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Book 3: Dawn
Chapter 10: The End, Pt. 1
Susanowo leaned against the massive window of his NowoCorp office, looking down on the bright lights of a city that never slept. His breathing was raspy, which surprised him.
"Lord Susanowo?" Kenshin's voice echoed from the doorway.
"What is it?"
The harsh and haggard tone caused the Spirit of Ice to wince. "My efforts to gather the Waterbenders as you asked have met with...complications."
Susanowo did not turn around. "Of what sort?"
"Yes..." the spirit bowed, "The Republic City police force is out for our blood, seeing as we were responsible for—"
"If the city cannot hold under the weight of our power, than it isn't worth the effort to maintain."
Kenshin cocked his head. "Lord Susanowo?"
He rubbed his eyes briefly. "Nevermind...just...just make plans for us to be able to leave Republic City when I am done."
The stars still hovered in the night sky, but the moon was low. A low light also peeked on the horizon. Dawn was fast approaching, and Moro didn't have much time. She neglected her black robes in favor of a simple blue tunic with a hood.
She stood at her door and sighed before slowly, and silently, opening it. Her steps were measured as she made her way through the main living room of the apartment, careful not to wake Shen or his parents.
I'm sorry... Moro's eyes narrowed. I have to do this alone. Kyrie won't come back if I can't convince him without violence.
The Waterbender adjusted the water skins at her hips and quietly opened the door leading out of the apartment, only eliciting a slight creak.
As she walked down the hall, a frown grew on her face. She pulled the hood over her head.
"Kyrie, I am coming. I promise."
Shen's eyes snapped open as soon as the sound reached his ears; the front door had been opened. His sleep-addled mind was slow to determine the cause. As he stumbled out into the living room, Moro's open door left little to determine.
He was wide awake by this point, and he staggered back into his room to change quickly. He slipped his dark blue Air Nation dress uniform on and wrapped his white cloak around his shoulders. The last piece of the ensemble was the sword he snapped to his belt.
As his quick, but muffled, steps brought him to the front door, he stopped. He glanced at the broom closet and opened the door, pulling out the glider that rested within.
Instead of continuing out the front door, Shen now headed toward the balcony window, sliding it open. As the night air flowed past him, his heart beat faster.
A mere sliver of the sun's light appeared on the horizon as Susanowo gazed out the window of his office in the NowoCorp building. The Spirit of Tempests frowned as he stared at nothing in particular.
His hands shook uncontrollably, and only through a concentrated effort could he get them to stop. "What is happening? Why am I so weakened?" He growled, an entirely inhuman gesture. "They will be coming for me; I can feel it. Otokami...he planned this.
"Lord Susanowo?" Kenshin waited at the threshold of the door, this time with Kyrie by his side. "I was unable to secure passage out of the city; the police—"
"Are not fools." Susanowo sighed. "Kyrie, you will kill anyone who attempts to engage me who is not Argho. But, if Moro happens to come for you; let her pass."
A moment passed before the Bloodbender's eyes glazed over. "Yes, Lord Susanowo."
"Kenshin, wait for my word in the conference room on the bottom floor. If Argho or Otokami defeats me, I need you to carry out the remainder of our mission."
The Spirit of Ice winced. "But—!"
"Do it." Susanowo turned to face him. "Now."
The Spirit of Tempests returned his gaze to the window. Come on, then. Show me what you've got.
Moro stared at the NowoCorp building as the sun hovered just over the horizon. By now, Shen would've realized what she had done.
"Alright, Kyrie," she said to no one in particular, "Today we can finally go home together."
There was a massive fountain situated in the courtyard, and she made special notice of the two armed guards at the door. They noticed her as well and snapped to attention, bringing their rifles to bear. To avoid Bloodbending, Moro pulled water from the fountain and used it to surf toward them. The men fired their weapons, but she weaved too quickly and erratically for them to be accurate.
Upon reaching her attackers, the Waterbender brought a thin line of water out of the skins at her side, wrapping one around each of their necks and pulling them together. Their heads cracked against one another, causing both men to go down.
Moro replaced the water in her skins and walked in as the automatic doors slid open.
The lobby was empty, which made Moro's heart race. He's waiting for Argho...I don't think he even knows I'm here.
