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|A Master and A Traitor|
August 6, 2010
A Master and A Traitor is the thirty eighth chapter of Avatar: Guardian.
Aang tells the team about the new Nomads he created. He then leaves to meditate, seeing another old friend. Meanwhile, the rest of the team is ambushed by Dai Li agents, and find what they were looking for.
As Appa touches down in a dense forest, Toph hops off quickly. She lands on the ground and falls to her back. "Finally! We haven't touched down in forever!" the blind Earthbender says.
"I prefer the sky, and so does Appa," Aang replies while rubbing Appa's nose.
"I bet you remember a time where your people ruled the skies." Sokka says in a sarcastic tone.
"I do remember that time. For all I know, it was about two or three years ago," Aang says with a smile. "I know that I'm about a hundred years off, but still."
"Aang, how are the new Nomads?" Katara asks, remembering Aang's month in seclusion teaching the new nomads the old ways.
"They are amazing. I had no idea that so many would respond to my call. They lost so much in the Fire Nation attacks on their villages, many of them were willing to leave everything behind. I made sure to get to Teo first." Aang says with a smile.
"Teo's an Airbender now?" Zuko asks.
"Yeah, I made sure. When I first met him, I told him that he had the spirit of an Airbender. That's why I knew that he needed to be the first one. He's the most deserving." Aang replies.
"So, you just gave them Airbending like you took the Fire Lord's bending away?" Sokka asks intuitively.
"Pretty much. The monks always said that giving is harder than taking. Boy, they were right. That took a lot out of me. I could only do a few a day, but I think it was worth it."
"And they are following essentially the same customs of the old Nomads in a new population?" Zuko asks.
"Exactly." Aang replies. "And that reminds me, I have another custom that I need to do today. See you guys in a bit." Aang gets up and walks off into the woods for his daily meditation. He sits down, inhales deeply, and exhales. Aang thinks about the new Air Nomads, and his memories of the old Nomads. He thinks about the Fire Nation, and the pain they put the world through. He lets go of this thought upon remembering that the world is on a path to recovery. He begins thinking about the old Nomads again, from the old grouch Tashi to what he had heard about the traitorous Afiko. He remembers his favorites, Elder Pasang, the head monk, and his master, Monk Gyatso. Aang's thoughts are cut short by a strange feeling inside of him.
Aang's eyes shut when he felt that bubbling feeling and when he looked up, he was looking at Roku. "Roku? What are you doing here?" Aang asks, clearly dumbfounded.
"Hello, Aang. There is someone who wants a word with you," Roku replies. "He tells me that he hasn't spoken to you in over a hundred years."
"Who is it, Roku?" Aang asks. Roku never gives him the chance to respond, as Aang's tattoos begin glowing and he is surrounded by a powerful air dome. Aang can't see the forest anymore, and is in a strange, different world.
"Aang, this is who wanted to see you." Roku slowly vanishes until Aang sees an old Airbender standing and stretching.
"It's very nice to be able to see you Aang. To think, the old monks were right in the end." Gyatso notes upon seeing Aang. Aang runs up and hugs Gyatso.
"I'm sorry I ran away. If I stayed, I could have saved probably hundreds of Airbenders. They didn't need to die."
"Aang, what did I always tell you when you were moping about your Avatar duties?"
"We mustn't concern ourselves with what was, we must act on what is. I've heard it Gyatso, I just wish that I could have saved more of the Air Nomads."
"Everything happens for a reason. If you hadn't been frozen, you would have been killed. No 12 year-old Avatar who only mastered 1 element could have taken down that many Firebenders. I didn't even manage to take down that many," Gyatso says with a grin.
"Yeah, you're right. I'm not that upset about it anymore. I used to be worried that everything I did was wrong. Wait! I remember that that tent was filled with Fire Nation soldiers! I was wondering about that, did you kill them?"
"Aang, I have come to realize that protecting the ones you love from harm precludes any belief you might have. That being said, I didn't kill any of those soldiers."
"How? I saw the tent, I know that soldiers died that day." Aang replies.
"At first, they took me into the tent to question me about the whereabouts of the Avatar. I honestly told them that I had no idea where you were. They started Firebending at me, and I used my own bending to blow the fire away. Eventually, I realized that I couldn't just block their attacks, so I began using Airballs to start knocking them out. Other soldiers started blasting at me, so I had to start moving. The soldiers died because the other soldiers had no restraint. They killed their own soldiers, and they showed no regret."
"But then they killed you." Aang replies, bowing his head in sorrow.
"Yes they did." Gyatso says before chuckling. "My age caught up with me. No Firebender could have caught up with me when I was younger." Gyatso says while he crosses his hands across his chest.
"Yeah, they're just too slow." Aang replies with a smile.
As the team sits and eats their dinner, they hear a small rustle in the bushes behind Sokka. "Who's there?" Katara calls out. "Aang, is that you?"
She is met with a rock thrown at her face. Toph gets up quickly and shatters the rock before it hits her and sends a torrent of land into the forest. "I can't feel anyone!" Toph yells to the team.
