(Featured image base by: misskiokjo)
By coincidence, Romano looked down and saw something. “Go a little lower!” he requested, catching everyone’s curiosity.
“Am I the only one who sees the army of Fire Nation down there?” Suki asked.
The Italian ignored the teen and huffed out a, “Just trust me. I think I saw mia figlia!”
With a sigh, Aang lowered Appa inch by inch to the ground, Romano getting more and more excited. “It is!” he shouted. “Questa è mia figlia!” By the time they made it to the ground, the Italian man was already jumping off and running in the direction he saw his daughter go, the young Italian girl following her uncle without hesitation.
“Romano!” Katara shouted. “Venice! Stop!”
Rainbow Dash took in a deep breath and ran after the Italians, Bardroy close behind the firebender. When they caught up to him and Venice, Rainbow Dash crashed into the man’s back, knocking them both down as Bard slowed to a stop. “Would you stop already?!” she huffed. “It’s obvious you can’t go in alone.”
“Well, what the fuck am I supposed to do? Sit back and watch as they turn mia figlia into a monster?!”
“Lei è mia cugina!” Venice exclaimed. “I’m going!”
“What you’re supposed to do is let us come with.” she answered the man. “Look, if I remember Josiphine’s lessons right, then every person in their country dresses in red.”
“Guess what,” Bard added with crossed arms. “we’re all wearing red. The three of us will blend right in.” He then looked back at the girl. “…You should go back.” he stated. “Not only would you stick out as an earthbender, but you’ll also be in constant danger.”
The earthbender pouted. “It’s because I’m Italian, isn’t it?”
The only firebender shook her head. “Kid, it’s not just that you’re an earthbender, and it has nothing to do with you being Italian. You’re also a little girl. Go back.” Rainbow Dash took the spotlight back. “If we brought along, even Katara, we’d stick out like a sore hoof.” She then illuminated her hand. “Besides, if all else fails, I can get us out of there quick.”
Bardroy groaned. “Sure. Rub it in that I don’t have that special power, why don’t you?”
The Italian man sighed irritably. “…Fine.” he huffed out. “We get in, get her, and get out.”
“Agreed~” Venice exclaimed, jumping into the adult’s view.
Bardroy grit his teeth. “You’re still here?!” he shouted. “Go back to the bison!” he ordered.
“I’ll go back when I wanna go back.” the little girl back-talked, putting her foot down. “I’m not going anywhere except where Naples and Papa are.”
Romano rubbed his head tiredly, glaring at his niece. “Venice, this isn’t funny.” he growled. “Go. Back. Now.” The girl still never moved, causing her uncle to clench his fists. “If you don’t go back now, I’ll tell your Papa that you were the one who told Potato Bastard where your Papa takes his siesta on training days!” Venice was gone at bullet’s speed.
The Italian sighed. “…Like Papa, like figlia…” he mumbled.
“Once we’re out,” Rainbow Dash sighed, getting the conversation back on track. “she could tell us if she knows where AD, Twilight, and Mareuscript are.”
“And Rachel, and everyone else.” The nonbender smiled as they stepped out of the bushes. “It’s simple and solid! What could possibly go wrong?”
The three looked up at the crowd of firebenders and their jaws hit the hard ground. Every person in front of them were all in complete uniform down the masked helmets. Romano crossed his arms and growled at his male companion. “’What could go wrong’?” he quoted the man next to him. “You had to fucking ask that, didn’t you, idiota bastard?!”
“How was I supposed to know everyone was in total body uniform?” he asked.
“We’ll just have to look harder.” Rainbow Dash stated before she sighed. “When in Rome.” She made a high kick at a soldier’s head, knocking him out. After repeating the process two more times, she took in a deep breath, shoving one to Romano and Bardroy. “Put that on.” she stated, already starting to disrobe the soldier she got.
The Italian sighed as the two men took the helmets from the soldiers and changed from their robes to the uniforms. When they were ready, they slipped the helmets on their heads and sighed. “Time to get to work.”
With the disguises, Romano, Bardroy, and Rainbow Dash blended right in the crimson sea. However, it didn’t take long before the captain found them. “You three!” he called. “Where are you going?”
The three stuttered before Rainbow Dash turned to the man. “We were simply looking for…um…”
“The food court.” Romano stated for her.
The pegasus looked at him before she continued her thought. “…Yes, the food court.”
“Gotta keep those calories going, you know.” Bardroy stated with a nervous chuckle as he smacked Romano’s shoulder like a sports player.
