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February 16, 2013
This is the twenty-fourth chapter of the series,.
On board Sakyu's ship he and Dochu watch as the water-benders bring down the barriers, allowing the crew to get a breath of fresh air, now preparing to finish the United Nation's ship. "You see, they struck down our comrades even after they surrendered. We shall avenge them by destroying that vessel and it's crew." He says as he watches the crew's water-benders and sand-benders, Sakari included, begin boarding the small boats and speeding over to the crippled ship, the two larger ships slowly closing the distance as well. Immediately after, Hokori marches up the stairs toward her brother, grabbing him by his collar.
"What did you do?" she says aggressively.
"What are you talking about?"
"That ship didn't cause the explosion, you did. I know that was blasting gel in those barrels. You faked the attack, why?" she asks angrily as Dochu looks at Sakyu, waiting for him to answer.
He slowly puts his arms up, putting his sister's hands down. "I know it may seem like I betrayed them but please understand. Jaggi and his men were planning on betraying us. If I had allowed them to continue they would have caused a mutiny on all three ships. I had no choice but to switch them over to one ship and allow them to take the fall. I know what I did wasn't honorable, but it was the only way." Hokori slowly backs away and allows him to proceed.
As she walks away from the bridge, Dochu follows behind. "Do you still trust him?"
"His methods may be questionable but he does get the job done."
"But at what cost?" she says leaving him.
Meanwhile on board the damaged vessel with a large hole blown in the hull, the remaining crew attempt to aid any survivors from the water. Adi collects herself as Nilak stands by. "They're coming in fast." Honshi shouts from the nest.
"What do we do ma'am?" Nilak asks.
Adi stands up and looks around. "All non-benders, get the injured on board the life boats. Tie theme together and get one of the water-benders to speed them out of here and head for the Northern Water Tribe; we'll make an opening for you. If you can, send help. The rest of you who can still move, man your stations and prepare to repel boarders." she turns and puts a hand on Nilak's shoulder. "I want you to lead them there. We'll hold out until reinforcements arrive." she says as she gets back to one of the still operational guns as she and the remaining four fire-benders launch blasts at the approaching fast boats. The earth-benders launch their discs as well as the remaining two water-benders use water whips to swipe at the incoming boats. Honshi, in the nest, grabs his bow and arrow, takes aim, and launches a well placed shot at one of the men stirring the boat. He dodges at the last second as the arrow lodges in the boat. The sand-bender looks down and sees a fuse in the arrow. He and the others jump form the boat as it explodes. "On the mark." Honshi says with a smirk.
The enemy finally board the ship and the sand-benders, provided with gourds of their element, attack the crew. "Close quarters." Adi shouts as the crew abandon their stations and engage the enemy on the ship. She launches fire blasts at two of the sand-benders as they block the attack with walls of sand then shoot it forward at her. Before the attack reaches the two are knocked down by Nilak, wielding his broad swords. "I thought I told you..."
"Sorry ma'am, but like you said, no solo hero." he says as an enemy water-bender prepares to attack from behind.
"Up here." Honshi launches an arrow at the attacker, who brings up an ice shield to block it. The archer fires three shots that strike at the exact same spot, shattering the ice, knocking him back. Adi punches him in the face. The two look up at the archer who gives a quick salute. The mast is almost immediately knocked down by a water shot causing Honshi to jump onto the deck of the ship. "Right, full moon powered."
"Oh, you have no idea." Quan says standing next to Sakari and Chow as they walk toward the three, the rest of the ships crew embroiled in combat.
"Nilak?" Sakari says in confusion. "What are you doing here?"
"I could ask you the same thing. What are you doing with these pirates?"
"Hey Sakari." Honshi says waving. "Remember me?"
"Honshi? Okay, what's going on here?"
Quickly tiring of the meet and greet, Quan speaks. "Sakari, a new world begins with you." his keywords trigger Sakari's mental subjection as her pupils dilate.
"Yes master." she says as she grabs water from the ocean and charges forward. Nilak narrowly dodges the attack as Adi and Honshi jump back as Chow rushes them with a series of water shots.
"Sis, what's going on with you?" he asks evading her blows, at the same time trying not to hurt her. She forms two ice blades over her arms and engages him, locking them with his swords. "Sakari, snap out of it, it's me Nilak." she seems to come to her senses for a moment, only to kick him in the chest, forcing him back.
"I'm afraid she can't hear you. She is subject to my every whim." Quan gloats as Nilak evades another attack from his sister and falls back with Adi and Honshi.
"So how much trouble can we expect from her?" Adi asks.
