(Featured image base by: pixlebases)
Angelica flew Appa as Louisiana, Rachel, Jeremy, America, Christi, Ciel, AD, and Toph sat in the saddle. “We gotta get back to the gang.” the teen stated. “If what you say is true, Louisiana, then they can’t get out on their own.”
Louisiana thought back to the pathetic look in Claude’s yellow eyes. He looked so beaten down and defeated. True, everyone was in a state of depression, but the spider was a different story. He might as well have been a walking corpse. With a deep breath, she looked up at Angelica with hard brown eyes. “No!” she exclaimed. “What we need to do is find Angel!” Everyone looked at the American teen like she grew a second head.
“Are you crazy?!” Toph shouted. “We have no idea where to start!”
“Well, Twilight, Chrima, Italy, and Japan are with Angel, so if we find Angel, we find them too.” AD reasoned.
“Also,” Christi stated. “Venice is Italy’s daughter.” She then turned to Ciel. “Remember what Italy and Venice were like when they lost one another in the manner?”
The boy tilted his head in consideration. “…It’s hard to argue with that when combined with Claude’s case.”
The male metalbender groaned. “In my humble opinion, our chances of finding them would be much better with everyone else’s help, if there’s a chance of finding them at all.”
Rachel sighed. “Look, I want to see Bardroy just as badly as you guys want to see your family and friends. But not only would Claude be happy if we came back with his daughter, but Tokyo would be happy if we come back with her brother and not just Venice, but also Romano and Naples would be so happy to see Italy. Not to mention Chrima is Katara’s and Sokka’s youngest sister, at least that’s what they told me. Not to mention Mareuscript in the same place as Claude, and Twilight in the same place as Angel.” she reasoned. “They’re locked up in the same place anyway. Might as well hit, not two, not three, but FIVE birds with one stone.”
Angelica looked at them in confusion. “You don’t know what you’re talking about. We’ll find them once we get the rest of the gang, we’d have strength in numbers that way.”
“But Claude has been slaving away in the mines for weeks!” Louisiana shot back. “Just as long as you guys worked at the factory! Who knows how much he has left in him!”
“Not our problem!” Toph shouted. “If he can’t pull his weight, I say we dump him. We’ve been working just as long.”
“Also, if we go in with a large group, it’ll just make it harder.” Rachel reasoned. “It’s easier to sneak around with a small group of people than it would be with everyone.”
“Not to mention,” Ciel exclaimed. “I’m fairly sure this bison can only hold so many passengers. 26 people is a large number for this creature to hold at one time for, we don’t even know how long. That’s not including the five in the prison that we need to leave with.”
“Appa can walk.” Angelica huffed. “Besides, we can’t go completely out of our way to make a few people happy sooner when we can accomplish the same thing with the whole group.”
“But you and your sister not only had each other, but a special skill that only you knew about that was the main thing in how we got out of the factory.” Louisiana reasoned. “AD, you knew your mom was coming to get you, that she wouldn’t stop until she knew you were safe.” The former pegasus looked up at the American girl. “Jeremy, you also knew that your father was going to at least try and go back for you. I mean, with his style of fighting, I’m shocked he bothered to flee the battle.” The former grim reaper averted his green eyes. “America, you at least knew that I was alright and that there was a good chance you’d see me again.” The blonde was silent. “Rachel, you knew that Bardroy made it out of the overrun and would sooner die than give up on reaching you again.” The former maid crossed her arms in deep thought. “Christi, you knew that Ciel would never in a million years leave you to rot in a factory.” The young girl bit her lip, clinging closer to Ciel. “Think about it, guys!” Louisiana urged. “Claude has next to no idea when he’d see Angel, his own daughter, again! Tokyo, Venice, Katara, Sokka, and Mareuscript have that same uncertainty, they’re going near the end of their rope!”
“Look Louisiana,” Angelica sighed. “I get that you’re worried about them, but there’s not much we can do on our own.”
