“Bob and weave, bob and weave!”
Laoshan muttered as he flattened himself lower to the ground, zig-zagging through the street. Arrows cut off his path, flitting down from one of the many guard towers positioned immediately outside of the Northeast Eight Path Prison. THAT needed to be dealt with, or the kids could get… in trouble.
Gritting his teeth, the airbender stopped short, pivoting on his heel and launching through the window of the nearest, unfortunate shop. You can’t shoot what you can’t see, and what Laoshan was about to do shouldn’t have to be seen by any man, woman, or child who wasn’t Laoshan.
If one was to scan the streets, as the archers had been, they would see flickers of movement in alleys near where the bedraggled prisoner had busted through a window. They would see fluttering leaves from the nearby pricklepear trees, the whisper of wind through a hanging dryer line. They would see hand signals passed between towers, bows drawn on all exits of the building where the airbender had pinned himself. The airbender had chosen his escape route poorly, his place of residence a one-story building with one door, two windows, and all exits in the front. He’d had a good run of it, but the attempted escape artist didn’t have the ghost of a chance to escape now.
The archers tensed with excitement, bows drawn taut as their shoulders. This fight was as good as over.
Behind an old, twisted grandfather oak, there sat a young boy. His name was Ji Ling, and he was watching a prison escape with wide eyes. Ji Ling wasn’t supposed to be here, and his Papa would kill him if he found out, but it was incredible! He had never seen an airbender before, but when the man ran past the alley he was watching from, there was a shattering of glass and the arrows stopped! Ji Ling crouched behind the oak, holding his breath. Then, he heard a strange, horrifying noise, like a dying cat… or maybe even the escapee! They got him, he was dying! Or at least… that’s what Ji Ling thought he heard, until the horrible, wracking noise turned into a harsh panting… then fevered laughter. The boy felt a chill crawl up his spine. They had shot the prisoner and now he was laughing! The young denizen of the city scampered to his feet, turning around and starting to run. He had no place around men who laughed when they were shot. Whatever was about to happen next, there was no way that the boy was going to stay anywhere near what was shortly to become the ruins of Mr. Fong’s Bar.
The archers held their aim, one pair of eyes taking note of the movement in the alley behind the bar. There was a moment of silence as the wind stilled, the child’s footsteps petering off into the distance. Then the front of the bar burst asunder in a storm of laughter and galeforce winds. A cloud of dust swirled in front of the establishment, pierced by the swiftly dashing form of Laoshan, grit and sand sticking to his teeth through an open smile, a bottle of the strongest grog he could find in this backwater hole in one of his hands and a makeshift pack full of more on his back. Dancing through the storm of debris and swiftly falling arrows, Laoshan carried the cloud on his back, surging from the earth to a nearby roof and bearing the cyclone over the top of the tower, four bottles racing from the storm above directly towards the unarmored heads of each of the archers in the tower with enough force to deter a small adult air bison. The monk waited for the moments of impact as his feet pit-patted on the street below the tower, allowing himself a private moment of satisfaction at the series of shattering bottles and pained exclamations.
Immediately, Laoshan bore his hands around his body, twisting at the hips, wrists, knees, and ankles to provide the torque required to become a human corkscrew, rocketing up to eye level with the guards and kicking off a quick four strike series of blasts. These knocked the archers to the floor, providing the opportunity for the airbender to crawl inside. There were a series of grunts from both Laoshan and the others as the monk hoisted them over the side of the tower, they fell for a moment, then grunted in pain as they made contact with the street below.
Dust finally settled around him as he surveyed the scene, alcohol peeling off his tongue and leaking into the afternoon air. One destroyed bar, guards below a watchtower soaked in disgusting
grog and nursing headaches as bad as the one Laoshan had woken up with, enough booze to get him through the week… And the surge of fire over a distant roof? Right around where he had… ditched… the old woman.
Laoshan ran towards Ba Sing Se’s 8 Path Prison: Northeast Building. Badger Girl wasn't supposed to get caught
, She was supposed to chase after him and save her tail! He couldn’t drive the thrice-blasted ship, the monk needed the girl and that bald one for that! He was motivating them towards self-preservation,
which he had thought a basic skill before this point in his life! Couldn’t they do one
simple task correctly??