The Balance of Power

Chapter Seven

Emotions and Revelations

On another World, within another Universe

The Nexus of the Spiritual and Physical World

In a blinding flash of energy, a gateway opens and Hiro-Kala steps forth, exiting the portal created by the amulet and his Old Power energies. His glowing eyes scanned the surroundings, taking in the gigantic, extraordinary temple that he found himself within. All of the worlds elements and energies, everything that is physical and spiritual, formed this place and merged. The very fortress itself was composed of these elements and energies, from the ancient markings to the towering pillars and vast walls.

But none of that mattered to Hiro-Kala. For he was here for a reason, an intricate purpose. A destiny that would be fulfilled once he would obtain the Heart. Everything that he's lost, all that he's suffered and endured, would be extinguished from his mind, body and soul. In the end, this world and its people would yield.

A sinister smile crossed his features as his eyes noticed a brilliant, glowing, oval-shaped object situated atop a short stone column in the distance. Slowly, almost menacingly, Hiro-Kala advances towards the radiant Heart of this world until only a space of four feet is left. He stares at the Heart for a few seconds, almost sensing its powerful energies as it glowed with a brilliant azure-white radiance. Cautiously, perhaps somewhat hesitantly, Hiro-Kala extends his arms and opens his hands as he proceeds to claim the Heart. But something, or rather someone, causes him to stop dead in his tracks.

"Do not do this, Hiro-Kala. It will not end well for you.", A gentle, feminine voice spoke, causing Hiro-Kala to stop and turn to face the individual.

Indeed it was a woman, one of extraordinary beauty, dressed in royal Fire Nation clothing. It was the spiritual form of Ursa, mother of Firelord Zuko and Princess Azula. She had come to speak with Hiro-Kala, to reason with him in hopes that she'd be able to persuade him to end his quest for power and vengeance. She knew what would happen if he would undertake this path, she knew of the consequences, of the fate that would befall him if she could not make him see.

"What do you hope to achieve by speaking to me directly? Seeking to reason with me is a futile gesture.", Hiro-Kala responds, narrowing his eyes at the beautiful spirit of the former Empress of the Fire Nation.

"I act as a mother who cares for her child. And while you may not be my son, nor I your mother, I pray that you will listen to me as if I were. And I hope that by listening to me, it will save you from your fate.", Ursa stated, her face a mask of kindness and concern.

"My fate is none of your concern.", Hiro-Kala hissed, glaring at the mother of Firelord Zuko and Azula.

Taking a few steps forward, Ursa slowly reaches her up to gently cup the scarred, right side of Hiro-Kala's face with her hand. There was no trace of fear or disgust on her lovely features, only kindness and compassion as she gazed at tortured Oldstrong. She could sense his rage, his self-loathing, his desire for redemption and conquest. If only she could convince him to see, to show him that there was another way that would save his life and prevent further pain and anguish.

"I knew of a young man, whose face was scarred like your own, who sought to reclaim his honor and find his purpose in this world. It was only in time, through the experiences and challenges that he faced, did he find his purpose, his destiny, in this world. You must also take all of your experiences and challenges into perspective, for only then will you realize your true destiny and purpose... before it is too late.", Ursa spoke in a gentle voice, telling the abbreviated tale of her beloved son's quest of finding himself and discovering his true destiny.

For a moment it appeared that Hiro-Kala consider her words, his mind delving into his memories to seek out these truths that were supposedly hidden. But all he could find was a life of pain, sorrow, misery, rage and loss. The death of his mother and the destruction of his world, the murder of his beloved Lihla by his own hand and his imprisonment within the planet K'ai by his brother Skaar. All of these memories, so painful and filled with anger. He tightly closed his eyes and proceeded to swat away Ursa's hand from his face, his expression taking on a twisted mixture of hatred and anguish, rage and pain.

"Leave me.", Hiro-Kala whispered, turning away from Ursa's spirit.