As she rounded the corner, two more guards stood in front of the elevator. This time, however, they stepped aside.
Her red eyes widened. "What are you—?"
"You are one of the Chosen; therefore you have the right to pass. Lord Susanowo has told us not to interfere with your passage, Moro Kenshi."
"Uh...right." She strolled into the elevator, unimpeded. This isn't good.
As the elevator doors slid closed, Moro glanced at the buttons on the pad to her right. She had an idea which floor her brother was on, but the thought made her stomach lurch.
"Moro..." Kyrie's voice came through a set of speakers in the upper left of the elevator. "There is so much we have to talk about. I'm in Susanowo's office; come find me."
She chuckled mirthlessly. "Right, and Susanowo isn't waiting for me."
"No," Kyrie replied, his voice cracking as he did so. "He is making preparations elsewhere; this may be the only chance we have."
"Kyrie...you need to come home," The Waterbender said.
"Come and find me, Moro."
The wind whipped past Shen as he glided along the cityscape; the NowoCorp building remained in his view the entire way. He narrowed his eyes as the glowing sign at the top flickered off. Dawn had come at last.
The Airbender descended as he approached the tall structure, intent on entering through the main lobby. The last thing he needed was confronting Susanowo on his own.
"Damn it, Moro! Why couldn't you wait?"
He closed the glider upon landing lightly on the ground in front of the entrance. He noticed the two unconscious guards lying against the wall, as well as the unmelted ice that stemmed from the fountain behind him.
The doors slid open as he approached, and he found that his midsection ached, a phantom wound brought on by...
By what? Shen gripped the hilt of his sword and entered the building unimpeded. The fact that the building appeared empty only made things creepy.
He soon found that it was not empty, however; two sentries stood at either side of the elevator at the end of the hall. Their silence was unnerving, but they did brandish their rifles at him.
"Just turn around and go back the way you came."
Shen frowned and waved his hand in a wide arc across his body; a swift, heavy pocket of air barreled toward the sentries. It crashed into them with incredible force, knocking them into, and cracking, the cement wall behind them.
Without saying a word, he stepped toward the elevator, and he noticed that it was descending from the top floor.
Damn it. I'm coming Moro.
The doors opened half a minute later with a ding; he stepped inside without a moment's hesitation. Shen pressed the button for the top floor, sighing as the doors closed.
The elevator ascended until it was halfway up before slowing to a stop. Shen narrowed his eyes. Another ding accompanied the opening doors, and he found himself face to face with Kyrie Kenshi.
Argho crumpled the letter as the sun peered over the horizon. Rioku and Kuan Ti both shook their heads as the cold wind blew past.
"We only have one recourse now; we have to get to NowoCorp before they are both killed."
Kuan Ti exhaled. "I wish I could go with you both, but I have something I need to do."
"Zhan," Rioku stated. "Go; we can handle the Spirit of Tempests."
The Equalist nodded before grinning. "What should we do after today? Are we done?"
Argho looked toward the massive NowoCorp office. "Ask me when we're finished."
As Kuan Ti ran off toward his own destination, the Avatar looked to his former protégé. "Are you ready?"
Rioku sported a feral grin. "Born."
Moro slowly pushed open the door to Susanowo's office, but the ornate waterfall in the middle of the room obscured her vision.
"Kyrie, let's go home," she said.
As the Waterbender round the structure, she saw the Spirit of Tempests as he sat at his desk.
Susanowo was faced away from her, slumped in his chair as if the world were weighted on his shoulders. "Your brother is currently unavailable; he is likely dealing with your tail," He said with a rough voice.
"Shen...how did he—?"
"It does not matter how he followed you; he will be dead soon." Susanowo stood and faced her. "Now, only one question remains: will you leave your mother with one less child?"
Moro gritted her teeth. "We aren't your property! Kyrie and I have our own lives to live!"
"I beg to differ. You were bred with the express purpose of serving me and the Water Tribes to the end. Your father knew this."
Something akin to a growl escaped her lips. "My father?! That monster is not my father! Not Kyrie's! And we are not your puppets!"
Susanowo waved his hand and shook his head. "So you say, but he did grant you the power you hold so dear. You and your brother are among the most powerful benders on the planet because of his status as the Spirit of Ice. Now, I just have one last thing to say: forget your former friends and serve your purpose. This is an order."
