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March 4th, 2011
Making it just in the nick of time, Bumi and Myaku clash with Colonel Lang to save Taizo, however, Lang seems to know him far better than the monk does.
Six figures moved through a dark alley in the middle of the night. The moon was shinning brightly and the night sky was filled with stars. Four of the six men were carrying spears and circled the two other men, one of which was dressed in black armor with a helmet and mask, covering his entire face. Slits ran across the mask, but his face was not visible. Then there was another, dressed in makeshift armor, tanned skin, messy hair and arms tied behind his back. Taizo, the rogue which had been captured, was being held by the elbow by Colonel Lang, who was pushing him forward. Taizo was still drowsy and beat, so every time they slowed down, he would nearly fall over, his knees were shaking and his head was spinning, he was about to die. He knew that if he did nothing, they were just going to kill him, then again- the rogue could do nothing. He was surrounded and he was still fairly tipsy from drinking.
"I hope you're realizing that while you guys are dragging me along, the monk, your bounty, is escaping" Taizo informed his captors with an overly confident voice for someone who was being taken to die."You can't talk your way out of this one, Taizo, this is the end for you" Lang commented in a deep, hoarse and irritated tone as he pushed the rogue forward. The rogue kept walking, a step or two in front of the colonel. When one of the soldiers addressed him and informed his colonel that they are nearing the spot in which they planned to dump Taizo's body.
"When did you make colonel, by the way?" Taizo asked Lang as all of them came to a stop, near a large under construction tower, over which not even a single delivery slide passed. Just constructions blocks, ramps and stone, Taizo personally imagined his death a little differently. As they kept walking forward, Taizo looked over at Lang, expecting an answer.
"Right after you left me for dead in the fires of Han Tui" Lang replied in a bitter tone, pushing Taizo to keep moving. "Now you travel with an Air Nomad, have you told him about who you really are?" Lang's tone, though obviously taunting, remained cold and sharp. Taizo merely lowered his head and frowned. "You've proven to be quite good at avoiding death, old friend, but it seems like everything finally caught up to you, these are your last moments of life."
"You're nothing without me, Lang, what will you do when there's no one for you to chase around?" Taizo remarked in a smug tone and almost instantly Lang slammed his fist into the rogue's stomach sending him to his knees, coughing. Taizo lowered his head and smirked.
"I have never needed you." Lang began in a cold and angry tone "Remember how you left me to die? You shall have a more merciful fate; I'm going to strike you down, right here." The four soldiers circled them as Lang took a step backward.
Bumi and Myaku were still in the cart, rushing through the Omashu delivery system which such speed, that Myaku couldn't even see anything- it was all a blur. Bumi however seemed to know where they were going, as he would sometimes bring his arms upwards, firing the cart onto another slide, changing route. They finally slowed down when they reached the construction site. As the cart slid downward, Myaku looked over the side to see Lang, four of his men and Taizo all walking somewhere. The pointed with his finger "Over there!" and just as he was about to jump, Bumi pushed him back down.
"You're just going to dive down?" he questioned, as if completely forgetting they were in a moving cart, heading further away from their target. "You need to wait, we're outnumbered, but all we need is a perfect time to strike!" Bumi raised his hands again, but this time he stood too, the cart gentle and gracefully fired out of the slide and landed into the one next to it, which went downward. As they started slowly sliding down, Myaku saw how the colonel punched Taizo in the stomach and forced him to his knees and began saying something to him. Their curt rushed through the slide in great speed and on a sharp turn fired downward in a not yet fully constructed slide in great speed. Bumi nodded to Myaku and the monk leaped forward out of the cart, landing on a platform just above the six men.
"Aren't I the one you want, Lang?!" Myaku shouted and straightened, standing tall and proud above the soldiers. His staff in his right hand and his fists clenched. One end of the staff was driven into the ground.
This caught all of their attention, but before Lang could even shout an order, Bumi slammed his feet into the car and it fired out, destroying a bit of the slide as it leaped forward in a cloud of dust, distracting all of the men completely. The cart slammed into one of the men, sending him backward off the platform and into the lower parts of the city. The young flew down from the sky and landed on one of the soldiers, slamming into the ground. As Lang was about to send a fireball at the boy, Myaku leaped forward and slammed into the armored colonel with full force, sending them both rolling onto a lower platform.
