I apologize for this extended absence. Yay for the new year and another semester of college on the way.

Please enjoy!

The next day Korra woke alarmingly early, and under the most unfavorable circumstances. It was the sounds of voices, some hushed, others louder, that startled her to wake from what she felt to be the most— and only—peaceful experiences she had since her kidnapping. Korra struggled to stay dormant; she did not want to wake up. There whispered the tapping of feet—a cacophony in the midst of any term of silence. There were more than one, a few perhaps. Refusal to move in the slightest bit was Korra's ultimate desire, a goal of constitution, for she did not want them to notice her, because one of them was bound to be Amon.

Korra hesitated for a short adjustment, bracing herself for the multifarious consequences to follow, but instead wisely chose not to move and give herself away.

She was not ready to face Amon right now, not this early in the morning. She wasn't prepared for him when he took it upon his own liberty to retrieve her after dinner last night, or during their silent travel to his quarters, not even between the hours it took for Korra to find the proper level of snugness underneath the thick fabrics of the bed before she could actually sleep with her captor close by. Something inside her chest prevented her the release of the anxiety that now shackled her fears from a blissful ignorance, something icky that left her nose flaring, something that burst alight after last night's dinner.

Yesterday, Amon had shown something to Korra she never thought to be possible despite their separate allegiances: pride. And when her mind finally understood the message behind those slits—eyes making contact for the briefest moment that it could hardly be considered intimate—Korra swiftly tore her eyes to the ground before her body could betray her.

What she did yesterday was horrible. It was fun, an act the avatar would never regret—but it was a bad choice to make in response to the harassment she had endured. The equalist cronies got what they deserved, and it was because of that prospect—adding Korra's ill disposition towards the equalists to begin with—that has led many to assume the avatar was in fact the culprit. But Amon said it was not her. And no one questioned him, not as far as Korra could tell, their undying devotion likely the key motivation for such treatment.

In any case, it was crudely obvious Korra did it. The evidence was clear, alibis too construed to be taken seriously, and still the Great Savior of The Equalist Organization firmly stated the avatar had done no such deed and let her walk. Robotically, Korra went along with his claims.

So why did Korra not feel proud in herself? At last the reincarnation of the Great Avatar Aang has finally outsmarted the enigmatic ruler of the equalists! There should be a smile playing at her lips, a song of pledge to commemorate, a dance in gay merriment to partake. But Korra did no such thing, for that icky feeling that spurred and bit into her stomach kept her from ease.

The soft sound of the door closing broke Korra's inner ramblings, and just when she thought she was alone, soft haunting implications of a lurking quintessence rattled a keen awareness.

Korra furrowed her fierce brows, managing her façade with each subdued breaths, until feeling the overwhelming anxiety when the footsteps stopped at her bedside. Hearing an arm reaching out, Korra shuffled a little ways apart, act of placid sleep compromised by the possible outcome of unwanted physical contact, grunted, "I'm not getting up," and pulled the covers closer to her body, her defense officially situated.

When she waited for that husky rasp to scold her, a softer voice of velvet charisma spoke instead. "If you please, miss avatar. I do not wish for this to be all the more problematic than necessary."

Taking in a moment to comprehend the large difference in speeches, Korra hesitantly peaked from her cocoon to look up to the calm face of a woman instead of porcelain. It was Mirri. As it were, it was only the two of them that were currently in Amon's quarters. Korra frowned, concerned. "Where's your precious leader?"

The woman raised a brow to that question. "Our leader has left you under my care for the rest of the day to see to other important matters," she answered, unhesitant. "Apologies, I was unaware you wished to speak to him before he departed. Would you like me to prepare a message instead?"

"No," Korra shook her head, then plopped back into the pillows and further hid her existence from the world. "Like I would want to talk to him," she hissed, growing angrier at the thought that anyone would think she liked being around the man.

