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|The Returning Winds|
It was very early in the morning, Republic City's bandit hour apparently. Moon's up at full swing in the city, as a group of successful clan bandits had just finished robbing their latest target; a quiet convenience store. No alarms were set off, no one was up and no one seemed to notice them, as they got the last of the goods in their truck, and began to drive off back to their hideout.
Too bad for them they didn't go too far.
On the rooftops nearby, like an eyeing predator, a silhouette had seen everything, and began off after them from her path above them. After a quick dash on the rooftops, she made her huge leap and landed perfectly on the truck, catching their attention. The driver tried to get the sudden attacker off, but to no use, as the sudden attacker made an air kick right in the driver's face. The distraction caused the car to go out of control, and eventually screeching to a halt. The assault was clean, quick, and painless, and 5 thieves were suddenly on the ground in a heartbeat. The leader of the gang landed down in front of the attacker's feet, who looked down at them with a smirk on her face.
"Eh, close enough," she said, just before knocking the guy out with her foot...
Some time had ticked away before the police had come back around to bring them in, and to get their goods back to the convenience store. It was a bit questionable when Lin Beifong had returned to find all 5 knocked out, with the girl standing tall above them, but thieves are thieves, and they'd given up before the fight could begin. It didn't take very long until the thieves were loaded up in the truck.
"Okay, so that's all of them?" Lin asked to make sure. She got the correct answer as each one was loaded back in the truck. On the sidelines, the same girl gave an *ahem* to get Lin's attention. She acted a bit smug, despite looking away casually, whistling a tune to herself. Lin, however, just sighed.
"We've had it covered you know," Lin reminded, walking to the car. The girl, of course, didn't take that too well.
"Hey! Admit it, I handled those thieves for you," she reminded, getting in her way before Lin could get in the truck.
"You're not a police officer, Ziyou, I told you this," Lin reminded.
"So what?" Ziyou asked. Ziyou was a rather new person in the city, and Korra's twin sister. While she tried to help out in the city since coming back, her little relationship with Lin Beifong wasn't exactly the best ever.
"So, you should leave that kind of work to the professionals."
"Oh whatever, one day you'll be begging for my help," Ziyou said smugly.
"Like that's ever gonna happen," Lin groaned. It was like dealing with the Avatar in her early days. No, it WAS dealing with the Avatar in her early days: bugging the law to do what was right -and do her own thing. Ziyou just rolled her eyes.
"'Kay, be that way, I got better things to do," Ziyou said. She then used her airbending to rocket off from the crime scene, leaving an annoyed Lin Beifong behind. The day was still young, and Ziyou had plenty of time to check on her other friends. As Ziyou rushed off out of sight, one of the officers walked over to Lin.
"She acts a lot like the Avatar used to," he commented.
"Don't remind me..."
After a while, the sun was back up in the sky like it always did and the city came back to life from the night slumber. The only one still fully active was Ziyou -and the police of course. Ziyou continued hopping around from building to building at good speed, occasionally going through the trees of the Spirit Wild pockets. From the time, the Spirit Wild forests had calmed down and stopped increasing in Republic City. While going through one of these spirit pockets, Ziyou stopped for a second, seeing some of the spirits. In particular, a hedgehog spirit with two leaves for tails.
"Hey, spirit!" Ziyou called from the trees. The spirit turned to her up in the tree.
"Rough enough with your spirit tours, now you're just gallivanting in whenever you feel like it?" the spirit groaned.
"Sorry, but have you seen -" before Ziyou could finish, the branch suddenly started to give way, and Ziyou fell head first. However, the vines quickly caught her, as she dangled by her feet, right in front of the spirit.
"Not very graceful, are you?" the spirit mocked, as Ziyou crossed her arms, still upside-down.
"Whatever. Now, have you seen Korra anywhere? Haven't seen her in a while," Ziyou asked.
"No, I haven't seen her."
"But I thought spirits sensed Raava? And Raava's inside Korra, right?"
"I haven't sensed Raava's spirit in years, I'm a bit rusty on that, now leave me alone," the spirit insisted, as he walked away into another part of the forest. Ziyou eventually got herself loose, and fell on the ground with a thud. She quickly recovered and got back to her feet, a new idea in her head. With that new thought in mind, she bolted right out and off to a new location.
About eight in the morning, at the open airfield, Future Industries was beginning to test out a brand new craft that had been in the works. This aircraft had the appearance of an airplane, but was supposed to be as maneuverable as the hummingbird mecha suit. At this point, the leading women, Asami Sato, was waiting nearby on the sidelines as the test went through. It was during the flight when Ziyou suddenly showed up.
"Hey, Asami!" Ziyou called as she ran over to the raven-haired girl.
"Oh, hi, Ziyou, how are you doing?" Asami asked, as Ziyou stopped next to her.
