on the loose (as well as there being a blizzard brewing), Iroh decided to close shop early, but he, Poppy, Toph, and the other employees chose to stay at the store in the event that some brave person did pass by. Iroh brewed a fresh batch of tea for everyone, serving the employees first, then Poppy, then Toph, and then himself. He kept his eye on Toph as he sat in a chair across from Poppy; discovering the dead body of a person you know is always unnerving.
"So..." Toph quivered, attempting to speak after two hours of her silence, "what does Kuei's message for me say?"
"Toph, dearest! It's rude to address the Earth King by his personal name! Have you forgotten your manners, young lady?"
Toph grumbled then turned her head toward Iroh.
"Could you read the letter to me, please?"
Iroh obliged and read:
"Dear Toph Bei Fong,
We are in need of your help in concern to our young daughter, Ryh. We've known about our daughter's earth bending talents for some time now. However, we never thought of hiring a teacher until she was much older. Unfortunately, those plans have changed. Though Ryh has caused some 'accidents' around the palace in the past, they seem to be worsening the older she becomes; recently, a guard had his legs crushed by a column she had unintentionally toppled. Being that you are the greatest earth bender in the city (and perhaps in the whole country), we ask for your help so our beloved Ryh can control her bending abilities before more inadvertent harm is done to others and herself. We will offer stable pay in exchange for your services.
His Royal Majesty"
That kind of news could brighten any potential teacher's day. Toph couldn't help but grin. It would be very interesting to have an obviously capable pupil that simply needed a little refining as opposed to student she needed to start from scratch with, but Toph then realized something.
"Isn't the princess three years old?" Poppy asked before Toph could utter that same sentence. Toph turned to her mother to confirm an answer.
"The royal couple seems desperate. Since neither of them are benders, they haven't the slightest clue how to raise one and, having a child with that kind of raw power, I can understand their predicament!" Iroh added to Toph's simple nod. "I still find it unusual for parents to have their children start their training as toddlers, however."
The wind outside began to howl and scrape against the door, even shaking the building at times. Then, from outside, a drone rumble and a barrage of knocks on the door were heard. Toph smirked and insisted on opening the door.
"How's the weather, Twinkle Toes."
Aang grumbled, his voice shaking. Toph giggled as she gestured the Avatar and his Bison to enter the teashop. The two frozen fellows slunk right on in, Appa knocking over a few chairs and tables in the process.
Aang collapsed onto the tile floor, a gay little smile taking over the lower half of his face as Appa shook off whatever excess snow and ice his fur had accumulated during the flight. Iroh immediately rushed to the kitchen and asked for some of the employees to brew a pot of tea for the freezing Avatar. Poppy noticed that Aang didn't seem to bring anyone else with him.
"Avatar, where are your fiancée and son?"
Aang rose to his feet first before answering the question.
"They, along with Momo, are at Kyoshi Island, Lady Bei Fong. We were initially visiting Sokka and Suki there before I was...called here."
Poppy, though not quite sure what the young Avatar meant by being called, nodded in affirmation and contentment.
"One of your crazy Avatar Spirit visions, I'm guessing?" Toph blurped.
"Not entirely, but that is partly why I'm here right now...oh, thank you for the tea, sir! Oh, it's so warm! Yes! YES!"
"Whoa, easy, Twinkle Toes! So what's reason number two for being in a city you've intentionally avoided since last New Year's Eve?"
"Toph, dearest! Don't be so uncouth!"
"Hey! You two relax! And Toph, that comment was a little uncalled for. Anyways, I can't really answer your question. What I can say is that the matter the Earth King and I will be discussing is top secret."
Iroh suddenly walked past, greeting Aang as he returned to his chair. Aang then recapped what he had just told Poppy and Toph unto Iroh, making sure to thank him for the tea every chance he got...which meant every other sentence that spurted out of his mouth.
"Avatar, you mentioned how there was a strange, spiritual presence you felt upon flying into the city. What do you think it could be?"
Aang was not up for answering Iroh's question, but had to.
"Well, it's hard to explain. I only sensed this negative aura when I flew over the Middle Ring, and then the scars on my back and toe were getting inflamed and...sparky. Like they did when Azula initially electrocuted me. I have no idea what it is, but I'm pretty certain that it ain't good."
Toph then told Aang about the murders that had occurred in the Middle Ring, asking him if a killer could produce an aura so strong. She was disappointed by his answer.
"It's impossible for an individual to have a spiritual marker of that magnitude. Which could only mean one thing..."
