A Legend of Korra Fanfic
By Sakura Martinez (aka SMTsukishiro)


Summary:

A promising engineering student. A mysterious woman capable of controlling the four elements. When their paths cross, the resulting collision not only changes their lives and themselves, but the fate of the entire world as well. [Korrasami AU]


Author's Notes:

Okay, so, I'm kind of in a hurry because we're leaving in a couple of minutes for that week-long vacation, but I promised a chapter before I go get some good R&R and so...here it is.

Before that, however, I'd like to clarify something that some might find confusing. It concerns Kai.

Now, I know you guys know (or I hope that you do) what Kai is-he is the Avatar's Steward. Now, just because he has that title, doesn't mean his entitled to knowing everything that goes on with Korra. Neither does that mean that he knows everything (in a way that Zuko and Sokka does) that has to do with the Avatar. He is simply, a glorified butler. That's it. And that is something I have mentioned before, when I introduced Kai into the story. So, of course, he doesn't know beforehand that Asami was the Avatar's Chosen, and he doesn't know the reason behind things happening as they have been in the story. He is not privy to that. What he knows is what the rest of Nia Bayou know-that is, whatever the Elders deemed necessary to tell them.

Anyways, I just wanted to get that point across since there are some who didn't seem to get that *shrugs*.
So, let's get right to the chapter itself, shall we?

Enjoy! :)


Legend of Korra

The Schism

Chapter 63: A Temporary Truce


For an outpost as small as the one they were staying in, Korra couldn't help but note how noisy humans could be. It did not seem to matter—nor had it any relation to—the number of people involved. So long as there was one, or two, rowdy ones in the bunch, peace and quiet might as well be out of the equation.

As it happened, there wasn't just one or two raucous people. Apart from Wei and Wing—Opal's twin brothers—it seemed half of the current inhabitants of that outpost had an uproarious, jovial air about them. And though it was bordering on ludicrous and was making it difficult for the Avatar to focus her thoughts, she understood—to some degree—why they were acting that way...though it was not on her own that she did.

It was not that big of a mystery, however. Not when almost everyone was crowding Opal and telling her how worried they were of her when they learned she was missing and how relieved they now were to see that she was well.

Still, Korra wished she could get a little semblance of peace. She had thought that with their way to Zaofu blocked by the strange, thick mist that had suddenly appeared from the nearby swamp, she would have the time to do a little thinking. There were so many things running through her mind—half of which she had the so-called 'Avatar's Chosen' to blame.

She glanced—from where she was perched, standing atop the lone watchtower of the Bei Fong outpost, to the ground below where a couple of children were playing with Naga. It was a strange sight to behold, for certain. Never had a child from Nia Bayou attempted to interact with the beast. Apart from herself and Kai, Naga seldom had any human for company. Like the Avatar, her people tend to put distance between them.

She had welcomed that solitude, having grown up with it and being told that it was because of who—and what—she was. She had embraced it even. But seeing her Polar Bear Dog interact with children who knew nothing of who she was and what she was made Korra realize, even more so, how many things the two of them had been missing.

And yet, here I am, keeping distance from everyone, the Avatar chuckled to herself. The irony was not lost to her. Still, it was not as though she was hiding from everyone—much like she had been a few days prior.

Well, maybe there was someone she was hiding from: Kai. Her Steward who would not stop looking at her like she was about to suddenly combust; who had not stopped pestering her on sharing the secret only the two of them knew. It was driving her insane. She was already up against a wall as it was; already playing in her mind the possibilities of how things would turn out if—and that was a big 'if'-she did share the secret to another. But if how Kai had been acting around her was any indication of things to come should that secret come to light, then she would rather not let anyone know about it.

She sighed then. I am supposed to be giving an attempt to communicate with Suzaku, not thinking about other things. She snorted as another thought entered her mind, If Master Katara knew of how easily my concentration can be shattered now, she would not be amused.

Though she was not always on good footing with any of the Elders of Nia Bayou, the Chief Elder's younger sister was someone she had always been fond of...and the only one whom she would not hesitate to give due respect to. The old woman was wise and kind. She spoke to the Avatar in a strange way that made Korra feel at ease. And though the Four Elemental Spirits taught her much, Master Katara had also imparted some knowledge to her and was often someone who would share with her stories whenever she came to visit. And though those stories were nothing worthy to be written about, it did give the young Avatar a sense of what life was in the village whenever she was not around.