"I'm good. Say, have you...seen... What's that?" Ziyou asked, her attention turning to the odd aircraft flying around in the sky above them.
"That's our new aircraft we're testing out. So far, it going rather well," Asami explained, as the aircraft made a successful landing, no damage. Its test pilot stepped out of the aircraft, removing his helmet and walking over to Asami and Ziyou. The sight of him made Ziyou quite surprised, eyes wide open.
"Hotaru?! What are you doing here?"
"Oh, you don't know? I was transferred to Asami Sato's Future Industries here in Republic City. Fire Lord Izumi figured I could be of more use as an inventor rather than just a delivery boy," Hotaru explained, fixing up his hair from wearing the helmet. Ziyou was a bit surprised from the reason, but at least he had a reasonable one.
"And you helped make this?" Ziyou asked, pointing to the aircraft.
"Indeed I did, started on my first day here. Pretty cool, right?"
"Right...oh, uh by the way, have any of you seen my sister?" Ziyou asked after a bit, remembering why she was there in the first place. Asami and Hotaru glanced at each other before answering.
"Have you tried Air Temple Island yet? Korra usually stays there you know," Asami reminded. Ziyou had her hand hit her temple, as if realizing she could've gone there first.
"Oh, of course! Dang it, why didn't I think of that? Thanks, guys, I'll -"
"Wait a minute, Ziyou, can you do me a favor though while you're going?" Asami suddenly asked. Ziyou nodded, but didn't have a clue what the favor was. If it had something to do with testing the products, she'd make like a rocket and take off. However, Asami just came back with a rolled-up print.
"Varrick asked me to show him the plans for the aircraft. Can you deliver this to him?" Asami asked, handing the print over to Ziyou.
"Yeah, sure thing. Heck, maybe I'll find Korra on the way. See ya later!" Ziyou ended. After that, Ziyou was off again, leaving Asami and Hotaru back to their aircraft testing.
Back in the city, within one of the more expensive apartments, the very man in question was busy trying to handle some of the housework. Varrick had grown used to handling things himself for the past months, especially because of his wife, Zhu Li. By that point, it had been about 8 months since Zhu Li had found out she was pregnant, and Varrick had been rather antsy with the whole thing. If anything, Zhu Li and Varrick had pretty much switched roles when it came to leader and assistant. Speaking of Zhu Li, she was resting on the couch as Varrick was busy getting their place clean.
"Honey, I think you've worked hard enough, why don't you take a rest?" Zhu Li insisted.
"Nonsense, you just rest your little head and I'll handle it," Varrick insisted, working on the dishes in the kitchen. Zhu Li just sat there, hands resting on her large pregnant stomach as Varrick handled the house for her. Zhu Li just sighed, but was glad to relax herself as Varrick continued the washing. However, as they did, suddenly they both heard a knocked on their apartment window. Zhu Li and Varrick both looked and suddenly saw Ziyou outside, upside down, waving to them with the print in her other hand. Zhu Li took the moment to open the window, Ziyou quickly going inside.
"Oh, hello, Ziyou. What brings you by?" Zhu Li asked, as Ziyou brushed off some dust.
"Yeah, hi, say, Varrick, got somethin' for ya," Ziyou said, giving the print to Varrick. Varrick opened up the plans, seeing the blueprint for the aircraft being tested.
"Haha, excellent! Thank you, kid, I will see to it," Varrick said, rolling back up the print. Before Ziyou could leave, the brunette took a good look towards Zhu Li, seeing just how pregnant she actually was, unwittingly taking her by surprise. Course, Zhu Li expected some sort of reaction from her about her large 'baby bump', so she just smiled at her.
"How far down are you?" Ziyou asked.
"Well, actually, I'm down to my final month," Zhu Li replied, as Ziyou kneeled down so she was eye level with Zhu Li's bump.
"Isn't it a bother walking around with this? Looks like it hurts," Ziyou said, looking it over.
"Well, a bit, yeah. But I'm still happy that we're going to have a baby soon."
"Yeah, a baby, she says," Ziyou thought, getting back up. It sure didn't appear like it was just one child inside of her, too big. She might as well have 2 or even 3 children in her by the looks of it. Still, there was time to check that later, she had an appointment to make with Korra. So, with a quick goodbye, Ziyou again leaped out the window and off on her way.
"Why doesn't she take the door?" Varrick wondered, as Zhu Li just giggled.
The day shifted to just after twelve by the time Ziyou had gotten to Air Temple Island. Little had really changed to the place, same temple, same yard, same everything. Either way, Ziyou still wanted to find her sister somewhere here. She hopped and leaped around the island trying to find her, but so far no luck. It wasn't until about an hour's worth of searching that she finally found the Avatar in question, meditating with her view towards the sea. As time went, the only main difference was that Korra had let her hair grow just down her neck, matching Ziyou's hairstyle, but that was about it. She looked so peaceful...so quiet...so much of a sucker to Ziyou's antics.
