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|Jailbird Takes Flight|
Most of the group had to go wait back at the Freedom Fighters' base. Katara and Sokka were beginning to worry a bit about Aang and Ty Lee. They didn't show up just yet.
"Man. How much longer?" Sokka groaned. No one seemed to reply, but Smellerbee, who was on watch, got their attention rather fast by saying, "Not very long at all. Look over there!" The siblings looked on over to where she was pointing and saw Aang and Ty Lee running towards them. Full of glee, Katara jumped up first, followed by Sokka and the Freedom Fighters.
"Aang! There you are, you okay?" Katara asked.
"I'm fine, Katara, really," Aang replied soothingly. They were relieved that Aang was all right. He looked all right anyway.
"What happened, Aang? We thought a monster got you or something!" Sokka asked.
"Well, it doesn't matter now. The important thing is we're okay. It's not a problem anymore."
"Good. Sorry we didn't help you Aang. We just couldn't track you down," Pipsqueak sighed.
"It's okay, Pipsqueak. Again, it's not a problem anymore."
"Well, I'm glad you're okay Aang. You've been gone all night."
"I'm glad too. Thanks to Ty Lee. By the way, Ty Lee, weren't you going to explain what you did back there?" Aang asked, turning to her.
"What is he talking about?" The Duke asked afterward.
"Oh right. You see, when I found Aang, that "beast" challenged me. It was pretty easy though with my chi-blocking."
"Your what now?"
"Chi-blocking. It a technique that I use that paralyses my opponents. Pretty handy I say," Ty Lee said. Almost seconds after hearing that, Aang suddenly remembered something from back in Makapu Village. Aunt Wu's prediction: It appears someone is going to meet you. One that'll brighten your life. A fellow bird with a scorpion's sting....Ty Lee must be what she was talking about!
"What about this beast? Is it really an animal or just some hunter?"
"Oh, it was an animal, all right! He looked like some yellow kitty with pointed teeth," Ty Lee explained, adding her usual childish charm to it. The Duke though, getting bored, turned down the clearing...and suddenly found himself scared.
"Hey. Did this thing have a purple hood with a blue tail and sabre teeth?"
"Then I think he's back." The Duke directed their attention towards the beast...Raiu is back! With Zuko on him! Raiu didn't stop until he was feet away. Zuko got off afterwards as everyone got battle stances ready.
"You again?!" Ty Lee gasped.
"As I said earlier, I don't back down from a fight," Zuko said. He was very mad for all these screw ups and he wasn't going to mess up this time. This went for Raiu, too.
"I thought you gave up," Aang pointed out.
"Only for that time. Now I'm not going anywhere. I give you one last chance to surrender." However, Raiu stopped him as Zuko started walking forward. Zuko didn't know why he did this but he didn't argue too much, especially when Raiu simply stated, "You've done a lot. I'll handle this." Raiu walked forward, licking its sabre teeth. Ty Lee bolted to Raiu, but it was faster and knocked her down this time.
"I'm not falling for the same trick twice," Raiu groaned, then he turned to the others as Ty Lee jumped to her feet, only to be pinned by Zuko.
"Let's dance." Raiu then began to run at them. The Freedom Fighters ran at him first, the first being Jet, Pipsqueak and Smellerbee. Raiu had some trouble but barrelled through them. Even Pipsqueak, who tried fighting it with a large log, was easily beaten. Raiu had to jump back though when Longshot began firing at him, narrowly missing... Then he went for Aang.
"Aang, look out!" Katara, blindly, rushed over and rammed Aang out of the way, as she took the hit. Raiu's teeth sank into her...but as he opened his eyes, it turned out he didn't penetrate her skin.
"Katara!" Aang gasped. Raiu's sabre tooth somehow gotten itself lodged between her chest. In panic, Katara accidentally did a Waterbending freeze trick...this was indeed an awkward situation.
