❯ Make A Man Out Of You – Part 6 ( Chapter 6 )
Make a Man Out of You
Chapter 25: The Final Battle Part 1
The Black Lotus, being so fond of anarchy as they were, didn’t have a formal leader, all leads to find one with the intention of ending the problem from the top turned out to be useless. Although they had some who tended to call the shots more often than others, and they did share common goals. It was true that several amazing inventions have come out of war, as humans were most creative when their lives depended on it, necessity is the mother of invention, some would say. Yet to say that war was good and even necessary for human potential, it was going a bit too far, the price would be too great, even if advancements were achieved.
The teams of two benders with opposite elements were spread throughout the Spirit World in a pattern designed to cover a vast amount of land, with little chance for the Black Lotus to slip by unnoticed. You and Desna were sticking to your assigned route when he suddenly stopped and looked around in alarm. « We are being watched, » he cautioned. You went on the alert as well, but weren’t sure of where the enemy was hiding. After a moment, Desna started walking again. « It seems to be an angry spirit, » he explained. You let out a breath of relief and continued walking. At least the spirits had more of a reason to be angry at the Black Lotus than the Avatar’s allies.
As you made it out of the forested area and into a clearing, Desna looked back. It appeared that the creature preferred to get around without being seen. He occasionally looked towards the foliage, which silently indicated that the creature was nearby. The two of you eventually reached the first check point in your patrol. In the center of the clearing, Asami Sato, the president of Future Industries, was working alongside a few engineers to set up one of Valrick’s machines. You let them know you haven’t found any Black Lotus members nearby, and Desna mentioned the spirit, just in case, though the creature had chosen to avoid a confrontation, at least so far.
The mission went on, leading you and Desna to once again enter a forested area. It was creepily quiet, with all the spirits having gone into hiding. Occasionally, you’d see a small spirit or two peeking out from under the bushes or hallow tree trunks, but they quickly hid the second you looked in their direction. Though you hardly got a good look, some of them looked pretty cute, like small, brightly colored animals. When you thought about spirits, you imagined something creepier. The forest wasn’t exactly a friendly looking place with its tense atmosphere and abnormal quietude, but you were with Desna and that reassured you.
You took his hand and he gently squeezed your hand in response, though his alertness and focus never faltered. He had come prepared with water he could use to attack in case that for whatever reason he had to fight in an area that didn’t have available water, though it was an unlikely scenario. The route the two of were to follow led towards a river, which you started to hear as you approached it. The sound stood out because everything else was so quiet, but when you reached the river, it was not what you expected.
The river flowed wildly, angrily, its waters were a dark red, instead of the clear waters you were expecting to find. « This thing… It’s alive! » Desna managed to warn before the river itself went on the attack. You had to let him go as a wave of unpleasant sticky dark red liquid slammed down between the two of you. Desna was clearly trying to manipulate the river, but despite being made of liquid, the will of the creature was too strong. He tried a different tactic, using his water to draw circles in the air around the spirit to try to calm it. Unfortunately, the technique only made the creature angrier.
« Spirit! » You called out, « why are you attacking us? We’re not with the Black Lotus, we’re not the ones endangering your world. We’re trying to help you! »
The river of blood, as you had realized by the horrid smell that’s what it was, attacked you. You were swept out of the way by Desna, who had created a path of ice that he moved on to gain the speed needed to save you just on time. Though the two of you managed to dodge that attack, not a second had passed before another came, this time in the form of fire.
You and Desna moved out of the way, but couldn’t get much further before a wall of stone emerged from the ground and finally a gust of air pushed you towards the bloody monster. The creature formed a whirlpool as if to swallow the two of you. Desna tried to block it with ice, but the monster absorbed it into itself with little effect. You threw a fire ball at the air bender, a very petite woman who floated in a spinning ball of air, the tip of one foot balanced on the ball, legs crossed. She managed to deflect the fire, but the distraction was enough for the wind to stop pushing you towards the deadly whirlpool.
