The Battle
Chapter information

She's a Pirate



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Release date

May 4th, 2017

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The Showdown

The Battle

Korra took a deep breath of the fresh sea air, which was nice. After Lao had come back with the news of the Equalist, everything happened at once. Korra went over to the Rhino to secure an alliance with their newly chosen captain Bahlo, provided that they would get half of the treasure in the hold and the ship itself, should she not be too badly damaged. The captain had promised not to use the great guns too much, but it would be necessary to gain the upper hand. Even with help from the Rhino and the 50 plus men and women aboard, mostly fighters, it wasn't a guaranteed victory for them.

Her only hope was that since Asami was still aboard the Aurora, Amon might hesitate to use his own great guns against them. Then again, he hadn't last time, so what's to say this one would be any different?

That did bring her to a thorny issue: why was the Equalist still coming for them? Hiroshi Sato was on his way with the gold and her mother. He had no reason to lie to Asami other than to give her a false sense of hope. And while the heiress was getting to the point where Korra couldn't possibly kill someone that close to her anymore, he didn't know that.

The only thing she could figure was that it was some sort of dick-measuring. If they really would hand over Asami and make the exchange, maybe he'd send Amon after them then to kill them all, giving him the money in reward. That way, he'd create a sort of precedent, a 'don't fuck with me or you get fucked with'-thing, but it's a lot of effort for 50.000 gold pieces, something Asami had assured her would barely make so much as a dent in their family fortune.

Still, couldn't hurt to try and get ahead on them. The one advantage Korra had was that neither Amon nor Hiroshi Sato knew that she had heard of their plan. That was something that she'd have to press.

But there was also something that really didn't sit well with her. Because of how casually Amon had opened fire at them, something told her if they were going into battle again, Asami wasn't safe by default. It was more of a gut feeling, really, and Korra knew it was her responsibility to make sure nothing bad befell her.

That was also a problem, as the heiress had been more shut-in since she walked in on Korra and Opal. The cold-shoulder treatment, but fortunately, the captain knew just the thing to break her out of it, that, for once, didn't involve liquor.

"Mako, could you take the helm for a while? Asami and I have some unfinished business to talk about."

Her first mate smiled. "She still angry about you and the whore?"

"Aye, and it's up to me to fix it."

-"It was your fault to begin with," Mako smirked.

"You're not helping. Just take the helm and keep an eye out."

He failed miserably trying to reign in his grin, so Korra just shook her head as she went below decks.

When she came back up again with what she needed, she already knew that Asami was reading in the shadow of the foremast. "Sato," Korra said, getting her attention. "Hi."

-"Captain," came her cold response.

"Can we talk or are you... busy?" Korra smirked, looking at her book.

The heiress marked the page she was on and looked up. "You want to talk, then go ahead."

"Look, I know it's not ideal, but for better and for worse, I do feel like we've become friends over the past couple of months, and this isn't how I want our last few weeks to be. You acting all cold."

Asami scoffed. "Neither did I, but then again, I didn't want to catch you fucking whores in the cabin that we share. Guess we're both disappointed."

It made Korra smile. "You need to get rid of some frustrations, and what better way to do that than with one of these," she said, holding up the cutlass she fetched from down below.

-"You've got to be kidding me. Captain, I've never even touched one of those, let alone know how to use one."

"I know, but that's what I'm here for. I'm gonna teach you how to use it."

Hesitantly, Asami stood up and took it. When she pulled the sword out of the scabbard, her already skeptical eyebrow only raised further. "Steel? I thought people always practiced with wood?"

"Where's the fun in that?" Korra smirked. "Besides, we only have about a week before we should run into Amon, you need to know your basics by then. If you also have to make the switch from wood to steel you'll never learn in time."

With a sigh, the heiress had the sword at attention, upon which Korra drew her own. "Amon is working for my father to get me back. Why would he want to hurt me?"

"No idea, but I trust that man about as far as I can throw him, and I can't throw a 200-pound man very far. Now pay attention. Elbow closer to your torso, and keep your feet a bit wider apart. You want a firm footing. Your free arm acts as counterbalance. So when I do this..." Korra slowly moved her own sword in, giving Asami all the time in the world to block it.

"Good. Now this..." Another move, this time a little faster, and followed by a second move, which Asami also managed to block. Just. What did make Korra smile was that the heiress was pretty natural with her feet, already trying to shift her weight to counter incoming swings.

-"Damn, this thing is heavy," Asami said, briefly pausing. "Don't you have anything lighter? I don't have your arms."

