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|By Agent Slash||Genre||Rating||Reviews||Updates|
|More from Agent Slash||Action/Adventure, Drama||PG-PG13||Positive||N/A|
|A Plague O' Both Their Houses|
As Team Avatar flew through the brightening, morning sky on the back of Appa, Aang sat, huddled on top of Appa's head. It was hard for him to concentrate on the sky ahead of him with the images from his nightmare flashing through his mind. They terrified him to his very core. His thoughts were then interrupted by Katara.
"Are you feeling okay?" she asked him. "You've been awfully quiet ever since we left Republic City."
"The nightmare," Aang said. "I can't figure out what it means."
"Well, you said that in your dream you saw Republic City being destroyed and all of us along with it. That probably means that's what you're worried is going to happen."
"I know, but the little girl. What did that mean?" Aang asked, hoping Katara would be able to give him an answer that made sense.
"I'm sorry, Aang. I can't say with certainty what that means," Katara replied.
"It's okay," Aang said. "I'll figure it out."
And with that, the couple dropped the subject.
It was then that Suki spoke up. "Hey, guys, since we're already out on Appa, can you drop me off near Yu Dao?"
"How come?" asked Aang.
"The girls and I got some intel about Hong Shu's latest plan and it looks like he's set up a small base of operations near there," Suki elaborated.
"Alright, that sounds like fun," Sokka yawned. "I can't wait to pay him back for locking us in that dungeon."
"Actually, Sokka, it's just going to be Ning, Miki, and I," said Suki, hoping she hadn't hurt her boyfriend's feelings.
"Oh, I get it," Sokka acknowledged. "You don't need me around. I'd just get in the way," he said, sarcastically.
Not appreciating his tone, Suki spoke again. "Look, it's not that. It's just that I don't want to be lugging around too many people. And besides this is a Kyoshi Warrior matter."
"You act like you're the only one with a bone to pick with him, Suki," Sokka rebutted.
"Yeah, come on," Bo said, somewhat annoyed by Suki's words. "We all hate him, too."
At that moment, Suki's eyes narrowed and her tone became very grave. "None of you hate him as much as I do," she said in a voice that discouraged those who hadn't said anything from doing so and some of those who had from saying anything more and Suki wasn't even finished. "Do you understand me?" she asked.
"Is that what this is about?" asked Aang. "Revenge?"
"Oh, spare me the lecture, Aang!" Suki said, not in the mood for Aang's wisdom.
"Suki, I know what you're feeling," Katara said. "I felt the same way when I was set on killing Yon Rha. I felt that what Aang said about revenge not being the answer wasn't true, but it was."
"You can't possibly be telling me to spare Hong Shu!" Suki shouted, furious with Katara.
"All we're saying is don't let this become just about revenge. If you let revenge take you over then it will turn you into something you're not. Something ugly," Aang replied, calmly.
"I can't believe what I'm hearing," said Suki. "I thought you guys of all people would understand! You all know what he's like! You all know what he has done! You all know why I need to do this!" Suki could not remember the last time she had been this enraged. "I mean, it only makes sense! I kill him once I find and stop him! Not spare him and let him live!"
Everyone else remained silent. After the silence had lasted long enough, Suki sat back down and didn't say a word. Finally, Sokka said quietly, "We're just looking out for you, Suki. None of us are saying you have to spare Hong Shu, but we just don't want you to become obsessed."
Rather than respond, Suki remained silent for the remainder of the ride.
An hour later and Team Avatar was about thirty minutes away from Yu Dao by air. "Alright, this is fine," said Suki. "Let me off down here." Aang lowered Appa closer to the ground so that Suki could leap off. Once they were low enough, she did so, plummeting several feet downwards before hitting the ground. Once she landed, Suki looked up to see Appa flying away.
Having seen the sky bison, two women came running over to Suki. "Oh, good, you're here," said Ning.
"Yeah, sorry for making you guys wait for so long," said Suki. "Thanks for scoping the place out like I asked you to."
"No problem," said Miki.
"So, where is it? How far do we have to go?" Suki inquired.
