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Chapter 29-The Mad Alchemist and The EmpressEdit

One Year Earlier, The Outer District of Etake ValeEdit

The three thugs flinched as the voice called from above them, "Now I know you boys aren't trying to muscle in on our turf are you?" They had just been accosting a pastry seller, interested in the not too inconsiderable amount of money he had managed to earn over the course of the day. They were new in town and they knew there was already an established organization in the Outer District, but they hadn't planned on staying long, so they had thought maybe they could get away with a quick mugging to get a little gold in their pockets.

Now as the pastry merchant grinned triumphantly, they came to the realize that what they had planned on being a short stop might turn out to be their final destination. They raised their hands in surrender and turned around slowly. Then they put their hands back down as they realized it was nothing but a lone girl sitting on top of a wall across the narrow street looking at them with a bemused expression. The biggest one laughed, "Move on little girl. You don't want to get hurt."

The girl laughed, "Oh I'm not going to get hurt, but you will if you don't leave Ytry alone." The leader of the thugs laughed, "Okay boys, this little girl wants to play ro-oooof!" Before he finished his sentence, the girl launched herself from the top of the wall and ruptured several of the man's internal organs with a blood magic laced kick. Before her feet even hit the ground she sprang towards the second largest of the three, accelerating her blood flow and making herself almost invisibly fast as she touched a hand to the man's stomach and gutted him.

She spun and made a thrusting motion towards the third man who had wised up and was trying to run. The invisible force that shot forth from her palm castrated the man midstride and he collapsed bleeding heavily. The first man she had hit made the mistake of reaching for her. The girl mercilessly turned on him and forced his heart to implode with a vicious glare. She casually brushed his fallen form off the pastry merchant's cart and pointed at the pastries therein, "Can I have one of those?"

The pastry merchant smiled and raised his tongs, "Of course Miss Omen! Which one would you like?" Omen selected one and after Ytry extracted it and handed it to her she took a large bite, "Thanks." She casually leaned on the edge of the cart, "So how're the boys?" Ytry smiled, "Oh they're doing quite well Miss Omen! I'm so happy, they're taking after their mother, great chefs the both of em." Omen smiled, "Hmm, so you'll have more pastries now?"

Ytry nodded, a bead of sweat rolling down the back of his neck, "Yes ma'am. I was even thinking of maybe opening a restaurant one day when I've gotten them both trained up good." Omen looked at him, "Hmm. A restaurant." Ytry's knees started knocking, the boss's whole family was known for conversations which ended very quickly and very badly, and he knew as outwardly sweet as Miss Omen was, she was no exception, "Ah yes ma'am, just a small little cafe really. My grandfather had one in Ba Seng Se you see, and that went very well for him."

Omen nodded as she took a bite, "Uh-huh. Hmm, I think Boris over on 17th is getting a little behind on his payments. If he goes under, maybe you can have his shop. I'll put in a good word with Daddy about it. Then again you might try going into business with Boris if you think he can hold up his end of it. Think carefully before you do though, you know how much Grandpa likes to be paid on time and Boris is already on Grandpa's short list."

"Speaking of which," she added as she finished off the pastry and crouched to fleece the bodies of the thugs, "Don't forget, you're due next week. Grandpa's already a little cranky this week over that business with Boris, don't be late." She smiled and waved as she strolled off, the thugs purses in her pocket, "See ya around. I'll send somebody to clean those bodies up later. Say hi to the boys for me!" Ytry nodded emphatically, "Yes Miss Omen of course! And very nice to see you! Always a pleasure!"

She casually beheaded the thug that had tried to run with her magic as she passed his fallen form and kept walking as though nothing had happened. After she turned the corner Ytry slumped backwards against the wall, his heart hammering as he breathed a sigh of relief. Miss Omen was one of the nicest people in the Outer District, but damn was she scary!

Roughly an Hour Later, Near Omen's Family HomeEdit

Omen flinched slightly as she heard an explosion. She rubbed her ears, trying to still the ringing and muttered under her breath, uncertain if her lips were actually moving or if she was just thinking it, "Looks like Uncle is experimenting again." She shook her head and hurried home, her sharp eyes easily spotting the plume of smoke billowing out of her uncle's lab.