Desna quickly clicked over the wall, pulling you along and the two of you spotted the earth bender, an impossibly large man that was surely over seven feet tall. Muscle and body hair covered him from head to toe, making you think that maybe he was to blame for those articles in the newspaper about some creature they called bigfoot. The man began to throw a rapid fire of rocks, but you couldn’t turn back, you and Desna dropped from the wall, just as the bloody whirlpool destroyed it and tried to dodge the rocks, though one of them hit Desna on the shoulder as he tried to shield you from it.
Angered, you shot a few fireballs back at the man, only to have more fire be thrown in your direction. You saw the fire bender behind the large man, he was a young boy, barely a teenager, and you wondered how someone so young could glare so maliciously.
The petite woman laughed in a high pitched mocking voice, floating on her ball of air, she was so light that using the air current to move around was very easy for her. « You’re surrounded and one of you can’t even use his element! »
The fire bender boy scuffed. « Weaklings! » Electricity crackled from his finger tips and it was easy to see what was coming, but not easy to stop. He lifted his right hand, index and middle fingers pointing right at you. In a split second Desna was in front of you. You didn’t know how to redirect lightning, but Zuko had taught you a safer alternative, though you were unable to master it during training. You wouldn’t be able to use his lightning against him and this technique would drain your energy, but it was the only thing you could do.
You extended your hand over Desna’s shoulder at the last second, having no time to position yourself in front of him. You shot out your own lightning with everything you had, trying to make it stronger than the boy’s. You couldn’t direct it back at the source of the opposition’s lightning, because the push would be too strong, the trick to it was directing it elsewhere and hoping that the enemy lightning was attracted by your own electrical current, if it was strong enough, and directed away. You managed to do it, but the burst of electricity left you panting for breath. You didn’t even think you could produce lightning that was so strong, but you wouldn’t let Desna get killed. He had placed himself in front of you without a moment of doubt, protecting you with his very life, but you had promised yourself you wouldn’t lose him, not to your past insecurities and not to the Black Lotus.
« What? » The fire bender boy yelled.
« Cocky brat, » the earth bender chuckled, amused by his own teammate’s failure to kill you.
« Oh shut up! » The boy growled. « She can’t keep up with me, I’m the better fire bender and she’s the only one we need to worry about. Her boyfriend’s useless now, water benders are nothing. Taking away what little power they have is as easy as taking away their water, » he laughed. « No one can take this away from me. » A fire ball began to form in the boy’s hand, growing larger faster than you thought was possible, it was huge. Yet suddenly, the bloody river sprang forward and flew over the two of you, entrapping the boy and drowning him in a gruesome death.
You were still in shocked horror when the air bender woman’s shrill laughter interrupted your astonishment and brought you back to the terrible reality. « You never liked him much, did you, Kalok? »
You gasped, « Kalok? »
« Sort of, » the evil woman smirked. « Toro over there broke him out of prison, » she gestured towards the large man. « He was swallowed up by the river spirit when he tried to control it with his bending, but he was too stubborn to die. Instead the river turned bloody with Kalok’s spirit. I’m not sure how conscious he is, but his hatred towards fire benders is still strong. »
« Enough talk, Aria, » the tall earth bender called Toro interrupted.
The air bender female, Aria, shrugged her shoulders, « fine, fine, let’s finish this and destroy those troublesome machines. » She prepared to launch a tornado, but stopped when a fireball emerged from the bloody river. How that was possible, you didn’t know.
You and Desna managed to dodge it, but the new found power seemed to send Kalok over the edge as the bloody liquid started to trash about wildly. « What are you doing? Focus! » Toro yelled and tried to fence in Kalok to get him to calm down. The bloody river didn’t stop trashing about until it expelled the soul of the fire bender boy, which drifted away, disappearing into a foggy area in the distance, where it seemed dangerously easy to get lost. It was the edge of the parameter you were supposed to follow, and you were cautioned not to go near that place where souls wandered helplessly lost.
« You hate fire benders that much? » Aria huffed, as Kalok calmed down and flowed over the walls, to stand in a pillar of liquid.