The woman began to pull down the sheets, risking small attempts to animate the teenage avatar. "Amon gave me orders to transfer you to the kitchen on schedule. If you please, miss avatar? I do have other things I need to do."

As much as Korra's body gave her good warning not to, her arms lifted her shoulders off the bed, followed by the rest of her body to rise—and dropped to the floor.

It was a sudden rush that took the breath out of her lungs, and it took a few seconds for Korra to realize what happened. Gravity fell on top of her shoulders ruthlessly, throwing all its force against her body while her limbs were pulled to the ground, and in a split second her eyes met with the wooden floor. Realizing what happened—and her witness—Korra shot back up in the air as fast as she fell down.

"Are you alright?"

"Y-yeah." Pulling off a trademark smirk, Korra found the momentum to find her center.

"Are you sure?"

Ripping past the confused woman, Korra started down the stairs. "Yeah, I'm fine! Let's go!" she roared ruthlessly.

The dazed equalist, realizing a second afterward her charge was getting a head start without her, caught to her instantly to properly lead her to the kitchen. At the pace the avatar was going at, however, Mirri began to think her guidance was unnecessary, and with what little experience she has had in the company of this young woman, did not feel the need to get in her way, settling to keeping a watchful eye the entire time.

Korra noticed. Of course she would, it was hard not to feel like she was constantly being stared at, especially here. She growled savagely.

"I swear, I'm fine."

"I know."

"Then don't tell anyone."

"I will not."


Ditching the woman briskly, Korra stormed out the room and straight to the Mess Hall to begin her labor, fuming. Issah steered clear when he heard her stomps echo through the kitchen, erupting the hanging pans and utensils to rattle against the walls, glancing over once to make sure there weren't any sharp objects the young woman could come in contact with. He wouldn't want to be in her line of fire if the erratic teenager was set to ensure chaos in his kitchen. Korra on the other hand was thinking of other things. She was furious with herself, how dare she allow someone to see how she was reacting to her hunger-strike. It won't be long now until everyone can take notice of her condition and threaten her, or worse, tell Amon. Fear for escape screamed at her shaken mind, Korra shook violently at the thoughts pouring into her imagination of what that man would do to her if he got wind of what she was still doing to herself. She had to escape, there had to be way out of here.

She has to keep trying.

"He keeps staring at me."

Way across the mess hall, safely seated far from where a future conflict had yet to occur between the two of them—was Jockyl, glaring his beady eyes at Korra. Thankfully for the sake of all occupants present in the mess hall, Korra was safely detained with Tarko and his group of friendlies to keep from triggering a bout of insults. And while the idea did sound pleasing, just to get rid of that annoying look off that man's face—and seeing as Amon or his lieutenant were still nowhere to be seen—it would ruin her good day, and Korra was not going to allow that.

"Just don't look at him," reassured Tarko after swallowing his meal viciously. "He'll leave you be." His tone didn't sound convincing.

"You said that ten minutes ago, and he still keeps staring," Korra mumbled, awkwardly taking a utensil and poking at her stew, doing her best to keep her mind occupied.

Mirri didn't contribute to the conversation, Fo was still playing with his food, and so, the only other person of their group who felt it necessary to add in his two cents in their isolated group was Rumis.

"Maybe you should firebend him then."

Korra gave him a dirty look, and Mirri quirked a brow in discontent. Fo laughed. "Good one!" He flicked his mashed potatoes into Mirri's forgotten plate. It didn't bother her. "Maybe she should…"

Mirri shook her head with more disapproval, at last granting the youngest man her attention—and discipline. "Fo…"

Fo raised his hands, "We are all thinking it." Fo eyed his turkey tower, an established architecture. "That guy could use a good beating."


"Just saying!" Ignoring the pestering woman, Fo made to move towards Korra and whispered excitedly, "Don't worry. I'd back you up."

The reply Fo got in return, and counter to everyone else's natural expectations of the avatar, left them rather unnerved.

"What does it matter anyways. . ."

