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Ask to Join Avatar: The Missing Avatar

Ahnah had seen someone get to The girl who tried to fight the flirt that declared himself leader. She then went to see how she could help.

"I'm a Healer from the Southern Water Tribe, let me help you with this girl." Ahnah responded to the guy, she had been keeping up with Akuma's help, "I can get Akuma to guard us while we work together."

Akuma had heard the command, and let Ahnah off, who kept with the guy and girl. He then went on guard, growling at the direction of whatever threat was after them, preparing to strike if anything got close.
Kreen has just been watching the situation with Yael in confusion, wondering why her Master would have gone and attacked everyone. The pink-haired girl was Master's friend, right? Then why did Master attack her pink-haired friend? It was just a jumble of chaos from what Kreen could tell, and she didn't even know which side she was meant to be on! I mean, why were bright blue flickers rising in the air. What was Master, white-haired guy, and black and green man doing? Did they just float off or something? It's easy to say that the snow leopard caribou was utterly confused. When her Master and the others went away, she decided to do something, rise to her massive hooves and head over to the dark-haired guy in armor.

Kreen looked at the man curiously, as if she were waiting for a command. Kreen had seen the Ostrich Horse running around helping, so maybe Kreen could help somehow. She sat down, shaking her little nub tail.
Koreal stiffened in the man's grip as he mentioned bringing her to her father. It was a promise she was fairly certain he wouldn't be able to follow through on, but it was still something she'd rather avoid. However, she soon found herself being gently put down on her feet. She felt her legs wobble slightly, but thanks to the man's hand on her shoulder keeping her steady, she maintained her balance without any real problems. She grimaced slightly as the man began to state his terms: letting her injuries be treated (that wasn't a problem, but could probably wait until she'd made sure her sister was safe), explaining who she was and what was happening in the clearing (more difficult, since she wasn't quite sure on the last half herself), and staying near the man. Nothing that was strictly unreasonable. She sighed, knowing it was more wise to simply comply in her current state.

"... Alright. First, I'll tell you my name, but I expect yours in return. I am Koreal, a-" she hesitated, and sighed. "I'm a warrior from a notable family in the Southern Water Tribe. In regards to the chaos, that's just what it is, as far as I'm concerned: Chaos. Our recently formed group was traveling out of Omashu and set up camp for the night, and just as it got dark some of our members came into the clearing acting a bit oddly and then started attacking. I'm honestly not sure what's happening, but if I had to hazard a guess, I'd say there's an angered spirit somewhere in the woods. It would explain the strange voices and spectral flames, at least."

She felt a trail of blood roll down her arm, and a droplet fall from her fingertips onto the forest floor below. She winced, looking away from the man's face for the first time since she'd begun speaking, and noticed the girl on the polar bear dog dismounting and again offering healing services. Given that both had stated their intention of treating her, Koreal was fairly certain they weren't going to let her go back until her wounds were at least cleaned and bandaged. She finally allowed herself to give up fully on that point. Looking back into the man's face, she continued.

"As to your other terms... I don't really have a choice. I doubt I'm actually going to bleed out, but honestly, the pain would be a bit distracting in a fight. Depending on what's required for the treatment, though, you might have to let her," she gestured to the water tribe girl who'd followed them, "handle parts of it." After all, given the location of her injuries, she wasn't entirely fond of the idea of a strange man, however well-intentioned, looking too intently around that area of her body. "Actually... if I have to stay here until my cuts get bandaged, maybe you could find my sister and make sure she's okay? If you're worried I might try and sneak back into the battle or something, you can always bring her straight back here. She's a water bender and might be able to help with healing. And it'd certainly help to know she's safe... Umm... anyways, if you could help me sit down, that would be good... yeah... maybe I should rest for a bit..."

The last words were slightly slurred. The adrenaline was wearing off somewhat, and her legs were beginning to shake. The pain was growing, and she couldn't keep lying to herself and saying her wounds weren't bad. "Heh. Some warrior I am..." she thought bitterly. "Can't even take on a clumsy swordsman without getting distracted and ending up injured... I mean, it's honestly lucky I'm even alive... maybe I should just..." her thoughts trailed off, and she swayed back and forth before letting her eyes fall shut.
The water around the lake begin to whirl lifting a woman up into the air and then crashing the entire whirlpool on to the shore where Luka and Tazia, creating a wave that would cover both of them. The splash removed the vapor and any of their simple tricks to try and avoid being detected, while at the same time, the ground they stood on turned to ice as the figure of a woman rushed past them quickly and moved towards the campsite.

Meanwhile at the camp, the three being manipulated finally fell to the ground. Fang gasped for air, as his limbs trembled and he tried to stand up. The blue fire around them stopped and vanished as an icy path connected to the camp. From it came in a woman with long black hair, tanned skin, blue hunting pants from the water tribe and a dark brown poncho over her torso. She had an angry look that seemed to pierce through anything she set her eyes on. She landed behind Fang and the others, raising her both hands over the earth bender as she forced him to stand up while his body twisted in uncomfortable ways.

From across the woman, a tall man with his black hair tied into a bum, white skin and dark brown eyes, stepped into the clearing, blue flames dancing over his right palm while he clenched his left fist. He was wearing a similar poncho to the woman, except his had dark red combat pants and boots from the fire nation. He looked upset, looking around at the group and was ready to start attacking.

"Leave now! We are tired of you chasing us, we will hide no longer!" The woman lifted Fang and the other two higher into the air, waking them up in the process. "If you want these three to remain alive, you will turn around and leave. We will release them upon morning."
Nina suddenly woke up, finding herself floating in the air with Yamato and flirt face floating next to her. Flirt face was being contorted in uncomfortable positions, which made Nina uncomfortable. It was strange... People's bodies were not meant to bend and move like that! And what if she was next to have that happen to her! Or one of her new friends! But Nina decided to fuel this fear into rage. Into pure boiling anger.

Nina's expression changed to look annoyed and mad... And oh, was she! Nina let out a shout of rage, saying, "EXCUSE ME!! WHAT DID WE DO!? WE WERE JUST GETTING READY TO CAMP FOR THE NIGHT, AND MR. FLIRT FACE OVER HERE JUST RAN OFF!!! I CAN GET GETTING MAD AT HIM, BUT WHAT IN THE AVATAR DID THE REST OF US DO?!" She took a deep breath, her face becoming slightly red from the anger she was feeling and all the yelling.

Nina continued, "WE DONT EVEN KNOW WHO YOU FREAKING ARE! BUT ALL I KNOW IS THAT YOU TWO ARE JUST SOME JERKS WHO THINK IT'S PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE TO GO AND ATTACK SOME RANDOM PEOPLE CAMPING!!!" Her voice had gotten much louder at the end, making her feel out of breath. She needed to breathe for a bit. Nina glared into the woman's eyes as she did so. Who the heck thought to go and do this to some people camping?! She was hating these random people now.

Meanwhile, Nina's pet snow leopard caribou Kreen was watching all this go down in wonder and annoyance. No one was allowed to attack her master! Kreen stood up, her nub tail twitching and her ears pinning back. She was beginning to snarl, her huge teeth showing, and she walked to the lady and stood next to her, just staring at her, waiting for Kreen's master to let her attack this lady.
Yamato's eyes began to open as he heard Nina screaming like a maniac as he saw he was floating in the air he quickly began to look around and found the one responsible for what was happening, he turned his attention towards Fang and gave him a death stare as he knew if Fang was peeping on this women they wouldn't be in this predicament.

No, forget about him for now, focus on a plan, something to get out of this situation, my body won't respond to what my brain is telling it to do. If I could just firebend or use one of my swords I could cut this women down! Maybe I could try and insult her? No that would making things worse.

Yamato kept thinking of some possible way to get out of this but he couldn't think of one that didn't result in him losing his life as a result.


Previously Creeps You Don’t Need It
The water around the lake begin to whirl lifting a woman up into the air and then crashing the entire whirlpool on to the shore where Luka and Tazia, creating a wave that would cover both of them. The splash removed the vapor and any of their simple tricks to try and avoid being detected, while at the same time, the ground they stood on turned to ice as the figure of a woman rushed past them quickly and moved towards the campsite.

Meanwhile at the camp, the three being manipulated finally fell to the ground. Fang gasped for air, as his limbs trembled and he tried to stand up. The blue fire around them stopped and vanished as an icy path connected to the camp. From it came in a woman with long black hair, tanned skin, blue hunting pants from the water tribe and a dark brown poncho over her torso. She had an angry look that seemed to pierce through anything she set her eyes on. She landed behind Fang and the others, raising her both hands over the earth bender as she forced him to stand up while his body twisted in uncomfortable ways.

From across the woman, a tall man with his black hair tied into a bum, white skin and dark brown eyes, stepped into the clearing, blue flames dancing over his right palm while he clenched his left fist. He was wearing a similar poncho to the woman, except his had dark red combat pants and boots from the fire nation. He looked upset, looking around at the group and was ready to start attacking.

"Leave now! We are tired of you chasing us, we will hide no longer!" The woman lifted Fang and the other two higher into the air, waking them up in the process. "If you want these three to remain alive, you will turn around and leave. We will release them upon morning."
Waking up from the brief moment of unconscious Luka rubbed his head. Groaning he stood up, barley able to remember what had just happened. Looking around he spotted the icy walkway connected to the lake he had just arrived at. Taking his hand off of his head he finally was able to recollect his thoughts. It seemed like Luka’s theory was correct; whatever has been controlling their prior combatants had indeed been at the lake. On top of this the thing doing this seemed to be a person, maybe a human. Whoever it was definitely had water bending and a decent level of that. They were able to bend water, ice, and steam at the same moment. Large quantities of all as well. Maybe water bending somehow related to how the kids were all being controlled. Bodies are filled with a type of water after all.. But for now it didn’t matter. The longer the tanned man remained here the more danger this group would fall into. Looking over to the pink haired girl a hard decision donned on him. Leave her and make his way back to attempt to deal with the watery-woman, putting the hot head in danger of incoming reinforcements. Or stay here to protect her while leaving the others to defend themselves from the incoming mastermind. Stopping for a moment Luka scanned his surroundings, what he would usually do to calm himself and attempt to make sense of the situation. Wet grass and dirt, trees and shrubs around 15-16 ft. away, the large lake, and an icy path steering off back to the camp. An idea appeared in the warrior’s head. If this lady was able to use the ice as skates to skip by, why couldn’t he? Doing so would greatly increase his speed allowing him to arrive sooner. And with this he could surely pick up Tazia, asscoritng her and himself over there. Picking her up he ran over to the icy trail. Slowly getting into it he slid around for a bit. About to fall the brown haired boy caught himself. Sighing he stood back up. Planting his feet onto the ice he took a deep breath in. Closing his eyes he pictured himself, more specifically his lower half. Slowly Luka bended the ice up his legs. Stopping at a halfway point on the shin. Moving his legs slowly it seemed to work. Leaning forward a bit he opened his eyes. Bracing himself he pushed off and zoomed ahead. Very similar to ice skating the water tribe man pumped his legs. Sliding a leg forward before thrusting it back while moving the other one forward. His long brown hair flowing in the humid night’s wind. Getting closer at a rapid pace Luka continued. Seeing the woman the boy came to a halt. Setting the pink haired girl down to the side of him, resting her against the path’s edge. She was at least safe here. Looking back to the woman he yelled out.