"Well, Sakari's been praised by her teachers as one of the most powerful water-benders alive. Add to the fact that the full moon is out and I think it's safe to say we're royally hosed." Nilak says as Raza flies off into the night sky.
"Smart bird." Adi says as they turn back to their opposition.
"I think I'll just take care of the puppet master himself." Honshi quickly notches another arrow and fires it straight toward Quan's head. The projectile is quickly snatched out of the air by Sakari's water whip as Chow freezes him in ice. Nilak rushes the criminal, only to be hit to the side by his sister. Adi rushes in and shoots a constant stream of flames at the three, holding them back temporarily. Sakari and Chow's water streams finally win out though as they blast her back and she hits a wall.
"I really thought you'd put up more of a fight against the man who killed your mother." Quan says arrogantly as Nilak picks himself up.
"You!" Nilak says with hate in his eyes as his mind races. Even being so young then, he still retains sporadic memories of that night. He rushes full tilt toward the one armed man, bypassing Chow and his sister's attacks. Quan stretches out his hand and stops the boy inches away, blood-bending him. He slowly walks toward him as Nilak strains to move, to no avail. He motions his arm and throws Nilak against the wall, joining Adi as he falls unconscious. The remaining pirates round up the rest of the crew and prepare to finish them.
Watching from the other ship, Hokori decides this is the time to act. Before she can do so however, a figure falls from the sky and lands perfectly in the center of her brother's ship. "Meelo?" she says slightly confused as to how her air-bending instructor found them.
He slowly stands up and looks around, identifying Sakyu. "Surrender please, or you will be beat up." his words cause the crew to laugh in response.
Sakyu steps forward, wiping the tears of laughter from his eyes. "Okay, okay. I'll tell you what pal, out of respect for your grandfather and the fact that you're an endangered species, I'm willing to let you leave , no harm no foul."
"Oh I'm not the one who's in dager." he says sweeping an air current across the deck knocking the crew down. They look up into the sky as he is joined from above by Mako and Yi. Dogu and Taki land down on the other ship, riding the sky bison to aid the crew.
"Hey boss." Taki says, greeting Quan as the bison pounds it's tail against the deck that swats the Quan, Chow, and Sakari away. Dogu rushes and uses the earth discs littering the deck to push back the pirates while Taki helps up Nilak and Adi. "Are you alright? What happened to your sister?"
"They've got her under some kind of mind control or something. We have to help her." Nilak says as he gets up. Adi rejoins the fight, launching fireballs in every direction, scattering the pirates, allowing the three to free the other crew members. They then re-engage the enemy as the three enemy water-benders retake the field.
Meanwhile, Meelo and the others are taking on the crew of Sakyu's ship as he falls back to the bridge with Hokori and Dochu. "Now what brother?" she asks him arrogantly. He looks over at her annoyed as the fight continues.
"They're going to rip us apart." Dochu says as he draws his sword.
"Patience, we'll regain control soon. Remember the water-bender's are at their strongest tonight." Sakyu says confidently as he watches the battle below. Yi and Mako stand back to back, hurling powerful fire blasts at their targets as Meelo uses advanced air-bending techniques to avoid and attack his enemies. A water-bender wraps a whip around Yi's arm and pull her, but her uncle comes to her rescue and blasts him off the ship. Mako takes out two of the sand-benders with a powerful cartwheel fireblast. Three more surround him with bolas, only to be swatted away by water whips revealed to be wielded by Hasook and his commando team as they hop on deck.
"Sorry we're late." the water-bender says as hey help turn the tide.
"Apologies brother, but we need immediate action." Dochu says as he leaps from the bridge to engage the enemy. He targets Mako and the two begin a speedy duel as the officer keeps distance between the two with fire-bending.
"He did say he was sorry." Hokori says as her brother is now visibly upset.
"Stay here." he says as he leaps from the bridge into the combat zone targeting two of the water-benders as his sister struggles between listening to her past self and her instincts. She watches as her brother engages Meelo in one on one combat, the two seemingly matched move for move. The Air Nomad shows just how far his come from his childhood by easily avoiding his opponents blows and striking back with a high level of skill. Sakyu finally gains the upper hand however, as he brings sand from all the barrels around him, moving his arms in a sweeping motion that knocks Meelo out of the air and onto the deck. He moves in to finish him. Hokori herself has finally had enough and leaps down between the two, stopping all the fighting on deck with a large blast of fire. "That's enough."
"Hokori, what are you doing?" Sakyu says.