Tarko's breath turned stale, while the others took that weakened statement awkwardly in progression. They all But he had to say something right now to cut that tucked away undertone in those inauspicious words.

So he tried to throw it over the shoulder. "Or people aren't worth the time, you know?" He passed a smile, and prayed the spirits for the best. It didn't prove effective before Fo stepped in.

Fo laughed. "That's funny!" He hollered. "But really, Jockyl gets a pass from that warm morale!"

"Don't start anything Fo!"

"No one has faith in me! Not even my own flesh and blood!"

"You never listen to me anyways."

"Yes I do! I do, I swear!"

Whatever new bickering the two siblings were at it with each other was long lost to Korra. She never had the heart to socialize with her small group from the beginning, the smell of the food before her was making her nauseated and combusting a headache. She needed to get away from here. Get some fresh air.

She took a deep inhale, crunching her eyes together, and tried to fathom why it was so much harder this time trying to get through the last two hours of her slave work.

When she was through with the rest of the day, Korra was sent back to Amon's quarters as per usual. She didn't complain. She was tired from today and the sores and knots in her limbs were evidence enough.

At first the king sized bed seemed alluring, but after reviewing the repetitive minutes under those lustrous plush covers, Korra decided to make herself more at home. Seeing that nothing was particularly new, nor has anything been replaced or moved, Korra plopped herself on top the smooth wood cabinet in front of the large opened window, completely and utterly bored out of her mind.

Korra should have closed the window if she wanted to keep what little warmth was left indoors, but had she been any other person aside from a descendent of the water tribe, she would have. The cold was welcoming, it was familiar, and it was keeping her awake. If she slept then Amon would have the surprise on her, and Korra wanted to be awake when Amon entered his room, did his work, and slept before her. Any lascivious implications will swiftly be denied and corrected. He will not get the best of her or overcome her. Korra will see to that.

"Pervert," Korra huffed into her palm as she lazily observed the rising darkness now hovering over the city.

The sky was bare and uninteresting to say the least, the night rising in somber pace, eating and swallowing the light from wherever the sun once accumulated, the only eye-grabbing feature of this serious scene being the lights and music coming from the metropolis below her view. Korra doubted she could cry for help from here, or try to scale her way down without endangering her life. But that wasn't the reason why there was a frown on her once placid face—and as she looked up to the mute sky, it fell more so.

She used to always see the stars back at home, in her mothers lap.

No! Korra straightened herself up abruptly and patted at her cheeks to counterattack her emotions, then she flushed bright remembering at Dinner Hour at least three people had had the courage to ask if she felt alright. Tarko even offered to take her to see one of the doctors in his division, but Korra feigned a handsome strength. If Amon received word the avatar had a doctor check on her because of lack of nutrition, he'll make it his life's ambition to get her to eat by any means necessary. And from how long Korra permitted herself to familiarize with that atrocious man, Amon would use 'by any means necessary' to the full extent of its meaning. After forcing Tarko to swear secrecy—a task too easy to accomplish—she went through the rest of her shift through a facade of a cocky smirk and an elegant perseverance that from then after silenced further interference.

Korra was proud of herself when she made it back in one piece, until a sudden misstep and sudden collapse on the floor quickly pinched her confidence away, like a candle light brushed away by a wind.

Looking down at herself once more with a shaken drop of the neck, Korra stared down at her presently shrunken stomach. The core muscles that defined it from beneath the fabric hid very little of Korra's state of depletion. It won't take too long for Amon to take notice, and when he does Korra knew she wouldn't have the strength to fend him off this time, and that only made the frown on her face deepen and droop until it started to hurt.

Before Korra could brood alone on her own misfortunes, it failed her to notice she was no longer the only occupant in the room. The very entity in question that was able to elude her senses somehow managed to reach out and, and give to a sudden unearthly shout "Korra!" right at her ear. Instead of reacting in a defensive summon that had once habitated her natural instincts, Korra threw herself back from the cabinet rather out of character—and fell right on her back with a painful thud.

