The Devil's Dance Floor
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The Gunfighter





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Release date

May 7th, 2013

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Demons Amongst Us

John and Eve's evening takes an unexpected turn. John fills in for Mako in the Pro Bending Ring.


"Present Arms!" came a shout over the borough, followed closely by the clatter of hands smacking into wood. John ignored the activity coming from the open window, focusing on the map before him. It displayed Republic City as a whole, including the various tunnels that ran below the streets.

"Leon is here to see you sir," said one of the sentries, opening the door the room.

"Let him in," he replied, not taking his eyes off of the map. His jacket lay on a nearby sofa, giving a full view of the shoulder holsters he wore beneath his arms. After a moment, he looked up and saw Leon standing before him. The young airbender wore an Equalist uniform, however he lacked the gas mask.

"Your lookin' bright eyed and cheery if I do say so myself," Leon said, his Irish accent sounding out of place like always. John looked back down at the map again.

"If by bright eyed and cheery you mean tired and sore, you're spot on," he replied. Leon remained rooted to the spot, thinking how to proceed from here. He knew how much responsibility had been placed on John's shoulders.

"You should take a few days off Johnny, go to one of them pro-bending matches and take Eve. You been neglecting the poor girl for a while now," he said. John sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. He knew that Leon was right, but there was so much to get done.

"Work first, personal problems later," he replied. Leon shook his head slightly, but stepped forward to the map as well.

"We encountered Equalist barricades here, here, here, here, and here," he said, pointing to various parts of the map. They formed a circle around a small area of land in the northern section of the city.

"That's got to be their dig site," John said as he studied the map. Leon shrugged in response.

"Strange thing is, if they were digging out that whole area someone would have noticed, or at least a part of a block would have caved in," he said.

"You noticed."

"Took the whole of The Hellraisers to find this out." John remained silent, watching the map as if staring hard enough would reveal the world's secrets. He focused so hard that he barely noticed the hand appear on his shoulder.

"Take the night off, relax, get some sleep," Leon said. John blinked slightly and leaned against the table.

"So much to do," he muttered.

"Not the first time I've had to run things," came the reply. John nodded at this, admitting that the young airbender had proven his ability to command. Rubbing his eyes, John stepped away from the map and put his jacket on.

"You sure you'll be alright tonight?" he asked.

"Ah don't worry about it, wasn't planning on going out anyway," the young Irishman replied. Nodding his thanks, the firebender turned and left the room. He ignored the various salutes he received as he made his way down to the infirmary. The Infirmary was little more than a commandeered warehouse. Several cots lay across the open room, but only a few of them were occupied. Here and there healers stood, some looking over a patient, others standing at the ready should an injured person come in. However, John focused on one that was reading a clipboard. Eve had her hair drawn back into a ponytail and had a general look of stress on her face. Walking up behind her, he rapped his arms around her from behind.

"Let me guess, I'm the prettiest girl you've ever seen," she said, not taking her eyes from the clipboard.

"Well, one of them anyway," John replied. Eve spun around a swatted him on the arm, a grin on her face the whole time. He returned the grin as he attempted to fend her off. When she had finally calmed down, she placed the clipboard on a nearby table.

"So what's the plan for tonight?" she asked. John shrugged slightly.

"I was thinking we go watch one of them pro-bending matches," he replied. Eve nodded in approval at this. Looping her arm through his, they walked out of the Infirmary. The sun was setting out over the sea as they walked through the borough, ignoring the various sentries and small marching formations.

"There's more than before," Eve noted as she studied the numbers around them. John nodded at this.

"Another two hundred made the crossing last night," he replied. Eve continued to study some of the new arrivals as they walked, approaching the harbor entrance to the borough.

"Was anything new brought with them?" she asked. John helped her step into the small ferry before stepping in himself. The small, steam-powered vessel moved away from the dock and sailed for the lit up Pro Bending Arena.

"Aside from a few Vickers and ammunition, they managed to get an old radar station over," he said. As they entered the Arena, John led Eve away from the crowd that was filing in for tickets. After a few twists and turns, plus a flight of stairs, they entered into The Fire Ferrets' locker room.

"Oh hey John, Eve, what are you two doing here?" asked Korra as she tightened the straps on one of her knee pads.

"Leon insisted that I take the night off," John replied.

"Well at least I got a back up in case something goes wrong tonight," said Mako as he slid his helmet on. John grinned in response.

"Lets hope it doesn't come to that," he replied before slapping Mako once on the shoulder. The trio then stepped onto the platform and guided to the ring. John and Eve leaned against the railing and watched as they took their stance against the opposing team.

Almost instantly, the Ferrets were beaten back by the relentless assault from the other team. While Bolin was beaten back in the center, Mako and Korra counterattacked from their sides in an attempt to regain ground. But an earth disk caught Bolin in the knee, causing him to loose his balance and fall.

In an effort to cover his brother, Mako leapt in front of him and blasted fire at the opposing team.

"Bo, get up!" he shouted over his shoulder. As Mako turned his head to face the other team again, another earth disk struck his helmet. The firebender was knocked out cold and forced backward. Holding up a flag, the officials quickly stopped the game while Korra and Bolin attended to Mako.

"Eve, get ready," said John, his grip on the railing tightening. Eve was already filling a bucket full of water from the shower. Together, Korra and Bolin dragged Mako off of the platform. While Korra slid his helmet from his head, Eve bent water from the bucket and used it to clean the blood from a wound on his forehead.

