|By Agent Slash||Genre||Rating||Reviews||Updates|
|More from Agent Slash||Action||PG13||Good||N/A|
|Secrets From Within|
Everything was spinning. Hong Wu's vision was blurry. All he could tell was that he was in a dimly lit room. The assassin groaned as he regained consciousness. Suddenly, it hit him – he was in danger. Hong Wu came to his senses and attempted to move forward, but he would not budge. Hong Wu struggled for a few more moments until he realized his predicament. His arms and legs were chained. His arms were suspended above him, and his legs were close together. Hong Wu instantly searched around for his teammates, and sure enough, they were nowhere to be found. Just then, the door opened, and three men walked in. Hong Wu recognized Mongke, but the second man was someone he, at first, was not familiar with. He had a large beard and was very muscular. The third man was hidden behind the rest, and Hong Wu could not see him clearly.
"So, you are the one who was planning the ambush," the man with the large beard said.
"He is one of them," said Mongke.
"Did I tell you to speak, colonel?" asked Reiko in a voice that reeked of agitation.
Mongke did not speak again.
"You are General Reiko, aren't you?" asked Hong Wu.
"You know, you should have been more careful," said the third man. "You should have watched out for spies in the woods." The man scoffed at his prisoner. "You're pathetic."
Hong Wu was horrified when he heard this man's voice.
"Yes," The third man continued. "And I know who you are, too. Your eyes, your face, they are unmistakable."
"Oh, really?" asked Hong Wu. "What makes you think that?" He was certain it was not who he thought it was. It couldn't be.
"Because, I am the man who set you on your current path," Xiang replied, stepping forward so that his old pupil could see him clearly.
Hong Wu stared into the eyes of his former mentor, his most trusted colleague. "No, no!" Hong Wu shouted. He struggled, attempting to reach his former teacher, but his restraints would not allow it. "Why, Master Xiang?! Why?!"
"I knew you would not understand why, Hong Wu. You're so young, so pathetic."
"Answer me!" Hong Wu demanded.
"You want to know why? Because, the Fire Nation is truly the greatest nation there is! I see no reason to continue serving a nation that is so weak, that the Earth King lets his Grand Secretariat run the country! Especially, when our nation is so weak, that it is losing the war, despite the fact that our nation is three times the size of the Fire Nation! It's time to step into the winner's corner and face reality."
Hong Wu attempted to struggle once again, wanting to stab his former master in the throat for his treachery, but once again, he could not.
"And I am sure you recognize me," the bearded man said.
Hong Wu thought back. He remembered the man who led the attack on his encampment looked exactly like him. The beard, the face, he remembered them. With a vicious scream, Hong Wu attempted to lash out at the man who ruined his youth, but it was no use. His restraints would not allow him to lay a finger on Reiko. "I'll kill both of you, you scumbags!" Hong Wu snarled. "Let me go so we can settle this like men!" Hong Wu then received a blow to the face from Reiko.
The general then generated a bolt of lightning from his fingertips and fired it directly at his captive. Hong Wu screamed as he was shocked. It felt as if a thousand jolts had just been sent through his body. Surprisingly, though, Hong Wu had not died.
He must have weakened his attack. He thought. He wants me to die slowly and painfully.
Reiko generated another lightning bolt and sent it at Hong Wu once again. The assassin yelled out in pain once more as he was shocked again. "Now, let me make something clear," Reiko started. "No orphan is going to insult me in such a manner – especially not in my own base. Do you understand?"
Hong Wu was too weak to say anything. He remained there, saying nothing for several moments, until he finally uttered something he regretted moments later. "Go to--" Hong Wu felt the pain of a lightning bolt once again surge through him. It was unbearable the third time. Hong Wu let out a horrifying shriek of pain. By the time the lightning bolt had disappeared, Hong Wu was too weak to do or say anything else.
"Get him out of my sight," Reiko said.
"Sir, you aren't going to execute him?" asked Mongke.
"Not yet. He can still be of use to us. We will use him and the others as bargaining chips," Reiko explained.
"But, sir-" Mongke started.
"I thought I made it clear that you weren't supposed to speak!" Reiko shouted. "Take him to cell J-557 and leave him there to rot until we need him."
