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|"Please listen to me. We don't have to fight. You have the power to end it here and stop what you're doing."|
|— Avatar Aang to Phoenix King Ozai.|
The battle at Wulong Forest was the final battle of the Hundred Year War, coinciding with the liberation of Ba Sing Se and the Comet-Enhanced Agni Kai. A Fire Nation airship armada, led by self-proclaimed Phoenix King Ozai, attempted to use the firebending-enhancing power of Sozin's Comet to destroy the Earth Kingdom. The operation was opposed by select members of Team Avatar.
To restore balance, Avatar Aang, having become a fully realized Avatar and regained his ability to enter the Avatar State, used energybending to strip Phoenix King Ozai of his firebending. The entire armada was destroyed, except for one airship commandeered by members of Team Avatar, though the areas surrounding the battle suffered significant damage.
The day before the eclipse, it was brought to Fire Lord Ozai's attention that the Fire Nation Armies were failing to secure total victory over the Earth Kingdom due to numerous rebellions across the continent. Several of these rebellions were resulting in the losses of secondary territories. Prince Zuko advised that it was unlikely that the rebellions would halt while the Earth Kingdom people had hope in defeating the Fire Nation. Princess Azula suggested that they burn the Earth Kingdom to the ground to destroy their hope. Ozai consented, devising a plan to use his newly commissioned fleet of airships to incinerate the Earth Kingdom in hopes of silencing his enemies once and for all.
Before heading out to lead the airships to devastate Ba Sing Se, Ozai orders Azula to stay behind and watch over the homeland, and intends to declare her his successor as Fire Lord. He subsequently declared himself to be the Phoenix King and set out to prepare the airships for take off.
Weeks later, when Zuko became aware of Aang's plan to face the Fire Lord after Sozin's Comet, he warned the Avatar of Ozai's intentions. Two days before the Comet's arrival, Aang ended up on a mysterious island in the sea. This island, revealed to be a lion turtle, moved Aang to the site where Ozai intended to begin his attack on the Earth Kingdom, the Wulong Forest. Meanwhile, without hardly any allies remaining, without the massive Earth Kingdom or Water Tribe armies to help them, the remaining members of Team Avatar met with the Order of the White Lotus, where it was decided that while Zuko and Katara went to the Fire Nation to defeat Azula and the Order of the White Lotus freed Ba Sing Se, Sokka, Toph, and Suki would intercept the airship fleet at their base at an island near the Earth Kingdom coast.
Sokka, Toph, and Suki were able to board an airship, hijack the control room and disable the ship's entire crew. However, they were unable to catch up to the Fire Lord's flagship, which was further ahead, leaving the self-proclaimed Phoenix King Ozai unopposed when he began burning down the forest. Aang, however, was waiting for Ozai and proceeded to destroy Ozai's lead airship with earthbending and firebending, forcing Ozai to propel himself off the ship to challenge him. Ozai gleefully stated that while his father and grandfather failed to find him, the universe had delivered the Avatar to him as an "act of providence". Aang asked Ozai to halt his assault on the Earth Kingdom, but Ozai had no intentions of backing down and engaged the Avatar in battle.
Watching the beginning of this duel, Sokka decided that the Fire Lord was for Aang to fight alone and suggested that they destroy the airship fleet as planned. Sokka maneuvered the hijacked airship around and crashed it into the other airships; however, they failed to damage all of them. Sokka and Toph were separated from Suki as their ship began to break apart, and they were forced to continue their attempt to destroy the others without her.
Meanwhile, Aang and Ozai seemed equally matched in skill. Although Aang had all four elements at his disposal, Ozai's comet-enhanced firebending forced Aang onto the defensive. Ozai eventually resorted to a powerful barrage of lightning generation. Aang evaded the deadly lightning, but he was forced to catch the last barrage and, to Ozai's shock, prepared to redirect it back at him. However, still unwilling to kill Ozai to halt the battle, Aang chose instead to redirect the lightning into the sky. Ozai took advantage of Aang's mercy and attacked, sending him falling into a shallow lake below. Aang saved himself from a fatal fall with waterbending, but he looked up to see Ozai flying down, eager to resume their battle. Overwhelmed and frightened, Aang encased himself in an earthen shield. Ozai laughed and taunted him for his peaceful nature, proclaiming the Air Nomad unworthy to live in his world, before attacking.
