|By Agent Slash||Genre||Rating||Reviews||Updates|
|More from Agent Slash||Action||PG13||Good||N/A|
|The Spark That Lit the Fire|
The drill was monstrous in size. It's slender, metal body worked it's way across where Reiko's prison complex had just been. Hong Wu and his team stared in horror at the machine, each of them wondering how they were going to stop it. "We need to get out of here! There is no way we can stop that thing!" yelled Hana.
"No, we will stop it," said Hong Wu. "You and Tenshi need to get out of here now! Stay out of the drill's path! You keep running until you have gotten somewhere safe!"
Tenshi and Hana nodded and ran into the forest, making sure to stray from the drill's path.
"What is that thing?" asked Ming.
"Reiko's secret weapon," Hong Wu answered. "Fa, you have to know how to shut that thing down."
"There is only one way," said Fa. "You must go inside the machine and destroy the main fuel source. If you succeed in doing that, the drill won't be able to move anymore."
"But that thing is almost half of a mile long!" said Ming. "There is no way we will be able to find the main fuel source before this thing reaches the Eastern Lake!"
"You won't need to search the entire machine. I know exactly which part of the drill houses the fuel source." "Which part?" asked Konghe.
"Run under the drill and go through the third entrance underneath. Once you get inside, run left through the drill's corridors until you reach the room marked, 'Engine Room'."
Everyone nodded and turned to face the drill again. Reiko and Xiang were still on top of the machine, both of them clearly pleased with the machine's activation.
"We may not make it out alive, but we are going to go out with a fight!" said Hong Wu. "Let's go!" The four comrades all ran towards the drill, heading for underneath the great machine. They were followed by the Terra Team members.
"Good luck, guys," said Fa. "For the sake of the Earth Kingdom, take this horrible machine and all of those evil men out."
Hong Wu, Ming, Hoku, and Konghe all rushed under the drill with the Terra Team right behind them. "So, what's the plan once we get inside?" asked Ming. "Reiko will surely have guards inside."
"We take out as many as we can," Hong Wu replied. As they ran, the group spotted the first entrance.
"Only two more to go," said Ming. Suddenly, a fire blast came sizzling past Hong Wu's head. The other soldiers avoided it as well. They all turned to see Fire Nation soldiers wearing skull masks standing in their path. "It seems they don't want us to leave," said Ming.
"Don't you worry about that," said one of the Terra Team soldiers. "We'll take care of them." All of the Terra Team soldiers stepped forward.
"Ready, men?!" one of them yelled. "Attack!" At the sound of this word, the Earthbenders all levitated boulders out of the ground and shot them forward at their opponents. Several of the Firebenders were blown back, but most of them still remained standing. "We'll cover you!" yelled one of the soldiers. "Go, go, go!"
The team of four did as they were told and sprinted forward. Ming brought up an earth shield in order to protect herself from a fire blast, while Hoku slashed his way through with his sword, cutting down soldiers in seconds. More and more of them were taken out by boulders, while Hong Wu's team just ran. Hong Wu sliced through a few more soldiers, and Konghe, armed with an earth gauntlet, socked several soldiers, knocking them unconscious. Finally, the four of them made their way through. They kept running until they saw the second entrance. "We must be getting close!" said Hong Wu. The assassin then felt a great deal of weight being dropped on him, knocking him to the ground. He heard the sound of a voice.
"So, you guys made it out of the prison alive," said Mongke. "I guess that means it is up to me to stop you now."
Suddenly, Hong Wu felt the weight on his back removed. He looked up to see Ming in her attack stance. Hong Wu quickly got back on his feet and saw Mongke on the ground, having been hit by a boulder.
"You guys go and find the third entrance!" shouted Hoku.
"We will hold him off!" said Konghe, finishing his friend's sentence.
Hong Wu and Ming nodded. The two of them ran off at once.
Mongke, furious, got back on his feet and started after them, but an earth coin from Konghe stopped him in his tracks. The former Fire Nation colonel looked over at his enemies with an enraged glare. "This will be much fun," he said.
Hoku smiled, and then cracked his neck. "Bring it, Fire Nation scum!"
Hong Wu and Ming were still running. Hong Wu was also running out of breath, which Ming noticed. "What's the matter? Are you getting tired?" she teased.
