|By Agent Slash||Genre||Rating||Reviews||Updates|
|More from Agent Slash||Action/Adventure, Drama||PG-13||Positive||N/A|
It wasn't really the way they were used to travelling, but Ning's eel hound certainly did get Katara and Sokka to the Southern Water Tribe pretty quickly.
"Funny," Sokka said. "I can't remember the last time you and I were riding along in these waters by ourselves."
"Yeah, and I prefer to keep it that way," said Katara. "You and I didn't get along very well back then."
"True," Sokka admitted.
"I know we have to do this," Katara said. "I know we have to stop the world from going to war and everything, but I don't like the idea of leaving Bumi with someone else."
"He's with the Air Acolytes, isn't he?" asked Sokka.
"Yeah," Katara replied.
"Well, then there you go!" Sokka said. "He couldn't be in better temporary hands."
"Yeah, I guess you're right," Katara admitted. "But a part of me still just feels really wrong about it."
"How do you think I feel, Katara?" Sokka asked. "My pregnant wife is halfway across the planet probably fighting her way through sandbenders and giant, killer muskrat-otters trying to get to Ba Sing Se and I can't do a thing about it."
"You wanna talk about being in good hands?" Katara asked. "She's got Bo, Ling, and Rong with her. That's way better protection!"
"Yeah, but they don't have all of that infinite Air Nomad wisdom like your Air Acolytes!" Sokka fired back.
"Oh, yeah, well-" Katara started, but stopped, realizing their argument was silly. "Oh, wow, what are we even arguing about?"
"I have no idea actually," said Sokka. "I guess this what you were talking about," he chuckled to himself.
Then they saw it. The newly rebuilt Southern Water Tribe. It was amazing how much their old home, which was once no more than a puny little gathering of tents, had grown over the years. It really was a sight to behold.
They reached the shore and the eel hound they were riding made her way into the city. Just that fact alone really was unbelievable to either of them. Their old village was now a city.
Grand towers of ice stood where Sokka's pitiful watchtowers once were. Houses lined the streets where tents had once been. Neither of them ever thought they'd see the day progress finally made its way to the South Pole.
They speedily made their way along to the palace which their father currently resided in. Their father living in a palace. One amazing fact after another.
They didn't even need to introduce themselves. The guards knew exactly who they were. "Hey, Katara! Sokka!" one of them greeted.
"Good to see you kids!" said another. "Your dad is just up there," he added, pointing up the long flight of steps.
"Great. Thanks, guys," said Sokka.
They dismounted their eel hound and started walking up the stairs. "Make sure he doesn't run off," said Katara.
It took them a good minute to get up the steps and by the time they reached the top, both were a little winded.
"Why do there have to be so many steps?" Sokka wheezed. "I mean, this is a little bit overkill isn't it?"
"Oh, come on, tough guy," Katara joked. "I thought you were the best warrior here."
"I am!" Sokka insisted.
"I don't know, big brother," she replied. "I don't think the bet warrior in the South Pole would get winded this easily by a flight of stairs."
"I was just being dramatic," Sokka said. "It really wasn't that bad."
"Sure," Katara further teased.
The two siblings made their way into the throne room and, truthfully, neither of them were really prepared for what they were about to see.
They saw their father, Hakoda, sitting on a throne surrounded by guards and speaking to another man. "Katara, Sokka," he said, warmly. "What an unexpected surprise."
"Hi, Dad," both siblings said at the same time.
The man Hakoda was speaking to greeted them as well. "Hey, kids," he said. "It's so good to see you again."
"Hey, Bato," said Sokka.
"I didn't know you had a throne, dad," said Katara.
"Oh, yeah," said Hakoda, realizing how much all of this shocked his children. "I didn't really want this thing. They just put it in here. To be honest, I think it's overkill."
"That's what I said about the stairs!" said Sokka.