Sokka and Toph continued to destroy the airship fleet. Toph used metalbending to bend the rudder of the hijacked airship, causing the ship to crash into the remaining airships. Fire Nation soldiers noticed the pair and attacked them. Sokka grabbed Toph's hand and jumped off the side of the airship. He attempted to slow their fall by sticking his sword in the airship's side and was partially successful. The two fell onto one of the ship's ledges breaking Sokka's leg in the process. Although death seemed near for the two as soldiers prepared to fire at them, they were suddenly saved by falling onto another airship, operated by Suki, that crashed into the one they were on. It later became clear that this airship was the last operable one, the other fifteen having been disabled.
Ozai slowly destroyed Aang's stone shield. Unable to withstand the increasing heat, the shield broke, and Aang desperately tried to deflect the fire with airbending, being driven backward. He was eventually thrust into a rock outcropping right in the lightning burn inflicted by Azula, which inadvertently caused his locked seventh chakra to open, activating the self-defensive power of the Avatar State. Ozai, unaware of what had happened, taunted and approached Aang to finish him. However, Aang's glowing hand reached out of the rubble and seized Ozai by the beard. Startled, Ozai attempted to attack, but his firebending was effortlessly deflected by Aang. Aang released a powerful gust of air at Ozai, sending him flying into a stone pillar.
The Avatar State restored
Aang gathered the four elements around himself and attacked Ozai. By using firebending to propel himself at great speeds, Ozai attempted to escape as Aang pursued him. His numerous counterattacks were easily overwhelmed by the Avatar. While Ozai had to dodge the myriad stone pillars dotting Wulong Forest while fleeing, Aang simply plowed straight through them without any loss of speed. Eventually, Aang caught him with waterbending and shackled his limbs with earthbending. With the voices of all previous Avatars, Aang stated that the Fire Nation had devastated the balance of the world, and that Ozai must now pay the "ultimate price". Aang proceeded to deliver the final blow, a combination of all four elements into one attack, but he refused to finish, coming out of the Avatar State.
Aang released Ozai from his shackles. For this, Ozai mocked Aang, telling him that despite being the most powerful being in the world, he was still too weak to kill. He attempted to strike while Aang's back was turned, but Aang sensed his movement through seismic sense and quickly disabled him with earthen shackles. Aang remembered what the lion turtle taught him and used another type of bending, energybending, to remove Ozai's bending abilities. At first, Ozai's evil energy seemed to engulf Aang's pure energy, but when all seemed lost, Aang's energy completely engulfed Ozai's. The result was Ozai losing his firebending permanently.
Exhausted from the ordeal, Ozai attempted to attack, but he failed due to his loss of bending power. Demonstrating his newfound control over the Avatar State, Aang used waterbending to raise the level of the sea and thus douse Wulong Forest. Sokka, Suki, and Toph met with Aang as Sozin's Comet departed. Congratulating Aang, they wondered if Ozai, collapsed on the ground, was dead, a statement quickly disproven by Ozai. Aang explained his new powers, and as a result, Sokka, Suki and Toph quickly took the opportunity to taunt Ozai; however, Suki's attempt was considered forgettable.
Ozai was subsequently stripped of his title as Phoenix King and Fire Lord and was arrested and imprisoned for crimes against the world. The short-lived title of Phoenix King was quickly abolished, returning power to the leaders of the individual nations. After Ozai's removal from the throne, his son, Zuko, was subsequently crowned Fire Lord.
Upon ascending the throne, Fire Lord Zuko freed all of the troops imprisoned from the failed invasion of the Fire Nation and officially declared the Hundred Year War over. He announced his intention to maintain an alliance between himself and the Avatar and declared a new goal of setting the divided and scarred world back on the right path.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Book Three: Fire (火)
- The order in which Aang bent the four elements, air, fire, earth, water, into his floating orb is the Avatar Cycle in reverse: water, earth, fire, air.
- Ozai's initial display of power was nearly identical to Avatar Roku's depiction of the Fire Lord during the winter solstice, where the silhouetted Fire Lord Ozai released simultaneous streams of fire from his fists and mouth while roaring.
- Several never-before-seen bending techniques were used by Aang in this battle, including remote waterbending, compressed rock bullets, long-range multiple fire whips, and strong winds capable of eroding a large rock pillar.
- The name of this locale paid homage to Cowboy Bebop, one of Bryan Konietzko's favorite anime shows. Wulong is the name of the currency used in Cowboy Bebop.
- This battle was later referenced by Shiro Shinobi during an exciting pro-bending match via radio broadcast.