I'm really sorry about the long wait on this chapter guys, my computer has officially died. I had to re-write more than half of this chapter as a result.
I'm trying to get some money together now to buy myself a new computer though I'll probably by it part-by-part and build a gaming rig myself. (Anyone wanna spare $3000 AUD? :P)
TAKE A QUICK LOOK ON MY PROFILE, YOU'LL FIND A WONDERFUL PIECE OF ART I HAD COMMISSIONED FOR THIS STORY.
Please remember to leave a review after you've had a read of this chapter and tell me what you liked or didn't like about the chapter.
The boat trip had been extremely dull. Naruto had expected Korra to make the journey somewhat exciting but it seemed for once she had resigned herself to a quiet trip.
While Korra had spent most of their time in the cargo hold sleeping, Naruto had been busy. The cramped space and presence of the cargo meant that he was not able to practice his bending at all. Instead, Naruto spent the days training his body.
From what Tenzin had shared with him the night before he and Korra had left, whoever this Amon figure was, he was dangerous. Naruto had been told that fragmented reports suggested that those that followed him, the self-proclaimed 'Equalists', were well trained in the art of Chi-Blocking.
Although Naruto was confident that none of these warriors would get close enough to perform the technique, he wanted to be well prepared.
It was the morning of their third day aboard the ship when Naruto felt the ship begin to slow.
"Finally, we're here." he said, happy to finally be rid of the dank ship. Korra perked up at his voice, her head slowly rising from Naga where she had been sleeping.
"How can you tell?" she asked groggily. Naruto walked back over towards his travelling companion, grabbing his small pack on the way.
"The ship is starting to slow down; they only do that when they are coming into port. It shouldn't take us much more than half an hour or so to dock."
Sure enough, Naruto was right. Before long the ship had come to a complete halt and Naruto sat beside Korra, crouched behind a shipping container, as the cargo bay ramp began to lower.
Naruto watched as Korra raised her head slightly as smile as he saw a huge grin break out on her face when the first sliver of sunlight found its way into the cargo hold.
Korra grabbed Naruto by the arm and threw the pair of them up and onto Naga's saddle, the Polar-Bear Dog clearly just as excited as her master.
"Korra, I really don't think this is a good idea," he said, "It would probably be better if we snuck off the ship when no one was looking."
"Don't worry so much, it'll be fine" replied Korra as she tugged on Naga's reins, sending the huge artic beast thundering towards the cargo ramp.
Dock workers had already begun the process of unloading the ship when a huge white shape barrelled past them knocking more than a few people over. Naruto looked back over his shoulders at the shocked men, mouthing 'Sorry' as they sped off and around the corner of a large warehouse.
Despite not knowing where she was going, Korra had soon led Naga out of the docks and all of a sudden the world opened up around them.
They stood on the edge of the small island that served at the cargo port for Republic City. Naruto was granted a sight the likes of which he had never seen before.
To the side an enormous bridge connected the island to the mainland, leading right into the heart of the massive city that sprawled out in front of them.
The tallest buildings that Naruto had ever seen were common place, stretching high into the sky like great steel fingers reaching for the heavens above. Great monotonous airships plied their way through the skies above Republic City, dodging and weaving their way in-between the Sky-Scrappers that often blocked their path.
In the middle of the bay stood the mighty statue of Avatar Aang, his arm outstretched holding a tall staff topped with the symbol of the Air Nation. Looking father out towards sea Naruto noticed a small island, a lone white lower jutting up from its rocky surface.
"That must be Air-Temple Island right?" asked Naruto.
"Yeah, that's it. That's where Tenzin and his family live." said Korra as she patted Naga on the head softly. "So how 'bout it girl, ready for a little swim?" she asked Naga.
Naruto just new something bad was going to happen when he saw the Polar-Bear Dog turn her head away at sniff at the air.
"I knew something was going to go wrong. We've only been in the city for ten minutes and we're already off track." he complained as he crossed his arms over his chest. Korra only laughed slightly.
"Ok, ok. Food first, then Air-Temple Island." she said as Naga bolted off and over the bridge.
Naruto was not too keen on the idea of riding a large animal down the main thoroughfare of a busy city, dozens of what he had been told were called 'Sato Mobiles' speeding towards them, when all they were supposed to have been doing was going to meet with Tenzin.
