Author's Notice: Yay! Finally, here is chapter three. Some of you are already confused with the plot, but don't worry. All of these 'holes' will be fixed in later chapters. For now, please enjoy the third chapter of "The Woodbender".
*Though this is an AU fanfic, I might use some of the plot elements from the canon timeline to match up.
**Thank you to everyone for letting this story reach 101 followers and 100 favorites. Special thanks to 'Konoha's Nightmare' and 'UzumakiGo'.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or Legend of Korra.
Dinner started somewhat awkwardly for Naruto as he sat down on the opposite side of Tenten and Lee, both holding their chopsticks with right poise. He felt a sweat break out when he swore both of their eyes shone with hungry glints; he had to admit he understood why they were acting like that, with the delicious meal laid out in front of him.
Lee dug in his bowl first, swallowing rice and several side dishes at the same time. His eyes were gleaming with happiness and his cheeks bloated from the overeating. While Tenten seem to eat at a slower pace, the enthusiasm was there.
'Is this how I usually look like when I eat ramen?' Naruto randomly wondered with his own chopsticks in his hand, continuing to watch at a trance. He remembered back in his childhood when he was obsessed with it, a lot of people were entranced by how he ate the noodles.
'Probably not,' He brought a small pieces of grilled meat to his mouth and chewed on it. For a few minutes, all he could hear were the sound of metal contact and eating like noises.
Looking at the corner of his eyes, Naruto could see Kuruma was busy eating his own slab of steak, biting on the red corners with a satisfied lazy smile.
Trying to make some idle conversation, he asked who made the meal, and Tenten pointed at Lee. The co-owner didn't even acknowledge the pointing and continued to devour his rice. The other owner rolled her eyes and smiled apologetically to Naruto, who only laughed under his breath.
The amiable silence continued while Naruto looked out the window across from him. Sunlight was replaced with a murky dark haze, covering the
'This is really nice.' Taking a bite of his rice, Naruto thought about the situation at hand. 'I got a job here. There might be some minimum payment and rooming might be free...'
The blond bender couldn't believe that he got a job in the middle of nowhere. Though he seriously enjoyed working as a waiter at Aunt Hikari's restaurant, he wasn't particularly liked by his fellow workers.
'Especially Ishao and Hiroko,' he jabbed his chopsticks on a pickled root. Tenten raised a fine eyebrow at the sudden attack, leaving Naruto to give a sheepish look in return.
He wasn't sure about how the two discovered he could bend at all. He didn't do any bending near the restaurant since he saw the sudden demonstration at the place.
He was cleaning the tables when he heard the bell ring, indicating a new customer arrived. Putting the cloth in his apron pocket, he turned to face the person and greet him when his face was shoved with a pamphlet.
He couldn't see what it said in the first place and he felt his irritation levels rising.
"Um, let's move the thing out of my face first?" He moved the hand and matched faces with a gaunt-looking man, his suit creased and spotted with dirt. The man looked tired and Naruto put his annoyance to the side. "Sorry, let's bring you to a table."
He gently placed a hand on the man's back and wanted him to bring him towards the back, where one of the girls finished with cleaning. However, the man didn't say anything as he walked to the center aisle, ignoring the customers' stares and whispers.
He was about to bring the stranger back to his intended table when the man suddenly talked with a determined voice.
"People of Republic City! Have all of you notice the atmosphere clouding our beloved city? Did any of you feel the repression and the prejudice from the benders? We are surrounded by people who want nothing from us except to appoint the non-benders as toys to play with."
He was honestly confused, listening to the words that came out of the stranger's mouth. He only lived here in the city for more than a week so far, but he didn't see any incidents involving the benders. In fact, all the people he identified as benders were truly kind and helpful to his adjustment in the city.
Well, there was the fire bender with the ill temper. The little voice in his head whispered, making him think of the sudden attack the man did because he just bumped into him. He could remember the glimpses of the scared reactions from the little circle of passersby around him. But, one man doesn't make a whole group of people responsible for his own actions.
Naruto needed to find out more about the city, but by looking at the man who was starting to spittle while talking, he decided not through him.
"For years now, the council was always made up of benders that thought they knew what was the best for us. They made the choices of what our 'wants' and 'needs' were, but it only profited in their lives. There was no representation! No voice in our regards, our opinions were promptly dismissed in favor of the 'greater good'!"
