Hello one and all to another exciting chapter of the Legend of Negi! Last chapter gave us a slow start and introduction to our main character and people seemed to enjoy it so far.
As one reader brought up, I never did establish the timeline. In this, Negi is 4 years older than Korra, so if he is 6 in chapter one, then Korra is 2. She is recognized as the Avatar at 4, so at that point Negi would be 8. I'm using the LOK wiki to help keep my timeline in order, but if anyone wants to help point out key timestamps in the show, I'm all for it :).
I did make the mistake of calling him 5 later in the last chapter, something this same reader pointed out. That's my bad. I'll try to watch the consistency. Thanks Lightbrightfury!
Also, while no pairings are decided as of yet, there is one that I'm leaning towards. What that is you'll have to find out, but feel free to offer suggestions or fun ideas. Always looking for inspiration.
"Breath in. Breath out. Breath in. Breath out."
Negi sat on the hillside as the morning sun gently rose over the distant horizon, thinking calmly of nothing other than his breathing. Warm light washed over his body, chasing away the night chills. Air filled his nostrils and lungs as the essence of the world entered into him, only to be pushed out moments later. It was a slow and rhythmic pace with no prize or reward for finishing early.
He'd been doing this morning meditation for over a year now, the seven year old rising earlier than most adults heading to work. It was the most relaxing time of day and sadly always ended a bit too soon. Negi took one last breath before opening his eyes to gaze down upon Republic City. The sun beams bounced off glass buildings, bathing the entire city it an ethereal glow.
One might think the spirits themselves were playfully leaping through the city, turning the place into their own private playground.
Sadly Negi knew that no spirit would ever want to come near Republic City, no matter what Tenzin said.
With the sun finally on duty, Negi knew it was time to move onto the next step in his morning ritual. He rose from the cross legged position Tenzin had taught him and headed deeper into the woods where his obstacle course was set.
Pushing through some of the low hanging branches that obscured the clearing, Negi was greeted by the familiar sight of his own private training grounds.
It wasn't anything too special, just an open glade surrounded by rows of trees. The set up were very similar to Air Temple Island if one ignored the fact that it was nothing like them at all. Ropes and a prayer held his hand made targets in place and his practice dummies weren't nearly as well-crafted as the century old wooden gates that Tenzin used, but they worked and that's what mattered.
Negi moved to the starting line and got into position. He slowly slid his right leg back along the dewy grass and continued his breathing. Breathing, as it turned out, was the key to air bending.
It was so much more than simply inhaling and exhaling, but a collection of concentrated breathing patterns that allowed the body increase the users lung capacity and amount of oxygen in the blood. Doing so enhanced a person's, any person's, physical abilities and mental concentration for a short period. That was science.
For airbenders, however, it went a step further. Mastering, or at least learning the basics allowed airbenders to transfer chi through their body and grow more sensitive to the spiritual nature of the world around them. Since bending an element was half a physical and half spiritual act, concentrated breathing allowed the user to "feel" their inner energy meld with the air, which resulted in air bending.
The Air Nomads of the past were all very focused on spiritual enlightenment, which Negi guessed is why nearly their entire population could air bend.
Once Negi managed to unlock his bending at will after hours of meditation and practicing the movements he'd read about in the books he borrowed and "borrowed" from Tenzin's library, Negi began learning the most basic airbending skills.
Speaking of which…
The winds around Negi stirred and launched the boy forward at great speed as he dashed into the course. The first station had him surrounded on all sides by dozens of targets hanging from the trees, some on the ground and others on branches.
Negi didn't waste a second and thrust his open palm forward, performing an air blast that fired a powerful gust of compressed air. He didn't watch to see if his shots hit their intended targets, always moving his feet and never standing still. The loud crack as the wooden boards spun after each direct hit was all Negi needed.
One, two, three, and so on until Negi had landed twelve consecutive hits, prompting him to run to the next stage. This one was more of an obstacle than a challenge. Negi had stacked several logs atop of one another, held in place by a number of thick ropes. The pile stood at least thirteen feet high, easily towering over the seven year old. Negi only sped up his approach.
Using the winds circling around him, Negi was propelled forward at speeds greater than any human sprinter could hope to achieve and when he reached the base of the stack, leapt with all his might. More winds pushed him upwards as he sailed high into the air, arriving at the top of the wooden heap with ease.
