It was like the sky was telling her this wasn't a good idea. That she shouldn't have agreed to do this in the first place. But what could she do? It wasn't like she could just ignore what Lin said but at the same time...
Korra sighed as she rested her chin on the sill of the window. It had been raining for the last two hours and the ocean had risen a few inches; a few more and it could be dangerous. Not that she overlay cared at the moment. What could she do about it? It wasn't like she could stop the water from ascending up the hill. No, if anything was to happen she would have to relay on the air benders to protect the island and her. Not something Korra was impressed about.
She had told the ferret brothers that she wouldn't leave without them only because Mako had looked like he was ready to punch something hard in the face. The two of them were to meet her down by the south docks later, ready to get this mission underway but Korra couldn't even bring herself to pack.
Pack. Korra had started to pack her clothes for maybe ten seconds before she had just thrown her clothes onto the floor and let out a groan of frustration. For the last two hours she had been sitting in front of her window, watching the rain as it bashed against the ground and rattled against the window and roof. It would have been nice to say that she had been thinking and thinking hard about things but that would be a lie. It was like she wasn't fully there. As though her mind was somewhere else that even Korra herself wasn't sure of.
A thunderclap exploded over the horizon of Republic city and the whole of the air temple shook. Below her Korra heard the yelp of the little ones and possibly even Pema but she didn't move or even flinch. In fact all it did was make her sigh. She hadn't ever had the chance to learn how to use lightening; just another thing to add to the list of things she could never do or try again.
Sighing for about the hundredth time Korra forced herself to her feet and ran a hand through her hair, soaking her fingers with the wet tassels. Roaming around her room she began to pick up the stuff she had thrown earlier and began to collect some of the utilises that she would need for the trip into the mountains. Pema had dug up a rain jacket of sorts for her that she could use insteas of her regular fur jacket that held rain like it was a sheep. It was a dark blue just like her own jacket and Korra was thankful for Pema for lending it to her but she was sure that even if it was to rain she would keep her own jacket on.
Picking up the very same sack that she had used to leave home Korra began to stuff garments and things into it. Throwing on her jacket and dragging the bag behind her Korra began to descend the stairs to say her goodbyes. She wasn't sure at what time she would return but she knew that it defiantly would be a while and so Ikki and especially Jinora would want to wish her good bye.
"KORRA!" Korra jumped at the sound and let out a sound of surprise as Ikki launched herself at her and clung to her like she was the only cure to a deadly disease.
"Ikki Korra needs to get going" Jinora said calmly, appearing frpm behind her sister. Korra could see that though the little air bender was trying to hide it that she was not happy about her leaving but was trying to act like an adult as she always did. Motioning with her free hand Korra gestured for Jinora to join the hug and squeezed the two little air benders tightly before smiling softly down at the both of them.
"I'll be back soon." She promised.
"Where's pretty women!" And then there was Meelo.
"Asami isn't coming." Korra said as her face fell. She would have liked for her to come with them on the trip as Asami seemed to at least not get annoyed or frustrated with her current mood. However, Asami was busy with some family matters and Korra wasn't about to be the person who came between a daughter and her family.
Looking down at Meelo as his face turned crest fallen Korra's mind jumped into action. Gently prying Ikki from her stomach Korra bent down and motioned for Meelo to approach. "Want to look after her for me?" She whispered into the little man's ear.
Meelo's reaction was loud as was to be expected, "LOOK AFTER PRETTY WOMAN! WOOOO WOOOSH!" He yelled running around the room as though he was a bird and jumping into the air. He stopped as he noticed Korra's almost giddy expression and coughed straightening himself as though he was much older than he actually was and saying, "I mean. Of course." That really got Korra laughing and Ikki, Jinora and Meelo joined in.
It had been so long since she had actually had a good laugh that Korra's cheeks hurt as they were stretched in ways they hadn't for months. Wiping the mixture of sad and giddy tears from her eyes Korra smiled a genuine smile for the first time in a long time and hugged the air bending kids tightly. "I'll miss you guys." They hugged her back and though she didn't want to break the hug Korra knew she had to get going.
Straightening up and gently breaking the hug with each air bender Korra noticed Tenzin watching the whole scene and studying her carefully. For a moment she wanted to run and embrace him and cry into his shirt about how she didn't want to go but no, she was stronger then that and so held herself back and simply nodded to him as she began to walk to the door. "Korra." She stopped and glanced over her shoulder, "Here." In Tenzin's hands was a simple umbrella.
Taking it Korra let her gaze meet his. "Thanks."