They were forced to dash down a side street as Naga almost ran right into a vehicle, the driver swerving out of the way at the last minute only to strike another car.
The whole time Korra was throwing out quick apologies as people jumped out of Naga's way.
Eventually it seemed Naga found what she had smelt. A small food stall was now only metres in front of them and Naruto was almost salivating at the smells wafting from inside. Naga took the initiative and thrust her large head inside the small stall.
"Wait!" Korra called out and Naruto heard Naga's sad wine. The pair of them dismounted and walked around to the front of the stall. A huge assortment of meats had been skewed on sticks and left over the heat to cook. All in all, it looked positively delicious.
"Can we get one of everything please?" Korra asked happily as she held one of the stick aloft.
"Sure, Twenty Yuans." said the woman tending to the store, her boredom evident in her tone.
Korra looked over at Naruto sheepishly with a pleading look on her face.
"Hey, don't look at me. The White Lotus doesn't pay its members well. Or at all for that matter." he added as an afterthought.
The woman's disinterested look quickly turned into one of scorn.
"Then what good are you to me? Get out of here!" she yelled. Within moments the pair of them were back on Naga's back, plodding along at a much slower pace than before.
"Don't worry girl," said Korra as she rubbed one of Naga's ears affectionately. "I'm sure we can find somewhere to rustle up some food in the huge city."
"Our best bet would probably be to look for a park." stated Naruto as he glanced about at their surroundings.
"Why? What good is a park?" asked Korra, obviously confused.
"Well if the park is big enough there is bound to be a lake or something like that. Odds are there've been fish put in it just for the sake of looking pretty. To be fair, those fish would look very pretty spit roasted on a stick right about now." explained Naruto.
"Sounds like a plan. Alright then Naga, to the park!" called out Korra, throwing an arm out in front of her, striking a dramatic pose. It didn't take long for her to realise something important.
"Uh, where's the park?" she asked Naruto quietly, only causing him to laugh loudly.
After asking a few 'kind' pedestrians, they soon found their way to Republic City's main park. It was a large open space, a lone beacon of nature surrounded by the cold press of steel and concrete.
Just as Naruto had thought, a huge lake was situated in the middle of the park, one filled with a large variety of fish.
Naruto and Korra found a quiet spot at the edge of the lake and after fashioning a fishing spear from a nearby tree branch, he stripped down to the waist and dove into the cold, clear waters of the lake.
The abundance of fish meant it was only a few minutes before he came ashore bearing his catch of five rather large fish aloft. A few carefully maintained streams of flame were all it took to cook them to perfection.
Naga was attempting to find her own lunch when Naruto and Korra sat down on the soft grass to eat their catch.
"This park truly is beautiful," he said as his eyes travelled, taking in the sight before him. "At least compared to the rest of the city." Korra look at him, slightly confused.
"What do you mean?" she asked. Naruto sighed.
"I mean look around, look at all of the buildings and the industry. Yes the city itself is fantastic but there's no balance. This small pocket of nature is completely surrounded by so much metal. There's no balance between the two." he explained. Korra was at once struck by the seriousness of his tone, something out of character for the Naruto she knew.
Any reply her mind might have formed was interrupted when the bush beside her began to move violently before a dishevelled head poked itself from the top.
Quickly following it came the dishevelled form of what Naruto could only guess was one of Republic City's homeless population, his clothes ragged and his grey hair an unruly mess.
"Say, you wouldn't happen to be kind enough to let little old me have one of those tasty smelling fishies' would you?" he said, flapping his arms strangely. Korra looked over at Naruto, her question obvious on her features.
"Sure old man, grab a seat." said Naruto, genuinely happy to help the old man.
"Many thanks my young friend." he said graciously before jumping from the bush and snatching a skewered fish and beginning to scoff the meal down with gusto. Silence reigned for a few moments before Korra attempted to break it.
"So…..do you live in that bush?" she asked and Naruto resisted the urge to slap himself in the face. Korra never had been one for subtlety. Despite her forwardness the man seemed more than happy to answer her and not at all upset with the question.
"Yes, that is presently what I do call home," he said as he gestured to the bush he had only moments ago jumped out of. "It took me a while to secure one so beauteous." he said sounding more than a little pleased with his own selection of, uh…bush.
"You see this park is very popular with all of the vagabonds." he supplied as an afterthought.
