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|Ep.9: The Battle At Laghima's Peak|
Both sides of the coin were ready for anything: their own parts of the battlefield ready to go, unsure of what to expect from their opponent. Far as they both knew, the confrontation was going to be at Laghima's Peak, and that was the only universal fact both sides knew about.
Over on one side of that coin, the group was practically as ready as they'll ever be, as they neared the destination in question. Up in front, the air benders had a better start, easier to climb up the peak with their bending. The first ones to make it all the way up were Bumi, Kai, Jinora, Ikki, Ziyou, and Korra herself. Since it took a while longer for the rest, they had a moment to await the others from both sides to arrive.
"You ready for this?" Korra asked.
"We're with you until the end, Korra," Jinora replied, everyone else ready to go. Korra could see the determination on everyone's face, as she turned back to the skies. For the time, at least the weather didn't prove to be trouble, the skies clear and clouds barely any. As per expected, in the sky further off ahead, a lone airship started to take shape. That airship, however, wasn't on their side per se. In fact, it was on the opposite side of the coin: their opponents were on that ship.
In the main cabin, looking down to the peak, Unalaq, Amon, Zaheer, and Zikara were looking down to them. However, while they were watching, they noticed the group of people aside Korra, more coming up to her level. While Zikara remained calm, the rest were feeling a bit unfortunate on seeing the reinforcements. While they had plenty, they weren't expecting the same from the other side.
"Great, she's got more on her side," Amon groaned, seeing everyone else land by Korra. Unalaq turned to Zikara, who oddly was smiling at the fact.
"You do realize that this is gonna make it more difficult."
"Not at all, it evens the battle quite nicely," Zikara said, counting out everyone on the other side, making sure everyone was present.
"We're trying to defeat the Avatar, remember?"
"I know, I told her to bring friends after all."
"You what?" Amon replied, harsh in tone. Zikara expected the behavior from him, and quickly turned to him.
"I didn't want this fight to be completely one-sided: I'm against her, but not as a coward. Now get ready to land," Zikara ordered. Amon watched as Zikara, Unalaq, and Zaheer moved out. It wasn't long before Amon joined them. Zikara didn't care about the odds and evens, she had a goal to accomplish. Before going, Zaheer took a glance out the window to the peak, remembering the horrid event that occurred here with P'Li. The main difference that time was that she wasn't going to be in the crossfire again. That memory hurt, enough to make him cringe, but it wasn't the time for any past memories. All Zaheer did was sigh, and continue on his way. So long as P'Li wasn't in danger again...
After a few minutes, the airship landed on the higher peak. As everyone went out, the main opponent attribute was clear for all to see.
On one side: Team Avatar, the Metalbending Police Force, the Air Acolytes, Zaofu reinforcements, and the Avatar (to name the main threats).
On the other: the Equalists, Dark Spirits, Zaheer's group, a couple of mecha tanks, and a Spirit Human hybrid (again, naming the main threats).
Seemed pretty even.
Both sides stood strong, looking at each other. Zikara and Korra locked eyes almost immediately as they judged each other. However, they weren't the only ones judging: Ziyou was close to running right at Unalaq the second she saw him - such a man left alive was harsh enough. The look of him was enough to make her teeth grind together.
"Korra! This is your last chance to change your mind. If you surrender, it'll make it much easier for all of us."
"Vintana, it doesn't have to be this way!" Korra replied. Zikara wasn't convinced, arms crossed. Why would she listen to someone like her anyway?
"It's Zikara. And, unless you agree to surrender, it does," Zikara stated firmly, a hand raised high in the air, ready to give the signal for the others behind her. Ziyou had her target locked on, and Unalaq eventually noticed her death stare. Even with the few encounters before, this was the first time he noticed how angry she actually was. Her teeth were gritted in a deadly growl, eyes fixated on him. Zikara, not noticing right away, waited a little longer for Korra to change her mind ... She wasn't breaking.
"I offered you a way out ... GO!"
With that, everyone on Zikara's side rushed forward towards Korra and her friends at lightning speed! The sight of their past enemies charging in was a sight worthy of terrifying, but everyone there remained strong. In fact, the second after they began the charge, they all rushed in as well. They all knew that a deadly battle had just started, the outcome unsure. One thing they did know, it was one for the history books.
Miles away, back in the main hideout for Zikara's group, P'Li was stuck pacing around by the main entrance, with El Niño sitting nearby. Before the arrival, P'Li was picked with El Niño to guard Kirra. There wasn't much time to introduce El Niño to everyone apart from name, so Vintana had to improvise and set him up away from the battle. How long could it take for them all to get one Avatar? Well even if it took a while to accomplish, she just hoped that it could go well instead of any horrifying results. While pacing, El Niño was basically messing around with the water around him (and the water on him), having nothing better to do aside from guard duty over the prisoner.
