(Featured image base by: shadowwhisper2)
The next morning, the girls decided to make Justine go back to the camp while Rainbow Dash and Naples stayed behind. Because she wasn’t a bender, no one would notice her absence, plus, she was better at swiftly sneaking around. Katara was shocked when she saw the teen running toward her and the group alone. “Where are Romano, Bardroy, and Rainbow Dash?” she asked.
“They stayed behind with Naples, Paris, and my dad.” she answered, already climbing on the bison’s back. “But we gotta go! The captain ordered for the army to go to some big named city in the mainland; said that it could get him a good name for the princess.”
“Ba Sing Se?” Sokka asked. “They’re going there?” the uniformed girl nodded as she climbed on the bison’s back.
“Azula’s going there too?” Aang asked.
Justine nodded. “I think that’s the princess’ name.”
Venice, Cutie, William, France, and Louisiana all exchanged a confused look. “…Who’s ‘Azula?” Cutie asked.
“She’s Josiphine’s and Zuko’s crazy sister.” Sokka answered.
“If Azula will be there, this won’t be easy.” Katara warned.
“Was this supposed to be easy?” William asked coldly.
It was silent as they followed as close to the group as possible without being spotted. Remaining undetected proved to be more difficult when they got on the ship, but they still managed.
When they arrived at the city, however, Justine and Venice ran out on their own. “Where are you going?” Katara shouted.
“I have to find my dad!” the teen reasoned. “He’s in there somewhere!”
“Let me come with you!” Louisiana insisted. “You might need a bender to get out of a tight spot.”
“I can come too.” Tokyo stated. “I’ve been training with Toph-san and Angelica-san, so I know my way around the rocks.”
“So have I!” Venice exclaimed. “I need to get mio zio and cugina! Justine and I will go in!”
The waterbender didn’t like this plan, and it was obvious on her face as she turned to the former demon. “You’re sure you want to go in with her and no one else?”
Justine nodded. “I can hold my own, and I’m used to watching after someone else in a dangerous situation.” she informed.
Katara didn’t like it, but let the two of them go alone, much to everyone else’s annoyance and disapproval. “Come in and make a diversion if we’re not back in half an hour.” Justine stated before they were gone in the city.
Once inside, Venice and Justine didn’t waste any time in trying to find the group. They finally found them receiving a speech from the princess herself. Something about disloyalty and weakness is a suicide decision. What made Justine’s skin crawl most was that she directed most of her intimidation to her father, some of the intimidation to the rest of their group, and a small fraction to the rest of the army. Though Sebastian wasn’t fazed by her mean glares, Justine only wished she was a firebender, or at least still have her demonic powers so she could burn her face off, or feed the scraps of her shredded soul to the violent demons of the underworld…or both.
With one last sharp glance to Sebastian, the princess walked off with a Gothic girl and a girl in pink that would only blend in at a circus. “That must be the princess.” the earthbender stated. “What did they say her name was? Azula?”
“Doesn’t matter.” Justine stated. “Look, dad’s leaving with everyone else.”
“But what about the princess?” Venice pressed.
“Like America would say, we see her once, no big deal. Twice, coincidence. Three times, then we deal with it.” she answered. “I say, let’s just get them, find everyone else, and get HOME.”
They nodded in agreement and proceeded to the small group wandering away. “Psst! Dad!” she called.
Sebastian turned and squeezed Justine in a hug. “I thought you might’ve lost us.” he stated. “When I didn’t see the bison anymore, I got worried.”
“Naples~!” Venice exclaimed, rushing over to hug her cousin and uncle.
“Come on, let’s just go.” Justine stated. “We don’t have much time before-”
“Before what?” came an unfamiliar giggle. They all looked and saw the circus freak from earlier as she snaked back to her feet after walking over on her small, strong hands.
“Who are you?” Romano called out, his curl wrinkling as he stepped closer to Naples and Venice.
“Oh, right, you guys don’t know me, so of course you’re not going to have your guard down around me. I’m Tylee~! You see, Azula told me to keep an extra close eye on you because you guys look suspicious.” she giggled. “Turns out, she was right! You guys aren’t supposed to talk to the locals, colonial or native.”
To this, Sebastian smiled. “I understand the concern, and appreciate your understanding and explanation.” he stated, much to everyone’s confusion. “But, these aren’t just any locals, this is simply my daughter. She can’t do anything without me, seeing as how she’s not a bender, so she brought here a girl that tried to rob our home. Silly little thing, I know, but she views me as a policeman, therefore the one to go to for these little incidents.”
