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The premiere of Book Two of.
September 30, 2010
Leah struggles to make it to Alice Springs with the Elite hot on her tail.
Leah watched curiously from behind a small brush as a massive pillar of light shot into the morning sky, its intense blue parting a hole in the clouds. Soon after, another rose up, more powerful than the last pillar. Once the light was gone and the clouds began resuming their shape, she saw a small burst of flame rise to the top of the accursed rock that had imprisoned her for so long. Recognizing the lethal sparks that had very recently tried to take her life, she watched a furious bolt of lighting cast off, forking erratically and echoing throughout the desert.
Leah rose from her bush, looking around her. The rock formation Uluru was to the south, a small town undoubtedly under the Enforcer's tight fist close by, a single road leading east to her north, and the rest was barren desert. She inspected her pack, readying herself for the impending journey. Suddenly while holding the pack, her finger slipped unexpectedly through the fabric.
Panicking quickly, she fingered her way around the fabric, finding more holes and less supplies than she had remembered packing. But I could've sworn I covered the holes with glass before I left. Then I got outside, fought the Leader and...And there it was. The glass covering her pack was most likely lost in the whirlpool the Leader had summoned to catch the glass she had been using, including the small, flexible mesh glass panes on her backpack. Then when she started tunneling, supplies must have started just leaking out of the pack, surrounded and crushed by the hot earth.
Shock began to overcome her as she realized just how much had been lost in the escape: a full days worth of food and snacks, a flashlight, a canteen, two of her hats, and worst of all the map to Alice Springs. Without the map, which she had carefully analyzed and drawn out the best route to the city, there was no definite direction to follow, considering the road would certainly be prowled by swarms of Enforcers.
Shaking off the sadness and hopelessness, Leah dove like an Olympic swimmer into the earth, heading north. She tunneled underneath the road, taking special care to be as silent as possible until she was at least a few minutes away. Passing the road, she bobbed up to surface for air before disappearing without a trace. Once she was sure that she was temporarily safe, she surfaced like a dolphin, shaking pieces of grit and dirt from her ears and eyes.
Looking towards the road, she was, well shocked to find not swarms of Enforcers, but three lone men and one lone women, standing in a line blocking the road heading east. Curious, she dove again, heading back south to get closer to the road, staying closer to the surface. With the black foundation of the road coming up, she skimmed the surface with her face, hoping to catch a glance of the four people.
They were dressed in all black, unusual considering the all white appearance of the normal Enforcers. They all adorned various hairstyles, again unusual. Each seemed at complete peace with the world, not fidgeting or moving at all during the time that Leah spied on them. Suddenly a man started heading towards them, coming from Uluru.
"Anything?" the man asked briskly.
"We have no trail to follow off of, but by all accounts she has either left the area or is still straggling around here."
"Adam, what do you have to make of it?"
The man on the north side of the road looked up at the man speaking. The man speaking nodded, as the other man stomped his foot upon the hard road. Confused at first, Leah then instantly recognized the procedure for the Seismic Sense. Leah sped off into the earth, pushing and shoving the rock desperately, but the damage was done.
"She's here, tunneling northeast sir." Adam responded.
"Good work. Adam, Vayu, follow her northeast. You have permission to kill on sight. Jordan, Kumara, follow me to the city."
Two of the men sped northeast, Adam on a speeding hill of earth while the one called Vayu simply ran after him. The man in charge sped off in a jeep with Jordan while Kumara followed on a stream of fire.
Leah dug desperately forward, painfully aware of her ever decreasing supplies streaming after her. But the risk was too great, as the two men were tailgating her as she attempted to lose them. Sensing an idea, she stopped short, feeling the vibrations as her pursuers sped past her. Leah dug deeper into the earth, speeding forward through the denser earth.
Adam and Vayu sped past, only recognizing their fault after they lost her presence. Frustrated, they sped back, Adam using Seismic Sense to locate her. With no luck finding her, he dove in, digging a cavern every now and then to check with the sense. Finding her, he sped off in her direction, running into various little snacks and food.
Leah sped back up, exploding dirt all over the desert. Vayu came towards her, waiting as Adam came to the surface.
"Why can't you people just leave me alone?" Leah screamed, her voice choked from dirt and dust in her throat.
Adam and Vayu said not one word, remaining in the position Leah had found them in. Vayu suddenly swiped his arm, an air swipe coming with it. Leah launched herself, only to be met with boulders striking her stomach and knocking the wind out of her. Balance lost, she tumbled to the earth, landing with a mighty thud as the earth cracked around her drop site.
Vayu sent an air wake, bringing up dust as it sped towards Leah. Regaining her sense, Leah barely dodging out of the way to have an earth column launch her again into the air for her. Leah yelled as she fell downwards, then screamed bloody murder as she felt three of her ribs break. She picked herself back up, redirecting another pillar of earth towards Adam.
Adam dodged the pillar, firing more boulders as Vayu sent air punches towards her. Leah somersaulted out of the way, taking water from her canteen and freezing it into small claws around her fingers. Using the familiar technique from Rose, she fired them off, one piercing Adam's shoulder. Adam retaliated by sending a dust cloud, scratching Leah's eyes.