In a way, Korra supposed, Master Katara showed her and made her felt what it was like to have a mother.

Though Raava's human incarnation would never say that to her face. Partly because she was certain her words would not come out as intended, and also because she did not know how Master Katara would react to it.

Her musings were cut short when the door to the watchtower opened and in came the person she had least expected (and, at the same time did not at all wanted) to see, the Fire Nation Prince himself.

Taken aback as she was that he would come to such a place, Korra kept her expression neutral. The same could not be said for Prince Iroh who went from surprised to annoyed in the shortest amount of time it would take to blink.

Iroh scoffed under his breath, but surprised Korra when he didn't turn around and leave but, instead, went on ahead inside and took a stand by the widow that was next to the one the Avatar was sitting on. She looked at him for a couple of seconds, before turning her attention back outside, readying for whatever the young Prince would say.

"Well, this is unexpected," Iroh spoke in a mocking way that Korra had to keep the desire to reflexively say something back at bay. She had promised to be civil. "I didn't expect you to not be in there—" he motioned to the group that had been listening to Opal's stories of her adventure with Korra and Asami (contents of which are diluted, of course). "—I figured you are one to enjoy attention, after all."

Korra shrugged. Be civil, she reminded herself as she replied, "There is a time and place for everything. This is Opal's...family, or an extension of it. After everything we've been through, she deserves this."

"Well, aren't you the considerate one," Iroh huffed. "Didn't seem that way, though, back at the palace."

The Avatar couldn't help but laugh at the way Iroh had spoken. If she didn't know any better, she would have thought him to be pouting. The laughter, of course, did not sit well with the royal who quickly turned on her and asked, "What are you laughing at?"

"It would seem you and I had a different take on that merrymaking your family had in my name," She shook her head. "I thought I was being transparent about not wanting to be a part of it—or were Opal and Asami merely making a jest on my behalf?" The latter part of her reply was muttered under her breath, though with how quiet it was (save for the times the raucous laughter would reach the watchtower) Iroh was able to hear her well.

Korra did not care, though.

"The only reason why I went was because of your grandfather who pestered me even when I had decided not to make an appearance." Which was only half of the truth, but Korra hoped it would be enough to placate Iroh. Why she was bothering to even be nice to him at this point, she blamed on a certain raven-haired, young woman.

Besides, she reasoned with herself. I do see the point of having this oaf around. He certainly has kept authorities from confronting us.

"For a supposed deity of some sort, you certainly do not play much of the part," Iroh's skepticism showed.

Looking at her arm as casually as she could as she felt it throbbed, Korra couldn't help but agree with the sentiment, surprising even herself. "I know. You have those three to blame if I do no longer fit the standard. Rest assured that I am still the Avatar, regardless."

And because Korra was Korra, she couldn't help but prove her point but summoning all four elements to her, though the magnitude was small as she merely held them all in the palm of her hands. Both the Avatar and the Prince watched as the tongue of flame danced with the marble-sized water as the wind created an orbit for the piece of earth to rotate in.

It was an impressive thing to do and an awing sight to behold, if Korra does say so herself. And though Iroh tried not to be impressed by the display, he did a poor job of not letting it show. After reveling on the fact that she managed to do something to completely shut the prince up, the Avatar let the flow of her bending die down. The fire disappeared as though being blown, the water fell and soaked the ground, the earth crumbled, and the wind flew to to its freedom.

"I won't lose, though." Iroh said a heartbeat later. He looked at Raava's human incarnation with determination in his eyes. "Not to you. Not again."

Korra frowned. She didn't know what the Prince had meant with what he said. But, a challenge was still a challenge. And so she just grinned cockily and met his gaze head on.

"The feeling is mutual, Prince."

"Heh," Iroh smirked as well, looking back outside the window. The smile faded and Iroh returned to looking serious. "Let it be said that I play fair, Avatar. And for that reason, I am going to give you a little bit of a...head's up."

The Avatar mirrored the look of soberness on the other's face. "I don't suppose it has something to do with Opal's family?"

The Fire Nation Prince nodded, "Just keep your eyes peeled. I do not care much for whatever happens to you, but I know that Miss Sato would end up being caught up in it."