The captain chuckled and caught herself flexing her biceps, probably in a weak attempt at trying to impress the heiress. "No, I don't. That's a cutlass, which is about as short as you can go with a sword before it becomes a dagger. You have long arms to give you reach, but that's why you need to keep your elbow closer to your chest. Shortens the lever and makes the sword feel lighter. You attack this time."

She did, and just like Korra expected, it wasn't hard to block. There was an unexpected amount of ferocity in Asami's strikes, which means the captain's earlier thoughts were working.

On the technical side of things, Asami showed some real potential, but it would take a lot more coaching to bring it out. Korra decided the best way to demonstrate this was to easily knock her blade aside and put her own up to the heiress' neck.

"How did I beat you?"

-"Oh, I dunno, maybe because you're stronger, had more and better training, plenty of experience, need I go on?"

Korra smiled. "No. Well, yes, all of the above, but none of those are the main reason. You were watching my face. What you really should be watching is my hand."

This seemed to have her confused. "Your hand?"

"Yes. My face, good-looking as it is, doesn't tell you much. You don't really want to know what I'm looking at, you want to know what I'm going to hit next. Best case scenario, he's distracted by your tits and not paying attention to what you're doing." A slight smile played over her lips as she saw Asami flush. Some habits die harder than others. "The hand is where the action comes from. That tells you where the sword is going to be, and thus, where yours should be to block it." Korra took a step back, raising her own sword back up. "Again."

Korra's training was hard but satisfying. That was probably the best way Asami could describe it, because even though her arms were killing her and she smelled worse than most of the crew (which is really saying something), she did feel content, like she actually achieved something.

Sure, her skills with a sword were nowhere near the captain's level, but one could hardly expect that in a week. It was definitely better than when she started, and that really was all that mattered. Progress.

Of course, part of actually agreeing to more than just that one lesson in the first place was the fact that halfway through, Korra shrugged out of her long waistcoat, leaving her just in her bindings for the remainder of the practice. Damn those abs. If it hadn't been for those, it would have been so much easier to refuse.

Worst of all, Asami knew that it was only two weeks or so more. Korra's earlier warning rung true in her head again. After the exchange would take place, she would be married off to Iroh, and then she'd have his kids, end of discussion. Heck, especially now that she had been captured for three months, her chances of ever getting out of the estate on her own merits again were virtually zero.

There was the other option, namely staying here aboard the Aurora, but that was ridiculous. Korra was getting nicer to her, sure, but that was hardly enough to sway her. She had a name to think about, a reputation, and that was bigger than just her secretly liking women. It was better that way. And even if it wasn't, she missed her father. Asami had never left the Sato Estate for more than two weeks at a time, and that was usually while traveling with her father.

It was ironic, really, because if it hadn't been for Korra, she'd be long back on Ember Island by now. She chuckled to herself, which got the captain's attention. "What's so funny?"

"Oh, I was just thinking. Everything you've shown me about my father's trade, stuff I'd have never know, and yet, when you captured my ship, I was out to prove to him that there were trades that didn't involve slaves that could be profitable."

Korra raised an eyebrow. "What do you mean?"

-"I pleaded with him that it could be lucrative to do something else, so I finally managed to peel off a ship to try and trade for spices and silk, which you found aboard. That's why I was there, because I wanted to see it for myself how and what. And that's when you captured me."

The captain laughed as well. "Guess I screwed that one up, huh?"

Asami smiled. "Well, you gave me something far more valuable than goods: perspective. You showed me the reality of the slave trade, and for that, I am very grateful, even if the circumstances are less than ideal."

-"You are welcome, Sato."

After this, it fell silent for a bit. Asami walked over to the railing and stared out over the vast ocean. Maybe she would sail again a couple of times, but never this frequently again. And truth be told, she did like it. She enjoyed watching how the ship worked, the crew managing her, the people doing everything. It all fit together perfectly. She enjoyed the freedom, the ability to go as far as the ocean went on.

But that's when she noticed something. "Captain, could you come over here for a second?"

Korra stood next to her in an instant. "What do you see?"

"Over there, what does it look like to you?"

The captain followed Asami's outstretched arm, and the longer they were staring, the more apparent it became.

-"SAIL!" the lookout yelled. "Northwest of us!"

-"I can see that," Korra muttered why pulling out her spyglass.

"You think it's the Equalist?" the heiress asked, nerves starting to seep through her voice. If it was, it would most certainly end in a fight."

Korra said nothing at first, just looked closer. "Well, she is coming the direction we'd expect her to. Mako!" she yelled, making the first mate turn around. "Come and have a look at this." She handed him the spyglass and he looked long and hard, thinking carefully about it. "Think it's her?"

-"Red spot on the sail. It's definitely her."