“Hey! Quit chasing after punks like the ones at the camp. They’re strong but they lack the experience of a warrior like you. In this world the strong will live and the weak will die, that’s the law. But right now what you’re doing is messing with that law. You’re interfering in the birth of those will be strong. So turn around and fight me alright. Based on what you’ve done, pushing me and this girl away, as well as running. You’re not part of those who will live, and you’re not part of those who will die. You’re just like me. You’re always on the verge of death. We’re those who are climbing the peak. The peak of survival. So come on.”
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Previously Night's Shadow
Tazia spluttered for air, spitting water out of her mouth after being well and fully doused with more water than she usually showered in over a cumulative period of two months. Before she could regain her bearings, though, she felt herself being lifted off her feet. Memories of being hefted and thrown violently with blasts of fire flashed into Tazia’s mind, and she immediately began to struggle, trying to nail her attacker in the head with an elbow. It took her a few seconds to realize her actual situation, after which she refrained from most physical thrashing, instead opting to let loose several long strings of curses and death threats.

“Put me down, goddamnit!” Tazia growled, halfheartedly shoving an elbow into Luka’s throat as she flung soaked strands of strawberry blond hair out of her eyes. “I can’t dry off in your flammable arms!” She swatted at Luka’s back, but only managed to get her hand tangled in his shaggy brown mane. She shook it free in disgust and waited petulantly to be let down. Technically, she could have burned her way out of his grasp, but she grudgingly admitted to herself that injuring allies was not in her best interests. As long as his hands didn’t touch anything they shouldn’t, she’d refrain from skinning him alive.

The girl turned her attention to the pair of strangers upon being released and backing up a few steps. Tazia regarded them carefully as she considered her words. After a moment of silence, she decided on: “Fifty gold it’s Fang’s fault.” She rubbed her nose in exasperation. “Also, your people skills need work. All y’all!” Her frustration was comical. “You!” She pointed at Fang. “Get your half-braincell out of the gutter and try thinking of something other than women! You!” She pointed at the two strangers. “Stop attacking random people who didn’t do shit to you! You!” Her finger wavered between Nina, Yamato, and Luka before falling back to her side in defeat. “Actually, you guys are pretty chill. But still…” Tazia let out a heavy sigh, abandoning the conversation in favor of self-directed mutterings.

“This is way above my pay grade,” she grumbled to Yael as the tigerdillo came up behind her. “None of us have any reason to trust each other, so we’ll probably end up having glaring contests and ego puncturing until one group gets bored and leaves.” Yael whined in agreement, and she stroked the shell on his head, half-sitting on his back. “Guess we better get settled in for the long haul.”
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Fang decided to just hang there, literally as he saw others trying to communicate with the attackers. Even his catbear, who was peeking from within his shirt, just hung on with his partner.

"Okay, first of all, why am I being blamed?" He said while looking around. "All I did was go scout around for a bit and I happened to find this woman in the lake, I had no idea she was there, I was as surprised as you guys were. Also, I didn't ask these two..." He signaled with his eyes to Nina and Yamato, "To follow me, they did so on their own. Not my fault that girl needs to know where I am all the time, suspicious if you ask me."


Once again the three held hostage were raised up, even higher, except they weren't the only ones. The two who had followed the lady into came became victims as well, as she moved her left hand and pointed at them, their bodies became caught under her possession and Luka and Tazia were now being raised into the air.

"We will not fall for your lies and tricks again. We've had enough of you trying to take us in, why can't we just be left alone?!" The woman began to clench her fist, causing the ones being held in the air to start twisting and moving in painful ways.

Meanwhile the man in front of the woman with the blue flames took a fighting stance. "Again, leave now and we will release them in the morning." He aimed his left fist at Yamato. "Fight us and they die."
Nina stared at the lady, glaring daggers at her, then quickly, seeing Kreen, and said quietly, "No, Kreen. Stop that go keep others away." The animal understood the command and ran off quickly into the forest crushing small plants and bushes under her hooves.

Nina was now trying to keep her cool, but it was very difficult. Until she saw Tazia, and a grin spread across her face. Tazia will get us out of this! Somehow... She thought, but Nina slightly doubted this. Tazia seemed like a fight first, ask questions later kind of person. "Hey," Nina said calmly to Tazia, but she was very excited to see her friend was here. And then that melted away as fast as ice being melted by fire. She had heard Fang... speak. And soon enough, she was pissed again!

"ITS YOUR FAULT BECAUSE YOU'RE A HORRIBLE LEADER! DO YOU EVEN KNOW THE FIRST THING ABOUT BEING ONE?!" Nina's face had become red with rage again, and she wanted to hit someone! Fang kept talking and having a huge ego- "EXCUSE US FOR TRYING TO MAKE SURE YOU DIDN'T DO SOMETHING STUPID! WHICH YOU DID! AND IT WASN'T MY IDEA! IT WAS YAMATO HERE!" She gestured to Yamato with her eyes.

Nina was about to say something else when the woman spoke again and lifted Tazia and the man with the mane of hair into the air. Well, there goes our chance of them saving us. Nina thought, wishing she could cross her arms. "AGAIN. WE HAVE NO IDEA WHO, IN THE NAME OF THE AVATAR. YOU. ARE." She screamed at the water bender and fire bender, "JUST LET US GO, AND I'M SURE WE WILL GLADLY RUN AWAY FROM YOU CRAZY PEOP-" The yell was cut off as Nina let out a screech of pain as she twisted into a very painful position.


Previously Night's Shadow
Tazia had just resigned herself to shutting up until the fireworks started when she felt herself suddenly lifted by an invisible force. She made a noise of surprise, grasping for the nearest tree branch before her body twisted away of its own accord. Yael yowled, startled, as his master was heaved from his side. A string of profanities tore out of Tazia’s mouth as she struggled against the oppressive invisible hold. Harmless bursts of fire flickered from the corners of her foul mouth and from within her clenched fists.

“Listen to me, you pair of steaming, half-liquified eel hound turds—” Tazia’s verbal onslaught was interrupted by a violent cracking sound from her spine. The semi-coherent insults quickly changed to more profanities followed by a forced laugh when the pain in her spine dwindled, body contorting in a somewhat more achievable position. “This amateur chiropractic is absolute bullshit, I barely felt anything from that adjustm— hrrkk—!” Her teeth snapped together to stifle a cry of pain as her leg curled around her shoulder in an unnatural position. Yael, concerned for his master and furious with the strangers, took a step forward, growling. “Stay!” Tazia snapped, more out of worry for her friend and self-directed irritation that she couldn’t figure a way out of this than anger. The tigerdillo complied immediately, dropping into a submissive stance.

As Tazia twisted in the air, she managed to lock her gaze on the woman controlling the bodies of the five in the air. She glared daggers at their captor. “I swear to the Avatar,” Tazia began, slowly, deliberately, “that if your damn voodoo or whatever the hell you’re doing… rips my favorite pants… I will slam you so hard into last Tuesday your past self will commit suicide. Shi-i-i-i-it!” She felt fairly sure she was two inches taller purely from her vertebrae being pulled apart. “Damn it all.”
Yamato looked directly at Fang as he started speaking and wanted to strangle him to death as he spoke, Yamato hated how he tried to shift the blame on them when he was the one who left the group in the first place.

"I swear, I should've just minded my own damn business, instead of following you to make sure you weren't up to anything suspicious!"

Yamato felt his body twist and move in a painful way, but he didn't scream him simply gritted his teeth and bared the pain, he then saw the fire bender aim his fist at him and Yamato began to give him a deathly glare.

Damn it, I feel so useless, this is so humiliating.
Kerrora didn't know how or why everything started to descend into chaos. It just did.

At first, she was doing as Fang asked the Water Benders to do, gather water. She was angered that he did the exact opposite of what a true leader would do, but she wouldn't rebel yet. She didn't have the support needed to pull off a successful rebellion in a way that would honor her clan. More than likely it would descend into everyone else fighting over who would actually lead them. Though, at this point, she suspected anyone could lead better than that incompetent mess. She was so focused on her thoughts, that she didn't notice that Fang had leaped in to attack her, Koreal pushing her out of the way before she could get harmed.

The younger sister stood there, hand over her mouth. She couldn't do anything, only stand there. What was wrong with her?! All she could do was stare at the wound Koreal got, tears forming in her eyes. Koreal wasn't dead, yet, but she got a serious wound because of her! Because she wasn't paying attention! She partially went to help protect her sister, but she only got her hurt! The reality of the situation set in around Kerrora. This wasn't like training, this was real. Fang, someone they thought they wanted her dead. For some reason, even after this realization, she couldn't move. She couldn't move.

Koreal fought with Fang, and Kerrora watched. How could Koreal fight? How? How?! HOW?! She could die! But then she noticed how her sister fought. How brave she was. How she still fought even when her opponent was supposedly a good swordsman and someone that had betrayed them. But at the same time, he was moving unnaturally. Too rigid to be skilled in the blade like she first assumed. She suddenly felt her fears drift away into nothingness as confidence filled her. She could do this! She could help her sister! Her hand made it to her waterskin, the water following her hand as she unfastened the cap.

Waterbending is a graceful art, versatile as well. A waterbender could create massive things of fog, hiding their team and themselves from danger. They could also heal those injured. Finally, they could use lethal force with icicle shards. Truly the most versatile of the four bending styles. In Kerrora's case, she had to use non-lethal force against someone. Using her training, she went in a motion she had practiced thousands of times before, trying to hit Fang with a stream of water.

It missed.

It didn't just miss, Fang was dragged away like a puppet on a string and Koreal was injured even more. Kerrora started to shudder at the sight, the water splattering on the ground. Before she hadn't noticed the blue flames surrounding them, but now they were trapped in a huge ring of fire, the blue flames spinning rapidly. Voices called out to them, frightening Kerrora even more. What was happening? Why was this happening?! Their blood was going to be on their hands?! Fire, she could handle. Fights, she could handle. Ghosts though?! She shrieked, her fears once again consuming her. How was she supposed to face ghosts?! She firmly believed that they should just leave, but she didn't know how to voice this, and she didn't exactly want to abandon these people. Sure, they're strangers, but she didn't want to abandon someone to their demise.

Then, the trio flew up into the air. It had to be ghosts! They were possessed! Her heart beat rapidly, as if the blood-pumping muscle was trying to bust its way out of her chest. Her hand laid on her chest as the fire grew to be wilder and began trapping them in a circle. She took a step back, trying to grab Koreal's hand for comfort. However, she was suddenly taken by a strange man, the man running off with her sister. "Hey! Wait! You can't take my sister!" She ran after them, trying to catch up. However, the fire quickly shut her inside, with Koreal and her sister's kidnapper on the other side. She tried to bend some water from her waterskin, but there was none left, the ground eating it all up. There was no way she could handle the flames. She was trapped in here, and she let her sister down.

She let Koreal down.

That was an undeniable truth. She could've done more! She said she wanted to help her sister when she first joined her, and she was nothing more than some heavy-weight. She caused her sister to be injured, and now she was kidnapped because of her. Tears started to fill her eyes. She did not help at all. She didn't help at all. She didn't help at all! SHE DIDN'T HELP AT ALL! SHEDIDN'THELPATALL!