Immediately, the Blood Seal on Moro's forehead began to burn, far more intensely than it had ever done before. It wasn't long before her surroundings were lost in a haze.
"No..." Her voice seemed far off, even to her ears. The feeling was familiar; after all, Susanowo had done the same thing in the north. This time, however, it was far stronger, more forceful.
"I don't think you are strong enough. You can't fight my brother and I at the same time. The best part...he has no idea I'm even here."
The alien voice shocked Moro, but she stood stock still. "Wh-who...?"
A sinister laugh invaded her mind. "Sweet child, my name is Koh, and I am the Spirit of Chaos!"
Shen slammed against the back of the elevator as Kyrie thrust his hand forward. The Bloodbender stepped in after him. As Shen struggled against the force of his bending, the older Kenshi sibling clenched his hand tighter.
"Here you are, Shen, as Lord Susanowo predicted."
The Airbender said nothing as the doors closed behind them.
Kyrie winced. "So...you face your death with silence? Fine."
As the Bloodbender began to close his hand fully, Shen quickly shot a puff of air between his lips. The unexpected maneuver caused Kyrie Kenshi to slam into the doors and slump to the floor. He recovered swiftly, though, and stood face to face with Shen as he drew his sword.
"A blade?" Kyrie pulled water from the air in the elevator and froze it into a crude sword. "I can oblige you; I will give you a fair fight."
Shen cocked his head. "Why?"
"Because," a look of hesitation grew on the Bloodbender's face, "I was told to kill you...not how to do it. You..."
Shen glanced at the indicator; they were halfway to the top floor from where they'd started. "I have to help Moro."
"Yes." Kyrie shifted into a fighting stance. "I...I can't."
The Bloodbender made the first move, thrusting forward swiftly. Shen knocked the weapon to the side with relative ease, following up by slapping Kyrie's cheek with the flat of his blade.
Kyrie went with the direction of the strike, spinning and keeping his blade close to avoid striking the wall, pulling it into the open when he had the chance. The frozen construct sped toward Shen's side, but the Airbender dropped his sword and quickly planted his feet on—and ran halfway up—the wall, allowing him to pull his knees close to his chest and flip over the strike.
Shen landed as Kyrie's ice sword embedded itself in the metal wall. As his opponent attempted to pull it out, he kicked his own sword up into his hand and smacked the Bloodbender's forearm with the end of the hilt to make him let go of his weapon. He followed that up by stomp-kicking Kyrie's knee, causing his foe to drop to the ground.
Unarmed and slower than the Airbender he was fighting, Kyrie Kenshi simply watched as the blade pressed against his neck.
"Stop fighting. I don't want to kill you!"
"You have to, or Moro will never be free," Kyrie replied.
"She already is," Shen said as the elevator dinged.
The Bloodbender clenched his fist as their transport came to a stop, and ice wrapped around it as it sailed toward Shen. The young man noticed his movement and immediately jumped back, pressing his feet against the rear of the elevator.
Just as the doors opened, he kicked off of the wall—sword pointed forward—and skewered Kyrie as he propelled himself out of the car via Airbending. The blade left his hands as they both crashed to the floor; it had found purchase firmly in the Bloodbender's midsection.
Shen got to his feet and glanced at his foe's body; Kyrie coughed and sputtered as he clutched futilely at the blade in his stomach.
"Damn it, Kenshi...I tried to warn..." His heart sank as he realized the last of his Air Nomad beliefs had been destroyed. "I...I didn't want to do this."
"Heh..." Blood began to seep between the cracks in his armor formed by the blade. "You didn't have a choice; I couldn't...couldn't give you one." His red eyes closed. "Please...help my sister."
The Airbender approached the door to Susanowo's office. "I really hope she doesn't need my help."
The Blood Seal felt like it was being seared into Moro's brain, and the other spirit, Koh, had not shut up since it began.
"Did you really think you stood a chance? Your brother is weak, just as your mother was. How blind could she have been to have married a man like Kenshin and not seen what he was?"
Somewhere in the haze of it all, she heard the doors to Susanowo's office open. "Don't...talk about...my mother..."
Susanowo's voice cut through as well. "Your mother? I didn't mention her in the slightest. Going mad already? I assumed you were stronger than that." She heard a strangled cry. "Ah, ah, ah, Airbender. Do not interfere."
