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|By Agent Slash||Genre||Rating||Reviews||Updates|
|More from Agent Slash||Action/Adventure, Drama||PG-13||Positive||N/A|
|Let it Shine|
The journey to the Northern Water Tribe had been far quicker than Ai and Yukio had expected. Neither of them ever really knew just how fast an eel hound could travel. It sure was nice of Miki let us borrow her pet eel hound. Ai thought. The two of them managed to make it there in about a day and a half without any sort of delays. Neither of them spoke on the way there.
Yukio knew they had a mission to do and that was all that mattered to her.
Ai knew it wasn't wise to even attempt conversing with her. After Aang brought her back, she wasn't willing to talk to anyone anymore. It saddened the waterbender to see that the woman she still considered to be a friend had become so cold. Colder that the arctic air that currently made both of them shiver.
"We should be getting close," Ai said, breaking the day-and-a-half-long silence.
Right on cue, a group of waterbenders appeared from behind an iceberg, riding in small, yet elegant Water Tribe boats. "What is your business here?" asked the leader, a woman in her mid-thirties with black hair in a ponytail flowing down the back of her head.
"We're friends of the Avatar," said Ai. "We've come to speak to Chief Arnook."
The leader seemed mildly surprised to see Yukio. "Who is that?" she asked, trembling.
"This is Yukio," Ai explained.
"She's a lightbender?" asked the leader.
"She's on our side," said Ai.
"Very well," the leader said. "Follow us."
The two heroes complied and followed the waterbenders for a while, riding once more in complete silence.
After a while, they finally reached the gargantuan gates of the Northern Water Tribe. The waterbenders did their work and bent the icy gates down, allowing everyone to pass through.
"This is incredible," Ai whispered, awestruck at the marvel of a city.
"I thought you were from the Water Tribe," Yukio said, speaking for the first time since they left.
"I'm from Omashu," said Ai. "I've never actually been to either Water Tribe. It's more beautiful than I ever imagined."
They rode along the waterways, turning wherever the waterbenders turned and following along as the citizens stopped and stared at the eel hound they were riding.
"The whole city is made of ice," said Ai. "That's so amazing."
Finally, they came to a halt in front of a grand structure that both women assumed to be the palace.
"The Chief is just up those steps," the leader said. "I'll escort you there."
"Alright," Ai said. She and Yukio stepped off of their eel hound, who stepped ashore himself, shaking himself off.
As they marched towards the palace, getting closer with each step, Ai was transfixed by the marvelous feat of architecture. "This city is amazing," she said to the leader.
"Thank you," she said. "We're very proud of it. My name is Kiama, by the way."
"Nice to meet you," said Ai.
The three women made their way up the long flight of steps until they got to the top. "I'll be back in a moment," Kiama said.
Ai eyed her whale's tooth blade strapped around her waist as walked into the throne room and left the other two out in the cold. They stood there for several minutes more, trying to think of things to keep their minds from thinking about how cold it was, until, finally, Kiama came back.
"Unfortunately, the Chief is very busy with other matters at the moment and is unavailable," she explained. "Why don't you spend the night and speak to him in the morning."
"That sounds wonderful," said Ai. "Thank you."
Kiama led them back down the towering flight of stairs and escorted them through the village all the way to a small house and stopped just in front of the door. "I hope you both find it to your liking," she said.
"Thank you," Ai repeated and walked into the house with Yukio. As the door closed, Ai managed to catch one more glimpse of their escort and noticed that the whale's tooth blade was no longer around her waist just before the door closed behind them.
"Alright then," Ai said, trying as hard as she could to keep any awkwardness or tension from arising between the two again. "It's been a long trip. I guess we should get some sleep."
"I guess so," Yukio replied.
"Do you want to go wash up before bed?" asked Ai.
Yukio nodded and made her way into the bathroom.
Ai lay flat on her back and let out a sigh of exhaustion. Being the group's moral compass wasn't easy, but someone had to do it. And one of the jobs that entailed was helping any of the group members who were feeling down feel better. Sometimes even she didn't know what to say or think when it came time to help with someone's problems, but she had to do her best. Her thoughts were interrupted when it finally registered with her why Kiama's blade was suddenly missing.
She leaped up and dashed over to the bathroom door, attempting to open it, but it was no use. Yukio had locked it. "Yukio, open the door!" she yelled. "Yukio, please don't do this! Open the door!" She banged on the door, desperately trying to reach her friend. Finally, she sent a stream of water crashing into the door, knocking it off of its hinges.
She saw Yukio sitting on the floor, holding Kiama's blade to her wrist. She ran over and snatched the blade from the lightbender, tossing it out the window. "Oh, my spirits, Yukio!" Ai sobbed. "Please don't ever do that again!" She could not form words any longer. All she could do for the moment was weep.
Yukio sat motionless. She didn't have the energy to move. She just listened to Ai's weeping as she witnessed what she did to her friend. After several minutes, Ai finally sat up and wiped the tears out of her eyes. "Come with me, Yukio," she said, getting back on her feet. "Come on. Let's go back into the other room."
Yukio stood up and walked with her into the other room. The two of them sat down face to face. Ai stared at Yukio, who was looking down at the floor.
"Why, Yukio? Why would you do that to me?" Ai queried.
Yukio said nothing.
"Yukio, please talk to me," Ai pleaded.
Still Yukio remained silent.
"Yukio, if you don't talk to me, I don't know what else to do," Ai said, on the verge of tears again.
"I saw them, Ai," Yukio whispered. "I felt them. I cradled them in my arms. I told them I loved them and they told me they loved me. I was finally at peace and he took it away from me. I want to see them again. I want to see them again so badly I can't stand it."