"Please, Hiro-Kala, listen to me.", Ursa pleaded only to look on as the Oldstrong continued marching back towards the stone column in which the Heart resided.

"Silence!", Hiro-Kala hissed, not even sparing a glance at the spiritual embodiment of the woman.

"It will not bring back your world, your mother, nor the love that you slain with your own hand.", Ursa proclaimed, tears of spiritual essence slowly trekking down her face.

"Leave me alone!", Hiro-Kala commanded, the volume of his voice rising.

"Don't you see? You act out of anger and pain, sorrow and loss. Let it go, Hiro-Kala... let it go before it consumes you!", Ursa cried, urging him to turn away from this dark destiny.

"You know nothing of my mother & father! You know nothing of my brother! And you know nothing... about me. Not of the pain I endured, not of all that I have lost, and not of the sorrow that fills my being every single waking moment of my existence. YOU KNOW NOTHING!", Hiro-Kala snarled, bellowing at the top of his lungs as his eyes began to glow and radiate with the Old Power.

"I want you to know this, Hiro-Kala, to know that no matter what path you decide to undertake, no matter what horrors you intend to control and unleash upon this world, know that I forgive you. And I hope you will find the peace that you desire... and that the path which you choose will not lead to your death.", Ursa spoke in a voice that was gentle, sincere, and full of compassion.

A second later the spirit of Ursa disappears right before the eyes of Hiro-Kala, vanishing in a star-like burst of light. Turning back to the stone column that the Heart was stationed atop of, Hiro-Kala reached out for it with both hands... only for a force-field of energy to surround it. A defense mechanism, a very clever one designed to protect the Heart against those who would wish to steal it. However, there is more than a mere force-field protecting the Heart.

Guardians made of earth, fire, air, and water materialized around Hiro-Kala, their very forms brought to life by the energies of the Heart. Dark golden, silver, and black armor adorned their towering forms, each standing an imposing twenty-five feet tall. These guardians protected the Heart from all intruders who were not the Avatar or those who would seek to use the Heart for evil and conquest. They were summoned to battle Hiro-Kala, to send the sinister Oldstrong into retreat. But could their formidable might compare to that of a being who wielded the Old Power?

"Guardian protectors of the Heart? How intriguing. Don't disappoint me!", Hiro-Kala sneered, an evil smile adorning his features.

With the Old Power surging forth from his body, Hiro-Kala leaps at the towering guardians, a roar of rage and war echoing forth from his throat.

Gamma World, New Mexico

Base of the Hulks

Banner's Lab

Patience wasn't one of Korra's strongest attributes. And she knew it. Still, despite this, it didn't stop her from marching into the lab of Dr. Bruce Banner unannounced. Nearly three weeks have passed since her arrival to this world, and since then she's been confined to the base and the surrounding landscape made up of several thousand acres of desert. There wasn't a second that passed by that she didn't think about her world, her family and her friends. She wanted to go home, she wanted to save everything she loves, and she really wanted to take Hiro-Kala down for good!

"Is it done yet?", Korra asks, crossing her arms over her chest.

"No, it isn't.", Banner answered calmly, keeping his focus on working on the mechanisms of the device.

"Ugh! It's been over two weeks! And you're still not done?!", Korra exclaimed in exasperation.

"If you think you can do it faster, better and more accurate, then be my guest.", Banner replied evenly, walking away from the large metallic device and towards one of the stands to retrieve a few pieces of equipment.

"At least I wouldn't take as long.", Korra muttered under her breath, unaware that Dr. Banner had heard her remark.

Releasing a heavy sigh, Banner walks back over to the mechanism, setting down the pieces of equipment that he retrieved before focusing his attention on the teenage, headstrong, multi-elemental empowered young woman standing on the opposite side of the room. He wasn't used to dealing with teenagers, especially not of the female variety. His own experience with his daughter Lyra, who didn't want anything to do with him, was very limited. Still, being the mild-mannered and reasonable man that he is, Bruce figured that he would be able to rationally speak to Korra.