"Man, how much longer?" P'Li wondered. After a bit, P'Li glanced to El Niño, who was actually making his own face spin like a whirlpool. El Niño noticed P'Li staring, and sat up to look at her, though the eyes were spun around, and ended up with one eye on the chin, and the other on the forehead. P'Li looked quizzically at him, as he fixed the problem and got the eyes correctly placed. P'Li didn't say anything about it, and continued pacing.
"Can you sit down?" El Niño asked.
"Can I help it if Zaheer's out there?"
P'Li felt insulted, and glared at El Niño, who still looked legibly confused.
"So?! I love him, and he's risking his life out there!"
"But you chose to stay here, didn't you? If your worried about one human, then why are you staying here rather than protecting your hubby? You do love him, right?"
"Shut up, I have my reasons!"
"Like you need to know." P'Li turned away from the annoying water spirit, leaving him in the fog on his own questions. P'Li herself didn't want, not needed, to explain to him why she didn't want to return to the same place where she lost her head (literally). However, thinking it over, Zaheer was still in some risk, even with so much back-up.
"You humans are so confusing," El Niño said, though he didn't sound insulting.
"What are you talking about? I'm not going back -"
"Why? Something bad happen there?"
P'Li didn't respond that time. El Niño got the hint.
"You think it will happen again, don't you? You humans assume too much: jumping to the conclusion before the problem even started. You should think more like an animal: they don't think, they do," El Niño stated, toying around with the water in the air. P'Li looked at El Niño, a bit unsure.
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"Fish don't think when they migrate upriver every year. Birds don't think when they fly south for the winter months. They don't think about what will come, they just do it."
"Look, even if I want to, we still have guard duty," P'Li reminded, her thumb pointing into the base. El Niño just groaned, not wanting to sit around and do nothing.
"You sure? I mean, She never did anything for the past few days. Besides, Vintana said she would let her go when she's done, would it matter if we're here?" El Niño asked. The thought stuck with P'Li for the moment, but eventually she looked back into the base. Kirra truly never done anything, almost appearing dead ever since the fight was decided. Before she could say anything, the echoing sound of the fight could be heard, reminding them of the huge fight going on. It didn't take much longer before P'Li came to her conclusion.
The battlefield was still deeply strong, as cries of many were echoing throughout Laghima's Peak. All sorts of damage was being felt from both sides, blood scattering on the ground. It didn't matter on who it was, the fight was deeply brutal. Even with it being a strong brawl, many kept to specific fights: Ziyou fighting mostly Unalaq, Korra fighting Zikara, and so on. During the brawl, Ziyou was facing a one-sided battle with the Dark Spirits fighting for Unalaq. No matter how she faced the man, Unalaq himself focused his fighting with the Spirits doing most of the work.
"At least fight me one on one, you old scum!" Ziyou snapped.
"I'd rather have you dead," Unalaq said, rushing at her. Ziyou dodged Unalaq's attacks, but his Dark Spirit helpers kept pummeling her time and time again. Some of the metalbenders with them tried to help Ziyou, yet all Unalaq did was kept them back with his waterbending, sending them away with a wave of conjured water. That gave Ziyou her moment, and she managed to pounce on him. Unalaq suddenly felt Ziyou's teeth dig into his shoulder, as she bit him hard from rage. Unalaq screamed in pain, blood immediately covering his shoulder, down his arm. Some of the fighters from both sides stopped, and saw Ziyou rip in Unalaq with her teeth. Unalaq fell over, as a chunk of shoulder flesh was literally torn off. Ziyou readied to bite him again, but one of the Equalists whacked her away, Unalaq able to get himself up. Ziyou's mouth was blood stained, as the ticked off girl licked the blood from her teeth and lips. All Unalaq could do was brace himself as Ziyou rushed back at him.
Nearby in the fight, a group of Zaofu fighters ended up blown off the mountain, including Lin Beifong. They managed to get themselves saved, their metal rods and rope saving them from the deadly free fall. The benders readied to get back up, but one of them yelled abruptly, before being cut off. Lin looked back to see that one of the Zaofu guards was caught by a flying dark spirit. Lin whipped the thing away, as they both got back up to the battlefield. The dark spirit was about to fly back up, when it suddenly ended up caught itself! No time to react, the spirit was attacked on sight, becoming limp, and dropped down the cliff.