Mongke complied. He unchained Hong Wu, draping him over his shoulder, and carried him out of the room. He walked down many different corridors of the complex until they finally came to a cell marked, 'J-557'. The leader of the Rough Rhinos tossed him in and locked the door. "Enjoy each other's company," Mongke smirked before leaving.
Hong Wu weakly looked up to see another man in the cell with him. "Are you alright?" he asked. "What the doodle did they do to you?" he asked.
"Lightning." Hong Wu was only able to utter the single word.
The man stared down on his cellmate, wishing he could help. "You should probably lie down," he said. "You need to regain your strength."
Hong Wu did as the man instructed and lay down on his side. Then, everything went black once again.
Ming and Hoku were inside their cell. Ming could not stop thinking about Hong Wu. "He's going to be okay, right?" she asked aloud.
"You mean mister hot-shot assassin?" Hoku asked. "We should be more concerned about ourselves!" he stated. "And why are you so worried about him anyway?" he inquired.
"I just am, okay?!" Ming said, defensively. "He's been through a lot, and I feel sorry for him. I just don't want to see him get hurt anymore."
"Come on, Ming. Who do you think you are fooling?" Hoku asked. "You like him, don't you?"
"Grow up!" Ming shouted.
"Hey, if you guys are done over there, can we figure out a way to get out of here?!" Konghe shouted from the next cell.
"Quiet, Konghe!" Hoku snapped, silencing his teammate. "We will get out of here, but we do not need to be shouting our plans for everyone to hear."
"Let's hope so," said Ming.
Once again, Hong Wu's vision was blurred. He could see his cellmate sitting over him. "Well, well, it looks like someone is finally waking up from his nap," he joked.
Hong Wu regained consciousness and slowly stood up. "How long was I out?" he asked.
"A few hours," his cellmate replied.
"What is your name?" Hong Wu asked.
"My name is Fa Ling Lu," the man explained.
"What does the Fire Nation want with you?" he questioned.
"I am a mechanist," Fa explained. "I invent machines that improve people's lives, or rather, I used to."
"What do you mean?" asked Hong Wu.
"I live in a village a little while from here, located near a river," Fa started to explain. "Everyone tells me the place is going to flood one day, but I'm not worried. Anyway, I was taken from my home by Reiko's soldiers. They had heard of my expertise with mechanics and they wanted me to invent something for them."
"What?" Hong Wu asked, suddenly very curious. "Is it the rumored secret weapon Reiko has?"
"Oh, yes, but this rumor is certainly true," Fa replied. "They made me invent a machine that will cut right through to the heart of Ba Sing Se: a giant drill about the size of a small building, and about half a mile long. It is designed to tunnel straight through Ba Sing Se's walls and go straight into the city."
Hong Wu was horrified at this news. "Impossible! How would such a devise even work?!"
"It is powered by engineers from within. They give the drill the fuel it needs to move forward."
Not intending to listen to anymore, Hong Wu decided it was time to leave. "We need to get out of here right now," he said.
"And how exactly are we going to do that?" asked Fa.
Hong Wu was not sure he knew the answer to Fa's question.
Suddenly, Hoku came bursting down the hallway. Hong Wu saw him and called out. "Hey, Hoku!" he shouted. "Over here!"
Hoku stopped in front of his teammate's cell. "Step aside!" he ordered. Hong Wu and Fa moved over to the right side of the cell. Hoku Earthbent the left side of the wall of their cell forward and destroyed the bars. He then returned the slab of earth back it's original state. Hong Wu and Fa exited the cell immediately and joined Hoku.
"Where are Ming and Konghe?" Hong Wu asked.
"Reiko has Ming; Konghe is still in his cell," Hoku replied.
"We are going to need more than just the four of you!" Fa stated. "We need to free the soldiers down in I-Block."
"There are others?" Hoku asked.
"Yes, I saw Reiko's troops escorting a platoon of Terra Team soldiers to the metal cells down in the I-Block," said Fa.
"You mean Mongke didn't kill them?!" Hong Wu asked.
"I guess he meant to, but he never did," Hoku assumed. "We need to get down there now."
"You two go," Hong Wu ordered. "I'll save Ming and Konghe." Without any debate, Hong Wu sprinted off in the other direction towards Konghe's cell and the torture chamber.
- The machine Fa has designed is a prototype of the drill that Aang encounters in The Drill.
For the collective works of the author, go here.