Her thoughts were only interrupted once the firebender and the waterbender showed up. The trio now in agonizing positions made her blood run cold. She was absolutely speechless, but the others in the group were furious. After several angry shouts, two more joined the trio. Death would follow if they fought. She couldn't allow that. She just couldn't! "We should just leave!" She shouted to the others, hoping they would listen. "Even if they don't uphold their promise, it's better than the certain death they all will face if we refused to leave and fought." She knew no one was going to listen to her though. However, it would be best if they did leave.


Previously Creeps You Don’t Need It
This whole situation was strange to say the least. It seemed like almost everybody had lost track of what was going on. Though right now wasn’t a time to stop and think. Luka was on edge. Water and ice contorted into various weapons as they surrounded him. Even though he was alert something seemed to slip by him. As his slowly started to lift into the air Luka looked down. Was this some sort of sacred air bending technique? Looking around the tanned warrior spotted the lady of the lake as she slowly moved her hands. Damnit, it seemed like his efforts had been useless. His body continued to rise and slowly, like the water that had once been under his control, started to contort. His arm bending in a strange position as the fingers on it seemed to follow. It seemed as if he had no control over his body anymore. Using some of the remaining strength he had left he moved his eyes around the darkened field. While he couldn’t make out much he could tell from the loud groans and other floating figures that the same was happening to everyone else.

“Remain calm! There’s a way out of this, a simple one. Just think. Think.”

The first lie Luka had told these people. The truth was; he had no idea what to do. Ever since stumbling across these people with the help of the white haired kid almost everything seemed to clash against him. Within minutes of his arrival an all out war starts right in front of him. And for no reason at all he decides to help. Which only ended up digging them all deeper and wasting their time. If he hadn’t entered this forest would this have turned out better? Who knows. These people were offering help. The first signs of advancement towards his goal in years was made in a night. Sure, the woman’s offer was tempting. To escape con free after all of this would be a blessing. But you learn something while you grow. The world is cruel, blessings and gifts don’t come for free. Surely there was another trick or a last surprise up this bender’s sleeve. So no matter what happened Luka could not back down. His chances of making in out alive happy were already low, what was the point? You can risk everything when you have, well, nothing. Using the last of his strength he yelled out as loud as he could, though it was only barley loud enough to be heard by even himself at this point.

“Fight this son of a bitch! If she’s what we think she is she’s only letting us go because she’s on a time crunch. Once that moon is back down and the sun has risen once more she’ll have mo choice but to flee herself. So just kill her.”
Nina was in lots of pain. Too much pain. At least that was what she thought! Nina was not naturally the most flexible person in the world. Sure, she was a bit flexible, but there were people much more flexible than her, such as her brother! Her brother was super flexible. He could lay down and bring his feet right next to his head! He was amazing. But all Nina could do was do a full split, which was pretty cool! But that kind of flexibility would in no way help with this! Sure, Nina had done exercises to help with being flexible, but do you seriously think that would help with this?

Nina felt one of her legs rise up behind her head. Nina tried let to let out a small screech, but she did. She. Hated. This! She wished she could just hit this lady in the face. Still, Nina knew. First, she would need to get free of this, and then she would also have to except she would cause everyone to die. She was not planning on letting Tazia and her new friend Yamato die.

"Remain calm! There's a way out of this, a simple one. Just think. think."

Nina heard the guy with the messy mane of hair say and was completely confused. "WELL, IF IT'S SO SIMPLE, HOW ABOUT YOU EXPLAIN IT TO US!?!" Nina screamed at him. Nina was in a very, very bad mood. One she was floating in the air, being contorted into poses she could not do without feeling pain! And second of all, she was very pissed at Fang and these two random crazy people!

"Fight this son of a bitch! If she's what we think she is, she's only letting us go because she's on a time crunch. Once that moon is back down and the sun has risen once more, she'll have no choice but to flee herself. So just kill her."

Nina's head whipped around at the perfect time from the poses she was supposed to do. "WHAT DO YOU MEAN FIGHT THEM? WE WOULD FREAKING DIE IF WE TRIED. ARE YOU SURE YOU AREN'T INSANE?!? DO YOU WANT US ALL TO DIE? ALSO, WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY "WHAT WE THINK SHE IS"? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT??? WHAT ELSE COULD SHE BE OTHER THAN A WATER BENDER???" Nina yelled at him in annoyance and pain. She took a deep breath and screamed again, "OKAY, SO WE ARE STRONGER WHEN THE MOON IS FULL. HOW IS THAT SUPPOSED TO DO WITH WHAT IS GOING ON?! WE ARE NOT KILLING THESE PEOPLE! I WOULD RATHER US NOT DIE!!!!" Nina took another deep breath, trying to catch her breath from all that screaming.

Nina just wanted a break. She just wanted to sleep now. She was so tired, and in so much pain she just wanted to rest and sleep. Trying not to lose her breath again, she simply squeaked out, "If we somehow survive this, can we please sleep and rest..." Nina quickly caught her breath again. She was so tired...


Previously Night's Shadow
“Maybe try: SHUT UP?!” Tazia roared. When quiet was more or less established, she continued, only using enough volume that everyone would be able to hear, not yelling— for once. “There’s this stuff between your ears, it’s gray and bloody and generally denotes thinking? Let’s try to use it, please, because I think Yamato wants to keep his gray matter firmly within his skull and not burned to a crisp.” Tazia spat blood onto the ground, trying to get rid of the coppery taste from an earlier time when she bit down on the inside of her cheek to stop from crying out.

The girl licked her lips, pausing for a second as she considered her words. Insults wouldn’t convince anyone of anything. “The waterbender chick is right. Kerr… Kerror…a? Something like that. Think about it— you really think we can stall for the… I dunno, probably six hours? until sunrise, without getting turned into charcoal by Mister Blue Fire? Give the bastard five seconds and some motivation and BOOM. We’re all dead, the end. Thanks for coming, folks, show’s over. Can’t fight for shit when we’re held up like taxidermied trophies— we’d be leaving the others to fend for themselves against clearly very skilled opponents. Yamato, at least, should know the kind of training it takes to manipulate blue fire. Just leave. LEAVE!” Her voice echoed across he clearing, addressing the people who were still free. And we’ll have a much better chance of escape if the enemy ever lets their guard down— they can’t hold us like this for the rest of the night, right? First chance we get, we’re bolting.

Then Tazia’s eyes rolled around, searching, to fix on the enemy firebender. “You. Blue Fire bastard. If it comes down to it, kill me first. The smell of burning flesh puts me off— it’s not what I want to be smelling in my last moments.” And maybe it would give everyone else time to escape— wait! I should have told him to kill Fang first. Dammit. Too late to take it back, though. Fine. Doesn’t matter what they think, anyway.
"The quality of the soldiers they send after us just keeps getting worse." The lady looked at her partner across from her and the hostages. She was focused on her victims, but she seemed to want to laugh at her own comment while waiting on a reply from the blue fire bender.

"Now that I look around..." The man gave the campsite a quick look and then at the strangers around him. "I don't think these are soldiers."

The woman look confused and raised the five under her control even higher so she could take a better look at everything else, like lifting a curtain. "They have pretended to be citizens before." She lowered the five captives again, easing on their twisting and just forcing them to float without being able to move.

"Right, but they seem really unprepared for us. The crazy hair one seems to think the moon has something to do with this, the first one you captured was unarmed when he found you and they sent fire benders. That doesn't make any sense."

"Hmmmmm." The lady clenched her fists a bit, causing the five hostages to stand straight with their arms tucked to their sides. "Fine." She expanded her fingers, sending the ones under her control flying forward and being released from her grasps. "If anyone attempts something, I won't be holding hostages this time." She turned around, ready to leave with the man following behind her, when Fang, who was on the ground, raised his right hand, reaching for her.

"Wait!" he called out and waited for the lady to turn around and face him. "Go out with me!"

The lady seemed shocked at first and then giggled, her violent nature completely disappearing completely. The man next to her chuckled also as he placed his hand on the lady's shoulder. "Sorry but she is already taken."

"That's okay, I got some good water benders in my group also." Fang looked at the water tribe sisters and winked.
Nina would typically have been mad at being told she was a lousy soldier. But by now, she was so tired she wasn't going to waste her energy on welling or even being mad at the lady. She just listened to the two realize they weren't soldiers going to hunt them down or whatever. Nina was lifted higher in the air and watched as the lady scanned the camp they had prepared, clearly realizing the two huge mistakes.

Then Nina suddenly stood straight in the air, being lowered back to where they had been floating before. As soon as that happened, it felt like she was falling, and she quickly put her arms out so as not to faceplant into the ground. Which Nina was successful in. She landed on the ground, caught herself with her arms, and promptly collapsed onto the ground lying there to catch her breath.

Nina turned her head slightly to look at Tazia and Yamato, "Taz and Tomato want to beat the snot out of Flirty Face after we get some rest... Also, you two have nicknames now, and no, I will not change them unless I find something better..." Nina then let out a whistle, then placed her face on the ground and let out a big groan from how tired she felt. Heck, she was so tired she didn't yell at Fang for asking the lady who just tried to kill them to go out with him!

Kreen's snow leopard caribou ears quickly were pricked at the small whistle and rushed over to her owner, crushing a few bushes on her way again. The beast let out a purr and then sat down next to Nina. The creature pressed her nose against Nina's side comfortingly.
As Koreal's world went black, Soro guided the poor girl's fall so that her head would come to rest gently on his chest, quietly wrapping his arms about her as to prevent a fall to either side. He held her for a pause as he processed her words from a moment before, his mind ran as a trickle of her blood began to stain his cloak but went ignored.

"Koreal", Soro whispered with a soft tenderness, righting the girl before picking her up once more, "You surprised me. You claim to be from the Southern Water Tribe, yet you have a burning fire in your eyes." He made way towards the self-proclaimed healer who had approached before, setting Koreal slowly and evenly upon a bed of soft-looking foilage on the forest floor. He stood up and slid his arms from his cloak, crouching back down to lay the black raiment across her as a form of makeshift blanket.

"I trust you healer, protect this woman."

And with one more lingering glance, Soro faded back into the forest line.


It took Soro a moment before he came to the realization that he would not have to carry another girl away into the depths of the forest - a change of pace Soro was rather grateful for. The chaos had seemingly settled down somewhat and he had quickly located who he assumed to be Koreal's sister. Figuring Koreal would want to be with her own sibling, he elected to head back to Koreal and return her to the clearing.

After a great many thanks to the healer for what he assumed was adequate healing, Soro carried Koreal back to the clearing after bandaging the remains of her wounds with strips torn from his robe and wrapping her in his cloak. Arriving, he approached Koreal's sister before laying Koreal down for a final time that night, sitting down himself so to have her head resting on him as to keep her wound elevated and off the ground.

Unaware of the events around him, he turned towards the sister, he quietly spoke.

"There's no need to cry, your sister has the heart of a warrior. Warriors like her only die when they want to."
Some days earlier

Minxiu laid on her side amidst a large and varied selections of cushions and pillows that were around and under her. She was lounging in a pagoda styled gazebo over the water garden on her family’s estate. The sun was mild and the large schools of koi in the water reflected the calm and tranquil of the grounds, a gentle breeze washed over the lands rustling trees, bushes, and sending waves across the grass. Minxiu gazed lazily at the book on the pillow plopped open in front of her, a book of fairy tales and short stories. The silence of the area occasionally broken by a disturbance of the large koi moving in the water or occasional turtle duck flocks passing by, all were welcome sounds for Minxiu, it wasn’t often that she had time to be away from Dai Li headquarters and the Royal Palace, a chance to be home was an opportunity she took whenever possible. Her servant, or one of the family servants, was sitting nearby idly waiting. Minxiu’s mother was not home at the moment, away at the Fancy Lady Day Spa, and her father was still busy with his Dai Li duties, something Minxiu was all too familiar with.

