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|The Sixth Element|
Book 2: War
August 10th, 2013
An intercepted Equalist package reveals something that has lost for thousands of years.
"Okay. Up. And down. And up. And to the side," Eve instructed. John followed the movements she ordered with his left arm. They were standing in a small room off of the main warehouse that made up the Infirmary. It had been over a month since the Attack on the Pro Bending Arena, and thanks to regular sessions with Eve and Korra, John was quickly recovering from his injuries. As if to prove this, he let loose a short burst of fire when he swung his arm to the side.
"Everything appears to be in working order. Is there any pain?" John grimaced as he moved through a few basic forms.
"Some. Not even close to what it use to be though," he replied. Thanks to vigorous physical therapy, he was slowly regaining full usage of his arm, although it would never be anywhere near where it had been in terms of strength and reliability. Before the injury, John relied heavily on forms of combat in which he had to duel-weld something. Now he had to drastically change his skill set and use his right arm far more often.
"Alright. That should do it for today. Check in with Korra for a healing session around supper tonight," Eve said as she finished her examination. Neither Korra nor John had told her what happened on the boat between the two of them, and they were inclined to keep it that way. In fact, the two of them agreed that if there was going to be any sort of relationship, it would have to wait until the war was over. Korra had been more accepting of that then John had anticipated. In fact it seemed that she was just happy to know that he felt something for her, be it an attachment or an attraction, she didn't care.
As for Eve, John still clearly had feelings for her. But the months of being away from each other and stress of the war had taken their toll. The two were growing apart and both of them knew it.
In a way, John knew that this was probably for the best. Eve wasn't as accepting of this world as he was, and she often spoke of returning home to Ireland. He, on the other hand, had no desire to return to the Emerald Isle, or his world for that matter. The loss of his parents and his betrayal by The Grandmaster had more than severed any ties he may have had left for his home. In fact, he had no intention of leaving when the time came for them to return. A dream he had, something he had not told Leon or Eve or even Korra was that he buy his own section of land east of Republic City and settle there as a farmer or rancher. But a lot of work had to be done before that dream became a reality.
"So is there anything big scheduled for tonight?" Eve asked as she dried her hands, pulling him from his thoughts. He quickly pulled his undershirt on over his head before he set to buttoning his regular one.
"There's an Equalist shipment we're intercepting. Looks to be carrying something of great importance," he replied. Eve finished putting away the last of her equipment before she turned and looked at him.
"I want in," she said as a matter of fact. John cocked an eyebrow up at her before he returned his attention to putting on his gunbelt.
"There's a sudden change of heart. You haven't wanted to apart of any operation since you left Ireland."
"Well it's just that ever since what happened with Kyle, I've had everyone questioning me. They all want to know if I'm going to lead the next uprising," she explained.
"And you want to go on a mission in order to prove your loyalty. Am I right?" She nodded in reply while looking stern. John sighed as he tossed his jacket over his right arm.
"I'll talk to Leon about it. Just know that it's not going to be easy or fun," he warned. She nodded again, only this time she had a small smile on her lips. John turned and left quickly, using his speed to hide the dissatisfaction he felt. Korra going on missions was one thing, but Eve was another. Personally, he didn't even know if the waterbender had used her abilities beyond that of healing someone.
The late afternoon air was usually warm for this time of year. But John ignored it as he made his way though the borough to his small room. Once inside, he opened a small trunk he had sitting in a corner and pulled out a set of twin short swords. Like most other Gunslingers, John had not only been trained in the use of firearms and bending, but swordsmanship as well.
The swords both had a slightly curved blade with a length of roughly three feet. The metal of the blades shined brightly, and the hilts were made out a dark, highly polished sandalwood, with the guards and counterweights being made of gold. With using two guns out of the question, John had recently resorted to using these swords as a back up. He could easily bend with them, and even redirect an energy attack used against him. Still, he preferred his guns over the swords. In order to use the swords, you had to get close, and that's where the Equalists thrived in combat.
