(Featured image base by: pixel muffins)
Mareuscript stood and sighed. “Well,” she huffed. “I guess we’re ready to put this plan into action when you are.”
“You’ll need a drive to earthbend.” Sokka stated, crossing his arms. “Otherwise, the soldiers might be too suspicious.”
“I might have an idea!” Mareuscript exclaimed before she turned to Angela. “Can I have some copper pieces?” Though she was confused, the waterbender took out the money from her pocket and placed the coins in the teen’s hand before she, Ciel, and Louisiana went out the door with a cheerful, “Be right back~!” from the teen nonbender.
The three of them walked down to the market casually before the former unicorn smiled at the earthbender and boy. “Follow my lead.” she whispered before she walked up to the counter. “Fifteen loaves please.”
The shopkeeper took out the bread without question and held out his hand for the money. When she gave him the copper pieces, his face was an expression of shock as he let the coins drop on the wooden counter. “This costs more than this, kid, cough it up!”
“It was enough yesterday!” Mareuscript exclaimed. “This is an outrage! Wait until my mother hears about this!”
“Y-yeah!” Louisiana followed in nervousness.
“You have no right to raise the price!” Ciel exclaimed confidently as if he already read the nonbender teen’s mind.
“You have NO idea who you’re ripping off here!” the nonbender continued. “I have friends and family in high places!”
“Like me!” Louisiana screamed as she stomped her foot on the rocky ground. The ground below the shopkeeper shot him up in the air and he went flying through the sky, landing on a tree branch.
“Or me!” the boy shouted as he stomped his foot and punched the boulder. Behind him, Louisiana used the same motions and did the real earthbending while Ciel took the blame for the boulder that rocketed to the shopkeeper and sent him flying.
Fire nation soldiers watched the shopkeeper flying over their heads and looked right at the teen and boy who seemed to be bending, their spears raised. “Earthbenders! Freeze!” They surrounded them, blocking Mareuscript from the two.
With a smile, the former unicorn skipped back to the house gleefully. Not only did she get Louisiana and Ciel in the factory like they needed, but she got hot, fluffy, fifteen loaves of bread in her arms and the copper pieces in her pocket. She, Angela, Claude, Pinki, and everyone else will be eating well tonight~
She made it back to the house, where everyone waited anxiously. “They’re in~!” she sang, returning the copper to the woman and holding up the food. “Anyone hungry?”
Louisiana and Ciel were shipped to the factory in gray rags. Once there, which didn’t take until that evening, they got the speech from the warden and were escorted to the courtyard with all the other earthbenders. They scanned the faces in desperation as the two walked around.
“Hey, Cowlick, Butterfly,” Toph huffed, pausing in her meal.
“’Sup?” America asked, looking over at the blind girl. Christi’s gaze followed the blonde’s
“Just thought you’d want to know,” she started with a sly smile. “…turn around.”
Confused, they did so. Once they saw the faces of their siblings, the two scrambled to their feet and tripped to get to the newcomers. “LOUISIANA!” America exclaimed.
“Ciel? CIEL!” Christi cried.
The American collapsed on his sister in a tight hug while the once noble girl knocked her brother off his feet. “Aw, dude! You have no idea how much I missed you in just the last DAY!” the man shouted in Louisiana’s ear.
“It’s nice to see you too America.” The teen sister choked. “I…can’t…breath!”
“IMISSEDYOU! IMISSEDYOU! IMISSEDYOU!” Christi cried as she squeezed Ciel’s neck. They were both knocked on the metal ground, though she didn’t care.
Ciel could only smile as he pushed himself to sit up and hugged her close.
Reluctantly, the blondes let go, but America still kept a tight grip on the clothes on Louisiana’s back and Christi stayed as close to Ciel as humanly possible. “Come on.” the girl smiled. “You must be starving!”
America then led them to the group of earthbenders and they sat down, handing the newcomers a bowl of alleged food. “Eat up, and talk about what happened!”
After one bite, they both spat out the rotten meat. Louisiana pushed the bowl as far from her as possible while Ciel simply put down the food and didn’t touch it. The teen told them what happened since they separated. “And now, we gotta get outta here asap so we can get back to that town and bust out everyone else before Claude collapses!”
“That spider dude always freaked me out a little bit.” America stated.
“Sebastian would punch me in the head if he knew I said this,” Ciel sighed. “however, Claude is trapped in a fate quite worse than death, even worse than anyone else in our collective group of misfits.” He then explained what he has observed from his time under Claude’s shabby, wooden roof.