Korra and Zikara were going at it rather hard in the fight. They both were equally determined to win in their fight, one-on-one, no extra assistance in their duel. While Korra had her bending to work with, Zikara had her own arsenal of abilities and techniques, making her as dangerous.
"Give up, Raava will be released!" Zikara yelled, dodging Korra's fire blasts. Zikara and Korra kept fighting for the longest time, trying their best. However, during their fight, the two kept getting distracted time and time again by seeing their team getting hurt. Zikara got distracted when Unalaq got ripped, and Korra got distracted upon seeing Lin getting thrown off the cliff, and her sister getting beat up. Obviously, this wasn't working as well as they'd hoped. Even if the distractions did end up getting one side an advantage, a fair fight was on their mind.
"Zikara, you don't understand!"
"No, you don't understand, Raava never asked to be trapped in a mortal body! I am releasing her, and you have no say in the matter!" Zikara yelled, running at her again. Korra began to charge forward, the two suddenly in a lock, gripping each other's arms with all their strength.
"I won't let you hurt anyone," Korra growled.
"I never wanted to, but, you left me no choice!"
"What are you talking about?"
"Korra, Raava is the God of this world, both worlds, a magnificent being doesn't deserve to be locked away forever in one human!" Zikara yelled. Obviously their fight was with higher cost, some combatants even stopping to watch them duke it out...
And just as well, a new fighter had joined this party, out of sight on the higher outcrop of Laghima's peak. The new guest was lean, standing about as tall as a polar bear, it perched on its hind legs. Even if large, everyone was too busy fighting to notice the newcomer, all it was doing was watching the brawl unfold before it, with its amber eyes locked on one particular combatant...
During this, Zikara was having trouble getting her hands in place, trying to get Raava, but Korra won't let her even get to that point. More people were noticing Zikara's fight, along with the newcomer on the ridge, though none of them saw it yet. They weren't the only ones to arrive though, as some were distracted, a loud bang suddenly rang out! Upon turning to see, their sights soon noticed something high in the air. In the sky, they saw P'Li and El Niño! El Niño was spinning his rigged water arms like a chopper to give them lift, P'Li being held by El Niño like a hawk to a fish. P'Li focused, and fired a few more times at the others before landing on the peak.
"You can fly, El Niño?" Ming-Hua asked, not expecting the water spirit to fly.
"New trick," El Niño replied. P'Li stepped forward, aiming right at Korra. Korra reacted just as P'Li fired, making a barrier just as it hit, the explosion blinding her for a brief moment. Zikara didn't expect the sudden show up, but she didn't hesitate either. Zikara's hands glowed as she rushed over to Korra. P'Li saw Zikara charge in, but El Niño tapped her on the shoulder.
"Who invited the giant rabbit?" He asked, aiming a water arm to the figure standing further away. P'Li and El Niño locked eyes with the rabbit as Zikara took her chance. They both disappeared in the dust cloud, but all of a sudden a gasp was heard from within. Suddenly, the dust removed revealed Zikara, with her hands inside Korra's chest! The glow from her arms, and Korra's mouth and eyes told everyone something major was occurring. Zikara focused as hard as she could, teeth gritting as she tried to pull hard on something from within. Course, Team Avatar tried to reach her, thinking Zikara was going to pull her heart out, but they weren't getting the chance to thanks to everything else! The Mecha Tanks especially kept them back as best they could, as Zikara worked her own magic to pull out her prize. Zikara began to pull something out of Korra, appearing like some white kite of sorts, blue markings making it unmistakable!
"Raava. Be free," Zikara quietly said, her own touch finally strong enough. In one final pull, Raava and Korra split up! The Avatar collapsed on the ground, Raava in Zikara's open palms ...
Back at the Air Temple, Meelo and Rohan both weren't doing so well. With the King getting Mello, and the Air Nomads too miserable to do anything, he was simply stuck. The nomad found himself tied up with some strong rope, and he saw Rohan nearby in the same way. Caesar must've got to him while Meelo was out. Also, he could see someone else in the same room. He had his back to them, his shadow casted over them both.
"Welcome to my castle," he said, upon seeing Meelo. The nomad struggled more in his binds, as the king gripped his rope, picking him up with little effort.
"Put me down," Meelo yelped.
"You are an annoying tyke. You think you can stop my triumph?" Caesar asked, slamming Meelo on the floor. Rohan, his head hurting, saw his big brother get pummeled. That, and feeling the pain on his head, made him start to cry. Caesar went over to Rohan next, Meelo trying to get himself free. Caesar covered Rohan's mouth to stop the crying.
"Shut up, crying isn't going to make anything easier." As he was busy with Rohan, Meelo began moving like an inchworm, inching closer to Caesar.
