A Rescue Attempt
Even with the warning, it didn’t look like the people from the warehouse could set out a patrol fast enough and Xu was thankful for that. It gave them enough time to get in, grab their companions and get out. There were many risks with this plan— one of them being that someone might get to the airship before they could. While he had thought of a lot of fail-safes to prevent it from being destroyed, infiltrated, or otherwise grounded permanently, he didn’t want to risk it.
Getting to the warehouse was easy enough at least. Entering it was a whole other beast. He settled behind one of the bushes, looking over for any possible entrances. “So we know that the others infiltrated from the vents.” He pointed up at the rooftop. Not knowing the layout of the warehouse was detrimental, but they knew a few things from the reports at least. “Xian and Xiurong are together, outside the vents in some room with gas canisters. They probably know that the place is on full alert and would escape.” He pressed his hand to his chin, brows furrowing as he continued to think. “Yara is still in the vents, alone. Maizen and Taka, on the other hand, are both with these goons.”
Everyone was split up and they had to prioritize who they would get out first and how to get out. “We also need a way to get back to the airship. Any vehicle would do and if it comes to it, I’m more than willing to try my hand on driving that monstrosity.” He claimed, pertaining to what Jia had reported earlier.
“Anyway, do you think you can find out where they are?”
Even before Xu had asked, Jia was already trying to pinpoint their location through seismic sensing. Unfamiliar people, unfamiliar heartbeats, unfamiliar movements. There was a lot, and even though she barely knew the others, she had already tried to memorize them, through this ability that was known only by Earthbenders the moment they came to the Headquarters.
She found them. It wasn't too hard, but it was odd. There was another, much more familiar than everyone else and now she's only hoping that it's not who she thought it was. "I found them. We should go in from underneath, I can make a way in. It would probably be better to wear our masks already in case they released the gas already." She said, stoic as ever.
Jia was quick to fix the mask to her face before ripping the earth apart to create a path inside. Leading the way, Jia made sure that the space around them would be comfortable enough for Xu to walk in, whilst telling him whenever they are changing direction. "We're here." She said, her voice slightly muffled by the mask. "I'll go in first and surprise them."
And with that, she shot herself up, leaving the hole open for Xu to climb out of. Immediately, she shot shrapnels of rock from her makeshift glove to the goons near Taka and Maizen before shifting her body and making use of her three-sectioned staff to another that went charging towards her, hitting them right where it hurts best.
Xu nodded, quickly wearing and fixing his mask and let out a deep sigh. Anywhere he went was some sort of trouble, huh? Then again, he was willingly going along with this in hopes to get Xiurong to stop getting into trouble. As Jia opened the tunnel and explained to him her plan, he looked back to the way back to the airship for a moment. He really was more comfortable in the air than on the ground.
He dropped down into the hole and followed close behind Jia. He only had to trust her and her seismic sense to tell them the way because he couldn’t see anything for the life of him. He grumbled something under his breath as they continued forward, left, right, forward again. For someone who had grown up with mostly earthbenders, Xu found himself uncomfortable. There was too little space to do anything and the idea of not being able to move bothered him. Huh, maybe he wasn’t cut out for these bending styles after all.
As Jia shot upwards, he waited for a few moments to allow the people to register that Jia was there and aim all of their focus there. He took out three stun arrows. He really hoped he had time to collect these before having to leave. He didn’t have the luxury of making multitudes of them on the fly if he was also in charge of flying the airship.
He jumped out of the hole and crouched down, launching the three arrows in succession. Three bodies crackled with electricity and dropped to the ground. He quickly put away his bow, knowing that the area wasn’t going to leave him with enough breathing space for archery. Those that weren’t targeting Jia turned to him and began their advancement. He brought his arms up in preparation while looking around to see any possible hint of an—
A wall of earth appeared in front of Xu, shattering after being hit by rock upon rock. Behind him was Jia, her blank expression was nowhere to be found and was replaced by furrowed brows and a frown. Her eyes were only on one person, Xu’s attacker, or rather better known as her old friend, “Chen."
Jia stomped the ground to levitate a huge boulder before sending it flying towards her old friend. "Switch places with me, Xu."
His eyebrows furrowed at Jia’s remark, looking back at what he truly hoped was just someone who was in something suspiciously like the Dai Li armor. Filing the memory at the back of his head, he turned around to see multiple attackers heading towards them. Benders, it looked like. Outnumbered and outpowered, he really should stop being so arrogant. That was Xiurong’s job.
“Capture him if possible.” He told her. “I have some questions.” He headed off towards one of the firebenders, twisting out of the way of his flaming dropkick before turning around and grabbing his arm and his neck, sending multiple voltages of electricity through him. He didn’t have time to ponder whether or not he had killed the person or not as another made another swipe at him. He grabbed the attacker’s hand and flipped him onto the ground before rolling out of the way as the ground formed a hole.