"Oh, so there are a lot of you out here? I though everyone in this city was living it up." replied Korra innocently. It seemed the man found Korra's words rather funny as he quickly burst out laughing after her statement.
"You have a lot to learn about Republic City newcomer." he said and Naruto supposed he was right. It was safe to assume that in a city as rich and beautiful as Republic City, there would undoubtedly be those less fortunate. The larger the wealthy population, the larger the disenfranchised became in turn.
Naruto was moments away from taking a large bite out of his meal when he was rudely interrupted.
"Hey you two!" yelled a voice from behind them. Naruto looked over his shoulder to see a rather portly man wearing a grey uniform waving a shiny black truncheon over his helmeted head.
'Just great. We've only been in the city an hour and the police are already on our asses.' thought Naruto.
The vagrant took that as his cue to disappear, standing quickly and waving to Naruto and Korra.
"You'd best skedaddle. Thanks for the meal!" he said before diving back into his bush. Naruto nodded in thanks before glancing at Korra. She was already one step ahead, bringing two fingers to her mouth and whistling loudly to catch Naga's attention.
The Polar Bear-Dog's head poked up from below the water and she came bounding towards the two.
Naruto quickly gathered up his shirt before vaulting up into Naga's saddle as she came running past, Korra landing in front of him not a second latter. They made a quick getaway over a small bridge leaving the obviously unfit officer and his annoying whistle behind.
"Well, that was fun." said Naruto in a joking tone after they stopped running. They now found themselves close to the edge of the park, the city slowly encroaching the calm area of nature around them.
Korra smiled and opened her mouth to respond but any reply she might have made was cut off by the loud and obnoxious voice of someone nearby.
"Are you tired of living under the tyranny of Benders?! Then join the Equalists!" came the voice, obviously being projected by megaphone of some kind.
Naruto's head snapped around instantly at the mention of the term 'Equalists'. A lone man stood atop a small table, a large banner held up behind him displaying the image of a hooded man wearing a strange mask, the word 'Equality' displayed with prominence beside him. A small crowd of on lookers had gathered around the man with the megaphone.
Naruto growled softly, he knew without a doubt that the man on the banner was Amon, the man causing so much trouble in Republic City.
It seemed Korra had taken notice as well as she was leading Naga behind the small crowd.
"For too long the bending Elite of this city have forced Non-Benders to live as lower class citizens. Join Amon and together we will tear down the Bending Establishment!" he cried out.
Naruto could see that Korra was getting angry, she made to open her mouth, no doubt to yell at the man before Naruto placed and hand on her shoulder and shook his head as she turned to look at him.
"So to display your anger to the world you choose to vilify and discriminate against people whose only 'crime' was being born?" called out Naruto, causing more than a few of those listening to the man to turn around to look at him.
The man with the megaphone sneered at Naruto from atop his table.
"Let me guess, you're a Bender." he said accusingly and Naruto smiled.
"I think you already know the answer to that." said Naruto with a smirk on his face. The man scoffed derisively as he looked at Naruto.
"I just bet you'd love to knock me down from here wouldn't you?" he asked smugly causing Naruto to laugh.
"I'm sure many people in my situation would love to, but no. What I want is to ask you a question, all of you." said Naruto as he looked to each and every person in the crowd before him.
"Who oppresses you? Who is it that preys upon you because you are Non-Benders?" he asked calmly, already knowing their obvious response.
"The Triple-Threat, Benders just like you!" called out a man.
"Yes! The Triple-Threat, Benders who do not deserve the gift they were given at birth. But who is it that protects you from them?" he countered.
"The Police of course." said a woman and Naruto shook his head.
"No, the Police you are more than likely referring to only serve to solve petty civil disputes. The ones who truly protect you from the Triple-Threat are the Mental Benders who serve as the main arm of the Police Force. Now who is it the cares for you in your hospitals?" he asked.
"Wrong again, Water Benders." he said. "What specific group of people make up the vast majority of the United Nations Army?" silence was the crowd's response; it seemed they were finally beginning to understand just what Naruto was getting at. Naruto dismounted from Naga's back and walked into the crowd.
"One final question. Who was it then ended the Hundred year War, ushering in the longest reigning period of peace in centuries?" he asked as he looked around the gathered crowd.
