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|Ransom of Kings|
Chapter 10: Ransom of Kings
Sora's eyes fluttered open, and she found herself imprisoned a stone cell.
"Solf, she's awake." The Equalist that had been sitting in the chair across from her cell stood and left the room as Solf Koruhagi entered.
"Well, it seems that capturing you was an incredibly insightful move, girl." The anti-bender mused as he paced before her. "We will ensure the success of our cause through you."
Sora groaned as she sat up, pain shooting through her body. "What do you mean?"
"You'll know soon enough." He frowned. "I'm not going to volunteer information."
The Waterbender narrowed her eyes. "Why do you continue fighting a losing battle? The police have to be closing in on you!"
Solf grinned. "Oh, they are; in fact, they already have our leader, Kiryu Iran."
She smirked. "See!? This can only bring pain. If you stop—"
"I wasn't finished yet, girl. They have our leader, but we're not out of this yet."
Her eyes widened. They're going to use me as leverage!
Yun Zhen paced the floor of the banquet hall. "General Iroh is in bed and recuperating, but we still don't have any word from Chief Bei Fong about Sora." He glanced around. "Is someone keeping an eye on Tenzin?"
Lu Ten nodded. "Pema's with him."
Kyani rolled his eyes. "Like she'd be able to stop him if he knew where Sora was..."
The Fire Nation nobleman shook his head. "I want them both down here; we can't afford to have any unknowns now."
Ty Lee busied herself with comforting Chikyuu, as the Earthbender had broken down soon after their arrival. "Your mommy's gonna be here soon, Chikyuu; I'm sure of it."
The girl nodded before sniffling. "They took Sora..."
"I know, Sweetie, but I know your mother will do everything in her power to get her back."
"And if she can't," Tenzin walked down the final few steps, Pema following close behind. "Then I will."
The time was close; the Spirit of Dawn would finally have her revenge. And she wouldn't even have to lift a finger.
"It is the beginning of the end, my son..." Usha smirked. "Nothing the Avatar can do will stop what comes for him and his."
"Are you so certain of your visions, Mother? They have failed you in the past. Remember what happened to—?"
She whirled. "I REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED TO KOH!!"
Susanowo winced; he had hit a sore spot. And he was in no condition to do battle with his mother. Not yet. "Hear me out, Mother. Koh died, despite your vision to the contrary. Perhaps..."
"This one shall come to pass; of that I am certain."
"Is that so?" He grinned. "How about a little wager, then?"
Tears fell from Aang's face as he sat on the bed. He had made so little progress, only coming as far as a small Earth Kingdom Village right off the northern coast. Why am I unable to protect the ones I love? Why must they suffer for my mistakes?
He narrowed his eyes. "Feeling sorry for myself and moping will get me nowhere..." All I can do is meditate.
As he closed his eyes and sat cross-legged, Aang saw a scene flash before his eyes. It was so vivid, so real, and it made him jump out of his meditative state. What he had seen...was Republic City burning.
The Fire Nation Royal Tower loomed over the fountain, and Tenzin knew what was going on inside. The adults, who by now included Chief Bei Fong, would be discussing what would be done about Sora, but they wouldn't actually do anything.
"If only Dad were here..."
"Tenzin?" Pema sidled up beside him on the bench. "Are you—?"
"If you're going to ask me the obvious question, no I am not."
Her shoulders sagged as she sighed. "I'm sorry...I didn't think it would ever get this bad. I-I guess I should've seen it coming..."
The Airbender put a steadying hand on her shoulder. "It's not your fault; I shouldn't be taking this out on you. And..." He kissed the top of her head. "I'm truly sorry that your parents died like that. I had no idea..."
Pema glanced up at him. "I guess we both have a lot of baggage..."
He lifted her to her feet. "And we can face it together, as friends."
"But before we do that, we have to get your sister back."
He smiled. "Are you sure you'll be able to face them?"
"I don't know..." She admitted. "But I do have some words for Solf."
"As noble as this all sounds, it appears that the adults are going to wait for my dad to get here." Kyani strode up to them. "They have not yet heard of any demands, but Mrs. Bei Fong thinks that they're going to try and use Sora as leverage to get Kiryu Iran released."
Tenzin's eyes widened. "What!! They-they can't do that!"
"But they are; they have no choice. You and I both know that. When my dad gets here, they'll mount a rescue mission, but until then..."
"No! I can't accept that! She's my sister!" He began moving toward the tower.
"And she's not my cousin?!" Kyani stepped in front of him. "I'm angry too, but there's nothing we can do!"
It was Pema's turn to steady him. "Tenzin, maybe he's right..."
Without turning toward her, the Airbender spoke. "If you had to, could you get us close to Solf?"
Kyani whirled. "Wait...what?!"
Tenzin spun back to face them, his trademark grin present once more. "Boys and girls, I have a plan!"
The door to the viewing area opened with a creak, and light spilled into Kiryu Iran's cell. A shadowed form strode in, full of confidence.
"Well, Gareth, I expected you here hours ago." He held up his near empty tray. "The guard just brought me my dinner; I would've saved some for you had I known you'd be here. Have you come to gloat?"
"Perhaps a little. More importantly, though, would be to find out where your little rat is hiding, and consequently, where they have taken the girl."
Kiryu Iran chuckled. "How would I know the whereabouts of a skittering rat? You're not suggesting that I walk the tunnels, are you?"
Gareth smirked. "Give up, Iran; the Brotherhood, and all benders, have already won this fight. Now, it is simply time for the cleanup."
"You assume too much, friend."
The Firebender leaned in close. "They will never trade you for that girl. You will occupy a cell for the remainder of your days."
Gareth whirled and exited the viewing area, causing the prisoner to smile. He pushed aside his potatoes to reveal a key.
"I'm afraid that I won't be in here for as long as you'd like, Gareth."
Solf Koruhagi spun his shikkar on the tip of the blade, waiting. He knew it was coming, and all he had to do was wait.
Wait while Iran gets the glory... He scowled. It was always destined to end that way. But... He thought as he grinned wickedly. Perhaps I can yet make my mark on history. Perhaps I can make them fear.
Yes, they would know fear.
- This is a shorter chapter, but that's more because I didn't want the next couple to be so long.
For the collective works of the author, go here.