Korra scowled and moaned, feeling the pain more than she should, and looked up with a fierce glare as to who would dare do such a thing to her. The first suspect her mind immediately snapped to was Amon. It did make sense since he would enact such odd things to her. That and this is his room. And so far, aside from Amon, the Lieutenant, and herself, it was clear that was the maximum residential accommodation Amon permitted in his personal quarters. Through with this constant persistence of harassment upon her, Korra growled ferociously upward towards her assailant, intentions made clear with outstretched fists.

Above her stood a very surprised, but still smiling—against a pair of fists raised at his face—Tarko.

"I am so sorry, Korra," Tarko apologized forthwith, as honest and true as ever towards her, noticing the fright he gave the teenager. "I didn't think you would react that way. I thought you heard me come in." An inviting outstretched hand was quickly offered to the avatar.

Korra ignored the gesture nastily, still seething with anger to his action, and made for an attempt to get up all by herself so that she may smack at the now forlorn equalist that nearly gave her a heart attack. She tried to push up with all her strength, but as much as she tried and no matter how loud she grunted, her body would not rise. Korra started to panic, and realizing what her body was trying to indicate, slumped her shoulders and flustered in sheer embarrassment at her own weakness. The once saddened Tarko comically brit a smile in a blink as he watched the avatar raise her hand and ask for assistance. He did not hesitate to help her join him to his level.

"Thank you," she mumbled, still embarrassed.

"Not. A. Problem." Tarko's voice danced as did his fingers when they somehow entangled themselves between Korra's. She was really starting to lose her mind. Anyone can jump her right about now and she would be none the wiser in the midst of the ambush. "It's good to see you're still the same ambitious avatar I know."

Korra frowned at that, untangling their fingers from the uncomfortable intimacy rather harshly. Equalists hands are not to be trusted. "We've known each other for two days. And I've been here for five days already." No, seriously. It's only been five days.

"Two day's is enough for me," Tarko passed off a whimsical smile, winking with a twinkle that made Korra very . . . well, she couldn't describe it.

"Maybe for you," Korra huffed irritably, too tired to deal with this kind of energy right now. "To everyone else, it's a little abnormal to be that familiar."

Tarko shrugged casually, "Can't blame a Badgermole for being overly social." He made a rather believable imitation of said mammal as he swayed his hands as if he were earthbending and sniffing around. Between the tiny smile he received for his show, and becoming the fortunate spark of the mood's uplifting change, Korra had to think about the arrangements at hand, and then asked immediately, more at ease and less inclined to disregard manners, the purpose of Tarko's sudden appearance.

"What are you doing here, anyways?" Korra asked, tamed this time. "You realize this is your all mighty savior's quarters, right?" The title came out a little less harsh than it should have been. Whether the cause be undernourishment, or lack of energy as of late, Korra could not bear to hold the slightest motivation to care.

"Ah. Yes." His face popped in surprise, an act of stimulation Korra by now grew weary of, out of concern. "As I was one of the few to be given the rest of the day off," he danced around the bed and stopped at the edge of one of the couches not too far away. All at once, he stopped erect and his arm flashed over his forehead into an exceeding salute. "I was given a top prioritized mission. Requiring the presence and full compliance of our most important guest, Avatar Korra, she is to receive an urgent delivery under swift travel."

Somehow a smile was born from the face of the young avatar. Before she knew it, in cheer delight, her own legs found their lost strength and managed to pull her body to wherever Tarko was now pointing to with a renowned youth. Maybe it was mail from her loved ones, Korra's mind desperately hoped for. Perhaps they made messages in hopes of reaching her, and Amon—by some sliver of miracle gifted by the spirits—was tempered enough to give them to her. At that, Korra was all the more urgent to get to wherever Tarko had laid his delivery on the coffee table, but stopped right there and then with a shocked discouragement to see, right there, hot and steamy, a bowl of chicken broth soup filled with rice and assorted vegetables sat there instead.