“We’re all metalbenders!” AD stated. “…Well, except for Christi, Cowlick, and Ciel.” America huffed at the reminder as Jeremy rolled his eyes at the American before the teen continued. “All the prisons are made of metal, so we could very easily get them out! This is my best friend’s mother and mentor, the brother of an upset teen, the father, uncle, and brother of three paranoid Italians, the younger sister of the two who helped us expecting NOTHING in return, and the daughter of a broken man and worry-sick woman we’re talking about here!”
“A far beyond broken man.” Ciel added. “And an extreamly naggingly worried woman.”
“There’s still the problem of FINDING IT!” Toph growled. “All that captain guy said was that they were going to some cell. That could literally be ANYWHERE!”
“She’s right.” Jeremy agreed. “Last I checked, Sokka had a map. At least then, we’d know where to find the prisons and narrow them down.”
“…Yeah…” Rachel swayed. “But how do we know that we can leave the town that he’s in once we get the map? I doubt Appa can hold that many people for more than a mile tops, and we’d probably not be able to return to that town and leave again so easily.”
“I still vote that we search!” Christi exclaimed. “We all owe Katara that much.”
“And I owe Claude and Angela for not abandoning me in the town.” Ciel confessed. “Still, we left the town once, we can do it again.” The boy then looked sternly at the girl next to him. “Most importantly, I want your safety guaranteed. My vote is that we go back to the town, get everyone out, then have a selected few find the prison.”
Louisiana turned to her older brother. “…America?” she called, catching his attention. “…A hero has to help everyone, right? You’ll help me…won’t you?”
America looked from face to face and he already felt the pressure. Toph, Jeremy, Ciel, and Angelica made valid points, but so did AD, Rachel, Christi, and Louisiana. Angelica and Toph have been doing this whole flying/bender fighting/save people from firebenders a lot longer, but at the same time, Louisiana was his little sister, and he didn’t want to disappoint her. “…I think…we should at least try to find Spiderman’s daughter. If we can’t, then we go to the town and get the rest of the gang’s help. If we can find the prison before…let’s just say…tomorrow, then we help them escape and get to the town then. Sound fair?”
Angelica moved her dark brown eyes forward in silence as Toph groaned loudly and smacked her head on the saddle side several times and Jeremy, though she didn’t look happy, nodded understandingly and stared blankly at the clouds they passed. All the while, Ciel looked at Christi in worry, but couldn’t think of anything to say; the tie in the vote was broken in her favor fair and square. AD, Christi, and Rachel smiled at the tiebreaker result and Louisiana completely hugged America tight. “Thanks, big bro.”
America froze before he smiled at her, wrapping his strong arms around her. “No prob little sis.”
Many hours passed and they found several prisons with the fire nation insignia, but none that would hold waterbending prisoners. As the sun sank in the purple mountains, Angelica sighed. “Okay, deal’s over!” she shouted. “We’ve been flying around all day, with no sign of the prison!”
“Hold it!” Louisiana shouted. “The deal was that we’d turn back if we couldn’t find it by TOMORROW!”
“It’s not like we’d have any more luck at night than we would during the day!” the driver reasoned.
“Actually, I’ve spent A LOT of time with Katara for the past few months, and she told me that waterbenders stand out at night. Twilight, Italy, and Angel are all waterbenders, so, as a matter of fact, we WOULD have more luck at night than during the day!” the American girl spat in spite.
Continuing the search with a sigh, AD’s brown eyes widened at what she saw. Off in the distance, a single star glowed a vibrant hot pink. “Follow that star!” she exclaimed. “It’s Twilight, I KNOW it!”
Louisiana, Rachel, Christi, and Jeremy rushed to see the shining star as well. “I thought that your pony powers don’t work outside your realm or whatever.” Rachel sighed
To that, the former pegasus shrugged. “I guess the princess’ are in more realms than just Equestria.”
When they followed the pink star, they found themselves hovering near a tall tower completely made of metal and every window barred. Louisiana smirked at Angelica. “Does that look like a prison for waterbenders to you?”
The noble earthbender stayed silent as she landed the bison. “Someone needs to stay with Appa in case he gets discovered by guards.” Angelica commanded.
