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January 24, 2013
This is the seventeenth chapter of the series,.
That night on the docks the Blue Spirit watches from atop a crane as several men walk into one of the warehouses. Having sent the iguana parrot away, the shadowy figure slowly and stealthily makes its way inside the back of the warehouse through a window that has been carelessly left open. Inside, a figure on the adjacent side signals the "spirit" as the two look down in the back room. On the ground floor three members of the Triple Threat Triad, Chow, Dogu, and Yi, wearing a bandana around her forehead, stand next to a man with glasses wearing a white lab coat. Behind them are three large cages with about thirty or so prisoners, ranging from four to maybe seventeen years of age.
"Here you go Doc. Your generous donation to our organization gives you first pick before the auction starts. And don't worry, they've all been conditioned, so no more little fiascoes." Chow says confidently as he combs his hair while Yi holds the mirror up, rolling her eyes at the vain young man.
"Yes, yes excellent specimens." the doctor says as the three pull the captives out of their cages by their chains as the doctor looks over each one. "Hm, Earth Kingdom, seven years of age, strong facial structure, likely from eastern provinces." he moves the boy along and takes a look at a young girl. "Water Tribe, Northern tribe, eye color denotes mixed earth nation heritage, possibility of strong water-bending prowess." he continually moves down the line passing over several others.
"What exactly do you want them for?" Dogu asks.
"What have I told you about asking questions Dogu? Each one comes out of your pay."
"Really, it is quiet alright. To answer your question; I am choosing subjects for my experiments."
"Yes, as a child I was always amazed by tales of the Avatar, a being able to command all four elements. And over the years I began to wonder; why is this one being the only one destined to control such powers? What if someone was able to create a race of people with the same powers."
"You're trying to create your own Avatar? That's nuts." Dogu exclaims.
"To you, yes. To me, it is a challenge to test the limits of humanity." he then turns his attention to Yi. "Hm, dark skin, Water Tribe, burn marks on sleeves, fire-bender, interesting. Eye color silver, air-bender heritage extremely rare. This one for sale, yes?" as he says this, Yi almost pounces on him, only for Dogu to hold her back.
"She's with us doctor. Non-negotiable."
"Pity." he then turns his attention to another girl with noticeably tan skin. "Darker skin, not Water Tribe, Earth Kingdom, baseline earth-bender, rare for this region, skin texture suggest harsh region, Si Wong Desert, sand-bender. Very interesting."
"So you're interested."
"I will take this one, this one, this one, and her." the doctor says, selecting two young male water-benders, a teenage fire-bender, and the sand-bender. The last choice alarms Yi as Dogu stops her. "Not yet." he whispers to her. He moves to have his two guards move the group into his truck.
"What's your problem?" Chow asks as he sees the anger in Yi's eyes.
"Doesn't this seem wrong to you?" Dogu says.
"Why? As long as I get paid and he's not cutting me open, what do I care?" he says still combing his hair. "Now stop wasting time and get them back in the cages, we've got an auction to prepare for." as he says this the Blue Spirit jumps down as a thick mist covers the area. The entity rushes toward the doctor, kicking him out of the way, takes the keys and releases the three. The sand-bender motions toward the other captives.
"Release them, now!"
"Tell you what, how about we don't and I give you this!" Chow says opening the water satchel and shoots out three ice daggers. The "spirit" dodges the projectiles and runs toward the Triad member. "Uh, a little help here." Chow says to the other two who then join in. Yi turns her fire blasts into a continuous stream, forming a flame thrower as Dogu fires a flurry of rock fragments from the ground. The masked man parries many of the attacks with his broadswords only to be knocked back. He is then attacked from behind by the doctor's guards as they wrap his arms up with a set of bolos, holding him in place as the three benders attack him. The trio prepare to finish him only for the mist to conceal him. "Not this time." Chow motions and pushes the mist away, as the spirit attempts to crawl away. The water-bender stands over him and prepares to deliver the final blow.