It didn't matter who it was, it could have been the most sweetest child in all of Republic City that brought her this attempt on her defiance, Korra was not going to eat what these people were giving her. And even though Tarko meant well, he was still no exception.

She crossed her arms, an aggressive expression that had always made herself more broader and bellicose, if, at all that was her true intention on display. "I'm not going to eat this," she hissed roughly.

"Why?" Instead of taking the hint, Tarko looked at the food as if there was a Purple Pentapus in the soup. "You don't like vegetables." He frowned innocently. "They're good for you."

Korra wanted to punch him. Fool! Of course she knew they were good for her. And she liked vegetables. She liked food. No, she didn't like it. She was in love with food, but he was missing the point. "Its not that." The words Korra tried to use in her defense refused to pass, probably because this was Tarko she was dealing with now.

"At least try it," her visitor insisted softly. "I'm sure it tastes good, even with the greens."

Korra gave him a look. "You try it first," she narrowed.

"I already ate!"

". . . doesn't look like it."

Tarko stabbed a finger at her face accusingly. "You're one to talk."

"How rude." Korra rubbed at her eye, attempting to feign tears, a spark of energy managing to rebirth her body. "And I thought you were a gentleman."

"Ha! Hardly," Tarko spat, waving away her accusation to the high respects that came with her said title. Blue eyes dimmed into a hardened isolation, and he turned around in somber resign. He bent over and started at something out of the young avatar's view. Korra started suspecting foul play, and tried to look over to whatever it was Tarko was trying at before her suspicions were at last answered when he showed her something large and blocky in his hands. "I'm much better than some mere gentleman, for I have brought something to brighten your day. Tada!" It took less then a few seconds for Korra to understand the contraption. It was a portable radio. He waved it around a few times, summoning a cautious glance from Korra at one point when he almost dropped it. "It works without the wire, too. It's got its own built in battery pack to last it for hours." Korra began to hover over the contraption, gazing over the small music box in fascination and lost excitement.

It had been too long since she has seen one of these, or heard from one. Before she was captured, Tenzin was adamant about her airbending training to forgo a natural progression without 'hindering' distractions, and those distractions included the radio, remembered the time she got into a heated debate between her training and her free will to listen to the radio.

Before making a mental note to apologize to Tenzin for all the grief she caused him in the past—as she was sure he was huffing up whips of tornadoes searching for her even now—Korra proceeded to collect the radio into her arms and began to toy with the nobs, poking and twisting until provoking an irritable static shriek, then a musical noise that filled the room with jubilation. Before Korra could, Tarko started to dance to the music, acting as if he himself was playing one of the instruments from the song, informing her that he loved this song and continued on his gay-induced merriment. Korra sat down and clapped at her guest happily after placing the box on top of the coffee table in front of her, the bowl of food completely ignored by this point.

Thank goodness. Korra smiled, she needed this badly, Tarko was right. Reviewing the contents of their conversation so far, there was a part that started echoing in her mind. Five days of isolation from the outside world, a thought so horrid it rot her nerves, was a realization that shriveled her spirit. But now, even if it was small and short-lived, the music that spoke from the box, with its power, revived her in some way. She felt it.

Tarko was too preoccupied with his own devices to take notice to his assignment's restoration to the physical world until he heard her speak to him with naked gratitude, "Thank you, Tarko." Of course that smile never left the young teenaged equalist, Korra observed thoughtfully. The shmuck was too preoccupied for his minuscule victory to realize how dopey he made himself out to be. But the Water Tribe teenager hadn't the slightest care; she liked him just that way. Its what made him unique to her.

When the music changed to a more possessed tone, Tarko sat on the seat opposite to Korra, happily making himself feel at home by stretching and squishing into the soft couch. He sighed softly and pretended to fall asleep.

Korra shook her head. "You're weird," she laughed.

"So I've been told. But then again so is everyone else."