His foot lightly tapped the surface before he soared through the air again. It wasn't flying, but balancing himself in the air by releasing small bursts of air from his hands and feet to keep gravity at bay for a little longer. True flight was considered a myth, even in most airbending scrolls. Propulsion was the closest Negi could achieve and he had limited success with extending that technique for more than a few seconds, a minute at most.
Someday he'd master it though and manage to fly through the air without restraint.
Negi cut the airflow and lunged forward, taking hold of another thick rope hanging from a higher branch. Without missing a beat, he used his momentum to swing towards another just out of arms reach, following the path he'd designed as it looped around towards the last step in his trail. He was quite strong for a child, but most children didn't spend their free time like he did.
Jumping down from the last rope, Negi swept his arms and formed a bubble of air beneath him to catch his falling form, which pushed him horizontally with the ground. As he ran, Negi formed a small ball of air and threw it at another target back by the start. Once hit, it triggered a crude pully made of rusted metal wires he'd smuggled home after school and six wooden figures popped out of the bushes.
They looked like sculptures of people, carved by Negi himself, but with comically mean faces. Negi rushed the closest one with arms raised in the same boxing stance his mother had first taught him and proceeded to deliver a strong right.
He'd learned early on in his training sessions that being a bender made him physically stronger than the average non bender.
It wasn't like he had super human strength because of it, lifting vehicles with just a finger, but it did mean benders could dish out and take far more punishment than normal. He'd also learned how a bender can further augment that strength with their element.
When Negi went to punch the first target, a small cone of air whirled around his fist. It wasn't much, barley coating his hand, but it was enough to splinter the wood without Negi's skin even making contact. Another wooden man came close, but Negi spun around and delivered an air powered kick, knocking it back.
The wind released from Negi's last attack sent him sliding across the ground towards another foe who was easily neutralized with a jump kick. Two wooden enemies charged Negi at the same time, but Negi slashed his arms in an X formation and razor sharp blades of wind left deep gashes in their wooden forms.
One more was left standing and was closing in fast. The young air bender cupped both hands at his side and the air around him began to stir. It flowed towards his palms, swirling together and compressed into a tight ball held back by Negi's will alone. When the wooden soldier reached the end of its track, Negi thrust his hands outward and an air burst twice the size of any previous shot out.
The blast was enough to not only send the last mannequin back to start, but the rusty track it followed snapped and the five foot tall log went spinning through the air out of control. It crashed into another tree and exploded from the force, tiny splinters flying every which way. Negi had enough foresight to erect a barrier of winds to shield himself. The splinters he'd gotten from putting the whole course together were bad enough. He did not need a body full of them.
Beads of sweat dripped off his face as Negi's controlled breathing finally broke and he nearly collapsed to the ground. A year in and even just a short training session still took its toll. It made sense, considering he was all self-taught. He had to be careful whenever he asked Tenzin for advice, making sure the air nomad simply believed him to be nothing more than a curious child.
His desire to learn about airbending techniques and culture and training was just born from a desire to learn whenever he visited the island, which was a lot. It's not like he mad much else to do there anyway.
As far as the world was concerned, Negi Beifong was a non bender. That fact alone was a blessing and a curse for Negi.
With his morning training finished, Negi ran home before anyone else arrived at the manor. The last thing he needed was Rosa or the other staff to question where he was so early and on a school day no less. At the very least he didn't have to worry about his mother catching him. She was usually gone long before he woke up.
He made it back to the house with time to spare and hurried into a much-needed shower. When he emerged from his room nearly an hour later, he was wearing a black vest and white collared undershirt paired with black slacks. It was uncomfortable most of the time, but his school had a very strict dress code.
"Morning Negi," greeted Rosa as she walked through the halls with a basket full of wet clothes ready to be dried. "I left breakfast out on the table. You should hurry up, otherwise you'll miss the bus."
Negi smiled back and walked down the hall to where Rosa had left out a buffet of pancakes and waffles, each filled to the brim with chocolate chips he knew she had shipped in all the way from the far side of the Earth Kingdom. Rosa always knew how to keep his spirits high.
He devoured breakfast like someone tasting food for the first time and dashed out the door with bag in hand down the steep hill that led to the bus stop. It was the fastest way into the city unless they took his mother's Satomobile.
The bus was already there waiting at the stop when Negi came into view, using a small amount of air bending to drive himself forward.
"Look at that kid, you actually made it on time," the gruff voice of the bus driver chuckled out as Negi nearly tripped hoping onto the public transport.