As soon they both slammed into the stone platform, they both got up and immediately the colonel began firing balls of fire from his fists. He rapidly punched the air and with every punch a fireball flew out of it. Myaku used his staff as a windmill and began spinning it, dispersing and blocking some of the fireballs, but at the same time moving backward as the colonel advanced, without even a moment of rest between his swift punches. Myaku attempted to send a few blasts of wind himself, but he only managed to send one and it was rather easily overpowered by Lang's fireball. Myaku knew if they kept this up, he would lose, so he decided to retreat. With a graceful back flip Myaku kicked a door into the stone structure, which was some sort of building. Lang's covered head looked at the doorway the monk just entered and he glanced above where two of his men, instead of capturing the boy that was about to untie Taizo, were watching if their colonel was okay.
"Get them!!!" Lang shouted in his deep hoarse and angry voice before rushing into the building after Myaku. The two soldiers immediately complied and took their spears, running directly at the boy and Taizo as the third soldier was trying to stand up. A Bumi was getting close, he was cut off by a spear stab, which he narrowly dodged and skid to the side. Taizo rolled away, trying to untie his hands as one of the spearmen tried to stab him. Taizo then shifted all of his weight to the upper part of his back and lifted his legs into the air, spinning and kicking them in a windmill, forcing the two men to take a few steps back as the rogue jumped on his feet. One of the spearmen charged forward and Taizo jumped back, avoiding the tip of his spear by a mere inch. Bumi stood frozen for a second, before he realized that the third soldier got up and was charging at him. The boy slammed his heel into the stone platform and a ripple ran from his heel into the foot of the soldier, tripping him. When the soldier fell down, Bumi laughed and snorted, he was enjoying himself far too much, in Taizo's opinion. The rogue spun around, dodging both of the spearmen and coming closer to the boy.
"Quick! Untie me!" but before Bumi could even reach, the third soldier threw a fireball towards them. Taizo kicked Bumi to the side and jumped back himself, allowing the fireball to pass them and hit a stone wall. The two fighters connected with their backs and quickly turned as the two spearmen and the firebender surrounded them.
Meanwhile, Myaku was dodging and evading Lang's blast. As they entered a large hallway, Myaku flipped backward and dodged a massive fireball which flew under him as he was in midair. "Ugh!" Myaku grunted as he bent over backwards, allowing another ball of flame pass over him. Lang rushed into the corridor, thrusting his palms forward sending a powerful blast of flame towards the monk. Myaku cart wheeled sideways and the massive blast hit a wall, nearly destroying it, but managing to set it a blaze. Landing on his feet, the monk sent a wide slash with his steel staff, a gust of wind lifted the dust and scattered it across the room, hiding Myaku and Lang from sight.
"You can't keep dodging forever!" Lang shouted as he repositioned himself in a battle stance and watched the cloud of dust that surrounded him, waiting for the monk to appear. Myaku however did not wait; he hid behind a wall and took the moment of calmness to catch his breath, which he did as quietly as possible. Lang just stood there among the dust "What do you think you'll accomplish by doing this? Save your friend?" Lang's voice was so memorable, so deep, so hoarse and at the same time so irritated. He released a cold chuckle, which made Myaku's skin crawl. "How much do you actually know about Taizo? I wonder if he had the decency of telling you who he was, or who he is for that matter." Despite knowing that he was simply trying to taunt him, this for some reason caught Myaku's interest and he was listening intently. "He is a coward and he will always be one, no matter how close you think you are with him, he'll abandon you and leave you to die if he gets the chance, that's in his nature..." Lang circled the wall that Myaku was standing behind, and Myaku kept leaning around the corner to check if Lang was coming, but he didn't check his rear.
"Ugh!" Lang grunted as he sent another powerful blast of flames towards Myaku, standing just a few feet behind him. When the monk saw the massive blast of flame heading towards him, he leaped to the side, but as the blast collided into the wall he was blown even further away and had to use some air around him not to get burned.
