New Allies and Old Ones Alike
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Emblem of the Outlaw


Three: Water



Written by


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Hope Can Be Found in the Smallest Seed

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Rocks Don't Float

Old and new allies appear before the battle

Alone. The darkness of the room felt as heavy as a great weight pressing down on her. They had bound her arms and legs, and she only had just enough mobility to eat the food hastily thrown to her; the food thrown to her as if she was a wild animal, and they were throwing it into her pen. The small door in the greater metal door slid open, metal screeching across metal with a sound that used to torture her ears. Now, the sound was as normal as her own heartbeat. A tray of food slid through, clanging to the ground and launching food across the cramped prison cell. She did not move: she did not want to give her captors the satisfaction of seeing her scramble for the food like the animal they treated her as.

But the gleaming eyes remained, seeming to taunt her through the small door. In his hesitation, she could see more of his face—though it was unrecognizable. The man spoke with a voice that she did recognize from her months in prison: "Just wait. In a few weeks, you'll be sent to a high security solitary confinement cell. If you think we treat you badly, just wait... You'll never see the light of day again. They open the door to each solitary cell twice: once to put the prisoner in, and once to take out the prisoner's corpse." He laughed as he told her of her fate.

In the midst of his laughter, she spat a heavy wad of spit at his face. With a flick of her wrist, the saliva solidified into a tiny bullet of ice which lodged itself solidly in the man's left eye. He shrieked, and withdrew from the small door while clawing at his face. After a moment, his face shot back into the small door. Blood dripped from his eye socket as if he were crying blood, and she could assume that she had just taken the vision from that very eye. "Bitch!" He shouted, his mouth salivating in rage.

Frost smiled, and leaned back in her cell. "Tch. You all couldn't even take me in a fight, so you tie me up and lock me away. Pathetic."

"You bitch. I wish I could be there watch you die of dehydration and starvation." Without giving a chance for Frost to retort, the small door was slammed shut and the darkness shrouded the cell once more.

"The deed is done..." Ishio whispered. Carefully, he ran his hand down his cleanly shaven jaw. His facial hair, which he hardly even had a chance to get to know, lay on the ground. A mirror stood in front of him, reflecting him in all of his absence of a beard. Just as he began washing the shaving cream off of his face, someone knocked on the door of his room.

Zhixin, the pirate who had earlier ridiculed Ishio's beard, spoke, "We've arrived at the South Pole, Avatar. Have you shaved?"

As Ishio emerged with glistening jaw, Zhixin nodded with approval. The Avatar shivered when the cold air met his skin: for the duration of the trip, Ishio had remained below deck. In his life, Ishio had never ventured to the Northern or Southern poles, and the chill came as several sharp knives poking through his flesh. "It's d-d-d-damn c-c-cold! Why d-d-did you m-m-m-make me shave my b-b-beard?!" Ishio shouted angrily through chattering teeth.

His complaint was met with a harsh laugh from the pirate. Ishio glared at the other and quickly cupped his hands. Using his Firebending, he created a tiny flame which sent a warm pang through his hands and essentially warmed his entire body. He proceeded off of the ship—all the while protecting the flame from the harsh arctic winds—and found himself literally in the middle of a small village. The denizens glared at him from beneath fur coats, obviously irritated by the fact that this outsider had just run through their village.

"State your business or be gone." One man spoke and stepped forward out of the crowd. The man's skin was dark, similar to the rest of them. His hair was brown, almost shoulder length with several small braids among the rest of the hair. He had a small beard covering his chin, which prompted Ishio to further consider how much warmer he would be if he had not been forced to shave. A woman stood next to him, holding a small child, and one could tell that she was his wife by the way she nervously watched him approach this potentially dangerous person.

"I am th-th-the..." Ishio began with confidence, relinquishing his flame as he spoke. But the cold made it so that words could hardly come out, and in mid sentence he was shivering so hard that he could not continue.

"Speak, boy!" The man commanded once more. From behind him, his wife placed a hand on his shoulder.

"Hiraoka, dear, the child's so cold he can't even speak." She said, her voice as soft as one's would be when speaking to a child. The man's body visibly became less tense, as his shoulders dropped and he let out a sigh.

"Fine. We'll get you some warm clothes, boy, and you'll tell us your business."

"I am the Avatar," Ishio explained, now seated by a warm fire while bundled head to toe in heavy furs. The residents of the Southern Water Tribe all gasped, and began quickly whispering about rumors being true and the like. Particularly, the man from earlier, Hiraoka, suddenly grew extremely pale. Ishio did not need to say that he was here to learn from Hiraoka: the Waterbender knew that he was the only teacher in the entire world who would and could teach Ishio Waterbending openly.

"I was sent here by an organization," Ishio continued, "they told me to seek a man named Hiraoka."

As his name was spoke, Hiraoka stood as if his legs moved of their own accord. The attention of the others was now on this man. He quickly cleared his throat and began to speak, "Everyone, please leave the Avatar and I alone." They all left without question, as if the word of this man was law.

Once everyone had left to their own houses, Hiraoka sat and began rubbing his temples. "I know why you're here." He said tiredly.

"So you're Hiraoka?" The Avatar's brows furrowed, looking over the man's face for an answer.

"Yes, I am. You were sent by the O.W.L., weren't you?"


"Never mind. But you were sent here to learn Waterbending from me, were you?"


"Which means you've already mastered the first three elements." Hiraoka sighed. "You do understand that it's dangerous for me to teach you bending? We're a small village, and everyone will know we're training. If one person feels like ratting us out, we'll be ambushed and imprisoned in a heartbeat."