Korra mused that over with the soft tunes, having relaxed more comfortably this time, not having to worry anymore about Tarko breaking anything inside his superior's quarters.

Speaking of whom.

"So where is your mighty savior?"

"Why? You got beef?"

"Not today," said Korra casually. "I thought he would be here first before me."

Tarko answered, "Amon and a handful of divisions left for a mission. Won't be back til after midnight," he said under such casual breath. The food finally gained recognition in its short existence from its deliverer, who then picked it up and surveyed its contents.

Korra furrowed, and shortly came over with apprehension. "Where'd they go?"

"Something about an ambush against Firebolt Zolt's nephew." Coming over his own dark impulses, Tarko started at the food. Korra did not stop him. "Word on the street is the guy's been hustling for more territory. And wouldn't you know, it? Us non-bender get stuck in the middle. Had six blocks worth of the farther parts of Republic city overrun by gangsters of all kinds. And don't get me started with the casualties. Those metalbenders are doing their part, but it comes down to who's in charge and how much Will they're allowed to express. So, Amon decides to take things into his own hands."

"Wow," Korra huffed. "What a swell guy for doing such a generous thing," she scowled. "But I guess holding the avatar hostage doesn't come close to being considered a lunatic."

Tarko grinned sympathetically. "Yep. Now you're getting the hang of it, bearcat."

"Don't you start calling me that, too."

Tarko emphasized his excuse for an apology by raising his arms in the air as if Korra was about to shoot a fireball at him right now. Korra would have none of it, she had it up to hear with this new name-calling and she was not about to have it continue after her break as well. A second look, slipped by solemn integrity, exposed Tarko's first act will indeed, to Korra's greatest chagrin, not be his last. At that, against her heart, and to the man's greatest delight if he were given light of her feelings at that time, not an ounce of disdain will be spilled in him doing so.

Lured under the darkness, and compelled by the soft melody procured by the box between them, Korra became easily encouraged by some dark force to look over the equalist across her. His hair was, as ever as it will for the rest of his lifetime, as wild and spirited as he himself, sprouting everywhere. Those blue drop eyes, hardened and less focused than earlier, glimmered with an unknown pregnant ambition beheld towards some other affair, his smile having now relaxed into a slack breath, his chest heaving in exhaustion as he had most likely burnt out the rest of his energy for the rest of this cold yet lively night.

Tarko was right. Two days was enough.

Korra was about give Tarko her respects, but Tarko pulled out a hidden pocket watch and grumbled, "Time for me to go," and started to leave.

"What?" Korra frowned, for once disappointed that she would be left alone this time. "Why?"

"One: I'm tired. And two: I'm dead tired." Before he reached for the door, Tarko waved as he smiled, "You can return that back to me tomorrow," then quietly closed the door before Korra could properly reject his gift.

Left alone with her new entertainment, Korra snatched the box from where it was and proceeded to toy with it at her leisure. She twisted the nodes to any particular music she liked until finally deciding. Korra enjoyed the music.

She didn't know why, but music had always uplifted her, even when at times it didn't seem possible. Korra hummed in appreciation to the golden opportunity in having this box, however short term Korra was allowed to keep possession of the little music box. She started dancing her fingers on top the wooden covering as if the music, kissed by the magic, animated her digits to do so.

She was so entranced, Korra failed to listen the music drain from the contraption, and something else more miraculous, an event that brought tears of joy to Korra's eyes, became more audible when Korra twisted the nob to complete volume.

"We're coming to you live from the Pro-bending arena, folks! And boy do we have a match in heat tonight!" the announcer boomed, it rattled the radio. So did Korra. "Yessiry, folks! For tonight's friendly, we have here, fresh from the racks, ready to tussle, and buzzing for a hustle, the Scorpion Bees!"