"AARGH! LET! GO!" Raiu screeched, tossing Katara around like crazy. The others realistically didn't know how to react to this. Eventually after some ravenous shaking, Katara broke loose, landing on her face. Her chest was hurting like crazy as Raiu was licking his irritatingly frozen fang. While some helped Katara, Aang stepped to Raiu.
"Please, Raiu. We don't want to fight," Aang said.
"...then how about you come with me? If you don't, it won't be just your pride killed." Aang knew exactly what he meant...Aang looked to the others, who were already a bit beaten up...he didn't have a choice.
"...Promise you'll leave my friends alone."
"My mission was to bring you in Aang. I'm not adding murder to my list if you're willing to cooperate," Raiu growled. Aang simply stood there, surrendering himself.
"Aang, don't listen to him!" But it was already too late. Raiu began to charge up and suddenly, he shot a minor lightning pulse at Aang! It didn't kill Aang but was enough to knock him out. Raiu scooped him up by the collar and started moving away.
"Aang!" Sokka yelled, trying to get them, but Raiu did the exact same thing to the others, knocking them out as well...Aang had been captured...
It took a very long time, but eventually, Aang managed to wake up...in a cell...in prison. Aang suddenly found himself restrained, his hands cuffed to two large pillars. Aang struggled to pull free but it hardly worked at all. After some struggling, Aang stopped when he heard someone walk in...Zuko.
"I see you're up now."
"Where am I? What happened?"
"You're in prison, Avatar. After Raiu zapped you, you were brought here. You'll be here for a while until the next rig comes to go to the Fire Nation," Zuko explained.
"Why don't you just kill me? I've been told I'm the main enemy, right?" Aang asked. More angry then confused.
"If I kill you know, then the search for the Avatar will start all over again. The Firelord needs you alive...until we get there at least." Aang tried pulling off the chains again as Zuko left. Oddly though Zuko did let him out of the chains...after he locked him in. Now it is pointless to try to go out again. His cell was shut and he was stuck here. For the first few minutes, it was silence...until...
"You must be pretty valuable, are you?"
Aang jumped when he heard the voice and looked around. No one was here.
"You there or what?" Aang realized a neighbouring prisoner was talking to him.
"Who said that?" Aang asked.
"I did, by the left wall." Aang sat down by the wall, unable to do anything else.
"Oh. Well, yeah, I guess I'm pretty important."
"Thought so. Ol' Scarface wouldn't let you off so easy. So what are you in for?"
"What does it matter to you?"
"It's not like you have anything better to do. You're in a cage, what'chu gonna do?" Aang just sighed and might as well go out with it.
"I'm just in here 'cuz I'm for the Firelord or something," Aang sighed.
"For the Firelord. Sounds interesting, namely the fact you're just a kid."
"Haha very-...wait. How did you know?"
"You sound like a girl, you're light on your feet, you're dragged by my cage. Shall I go on?" Aang didn't answer this time, annoyed.
"Well, look who's talking?" Aang snapped. Suddenly a mini pillar showed up in his cell, knocking him on his feet. The prisoner laughed a little bit as Aang got up.
"Seriously though, I would like to know who I'm talking to," Aang said.
"Well okay then. Do you have anything that has a reflection?" Aang looked around his room, but he found nothing.
"I don't think I have anything."
"Then here. Use this." A small hand suddenly showed itself, holding some shared mirror glass.
"What's this for?"
"Just aim it so you can see me." Aang didn't understand, but caught onto the idea. With the small glass he had, he aimed it so he could see who was talking to him...the person appeared to be a little, Earth Kingdom girl...
Outside the prison, the others had just found out where Aang had been taken. It was a bit hard since they were knocked out too, but Raiu left better tracks to follow.
"So you sure Aang's in there?" Katara asked.
"It's where the tracks lead, where else would he be?" Smellerbee assured.
"All right, but how do we get in?" Ty Lee looked at the guards not too far away and got an idea. She whispered the plan to Sokka, who agreed as they started to sneak off.
"Where are you going?" The Duke asked.