"They're Earthbenders... That means they need to be on the ground. How can you not feel them?" Sokka replies, dodging a rock coming from a different direction.
"Maybe they're not on the ground?" Zuko wonders out loud. "These rocks keep coming from different directions! We just can't track them!"
"Up there!" Sokka says while pointing to a tree. Zuko launches a fire blast into the tree, creating a light source.
"There's one!" Katara screams, sending a thin water blade up that cuts the branch the agent was standing on. The agent changes branches quickly, and the branch falls, nearly hitting Toph. "Sorry!" Katara responds to Toph's shock.
"Aang, you have done well. I am very pound of you." Gyatso tells Aang.
"I had a good teacher." Aang replies with a smile and a bow.
Gyatso bows back. "Aang, you need to go now. Your friends need you. I will not be able to speak to you again, but I felt that you needed a proper conclusion."
"Why not? And what's happening to them?" Aang replies anxiously.
"They need you more than I do. And you have grown into the man, monk and Avatar I always knew you would become. I am no longer needed," Gyatso says, smiling and fading into nothingness.
Aang then sees Roku appear in place of Gyatso. "Aang, you need to go now. And I was right, friendships do transcend lifetimes." Aang nods his head and wakes up in the same forest he was in originally was meditating in. The air dome around him fades as he rises to his feet. He hears a loud crash, and darts off towards the campsite.
Aang reaches the camp, and looks up to a burning tree. "Who lit the tree on fire?" Aang asks Zuko.
"I did because of-" Zuko's response is cut off by a column of earth erupting from nearby the two.
"They're in the trees?" Aang asks, sending an air jet at the top of a tall tree.
"Yeah, and I can't hit them!" Toph replies, listening for any movement. Aang propels himself into the air with his Airbending. Once he reached the top of the trees, he created a large air dome, knocking the agents in the trees off balance.
The agents raise rock from the ground to throw at Aang, but the Avatar's air dome blows them away. "We can't beat him! Retreat!" The agents hop through the trees, but Aang follows them in his air dome. He begins sending air jets into the trees, hoping to knock the agents to the ground. After one jet, he hears a loud screaming sound followed by a thud.
"Jiren! Get up!" the agent's leader calls from the trees, but he is too late. Aang lands on the ground and raises earth around the agent, pinning him in a standing position.
"Guys! Over here!" Aang calls in the direction of the camp site. The team quickly arrives.
"Finally! I can feel one of them!" Toph says as she gets closer.
"Why did you attack us?" Sokka asks the agent, drawing his sword and putting the blade near his throat.
"And don't even think about lying, I'll be able to tell if you are." Toph adds.
"W-w-we received information that said that the Earth King was where you were. We thought that you had him. We then found that you didn't, so we left. Don't hurt me!" the agent replies in fear, cowering as he finished his statement.
"What's to stop us from hurting you?" Zuko asks the agent, stepping closer.
"Please, I beg your mercy!" the agent screams, turning his head away from the blade and squinting his eyes.
"Do you promise to leave the Dai Li, never hunt the Earth King again, and live a life of peace?" Aang asks, sternly.
"Yes, I-I'd do anything, please leave me be!" the agent exclaims.
Aang stomps the ground and the earth around the agent sinks back into the ground. "Leave." Jiren nods and runs away.
"Do you really think that he won't attack us again?" Katara asks Aang.
"I think he wanted a life of peace. He doesn't seem like the heartless type." Aang replies.
The group hears more snapping branches in the woods, and the entire group turns around quickly. Sokka draws his sword and Katara pulls water out of her water skin.
"Who's there?" Aang asks loudly.
Toph assumes a stance and stomps the ground, and a man flies into the air, landing on the other side of the team.
"Oww... that hurt..." the man begins, slowly getting up.
Sokka quickly recognizes that his man. "Guys! We found him!" running up and hugging him. "Ewww! You smell terrible!"
"Who is it?" Zuko asks. "I've never seen this man in my life!"
"I never thought I would see you again!" Kuei replies. "Now, where's Bosco?" he proceeds to ask while walking back to where he was when the team first noticed him.
This chapter was the last chapter written in Book 2 of Avatar: Guardian. The Bos knew he needed to write a chapter reintroducing Kuei, as he is instrumental to the next two chapters. The Bos also came up with the idea of a humorous location of the King, allowing him to be both knocked over and insulted. Kuei's experiences in the past year are to be explored in the next chapter.
References to the Original Series
- Aang makes reference to the massacre of his people, something shown in more detail in The Avatar and the Fire Lord.
- Gyatso mentions his own death, and his body is shown in The Southern Air Temple
- Zuko has never seen the Earth King.
- Roku mentioned his theory that "friendships are so strong, they can even transcend lifetimes," that he tells Aang in The Avatar and the Fire Lord
- Aang mentions Teo, who has the spirit of an Airbender. This is a reference to The Northern Air Temple.
- The idea of talking to was suggested to The Bos by .
For the collective works of the author, go here.