Myaku slammed into the dirt and skidded across the hallway, slamming into some wooden railing that instantly broke and he fell down onto another platform. Lang jumped after him, sending a blast of flame from his feet down to Myaku, who rolled to the side to dodge it. He managed to get up at the same time the colonel landed. Lang placed a foot forward and thrust one of his palms forward, firing out a stream of flames towards the monk. The nomad had little choice; he leaped off the platform and flicked his glider open, gliding over to the nearest building. The monk flipped in the air, closing his glider, and kicked off from the building using airbending and fire back towards the platform with incredible speed, spinning his steel staff like a windmill as he cut through the gap. Clear the flames with his windmill maneuver, Myaku slammed head on into Lang, sending them both to the ground again, the monk immediately sprinted back into the building and Lang followed, sending a stream of fire blasts and fire streams towards the monk. With great momentum, Myaku kicked off of a wall and dived directly into a hole in the wall, reaching the core of the yet to be finished construction. I looked like a really deep well and Myaku imagined that this would be some sort of tower after its construction was complete. However, there was a simple circular wooden scaffle that went along the walls, scaffles for the construction workers to walk on. Myaku took a moment to admire the whole structure before quickly moving aside, dodging another fireball that slammed into the adjacent circular wall. Lang exited out on the platforms as well and Myaku slammed his staff into a railing that was leaning on the side of the wall, sending the entire scaffle into pieces towards Lang.While the monk and the colonel were fighting inside the still under construction tower, Taizo and Bumi were trying to hold their own against three soldiers. Both of them were dodging as much as the could and Bumi kept trying to use his earthbending, but being cut off by having to dodge a slash from a spear. Taizo's hands were still tied up and no matter how much he tried to break the ropes, he could not. They kept retreating and because of that, they were getting pushed closer and closer to the edge of the long platform, if this continued, they would both fall to their death. Taizo tried to move towards the soldiers, but since two of them had spears, he couldn't get closer and had to jump back. Bumi was at Taizo's right, blocking fireballs thrown by the third soldier. After a few more attacks, the two fighters were standing at the edge of the platform. The firebender charged an attack and released a powerful blast of flames towards the two.
"Jump!" Taizo shouted and pushed Bumi over the edge with his own body. As soon as they went off the edge, Bumi slammed his feet into the side of the platform and thin platform of earth sprouted under them catching them by an inch. Taizo was catching his breath and so was Bumi, their eyes locked for a second and the young lad quickly moved to untie the rogue. The soldiers came over to the edge to investigate and the first one who got there was the firebender. Taizo quickly jumped up and grabbed him, pulling the blade from his belt and throwing the soldier down to the depths of the city. Again on the edge of the platform, Taizo took a battle stance singlehandedly getting ready to face the Fire Nation spearmen. He had little chance of victory and deep down inside he knew that, but the second he saw the young firebender getting into a stance next to him, a smile spread across his face.
"Every visit I make to Omashu ends like this..." Taizo commented in a tired tone.
"Fighting Fire Nation soldiers on the edge of a platform?" Bumi questioned in a surprised tone.
"No, making witty remarks before I kill a bunch of soldiers." And with that Taizo rushed forward, the jian in his right hand. One of the spearmen sent a jab, but Taizo turned his sword sideways and blocked the tip of the spear before twisting his blade again and sending the tip upward into the air. When the spear was up, Taizo sliced the spear in half, making a horizontal slash from right to left and then returned from left to right, slicing the soldier's neck. The other was about to stab Taizo in the chest when a massive rock hit him over the head, knocking his helmet off the edge of the platform. The soldier tumbled back, but managed to stop at the edge at the platform, before Bumi sent a powerful stomp to the ground, making the edge of the platform crack up and breaking. The soldier tied to grab the edge as he fell, but failed and fell to his death. Bumi laughed from excitement and threw his arms up into the air. Taizo's hands went into his chest plate and took out a silver piece, which he threw to Bumi. The boy caught the coin with both hands and opened his palms, looking at the piece with confusion.
"What's this?" The boy asked.
"You've earned it, urchin!" Taizo winked at the boy, acknowledging him.
"But I..." Bumi wanted to explain that he never asked for money, but Taizo jumped down onto another platform and rushed into a building. With a rather confused expression, the boy pocketed the coin and followed. Inside of the still under construction tower, Myaku was jumped from wall to wall, dodging fireblasts and releasing a small air blast every now and again, which even if it hit Lang, only pushed him a step back. Lang was a pretty fast and powerful firebender, he punched rather rapidly and his blasts were powerful enough to scorch the walls, every blast Myaku would dodge he would dodge them by inches. Finally landing onto the fall in front of Lang, Myaku kicked off sending a slam with his steel staff over Lang's helmet, throwing him off balance for a second, and then the monk moved into the hallway again and without delay Lang followed. The two of them were in a straight line and Lang stopped, sliding his right foot forward, he charged a blast for a few seconds before releasing a massive spiral of fire towards Myaku. The monk leaped forward, but as soon as he touched the ground with his body he realized that he didn't escape the blast. He turned his head, he was on the ground with no way to dodge, the blast as incoming, and he covered his face and closed his eyes. Time slowed down, maybe it was fear, maybe the realization that he was about to die, but everything felt so meaningless. He had done nothing; he had been avoiding the Fire Nation for so long now, but without a goal, without purpose. This was the end.
And just at that moment, Bumi and Taizo rushed into the hallway, with a powerful double stomp, Bumi sent a small wall to instantly fire out of the ground. The flames slammed into it, destroying it completely on contact, but it had stopped the attack from reached Myaku. The monk slowly opened his eyes and unwrapped his arms from his head. He smiled when he saw the young boy and Taizo, who was still holding the soldiers jian. His two allies moved in, stopping at his sides, Bumi helped him up and smiled at him.
