A/N – Aight, since that whole "write and see if I get anything" worked last chapter we'll try it again. If you see this, it means I've got something.
Slight Warning: There's some slight life endangerment but no written deaths or shit like that to my knowledge as of this moment.
Other Note: I am so terribly sorry but this is becoming first-person again. I don't even fucking know. I'll probably go in and edit the last chapter to make it become first-person for…probably Azula/Sokka since it switches…I'm not sure, but I'm still sorry.
Yesterday marked the second consecutive week that we have been traveling by sea on this accursed ship back home. Normally riding on said ships don't bother me, but the fact that I've been stuck on one for two weeks leaves me with a headache enough to make my tattoo melt off.
It is for that stupid reason that I find myself loathing having to walk through the halls, failing to suppress a yawn. I am flanked by Akuma and two other soldiers, one of which is the newly reformed and newly established General in Yakone.
Yes, it was an interesting conversation, but one that needed to be had.
"Why can you bloodbend?" Aang had asked him.
Yakone, as loyal to anybody with the upper hand can be, lowered his head, staring at my feet.
"It's…a gift, sir. It wasn't until recently that I discovered it myself," he said.
My eyes only narrowed, my suspicions not at all wavering.
"Discovered what. The fact that you can bloodbend at will or the fact that bloodbending exists?" I ask.
"Both, sir. I discovered a scroll a couple months ago. I've been studying it in secret ever since. During my off time, I've been practicing it. First on polar seals. Then on polar bears. I had just perfected it enough when you attacked. Bloodbending Yue was the first opportunity I had to test it on a human."
I walked up to him. With a flick of my wrist, I sent a rush of air up. It sent his face up, staring into my eyes.
The two of us continued that stare for what had to be at least five minutes. Eventually, I turned back around, facing my little devil, lounging on my desk like some sort of prize for me to bear. It was, actually, for a little while.
"I want to promote him," I said, completely ignoring Yakone's presence.
"He isn't lying, and he's got a good enough resolve to survive any initiation the Earth soldiers might give him. Plus, we could use it as a weapon to ward off any Fire Nation soldiers who aren't expecting it," Toph said.
I nodded. I lifted my own head up to lay witness to a map of the world as we know it. It was littered with red X's, signifying the places we have captured and annihilated. The Northern and Southern Air Temples. The Northern and Southern Water Tribes. The majority of the Earth Kingdom. All that remained untouched was the Fire Nation in its entirety. That was our next stop. It was only a matter of a plan that was—pardon the pun—a sure fire winner.
With Yakone, I feel like it's just another notch in that said plan.
I turned back to Yakone.
"Congratulations Yakone, we have decided to promote you to our new General. You will lead the Fourth front. Later in the evening, we will have a meeting with the other generals to discuss troop rearrangement," I say.
The moment I find the recollection drifting is the moment we reach one of the waterproof dungeons. I turn towards Akuma.
"Is she prepared?" I ask.
"She is ready, sir," he says.
I turn my entire body to face the lone, unnamed soldier.
"When I call for you, send them in," I say.
"Understood, sir," he says.
"Alright," I say, turning back to the prison door.
Lifting my shoulders to breathe in, and lowering them to breathe out, I put my hand on the doorknob. Utilizing some Earth bending, I unlock the door by moving around some rock latches inside. When I hear a click, I push the door open. As I walk inside, I can see Yue in all her downfallen glory.
Her silver hair is down, mangled and littered with black smudges. Her dress is ripped in various places, hanging on only to hide her most indecent parts. Her arms are chained behind her, and her muddled hair hides the face of failure.
Sometimes it pays to be the Avatar.
I waste no time and walk right up to the all but dead body. As she sees my feet, she lifts her head. I can barely see her blue eyes through the mangled vines that her beautiful locks have become. Behind me, Yakone takes his place by the door, closing it shut. Akuma positions himself behind my left shoulder, hands gripping his notepad and quill ever tighter.
"Yue…" I say.
I try to be sympathetic, adding a bit of sadness and guilt to my voice.
