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Chapter 5 RevisedEdit
Despite the fact that they had done it before, the vortexes were still an unpleasant mode of travel. The whirling mass of darkness spit the five friends onto a bed of scorching sand, causing many cries of pain and discomfort.
Ling stood first, followed by Ursa and Yuhan. Kaddo and Yun were busy shaking sand out of their hair, seeing as the vortex had seen fit to deposit them on their heads. Yuhan offered a hand to Yun, while Ursa did the same for Kaddo. The captain accepted the Dai Li agent's help, but Kaddo simply shook his head and stood on his own.
Ursa shrugged and brushed herself off before glancing around. "Wow...that's a lot of sand..."
Ling shaded his face with his hand and took stock of their surroundings. "Unless this world is drastically different from any of our own, I'd say the Si Wong Desert. That's absolutely wonderful...I hope the vortex is close..."
"It feels..." Yuhan narrowed his eyes. "It feels like it's relatively close, but I'm still not used to this whole 'vortex-sensing' thing."
"So...what now?" Kaddo asked. "Are we just gonna hoof it across a desert?"
Yun sighed as he glanced in the direction of the pull. "We've got no choice, but we can't be too careful. I'd imagine deserts aren't exactly the easiest of places to cross."
"So...do we just start walking?" Ursa asked, a frown growing on her face.
Yuhan nodded. "It's our only option, as unappealing as it is."
Ling sighed and began to walk in the direction of the vortex's pull. "Might as well get this over with."
The other followed suit; the vortex wasn't going to find itself.
The sun beat down on the five warriors as they continued their trek, further bogging down their progress. They had been walking for a half an hour, hardly speaking a word to one another, and the vortex felt close, to their collective joy.
Ling squinted as he scanned the barren landscape before them. "Uh...it feels kinda close, but..."
"I don't see anything." Yun stated bluntly.
Ursa bit her lower lip. "We can all feel it, so why can't we see it? Could it be above us or something?"
"Guys...we might have company." Yuhan interrupted. "Look to our left."
Yun narrowed his eyes. "Yeah...I can feel their movements, but I can't tell much about them. I hate sand sometimes..."
Ling raised an eyebrow. "How in the world can you feel them that far away? I've only got fuzzy imprints of you guys!"
"I can feel them too...barely." Yuhan frowned. "I'm guessing that this has to do with your weird fighting style?"
"Wait...weird? What are you talking about?" Yun folded his arms. "There's nothing wrong with my style!"
Ling shrugged. "It is a bit odd for an earthbender, but it's not bad."
"Guys, can we focus?" Ursa's remark brought the three earthbenders back to the task at hand. "Who are they?"
"They look really strange from where I'm standing. Their clothes are really...colorful." Kaddo said as an odd glint caught his eyes. "What is that?"
Ling's eyes widened. "No...it can't be..."
All eyes turned toward him, begging for an explanation, but he just stood, frozen in place.
"Ling...who are they?" Yun asked as Kaddo waved his hand in front of their friend's face.
"I...I can't believe it! We're in my world..."
Ursa glanced out toward the strange group again. "How do you know? I guess you know who they are, huh?"
"The glint..." Ling knelt in the sand, eyes still wide. "Hong Wu's knives..."
Yuhan cocked his head. "Hong Wu?"
"They're going to do it again...going to kill her..."
As Ling knelt in the desert sand, the rest of them shared confused glances. This was obviously familiar to him, but he was too occupied with some unknown trauma to tell them anything.
Yun stooped down to meet his gaze. "Whatever happened, Ling...we need you to tell us everything. We cannot be running blind. Do you understand?"
A terse nod followed, and the captain stood once again. "Now, what is going on?"
Ling exhaled. "Those men are the Zhiming assassins, and they have been thorns in me and my friends' sides for a long time. They are vicious, cruel, and they kill for kicks!"
"You said that they were going to kill someone. Who?" Ursa asked.
The distressed earthbender whipped his gaze toward Yun. "...in my universe...Ty Lee dies...here. Today."