She nodded, "I will."
When Korra arrived back at the police station Mako and Bolin were already there waiting. The moment they saw her they both bonded over to her side. Mako looked like he wanted to say something but after exchanging a handful of looks with his brother he seemed to decide against it. Korra was thankful; she still wasn't sure how to talk to them just yet.
It wasn't that she hated them or never wanted to talk to them but a part of her fully believed they couldn't understand her because they still had their bending. How could they understand how it felt to one day be able to physically move mountains and the next to be weaker than a fly on the wall? The three of them walked in awkward silence towards where a small crowd of metal benders were stationed.
As they approached a man, dressed in the traditional uniform appeared from the middle of the crowd and stood at attention in front of them. "Avatar Korra. My name is Chong and I have been instructed to take you to the mountains by command of Commander Bei-Fong."
Korra was unnerved by the pure formalness that the man used when speaking, "Oh...er...thank you? And just call me Korra. I'm no longer the avatar." She out held a hand to shake his.
Chong didn't move. "Sorry I can't do that ma'am, command Bei-fong instructed for us to address you with such a title."
The rest of the metal benders stood at attention and one by one introduced themselves. Korra greeted each and everyone as well as she could. Mako and Bolin watched as Korra started to talk with Chong once more.
"I don't trust him." Mako whispered to his brother.
"Why?" Bolin responded curiously, "He hasn't done anything." He paused and his face fell, "Don't tell me it's just because he's talking to Korra." Mako's expression confirmed this. "Bro. Seriously. Chill, he's just telling her what she needs to know about the mission. He's twice her age!"
Mako's face hardened as he crossed his arms and scrunched his face together, "Tarrlock was just talking to her when he kidnapped her." He said darkly.
Bolin sighed, "Tarrlock was nuts. This guy, Chong, was put in charge by Lin. I trust him."
Mako just clicked his tongue as he continued to watch Korra talk to the leader of the mission.
"Lin told me that Amon was messing with the water supplies?" Korra was saying.
Chong held out a hand motioning for the two of them to walk, "Yes. What the commander says is true. We believe that Amon is messing with the water supply to try and gain control of the city."
"How will taking control of the water supply help him gain control of the city?"
"Water is a basic need of life." Chong explained as the two of them stopped in front of the barrier to the ocean. Chong continued to face outward while Korra leaned lazily against the barrier and faced him. "With water you can grow many crops and heat it up for use with steam machines. It is actually our most important resources. Without it we would not only starve but a lot of production would be put on hold."
Korra frowned, "why not get some water benders to come then?"
Chong replied simply, "We cannot put our citizens at risk. If Amon is there we must take him down but we cannot allow for a citizen to get potentially harmed."
"What about them then?" Korra asked, pointing a hand at where Mako and Bolin were watching them converse.
Chong didn't turn around but seemed to just know to whom Korra was referring to, "They are special circumstances. Councilman Tenzin and Commander Bei-fong have allowed for their participation in the mission."
Korra sighed and lolled her head back on the barrier, "I assume it would be pointless to tell you I don't want to go."
Korra groaned and pulled her gaze back to Chong's unchanging face, "What's the plan then?"
"The plan avatar Korra is to get you and your friends to the base of the mountain to do some investigation."
"What if someone recognises me? Won't that tip off Amon?"
Chong finally turned to look at her, "Not if you are disguised."
"My beautiful hair!" Bolin moaned as another clump of hair feel to the ground.
"Oh stop whining." The hairdresser snapped. "A bit of hair over losing your life. It's not a hard choice is it pretty boy?" She turned to look at Mako who had already had his head cut and was now trying to put a pair of green contact lens into his eyes. He glared at her but made no comment.
The ferret brothers were situated in a room aboard the flying bison, the ship that the metal benders had acquired for the use of this mission. The room wasn't overly large but big enough for at least a handful of men to fit inside; with a large table in the middle and chairs surrounding it. The lightening was dim and shook with the boat and a few minutes ago Bolin had almost thrown up into a paper bag.
Mako and Bolin were both sporting clothing vastly different then their usual get up. Chong had said they were too well know, even in their casual clothing and so had told them they needed to change. Both were wearing suits of sorts, with Mako's having a faint trail of crimson on the cuff of his and Bolin's having a green tint to his in certain lights. Of course, Mako had wanted to wear his iconic red scarf but Chong had refused to allow him. People would be looking for any sign of who they were and he was known for his red scarf. It was just another clue to who they actually were and he didn't want they to resemble any of their usual selves. So much in fact that he had ordered for their hair to be cut into a completely different fashion. They couldn't risk anything.