"It's about a three hour journey from here on foot," Miki replied.
"Do you have any idea what he is building?"
"Some kind of weapon," said Ning. "We don't know what exactly. We couldn't get inside."
"Alright," said Suki. "Let's get moving."
The trio set off, walking along the rocky terrain of the area. They walked for about an hour. Then, Suki stopped. Sensing something was amiss, Miki asked, "What's wrong?"
"There's someone following us," Suki stated, quietly. "I can feel it."
"Yeah, I feel it, too," said Ning.
"We know you're out there!" Suki called out. "Show yourself! We don't want to have to hurt you."
Then, a woman clad in armor leapt out from behind a boulder and swiped her sword at Suki, who was a mere four inches away from the woman's blade. She took an attack stance, ready to fight, but then she recognized who her attacker was. Before she could say anything, a man who was also covered in armor leaped out of nowhere and slashed his weapon at Miki, who jumped back and drew her fan. Suki recognized the man as well. "What are you two doing here?" she asked.
"Same as you, I imagine," said the woman. "We're here to kill Hong Shu."
"And we're willing to cut down anyone who stands in our way," said the man.
"Listen, I don't know what Hong Shu did to you, but you are not going to get to him before I do," said Suki. "Do you understand that, Ju?"
Ju glared at her rival. She was not willing to tolerate this annoyance.
"How about you, Raijin? Do you understand?" she questioned.
"I understand that we have a common goal," said Raijin. "So how about we make a deal with you. We will both travel to Hong Shu's encampment and take out his weapon together."
"What? Raijin, we don't have to make any kind of deal! We can just cut them down now and be on our way!" Ju protested.
"Go ahead and try, ninja freak!" Miki spat.
"Everyone calm down," Suki said. "Raijin is right. We don't need to fight. We can just go together."
"Good, I'm glad we can all come to an understanding," Raijin said. "Now let's move." So the five of them continued on their quest and kept walking across the rocky terrain with the sun beating down on them.
After several minutes, Ju pulled back from the rest of the group and whispered to her friend, "We're not really going to let them get to Hong Shu are we?"
"Of course not," Raijin replied. "But this way we can all get there without any sort of conflict or delays. Then, when we get there, we can finally get rid of them.
Ju smiled. She very much liked her accomplice's idea. The two of them caught back up with the rest of the group and kept walking. After a while, Suki asked, "Hey, just out of curiosity, what did Hong Shu do to you that made you hate him so much?"
Ju glared over at her rival. She was somewhat reluctant to speak, but she was forming a grudging respect for her the more she knew her. And it didn't matter anyway. The Kyoshi Warrior would be dead in just several hours' time. "Not that it's any of your business, but when I was a little girl, Hong Shu, better known as Hong Wu at the time, destroyed my family. My mother and I were left to fend for ourselves out in the Earth Kingdom wilderness after he killed my father and all of my siblings."
"Do you even know why he did that?" Suki inquired.
"Because he's a sadistic bastard who kills for kicks," Ju replied. "When I was seven, I met Raijin. He was alone like me and abandoned. My mother and I took him in and the two of us have been hunting down Hong Shu ever since."
"Wow, I had no idea," said Suki.
"So, what's your story?" asked Ju.
"I met Hong Shu when I was sixteen years old," Suki started. "We've fought each other countless times. He tried to kill me and my friends, he invaded my home and imprisoned my people, he helped murder one of my best friends. I've been trying to kill him for years now. He's my worst enemy."
"Wow, that sounds pretty rough," said Ju.
"It sounds like we both have an intense desire to kill Hong Shu," said Suki. "Once we get to his base, maybe we can kill him together," she suggested.
This was not acceptable to Ju. She would not allow someone else to kill her greatest enemy no matter how sad her story sounded. She had waited her whole life for this, but this girl had not. Still, she had to avoid any conflict until they reached their destination. "Yeah, that sounds good to me," said Ju.
"Great," Suki said.
And the five of them kept walking.