"The Avatar." he said, answering his own question as he glanced back at Korra, offering a small smile.
"Look," he began as he returned his attention to those gathered around him.
"I'm not asking you to forgive what some Bender's may have done to you, the Triple-Threat deserve everything that is coming to them. No, what I am asking you to do is rather simple. I'm asking that you don't lump in every bender you meet with those that have hurt you. If you can do that, then you can come to understand what I have, that the power of Bending can be beautiful." said Naruto as he raised and open palm, rainbow flames sprouting to life.
A small shape began to form in his hand, the flames moving and dancing to Naruto wishes. In moments the flame in his hand seemed to burst and from it flew a small flock of Turtle Ducks, bright embers billowing from their tiny wings as they took to the air above the crowd.
To preoccupied with the light Show Naruto had provided for them, the crowd failed to notice that he had re-joined Korra in the saddle and they were already on their way.
Korra looked over her shoulder at him, a large grin beaming on her face.
"That was so cool! I didn't know you could do that with your flames." she said and Naruto chuckled softly.
"To be honest I didn't really know if I could pull that off. It's a lot harder than you'd think to create solid shapes with fire." he said modestly.
"Either way, you've gotta' teach me that some time." said Korra.
"Fine, fine I'll teach you on one condition." he said with a sly smile.
"You have to be the one to ask for directions to Air Temple Island. I don't want to look like the idiot that got lost." he said as he laughed.
"Fine." huffed Korra with a pout on her face.
Korra wandered off to the side of the street, spying an old couple sitting at a small table having a few drinks in the morning sun.
"Excuse me?" she said to the woman, "I think I'm lost, could you tell me how to get to Air Temple Island from here?" she asked. The old woman looked up and smiled at Korra kindly.
"Of course, you're not far. Just go down this street.." her explanation was cut off suddenly when a loud grumbling sound broke through the calm of the quiet street.
Moments later Naruto watched as a large red Sato Mobile turned onto the street. He was immediately put on guard when he noticed all of the pedestrians scrambling for cover. The old couple was no exception.
"You should get going young lady," she said to Korra as she and her partner hurried into a nearby store, "It isn't safe." she almost whispered.
The Sato Mobile pulled up in front of a shop only a dozen or so metres away from Naruto, the gold plate adorning it's engine block shinning in the sun light.
Three men got out of the car smoothly and moved to confront an old man who was furiously polishing a bright red phonograph.
Naruto found it easy to determine the leader of the group, a tanned and well-dressed man flanked by a hunched shouldered brute of a man and an extremely unattractive ferret-faced man. Naruto felt Korra tap him on the shoulder.
"What's going on?" she asked quizzically. Naruto sighed.
"Nothing good. Just wait and see." he replied quietly.
"Mr Chun, please tell me that you have my money or else I can't guarantee I can protect your fine establishment." said the well-dressed man in a sly tone as he looked over his shoulder at the smaller man to his left who smiled, opening a palm to bring a small but menacing flame to life.
'So, extortion is it? If I had to guess I'd say these guys must be some of the Triple-Threat. Well-spoken man, expensive clothes? Definitely Waterbender. The little guy is obviously a Firebender and if I had to guess that huge halfwit would be an Earthbender.' Deduced Naruto.
The old man paled at the obvious threat.
"I'm sorry, business has been slow. Please, take on of my phonographs." he said as he held out the machine as an offering. The Waterbender nodded to the small man who stepped forward without a word. He lifted his leg in a practiced motion and Naruto watched as his leg descended, crashing into the phonograph and setting it alight violently sending the old man crashing to the ground.
"My friend here is not a fan of music I'm afraid. Give me the money or else…."
"Or else what?" interrupted Korra as she and Naruto both stepped forward. The three men looked them over quickly, glancing at one another before bursting out laughing.
"Now that's just not cool." muttered Naruto. "How do you want to do this?" he whispered to Korra who smirked in response.
"Just follow my lead, we'll teach these idiots a lesson." she said as she cracked her knuckles loudly.
"Haha, I like the way you think."
"Sin you two are obviously fresh of the boat, let me explain a couple of things kiddies. You're in Triple-Threat Triad territory, a huge mistake I might add, and we're about to put you in the Hospital." said the Waterbender, trying to sound as intimidating as possible.
"I do hope there is one nearby." said Naruto, causing the Waterbender to raise a brow suspiciously.
