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|Ep.11: Crashing Waves PT1|
It had only been an hour or two since Korra and the others had left to the Spirit World. All the while, Ikki, Desna, Eska and Hotaru were on guard over their group of meditators in the middle of the main palace room. So long as their souls were still in the Spirit World, they couldn't protect themselves, and with El Niño probably heading over to where they were, that was going be a problem.
Hotaru kept a pacing motion near the main door for the whole time, as Ikki just sat by the others, Desna and Eska just standing nearby, silent as ever. Sometimes, it was a wonder that they even remotely talked to each other, they were so quiet. Ever since the others left to the Spirit World, Hotaru and Ikki hadn't heard a peep out of them, not even once. Regardless of that, at least they kept a nice guard, eyes open and on alert like they were. However, Ikki was getting very bored of just sitting around, doing nothing, so she wanted to talk.
"Soo...Hotaru... You can drive a plane?" Ikki started.
"Well yeah, it's pretty cool," Hotaru said.
"Is it hard to fly one?"
"Not really, it's like driving a car, but in the air rather than a road. A bit harder to turn well, though."
"Cool, maybe you can teach me!"
Hotaru stopped for a second before turning to the Airbender.
"Okay, first of all, you're a bit young to fly a plane. Secondly, all you have to do is spread your arms out in that suit to fly anyway," Hotaru reminded, pointing to the wing folds on Ikki's flight suit. Ikki sulked, but he had a point; she didn't need to fly a plane in order to fly at all.
"Point taken...geesh, how long does it take to get back from the Spirit World?" Ikki asked, turning to them.
"Beats me, I've never been there before."
As they spoke, Desna and Eska glanced to the main doorway, Eska opening the door briefly to see outside. Soon afterwards, Desna turned to Hotaru and Ikki.
"You two. Seems we have some visitors," Desna announced.
Indeed he was right; outside of the main doors, the very owner of the palace -Firelord Izumi- had returned from her trouble in Fire Fountain. Walking to her doors, Hotaru was the first to bow in her presence. Izumi herself looked a bit tired, but was glad to see Hotaru back from his flight. Of course it took a bit before she noticed the others as well.
"Hotaru, it's good to see you again. Did the shipments go through?" Izumi asked.
"I'm afraid not, my Lord. The Qishi got to me while I was flying," Hotaru said in dismay. Izumi just sighed, but wasn't really too upset with it, considering what happened to Fire Fountain City thanks to El Niño's involvement. Next, she looked inside the palace, seeing Team Avatar meditating in her throne room.
"Wonderful that everyone made it. But exactly why are they meditating?" Izumi asked, slightly confused to see the entire group sitting there in her throne room, doing nothing to help the issue directly as far as she was concerned.
"They're in the Spirit World. See, Korra had this vision thing while trying to find a spirit for help, and now their souls are gone for the moment," Ikki explained, as Izumi was looking each of them over. They all were quiet, emotionless, and looked almost in a deep sleep. Only indication was Korra, eyes open and pure white unlike the others.
"How long have they been like this?"
"I calculated about an hour since they've passed," Eska said. Izumi looked to them for a while more before replying.
"Well, then we'll have to keep an eye on them. Who knows when El Niño will arrive," Izumi advised.
The hours slowly ticked by, as day turned to the end of sunset. The guards were on high alert for any signs of threat towards not just the Firelord, but towards the Avatar and the Water Tribe Chiefs as well. The steaks had been raised dramatically due to that fact being around. In the main throne room, the group was still keeping their patient visual over the meditating group. Hotaru and Ikki were both going over patrol by the front door, Desna and Eska by Firelord Izumi, bored out of their wit as usual. They kept looking to the group in front of them, waiting for something -anything- to happen, but nothing seemed to occur as time ticked away. Seemed the boredom was hard enough to bare for them, as the sunset turned to night, the full moon climbing up into the sky, though blocked off by the clouds. Eska gave a very annoyed and bored groan, looking to the meditation session for the tenth time within the last 6 hours.
"Come on, something happen," Eska groaned.
"Chief, be patient," Izumi advised.
"I'd rather be stuck back home now."
Desna looked to the others, wondering when they'd get back. There weren't any exact signs to give him a clue to when they'd come back, only clue they were still gone were Korra's white eyes, but that was about it. And rather unfortunate too, for some minutes later, one of the guards outside looked onward above the capital's rock walls to see a strange, glowing mass of creatures coming their way. Hotaru and Ikki noticed too, and they were the first to rush in to warn the leaders.
That mass in question slowly floated down into city lines, landing gently in front of the palace. The mass revealed itself to be a group of Blimpus, the infamous El Niño -still human- riding on one of them. The guards readied to attack, but the Blimpus kept El Niño safe as he looked around, and went through the doors, only to be confronted by the guards in question inside.
"Hello, Firelord Izumi. Nice to see you again."
"Don't act like you haven't done anything wrong, El Niño. You have a lot of nerve coming back here," Izumi warned, eyeing El Niño down.
"Oh. Well, thanks I guess."
"That was not a compliment."
El Niño didn't look as happy anymore, as the other guards readied themselves for whatever the kid had in mind.