There has been great debates among the Dai Li leadership about the significance of the rumors of the Avatar sightings and the involvement of the Avatar’s Disciples. As a result it had been a major headache to keep the information contained and at the moment, out of the upper ring of Ba Sing Se, while suppressing the rumors as much as possible within the outer rings, the last thing the city needed was a large influx of adventurers and fame chasers to the city to disrupt the peace. But why would the Avatar’s return be a bad thing?

The peace was broken by a rustle of leaves and footsteps. Something the caught Minxiu’s attention almost instantly, her heightened awareness was just something she couldn’t turn off in her mind no matter how hard she tried. She sat up more proper to see whoever it was that was coming brushing several locks of her hair behind her ear, she didn’t bother to braid up her hair today it was one of the reasons why she was outside to begin with air drying it naturally after she had washed it. It was mostly dry now if not completely, she had lost track of just how long she had been at the gazebo, glancing at the servant present who was fighting against sleep, it had definitely been a while. She stood up and stretched, reaching for the sky and shifting her weight from side to side revealing her midriff, despite being lean and lithe, Minxiu had a certain level of visible muscle tone from her physical training a combination of martial arts and Earth Bending.

Currently Minxiu was not exactly dressed to meet anyone, she was wearing a simple pair of white baggy harem pants decorated with lines of glistening gold, violet and black and a simple white and blue trimmed diamond shaped dudou that tied around her neck and around her side, it was something that looked more like glorified underwear than actual clothing. The thought of getting attacked was laughable, to be attacked in Ba Sing Se’s inner ring would be nearly impossible, and for them to attack the home of a highly ranked Dai Li officer, Minxiu was looking forward to it, but it was just her mother who had returned and was looking for her.

“Minnie dear, you really shouldn’t be out here dressed like that. It’s not becoming of you.” Minxiu’s mother remarked crossing the second bridge that led to the gazebo. Minxiu attending servant snapped to attention and bowed deeply as she approached. Her mother was a beautiful woman and still is. ‘The most pure and stunning lotus in the pond’ was the words that Minxiu’s father had used to describe her. Minxiu had inherited her mother’s beauty, something that she had used to her advantage many times when force was not the best option, she knew the importance of utilizing all the advantages she was born with, and her looks was definitely an asset, her uniquely ice blue eyes, on the other hand in the Earth Kingdom, was something that made her memorable to people, and since her job required a certain level of anonymity, it was less so an asset, though passing as someone from one of the water tribes would be easy though her complexion was not quite dark enough.

Minxiu shrugged in response shaking out her body then helping her mother up the stairs to the gazebo. “I’m not too concerned with how I am dressed in our own house, it feels nice to be out of my robes one in a while you know?” Minxiu took a seat opposite of her, “So how was the spa?”

“Oh it was fantastic, you should have come with me, you would have had a great time, and their mud baths and seaweed wrap treatments are the absolute best.” Her mother said animatedly. She did look great, even better than she normally did. She took out a small parcel and unfolded on the small table between them, it was packed with the signature icon of the Jasmine Dragon, it was a small simple box that contained two drinks, her mother taking one and sipping on it happily.

“I would love to go next time when I have time off, it’s just that this time my leave was short and I’d rather just relax at home.” Minxiu said taking the other beverage, a brew of tea she always enjoyed named the White Lotus Tile.

For a while the two just sat there enjoying each other’s company catching up with gossip and other happenings around the royal court, being a Dai Li Minxiu overhears and knows a lot of things that the nobles and other common folks would drool over, but for her it was simply part of her job to sort through all the chatter and determine what would be potentially dangerous to the state and to the King and what’s just rumor and pointless nobility talk.

Their conversation came to an end when Minxiu’s mother reached into the sleeve of her robes once more and took out a letter stamped with the all too familiar seal of the Dai Li. She slid it across the table to Minxiu with a frown, “Delivered to me by Agent Xiao Hao on my way back home. Hope it’s nothing to major….”

Minxiu picked up the letter and taking a small knife from the servant next to her and cutting it open with a single cut before handing it back.

Special Agent Minxiu, we regret and are deeply sorry to inform you that your scheduled leave has been shortened, please report to Force Commander Jin at your earliest convince.

Minxiu sighed, a short note, didn’t really need a letter let alone bothering her mother to deliver it. A home visit from an agent or messenger hawk would have been enough. “Well, duty calls mom. Leave’s been cut short, they want me reporting back as soon as possible.”

“It is what it is, report tomorrow, you are staying for dinner.” Minxiu’s mother said getting up and headed back to the main house, the servant following behind her. Her words were an order not a request, and Minxiu knew better than to disobey her mom. A woman who commanded the respect and adoration of Minxiu’s father was not to be trifled with.

Next day

Minxiu woke up early in the morning, going through her morning routine before getting dressed in her Dai Li uniform minus her hat. She had just finished combing out her extremely long hair and was now being braided into a single braid, her hair was divided and held by shards of small polished black rocks three for each, nine in total. Minxiu held her hand casually in front of her palm up fingers flexing, curling, and unfurling in unison with how the rocks held her hair and braided it, she was exerting a very precise and controlled touch to earth bending rarely seen or even practiced among earth benders. Not many see the use or need for it since earth bending by nature was always a display of determination and power, but Minxiu disagreed she, believed to bend and control an element to perfection required mastery of both the precise and light, to the bold and powerful, a balance to the spectrum of bending, one side of which too many earth benders ignore.

She sat and ate the family dining table, a simple meal of rice with braised pork, eggs, and a side of sweet and sour picked cabbage. Her mother had already eaten by the time Minxiu sat down and was not in the kitchens talking to the chefs about one thing or another. Minxiu finished her meal at the same time as she finished braiding her hair tying it off with a sharpened glowing green crystal that resembled a spear tip. Her hair braid was quite a bit longer than the traditional Dai Li hair braids that the men have, hanging past her buttocks, but she was not a man, and her hair braid had been more than useful in several altercations.

The nine small black pebbles that held her hair returned to her fist as she took out a small brown pouch and she slid them inside before tightening the draw string and replacing it into her robes. “Alright, I’m heading out.” Minxiu called out taking her hat from a nearby servant that held it at the ready. Her Dai Li douli was also slightly different than normal, being a bit larger to cover more of her face, her eyes mainly, and it sported a longer green tassel than normal. Spinning the hat once around in-between her hands she put it on, affixed the chinstrap, and headed out the door after getting a goodbye kiss from her mom.

Minxiu clasped her hands behind her and with a single leap from the middle of the courtyard from her home. A small pillar of earth propelled her high into the air before receding back into the ground. She landed soundlessly several yards outside the front of the family estate startling several pedestrians at the sudden appearance of a Dai Li. Many of them quickly went about their business straying away from her, some even moved purposefully out of her way as she began to make her way towards the palace, hiding away and shushing young children. She was proud to be a Dai Li to follow in her father’s footsteps and in some ways she even surpassed him, but she hated the way she was perceived by the public. Minxiu understood why but it still bothered her. To the public it seemed like the appearance of Dai Li agents heralded something bad, but who can blame them. When Dai Li agents show up in public places most of the time someone or a group of people are taken away, and to their knowledge are never seen again.

“Minxiu, thank you for coming on such short notice.” Jin said from behind his desk, the middle aged man was processing piles and piles of paper work. His hat on the same desk off to the side. The desk itself was carved from beautiful dark wood embroidered with gold that glistened in the firelight of the hearth in his office. This was a familiar sight Minxiu sometimes walked in on her father doing at home. Despite his age Jin had sharp features with a neatly trimmed beard neatly outlining his jawline and chin. A scar across his right cheek from his earlier years of service. His skin was a much darker tan and his eyes a deep green hardened with experience yet a gentle understanding when needed.

“What needs to be done?” Minxiu asked not looking up, she stood in front of him opposite the desk, her hand clasped in front of her, the sleeves connecting in the front and her hat hiding most of her face. She had known Force Commander Jin most of her life, he had overseen most of her training since she began training at ten years old despite the standard age being thirteen, her father had pulled strings to get her started early. Minxiu didn’t quite understand why at the time other than resenting him at the time for it and experiencing hardships that no child ever should, but now in hindsight, she was glad and grateful he did.

“Our intelligence officers in Omashu has reported back and it’s… troubling….”


“Rumors of the Avatar’s reappearance seems to have perpetuated throughout Omashu without much control leading us to suspect King Bumi is in support of the news, he was a close friend to Avatar Aang. We have not disclosed this information to King Kuei yet as we don’t fully understand the political context or situation of Omashu at the moment and do not see it fit to trouble the King with this news. At the same time our agents in Omashu are treading as light as possible to avoid political discourse in case things take a turn for the worst and we stumble on a bigger conspiracy or worse, treasonous plots.” Jin shuffled and moved some papers around on his desk, looking for a particular one.

Luckily Minxiu’s had was covering most of her face as she was completely confused, why would the reappearance of the Avatar be a bad thing? Jin is making it sound like it would cause a major problem for Ba Sing Se, but Minxiu held her tongue and remained quiet, waiting.

“Here,” Jin handed Minxiu a neatly folded paper, “These are orders to go to Omashu. An eel hound is being prepped as we speak. Once you’re there make contact with the Dai Li agents there and assist them.”

Minxiu took the paper and slid it into the sleeve, “Was there no one else that could do this?”

Jin sighed and smiled, “Sadly you are what is needed for the situation, based on the intelligence a more… finesse hand may be needed.”

“Is there anyone else that will be coming with me?” Minxiu asked.

“No, it’s a bit unorthodox, but you’ll be alone for this.”

Minxiu nodded and headed out of the office. She never really liked working with another agent too much but she did what she had to. Her particular fighting and bending style along with her training made her more suited to be a solo agent with support backup rather than a pair fighting alongside someone else. Minxiu was looking forward to traveling, she hadn’t been out of Ba Sing Se in a long time she had never needed to. Leaving the Dai Li headquarters she headed to the nearby monorail. Again she received several dodgy glances from the civilians in the area, the guards parted and stay out of her way as she passed looking nervous and more at attention then what was probably necessary.

Wherever she or Dai Li agents went the atmosphere always seemed to be tenser, it was just something that Minxiu had to deal with. She didn’t revel in it like some of her compatriots did, instead she felt melancholy it was like she was two different people when she was on duty and when she was off. She sighed deeply as she waited by the train platform, standing by a bench with her hand clasped behind her. She didn’t mean to look so statuesque, but the Dai Li uniforms made it easy. The bench next to her was occupied by a small family, husband, wife, a young boy around the age of five or six, and a baby girl in the wife’s arms. She giggled and laughed loudly as the parents played with her.

Minxiu smiled under her hat at the scene, sometimes she wished she had a sibling. The ground began to rumble signaling an approaching train, the sound of rock grinding on rock grew louder and louder. Taking a glance around the young five year-old boy had wandered too close to the track crossing the safety line.