When she tries to launch at me for an attack, I realize the idiocy of that plan. The Earth soldier gripping her chains keeps her from actually succeeding with her attack. With a sigh, I decide to switch plans.
"Well so much for trying to go for the 'they're using me route.' But if that's how you want to be, than fine. Let's not fuck around, we're among friends here, right?" I ask.
All she does it glare at me with the most hated look I've seen since I saw Pakku. In hindsight, it really wasn't that long ago and is probably going to become a common thing, but considering this is only the second time I've seen it, it's taking some getting used to.
Anyway, she glares at me, pissed beyond compare to pretty much anybody alive that I've seen.
"How the hell are you still alive?" I ask.
All I receive for a response is a spit aimed at my face. Due to my position above her, it manages to only hit my thigh. The Earth soldier holding her chains whacks her in the back of the head. She falls forward, a whimper emitting from her lips. I look up at the soldier, aiming my narrowed eyes straight for his now widening ones.
"Was that really necessary? Please, she's a friend, ease up on the pain for now, alright?" I ask.
It's much less of a question as I portray it to be. Really, it's more like a thinly veiled threat.
"Understand, sir," he says.
I shake my head, looking back to my prisoner.
"Yue….look at me and tell me how you're still alive?" I ask, a little bit more demand in my voice.
When she doesn't respond, not even in an action, I shake my head. I look up to the soldier holding her chains. He matches my eyesight, but quickly looks to the left and right to avoid actually staring at me. When his eyes dare to reach mine, I raise both my eyebrows.
Again, his eyes widen. He uses his free hand to grip the back of Yue's hair. Using as little force as possible that requite as little strength as necessary, he pulls her hair back. The whimpers she emitted earlier gain in volume, and once her head is up, I can see her blue eyes perfectly clear. The hair has been removed from her face, and I can see the determined look of perseverance. Sokka has that look. I hate that look.
"Yue…for the last time. How the hell are you still alive?" I ask.
I've removed all insinuation of friendship from my voice, replacing it entirely with a demand.
"I'll never tell you," I ask.
"Of course you won't. Alright, send her in!" I call out.
Yue's determination wavers slightly, making way for a bit of curiosity.
Yakone opens the door behind me. Two Earth soldiers march in, gripping the apprentice of Pakku's in their arms. They make their way in front of me, throwing her on the floor next to Yue. Yue is staring at her, trying to get closer. The Earth soldier behind her wisely grips her chains tighter, keeping her from accomplishing this task.
The apprentice looks up at Yue, absolute fear clear on her face, a direct opposite from her fierce rebellion the first time we met. Yue turns to me, so the apprentice follows.
"Alright, since you've decided to throw away our friendship, I will offer you four options. Option number one, you can just tell me why the hell you're still alive," I say.
The silence that follows speaks enough about that.
"Thought so. Your loss. Option number two, you—yes you, apprentice—can teach under me. Trust me, anything Pakku taught you is nothing compared to what I can. As good of a waterbender as he was, logic states that if Katara can show him up, and I can show Katara up, then I could have easily kicked that old man's ass. No need to make a decision now, just think about this: look who's alive, and look who's dead. Now…option number three, you tell me why you're still alive and I'll let you wander the ship freely," I say.
I hear a rustle of paper and a slight step of a boot meeting metal behind me, the slight moving of armor to my left, and the slight rattle of chain behind Yue, all at the same time.
Considering that's the only sound I hear for a few more seconds, I take that request as a no.
"I knew you wouldn't agree. So that's why there's option four," I say.
I reach my left hand down, gripping the hair of the apprentice in one huge clump. I hold my right hand to her face, my fist clenched. I send some of my heat temperature to that fist, ready to blast my blaze.
"Noel!" Yue shouts.
The apprentice—Noel, apparently—begins to scream incoherently.
"Noel…" I say calmly.
The screaming doesn't stop.
"Noel! Calm down!" I shout along with her.
Noel lowers her screams to a small yelp before biting her tongue, closing her mouth.
"Good," I say.