"Yeah… well… you still would have waited for me, right Saul?" He breathed out, still a bit winded from the run. The driver, Saul, laughed again before the door shut and pulled back onto the road into the city. It was the same route they took every morning, passing through Kuei Tunnel.
It was named after the Earth King who so graciously allowed Avatar Aang and Fire Lord Zuko to create Republic City on Earth Kingdom lands and the main way both in and out of the city unless you took a boat or airship.
Negi watched the nearly empty bus glide through the tunnel, dim lights overhead illuminating the path, powered by plants within the city limits that used the once rare talent of lightning bending as a fuel source. It's funny how one generation's difficult to learn technique become commonplace the next. Same with metal bending.
The bus itself was nearly empty, having already transported the quarry workers outside the city limits and many farmhands to their respective ranches. That was the main purpose of Saul's long ass route, taking people in and out of the city. It was long, boring, and luckily passed right by the Beifong estate.
He took stock of the few people who joined him on his trip to school, a rare occurrence indeed. Yet today he was accompanied by a tired looking man who wore ragged clothes and was currently snoozing with a newspaper covering his face. He was probably coming back from working a night job outside the city limits, though what Negi couldn't guess. A few seats down were a trio of people, two adults and a small child even smaller than him. Each had a small pile of bags near their seat. First timers, Negi thought.
They looked excited as after nearly thirty minutes of driving they pulled out of the tunnel and the city revealed itself.
"Mom, look!" The boy shouted. "The buildings are huger than ever." Negi chuckled to himself. It was true though, the city had far larger buildings than most places in the Earth Kingdom. Besides Republic City and Ba Sing Se, most areas in the kingdom were made up of villages and towns. None could measure up to the majesty and advancements Republic City boasted.
The streets were full of activity as the bus drove passed various vehicles and bicyclists and hundreds of people scuttling about their day. After about another ten minutes of stalled traffic, they finally touched down at the final stop on Saul's circle. Negi didn't hesitate to leap out the door soon as they opened. He was immediately consumed by the crowded sidewalk.
"Be careful there kid," Saul called after him. "Don't go getting run over."
Negi barely heard him as he ran at full speed, ducking and darting between people, his evasive training paying off in other ways today as it did every time he was running late.
"I'm here!" Negi screamed as he busted through the classroom doors, moments before the first bell rang. The entire class looked at him for about three seconds before going back to their conversations.
"Yes, well done Mr. Beifong," his teacher congratulated with zero emotion. He didn't even look up from his book. "How wonderful of you to be on time for a change. Now go take your seat."
Negi mockingly saluted the man before doing just that. He wasn't always late, but apparently it happened enough for people to notice. At least this time he made it before the first bell.
"Negi, there you are." Negi smiled as he approached his seat near the back and his three friends circled around it.
Hanzo, the largest of them all, sat in the seat behind him. He had black hair and electric blue eyes. Negi often said the boy was built like a sky bison, big, thick, and impossible to knock down. Hanzo took it as a compliment. Despite his bulk, the boy was quick as a whip and ruled the schools Pro-Bending team even at such a young age. None of the other teen earth benders could keep up.
Sora was to Hanzo's left; her black hair streaked with red highlights that paired well with her green eyes. Why Sora, the prettiest girl in their year, decided to hang out with them was a mystery, but not one they questioned as the girl was a riot, usually his partner in crime when it came to causing trouble. Negi still laughed whenever he thought back to how she used her bending to heat up their teacher's seat. The man had to sit on an ice pack for a month.
"Thanks for beating the bell Negi. These two mooks owe me ten yuan each," Jason, Negi's best and closest friend, quietly cheered. Negi had known the blonde-haired boy practically since birth and the two had been an inseparable pair ever since. They were polar opposites in many ways, with Jason being the hotheaded one while Negi was patient. Negi was the worry wart while Jason was the fun guy. Together, however, they were unstoppable.
"You got lucky," Sora hissed as she tossed the metal coin at his head, sighing disappointedly when Jason caught it. Hanzo was less bitter and handed Jason his winnings.
"How did you know I was going to be on time?" Negi asked and received a cocky grin.
"I had a feeling in my gut, and I've learned to trust in that no matter what."
"You listen to your gut for answers? No wonder your grades are so bad." Negi laughed along with Hanzo at Sora's jab, going even harder when Jason's face turned red.