When Bolin had asked about the suits and claimed about how they just draw attention to themselves Chong had smiled, or at least as close to a smile as his face could contort and told them simply, "it's safer to hide in plain sight." Amon won't expect anyone like Korra and the brothers to be dressing for attention. He would be watching for those who were sneaking around, not those who were making their presence overly obvious.
From what the brother's understood the plan was this, they were going undercover as officials from republic city making rounds on the outer skirts of the city and making sure everything was fine and well. The three of them would be courted around by the metal benders under the pretense that they were guarding them from harm while in fact they were performing tasks of their own. Korra was to be the water tribe council member representative of republic city who happened to be a non bender and thus was no threat to someone like Amon. Well, that was the plan anyway.
"Where's Korra?" Bolin asked as the hairdresser started to clean up the hairs that had stuck to the back of his neck during the haircut. "I've not seen her since we got on board."
"She was getting remolded next door." Mako said, looking to the door that separated their room from Korra's.
At that very moment the door swung open and there stood Korra, or at least Mako assumed was Korra because the girl standing before him looked nothing like her.
Korra's hair had been pinned up in the most exotic way with loops of hair pocking out from her ears, her hair pushed up into a bun and mixed match hairs being pushed into her skull. On her head, a small light blue and cream coloured hat was pinned and sown into it was the water tribe symbol. Korra's body had been slipped into a long, traditional looking water tribe robe and luckily for her she hadn't needed to wear contacts. If she was from the water tribe then then it was more natural to let her keep her bright blue spheres instead.
Korra met Mako's surprised gaze as she entered and lowered her eyes, trying to turn back but getting pushed into the room by Chong and his assistant as they too entered the room.
"It looks like you are all ready." Chong said as he gave Korra one final shove and closed the door behind him. "Good. We need to talk about phase one before we take harbour."
The three of them took seats around the mini conference table. Korra sat by Bolin but refused to look at him. "First things first. Avatar," Chong addressed Korra, " you shall, as you know be playing the role of water tribe representative from republic city. Your two friends," He glanced at Mako and Bolin, "Shall be acting as your advisors. Therefore that requires that you are to look and speak with them on a regular basis."
Korra looked at Chong with a mixture of defeat and horror, "But!"
"What's wrong Korra are we not good enough for you?" Mako snapped.
Korra turned so quickly that Bolin flinched, her eyes were a pair of fiery orbs, "I'm so sorry Mr. I'm so perfect." She growled out through gritted teeth "but some of us aren't nearly as perfect as you are."
The two glared at each other as Bolin shrank in his seat. "If you have time to be arguing you have time to start acting civil." Chong said and his tone was laced with annoyance. Korra and Mako glared at each other for a few more seconds before they both huffed, turned and crossed their arms pouting like a pair of little children.
Bolin sighed and ran his hand down his face. This mission was going to be a blast.
"Now, if you are both done being children." Chong continued, ignoring the irritating teens in front of him. "Are there any questions about the starting of phase one?"
"OH! Me!" Bolin yelped, Chong gave him a cool look but motioned for him to continue, "So with disguises we get awesome spy names don't we?"
"Spy names?" Chong replied back coldly.
"Yeah! You know just like super agent bender 007!"
"Mr. Bolin as I would like to remind you, this is a serious operation. We are trying to stop a serious tyrant from possibly poisoning our water supply. We do not have time for spy names."
Bolin deflated and Korra's lips twitched a little but quickly soured as she saw Mako watching her.
"Now, if we can get back to the matter at hand." Chong said and his cool exterior was slipping. "You job is to infiltrate the factory where the water gets filtered under the disguises that you are in right now. If you find anything suspicious you are to get out right away and report back to me. Is that understood?"
They all nodded.
"I don't want anyone to act the hero. We are here for a simple mission. That is all." He eyed each of them closely before turning to leave the room. "We will arrive at the location in approximately four hours. I would suggest that you get some sleep while you can. It's going to be a long night." And with that he left the room.
The moment the door slammed behind him and his fellow officers Korra jumped to her feet and made a dart for her own door. Unfortunately Mako was faster. He grabbed her by the wrist and held her there. "Korra, stop running away."
"Let me go." Korra whispered sharply, not turning to look at them.
"Korra-" Mako began but before he was able to finish she ripped her wrist out of his grip and without even looking back walked through her own door and slammed it behind her.
Bolin laid a hand on his brother's shoulder and squeezed it lightly, "Come on bro, we need to get some sleep too."