A Dai Li agent and a Zaofu guard stare down each other, neither refusing to give in. The thunder of a roaring crowd surrounds them.
The Zaofu enthusiast removes his helmet. “Do you really think you have what it takes to beat me?”
The Agent girl chuckles cynically. “So naïve, soldier of Zaofu.” The masses continue to cheer, like hungry animals waiting for prey to satisfy their attention. “You know,” the Dai Li agent continues, “How about we make this interesting... You summon one of your creations to duel on your behalf?”
The Zaofu guard scoffs in reply, slightly irritated by the smug grin on his opponent’s face. “Why? You scared you would lose to me?”
“Of course not, I know I would win,” she objects, “But because we already are so sure of who would win between us, shouldn’t we have a duel where the odds are more... Even?”
“Hmph... Finally your ego isn’t blinding you and you can actually see who would win.”
“Watch your tongue, soldier of Zaofu. The person I plan on summoning has all sorts of tricks up his large sleeves.”
Nodding slowly, the Zaofu guard lets his pride get in the way, accepting the challenge. “Fine!” his voice booms across the stadium as he yells into his microphone: “I call upon Miki of Manirak, to duel on my behalf!”
Quickly retreating to the upper levels above the stage, out of sight, the Zaofu Guard watches as a blue flash of light occupies part of the stage. Astonished, the crowd wows and cheers, eager to see how this would play out. It’s the showdown of the century.
A young girl, only around fourteen years old, appears from the strange light. Like a catdeer caught in a bright light, her eyes scan every space around her, shocked and completely lost at what just happened. An eerie voice from above catches her attention, however:
“Miki. You have a task to complete.”
“Wha...What... Who said that?!” Miki cries out into the darkness above.
“Very soon, an opponent will appear before you. You must defeat them... In a rap battle!”
Confusion and fear courses through the bloodbender’s body. “This has to be a dream. I’ve had some really strange ones lately.”
“Yeah... Sorry about that!” The same voice calls out from above. Before Miki can respond, the voice cuts her off: “But you must complete this task. There is a prize in store if you win...”
Shaking her head, Miki searches the darkness for the source. “I don’t have time for this! My village isn’t safe, and we only have three weeks to find the Avatar before -”
“Yes yes yes, I already know how that story ends, Miki,” The Zaofu guard interrupts, “But this is of the utmost importance. Perform to this crowd your rap song, and defeat your opponent!”
Miki gulps. “Crowd?” Frozen with fear, the young girl turns to notice the thousands of people in the audience, cheering and chanting, waiting for her to begin. The worst part is, she doesn’t even know what a ‘rap’ battle is.
Fearing that his competitor is succumbing to her stage-fright, the Zaofu guard turns to the confident Dai Li agent next to him. “Eh... Give her a moment. Your turn?”
“Darn right it’s my turn - step aside, newb!” declares the Dai Li agent, snatching up her own microphone. “On my behalf: Agent Yuhan Tsen, I summon thee!!!”
A brilliant, crackling bolt of green light strikes the ground opposite the stage from Miki. The crowd goes wild as the tall shape of an emerald-clad young man materializes.
Yuhan’s first reaction is a wince of pain. “Agh -” One of his stony hands lifts to cover his eyes, which aren’t used to such bright lights outside of his cave called Lake Laogai. The other hand sort of subconsciously covers an ear, because caves don’t usually have this much noise either.
Far out of sight above the stage, the Zaofu guard’s laughing so hard that one of his hands has to support his stomach. “Oh man, this is going to be a piece of cake. Just look at him!” He points to the sickly, emo figure in green below. “He’s in no shape for something like this! Haven’t you put him through enough already?”
“Silence!” the female Dai Li agent shouts with a glare, turning to her microphone again.
“Yo, Yuhan! See that little girl across the stage? She’s your mortal enemy and you must defeat her!”
Startled, Yuhan looks up with a jolt. “Okay, I’m not even going to ask where this creepy voice is coming from - or how I even got here,” he sighs. “ I’ve probably reached a new level of insanity and now someone’s telling me -”
“That you must destroy Miki of Manirak!”
