Hey guys! It's been a while. Anyway, I'm really sorry for letting you all hang like this. I'd like to thank OrangeKitty81516 for PM-ing me as well, making me realize how many people I've kind of let down for not continuing this sooner. I promise to redeem myself with the plot going on. I had writers block for a while, and I had to reread this story to get myself back on track! Thank you for all your support and I hope you all still follow along with the story!
Tenzin watched in approval as Korra took a deep breath, before raising her palm in the air. A gust of wind rushed through it in neat, direct patterns, causing the small target that Tenzin set up earlier to blow away. He clapped his hands together.
"That was good, Korra", he praised. "Keep up the good work."
"Trust me, Tenzin", Korra mumbled. "That's easier said than done."
Tenzin stiffened as Korra sat down, hugging her knees as she began to sulk. "Korra…. I know things are hard for you."
Korra's face was strained as she looked away from Tenzin, resting her cheek against her knees. "No, you don't! Tenzin…. Ever since the Gala…. Ever since I've learned how to bloodbend… Every time I look into the mirror, I see Amon's face!"
"Don't you ever compare yourself to Amon", Tenzin scolded. "I trust your intuition. You won't harm anyone with your power, I promise you."
"That's only a promise I can keep", Korra informed him sadly. "And I don't think I can keep this promise. Not yet."
Tenzin sighed, sitting down next to her. "So what are you planning to do now, Korra?"
Before Korra could answer, Bolin and Mako walked over to him, Bolin being a tad bit more excited than usual.
"We're going to take a grand vacation to the Southern Water Tribe!" Bolin announced. Smiling goofily from ear to ear, the young earthbender nudged Korra's side playfully. "Do you think I can adopt my own polar bear dog when we go?"
When he said that, Pabu made a hissing noise, causing Bolin to jump up slightly. Then he laughed, petting Pabu over his right shoulder. "Don't worry, little buddy. I won't replace you that easily."
"And I don't think you're responsible enough to take care of a pet that huge", Mako informed him. "You already have enough trouble keeping Pabu in check."
Bolin frowned, giving his older brother a look of frustration. "I do not! Pabu is the easiest pet to—Pabu!" Bolin cried out, realizing the fire ferret was missing. "Oh no, Pabu!"
"Told you so", Mako began, crossing his arms and shaking his head. Suddenly, Pabu began to climb up Mako's leg, chewing on his belt playfully. "Hey… get off of me!"
Bolin smirked. "Told you so", he mocked.
Tenzin and Korra laughed, as Mako tried angrily to shake the fire ferret off of him. When he finally succeeded, he turned to Korra. "Hey, Korra… when are we going to leave?"
Before Korra could respond, Tenzin interrupted, taking a step forward. "I told Korra that you should leave soon, if you do believe my mother could help you. I honestly don't see how, but if that's what you kids want to do, I won't stop you. Although, I will still have to inform the Council of your absence. You kids still have a responsibility here in Republic City."
"We understand that", Korra stated firmly. "We won't be too long. We're planning to leave sometime this week."
Bolin and Mako each gave each other a determined nod. Before anyone else could speak, the group heard rapid footsteps coming their way.
"HEYYYY LITTLE BROTHERRRRR!" Bumi's voice sounded out as he rushed over to Tenzin, playfully placing his arms around his brother in a head lock. "AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
"Bumi!" Tenzin yelled. "Let me go this instant!"
"Oh come on", Bumi said. "Have a little fun. I mean going through all this stress…" He rubbed his hands on Tenzin's head. "No wonder you're bald!"
"Cut it out", Tenzin protested, having an irritable undertone to his calm voice.
Behind Bumi, General Iroh emerged. "Sorry for the….interruption", he began, giving Bumi an aggravated look. "It takes a little while to get used to the Commander."
Korra chuckled. "I suppose." She cleared her throat. "So what brings you here?" She paused for a moment, an amused smirk spreading across her face, hearing about the general being smitten by the heiress. "Oh wait. I shouldn't even be asking."
General Iroh ignored her assumptions and gave her a polite smile, raising his hand to his chest as he bowed slightly to pay his respects to the avatar. "Is Ms. Sato here?"
Mako tilted his head, raising his eyebrow with slight confusion. "No…" he said. "She left early and went ahead of you to visit Mr. Sato in prison."