"Ending this here and now. You and you're men will surrender to the Republic Forces immediately to answer for your crimes. It was you and your own dark ambitions that caused all of this. Uncle told me everything." Sakyu's eyes widen as Dochu looks over to him.
"Is this true?" his second in command asks as he gives no answer.
"You had father murdered and planned to use me in your campaign of bloodshed. Well now it's time for justice, brother." as she says this, Yoroi growls at her brother.
Meanwhile, Nilak and the others are still struggling with their fight. Sakari and Chow continue to put up a hard fight, putting Taki and Adi on the defensive. Chow maneuvers himself around Taki and attempts to stab her with an ice blade. He is knocked away by a sand shot by Jaggi, who is supporting himself on the side of the wall. Adi gives him a slight nod in recognition and continues. Nilak is caught again by two water-bending pirates as they wrap water whips around his arms. Two of the commandoes quickly come to his aid and knock the two away with a combined water wave. They then launch themselves over to the second pirate ship with the remainder of their compatriots. Dogu finds himself being overwhelmed by pirates as four of them corner him and prepare to launch their respective elements. He is saved at the last second however, as Naga, Tahno still on her back, leaps from the water and swats the four over the side.
"You alright?" Tahno says with a smile.
"Yeah, I'm fine, but Sakari's in trouble over on the other side." Dogu says as Tahno rushes to her. He makes it to the other side of the damaged vessel only to find his daughter in combat with Nilak. She forces her brother to the ground with a well placed water shot to his knees and stands over him to finish the fight.
"Sakari!" Tahno shouts as he rushes over, grabbing her by her wrist. "What are you doing?" she begins to struggle against him before splashing him with a glob of water that forces him back.
"Dad, it's not her fault." Nilak says as his father helps him up.
"The boys right. That would be my doing." Quan says perched several feet behind the two with Chow. "Your daughter is under my control. My will is her command and you can't do a thing about it. Now my dear, finish him." he says as Sakari rushes forward and engages her father in a duel of water-bending.
"Sakari, snap out of it." Tahno says avoiding and countering her attacks. Despite his age, the former pro-bender still has years of experience behind him to match his daughters advanced level of skill. Nilak can only stand and watch as the two duke it out. Sakari's stamina and speed finally win out in the end as she forces her father against a wall. He reaches into his pocket as she lunges forward with an ice dagger. He is left completely open as she drives it into his abdomen. She looks up at him slowly as he gently slips her mothers necklace over her head. Her eyes widen as her thoughts become her own again, and she begins to remember, a memory flashing back to her as a child.
"Sakari, don't get too close to the shore, it's dangerous when the tide comes in." Tahno says as the family enjoy their day at the beach, the young girl running along the shoreline.
"Tahno, relax. She'll be fine, we're right here after all." Korra says resting on a beach blanket. "If I'd known you'd be such a stick in the mud I would have left you at home instead of Gigi."
"Yeah, come on daddy." as the five year old says this, a large wave rolls in and pulls her into the water.
"Sakari!" her parents shout as Tahno and Korra both dive into the water after the girl, using their water-bending to easily cut through the water and pull her out. They bring her back to shore, holding her tightly as she cries.
"It's okay baby, mommy and daddy've got you," Tahno says, kissing her forehead. "We'll never let anything happen to you."
Sakari slowly regains her senses and looks forward to see what she has done. "Daddy? What happened?" she moves back slightly as she melts the ice dagger from his wound. "I didn't mean..."
"It's okay, I know." Tahno says, straining to stand up.
"What are you waiting for? Finish him." Quan demands behind her.
She spins around furiously, throwing a water ball at the one armed man's head. He easily evades it and throws back one of his own. Unseen to Sakari however, is the blade he has hidden in it as it races toward her. She simply bends the water as it nears her, not seeing the blade until it's too late.
"Move!" her father shouts, pushing her aside as the blade strikes him, causing him to fall over the edge into the sea, to the horror of his friends and family.
Seeing this from the other ship, Hokori pushes her brother aside and leaps in after her water-bending teacher. As Sakyu attempts to stand he feels a sting on the back of his neck. He looks up slightly to see Dochu with his blade to his former leader. "Even you're against me?" he says as he looks across the deck. "Alright then." he quickly draws sand around his body before Dochu has a chance to attack, creating a large sand armor around himself that stands almost 20 feet and begins to attack everyone in his way as his few remaining loyal troops follow.