Yuhan keeps the same, dull gaze in the voice’s direction.
“Now Yuhan, don’t zone out on me!” bellows the female announcer. “All you have to do if you wanna get out of here is come up with the best rap.”
“...What am I supposed to be wrapping -”
“NO, as in RAP! You’ll figure it out, but you absolutely have to destroy Miki -”
“Miki.” Yuhan ignores the speaker above, who’s insulted by his interruption. “I’m guessing that’s you?” he asks the timid girl standing across the stage.
Miki nods quietly as the crowd roars.
“Do you have any idea what’s going on?” Yuhan mutters. Miki shakes her head. Well, at least he’s not the only one.
Feeling only a little calmer than before, Miki addresses the strange voices. "What prize could be worth my time here? Please, just send me back to wherever you took me from." She’s still half-convinced that this is all a dream, but nonetheless this seems her only way out.
The startled Zaofu Guard turns to the Dai Li Agent. “Prize?" he exclaims in a hot whisper, barely audible over the speaker.
"Uh... Um... A time machine!" The Agent shoots back, eliciting an eye roll from the Zaofu guard. "What? I'm sure they both have things in their past they would want to change. Or basically prevent anything that made them miserable."
"Fine." The guard turns back to the speaker. "Whoever wins will receive a device that can allow them to travel back in time or into the future. Surely that must be enough of an incentive!"
Miki swallows. Does such a device really exist? She’s heard of the spirit who could *see through time, but to actually *travel through time seems impossible. She turns to her supposed competitor, wondering if he’s suffered a lot to get here, too. But the recognition of his attire immediately burns her eyes. "Earth Kingdom," Miki mutters under her breath. She quickly reaches for her battle club.
"Wait wait wait, Miki, before you resort to violence - WAIT!” the guard quickly throws in, trying to stop his competitor. “That man is from a different time, in the future where the Earth Kingdom is... er well... different. Besides, a rap battle doesn't involve violence, just rapping."
Yuhan and Miki exchange a quick glance before turning their gazes back above, to the darkness that hides the announcers. "And what exactly is 'rapping'?” Miki asks.
The Zaofu guard quickly pulls out his iPhone and searches it for anything he could use as a demonstration, though after finding he has very little music anyway, he has to settle for 'Ice Ice Baby' by Vanila Ice. Playing it through the speaker, he addresses the two competitors. "See, rapping is a type of music."
"Music? It sounds horrible," Miki complains, on the verge of blocking her ears.
The Zaofu guard sighs irritably. "It doesn't matter what you think, only that you beat Agent Yuhan Tsen before you. Now," he clears his throat, "Introducing... Miki! From Spirit of the North!"
It still makes no sense whatsoever. Miki’s still trying to figure out what on earth is going on. She turns to the crowd, now hyped up as they’ve heard she’s about to begin. After a couple of seconds, some kind of beat starts, coming from the speakers above. “Um...” Miki stutters, but thinking back to what she’s just heard as a reference, “My name is Miki I come from Manirak and I have a friend who is a wolf -”
“What was that?!” The Zaofu guard bellows from the speaker.
“What?” Miki replies irritably, still aware of the crowds watching her, like predators in the night. “I was just talking to the beat just like that ‘ice ice’ guy.”
“Vanila Ice, actually,” the Zaofu guard groans, all to the Dai Li agent’s amusement next to him. “Just… Do what you’re doing but add a little… Spice to it. Make it interesting. Not just a boring monologue or whatever.”
Clearly annoyed, Miki turns back to the crowd. Never has she seen so many people in one place. But now’s her chance to win this ‘time machine.’ She has one shot, and she cannot miss her chance to blow. She glances at the strange man before him. “Y...Yuhan was it? I understand that we exist in different timelines,” Miki gulps, “And I know that your Earth Kingdom may be different to the one in my time. But the Northern Earth Kingdom in my time is threatening to take over my village, all because they believe that it rests on Earth Kingdom soil. They want to take all our healers, waterbenders, and warriors and force them to fight in a war that is not ours. But that is why,” the bloodbender slowly raises her head, mustering up whatever courage she can gather, “That is why... I will thrash you at this rap battle and win this prize! "
Some call me devil
Or Spirit of the North
But none of them know me
I’m just a girl who hardly talks
Looking fly in ma hoodie
My baggy pants on
You think you can be more thug?