"Please, don't, I'll tell you everything!" Yue calls out.
A quick glance in her direction reveals tears forming on the outside of her eyes. When a few tears break their way through, it finally dawns on me what I am seeing here.
This isn't a call for mercy on a dear friend.
This is a call for mercy on a dear lover.
"Oh you sly little…Yue, you perverted little whore," I say, a smile making creeping my way in despite my revelation.
I look towards the Earth soldiers, their faces revealing confusion. I turn around to look at Akuma and Yakone. The former's face reveals a raised eyebrow, while the latter reveals a few chuckles. I turn back to Yue, my smile spreading.
"You'd like to dip your tongue into this cavern, wouldn't you? Ah man, if I ever see Sokka I'm gonna bring you along just so you can tell him your relationship and his love was a lie," I say.
Despite the tears, the cheeks of Yue begin to redden.
"Holy shit, you're blushing," I say.
A few laughs emit from my mouth. Yakone's chuckles get louder while the Earth soldiers only shake their head, their poor culture bred to lynch those of a different sexual preference.
Eventually though, the fun must stop.
I pull Noel's hair up to gain Yue's attention.
"No!" she shouts.
"Alrighty then, I have your attention! Now…considering that you sacrificed yourself so the Moon Spirit fish could live, you should be dead. Considering the Moon Spirit fish is still alive—we checked before we left—and you're sitting here groveling in my prison, I am going to ask you one last time. If I don't receive a response, your lover's face is going to be tonight's roasted dinner. So…tell me Yue…how the fuck…are you still alive?"
"It was the spirits! My dad and Pakku knew that their only edge would be me, so they asked the sage to communicate to the spirits! Pakku once had three apprentices, but one of them sacrificed herself so I could return! It was as the Sprits requested! Please…" Yue says.
"Huh…" I say.
My grasp on Noel's hair loosens, and I am left with a few strands in my grip. I rise to my feet, my eyes falling on the two soldiers.
"Take her back to her cell," I say.
"No!" the two girls exclaim.
I turn around, the door already opened by Yakone. Akuma is quick to follow me on my left. When I reach the doorway, I stop, raising my right hand up.
"Wait…" I say.
My head looks over my shoulder, glancing over at Noel.
"Before I leave, remember what I said. Look who's alive…and look who's dead," I say.
I lower my hand, making my way into the hallway. Once I have arrived, I notice my little devil is present. She is leaning against the wall, a smirk crossing her face despite the situation. Akuma and Yakone are right behind me.
"That was a hell of a line, Twinkletoes," Toph says.
"Really? I wasn't sure if the rhyme was cheesy or not," I say. "Akuma? Yakone?"
"Excellently done sir," Akuma says.
"Agreed, a grand exit line," Yakone follows-up.
My eyes sink.
"Thanks," I say, all sarcasm present.
Toph snickers a bit to herself, her excitement a rare sight to see.
"What's got you so excited?" I ask.
"We'll be docking soon," she says
Soon was somewhere around ten minutes. The docking procedure of landing and securing the ship was as tediously boring as I remember it. Another ten minutes passed before Toph and I touched Earth Kingdom soil again. Toph rubs her bare feet across the concrete, her arms spread wide, reveling her homeland.
"Ahh…great to be home, ain't that right Akuma?" Toph asks.
She slaps him in the back of the head, causing his usual notepad to fall to the ground.
"Feels invigorating, sir," he says.
As he leans down to pick up his notepad, I take that moment to steal a kiss from my little devil. The surprise quickly waves off, and she pushes me closer, deepening it. When Akuma returns, the two of us retract, smiles across our faces.
"It's weird. Two years ago, I would never have envisioned this. Two years later, I can't go a day without it," I say.
"Two years? That's really how long it's been?" Toph asks.
"Two years, five months, and three days," Akuma says.
"Wow…"I say, staring at Akuma.
I mean, yeah I asked him to remember the Day of Liberation the date I hired him as my secretary, but I didn't think he'd actually do it.