Cheering and whistling of what could easily be made out be the audience in the arena could be heard in the background, loud but not as audible as the announcer. Korra smiled softly, closing her eyes as she imagined herself there with the rest of the world, enjoying the game and having the time of her life. But her eyes popped just as her body jolted from the ground when she heard:

"And their opponents, burning with moxy, and fiercer than a Komodo Rhino, the Fire Ferrets!"

This time the crowd beat the announcer in volume. Korra sat there speechless, then burst like a fireball in jubilee. She couldn't believe it, Mako and Bolin were playing and she had this golden opportunity to listen to them. What luck!

The announcer, gaining the advantage from the calming outbursts, continued: "Tonight's match is sponsored by Fireflies Toys. Toys for tots and all!—And now, let the match begin!"

Korra strained under a weight of anticipation at the sounds of three signals before the game erupted by the sound of a bell. Leaning in closer to the box, Korra could barely make out the sounds of bending water and cracking of the air. Man did it make her anxious; Korra's limbs were practically shaking.

"Barely into our first match, and things are already on fire—literally! Woah! What have we here, ladies and gentlemen? Looks like the Fire Ferrets are up to something. Our Mako makes for a jump over his brother, and knocks out Miss Mora of the Scorpion Bees straight below to cool off! Can you believe it, folks! We're seeing a whole new fire burning in these Pro-bender, tonight! By golly. I take my hat off to them, yes sir!"

Korra made a fist in the air. She wished them the best, and right now, she really wanted them to win.

"The Scorpion Bees aren't taking lightly for their loss, and they are making sure the Fire Ferrets know it, too!" cried the announcer. It got Korra's heart bumping, cursing the announcer for stopping. Keep talking, for spirits sake! Korra didn't even realize she was grabbing at her hair tails. "Left, right, I can't keep up with them, folks! It is clear each team is aiming for the win! And here I thought we were having a friendly game for tonight, but the Fire Ferrets are really working despite a previous incident. Yes, folks! The Fire Ferrets are at their top performance, and the crowds are getting riled up! I'm getting riled up!-and times up! Moving on to the second match!"

Korra sat back down impatiently, the bell taking its time to start. Korra listened in earnest, licking her dry lips as she imagined what it must be like right now. She could feel it, like she was really there with Bolin and Mako, side by side not in body but in spiritual union, sharing their strength and shouldering the responsibility for one another. The roars and howling cheers from afar now surrounded her, Korra could feel the eyes on her like she was on stage with the rest of the benders fighting to prove their skills. Korra prayed to the spirits, with all her strength and with whomever spiritual entity that granted her with their watchful guardianship, that she will once again Pro-bend with her friends again.

And then Korra caught, "And there you have it folks! The Fire Ferrets win yet another victory this week with a knock-out!" The announcer kept talking "Can't say I'm surprised, ladies and gentlemen. Those Fire Ferrets were a force to reckon with, and they proved they got what it takes to win the upcoming tournament next week,"

Korra yelled out and danced, quiet enough so as not to call the equalist guards not too far below her room, joining in with the rest of the audience who were able to see the match Korra knew Bolin and Mako gave their best in.

"Fire Ferrets? Can Republic City get a few words in from one of their top Pro-benders?"

Korra stopped what she was doing. Aside from the radio, and the pounding of her excited heart, everything else was muted to her ears.

"Sure, why not?"

Korra grabbed and slammed the radio next to her ear. Who was that? Bolin, or Mako? Korra didn't care, she wanted to hear them.

"After such an impressive victory against the Scorpion Bee's, will the fans see this same determination in next week's tournament?"

"Yes, sir." That was Mako!

"As always of the Fire Ferrets!" And that was Bolin singing.

"And it has come to our understanding that, due to recent tragedies, you two had to find a replacement for your teammate, Avatar Korra. Yes?"

The radio buzzed, a pause. What came out a second later was a broken, "Yes, sir. . ." Korra couldn't make out who spoke.

"And it is to our knowledge that the search still goes on for the lost Avatar and that you-and Republic City-wish for our Avatar's safe return?"

". . . yes."