"Why's that?" he asked.
"You guys are going to need one." explained Korra. The Triple-Threat looked taken aback, obviously expecting them to be terrified.
"Who do you two think you are?" Naruto could only laugh in response.
"Buddy, you really don't wanna' know." he said. The man's eye twitched for a brief moment before his hand darted into his jacket where he had cleverly hidden a small water flask. He sent the watery projectile thundering towards Korra who stood her ground calmly.
With practiced ease she caught the water, slowing its advance almost instantly before sending it hurtling back where it came. The water impacted the man's face dead on before solidifying into ice, taking him out of the fight at least briefly as he fell to the ground with a loud thud.
The Earthbending brute was the first to react, charging Korra with a battle cry on his lips.
"Pull!" called out Naruto loudly and Korra smirked.
She stomped the ground in front of her causing a large portion of the road beneath the man's feet to erupt upwards sending him hurtling into the air. Naruto took advantage of the helpless target, kicking out with his right leg and sending a powered down projectile of rainbow firescreaming towards the airborne Earthbender.
The flames caught him square in the chest sending him pin-balling between shop signs before crashing to the street below atop a small fruit stand.
The Firebender panicked at seeing his two compatriots taken out so easily before gathering a ball of flames in both hands and sending a sheet of fire towards Korra. She laughed softly and jumped through the flames, parting them with both arms brought together in the shape of an arrow head.
She clasped the man's hands with her own and used her freakish strength to twirl the small man in the air before throwing him in Naruto direction. Taking a page from his old friend Kirabi's textbook, Naruto walked forward casually before catching the screaming Firebending by the neck with a vicious Lariat, stopping his flight immediately and depositing him on the group in a sorry heap.
Korra walked to stand beside Naruto, chuckling softly.
"Got any idea who we are now chumps?" Naruto and Korra bumped fists together, their customary post fight ritual, before they were interrupted by the sound of the Triple-Threat's Sato Mobile rocketing towards them.
The Earthbender's large arm reached down and grabbed his unconscious companions body as they flew past, pulling him inside the vehicle as they tried to make a quick getaway.
"I think it's time for a Road-Block." said Naruto, earning a nod from Korra in response. They both stepped forward and punched the road hard, a thin but deadly sheet and flame rocketing from Naruto's fist towards the Sato Mobile. The flames quickly caught up and melted the vehicle's wheels in moments before a slab of hard stone shot out of the ground in front of the Sato Mobile, courtesy of Korra.
The vehicle slammed into the rock hard, destroying the Sato Mobile and rendering the Triple-Threat gangsters unconscious.
Naruto and Korra stood beside the crashed vehicle in triumph, Naga joining them, before a loud siren interrupted them. Naga soon joined in, howling towards the sky.
They both looked up to see a large grey Airship flying directly overhead.
"This is the Police! Freeze where you are!" came a voice, blasting from the airship's megaphones. Small doors on the side of the airship opened and Naruto could faintly make out the shapes of men.
"You're a bit late! We just finished doing your job!" Naruto shouted up at them. Three men jumped from the airship using strong metal wires to slow their descent.
"Cool, Metalbenders." Said Korra as they touched down a few metres from them.
"We caught the bad guys for you Officer." said Korra, and as if on cue the Triple-Threat stumbled out of their vehicle in a daze.
"Arrest them!" shouted one the officers, obviously their superior. The other two Metalbenders nodded and raise their arms, pointing them towards the dazed criminals. Thin metal wires shot from openings in their wrists to entrap the Triple-Threat gangsters.
The officer moved to sand in front of Naruto and Korra.
"You two are both under arrest as well." he said, pointing towards the two of them.
"What!?" cried Korra, "We just stopped the bad guys for you, they were smashing up an old man's shop." she said in their defence.
"From the looks of it you smashed up a lot more than that." he said as he gestured to the street behind them. Where the ground wasn't scorched black from Naruto's flames it was torn up from Korra's Earthbending.
Naruto tensed up as he saw the officer move his arm to point it at Korra. He managed to move between them at the last moment, deftly catching the metal wires that shot from the officer's wrist in an attempt to restrain Korra.
"There's no need for that Officer, just let us explain." said Naruto, trying to defuse the situation.