Korra crossed her arms and hummed. She already knew that and had a feeling there was something the twins were not telling them. And with the way everyone, despite the merry atmosphere, seemed to be on heightened alert, Iroh's words were definitely not a surprise to her.


She didn't notice them at first, until Kai pointed out the two figures standing by the windows of the lone watchtower. At first, Asami thought that they were merely one of the Bei Fong's people, doing their job. But when she felt a shift in the air surrounding the watchtower, she suddenly knew Korra was involved.

Asami wanted to excuse herself then, from Wei and Wing's company. She feared what Korra was up to, especially when—upon scrutiny—noticed whom she was with. But she couldn't break free of the twins who had asked that she, too, join in with Opal's storytelling.

"Those two are stressing me so much," Asami admitted to Kai when the feeling subsided and there was no shouts of fighting emanating from the tall building. She breathed a sigh of relief at that, after having expected Iroh to suddenly be flung out of the window by Korra.

"Now you know how it feels to be the Avatar's Steward," Kai joked. "Always having to look after her is both stressful and tiring, especially here outside of our hidden village." He went thoughtful for a second before adding, "Well, at least she doesn't do things to the extreme anymore. Compared to how the Avatar was before, this is actually pretty...tame. To some degree, at least."

Asami had no doubt about it. There was still a lot of Korra's past she knew nothing of, but from their first meeting, she could imagine how the darker-skinned girl was like to the people of her village; how much her identity as the human incarnation of Raava had given her a free pass to do whatever she wanted without thought of consequences and how extremely troublesome that had to be to those around her who couldn't even speak against the person they worshiped.

Korra was still like that sometimes, but at least she had stopped threatening to use her godly powers against any and all who would go against her wishes.

"I don't envy you one bit, Kai," Asami laughed when she was certain the two on the watchtower weren't out to kill each other.

The Avatar's Steward grinned, "I could say the same thing to you, Asami."

And though the context could be loosely interpreted, the Prodigy knew what Kai's intentions were and what he was ribbing her on about. As thick-skinned as she believed herself to be, Asami still couldn't help being embarrassed about the whole thing.

"Speaking of," Kai and Asami's discussion was halted when Wei turned his attention at them, which in turn caused every one present to do the same. "Don't you guys think it's about time you tell us more about your special friend, Asami?"

The grin Kai was sporting grew, even as he and Asami both knew how dangerous a territory that simple, seemingly ordinary, question could be. The young Heiress, for her part, almost choked at the suddenness by which Wei and his twin had decided to join in on their otherwise private conversation as well.

"Um, what?" was all Asami could muster at the time as her mind quickly tried to come up with what to say.

Wing nodded at the direction of the watchtower from where both Korra and Iroh were now clearly visible. "Korra. You didn't give us much about her before. We're just, kind of curious."

"Yeah," Wei nodded with enthusiasm. "I mean, she got your attention, after all."

"Well...Korra is...Korra." It was such a lame answer that she didn't even fault Kai for snorting at it.

What she felt annoyed at, however, was when Kai egged her to say something else by saying, "Come on, Asami, you can do better than that," with a Cheshire grin.

The twins nodded vigorously at this, which didn't help Asami at all.

"You can start by telling us where you two met." Wing supplied, trying to be helpful.

"We, uh, met...at the University," the young inventor spoke carefully. She didn't want to lie, but for the moment she didn't have much of a choice. She did try to give answers as close to the truth as possible, however.

By the end of the impromptu grilling session the twins had imposed on her, she had made up some story loosely based on how she and Korra actually met; that they had met accidentally when Korra visited the University in search of an invention she had heard about. She kept the details to a minimum, remembering how web of lies could end up being. Asami was certain that Wei and Wing had more questions than answers with how many of them she had dodged or gave a vague reply to.

"She's such a mysterious character, isn't she?" Wei mused, giving up on asking more questions from Asami after noting how much she didn't like being put on the spot. He glanced at his twin who nodded in agreement but remained silent.

Something about the exchange threw Asami off, but she couldn't tell what it was. Looking at Kai, he didn't at all seem perturbed by the exchange. If anything, he looked highly entertained.

In the hopes of changing the topic, the Prodigy decided to breach the one no one seemed to put much interest in: the mist that had crept up on them.