"Look, this isn't as easy as you think it is. It's not like taking a class in quantum physics. This device I'm working on, the one that'll help you return home, is designed to tear open portals into other dimensions and universes. There is much that has to be done. Not only do I have to make sure it'll work accordingly, but I must also pinpoint the Old Power portal which you came through and manage to synchronize our universe's time with that of your own. Everything has to be precise and extremely accurate, with little to no margin for error.", Banner explains, hoping that this explanation would please the young Avatar as he went back to working on the tech-based device.

"Fine. Whatever. Just get it done and over with.", Korra said in a huff, leaning back against the wall.

"It will be done. You have to be patient.", Banner assures, adjusting a few pieces within the mechanism.

"I have been patient. But while you've been taking your time tinkering, Hiro-Kala has been walking around on my world unchallenged. My family, my friends, my world are in danger!", Korra shouted, her tone of voice rising with each sentence.

"You think I don't know that, Korra?! Do you think I, of all people, don't realize what's at stake here?! Your people, your world, are all threatened. But you have to understand that I deal with these kind of problems and worse on a daily basis. So unless you can contribute anything worthwhile in assisting me, I suggest that you walk out of this room and leave me alone to work in peace.", Banner yells, his last sentence coming out like a low, savage snarl that one would expect more from the Hulk than the mild-manner nuclear physicist.

Dr. Banner's angry outburst not only surprised himself, but it also seemed to have caught Korra off guard as well, her expression revealing how taken aback she was of his verbal backlash. Tension could be felt within the room as silence reigned, neither Dr. Banner or Korra speaking so much as a word to each other. Piqued and frustrated with the entire situation, not to mention slightly perturbed after being yelled at, Korra turns and storms out of the lab, leaving Bruce Banner alone with his thoughts and his work.

"Excellent way to handle a situation, Bruce. What's next? Are you going to start smashing stuff without thinking things through?", Banner chastised himself, pinching the bridge of his nose.

It was then at that precise moment that Bruce Banner received a response to his own condescension, one that he didn't expect... even though he should have. He was always there. Watching, feeling, listening to everything that Banner said or did. He was bound to make his presence, his thoughts, known to Bruce Banner. It was incredible that he didn't make his thoughts known sooner.

"It's better than just sitting around doing nothing.", Hulk's voice rumbled in response.

"I see that you were listening... as always.", Banner remarks nonchalantly, staring at the psychic projection of his raging alter-ego that only his eyes could see and acknowledge.

"And I see you've finally grown enough of a backbone to tell her off.", Hulk retorts, his tone retaining a serious edge.

"She's just concerned and frustrated. Everything she holds dear is at stake. You and I could relate to her and the situation that she's in.", Banner stated, taking a seat.

"Don't care. We take her home, save her world, and leave it at that.", Hulk replied evenly, narrowing his eyes at the very being whom he reluctantly accepted as a part of himself.

"It isn't that simple, Hulk. I know that we're both aware of how close she is to Skaar.", Banner clarifies, adjusting his glasses as he did.

"She'll end up hurting him, Banner.", Hulk growled, his teeth bared in a savage snarl while his massive hands clenched into fists.

"Maybe she will, maybe she won't. But don't think that I don't know what you're really concerned about, Hulk. And it isn't that she'll hurt him. In fact, it's not about Korra hurting Skaar at all, is it?", Banner countered.

"Believe what you want, Banner. It doesn't change anything.", Hulk said in a low tone of voice, like thunder from a distant storm.

"No, it doesn't. And it certainly doesn't make it any easier for us to accept.", Banner said, his voice just loud enough for his alter-ego to hear him.

And with that last response, Banner resumed working on the device as the psychic personification of the Hulk disappeared, watching on within his/their psyche. It wasn't easy being one of the smartest men on the planet, nor was it easy being a father. He only hoped that this particular situation, the one involving the bond forming between his son and Korra, would not end in tragedy.