“Watch out kid!” someone shouted.

Minxiu shifted her stance and threw her hands forward shooting off her rock gloves towards the boy, the small plates of stone wrapped around the boy’s arm and waist, the force of impact launching him off his feet and over above the tracks for a split second before being pulled back as Minxiu pulled the stone plates back to her.

The boy cried in surprise as he was quickly pulled through the air and into Minxiu’s grip, the rock plates forming back onto her hands as gloves. He boy looked fine, a bit shaken and was actually excited.

“Wow! That was so cool!” He cried once Minxiu had out him back down on the ground. “Thank you Miss!” He said as his father pulled him away clearly flustered.

Minxiu smiled and nodded at the boy he could see her from under her hat. “Thank you…” the father said to Minxiu nodding appreciatively at her as he took his son back. The family boarded a different train cart once it had arrived the father giving one last nod of thanks before boarding. Minxiu simply nodded back.

The ride was long going from the inner ring to the outer wall. After what felt like hours and three to four entire sets of different passengers the train finally made it to the end of the line. A station that was practically built into the side of the great wall. From within Minxiu navigated though areas restricted from the public until she reached an elevator that took patrols and soldiers to the top of the wall. The solders around the area kept to themselves, even the elevator operator remained silent the entire trip up trying his best to avoid looking at Minxiu.

Once she reached the top of the wall Minxiu turned around and looked over the city, every seemed so small, the differently tinted rooftops all meshed into a sea of green broken occasionally by large streets, in the far distance she could see the inner ring. No one on the wall bothered her, though they made it obvious that they knew she was there. Minxiu walked to the other side of the wall looking out to the world she could see her first destination in the near distance, East Lake. Casually Minxiu leapt off the side of the great wall gliding effortlessly down it with one hand and her feet attached to the surface her rock gloves and shoes made the job simple. She left a trail of dust along her path but she didn’t care. Once she near the base of the wall she leapt off with a flip landing on the ground, she sunk several feet into the ground sending out ripples across the earth as if it were water before she shot off on a mound of moving earth, her rock shoes made gliding along the surface natural. She reached the bay where the ferries from Full Moon bay docked and easily got onto a returning ferry, within a few hours nearly noon by the looks of the sun, Minxiu had arrived at Full Moon Bay.

As Minxiu got off the ferry and left the docks she noticed a particular grey haired man with a pull cart full of green cabbage talking to an elderly yet very irritable passport attendant. He would have some trouble getting those though customs. The farmers and agricultural experts of Ba Sing Se were oddly afraid of cabbage slugs, claiming that a single slug could ruin the entire ecology of Ba Sing Se. Minxiu had no clue exactly how much merit that the claim actually has, only that it had been brought up to the King’s attention many times during meetings by the representatives.

A sharp whistle caught Minxiu’s attention, it came from a trio of men dressed almost identical to her. They turned to lead her to where she needed to go once they had her attention. They went out of the cave to a large alcove near the water where there were several buildings along with a large gated area that extended out into the water and several jetties. There were numerous eel hounds around in pens and in the water, they swam around and lounged for the most part. While some were being trained by other agents.

Minxiu stared at the eel hound with a slight smile, they had waited by the entrance of the alcove as a handler led an eel hound to them. “So… how long did you say this trip will take?” she asked watching the handler feed the hound some jerky. These Dai Li were around her age, in fact most of them were in the same graduating class as her. A lot of the newer and younger agents of the Dai Li were much more relaxed and not uptight as the older agents.

“Eh, you’ll probably get there late tonight assuming you take minimum breaks.” The Dai Li agent said securing the last pack onto the saddle of the beast.

“Her name is Liang-Shui, a young hound, she loves to run, and is one of the more… feisty hounds.” Another agent explained, he was a handler, a new position in the Dai Li, the organization recently reinitiated the domestication, breeding, and training of eel hounds for use. Their rapid speed and amphibious attributes made them perfect mounts to rapidly deploy agents. Liang-Shui maybe young but the eel hound was still massive in comparison to Minxiu measuring up only to the hound’s shoulder, and she had a particular lighter green almost yellow stripe of color that ran down the entire length of her body from the tip of her nose to the end of her tail.

“Great….” Minxiu approached the creature putting a rock gloved hand on her shoulder, the skin was more like rough leather. It snarled and growled as it ripped and tore at the jerky.

“Feeling uneasy?” the handler asked, noticing Minxiu’s hesitation.

Minxiu blushed slightly, “N-no… just wondering if it’s going to attack me at some point.” She stammered.

The handler laughed, “Don’t worry! Once Liang-Shui get used to you riding on her, she’ll warm up, you might even become best friends! I picked her because she reminded me of you actually.” The hound growled softly as she lied down, her tail swishing around.

“Oh ha-ha,” Minxiu shook her head, “If she were like me, she would have bitten your hand off already.” Minxiu took the reins from the handler.

“You know the route?” the handler stepped away.

“Yea,” Minxiu said lightly stomping the ground raising a small pillar to lift her so she could get onto the saddle. “Well, Liang-Shui it’s just going to be you and me for a while girl… no better time to learn….” Minxiu said under her breath, she had some rudimentary training riding an eel hound. She gently pulled on the reins and guided the hound out of the alcove and with a gentle kick they were off. The hound dashed away with insane speed forcing Minxiu to pull herself close and low to the eel hound’s body.

The ride went on for hours and Liang-Shui showed no signs of fatigue. Minxiu was also learning how to work with the hound, rather than finessing it to go where she wanted it to go it was simple to just guide it around. The eel hound was going to go and it wasn’t going to stop unless it was hard stopping to rest, simply guiding it around to where she wanted to go was easier, the speed of the hound more than makes up for the potential ground lost.

By nightfall Minxiu and Liang-Shui was already on approach to Omashu, the glistening city was visible in the distance. They had taken three breaks along the way all, one of which Liang-Shui actually took advantage of while the other two were more for Minxiu to stretch and walk around. Liang-Shui waited impatiently during those times demanding extra water and jerky before she would set off again. “Final stretch girl, you are amazing!” Minxiu gave Liang-Shui a pat on the shoulder. Liang-Shui let out a grateful growl before surging ever faster forward.

It didn’t take long before Liang-Shui was forced to slow down to a brisk jogged along the zigzagging path leading to the city gates. The night was still pretty young as there were still traders, merchants, and other adventures along the path. Most of them quickly parted as Liang-Shui charged past them. Just before they reached the gates Minxiu pulled straight back on the reins signaling for Liang-Shui to stop, she cried out in annoyance but stopped nonetheless. Minxiu leapt off Liang-Shui’s back and landed in front of the gate in front of the two gate guards the motions kicking up a dust cloud.

“HALT!” one of the guards shouted. “Uhhm…” he looked to his partner. As he got a clear view of Minxiu from the torch light once the dust had settled. His partner shrugged not too sure what to do.

Minxiu reached into her robes and took out a piece of paper and handed it to the guard, “Official Dai Li business, hand it to your commanding officer….” Minxiu said flatly and walked past the guards tugging lightly on Liang-Shui’s reins. The guards parted and opened the stone gates as Minxiu and Liang-Shui passed through the city gates.

The guard seemed to want to say something but his partner shook his head. Even at night Omashu was bustling with activity. Minxiu looked around craning her head to see the verticality of the city and the famous Omashu delivery systems of chutes that runs non-stop. She had always wondered what it would be like to ride in one of those carts though the system, it would be exhilarating and she couldn’t be the only one that has thought of doing that.

Minxiu led Liang-Shui through the city streets after giving her large piece of jerky, she absent mindedly chewed the meat as she was lead through the city. Eventually they left the busy part of the city and entered into a living district. The night is calm, the streets lit with frequent torches and the sounds of the chutes overhead occasionally sounded as a package moved past. Minxiu stopped by a large house, completely inconspicuous from the others in the neighborhood. She knocked on the door and it immediately opened. Another Dai Li agent was inside waiting, Minxiu unloaded the saddle and packs of supplies off of Liang-Shui and led her around to the back of the house where there was a large pond and enough space where she can relax and stretch out.

“You made good time.” The Dai Li remarked gesturing for Minxiu to sit. “I’m Ying.”

“Can’t say it was easy but, yea.” She took out the paper Jin handed her and gave it to Ying, who quickly unfolded it and began reading. She didn’t know him too well but does know of him. He operated in intelligence and scouting, she often seen agents that worked under him though the city. Minxiu began eating the meal that had already been prepared for her at the table. “So, what do you need me to do?”

Ying hummed under his breath, he was a bit older than Minxiu was with a full beard trimmed to look triangular with dark green eyes and soft features. “Well you showed up at the perfect time.” He said with a smile. “I didn’t expect that they would send you of all people….”

Minxiu scoffed, “Yea, even cut my leave short to get out here.” Minxiu said after swallowing a mouthful of meat bun. “So what am I doing?”

“Earlier today there was a meeting behind closed doors, a group of benders have been pretending to be the Avatar to perpetuate rumors of his presence.”

Minxiu raised an eyebrow, “Ok, so this matters to the Dai Li, why? As long as it doesn’t spread to Ba Sing Se, then it pointless.”

Ying continued ignoring her comment, “A group of adventures were sent out to search for the new Avatar. According to these people there is a greater ploy at work that threatens to unbalance the world, similar to the Fire Nation’s attempt a hundred years ago that was stopped by Avatar Aang. If there is another ploy of that scale then finding the Avatar would be crucial for the balance of the world.” Minxiu looked at him confused with a raised eyebrow, what the hell is he on about, Ying apparently noticed her expression, “Look, the Earth Kingdom as a whole, especially Ba Sing Se, are too self-centered, arrogant in our isolationist ways. It’s time we look outward. What Ying was saying was dangerously close for grounds for Minxiu to arrest him, but she didn’t disagree with what he was saying. “In a way I’m glad they sent you, I know you believe in what I say, most of your graduating class are far more open to change and just more… open-minded.”

Minxiu was growing more suspicious, was this a test of her loyalty? Or is this guy being genuine? She didn’t really know what to think. Ying was an intelligence agent, and Minxiu was a specially trained Dai Li assassin, she could earth bend circles around Ying not to mention she could probably just straight up beat him into submission, but she refrained. “Ok, so what’s the plan? This is starting to sound like conspiratorial work Ying.” She played along acting interested but still on guard to gauge his reactions.

“All Dai Li work is conspiratorial to some level, we’re just preparing for the potential of something big and setting up contingency plans in case something major does happen.” Ying stood up and walked out to the back patio, “You’re mission is to join up with the group that was sent out today and assist them in their task to see it to the end, report to me when you can, and I’ll cover for you in the meantime. We will see what comes of this and if further action is needed.” Minxiu walked out to the patio joining Ying. “They are headed to the beach, and it seems like they have already ran into some trouble.” He gestured a glowing patch of light in the distance near a river and the tree line. The house was high enough within Omashu that they had view of the surrounding area over the wall.

“Fine, I’ll head out first thing tomorrow, but first I need to take a bath.” Minxiu yawned and stretched, “I’ve eaten too many bugs today and I am tired, now if you’d excuse me.” Minxiu went back into the house. She picked a basic room upstairs and unpacked some of her stuff, inspecting what was packed for her by the other agents. It was nothing out of the ordinary, changes of robes, clothes, rope, rations, canteens, some simple cookware, a minimal collapsible tent, some toiletries and hygiene products. She repacked everything and undressed to her underwear and headed to the bath. She soaked in the water with her head barely peeking out over the edge.