Kalok stood there for a few moments, while Toro shook his head. You were watching for an opening and were about to shoot a fireball, but Desna stopped you. You realized that if you used your fire, Aria would redirect it towards you in a fiery tornado, that’s what she seemed to be hoping for. « The kid was a brat, but his power could have been useful, » Toro shrugged. « Oh well, no use in- »
Without warning, Kalok devoured Toro in his bloody water, condemning him to the same gruesome fate as the fire bender boy. Toro was stronger though, and struggled against the currents. He partially emerged from the spinning currents a few times, making terrible noises of agony, but was unable to break free. Finally, the muscular man met his end.
Desna grabbed your hand and pulled you into a hasty retreat. Water was useless in this situation, as Kalok could take control of it and absorb it and his new form would not be easy to defeat. You needed reinforcements.
xoxox xox xoxox
Chapter 26: The Final Battle Part 2
Aria had flown away on her air ball as soon as he realized that, though he hated fire benders, Kalok had no problems with absorbing the power of earth and air. The bloody water dashed towards her, snaking through the ground at amazing speed. She turned back from the foggy area, and Kalok was momentarily unable to turn towards her, as he was mesmerized by the echoes of agonized cries from the fog. He broke free a little later and continued to chase the petite air bender.
Aria had turned in the direction you and Desna had gone. You were moving away from them, but not back towards Asami, because you didn’t want to endanger her, the engineers or the machinery. They had their own vital job to do stabilizing the Spirit World before the damage to it worsened and didn’t have a second to spare dealing with the Black Lotus.
Aria threw gusts of wind in front of her to open at path and move forward on her air ball at full speed. She was moving at a much faster pace than you and Desna could travel on foot and soon was within sight behind you. Desna suddenly stopped, much to your confusion, and pulled you close, holding your face against his chest.
« You humans are not welcome here! » A voice, whose owner you had not seen shouted with great rage and a woman’s scream echoed. « Such a deliciously beautiful face… » the voice spoke. « What about her? She had a pretty face. »
« You will not touch her, » Desna stated. « Leave us be, Face Eater, unless you wish for your home to be consumed by the Black Lotus. You want us to get rid of them, don’t you? That’s why you didn’t attack when you were following us before. »
« Fine… » The face eater growled. The creature couldn’t consume a face as long as it remained in expressionless neutrality, and the only person in the world with a poker face as good as Desna’s was Eska. You were sure his face was safe, yours on the other hand, would have been an easy prey if not because of Desna keeping you safe. « I will leave you to deal with this. » The Face Eater retreated.
Desna loosened his grip, « it’s gone, but… » You dared to look up and regretted it. Kalok had caught up and was devouring the faceless Aria. It was a gruesome sight, her thin arms and legs flailing until they were broken like twigs, her mouthless face unable to scream.
Kalok stood before you and Desna and tower of blood reached out. It absorbed the moisture from the fauna all around and became larger. A tornado emerged from the creature and a rain of pebbles bruised and cut you. Desna tried his best to shield you, but you were still hurt. Though you were not deadly injured, you felt the pain and sting of the multitude of shallow wounds and bruises all over your body. Kalok was toying with you both, trying to make you suffer with a slow painful death.
Desna tried to retried some water from the surrounding fauna to heal you, but it was ripped away from him and absorbed by Kalok. « Don’t worry about me, » you stood up. « Let’s just… do everything we can! » Lightning gathered in your hands as you shot a massive bolt towards Kalok. You didn’t know where all this power was coming from, during your training with Zuko you learned to produce lightning, but could only make small bolts. Yet you just couldn’t allow your lives to end here. Desna had been trying to protect you this whole time, even when his life was in danger. He had saved you in more ways than one. You were not going to die here, you were going to live a long and happy life with him.
Screams of terror filled the air as three souls floated out of the bloody river. One was of Toro and the other of Aria. Though her corpse’s face was gone, her soul did have with a face in its ghostly translucent appearance, but that face only showed the pain of a rage that she could not let go of. Toro’s expression was the same. Their souls were pulled away in the direction of the fog, as if the Spirit World itself was reclaiming it’s defeated prisoners into their jail.