A Few Minutes LaterEdit

Omen's father pushed the door open and leapt back as a beam fell through the doorway. He cautiously poked his head through the door, "Eh, Noatok? Are you alright in here?" He stepped over the beam and motioned for Omen and her grandfather to follow. Omen smiled as she heard her uncle Noatok and his daughter Visumbra talking happily. She perched atop the beam as her grandfather stepped through, surveying the damage to the room. Omen casually sidled sideways as she saw her grandfather's lips thin and his eyes widen.

The room was in shambles. There were scorch marks everywhere, most of the furniture was overturned and much of it was smashed to splinters. Chemical stains were splattered across every surface and scientific instruments were strewn and destroyed every which way. Omen raised an eyebrow as she spotted Visumbra and saw that her elder cousin had shed half of her clothes. She quickly spotted said clothes draped across a large stone block which had fallen from the ceiling. They were being rapidly eaten away by some kind of acidic substance that was making considerable headway against the stone block too. She couldn't see any blood on Visumbra as she edged closer along the beam overlooking the lab like a catwalk, wondering what the two were ogling over.

Then Omen saw what it was and her heart skipped a beat, "AUNT VIDIA!" She leapt down into the low well of a room that was her uncle's lab, easily bouncing from the wall to another fallen beam to the ground and rushing over to her beloved aunt. As she drew closer, Visumbra suddenly held out an arm, "Hold up Omen, we finally did it."

"DID WHAT?!" Omen exclaimed, "Finally managed to kill somebody?!" Noatok grinned and grabbed his younger brother in a hug, "TARRLOK! I FINALLY DID IT! I MADE THE EMPOWERMENT SERUM!" Omen's father Tarrlok looked extremely uncomfortable as his older brother picked him up off the ground, "You what? And why is Vidia lying on the ground writhing in agony?"

Noatok dropped Tarrlok, "Well she just took the serum!" "WHAT?!" Tarrlok and Omen exclaimed in unison. Omen looked at Visumbra in horror, "You let your mother take one of his experimental potions without testing it?!" Visumbra smirked, "Of course not. We tried it on a mouse first." She extended a hand and suddenly something red streaked across the rubble, up Visumbra's body, over her shoulder and down her arm to her palm.

There was no doubt Omen thought, it had been a mouse at one point. Now it was bloody red and had glowing purple eyes. Omen and Tarrlok stared at the strange mouse as it nibbled the cheese in Visumbra's palm. Tarrlok pointed at the mouse, "That mouse has wings." Noatok nodded smugly, "It grew them right before the generator overloaded. It could sense the impending explosion. We not only made gave it blood magic, we gave it Oracular abilities too!" Noatok scratched his head, "I don't know why it turned red though. I guess we overdosed it. We did give it a human sized dose after all."

Suddenly the mouse sat up and squeaked in alarm. Noatok's eyes widened as his own oracular abilities suddenly showed the mouse's aura turn bright red. In a movement too fast for anyone but a Vampiri to see, he snatched the mouse out of Visumbra's hand and threw it through the hole in the ceiling. A few moments later a second explosion thundered through the lab as the little mouse exploded in a flash of light.

All four of them stared at the fading light in shock. Noatok nodded, "Okay, Vis sweety, make a note of this, heavy overdose equals death by spontaneous combustion in five minutes." Visumbra nodded and picked up a half charred piece of paper and a pen, "Heavy overdose results in spontaneous combust-" Her pen went sideways as she jumped at a sudden explosion of shouting from the doorway. Omen's grandfather Yakone had been snapped out of his shock at the sight of the damage to the room upon hearing the second explosion and bellowed, "WHAT IN THE NAME OF ETAKE'S BLACK HORN HAPPENED HERE?!"

Two Hours, A Very Hasty Explanation And A Furious Scolding LaterEdit

Omen sighed with relief as her Aunt Vidia finally sat up. After what had happened with the mouse, even Uncle Noatok and Visumbra had been worried. They had moved her to the living room and Omen had sat there watching over her while her grandfather chewed Uncle Noatok and Visumbra up one side and down the other for letting the generator explode.