Silence fell upon the teashop. The gusts of wind outside were becoming stronger and stronger
"There is one heck of an angry spirit out and about. And they definitely have an agenda."
Toph went into momentary despair; if it was a spirit, not a person, that the Criminal Justice Department was after, how would they possibly be able to handle it?
"I don't think we can handle this anymore!"
According to the Police Chief, there had just been another reported murder, this time in the Lower Ring. He was obviously not pleased by the news.
"People are just dropping like dragonflies, aren't they?"
Khan, Sung Jie, and Ari had just barely begun the process of solving the first riddle they had found; hearing news of a third victim was the last thing the trio—let alone anyone—wanted to hear.
"A young lady named Jin rushed in just now with the news. She's currently in the lobby drinking tea and covered in blankets some of the interns found."
The Police Chief entered Khan's office.
"Blizzard's that bad, huh?" Sung Jie uttered. The Chief nodded.
"It's the worst one we've had in eleven years. Anyhow, Khan, you'll be needed to ask the woman questions about what she saw. We can't really investigate the actual crime scene until this weather let's up."
Khan rose from his desk, making his way to the door.
"Is the woman okay?" Khan wondered.
"Barely! That girl sure was fool enough to wander about in weather like this, but all for good purpose!"
They were now in the lobby, their eyes upon this "Jin" person who was shivering despite her layers upon layers on blankets. Poor thing!
"Are you sure I should be interrogating this woman when she's in that sort of condition? I doubt she's thawed enough to speak!"
The Police Chief mumbled, but took into consideration what Khan had said.
"You're right, Khan. We should probably wait a little bit," he grumbled, leaving swiftly after he spoke. Khan sighed. The memory that sprung up earlier was still haunting him.
"What do you mean I died? If I'm dead, then why am I here?"
"Good grief! Did you not notice me using the past tense, you blubbering little girl? You were dead, dead enough to where you were listed as a casualty. You aren't dead anymore, however, which is why the Dai Li and myself brought you down here. I ordered it so because I need to ask you something: how did you do it?"
Khan was confused, intimidated, and in pain; he didn't need all this crap after getting out of a coma.
"I don't know, man—"
"Long Feng! My name is Long Feng. Now tell me, boy: how did you restart your pulse?"
"I don't know! I just remember getting my ass kicked by Lieutenant Guiren, and then I tried to lightning bend, but since he speared my gut earlier, the electric wave went through my heart and I blacked out...and then I woke up in that dingy-ass dungeon I was just in! What else do you want? 'Cause I got nothing!"
Khan sniveled and wept. He couldn't take the pain anymore yet couldn't help himself from doing the things causing him pain!
"I wanna go home..."
"I'm sorry to tell you, child, but you cannot. Not with after what has happened..."
"Why can't I go home? Why are you laughing at me? STOP IT!"
Khan bit his lip. Why he was remembering the things he had tried to lock away for a decade now, he wasn't quite sure. Finding an answer to that question, though, would be in the way of solving this eerily evolving case.
He turned his head to face Jin.
"I can answer whatever questions you have. I'll try to remember what I saw."
Khan sat down next to Jin.
"Just tell me whatever you can remember, okay?"
She nodded, "Well, this afternoon when I came home from work, I decided to go up to my landlady to pay for my month's rent since I got my paycheck today....in fact, I think you and me live in the same complex! Anyway, I knocked on her door, but she didn't answer. I knocked again. Nothing! Thankfully, my neighbor Guiren saw me and barged down the door. And...that's when we saw her. Pale and shriveled up in the middle of the room. No markings or anything weird in there. Aside from writing on the wall. It was too dark to decipher what the message was! Then, Guiren told me to tell the police what happened while he stayed back with the landlady. When I saw no one at the department building in the Lower Ring, I ran here! And then there was this sudden flurry and I got lost in the white out!"
Though her speech was quick, Khan understood what Jin had said, wishing that her speedy voice was less tangible considering her grave news. The third victim was the landlady. His landlady, the one that complimented him on his honesty and punctuality! It was also possible that Guiren, too, could be dead at this point; Khan was slowly beginning to warm up to that idea.
"Thank you, Jin. Now, once the blizzard dies down some, you and me can go back to the to the Lower Ring. I'll escort you to your apartment, while I go to the landlady's to investigate and look for clues. Until then, just hang tight. We got more than enough tea in this old joint!" Khan made sure to smile, knowing how shocked he and Jin were by this afternoon's events. Khan did have to leave Jin alone after a few minutes; there was a riddle he still needed to solve.
For the collective works of the author, go here.