It was a strange fog, appearing just a couple of hours after noon, just when the heat was strongest. It didn't at all seem like a normal occurrence either, not when Opal herself was confused by it. From what Opal had told her, in that little span after entering the outpost and the people converging on her best friend, there was never any chance of a fog blowing out there...or anywhere for that matter, in the Earth Kingdom.

"How long had there been a mist appearing from that swamp?" the porcelain-skinned, young woman asked.

"About a month or so ago?" Wing replied, looking at his brother for confirmation. Wei merely shrugged, the days had probably gone by in a blur for them, too, considering what they must have had to go through in thinking about Opal's safety and whereabouts. "It's shortly after Mount Makapu's eruption, though I doubt the two are related."

Asami stopped herself from groaning at what she heard. The same could not be said of Kai, however, who not only moaned in irritation, but sported a face-palm as well. It was, without a doubt, a curious thing to do—and the twins thought it the same as well. Thankfully, they were distracted by one of the watchmen calling for their attention.

Wei and Wing excused themselves then, and as soon as they were out of earshot, Asami hissed at Kai, "What was that?"

"Come on, Asami, you can't possibly have missed that," Kai waved to where the twins had been sitting moments prior. "What those two have said...if Lady Korra hears about that—"

"Hears about what?"

It was at that point Korra and Iroh decided to join in. Having been thoroughly preoccupied with the make-shift story of how they had met, Asami had failed to notice that the pair were no longer in the watchtower.

The way that Korra had suddenly decided to drop by just when Kai had been speaking, caused the young man to lose his composure.

"Lady Korra!" He exclaimed as he stood up, "H-How long have you been standing there?"

"We've have just come down," the Avatar replied with a frown. "Why, is there something wrong?"

"No, no, nothing." Kai was acting very suspicious, and even Iroh, whom Korra was with, could tell that something was up with the young steward. "We just thought that the two of you were still up there."

"It would be a rather counter-productive thing to do, midget." Prince Iroh was the one who replied, not forgetting to drop a little insult to rile Kai up—which it did. But the Prince paid little mind to the shorter man's rantings. "The mist has cleared up. We should be heading out soon."

Asami glanced at Korra in askance.

"It's true." the shorter girl nodded. She then frowned, putting a hand under her chin in thought. "It is a rather strange phenomena, this unnatural fog. I wish to investigate it, but..." Korra looked over to where Opal's brothers were still discussing things with one of the watchmen.

And though the Prodigy knew Korra has a lot more to say on the matter, the Avatar suddenly went silent in contemplation. It was so uncharacteristic of the boisterous, young woman. Almost as atypical it was of Kai to try to prevent the Avatar from doing her duties—which was what Asami could tell the young man was doing.

It was at that point when Opal finally rejoined them with a greeting.

"Well, this is certainly something new." She motioned to both Korra and Iroh who didn't seem to be at each other's throat, the latter of whom wasn't even giving the Avatar the stink eye. The same could not be said between the Prince and the Avatar's Steward, however. Turning to Asami, she asked, "So, what are you all discussing, huddled up all together like this, without even waiting for me?"

"The fog," Korra was quick to answer, disregarding whether the question was thrown at her or not. "I wanted to look into it. Its peculiarity is strumming on my curiosity. Everyone present, however, seemed to think it is not a good idea."

"Yeah, that fog is strange." Opal mused, face scrunched up in thought. "But we have our hands full right now, Korra. Finding the Guardian of the Elemental Core of the Earth is our priority. If the cause is related to the Spirit World, then by unlocking the seal on the Elemental Cores, we should be able to fix it, right?"

Korra nodded, "I suppose so."

Yet again Asami couldn't help but think the Avatar was being reserved in all of this. She sighed as she could only come up with two possible reasons for why Korra was acting the way she was, yet was unable to ask her about it when the twins finally returned to tell them that their sandcruiser was ready and they were going to set off for Zoafu once again.


Mako was sat comfortably in the confines of the room he had rented. He felt extremely pleased with himself and the job he had accomplished easily. He felt silly, in retrospect, to worry as much as he did and for asking his employer for a three-day stay in the Fire Nation Capital to accomplish his mission. Had he known that this job was without difficulty, he would have just gone with a day. He didn't want the hooded one to think he was some low-class mercenary who was slow to work, after all.