Well I’ll prove you wrong
I beat up the soldiers
Who tried to pick a fight
They didn’t know I’d bloodbend
Their a** at night
You think you can do better?
My rhyme is outta-this-world!
You can never come close
Coz I’m a Water Tribe Gurl yo
Water Tribe Gurl yo
Water Tribe Gurl yo
Water Tribe Gurl yo
There’s no one in the world
Like a Water Tribe Gurl
(Folds arms and stares at Yuhan)
The crowd screams with delight as Miki takes a bow, much to the pain of Yuhan’s poor eardrums. The noise makes his head throb, and he glares up at the loudspeakers behind which the announcers hide. “Okay, I don’t care about any of this, except - who in Koh’s realm are you, whoever’s making those creepy announcements? Who signed me up for this?”
“Agent Tsen, I harbor no ill feelings towards you!” replies the Zaofu guard, loud as ever to Yuhan’s displeasure. “But you can thank your cruel, merciless author for all that -"
“WHO ARE YOU?” Yuhan repeats, despite the crowds booing over his lack of cooperation. “Can I go home? I have a lot of worse crap to deal with than this-”
“I know you do!” says the Zaofu guard, smirking at the Dai Li agent girl next to him who’s facepalming at her own OC. “But since I know, wouldn’t you love a time machine, too? A chance to do things all over again?"
Yuhan raises a skeptical brow. Across from him, despite actually having enjoyed her first round more than she imagined, Miki looks up with the same doubts. "Can you prove that it's real?" she asks.
“Oh, it’s real alright. How else would I know…” the Zaofu guard begins suspensefully, “that you’re on a course to find an all-knowing Spirit that can tell you where you got your powers from?! That you don’t care where you end up, only that you’re doing the right thing? Eh?”
Miki’s face goes white. How on earth…?
“And YOU, Yuhan!” bellows the Zaofu guard. “Aren’t you wondering when you can get out of the Northern Water Tribe?”
Yuhan is taken aback for a moment, but being too used to all sorts of lies made up from brainwashing, he turns to Miki. “Eh, don’t listen to them. All it takes is some hardcore stalking to find out any of this -”
“Oh and yes, Riya is still waiting for you! I saw her hanging out in a warehouse under strict orders to stay hidden until you come bac-”
“WHAT?!” Yuhan cries. No one on earth knows any of that, about the orders - the whole point of hiding would be lost if they did. It takes a moment for him to snap out of another one of his half-insane moments of confusion, but when he looks back over at Miki, his eyes have a new clarity.
She seems to have realized it, too. “You’ve gone through a lot of pain too, haven’t you?” Miki asks quietly.
“Yeah, whatever…” Yuhan’s panda-like eyes of no sleep only make him look more emo. “But well, guess that leaves us no choice. We both need something...but only one of us can get it today.” He suddenly whips out a lantern from inside his giant sleeve. “And it’s not going to be you.” The other hand takes up his microphone.
Listen up yo, it's gonna be quick
Ya might be grinning now, but it ain't gonna stick
They say I'm darker than dark
That you'll be out with a spark
Under the glare of my lamp
You'll say that I am the champ
It's true I hate what I do
Everyone hates my guts too
But if this grand prize be true
You gonna watch yoself lose
Yeah watch me go, go
Yo head turns slow, slow
Ain't got no chance, little Miki
With your mind turning icky
Now repeat it with me:
There is no such thing as victory
There is no "win" on your end
Only a crazy girl to mend
Here we all bow to the truth
Here we know I blew the roof
Nothing personal to you
But I got nothin to lose
Ya hafta suffer this one
And say yoself that you're done
Now to that creepy announcaa
That time machine's mine, Sir.
Yuhan smugly looks up at the loudspeakers as his opponent stares blankly at the glowing lantern. She’s no longer aware of any of this.
However, since she has ADD, his Agent announcer seems more preoccupied with another problem. “SIR?! Did you just call me SIR?!” The Zaofu guard next to her is making weird wheezing sounds from too much laughing now.