“Is my mom there?” AD asked. “How is she?”
“Is my dad alright?” Jeremy asked worriedly.
“How’s Bardroy holding up?” Rachel asked in dripping concern.
Louisiana smiled at her friends. “They’re all really worried and just want to see you guys, then again, I bet that’s how everyone feels.” She thought back to how she felt when she was separated from her brother. She remembered how bad Ciel was from what Sebastian told her after checking on him earlier, which moved into why he volunteered despite not even being an earthbender. With all that running through her head, the teen could only imagine how Claude, Angela, Mareuscript, Venice, and Tokyo must feel now; so far, they’re the only ones left who are in incomplete families that aren’t expecting to see their missing family members anytime soon.
“How are your arms?” Angelica asked. “I see they’re not as bad as before.”
“Katara is a miracle worker.” Louisiana smiled, holding her arms out slightly and moving them around. “They still hurt a little bit, but I can actually bend now.”
“Well, duh!” Toph groaned. “You wouldn’t be in here if you couldn’t bend…don’t know how Shrimpy got here though…”
“Louisiana did the earthbending for me.” the boy answered. “I just did something random, and she did the real bending behind the scenes so it looked like I was bending.”
The blind girl huffed. “You tried metalbending yet?”
The American girl shook her head. “No, I just started trying this whole earthbending thing out after the raid a few weeks ago. I don’t even know that many moves.”
The metalbender smirked. “Remind me to show you metalbending later. You got the spark of a metalbender.”
Hearing this, America pouted, though she couldn’t see. “You can metalbend, your sis can metalbend, AD can metalbend, Rachel can metalbend, Jeremy can metalbend, my own little sister can metalbend, and I can’t?! Why not?!” He was answered by a hard punch in the shoulder. “OW! I STILL can’t figure out how you can do that! IT’S CREEPY!”
“Metalbending isn’t for just anyone.” Toph sighed. “Besides, you can cause enough damage just with earthbending.”
“Just quit your whining already!” Jeremy huffed.
AD looked over at Louisiana as America was ignored despite his grumbles and whines. “We kinda already had an escape plan, we just needed a way to get off this slab of metal.”
“Way ahead of you.” Louisiana smiled, pulling out the whistle from her pocket. “Aang gave me this to call his flying bison.”
Ciel nodded. “If I recall, he said to use that to return to the town once we retrieve the group members here.”
Angelica smiled. “That’s perfect! I wasn’t planning on swimming all the way to the mainland.”
“Did I ever mention I don’t like the plan you guys came up with?” Toph asked, crossing her arms.
Christi rubbed her arm and crouched in her shoulders. “…I don’t really like it either…”
Ciel looked over at his adopted sister. ”Why?” he asked. “What’s the plan?”
“You’ll see tonight.” America waved him off, turning to Ciel and Louisiana. “Just meet us here after everyone goes to bed. I, the hero, will take care of the rest!”
That night, the nine of them quietly snuck out of their beds and met on a nearby corner of the courtyard. Angelica turned to AD, Rachel, Jeremy, and Louisiana and whispered quietly, “Toph is going in first since she sees people around the corner. Once the coast is clear, you three follow my lead. America, Christi, Ciel, just pair with me, Rachel, Jeremy, or AD.”
To that, Louisiana clung to her brother’s arm. “No! America’s MY brother!”
Christi hid behind Ciel clutching his clothes in her fists. “I’m staying with Ciel.”
The blue eyed nonbender nodded. “I lost my sister once!” he exclaimed. “I DON’T plan to lose her again!”
“You’re not going to lose her!” the noble teen shouted before she winced. Her brown eyes scanned quickly around to see if anyone else heard their whining. When the coast was clear, she sighed. “Louisiana, you’re still new to bending in general.” she stated. “Can you really handle the responsibility of transporting yourself and America down?” She turned to the younger duo. “Ciel, you’re not going to lose Christi. Besides, there are four experienced metalbenders here, and one who’s not a metalbender, two who aren’t benders at all, and one who hasn’t had one metalbending session. I wasn’t planning on separating you two anyway.” Angelica then sighed when she turned back to the Americans. “I guess, following that logic, you two can go down together also, but Louisiana, you cannot bend by yourself. Just for safety, pair with another metalbender to help you.” At the silence, the noble teen looked back to her younger sister.