"Stay away from my little brother." Sakari jumps down and sprays Chow down with a torrent of water she carries in a large gourd on her back. She rushes over to help her brother up.
"How...did you?" the Blue Spirit, or Nilak asks.
"Aunt Asami called me. You owe me one by the way." as she says this at least two dozen Triad security members emerge from the main room as Chow orders them to attack. As Sakari and her brother brace for the onslaught, Yi and Dogu attack the large group as the siblings turn to them.
"What are you doing?" Chow yells as Yi responds with a powerful fire blast that knocks him against a wall. The two then join in the attack against the Triad members as the battle quickly devolves into a no holds melee. The group attack with ferocity as the sand-bender teen forces her way through the crowd toward where the other captives are held and attempts to open the cage. Two of the Triad members attempt to attack her as she cowers. Nilak comes to her defense and blocks their path to her. The one, a fire-bender throws a fireball that Nilak blocks with his swords. "Hey, you got earth-bending, use it." he shouts as he turns back to the cage and smashes the lock with the hilt of his sword. The captives try to flee only for their path to be blocked by the doctor and his two guards.
"Well it's not the group I wanted but you have already been paid for." as his guards attempt to seize them they are frozen in place as Taki slides down from the rafters on an ice slide. Dogu then knocks the doctor out with one punch. "Nice timing." he says as Taki helps the group outside, stopping any attack with her water-bending. Two water-benders block her path and overpower her. Seeing this the sand-bender girl launches an attack using the loose dirt on the ground to sideswipe one of the benders as Yi takes out the second with her fire breath. The girl looks at her hands and cringes for a moment as Nilak rushes over and leads her away.
As the group attempt to reach the door Chow and two fire-benders try to stop them. "No one goes anywhere." the two fire-benders launch two attacks which Yi parries, accidentally starting a fire that quickly catches on to the crates of materials. Everyone panics, running toward the nearest exit. As they run, Yi stops, seeing the doctor attempting to escape. She responds by shooting lightening at the ceiling above him as it gives way and the material falls on top of him. She then runs off to join the others. As Chow still blocks their escape route, Sakari rushes forward, forming the water from her gourd around her left arm before freezing it and delivers an uppercut to his chin that knocks him aside. "Let's go!"
They rush out as a fire-bender behind them launches a final attack. The blast is aim directly at Nilak's head, who has no time to react. Without warning the sand-bender girl jumps in the way and bends the fire back at the man. The group is awestruck with what they have just seen. As they finally manage to escape the building the police and fire department arrive. "Uh yeah, I kind of called uncle Mako for back up." Sakari says innocently to her brother as the large group stand outside as the officers secure the area.
A distance away, Chow has managed to swim to shore. He crawls up and turns to look at his reflection in the water. He sees he has received a black eye, but worse still comes when he moves his tongue around in his mouth. He smiles into the water and sees two of his front teeth are missing, causing him to scream madly.
"So you were all in on it?" Sakari asks the group as the officers round up the Triad members and medics check the captives and the wounded.
"Mostly, I was the Blue Spirit for months, Ms. Taki worked with me, adding the creepy mist to add that extra mojo. Then Yi and Dogu came to me with the info about this auction." Nilak explains.
"When Yi left town for a bit she was held captive by these guys but managed to escape. She told us she wanted to help them. She and the sand-bender girl were cellmates." Dogu says as Yi and the girl, around fourteen years old, communicate using sign language. The girl walks over to the group and bows.
"I have thanks to give." she says in a strange manner of speech. "Confusing. You bend, but you don't hurt, why?"
"You can bend freely here, no one will hurt you anymore." Dogu assures.
"Speaking of which, you can earth-bend and fire-bend?" Sakari asks.
"Yes, since little, I bend fire, earth, I tell winds to blow and they move." as she continues to explain, Mako walks over to the group.