About three hours later, the group of five had arrived at the outskirts of Yu Dao; specifically, a mountain overlooking the city. "The whole United Republic started here," said Suki. "This place has changed a lot since I was last here."
"Enough chit chat," said Raijin. "See that encampment over there?" he said, motioning to six small tents about sixty yards away from them. "That's where they've set up shop."
"Alright, let's move," said Suki. The five of them moved speedily and stealthily, making sure there were no lookouts or traps of any kind. In no time, they had reached the encampment. "Alright, so how do we know what to smash?" asked Ning. "We don't even know what we're looking for."
"If it looks big and dangerous then smash it," said Miki.
"Alright, me and Ju's signal," Suki instructed.
"Go!" Ju ordered.
The five of them split up and each went into an individual tent. Raijin went into the first, unsheathed his sword, and surveyed the room for any kind of weapon, but he found nothing. Miki was in the next tent, but also found nothing. The same happened with Ning and Ju.
Suki went into the fifth and found two people standing there. Yakone and Lin Hui's hands were encased in water, ready to strike. As soon as Suki entered the tent, Lin Hui fired a small water stream at her. Suki leaped out of the way and ran towards the villainous duo. Yakone transformed the water surrounding his hands into ice and shot it at Suki as ice balls, but Suki easily dodged them. She then ran at Yakone with her fans drawn and socked the man in the side. Lin Hui swiped at her with another stream of water, but Suki ducked and performed a sweep kick, knocking Lin Hui down to the ground. Having heard the commotion, the rest of the group came running into the tent. They all pointed their weapons at the pair while Suki and Ju spoke with them.
"Where is Hong Shu?" asked Suki.
"You're too late to stop him," said Lin Hui. "He has probably activated the machine by now."
"What machine?" asked Ju.
"But we were trying to distract them," Yakone said, randomly. Everyone looked over to him, wondering what he was talking about.
"What was that?" asked Raijin.
"We had to distract them," Yakone repeated. No one was sure he was talking to.
"Yakone, now isn't the time for one of your chats," said Lin Hui in a hushed tone. She had obviously seen Yakone do this before.
"Who is he talking to?" asked Ju.
Yakone addressed the woman instead of Lin Hui. "No one," he said. "Mind your own business!"
"You're in no position to speak that way to me," said Ju, bringing her blade closer to Yakone's throat.
"What machine?" Suki asked, getting impatient.
"That machine is equipped with a virus," Yakone explained. "A virus that, once it is spread, will kill every last citizen in Yu Dao."
"Why would Hong Shu do that? What does he have to gain from it?" asked Ning.
"Don't you know?" asked Lin Hui. "He hates all of the nations. This way he can take out members of them all."
"Come on, we have to destroy that thing!" said Suki. She and Ju ran out of the tent and stopped only once to speak to their companions. "Ning, Miki, stay with these two," Suki ordered.
"Same to you, Raijin," said Ju.
The two women had only run a short distance before they saw the machine pointed at Yu Dao with Hong Shu standing right behind it. It was a cannon type machine equipped with canisters containing the virus. Suki drew her katana and hurled it at the machine. Hong Shu, noticing the weapon, ran for it and grabbed the hilt, stopping it. He then discarded it and looked at his two opponents. "Ah, well look who we have here. It looks like little Ju doesn't know when to quit," he taunted. "And Suki, it's always a pleasure."
"Cut the crap," said Suki. "I'm here to end you. We both are."
"Yeah, about that," said Ju. She threw a punch at Suki, nearly socking her in the face. Suki leaned back and avoided it, drawing her fans once more.
"So, had a change of heart, have we?" Suki asked.
"I was never willing to let you kill him," said Ju. "That is a right reserved for me and only one other person: Raijin."
"Oh, well, that's okay," said Suki. "I lied, too." She swung her arms at Ju who leapt back and dodged it. She grabbed her sword and swung it at her, the two locked in combat until Hong Shu threw a knife at Ju. The knife pierced her armor, but did not penetrate her skin.