Yun Zhen's fists clenched, but his face remained expressionless.
"And, by their path...I know where the vortex is..."
"Forget the vortex for now!" Yun cried. "Shouldn't we try and stop this from happening?!"
Creases formed as Ursa furrowed her brow. "Yun...? We can't just 'forget' the vortex; we have a duty—"
"But I can't let her die!" The captain cried.
Ling nodded. "I agree with Yun; we need to try and save her. I have a chance to prevent a lot of pain."
Kaddo shook his head. "Whoa, whoa, whoa! I'm not gonna let you do this, Yun! Or did you already forget what you told me when we were in my world!"
Yun turned his golden-eyed gaze toward the waterbender. "Kaddo, now is not a good time."
"Hey, Captain." Yuhan folded his arms and glared at Yun. "We have worlds to save; one life cannot take precedence over that kind of thing. You know it."
Ling shook his head. "If we start thinking like that, we'll lose ourselves. The people closest to us should be a priority; otherwise, we won't be—"
"Are you guys insane!?" Kaddo cried. "There are entire worlds at stake! We don't have time for this!"
Yun took a step toward him, but Ursa maneuvered between them. "Yun...as much as we want to...we can't save her..."
His golden eyes narrowed. "I can't expect you to understand, Princess, but I have to—"
"Abandon entire universes for one dead woman?" The Dai Li agent interjected. "As callous as it may sound, her fate is sealed." His gaze softened slightly. "But the fate of each of our universes...entire worlds...rides on us. We have a job to do."
The captain's fists clenched for a moment before he finally released everything into a deep sigh. "...you're right..."
Kaddo's jaw dropped, and even Ursa raised an eyebrow.
"Wait, what?!" The waterbender exclaimed.
The princess cocked her head. "If I didn't hear it with my own ears..."
The five of them stood still for a moment in complete silence, allowing the desert wind to wrap around them.
"So...that's it then? We just leave Ty Lee to her fate?" Ling asked, his voice hoarse.
Yuhan nodded solemnly. "If there were another way..."
"But there isn't." Yun's gaze turned toward the horizon. "Yuhan is right; we have work to do. As much as we want to save those we love...we can't save everyone as long as this Eris is messing with our worlds."
Ling frowned. "...I really thought we could make a difference...I guess I was wrong."
"No." Ursa spoke up with a renewed voice. "We are going to make a difference, and we are going to stop Eris."
"That's what I'm talking about!" Kaddo cried before suddenly scratching his head. "Uh...I know this might sound bad, but...how are we gonna do that?"
"Simple," Ling replied solemnly, "we just have to enter a place that's been lost to the world since before the end of the Hundred Years' War. We have to somehow get into the hidden Library of the spirit, Wan Shi Tong."
The other four raised their eyebrows simultaneously, but Ursa spoke first. "How are we going to get there?"
Yuhan knelt in the sand. "Do you know where this library is, Ling?"
"Not exactly, no."
"I think I might..." Yun said as he glanced down one of the dunes. "...there's an odd emptiness down there. The library could be just under the surface."
The Fire Nation princess furrowed her brow. "You can feel it? But Yuhan and Ling can't...why is that?"
"Easy. I was trained by Bumi to work with earth that's malleable so that I wouldn't kill myself."
Yuhan nodded. "That's why you passed out during the battle on your world. You can't earthbend like most."
The captain frowned. "Yeah...that's why sand is easy for me to manipulate and feel. Something's down there."
Ling shook his head. "So, we know where it is. How're we supposed to get to it?"
"Couldn't you guys just dig us a hole?" Kaddo asked. "You are earthbenders."
Yun winced, fear evident in his gaze. "I don't know if I can do something like that without—"
The sound of cracking knuckles drew four pairs of eyes toward Yuhan, who took a step forward and knelt in the sand. "I may not know how to bend sand like Yun does, but I think Ling and I can bend more of it without passing out."