Minxiu was deep in thought, she had been waiting for an opportunity like this, to be an adventurer free from rules, though she wouldn’t be completely free from all rules, but at least she was going to have more freedom that she ever had before. What was the point of learning all the bending techniques and fighting skills when she was never allowed to fully utilize them? She blew bubbles in the water and just stared at them before leaning back against the tub resting her head on the wall looking up at the ceiling. Well you’ve been craving for something like this all your life, the Dai Li have treated you well, but now is your chance to do what you want! To be free to feel what everyone feels…. Minxiu ginned to herself and began to quietly laugh. “To be free….” She whispered still quietly laughing as tears began to roll down her face and her laughter gradually turned into cries, gritting her teeth she dunked her head under the water. I will never be free….

Minxiu stood on the balcony of her room looking over the city. More precisely she was looking at the lit portion of the forest Ying pointed out to her earlier. Freedom…. Movement in the backyard pond caught her attention, Liang-Shui was stirring in the water. She poked her head out of the pond and looked up at her expectantly, “Sorry girl, no more running tonight, it’s time to rest we’ll ride more tomorrow….” Minxiu said smiling at the eel hound. She’s never had pets before not counting the koi, turtle ducks, and various other animals on her family’s estate. She went back into the room and returned with another piece of jerky and tossed it down to Liang-Shui, she caught it effortlessly and returned to the depths of the pond settling down. Minxiu did the same, throwing herself onto the bed, she took out her pouch of small black stones and levitated them spinning in a circle a few inches above her hand occasionally rotating the ring of stones and changing their shape and switching hands controlling them. Her hair was still slightly wet but she didn’t care anymore, she was too tired and just laid in the bed absent mindedly spinning the stones until she drifted to sleep.
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Previously Creeps You Don’t Need It
Struggling the water bender had no clue what to do. His arms getting pulled back even further no matter how much he attempted to resist. On the verge of giving up, but suddenly, the pressure cleared. Dropping to the ground Luka attempted to catch himself but instead landed on his knees and chin. Propping himself back up with his arms he clenched his stomach. Coughing an extreme amount the tanned man bended a bit of water off the ground from his earlier attacks, drinking it quickly. Sighing he used the sleeve of his coat to wipe the lake of sweat residing on his face. Standing back up slowly Luka looked around. Attempting to recompose himself in the best way he pondered on the situation. Whispering to himself.

“It seems like everyone here is still freaked out, who wouldn’t be? For now we should focus on regrouping and resting. It’s best to some sort of headcount to see who’s gone or lost. After that we should venture away to a safer location, though not too far from the main path. After that’s it’s best to rest for 6-8 hours, maybe more depending on the other’s injuries and exhaustion. After that.. Well then it’s their decision, or moreover their kid leader’s.”

Scanning around for the boy it wasn’t incredibly difficult to find him. All you had to do was look at the direction of one of the female’s screams and you’d find him smack dab in the center. Walking over carefully Luka dusted the grit and dirt off of his coat. As he arrived he looked down at him. Whatever it was that was so compelling about him to some of the others the brown haired man couldn’t see. This boy seemed immature, weak, lustful, and on top of that all he was ignorant. In fact it seems this Fang character was the first to trigger this situation. If this group had a better leader.. No, it wasn’t his place to say anything. This was supposed to be a recovery type of period, not a time for arguments and democracy.

“Now isn’t the time for that. These people trust you and need assistance. Do you have a plan of action for what to do next? Right now it seems like we’re just going to sit around here moping. If you want my recommendation I’d say we gather everyone up that we can and get a head count, and then after that.. Well, then it’s up to you.”


Previously Night's Shadow
The pressure finally released, and Tazia found herself flung forward onto the grass. She twisted herself into a shoulder roll position to disperse the impact and rolled twice before coming to a stop on one knee. The girl whirled, standing up immediately in a battle-ready stance, then swore under her breath as her back cracked and her vision swam. Yael nosed up to her, and she lay a hand on the tigerdillo for support as her sight came back into focus.

“Trust would be a stretch,” Tazia muttered in response to Luka’s words to Fang. Her voice was pitched low, so there was a chance she wouldn’t be heard. Right now, though, she had bigger fish to fry than petty squabbles. Tazia reached upward and stretched through the pain in her spine, wincing as a series of pops ran up her back. She sighed heavily, then let her arms drop, her vertebrae essentially back in place.

Tazia picked up her fallen staff, glaring at the ground as she lashed it in the air a few times. None of them stood a chance against those two benders. They were still weak. It was quite a wake-up call for the military-trained firebender. I still have a long way to go, Tazia thought. Can’t slack off now. I have to get stronger. Otherwise, how can I call myself a warrior?
Ahnah looked at Koreal, and the Man helping, as he went off, she then got to work, looking for any wounds when she found them on Koreal's left side, and started bending water to clean them up.

"What Happened?"

Akuma was growling at anyone and anything that tried to get too close to his owner and the injured person. Ahnah had been working on getting them cleaned up. What could have happened while she was out of it? This was running through her thoughts, after she had knocked out Nina with her Boomerang, which was back in its place, last she checked. She looked around the group, seeing a bunch of injured people. She then called off Akuma, telling him to sit. The Polar Bear Dog listened and sat attentively. Also what was with the possession of those five, she will need to check on them later as she has an injured person in front of her.

Mu had been trying to get Ai over to help him. He had been doing what he could, but these Benders were out of his league. The man got to work trying to reset order now since that was his best plan, figure out what went on and get notes, preparing for if this weird possession stuff happens again. Ai squawked to get Mu's attention. The bird walked over, noticing that Akuma, at least that was the name he heard about this Polar Bear Dog currently growling at everyone and everything, moved past him before he'd pounce, but the giant hound was called off, presumably by his owner.
Kerrora was, quite frankly, relieved that the two realized that they weren't there to attack them, but were merely there by chance. The five suspended in the air were now on the ground, hopefully not injured. Perhaps it would be best to try to assess everyone's injuries and begin healing everyone back up now that the fire bender and water bender knew that they weren't soldiers. This made her wonder, why are soldiers after the two. The earth bender guy begged for the water bender to go on a date with him, which was weird since she had just threatened to kill him. Why would someone want to go on a date with someone who tried to kill them? She was honestly questioning the sanity of their self-proclaimed leader. Fortunately, the fire-bender turned him down. Then he winked at her after saying there were many other water tribe girls in the group. Kerrora felt her stomach twist. No, no, no no no no nononononono! That was something she found absolutely disgusting and she wanted to hit him in the back of the head with a water whip. She wouldn't though. Partially because she currently didn't have any water, other than her slowly drying tears. Even then it wouldn't be enough for a water whip. The other reason? She couldn't soil her clan's reputation.

She shook away those thoughts quickly, realizing that the pair that attacked them were leaving now. Shoot! She had a question in her head and she didn't want to incur their wrath by following them. "Wait! You don't have to answer, and I'm not going to press if you don't answer, but I have a question for you two. Why are soldiers after you?" She hoped that they wouldn't attack them again for asking that question. She was completely serious when she said that she wasn't going to press or follow, she was merely curious.

However, that curiosity quickly shifted when she noticed her sister's kidnapper from the corner of her eye.

Her stance immediately changed, her eyes narrowed on the person who took her sister away. "You! You kidnapped my sister! If I had some water right now..." She quickly trailed off and tried to rush over to her sister's side, but someone was already there and her polar bear dog growled viciously. It stopped her in her tracks. That thing was huge! And every Southern Water Tribe child had heard stories about the incredibly vicious and powerful polar bear dog. If she got too close, it was going to kill her for sure. She felt her eyes water up again. Her sister's kidnapper said that Koreal would be fine, but she didn't trust him. How could she?! He literally stole her sister! Tears started to roll down her cheeks again. She was useless. She failed her sister. She- she couldn't even risk a mauling from a polar bear dog to see her sister. She was the worst sister in existence.

Suddenly, the polar bear dog stopped growling at her. She rushed towards her sister, perceiving the danger as gone. After all, she needed to make sure she was alright. As soon as she reached the unconscious body of Koreal, she dropped into a hug, sobbing. She was muttering something to Koreal, but it was nearly impossible to decipher what she said with her crying. She soon regained her composure though, sitting up and bending her tears before trying to use her waterbending to heal Koreal. "I-I'll focus on my sister." Her voice was shaky, though serious. "I may have failed to keep my promise to her so far, but I will not fail her again. Go see the others."
Yamato fell to the ground and quickly began to get his breathing back in order, he placed his hands all over his body and stopped when he touched his ribs, he noticed that only a tiny piece was missing from it, he sighed as he found his two swords and sheathed them away. He put his hand on his mouth and began to think to himself about the situation that transpired.

This day has just gotten iirritating, not only did that stupid Pervert almost got me and Nina killed, he still thinks he did nothing wrong in this situation! I think my ribs also pierced a organ, forget it I can worry about that at a later point.

Yamato eyed Fang with a glare but looked away to see Nina call him Tomato, which confused him but made him chuckle a little.

"while I would normally be interested I would rather get some rest right now."
With the threat gone and the opportunity to actually rest, the night ended with the group sleeping or at least trying to, after the crazy interaction they had just had. The following morning the group gathered their things and started to make their way towards the ocean. It was quite a long walk, which included lunch breaks, some conversations about the incident from the night before and Fang trying to convince the water tribe sisters why he was the best option as a future husband, his best argument was they would still be together as one big happy family.

Finally the group arrived at a small port, that had turned into a small village. There wasn't much. It had the essentials, an Inn, shop and weapons shop. The people there were friendly, they were just hard working people who attended to the sailors and boat crew who stationed at their port. The great thing was the wide variety of food on the market, due to the high trading done between the villagers and the sailors. There was also a pub, where the outsiders spent most of their times during their days off.

"Alright, we need a boat." Fang said as he looked at the different options of fruits on display while his bearcat sat on his shoulder. "I don't think we have enough money for one, so I will go scout the beach for ways to get a boat." He grabbed a big apple and tossed the vender a coin. "Don't go getting lost now!" He waved off as he started to make his way towards the beach, which was on the other side of the village.

The earth bender ate his apple with a big smile, saying hello to every hard working citizen he saw, giving them a thumbs up to try and motivate them, but he just caused confusion. At the beach he saw a group of sailors sitting around, amongst them a black haired girl, who seemed to be the one in charge of the group as they were all listening to her instructions.

"Bingo!" Fang smirked as he began to make his way towards the group of sailors, either to ask about a boat or try and hit on the woman. Probably both.
Yamato looked around the surrounding area and was impressed how it looked, he saw Fang walk giving people thumbs ups and motivation, which made him annoyed. He unseated one of his swords and realized that is had so nicks on the blade, he simply sighed and decided to find a weapon shop with some decent swords.

"After I get a back up sword, I'll go to find something to eat." Yamato said as he opened the door to a weapons shop and scratched the back of head. "I'm just browsing at the moment lemme know if ya got anything interesting in stock." He said turned away from the store owner as his attention was on the swords they had in stock.
Minxiu awoke with the early morning sun shining through the circular window of the room. She just stared up into the ceiling for a while, not a thought in her mind, a knock on the door snapped her out of her trance-like like.

