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|More from Kamigati||Action, Drama||PG||None||None|
|Tales of Republic City|
His Last Breath
Tenzin rapped his fingers against the table as his sibling Kya and Bumi sat across from him. Both looked as depressed as he probably looked. Kya was playing with a napkin in her fingers, deep in thought. Bumi was sharpening his sword, concentrating on it and it alone. It was the first time he had ever seen Bumi without a smile.
With a creak, the door leading to the bedroom opened and his mother Katara calmly walked out with a tray of empty cups and plates.
"How's he doing?" Tenzin asked, with his sibling looking up as well.
Katara sighed "He's...the usual. Nothing better, nothing worse. I'm just getting the medicine for him, it's been two hours already."
Tenzin nodded gravely, and his siblings lowered their heads and continued their thinking as he did his.
Katara looked over at her children as she finished collecting the herbs and water onto the tray with a frown. She worried for them, that they might not be able to handle much more of the fear. She herself wasn't sure if she could truly handle...the inevitable. Everyday she thanked the spirits for keeping him with her for another day, but she knew that would not hold forever.
Crossing the living room into the bedroom again, she placed the tray on the small corner table before looking over her husband.
Though Katara saw him as a youthful man before, now it was apparent how old he really was. Wrinkles lined his face and hands, and his tattoos looked like blue pieces of leather rather than what they really were. Aang's beard was more white than black now, which had often prompted Toph to refer to him as Saltshaker as well as Twinkle Toes. However; his face was still serene, and his eyes had kept what his body had not. Whether he was twelve or seventy, his eyes always kept the youthful and joyous appearance of who she had fallen in love with.
Aang slowly opened his eyes and chuckled weakly "What are you smiling about?"
"When we were young, when all we had to worry about was Bumi finishing the food without painting it on the walls..." Katara replied, smiling at the memory.
"Well he was always good with colors..." Aang replied, before letting out a pained cough. Katara flinched in response.
"Katara..." Aang said, placing a hand supportingly on her wrist "It's just a cough..."
"I know..." Katara said, placing a hand on top of his "But I hate to hear it. It's like nails screeching on metal to me."
Aang shook his head and squeezed Katara's hand "You worry too much."
"I'd worry the whole world to shame if it would help you." She replied fiercely, kneeling against the bed as she mixed the grounded herbs into the water and helped Aang drink the liquid.
"I still hate that herb juice..." Aang said, spitting out a small piece of leaf.
Katara shook her head and smiled "What would I ever do without you?"
"Live on." Aang said, his voice becoming serious. Katara eyed her husband strangely.
"Katara, promise me that whatever happens...you won't hold yourself back because I am not here anymore." Aang asked, holding her hand as strongly as he could in his weakened state.
"Of course Aang...why are you making me promise?" Katara asked nervously.
"I just...I just don't want to go without making sure you would be okay. I've already made the kids promise, and they're set. But I couldn't go without making sure you would be set."
Katara smiled and gently traced her fingers around his cheek "You were always too kind..."
Aang smiled back "I can't help it when my wife is an angel..."
Katara smiled "Aang..."
Slowly, they leaned forward into a kiss. Katara held it for as long as she could. All she could remember was the old days, back when all she had to worry about was fixing the house up. She could still hear Tenzin and Bumi arguing over whose turn it was on the glider, while Kya was cheering both on with glee. She could see Aang laughing and lightly scolding both of them to share before telling them to get to the table. At the table Katara would lay down the plate of arctic hen, and together they would talk and laugh...
Suddenly Aang's hand went limp and fell onto the bed, as his head became heavy in her fingers.
"Aang?!" Katara gasped, passing her hand over his mouth and nose in fear.
He wasn't breathing.
"NO!" Katara cried, and frantically got out the vial of the Spirit Oasis water hanging around her neck. Popping off the top, she quickly curved the water into a compressed disc and used it on Aang's heart.
"C'mon....c'mon...COME ON!" Katara yelled in frustration, as the water became cloudier and cloudier. Finally, the water became too dark to use anymore, and Katara angrily slashed it against the door as she held Aang in her arms, sobbing. Tenzin, Bumi, and Kya rushed into the room.
"Mother, what's-" Tenzin started, only for the situation to lay apparent to all three of them.
Avatar Aang, their father, was dead.
Troubles on the Horizon
The radio crackled slightly as Toph listened intently on the broadcast.
"We're here in the South Pole, as the White Lotus continue searching for the new Avatar on the two-month anniversary of the death of Avatar Aang. With us is Grand Lotus Daimyo, who has been kind enough to spare some of his time to answer our questions. So Grand Lotus, the first question that our listeners have frequently asked is why the White Lotus have been focusing on the Southern Water Tribe over the other two Water Tribes. Care to explain?"