Ling nodded tersely and pressed his own hands against the warm ground. Both he and the Dai Li agent exerted their power over the malleable ground beneath their feet, causing a slight indent to form.
Yun sighed. "It's going to take all day if you just try and force it like a rock. You need a little more...subtlety."
"So...do you have a plan?" Ursa asked.
He nodded. "I can help by weakening the sand for the two of you. It'll make this a whole lot easier."
The three earthbenders stood at opposing ends of the indent, and Yun began by thrusting downward with his right hand and twisting his wrist. The sand swirled and lowered somewhat, and Yuhan and Ling's eyes widened.
The two of them pushed their hands down and watched as the softened sand sunk considerably. Ursa grinned.
"Wow...I guess even earthbending has a variety of styles; if you guys keep this up, we'll reach the library in no time!"
"Yeah...but if the spirit buried this place, will we be welcome?"
Ling's question caught all of them off-guard. The idea that Wan Shi Tong wouldn't want them there hadn't crossed their minds.
"It doesn't matter." Yun twisted his hand and shoved down again. "We'll convince him."
"I wish I was as confident as you." Kaddo said as he scratched the back of his head. "I'm not exactly sure this is a good idea anymore."
"Well, if you have any better ideas, be my guest." Ursa replied.
No one said a word, so the earthbenders kept digging.
The five young heroes stared open-mouthed at the stark white structure, which peeked out from the sand. They then turned their gazes up toward the sky, noting the depth of the hole they had to dig to reach that point.
Yun smirked as he dug his feet into the sand. "There's some kind of opening a couple of feet down; we've got a shot at getting in."
"Kaddo had a point," Ursa stated, "We should be ready for anything. Wan Shi Tong might not be so friendly."
The waterbender grinned. "Did you just agree with me, Princess? Seriously, I think the sun's getting to you."
She resisted the urge to roll her eyes, instead focusing her frustration into a small sigh.
Yuhan cleared his throat in order to gather their attention. "Are we going to get this over with, or what? I'm a little tired of the Si Wong Desert, myself."
Ling and Yun nodded, and the three earthbenders resumed their work. Soon enough, they reached the opening, a window that was easily large enough for any one of them.
"Uh...guys..." Kaddo cocked his head. "Won't this place have been filled up with sand by now?"
Ling's shoulders sagged. "So, what now? We abandoned Ty Lee to her fate for nothing!"
"Not exactly." Ursa and Yun replied simultaneously, an occurrence which brought a light shade of red to the princess's cheeks.
"Oh, sorry, Ursa!" Yun exclaimed. "By all means, continue."
She nodded slowly. "Uh...right. Anyway, Ling, it's possible that the inside is intact because it's a part of the Spirit World, as well."
"But you're not sure."
Yun shook his head. "It's a hunch, but it's better than giving up."
"So," Kaddo folded his arms, "What are we waiting for, an invitation?"
All five of them stared into the window, and darkness stared back. There was no sign of the sand that had covered the library, or that it might have spilled inside.
Yuhan shrugged and stepped on the window sill. "We should move quickly. I don't think things are going to get any better with these vortexes any time soon." He kicked off of the ledge and stuck his boots and gloves to the opposite wall, allowing him to slide down into the pitch black.
Ling and Yun shared a glance before looking back to Kaddo and Ursa. If each of them held onto one of the Earthbenders, they could follow Yuhan's example.
"Kaddo, you're small; get on my back." Ling said.
The waterbender raised an eyebrow. "Uh...no."
Yun shook his head. "Either you go with him, or you go with me, Kaddo. Take your pick."
The boy shrank back. "Geez...fine. You're scary; ya know that, Yun?" He walked up to Ling. "You'd better not drop me!"
Ursa chuckled as the young boy climbed onto Ling's back. As they followed the Dai Li agent down the hole, her gaze fell back to Yun.
"Oh..." Her cheeks flushed red. "I didn't realize..."
Yun's expression remained stoic. "C'mon, we're going to lag behind if we don't hurry. Who knows what's down there?"