“Are you ready yet?” Ying’s voice came from the hall.

“Almost….” Minxiu replied, she pulled her legs up to her chest and kicked out of bed. She heard Ying move on. Her long hair was a mess, the result of going to sleep when it was still damp. She pushed a few loose strands out of her face brushing them over the top of her head. She rummaged through one of her bags to get a comb out and began brushing. She clenched her fist vehemently causing the nine black stones she had been spinning the previous night to shoot out from where they had fallen colliding in a tight ring above her fist with a loud clack. She opened her hand and the nine rocks expanded then spun around moving behind her to tend to her hair as she brushed it out.

With her hair brushed and braided she stood in front of a mirror in her dudou and underwear not exactly sure what to wear. She hadn’t given it much thought until now, if she were to join a group of adventurers, wearing the Dai Li uniform would surely be too off-putting. She wasn’t there to exert the will of the Earth King or the cultural ideologies of the Earth Kingdom. She dug through her bags and found her selection rather lacking. Ultimately she decided on a pair of dark green baggy martial arts pants and a matching long sleeved tang suit with golden yellow cuffs and a magnificent brown, gold, and white Badgermole embroidery around the right arm wrapping around and extending up to the right shoulder ending on the right side of her back. It was not feminine clothing at all, aside from Minxiu purposefully leaving the top two buttons undone to show off a bit of her femininity, typically the outfit was something worn for training or very casual wear by commoners, her mother would have scorned her for wearing something so unfitting of her status, but it was practical and Minxiu almost always chose function over appeal. The long slightly baggy sleeves were something she always preferred, hiding her kerambits and surveyor’s chains for easy access.

She repacked her stuff consolidating everything into two simple packs that would easily be able to fit onto Liang-Shui’s saddle. She took her hat off the table in the room, her hair now perfectly brushed and braided to its usual standard, with a spin between her hands, she put on her hat and headed downstairs.

Ying was eating breakfast, simple chicken rice porridge with you-tiao and lightly sweetened soy milk, a basic standard breakfast. “Help yourself.” He gestured to the food and to an empty chair. There was two other agents at the table, one Minxiu didn’t recognize, he seemed to be an older agent, and the other was another woman with straight long shoulder length black hair with a traditional Earth Kingdom headdress with a matching formal dress, a Joo Dee.

Minxiu grabbed a bowl and poured herself a ladle of porridge with a you-tiao and sat down at the table with her unfamiliar colleagues pushing her hat backwards so it remained loosely in place on her back from the chin strap around her neck. The unknown man ate silently along with Joo Dee, but Ying seemed different from the night before, more serious and hardened. Minxiu had her suspicions, this was Ying’s front, the man she met the previous night was the true him. Minxiu eyed him from time to time. Just before she finished her food their eyes met and he gave her a subtle nod. “Well gentlemen, I’m off, good luck on your missions.” Minxiu said putting her hat back on and headed out to the back of the house where Liang-Shui waited eagerly for her. Someone had fed her a proper meal earlier in the morning and reattached her harness and saddle. “I hope you slept well.” Minxiu said straddling the beast and securing her bags.

Liang-Shui hissed and growled growing impatient, her long tail swished around in anticipation, she waited for her rider to point her in the right direction and she couldn’t wait. The moment finally came when there was a gentle tug that pointed her south west, towards the beach, more water, good. And a gentle nudge Liang-Shui dashed off easily leaping over the fence of the back yard and through the streets of Omashu occasionally leaping onto lower roofs and down some chutes. In no time Liang-Shui had made it on top of the outer walls of Omashu. Her rider pushed her forward bringing the very earth itself up to meet her stride as she leapt off the Omashu walls and eventually out of the city. She cleared the rocky mountainous area quickly and dashed through the forest zipping effortlessly around trees like an agile snake. She could smell the water, she was close and her rider was not slowing down yet, this was good. More running is better, running towards water, the best.

The trip to the beach was much shorter than from Ba Sing Se to Omashu. Minxiu had quickly scouted the makeshift camp the group she was supposed to join up with as Liang-Shui dashed past. They had already packed and left, at a quick glance at the camp, they were quite terrible at making camp, by the way it looked it was just a mess, unorganized and it looked like an air bender had just let loose with air bending. Whatever happened they were gone and by the looks of the footsteps left, they were headed to the port. Perfect.

Guiding Liang-Shui was easy now. It seemed a night’s rest did both Minxiu and Liang-Shui some good. She signaled for Liang-Shui to slow down to a brisk trot as they approached the town not wanting to startle its inhabitants too much with a charging giant eel hound. Once they had entered the town proper Minxiu dismounted and led Liang-Shui through the streets, the giant eel hound was rather out of place among the market. The townsfolk moved aside to let the pair through. Hmm… now where to find them. A whole group of people shouldn’t be too difficult to spot. Minxiu was pulled out of her thoughts by Liang-Shui stopping by a small stall, a fish vendor, she was particularly interested in a large silver colored fish.

“How much?” Minxiu asked the fisherman behind the counter.

“You’ve got a good there Miss. Freshly caught this morning. Three gold pieces for the fish.” The elderly fisher man said with a wide friendly grin.

Minxiu smiled and gave the man five gold pieces. “Here you go.” Minxiu shot a small earth plate from her rock glove cutting the rope holding the fish, Liang-Shui caught it and began eagerly gnawing at the treat. The plate returned to Minxiu’s hand before the old man even realized what happened.

“Miss, I can accept this–“

“It’s ok, enjoy yourself.” Minxiu gently pushed the old man’s hand back towards him holding the extra coins.

“Oh, bless you Miss….” The old man gratefully pocketed the coins, “My, what beautiful eyes you have, never seen anyone in the Earth Kingdom with eyes like those.”

Minxiu blushed and nodded thankfully at the man, “Thank you.” She lowered her head slightly hiding more of her face gently tugging at Liang-Shui’s reins prompting her to move, reluctantly she tossed the half eaten fish into the air and snatched it out of the air in a firm grip. Minxiu walked away towards the end of the market noticing that the old fisherman was looking rather expectantly at her, more specifically the hat. The old fisherman’s face furrowing slightly confused, unsure but slowly recognizing the Dai Li hat.

The market eventually opened out to the beach that the port town was built on. The town was much smaller than Minxiu had initially thought, coming from Bas Sing Se then to Omashu, the difference was rather jarring. Moving past what appeared to be an adventurer with a sheathed sword eating an apple, and a group of sailors and their captain, Minxiu led Liang-Shui near the water where she continued to eat her fish, tearing eagerly at the flesh. Minxiu watched with her hand clasped behind her, a habit she had despite her current sleeves being nowhere large enough to hide her hands like the Dai Li robes she was used to.
The whole time they were traveling to the town on the beach, Nina was super tired. She had a hard time sleeping after those weird people had attacked them. She was honestly nervous someone would come and attack them again. But no one did. Nina had just lost most of a good night's sleep. But she did get some rest and may or may not have napped on Kreen when they traveled, but no one else was supposed to know that. Okay, maybe Tazia and Yamato could know, but she would rather they didn't...

Nina leaped off Kreen when they had come to her stop. Yamato had headed to a weapons shop which made her look over her own weapon and found no issues with it. Other than that, it was dull... But Nina could easily sharpen it on her own. And she would do that later- Nina turned around sharply, hearing the sound of a big animal running as fast as it could. It was Kreen, her snow leopard caribou running to the ocean. "Kreen!!!! Stop!!!" Nina said as she rushed over to the giant animal. Kreen came to a quick halt and sat down, shaking her little nub of a tail.

"Oh my gosh, Kreen, what was that for?" Nina said, annoyed at the creature. The animal looked ashamed of itself and looked at the beach longingly. "Ohhhh. I see... Well, I have an idea you can go goof around in the water. IF! You don't mess with anyone or the stuff they may be working on. While I get us some fresh food!" Nina said, grinned, and walked off to the shops trusting her pet.

While Kreen waited, she had jumped in the water and was rolling around it happily like a giant dog. When the snow leopard caribou finally saw Nina return, she saw her holding a fish and eating a mango. "Kreen! Catch!" Nina commanded and tossed the fish into the air, watching Kreen jump and catch it. "Good girl!" Nina said, praising the creature.

Nina had now sat on the beach watching the water. She looked around the place, noticing an eel hound, presumably its owner, wearing a hat she felt she was meant to recognize. "I'll be right back, Kreen," Nina said to her snow leopard caribou. She walked over to the eel hound and its owner but found she didn't know what to say. I mean, who just goes up to random people and compliments them?! So instead of talking, Nina watched the creature, trying not to seem weird.
Ahnah had been looking for a place to sharpen her Boomerang, particularly the corner so it can be used to cut rope or something like that. She was also interested in figuring out how this village works, from a cultural perspective, but the current matter of sharpening her Boomerang was in order. She saw a weapons shop nearby and figured she'd look there.

Ahnah went into the store, somehow completely missed by the clerk. She looked around the shop, seeing spears, and swords, and other weapons. Eventually, she found what she was looking for. A way to sharpen her Boomerang. She had been walking and taking notes on weapons, mainly designs, maybe there were those of possibly ceremonial use. She had some understanding of cultures from traders, but not enough to identify what ceremonial weapons were used for, Ceremony wise. It was a bit too late to realize someone was in front of her, as she walked right into them. Her head came up to about the bottom of his chin. As she looked up, she saw grey eyes, wasn't he injured from what she last heard.

"S-sorry, I-i-i was too distracted and accidentally b-b-bumped into you."

Akuma had been sitting outside, watching for anyone Suspicious when he saw the girl his master whacked with some sort of flying object that was thrown. He sat and waited, making sure no one bothered his master.
Yamato had finally picked the sword he wanted, and was about to head over to the shop owner when he bumped into Ahnah as to top if her head hit his chin. He stepped back a bit after bumping into her and realized who it was, before giving her a small smile.

"Don't worry about it's not a problem, it's my fault for not noticing you sooner, your name is Ahnah right? I'm Yamato, nice to finally be able to talk to you."
He takes a quick walk to the counter and puts the sword on the table and places his money on the counter as well.

"Hmmmm, this isn't enough sir, but I can make a trade for that sword of yours." The owner said boredly.

"Sure but it is kinda damaged." Yamato said worried.

"I don't mind I can just sell it to someone desperate for a quick buck" He would then take Yamato's sword and place it back. "Nice doing business with you kid."

Yamato would walk back to Ahnah with his new sword and look her in the eyes before speaking. "What are you buying?" Yamato said curiously.
Minxiu needed to think of a plan. Who am I even looking for? She thought as she untied her bags from Liang-Shui’s saddle and removed the saddle off her back. Almost immediately Liang-Shui made a dash for the water diving straight in and disappearing under the surface, with long snake-like ripples on the surface indicating where she was swimming. I can’t just watch the whole town and hope to see a large group of adventurers and assume they are the group I’m looking for…. The chance for me to be wrong would be way too high.

Just then a light brown skinned girl with dark hair tied into two top knots seemed to approach Minxiu, she saw with a quick glance and looking around she spotted a snow leopard caribou. Someone from the water tribe? A bit far from home… and adventurer? Could she be part of the group? Ying did say they were a rather diverse group, but this coincidental?