Iroh's smile remained plastered on his face, although the general had frozen in place, shocked by Asami's unexpected actions. Bumi began to howl with laughter, giving the general a playful pat on the back, although the force was enough to knock the breath out of Iroh. "Commander Bumi…" Iroh grumbled.
"Ahhh… Don't be upset, Romeo", Bumi teased. "Ms. Sato probably just got tired of you constantly babysitting her…"
Stop making it sound like you're comforting me, Iroh thought irritably. He cleared his throat, trying to remain as composed as possible, although what Bumi said remained in the back of his head. "Thank you for informing me", he said politely. "Commander Bumi and I will follow after her right away."
They turned around and walked at a steady pace, before disappearing around the corner of the temple.
"Hmmm…" Bolin mumbled out loud, raising a finger to his chin. "I wonder why Asami was in such a hurry to leave this morning. She always waits for General Iroh to escort her."
Mako contemplated on Bolin's words. He's right… Mako thought to himself. He looked up, knowing they had other issues they needed to solve. "Asami probably was tired of General Iroh and Bumi always at her tail. She's a strong girl and she can take care of herself." He turned to Korra, knowing she also had conflicts of her own, and placed his hand on her shoulder. "Let's start packing the supplies for our trip to the South", he informed her. "Don't worry. We'll find a way to deal with your bloodbending. Together."
Korra took a deep breath, forcing a reassuring smile across her face. A panging feeling emerged in her chest. She felt as if she were burdening everyone with this trip. Tenzin was right. There was still so much that needed to be done in Republic City that they couldn't afford to be gone for so long. If only there was a way that they could be able to keep tabs on Republic City while they were away… was there even a way? She thought to herself for a moment, before reaching a conclusion. "No", she said flatly.
Bolin, Tenzin, and Mako gave Korra a perplexed expression ,waiting for her to elaborate on her comment.
Korra carefully removed Mako's hand from her shoulder. "I know you and Bolin want to come along, but…." She swallowed down her insecurities and spoke out confidently "But I think I should do this alone."
Their eyes widened with shock, and Mako stepped forward. "No!" he protested. "I can't leave you."
"Mako…" Korra began. "You and Bolin need to stay here in case another Equalist attack emerges in the city. Republic City will be much more vulnerable when I'm not here."
Mako opened his mouth to speak, when Tenzin stepped in, interrupting the young firebender. "Korra's right", he stated. "You will be of more use here than at the Southern Water Tribe with Korra."
Mako felt his heart sink. Of course Korra was strong enough to handle herself out on her journey… but being her boyfriend, and an overprotective one as well…. It was hard to easily agree to such a thing.
"Do this for me, Mako", Korra told him. "I'll feel much more reassured knowing you'll be here to protect Republic City until I get back."
"You can be of help to Lin", Tenzin informed Mako. "I know she'll be needing help from someone else who'd had experience battling Equalists".
Mako glanced at Tenzin, and then back at Korra, as if mentally trying to choose who to go to. One last time, he turned to Korra, hoping she'd change her mind. The determined expression on her soft blue eyes showed there was no way she'd relent at this point. Slouching his shoulders, he sighed in defeat. "Fine", he mumbled.
He was taken aback as Korra swung her arms around him, giving him a small peck on the cheek. "Thank you for understanding, Mako", she said happily. Releasing her grip, she stared into his amber colored eyes. "I won't make you wait that long."
"I promise", Korra said, exchanging another passionate embrace with him.
Tenzin watched the couple exchange their hugs, giving them a nod of approval. "It's settled then."
Asami reached out for the door to the interrogation room where her restrained father was waiting patiently. Taking a deep breath, she pushed the door open, flinching slightly as she heard it swing shut again from behind her. Hiroshi Sato was sitting at the table, his hands chained to a built in hook in the center of the cement floor. "Hello again, Asami", he said calmly.
She couldn't help but shiver at her father's smooth, yet icy tone of voice. She clenched her fists before taking a seat across from him. "Father", she said abruptly. They stared into each other's eyes for a moment, letting the tension build up between them. Finally, she spoke the only thing that could come up at the top of her head: "I'll ask you again… where is the Equalist hideout?"
Hiroshi began to laugh. "You really think I'm going to tell you?" He pressed his hands against the table, standing up abruptly. "What makes you think I'll tell you now if I refused to say anything the last ten times you've been here?"
Asami glowered at him. "If you comply with the government's wishes", she said flatly. "We'll tone down your punishment."