"I've been ambushed before," Ishio began with poise, " I've been imprisoned before, too. Yet here I am."

"Not the sharpest, are you?" Hiraoka asked with a laugh. Though true, Ishio could knew that he was being insulted and cast a glare as sharp as the cold wind. "Sorry, you just misunderstood... Well, it doesn't matter." He laughed again. "You're amusing, Avatar. I just have one question for you: how are you going to fix the portals? I mean, even if you defeat the corrupt government, the same problem is likely to come up again so long as spirits are still pouring through and humans are still vanishing."

Suddenly, Ishio's face fell. The Waterbender noticed, and opened his mouth as if to speak; Ishio spoke first, "I need to master all four elements... A fully realized Avatar has the power to close all the portals throughout the world."

The Waterbender narrowed his eyes, the disbelief obvious across his face. Not because he didn't believe the Avatar, but because he had a feeling that the Avatar wasn't telling him anything. "Suppose I have no choice but to trust you." He laughed and searched Ishio's eyes. "The fate of the world, in the hands of a sixteen year-old boy."

"Avatar Korra was only seventeen, and Avatar Aang twelve." Ishio replied with a grin.

"Fine." Hiraoka feigned annoyance, but he was visibly amused. "I'll teach you Waterbending. But one slip up and United Republic will be on our doorstep."

"Fine by me; that's how it's been the past three elements I've learned."

"Nana!" Hiraoka called. From within an igloo, the woman who was presumably Hiraoka's wife emerged. "We'll be having another mouth to feed for a couple of weeks!"

She smiled and turned her attention to the Avatar. "It's an honor to have you as our guest, Avatar."

"Of course," Hiraoka continued with a wolfish grin, "We won't just let you hang around. You'll have to pull your own weight: we're a small community and we can't have someone just sit around and use our resources."

As if on cue, another man emerged from an igloo and tossed a spear to Ishio. The Avatar caught it and stared at it in bewilderment. "We're going hunting." The man said with a grin similar to Hiraoka's. "You can start your fancy training after we catch dinner."

The prison camp loomed over the horizon like a great beast, staring down on Liwei. After travelling for a couple of days, he had arrived near the camp. Odraz was safely hidden away in a cell, and now all that remained was to confront this person. Liwei approached with his head held high—if he was going to pull this off, he had to look as sure of himself as he had when he was in the police force.

Upon reaching the gate, a guard roughly pushed him back. Before he could go through the usual "state your business", Liwei produced an old police badge from within his jacket. When he was reunited with the badgermole, Liwei had found this darling in his satchel. Since he was removed from the police force unofficially, they hadn't removed his badge from his person. And these guards were so isolated from the rest of the world that they did not recognize his face, and the badge was enough to move them aside. All according to plan.

Screams and miserable groans met Liwei's entrance: the sights and sounds that all who were imprisoned in these camps were familiar with. It was no secret that United Republic tortured benders to make them reveal locations of other benders, and despite how unlawful the entire situation was, no one did a thing. And it seemed as though five teenagers were the only people who would do anything.

Liwei approached a bored looking security guard. She was a bit on the heavy side, and probably did little but sit here and snarl at police officers who came to interrogate prisoners. "Who are you here for?" She asked in a nasally voice.

The prince flashed a handsome smile that would make even this pessimistic, reclusive woman's heart flutter. "I'm here for a woman named Miwa."

"I'll send for her immediately." The security guard replied in a still nasally, but now slightly breathless, voice.

Only a few moments later, Liwei was seated in front of a glass panel. On the other side, a woman garbed in torn rags sat down. Her head hung low, causing greasy strands of hair to cover her face. She did not speak—it was obvious that she did not want to be speaking to a man whom she believed to be a police officer.

Liwei turned to a nearby guard and spoke, "I'm here on official United Republic business," his voice fell into the authoritative tone that most working for Republic City had mastered, "meaning it's above security guards such as yourselves' pay grade." The guard nodded, and gestured for the others to leave. A few moments later, the on light of the security cameras clicked off, and Liwei could speak openly to this woman.

"Miwa..." Liwei began. His voice was not necessarily soft, but it had a ring to it that was vastly different than when he spoke to the guards. So different that he seemed like a completely different person. A voice that could be trusted, and the woman lifted her head. Her brown hair still hung over her face, but now her deep emerald eyes shone from underneath. "I need to talk to you about..."

"I know why you're here," she interrupted. "It's about him, isn't it? That's the only reason a Republic City officer would come to see me."

"But there's something you don't know," Liwei began quickly, not wanting this woman to lose her momentary interest in what he had to say. "He... You're the only one who can help him."

"Me? He has no feelings towards me, and he never has. And why would I help the man who put me in here? The man who would imprison his own fiancé? He's an animal, a heartless beast."

"You know he's not, and that's why I came to you. I know you still love him, and no matter what you think he loves you, too. And he's gone mad, and you're the only one who can pull him out."

"So that's why you're here? So you don't have to pay a shrink to save your only capable officer?"

"I'm here because he's about to get himself killed. By my own hand, even, if someone doesn't help him."

"Why would I help Tang?!" Miwa stood now, and slammed her hands angrily against the table in front of her. "Let him die! I'd kill him myself!"

At the sudden noise, several guards rushed in to restrain her. As they began to drag her away, Liwei spoke, "Think about what I've said. I'll be in touch."

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