The Water Tribe girl walked up near her and just looked out in the water towards where Liang-Shui was in the water, she hard poked her head out and unsubmerged parts of her body in the shallows and was just lounging. It seemed rather awkward for someone to come close just to look at the eel hound and not interact with the rider if the Water Tribe girl was curious. Minxiu didn’t think too much about it for someone from one of the Water Tribes they probably have never seen an eel hound before. Well I’m here to find a group of people, might as well start with her, maybe I just got lucky.

“Hey there. What’s your name? I’m Minxiu. Not to come off as rude but you don’t seem to be from around here… the Earth Kingdom I mean.” She started, surprised at what she had just said. Can I even talk to people normally anymore? Seems like aside from mom and dad. I only talk to other Dai Li… and people I’m chasing or capturing…. I need to get out more….
"I'm Nina Huā," she said, then nodded, "heh, I don't mind it. I've met much ruder people." she quietly mumbled to herself, "The leader of my group is one of them..." Then she when back to speaking with the Minxiu, "You are right about that. I'm from the Northern Water tribe. I needed a break from them... Not that I'm getting much of a break by being pulled into some group. But never mind that. I just came over here cause I'd never seen an eel hound, and I've only ever read about them in books."

Nina pointed to her snow leopard caribou, "That's Kreen..." She rolled her eyes at her pet. "She adores water... a lot." She laughed a bit.

She scanned over Minxiu quickly. Nina looked at her eyes for a second. She hadn't seen any eyes like that out of the water tribes. She then looked at the sat on Minxiu's head, staring for a bit. Then it clicked. "Oh! You're in the Dai Li, right? I felt like I'd seen that kind of hat before! When I was researching the earth kingdom, I came across a book about Ba Sing Se that mentions them. Orrr, I'm making a complete fool of myself and guessed very incorrectly..." She stiffened up a bit, feeling slightly embarrassed about her assumption.


Previously Night's Shadow
Over the journey to the edge of the Earth Kingdom, Tazia had kept mostly to herself, wordlessly meeting any flirting attempts from Fang with a threatening fist of fire. She was still frustrated with how easily they had been defeated that night, and that she hadn’t asked the blue fire user for tips. There had bene idle conversations with Nina, who had, on several occasions, slept on the go, and trading teasing barbs about their fearless leader. She tried to remain vigilant, passing up opportunities to sleep in favor of training with fire away from the group, and spending most of her lunch breaks working out her body after scarfing down just enough food to keep her going. The familiar routine of pushing her limits felt almost homey, reminding her of her military training— except her leaders back in the Fire Nation weren't nearly as braindead. Most of the time, Tazia would catch quick naps on Yael’s back while they were moving, so they didn’t lose any time.

Eventually, of course, the intrepid band of mismatched adventurers reached the Earth Kingdom’s border with the ocean, across which lay the Fire Nation. Tazia felt a nudge of nostalgia— home wasn’t all that far away. Then again, there was a whole lot of ocean between here and her homeland, and no yachts in sight for her to stow away on this time. Not that their entire group would be able to stow away, anyway, especially with that idiot, you know the one.

Speaking of that idiot, he immediately ran off as they reached town. Tazia gave a sigh of amusement. At least he was taking initiative, though he’d probably get distracted right away; if not by a pair of attractive female chesticles, then by a cart of fresh food. The rest of the group split off, as well, presumably to go do their own things. Tazia cast an edgy glance over to the water, then turned and began walking in the other direction, Yael at her side.

It’s not because I don’t like water, Tazia told herself. I take showers. But… you don’t have to swim in a shower. This is an ocean. I’ll just… stay at a safe distance, is all. Anyway! If we’re going to get ourselves over to the Fire Nation and not just stow away somewhere, then we’ll need food and fresh water. Lots of fresh water. Ain’t any rivers on the ocean. But while I’ve got the chance, maybe I’ll sightsee a little. Could be fun, and our fearless leader never gave a set date to leave. So may as well enjoy myself…
“It’s very nice to meet you Nina.” Minxiu said glancing at Kreen as Nina indicated. Northern water tribe? A healer? Maybe a trainee still… more importantly she is in an adventuring group of some sort. “Well, eel hounds can be quite… temperamental and hard to domesticate, but once they are they are very loyal….” Minxiu was remembering what some of her eel hound handler co-agents had said. “They’re starting to train them again back in Ba Sing Se, they’re as quick and agile as they say they are in the books and stories.”

Minxiu frowned slightly at the mention of Nina recognizing the Dai Li hat but decided to add an understanding nod to her frown. “Yes, I am a Dai Li, but only loosely associated with them, you could say I’m on sort of a vacation right now looking for a fun adventure.” Minxiu grinned laughing halfheartedly. “Just wondering, why would you follow a leader that’s rude? Sounds counterintuitive and just something that would get the group into more trouble than it’s worth…” Minxiu pushed her hat back onto her back. She’s a good lead, perhaps her group is the one I’m looking for. Ying’s report did say that there was one member of the group that was… rather… ‘Eccentric.’
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Ahnah looked up from the whetstones, when she heard Yamato speak. She nearly yelped in surprise, but managed to calm down because if she had actually done that, there went the store as Akuma probably would have busted the wall off the building. She looked up to see he had returned.

"I'm Ahnah," Ahnah responded, "I was looking at whetstones, for my Boomerang, since it's a bit dull, I'm hoping to sharpen it myself." Ahnah had been trying to keep the nerves down.

It was working for now, as she looked at him. Her nerves were starting to come back, but she managed to calm it down again.

"You okay, if I remember correctly, you were possessed that night, I was hoping to check on those injured." Ahnah continued.

Mu Ziyi was walking around town, looking to see whatever was in store or bump into one of his groupmates. Ai kept him company for now, as he looked around.
Fang joined the group of sailors, laughing along with them even though he didn't know why they were laughing. However the group stopped as they spotted the laughing intruder step into their circle. They all gave him a mean glare while the black haired woman seemed amused by the odd approach the young man did.

"That was a good one." Fang said with a big grin as he wiped a fake tear away. "Say, I'm looking to cross the ocean towards the fire nation. Was wondering if any of you know where we can get a boat? Fang is the name by the way, my buddies call me Fang but the ladies call me honey." He winked at the woman standing across him. "If I get to ride with you, all the better."

The sailors tenses up, ready to pounce on the new arrival, but the woman held up her right hand, causing them to stop on their tracks and look at her for directions. "Nice to meet you Fang. I'm Hailang, captain of our ship. We have been running low on errands lately, so we could use some extra work. How much and where?" She had a slight blush on her face before looking down, embarrassed. "I wouldn't mind calling you honey." Her face flushed red as she waited for Fang to reply back to her compliment, but after a few moments of no answer, she looked back up, only to see Fang's jaw dropped as he looked towards the beach at a group of two girls talking. "Fang?"

"Yeah, I'll get back to you." Fang replied in a hypnotized tone as he walked away from the group, leaving Hailang with a crushed expression on her face.

The earth bender walked in a trance like state towards one of his teammates, and future wives, Nina. But what grabbed his attention was the other woman she was talking to. He had seen enough Dai Li in his life to recognize the hat, and someone of her status was the perfect wife. He had gone out looking for copper and had found gold. He joined the two in the same way he had before, laughing as if he had heard a joke.

"Good one Nina." Fang wiped away a fake tear. "I see one of my best warriors has made a new friend, the name is Fang, my buds call me Fang, but you can call me whenever you want." He winked at Minxiu. "So, to what do we owe the honor of having someone of your status amongst us?"

Hailang sighed as she watched Fang walk away. "I'm never going to find my true love." She wiped away a tear while the sailors around her held theirs in. "Anyways, I see a potential client, get the boat ready."

"What about the Whaletigers in the area?" One of the sailors spoke up.

"You're saying we're not good enough to get through some Whaletigers?" Hailang glared at the sailor, despite her being smaller than all of them, they all seemed to coward in fear. "Be ready to leave by tonight."
((OOC: I'm not writing on my laptop so expect more grammar issues)

Nina nodded, "Snow leopard caribou are the same way. They aren't usually domesticated but luckily my mom cousin just so happens to train snow leopard caribou." She grinned feeling very proud of her family.

Nina noticed she may have made an error in saying she may have looked like a Dai Li member and ap desided to say something that she wouldn't normally say, "I get it. I'm in the Navy and sometimes I just need time away from all of their strict rules and just time on my own."

She smiled faded a bit at listened to Minxiu's question "We were kinda sent out on some mission or somthing and Flirt Face decided he would be best for the role of leader! All of us would rather someone else be it but no!! His ego is basically as big as he ocean for Avatars sake!" She place her face in her hands and let out a groan of annoyance. "I mean at least everyone else is on my side and I also gained some friends out of the northern water tribe so thats good."

The color drain from Nina's face when she heard... him... Fang. She rolled her eyes she didn't make a joke unless her talking about Fang was a joke since he was a joke on his own.

"I see one of my best warriors has made a new friend, the name is Fang, my buds call me Fang, but you can call me whenever you want." Fang said as Nina listened looking at Minxiu in a tired way.

But then a small smile spread across her face. She had an idea. "I personally call him Flirt Face, Flirty Jerk, Trashy Flirt." She went on listing more rude nicknames she had given Fang, "So Flirt Face what are you doing here? I thought you were out trying to get us a boat or somthing." She raised an eyebrow in suspicion.
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”Flirt Face?” Minxiu repeated with a sideways smile and laughed. “An egomaniac for a leader? That could only end badly….” Her attention was drawn to a laughing man that walked up to the two of them.

"Good one Nina." Fang wiped away a fake tear. "I see one of my best warriors has made a new friend, the name is Fang, my buds call me Fang, but you can call me whenever you want." He winked at Minxiu. "

Minxiu looked at the newcomer with a raised eyebrow. The wink was a bit much, almost causing Minxiu to physically cringe on the spot instead she just drew her lips into a line resisting her urge to just flip the guy onto a pit. She already knew who this was, the so-called ‘leader’ of Nina’s adventuring group. Minxiu exchanged glances with Nina half listening to her list of nicknames for Fang. She was sizing Fang up in case she needed to take action, a precaution she frequently took while on duty. Minxiu was not impressed, the overall way Fang carried himself from the way he walked and stood indicated he was overconfident of his abilities, and based on what Nina had said, it would be safe to assume that he would have been more interested in the girls of his Earth Bending class than the actual instructor, and probably did more earth bending to try to impress…. This is probably the group I’m looking for… and if this is the leader then… getting him to do what I want would be easier than I thought.

"So, to what do we owe the honor of having someone of your status amongst us?" Fang asked.

My status?” Minxiu asked sounding slightly offended, “What do you mean by that?” she folded her arms accentuating her chest and cleavage of her shirt. “I’m simply looking for a fun adventure to go on during my time off, according to one of your best warriors you might be able to help me out.” She smiled sweetly. Minxiu was not really accustomed to using her feminine charms, but she was no stranger to it having to employ them on a few missions to get close to her target, she was quite the showstopper herself. The advice and tips she got from the Joo Dee’s on the regular was very helpful. Thanks mom for making me gorgeous.
Yamato looked down at here and scratched the back of his head while having a stotic expression.

"I wouldn't say possessed, more like being controlled." When he heard Ahnah ask about his injuries he slightly moved his outfit a little to reveal his chest area.

"Yeah actually, my one of my ribs pierced a small hole trough my stomach. It shouldn't be all that bad though, just a flesh wound." Yamato said as he sighed.