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Chapter 17: Epilogue
"Tenzin! Tenzin!" A wave followed the cries for his attention as the Air Nomad and his Sky Bison touched down in the courtyard of Republic City's Police Department. San wore a wide grin as she continued to wave. Her brown hair was worn down with the exception of a small ponytail coming up from the strands in the back, and she wore a red silk sleeveless top and black pants with a waist-skirt that was a slightly darker shade of red.
He stepped down from Oogi's saddle; she was a smaller Sky Bison still, only capable of carrying a few people. Teela...she had died two years prior of a disease that swept through the Sky Bison herd. Fortunately, his mother had been able to cure the others with the knowledge gained from her sacrifice.
But now, today...it was a day for celebration. Tenzin approached his friend and embraced her.
"Hey, long time, no see." His gaze wandered around the courtyard. "Where is everyone?"
"Well...Lu Ten is traveling abroad; he calls it training for his position as ambassador alongside the Fire Lord. Fiora is busy 'building the skills necessary to rule a nation', as she decided to put it. And Kyani—."
"—is right here." The swordsman finished with a smile as he wrapped his arms around his cousin and San. He was adorned in a simple green tunic with black dress pants. Ornate sheaths held his shotos, and his hair was slicked back. "Nice tattoos, by the way. I guess you're finally official."
Tenzin snorted; the arrows were nothing new. "Where've you been?! I've been 'official' for about half a year now!"
"And you're still not bald because...?"
As San chuckled, the Airbender's eyes narrowed. "Uh...no. Not happening. I happen to like my hair."
Kyani threw his hands up in the air. "Okay, okay, it's just not the Air Nomad thing..."
"One step at a time, cousin." Tenzin straightened and breathed inward. "Spirits, you're making it hard to practice patience!"
"Kyani, go easy on him," Sanaki chided. "You know patience is a virtue he doesn't possess in great supply." A small smirk worked around the edges of her mouth, and the outmatched Airbender rolled his eyes.
"Not you too!"
"So, as much fun as this conversation has been..." The swordsman's glance moved around the courtyard. "Are we really the only ones who could be here? What about Pema?"
Tenzin shrugged. "She went to the South Pole with my mother and brother to visit and ensure that everything is going smoothly. Personally, I think she just wanted to get away from the island for a bit."
"Or you." Kyani offered with a grin.
The three friends noticed the voices of the crowd dying down and turned their attention to the makeshift stage.
"I think it's starting!" San stated excitedly.
"Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you the graduating class of 129! These fine students are now ready to join the ranks of the Republic City Police Force!" Longshot, Toph's second-in-command since Tao's demise, was given the honor of certifying the new blood.
The drums beat to a celebratory tune, and the three friends cheered as Chikyuu lined up with the other Metalbenders to receive their certifications. She wore a dignified, but barely restrained, smile, and her black hair was pulled back in a ponytail.
One by one, the names were called, and her friends' anticipation built with each name, until, finally, hers was called.
"And now," the archer continued, noting that this was the most he'd said in a long time. "I am proud to present this badge to our own illustrious Chief Bei Fong's daughter! Lin Bei Fong, welcome to Republic City's Police Force; we look forward to your career with us!"
At the mention of the unfamiliar name, Chikyuu's face turned bright red and her eyes widened considerably. She then proceeded to shrink down in her seat as soon as she was able.
Kyani, Tenzin, and San's mouths dropped simultaneously.
"Hey guys!" Chikyuu still retained a slight bound in her step, despite being 17 years old. "Glad you could make it!"
"It's been a while." Kyani admitted with a shrug. "I think Fiora and Lu Ten would've shown up if there had been more notice."
The Metalbender gave an awkward grin in response. "Yeah...with the Yakone incident only a year ago, Mom...sorry the Chief wanted to bolster the ranks."
"Well, I suppose that this is a good thing for you..." The Airbender grinned. "...Lin."
The pebble flew up to meet her finger before Tenzin could even blink, and it struck his face before he realized what was happening.
"That was uncalled for!"
Kyani and San chuckled simultaneously. "He does have a point...what was that about anyway?" The Firebender asked.
"Uh...well..." The new police officer resigned herself to what would inevitably come. "My real name is Lin...Chikyuu was my mother's nickname for me since I was a little girl, and, quite frankly, I preferred it."
"It was a fitting nickname." Kyani smiled warmly. "It means 'little earth', doesn't it?"
"Yeah...Lin just feels too...formal..." The Earthbender lamented.
Tenzin smiled. "Well, I happen to think it's nice."
A glare penetrated his chest. "And you're not just saying that because I hit you with a pebble or anything..."
"No, Chik—er, Lin, I really think he meant it." Sanaki flashed a grin.
The idea that Tenzin was actually being serious hadn't occurred to Lin until then, but she liked it better when he was serious anyway.
Passing the Torch
The table was adorned with the White Lotus symbol, and Kyani had to roll his eyes. He did not want to be here.
"This is a waste of time." He began bluntly, causing all heads to turn his direction.