He guffawed again. "And you expect me to be grateful?!" He raised one of his hands, letting the chains hang visibly in front of Asami. "Look at what you've done to me!" he hissed.
Asami stood up angrily this time. "The only one here to blame is you! Are we really going to have this talk again?"
Hiroshi raised his eyebrow at her. "Come up with another approach, Asami." A devilish smirk appeared on her father's face, and his appearance became something she couldn't even recognize anymore. "You walk in here all high and mighty, thinking you're strong enough to solve Republic City's problems?"
Asami gulped, raising her chin high to show him that his harsh words had no effect on her, although deep down, his words were tearing her heart to shreds. "That's not what we're talking about here…"
"It is!" Hiroshi insisted harshly. "You put on this façade to show everyone you're strong and independent. I even noticed you didn't bring your UN bodyguard with you either. Is that another petty way to show just how 'tough' you are?"
Asami's fists clenched even tighter. "It's because I am independent. Especially now that Future Industries is working its way back on top under my leadership, and-"
"But", Hiroshi interrupted. "Deep down Asami… you're all alone. You have no more family. Mako, that one fellow you loved deeply … left you for the avatar." His smile grew wider. "Let's face it, Asami", he said. "People will always slip from your grasp. They'll always leave you."
Her green eyes grew wide, and the painful emotions she buried deep in her heart began to flicker in her shocked stare. "That's not true", she said, although her voice was a whisper now, expressing her weakened confidence.
"It is!" Hiroshi shouted. "Because of the benders… you lost your mother. And because of your betrayal… you lost your father! And because you weren't strong enough… you lost your boyfriend!"
"Enough!" Asami yelled out, stepping back abruptly. The chair behind her tipped over, falling onto the ground with a large thump. "I know everything your saying isn't true."
Hiroshi smiled satisfactorily. Just stall her for a small amount of time… he said to himself. It was so easy to pierce his daughter's own chest using the painful emotions she buried deep within her. He was able to distract her from her actual mission, and when their conversation would get too painful for her, she'd leave. You're weak, Asami. I had every right to disown you as my daughter. You're nothing but a traitor, he thought angrily to himself.
"And where are your friends now?" Hiroshi asked her mockingly. "They're gone too, right?"
"I said enough!"
"Asami, open your eyes!" Hiroshi yelled out. "You're naïve. You're a fool! That's why you refuse to see that it's the benders that ruined our lives!"
"You're wrong, father, they-"
Her sentence was interrupted by the sound of the heavy door opening, revealing two metalbending officers. Asami raised her eyebrow. "I don't think my session is over yet."
There was a moment of silence in the room, and Hiroshi carefully analyzed the expressions of the strange officers who intruded their conversation. Then he smiled. "It is now, Asami".
Asami's eyes widened with bewilderment as the 'metalbending officers' pulled out two Equalist electric gloves.
Iroh and Bumi made their way up the steps towards the Republic City Prison, although the commander noticed the general was hesitant. He smiled with satisfaction, realizing his joke had struck a chord in the stoic general.
"She can't hate you for bothering her again", he said teasingly.
"That's not what I'm worried about!" Iroh snapped. He frowned, forcing a careless expression. "I'm just tired of coming here all the time, that's all."
Bumi shook his head, seeing right through his transparent lie. "Boy do you need an acting coach."
Iroh was about to say something back to the commander, when Lin approached them. "Bumi?" she asked, walking up the steps alongside them. "What are you doing here?"
Bumi chuckled. "Ah, Lin", he stated happily, ignoring the dissatisfied look on her face. "The general and I decided to accompany Ms. Sato again."
She nodded. "I see."
"What about you?" he asked her. "I have to admit, it's a surprise to see you here. You resigned after all. You're usually out fighting all the big bad on your own accord". He made gestures with his fists as if acting out her battles with criminals.
Lin maintained her stern look. "I came here because I thought maybe I should talk to Mr. Sato myself". The annoyance in her face was evident now and her tone of voice became harsher. "Despite being his daughter, Asami's taking such a long time in getting him to fess up about where the Equalist hideout is."
Bumi chuckled. "Who knows?" he says. "He'd probably be too frightened to fight with you."
Lin smirked, crossing her arms. "That's what I'm hoping for", she said confidently. "Now let's hurry up and get inside."
Bumi nodded, and the three of them made their way up the steps. The commander looked around, his usual grin falling into a bothered frown. "Lin…" he began.
She turned to him. "What is it?" she asked in her usual, demanding voice.
