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|Whispers of the Past Lie Within the Parchment Part 3|
The Absence of the Avatar
"I...shi...o..." The library sunk further and further into the sea. With it sunk the remainder of Team Avatar, or now Team Sans Avatar's, hope. After saving the library from burning to the ground, he now sunk with it to the bottom of the sea. Frost and Liwei had only known him for a couple weeks, and Ai Shi less than a day, but they all felt as though a piece of their heart had been ripped out. One would find it remarkable, how much one person could affect them in such a short amount of time. Frost spoke Ishio's name in disbelief; Liwei tried to find comforting words only to find a lump in his throat. Finally, Ai Shi found something to say, "We should go down to the shore... He could still be alive."
They could no longer feel his presence in this world, but they could not bring themselves to admit he was really gone... There stood little options but to leave the cliff side.
A funeral procession would perfectly describe how the trio proceeded. Down the winding road through to the village. Odraz could not be found; in their time in the library, he had probably found a nice little cave to hide in and would not be found easily—at least, not by these three: Ishio probably knew how to find the badgermole, but he had left them no hints.
At the entrance to the village, an obstruction halted their march. A line of police officers stood facing them down, and the men quickly gestured for the citizens of the village to hide in their homes. Armed with heavy artillery, the trio knew that the officers weren't here to apologize for their losses. No pleasantries were exchanged, yet the obvious assumption lead Team Sans Avatar to believe that the police blamed them for the death of the other officers and citizens. Thinking about it, one would contemplate why this many officers were stationed so close to such a small village. The polices' guns raised, pointed at the three in a manner similar to that of an execution.
Machine gun bullets rained, thunderous bangs ringing throughout the atmosphere. The trio leaped behind a crate and clenched their jaws as the bullets tore through the wood. Liwei, first to move, had his gun drawn and in between rounds he leaned over the crate and fired off several shots. Two officers fell before he dropped back behind the crate and waited out another round. He knew the crate was not impregnable, and after a couple rounds of machine gun fire they would have to move. While Liwei ducked over once more to fire off more shots, Frost and Ai Shi had yet to move.
Frost first mumbled a quick curse under her breath and held out her hand. The water from the air formed around her fingertips, created small bubbles, and hardened into sharp ice finger nails. In one of the breaks in enemy fire, Frost followed Liwei's lead and poked her head above the crate. Her right arm swung forward in an arc, launching off the projectiles towards the officers. A few of them met their target: lodging in the head or heart of officers and causing them to fall with a final grunt of surprised pain. As she ducked back beneath the crate, a final bullet caused the wooden box to completely rupture, thus eliminating their hiding spot. The trio found themselves completely exposed to the onslaught of fire.
Liwei quickly ran through the fire, head low and body hunched so as to make a smaller target for the enemies. With his head ducked, he folded his body to roll into an alleyway for another hiding spot. In between rounds, he would stick his head out of the alley to fire off shots at the enemies. As the battle continued, and the police were felled, Liwei's bullet supply slowly began to dwindle. He hadn't had much of an opportunity to reload his ammunition, and so he still relied upon what he had going into the bending ring all those weeks ago.
Frost would not stand as a sitting duck. Dodging enemy fire as much as possible, Frost moved down the street until she reached a water valve connected to a garden hose. Her left hand flew over the valve, turning on the water which began a weak flow hardly even suited for watering flowers. Using her bending, she increased the pressure of the hose to make it as powerful as a fire hose. Officer after officer flew backwards as she moved the bending-assisted hose in an arc against the enemies.
Once the ground lay soaked, and the police officers staggered to get up, Frost breathed in deeply. In a gentle exhale, she froze the water on the ground. Some officers froze, and others slipped around on the ice. She skated over towards them on the ice and unfroze the ice near one officer. Her arms fluidly, but quickly, moved across her chest and brought a great wave of water over them. The force of the water threw them against a building with enough force to snap their necks. Frost moved in for another attack only to feel a sudden sharp, precise pain on her right shoulder. That arm instantly fell limp, and Frost staggered around to see a police officer looming over her.
His uniform appeared different from the rest. It did not have more embellishments, or anything of the sort, just a different coloration. A coloration that every long-standing illegal bender knew. That of a chi-blocking police. Frost staggered backwards, trying to regain her footing on the icy ground she had created. Her left arm was thrown at him, trying desperately to attack with another stream of water. The gloved hand of the police shot forward once more, causing her other arm to fall limp. Knowing that his opponent could no longer attack, the chi-blocking police drew his gun and pointed it at her head for the final shot.