“I’ll stay and keep watch.” Jeremy volunteered before turning to the two children. “You two should stay with me. Not only are you both only children, but neither of you are benders so you’d both be fairly useless in there.” With a groan, Ciel and Christi stayed with the bison and former grim reaper as the rest of the small group of earthbenders rushed to the tower. Looking up the metal building, Toph broke off a section of the earth to push them up to the nearest window where AD pried the bars apart. Everyone climbed in with the exception of Angelica. America looked back at her in confusion after he already was inside. “You alright?” he asked.
The girl looked up at him and sighed. “…Your sister is just…I’ve been doing this longer than your group of, what? 27?”
“Yeah, I think it’s 27.”
“…I know what I’m doing, and she just…”
The American gave her a small smile. “Louisiana knows what she’s doing too.” he stated. “It might not look like it sometimes, but it’s true. You two could really be close friends if you tried.”
“You think so?”
“I know so.”
The metalbender smiled as America extended his hand to her. As she took the hand and climbed in, Louisiana looked back at her brother with questioning eyes. When he passed her with a smile, she snatched his sleeve in her hand. “Something happen between you two that I should know about?” she asked.
“W-what are you talking about?” the elder brother chuckled.
“Why was it so hard for you to break the tie this morning?” she asked. “Did something happen between you and Angelica while I was with Katara?”
America huffed out a laugh, but it wasn’t the same as his usual laugh. It was more strained and forced. “You’re talking crazy, li’l sis.” he stated, brushing her away. “She’s just someone who needed a hero just now, I noticed, I talked to her, and now, she’s better~!”
Louisiana gave him one more critical look before she sighed with narrow brown eyes. “…Okay…”
Walking through the halls, they surprisingly didn’t see that many guards. The ones they did see, Toph took care of in her own special way (she tied them up in a metal pipe and threw them out the window).
It took them forever to find Twilight, Japan, Italy, Chrima, and Angel, which was odd considering Toph’s ability to ‘see’. “Where are they?” Louisiana asked the younger girl.
“I-I don’t know.” Toph stated, panic edging in her tone. “I can’t feel them anywhere.”
“I guess I was right, and this was a fluke!” Angelica stated to the group but shoved her statement in Louisiana’s face. “Let’s go!”
“Angelica?!” a young girl’s voice called from behind a door at the end of the hall. “Is that you?!”
Discarding Angelica’s protests, Louisiana kicked the door down. Normally, that would’ve broken her leg, but with metalbending, it was just too easy. Inside the room seemed…empty.
“Up here!” a familiar teen voice shouted as the group was directed to a waving hand in the air. “Can you please get us down?! I HATE heights!”
Looking up to see Twilight, Japan, Chrima, Italy, and Angel, Louisiana smirked at Angelica with crossed arms. “I guess I was right and this WASN’T a fluke, right?”
“Shut up.” the noble teen sighed as AD, Rachel, and America already started reaching for the chains and gently letting them down. Toph ripped their metal cages open once they reached the ground.
In one cage, the Italian never left his little corner. “…Ita, dude?” America called when the bars were ripped apart. “You’re free. Let’s go!”
“…No point…” he sighed sadly. “…Venice…I didn’t see her…they probably killed her…”
Louisiana was the one to enter the cage and place a comforting hand on his shoulder. “Is that what you think?” she asked. “Venice’s still alive. I’ve seen her. She’s with Romano and Naples right now, along with the rest of the group.” This new knowledge caused the man to jump. He zipped his head around to look at the American with a new spark of hope in his eyes.
“Come on with us!” Rachel smiled. “We’ll take you to her again.”
“Same as before in Ciel’s and Christi’s world with that game of Ring-Around-the-Rosie.” AD huffed with crossed arms.
“Guards are coming!” Toph exclaimed. “If you’re not coming, then stay there and sulk all you want. Last chance.” The waterbender nodded and followed them out of the cell down the metal hall.
When they returned to Appa and started heading back to the town, Angelica kept herself isolated from the rest of the group. “That was easier that I thought it’d be.” Toph stated in slight shock as they soared through the skies.