The third soul that emerged from the bloody river after the shock was not that of Kalok. This soul had no human form and floated about weakly. The ghostly silver liquid retreated from the dazed bloody river. It wasn’t scary though, it looked like a friendly watery wisp. « Thank you for freeing me! » The wisp spoke in a gentle echo. « I was once a river who lived in peace in the Spirit World, but that man tried to use me as a weapon. He tried so hard that the struggle was too much as he died clinging to me. His soul took over my body as his human vessel expired and the blood of his crimes tainted it. »
Kalok recovered and the bloody pillar shook. He realized that he couldn’t use earth or air bending, then switched to his natural element, water. A multitude of blades of blood flew towards you and Desna, but Desna stepped forward and stopped them in mid air. « Now that the original spirit of the river’s body is no longer your prisoner, you are much weaker. »
Frustrated, Kalok spun around in a deadly whirlpool, surrounding you and threatening to swallow you both. Desna froze a platform in the middle of the spinning bloody water and worked his way outward. In a desperate attempt multiple currents rose up all around, reaching towards him, but they froze, inches away, trapped by the command of Desna’s bending. For a moment you felt it was over, then the good water spirit shouted, « look out! »
You looked every which way, but couldn’t see anything that would cause such alarm. « What is it? »
« Do you not see it? » The water spirit spoke with fright. « That terrible man’s soul rode the energy current to the bending’s source! » The water spirit floated away, disappearing into the distance before you could even ask what it meant.
Desna’s hands wrapped around your throat, his face contorted in a terrible expression of malice. This was not Desna, this was Kalok. You wanted to scream at him to get out. How dare that filthy creature possess Desna’s body? Desna was fighting, you could feel the pain and regret this was causing him. He would never hurt you, he had proven he would give his life for you. He had told you his past and you had told him yours after you managed to remember it. He had gotten to know you through peculiar and sometimes frustrating circumstances and you’ve earned his trust and affection, and he had earned yours.
The struggled went on for several minutes until you felt yourself blacking out. As your eyes closed, there was the sound of a sickening crack and the pressure on your throat stopped. You gasped for air, your lungs desperate for more as your heart pounded. A terrible scream of pain echoed and Kalok’s ghostly soul appeared in front of you, but it was pulled back into Desna’s body.
Suddenly, you heard the water spirit again, « there they are! » But you couldn’t look at the water spirit, you could only look at Desna with horror. His body was twisted at odd angles, his limbs and torso bend in ways that should be impossible.
Kalok’s soul was fighting to get out, but Desna was keeping it trapped in his broken body, keeping it away from you. « Run… » Desna gasped in pain. « Get…. away… »
There was no way you could do as he said, no way you could leave him. « Desna! » You called his name in desperation, unaware of anything else happening around you, unable to focus on anything but him.
« Hold on! » The water spirit had been left weakened after Kalok stole its river body and couldn’t fight, so it had flown away to get help and made it back just in time. The one who had arrived to help was a beautiful lady with white hair, despite her eternally youthful face. She removed Kalok’s soul from Desna’s body and entrapped it in a silvery light that drained away what little remained of his power. « Be gone, terrible monster, into your eternal prison! » Kalok’s soul became encased in an ice crystal and it sunk into the ground of the Spirit World.
The white haired lady examined Desna with worry. « He blood bent himself… » Desna had caused himself terrible painful injuries, refusing to let his body be used to kill you.
« Please, help him! » You cried. « You’re a spirit, isn’t there something you can do? »
The lady focused her healing energy and tried her hardest, gently moving Desna’s limbs back into their proper angles as her energy flowed through him. « His wounds are too great! » The lady cried, « not even I can heal him, his heart is too damaged… » She paused and looked at you, then the tears that flowed down your face floated into her hand into a glowing ball of water. « Please let this work… » The lady used the tears as healing water, the liquid sunk into Desna’s chest, absorbed into his heart.