"How can you tease me at a time like this?" Hong Wu asked.
"I'm just trying to take my mind off of the impending doom," Ming answered.
"Well, don't lose your focus. We cannot fail this mission," said Hong Wu. It just dawned on him that he had not thanked Ming for saving him earlier. "Thank you, Ming, for saving my life," he said.
"No problem," she said. "Thank you for saving mine."
Hong Wu stopped running for a moment. The assassin was out of breath. "I... have... run so much... today," he said.
Ming put her hand on his shoulder. "I know you must be exhausted; I am too, but we cannot stop now. We have to keep going."
Hong Wu looked up and stared into Ming's eyes. "I've been so rude to you ever since I got here," he spoke. "I think it's time I was a little nicer to you." Ming smiled and looked into Hong Wu's eyes. "Your eyes are so beautiful," said Hong Wu. "I could stare at those green eyes all day."
Ming looked down on Hong Wu. She had been hoping Hong Wu would feel the same way she felt about him. Now, she had a chance to make her move. "And I could stare at yours all day, too," she said. Both of them suddenly remembered that the fate of the Earth Kingdom was at stake.
"Let's get moving," said Hong Wu.
"Good idea," said Ming.
The two of them kept running towards the third entrance.
As the Battle of Jeontu was still raging on, Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom soldiers alike were all stopping in the middle of the battlefield. They all looked over to see a giant machine in the distance. It was a giant, metal, drill. Taisa saw it and her eyes widened. "Great spirits," she whispered. "Guys, if you are anywhere near that thing, please stop it, or we are all done for."
Reiko and Xiang were still atop the drill, looking down at all of the trees being destroyed by the monstrous mechanism. One of their pages ran towards them and spoke to them. "Sirs, it seems they have gotten past the first and second entrances," he said.
"What?!" Reiko yelled. "How many?!"
"J-just two, sir," said the page.
Reiko grabbed the page by his robes and tossed him over the side of the drill. "Send two battalions after them!" Reiko shouted.
"Not necessary, sir," said Xiang. "I will take care of them myself. He then ran away from his General, going to take care of the intruders.
Hong Wu and Ming were still running. Then, they finally saw it. "The third entrance," said Hong Wu. The pair stood directly under the entrance. "Alright, boost us up!" he ordered. Ming raised a slab of earth underneath them, elevating them inside the drill. They hopped over to the floor of the machine, and Ming lowered the earth slab. "Okay, let's head left," said Ming. The two of them sprinted left, heading for the engine room, intent on completing their mission.
Hoku sent a landslide in Mongke's direction, but the Rough Rhino leapt up, spun around, and unleashed a large breath of fire in Hoku's direction. Konghe raised an earth wall to defend them both, but the blast destroyed the wall on impact. The two Earthbenders raised earth blocks out of the ground and hurled them at their opponent, but they were burned by another combined fire blast from Mongke. "This is both of your first missions, isn't it?" asked Mongke. "You clearly have no experience!"
"This may be a first for everyone here, but I know that everyone here has received extensive training. Some of it from one of your superiors," said Hoku.
"Well, your training won't save you now!" yelled Mongke. The Rough Rhino prepared a fire whip, but Hoku and Konghe slammed their fists into the ground, creating an earth bomb and causing their opponent to be flung into the air. He hit the bottom of the drill and fell unconscious.
"Well, that takes care of him," said Konghe. "Should we follow Hong Wu and Ming, and try to stop it?"
"No, they are too far ahead. We need to try to stop it from the outside," Hoku replied. Konghe nodded and the two shot an earth column straight up at the drill.
Hong Wu and Ming were sprinting through the corridors of the drill. Just several feet ahead of them, three Firebenders came out from doors and shot fire streams at the two of them. Ming ducked as low as she could, just barely avoiding the streams, while Hong Wu leapt up, landed on one of the soldiers' faces, then proceeded to stab the other two in the face. He then hopped off of the third guard, who got back up within seconds. The guard prepared to fire, but she was quickly knocked unconscious by Ming's fist. She and Hong Wu proceeded down the hallway, still desperate to find the engine room. They ran for several more minutes, until they finally stopped. They looked over at the room to their right and saw it was marked, 'Engine Room'. "At last, we have found it," said Hong Wu, relieved. The two of them entered the room to see several engineers who were making the drill move.