Sakari attempts to dive in after the two only to be halted by Quan, who begins blood-bending her. Nilak, Dogu, Adi, and Taki charge him, only to be incapacitated themselves as the battle continues on around them. Even Naga is not immune to the effects. "Let's see how this plays out. Oh boys." he says as Chow and two water-benders begin motioning the water above where Tahno and Hokori are located in the arctic water. A whirlpool quickly forming over the area. "Well folks, I believe this will conclude tonights events, so without further interruptions..." Quan stops as Sakari slowly lifts herself from the deck. He stands stunned as he reaffirms his grip, forcing the others further to the ground. This however, does little to stop her as she begins walking toward him. "How are you doing this?"
"Let's see. My mother was the Avatar." she pulls water from over the side and slams him against the deck with it. "My father is a former pro-bending champion." another whip knocks him into the air. "And i've had some very good teachers to boot." she wraps a whip of water around his leg and slams him down. "Do the math chump." the others quickly get up and attack Chow and the other two. Chow attempts to escape only for Sakari to land down in front of him, punching him in the face, knocking him out. "That's for making me your little plaything creep."
As everyone regains their senses, Taki looks over at the still frozen Honshi. "He a friend of yours?" she asks as Sakari and Nilak give a nod. She then unfreezes the water around him as he staggers to his feet.
"Alright, who wants a piece of...oh fights over." he says embarrassed as he watches on with the others.
Sakyu on the other ship is attacking Hasook and the others as they try to find a way to penetrate his defense. "You know Hasook, I used to criticize your skills, but any idea here would be helpful." Mako says as he flings fire balls at the sand armor.
"For once I'm just as stumped as you. Our bending is useless against him. Nothing we do is strong enough." Hasook says as he and three of his commandoes launch a combined wave at the behemoth. Although a portion of it falls away, the sand-bender has planned for this collecting more sand from barrels below him. As they continue to evade Dochu and Meelo lead a group of men to distract the sand-bender leader as he swipes at them. As the others try to come up with a plan, Yi steps forward, motioning the others out of the way. "What are you...?" she moves Hasook to the side before he can finish, removing her headband to reveal her eye tattoo. She takes in a deep breath, aiming directly at her target, and exhales as the bolt of energy meets it's mark, blasting a large portion of the armor away, causing the entire thing to collapse. Yi then staggers back, shaken by the loss of energy as Hasook catches her.
"Kid, that was something." he says, only for Sakyu to collect the sand back only seconds later. "You wouldn't happen to have another one of those in you?"
Beneath the waves Hokori, although having little experience in swimming, gives her all to reach Tahno as he sinks deeper into the frigid water. She finds it increasingly difficult to stay focused. "No, focus, have to reach him." she expends the remainder of her energy and lunges forward finally reaching the water-bender before she blacks out.
Above the waves, Sakari looks down nervously as there is no sign of the two. "That's it I'm going in!" as she prepares to dive she is surprised to see a large water spout shoot up into the air with two figures on top. "Impossible." she says as she sees an unconscious Tahno in the arms of someone very familiar to her; her mother, Avatar Korra. This both excites and frightens everyone as they watch her hand down the water-bender on a wind funnel, Dogu catching him and laying him down on the deck. Sakari moves right away and begins to heal his wounds as the Avatar moves toward Sakyu's ship. "He's not breathing." she states as she begins to perform mouth-to-mouth in order to recacitate him.
Quan, having regained his senses, sees the whole thing as the Avatar turns to him. "I finished you once, I'll do it again." he says, hurling ice darts at her.
"No, you won't." she blasts him with a single air gust that knocks him against a wall. He attempts to lift his hand, only for Nilak to smash it with the flat edge of the sword, breaking his fingers. "That's enough out of you buddy." he says smugly.
"We might want to get off now." Mako says as Meelo carries everyone over to the other ship with his air-bending. The group rush over to Sakari, who is still trying to recacitate Tahno.
"Come on pop, don't quit on us." Nilak says as his sister tries several more times to get breath back in him.
"He's still not breathing." Taki says worriedly. Just then Yi moves the others away. She goes through the motions and gives a short, light burst of lightning into his body. When it does not seem to be working, she does it once more. The second time his chest begins to move and he begins coughing, opening his eyes as he looks around.
"Oh, what happened?" he says as he looks around, his two children hugging him.
"Thank you." Sakari says to Yi, who nods to her.