"You can explain yourself all you like, back at Headquarters." said the officer as the retracted his wires and moved to attack. A quick flip moved both Naruto and Korra out of range for a brief moment.
"Naga!" called out Naruto and the Polar-Bear Dog moved to assist without another word. She slammed her full bulk into the officer's back, sending him sprawling to the ground as Naruto and Korra jumped up and onto her saddle.
Naga bounded down the street, the other Metalbenders hot on their heels. Korra turned Naga down a side street, giving the officers a chance to catch up in the process.
Naruto turned in the saddle, smiled and waved, before erecting a temporary wall of multi-coloured flame to assist in their escape. Unfortunately Naruto had not anticipated their ability to use the overhead power lines as…well, booster strips.
Naga was quicker than she looked and it wasn't long before they reached a small foot bridge, a river running underneath. The closest officer behind attempted to snag Naruto with his wires but they were easily deflected. Korra swept her hands backwards, causing a large column of ice to shoot up, blocking the Metalbenders behind them.
Yet more officers appeared out of nowhere after they made their way up onto a raised road, train lines running underneath. In an attempt to lose their pursuers, Korra directed Naga to jump down onto the train running below them, the Polar-bear Dog almost slipping.
Given a brief moment of respite Naruto surveyed their surroundings. Through a break in the buildings Naruto could see out in the bay, spotting Air Temple Island almost immediately.
"Ha, almost there!" he called out to Korra, pointing to direct her gaze towards their objective. A large shadow passed over them, causing the pair to look up. Naruto sighed as he saw the familiar shape of the Police airship flying overhead.
'These guys really don't give up.' he thought to himself.
The train was rapidly approaching a corner and Korra spurred Naga into a run. As they reach the turn in the track Naga leapt from the top of the train towards a nearby building.
Whoever was aboard the Airship was smart enough to realise that that moment was their best chance at catching them.
When they were still in mid-air more of the thick metal wires shot from above, entangling Naga's legs. Moments later Naruto thought better than to struggle against the tight wires that had wrapped around his chest and arms, immobilising him. Despite himself, he began to laugh.
"What's so funny?" snapped Korra, a childish pout on her face.
"This has got to be some sort of a record. Only in the city from a few hours and we've already been part of a massive police chase." he explained before dissolving into laughter again, Korra following him soon after.
After a few minutes of being suspended in the air above Republic City, Naruto and Korra found themselves being ushered rather forcefully into an all metal room deep within Police headquarters.
They were left sweat for a few minutes before the room's only door slid open and a single figure entered. She was a hard faced woman, quickly reminding Naruto of Tsunade when she was in a bad mood. She was obviously getting on in her years, her hair a dark grey, and she sported a pair of nasty looking scars on her right cheek.
Naruto knew immediately that she was someone of importance, heir uniform much different from the officers that had brought them in. Where the other Officer's uniforms had been a dull grey, this woman's was nearly black and trimmed with gold. In her hands she held what appeared to be a clipboard that she was reading from.
"Multiple counts of destruction fop rive and city property, not to mention evading arrest. You two are both in a whole mess of trouble." she said as she slammed the clipboard down on the table in front of them.
"You've got to admit we did a pretty good job of evading your officers." said Naruto with an awkward smile on his face in an attempt to bring some manner of humour to the situation.
The withering glare the woman sent his way told him all he needed to know, she was not a woman who would appreciate his idea of humour.
"But some thugs were threatening a helpless shopkeeper and we had to…" interjected Korra before being cut off.
"Can it! What you should have done was called the police and stayed out of the way, not start a ground war in the middle of my city." said the woman.
"We couldn't just sit by and do nothing, it just wouldn't have been right." said Naruto in an attempt to defend their action even though he felt he had nothing to prove to this woman. He had always done what he thought was right, and he certainly wouldn't stop because some grumpy old hag could clean up the streets.
"Exactly! It's our duty to help people. You see, I'm the Avatar." said Korra, playing the Avatar card. It usually got the two of them out of trouble, but something told Naruto that this wouldn't be one of those cases.
"Oh I'm well aware of who you are," said the woman condescendingly, "and your Avatar title might impress some people, but not me." she said bluntly. Korra sighed.
"Fine, then I want to talk to whoever is in charge." she demanded.
"We already are." stated Naruto simply.
"Smart kid. He's right, I'm Chief Beifong." she said matter-of-factly as she took a seat on the oly spare chair in the room.