“…Spiky, what are you-”
“SHUSH!” Paris snapped. “It’s working.”
“Yeah!” Justine smiled. “May I please borrow my father, just for a few minutes?”
Tylee looked around in slight confusion, trying to think of what to do before she raised a brow. “…I don’t know…Azula would kill me if she knew I let you guys off the hook for something like this…but, since you asked nicely…and it’s just for a few minutes…okay~” then she cartwheeled away.
The whole group, Sebastian included, gazed at her in disbelief. “…That was much easier than I anticipated.” he stated.
“Who the fuck cares?” Romano grumbled. “Let’s just get out of here!” With that, they ran.
The group didn’t make it far before their path was blocked by a blast of blue flame. “Why did I trust Tylee to be strict with you?” the princess sighed. “I should’ve known better than to let a circus clown do the job of a princess.”
The small group stayed close together as Sebastian got glowing orange fire daggers in between his fingers as he morphed in front of Justine. Naples stood strong as she bent down in a position she learned from Josiphine and Zuko, ready to attack as her form shielded Romano, who only glared. Rainbow Dash got a fireball ready to throw at the princess as she protectively stood in front of Bardroy, who held up a large club ready to swing. Paris gained a long whip of crackling flames in his fist. Venice levitated a large boulder and got ready to launch it at any given moment.
A smile snaked its way on the princess’ lips. Quickly grabbing the bars on the balcony she stood on, she swung herself over and kicked a large ball of blue fire at them. They scattered to the side, and the fight had begun.
Sebastian, Paris, and Naples dodged to the right. Romano, Bardroy, and Justine launched themselves back. Rainbow Dash and Venice stumbled to the left. Just like that, boulders and fire were flying back and forth on the small street. As the fight wore on, Azula seemed to grow tired of fire and started moving her arms in a circular motion with only two fingers on each hand. Seconds after she started the odd motions, electric blue sparks followed her fingers. Her auburn eyes looked around for the biggest threat. It didn’t take long before the narrow glare was locked on the crimson eyed former butler.
Naples saw this as Sebastian’s back was turned to search for Justine and just as the bolt left the princess’ fingertips, she jumped in the way and took on the strike. She let it in through her own fingertips and guided the electricity down the arm, across her body to her stomach, and up to the bright sky. The group was distracted from Azula to stare at Naples.
Just when the royal teen was about to make another move, she was hit in the head with a light blue and white boomerang. “Let’s get out of here!” Katara shouted as Aang landed the bison.
Azula glared at the teens on the animal’s back as the group climbed on the saddle. Naples looked back and, with a look of determination, mimicked Azula’s motions in generating the electricity. Once the bolt was bright and strong, she practically threw it down at her. Azula was beyond shocked when she found she had to dodge the lightning bolt. Once the bolt passed her, she glared at the bison as it flew away. She couldn’t help but wonder who that girl was and why she was so powerful, yet not in the royal family.
Sebastian looked over at the teen. “…You saved my life.” he smiled. “You could’ve let that lightning strike destroy me, but you didn’t…why is that?”
To this, Naples smiled. “I can’t let someone in our group get hurt. Sei pazzo?”
“When’d you learn that thing with the lightning?!” Paris exclaimed in excitement, finding it difficult to breathe with his brother crushing the young man in a hug and drowning him in apologies.
“Si!” Venice exclaimed with a large smile. “I mean, she was all-and you were all-and then you left her all-and that was just awesome! I can’t WAIT to tell Papa!”
Naples giggled at her cousin’s over the top description of what happened. “I’m not sure how I learned that.” she answered truthfully. “I mean, I remember Zuko talking about redirecting lightning, and Sebastian’s back was turned when she shot that lightning, so…I just…did it.”
“What about actually generating lightning?” Louisiana asked. “Zuko and Josiphine can’t do that, so how’d you learn that?”
To that, she shrugged. “I guess I just copied what Azula did.” she answered.
“Where are we going now?” Aang asked.
“We need to find Ameri-kun, AD-chan, Japan-nii, Chrima-chan, Ita-kun, Jeremy-kun, Ciel-kun, Christi-chan, Pinki-san, and Rach-chan.” Tokyo stated before turning to the firebenders. “Where’d they go?”
Sebastian thought hard but was the one to answer. “Mr. America, along with Ms. Dash, Mr. Spears, Rachel, Lady Christi, Ms. Beifong, and her sister, were sent to a coal factory of some kind.”