Asami was really surprised to see a small smile play over Korra's lips, almost as if she was looking forward to this. "Signal the Rhino that we have a hit on the Equalist. Tell her to prepare for battle." She then turned to her crew. "All hands to your stations! Prepare to engage!"

Amidst all this, the heiress sighed. "Cry 'havoc', and let slip the dogs of war..." she muttered.

-"What was that?"

"It's from a play," she said. "Doesn't really matter now. Where do you want me?"

-"In the hold," the captain said definitively. "We don't know why Amon is hunting us, but I'd bet you any money it's not good for either one of us. And not to be rude, but your week of sword practice is nowhere near enough to stand a chance against any of his men."

Asami scoffed. "No, it's true. I should probably get out of your way."

Korra nodded. "Take your sword, a pistol, and a dagger with you, might come in handy if things go bad."

With a sigh, the heiress prepared to go down, when Korra stopped her again. "Sato," she said but then hesitated. "Remember to keep your head down."

She smiled. "Good luck, Captain."

Korra knew this was going to be a hard fight, probably one of the hardest of her life.

But if there ever was a time to fight it, it was now. Her crew was ready, the Rhino had just fanned out so that they would keep the Equalist between them and was preparing to board as well. They wanted the ship as intact as possible, but on the other hand, she needed to be softened up. Korra's main goal was taking out Amon, and if they'd have to go through a hundred men for that, they'd need every edge they could get.

The guns aboard the Equalist were already rolled out, both sides, so they would definitely be hit.

"Ready on the guns!" she called out. They were all loaded and now just waiting on the order. Even from here, she could see the bustle aboard the other ship, which was closing in quickly. Fire too soon, and the guns wouldn't inflict any damage. Too late, and the Equalist would fire first.

Only a couple of yards left. The men were yelling over to the other ship who were yelling back in an effort to intimidate them. A quick glance over to captain Bahlo on the Rhino revealed that he looked quite nervous, and rightfully so. Tackling a powerful ship on his first outing as captain was a big risk, but it could also give him a big reward, especially with Korra having his back.

"Ready!" Only a few seconds left, and they'd be side by side entirely. "FIRE! FIRE ALL!"

With a deafening roar, the guns opened fire, luckily right before the same order was given aboard the Equalist. Through the thick white smoke, Korra could barely see, but it was clear that they'd given her a good shakedown. The Aurora had been hit as well, but most of the damage looked like a minor patch job, not major structural damage. "Muskets in the riggings! Suppress their fire!" Several men had climbed up the masts with rifles, picking off targets, or at least trying to.

Unfortunately, Amon had the same idea. Korra heard a bullet whizzing by her head, causing her to duck. That had been close. "Grappling hooks at the ready! Prepare to board!" The hooks were thrown, making it very difficult to sail away should the need arise. It really was now or never. Korra decided it would be best for her to stay aboard her own ship to repel boarders, because she didn't want anyone to get close to Asami.

She went down to the upper deck, sword in her right hand, pistol in her left. There were five more tucked into various belts, and Korra was pretty certain she'd have to use all of them.

The first sight she got from one through the smoke was someone already swinging towards the Aurora, so she took aim and shot him, making him fall into the sea. If that hadn't killed him, he would probably be crushed between the ships.

But she didn't have long to think about this, as more were already on their way. Before she could draw another pistol, someone came up on her, wildly swinging an axe around. He wanted to keep her ducking, which she did, but the captain was quick. As she was crouched, he tried a vertical swing to crush her, but instead she rolled to the side while he lodged his axe deep into the floorboards. Before he even had the chance to turn around, Korra had plunged her sword into his side, definitively killing him.

A quick look around showed utter chaos. She saw Mako dueling with someone on the quarterdeck, and there were plenty of her own crew aboard the Equalist. There were a few familiar faces on there from the Rhino, but Korra didn't really have the time to think about it, as someone else was charging at her, this one with a normal sword.

She quickly parried his initial blow and internally cursed as she quickly learned that he was much better trained than the last guy. His movements were deliberate, more calculated.

Still, Korra had plenty of experience with swordfights, and she had fought people better than him. Even though he was good at blocking her sword, she quickly started to notice that he wasn't very agile and that he was limping with his right leg. This provided her with an advantage, and in this situation, she needed to exploit that.

All she needed was a mistake, and he made one. He made a stabbing motion, and with her free left hand, she grabbed his wrist and tried keeping it in place over her shoulder just long enough for her to give a mighty good kick to the side of his knee on his already injured leg. He let out a massive cry of pain, which told Korra it had worked.

Because he was actually quite strong, she had to let him go and back away a bit, but he was not out yet. Down on one knee, yes, but still swinging his sword around. Korra just smiled and drew a pistol, definitively killing him.

