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|What Is It Good For?|
Chapter 3: What Is It Good For?
Yun and the others watched in horror as the tanks rolled over the wall and Yuan Chong's soldiers climbed over, as well. Dozens of men were in the fortress before the tanks even finished climbing the wall, and one of those men was General Ri Wu.
Fong directed his men and set up a line to hold. "Do not let them past this point! Fight for the true Earth Kingdom!"
Fong's Earthbenders were powerful, but they were outmatched as more and more men flooded into the fortress. Ri Wu knocked men aside with simple flicks of his wrist as he made his way toward the last member of the Council of Five. He lifted a large stone and launched it at Fong, but the general raised a stone slab to block. Ri Wu brought up two large stones at the same time and used his feet to send a pillar under his opponent, sending him into the air.As Fong plummeted, he saw one of the stones flying at him. He flipped so he would fall feet first and slammed the rock into the ground, releasing a massive shockwave that knocked the nearest soldiers on their backs, but Yuan Chong's second-in-command could not be shaken. He lifted the other rock as he submerged Fong with his other hand. He sent the projectile, but it shattered before it reached Fong.
As the dust settled, Yun stood in between the two generals with his right arm outstretched. "Mind if I step in, General?"
Toph and Katara stood back-to-back, facing down Ri Wu's force. Katara pulled water from the pool to use, dispatching multiple foes with large waves of water while Toph used her skill, far outmatching any soldier she came across. Ty Lee and Suki weaved through opponents, using their agility to gain the advantage. Ty Lee moved from one soldier to the next, blocking their chi completely until she came face-to-face with a Dai Li agent.
She froze with fear as the agent slid toward her, but the man's eyes widened as he was pinned to one of the decorative trees by several darts.
Ty Lee whirled in the direction the darts came from and beamed. "Mai!"
The melancholy warrior smiled wryly. "Can't let you have all the fun."
Yun slid toward the general with his gauntlets in place and sword in hand.
Ri Wu sneered. "Come and get me, boy!" He readied himself for any attack.
Yun looked over at Toph. "Toph! I need a—!" His sentence was cut short when he was rocketed into the air by an earth pillar. As he descended toward his opponent, he threw both earth boots at him, followed by his sword.
Ri Wu's eyes widened as both of his hands were subdued by the converted boots. His expression turned from disbelief to rage as the sword grazed his face. "You dare!?"
Yun landed and quickly struck several pressure points. "I do."
Before he could complete the sequence that would render Ri Wu unable to retaliate, his opponent broke free of his bonds and punched Yun in the jaw, knocking him back several feet. Yun tasted blood; his lip was cut. The young Earthbender gritted his teeth as he rushed the general, but his attack was cut short when Ri Wu stuck his arm out and flipped Yun onto his back. When Yun got up and renewed his attack, the more experienced fighter blocked his strikes and proceeded to beat Yun back with attacks of his own.
"I do not need my bending to fight, unlike that weakling Long Feng!" The man sneered. "You are a fool for believing otherwise."
Yun pulled his foot back, using the earth to drag his sword to him. I could be in trouble.
Katara used the Octopus Form to swing the veteran Earthbenders like they were rag dolls and sliced through their earth barriers with ease. That didn't mean she wasn't worried; she turned to Toph. "Where's Aang?"
The Earthbending master blew her hair out of her face she launched two benders into the air. "How should I know?" She waved her hand in front of her face. "I'm BLIND, remember?!"Katara rolled her eyes. "Use your seismic sense." She used a smaller water whip to grab a chunk of earth and fling it toward an unsuspecting soldier.
"Oh..." Toph's lips were reduced to a thin line. "That makes sense..." She reached into the earth. Where are you, Twinkle Toes? She grinned. He was coming. "He's coming out of the Meeting Room!"
Aang and Zuko fought side by side as they were swarmed by Ri Wu's soldiers. Aang winced, his movements sending a fiery pain up his side. "It's a good thing these guys aren't masters..."