Outside the Base

Several Miles Away

Angry and frustrated, Korra decided to take out her emotional tension on the vast, surrounding desert landscape with her bending. Massive chunks of earth were ripped from the dry soul and either sent flying off in the distance, smashed against one another, or shredded the landscape in shards of stone. Bursts of fire torched the ground, melting sand and scorching the already baked earth. Lightning streaked across the skies, striking land and earth with incredible ferocity. Gusts of air created miniature cyclones and hurricane force winds, ravaging the landscape made of sand and stone.

However, Korra's aggressive activity did not go unnoticed, as it had garnered the attention of Skaar. He felt genuinely concerned for his friend. If she needed him, which he felt she did at this particular point in time, Skaar would do everything in his power to help her. He approached her without fear or hesitation, baring witness as she lashed out with such ferocity and fury that it'd make even his father smile with pride.

"Korra.", Skaar spoke in a soft tone of voice, announcing his presence to his friend.

"Go away, Skaar. I'm not in the mood to be around anyone. Not even you.", Korra responds, ceasing her attack yet not bothering to turn and face her friend as she kept her narrowed, focused gaze on the horizon.

"I know what you're feeling. I was like you once. I was filled with rage and sorrow. I hated everything. I blamed my father for everything that happened to me, to my world, and to my mother. I wanted to kill him. But when I learned the truth... I changed. I learned that I control my destiny, that the choice to save or destroy is my own to decide. In the end, I made peace with my father and found a new world to live.", Skaar stated calmly, reaching out to rest his hand on Korra's shoulder.

It was then that Korra turned to face him, her face a mask of pure frustration, anger, and utter outrage. She was right in his face in a second, unrelenting as her arctic-blue irises glared intensely into the green eyes of the Son of Hulk. But he did not back down, nor did he flinch as her words bellowed forth with an intensity that could match the blows she unleashed upon the landscape.

"Is that little story supposed to make me feel better?! Well, it didn't! You don't understand anything I'm going through!", Korra shouted, her hands clenching tightly into fists.

"Yes, I do. You're angry and frustrated. You feel weak and helpless. You think you've lost your world, everything and everyone that you care about. But you haven't. Not yet.", Skaar replied, his tone remaining calm and determined as he once again tried to reason with the female Avatar in an attempt to sooth her.

"Just leave me alone, Skaar.", Korra grumbled, turning away from him as she stood in silence.

"Korra, please... listen to me.", Skaar said, trying to reach out and assure her that he was capable of understanding what she was feeling and going through.

"Get away!", Korra screamed, causing her to unexpectedly enter the Avatar State as her eyes illuminated an eerie white glow.

When the elemental energies began to swirl around Korra's body, the sheer force of entering the Avatar State sends Skaar soaring through the air. He violently crashes against the jagged, dry earth, his back cut open by the sharp rocks as if he were being pain and adrenaline was too much, he couldn't stop the transformation, he was going to change. Gray-white flesh turns green as it morphs and grows painfully in a matter of seconds, transforming Skaar's teenage form into seven-foot-nine, one-thousand-five-hundred pounds of hulking muscle and bone.

Standing up to his full height, Skaar's long raven hair were whipped around by the hurricane-like winds that Korra was creating. Focusing his attention on her, Skaar knew what had to be done. He wouldn't let her be consumed by rage and despair, he wouldn't let it turn her into something that she's not. He must show her that all was not lost, that there's still hope.

Advancing until he was directly in front of Korra's hovering form, unfazed by the vortex of elements that lashed out against him, Skaar reaches out with his massive right hand and gently grasps Korra's forearm. This physical contact causes Korra's glowing eyes to avert downward and widen with recognition as she looked upon Skaar in his Hulk form for the very first time. Slowly, he manages to pull her down until her feet settled on the scorched desert soil. Leaning his head down until his forehead rested against Korra's own, Skaar made sure never to break eye contact with her.