"Right." She gripped his shoulders tightly, and without a word of warning, he jumped into the abyss.
Ling watched as Yun and Ursa slid down the wall, and a slight smile came to his face at the sight of the princess clinging tightly to Yun's shoulders.
"Looks like you and Ursa were right, Yun." He motioned at the space around them. "It appears that the library was left intact."
Ursa released her grip as soon as his feet touched solid ground. "A little warning wouldn't hurt, you know."
He shrugged, a small smile appearing on his face. "Didn't have time. Sorry."
As Ursa let loose an exasperated sigh, Yuhan was already beginning to explore the hall before them. "There's something wrong, guys; I can't sense the vortex clearly. It's like...there's a fog or something."
"Maybe it's because we're kinda in a spirit library?" Kaddo offered.
"That's likely," Ling agreed, "But that just means we'll have to comb the library for it, and that'll take time."
Ursa stepped forward. "So, what now? Do we just waste time looking for this one, or is there an alternative option?"
"Unlikely." Yuhan said as his shoulders sagged. "I just hope this place isn't massive..."
"What do you think, Yu—?" The firebender turned to find him missing. "Yun?"
His voice cut through the hall. "Guys, you really want to see this!"
The four of them followed the sound through the hall until they reached an opening. It was an overlook, and it revealed the true extent of the place they found themselves in. Floors upon floors of books and scrolls spiraled below them, and it made their hearts soar before they inevitably plummeted once more.
"We're going to have to search all of this, aren't we?" Yuhan mused. "Great..."
"Maybe we should split up. We could definitely get outta here faster!" Kaddo glanced around as all eyes turned his way. "What?"
The Dai Li agent smirked. "I'm impressed. It's our best bet."
"Sounds good to me," agreed Ursa.
"But not to me." A raspy, almost ethereal voice assaulted their eardrums. "I thought I sunk this library to prevent humans from entering."
The sound of massive wings flapping was the next to reach their ears, and the ancient Spirit of Knowledge, Wan Shi Tong, rose to their level and simply hovered.
"You should not be here; leave my library at once!"
Yun took a tentative step forward. "Great spirit, we need to find something here. We can't leave until we do. Literally."
The owl cocked its head slightly. "You can leave the way you came in. Do so before I have to dispatch you myself."
"We're not here to cause any harm," Yuhan said, "We just need to find—"
He was silenced with a screech. "I do not care what you seek here! No more humans are allowed in my sacred library! All you search for are ways to make war against one another, and I will not abide it any longer!"
Ursa inched toward the spirit. "We aren't here for your books, Wan Shi Tong; we need to destroy a vortex that's somewhere in here."
"Vortex?" The avian spirit brought his face closer to her, causing the other four to tense up and prepare for a fight. "So...you know of the disturbance in my hall, then?"
She nodded. "Yes. We've been caught up with these, and we can remove them if you'll only give us the chance."
"And that is all you seek here?" Wan Shi Tong jerked his head to glare at the rest of the group. "If you do anything but what you say, I will kill you. All of you. I will not be deceived again; understand that."
The princess bowed in traditional Fire Nation style. "Thank you, Knowledge Spirit."
"Destroy this anomaly and get out." The owl disappeared quickly, the sound of flapping wings echoing all the way to the bottom of the ancient building.
Yun and Yuhan both released the breaths they had been holding in, while Ling looked after the spirit, still tensed. Kaddo, meanwhile, grinned as Ursa turned back and shot them a bright smile.
"You thought that was easy?" Yun asked. "Wan Shi Tong looked like he wanted to kill us..."
Yuhan glanced at the princess. "All the same, well done, Ursa. I'm not sure any of us could've done what you just did."
“Thanks, guys.” Her smile faded quickly. “Now we just have to find the vortex.”
Ling glanced down at the endless rows of bookshelves. “And how exactly do we go about doing that? This place—”
“Is massive,” Yun tersely interrupted, “But we can cut down on the size if we split up.”
“I’m not sure that I like this idea,” Yuhan said, “With our abilities to sense the vortex compromised, we can’t guarantee that we’ll all be able to find our way to it.”