The machine was nearly ready to fire and Hong Shu ran back over, ready to pull the trigger. In just a few moments it was ready. Hong Shu pulled the trigger and released the virus down below. Suki and Ju's eyes widened. They were both horrified of what the virus was going to do to Yu Dao. All of its inhabitants would experience horrible suffering and sickness and it was their fault for not stopping it. Hong Shu let out a maniacal laugh. "Now people from all the nations will suffer!" he said, triumphantly. The virus was spreading down quickly to the city. It was under a minute away from reaching it.
"We've got to stop it!" Suki shouted.
"It's too late," said Hong Shu. "Now you can watch as this city, the first to unify all of the nations, collapse."
"Then I guess we'll have to make sure you pay instead," said Ju.
"You mean you would rather stay here and kill him than save all of those innocent lives?" Suki asked shocked and appalled at Ju's decision.
"Their lives are lost anyway," said Ju. "It's not like we can do anything about it."
Suki closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "Avatar Kyoshi, my long-dead ancestor, I need your help," she said. "The people of Yu Dao are about to meet a miserable fate. I need you now to save them."
The virus was only seconds away from the city now. If Kyoshi did not heed Suki's call, then all hope would be lost. Suddenly, a bright flash of light appeared in front of the city and a woman dressed in green robes and white face paint appeared. She outstretched her arms and airbent the virus away and into the sky, allowing it to harmlessly float away and dissolve in the upper atmosphere.
"Thank you, Kyoshi," said Suki.
Having heard her descendant, Kyoshi spoke so that only Suki could hear her. "You are welcome, child," she said. "Thank you for summoning me to save these people." She then disappeared back into the Spirit World.
Meanwhile, Ju was confronting Hong Shu, who was more than a little upset about what had just happened. "I'll just fire it again!" he declared.
"I'll have slit your throat before you can even reach the trigger!" Ju threatened. She then felt several jabs on her back and suddenly felt paralyzed. Her whole back had gone numb. Next, she felt several jabs on her arms, losing the feeling in them as well. Somehow, she was not able to move and she fell over.
Suki stood over her, having blocked her chi. "Sorry, Ju, it looks like this just isn't your day. She then raised her katana, which she had picked up off of the ground, and thrust it into the cannon, disabling it. Enraged, Hong Shu grabbed a knife and swung it at Suki, just barely missing. Suki promptly knocked Hong Shu over and sliced the cannon several more times, making sure it was completely destroyed. She then turned to face Hong Shu. "I've been waiting a long time for this," she said. She had been anticipating this so much she could hardly wait any longer. "Now you finally die." Before Suki could kill her enemy, she was knocked forward by a powerful blast of water from behind.
"Come on, let's get out of here!" said Yakone. "The other three are right behind us!"
Hong Shu quickly got up and looked down on Suki. "Maybe next time, Suki," he taunted. He then quickly ran away, heading for his mongoose dragon he had hidden away from the encampment for just such an emergency.
Ning, Miki, and Raijin caught up with Suki and Ju, none of them making a move.
"What are you guys doing here?!" Suki asked, furious that her target had gotten away. "Why didn't you subdue them like I told you to?!"
"It's not our fault," Miki said. "It's his!" She pointed at Raijin, who glared back at her. "He double-crossed us and while we were fighting each other, they got away."
"Do you have any idea-" Suki started.
"NO!" Ju shouted. "I let him get away! I let that bitch chi block me! I FAILED!!!"
"Ju, calm down," Raijin urged. "We will get him next time."
"I was just a few inches away from him!!" Ju screamed. "I had him! I HAD HIM!!!"
Raijin carried his friend away without saying another word to the three Kyoshi Warriors.
Suki watched as Ju broke down. She saw the sheer rage and anger and resentment towards herself for failing. The only time she had heard of anything similar was when Zuko told of his sister's defeat during their comet enhanced Agni Kai. She was suddenly worried that she would become like that, too. "Maybe Sokka was right," she said to herself.
"What was that?" asked Ning.
"Oh, nothing," said Suki. "Let's go." And the three of them set off in the direction they came.
Then, suddenly, a thought occurred to Miki. "Hey, how are we going to get home?"
For the collective works of the author, go here.