Tearing up, Leah stood in the midst of the cloud, waiting in anticipation for the next attack. The dust cloud cleared to reveal four enormous earthen walls spring up, surrounding her. Adam and Vayu stood opposite each other, looking down upon her. Seeing her hopeless situation, Vayu spread his arms wide, spinning in an erratic circle.
The air currents swirled around him, the rapidly born tornado picking up the desert sand. Once the twister reached its full strength, Vayu dropped it into the earthen box. Dragged around like a rag doll, Leah was helpless as the twister pounded her body over and over the unforgiving earth while the sand wore away her skin. When the tornado finally settled, Leah's body lay to rest on the base of one of the walls, nearly unconscious.
Vayu drifted down while Adam lowered himself on one of the walls. Walking over to Leah, having the appearance of being dead, their guard was slowly lowered. Seeing the opportunity, Leah took the offensive and froze the remainder of her canteen water on their hands. Temporarily distracted, she took a rock to both of their heads, smiling smugly as she watched them fall like wooden blocks to the desert floor.
Leah examined herself, wincing now and then as she examined her injuries. Three broken ribs, probably a dislocated arm, and serious sand burn on her arms and legs. Even more disheartening was her almost empty ramshackle of a backpack. Almost all of her food was gone, along with all the water except for what was on her two pursuers.
She bent the water off her pursuers, now identifiable by the nametags at the back of their robes. These two were known as Adam, the earth bender, and Vayu, the air bender. The other two must be fire and waterbenders, creating a full cycle. Whoever these men are, they are certainly a force to be feared, considering only two of them did all this to me.
Leaving the men in the growing heat, Leah dove once again into the earth, tunneling east towards the mountains.
Vayu woke up dizzily, his head burning intensely. Adam came next, his groans echoing in the waving heat. Looking around for Leah, for one little glimpse, it soon became clear to them that she was nowhere in sight. Nodding at each other, Adam starting tunneling east towards the city while Vayu summoned a sphere of air and flew into the sky, scanning for the fugitive Avatar.
Abandoning the easiest approach to keep her dwindling supplies, Leah dove to the surface and started a wave of earth. The heat bearing down on her, beads of sweat began to drench her face as the distant mountains inched closer. Within three hours, her arms absolutely exhausted from the constant motion to keep the wave going, she abandoned it and dropped like a rock to the desert floor.
Breathing heavily, Leah strained to lift her head and look to the mountains, still miles and miles away. Despair overcoming her, she dropped her head back down and lay in the dirt, her ribs aching heavily as her arm's blood continued to mix with the sand.
Looking back behind her, a small glimpse of light caught her attention. A section of the sky was just...not right. Not normal. Looking closely, she focused on the small speck in the sky, a swirling speck...Vayu, he must've come to and started searching again. And if Vayu is there, Adam can't be far behind. Darting around quickly to find a hiding spot from Vayu's gaze, an old run-down jeep caught her attention.
Leah dropped to the ground, hanging underneath the rotting pipes. Moments later, Adam burst out of the ground, looking around apprehensively. Seeing no sign of Leah, he raised a massive pillar to signal Vayu, who came with his air sphere. Leah lowered her breath as the two pursuers approached the jeep. All was silent.
Adam suddenly summoned a pillar, upending the jeep and dumping Leah on the ground. Caught by surprise, Leah dove into the earth for cover as Adam sent rock shards after her. Adam dove in after her, chasing her through the stubborn earth as she desperately made her escape. Coming too close, Adam grabbed her foot and launched her upwards, her body crashing through the rock until she exploded out of the ground.
Dirt stinging her eyes, Vayu pounded her chest with a concussive air blast, knocking the wind out of her. Severely weakened, Adam popped up with an earthen dagger and prepared to strike, only to have a full fire blast delivered to his unsuspecting face. Recoiling in pain, Leah unleashed her own air blast at Vayu, propelling him several feet away. Taking some of the metal from the rotted jeep, she bound their hands and feet, watching them struggle helplessly. Knowing this solution would only work temporarily, she hopped into the jeep, bending the pistons of the engine and speeding off with a cloud of dust and sand.
Following the main road from Uluru, it only took a few tense hours to reach Alice Springs as the Aborigine sunset coated the town. As she expected, the other two pursuers, a man and a woman, were standing on opposite sides of the road posing as traffic control officers. Nearby, sitting on the ground under a tree, was the leading man, dressed up as a hobo.
These two must be the other two. If I tunnel under them, they might detect me, since I have no idea what the leading man can do. But this is the closest road into Alice Springs. If I go around, I lose time and what's left of my supplies. Plus there are probably more Enforcers guarding the city. If I go under, I may be detected. If I use an earth wave, they'll see the dust cloud. Even if I could fly, I could be shot down.
