"So? What do your masters wish to ask us of?"
Bhiman's gruff voice boomed within the large hall while the expression of the four beast masters grew somber. Till now, the two fire nation envoys stayed within the unity palace while making visible contacts through the use of fire hawks.
In fact, the scouts stationed at the ice wall had already marked each and every ship, including the humongous destroyer that made the whole tribe cautious.
Bowing to Bhiman and the four beast masters, the younger of the two opened up this time.
"Trade and Head. We only ask for these two things."
Narrowing his eyes, Bhiman looked a little thoughtful before continuing.
"Lord." The older one spoke this time. "We know how a special group of water benders is prepared to move out from the dangerous arctic region to travel to the Earth Kingdom and engaging in trade while slowly developing trade route for easier communication."
Disregarding the darkening expression on Bhiman's face, the old man continued calmly.
"We simply wish to expand our market. As you know, the Fire Nation wish for world unity under the rule of the most compatible emperor."
Snorting, Bhiman let the old envoy continue.
"But, the Fire Nation does not wish to engage in meaningless slaughter. Our actions towards the Earth Kingdom by actively taking in the refugees and training them have shown that we value the human resources and the diversification of the market."
Organising his words for the final impact, the old bearded envoy narrowed his eyes and spoke softly.
"After all, even if the Fire Nation is being regarded as a tyrant, what use would it be to become a tyrant of the Kingdom bared of its citizens, land and resources.
So, for the first time, we wish to take another approach."
"And that is?"
At this time, both of the envoys looked at each other before the younger one took a deep breath and calmed his nerves.
"A peaceful takeover."
Under the union bridge that joined the Whale-Horse side and the Polar-ape side, Nik waited silently while saving a single boat. He had already completed today's training and simply waited for Karna.
Even though the sudden eruption of Pavka could have occurred in more fortunate circ.u.mstances, Nik wasn't the one to cry over the spilt milk. If Karna came over despite the fact that his own nature was finally exposed, then Nik would conveniently move forward and get to know her better.
If she doesn't, he could only sigh and become shameless enough to persist her and wear her guard down.
As he continued waiting, a sound of footsteps, strange one at that, could be heard.
Looking up, Nik found a dark-skinned mature woman walking towards him with slight reservation apparent in her gait.
But she came!
Nik waved his hands towards Karna, who simply huffed and turned her head away, but of course, through the corner of her eyes, she seemed to be checking out if his member seemed to be growing or not?
"So? Where are we going... master?"
Mocking clear in her tone as she crossed her arm beneath her voluptuous b.r.e.a.s.ts while tilting her head diagonally, Karna's eyes tried their darn best to not look downwards towards Nik's pants, but the strange aroma lingering around him made her unfocused and continuously eyeing the hidden rod of wonder.
"Ah... well, we will be going to the Spirit Valley."
Nik smiled and immediately got into the action by removing the binding rope of the boat from the ice pole while bringing the boat towards the side, allowing him to get on the boat.
"Choose your words carefully."
With his younger comrade encased in a thick layer of ice, the older one still miraculously retained his calm while giving the old master of the Whale-Horse tribe a deep glance before looking back at Bhiman.
"As my partner proclaimed. We only wish for a peaceful takeover. The Northern Water Tribe lower its head and accept the policies of the Fire Nation.
Alongside this, we need the Avatar alive. No harm shall come to the Avatar under any circ.u.mstances."
The burly amazonian woman of the Cat-Seal style immediately stood up with rage flashing across her rough face when Bhiman suddenly extended his hands, making the ice encasing the young envoy turn into a stream of warm water.
In front of the four beast masters, the youth collapsed while coughing and shivering at the same time.
"Envoys, Beast Masters, let us not lose our cool shall we?"
Bhiman's calm voice range in the woman's ears as she swallowed a bout of rage and sat on her seat with a huff.
"Envoy, to make such demands, your authority is not sufficient.
I have come to understand that there are three royalties sailing the northern waters, correct?
Have them meet us here. Then, we shall come to a peaceful understanding. Of course, if they fear us and aren't born with enough spine, they are free to leave without any interruption."
Karna's eyes momentarily brightened before she looked at Nik with her eyes narrowing.
Smiling, Nik extended his hands towards Karna to help her on the boat, which she accepted with a grumble since her leg still remained encased in ice.
"You see, inside the Spirit Valley, not only you will have a wide area for practice, but we can even interact with the only Princess of the tribe."
Taking a seat, confusion flashed across Karna's face as she looked at Nik suspiciously.
"Why would you want to interact with the Princess?"
"Why?" Nik frowned at her question and looked at her extremely seriously.
"I wish to mentor and enlighten her, just like you." was the only answer Karna received.
The beastmaster from the Tusk Shark side spoke solemnly. The bald, tattooed man happened to be a being of few words, but even right now, the chieftain's behaviour towards the Fire Nation was nothing but suspicious.
"Everyone, what do you think of this ongoing war?"
Bhiman suddenly opened up, causing the eyes of the other four beastmasters to narrow dangerously.
"What do you mean, Chieftain?"
Bhiman's successor, the Polar-ape master asked lightly.
"The Air nomads are wiped out with the surviving air bender despised by most of the world. Our sister tribe has already been eradicated and its establishment cannot be achieved without the procurement of proper human resources.
That means, many young and abled benders would have to leave the tribe defenceless.
Lastly, Ba Sing Se is already surrounded with only the merchants that have surrendered to the Fire Nation allowed to leave.
In other words, aside from this piece of the glacier, the world is already owned by the Fire Nation. Whether the rebels like it or not, the sudden spark of technology has already created a big gap between the four... no, three element benders."
Taking a deep breath, Bhiman spoke with sadness filling his voice.
"Honestly, I don't wish our tribe to be sacrificed meaninglessly..."
The four roared in tandem only to see Bhiman smiling bitterly.
"Alright, you guys aren't thinking clearly. Your thoughts are being affected by your ego and emotions.
So, let's hear the best plan you guys can come up with."
Bhiman chuckled at their silence and spoke coldly.
"So? What is it? Sacrifice our wife and kids? Lose everything we have achieved due to keeping our head held high?
But how would you keep your heads high if they roll over the ground?"
His cold voice made the four shudder breathlessly.
"I apologise if I disappointed my ancestors by being adaptable. Once, the Water Tribe had the opportunity to take a piece of current technology, but our ancestors sought out to bend water instead of advancing.
I am done being ignorant.
This generation is done being ignorant.
If any of you feel that I have not undertaken my duties as a chieftain responsibly, any of you are free to challenge me for the rights of the Chieftain."
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