You waited, unable to do much else other than cry and tell him over and over to please live. « you have to make it, please Desna, you have to live. I love you… »
The glow that surrounded Desna’s body faded, and the spirit lady looked relieved. Desna’s eyes opened and he slowly sat up. He was beyond exhausted, but he was alive, his wounds had been completely healed. « I love you too. »
xoxox xox xoxox
Chapter 27: Forever
You hugged Desna and without thinking kissed him in joy and relief. He held you and kissed you back until you both needed to breathe. You realized that the water spirit and the lady were still there. « Thank you, » you voiced sincerely. « Thank you so much! »
« I didn’t do any of this alone, » the lady smiled. « Kalok’s soul was already weak when I arrived, he’d sooner cease to be than escape from Desna. You helped greatly with the healing (Name), your bond with my nephew is very strong. »
« Nephew? » You stared at the lady in shock.
« Great aunt Yue… » Desna recognized her, though this was his first time truly meeting her in person.
« Yue… The moon? » Your jaw dropped. « Lady Moon! » You vowed.
Yue laughed, « you don’t need to be so formal, we’re practically family. You clearly love my nephew and he loves you, I can feel it. »
You blushed and smiled but before you could find your words, more people arrived on the scene. Eska ran over, followed by Tahno, their respective fire bender partners were a few feet away, discussing something with a spirit that looked like a big panda bear. By the looks of it, the mission had been a success. The other teams must have captured the remaining members of the Black Lotus. There was the slight chance that someone might have escaped, but with spirits and spiritual adept humans on the lookout, sensing everything around for miles, it was unlikely that they could make a move without being swiftly captured.
« It pleases me to see that you are both safe, » Eska voiced. « Great aunt Yue, I thank you for protecting my brother and his fiance. » Your eyes widened in realization. Eska had given you the task to propose matrimony to her brother and with all that was going on you were yet to do so.
« I was only able to arrive when the battle was nearly over, » Yue replied, « my little friend here let me to them. » Though the twins were technically meeting Yue for the first time, they recognized her easily. Maybe they had dreamed about her, you heard spirits sometimes communicated with humans through dreams. « I am happy to see that you are safe as well. »
« They saved me, » the water spirit gratefully said. « I’m a lot smaller now than I used to be, but just wait for the rainy season and I’ll be back to normal in no time. »
Throughout the exchange, Tahno watched on in shock. « Are you alright, Tahno? » Yue asked. She seemed to know everyone’s name. She was the moon, so she must have a good view of what went on in the world.
« I can’t… I just… Can’t take this anymore! » It looked like the probender finally had too much and snapped. « You’re the best water bender I’ve ever seen, you’ve got more power in you that all the probenders put together. » Tahno threw his hands in the air dramatically as he stared at Eska in frustration. « You’re not afraid of anything, you’re willing and capable of fighting anything, you’re beautiful and deadly at the same time, nothing fazes you, nothing makes you lose your cool, you’re a princess who’s as serene as a goddess and now it turns out you really are related to our tribe’s deity?! » Tahno shook his head, his trademark hairstyle bouncing around as he did. « How am I supposed to impress this goddess?! » He motioned towards Eska with his open arms in an overly dramatic gesture.
Without batting an eye, Eska walked right into Tahno’s arms and kissed him. He was still in shock when they parted. « Great aunt Yue, will you perform our marriage ceremonies? » Eska pulled out a pair of rings from her pocket, she had said ceremonies, as in plural. « In Republic City, they use rings. » She took Tahno’s left hand and placed his wedding band on his ring finger.
« We’re getting married? » Tahno finally found his voice.
« Yes, » Eska replied nonchalantly.
« But I haven’t been able to make you fangirl over me. » Tahno pointed out, then cringed, mentally kicking himself for admitting it.
« You will have time to try, » Eska grinned in a combination of mischief and deadliness, though judging by Tahno’s expression he found it to be alluring. You decided this was the perfect time to tell your imagination to shut up, because you really didn’t want to know what went on in their heads.
« Well, it certainly looks like love is in the air, » Yue laughed. She looked at you and Desna. « I assume the other ceremony will be yours. »
You were unable to find your voice and instead found a ring on your finger. « Eska said we could have our weddings together. She said I should wait for you to ask, but if you were shy about it then I should do it myself. » Desna explained. « Will you marry me? » He finally inquired.