"Alright," said Ming. "Everyone stop what you are doing and surrender!" All of a sudden, Hong Wu was knocked to the ground. Just seconds later, Ming was knocked over as well. The two looked up to see Xiang looming over them.
"I guess I should have expected you to make it this far," he said in his deep, intimidating voice. "I taught you well."
Hong Wu got up and took his attack stance. Ming got up and did the same. Xiang narrowed his eyes and raised a hand. "You are dismissed for now," said Xiang. The confused engineers all looked questioningly at one another, but decided not to challenge their superior. They all stopped what they were doing and left the room. Hong Wu, Ming, and Xiang all felt the drill stop immediately after the engineers put down their things.
"Why did you tell them to stop?" asked Hong Wu.
"So we could talk in private," Xiang responded. "You don't have any idea why I am doing this."
"You were pretty clear back in the torture room," said Hong Wu.
"No, I mean the part I didn't tell you," said Xiang. Hong Wu and Ming looked at the man, puzzled by his words. "There is a prophecy, one that I discovered inside the great library of Wan Shi Tong," Xiang explained. "It says that, even though the conqueror has fallen, a warrior of light will arise and dominate every weakling in his path. The conqueror, of course, is one of the previous Avatars, the very first one, in fact. I know that whoever is on the side of power will not be harmed by this warrior of light." Xiang revealed the prophecy which was on a scroll in his hand. "So I took this and showed it to Reiko. I asked him if I could join him. I told him what I told you in the torture room, and he gladly accepted me into his ranks and made me his second-in-command."
Hong Wu and Ming were befuddled by what this prophecy foretold. "So, you're just a coward seeking protection?!" Hong Wu shouted. Before Xiang could interject, Hong Wu spoke again. "You are not the same man who took me in eleven years ago! You are not the same man who taught me everything I know! I hate you, you despicable scumbag! And I hate the army, too!" he screamed.
"Hong Wu, calm down!" Ming urged.
"This just proves that I was right before! None of the nations are worth fighting for! Why should I show loyalty to any of them, or anyone?!"
"Your blind anger is what shall bring about your end, boy!" shouted Xiang. He thrust his fist forward, but Hong Wu sidestepped his former master's blow and stabbed him in the side. Xiang cried out in pain. He swung his fist again, but was socked in the face by Ming. Hong Wu loomed over his former master, who was looking up with a terrified expression on his face. He extended one arm, attempting to reach out to Hong Wu, but the assassin swung his arm down and stabbed his former master in the chest. As soon as the knife entered Xiang's chest, the man's eyes were lifeless. His whole body slumped on the floor, dead. The blood on Hong Wu's knife splattered all over the prophecy, blotting out several of the letters. Hong Wu was hyperventilating. He turned to Ming and looked back at the door. Hearing the commotion from inside, a guard entered the room, preparing to attack.
Hong Wu ran forward and grabbed the guard by the throat. He slammed the man to the ground and asked him in a very serious tone. "Where's... Reiko?"
Reiko was furious. He stared down the side of the drill. "What's going on?!" he bellowed. "Why have we stopped?!" Just then, a knife whizzed past his head. He turned around to see Hong Wu and Ming standing several yards away from him. "You two are still alive?! That idiot Xiang failed me!"
"I hope those were the last words you have always dreamed of, because they will be the last ones you ever speak!" yelled Hong Wu. He ran at Reiko, but the general breathed an enormous amount of fire at Hong Wu. The assassin's eyes went wide. Just in time, he leapt to the side to avoid the blast. He found himself about to fall over the side of the drill, but he quickly pulled out his knife and stabbed it into the drill's side. As he dangled over the side of the great mechanism, Reiko walked over and looked down on him.
"You little punk," he taunted. "Did you ever really believe you could ever defeat the great General Reiko?!" He lifted his foot, preparing to stomp it on Hong Wu's hand, when he was knocked over the side by Ming. Reiko cried out as he fell over. He grabbed onto Hong Wu's leg, causing the assassin to loosen his grip. In a few more seconds, they would let go and they would both fall to their deaths. "If I am going down, then you are going with me!" Reiko shouted from below.
"In your dreams!" Hong Wu spat. He thrust his leg down, causing Reiko to lose his grip and fall from the metal monstrosity to his death. Ming leaned over the side and extended her arm.