"Oh boy, you two know how to make trouble in all the right ways." he says as he sits with them. "But if it wasn't for you we would never have taken down this slaver ring so I'll let you all off this time. This is going to be a nightmare to explain to the Council."
"Thanks uncle Mako. But I think I can help with that. I'll just explain that this was a planned United Forces operation, the Blue Spirit was a necessary means to scout out the local crime scene for information." Sakari explains.
"But what about the prisoners?" Nilak asks.
"Well we'll have to try to find their homes and get them back to where they belong. As for her..." he says looking at the sand-bender.
Yi motions her hands. (She was taken when she was six. She doesn't know anything about being the Avatar.)
"She might have a point. We can't rush her into this. She barely understands anything about the outside world." Taki says supporting her decision.
"So what do you suggest?"
"Let us take her home with us for a while until she can get accommodated." Sakari suggests.
"Hm, alright. Just make sure she stays under wraps for the time being. The Council members will have my head if they find out about this."
As the group reach Tahno's home they sneak around the back as Sakari puts Naga in the stable. As they go inside she slaps Nilak in the head. "What was that for?"
"For almost getting yourself killed. What were you thinking?"
"I was trying to keep balance in the city, that's what the Avatar does."
"Well if you hadn't noticed, your not the Avatar."
"Well he did do a pretty good job, with our help of course." Dogu says.
"Shut up Dogu!" Nilak says.
"Hey I was on your side."
"Calm down, all of you." Taki intercedes.
"Oh, I don't want to hear it from you. How could you not tell me my brother was doing something so stupid?"
"Hey who are you calling stupid. I was helping the city. I paid her and a lot of other homeless people in the city to help me hide my equipment and help with my raids."
"And putting yourself in the line of fire from the police and gangsters isn't stupid?" she says pointing her finger in his face. He slaps it away and the two begin fighting, knocking each other on the ground as the others try and break it up. As they continue everyone freezes as Tahno comes down the stairs. He walks passed them, his eyes have open as he goes into the kitchen, grabs a handful of almond cookies. He walks past them again but stops halfway through. "Sakari."
"Yeah dad." she says hesitantly.
"Your grounded for the next two days."
"Hey you wanna make it the rest of your visit?"
"When you see your Aunt Asami tomorrow, tell her we are going to have a long discussion about your continued employment at Future Industries. As for you two." he points to Yi and Dogu. "Go home. Especially you." he says pointing to Yi. He then turns his attention to the sand-bender girl. "What's your name kid?"
"You got a place to stay?" he asks as she shakes her head. "I don't know what part you have in all this and quite frankly I'm too tired to care right now, so you can bunk with Sakari tonight." he then walks over to Taki as the two stare each other down. "Thanks for keeping them safe. Your welcome to the guest room over there if you want." he then heads up the stairs as everyone breaths a sigh of relief, Dogu wearing a large smile.
"What are you smiling about?" Sakari asks.
"I was the only one doing what they were supposed to tonight. My parents asked me to watch out for Yi and that's exactly what I did. I can't get in troub...wait, its almost midnight. My mom's going to kill me if I'm late for curfew, bye." he says running out the door as Yi follows, but not before saying her good nights to the others.
(Will see you tomorrow.) she signs to Hokori as she leaves.
The other's stare at each other for a moment before leaving to their respective rooms.
On Air Temple Island, Dogu drops Yi off at the dock and salutes her before leaving. She is greeted by two White Lotus Sentries who, after seeing who she is allow her to pass. She walks quietly down the halls to her parents room. She reaches up to knock but hesitates for a moment. She sighs before finally knocking. "Who is it?" she hears her father ask. She slowly opens the door as her parents sit up in their bed.
"Yi?" her mother says, almost in disbelief. Her daughter turns away for a second. "What's wrong?" she asks as her daughter reveals the scar across her neck. Her mother almost screams as her parents embrace their daughter.
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