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|King Of Omashu|
March 6th, 2011
The trio are taken to their court with the king, during which previously unknown facts are revealed to them, forcing Taizo and Myaku to embark on a quest to help Omashu restore it's power.
Bumi was pacing back and fort, grabbing the wooden bars of their prison from time to time, attempting to somehow break them, but to no avail. He took an Earthbending stance, but from a wooden cage he couldn't do anything. He released a sigh. Taizo was sleeping and Myaku was sitting a lotus position, his head lowered and a frown on his face, he tried to process everything that happened that night. His eyes glanced over to the sleeping rogue, Taizo had told Myaku he had never met Lang before, but from Lang's words Myaku got a very distinct feeling that the two had history together. Taizo lied, which only led Myaku to question if Lang was actually telling the truth, maybe Taizo did plan to betray him, to sell him and to deceive him. Myaku was, after all nothing to Taizo, the two barely even knew each other. Yeah, they did save each other's lives a couple of times, but they weren't close, they knew nothing of each other's past and travelling with someone as unreliable as Taizo might prove lethal, if they ever get out that is.
Bumi fell to his knees again; Myaku only pressed his lips together, looking at the boy. "Do something!" Bumi demanded in a somewhat desperate voice. Myaku lowered his eyes.
"You yourself have told me numerous times that rushing into something never helps, you were right, even when not in a fight, you need to wait for the right time to do everything and at this point, nothing we do will do any good" Myaku's tone was somewhat sullen, but he stood up. "Relax, I know you're scared, but we didn't do anything and we'll be released before you know it." with those words, the door to their chamber opened an a group of guards came in and opened their cell. Taizo immediately woke up, making Myaku believe that he was never actually asleep. The guards quickly took them by their hands and started dragging them out of the cell.
"Where are you taking us?" Taizo demanded when they were all out of their cell.
"The King wishes to see you." One of the guards answered in a cold tone. Taizo and Myaku exchanged looks when they were getting dragged off, Taizo looked at Myaku with confusion and Myaku looked at Taizo with doubt, not sure if he should even trust Taizo at this point. As they moved through the palace, the scenery changed from a dark dungeon to green halls lit with bright lanterns, beautiful decorations and servants on every corner, not to mention guards at every doorway. Earthbenders opened doorways, this palace was nothing short of a fortress, not to mention it stood at the peek of Omashu's highest spire, Myaku wondered for more than a minute how anyone could even hope at capturing Omashu. Finally they reached a dead end and two of the soldiers began making hand movements and stomping their feet and slowly, a massive beautiful door began opening, the dead end was actually a massive stone door. As the door opened they saw a green carpet running straight towards a massive throne. Massive pillars running along the sides of the walls and guards standing at every pillar. They were pushed in. Taizo was first, Bumi behind him and Myaku more than ten steps away from both of them.
The guards released Bumi and the boy immediately fell to his knees and bowed his head low to the ground. Taizo was brought down on his knees by the guards and Myaku decided to get down himself, next to Bumi and further away from Taizo, before the guards brought him down too. On the throne sat a massive man, muscular, dressed in expensive robes. He had a beard that ended a few inches above his chest and long flowing hair. He was old; despite his very tan skin his wrinkles were still visible. His face was old and wrinkly and his eyes were deep and dark, he released a yawn as he rested his left cheek on his left fist and flashed his teeth. More than half of his teeth were missing, others were rotting and others were filled with holes or fractures. At his right stood a man holding a piece of paper and a quill. This man was skinny and about 5'9 in height. He was dressed in expensive robes and wore a hat signifying his high status in the royal court. He had a thin fu Manchu styled moustache and thin eyes.
"These three criminals are faced with the following charges-" the thin man standing at the kings right began "Massacre of a sandbender colony" he read from the scroll in a loud demanding voice "setting a wildfire and destruction of the 657 Trade Route' he then gave a glare to the boy and kept reading "in the instances with the underage child as an accomplice, these men have wrecked havoc in the construction of the seventh Omashu Tower and used the Omashu delivery system as a means of transport, for which this boy was once punished already" The king gave all of the fighters a look of ponder. He seemed to be deep in thought about something. "I now present these criminals in front of King Mishi, King of Omashu and it's provinces" he bowed to the king and took a step back.