Three for three, and she hadn't taken a hit yet. Getting cocky was a bad idea though, so she focused on who was going to be her next opponent. The people in the rigging were still working overtime trying to keep people from boarding the Aurora, but then again, the same was true on the Equalist.

But something caught her eye. A small group of men wasn't exactly looking for people to fight, they were very deliberately heading for the stairs to take them below. "Sweep the hold! Find Sato!"

Korra knew she couldn't let them. "Fuck."

The sounds of battle were bad. On the one hand, Asami was glad that Korra had told her to hide down here, because she would be useless on deck, and she was a lot safer here. A couple of cannonballs had torn through the hull, but nothing that was threatening either her or the ship.

Still, now that it was clear that they were being boarded, Asami would love to know what was going on, if only for peace of mind.

That actually had an underlying reason: she didn't know how safe Korra was. As much as it annoyed her, the heiress wouldn't know what to do if something happened to the captain. It wasn't even her own safety that she was concerned about, it really was Korra's. Even if she didn't meet someone who could best her in combat, a stray cannonball or bullet could easily take her out.

But then she heard someone rattle the door to the hold, which she had bolted shut. It couldn't be Korra, the fighting on deck was still far too intense for that. Whoever that was, they were looking for trouble.

Asami decided to draw her pistol, so that she could at least get the drop of them when they kicked it down. That bolt wasn't going to hold it forever, hopefully just long enough that someone would hear it.

Unfortunately, that hope was quickly dashed when the door flew open, and three men poured into the room. Instinctively, Asami pulled the trigger, but while doing so, the pistol moved, and she instead hit the doorframe. The three coming in ducked but soon realized that she didn't have any more shots, so they just kept advancing.

Asami drew her sword, but she knew it was pointless. No way would she be able to hold her own against three men. She peeked out from her place behind a crate, which was when everything happened very quickly.

-"There she is!" one of them yelled, and they instantly paced towards her, but at the same time, Korra came through the door.

-"Hey!" she yelled, getting their attention. She already had a pistol in her hand and did what Asami couldn't do: shoot one of them. He went down immediately, but another was still coming towards the heiress.

Fortunately, Korra didn't hesitate and threw her sword all the way across the room, right into his back. The heiress looked him right in the eyes as it hit him, his eyes going wide as he stopped, before his knees finally gave in and he collapsed on the spot. It was really off-putting to see him with the sword standing up straight in his back, but Asami had to resist the urge to throw up, because right now, the third guy was smiling at the captain.

-"Brave thing to do, little lady, but now you don't have a weapon." He was quick to charge at Korra, who used the only thing at her disposal: her pistol. She deflected swing after swing, but he definitely had the upper hand. He had two feet of range on her and was good enough that he didn't give her a chance to draw another.

Asami knew she had to act, because Korra was losing. Then, she watched in horror as her captain stumbled backwards over a loose piece of rope and landed on her back. In an instant, he was on top of her, raising his sword to go in for the kill, and Asami didn't wait any longer. She charged forward, pretty much with her sword held out, driving it through his back. There wasn't as much resistance as she expected, and it went straight through, coming out his chest with a significant amount of blood on it.

In shock, she let go of her sword, staggering back to support herself on a couple of barrels. "I... I just killed him..."

Korra pushed him off of her and got up. "Don't worry about it too much, if you hadn't, he would have killed me." The captain put a reassuring hand on her shoulder. "Are you okay, Sato?"

"I... I'm fine, I think," she managed to stammer out. "But you're bleeding!" she yelled out, seeing the big stain on Korra's clothes.

-"I'm fine, it's not my blood." The captain walked over to the guy who went after Asami and pulled her sword out of his back with a sickening sound. "Asami, I'm really sorry, but you have to stay down here. I'll say you're dead, that way Amon won't come after you again. I have to beat this guy."

The heiress was too dazed to protest, but there was the elephant in the room: Korra just risked her life to save her and didn't even hesitate to do it. And now she was about to go face one of the most dangerous men on the sea. No time to think now. "Korra!" Asami stopped her.

Korra turned around in the doorframe. "What?"

In a rush, Asami was right in front of her and, before she even realized what she was doing, pressed their lips together. She knew she was a bad kisser, but it didn't matter. Korra's lips felt glorious against her own, and Asami threw in all the petty jealousy, anger, frustration, passion, and gratitude in there.

When they finally broke away, the captain was completely speechless. She just stared at Asami, almost unable to comprehend what just happened, even if their faces were still mere inches apart.

"Go kick his ass," Asami said.

This slapped Korra back into it. "Right."

This is obviously gonna be followed by Korra's fight with Amon, but because it was already turning monstrously large and because I suck at writing fight scenes, I'm basically turning this into a Part 1.

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