"You benders had your fun. The Shadow Nation will rise once again, and you worthless nomads won't stand in my way," Caesar made clear, lifting Rohan in the air by his head. As he was though, Meelo was just close enough to Caesar, and he bit into his leg like an angry dog! Caesar flinched, and dropped Rohan on the floor. He stared daggers at Meelo, and kicked the airbender away, making Meelo roll off. Angry, Caesar used his shadowbending to keep them both still. Even in ropes, the shadowbending was a good plus to keep them immobilized.
"Even after all these years, you nations are all the same. Now, let's see how you two like it when you die," Caesar said, lifting them both up off the ground. To their horror, he brought them to the window, ready to drop them!
"Wait, wait, wait! Don't, please!"
"Shut up," Caesar groaned. Suddenly, out of fear and desperation, Meelo blew right in Caesar's face, dropping the two onto the floor. The shadow wrap released, and Meelo jumped to his feet. He got Rohan up, Caesar staggering up as Meelo and Rohan tried to escape. Caesar began to launch some of his own dark orbs at them, narrowly missing them numerous times. The two tried their best to get themselves out, but Caesar was making it very difficult. With Meelo taking the lead, he and Rohan kept a good pace for a good while, despite being shot at by Caesar. Soon, Meelo and Rohan could see their exit: an opened window leading right to the air temple! If they can get out from there, they can end up escaping in no time. Just as they were about to get out, Caesar managed to finally stop them dead in their tracks, getting in between them both. He whacked Meelo away, and got a grip on Rohan with one hand, lifting him up.
"You're such a pest," Caesar growled. Meelo didn't get up, as Rohan was being moved over to Caesar's cauldron, the tar substance just bellow him a floor down. Without a moment's hesitation, Caesar did it ...
He let Rohan go, and the child fell right into it.
Meelo could only watch as he saw his little brother fall into Caesar's substance, unable to save him. Rohan struggled a little, but was soon consumed by the tar liquid. Meelo's heart was broken, as Caesar was about to deal with Meelo. Down below, the stuff began to react from within the cauldron. The substance bubbled violently, as it turned from black to a shining white. Suddenly, the liquid came alive, shooting shining orbs all over the place, hitting the walls around them. It was enough to have Meelo fall forward, as Caesar, in disbelief, had no choice but to evacuate his own castle. Meelo ended up landing by the side of the cauldron, the orbs still being launched all over the place. As Meelo got up, shaking off the fall, something tumbled out of the firing cauldron: a living Rohan! The Air Nomad looked okay, strangely not covered in any form of tar. They didn't had anytime to check that, the building crumbling around them. Quickly, Meelo grabbed Rohan, and the two quickly raced off. As fast as they could, trying to find their way out.
With their dash, they finally found the only exit open to them: when the support beam fell, and collapsed on the castle wall. The hole it created was their only shot, and Meelo got them out with a strong air jump. Their landing spot was on apart of the mountains close to the Temple, but it was just flat enough for them to rest. As for Caesar, Meelo and Rohan didn't see him anywhere. They could only assume he was still inside the castle somewhere. The castle continued to fall apart, the roof being blown off and falling down the mountain.
What happened next was unbelievable.
The chemical cauldron had reached its breaking point, with the cauldron itself shattering! That resulted in a bright flash of pure white, and blue innocence. Lights of purity. The light pillar launched straight up as if the castle was a volcano, the pillar piercing through the clouds as it went miles high. The spire of light released more of those white orbs, which at that point looked like they were filled with fog and blue smoke, as they scattered in all directions like flocks of birds at high speed. Some stray orbs landed near the temple, right at Meelo and Rohan! The two saw them go into the Temple, and hit the mountain in a number of spots, but, there wasn't any damage done to the temple. In fact, Meelo and Rohan saw that the flying orbs (hitting the mountain anyway) were purifying it! Each hit spawned up a rounded circle, like a paint drop, with healthy plants sprouting out from the area, regardless of where on the ground. The plants didn't grow upon contacting the temple, but Meelo and Rohan saw them hit some of the nomads outside. Instead of hurting them though, it made them cured of their depression, including Pema! Meelo, Rohan, and everyone else got their attention to the spire. Despite appearances, this effect wasn't just on the temple.
This one impact, this one change was one that effected the world over! Flying through the sky like shooting stars (and just as fast), they begin to fly around the globe! A sign for all to see. Every creature, large and small, stopped for a brief moment to watch the flying lights zoom by from up above.