Out of ideas, Leah simply took a chance and walked up the road, hoping to avoid attention among the cars and jeeps. The woman looked up, noticing a blur passing by the cars, and sent the signal, a two finger wave, to the man. The man looked at the leader of the four, waiting for a signal. The hobo dressed man stood up, dusting himself off. He then subtly moved his arm. Leah felt a sudden vibration and felt the ground beneath her shake before dropping into it with a scream.
Leah dropped down five feet into a dark hole, watching as the hole closed itself up. Total pitch black swallowed her, Leah not daring to make a move for fear of running into some trap or attack. She stumbled her way over to a wall, leaning down beside it. A small nudge suddenly came, pushing Leah a few inches forward continuously. Leah stood up, trying to create a small flame in her hands.
Quickly becoming frustrated at her inability, she threw down her arms, a lash of fire following after it. Leah caught the flame in her hands, nurturing it to keep it from going out. She looked around the room, a four-corner box beneath the earth. But something about the walls was...different. Small hills of dust and sand began to form at the base of them.
The walls were closing in on her! The three pursuers were trying to crush her inside the room! Being a master of earth bending, Leah pushed all the walls back adruptly, only to have pieces of the unstable ceiling rain down on her. She rose some earth pillars, keeping the room from collapsing. The closing motion stopped, leaving Leah alone in the silent room.
A hole appeared in the roof of the room, the leader of the pursuers dropping in, no longer wearing his hobo attire. He created two more holes, the man and women dropping into the room.
"Who are you?" Leah screamed out to them.
The man in charge stepped forward.
"Greetings Ms. Sanchez, I have to say I am quite impressed by you. My name is Morgan. I'm an assistant to the Leader, and head of the four agents who have been following you, including Adam and Vayu. These are my other associates, Jordan and Kumara." he pointed to the man and women respectively.
"Why have you been following me?"
"I have to say Leah, you are certainly full of questions. First of all, I already explained why we're here: I'm impressed. You single-handedly escaped from a prison we deemed long ago as inescapable. Along with that, you took out the full 50 Enforcers stationed at the prison, beat the glass guns, and escaped from the full force of the Leader, albeit barely." Morgan said, adding emphasis on her escape from the Leader.
"Okay, but I'm still confused, why are you chasing me?"
"You are a stubborn and naïve child Leah. I already said. You escaped. Escape is intolerable. We are here to apprehend you. Come with us peacefully, and all charges against you will be waved and your life will be spared. If you refuse however, you will never again have a free moment. We will chase you to the ends of the earth and back if necessary. Human life is not a concern to us Leah. Only duty. We are the best. We are the Elite."
"You say you'll do anything to get me back. I'm sorry to tell you Morgan, but I am NEVER going back. You never had any right to keep me locked up in that forsaken rock. Try all you want. You can either leave me alone, or you'll have to kill me."
"So be it. Kumara?"
Kumara lifted her arms, starting the sequence to end a bending exercise. As her hands went down her chest together, the heat in the small room started to rise, beads of sweat rapidly forming on all of their foreheads. Once Kumara was done, she assumed the firebending stance as Jordan and Morgan did the same with water and earthbending respectively.
They all attacked at once, Kumara with a fire whip, Jordan with a melting ice disk, and Morgan with a large boulder. Leah created an amateur air dome, deflecting the fire and water but failing to stop the boulder from punching Leah in the chest. Picking herself up, she was met with rapid fireballs and a water whip. She defused the whip, water splattering everywhere as she raised an earth wall to beat the fireball.
Morgan came up behind her, clothed in a sand suit of armor. He launched the sand at her eyes and arms, scratching the film of her eyes and worsening the already festering sand burns. Blinded, Leah created a dome of earth, hoping for some small cover from her attackers. Kumara steps up to the dome and bathes it in intense fire, small licks of flame licking through the cracks in the rock.
Leah, her eyes healed, sent the pieces of her dome as shrapnel at Kumara. The pieces pierced her arms, Kumara's blood staining the black of her uniform. Furious, fire daggers appeared at Kumara's fingers as she lunged wildly at Leah. Lead dodged and rolled, also avoiding attacks from Jordan and Morgan. Morgan conjured a small patch of quicksand underneath Leah and watched her tumble to the groud.
Jordan stood up above Leah, an icicle in his hand. He prepared to strike, to deal the final blow. In a move of desperation, Leah melted the icicle, freezing the water around Morgan's limbs. Using the element of surprise, she knocked Kumara and Jordan to the ground, binding them with earth shackles. Seeing Morgan start to break out of the ice, she spotted the hole he had come through.
Leah broke the pillars supporting the ceiling, smiling as she watched the room start to collapse. As she expected, Morgan occupied himself with keeping the room up as she leaped through the hole. Leah tunneled underneath the road, letting her body float to just skim the surface of the earth as if it were water. Seeing a car coming, she latched onto the pipes, speeding away toward the city as dozens of others passed by her as well.
Seeing the familiar logo, Leah walked up to the immense door of Sierra's mansion.
This all relies on her. Leah thought, examining what could happen as she knocked on the door.
For the collective works of the author, go here.