A light kick landed on the chi-blocking officer's shoulder. Not a powerful kick, but a kick which distracted him from his target. He looked over his shoulder, and Frost caught a glimpse of the culprit as well. Ai Shi had finally stepped out to battle, and currently hung in the air using the pressure exerting on his shoulder. The attack seemed pathetic, but in a swift motion Ai Shi pivoted her body and wrapped that leg around his neck. Her hand hit the ground, and she used that hand to balance while her lower body spun in a quick, half-circle which launched the chi-blocking police into a building with the centrifugal force. She hadn't even used her bending, though she managed to defeat a higher-ranking police officer. But the chi-blocking officer was not the end of the fight. Several more officers still stood, guns drawn and prepared to die to defeat these three. Ai Shi now moved in front of the immobile Frost and took her bending stance. Several deep breaths, and Frost watched in amazement at how much breath control this girl had: it was as though she could bend with nothing but her breath. The young librarian's assistant in an instant moved forward to attack. She leaped into the air and spun around 360 degrees while also moving forward. At the same time, her left leg kicked in an arc and flames surrounded her foot. Her momentum slowed, but the attack sent a wave of flames towards the police officers, making them unable to see or shoot. Ai Shi landed not a few feet away from them in a deep stance and punched her arms forward. Two of the police officers received a fist full of fire which turned their faces into a charred mess. Before the others could react, Ai Shi spun around again and punched her arms outwards, burning the remaining officers around her to a crisp. In a matter of seconds she had taken out all of the remaining officers.
"It's not over yet!" Liwei appeared from the alley and shot several more bullets. Ai Shi and Frost turned to see more police coming towards them. With their comrade nearing, the three took stood back to back: Liwei's gun held in two hands and raised, Frost's arms hung limp at her side, and Ai Shi's fists clenched for continuing to battle.
"Why are there so many police here?? We must have taken out close to four dozen!" Frost declared in exasperation.
"Someone must have tipped them off about the Avatar being here. There's no way they'd gather this many just for Master Geming." Ai Shi concluded; though the conclusion had been made, the three still had no idea as to the identity of the culprit.
An empty ammunition pack hit the ground. Liwei's gun hung empty at his side. With Frost unable to fight and Liwei out of ammunition, their chances of victory grew slimmer and slimmer.
Another deep breath, and Ai Shi's palms shot forward. A stream of fire rushed with more force than a flame thrower could ever hope for. The fire burned all the officers in its path as well as igniting a building. With the age of the architecture in this area, the buildings would all ignite and destroy the entire village. Ai Shi cringed at the thought of this village she had known for so long, though not lived in, burning. Yet now it was the only way for them to live. Civilians screamed and ran from their homes, carrying their young and what little possessions they could carry. The sight ached in the librarian's assistant's chest. Fire could hurt people so easily, and she had always tried to use her flame as an extension of her being rather than to hurt people. Some officers came up behind her and she dropped down into a sweeping kick, knocking them off balance without using any flame. Even so, the sight of seeing all those people in pain because of her made her lose her power drive and she fell to her knees in defeat. If a person comes in to help in a situation, to most it seems as though they always come in at the tensest moment. Whether on purpose or by fate, who knew. But the officers surrounding Ai Shi found large protrusions of earth slam into their sides, crushing most of their ribs, and sending them flying through a burning building. All the fighters' eyes traced the source of the attack to see the Avatar standing unscathed. His arms were in front of him, but bent slightly, with his palms facing inward. Contrary to normal, his face was extremely serious as he knew that he remained the others' only chance of survival.
The police could not even react as Ishio's hands thrust downward. From there, his arms quickly went back, elbows bent so that his hands were almost level with his shoulders. In this move, a boulder appeared before him. Immediately after, he brought his arms into his chest, splitting the boulder into several small projectiles, and threw his arms forward once more. All of the projectiles launched at the police officers, landing and splitting the officers' skulls with the immense force behind them.
Only a few officers remained, and thanks to the thinning of Frost, Ai Shi, and Liwei earlier the existence of others was dubious. From his arms being extended, Ishio slowly brought his arms together so that the underside of his forearms faced upward with his fists clenched. The movements were carefully timed with his breathing, and on an exhale his front foot stomped forward. A rock wall emerged from the ground and he punched forward with both hands, sending it flying into a few officers. Ishio stepped backwards, dragging his foot along the ground, and created another rock wall behind the officers. He brought his arms back and slammed the two walls into each other, crushing the officers within. With the other officers, Ishio's left foot slammed into the ground and his left arm shot across his chest. The movement made the earth beneath the officers unbalanced; in his next move, launched both his arms in the opposite direction and sent the officers flying. They landed on the roof of a burning house which crumbled beneath their weight and brought the whole structure down on top of them. Surrounded by burning buildings and corpses, Team Avatar had successfully fought off the threat: though Ai Shi, Liwei, and Frost knew that if they waited around, more reinforcements would come.
"Geming was insane," Ishio informed the rest of his group. His voice was tired, though in the others' eyes he had only just begun facing the problem.
"We need to get out of here." Liwei said, completely disregarding Ishio's declaration.
Odraz appeared in the village. His great body examined the fire and cautiously backed away a safe distance. They knew that this badgermole was their only hope of escaping, and so they mounted him and Team Sans Avatar did not question as to how Odraz had appeared or where Ishio had been.
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