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|Out of Control|
One month earlier...
The mist of his dark and eerie surroundings gave Phronk chills as his mysterious teenage captors led him further into the depths of the foggy swamp. Still speechless from the apparitions of his friends from earlier, his legs were trembling and his face was sweating. Finally, the small boat came to a halt, and Phronk was guided onto a moss-covered dock.
"Where are we?"
"I thought I told you to shut it!" snapped one of the boys. He pushed Phronk for a few more steps before throwing him to his knees. The Earthbender looked up, slowly, to see a girl no older than 18 sitting on a round boulder. She glared down on him with pure disgust and hatred in her eyes.
"Phronk, yes?" She started.
He nodded, terrified. "Why have your brought me-"
"I'll ask the questions!"
Phronk cowered in fear as she barked.
"Look at you," she sneered. "Weak. All you Isha guys are the same. You pretend to be big bad benders who are gonna take on a million non-benders at once but you're just a jerk with a few personal issues that you can't get over... So what's your problem with people like me? Something from your past? Was your cruel father a non-bender?"
"Your kind isn't so innocent either. Republic City. Korra's reign. Equalists. I'm sure you've heard of them."
"I'm not an Equalist. None of my friends are. Are you so pathetic that you'd try to get revenge on people who had nothing to do with the source of your pain?"
"The source of my pain is the poison that the Cha Jin De's are to society. They think they're on the same level us those of us who have been blessed by the spirits to possess great bending powers."
"So that's it. You're just an intolerant supremacist. You feel that you've been given a special status... That's sad, truly. Fortunately, you won't be bothering the Earth Kingdom anymore. It has enough problems to deal with, given all this talk about Revolution."
"You know, Earth King Flek is an Isha member himself."
"Why do you think he's attacking villages like Kekuatan, the home of the Avatar?"
"Because Kekuatan is primarily Revolutionist."
"And primarily non-bending. The Avatar has announced his support for the non-benders too."
"That's enough. I don't care about this ridiculous theory."
"It's not a theory, he's told me himself. Think about it. The Ba Sing Se guards, the Bao Hu Zhe, are meant to keep the city safe from Isha, but they don't. Instead, they take out Revolutionists, especially the non-benders."
"He's an enemy to both Revolutionists and Cha Jin De's. Don't you see?"
The leader stared at him for a while before a boy approached her. "What should we do, Leia," he asked.
"Take care of this fool. Then, we're going to Kekuatan."
"How did you find me?" Brek's voice shook slightly as he demanded an answer from the notorious Kimma.
"Oh please," the Waterbender rolled her eyes, "as if we haven't caught up to you before. Anything is possible with Him on our side."
Brek lunged forward to attack, but Kimma restrained him with Bloodbending. The Avatar sighed in defeat. "Who is He? Onjing?"
"HA! Onjing doesn't even have a quarter of the power He does." She looked around worriedly before whispering "Onjing fears Him."
"Then you fear him too," Brek retorted. "If He's more powerful than Onjing, He's ten times more powerful than you are. Who is He, a spirit? That's nothing to the Avatar."
Kimma became flustered and released Brek from her bending's grip. "You do not compare yourself to Kofaru!"
"Kofaru's his name? Sounds terrifying." Brek knew Kimma's weakness. Getting under her skin meant that she would go from calm and precise to uncontrollably angry.
Her face shook in fury before she struck Brek down with a blast of water. The Avatar bounced back with a blazing arc, knocking Kimma of her feet. He held her down with a powerful gale from his palm. Her lower lip trembled in fear as her hair was blown back.
"Where are my friends?" Brek commanded.
Kimma made a swift move with her arms and two jets of water came out of nowhere and flipped Brek over. "Our newest recruits should be rounding them up," she bragged as she rose to her feet. "It's an odd thing, fighting with people whom you remember killing."
"You're a monster!" Without hesitating, Brek enclosed his enemy in series of earth columns.
Kimma, her hands free, made a few twisty motions and Brek's body was forced from side to side. Just then, a few of the Isha's post-dead soldiers arrived with Kaeta and Berani in chains.
"You... you're alive?" Kimma was outraged upon seeing Berani as one of the soldier's freed her from her rocky prison. She formed a Water Whip and struck Berani across the face.
"Leave her alone!" Brek thrust his arm down, driving Kimma a few feet into the ground. Only her shoulders and up remained above. Brek proceeded to hurl a rock across the ground in the direction of Kimma's face, but it was deflected by a risen Earthbender who then charged the Avatar without any emotion in his eyes.
Brek engulfed his attacker in flames before blasting air into a few more soldiers, knocking them off of the temple cliffs. As Kimma used Water to slowly drill herself out of her hole, Brek seized the opportunity to slice through the chains that bound Berani and Kaeta. The friends then prepared to take on Kimma 3 to 1.
"Excellent. Send her in." The deep, hypnotic voice of Sangti spoke slowly as he casually sat on a throne of sand in the Fire Lord's chamber. He entertained himself by bending a long string of sand across the cold, hard floor. He moved it like some kind of snake, and he retracted it into a small, animal-skin bag as Fire Nation soldiers entered. They brought with them a large, muscular woman with burn marks across her face, arms, and legs. Her left shoulder and right knee were made of metal, and scorch marks could be found on her scalp where her hair should have been.
"It's about time we meet, Captain Soza." Sangti seemed somewhat bored.
The woman said nothing. She simply knelt before the Sandbender.
"Rise. You need not bow before me."
"But sir. You are the Fire Lord, correct? At least, until Zhouray returns?"