"Looks like we're in the nick of time!" Bumi exclaimed and laughed with his signature snort, happy that Myaku was alright.
Taizo however, didn't seem all that happy, he gripped the hilt of his blade with two hands and took a step towards Lang. Myaku stood up and tried to stop Taizo from moving, but as soon as the monk took a step forward, Lang punched the air, releasing a powerful fireball from his hand and Taizo sprung into action. He quickly sprinted towards Lang and into the fireball, cutting through it with the jian. The colonel did not hesitate, he spun his left foot, stretching out his right leg and releasing an arc of fire around himself. Taizo quickly got down and skid along the floor, raising a cloud of dust behind himself. As soon as the arc of flames passed over him, the rogue rolled and instantly got up on his feet, sending a stab towards Lang's chest. Lang blocked the sword with his armguards and pushed the blade back, sending another blast for fire from his fist. Taizo leaned backwards, the fireball passed over his face and he leaned forward again, this time sending a slash from above, with Lang sidestepped in great speed. He sent a flame punch into Taizo's side and the rogue grunted and jumped back, hitting the sidewall with his back.
Bumi instantly moved forward and pushed his hands upward, like he was lifting something heavy. With a grunt, he brought up a massive rock and with pushing moments he sent it in great speed towards Lang. Since Lang was preoccupied with Taizo, he did not expect a boulder to slam into his head so he was instantly thrown off and tumbled sideways, before breaking into a sprint and moving forward.Redundantly enough, Bumi and Myaku chased Lang onto another platform, which overlooked a massive drop into the living quarters of Omashu. Lang came to a stop at the edge and turned around, sending a punch forward just as Bumi and Myaku entered the platform. Myaku spun his staff like a windmill, dispersing the blast before it could even reach them. Lang then proceeded to release another barrage of fire attacks. Myaku moved in front of Bumi, spinning his staff so fast it wasn't even visible, fireballs bounced off of it, some dispersing, some bouncing off of the platform and some being sent back at Lang, but the colonel didn't seem to be phased by the fireballs that hit him, it seemed like his armor completely absorbed them. Then he charged a single blast and sent it forward, knowing that he could not disperse it, Myaku pushed Bumi to the side and spun his staff again, as the blast hit his staff; the monk was sent flying backwards, hitting the stone platform with incredible force. Lang seemed to have been tired and used this moment to rest.
Myaku got up, but before he could even do anything he heard Taizo shout from behind "Myaku, DUCK!" despite his gut and reflexes telling him to charge Lang, Myaku quickly fell to his knees and lowered his head to the ground as a sword flew straight over him, slamming directly into Lang. From the force of the throw the colonel was pushed off of the edge of the platform and fell down into the city, monk however didn't see if the blade had pierced him. Myaku slowly raised his head from the ground and for a moment there was utter silence. Taizo stood in the entrance to the platform, holding his left side with his right hand, the side that Lang had just punched him it, though didn't seem like the fire blast pierced his armor. Bumi finally smirked and broke out laughing and snorting
"That was close!" he finally announced after a minute of laughter. Myaku just sighed and Taizo smirked, somewhat happy that the fight was over, when the monk finally got up from the ground; the three made their way out of the construction site, but were greeted at the entrance by a band of soldiers, surrounding the temple. Hatoshi had taken out his sword and was pointing it at the three "I told you two to stay put and you're out destroying the city!"
"I can explain everything-" Myaku tried to cut in, but Hatoshi would hear none of it
"I've heard enough! You're under arrest for treason, attack of Omashu property! Arrest them, their accomplice too!" Hatoshi was so angry, that Myaku had not expected to see him like this.
The soldiers moved in quickly grabbing all of them and dragging them off.
"You have to believe us! The Fire Nation attacked Omashu!" Bumi tried to protest, but he was gagged by one of the soldiers as he dragged him. They were taken to the Omashu palace and placed in a massive wooden cage in the room adjacent to the prison room they were previously kept in.
"At least we got better accommodations..." was Taizo's comment before they slammed the wooden door shut, locking the three fighter sin. Bumi rushed to the wooden bars.
"Please you have to believe me!" but the guard left, closing the door behind him and Bumi fell to his knees in despair.
- The "Flames Of Han Tui" refers to the major early battle in the war known as Battle of Han Tui
- Bumi, at this point being 14, despite his age is one of the stronger benders in the series
- This is the third time Taizo has lost his sword
For the collective works of the author, go here.