"You wanted to see me. All of me. And so I have revealed myself to you. But it's time for me to complete my promise, to show you where and how I became to be. With the Old Power, I reveal to you, Korra, my past, the last days of planet Sakaar, and my journey to this world.", Skaar said as he began summoning the Old Power, his dark green eyes becoming lightning azure-blue in color.

The Old Power energy that coursed through the planet and within Skaar began to fuse with the earth, fire, air, and water elements that Korra's Avatar State had summoned forth. Suddenly, without warning, Korra's head jerked back as she unleashed a horrific scream, her glowing white eyes widening as she felt the Old Power surge into her mind, body and spirit. In that instant, she witnessed all of his memories, each one flashing through her mind as if they were happening right before her very eyes at this very moment. It was as if she were a spirit, a ghost who could only watch on helplessly as these events occurred.

A hellish world of fire and death, a planet known as Sakaar. From a lake of molten lava rises a child, his screams of primal fury and pain echoing across the vast, fiery wilderness. It was a nightmare, one that her mind couldn't even begin to comprehend. A world overrun by monstrous beasts, savage barbarians, and insane shadow priests. She couldn't imagine what it must have been like to go through this, to fight every waking moment for survival, to endure such trials and face such terrifying bared witness to it all through the Old Power.

Then came the silver herald of Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds, who sought to offer this nightmarish world to his master. Even against such omnipotent might, Skaar would not back down. He was determined to save his world, to protect his people, to preserve the spirit of his mother: Caiera the Oldstrong. But it was her very spirit who cast Skaar off the planet and through a portal. The spirit of Caiera sacrificed herself and her world, allowing the people of Sakaar to get to safety as the mighty Galactus proceeded to consume the vast energies that this world had to offer.

In mere moments, Skaar had lost his beloved mother again and his entire world. Tears of sorrow began to leak from Korra's glowing eyes, trekking slowly down her cheeks even as the memories continued. Full of rage and grief, Skaar was determined to exact revenge on the one being whom he hated the most. The one who abandoned him in the fires of Sakaar, the one being whom he blamed for the loss of his mother and the destruction of his world: The Hulk.

Their confrontation was inevitable. Skaar helped Bruce Banner, his father's human form, to save the world and its heroes from a terrible threat. In exchange, Skaar would finally get what he so desired. He would finally challenge the Green Scar... the Green King... the World-Breaker.

The battle was fierce, the very planet quaking from the sheer ferocity and magnitude of their blows. It would seem that the world would be destroyed, completely and utterly shattered asunder. But something happened, something that made Skaar and the Hulk cease their titanic clash. In the end, father and son embraced one another in forgiveness and acceptance.

It was then that Korra realized that what Skaar had told her was true. He lost his world and his mother, but he had found a new world and his father. He regained what he had lost. He found a new world to call home and a family that was like him in many ways. By overcoming his trials and tribulations on Sakaar and on Earth, Skaar discovered that his fate, his destiny, was in his own hands and that it was his alone to determine.

Seconds later, the memories ceased. It was only then that Korra reverted out of the Avatar State, her glowing white eyes turning back to their original shade of sapphire blue. If it were not for Skaar grasping her shoulders and keeping her form stable, she would have fallen to the desert earth, her body and mind exhausted as a low groan escaped her throat. Then she heard Skaar's voice, only that it was different... slightly deeper and more mature than the voice of the teen she had come to know and befriend.

"You don't have to do this alone, Korra. And you don't have to be alone. Not if you don't want to be. Let us help you... let me help you.", Skaar said in a voice just short of a whisper.

She lifted her gaze to stare up at Skaar, locking eyes with him. It wasn't long until her resolve faltered and tears began to well up in her eyes before proceeding to slowly streak down her face in watery trails. Skaar was a bit taken aback when Korra unexpectedly lunged forward to embrace him, her arms reaching up to encircle his thick neck as she buried her face into his vast, muscular chest. He could feel her sobs, her chest heaving and quaking in her cries as her body trembled ever so slightly. He could not summon any words of comfort. All he could do was hold her, even as he began to transform back into his Human-Oldstrong form.