"Grab on!" she ordered. Hong Wu obeyed and grabbed her arm. She pulled him up and the two stood on top of the motionless drill. "It's over," she said. "It's finally over."
Hong Wu could only nod in response. He and Ming stared into each other's eyes once more. Both of them lost in a sea of colors that they found so beautiful. At last, the two of them shared a deep, passionate kiss atop the drill. The kiss lasted for over a minute, and both of them enjoyed every second of it. When the two were finally done, they stood silently for a few moments. Then, Ming finally spoke. "We should probably get down from here."
Taisa faced her four recruits, as well as Fa. She placed a medal on each of them. "For Fa, the Medal of Courage," she said. "Your courage to help us is inspiring, and we truly thank you for your help." She continued to move down the line. "For Konghe, the Medal of Bravery. Your bravery in leading the Terra Team soldiers and facing Banhen and Mongke was outstanding. For Hoku, the Medal of Honor. You have been an honorable soldier, indeed, Hoku. Stopping to help a couple and following orders right down to the letter was very honorable. For Ming, the Medal of Friendship. Your loyalty to your teammates and persistent friendliness is outstanding. And, for Hong Wu, the Medal of Leadership. Your leadership skills during this mission, and the fact that you killed both Xiang and Reiko, are incredible. I am proud to call myself your commanding officer." Taisa bowed and left her recruits, walking away with the Terra Team soldiers. "Time to lock you two up for good," she said, referring to the handcuffed Banhen and Mongke. As she walked away, Hong Wu walked in the opposite direction. Ming and the others followed him.
"Hey, what's wrong, buddy?" asked Hoku.
Hong Wu stopped and turned around. "I don't have anything to fight for anymore," said Hong Wu. "I am done with this. I will no longer serve the military, or anyone else."
"Where will you go?" asked Konghe.
"I am going to be a freelance assassin from now on. I will live by my own code."
"Why?" asked Fa.
"Because, fighting my old master, who taught me so much about not only fighting, but about life and how to live it, made me realize that people from all nations are evil and that there is no reason to trust any of them. I will live out the rest of my days as an assassin who plays by his own rules and doesn't give a damn about the military." Hong Wu grinned a bit evilly at saying this. "After all, what's the point? Up until this point, everyone in my life has hurt me. The only person that kept me going was Xiang, but now he has hurt me, too." Hong Wu paused and clenched his fist. "All, because of a stupid prophecy!" he shouted.
"What prophecy?" asked Hoku.
"It says although the conqueror has fallen, a warrior of light will arise and dominate every weakling in his path. The conqueror was the first Avatar, and no one knows who the warrior of light is." No one was sure of what to think of this news. "If any of you want to join me, we can start our own secret operation and rise to power on our own!"
Hoku, Konghe, and Fa backed away from their friend. It was clear he was losing his marbles. "Yeah, count me out, pal," said Hoku. "You're insane!"
"Yeah, you sound a little crazy to me, too," said Konghe.
"Yes, I think I have heard enough," Fa concurred. The three of them walked away, each of them pondering if Hong Wu was right.
"Fine, then," said Hong Wu.
"I'll join you," said Ming.
Hong Wu looked over at her and smiled. "I think this is the beginning of a wonderful relationship," he said. He chuckled, evilly to himself until he started laughing maniacally into the sky. "Together, you and I will do whatever it takes to be the greatest assassins in the world and leave our mark on history."
84 AG - Hong Wu and Ming go under the tutelage of Jun.
87 AG – Hoku retires from the army and joins the Dai Li.
87 AG – Fa's son, Teo, is born.
88 AG - A knowledge seeker finds the wreck of the drill, retrieves the prophecy, and returns it to Wan Shi Tong's library.
92 AG – Tenshi and Hana die at sea, leading their daughter, Suki, to join the Kyoshi Warriors.
93 AG – Konghe works his way up the ranks and becomes a member of the Council of Five.
93 AG - Tai Kun visits Wan Shi Tong's library and finds the prophecy.
97 AG - Fa is forced to design a new, more powerful drill.
101 AG – Hong Wu and Jun storm the Royal Fire Nation Mental Institute and free Princess Azula.
For the collective works of the author, go here.