"So, did any of you catch the Pro-Bending game last night?" Jason asked, desperate to change the subject. Negi smiled at how blatantly obvious he was about it but didn't feel the need to call him out… yet.
"I did! It was so amazing the way the Lion Hawks pulled off that comeback," Sora raved, falling into the hole. "Three on one and Joto suddenly starts bobbing and weaving like crazy. I was literally running around like I was on a sugar high." The red head started trying to reenact what she heard on the radio until she banged her elbow on the top of her desk.
"Are you on a sugar high now?" Negi nudged her.
"Shut it Beifong," she said hotly. "What about you Hanzo? Were you able to catch it?"
"I had to," Hanzo said with a cross armed nod. "Coach wants us keeping up with the pro circuit so we can learn from the best."
"Just don't go listening to any game involving the Badger Moles," Jason explained with a smirk. "They haven't won a single game all season."
"I'll have you know my family loves the Badger Moles," Hanzo remarked, a frown making its way onto his face. Jason immediately paled.
"Oh, um, I… what I mean was…"
"Yeah Jason. You got a problem with our favorite team?" Negi said sweetly, but one could detect the menace behind it. Jason's face paled further. Sora was laughing up a storm.
"Quiet down class." Jason was saved from answering by the teacher, who had finally put down his book and decided to address them. "Before we begin your studies, we have a new student joining our class. I expect you all to treat her with the upmost respect. Negi frowned.
New student? But the school year is already a month in.
He didn't get an answer to his unasked question when the new girl came in at the teacher's beckoning. She was a pretty sight, even with the school uniform on, and stood about his own height. She had long curly black hair that reached down her spine. Her light green eyes mirrored his emerald green ones, though hers looked far more innocent than his own.
"Everyone, this is Asami Sato. Say hello."
The entire class offered a forced greeting and the small girl waved back.
"Hello everyone. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance." She gave a little bow that Negi recognized as somewhat forced before hurrying through the rows to an open seat on the other side of the room. She clearly didn't like being the center of attention, but there was little she could do about it. Besides being something new in the most boring place on earth, she was also a Sato, one of the wealthiest and most influential families in the city. They rivaled even the Beifongs in terms of wealth, though while his family's money came from generations of land ownership and proper investments, hers came from her father's hard work and creativity.
In a way, their situations were reversed. She, the daughter of a self-made business tycoon who everyone wanted to know for when she eventually took over the family business. He, the son of an old family of means and the current Chief of Police that no one cared about given his inability to follow in his family's footsteps. After all, his "lack" of bending meant he wasn't going to be joining the police force anytime soon, unless he was ok with being a desk jokey or donut fetcher.
The class didn't get any more exciting from there. Their teacher simply instructed them to take out their history books and read the next five chapters on the 100 Year War quietly while he went back to his trashy romance novels. Once his eyes disappeared behind the book cover, it gave the class free range to begin chatting again.
"So that's Asami Sato huh," Jason whispered as he gave their new classmate a once over. He was immediately whacked over the head by Sora.
"Stop staring at her you pervert," she hissed.
"I wasn't," Jason argued lamely. "It's just now we got two people from high society gracing us with their presence, right Negi?"
Negi rolled his eyes at Jason's lack of subtilty.
"No, I'm not going to introduce you to her," he said plainly.
"What?" He asked almost offended. "You two come from big name families. I'm sure you two have a lot in common." Hanzo laughed at Jason's feeble attempt to defend himself.
"We've never actually met," Negi revealed through his amused expression. "You know how my mom is. Unless it has something to do with running the Metal Bending Police, she's too busy to bother."
He tried to keep the hurt out of his voice, but a gentle pat on the back from Hanzo told him he hadn't done a good enough job. Negi sighed and took a deep breath.
"Seriously though, we don't know each other. My family invested in her family, but my mom has a dozen proxies that handle the actual financials and investments for the Beifong fortune. Even if she's been at those big cocktail mixers and public events, you know I definitely haven't." He saw the skeptical looks on his friend's faces and quickly added, "Because if I had, I'd have invited all of you."
"That's true," Jason said with a nod. "You'd never survive at one of those things without me by your side."
"He's not wrong," Sora admitted to their shock, though she also said, "since with Jason nearby there isn't anything you could possibly do that would look bad." Her smirk was absolutely feral.
"Yeah, that's… hey!" The group shared another laugh at Jason's expense, during which Negi took another peek at Asami.