"It's unusually quiet", he informed her, causing the ex metalbending chief to become tense. The three of them became startled when a series of shouts rang in the air, and they bolted towards the door.
"What's going on?!" Lin cried out, as a metalbending officer appeared in the doorway.
"Ms. Beifong!" he yelled out, as if relieved to see her. His expression became anxious, his gaunt cheekbones stiffening. "Some suspicious characters infiltrated the prison! Some of our guards in the northern exit have been knocked out cold."
Iroh's golden colored eyes flickered with shock. "What?!" he cried out. "Do you have any guards in the interrogation room? Asami Sato is in there right now interviewing Mr. Sato."
He nodded. "Yes, but— "
Iroh wasted no time, not bothering to let the metalbending officer finish his sentence as he darted towards the vault. Even if Asami is safe… I just have to see it with my own eyes. It was shameful if the person he was supposed to escort would end up in trouble under his radar. He neared the vault, turning the large knob quickly before pushing it open. "Asami!"
He gasped, laying his eyes on the unconscious heiress who lay helplessly on the floor. How did they reach her? She was supposed to be protected! He rushed over to her body, pulling her into his arms. "Asami, wake up!" When she didn't move muscle, he gently shook her. "Asami!"
"I-Iroh?" she whispered, her eyelashes fluttering as she slowly opened her jewel green eyes. Her vision was blurred, but she noticed the two 'guards' creeping up from behind the general. "B-Behind you."
Iroh's mouth gaped open and he turned around, only to feel a cold gloved hand push against his chest. A wave of electric currents struck at every nerve of his body, and he felt himself jolt from the shock. He collapsed next to Asami, who had slipped back into unconsciousness.
Hiroshi emerged from the shadows of the prison, smiling with satisfaction as he admired the defeat of his enemies. Even the great General Iroh II was no match for him and the Equalists. "Good work, boys", he said, gesturing over to the undercover Equalist members behind him. "Now… get me out of here."
"Bumi!" Lin demanded, catching the commander's attention quickly. "I want you to rush back to Tenzin and Korra and inform them of what's happening."
Bumi nodded. "Will you be alright?"
"I'll be fine!" She got her wired gloves ready, before rushing deeper into the building. Bumi ran out, hopping onto one of the moped bikes. He scratched his head in confusion. "Now how do you drive these things?" he asked himself.
Lin raced down one of hallways, scanning the area around her for the Equalists. Hiroshi can't get away! She yelled out to herself. Her eyes widened in shock as she saw two Equalists dressed as prison guards rushing out with Hiroshi through the emergency exit.
"Get back here!" Lin yelled threateningly, shooting out one of her metal wires towards them. One of the Equalists pulled out an electric stick, letting it tangle in Lin's wires before producing an electric current through the metal wire. Lin saw the blue light trace her weapon as it zapped towards her. Thinking quickly, she shot her other arm forward, bending the earth beneath her. A large block of rock rose in front of her, snapping the wire in two before the current could reach her.
While she was preoccupied, the other Equalist members grabbed Hiroshi and raced out the exit, hopping onto the moped bikes that awaited them outside. When Lin managed to make it out the exit, she watched in horror as they raced away. Eyes now glinting with determination, she started the last moped bike that was parked at the curb, hopping on and chasing them down the street.
For a while, she chased them down an empty street, but the escapees turned towards a road filled with Satomobiles, and Lin swerved as quickly as she could away from the vehicles to avoid collision. They're clever, I'll give them that, she admitted.
She extended her arm, shooting a wire out from her glove towards one of the bikes, tangling it against the handle. She pulled hard, sending the moped bike flying into the air, along with a screaming Equalist member. The ex-chief smirked. "One down, two more to go."
Suddenly ,she heard the sounds of numerous running engines behind her, and she turned around. Almost a dozen Equalist members were at her tail, skillfully riding moped bikes. One of them threw an electric bola at Lin, and she gasped, feeling the weapon tangle around her. A wave of blue light shot throughout her body, and she fell off the bike, crashing onto the sidewalk.
Hiroshi turned his head slightly, smiling in satisfaction at the esteemed Lin Beifong laying unconscious on the ground. This is very promising, he thought to himself. The Equalist members were able to take down General Iroh, and now Beifong.
He increased the speed of his moped, the other Equalist members ensuring his protection as they followed him. "With the way things are going now, I'm sure we'll prevail", he said triumphantly.