When Toph gave the ‘All Clear’, Angelica gave Louisiana brief instruction on how metalbending works and reminded Rachel, Jeremy, and AD the small things that they were required to remember. Once that was done, she showed the four newbies the motion they needed to know. With that, America, Louisiana, and Angelica went down in a metal platform she separated from the island. AD and Jeremy cautiously followed and sighed in relief when they made it to the lower level just above the water. Rachel was last to go down with Christi and Ciel. They made it down before any guards could take notice.
America looked over. Seeing a bright orange light approaching them, he acted quickly. He nudged Angelica, Louisiana, Rachel, Jeremy, Ciel, Christi, and AD in the water. “Go!” he commanded through gritted teeth.
When Christi plopped in the water, she freaked out. “Can’t swim! Can’t swim! Can’t swim!”
Jeremy acted quickly and held Christi close, holding her mouth closed. “I got you.” the reaper promised.
“…Considering the fact that you’re a grim reaper, I don’t know how I feel about that…” Christi whispered under her breath before Ciel shushed her.
Looking back at the blind twelve-year-old, America picked her up and secured her in his back before he too plunged into the water. He, along with the teen girls, young man, and two children, all hid under the low platform, just enough room between the steel and the water to fit from their chins up and barely be able to breathe.
After a long time of waiting, the soldier finally left the platform. Toph put a hand on the steel to feel when he’d turn the corner before she gave them a nod. Sighing in relief, they all swam out from under the platform and just started swimming away, America and Jeremy carrying the girls who couldn’t swim on their backs.
They swam all night, leaving a good distance between them and the factory before Toph groaned. “Are we gonna call Appa or not?!”
The whole group stopped suddenly as Louisiana smiled. “Oh yeah!” she exclaimed as she reached in her pocket under the water. “I almost forgot I even had this!” Taking a deep breath, she blew hard and strong in the tiny whistle only to get a bubbling sound and a stream of water to go out the other end. After a cough, the American huffed. “…Take two.” she chuckled, putting the whistle to her lips a second time. The sound of it was so unbearable, especially for the misfits since Toph and Angelica were used to it. The highly pitched, scratchy noise filled the blank air.
To the group, it seemed to get lost in the waves.
Miles away from the whistle, back on the mainland near the town, Appa jumped at the sudden sound of the whistle he knew so well. He knew that it was a call for help from someone in the gang. With a loud roar to let them know he was on his way, he slapped his tail in the grass and broke through the branches above him, taking off in the sky.
The small group of nine floated in the water, trying not to move too far in case Appa heard the whistle. After some time, America groaned. “Where is this furball anyway?!”
“Give him a minute Cowlick!” Toph shouted.
“Yeah!” Louisiana huffed. “A big beast like him; he can only go so fast!”
Christi rested her chin on the reaper’s shoulder. “I hope he comes soon. I’m starting to get sea sick…”
As she said that, a roar was heard in the distance. They looked up to see Appa searching the seas. “We’re down here!” Louisiana called before blowing the whistle again.
Only seconds after the whistle sounded in the air, Appa flew down close to them and extended his tail for them to climb. “Yes!” Toph cried when she felt the saddle beneath her. “Something solid!”
“Do you want a room?” America laughed as Toph kissed the leather. Hearing that, she took her Space Bracelet and swiped it at his feet, causing him to tumble down on the bison’s back and return to the waters. With a groan, America climbed the bison tail all over again.
Rachel smiled as she looked around. “From here on out, the only place we can go is up.” she stated.
AD looked over and chuckled. “…Literally.” she added.
Christi smiled as she and Ciel sat on the leather, the girl ringing the water out of her side ponytail. “I’m glad that nightmare is over.”
Jeremy looked around. “Anyone know where to go?” he asked. “We seem to be lost, and even if we weren’t, we don’t know where this town is that you two came from.”
“I guess I’m driving.” Angelica sighed as she climbed to Appa’s head and secured the reigns. “I’m the only one here who controlled a bison’s reigns before.” She thought back to all the times when she had to fly Appa, when Aang got tired in the desert, when everyone else needed help with that creepy lady, Hana, she had to fly Appa over to get everyone back, while they were at the Western Air Temple, she needed Appa just to go upstairs, and more. One reoccurring thought came from each instance. She HATED flying.
Normally, she’d at least have the saddle to hold onto, but when she was driving, she only had flimsy strips of leather that required both her hands. If she were to end up like the others in the group and end up in the Pony Land where AD was from, it would be just a sick joke if she was a pegasus.