"Look, I don't know whether what Aang did was right or not, but this isn't the answer," Ai said. "I promise, once we get done here, I'm going to help you look for Bai Lung so that you'll have closure. I keep telling them that we should go after them, but they never listen. I guess that's the price you have to pay when you're the moral compass of the group. Nobody ever listens to you."
Yukio looked up at her friend as a tear ran down her cheek. "How do you do it, Ai?" she asked.
"What do you mean?" asked Ai.
"How do you remain so strong? You're always so polite and kind and strong. Everyone in the group ignores you never let it get to you. You still you stand by them and remain the strongest of us all. How do you do it?" Yukio wondered.
"Because I have to," Ai replied. "Because there has to be someone to do it."
The tears were now streaming down Yukio's face. "You really promise to help me defeat them after this is all over?" she asked.
"I give you my word," Ai said. "I'll help you see your family again no matter the cost."
"Thank you," said Yukio, tightly embracing Ai in a hug. "Thank you so much. I'm sorry I almost-"
"It's okay," Ai said. "It's all okay now."
The next morning, the two awoke and by the time they got dressed, they heard a knock befall the door. Ai answered it and saw Kiama standing on the other side. "Sorry to hurry you," she said. "But the Chief does have a very busy schedule today."
"We're ready," Ai said.
"Very well then," said Kiama. "Let's go."
The three of them walked outside and bean making their way to the palace until Kiama stopped. "Oh, you wouldn't happen to have seen a whale's tooth scimitar around here anywhere, would you?" she inquired.
"Nope," said Ai. "Haven't seen one."
"Oh, okay then," Kiama replied.
The waterbending escort led them all the way to the palace and brought them once more up the massive flight of stairs that lead to the throne room.
Ai wondered how on Earth it must have felt to have to walk up and down these things every day.
Finally, they reached the throne room and were allowed to enter this time. They gazed upon the elderly Chief Arnook, who sat on his throne with royal guards wearing wolf helmets all around him. It was like a grand royal procession was present for their meeting. "Sir, these are the Avatar's friends," said Kiama. "They are the ones who wish to speak with you."
"Funny," said Chief Arnook. "I have been visited by the Avatar and his friends many times and I don't remember ever seeing you two." "I promise you, we're legit," said Ai. "My name is Ai and this is Yukio."
"The Woman in White?" asked Arnook. "Ah, yes, I've heard all about you. You're that lightbender that has been helping Aang."
"Yes," Yukio said.
"To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit?" Arnook questioned.
"We have come here on behalf of all of Team Avatar to try and convince you not to go to war with the Earth Kingdom or the Southern Water Tribe."
"I understand your concern," said Arnook. "But not enough has happened for us to go to war with anyone. Besides, attacking the Southern Tribe wouldn't make any sense. We'd be destroying twelve years' worth of hard work that went into rebuilding it."
"But is there a chance that, if provoked enough, you could go to war in the future?" asked Ai.
"It depends on the situation," Arnook replied.
Before any further discussion could take place, Kiama shouted, "The time has come! Shed your disguises!"
In an instant, every single guard in the room changed their appearances and now sported Light Clan attire.
Finally, Kiama did the same, revealing herself to be a lightbender as well.
That's why she was so afraid of Yukio earlier! Ai realized.
Indeed, everyone in the room was hesitant to attack.
"What is going on here?" Arnook asked, befuddled by what was transpiring.
"I know that some of you have reservations about fighting the Woman in White," said Kiama, if that was her real name. "But look at it this way: once you defeat her, Bai Lung will reward you with the highest honors!"
This seemed to motivate them. Two of the lightbenders fired light streams at Yukio, while two more hurled light disks at her.
The Woman in White managed to nullify their attacks with ease, dodging the light disks and redirecting the beams of light at two other lightbenders, taking them out.
She released a light slash in the direction of the four lightbenders that were coming at her, taking them out as well.
Meanwhile, Ai had her own hands tied with Kiama. She raised a column of ice out of the ground and shot ice disks off of the top, which the lightbender was easily able to avoid. Realizing that her strategy wasn't working, Ai bent a wave at her foe, whooshing her backwards and knocking her against a wall. She then transformed the water into ice, trapping her opponent against the wall.
Arnook had sprung into action himself, grabbing his spear and stabbing every lightbender that came at him, one by one, showing them he was still a capable warrior in his old age.
In no time at all, all of the lightbenders had been defeated.
Yukio and Arnook walked over to Ai, who was interrogating Kiama. "What are you doing here?" she asked. "Where is Bai Lung?"
"Bai Lung is on his way to Republic City!" said Kiama.
"What?!" Ai asked.
"That's right," she said. "You fools will never be able to stop him."
"I knew it!" Ai said, furious with her friends. "I was right! They were planning all this time and we just sit back and let them do it!" "What are you doing here disguised as my guards?" Arnook questioned.
"Bai Lung sent us all to each of the nations to disguise ourselves as people close to the world leaders and infiltrate their ranks," Kiama started. "The plan was to start a conflict between the world's leaders so that the Avatar and his friends would split up and deal with the problem. Then, with Republic City defenseless, Bai Lung would strike, which he is almost certainly on his way to do now."
"Go," said Arnook. "Do not waste another minute here. Get back to Republic City and fight for it."
Without even taking another minute to think, the two of them were on their way down the steps and back to where they left their eel hound. "Once we end this, you can finally rest," said Ai.
"Then let's do this," Yukio replied.
Ai whipped the eel hounds reigns and the two sped off back to defend their home.
- If you count the prequels, this marks the 100th chapter of the Slash Trilogy canon.
- Kiama's name is a tribute to .
For the collective works of the author, go here.