"What are you doing here?" Hotaru asked, suspicious.
"Me? Oh, well, I'm just here to make a proper home for my Blimpus, that's all. They don't have a proper one just yet," El Niño explained, petting one of the smaller Blimpus by his side.
"No, you're not, I'm not having anymore of my nation flooded because of you!"
"You're still on about that? Firelord, can't you just move your cities somewhere else? I mean, you own the entire nation, right?"
"That isn't how the leaders of nations operate. Their position is to protect, and organize their respected nation. A settlement as big as Fire Fountain can't just be moved away," Desna said.
"Why not? Seriously, I don't know why you're so upset, I'm not doing anything to harm you!" El Niño protested. Then Ikki spoke up.
"Are you kidding, you've flooded Fire Fountain and -"
"And notified the Firelord so she could get everyone to leave. Trust me, if I wanted to wipe you humans out, I wouldn't even bother telling you," El Niño retorted, arms crossed. Ikki honestly never thought of that, or anyone else. Sure, what he did was a bit dangerous to humans, but he gave the proper notification first, something not many would do first before doing something like that.
"As good of a point that is, you still didn't take her refusal," Eska pointed out.
"So? Notification and approval are 2 different aspects. Now if you excuse me -"
El Niño was quickly stopped when the guards got in his way, much to El Niño's annoyance. Izumi walked forward, stopping in front of him.
"It doesn't matter what approval you'll accept, you will call of these monsters at once! Or face the consequences," Izumi warned, a flame manifesting in the palm of her hand.
"They're not monsters, they're my life. You always consider anything aggressive to your kind as a monster! What, am I one too for trying to keep them alive like you are to your people?"
"My people aren't causing havoc everywhere they go, unlike those Qishi of yours! They have to stop," Izumi ordered, flames growing. El Niño conjured up some water from the air and doused her flames before continuing.
"So you're saying that just because they don't follow your rules they deserve to die? So what if they're making your lives a little bit tougher, that's no excuse to just wipe them out!"
"They're a threat to my people, El Niño, they've been stopping our trade routes, destroying our supplies, attacking innocent Fire Nation citizens. You call that 'a little bit'?" Izumi retorted.
"And explain why the Blimpus as you described assaulted our airship," added Eska.
"They're just following their instincts, it's your own fault you can't cope and open your minds to them!" El Niño yelled, a finger of blame aimed right at the Firelord. When he did, suddenly something flicked off El Niño's finger, right on Izumi's face. A bit unintentionally, but the sight of it made the Firelord wide eyed...El Niño's finger was dripping off skin! The kid looked to his hand, which looked like it was slightly melting, along with his arms. El Niño turned to the exit, and saw that the full moon was exposed and glowing on him. Everyone, Qishi included, kept their distance to what was about to happen...
"Oh great," El Niño sighed. Spreading out his arms, everyone around him could see his brown skin starting to melt away, dripping down to the floor. Each part of his skin was starting to melt off of him like a ton of slime, even sounding like slime dripping. His hair started to fall off in large chunks, no longer having a grip to hold on to, as he even shook it all off, turning bald in a matter of seconds. Izumi, Hotaru, Desna, Eska and Ikki only watched in pure horror as El Niño was practically melting right in front of them. There was no muscle, nor even blood, but bone started to show on his arms and legs. El Niño tore off his shirt, revealing a melting chest of skin, just before he closed his eyes and suddenly lurched forward, causing a huge mess of liquid brown skin to splash on the floor, freaking them out slightly. Even Desna and Eska, who normally would just be monotone, looked in shock on the transformation. When he reared back his head, it was enough to make Ikki screech in fright: The skull and top ribs were fully exposed. The rearing made his back remove as well, the skin now fully gone from the next down to his hips, the skeletal remains collapsing to the floor. The rest of the skin had melted away, revealing a full skeleton there in the middle of the floor. At first, nothing seemed to happen after that, just a skeletal mess on the floor...then something started to squirm out from under the skeleton, looking almost like water. It seeped out of the skeleton, turning it bone dry -no pun intended-, as a figure began to manifest itself from the liquid, matching the height of what he once was. The arms had turned to long tentacles, and the body glowing a cyan blue...
El Niño in his true form.
The transformation alone was enough to scar some, but this true form just left them simply speechless, for a lack of a better word. El Niño looked to the skeleton and used his aquatic tentacle arms to pick it up.
"Guess I won't need you anymore," El Niño sighed, tossing the thing outside as it shattered upon impact. The others simply weren't sure how to fully react to this sudden change...
"Well...that explains a lot," Desna stated. El Niño turned back to them, loosening himself up as he drifted forward, the Blimpus flying alongside him again. His tentacles were raised, water flowing up in the air around him. Desna, Eska and Izumi readied themselves to fight, as he suddenly raised a giant water wall in between them and the guards, so they wouldn't interfere. However, the meditating team was within the barrier, and Hotaru and Ikki were stuck outside the water barrier.
"My life will thrive. Even if I have to remove you to do so," El Niño stated, before he started on them.