People were drumming their fists on the tables; some were cheering, telling Naruto that they agreed with what the man was saying. He made a move to the center aisle, determined to at least quiet the man down from making any more ruckus. But then, the curtains to the kitchen shifted and Aunt Hikari wobbled to the dining area. He stopped when he saw a smile on her face.
Did she also agree with the man's words as well?
"The council dismiss our words, the police force is too lazy to help with our troubles, and the common benders are too arrogant with their own powers to do the right thing. Even the Avatar is ignorant to what's going on as she stays in her sheltered life, only causing nothing but trouble since she arrived to Republic City. Destroying public property, causing havoc in the streets, and clearly stating that she owns the city even though she has done nothing beneficial."
He clenched his fists, anger flashing in his eyes. Korra was a nice girl, though she was a bit clumsy. But even when they only met one time, he could tell that he could trust her with anything. She gave off a confident aura that anybody could relax and go by her guidance.
His fists kept clenching, his breathing becoming more difficult to control as wisps of cool air came out of his mouth. He took another step forward when all of a sudden Aunt Hikari gestured him to her side.
He moved to her right and asked, "Is this alright Aunt Hikari? There's other customers that are waiting for a table."
Her eyes rested on him and started to laugh cheerily. "Don't worry dear Naruto. This is an exceptional occasion that needs to happen."
Naruto looked, shock marring his face as he couldn't believe his ears. Aunt Hikari didn't like the benders either?
He thought that he was going to be alright with staying at his job. He adored the woman, seeing her as a familial figure, but now it wasn't okay at all.
"Look Naruto, there's our hero, Amon!"
A poster of a man covered in an elaborate looking mask, the black holes that is supposed to be the man's eyes drilled into his mind. He couldn't believe that some were willing to cheer for such a suspicious looking person, with the man's head covered by a hood and shadows were cast around his figure, making him appear as a villain instead. Naruto didn't want to stick in the room any longer and tried to escape.
However, he still heard the few remaining words from the speech, leaving a chilling shiver down his spine.
"Now, our hero and savior of Republic City, Amon, will save and restore the balance in this world. Not anymore do we have to listen to these prejudiced benders that will only cover for their own lives before our own. He will be the savior to all that are hurt by the damages that the benders have caused."
"HURRAH!" The group of consumers shouted in happiness, jumping around when the orator threw pamphlets up in the air. Aunt Hikari was smiling widely now, her crooked teeth showing despite the fact she was somewhat insecure about them.
He picked up one of the pamphlets, looking at the back of it and seeing a red dot in the middle of what seemed a bunch of lines. But what bothered him the most were the amount of cases that were written along with the red dot, cases on how benders destroyed someone's life or their relatives'. He couldn't help but swallow nothing as he walked out of the dining room through the kitchen curtains, passing by Hiroko and Ishao. Both of them sneered as he had his head down and hurriedly walked through the restaurant.
'This isn't helping.' Naruto could feel the slight tremors of tiny pebbles bouncing on the floor in result of his irritation. He forced himself to eat a bit more and calm down. His legs settled and he resumed to think about other things.
He put his chopsticks down on the table and thought of other things, mainly about his current living status. He knew his job as a maintenance worker started tomorrow and he was pretty sure Tenten would allow him to live at the gym for awhile; but what was he missing?
Slowly remembering the Asami's offer to work in her mansion took longer for Naruto as he smacked his forehead against the table. Surprising his two hosts, the blond gave a loud groan. 'I can't believe I forgot about her.'
"Are you feeling well Naruto?" Lee temporarily removed himself from the food and laid a hand on his shoulder. Genuine concern could be seen on the owner's face.
The blond raised his head, making eye contact. "Yeah, I forgot to do something earlier."
"Which is?" Tenten asked, her bowl of rice rested in one hand, and her voice laced with curiosity.
"I need to actually," he stopped himself, thinking about how late it was now. "Um, never mind. I'll just send the message tomorrow morning."
The two gym co-owners looked at each other and shrugged in response. Lee resumed his mass consumption, while Tenten stared weirdly at her occupant. "You know you could always use our falcon. It's only around 11 in the evening."
Now, it was Naruto's turn to stare at the girl strangely. "Are you sure about that?"
She nodded her head. "Definitely, besides we need Neji II to work out anyways."
"Neji II?" The blond asked, tilting his head to the side.