"Beifong?" uttered Korra, sounding slightly confused. "Lin Beifong? You're Toph's daughter!" she exclaimed. Lin shrugged.
"What of it?" she asked as if it meant nothing to her.
"Then why are you treating us like we're criminals? Avatar Aang and your mother were friends, they saved the World together." said Korra. Chief Beifong scoffed loudly.
"That's all ancient history and it's got absolutely nothing to do with the mess you've got yourself into now. You can't just walk into this city and doll out vigilante justice like you own the place." she said. Now it was Naruto's turn to laugh.
"Actually I can." he said with a smirk on his face. Lin turned to face him, her expression thunderous.
"Don't get smart with me kid." she said, her tone almost furious. Naruto only smiled before closing his eyes in concentration. The metal cuffs around his wrists began to glow bright red before the melted off of him completely, sloughing off onto the metal table.
He raised his hands in a placating gesture when Lin stood up, ready to restrain him again though her face showed that she was more than a little shocked at his ability to get out of his cuffs so easily.
Keeping one hand raised, Naruto reached into his shirt and withdrew a small wooden disk along with a set of folded papers. He flicked the wood disk towards Lin who caught it easily. Turning it over in her hands she saw that it was actually a Pai-Sho tile, the White Lotus to be specific. She groaned in annoyance.
"You've got to be kidding Me." she said in exasperation. Naruto only chuckled lightly.
"Not at all Chief. I'm part of the White Lotus, serving as companion and guard to Avatar Korra. As you should know, members of the White Lotus have diplomatic immunity in almost all cases. We are also authorised to pursue and detain criminals of varying nature by any means we see so long as it doesn't cause an international incident." explained Naruto as he leaned back in his chair, hands behind his head, and rested his feet on the table.
Any reply Lin was formulating was interrupted when a small panel in the wall slid open, revealing another Police Officer.
"Sorry to interrupt Chief but Councilman Tenzin has arrived." he said.
"I do believe that means we will be leaving." said Naruto, taunting the Chief.
"Let him in." she growled out. Once again the door to the room slid open revealing the familiar form of Tenzin in his Airbender robes.
"Uh, sorry Tenzin, we got a little side-tracked on our way to see you." said Korra sheepishly. Tenzin didn't say anything as he took a deep breath to calm himself before glancing towards Lin.
"Lin," he began, his tone abnormally pleasant. "You are looking radiant as usual." The Chief was having none of it.
"Cut the garbage Tenzin. Why are the Avatar and a White Lotus agent in Republic City? You said you were moving down to the South Pole to train her." she said and Naruto got the impression that the pair of them were more than just acquaintances.
"My re-location has been delayed. The Avatar," he said in a strained tone causing Korra to shirk away from his gaze, "on the other hand will be returning to the South Pole immediately where she will stay put."
"But.." began Korra only to have Tenzin ignore her.
"If you would be so kind as to drop the charges…." he started but Naruto cut him off.
"She doesn't have a choice. White Lotus laws." he said as he flashed his Pai-Sho tile before pocketing both it and his papers. Lin growled softly as she looked at him before sighing.
"Just get out, both of you." she spat out. Tenzin nodded in thanks.
"Always a pleasure Lin." he said before looking to Naruto and Korra. "Let's go both of you."
Korra's cuffs fell from her wrists with a flick of Lin's fingers. As they walked past Naruto saw the Chief give Korra the 'I'm watching you!' gesture, only to have Korra scrunch her face up like a child and return it in kind. Both she and Naruto laughed together as they left a fuming Police Chief behind.
They were downstairs waiting for an officer to bring Naga from the Police kennels when Korra spoke up.
"Please Tenzin, don't send us back home, we only just got here." she pleaded. Tenzin shook his head, disappointed.
"You blatantly disobeyed my instructions and the Order of the White Lotus." at that he looked to Naruto. "And you! How much trouble do you think you're going to be in when the Grand Lotus hears of this?" he asked.
"Not much to be honest. The old man is pretty reasonable, besides it's my mandate to watch over and protect the Avatar wherever she goes, not to keep her prisoner in an ice fortress. Wherever Korra goes, I go." explained Naruto, causing Korra to smile.