He glanced over the window, where the pillar of light was visible, as he sipped on the tea he had asked to be served. He had, from time to time since succeeding in doing as he was asked, looked over at the strange light, wondering if he would see it change color again. It didn't. Not even as quickly as it did so before.

The Mercenary felt stupid in doing so, and yet, he couldn't help himself.

As he was refilling his cup with tea, his pocket buzzed, alerting him to an incoming line of communication. With him still waiting for a callback from Duo Xin, Mako quickly took his communicator out, hoping that he would finally hear from her.

When he picked up the call, however, the muffled voice of his employer was the one that he heard.

"What are you still doing there?" was what he was greeted with. "You have already finished your job, have you not? Hurry up and come back. There is still more work to be done."

Before he could come up with an excuse, the line was cut. Knowing better than to question how his employer would know that he was already done with his work (after all, they had suddenly appeared at his location once already, and saved him from being left forgotten and tied up), Mako was simply glad that they didn't end up transporting themselves into his room. He might be working with them, and they might have been his mentor in controlling the new-found power of his, but that didn't mean Mako never once felt at ease being in the same place as them.

With a heavy sigh, the amber-eyed man drank down what remained of his drink before he packed what meager belongings he had brought with him.

It really does seem like there was no rest for the wicked. Or the wicked's henchman.


Hiroshi paced in the study room of the Sato mansion, a map of the city and the outskirts splayed on top of his table there. It was an updated city map, complete with all the details regarding Republic City's housing and was the first thing he had sought to obtain (and did) subsequently after his meeting with Victor Raiko.

The map had everything—from the dimensions of the houses that were built with the approval of the City Council, notes regarding the status of the infrastructure, notations that included whether a building was to be condemned and when. It even had dates that indicated when a house or a building was built. It would have been the most informative city map Hiroshi had ever come across with, were it not for a missing key information: the hunting lodge Raiko spoke of.

There was nothing on the map that specified if there was such a construction anywhere in the outskirts of Republic City. And yet he couldn't believe—found it impossible to even consider—that the fallen Head of State would—and could—have lied to him about it. Raiko was in so much distress, he was distraught, with only the thought of his wife's well-being in his mind. A man under such duress would give everything—would not even think of double-crossing the one with the upper-hand—to ensure the safety of a loved one.

Hiroshi was certain of it. He would know. After all, he had been on the other end of the spectrum as well.

So, if Raiko was not lying, that could only mean he is telling the truth. It was really that simple. And yet, where is this hunting lodge? Could Raiko had misheard?

The CEO worried his bottom lip. That was one possibility he didn't account for. He had already revealed much of his cards when it came to the ex-President, there was nothing left he could bargain information with—or threaten to obtain it—when it comes to him.

Likewise, he couldn't ask anyone else about this hunting lodge. Obtaining the city map was a gamble already—and a dangerous one. He had sneaked around the City Hall, called in favours from those whom he knew would dare not betray him. But even those people he didn't fully trust. He certainly couldn't ask Noatak about it. There was a reason that Tarrlok was kept away from others, his location hidden. Asking the Equalist Leader would be inviting trouble, and unwanted attention. It could ruin everything.

He was loathed to admit it, but he felt he was stuck with no way forward. Not a way that would not put a red dot on his forehead.

A curse spilled from his lips in frustration. He did not enjoy being stuck. He had always found a way forward.

"Having trouble are we, Hiroshi?" He jumped in fright, whirling around to face where the voice was coming from. There, sitting on the chair he had vacated in favour or running the rug, was the hooded figure who was always by Noatak—Amon's—side.

"You!" He growled. Hiroshi didn't appreciate being surprised, nor does he enjoy uninvited guests visiting him in his abode. "How did you get in here? What do you want?"

"My, my, so many questions." They chuckled, which annoyed the inventor further. But he knew he was powerless against them. He had witnessed what they were capable of, after all. And so it was all he could do to calm himself; to keep himself from reaching to the automaton's controls and seeing just how well his creation would do. "Does it really matter in the grand scheme of things, though?"

Hiroshi kept his silence for a moment before he repeated the question with such ferocity he bared how he thought of the stranger's appearance. Each word was punctuated with a pause, and uttered low, barely above a whisper. "What do you want?"

"To make an exchange. A deal, if you will." Hiroshi blinked and already the Hooded One was no longer in his study chair but was behind him. "I will give you the one you seek, in exchange you provide me with half your creations—those automata creatures Amon had asked of you to make."