Tenten laughed, pausing only to finish her bowl of rice, stood up and left it in the sink nearby. "Yeah, Neji's one of our friends here in the city. He's a pro-bender, but he comes by to teach the kids here when he has the time."
"He is also my greatest rival!" Lee inserted his two cents and brought his own bowl in the sink as well. He wiped his mouth and pointed at Naruto, who was finishing up the meal, so they could clean up.
Tenten sighed in return and brought two fingers to her lips. She whistled sharply that made Kuruma twitch and waited until a dark shape flew pass the window and into the room. Naruto watched with amazement as the figure turned out to be a magnificent falcon.
"So, this is Neji II?" He walked slowly, reaching out with an open hand. The falcon cocked its head and leaned closer as if it was inspecting Naruto's scent. It took a few seconds before the bird nodded its head and moved back to its regal stance.
Naruto unknowingly let out a relieved sigh and made a half smile when he noticed Tenten laughing in her hand.
"Ha ha, very funny now. I'll have you know that Neji II seems like an intimidating thing."
She laughed even further, nodding her head in agreement. "Oh yeah, definitely; Neji and Neji II can be related if not for the fact they're different species."
"Oh, that gives me a terribly good impression on the original Neji then."
"Don't worry, Neji's one of a kind. You'll like him. Anyways, I'm going to sleep now. Make sure your message gets to where ever your friend is right now. Also, we'll talk about all the business stuff later. Right now, you can still sleep where you found yourself in before.
"Alright then, good night Tenten. I'll do the dishes in return for the food." Naruto sat back down in his chair, taking out parchment from his pockets and a bottle of ink. He always had some in storage for occasions like these and in case he wanted to write some letters back to his grandpa, where he knew was waking up from his slumber right now.
'What should I write?' He thought, dipping his brush in the ink pot carefully before shaking out the extra liquid on it. He lifted his arm and moved the utensil towards the parchment, where he wrote down Korra's name and as well as Asami before moving to the next available space. He couldn't really say outright that he rejected her offer and they didn't have to make contact. He wanted to have some fun with his new friends, considering how they are the only ones that wouldn't deny him friendship if he told them about his story.
'But, what if they were busy?' He groaned, placing his brush back into the ink pot, and face palmed the table. Hearing a snicker, he moved his head to Kuruma, who was resting happily on the floor with its paws tucked in. Guessing by the deep breaths, his fellow animal friend was asleep for the taking. 'Why is this so hard to do?'
"How did Gramps even do this invitation stuff?" Thinking back to his pseudo-grandfather and how he would manage these meeting dinners with the other surrounding village leaders, writing with a graceful hand, and accepting their own invites with diplomatic words. But, he wasn't the Hokage yet and he didn't exactly have many friends back home..
Mussing his hair, Naruto just gave in, and handled the brush once more. He wrote down the first few words, and hesitantly moved over to the left, where he would write his offer. He continued till he reached the end where he would have to write his name.
Putting the brush down, Naruto waited for the ink to dry, and rolled it up to give it to Neji II. He shook his head, knowing that the message will be somewhat awkward.
'Ugh, sometimes I wish my life wasn't like this.' He was being over dramatic, but he couldn't help it. Korra, Asami, and the others made a great impression on him and he didn't want to lose them so quickly.
He watched as Neji II flew out the window and to the dark sky, his mind whirling with a million thoughts.
"I guess I'll go to bed then." Naruto muttered, holding one of his wrists and stretched, leaning the chair back until it was only on two legs. Cracking sounds could be heard and he gave a contented sigh.
Returning to the chair back to its original position, Naruto walked to the sink to wash the dishes, and went to his room, yearning for a nice rest until he receives his reply.
This is from Naruto, the guy you gave a job offering to. I would like to have lunch with you and your friends about this issue. It'll be my treat.
She didn't know what was going on with this city. She thought she could handle her responsibility as Avatar after mastering three of the four elements. She could protect those that needed help and those that are under her affections and care.
But with Bolin gone for a few days now, Korra wasn't sure if she could take up the mantle of becoming the beacon of hope. Especially with the new figure in town, Amon, swaying the beliefs of many non-benders' hearts and minds, it was difficult for her to even try to talk to them.
She couldn't give up now; Mako and Bolin needed her help to get back together. With Tenzin counting on her to at least attempt to act as the proper Avatar and balance between the Spiritual and Physical worlds. When Naruto, her new friend, contacted her about the job offer for Asami, she needed to stay at least a bit more for the future.