It was true. He and Asami had never actually met or even been in the same room before today. She definitely fit the new girl vibe to a tee. While everyone else chatted away, she was actually reading her book like the teacher instructed. At least, that's what he thought until he noticed her doodling in a notepad between the pages.
It didn't matter much to Negi as he and his friends continued talking until the teacher finally decided to do his job and made them all actually start the assignment.
Hours later, Negi and the gang were momentarily free of class as they were released for lunch. The school cafeteria was a buzz of students of all ages, from the younger classmen to those already nearing adulthood.
Republic City's premier private school had students of all ages, from toddlers to nearly taxpayers. It wasn't much different from attending any of the public schools in the city and both sides of the coin interacted on several levels, such as sporting events. Negi's school was simply better funded and offered more options, especially those nearing graduation.
Since higher education was somewhat limited and expensive, those who weren't planning or able to attend had the option to begin learning a trade. The school had numerous connections that could earn them an apprenticeship afterwards.
For benders, there were even more options since most Republic City forces (police/army) were benders and there were various jobs that benders were more suited for, if not the only ones qualified. The power plant's lightning benders came to mind. Machines could only do so much, right?
Negi did always wonder how Republic City managed to create its own private army without anyone asking questions. It seemed rather odd.
They gathered their meals quickly and hurried from the lunch line, not bothering to secure a table as none planned to eat there. Instead the quartet made for the school's gaming room, otherwise known as the old storage room. It used to be a dusty and forgotten place where the school stored a lot of their useless crap until Negi and his friends offered to fix it up. A cleaning montage and a garage sale later and the school faculty allowed them free use of it.
To start, they filled it with a beefy collection of board games and a new radio. Sora brought some scented candles and Jason even managed to salvage a minifridge for drinks. Most days they spent lunch playing together in peace rather than struggle to eat while squished on either side.
"I'm telling you; you're going down Sora," Jason challenged loudly as they walked down the hall carrying their trays full of food to share.
"You keep saying that but have yet to actually stay in the game long enough. You've played with every nation and still can't last more than ten turns. Hanzo doesn't even attack people and he stay in longer than you."
"I just like building up my society. You don't have to attack to win."
"Guys, guys, we can talk about how trash Jason is at Four Nationslater," Negi ignored the expletives from Jason. "What I want to know is if you three are still coming over this weekend for our horror show marathon?" He loved it when his friends came over, whether to run through the forest playing tag or listening to their favorite radio shows.
"Wouldn't miss it," Jason replied with a thumbs up.
"I have to come. That show is too scary to listen to alone and I don't want you boys having nightmares." Jason made a comment about Sora being scared herself and was subsequently smacked for it.
"I can't," the three others paused and looked to Hanzo with a collective display of discontent. "Sorry," he said with a shrug, "but Pro-Bending comes first. I have practice this weekend."
"Ugg," Jason moaned. "School stuff on weekends. You really are the worst."
No one got to hear Hanzo's clever reply as a loud bang made them all jump. They exchanged a look, and all rushed down the hall to find the source, only to stumble upon something that made their merriment come to an end.
Three boys were standing at the other end of the hallway. All of them were upper classmen, at least fifteen years of age. One Negi didn't recognize, but the others were well known through the school. Tayo, a large dark-skinned boy, and Rechor, a lanky boy with hair tied in a ponytail or warrior's knot as he called it. Both were teammates of Hanzo on the school's Pro-Bending team, but unlike Hanzo they were as mean as they looked.
"I'm sorry Tayo," moaned a scrawny looking boy. "I swear I meant to do the work, but I fell asleep and…"
Tayo slammed his hand into the metal lockers just above the boy's head, leaving a noticeable dent.
"I don't care Jeri; I really don't care. What I do care about is how I look bad when I fail an assignment that you were supposed to take care of. That's how this arrangement works. You take care of boring school stuff and I win trophies. I also don't pummel you into the dirt, but if you want to renegotiate, I'd be happy to."
As Tayo raised his hand, a brick from the school's wall shot out and hovered near it, looking ready to shoot off on command.
"I'd do what he says Jeri," Rechor chimed in. "You really don't want to see him mad. Remember what he did to that kid from the public-school Pro-Bending team? And that guy was twice your size."
"That's not fair," the whiny kid whined. "Just cause you're a bender doesn't mean you…"
"Doesn't mean what?" Tayo interjected. "Doesn't mean that I can crush you under a rockslide? Some might argue it means I can do exactly that. I was blessed by the spirits, gifted and destined for greatness. What's a powerless little chump like you gonna do about it?"