First area for the spectacle was the great Si Wong Desert, and the sand benders that roamed far and wide from within. Amongst the dunes, the Buzzard Wasps of Si Wong rock looked out as they zoomed by, those in flight retreating into their burrows to avoid getting shot at. Even the giant Sand Shark breached the sands of the dunes, as if trying to catch one of the flying stars in its open mouth. The people of the Oasis looked up to see the stars fly by, a few landing in the town itself! Three struck the main center of the town, spawning up the cooling artifact that brought the city to life: a large iceberg.
As the orbs flew, the city of Zaofu was next, every citizen within seeing them fly by, their light mirroring off the metal monuments within them. The Beifong Family (Opal, Huan, and Baatar Jr.), and Pabu looked out upon hearing the commotion, seeing a number of them land in the city, and the mountains around them. One of them in particular aimed directly to the group, striking Huan head on! The impact made him skid back, as Pabu and Opal rushed to him.
"Huan! You okay?" Opal asked urgently, helping Huan up to his feet.
"I ... I feel fine," Huan replied, looking back up at the flying stars.
The flying stars continued to fly around, passing through many areas all over the Earth Kingdom. The foggy swamp inhabitants were eyewitnesses to it, though some animals took cover in the trees and underwater as the shining light zoomed by. The effect went to the north, going by the abandoned observatory. The sky cows there stayed on the ground, as the Voronon Armophlli watched them go by.
The bigger effect came to the largest city in the world, Ba Sing Se. Thousands of people, young and old, took the moment to watch the flying stars zoom by them all, landing in multiple spots all over the city! Wherever they landed, the purity spreads, especially to the lower rings where it almost seemed to clean up everything in it, both to the area and the souls of the people. The higher rings thought they were being bombarded, and tried to run, but the flying orbs landed without damage to their world, like a heavy rain.
Beyond there, the flying stars reached through the United Republic of Nations in record numbers. Zenshu had an amazing view of it all, many orbs landing in the water and in the city, as everyone looked up with intrigue. The police department were also interested, yet Muro didn't like everyone just stopping their work.
"What's going on?!" Muro demanded, though the second he walked out, he too saw the huge show of stars flying by. A few of these landed close to the police department, one hitting Muro square, as he tumbled back. Not many noticed though.
Then it began to reach over to Republic City, the shrouded area was especially being bombarded by the orbs. Whatever saw them quickly ran for it, as the orbs landed everywhere. Each hit actually started to dim the fog, as those within it ran helter skelter. As they went over the bay, the gigantic Gulper breached the water, and caught a few in its mouth. The effects were almost immediate, as it purified the cursed fog that it consumed, turning it back to normal. Turned out, it was a stray Elephant Koi, and it quickly swam away from the bay.
This sort of effect happened everywhere else in the world. The Fire Nation, the Poles, even the Spirit World were witness to this amazing phenomenon! It was indeed a one-in-a-lifetime sight to see. Of course, one of these special spots to see was Laghima's Peak itself. However, Zikara was more focused on the goal she got: Raava, as many of Korra's friends rushed to her aid.
"Raava. I missed you. You're finally free now," Zikara said, letting Raava float in mid air. The spirit began to fly, but soon Raava flew close to the ground, seeing that same spectacle. All the combatants, regardless of who, stopped to see the flying stars go by, many beginning to land at the peak! Since it was crowded, the group had to scatter, many getting it hard by the orbs. A few of these aimed towards Zaheer, much to P'Li's shock, and tried to blast it away. However, it not only not slow it down, but it grew bigger upon impact, hitting the entire group of Red Lotus in a huge explosion. This was Zikara's only shot, as she rushed and grabbed Korra. Zikara had only one option for the moment, and rushed to the cliff, with the Avatar in her grasp, many of them trying to stop her and avoid getting hit at the same time. The large rabbit eyed their leave, and bounded off after them, only a few noticing it go. The orbs grew plants all over the peak, adding much beauty to the area.
"This fight is over," Ming-Hua decided, beginning to get everyone moving to go. Both sides retreated and began to go, leaving the area bare for the orbs to land without harming anyone. As everyone left, Korra began to awake on Zikara's back, another witness to the falling stars. However, she was too weak to do anything herself, as she was taken away from the battlefield. As for Raava, the spirit stayed put as the lights went across the sky. El Niño didn't go off either, sitting down by the cliff to watch the show.
Almost as mysteriously as they'd come, the stars that traveled around the world began to fade away. The skies cleared of flying stars, and soon they all were gone. Their mark hadn't left though, El Niño and Raava finding themselves in a field of green, scattered flowers everywhere. Among the fields were also something else: small white butterflies, fluttering around the place.
"What happened?" El Niño wondered.
"A worldwide event," replied Raava, before she disappeared in the air ...
For the collective works of the author, go here.