Kaddo scratched his head. “How long do we have to find this thing? I mean, we’ve seen how destructive they are.”
“And they’ll probably only get worse,” Ursa added. “So…what do we do?”
“How about we stay on the same floor, moving on once we’ve explored every corridor?” Ling suggested.
Five near simultaneous nods indicated that the idea was unanimously approved, and they looked down to the floor below them.
“So…” Kaddo began, “I guess we start down there.”
Dust flew from the book’s cover as Ling blew it away. The title of the tome had long been worn away, but he opened it nonetheless. What he found contained within was a selection of recipes native to Whale Tail Island.
“You’ve got to be kidding.”
He replaced it on the shelf and moved along the row. The books and scrolls that actually had their titles intact told him he was in the wrong place.
“Recipes from every nation, time, village…this is ridiculous.” Ling shook his head. “I’ve gotta move on to another section.”
“You can’t find anything either, huh?” Kaddo surprised the Earthbender by peeking around the corner. “Yuhan said that all he could find was stuff about ingredient collecting.”
“Wait, so you and Yuhan found each other? We must be almost done with this floor, then.”
“Not exactly,” Kaddo said, “We can’t find Yun or Ursa, so they might be having better luck than we are.”
Ling shrugged. “Alright, let’s go meet up with Yuhan, then.”
Eris glanced at the scroll that was laid out before her; it bore several pictures of what appeared to be people bending energy. Or air. She couldn't tell until she noticed the words along the right side of the scroll.
What is this? Her golden eyes scanned the words before her, and it wasn't long before her eyebrows shot up.
"And should all else fail, returning the energy to its proper place will restore what has been lost..."
Eris narrowed her eyes as a chill ran down her spine; something was indeed odd. She glanced around the massive library, half expecting Wan Shi Tong to attempt to descend on her again, but no spirit was in sight. No, the disturbance stemmed from the energy in the library itself.
I have felt this energy before… An image sprang to her mind. The children who had been pulled unwillingly into her path were close; their energy stood out even more as she focused on it.
“But…they are not here…”
Her eyes widened as she began to understand. They were in Wan Shi Tong’s library, but not the same one she was.
Eris twirled her wrist and brought a vortex into being, and it revealed the four males of the group to be crowding around one of the tables, studying scrolls intently.
“So…they are trying to find answers, as well.” She frowned. It is time to pay them a visit, I think.
Without further delay, the Energybender stepped lightly through the portal of her own making and into the opposite library.
Ling stared at one of the many scrolls lying open on the ancient wooden table, trying desperately to understand what it was they were dealing with.
“Anything yet?” Yuhan asked before yawning and rubbing his eyes.
Kaddo leaned against one of the shelves. “I haven’t found squat! What exactly are we looking for anyway?”
“Anything we can find on vortexes, dimensions, Energybending, that sort of thing.” The Dai Li agent replied. “We can’t be running blind with this.”
“Agreed.” Ling picked another scroll off of the shelf. “We need to find out how to finish this and get home.” He seemed distant, causing Yuhan and Kaddo to glance at one another.
"Are you alright, Ling?" Yuhan asked.
“I…I couldn’t save her. I knew what was coming, and yet…”
Yuhan turned to face one of the shelves again. “We can’t focus on the past; it will only slow us down. The future takes priority.”
Kaddo smirked. “What’s with you, Yuhan? You’re starting to sound like Ursa.”
The Dai Li agent raised an eyebrow. “Speaking of…I hope she had better luck than we did.”
“Guys, you need to come with me now!” Yun sprinted around a corner.
The Waterbender stared oddly at the captain. “And where have you been?!”
“Searching. You know how we couldn’t pinpoint the exact location of the vortex because of this being part of the Spirit World? Well, I found it!”
Yuhan allowed himself a small smile. “Excellent. We can get going, once we find Ursa, of course.”
Yun nodded. “I can show you guys where it is so you know. Then Yuhan and I can go look for her; our knowledge of the earth should help us find her faster.”