"Looks like he's got a concussion," she said.

"Can you get him back into the game?" Korra asked as the water beneath Eve's hands began to glow. Eve shook her head.

"Even if I heal the damage and get him on his feet again, he'll still be unable to play," she replied. Bolin placed his hands on his temples and began to pace back and forth.

"Oh man, now we'll never be able to get into the tournament," he said in defeat. With a sigh, John removed his jacket and undid the holsters from under his arms. Picking up Mako's discarded helmet, he began to use the water from Eve's bucket to clean blood from the inside of the visor.

"What are you doing?" Korra asked when she noticed John sliding on a spare Fire Ferret uniform.

"Suiting up. Mako is out cold and you guys are out of a firebender," he replied. Tightening the straps on one of his gloves, John stepped onto the platform with the other two benders and entered the arena.

"Folks, it looks like it's all over for the up and coming Fire Ferrets. Wait! What's this? The Fire Ferrets have found a replacement firebender! Let's see if the new member of the underdog Fire Ferrets has what it takes to win," The radio announcer said into his microphone.

John took a stance similar to that of a kick boxer, hunched low with his hands open and ready to attack or counter. In the blink of an eye the match began. The opposing team immediately focused their attention on knocking John out of the ring. But John was quick, dodging and rolling around the attacks with ease.

Korra and Bolin counterattacked, using the lack of fire on them to their advantage. Together, they managed to knock the other team's waterbender out of the ring. Suddenly the opposing earthbender changed his tactics, firing two earth disks at Bolin rather than John. Bolin managed to smash one of the disks but took the brunt of the second in the chest, forcing him back to the edge.

Before he could get back to his feet, another disk hit true, sending the young earthbender over the edge. Korra fought back, sending strikes of water toward the earth and firebender opposite them. But a fire blast struck one of her strikes, sending her off balance. This was followed up by and earth disk that sent her careening toward the edge.

"Korra!" John shouted, ignoring the opposing team's fire to run to his falling teammate. Sliding like a baseball player, he managed to catch Korra's hand as she fell.

"Nice catch," she said. John grunted as he began to pull her back up into the ring. As he turned his head slightly, another earth disk struck home, smashing into his helmet's visor and sending him over the edge.

"I do not believe what I've seen. For a moment it looked like the Ferrets could pull this one off, but now it's all over with a questionable move from the opposing team. The new firebender didn't even throw a single hit. Wait, hold the phone! I don't believe it! The new firebender is still in the match! He is pulling himself up over the edge!" the announcer shouted.

John haled himself up and over the edge of the ring. He blinked a few times as he stood to clear his vision. It took him a moment to realize that the helmet's visor was cracked from the impact. Pulling the helmet from his head, he let it fall to the ring floor as he faced the opposing team. He could feel blood running down his face from his forehead.

"Hey wise guys!" he shouted the opposing team, who were cheering because they believed that they had won. Turning, their eyes went wide when they saw John standing on the other end of the ring.

"My turn," he growled. Throwing a quick double punch with his right hand, followed close by a powerful blast from his left hand and then an uppercut from his right, John sent the burnt earthbender tumbling out of the ring. Walking forward, he focused on the remaining firebender.

"Folks in all of my years of broadcasting for Pro Bending I have never seen anything like this. Not only has the remaining Fire Ferret managed to recover from a fall, but he's also discarded his helmet and single handedly evened the odds by knocking out the opposing team's earthbender! On top of that he's blocking or redirecting the blasts being sent at him from his opponent! Unbelievable! This firebender seems to be unstoppable!" The announcer cried.

John advanced slowly, allowing the fear to sink into the other player. He never generated any fire, only redirecting the bolts that were sent at him and sending them back. The opposing player was battered back to the edge of the ring. When he exhausted the last of his energy in a blast of fire, John countered again. Forming an x over his chest with his arms, John slashed outward, dispersing the blast. Then, with a single uppercut blast, John sent the other player high into the air, and then tumbling into the water below.

"The Fire Ferrets win! A single, battered and bloody player has won the match! Ladies and Gentleman, I don't know who this new player for The Ferrets is, but I do know that they had better keep him handy in the future."

John looked around him in amazement. The crowd was roaring in approval at his actions. Exhaustion and pain began to sit in, replacing the rush of the adrenaline. Wiping away the mixture of sweat and blood, he turned and began to return to the Ferret's locker room.

"You should have seen yourself! It was amazing!" shouted Bolin as he stepped off the platform.

"Thanks Bo," he replied wearily. Kneeling down next to Mako, he looked over the other firebender.

"I've kept him sleeping while I was working on him. He'll be awake in a minute," Eve said as she continued to work on him. Standing up, John placed a kiss on the top of her head before he made his way to the showers.

"Are you sure your all right?" Korra asked with concern in her eyes. John simply turned the knob for cold water and allowed the water to cascade over him.

"You can work if you want," he replied, leaning his head back to face the stream of water. Using her healing abilities, Korra began to work on his forehead, repairing the gash left behind there.

"So what was it like?" she asked.

"What was what like?" he asked through clenched teeth, fighting to keep from squirming and ruining Korra's work.

"Your first pro bending match."

"I tell you Korra, it's like being on the Devil's Dance Floor," he replied.

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