Quietly, Ziyou started to sneak up behind Korra as quietly as she ever could, keeping her tip-toes steady as she stalked her target. She occasionally hid off just in case Korra would suddenly turn around, and was very close to her...and then...
Ziyou suddenly rushed at her as fast as she could on all fours for good measure as she pounced at her. But Korra smirked and suddenly laid down, letting Ziyou zoom right past her, and tumbling to the ground. Korra chuckled as she opened her eyes to see Ziyou face-first in the dirt, as she got to her feet. Ziyou got up herself, spitting out a clump of grass before talking to her.
"You heard me sneak up, huh?"
"Yeah, pretty much," Korra said as she helped her twin off the ground, as Ziyou wiped off the dust and dirt off her clothes.
"So, what're you up to sis?" Ziyou asked.
"Just some meditation and practice, usual Avatar stuff. And you?"
"Eh, handled some bandits this morning, checked on Asami's projects, dropped by Varrick. But I really wanted to see if we can do something today."
"Oh, well, would you like to join me in meditating?"
Korra gave a friendly punch to Ziyou's shoulder, as a way of saying it was a joke.
"Just kidding, sister. How about we go and see on Jinora and her school? Heard she made a good breakthrough with some of her students," Korra stated. Ziyou just shrugged: she'd much rather do something more exciting, but seeing the students practice their airbending was good enough.
"Oh heck, why not? Hoping for some exciting things to do, but that's close enough," Ziyou said, starting off ahead as Korra followed behind her. But as Ziyou went, suddenly a new idea came in her mind as she stopped, catching Korra's attention. Ziyou turned to Korra with a smirk on her face, giving Korra an idea.
"Alright, Ziyou, what do you have in mind?" Korra asked smirking.
Not too far away, in the more opened area of Air Temple Island, Jinora was busy with about 10 of her airbending students, practicing some basic airbending techniques and flows of motion, as the air currents around them flowed with basic ease, the currents slow yet free as some leaves from the trees joined the air currents in their flow. Jinora had been rather good at her airbending school, helping many an airbender reach their best in their training. Nearby watching, her father, named Tenzin, was proud upon seeing his daughter teaching the airbending arts to her students in her way. Among the crowd, Jinora had also recruited Meelo and Ikki, who were doing a better job. While they were busy, Korra and Ziyou both walked out by Tenzin, as he turned to greet them.
"Hello there, Avatar. Finished with your meditation?" Tenzin asked. Korra cleared her throat.
"Yeah, all done. And how is Jinora's school coming along?" Korra asked, oddly her voice sounding slightly different from before she meditated. But Tenzin didn't exactly catch it, so he went along with it.
"Very successful actually," Tenzin replied, looking to the students as the session completed. After they were done, Jinora turned to see Korra and Ziyou standing there.
"Oh, Korra, Ziyou, didn't notice you guys there," Jinora said, as she let her students go for the day.
"That's alright, and I gotta say, you did a great job," Ziyou replied, again, voice sounding oddly, and only slightly different. That time, Jinora caught the odd voice, as Ikki and Meelo came over.
"Ziyou, you okay? You sound kinda different."
Ziyou rubbed the back of her head before answering.
"Just a dry throat, no biggie," Ziyou replied. A basic answer, which was easily bought by the group. After that, Ikki went over to Ziyou.
"How has it been, Zizi? Haven't seen you in a while," Ikki asked, looking up to her with a big smile. Korra oddly felt embarrassed, but tried not to show it. Ziyou stretched a bit, a bit amused with the nickname.
"Eh, it's been pretty sweet, helped stop some bandits this morning. Lin still won't thank me for the help though, still as stubborn as ever," Ziyou sighed.
"That's to be expected. Don't worry, she'll warm up to you eventually," Tenzin said. Ziyou just nodded and smiled, though still felt annoyed with Lin not thanking her for her help.
"And how are you two doing with your bending?" Korra asked, referring to Ikki and Meelo.
"It's awesome! I'm just one tip away from being an airbending master! Look out, world, Master Meelo's coming!" Meelo beamed, acting a bit macho about it. Course, Jinora knew he still had a long way to go.
"I'm doing pretty good too, watch!" Ikki said, as she headed out onto the field, and suddenly got on her air scooter. She spun around for a bit, and soon ended up in a mini tornado, lifting her up on her air scooter like a feather in the wind as she hovered above them. Korra and Ziyou applauded her for the success as she got back down.
"Awesome, Ikki! Did you make up that move?" Ziyou asked.
"Yes indeed! Took me 35 tries to get it right. I call it 'Tornado Scooter'!" Ikki replied, full of pride about her new technique. Ziyou fluffed her hair for her effort, as a way of congrats, before Tenzin began to head in.