"Yes, yes, and to everyone else, I shall receive the utmost respect and reverence. But for you, I will receive the respect of a friend."
"Thank you, sir."
Sangti nodded. "Of course, you do know why you are alive, don't you."
"I was trying to figure that out myself. The explosive went off right at my feet." She shook her head in confusion. "I should have died."
"You almost did, but He saved you. We couldn't afford to lose another Isha leader."
"Who else has died?"
"His name was Phronk... or is Phronk. We can't be sure if he's dead or not. He simply vanished when campaigning in the Earth Kingdom."
Soza paused. "You say that He saved me... Who is this He?"
"There is a being out there. An all-powerful being."
"Certainly not more powerful than Onjing."
"Oh much more. In fact, he is the source of Onjing's might."
"I don't think I understand."
"The Airbending, that is something Onjing mastered himself, but his ability to be somewhat omniscient, somewhat omnipresent, that is a gift from a great spirit he calls Kofaru."
"And this spirit supports the cleansing of non-benders?"
"Very much so. I've heard that he even brings back Cha Jin De's from the dead as benders to fight for us. I believe the former Fire Lord is indeed with Onjing at this very moment, as an ally."
"That is truly incredible. All of this is. But sir, why bring me here?"
"We need you, Soza."
"But I- I failed..."
"Yes, you did. And as a result of your failure, Kofaru had to direct some of his energy into saving you, making Onjing more vulnerable for a moment. He could have been killed in his siege at the Northern Water Tribe."
"I had no idea! Please sir, I did everything I could."
"I know, I know. You will not be punished. At least, not by me."
"Thank you, sir."
"But you will be given a second test."
"Good," Sangti smiled. "The world as we know it is about to change forever."
"Change in what way?"
"You shall see."
Back at the Southern Air Temple, havoc had erupted and nomads' precious home was being destroyed. Brek, Kaeta, and Berani each charged at Kimma, but she knocked Kaeta and Brek back with two blasts of snow and halted Berani with Bloodbending.
Before Berani could make her next move, Kimma encircled them both with a ring of water, creating a small arena. With every motion of her wrists, she made the circle smaller and popped sharp blades of ice out of the ring. Berani, still recovering from her last encounter with Kimma, drew a dagger from her pocket and hurled it straight at the Waterbender's chest. Kimma sidestepped, and the knife flew into the ring of water, getting caught in its circular flow. Berani braced herself, knowing that at any moment, the dagger would shoot out from the ring. When she saw it coming from the right, she raised her new wrist shield just in time to block it.
"You've avoided me for the last time!" declared the furious Waterbender. She prepared to unleash a powerful blow, but was soon taken down by a gust of wind. Berani turned to see that Ayala had regained consciousness. Kimma rose and proceeded to hurl water jet after water jet at the master Airbender, who either dodged the attacks or blocked them with air shields. Kimma paused for a slight moment to catch her breath, and Ayala seized the moment to strike the ground with her air glider. This created a colossal blast of wind that sent Kimma flying into the Air Nomad statue behind her.
Not too far away, Kaeta had engaged in a struggle with four of Onjing's minions. One came at him with two rock projectiles, but Kaeta ducked and retaliated with an ice spear to the groin. He then snatched another one's neck with a water whip and pulled him the ground where his face smashed into a bench. He quickly blocked a line of fire with a wall of water, froze his defense, and sent it at his attacker. Exhausted, he froze his last enemy with an ice creeper. He called for Brek, but the Avatar was nowhere to be found.
Meanwhile, Zhouray had made it through the temple to find his sister, Zola. When he burst into her room, the princess was waiting for him. With a few quick jabs, she shot fire blasts at her traitor of a brother, who blocked them and responded with blasts of his own. Zola promptly made a fire whip and swung it across the room, torching everything it touched. Zhouray forced her to stop by augmenting the flames around her, and while she was distracted, he prepared a bolt of lighting.
At the last second before she would have been electrocuted, Zola smashed through her room's window and jumped, landing in a fountain below. There she found Kaeta, and the two were quickly joined by a young monk on his sky bison.
"Hop on, now!" ordered the monk.
"We can't just leave our friends!" Kaeta called.
"They'll be fine. We're getting them out of here too. The Isha are going to destroy the entire temple and if you don't come with me, you'll both die!"
Without further argument, the two agreed to join the monk on the bison, but as soon as they were on, he prepared to jump off.
"Where are you going?" Kaeta asked.
"To fight for my temple. Now go!" With that, the monk leapt towards a battle he wouldn't likely survive. The bison took off, but not before Kaeta caught a glimpse of two Isha zombies below.
Zola saw Kaeta's shocked face. "What is it?"
"I think I just saw my dead parents."
Ayala, having momentarily defeated Kimma, raced towards Berani. "Look, you have to leave now!"
"I'm not going anywhere without Brek!"
"I'm right here, Berani."
Berani spun around and saw the Avatar a few feet away. She rushed up to him and embraced him with a long, passionate kiss. She pulled away with tears in her eyes and a forced smile on her face.
"Okay. Great, I have both of you," Ayala started. "Now you have to leave. A few monks have Pumi at the temple entrance. Go now before the entire place is destroyed."
"What about Kaeta and Zola?" Brek inquired.
"They've already left. Now go, please. The fate of the world depends on your survival. I'll be fine here."
Neither of them could think of any words before racing to Pumi and making a swift escape. Looking back, Berani could see one of the temple's towers ablaze before it collapsed and fell off the mountaintop. Brek, however, had something else on his mind. Why wasn't Onjing there?
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