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|Duel on the Plains|
Chapter 8 - Duel on the Plains
stared at his reflection. His face was badly bruised from his fight with the mysterious Assassin. No doubt the Assassin was powerful but a non-bender as well. Shinn feared the Assassin was holding back as he left the barracks. He didn't want to find the man again before taking out .
Shinn walked towards a waiting convoy. They were heading towards the port to a rendezvous with a new supply team. It seemed straight forward but Shinn felt something wrong in the air as he climbed his ostrich horse.
Shinn was indeed correct as across from the barracks in a command tower stood the Assassin. He was stood on the balcony and looked at the young Avatar. In one hand he held a mysterious black crystal. He looked at it and smiled. From behind him came a hooded woman. She stood next to him and spoke.
"He's stronger than you thought?" she asked.
"Yes, a worthy warrior," replied The Assassin.
"Test him once again and Fuma," she said turning, "only use the crystal when you deem necessary."
"Yes mistress," said Fuma bowing as she walked away.
Earth Kingdom Desert, a hour later...
Shinn rode at the front of the convoy as the rest of the soldiers followed him. He had spoken to some officers last night regarding the Assassin and he found some disturbing news. No one had heard of him before, and no records of his existence were found. However, something else was uncovered. All previous Avatars once spoke of being attacked by a hooded man and pushed beyond their limits. Shinn pondered the thought as he continued on. It was nearly nightfall and they had to be there for tomorrow.
Fuma smiled from a nearby Cliffside as he held the crystal in his hand. He clenched his hands into fists and disappeared in black smoke. He reappeared at the back of the convoy unknown to the soldiers. He removed his weapon from his belt and swung his blade killing the back two soldiers.
Shinn turned as he heard the cries of pain. Before he could let off an attack, Fuma was already gone. Shinn dismounted and looked around. There was no sign of him. He turned as Fuma appeared knocking him back. Shinn countered with a blast of fire which Fuma brushed off.
The two soldiers tried to help Shinn but were killed by Fuma's throwing knives. Shinn stood and took a fighting stance.
"Okay so just tell me one thing who hired you?" asked Shinn.
"Who hired me?" Fuma said laughing, "I am not a mercenary."
"Then what are you then?!" shouted Shinn charging.
Shinn felt a mysterious force as Fuma blocked his attacks. Shinn's fists grew red before returning to their normal colour. Fuma laughed before kicking him back. Shinn Firebent but nothing happened! He tried in vain but his Firebending was just gone!
Shinn looked up and to his shock Fuma's arms were alight with flames. Shinn's face grew pale. How could he have done that? Is it even possible?
"I think you deserve to know my name..." said Fuma still admiring his new-found fire, "Call me Fuma."
"Well Fuma, go to hell!" shouted Shinn as he Earthbended a pillar of Earth sending Fuma flying into the air.
Shinn was shocked, sure he could Earthbend but nothing that powerful. It seemed losing one element strengthened his others. He barely had time to test his new found strength as Fuma jetted towards him. The two were evenly matched as their elements clashed. Fuma was pushing Shinn beyond his limits as he performed feats he didn't know he was capable of.
The two fighters jumped back and took a little breath as they thought of their battle so far.
"So what exactly do you want?" asked Shinn.
"To make you understand," responded Fuma.
"The purpose of the Avatar is to maintain the balance. Yet you seek to disrupt it."
"How?" protested Shinn, "How am I disrupting it?"
"Killing Xu will only cause more difficulty in your life."
"You dare!" shouted Shinn charging.
Fuma blocked his attack just before it hit. Unknown to Shinn, Fuma was using more of his power than he usually had to. This Avatar had something else.
Fuma retaliated knocking Shinn back before jumping into the air. Shinn shot himself up as well as the two clashed in mid-air. Shinn saw Fuma's hands glow red before a massive shot of white hot flames shot at him. Shinn narrowly dodged it as he watched the blast destroy a massive piece of the battle ground. He had little time to gather his composure as Fuma charged at him. Shinn was knocked against a wall and imprisoned by flames restraining his limbs.
"You are yet to fully understand your purpose!" Fuma said punching Shinn in the gut.
"Enlighten me!" said Shinn as he took the punches.
"That is something you must find yourself!" shouted Fuma unleashing yet more attacks.
Shinn's power made itself known again as using the restraints as handles, he ripped the rock from the cliff and smashed them into Fuma knocking him back. Fuma shouted in pain as Shinn went on the counterattack. Shinn unleashed power only few could generate. He finally uppercutted Fuma before sending him crashing to the floor. Fuma's eyes widened as he witnessed Shinn's massive power, a power he had never felt before.
"You have...skill young Avatar!" declared Fuma.
"Thanks for the compliment," replied Shinn wiping away some blood on his face.
Fuma stood and regained his composure. He held the black crystal towards Shinn and Shinn's fists once again glowed red. Shinn clicked his fingers, creating a small spurt of flame. Shinn smiled as Fuma began to walk away.
"You have a choice Avatar, you can leave Xu and the Balance intact or you can risk disrupting a fragile peace."
"What are you talking about?!"
"It is your decision to make, yet you must deal with its consequences," said Fuma as he faded into a growing sandstorm.
Shinn stared towards where Fuma had been. He still had no clues to his identity and his motives. But what was this fragile peace and upsetting the balance? He couldn't help but think about the thought. Would he risk it and finish what he started or just move on?
Isu, 4 hours later...
Shinn rode into Isu alone that night. His body's wounds were healed after his fight with Fuma. He glanced towards the barracks and the sight of a nervous guard.
"What's wrong?" asked Shinn.
"Well the Fire Lord's coming tomorrow! Aren't you scared if you mess up?" replied the Guard.
Shinn frowned at the man's words before going inside his quarters. He looked at his hands, and pulled back his sleeve, revealing a copper bracelet. It read 'Faitingu o hoji' (keep Fighting). Shinn lay on his bed and looked up at the ceiling. He saw Xu's face and Fuma's. He remembered Fuma's words and Xu's actions but who's would he respond to?.
- Fuma in Japanese basically means 'Wind Demon'.
- After this chapter there will be a two-part finale.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
|Rise of an Avatar Chapters|
Book 1: Beginnings
Book 2: Disturbance