With her and Mako finding a lead on where Bolin is, she finally felt the rush of accomplishment and happiness in taking this role as savior of the world. She nudged Naga on her side and listened to Mako give directions to where the Triple Threat Triad was located.
Feeling the bumpiness, Korra leaned forward, and rode across the bridge, where she found herself in front of an abandoned store.
Getting off with Mako, she etched her eyebrows together, knowing that Bolin will be inside, waiting for their rescue.
He received his response two days later when he finished cleaning up the gym floor, mopping up remnants of blood and chipped bone fragments. Wiping his sweat, Naruto turned around to see Neji II settled on the top on one of the punching bags.
"Oi, come over here." He stretched out an arm, which the falcon flew over and landed confidently; his talons digging in his skin, but not hard enough to puncture. Naruto took the letter from Neji II's pouch and let the bird fly back to the outside area.
He was getting nervous about the answer he was getting back. He didn't want to make Asami annoyed from rejecting her offer when she was being very generous about it. He had a feeling she was somewhat spoiled from his first impression of her.
'But that could change,' he thought and unrolled the message, reading vertically down and visibly paling his face as the seconds passed by. 'Or it could end horribly like today.'
He dropped the mop and raced to his room, thinking about how stupid everyone was in this city. Was it because he was from the country side or something? Almost every person in the Republic is either more reckless than him or doesn't care about the consequences.
Quickly, he reached for his necessary items: two pouches separately filled with dirt or water, some lucky harms, and an illuminated picture frame. Tying the bag, Naruto set off the gym and to his destination, where he would meet one of the members of the team or maybe even Korra.
Tenten and Lee came back from their respective showers and examined the entire dojo, finding each spot cleaned of messes and residues. They were happy with the results and wanted to congratulate the blond with an honorary ramen dinner. However, looking through each room and including Naruto's, they couldn't find him or his kitsune friend.
"Where do you think he went?" Tenten asked her friend, who was looking at the wrinkled parchment roll on the floor. She watched as he picked it up and read the content, his cheerful smile disappearing by the time he finished reading the letter.
"What happened?" The weaponry mistress asked and moved next to Lee, where she could oversee the message. "What the hell?"
'I couldn't find anyone from the team for the past few days. Meet me at Nook's in twenty minutes. We need to discuss what happened. From Asami.'
"We should go help Naruto then." She was ready to help her friend. Even they only met and ate dinner only once, Tenten felt that she should help the guy from yesterday. Naruto looked out of sorts from living in the city, but seemed like a determined person, ready to help anyone. "He might get in danger. Besides, it looks like Kuruma also went to help his master."
The kitsune was wagging his tails swiftly as he if was saying that he was determined to save his friend from whatever scheme he messed up. He sniffed the air and darted to the kitchen, where they followed him and saw the fox jump through the window.
Tenten made a move to continue following the animal, but Lee stopped her. His eyes were solemn, his stance telling her that he was absolutely serious about what he was going to say. "We are going to stay here."
She took a step backwards. "What'd you mean? Naruto might be in trouble."
"No Tenten, don't you remember our most youthful mission?"
And as if something triggered in her mind, Tenten massaged her temples with two forefingers.
With a shake of her head, she flopped on the floor, her legs crossing together. She laid her head on her hand. "This is so messed up. Naruto only looks 16 for Kami's sake."
"I would like to help our new friend as well. But with the Avatar in this supposed quest, we cannot interfere. I will contact the other teams to notify about this.'
'This is so stupid,' Tenten watched her partner leave the kitchen, crumpling the letter in his hand with a determined face. 'This is really stupid.'
When Naruto arrived at Narook's restaurant, he found Asami leaning against the wall with a concerned expression on her face, her hands subtly twitching in her pockets.
'I wonder what happened,' Naruto coughed in his hand, making the girl to face him. "Hey Asami, so what's going on?"
She walked towards him, one hand leaving the pockets and grasping some kind of note in her hand. He tilted his head to see the note as she removed her fingers from the print.
It was some kind of invitation from the Equalist Party with its upper half covered by a portrait of Amon with his expressionless mask. Naruto inwardly shivered. He didn't want to encounter the picture again, but in this city; it was everywhere.