"We got a plan, just hang tight." Ty Lee snuck off with Sokka to start the plan. It was short but simple enough. With a few rustles, a guard saw something going on. When he went to investigate...well, let's just say Sokka got on his new armor rather quickly. Sokka got out of hiding with his disguise and went on inside, with passage from the guard on duty. Now to find Aang.
"So that's it. Hope he can make it through..." Jet thought.
Sokka was now inside, his disguise was working wonders as the other guards were oblivious to him. Very interesting indeed. Sokka kept looking around a bit, but still couldn't find Aang.
"Man. Where is he?" Sokka wondered. But his whisper was overheard by another guard.
"Where's who?" He asked. Sokka calmed down, but was surprised he was heard.
"Uh. The Avatar. It's my turn to guard," Sokka lied. Basic but understandable.
"You must be new to this. He's over there. Down the hall to your left," he said. Sokka thanked him and immediately went off, not in a run but faster than walking. No sooner after he looked over the corner, there was Aang, still with his mirror piece to talk to the other prisoner. Sokka decided to play a joke on Aang and walked right over to him.
"Hey. Put that away," Sokka said in a rough tone. Aang, thinking Sokka's just another guard, dropped it.
"Uh, sorry, sir."
"Good. Now the Firelord demands you'd be set to be hanged."
"What?!" Aang gasped. Sokka started to chuckle and wink at him.
"Just kidding. It's me, Sokka," he said, quieter so only Aang can hear him.
"Sokka? What are you doing here?"
"A rescue mission, what else? Now hurry up and come on," Sokka said. Lucky he was the only one here, so a quick opening of the door went unnoticed as Aang ran out. As they were though, Aang's pal on the other side of him stood by her wooden gate.
"Hey. Mind letting me out too? I can help ya out," she said.
"Sorry, only one. Come on, Aang."
"Look. Sokka is it? If you just run off you'll get cooked. Besides, it'll be a lot easier," she said, trying to be convincing. Sokka still didn't want to, but Aang was getting her idea and opened the cage before Sokka could protest. Sokka didn't have a choice here.
"Fine. But no trouble, got it?" Sokka groaned. The girl winked and they were off.
Surprising though, suddenly it was the girl who was calling the shots, telling them when and when not to go. Sokka and Aang were both impressed, but didn't want to say anything yet...but this streak of good luck stopped when someone yelled "THE AVATAR IS OUT!"
"Uh oh. Come on, let's bail," Sokka said. The trio began a dash for the door when suddenly, from the crowd of guards that saw them, Raiu found them and blocked their way.
"Stop right where you are!" Raiu ordered.
"Okay. You first." The girl suddenly earthbended, making Raiu's feet stuck to the floor. Sokka and Aang, while dodging fire, ran out as their pal used her bending again to block off the doorway. They were out.
It was later on, far away from the prison, where they stopped. They didn't stop until they went back to Appa.
"Thanks for the help, ma'am."
"No sweat. Just glad to be out," she replied nonchalantly.
"You know. That earthbending was impressive. Maybe you want to come along?" Sokka offered. With such easy bending done to get out of that place, it could be pretty useful.
"Hm...well thanks, but I got my own way to go," she decided.
"Sure I'm sure. I need to get back home, you guys do what you want. But hey, there's plenty of time, maybe we'll meet again. I'll see ya later." With that, she started walking away. Aang turned to the Freedom Fighters next.
"Since we're on the subject, do you guys mind coming along?" Aang asked.
"As good as it sounds, Aang, I'm still responsible for the Freedom Fighters, so I can't, sorry. But like she said, maybe we'll meet again," he explained as the others were getting on Appa.
"I understand. Take care Jet. And good luck with the Fire Nation."
"Oh don't you worry. It's the Fire Nation who'll have to worry," Smellerbee said. Aang gave a chuckle at it and with a good "Yip Yip!" Appa was flying and on his way. Another crisis avoided as the adventure continued north.
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