Justine sighed. “Dad! Seriously! Not only is there no one here who really cares if Christi is Ciel’s real blood sister, and YOU and ME are her REAL BLOOD family, but we are NOT EVEN in that WORLD!” she exclaimed. “At LEAST, until we get back home, can you PLEASE act like it?!”
He ignored his daughter and turned to the teens who were born in this world. “Do any of you know of such a place?”
“…There are a lot of coal factories…” Sokka sighed. “Six of those guys are earthbenders, so I guess it was the one out in the sea. It’s a safe bet even though Christi isn’t a bender at all.” The teen turned to his sister and the avatar. “You guys remember where that was?”
Katara and Aang shook their heads as Suki just tried to follow the conversation like the rest of the group of misfits. “We have to go in the same town and do the same thing as before to find it.” Katara stated.
“But I think they know that you’re not an earthbender now.” Aang pointed out. “They only bring earthbenders to that factory, remember?”
“Then why was Christi taken there?” Bardroy asked.
Justine turned to her father again in annoyance. “SEE DAD?! Bardroy is willing to toss formalities out the window!”
Again, Sebastian ignored her. “She was probably taken because the Young Master requested her not to go there and join him in the mining town.”
Louisiana sighed. “Hello! Earthbenders, right here!” she called, pointing to herself, Venice, and Tokyo. “Just tell us what we have to do.”
The original three looked at each other before returning their gaze to the earthbenders and sighed. “Just earthbend in front of a guard in the town.” Sokka explained to the three. “After that, they’ll ship you to the factory where the earthbenders and Christi most likely are. Only one of you needs to, so we’ll talk more about who will go once we get to the town.”
It wasn’t until late in the evening when they made it to the town. Looking around, Aang requested the bison to hide in the woods as the large group started to wander past the gates. Straying from the group slightly, Louisiana bumped into someone, knocking their glasses to the ground. “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you.” she apologized as she turned and picked up the slim square glasses and held them up.
“It’s alright.” the man sighed as he slipped the glasses over his face coated in dirt and oil.
The teen took a closer look at the man she bumped into. “…Claude?” she asked.
He perked up at the sound of his name as he slipped his glasses off and attempted to clean them on his oily clothes, only making the stains on the glass smear. To this, Louisiana giggled a little. “Let me.” she offered, gently taking the frame from him and cleaning them on her own clothes, which proved much more effective.
Taking the glasses back, Claude put them back on his face and had to rub his eyes to be sure he wasn’t dreaming. “…Angel?” he called in disbelief.
Louisiana backed away slightly. “Sorry, but I’m Louisiana.” she sighed.
Hearing this, the spider closed off in disappointment and slight embarrassment. “…Oh…right…”
“Claude, come on!” called a woman with grayed pink hair that was straight as a ruler. The new woman was pulling and dragging Claude’s sleeve. “I don’t plan on getting soaked from Angela’s ‘Loving Welcome Home’ again!”
When she got to the man, Louisiana hardly recognized her with the gray tones added to her hot pink hair and baby blue eyes. The voice, however, is what was identifiable to the teen. “…Pinki?” she called. “Can you guys help us?” the teen asked. “We’re trying to get the group back together. Do you know if this is the town that ships off earthbenders to the factory my brother’s at?”
Seeing that Louisiana was missing from the group, the rest of the large gathering of people migrated to where she was talking with Claude and Pinki. Seeing the other demon, the spider narrowed his dulling golden eyes and crossed his arms. “…Michaelis.”
“…Faustus.” Sebastian huffed right back, narrowing his own crimson eyes and crossing his own arms.
“Hello! Claude, dude? Yeah, can you help us, or not?” Louisiana brought the attention back to herself.
“…You’re getting the group together again?” Pinki asked.
“Yeah, mom!” called a young voice. The blue eyes of the rock farmer glanced over. At the sight of Cutie, color magically returned to her hair and eyes and her hair started to fluff up a little more. The puff of hair wasn’t quite where it used to be, but getting closer than how it has been for as long as she’s been trapped in this town.
Without a second thought, Pinki ran over, picked up Cutie, and hugged her, spinning on one toe. “Cutie~! It’s really you! I thought you were GONE! I missed you SO much!”
Glancing over, Claude gave the Pies a small smile. He saw no harm in helping the group get back together if it meant that he would soon be in Pinki’s place with his little Angel. The nonbender stood a little taller at the thought that was no longer so far fetched as he sighed. “Come back to the house with me. We can talk about this there.”