Taking off his jacket, John quickly attached the blades so that the ran down the length of his back with a hilt sticking just far enough over each shoulder so he could get a hold of them. With that done, he turned his attention to checking ammo for his pistol. Ever since the Refugees had arrived, his problem of ammo shortage had vanished. But when the time came for them leave again, he feared that it would return.
With everything checking out, he made his way to meet up with the others who were participating in the raid.
The Equalist shipment was running through a section of abandoned warehouses, not far from where The Revelation had been held. Leon had surprised him by allowing Eve to come along, but he decided to ignore it and focus on the mission. It was nine o'clock and the evening fog had rolled in by the time that headlights of the first vehicle appeared.
The vehicles were three in total, with the center one being a truck similar to the one that was used to transport Bolin when he was kidnapped. They rolled along up the narrow street, until a stone wall suddenly erupted from the street. The lead vehicle slammed into the wall, followed closely by being rear ended by the truck, which in turn was ran into by the vehicle in the rear.
A second wall erupted from the street, trapping the small column between the two. Refugees appeared on the rooftops overhead, aiming their weapons at the stunned Equalists.
"Turn off your vehicles and come out with your hands up!" came Leon's call. One by one, the vehicles shut down and Equalists came crawling out from all corners with their hands up. Leaping down from the roof onto the cab of the truck, John racked a shell into the chamber on his shotgun.
"Everyone against the wall, we'll be borrowing your supplies this evening! Thank you and please don't do anything to get yourself shot!" he shouted. The Equalists began to slowly move to the wall he motioned to, while John leapt to the street and opened the rear of the truck.
Inside was a sight he had not expected. The truck was empty, except for four metal arms that held what appeared to be a golden metal urn aloft. A soft glow was cast from the object, bathing the interior of the vehicle with a golden light.
"What the hell?" Suddenly, a gloved hand appeared in the small of John's back. Before he could react, the electric current surged though his body. The shotgun clattered to the ground as John fell forward, his finger just barely brushing against the metal of the object. Every muscle in his body went rigid as images raced passed his eyes. The visions, while almost too quick to comprehend, gave him knowledge somehow. It all raced at him until, finally, he blacked out.
No more than a few minutes could have passed before John awoke again. Gunfire filled the air as the Equalists began to try and fight back. His hand slid toward the fallen shotgun a few feet away, but a pair of feet landing in front of him caught his attention.
"Get up, John!" Eve shouted over the noise. It took a moment for it to click in his mind that the waterbender was defending him against the Equalists. Shaking his head in an effort to clear his vision, John took hold of the shotgun and slid it closer to him. A shorter Equalist raced past, clearly attempting to escape. Eve shot a blob of water out from one of her skins, freezing on of the Equalist's legs. The Equalist stumbled, but as he fell, he threw one of his weapons back at Eve.
For John, time seemed to slow. The bola soared through the air before it rapped around Eve's throat before she could react. With the remaining momentum, the ball swung around and struck her in the temple. He screamed as she fell to the ground, an uncontrollable rage surging through him. Rolling over, he fired his shotgun at the Equalist. But the buckshot missed, slamming into the frame of the door he had just vanished through. Scrapping and crawling his way over, he prayed to whatever god or spirit was out there that he wasn't right.
He had seen several cases of someone taking an injury like hers, and it always ended the same.
"Medic! Medic!" he screamed into the night, using his fingers to feel for a pulse. He found one, but it was weak, very weak.
"What happened?" asked a waterbender that had appeared next to him, seemingly out of thin air.
"The weapon stuck her in the temple, hard." As the waterbender went to work, John stood and looked over his shotgun. It was only then did he notice the bluish white wisps around his hands. But the anger, the emotions didn't allow him to think about it. Instead, he dropped the empty weapon to the ground and took off after the Equalists.
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