"I'm sorry... I'm sorry.", Korra sobbed in a hushed tone of voice.

She wouldn't release him from her embrace, her arms holding on to him as if out of fear that she'd lose him and everything else that she cared for in an instant. But in truth, he couldn't let her go... not even if he wanted. She needed him now as much as he needed her. She is his friend, and he would always be there for her. For the longest time, what felt like an eternity, Skaar and Korra held each other in their arms. He gently caressed her hair and back with his hands in order to soothe her, seemingly unaware of the few tears that managed to leak from his eyes and fall down to the dry, barren soil beneath them.

One thing was certain. They're not alone. And as long as they have one another, they never would be.

Banner's Lab

Four Days Later

Entering the lab unannounced, the Jade Giantess known as Jennifer Walters walked in to discover that her cousin was still hard at work on the device. She couldn't help but smile as she looked on, remaining quiet as her cousin continued tinkering. If there was one thing she knew and could take solace in, it was that once Bruce was determined to solve something, he wouldn't stop until he succeeded.

"How's it going with the device, Bruce? Making any progress?", Jen inquired, surprising her cousin with a quick hug from behind before walking over to lean against the wall.

"Yes, I am. But the components that I need would take me some time to build. Time that we don't have. Luckily, I've contacted Reed Richards. He has the components that I need to finish it.", Bruce responds, continuing to stand and focus his attention on the machine.

"That means traveling to Manhattan.", Jen stated.

"Yes, I'm aware of that. And your point would be?", Bruce replied with an inquiry.

"Nothing. But it would be a great chance to take Korra and Skaar with you. Spend some time together, view the sights, let her see the world before she returns home.", Jen suggested with a smile.

"Hmph.", Bruce snorts, brushing her suggestion aside without a second thought.

It wasn't difficult for Jen to sense that something was wrong with Bruce, his reaction to her suggestion involving Korra only providing her further proof in the case. And being the strong, independent, female attorney that she is, Jen wasn't going to stop until she determined what it was that's actually causing her cousin to act in the manner that he's been displaying since Korra's arrival to the base. She had a pretty good idea of what it truly was that was offsetting Bruce, but she wanted to be certain.

"Okay, what's with you?", Jen demanded, crossing her arms over her chest and she stared at her cousin.

"I don't know what you're implying, Jen, because there is nothing wrong.", Bruce said, not even bothering to meet her stern gaze.

"You know exactly what I'm talking about. I noticed that these last few weeks you've been intentionally avoiding Korra. I mean, it's almost like you want nothing to do with her, yet you're going out of your way to help her get back to her world. So, tell me, Bruce, what's going on?", Jen asked, her tone of voice deadly serious yet strangely calm.

Releasing a heavy sigh, Bruce reached up to pinch the bridge of his nose before removing his glasses and setting them down on the table. He should have known that he couldn't hide anything from Jen. She always had a sixth sense about these things, especially whenever he was involved. It certainly didn't pay for him to deny it any more, let alone acknowledge it.

"She just makes me so angry, Jen.", Bruce said, almost growling out the answer.

"You, or the Hulk?", Jen inquired with a small smirk, arching her eyebrow ever so slightly.

"Both of us.", Bruce confirmed.

"Why? What is it about her that makes you and Hulk so angry?", Jen questioned further, unrelenting in her pursuit for the truth.

"Why do you ask questions to which you most likely already know the answers to?", Bruce retorts in a deadpanned tone.

"Maybe it's because I want to hear it directly from the source. But I have a feeling that the reason you're so against Korra is because it concerns your son. Am I right?", Jen counters, her voice insightful as one would expect from a lawyer.

She did not get a response, not that she was really expecting one. She knew Bruce too well, and she could tell that his topic of conversation wasn't one he was eager to talk about with anyone. Nonetheless, Jen remained persistent in her effort, trying to get her cousin to see the positives that this unique bond formed by Korra and Skaar presented for the two teens.