"Excuse me, Master Kyani?" The Leader of the Order of the White Lotus, a heavyset man with a bald head and grey beard, inclined his visage toward the swordmaster. "What do you mean by this?"
His narrowing eyes further communicated his displeasure, and he forcibly ran his hands through his slicked back hair. "Amon is being handed Republic City on a silver platter, and this prestigious order has done nothing!"
"Well...we have been busy ensuring the Avatar's—."
"...progress, I know. You have stated this before, and it has done little to strengthen my faith in the Order. This organization once exuded power and respect; now it is a bloated construct. Political acumen is preferred over skill and intent. You have become weak."
The leader winced. "Well...perhaps if you would accept our offer of membership..."
"I am my father's son, but I will not follow him down this path. Since Iroh's death, the Order has succumbed to entropy, and my father's own death was the straw that broke the Camelephant's back." The master stood. "If this is all I was called here for...I will now take my leave."
"Master Kyani," a red-armored man with golden eyes and grey-black hair entered the room and took a seat. "Please take a seat. We have not lost yet."
For the first time that day since he left his beautiful wife to attend this meeting, Kyani grinned. "Lu Ten...it's good to see you again."
"What!?" Spittle flew from the White Lotus leader as he cried out in rage. "We were not consulted!"
"My sister and I, along with the Earth King and both Water Tribe chieftains, felt that the time for mindless dithering is past. Action is called for now. To that end, we have agreed to dispatch the 1st and 2nd divisions of the United Forces to Republic City."
"While I am sure that 'The Mad Genius' and General Iroh are more than capable, we still should've had our say." He seethed. "Ambassador Lu Ten."
"If you had your say, Republic City would still be in Amon's hands weeks from now. It needs to end soon." He waved his hand. "Now leave us, Kyani and I have much to discuss."
The White Lotus members exited the room, grumbling following their departure.
Kyani exhaled. "Finally...now we can actually get something done."
"How many pupils do you have now, Kyani?"
"And here I thought you wanted to talk business..." He chuckled. "We'll get to that later, I suppose." The swordmaster stood and stretched. "Pupils...I have too many to count...and all of them eager to learn."
"And how's San?"
This caused Kyani to smile once again. "She's as lovely as ever; I am the luckiest man in the world. You should settle down, my friend; it would do you good."
Lu Ten's golden eyes closed, and he smiled. "Ha...no...I'm too old for that. I've got to keep moving. Between my father and I, we can barely cover the world as it is." He leaned forward. "Speaking of age, you don't look a day older than thirty. How do you do that?"
The swordsman could only shrug. "San and I both, for whatever reason, haven't yet felt the effects of age." He leaned backward. "Now, was there something you wished to discuss?"
The Ambassador grew deadly serious. "The Equalists, it seems, are not as gone as we once thought, and this...Amon...is proving to be troublesome."
"How do you want to handle it?"
"Like I told the Order, we've sent the 1st and 2nd divisions...they should suffice in taking him down. That," he smirked. "And I hear rumors that the Avatar is in Republic City."
The sound of rapping fingers could be heard as Kyani's drummed on the table. "They aren't just rumors; Avatar Korra is indeed in Republic City under Tenzin's tutelage. However, I do not believe she is ready to face Amon alone."
"Since when is the Avatar ever alone?"
"You have a point, my friend. Even still, is this something that requires our...more personal...touch? I have every confidence in Zheng; 'The Mad Genius' can handle himself well enough. My concern, and don't take this the wrong way, is General Iroh. He is relatively new to command; do you think he can handle it?"
Lu Ten folded his hands and laid them on the table. "My nephew earned that post; it was not given. Fiora only conceded when he received a recommendation from one of the other generals. As far as experience, he has seen his fair share of combat and is a fantastic Firebender, to top it off."
Kyani nodded. "Your word is good enough for me. Although..."
"What's on your mind?"
"We cannot excuse the possibility that Republic City will fall, that Korra will fail. If that happens, we need to be ready."
The Firebender chuckled. "If we get called in, this Amon character won't know what hit him."
Kyani gripped the hilt of his shoto. "I agree; he's never faced a non-bender like me before." He sighed. "But I suppose this was all inevitable."
"Our time is coming to an end, Lu Ten; we're nearing the day when we'll pass on everything we've learned to the next generation and hope that they get it right."
"I have a feeling that they'll do just fine, old friend."
"I wish at least one of our conversations would be about something positive, Avatar Aang." The Protector sat on the stool across from the former Air Nomad. "It seems that the machinations of a few have thrown both worlds into chaos."
"Well, Lu Ten, I believe that we can count on Korra and her friends to handle this, just as they handled Amon."
Both spirits took sips of their tea, and the Protector exhaled. "If only it were that simple...Korra is too weak as of this moment. If these elements were to come against her now..."
Aang swirled his glass. "But you don't believe they will."
"No. I do not."
"Then I suppose all we can do is wait. We will achieve victory; I am certain of it."
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