“Geez, it would be nice if you could ease up a bit.” While it was surely intended to be lighthearted, his flat delivery caused it to sound like a bored comment.
The boulder was shattered and Chen let out an audible sigh. Initially, he didn't want to get caught up in all of this but there wasn't anything he can do about it now. Jia found him, and he also attempted to attack the Prince of the Earth Empire, not that he knew at first but there was only one person she stuck by. "At least say something." He said to his old friend, he couldn't help but feel ashamed at being seen doing unhonorable work.
No words were spoken back. There wasn't any room for any sentimental familiarity when the person in front of you is a traitor to the Empire. To the Royal family, and that is where her loyalty lies. She pulled forth the specks of dirt and formed a torpedo of sand towards Chen as a means of a momentary distraction.
It was a shame, Jia thought, to see Chen like this when he had much potential to be a great agent of the Dai Li. But perhaps this force formed by Kiyoshi will always be tainted with corruption within its ranks.
After Chen had dispersed the torpedo, he found Jia already in front of him and already directing a punch to his stomach while wearing a thicker earth gauntlet than before. He was quick to react, using his arm to protect himself from her attack but still, it had hit him quite harder than he expected. "I don't plan on going down easy, Jia."
And she wasn't expecting him to. Chen isn’t someone that likes to hold back on any kind of fight, that Jia knew well. He was quick to summon a column of earth from his side with the motion of his hand as a counterattack. Jia bent backward and into a flip that also sent a portion of Chen’s column into one of Xu’s enemies that were just about to attack him.
As the column of rock smashed into the other earthbender, Xu flinched a bit as he watched his opponent get flung into the wall by the massive chunk of debris. “Ouch.” He said for the unconscious Bone Crusher before quickly stepping back as a sword passed straight by his face. He felt the sting first before he reacted. His hand crackled with electricity and he grabbed the assailant’s arm— sending volts of electricity coursing through his bloodstream.
He belatedly realized that it was virtually useless. His assailant gave him a wicked grin before pulling his arm back sharply and sending a punch right at Xu’s face. The prince managed to remove his grasp and duck down.
Looks like he’ll have to resort to old-school tactics.
He tried to sweep his legs but the man simply jumped and moved back. The man prepared his sword, raising it in front of him. What a hassle. Xu grabbed his dagger and took a deep breath. He just needed to get that sword away. Xu moved forward and lunged straight for the swordmaster's hand only for it to get parried and the two went back and forth— with each strike came a parry or a dodge. Quite a stalemate, Xu thought to himself as he backed away. His opponent was at least not as aggressive as the others.
The floor of the warehouse was ruined. There was barely any of it left where Jia and Chen fought, every crater was filled with shrapnels of earth and cement that would make it hard for anyone to traverse. The air around them was filled with dust, every bit of it she could feel landing on her and on the ground. Jia knew that if she only used earthbending that they would be wasting time when they needed to get everyone out and fast. Chen was good at holding his ground after all.
Jia moved in a way that was nothing sort of elegant but was like that of a water bender. The earth that she had pulled up from the ground had turned into lava, the heat that emanated from it was her own, her lava bending had never been so close to her but it left a heavy feeling in her heart. A reminder, one she didn’t like but she had a duty that needed to come first.
Lava was denser, heavier than water and yet it looked as though it flowed just the same. The red hot liquid hangs from Jia's hands, something she only thought of now. She raised her hand, the lava following the arcing motion before she struck down and forming a whip-like attack at Chen.
The man’s eyes widened in a mix of awe and surprise. How could he forget the famous retainer’s special ability? To be able to bend something beyond the earth, her father must be pretty proud of her. He didn’t even have time to chuckle at his own humor as he strongly stomped his foot on the ground and summoned a pillar of earth. Nevertheless, Jia’s molten whip seamlessly cut through the block, licking through the fabric of his garb and burning the surface of his skin as it curved downward.
Chen flipped backward, his own construct crumbling down the spot where he stood. Once the dust settled, his large silhouette could be seen palming the exposed line of burn across his chest. He gritted his teeth; his chances of defeating Jia were rather small, but his job wasn’t to defeat her but to buy time for the boss’ move.
It was then when Jia would feel the tremors of countless footsteps. Behind the prince and his retainer, one of the large gates slid open and revealed a small platoon of gangsters. There were about a dozen of them, each not looking too different from the ones they’ve had downed if not for the various weapons in their hands. It was a curious mixture of electric-charged melee weapons and bulky guns.
“Hey, you over there! What are you doing!?” Chen barked at ‘Nigel’, beckoning for him to join the fight against the prince and his retainer. “Get them!” He then pointed at the duo. Upon his command, two of the backups stepped forward and pointed their guns at the two, each launching a metallic net with the intention to ensnare them.
mention: || interaction: AI10100 . D O V E Entity.Eclypse