"Well Nyusu, as the Avatar cycle is still quite mysterious to us. However; it is a cycle, and not only in nationality. Studying airbender and waterbender writing on past Avatars of their element, there has been a cycle within the nations themselves. For the airbenders, it was found that every airbender Avatar was from a subsequent Air Temple. The same for the Northern and Southern Water Tribes. Since the last waterbender Avatar was from the Northern Water Tribe, it stands to reason that the next will be in the Southern Water Tribe."
"And what about the Foggy Swamp Tribe? They are waterbenders too."
"We checked the Foggy Swamp Tribe first, as it was the smallest population to sift through. Though all babies there weren't the Avatar obviously, we do have members there as a precaution if the new Avatar is born and our main search force isn't there."
"Now, if I may, ask for an opinion from you?"
"Why of course."
"Do you feel that finding the new Avatar soon is imperative to stop the growing tensions between the nations?"
There was a pause before the Grand Lotus continued.
"Well, I believe that the nations can find peaceful solutions to whatever faces them without much trouble if they work together. However; finding the new Avatar soon will definitely help the situation."
"Ah. Well thank you for your time Grand Lotus Daimyo, and for all you listeners out-"
Toph shut off the radio and sighed, taking a sip of her tea before sifting through the paperwork again. Robberies, vandalism, and even some murders all overcrowded her desk. She rubbed her temple, and began checking reports. In the middle of her work, there was a knock on the door.
"Come in." Toph answered, not looking up as a woman in her early twenties walked in.
"How's the work mom?" Lin asked, looking at some of the reports her mother hadn't glanced at yet.
"More and more crimes keep slipping from our fingers." Toph answered, handing her one of the sheets "Look at this. Our guys had caught one of the murderers for the Gaipo case, and he escaped because of some paid off goonies surprising the officers."
"Damn..." Lin said, looking over the case specifics "These criminals are getting worse and worse..."
"I'll say." Toph replied, sighing "Any good news from your end?"
"Well we did catch an accomplice to that break in of Huang Gi's restaurant, but the main guy smoked us and got away..." Lin replied dejectedly, sitting in one of the quest chairs in her mother's office.
Toph shook her head "Ahh, same crap from your end too. Huh...I'd wish they find the new Avatar soon. I'm willing to do anything in my power to stop these scumbags...but my will can't stretch across the whole city. The damn politics doesn't help either..."
"Actually, I wanted to ask you about that. What the hell is up with the nations? I can't understand it." Lin asked.
"Well there's lots of things going on. With all the gangs going hyperactive, some crimes have been going international. Those crimes are complicated, cause different countries have different laws. Some people are even trying to revoke laws that the Avatar helped make." Toph explained.
"Like those scientists with the bloodbending?" Lin asked.
"Exactly. It's like once the Avatar is gone everyone thinks they can do whatever they want..." Toph said, sighing again and taking another sip of tea.
"What about the nations?" Lin asked.
As for the nations themselves, they're just scared. Things are tense because without a mediator, a mistake on any nation's part might lead to another war. The Hundred Year War isn't quite so far in the past yet for people to forget what it was like." Toph replied, looking at another paper.
"...We have our work cut out for us..." Lin muttered.
"Start getting used to it." Toph replied, as she took one last sip from her tea and went back to work.
"So Capulet, is that all you want from me?" Kodon asked, taking a sip of the delicious tea the gang boss had offered him.
"That is all." Capulet confirmed, putting his hand on his daughter Sukochi's shoulder to stop her from leaving.
"You make very interesting offers Capulet and I can see the drive in you. I accept with full support. You shall be hearing from me soon." Kodon said with approval, and motioned for his guards to escort the duo out. After they entered their automobile and drove off, Sukochi couldn't hold it in any longer.
"How DARE you offer my hand in marriage in order to make some protection gig! What am I, some princess that you can barter off to?" Sukochi roared. Her father remained calm against his daughter's outburst before replying.
"Listen, you don't have to marry that man's son forever. Once the Triad takes control of the city, I'll personally have Kodon and that brat of his Tohn killed. You could even be the assassin if you want." Capulet replied calmly, lighting a cigarette "We just need his power for now."
"Is there any other way? At all?" Sukochi asked.
"Sukochi, if there was another way I would gladly take it. But for now, this is the best option for us."
"Oh..." Sukochi muttered, and remained silent until they reached the Triad mansion, owned by a good friend of her father's. When they went inside, Capulet went to his office as Sukochi went to the underground to train.