"Leave him alone Tayo." The two boys jumped at being caught, the brick soaring directly at Negi, but Hanzo raised his own hand and the brick crumbled to pieces before beaming him in the head. The smaller boy took this chance to run off. Tayo cursed.
"Nice going loser. Now I'm gonna have to chase him down and…"
"And beat him into submission unless he does your work for you?" Jason finished. "Real tough to pick on someone who can't fight back."
"Not my fault he's so weak," Tayo said with a shrug. "Then again, you know exactly what that's like, don't you? A poor scrappers kid and the Beifong's little disappointment. Tell me Negi, how embarrassing is it to be the grandson of the legendary Toph Beifong and not be able to move a pebble."
Jason growled like a pig hound and Negi forced himself not to ruin all his work at keeping his bending secret just to wail on this guy.
"You two make me ashamed to be a bender," Sora growled.
"And you disgrace our team if this is the way you're treating people." At this, Tayo scoffed.
"I'm not mistreating people. I'm putting non benders in their place," he said as if it were obvious. "We have power, they don't. Seems only natural that they should be following our rules. Just ask your two pipsqueaks here. What are they gonna do if I decided to bust their skulls open? Tickle me?"
Tayo and Rechor shared a laugh as the others expressed their distain, but Negi just smirked.
"I don't need to be an earth bender to pick up a brick and smack you upside the head with it."
That got both bullies to stop, their amusement turning into frustration and anger.
"You two might be powerful benders," Jason added, making sure to emphasize the sarcasm on the word powerful, "but you only ever act all tough when you're up against people who can't fight back. Hanzo's half your age and he's leagues better than either of you. That's why you got your butts handed to you in last season. Hard to intimidate a team of players that actually know what their doing. No offense Hanzo."
"None taken." Tayo took a step forward, taking an earth bending stance Negi knew quite well.
"Why I ought to…"
"What's going on here?"
Both parties froze and turned to see one of their teachers, an old and crotchety one named Mrs. Higgens, standing behind them. Her wrinkled old face bore down like a demon from the deepest pits as she tapped her foot. "Well? I'm waiting." Before Negi could even think, Tayo opened his mouth.
"Thank goodness you're here Mrs. Higgens. These children refuse to leave us alone. We're just trying to get some extra studying in, and they keep following us and making fun of the school's Pro-Bending team." Negi had to give it to him. It did sound genuine, but surely no faculty member would believe that a group of seven-year olds were actually bullying a pair of teenagers who by all means should already have…
"What?" She screeched louder than any creature Negi knew of. Her eyes landed on them with a fiery gaze. "How dare you treat your fellow students this way, especially your seniors."
"But that's not what happened," Jason spoke up first. He was the fastest talker. "Those two were bullying some kid and…"
"I don't want to hear it from you." She sourly dismissed Jason with a flick of her hand. "If I wanted to listen to some gutter trash child whimper about their own inadequacies, then I'd listen to those damn soap operas on public radio."
Jason physically recoiled as if he'd been struck. It was then Negi remembered that Mrs. Higgens was an old hag who valued a person by their wealth, status, or ability and nothing more. To her, a non bender whose parents barely scraped enough yuan's together to send their kid to a fancy private school was less than worthless.
She turned her attention to Hanzo and Sora. "Now I don't know why you kids decided to join in on this ridiculous outburst, but I expect more from you two. Especially you Mr. Hamado or are you that desperate to validate your miniscule talent for bending that you need to tear your team mates down to make up for your shoddy abilities on the court?"
"Hey," Negi shouted, admittedly not the smartest way to address a teacher, but it did make her stop insulting his friends. "None of what they said is true. They were picking on some kid because he couldn't bend and forcing him to do their homework."
"Don't try and lie to me young man," she said with more force. "You may be a Beifong by name, but we both know you are nothing more than a troublemaker who only avoids expulsion thanks to that name. But the truth is quite plain here. You are a jealous little boy, no better than your friend here, and I think it's time you were punished for it."
"But that's not fair!" Sora argued.
"Life isn't fair," she replied with little sympathy. "Now you four come with me to the principal's office at once for…"
"Um, excuse me." Mrs. Higgens paused her tirade to see who had addressed her so politely. Her eyes widened when she found the Sato heiress standing behind her. Negi was just as shocked to see her here. Why wasn't she in the lunch room with everyone else?