"I think this is where Korra and Mako went." Asami bit her lip, looking more worried as she thought about the idea of them entering a rally filled with anti-bender supporters.
Naruto looked lost, clueless on how to approach the subject. "Why would they go there? Do you know where this rally is?"
"From what I heard from Mako before he left was that Bolin got involved with the Triple Threat Triad for some money problems. It's been a few days and I wanted to ask Korra about the situation, but she wasn't at her apartment. So, I'm thinking something bad happened with them and most likely it's with these people."
Astounded by her deduction and the amount of talking she did, Naruto gently took the invitation and observed the bottom half, which was made up of lines and several dots. It was another picture that seem it was a part of a larger one with some of its lines cut at the corners, while the dots were sliced in half. However, there was a large one at the side of the green lines, where it intersects with the blue.
'I've seen this before, but where?' He returned the map. Asami put it back in her pocket and waited silently.
Naruto rubbed the back of his head. "Well, I guess we should start off by asking the people around here if they seen Korra and Mako."
Asami nodded in agreement. "Alright then, we should start off at where the Triple Threat Triad is. After that, let's ask people."
He went in the opposite direction in where he came and moved a bit faster when he heard the loud clicks of her boots.
"But hey, how should we ask people without alerting them their Avatar is missing?"
"I guess by asking if they seen a polar bear dog around here. We can act as if we're helping Korra catch her friend."
"She has a polar bear dog?"
They searched every corner of the city for the two benders, thinking at one point that they'll show up with their pet at hand. Trying to feel optimistic, they walked while making idle conversation with one another, talking about their likes and dislikes. Asami discovered how Naruto wanted to make a new chapter in his life to return back to his village. While, Naruto found out how Asami's father was a fantastic businessman, who loved his daughter and his employees very much.
Finally, they stopped in front of an abandoned tea shop; its doors were closed and the windows broken with a glass shards on the floor.
Cautiously, Naruto headed to the front windows, sneaking and rolling on the bare ground to see if any intruders or people from the Triad were hanging around. Putting his back to the wall, he peeked through one of the glass shards and saw a disaster zone; tables were overturned and chairs were thrown carelessly.
"It's clear," he stated and jumped through the windows, mindful of the pointed edges. He waved a hand over to Asami, who rolled her eyes and opened the doors.
"Oh, well-" Naruto facepalmed himself and faced the other way to avoid any embarrassment. Starting to investigate the entire flat, he found there was only three rooms. The largest room looked as if it was used for an actual dining place for tea; another one for a meeting place, and the last one was tiny, used for guarding prisoners.
All of the doors to the rooms were busted. The doorknobs were missing and there were burnt marks on the wooden surface. Naruto crouched down to inspect one particular burn mark on the last door, where he also discover scratches.
"What the hell?" he whispered, tracing a long one and eventually stood up. He took a step forward and was then slapped in the head with a furry object.
"There's a fox on you!" Asami made a move to grab the fox that was clinging on Naruto's head, her hands ready to swipe the mangy animal away.
However, her friend raised a finger to stop her, and used his other hand to lift the animal away from his face. Inhaling a deep breath, Naruto blinked at the fox, who blinked back in return. The blinking contest resumed until he realized one hundred percent who the animal was.
"You followed me Kuruma?" The fox nodded to what his master has asked to and sweat drooped when he saw tears coming out of his human's eyes. "Oh my god, you're such a good friend!"
He swung the fox around in a circle and ignored the seriousness of the situation, ultimately forgetting about what he was doing here for the past few minutes.
"Ahem," Naruto and Kuruma stared at Asami, who was pointedly raising one eyebrow at the both of them. Sheepishly and somewhat embarrassingly apologizing, Naruto put down the fox and was about to search the room once more when he saw a peculiar green cloth on Kuruma's tail.
"Hold still," he warned Kuruma and took the green cloth. It was long and narrow just like a scarf with a faint scent of an animal.
"Does this look recognizable to you?" He displayed the scarf to Asami, who widened her eyes in acknowledgment.
"Yeah, I believe that's Bolin's scarf."
"Then, that must mean the Triple Threat Triad brought him somewhere else after stopping here." Naruto concluded and crouched down once more to meet at eye level with his pet. "Where'd you find this Kuruma?"
The fox nodded again and pointed towards the other end of the room. Making eye contact with each other, Naruto and Asami carefully walked down the unlit room, their bodies apprehensive of their surroundings. They didn't want to get in any trouble so late in their investigation.
