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Book 1: Blood
Chapter 1: Kenshin Outpost
Argho smiled as his meditation brought before him four of his past lives: Korra, Aang, Roku, and Kyoshi all manifested before him on the ship bound for the North.
"Welcome, friends, to the material world. I know it has been a while since we last talked, but I wanted to let you know that my mission is underway."
Aang leaned forward. "Argho, I am begging you; do not trust Usha! It will only lead you to ruin."
"But, Aang, you and I have both had major dealings with the Spirit World." Korra wore her usual determined expression. "He can't afford to ignore this warning!"
Roku chuckled and shook his head as the two began arguing, as they often did, and Kyoshi rolled her eyes.
"You want my advice, Argho? Stop this destruction from happening, but keep an eye on Usha."
A deep laugh sounded from the current Avatar as all heads turned his way. "As always, Kyoshi, you give the best advice for my taste! Do not worry, Korra and Aang; I shall deal with this. But Usha will not pull one over on me."
"Then we wish you well, Argho." Roku smiled. "We expect great things from you."
His breath was a visible cloud, and Shen realized that he disliked the North. He sighed, causing another cloud to exit his mouth, and glanced at Argho, who was deep in a meditative state. The young man's black hair blew in the wind, as did his white cloak, and he noticed that the Avatar's eyes were glowing.
Well, that's new...at least from my perspective. Maybe he's used to it.
His hand moved to the hilt of the sword at his hip and gripped tightly as another gust blew past; he stifled the urge to shiver.
"What is it with you?" One of the workers on the vessel came up beside him with a smirk on his face. "Can't handle the cold?"
"I grew up in the North, just not this far..." Shen replied, gritting his teeth.
"Stop complaining, Shen." Argho spoke with the voices of the past before returning completely to normal. "After stopping at Kenshin Outpost, we will have an opportunity to experience an authentic Northern Water Tribe festival in the metropolis."
Shen grinned knowingly. "Among other things."
"I'm afraid you've come at a...bad time." The orderly bowed low as Argho and Shen stood at the main gate of Kenshin Outpost. "The Mistress is not doing well; she has not been since her family deserted her. And on top of that we have the festival to—"
Argho cocked his head. "Deserted? What do you mean?"
"That is...a family matter. Do not concern yourselves; I should not have burdened you with such knowledge."
"We did not mean to pry." Shen interjected. "But if there is anything we can—"
A flash of frustration crossed the man's eyes. "You can enjoy what Kenshin Outpost has to offer."
Both travelers bowed. "Yes, of course."
The servant's hand swept around as the gate opened, guiding their attentions to the inner courtyard, which was massive enough to hold hundreds of stalls and shops that catered specifically to festival goers.
"Welcome, travelers, to Kenshin Outpost."
As they entered through the gate, Shen leaned toward the Avatar. "So...why are we here?"
"Two reasons: Our first target is here, and the Avatar Spirit has told me to gather allies. Korra in particular said that I'd find one in the form of Kyrie Kenshi, a powerful Waterbender."
Shen was suitably impressed. "Fair enough."
They both looked to the headquarters of the outpost. "Now for the difficult part."
Mistress Kenshi glowered at the Avatar and his ally. "Get out! How dare you ask me that?!"
"Ma'am, I am the Avatar, and I—!"
Her entire body shook with rage and grief. "I don't care!! My husband dies, my children go missing, and you have the gall to come here and demand things of me!"
"Mistress..." Shen lowered himself, ending on his knees. "Please, we were only trying to help; we didn't know..."
She sighed. "No...you didn't...very few do..."
"If I were given some information on your children, I could locate them for you."
"No! I mean...no...they...you cannot help them..."
The NowoCorp skyscraper overlooked the entire Northern Water Tribe, just as he designed it, and his office had two waterfalls coming down along each of the walls. Susanowo had spared no expense.
And to think...so many things nearly got in the way of all this. He smiled; his work for the future of the Water Tribes would not be stopped.
"Not even by him..."
There was one being that he knew could ruin things, but the Spirit of Tempests was more than confident in his abilities...and those of his followers.
He chuckled. Well...they are one and the same. A creaking signaled to him that one of his followers had indeed entered.
"My Lord Susanowo, the Avatar is here in the North." His red eyes burned, offsetting his light blue armor.
The spirit shook his head. "No, leave him be. I want him alive."
"Well, that could've gone better." Shen said ruefully as he dug into a bowl of seaweed noodles. "Poor woman..."
"Yes..." Argho leaned on steepled hands, having already finished his meal. "She seemed rather...distressed. She knew more than she was telling us, though."
Shen's eyes narrowed as he looked behind Argho. "Does it matter? It's her business, even still."
Argho nodded; he already noticed the two men with stares that bore holes in their backs. "You move first. They're likely to have more outside; don't kill them."
The Avatar's ally stood and smirked. "You know I won't do that."
As he exited, Argho smiled and brought himself to his feet. "Just making sure."
The Earthbender could feel his watchers get up and follow, as planned, and he also could feel Shen about to run into two others in an alleyway on the left.
Right it is, then.
There was a mirror alleyway along the right side of the restaurant as well, and soon, Argho would have them exactly where he wanted them.
"Sir..." His pursuers had him cornered, and they wore trenchcoats with lines running down the length of the arms and curved arrows protruding from those lines. "It would be best if you came with us."
The Avatar twisted his head until his neck cracked.
"We are not asking." Both men took up fighting stances and brought out weapons. The one on the left brought a Bo staff to bear, but the tips crackled with electricity. The other whipped out a short stick with three prongs in a triangular shape on the end; electricity flowed between the prongs as well.
"You must be...?" Argho smirked.
One of the men took a step back. "You know who we are?!"
"Desperate." The Earthbender concluded before lashing out.
The man with the staff didn't even have time to react as the punch connected with his jaw, sending him spiraling into the wall. The second managed to whip his three-pronged weapon toward Argho's head, but that was about as effective as if he had taken a blow like his partner. The weapon cracked against the earth gauntlet when the Avatar blocked, and the electricity fizzled across it.
"No conduction on solid earth." Argho sent the man flying backward with a light blow to the throat. Anything more would've killed him.
Shen exited the alley without a scratch, and he hoped those thugs, whoever they were, wouldn't remember how they ended up unconscious. If they even noticed that something was out of place, everything he had been working for would be jeopardized.
"So, it's done, then." Argho folded his arms. "And without revealing anything either."
"Do we know who they are? Mine didn't get the chance to talk."
Shen recognized the trenchcoat Argho held up, his attackers had the same. "Look at the symbol on the back."
The symbol consisted of three thin, oval-like structures that interlocked with one another.
I know that symbol, but from where? Argho stroked his goatee. "As much as I would love to find out what these people want, they are obviously no threat to us." He proceeded to crack all of his knuckles in succession. "Let us continue to look for Mr. Kenshi; he has a destiny, it seems."
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