"I am already giving them to Amon," Hiroshi said, not bothering to turn around. "You could just ask him for the half that you desire."

They chuckled again, as though there was something amusing with what the Sato Patriarch had said. Hiroshi found nothing humorous in it, however. He felt it was some sort of entrapment. He didn't show it, but he was worried that Amon might have found out about him fleeting about. Again, his hands—his fingers—itched to take the controls that would wake the automaton.

"Let us just say, the Masked One and I have different goals." The Hooded One admitted. Whether this was the truth or not, Hiroshi could not say for certain, even with how the words were said in earnest. "He and I desire different things. In that regard, you and I are not that much different, Hiroshi Sato."

I highly doubt it, Hiroshi wanted to say, but he went with "I don't know what you are talking about," instead.

"Ah, what I shame then," they mocked, feigning the emotion that came with their words. The Hooded One walked towards the table, walking as though they had all the time in the world. The movement of their head indicated they were looking at the map sprawled on it. Taking one of the markers on the table, they twirled it around their fingers before tapping it on the hardwood surface. "I was certain you would be interested in my offer. After all, it was you who said you would do anything for the sake of your daughter, was it not?"

Hiroshi stood rigid as those words were repeated to him. He scrutinized the stranger in his home, and the Hooded One did the same to him behind the veil of darkness that covered their face.

"You are trapped. You do not possess the information you need to piece together what has become of your daughter. Your only hope—the whereabouts of Councilman Tarrlok—elude you. You, Hiroshi Sato, are grasping at straws." Each words were like a dagger to his heart and it felt like his mind was being read. Hiroshi balled his fists, his knuckles turning white he wouldn't be at all surprised if it drew blood. "But I can help you, as I have in the past. All I ask, in exchange, is that you provide me half of what was intended for the Equalists."

"How will I know this isn't some trap you and Amon have cooked up?" the bespectacled man's voice was hoarse, he had to swallow several times in order to get his throat working up again.

"Because it isn't." the hooded one replied. There was a smile to the words uttered, though it wasn't the friendliest of smiles if the words that followed were to be the judge of it. "Believe me, if I am loyal to Amon and he had suspected what you have been doing behind his back, you would be dead by my hand already."

Hiroshi didn't doubt that one bit. There was something about this stranger that oozed with an underlying sinisterly current. He knew they weren't normal—no ordinary human could do the feats he had witnessed them do, after all.

But he couldn't really fully commit to trusting this person, even if it was out of fear. After all, how could he trust someone who hides their face in the shadows? And yet, he knew her words rung true. At the end of the day, he saw no other choice; no other path to take—a path that would lead him to finding Asami.

"Well?" The uninvited guest pushed for an answer from the CEO. "Would you like to know the location of the Councilman, Mister Sato?"

He had to remind himself, as he took the outstretched, gloved hand being offered to him, that he had committed to doing all he could to find his only daughter. And, if it was making another deal with the devil, then so be it.

He still had the ace up his sleeves waiting to be activated, after all. Should this arrangement turn sour, his creations would be there to ensure his safety and survival.

The automatons were like his children, after all—children who will do his bidding when the need arises.


The second half of their journey to Zoafu was a little less bumpy than the first, however, it still didn't keep the dust from being spewed as the sandcruiser passed. Korra, as she did before, let the power of the wind ensure that none of them suffocate from the sand and the dirt that their vehicle disturbed.

Despite the frequency of using her powers as the Avatar that day, Korra didn't feel at all fatigued. She didn't let herself relax however, as she kept giving her arm glances every now and then when no one was looking and made sure it wasn't giving anything off in regards to her 'condition' (which was what Kai had dubbed it as).

They sat the same way they had before. Nobody wanted to change their sitting arrangement, not even Iroh.

After their little discussion, the Avatar found the Prince giving her a semblance of—she would not really call it 'respect', not really...but it was something akin to it. Though he would still give her withering glances every once in a while. Sometimes, even glares. It would take a bit more time before both would consider each other 'friends'.

And even though they had now (more or less) considered each other colleagues—rivals, even—there was still a tinge of tension in the group. Especially between Kai and the Prince. The fault, Korra believed, lay between the two. Still, she supposed, she should not be quick to judge considering how petty she could be and how long she could hold a grudge for.