"Yeah, those stairs are really unnecessary," Hakoda agreed. "How's an old man supposed to get to places in a hurry when he's gotta walk down all of those steps."
"Not to mention it's way too dark in here," said Bato.
"Now to what do I owe this pleasure?" asked Hakoda.
"We've come to talk to you about something important, dad," said Katara.
"What's that?" asked the elderly Chief.
"We've heard about all of the world leaders' fighting and we're all worried war might break out," said Katara.
"We all split up to convince all of the leaders not to go to war or so anything else stupid," Sokka added.
"I understand your concern," said Hakoda. "Some of the things I've heard Arnook say have certainly upset me, but I have no intention of going to war."
"Well, there's really one question you need to answer," said Bato.
"What's that?" asked Hakoda.
"Are you prepared to die along with your children?" Bato asked. The Chief's second-in-command morphed before everyone's eyes and revealed himself to be a lightbender.
All of the guards in the room did the same, surrounding the trio, and outnumbering them greatly.
"They're lightbenders!" said Sokka.
Without even taking time to gloat, the lightbenders knocked out their enemies cold and dragged their bodies down the steps.
Everything was bright. There was nothing, but blank whiteness. For a second, Katara was terrified that she had lost her eyesight. Then, thankfully, she breathed a sigh of relief as everything came back into focus. It didn't take her long to realize where she was: an old ice cavern that she and Sokka used to play in as kids. Their father never knew, of course, because he had always told them to stay away from it out of fear that it might collapse on them.
She gazed at the exit, along with her brother and father, as one of the lightbenders formed a light hammer and smashed it into the ground, causing all of the snow atop the cavern to fall, blocking the entrance and trapping the family of three.
"Katara, can you waterbend us out of here?" asked Sokka.
"Yeah," said Katara. "But it's going to take me a while." The waterbender was still recovering from the lightbenders' brutal surprise attack.
"Well, that's just great!" Sokka exclaimed. "Well, you just take your time, Katara. Meanwhile, we're going to freeze to death in this cavern!"
"Don't be so hard on your sister," said Hakoda, also recovering, sprawled out on the floor next to his daughter.
"And you're not ready to get up either! That's just great!" Sokka added, his voice filled with sarcasm.
"Well, maybe we wouldn't be in this situation, Sokka, if you had agreed to be the Chief," Hakoda said, his voice as cold as the frozen tundra which surrounded them.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Sokka asked.
"Look at me, Sokka!" Hakoda said, raising his voice as high as he could. "I'm an old man! I'm not fit to lead this tribe anymore! That's why I tried to get you to do it, but you just couldn't accept, could you? Instead you ran away from your responsibilities to your tribe." "Oh, I ran away from my responsibilities to my tribe?" Sokka shot back. "That's funny coming from you, dad. Aren't you the one who abandoned us when we were kids and let your tribe get run down by the Fire Nation?"
"The Earth Kingdom needed me, Sokka," Hakoda retorted. "I was fulfilling my responsibilities there."
"The Earth Kingdom had a whole army! We had nothing after you left! We were reduced to a pitiful little gathering of tents!" Sokka argued. "We practically weren't even a nation!"
"Dad is right, Sokka," Katara piped up. "That's all you've ever done is run away from your responsibilities."
"Oh, and what have you done, Katara?" Sokka asked.
"Did you really just ask me that?" Katara asked, incredulous. "Even after Dad left, you didn't do anything. You just farted around all day, acting like you were some kind of macho warrior. And guess who was left to do all of the work? Me. I did everything, Sokka. I was the pillar of strength in this family. Neither of you were."
"You two are so ungrateful," Hakoda spat. "I've done so much for this family and this is the thanks I get."
"I couldn't move here, Dad," said Sokka. "I have a life in Republic City. I thought at least someone understood that," he added, glaring at Katara.
"Yeah, you have a life there," Katara repeated. "Meanwhile, the Light Clan is out here infiltrating our home. By the way, what ever happened to the United Forces soldiers you dispatched to take care of that little problem?"