Finally, they reached the end, where they found cut rope scattered. Asami picked it up and found nothing else, except small animals that made Kuruma want to go hunting.
With all of the evidence in their hands, all of them went back to the front of the store, but through the windows where it would be a safer option than just blatantly walking out the doors, where everyone knew the place was owned and abandoned by gangsters.
"Ow," the girl muttered as she wiped the trailing blood on her cheek and reassured Naruto she was fine.
"Okay Kuruma, let's look for our friends, shall we?" Naruto waited until his fox was done sniffing the green scarf and trotted across the street. He followed him, grabbing Asami's hand in the process, and turned to the left.
"Hey, I can walk on my own." She grumbled in response of being handled like a kid. Her hand was released right away and Asami thought she saw a faint blush on Naruto's face. In a long time since she found the invitation and finding out Mako disappeared, she laughed.
It was cold, quiet, and dark.
He didn't know where he was or how long he stayed here.
But what he did know were the chains on his hands and the blindfold on his eyes.
He screamed, desperate for someone to catch it and save him from this miserable hell.
He yelled, thrashed, and knocked his body around the walls, bruising himself until his body went numb from the pain.
Finally, he stopped.
Only a single word came out of his mouth, almost silent, so wistful, but filled with hatred.
Kuruma looked through the windows of the giant arena, seeing nothing that could possibly harm his friend. He went back to his make-shift entrance and mewed in response.
"Okay, thanks Kuruma!" Naruto half whispered to the fox and turned to Asami, who was keeping watch on each side of the alley way. They were situated in the middle of it, finding a staircase that lead to the upper level of the arena. It was a long travel and none of them wanted any Equalist supporters chasing after them.
Hearing the confirmation, Asami returned to where her new friend was, gently touching the little scratch she obtained from the glass cut. It was shining red when she looked at herself in the front of the store, but there's nothing she could do until she completed her objective.
"Alright, do you think you can reach up there? You can jump on my shoulders." Naruto suggested while going on his knees, so to make the height difference easier. She nodded and got on his shoulders, holding the last step of the staircase, and raised herself up. It took a bit of effort, but she got Naruto up the contraption as well.
They went up and entered the arena, finding themselves staring at a large room that was slowly filling up with people. The lights were shining brightly and the sound systems were being checked by strangers that had bulky machines surrounding them.
"Let's look for a place to hide." Naruto whispered to his partner, guiding them to a different staircase, which led to a balcony that was being suspended in air. It appeared to be a bad place to hide with the chance of being cornered by guards, but he saw how dark and silent it actually was.
Naruto noticed how Kuruma suddenly took off without them, his nose twitching as if he smelled something friendly or maybe from his own species. 'Oh god, that ever playing kitsune.'
He waited for a second before moving in and crouching; he blended himself perfectly while giving him the chance to see what was going on.
Asami crouched behind Naruto, looking below the scene where she found several people in uniform were lined up behind a single figure. All of them were standing in military position, hands locked and behind their backs. All of them looked intimidating with their masks, especially the one with the goggles. But what was wrong was that she couldn't understand why she felt a sense of familiarity with the man.
When Amon started his speech, Asami didn't hear a word he was saying as she was still mystified by the fact that her eyes were still focused on the man with the electric poles. Gritting her teeth, she didn't know what was exactly going on, but she needed to find Mako.
Her eyes moved from the stage to the immense crowd, ignoring the little voice in her head telling her how she was selfish in only finding her boyfriend, instead of his little brother and his friend. Shaking her head to rid the thoughts, Asami accidentally moved the lights, making her lose her balance momentarily, and leaned backwards a bit too much.
She thought she was going to fall when her shoulder was held tightly by a firm hand and Asami looked to find serious cerulean eyes.
"You okay?" Naruto asked her and she nodded in response, distracting herself from him when she heard a loud roar of approval from the crowd. Both of them looked at the stage and found Amon gesturing towards the left, his voice speaking loud and clear to them.
"Now for a demonstration, please welcome Lightning Bolt's Zolt, leader of the Triple Threat Triad, and one of the most notorious criminals in Republic City."
"It's them," Asami heard Naruto whisper to himself, seeing the searching eyes and found them focusing on one particular person. She looked as well and found Bolin kneeling with several other people, his body tied with rope.