Explosions were the cities number one "don't". With the entire city being underground, a blast in the wrong place might make the whole cave system collapse on top of the city. Normally Grandfather was able to keep her uncle's little misfires under wraps, but they usually weren't that big either. The generator exploding had been heard across the entire Outer District and even brought down a few stalactites, nobody had been hurt, but one had fallen in the city's main thoroughfare and was blocking traffic in all directions. Her father Tarrlok was downtown trying to orchestrate damage control and manage the disturbance to the Outer District's usual functioning.

Omen's relief evaporated as she registered the terrified look on her aunt's face. Before she could ask what was wrong, a blade appeared at her throat and the room was filled with soldiers in black cloaks. The man holding the blade to Omen's throat was bald on top with a white mustache and goatee. Her eyes widened as he began to chuckle, she knew exactly who he was, "High General Pakku?"

NowEdit

"It wasn't until we were dragged up to the execution platform for heresy and treason that we realized it was a coup," Omen continued, "They had the royal family up there too." She smiled as Aang looked down at her in surprise, "Don't worry. They lost. My Death Touch manifested when they were about to kill my uncle and his family." She smiled out at the rain, "At first the people around the execution platform were worried it might have been the results of the experiments Pakku had accused my uncle of, then the rest of my powers manifested in rapid succession during the fight."

She snorted, "It wasn't much of a fight really, once I got the others loose it was over quite rapidly. I found out later that they had caught the royal family and other high ranking officials by surprise like they had my family. They hadn't had the guts to fight any of us in a head on confrontation." She smiled as the Churaians rowed around the perimeter of the cave with Cassandra. The four had abandoned ship once they got into the sheltered cave so they wouldn't have to listen to Sokka, and now they were doing laps around the perimeter of the cave.

She looked up at Aang, "How long do you think they'll be at it?" Aang smiled, "Probably until the storm ends. I don't think those guys are capable of getting tired." Omen chuckled slightly, "Do you suppose Sokka will ever forgive them?" Aang thought for a moment, "Mmm...I don't really know. He saved my life back in the southern city, and he's given me less grief than anybody, but then again, I never got anywhere with Katara either. Those three," He raised his eyebrows, "Wow. I'm almost glad I didn't get anywhere with her now. If she's been with those three, who knows how many more she might have been with?"

He kissed Omen's head with a smile, "I'm not sure I like the idea of so many people knowing my Empress that well." Omen smiled and drew a little heart on his chest with her finger, "Well, you don't have to worry about that with me. Nobody knows me that well. What about you though? I hear Spirit Callers can be pretty ah, boisterous?" Aang smiled down at her, "Don't worry Omen, the only person who ever got close to my heart was Chara, and I never even got a kiss from her." Omen smiled up at him and then kissed him, "Well there's one from me."

In The Churaians' BoatEdit

Katara's lips twisted into a jealous scowl as her sharp eyes picked out the kiss. "That should be me," she grumbled. "Don't fret Miss Katara!" Chuckles smiled, "Surely Aang and Omen will take you on as a consort. Aang expressed so much interest in you!" Katara's eyebrow twitched as her scowl deepened, "I know. And then Omen showed up." She suddenly smacked the edge of the boat, "It's not fair! The first time in history there've ever been two Imperials and the second of the two is the woman who can steal the Emperor from me!"

The Churaians looked over her head at each other. The silent conversation that followed between the three brothers ran along the following lines as they tuned out Katara's fuming, "didn't she leave him with a huge scar and publicly humiliate him repeatedly? What makes her think she still had a shot at the throne? Sure she's high born and beautiful, but she's been terrible to him almost the entire time she's known him! Surely Princess Toph or the younger sister of that nice Princess from Etake Vale would have a better shot! They're both higher born than her and every bit as beautiful. And didn't Cap say he had a sister too? That's at least three women who could easily beat her onto the Imperial Throne. She's really been burning her own bridge this whole time hasn't she? Omen being an Imperial was just the icing on the cake really."

The brothers nodded and silently agreed not to say anything that might set Katara off. Unfortunately, while they had had her tuned out, she had muttered something utterly treasonous, and now, as they launched into song, her lips set into a firm line as she settled on an unthinkable course of action.

Next Time: HorrorEdit

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