Yuhan has to cover his ears from the volume of the enraged voice. “Wait, what? I mean, I was just talking to the creepy guy earlier who somehow knows everything about me -”
“EXCUSE ME?” screams the female Dai Li agent. “The one who knows everything about you is me! ME!!!”
“Okay okay well I’m sorry, MISS Creepy -”
“You shall be penalized for this!” the voice interrupts. “You know what? Gimme that lantern -” A chain strangely similar to the one he carries in his sleeves flies down from above and yanks his precious brainwashing weapon away. “You’re supposed to be winning by rapping, anyway! Not destroying brains! Do it again, without cheating!”
“Wha - HEY!” yells Yuhan as his lantern flies out of sight. “Whose side are you even on?!” Across from him, Miki blinks as the world slowly returns to her.
The Zaofu guard is clearly annoyed with the turn of events. Even though the Dai Li agent just punished her own competitor for his cheating, he isn’t satisfied. With a wicked and sinister grin, he pulls out a strange rectangular remote with a big red button on it. "Well Agent of the Dai Li, two can play at that game!"
After pressing the button, a large hole in the roof begins to open as the two sides begin to retract. Silvery moonlight from the clear night sky filters in, illuminating the two competitors on stage with more than just the stage lights.
"Come on Miki, this should give you an advantage."
The young girl sighs, "I just need to wake up. I just need to wake up..." she chants to herself, still hoping by some miracle that this is all a dream.
"Ugh, fine," Miki reluctantly agrees. Turning up to the sky, she lets the sight of the moon empower her. Tui will always guide them, and all people of the Water Tribe can draw power from her glow.
"You know," she begins, "That trick you pulled with the lantern was pretty low. But I think I know just how to deal with that." A small smug grin appears on her face. Even though the thought of hundreds of people still watching her frightens her, she knows she has this in the bag. Miki clears her throat...
You call me ‘Little Girl’
But I’m already fourteen!
You really think a couple years
Means you’ll win the time machine?
What I lack in age
I make up for in swag
You may as well give up
Coz I’ve got this in the bag
With the power of the moon
I can turn you to a fool
With a twist of my hands
I’ll have you wave at the stands
You think you have a chance
But I say no, no, no
My powers are the bomb
They get you low, low, low
I don’t know where they come from
But I’m sure they will work
If you still think you can beat me
I can force you to twerk! Yea
Water Tribe Gurl yo
While singing the rest of her chorus, a bright-red Yuhan is forced to twerk against the nearest wall. With an amused smirk Miki continues, satisfied with her opponent’s humiliation.
A raging Dai Li agent from above soon grabs a hold of the speaker, “Yuhan! Grab another lantern and teach that little punk a lesson!” Unfortunately the Zaofu guard has been too busy cackling with Miki’s victory to notice a metal chain wrap around his hands. A platinum one.
“Hah! Now let’s see how your Miki does without her precious moon!” The agent grabs a hold of the remote, and the two halves of the roof begin closing once again.
“Noooooo!” The Zaofu guard cries from his chair, unable to move his arms because of the platinum chain. But he can move his feet. Sending one of the cables from his hips around the Dai Li Agent’s hand using a kicking motion with his foot, the remote is freed from his opponent’s hands. “There! Victory will be mine!!! Ahahaha!”
But all is not lost for the female agent; the roof has nearly shut, only letting a miniscule amount of light through the opening. “From what you’ve said, Miki isn’t a proficient blood bender yet," she reminds the Zaofu guard. "And now there’s almost no light from the moon.”
Stuck in their own battle, both the Zaofu Guard and Dai Li Agent can only turn to watch their two competitors duke it out once more. And now, it’s Yuhan’s turn.
As the moonlight dims, Yuhan pulls back up his pants with a swift, angry yank. "Oh, you're just asking for it now..." He glares at his opponent, the shadow of his hat darkening so much that his eyes are hidden in the blackness. "And thank you, MISS creepy announcer. I think I'll go ahead." With that, the rock casing of his hand shoots across the stadium and yanks off one of the lanterns hanging at the entrance. He catches the lantern, the stone fingers still holding onto it as they plate his hand.