"I'm very proud of all 3 of you. You've improved so much," Tenzin said, looking to his children. All 3 of them went over and hugged their dad. After a quick hug, Tenzin began heading in.
"Now come along, it's time for lunch."
"Sweet!" Meelo said, the first to head in. Jinora and Tenzin followed him in as Ikki turned to Korra and Ziyou.
"You two want to join us?"
Both twins turned to each other and gave a grin to her.
"Sure, in a minute," Korra replied. Beaming, Ikki headed in, leaving them alone for the moment. They both laughed, and gave each other a high-five. Korra then handed Ziyou a hand cloth from her pocket, as Ziyou suddenly wiped off the scar on her face, revealing it to be just paint!
"They totally bought it," Korra said, laughing some more as Ziyou handed her the cloth as she wiped off the same spot on her cheek, revealing the scar on her. Yes, Ziyou and Korra pulled off the old 'switcheroo' on the air family. Ziyou was Korra, Korra was Ziyou, and it worked wonderfully.
"Yeah, that was fun. Zizi," Korra chuckled, having fun with Ziyou's little nickname.
"I was hoping you didn't find out about that," Ziyou groaned, hand to forehead.
"Don't worry, sis, it's fine. Still, it was fun being you, I can speak my mind without too much trouble," Korra complimented.
"Heh, yeah, but don't get used to it. I'm the only Ziyou here."
"Alright, Ziyou. Come on, let's change back and join the others," Korra insisted. Ziyou happily agreed, and went inside to change back in their own clothes.
Miles away, within the mountainous regions of the Earth Kingdom, an isolated prison hold stood alone within one of the mountains. Inside, the prisoner's cell was purely made of wood rather than the usual steel and metal like normal jail cells would, as its prisoner was an expert metalbender. Putting a metalbender in a metal cage would simply be pointless. Within the doors of the wooden cell hold, wood all over, the prisoner simply sat alone, quiet and unmoving by whatever was around. As she just sat there, one of the guards stopped by her cage.
"Kuvira, time to eat," he said, handing over just a piece of bread to her. Kuvira had a rather complicated history, going from a head guard back in Zaofu, to a dictator of the Earth Empire, to a prisoner for her crimes. Indeed, while some would see her past as well profound, others saw it as a loss of a once proud women. Kuvira just took the bread quietly, and started to eat it. Not a word spoken out of her mouth.
"You don't have to act mute because I'm here," the guard said, annoyed with the silent treatment. Kuvira just sighed and turned away.
"There's nothing to say," Kuvira said, turning so her back was facing the guard. Her time in prison wasn't the best, yet she knew she deserved it for her dictatorship. Without a word, the guard just went off away from her prison, leaving her alone with her food. During her time in prison, she had had time to think over what she done, and what she'd do different to forbid any of the dictatorship to take hold...
While Kuvira was thinking over her past decisions, something else was suddenly nagging at her. However, being in a wooden cage, she didn't knew exactly what, nor could sense what it was exactly. However, the view from her prison cell gave her a slight view of the prison around her. As she got to her feet, suddenly she felt a powerful vibration that nearly knocked her off her feet. It almost felt like some sort of tremor in the earth as Kuvira tried to see what was happening. Having a bad view from her cell, all she saw were the shadows. In those shadows, something gargantuan suddenly appeared, swallowing up the shadows of the guards within seconds. The metalbender became rather scared, as she continued to hear guards scream, the unknown attacker moving around, and even some squishes and spews, telling her some of the guards weren't going to get out alive.
She had to get out before she would become next.
Kuvira tried to destroy the wooden area of her cell, but it wasn't working as she heard the attacker hone in. It was hard to tell, but the giant thing that was attacking everything zoomed by her like an underground express train! As it rushed by, the door to her cell was suddenly ripped off, leaving her an opening to escape. After a long ten seconds, the thing had disappeared from sight down its own tunnel. Seeing her chance, Kuvira rushed out and ran as fast as she could. She wasn't running because she wanted to be free, she wanted to live! And value of life outweighed her acceptance of imprisonment. Of course guards had found her running for her life, but they were either caught by the attacker, or trying to run out themselves. If the monster itself didn't kill them, the tunnels caving in would. All around Kuvira, the world seemed to completely collapse, walls of tunnels falling to pieces. Luckily for her, her bending kept her one step ahead of the guards around her, which she saw kept on getting crushed by the collapsing passages.
Eventually -and really eventually, Kuvira had found the exit to her prison, and back outside. Only now did Kuvira look back while running at what true damage was actually taking place. Not just the tunnels, not just the interior, but the whole mountain was collapsing! How it was possible, Kuvira didn't knew, nor cared. However, she wasn't fast enough, as it found its own way outside, and rocketed out into the air, aiming right for her...
Kuvira had nowhere to run...