Desna and Eska kept guard by the others, as Izumi launched her strongest blaze at him. Sadly for her, not only the fact he was made of water made fire turn to smoke, the full moon made her bending deeply weakened. So El Niño just slapped her out of the way as Desna and Eska took the stage. However, every time they remotely tried to bend, it was either whiplashed back at them, or simply didn't work in some way. It was indeed frustrating, especially if a water whip was involved.
"I'm through with playing around with you. I thought you humans were adaptive, and I respected that. I guess I was wrong."
"Every creature has their limits to what they can take," said Desna.
"And you breached what our kind can handle," added Eska.
"And how did I do that? You alter the land around you to your own will, control the air you breathe, save and destroy thousands of lives during a single day. You inhabit lands that others found impossible to even survive, let along thrive. So many predators were toppled, and fear your kind. What have I done to surpass such a godly creature's expectations?" El Niño asked, scratching his head with one tentacle, acting more curious than sarcastic. Everyone around him was actually puzzled: a spirit would consider humans godly? Well, most of what he said was true, humans could earthbend and airbend, and they can take lives as well as save them in a short period of time. And yet, he still was trying to add in his Qishi against their wishes... The twins both gave a sigh, and locked eyes with the spirit, as the Qishi circled them.
"...El Niño...We're no godly creatures. If anything, you are the godly creature over us. We're simply protecting a nation from falling to the Qishi attacks..." Eska started.
"What do you mean 'you're not'? Don't you own all of the mortal world by now?"
"No, we don't. We don't own the Si Wong Desert. We only live on the coasts of the North and South Poles. And there's a lot of land that we can't seek out a living in. El Niño, we need water as much as these Qishi do, as much as you do even," Desna explained.
"All of our settlements rely on water to live as much as all other creatures. If there's no water, we can't maintain our lives. I'm sure you understand how important it can be to life," Eska added.
"What does water have to do with with what I'm trying to do?"
"It's not that we don't appreciate your creatures. Speaking on a personal level, I found the Blimpus beautiful to observe. The problem came down to how they could coexist with our kind," Eska concluded.
"But you guys refused to let them -"
"El Niño! You failed to understand on where you're deciding to breed your Qishi. You wanted to make a breeding ground in Fire Fountain, yet you had to flood the city to do so. You released your creatures in Jang Hui, yet it resulted in an uncontrollable threat. Even if the main goal for you was being achieved, the consequences are there. You can't remove blame for acts you anticipated. Not caused, anticipated. There's a difference," Desna explained.
"How?" El Niño asked, head tilted.
"When you cause a problem, the acts are made by you directly. The attacks were anticipated when you show these inexperienced animals to a world unknown to them. It's like releasing a group of toddlers out into a power plant. Sooner or later, the danger will fall upon them, and nothing you will do can stop them from hurting themselves, or others."
"That doesn't make any sense, I made my creatures to live in the right habitats, no precaution acquired after being introduced in the right place. You say you're not godly, but I see you can easily adapt to anything given to you, now for your sake and mine, just let my creatures live!"
There was silence filled all over the room, El Niño angered by their lack of cooperation. The guards, Hotaru and Ikki couldn't do anything, Eska and Desna weren't sure what to say anymore. Even after admitting they were not godly, El Niño was at least convinced they were fighting these things for no reason. However, Desna turned to Eska, who had a rather sinister grin...
"You have no room to talk..."
Eska started walking over, the grin still on her face. Izumi was going walk over, but Desna kept her back, shaking his head.
"You state our kind as creatures of godly power. That would make us the rulers of this realm. Our choices what decides one's fate in this world, our desires that change the earth we see fit."
Eska began to bend some of the water into ice within the palms of her hands, as El Niño was starting to step back...
He was getting scared...
"We decide what shall and shall not live amongst our kind, and we shall not be denied of our whims by all who dare try. You speak of expectations. Well, we deny your wishes, mere water spirit. By your logic, we are gods..."
It was deeply clear that El Niño was starting to get scared of Eska, as she stood just inches away from him. Her gentle fingers held his chin so he was directly eye-level with her, her eyes piercing into his own.
"And do you know one thing all gods despise? El Niño?"
El Niño gulped.
The ice in her palm was then dropped to the water by their feet, and Eska suddenly commanded it to spread under El Niño! The freaked out spirit got himself free, yet the spreading ice did pose an issue: he couldn't bend ice in his true form. El Niño looked to the group, and oddly noticed something forming around them...
They were coming back, but not alone...
Fear struck, El Niño commanded the Blimpus to flee, pulled down the water wall, and started running. It didn't help that the guards were in the way as well, him having to dodge spears as he just narrowly managed to get outside, making it like he was never there. Eska just stood there for a bit before her face returned to her usual bored expression. As things were calming down, suddenly Hotaru got their attention.
"The team, something's happening!"
Izumi, Desna and Eska all looked to the meditation group, more specifically at Korra. Something odd was happening, the glow in Korra's eyes suddenly making a giant flash, which for just that second made it impossible to see. When the flash ended, suddenly a large polar bear dog was right next to Korra, as her eyes no longer glowed.
They had returned.
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