Seeing the incoming attacker, Sakyu begins shooting sand bullets at the Avatar in hopes of stopping her. She brings up a walls of water to block the projectiles, then fires flames at Sakyu's sand armor, turning a large portion of it to glass. He retaliates with another attempt, extending the remaining right arm in an attempt to smash her, only for her to use her earth-bending to gently swat it away. She uses the water funnel to fly full forward into the sand figure, becoming engulfed in it. As she disappears beneath it, the mass suddenly implodes, knocking Sakyu out. He quickly gets to his feet as she lands on the deck. In a last ditch effort to save himself, he launches numerous sand whips, to little avail as she rapidly approaches him. He hurls one last sand blast at her as she ducts under it, forces him to the ground and uses water-bending to freeze his arms to the deck. She moves in and places her thumb and index finger on his forehead. After a few seconds, she releases him and melts the water, allowing him to fall to the ground. Seeing their leader defeated, the other pirates surrender in rapid succession.
Tahno and the others look on in amazement as she slowly floats over to the ship. "Hey Pretty Boy." she says smiling.
"Hey Korra." he says as he stands up. Naga then begins sniffing Korra, as she begins rubbing the polarbear-dog's head.
"Hey girl. Missed you too."
She then turns to Mako. "Hey Mako, still in uniform I see. How's it been?"
"Eh, can't complain. Good to see you again Korra."
"Likewise. Where's Bolin?"
"You know Bo, he's off on some adventure around the world."
"When you see him, give him my regards." she then turns to Sakari.
"Mom?" she says as she rushes over to her.
"Sakari, how've you been sweety?"
"Great mom. It's so good to see you again. I've missed you so much."
"I've missed you too. I see you've been practicing. Maybe you'll be as good as me someday." Korra jokes as she turns to Tahno. "Hey Tahno, you're looking good."
"Yeah, all things considered I'm surviving. Still wish you were here."
"I'll always be with you; in here." she points to his heart. "Take care of yourself Pretty Boy."
"I will Uh-vatar." he says with a light smile.
Korra turns again to see Taki. "Hey Taki," she says half-heartedly. "you look older."
"Thank you Avatar Korra. As always your tact is as subtle as your bending." she says annoyed as Korra chuckles before putting her hand on her shoulder.
"Keep him around for me will you?" she says as Taki smiles.
"Hey Meelo. I see you got the tattoos. Congratulations." she says to the air-bender.
"Thanks, you should see Jinora and Ikki, not to mention the kids."
"Shaozu and Ikki's."
"I wouldn't have believed it if it hadn't come from a monk."
"This is one of them right here." he points over to Yi who stands in amazement. Korra notices the long scare running across her throat.
"Here let me help." she brings up water into her hand and, using her healing touch, puts it to Yi's scare. Although no other healer has been able to help, Yi allows her the chance to try. After a few seconds of light Korra moves back and Yi feels her neck to find the scare completely gone. "There how's that?" Yi bows to her as she moves along.
Korra finally turns and sees Nilak in the back of the group. "Nilak?"
"Hey." he says as he walks over. He has trouble forming any words to say to his mother, who has little memory of.
"Look at you; my little boy all grown up." she notices his shyness and reluctance to speak. "I'm sorry Nilak."
"I'm sorry I wasn't there for you when you needed me."
"I understand. You did what you had to to save everyone. That's why I wanted to be like you; a hero."
"I know you do. And I'm so proud of you and your sister." she says as she leans in. "By the way..." she whispers something to him that causes him to lighten up and chuckle.
"Really." the two then hug. "Love you son."
"Love you back mom." he says as the two embrace for a long time, tears running down both of their faces.
Dogu stands in the back sniffling and rubbing his eyes, catching the attention of Adi. "Do you have something in your eye?"
"No I'm crying, shut up."
Korra's overshadow finally ends and Hokori takes back over, unknown to Nilak.
She looks down confused at him still holding tight to her, before punching him in the head. "Don't get fresh with me you jerk!" she yells.
"Only you could turn a tender moment into a slugfest." he says rubbing his head as everyone begins to laugh.
Meanwhile, Chow has snuck aboard a small raft and is attempting to get away. "Yoo-hoo. Going my way?" Sakari says standing on an ice board in front of him. He moves his hands up, preparing to strike then turns to a noise behind him as he stares straight into the barrel of the ships fire-bending cannon, Adi and Mako manning it. "Make a move Pretty Boy." she jokes as he begrudgingly puts his hands up, gritting his remaining teeth.
Raza flies down and lands on Nilak's shoulder. "And where were you when I was in mortal danger?" he asks as the iguana parrot flies back off over a group of Water Tribe ships headed their way.
"Hey look, it's grandpa Tonraq. Hey grandpa!" Sakari says excitedly as she and her brother wave to him in the lead ship as he beholds the scene in front of him.
For the collective works of the author, go here.