"You three men have desecrated and insulted the honor of my city with your actions." The king began to speak, his voice was deep and intimidating, so commanding and fierce "For your actions you-" he was cut off.
"Your Majesty, we can explain everything!" Myaku announced jumping to his feet. And the guards prepared their spears, pointing them at the monk.
"How dare you!" the skinny man at the kings right announced "Show some respect! You're taking to the King Of Omashu!" he hissed in such a tone that implied he would have Myaku's head cut off right there and there.
"Calm yourselves." The king ordered calmly, but in an irritated tone, raising his hand and signaling for his men to lower their spears. "Shin-Fu, let them speak." He told the skinny man on his right as he was about to yell. Shin Fu merely nodded and stepped back, pushing back the desire to scream. "Speak, be warned, a single lie will secure your deaths." The king crossed his hands at his chest and leaned forward slightly, getting ready to listen to them.
Taizo and Bumi stood up as well and Myaku began telling him the story from the start, how he was captured in the Misty Palms Oasis and taken to the sandbender colony, how he and Taizo met (though he tried to not touch the subject on why Taizo was captured by the sandbenders) and how they fought the Fire Nation soldiers and Lang in the colony. Taizo took over right there, telling them king how they destroyed a pass not knowing what it was for and how they hitched a ride on a merchant caravan and arrived at Omashu. Myaku continued from there, Hatoshi who was standing not that far away told the king about the bounty hunter that had attacked the palace. As they kept telling the king the story, his serious expression faded and it seemed like he was enjoying the story. When Myaku finally finished telling the story, there was a moment of utter silence as everyone waited for the king's verdict, nobody even dared to move.
Finally, the king broke out laughing. His laugh was like a roar, so loud and powerful "Brilliant!" the king announced standing from his throne and making his way to the three. As he finally reached them, his size became apparent. He was about 6'5 in height, towering over the three men. His muscles were massive. "Tell me," the king began in a lighter tone as he inspected each of them again "Whose idea was it to use my mail delivery system as a means of transport?" Taizo looked over at Bumi and Myaku tried to dodge the question, but the king intervened "So, this boy thought of that himself?" he came closer to Bumi and Bumi straightened and tensed. "Brilliant, genius!" The king patted Bumi's shoulders "Even I would not have thought of something as such!" he paused and looked at Myaku again "So you say this boy actually defeated two soldiers and helped you fight off the colonel?" The king was somewhat impressed and gave the boy a look of admiration "Impressive, who taught you to bend?" the king asked.
"I did it myself." Bumi explained and bit his lower lip as the king released a chuckle.
"Impressive." The king nodded.
"So... I take it you believe us?" Taizo finally asked. The King did not respond immediately, instead he paced back and forth slowly before ordering his men.
"Leave us." And with those words, all of the guards except for Hatoshi left the throne room. The only ones left where the kings advisor Shin Fu and captain of the guards Hatoshi. The both of them came in closer as the king stopped in front of the three men and began to explain "For a long time now we've known that the Fire Nation is at our doorstep." The king paused for a moment "Colonel Lang and his men have been a problem at the main front, but knowing that they've circled us and are trying to surround Omashu worries me even more." The king lowered his head "I'm going to be direct with you. Omashu would not survive a full assault, all of your forces have been sent to the main front as well as our fresh recruits from the provinces, and the city has less then three hundred guards stationed at the moment" he paced once again. "We're losing this war and I fear if Omashu is taken, the Earth Kingdom will lose all chance of winning the war."
Myaku raised an eyebrow "I don't understand... why are you, telling us this?"
The king sighed "Destroying the trade route cut off supplies to our front, until we can rebuilt and make sure it's safe, the main battalions and platoons will starve and our forts will go without fresh supplies of water and nourishment."
Myaku frowned "So... we just cost you the war?" his tone was so sad that Taizo even felt bad for it.