Ling raised an eyebrow. “What about me?”
“Someone has to make sure Kaddo stays out of trouble.” Yuhan replied with a smirk.
“Hey!” The 13 year-old frowned. “I can take care of myself just fine!”
Yun Zhen chuckled. “C’mon. I’ll take you to the vortex.”
It was closer than they expected, only a few aisles away. Ling frowned.
“I guess we took for granted being able to clearly sense these stupid things…”
Yun shrugged. “Well, we found it regardless. Come on, Yuhan; let’s go find Ursa.”
A hissing noise interrupted the four of them as a vortex spawned close to the middle of the aisle opposite the original, and all four of them immediately tensed up as Eris stepped out of the apparition.
She scanned each of their surprised faces. “Fancy meeting you here. You have been most difficult to find, you know that?" Her smirk was born of confidence, matching her determined walked as she stalked in their direction. "We need to talk... well, actually, you need to talk. I'll just be asking some questions."
Yun stuck his hands into the earth as Yuhan used his earthen boots to slide toward their foe, and Kaddo pulled a trail of water from the skin at his side.
Ling kicked a rather large chunk of rock up from the ground and sent it at the Energybender with a spinning kick.
The projectile and the Dai Li agent sailed at her simultaneously, but she appeared unfazed. As the stone barreled toward her, she could see its energy. It actually held very little, but there were patches of it intermixed throughout. She latched on to and expanded said patches of energy, causing the stone to break apart. As for Yuhan, she flicked her wrist, and he felt his internal energy bunch in his right side, shoving him into one of the bookcases.
Yun and Kaddo both lunged forward at the same time, hoping to divide her attention. The Waterbender converted what water he had into miniature icicles that flew freely toward her, while Yun dislodged his own earthen boots to use as missiles.
“Is that truly your best?” Eris asked as she pirouetted away from Kaddo’s icicles and managed to blast Yun’s boots apart in the same manner as the stone. She pushed out with both of her hands; this attack sent both young men flying backward when their inner energy was pushed backward, as well.
Kaddo managed to clear the table—being lighter—but Yun slid along the ground, nearly slipping under the tabletop. As Eris stood, waiting for the next attack to come, Ling stepped forward, deliberately twisting his feet with each step. Lines of the stone floor turned to sand, working its way toward their attacker.
As the newly formed sand reached her feet, she jumped backwards to avoid it. Yuhan took advantage of the distraction by launching a flurry of tiny plates from his earth gloves. They whizzed through the air, but Eris lunged forward with incredible speed and pushed out with her hand as the tiny pieces of earth stuck into the shelf behind her. Ling felt the pressure of energy bunching in his chest, but he managed to sink himself partway into the stone floor to avoid Kaddo and Yun’s fate.
Yun stood and rubbed his head, wincing as he noticed a small lump forming on the back of his skull. “Guys, we’ve gotta give it all we’ve got, or we’re never going to beat her!”
She grinned wickedly. “I am afraid that you aren’t going to beat me period.”
Yuhan gritted his teeth and charged forward as Kaddo launched a barrage of icicles at Eris, pulling water from the air when he began to run low. Yun began to reach for his sword, but he thought better of it when he realized that he didn't have an opening. Instead, he formed new boots and merged them to the floor. He added further firepower with some spikes from his gauntlets. Ling decided to go all out, and began kicking up large pieces of stone to fire her way.
Eris scowled as the simultaneous attacks converged against her and threw both hands out toward the four attackers. The multilayered energy strike caused the impressive offense to crumble, destroying the collective energy behind the elemental attacks, as well as serve to send three of the four flying into the air.
Yun’s grin was feral as his boots held against the attack, and he decided not to waste the opportunity. He pushed toward the floor with his left hand and twisted, causing the Energybender to be submerged up to her knees in the earth. Taking from his fight against Long Feng a couple months prior, he formed studs with the earth at his fingertips instead of points and launched them at Eris’ right arm, while still firing spikes with his other hand. Just as they left his fingertips, he submerged himself completely in the stone floor.