As I begin the walk back to our fortress we are to stay at for the night, Toph joins me at the side. Many more of our soldiers make their way off the ship, leaving them to their spoils. Akuma takes his place behind me while Yakone meanders about.
"Akuma, we seriously need to get you laid," Toph says.
"Or at the very least a friend outside of that notepad and quill," I say.
When the three of us reach the first step of the fortress, Toph throws her arm in front of me.
"Wait…" she says.
I look over and see her eyelids narrow. I follow suit, curious in her findings.
"Something's going down," she says.
I clench my right fist, ready for anything to happen. That same ear twitches, gaining some sort of sound.
I glance over and see an Earth Kingdom coin falling down the steps. It manages to land at the feet of Toph.
"Ooh, a coin," she says.
The two of us bend down to pick it up.
It is then that the fortress we were to return to explodes. Soldiers and citizens all over the city panic, covering their loved ones and slaves before bolting around like lemurs with their wings cut off. Which reminds me, I need to check out Momo's grave when I get back to Ba Sing Se.
Anyway…yeah, the fortress we were going to stay at kind of exploded. Rocks flew everywhere, citizens cried in terror, soldiers were scared, all that shit.
Toph and I stand up straight, ignoring the coin in her grasp. She displays it in front of her, but her eyes are focused on the smoke coming from the building in the distance.
"What the fuck was that?" I hear Yakone call out.
"Well that was not part of my plan," I say.
"Wait, you have a plan?" Toph asks.
"Sort of. It's building up to it," I say.
Yakone rushes up, joining the two of us in our conversation.
"Sir, the city is in panic. What are your orders?" he asks.
"Orders?" I ask, turning to him.
It takes me a moment to remember the situation.
"Oh yeah, we're leading an army," I say.
The four of us turn around to see that the majority of our soldiers are running around like fucking lemurs with their fucking wings cut off. The obvious exceptions are the two holding Noel, the one holding Yue by her chains, and one other soldier with a woman locked tightly in his grip. This is the same man who had that sick smile back at the North Pole. Titus, I think his name is.
Anyway…it's pretty obvious these soldiers are pussies. So, with a deep, air bending powered breath, I breathe in.
And with a deep, air bending powered breath, I shout out.
"Caaaaalm dooooown!" I shout.
All of my soldiers stop in their tracks, focusing solely on their co-leading officer.
I let a sigh make itself known.
"Alright, listen up!" Toph shouts. "Return to your homes with your prizes! Do as you wish, but meet us at what was once the Terado house at 1800 hours!"
"Yes sir!" all of the soldiers shout in unison.
The whole lot of them does as they're told, significantly calmer than a few moments ago. I pinch the bridge of my nose, shaking my head at their idiocy.
"These guys are idiots," I say.
"Yeah, but their our idiots," Toph says.
Meanwhile, Akuma, staring at this situation, glances up briefly to notice a piece of paper falling down. It lands atop his face. He peals it off, staring at its contents and reading it quickly.
"Um…sir," Akuma says.
He places the paper in front of my face. Obviously, I swipe it from him, reading the contents aloud.
"If you are reading this, than you survived. Good. I want you to pay attention, Avatar. You have toiled this world with your lust of power and have thrown all forms of tradition and spirits out of balance. I will not stand for your war, and your slut of a love can fall with you. Mark my words: your Earth benders will be liberated. Amon," I say.
I briefly glance at the symbol located at the bottom. It's some form of mask design, littered across it like somebody smudged some paint.
"What, like a man?" Toph asks.
"It appears so, sir," Akuma says.
"I'm kind of surprised he didn't just use the blue spirit," I say.
"Too obvious. And overdone," Yakone says.
"True…" I say.
So what would probably have ended being a good day has now turned sour because some rebellious idiot has decided to play hero.
Fuck it, the idea entertains me and the idea of squashing this anarchist only thrills me.
Despite that, I gotta say that today was a good day.
A/N –That "coming up with chapters" while I work thing has really paid off.
Some good ass shit, and I ain't talkin bout no weed either.
Imagination: the only drug I need.