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|Searching for a Waterbender|
Book 1: Blood
Chapter 2: Searching for a Waterbender
Susanowo sighed; they had not honored their end of the bargain. Not yet.
"The four of you promised me something, and he is the only one who has kept that promise!" He motioned to one of the five figures at the table, a dark haired man with ceremonial Spirit Armor in various shades of blue. "I expect everything to be in order soon."
"But...my Lord...we are trying, but I personally do not believe that they are ready. At least mine isn't."
The other three voiced their own contentions as well, but the Spirit of Tempests was done with it. The table cracked as he slammed his fist down. "I will complete their training; you must simply ensure that your end of the bargain is met."
"What are all of you afraid of?" The icy voice caused all heads to turn towards the man in blue Spirit Armor. "We have been offered unparalleled power in exchange for a small sacrifice. We should be grateful for this opportunity."
One of the others, a man in a simple black tunic, scoffed. "It is truly so small a sacrifice, then?"
"Compared to the reward? Yes...oh, yes."
"If I remember correctly, Argho, this didn't go so well the first time." Shen gripped the hilt of his blade tightly. "The woman wanted nothing to do with us."
The moon was nearing the end of its cycle, Argho could feel the Water chakra responding positively to its draw. "We aren't here to ask for answers. All I need is a connection...a name, maybe a place."
The Avatar's companion exhaled and suppressed a shiver. "Whatever we're gonna do, can we at least get out of the cold?"
The Earthbender shook his head and offered a sad smile. "Unfortunately not, look over there."
Shen's attention was directed over to a small, seemingly insignificant man making his way to the bunkhouse. "And that is...?"
"...the record-keeper. I noticed him feverishly writing down the comings and goings of those within the outpost. He would know where Kyrie was going and why."
"I'm in; let's see if he can't tell us anything." The white-cloaked young man motioned for Argho to stay back as he moved forward with silent footfalls and agile steps, quickly catching up with the man and putting his hand over the stunned person's mouth. "We need to speak with you...now."
"So Kyrie Kenshi is nowhere to be found..." Kyoshi sat across from the current Avatar, both cross-legged.
"The record-keeper refused to tell me; he was afraid of something..."
The prior Earthbending Avatar snorted. "Cowards often get in the way of one's mission, and evil is not above using cowardice."
Argho chuckled. "Regardless, we will be leaving Kenshin Outpost soon enough. I have a few more ideas as for allies."
"You always do, Av—wait..." Her eyes widened. "Did you say Kenshin Outpost?! Leave! Take Shen and flee now!"
Kyoshi's glowing form disintegrated and left Argho with both a sense of urgency and many unanswered questions.
"Shen!" He stood quickly and bashed his door open, allowing the cold air to waft in. "We have to move!"
His friend heard his cry, and the door to his own room was ripped from its hinges. Shen walked out, fully dressed with his sword at his side and a pack on his back. "I'm ready."
"Good. Kyoshi is ordering a retreat."
His ally paled. "That is bad!"
The man in blue Spirit Armor observed the empty rooms and the destroyed doors as the night air caused snow to flutter about. They left...so much the better for their sake.
"I want the Avatar and his companion dead! Make it look as much like an accident as possible."
Outpost guards, equipped with NowoCorp rifles, bowed before leaving.
The man in the black tunic turned to the other. "Are you certain that is wise? The Avatar can surely handle them on his—."
The cold man held up his hand and smirked. "I know. My purpose has been set before me in order to bring all of Susanowo's plans and pawns together. He knows best, after all."
"The train will take us into the heart of the Northern Water Tribe; from there, we gather our strength."
Shen glanced at their transportation and grimaced. "I'd much rather be in the air than on that thing; it's too cramped."
A slap on the back nearly drove Shen into the snow. "Come now, my friend! We cannot complain about what destiny has dealt us!"
The young man allowed himself a small smile. "Fine...whatever gets us there."
As they entered the train car, even Argho failed to realize that they were being followed.
The sound of the Avatar's snoring was only partly to blame for Shen's inability to sleep. Even louder still were his memories, and they haunted him both in sleep and in wakefulness. He could almost think back, but he feared to.
Shen couldn't cry out to wake the Avatar, seeing as a large hand was wrapped around his mouth.
"Silence, Shen." Argho's voice came out in a whisper. "I'll handle this."
With an agility that belied his size, Argho proceeded to sneak toward the door. A small creak was all that escaped as the Avatar opened the door out into the small hallway, but a gasp, louder still, escaped from Shen's lips.
The reason for such an outburst came from five men in Outpost guard uniform, tied up and gagged. A black eyebrow rose as both men pondered the significance of what might have occurred, but the younger quickly noticed a piece of paper set within the rope that bound one of them.
"Who...? Why...?" Shen shook his head. "How..."
Argho bore a grim countenance. "They must've been taken down while in another part of the train; otherwise we would've heard the fight."
He opened the note and grunted. "I hate it when things aren't clear."
"Let me have a look." The young man took hold of the paper.
Consider this a gift, Avatar, a gift from friends. The short, cryptic message was underlined with the same symbol that had been on the back of the cloaks of the attackers at Kenshin Outpost.
The bell's toll signaled the train's arrival, and the morning sun allowed Argho and Shen to awaken. The Capital City of the Northern Water Tribe sprawled before them, stone and ice working together to hold up the metropolis.
"It's so nice of Susanowo to show us where we need to go." Shen grinned as he gazed upon the skyscraper that was NowoCorp Tower.
"Not yet...first we will attend the festival and scope out our target; he is a spirit after all. This won't be as easy as it sounds."
"A festival, Argho? When he's right here?" The Avatar's ally gripped his sword hilt and shook his head. "If we take him down now—!"
"We can't do it alone. Please understand that." Shen nodded resignedly as the Earthbender glanced around. "Now, we need to find suitable lodging, not an easy task so close to the festival. You go and enjoy yourself while I make arrangements."
As the Avatar began walking toward one of the many hotels, Shen rolled his eyes. "Great...now what am I supposed to do?"
"I am begging you, at least slow him down!" Usha gripped the Protector's shoulder. "You have the power!"
"But not the authority. I have been forbidden from acting against Susanowo."
The Spirit of Dawn's eyes narrowed. "By who? The 'Judge'? We both know—!"
"It was not the Judge! Lin Quei has no power over me anyway. No, He has ordered it."
"Then..." She turned away. "I suppose you really can't do anything..."
Lu Ten grimaced. "Nor would I want to."
- Kyrie's name is pronounced Kee-ree-yay. Say it fast. :)
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