Returning her concentration on the crowd, she found a couple that was standing still as wooden logs, instead of pumping their fists or applauding for Amon's speech. One of them was whispering something to the other's ear, pointing at the double machines that were on the wall. The other nodded in return and turned back to the stage, where the Equalist leader announced that Zolt had the chance to show that bending will never harm anyone ever again.
"Naruto, I think I found Mako and Korra." She whispered, pointing at the two figures. She could definitely tell now it was them and moved some of her hair behind her ear.
She watched as one of them sneakily tread to the boiler room, while the other was going to the front of the crowd. 'It's probably Korra to the water source and Mako to his brother.'
"Okay, we need a plan to get them out and Bolin away from the crowd's attention." Naruto leaned closer and grabbed Asami's hand, feeling a little electric shock in the process. He took his hand back, rubbing his palm, while muttering about the tension in the air is doing something to his nerves.
"Don't hurt yourself in the process." She joked and giggled when Naruto turned deadpanned and resumed watching what Amon was doing. Her smile vanished when she saw Zolt threw lightning strikes towards and eventually a long electric whip in his direction.
Amon dodged each attempt and ran to Zolt at the same time. Eventually, he grasped one of Zolt's wrists and moved it upwards, leaving a strike of lightning coming towards them. She let out a scared gasp, putting the rod in front of her body as to protect herself, and shut her eyes tightly. Naruto cursed, securing his hands around her waist, and jumped to the opposite ledge.
A sudden rush of air and her hair splayed over her face made Asami open her eyes. She was in the safety zone and by the look of the crowd, nobody found out their hiding places. Instead, they were mystified by the sudden disappearance of lightning, followed by a weakening flamethrower.
Then, it disappeared, leaving a scent of smoke and ashes. A groan echoed in the grand arena and Asami loosened her grip on Naruto's shoulder, feeling her heartbeat slowing down. She thought she was going to die by that lightning strike, just like how her mother died by a fire bender.
"What.. what did you do to me?!" Zolt's voice became raspy as if he hasn't used in a long time, while the crowd went deathly silent.
"Your fire bending is gone forever. The era of bending is over. The era of equality has BEGUN!"Amon yelled to his supporters.
Eventually, a repeated pattern of pained groans and thuds were heard on the stage. She watched as Amon placed his hands on their heads and backs, making the benders' eyes roll back and faint on the floor. After each thud was a grand roar of applause and shouting, people exhilarated.
She couldn't believe this was happening. She heard from Korra that the only possible way of removing one's bending was through the Avatar, for she is the connection between the spirits and humans. But now, with Amon and his god-like powers, she didn't know what to think later on.
"C'mon Asami, there's steam from the machines." Naruto pointed to the rising smoke, where a small combustion took place and the crowd dispersed, screaming and running towards the exit. Both listened for something and sighed when Bolin's voice yelled out Mako.
"Let's get out of here." He secured one hand around her waist once more while Asami put one arm around his neck. They jumped into the dense fog and landed safely on their knees - mainly Naruto's though. She released her hold on the blond and carefully searched the perimeter, seeing if she could find the scarlet red scarf she's coming to like on her boyfriend.
"Naruto, go try to look for Korra. I think she was the one who destroyed the machines." She was already near the stage when she directed the order when suddenly a soldier came out, flipping over the stage, and landing right in front of her.
"Asami, you sure about that?!" Naruto could hear the soldier's soft landing and made a move to help her when he was suddenly blocked by a man with a pilot's hat on his head and two harpoon shooters on his back. "Really now? Do we have to go through this again?"
The man didn't respond to the question and brandished one of his weapons, aiming and then shooting the dangerous arrow at him. Jumping over it, Naruto quickly moved to the back of the man, using the fog as his disguise. He watched as the soldier looked around with his tinted goggles and made a move within a split second. He grabbed the other harpoon shooter and tear its harness from the man's back. Nudging the floor with his heel, a sharp edged rock spiraled upwards, and crushed the harpoon against the ceiling. In the meanwhile, when he let go of the weapon, he used both hands to wrap around the man's waist.
"Have a nice night!" Basically doing something that would hurt him later in the morning, Naruto leaned all the way back, bringing the man along and smashed his head against the floor. While Naruto was close to hitting his own head, he carefully released the body, and stood back up.
"Ouch," he rubbed his lower back, massaging the sore area. "This is not my day. Why must my life be like this?"