Eris, for her part, raised her right arm to free herself, but found that tactic ineffective when the studs struck her arm all at once. As it fell limp at her side, she rocked instinctively and shoved out with her left hand, expanding the energy within and disintegrating the spikes before they could touch her. She noticed Kaddo standing slowly before pulling a water whip from what little remained in his water skin. He flung it toward her, allowing Ling and Yuhan to get to their feet.
Eris quickly caused the energy within the Waterbender’s arm, causing him to lose control of the whip. She grinned as the water now splashed harmlessly against the floor. The earthen assault fared no better, and her smirk grew.
As she attempted to throw Yuhan and Ling back, the earth unexpectedly opened up in front of Eris, and Yun lunged out, sword pointed forward.
The Energybender mentally kicked herself for becoming so distracted as she twisted away from the strike. Unfortunately, she failed to account for Yun’s backspin. The blade was almost too close as it passed by her face. Her eyes widened, and she whipped her left hand across her body.
The swell of energy within his chest was enough to send Yun flying through the wooden table. She then pressed down with that same hand and used a massive energy surge to separate the earth that was holding her down, freeing her to attack again.
Her right arm throbbed, so she forcibly pushed energy through it from other parts of her body to effectively unblock the chi and regain the use of her limb. She winced upon feeling the searing pain of life returning to her arm. Only as she surveyed the defeated heroes did she feel the slightest sensation of open air along her left side. She glanced down and saw that the young man's initial sword strike had opened a small gash in her once beautiful black dress.
“You…you dare…?” Her expression contorted as she stepped quickly toward him. “How dare you lay a hand on me!”
She scowled; the boy had interfered with her appearance, her perfection. Eris raised her left hand, causing Yun’s body to rise.
Ursa pursed her lips as she studied one of the many scrolls that lined the shelves. Hopefully, she could find something to fix the whole mess. Unfortunately, she hadn’t had much luck; none of the scrolls she came across had anything useful to say.
They had decided to split up in order to cover more ground, but she had her reservations. Wan Shi Tong had been less than willing to allow them to study at all, but they had managed to convince the spirit, barely. She didn’t like the idea of being apart from each other with an unpredictable spirit roaming the halls.
Several crashes and cries reached her ears, causing her to immediately drop the scroll. Oh no…
Ursa immediately took off toward the sounds of fighting; whatever was going on, it sound big. The confusing aisles made it difficult to navigate, and she shook her head.
“Me? Lost? Great…I’m never going to hear the end of this from Kaddo…” The princess frowned. “…have to focus.”
She could hear Yun’s voice clearly now.
“Guys, we’ve gotta give it all we’ve got, or we’re never going to beat her!”
The response surprised her.
“I am afraid that you aren’t going to beat me period.”
Ursa’s eyes widened. Eris…here?!
Numerous whizzing noises, as well as outright slams reached her ears, causing her to pick up her pace. As she rounded the corner, her heart sank. Yun was being held aloft by the Energybender, and she looked furious. At the same moment, Ursa’s attention was directed to the vortex beside Eris.
“How dare you lay a hand on me!” Ursa’s stomach lurched as the woman clenched her hand, causing Yun to cry out.
“How does it feel, Earthbender, to have your energy twisted around?” It appeared as though she didn't even realize or care that she was standing next to the vortex; she was entirely focused on her prey.
The Firebender winced as Yun let out another cry, this one more strangled then before. Eris was grinning now, and her hand suddenly opened up.
The scream that exited Yun’s lips tore Ursa’s heart in half. Her feet began to move of their own accord, and a desperate call echoed from her mouth.
“Yun, no!!” She’s killing him!
Yun fell from her grasp as Eris turned, eyebrows raised. “What—?”
Ursa was acting entirely on instinct, lunging straight into the woman and winding her arms around Eris’ waist. They tumbled together into the anomaly, Ursa prepared for the worst as darkness closed around her.