"Ah, Miss Sato! It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance," Mrs. Higgens said with an exaggerated bow. "I'll be with you in one moment. I just need to make sure…"
"Actually Mrs. Higgens," Asami respectfully interrupted, "I saw what happened and these four are telling the truth. Those two were the ones that started everything and nearly hit that boy in the head with a brick."
Mrs. Higgens looked between the four "troublemakers" and Asami, her mind clearly weighing the options. If she wanted to punish them for lying, then she'd have to punish Asami too for supporting them. Dragging the daughter of the cities' wealthiest man and one of the school's biggest donors to the principal's office and questioning her morals on her first day of school apparently didn't sit well with the old bag because she turned away in a huff.
"Well… I suppose I may have made a slight mistake." She then glared at Negi. "I'll let you off with a warning this time, but don't let me catch you causing problems again or you'll be on the fast track out of here!" She then ran off with dramatic flair. Negi glanced back at the bullies to find them having vanished. They probably ran once Asami showed up.
"Are you all right?" She asked kindly.
"Thanks for helping us," Negi said as he offered a hand. "And I'm fine. Names Negi by the way. Negi Beifong."
"Asami Sato, but I'm guessing you already knew that." She said as she shook his extended limb. "And you're Sora, Hanzo, and Jason, right?"
"Glad to see my reputation precedes me," Jason said smugly until Asami spoke again. "Oh no, it's not that. I just heard Mrs. Higgens say your names." Jason's excitement turned to depression as he sulked. Negi rolled his eyes.
"Seriously though, thanks again for helping us out." Sora practically swooned. "You really saved our as… I mean our butts." She blushed from having almost cursed in front of the new girl, but Asami just giggled.
"Yup, saved your asses too." That set Sora's face ablaze as everyone started laughing. Sora quickly spun around and marched off, grabbing a still sulking Jason and still laughing Hanzo. Negi let them go ahead as he turned back to Asami, who kept shifting her weight on both feet.
"So why are you out here?" Negi asked slowly. "I'd think there's a lot of people who want to know the new, super rich girl."
"If by that, you mean people's parents want to get to know me then yeah," she replied bitterly. A moment of silence passed between them before Negi spoke again.
"Hey Asami, we were about to go play some board games. Want to join?"
The look on Asami's face said it all and the two of them chased after the others.
And that was how Asami turned the quartet into a quintet.
Ok, another chapter down and I think you can all see where I'm going with this story, at least a bit. Suffice to say the actual cannon events of Lok won't be for quite a while. My goal here is to focus on Negi and his journey. As you can see, that means a lot of new material, but also incorporating the cannon characters and events too. I have a lot of ideas that both expand and add to the world of Avatar and Negi will be able to explore them much more than if I just followed cannon.
Once again, Negi is seven at the moment. He may be a little more mature than most kids his age, but he's a very bright young man after all. He's also been forced to take care of himself most of the time. Everything he knows is pretty much self taught, including his bending.
Speaking of bending, what did you think of my take on airbending? I tried incorporating some aspects from Demon Slayer, since I thought their whole take on breathing would fit well with air bending. For anyone who thinks Negi is a little too good, that's kind of the point. I'm not making him OP, not at all. He's just managed to perform some more advanced moves from practice. It takes a lot out of him and would be worthless in a real fight that lasts more than a few minutes, hint hint, but he definitely has a talent for it.
Negi also isn't learning properly like how Tenzin teaches Korra. He's reading the same materials, if not more, but he's developing or eventually will develop his own style. I already had him incorporate some other bending stances if you noticed and later on his own fighting methods will be more defined.
This was also the first instance of bending vs non bending issues. One common critique of LOK is that they say there are a lot of problems, but never really show it. Beyond one near mugging in the first episode, the characters go on and on about benders abusing non benders or that non benders have less rights, despite making up the majority of the city.
Now, if you really read into some of the things we see, you might pick up on that, like how the original council was made up of mostly if not all benders.
It was never addressed directly though and we never really get any good examples of how society is affected by it. They make it seem like a real issue Amon is cleverly taking advantage of, but once he's revealed to be a fake, it disappears entirely, like it was all his fault. I'm hoping to do a bit more with it. Hopefully you all enjoy.
As always, comments are appreciate and any criticism is welcomed, so long as it is done in a kind manner.