Moro shakily glanced over at the Spirit of Tempests; he held Shen in the air by his throat.
"Unfortunately, this is where my brother's hubris will get the better of him..."
She staggered to her feet as Susanowo threw Shen into the fountain behind her before sitting calmly on his desk.
The spirit grinned. "You see, Moro? He is here; that means Kyrie failed."
Her eyes widened, and the haze dissipated. Even the burning subsided as realization struck. "You mean...Kyrie..."
"I'm so sorry, Moro; he wouldn't stop attacking." Shen got to his feet, tears welling in his eyes. "I tried to stop him."
Susanowo chuckled. "You see? He doesn't deny it; he killed your brother. Return the favor."
She narrowed her red eyes after blinking tears away. "You...you killed him!"
Susanowo smiled as Shen hung his head. "Checkmate."
Two ice spikes flew from the fountain and punctured the Spirit of Tempests' chest, causing him to cry out. He flipped over his desk from the momentum, cracking his head against the floor.
Moro gritted her teeth and brought even more water from her water skins, letting it wrap around her arms. "You used my family! You drove my brother insane! You are the reason my mother is a shell! It is all your fault; Shen is no more guilty for this than he is for the actions of his people!"
Susanowo stood and ripped the icicles from his chest; rage burned in his gaze. "None of you will ever understand! You never could cope with the fact that you existed for the greater good of the Water Tribes!"
He grasped them both with his incredible Bloodbending and held them aloft. Moro felt the crushing grip of the arbiter of the art, and she was using all she had to fight him. Shen, however, wasn't so lucky; Susanowo would crush him in seconds if she didn't act.
She shakily stretched her hand as far as she could toward Shen and applied half of her focus to relieving the spirit's pressure on him. She heard him gasp for air and utter her name in the next breath.
As Susanowo closed his fists with a weary casualness, the Waterbender felt the air behind her grow colder. Immediately after, three icicles shot from the fountain and struck the spirit in the chest. Another second, and Moro found herself falling to the ground, but the impact wasn't as hard as she expected. She turned to see Shen smiling at her with his hand weaving a small vortex of air underneath her.
"You saved my life twice today; the least I could do was catch you."
Moro returned his smile, but then furrowed her brow. "Twice? The icicles—"
"Were mine." Kyrie limped out from behind the fountain, Shen's blood covered sword in his left hand. "I couldn't...I couldn't let him kill you."
"Kyrie..." She breathed as her eyes widened. "I thought..."
"I am a powerful Waterbender, Moro," he said as he tossed the Airbender his blade. "It'll take a lot more than a stab wound to the stomach to kill me."
Four massive icicles exploded from the fountain and impaled the elder Kenshi sibling through his chest, driving his body into the air. Moro watched in horror as Susanowo shakily got to his feet with a frown plastered on his face. Her voice sounded alien to her own ears, a shriek composed of one word exited her lips.
"Well, that was annoying. It seems that none of your half-breed kind will remain when I'm done." He stopped to pull out the three spikes still stuck in his chest. "What a was—"
A wall of water crashed into the Spirit of Tempests and sent him into the large window overlooking Republic City, which cracked as he rammed into it.
Moro whipped the massive stream around her body for another pass, but Shen lunged forward as Susanowo reached out his hand.
"Moro, look out!" She watched as he thrust both of his hands forward, causing a massive surge of wind to strike their foe.
The force of the blast cracked the window even further, so she finished pulling the wave around and sent it at the spirit. It crashed into him before he could regain himself and shattered the glass barrier behind him.
With a scream, the Spirit of Tempests tumbled out of the top floor of the NowoCorp building.
Susanowo felt his bones grind to powder as he crashed into the ground below. Blood rushed out of his broken body freely, and he could only groan in pain for the moment.
As his body pieced itself back together, he pushed himself halfway off of the ground. A shadow caught his eye, and he glanced up to find himself face to face with the Avatar.
"You've seen better days, Susanowo. It seems Shen and Moro have done their work; now I will do mine."
- So, Moro triumphed over her demons, but it was not without cost. :(
- Hopefully, this chapter gave y'all a good taste of what is to come. I can hardly believe I am so close to finishing this project.
For the collective works of the author, go here.