Tch, so obvious you're an ignorant little teen
You think we differ a "couple" years it seems
Try seven for size
I'm twenty-one; my prime
You're fourteen and such a newb
With bending skills so out of the loop
If a whole moon's what it takes
Just to make a Dai Li agent shake
Playtime's over, childish teen
This be best brainwashing eva seen
When I be through you'll have no clue
(That) err‘one just watched Water Tribe Gurl lose
And just for making me twerk
I'll have you pole-dancing, jerk
Wait Riya would say that's too mean
Fine, pole-dancing will just be your dream
Don't think that just 'cause I'm nice
That I won't roll your fate like dice
It's time to lose, lose
Watch yoself lose, lose
You cannot choose, choose
Watch yoself lose, lose
Fourteen? Girl! You still belong in skool
Shoulda known that you'd lose
To the Silent Hero in Emerald, fool!
"You show 'em, Yuhan!" yells his announcer from above. "That's the spirit, rub it in that girl's fa- ARGH!!!" There’s a screech of the microphone as she faceplants on the ground. The Zaofu guard's cable has caught her ankle this time and has yanked her off her feet.
The Zaofu guard laughs manically as the remote control on the floor gets caught into a loop of his cable. The trapdoors concealing the moon widen.
It’s strange. Moments ago, Miki knew she had held Yuhan in her grip using her powers, but now it’s almost like she’s trapped in a dream. A fuzziness sweeps through her mind, as if her whole body is swallowed by a giant fluffy blanket. She can hardly move, and is slowly losing her awareness of her surroundings.
Unaware to the young girl however, the crowd has also begun to fight each other with their words. There are those who support Yuhan, yelling and rejoicing at his victory over the bloodbender, and then there are those who cheer for Miki, encouraging and pleading for her to snap out of the brainwashing. Both groups of fans waste no moment to yell at their opposing side all sorts of abuse, and if in any other world either Yuhan or Miki would probably have a successful career in music judging from their adoring fans.
It’s one girl near the front of the stage who yells something like, “Go Water Tribe Gurl” which snaps Miki back to reality. Though her mind is still fuzzy, she quickly recalls her position and the dirty trick this agent is trying pull. At least she had allowed him to still speak while he was twerking.
Letting the power of Tui fill her with confidence, Miki reaches out with her hand to take a hold of Yuhan’s body. Though in her mentally messed-up state she can hardly do so with proficiency. The agent manages to keep his lantern before him, its horribly creepy green light keeping the bloodbender at bay to an extent. Though he can feel something constricting his body, making his movements stiff and rigid, and it takes every ounce of his strength to fight against it.
Above the stage, the two announcers have their own squabble to deal with. The Zaofu guard is now completely stuck to the chair, the platinum chain constricting his whole body, with his legs stuck to the legs of the chair. But not before he had managed to free the cables from his hips to wrap around the Dai Li Agent’s arms and ankles.
“You will lose!” She cries out, hopping around the upper room with great determination, searching for anything that would give her the edge.
“Not if I can help it!” The Zaofu guard retorts, shuffling himself and the chair ever so slowly across the floor towards the ladder leading down to the stage.
By now the crowd has become bored with the two rappers locked in combat, and have resorted to fighting each other instead. Fists thrown, kicks launched, as each opposing side somehow tries to prove the competitor they support is superior.
Yuhan manages a quick glance through the hole in the roof at the night sky. “You know... When morning comes I will beat you,” he taunts, still trying to resist the young girl’s grip.
Miki manages a laugh, her head woozy and her eyes unable to focus on her opponent. “Well Yuhan, I still have another few hours.”
It’s going to be a long night.
High above it all, the two announcers both lay useless and immobile in their metal restraints now, too exhausted to wriggle around anymore.
The Dai Li agent girl rolls over to get a good view of the scene below, the mass of violent chaos surrounding the two struggling fanon characters. "...Say Bomo, how do you think they'll take it when they find out there's no time machine?"
The Zaofu guard laughs a little, his chair on its side and his face pressing uncomfortably against the floor. "Minor details, Minn. They don't have to know that part."