You could feel your face was a warm red. You weren’t sure how, but you managed to force your voice to work and squeeze out a « yes! » and throw yourself into his arms where you were received with a kiss.
xoxox xox xoxox
The group went to the spirit gate at Republic City. Everyone was gathered there. The Wolfbats went over to Tahno, telling him about what had happened while he was away. « Ginger doesn’t want a costar, we couldn’t convince her to let either of us be her costar! » The fire bender complained.
« We did manage to get the Wolfbats some good screen time though, » the earth bender added.
Valrick and Zhu Li could be seen buzzing about, getting everything ready to film the color mover musical. She had fortunately taken the time to properly rest, though Valrick seemed to be in another caffeine high. He’d likely go back to his rumored habit of sleeping until noon after the mover was done, but for the time being, he was bursting with so much creative energy, he couldn’t stay still.
« Guys, I have news bigger than this mover, » Tahno proudly informed his teammates. The two young men looked at their leader waiting for him to speak, ready to look enthusiastic, but not truly expecting the news to be bigger than something along the lines of hair gel that he claimed was nothing short of miraculous. « I’m engaged! » The Wolfbats’ stared in open mouthed shock and Tahno grinned. « Yep, I finally found a woman who can truly stand at my side. She’s beautiful, powerful, royal and even divine. Yes, that’s right, Eska’s the great niece of the moon goddess herself and she’s tending to our ceremony right here and now. I always knew I was destined for greatness. »
« Wow, » the earth bending Woldbat breathed. « I knew you had a thing for tough girls who refuse to fangirl over you just because you’re a famous probender, but I thought that titles bigger than yours scared you. »
Tahno cringed and his eye twitched in discomfort. « Yeah, » the fire bender Wolfbat added, « weren’t you lamenting that you finally met a cute, ultra powerful, nearly impossible to impress girl you could seriously chase after and she had to be a princess? »
« You’re not helping, » Tahno growled.
« Do not fret, my little wolfbat cub, I had already known from the start that you were trying to impress me despite my position rather than because of it, » Eska patted her fiance’s hair, playing with the bouncy texture.
Tahno blinked and tried to remain composed. He gave Eska a seductive grin. « So… Are you impressed. »
« No, but I am amused. » Eska replied honestly.
Tahno sighed, « it’s a start. »
The fire bender Woldbat grinned and whispered to his earth bending comrade, who gave an eager laugh in response. « We’ll get all the fangirls to ourselves now! »
Eska raised her hand and snapped her fingers. At the signal, Valrick’s team of stylists stopped fussing over Ginger and dashed over. The next thing you knew, you were whisked away to get cleaned up, changed into a dress, get your hair and makeup done, and in record breaking time you were delivered back to the area next to the spirit gate, which had been cleaned and decorated.
Eska must have intended for the weddings to happen after the mission all along, even Malina had been brought to Republic City and seemed to recover the light in her eyes at the happy occasion. You heard during your speedy preparation that normally this type of ceremony was done by the light of the full moon, to ask the moon to bless the marriage. That rule was being bent a little in this case, since it was sunset and the moon would be showing up in spirit form.
You had no time to take it all in before you became captivated by the sight of your husband to be. He was all dressed up for the occasion and looked very handsome and happy as he took both your hands in his. He was sweet, protective, considerate and a handsome prince related to the mystical moon. He was like something right out of a fairytale that you could hardly believe was coming true.
The moon spirit, emerged from the spirit gate, giving the area an even more mystical fairytale aura. She began to speak in a soothing majestic voice. « As a river’s waters flow together, so shall you be forever. Inseparable from each others’ current of life, facing united both pain and delight. By the moon that shines at night in the sky, this you shall swear, with truth verify. That your love forever will last, no matter what may come to pass. »
« Forever… » Desna said.
« Forever… » You replied, realizing this was the moon marriage ceremony’s version of ‘I do.’
You and Desna kissed, as did Eska and Tahno, among the cheers and applause of all those present. Yue faded away to take her proper place watching over the world from the night sky, as the sun disappeared in the horizon. A beautiful starry night with a happy full moon began along with the start of your new life. There was delicious food, music, dancing, cheer, joy and a happily ever after that you knew would last forever…
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