At the moment, though, there was a sense of calmness in the group Opal had dubbed 'The Krew', partly because most of them had fallen asleep. Maybe it was out of fatigue, not really having much time to rest while they were in the outpost, or perhaps it was due to weather having turned from searing to warm and the way the wind helped lessen the humidity and made the atmosphere comfortable, but the only ones awake were Korra and the driver of the sandcruiser, Wing.

It hadn't been long, however, since everyone had been lulled to sleep. Mere minutes ago, she had even been speaking with Asami whom she had asked to tell her everything the Prodigy knew of Opal's kin. If the young Heiress found it to be a suspicious request, she did not make mention of it. Korra hoped the raven-haired, young woman would just think her curious (which she was). After all, she did not wish to give her cause to worry...not if there was still a chance she and Iroh could be wrong.

Their conversations later turned to Asami regaling her with tales of her visits to Zaofu and of her family's interactions with Opal's, back when her mother was still alive. They were all fond memories and Korra couldn't help the smile that graced her lips as she watched and listened. Before long, however, Asami's eyes began to grow heavy with sleep. It became apparent to the shorter girl that the Prodigy was trying to hold off on sleep, favoring to speak with her instead of resting.

Much as Korra loved to hear more of Asami's memories come to light, when Asami's head began lolling and her words began to tumble incoherently, the chocolate-skinned, young woman knew she had to let the Chosen have her rest.

Gently, she nudged Asami's shoulders as she said, "Rest, Asami. It is alright. You can tell me more later."

What Asami said in reply, Korra did not really quite get. It was all garbled. But it could have been uttered as clear as day and the Avatar would still not have caught it. She was too distracted by the fact that, instead of leaning the other way, her human friend decided to snuggle closer to her, throwing an arm around her waist for good measure, while letting her head fall on Korra's shoulders. As this was the first time that it happened to her—and having no experience on the matter—the deity-turned-human found herself at a loss as to what to do.

Should I put an arm around her as well? Is that considered proper behavior? Korra wondered as she sat, like a statue, un-moving. Should I wake her up and get her to sleep in a more comfortable position? Or is she comfortable already?

There were so many things the Avatar wondered about throughout the whole ordeal. She wasn't even certain if she should take care with her manner of breathing, not certain if inhaling or exhaling too much would wake the sleeping, young woman up. Again she was reminded about how ill-equipped she was with handling these things.

Even when her arms began to feel numb from the weird angle it had been stuck in, wedged between her body and Asami's, Korra dared not move.

Still, as paradoxical as it was, she couldn't help but feel comfortable in the midst of her discomfort in a way that only Asami could ever manage to do with or without the Prodigy's knowledge or regardless if Asami meant to do so.

It was...nice.

Korra sighed. She didn't think she would find rest as quickly as her companions had.

I really need to get this all sorted out, she mused as she began to wonder why she felt that way about the human.

As the sandcruiser made a turn around the curved pathways away from the mountainous region, as Korra was keeping vigil, she caught a glimpse of the infamous swamp—it was lush, as swamps go, and greener than the rest of the area they have traversed thus far.

She tried to tune in to the surroundings, letting her Avatar powers carefully poke and prod at the swamp. It did not surprise her, however, when she met some resistance, as though the swamp itself was shooing her away, protecting itself.

The swamp is alive, she noted, forgetting the feel of Asami beside her and focusing on the feeling the swamp was giving her. The more she focused, summoning what power of the earth she had in her arsenal, the more she wanted to go and investigate.

As the view of the swamp was about to get hidden, however, Avatar Korra got a breakthrough—though not through her own effort.

No. The breakthrough came in a small, pop of light, like a headlight of an automobile quickly being opened and closed. It was a tiny light that deposited a familiar spirit.

"Hello, Korra," the tiny, plump Light Spirit she had met while meditating in the Abbey greeted her with a smile. "I heard you needed help. I came to give my assistance."


Post-Author's Notes:

And there you have it.

I just love writing Hiroshi at this point.
Also, another Korrasami moment to those who are thirsty for it.

Anyways, I have to jet now.
I'll see you all next week (probably), on the weekend, for the next chapter to this story.

Like always, please do leave a review on what you guys think of the story thus far. It's the food for us writers, haha. ;)
Dream on; Fly on!