"Not quite." The king continued after a long pause "In all honesty, we've already lost the main front, our forces are retreating and gathering their strengths and pushing back the Fire Nation forces daily. The Water Tribes send their soldiers who attack their shores, supplying us with time to regain our positions, however it is clear that the Fire Nation has been eying Omashu for a while now and our messengers and scouts have failed to reach the front with news that we need several platoons to return. That's where you come into play..." Myaku and Taizo froze up while Bumi was in total shock, the king continued on. "I cannot have my men knowing that the Fire Nation is here, if I do morale will drop completely, it's because of that I need my men to be tip top until the platoons return, but without informing them I cannot hope for them to come, I need a messenger, a group such as yourself that could easily move through the front lines and inform General Ming that we need him to return." While the king spoke, Shin Fu was writing something the whole time and handed the king a letter and a stamp, the king stamped the letter and gave it to Myaku. "Deliver my letter and I will pardon you destroying the pass."
Myaku took the letter hesitantly "I'm an airbender, I'm a prime target for bounty hunters, would it not be safer to send a scout?"
"You've proven to be capable of holding your own in the most dire situations, that why I think you two are most suited for going." The king explained, placing his hands on both Myaku's and Taizo's shoulder.
"The two of us?" Taizo asked, raising an eyebrow towards the boy.
"The boy stays here, with me." Bumi instantly froze up and Myaku and Taizo jumped back.
"Wh-what?" Bumi asked, his voice stuttering and scared.
"No." Myaku said confidently.
"The boy is leverage to make sure my message is delivered, once I reach word that the message as reached General Ming, the boy will be free. No harm will come to him and he will not be a prisoner- he will be a royal guest and he will be fed and housed in the palace." The king assured them, putting his hands behind his back.
"No-" Myaku tried to protest but Bumi intervened.
"I'll do it" Myaku and Taizo both looked at the kid, who was still standing frozen with a scared expression "You two go, Omashu is my home and if you two are the only ones that can deliver that letter I will sacrifice anything, even my life for you to do so!" he said confidently and the king smiled and nodded.
"Now go, my men will return your weapons and grant you escort out of the city, but from there- you're on your own. No one must know that you're delivering that message; it contains not only a plea for their return, but vital information that we have recently received. Do not, under any circumstance open the letter." His tone was so commanding that Myaku and Taizo could only nod. Shin Fu glared at the letter as Myaku placed it inside his robe and the two men left with Hatoshi. Bumi, Shin Fu and the king remained in the throne room. "Come." The king told Bumi patting his shoulder. "You seem like a smart enough lad. How about a game of Pai sho?" the king smiled and Bumi did too, the two of them made their way out of the throne room into another room, which was apparently a game room.
Myaku and Taizo were released in the mountain path of Omashu, they got their weapons back and Hatoshi said his goodbyes, giving them directions how to reach the main front. Taizo threw his jian over his back and ripped a piece of wheat from the ground as the two men walked through the dark night. Placing it in his mouth, Taizo began to chew. Neither of them said a word for now, both of them were sad and tired. Myaku, as much as he wanted to ask Taizo a lot of questions, just didn't have the strength to now and despite now much Taizo wanted to make jokes about killing Lang, he was too exhausted to even speak.
A dark hooded figure moved through the streets, entering a small shack. The hooded figure moved into the darkness of the completely empty shack and came to a stop. For a minute or so, the figure stood without moving. "You've failed." The hooded figure said. Lang had just entered the room, still dressed in his usual armor and helmet, without any sort of real injury of his battle earlier.
"I'm making my way out of the city to rendezvous with my other troops near the river." Lang explained and the hooded figure moved in closer.
"You fool" the hooded figure commented "The King has given those two a letter, if that letter reached the Earth Kingdom forces, Omashu will be reinforced and our careful planning will go to waste!" he circled Lang "I have yet to inform the generals or the Fire Lord of your failure and if you wish to keep it that way, I suggest you stop that letter from reaching General Ming, besides lists of names it has base locations, numbers and secret Fire Nation plans, if the general knows about them, the Fire Nation will be driven back and the war will be as good as over."
Lang didn't speak, but only turned around and left into the darkness of the shack. A minute later, the hooded figure left the shack too.
- The name of the chapter is a reference to an episode of the original series.
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