"I don't know," said Sokka. "But you can't say I didn't at least try to take care of the problem."
"We all did, Sokka," Katara reminded him. "Bai Lung is probably on his way to Republic City right now and there's nothing any of us can do to stop him." "Well, we could if you would just get up and waterbend the snow away from the entrance of the cavern!" Sokka bellowed. "Stop it," Hakoda said. "We can't keep doing this. If we're going to get out of here and defeat these lightbenders, we're going to have to do it together."
Finally, Katara got back on her feet and faced the entrance to the cavern. With a half turn, and a few motions of her arms, she bent the massive heap of snow out of the way, propelling it forward.
Both she and Sokka helped Hakoda back on his feet and the three of them started walking back towards the palace.
"Attention, citizens of the Southern Water Tribe!" announced the lightbender in charge. "Your Chief and his children are dead and your government officials are in prison! As of this moment, the Southern Water Tribe is under the autocratic rule of the Light Clan! If you resist, you will be killed on site!"
As the mass of startled citizens below cried out in defiance, the lightbenders who had so easily won the day retreated back into the throne room.
"We've done it," said the leader. "Once Bai Lung gets back from Republic City, he will reward us all with the highest honors."
"I'm afraid not," Sokka quipped. He appeared to the lightbenders in the doorway to the throne room along with Katara and Hakoda.
"You escaped," said the aggravated head lightbender. "Of course you did. Kill them!" he commanded.
Before any of the lightbenders could make a single move, Katara shifted the icy floor into water, plunging them all deep into a pool of liquid. She then turned it back to ice, suspending the whole lot of them in frozen animation.
"That really was too easy," said Katara.
"I should tell everyone that everything is alright," said Hakoda.
"No, let me, Dad," said Sokka. The warrior trotted out to the top of the steps and looked down upon the people. "People of the Southern Water Tribe, don't be afraid. All of the lightbenders have been defeated. You have nothing to worry about. You are all still free." He receded into the building just as the crowd began to applaud and faced his sister and father.
"Spoken like a true leader," Hakoda said, warmly. "Look, I know I said some things back in the cavern," he started.
"Sokka," Katara interjected.
"And I'm sure none of us meant any of it and we're all really sorry," Katara finished.
The trio embraced in a hug, squeezing all of the negative vibes out of existence.
"Now there's the matter of getting them to talk," said Hakoda.
"I've got it covered," said Katara. She plunged her arm into the floor, bending the ice around her arm and grabbing the nearest frozen lightbender by the hair. She yanked her out and slammed her into the ground. "What is the Light Clan doing here? Why do you want to take over the Water Tribe?"
"We don't want to take over the Water Tribe," the lightbender explained, coughing in between every other word. "Bai Lung sent us to infiltrate each of the nations and create tension. He knew that you would come and try to fix it. Our orders were to kill you when you did."
"So you're saying that the others are also walking into a trap?" asked Sokka.
"Yes," said the lightbender. "And I would be surprised if they hadn't been killed by now."
"Where is Bai Lung now?" asked Katara.
"He's on his way to Republic City," the lightbender replied. "With all of you gone, there is no one left to defend the city."
"One more question," said Sokka. "What happened to General Kong and the other United Forces soldiers I sent to track you down?"
"I have no idea," the lightbender answered.
"You're lying!" Katara said.
"No, no, I'm telling the truth!" the lightbender insisted. "I got word from Ba Sing Se about a month ago. Something about a General being captured, but that's all I know. It could be anyone."
"We don't have time to find out," said Sokka.
"You're right," said Katara. "We have to get back to Republic City now."
"You two go," said Hakoda. "I'll take care of this one."
"Thanks, Dad," said Katara.
"We'll come and visit you again soon," said Sokka.
The two siblings rushed down the stairs and back to their eel hound, intent on saving the day.
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