A soldier passing by stopped to look over at them as the captain laughed in their faces. “You must be new here.” he growled. “Otherwise, you’d know that the food court is only open for half an hour every day, and that half hour has passed!”
“Captain,” the soldier called with a familiar voice approaching the small group. Romano and Rainbow Dash had a hard time putting the voice with a face, but they knew they heard that voice before, especially since Bardroy seemed to already know who the approacher was. “Allow me to show the…new recruits…to the training field.”
The man sighed and nodded. “If you think you can, Rookie, by all means.”
The unknown soldier bowed his head slightly and gently pushed Rainbow Dash, Bardroy, and Romano to the outskirts of the base, just behind the trees that surrounded the military base. When they were out of sight, the soldier sighed. “You three have no idea what you’ve done by coming here. I assume this was your idea, Mr. Romano?” The soldier slid off his mask to reveal the long features and bold crimson eyes of Sebastian. “Your daughter is just fine. I’m keeping a close eye on her, as well as my own daughter, and your friend’s brother.” he reassured.
Romano crossed his arms and grumbled. “French Bastard isn’t my friend…”
Rainbow Dash looked confused. “What do you mean, ‘what we’ve done by coming’? We’re here for the rescue!” she exclaimed, removing her own helmet.
“I’m not leaving without my daughter if that’s what you’re thinking.” Romano huffed, lifting his helmet and setting it under his arm.
“By any chance,” Bard stated, unnaturally silent. “is my sister here?”
Sebastian sadly shook his head, peeking back to the camp before turning back to them with a sigh. “…Alright, but if you’re going to pose as soldiers, you three have to at least look the part.” he stated. “You stick out as a cross-gender group walking together. The whole camp is sexually segregated. I’ll help how I can, but if they figure out that I’m working with that other camp, they could kill me and my daughter, possibly yours too, as well as Paris.”
Romano took in a deep breath before letting it back out. “We should be careful then.” he stated.
“This is great and all,” Rainbow Dash stated. “But…once we all get-together, we might need to leave quickly. How do we get outta here?”
“Well, once you get to the girl’s cabin, it should be easy to find the girls.” the demon stated, shocking the pegasus. “We’re only in uniform outside the cabins. Once we get in the cabins, we’re free to change out of uniform.” he stated. “But also, because the girls and I were recruited from an invasion, we’re under constant super vision, which is why we should head back soon.” he informed.
The former pony looked at him in confusion. “How does that effect anything?” she asked.
“It affects how much privacy you’ll get with the girls.” he answered. “I’m not sure what plan you three had before, but whatever it was, it obviously wasn’t working, so here’s the new plan…”
The four of them split up after Sebastian told them the plan and they returned to the camp. While Romano and Bardroy went with the demon to go to the men’s cabin, Rainbow Dash left to the girl’s cabin.
Seconds after she entered, she looked around and saw that no one changed from their uniforms, or even took off their helmets. She looked around from girl to girl, paying close attention to each voice until they’d stop talking and look at her, to which she’d continue down the line. After a while, she heard familiar voices and rushed over to them, listening closely. “So, is it just me, or is that captain a little crazy?” “You’re telling me?! I never really liked people like him.” “Same here, too…dog-ish.” “…Dog-ish?” “You know, he always barks orders, he smells awful, and he never makes his mind on what he wants!” “…Kinda reminds me of my Papa, to tell you the truth.”
“…Papa?” Rainbow Dash muttered under her breath, catching the girls’ attention. “…uh…hi.” she greeted. “I’m new. We are allowed to take off our helmets in the cabins, right?” she asked.
To this, the two girls took off their helmets and set them on the cots. “Even if we weren’t,” one of them stated. “I gotta to get that block of metal off my head!” She looked at Rainbow Dash with blue-green eyes as she fluffed up her dark brown hair with her fingers.
“I’ll say!” the other girl stated, stretching her neck while undoing the braid in her dark red hair. “I don’t know how much longer my neck can take holding that helmet up!”
With a sigh, Rainbow Dash took off her own helmet, her rainbow locks falling out of the red metal. She smirked at the girls in front of her. “Hey Justine, hey Naples.”
“Rainbow Dash?” they called before smiling and hugging her.
The pegasus patted their heads and gently pushed them to the cots before turning to Naples. “You okay? Your dad is super worried.”
“Papa’s here?!” she exclaimed, worry raising in her tone. “He still can’t fend for himself! What if-”
“Don’t worry.” Rainbow Dash sighed. “On our way in, we ran into Spiky, and he and Bard are going to watch his back and help him out until we can get out of here.”