A few hours later Azuo and Kazai found Sukochi furiously beating one of the punching bags in the gym. Not noticing them, Kazai had to ring a small bell in order to get Sukochi's attention.
"Thinking a lot Sukochi?" Azuo asked.
"Yeah...you wouldn't believe what happened..." Sukochi sighed.
"We heard." Kazai said, "The news has spread. Everyone's excited...and kind of surprised. Why did you accept to marry someone though?"
"I don't, but it's only temporary. Besides, I have to have to help my dad. Though...."
"Though?" Azuo asked.
"He said if there was a better way, he'd take it." Sukochi replied.
"Do not tell me you're going to actually try and plan a better way for your dad..." Kazai warned, "He's a genius. He wouldn;t have made it if he thought it might backfire."
"I don't want to marry some rich jerk who looks like a catgator in a suit! Even if it is temporary..." Sukochi yelled, crossing her arms in stubbornness.
"You know Sukochi won't back down Kazai." Azuo laughed, making his way to Sukochi's side "That's like you trying to go on an airship with your fear of heights."
"Is not!" Kazai snapped back, and rolled her eyes "Fine, I'll help. But if this backfires, I'm blaming it on you both."
Sukochi laughed "Agreed."
The Forgotten and the Feared
Noh backed into the corner of the alley as the three men sneered at him.
"Y-you said that you could help me for f-free...." Noh stuttered, his back against the wall.
"Well maybe not for money perhaps..." one of them sneered "But we do need...certain fees...."
"I don't have anything to give you! Please, just go!" Noh pleaded, raising his arms in defense.
"I'm afraid we've done too much to just go off scot-free..." Another said maliciously, and grabbed Noh's collar and reared his fist back.
"This is gonna hurt you alot more than it hurts me kid." The man sneered, and Noh closed his eyes for the incoming impact. Suddenly he was thrown the ground as Noh's assailant was knocked aside, his friends fleeing from the alley.
"I would suggest you leave this young man alone, before my bo staff has to teach you a lesson." Noh's saviour threatened, holding his staff skillfully. The assailant laughed at the sight of him.
"Please! You think you can beat me Montague? Your nothing but an old, useless detective that no one cares for anymore!" the assailant laughed, and charged the man. Montague smirked, and quickly avoided the attack with the staff before cracking the back of the assailant's head with it and knock him out.
"C'mon, it will be safer at my office." Montague said, and lead Noh to the small building. Once they were inside, Montague wasted no time to question Noh.
"Who are you kid? You around here or something?"
"Well..." Noh said hesitantly "I...don't know."
Montague blinked in surprise "You have amnesia?"
Noh nodded "All I remember is waking up on the shore next to the harbor. I don't even know my own name...except for this paper. Even then, it's worn out." Noh said, handing the detective the paper.
Montague examined the paper closely, but it was so worn out that the only thing on it was the letters "No" along with a half washed out letter that looked suspiciously like an H.
"I see..." Montague mused "And has anyone else helped you?"
Noh shook his head "Everyone I tried said it's a cold case, and I don't have money so they won't investigate further."
"Well, well...." Montague said, and smiled "Well then I'll help you with the case, for free."
Noh eyed him "For free?"
"I think you heard that gangster clear, I'm kinda low on the best detectives list. I used to be on top! But...the more cases I lost, well the more I dropped on popularity. If I solve this cold case, it'll shoot me back up to the top again! That'll be my payment." He stuck out his hand "Agreed?"
Noh shook his hand vigorously with a smile "Agreed!"
Under the cover of night the assassin walked across the skyscraper's top. His armored feet lightly clanked against the metal as his mask glinted in the city light below. Behind him a guard laid dead, his own blade through his throat. Slipping out a small black book from the depths of his cloak, he began to scribble ine a new entry:
Paid Target: No
Speed of Kill:
The assassin looked at his stopwatch before filling in that section.
Speed of Kill: 37 seconds
The assassin snapped his fingers in frustration. Eleven seconds away from beating his fastest time. If only that guard hadn't turned. Damn fireflakes....
The assassin shook his head before looking over Republic City once again. In the glow of the light, the assassin's eyes were ones of murderous joy. Chuckling, the man whispered to himself:
"Such a fair city. Probably because of it's colorful people..."
The assassin laughed at his next thought and looked at his little black book again, especially at its cover.
Yami's Kill Log
The assassin laughed again as he scanned through the blank pages that would soon be filled, chuckling all the while.
"Too bad I must paint this city red...."
For the collective works of the author, go here.