"Duh! Korra is the greatest bender we've ever seen! She'll come back! She's the avatar, and she doesn't go down easily for anyone-not even to the Metalbender Police. And-"

"Yes, yes. Of course. Do you wish to say something for the Avatar's respects?"



"Let's hear, boys. Nice and loud in the microphone!"

"If Avatar Korra is listening right now. . . ".It was Mako, that husky tone never failed to leave Korra speechless, ". . . then the most we can say is that we really miss her-especially her parents. And if she really is in danger, then we want her to know we haven't given up looking for her. No one has."

"That's very nice-which reminds me-Avatar Korra is still missing in action. Sources say she may be kidnapped, and if so, are unsure as who has her at this time. If anyone has any clues in regards to the Avatar's whereabouts, then please contact your local authorities. Good night folks, and see you all next time at Republic City's Pro-bending Arena!"

Korra snapped the radio off after that. Unable to do anything, a repercussion no longer alien to her, Korra could do nothing but sob into her hands with nothing but the darkness to comfort her.

Everyone was looking for her, but Korra already knew that. She knew how important she was to her world. Why else was she trying so hard to get out of here and to everyone who didn't see her as some sort of gain to such a—to any—nonsensical plot. She had enough, what she thought was a sign to be strong did more damage than good to the faculty of her mentality. Korra had gone through enough already; having been tormented and abused to the point her constitution will surely deprive her sanity to hell. Korra was starving herself, for spirits sakes!

But no more, the day has past, having taking a large toll on the avatar's spirit than in body. She proceeded to the bed after tucking the box under the mattress, threw off her boots somewhere else in the room and curled under the blankets to yet again brood until her mind couldn't process her surroundings anymore.

She would later come to in the middle of the night to slurred vocabulary.

Korra gripped at the blankets for comfort, a bare chill rattled her to stir. Then she felt the covers rise back up to protect, and tucked deeper into the bed. Relieved and tired, the young avatar was about to drift back to sleep, only to be interrupted by the continuation of the sounds from before.

". . . tactics . . . modified . . ."

Korra mumbled something, already irritable for being easily disturbed. The voices stopped, muted safe for the soft breeze from the open window. Korra thought about getting out of bed at first, but a niggling feeling kept her under the sheets. The words evaded her effortlessly, and Korra was beginning to think this was just another elaborate dream.

"Those we managed to apprehend have been secured underground as you instructed . . . "

"Excellent . . . "

". . . aside from a minor burn, all units are held accounted for and on standby."

"Such results deserve proper gratitude. I must devise something most entertaining for the others."

"Am . . . you shouldn't. My suggestion is we take . . . " The lethargy that poisoned her body made Korra listless, burrowing deeper into the covers for comfort, this dream proving to be too surreal. It was a dream, right?

"I see no reason not to. It will do . . . some good. As predictable as . . . is given the opportunity, it would be unfortunate not to permit her . . . semblance of freedom."

"Must you be so lenient towards her . . . "

"She has shown progress. Fear not . . . Our young guest . . . well under heavy supervision."

"Forgive me, but I still cannot shake the feeling . . . played a part at the previous sabotage," the second voice urged. Korra did not like that voice, oddly.

"I will not lie when I say that I also bear your fair share of doubt, my friend. But multiple witnesses insist her innocence far too desperately."

"Honestly . . . Tarko's words behold no true honesty. He is merely smitten."

"His affections towards her are far more complex than you have yet to realize, my friend," the second voice defended passively, yet strict. "But I do take his sense of honesty to this incident under deep deliberation. Whatever his reasons, I am sure it is of no harm towards anyone."

"Explain that to the victims," the first grumbled.

"But . . ." second the second. "You always told me you would shoulder the heavier responsibilities in my time of dire need."

"Humorous . . . "

Another altercation between pleasant words, and before long, everything was quiet, as was Korra's dream.

A regular lengthy chapter. More to come if you guys want!

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