Seeing how the soldier wasn't going to stand anytime soon, he looked around and saw Asami was holding up on her end of the fight. He didn't want to go back on what he promised to the girl...
"I feel like I'm going to regret this." He took off to where he thought Mako and his brother dashed off to, leaving the scene entirely.
Asami saw the entire thing and focused back on her own fight.
She dodged to the right when her own opponent moved a fist out and then underneath, lashing out a punch at the soldier's solar plexus. The man moved back a little and rushed forward again, his fingers aimed for her shoulders and arms. Asami realized where he was going and slid underneath, kicking out with both feet, and making the soldier fall forward. As if he expected this, he somersaulted after she kicked, and got on a handstand, before standing upright.
She got up and put herself in a regulated stance, her fists separated by a few inches, and her face to the soldier. It was starting to get hot and the steam limited her vision. Asami inwardly cursed at the fact that she couldn't see the dark shadow that belonged to her adversary. She could feel her heart racing and her eyes looking everywhere. Then, she heard the rush of air behind her and she ducked underneath. A right hook popped out and she took the wrist, careful of the other one that was coming up. Immediately, she put most of her strength and overthrew the man. Hearing the sudden gasp that showed the man was out of breath momentarily made her grin in success.
Not letting go of the wrist she gripped, Asami attempted to fracture it with her right boot. But with strength that she didn't know about, the soldier let go and
It kept going on like this; the two dodging and trying to get a lucky hit on their opponent's body. Asami was starting to sweat, her tank top clinging on her body from the amount of perspiration. Her punching was going slower and missing more of the soldier as time passed, while he looked perfectly fine. She could only go on defense, dodging the pressure point hits and blocking the random kicks that the soldier threw. Moving farther away from the stage and going near where the destroyed machines were, she became distracted by several grunts that weren't from her.
Unfortunately, she was hit right between her shoulder and neck, making her arm limp. Gritting her teeth and trying not to let out a pained moan, Asami turned to the opposite direction and ran.
She felt exhausted, unwilling to do anything but sleep in the comfort of her bed. Her feet was dragging against the concrete floor and the fact that her arm wasn't moving made a discouraging impact on her motivation.
'But, I need to do this.' she thought, willing herself to go faster and eventually where she saw Korra enter. Not noticing the shadow behind her, she felt two painful cracks on her legs. Slipping on the floor, Asami fearfully looked at the soldier that was coming closer.
"Don't come any closer! Stop!"
The soldier that was coming ever so closely stopped abruptly. Letting out an unnoticed gasp, Asami crawled back a little when the man fell over, finding Korra with her forearm raised. "She said to stop."
"KORRA," the said winner hugged Asami tightly for a few seconds before releasing her. They examined the other, searching for any injuries on the body. Then, they burst out into laughter, due to the somewhat calm procedure that was occurring despite the fact they were in a battle zone.
"What're you doing there Asami? I thought you were meeting up with Naruto?" Korra asked her friend, remembering before she entered the building about her blond friend.
Asami finished her laughing and attempted to stand on her own. She held in a painful groan when she felt her two bone fragments shifting against the other. "I got worried about you guys and I needed someone to help me figure out what's going on. We found out you were here looking for Bolin and now we're here."
Korra helped her friend up, becoming a crutch for her. "Seriously? Then where's Naruto?"
Pointing to where Naruto went, Asami put most of her body weight on Korra, she couldn't deal with the immense pressure on her injury. "He went out to find Mako and his brother."
Still surprised with the fact of how a friend she only met for a day agreed to go on this kind of expedition for her and Mako. "Oh wow, let's head over-"
An explosion of flames and thrown debris made Korra form an earth tent at the split second, shielding both her and Asami from most of the impact.
"We need to help them!" Lifting the two earth walls for the tent, Korra moved it in front of them, thinking there was going to be more than just that.
"Okay, hold on tight to my shoulder!" Off they headed to the source of the explosion and possibly where they could also find Naruto and the others.
'Be safe Mako, Naruto, Bolin.'
***I wanted to add more in, but I feel like that's going to drag on. I didn't go over this for the second time just because I wanted to upload this chapter already. If there's any mistakes, please PM me.
****I know that I updated this story way too late, but Ii'm getting ready for this huge placement exam, and the other stories. So, I am greatly sorry for my actions. 죄송해요~