"Katara agreed with me that I should come. She said my destiny was in Republic City." urged Korra. Naruto could barely keep himself from laughing when he saw Tenzin's face. The man had become extremely flustered; his eyebrow's twitching at the mention of his mother.
"Don't bring my mother into this!" he all but shouted.
"Look, I can't wait any longer to finish my training. Being cooped up and hidden away from the world isn't helping me become a better Avatar. We both saw a lot of the City today and it's all out of whack, I completely understand why you need to stay. Republic City needs you, but it needs me too." explained Korra desperately.
Tenzin seemed to be struggling to formulate some kind of response, fumbling over his words for a moment before sighing.
"Is this your Polar-bear Dog Miss?" called out a voice from the behind them. Naruto turned to see a very unhappy looking officer, his air sticking up all over the place, holding a small leash attached to Naga's saddle.
Naga opened her mouth and her massive tongue swept out to lick the officer's face and in the process 'gelling' the man's hair up in a large swirl. Naruto was silent for a brief moment before he burst out laughing. His infectious laughter soon took hold of Korra.
Tenzin was silent as the group made their way from the Police Headquarters and down to the docks where they boarded a small boat and began to sail back towards Air Temple Island.
Naruto and Korra stood at the back of the boat, leaning over the railing and pointing out places to one another from Republic City, now illuminated by thousands of lights as the night slowly began to close in around them.
Tenzin stood in the middle of the deck, staring up at the enormous statue of his father Aang. He couldn't remember the last time he had seen Korra so happy. He pushed such thoughts from his mind and sighed.
He had a hard decision to make.
When they arrived at the dock on Air Temple Island, a White Lotus ship was already waiting for them, a contingent of Sentries standing by the boarding ramp.
Naruto looked back to Tenzin, looking none too happy, only to find the man was avoiding his gaze.
Korra had already begun to walk towards the White Lotus when he name was shouted out.
"Korra!" called out Tenzin's children as they dropped from the sky on their gliders. They encircled Korra before landing and rushing the girl to hug her.
"Are you coming to live with us on the Island?" asked Ikki excitedly. Naruto could easily see the pained expression on Korra's face.
"No, I'm sorry Ikki, I have to go home now." she said softly, causing the girl in question to moan sadly.
Korra stood and began to walk towards the approaching Sentries, Naruto moments away from following her, when Tenzin finally spoke up.
"Wait!" he said. "I have done my best to guide Republic City towards the dream my father had for it. But you are right; it has fallen out of balance since he passed. I thought I should put off your training to uphold his legacy, but you are his legacy. You may stay and train in Airbending here with Me." he said, Korra's face lighting up to comical proportions.
"Republic City needs its Avatar once again." finished Tenzin. Korra literally jumped from joy.
"Yes!" she shouted as she pumped her arms. "Thank you!" she said as she reached down and scooped up Tenzin's children in her arms before grabbing hold of the man himself, lifting them all up in a huge bear hug.
Naruto chuckled; sometimes he was amazed by her sudden strength.
Leaving Tenzin to deal with Korra, Naruto stepped forward to talk with the Sentries.
"Looks like you guys will be staying longer than you though huh?" he said. The lead Sentry sighed and nodded his head.
"It seems that way sir." he said, catching Naruto off guard slightly.
"Sir? What are you talking about?" he inquired, more than a little confused. The Sentry chuckled at that.
"The Grand Lotus expected something like this would happen after the two of you disappeared. We were given orders that if Tenzin allowed the Avatar to remain in Republic City that you would be given command of the Guard Force." he explained.
'That sneaky old man.' he thought with a smile on his face. 'This could be fun.'
"How many men did you bring with you?" he asked, eyeing off the White Lotus ship still sitting by the dock.
"Fifty sir." was the simple reply. 'That should be enough for an island of this size.' thought Naruto.
"Good. Now I know it's late and you've all had a long few days getting here but we've got work to do. I want this entire island combed for any hidden entrances or weak points. When that's done all of you can get some rest, we can assign patrols tomorrow." he ordered, eager to get some sleep himself.
He looked back over his shoulder as the White Lotus began to file out of the ship to follow his orders. He smiled as he watched Korra walking away with Ikki on her shoulders and a child hanging off either arm with Tenzin smiling as he walked behind them.
One question still plagued Naruto's mind.
'How the fuck am I going to tell Tenzin I can Airbend?'
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