She explained to the teens what happened after they got captured and their plan of escape, to which Justine looked worried. “…My dad came up with this?” she asked as Rainbow Dash nodded, causing her to face-palm. “He’s been away from home too long. It’s not like him to make such a bad plan, or have such bad memory.” The other girls looked over at her, causing her to huff out a sigh. “Am I the only one that sees the fault in his plan?” She got no answer, causing her to groan. “Maybe I’m the only one who can see it because I’m the only one here without any special powers. The captain is taking us to the front tomorrow bright and early!” she hissed.
To that, Naples smacked her head. “Oh yeah!” she exclaimed. “That big city across the ocean, that’s where we’re going?”
The nonbender groaned. “Remember? The captain told us that the Princess is expecting new troops to control the city. Basically, we’re just going to be cops kinda.”
Rainbow Dash furrowed her brows and started to turn. “I gotta tell Sebastian, Bardroy, and Romano.” she stated before the teens grabbed her wrists.
“Paris should be in the cabin by now too.” Naples sighed. “Besides, we’re not allowed to leave the cabin this late!” she exclaimed.
“We’ve been around here longer, I’ll get the news to him.” Justine promised.
To that, Rainbow Dash and Naples just looked at her. “How?” Rainbow Dash asked. “You don’t have any special powers, remember?”
Justine nodded. “I know.” she stated. “But I’ve also been a cat for over a thousand years, remember?”
Rainbow Dash huffed out a sigh. “You can’t turn into a cat!” she exclaimed.
“I don’t need to.” the teen reassured. “I still have my cat characteristics. I can sneak over there and get to the men’s cabin and tell my dad that his plan sucks.”
Just before Justine disappeared out the window in the trees, Naples shouted, “Say hi to my Papa for me!”
Sebastian was rewrapping Romano’s wrist as Paris packed the first aid kit and Bardroy sat on the cot when they heard something out the window. “Psst!” the sound exclaimed. “Dad!”
“Justine?” he called, turning to the window to talk with the teen. “Is there a problem?”
“Yeah.” the teen stated. “Rainbow Dash told me your plan, and there’s a BIG problem.” She then explained her thought process, making her father sigh. “I think you’ve been away from home too long.”
“…You might be right about that…”
“So?” Bardroy stated, crossing his arms. “What’s the new plan?”
Justine thought for a moment before she answered, “We’ll go to the city as the captain planned, once in the city, we slip away in the crowd.”
“We’d need a diversion.” Sebastian stated. “One of us would have to quickly escape from here to get to Katara and Sokka. They are against this Fire Nation in this war, perhaps they could start just the diversion we need for a clean escape.”
Romano smiled. “Si.” he nodded. “In all the chaos, we’ll run! That’s perfect!”
“I’ll go and tell the others.” the crow demon volunteered.
Justine’s smile was drained from her face. “Dad, Rainbow Dash said that you promised to help Romano.” she reminded. “Just like you always say, ‘If you couldn’t keep your promises, what kind of butler would you be?’”
“I can take care of myself, ragazza.” the Italian insisted. “Your papa isn’t my butler!”
Sebastian sighed. “…No.” he huffed. “She’s right. I’ve lived by that saying since I became a butler, and I’m not going to stop now.”
“Fine.” Romano huffed. “Then we’ll both go.”
Justine bit her lip. “You might not be able to move very swiftly.” she stated. “Plus, Naples is extremely worried about you. If you go back to the camp, where you could possibly get captured and put in worse circumstances, she’ll freak.”
“Then I can go.” Bardroy stated.
Again, Justine didn’t like that idea. “No offense Bard, but…with how much you manage to mess up at home, I don’t think it’s a good risk.”
“For the love of-I’ll do it!” Paris exploded. “I’m a bender, I can move swiftly, and I’m not tied down here in any way, shape, or form!”
Justine nodded. “…yeah…perhaps that might be best I think…” she considered.
“I don’t!” Romano spoke out.
“Oh, shut up, Italian trash!” the French huffed. “You are of no relation to me, so you have no say!”
“I actually agree with Romano.” Bardroy stated before turning to the young man. “Your brother is beating himself up for not protecting you and all. Once he sees you, he might want to abandon us.”
Justine nodded. “That makes sense. It has to be someone with a reason not to abandon us…that limits it to me and Naples since we’re the able bodies with ties here.” she stated. “I would never abandon you, dad, or you Bard, and I doubt Naples would abandon you, Romano.” After a moment’s thought, she nodded. “I’ll run back to the girl’s cabin. One of us will go back.” she stated.
Before Sebastian could protest, she was gone from their sight.