Zuko made use of both Firebending and his Dao swords. "Tell me about it." He narrowed his eyes. "But remember; this is not their primary target. They won't use the best they've got for this."
Aang swung his staff in a wide arc, sending out an air blast to knock the remaining troops down the steps. He saw the sheer number of men that Ri Wu had at his disposal and grimaced. "We need an edge..."
Before Zuko could reply, he noticed that many of the enemy warriors on and around the stairs were pinned by knives. "Mai..."
His girlfriend crescent-kicked another into unconsciousness before turning toward him. "Way to show up." She smiled. "I've had to handle these guys pretty much single-handedly."
Ty Lee ran up the railing and kicked another soldier in the face. "Hey, what about me?!" She grinned as she did a perfect back flip, landing on the steps.
Mai sighed, a grin only appearing on the edge of her expression, something only Zuko noticed. "Alright, so Ty Lee and I handled these guys..."
Aang sent an air ball at one of the men who began to run up the stairs. "Zuko..."
It was Zuko's turn to smile. "About that edge..." He whipped his Dao swords around so that they glinted off the sun in a certain way. "That should do."
Aang squinted toward the sun. "I don't see any..." His eyes widened as the airship came up from behind the mountain. "...thing."
Yun panted as he backed away slowly.
"Now, boy, you d—!"
The general was knocked from his feet by a fireball that struck mere feet away. "What?!" He looked up at the airship that was raining down fire on his troops. His surprise turned to admiration. "Well done..." He put his fingers to his mouth and whistled. His troops began a systematic retreat, pulling out whoever they could.
As he walked away, he glanced back at Yun. "Long Feng deserved to be beaten; I can easily say that I'd rather have you in Yuan Chong's army."
The cleanup revealed just how badly the attack, swift as it had been, had gone for Fong's men. "There are only two battalions left, counting both wounded and dead." He looked up at the airship. "It seems I have the Fire Nation to thank for our survival." He turned to Zuko and held out his hand. "I would be honored to fight alongside you."
Zuko took it. "The same." He looked around. "What will you be doing for the wounded?"
Fong lowered his head. "We have to leave them here. As much as it pains me, we must go on."
Sokka stepped out of the Meeting Room, dragging an unconscious Kuei. "What about a counterattack?"
He noticed everyone staring. "Oh, Kuei, in all his wisdom, decided to try and talk to the soldiers; I had to save him."
Katara came forward and helped Sokka lower him to the ground. "I'll heal him."
Her brother nodded and turned back to Fong. "Aren't you afraid of a counterattack?"
The general shook his head sadly. "No. Ri Wu knows he won. This base no longer matters to him; our job is to make it to Pohuai Stronghold with as many soldiers as possible."
Aang nodded. "And with the Fire Nation helping us, we have the advantage."
Zuko pulled Aang aside. "Can you, Katara, Toph, and Sokka take Appa and accompany Fong? We need to ensure their safety."
"Good, I guess I'll see you you there. Yun and the Kyoshi Warriors will travel with me."
Piandao, Iroh, and Jeong Jeong rode a second Tank Train, created by the Mechanist after he reverse-engineered the original, prepared to defend their nation.
"With the three of us, we should be able to hold against the Earth King." Jeong Jeong began before Iroh held up a hand.
"Yuan Chong is the fight of the Royal Family. Zuko and I will handle him."
Piandao cocked his head. "Then I think it best that I defend Shu Jing. My home is likely to be a stop if they are conquering the islands, especially considering the port that was recently built there."
Iroh nodded. "What will you be doing, Admiral?"
Jeong Jeong gave an exasperated sigh. "How many times must I ask you not to use my former title?"
"You earned it; therefore, I shall acknowledge your accomplishment."
"Well, if you insist... I will bear it. In regards to your earlier question, I will help defend the Capitol."
"Then may the spirits protect us all."
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