"Bruce, you should be happy for him. Skaar finally has a friend. A lady friend, I might add. He deserves to have someone other than his family to comfort and connect with him. I think it'll be good for him. Both of them.", She-Hulk said within reason, hoping that she could somehow get her cousin to understand.

"I know, Jen. It's just that... I'm not sure that it will end well for Skaar. I've never seen him take such an interest in anyone before. He cares about Korra. He cares a lot about her. And I... I just don't want to see him get hurt.", Bruce reluctantly responds, tightly closing his eyes and clenching his hands into fists.

"And what about Hulk? What is it that he's hiding? What is it that he's afraid of?", Jen probed, wanting to know what both sides were trying to conceal.

"He doesn't want to lose his son. Skaar is all that he has left of Caiera. All that there is to represent Hulk's memory of her and the love they shared.", Bruce confessed, seemingly unaware of the single tear that escaped the corner of his eye and slowly tread down his face.

For what seemed like an eternity Bruce merely stood there, his mind lost in the memories of the past. It was only when he felt a pair of comforting hands reach out and gently rest on his shoulders. He opened his eyes to look upon his cousin Jen, her expression one of understanding and patience. He knew that she was going to be direct with him, that she wouldn't hold back the truth from him regarding the matter of his son. He was only surprised that it took this long for her to confront him about this.

"You can't protect him forever, Bruce. And neither can the Hulk. Sooner or later, you're both going to have to let him choose his own fate and make his own decisions.", Jen stated, knowing that he needed to hear the truth.

It was then that the door to the lab opened again, this time revealing the very two individuals who were the subject of Bruce & Jen's discussion, Korra and Skaar. The two were dressed in summer clothing attire, with Korra wearing a blue tank-top and matching pair of shorts, while Skaar adorned a white tank-top and a pair of black shorts. They seemed to be their usual selves, playfully shoving, wrestling and laughing amongst themselves. It was quite apparent that their bond was becoming stronger with each passing day, their friendship getting to the point that the two were nearly nigh-inseparable. It certainly didn't go unnoticed by either Bruce or Jen, who watched on as the teens came to a stop in front of them.

"Hiya, Jen!", Korra greeted with an almost impish smile.

"Hey, Korra. You seem to be in a good mood. Any reason why?", Jen asks, sensing that something was going on between the two teenagers.

"Not much. Me and Skaar were just having some fun. That's all.", Korra replied with a devious wink towards her partner in crime, further proving that the two close friends were up to mischief as usual.

"Heh.", Skaar chuckled with an almost evil smirk.

"Korra.", Bruce greeted in a stern tone of voice, causing the young woman to turn her attention towards him.

"Heh... What's up, Dr. B? By the way, if this is about the bookshelf and the pitcher of water, I just want to state that... it was all Rick's idea!", Korra proclaimed, unintentionally ratting out one of her friends.

"It's not that.", Bruce responds, somewhat amused that she'd just revealed that Rick was one of the leading culprits in one of the pranks that occurred a couple of days ago that resulted in Bruce getting soaked to the bone.

"Oh! Well, then, what is it?", Korra asked, regaining her composure.

"How would you and Skaar like to take a little trip to Manhattan?", Bruce offered in inquiry.

The excitement in Korra's sparkling sapphire-hued eyes and bright smile spoke volumes. She was finally going to get out of the base, she was finally going to venture out and see the world! She was going to Manhattan! She was more than ready to explore the world. But would the world, or more precisely Manhattan, be ready for the Avatar?

Author's Notes


I bet most of you can guess which Book 2 episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender inspired the scene between Skaar and Korra, can't you? I hope all of you enjoyed this chapter, as it was a real labor to get out. When it came to the scene where Hiro-Kala comes for the Heart, I decided to have Ursa's spirit appear for a reason as I felt that it would have a more emotional connection between them. In some ways, Ursa reminds Hiro-Kala of his deceased mother Caiera, which only heightens the emotion and intensity of their interaction.

Anyway, I hope all of you enjoyed this chapter!