Back at the town, Claude stumbled to the shack after another long day in the mines as Pinki Pie tried to help him move forward however she could. It was nearing midnight and the moon was still full for the third night in the cycle. As they walked, the man feared what he would find when he entered the pathetic excuse of a house. Angela hated it when the two of them took too long to get home, especially if Claude was the cause, but he was just too tired to walk any faster; he was falling behind in the group of other workers. Every night he fell behind; it was always further just little by little. This time, he completely lost them.
Out of nowhere, Pinki’s ears started to twitch under her poofy pink hair, then her eyes blinked rapidly and uncontrollably, and lastly, her knees twitched so violently, she fell over, causing the weakened man to catch her just before she hit the hard ground. Claude took notice to his partner’s twitches that caused her imbalance. “What was that?”
“…I might be wrong…I hadn’t had that combo since I was a pony…” she explained. “But that was probably a. Ear Flop, Eye Flutter, Knee Twitch-a-twitch combo! It might just feel different because I’m not a pony, kinda like how my Twitchy Tail changed to a Twitchy Knee.”
The man raised a brow. “What does that mean?”
Pinki tried to come up with the best way to explain. “Well, back in Ponyville, whenever I got that combo, it meant to watch out for opening doors, but I don’t know. This is the first time I’ve gotten that combo since then.”
Claude sighed. “I’m sure everything is just fine.” he groaned. “The worst that would happen is that Angela would be in a bad mood and use her bloodbending to force us home faster again.”
“It doesn’t always have to mean something bad.” Pinki stated. “It just means to keep your eyes peeled around doors.”
With a chuckle and groan, Claude opened the door to the run-down house. Instead of the spine-chilling possession he always received from his ‘loving wife’ since the full moon cycle started, he was greeted with a large hug, tightly constricting his arms to his waist. “Daddy~!”
His yellow eyes grew at the sound of that. He hadn’t been called that title in weeks; since before the overrun. He looked down at his Hug Attacker and his jaw smacked the wooden floor. The soft brown hair rubbed under his chin coated in his black, prickly short beard. The large golden brown eyes still shined in happiness at the brink of tears. For a moment, he thought he was mistaking Louisiana for his daughter again, but then again, the American teen hasn’t worn blue since he met her, and doesn’t call him ‘daddy’. “…A-Angel?” he stuttered. “I-is it really-?”
Angel replied by simply hugging her father tighter. Claude shut his eyes and shook his head. This had to be a dream. When he opened his eyes, Angel was still there in front of him, though now, she let him go.
Pinki skipped past the two in the house before reaching Cutie and hugging the little girl. “Told ya~!” Behind Angel, Katara and Sokka were sandwiching Chrima so tightly, she was lifted off the ground between the two. Italy squeezed Venice so tight, her face was turning blue, causing Sebastian to step in and try to unwrap the waterbender’s surprisingly strong arms. William was sitting with Jeremy, giving the young man a long, grueling speech about how worried sick the father was. Twilight stood in the corner, hugging her daughter comfortably, but tightly and protectively, promising her that she’ll never make the teen go through anything close to the past experience again. Tokyo and Japan stood close to one another, the older brother even being so bold as to hook the teen’s arm around his own and locking it in place. Bardroy had Rachel’s head hooked under his arm as he turned her hair into a rat’s nest, however, her giggle indicated that she didn’t mind at all. Rainbow Dash tried to hide her tears of joy with a big smile while ruffling AD’s hair.
The spider felt tears running down his stubbly cheeks as he looked at all the reunited families and duos before returning his awakening gaze to his one and only daughter. He then swooped down and hugged her tight with no intention of unwrapping his weakened arms. “…Dad, I’m fine.” Claude ignored the statement as the tears paraded in the streams. Angel simply sighed. If she knew anything about her father, he wasn’t going to let her go until he knew for sure that she wasn’t going anywhere out of his sight again; he was strict like that, being a single parent for over a thousand years with her as the center of his universe.