Against the World
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Avatar: Into the Light





Written by

Agent Slash

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Wedding Day

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The Rose's Thorns

Aang stood atop the steps leading to city hall. In front of him was a speech bench with several microphones and a large crowd containing reporters from various news stations. He attempted to shield himself from the overwhelming amount of flashes coming from the cameras, but he decided he should look at them directly. As he looked down on them, he spoke. "Alright, if any of you have any questions, I'll take them now," he said. Instantly, the reporters began hurling tons of questions at him.

"Who were the three people who attacked the building yesterday?"

"What kind of energy was coming out of their hands?"

"Are you going to confront them directly?"

"What event are they referring to in this so-called prophecy of theirs?"

Aang was stunned by how many questions were being asked. He was also a bit agitated at how none of these reporters seemed to care about the fact that his wedding had been disrupted. "I assure everyone that my friends and I will do everything we can to make sure that these Lightbenders are taken care of," he replied.

"So, can you confirm the rumors that you are not the only Lightbender in the world?" asked another reporter.

"I can," Aang replied.

"What evidence do you have?" asked another reporter.

"I was informed by-" Aang paused. "It's Avatar stuff. You guys wouldn't understand." Aang quickly realized what a huge mistake he had just made.

"So, you can't confirm your sources?" asked one of them.

"He's lying! He can't confirm anything!" shouted another.

"What? No, I'm not!" Aang protested. "A lion turtle told me!"

"He's making that up! He's a liar! " Suddenly, Aang heard a voice from beside him. "Hey! You people are here to ask questions!" shouted Katara. "You are not here to hurl false accusations!" The Avatar had forgotten that his wife was even there. She had been so quiet up until now.

"That's all the questions I'll take today," said Aang. He twirled open his glider, grabbed Katara, and flew away.

Aang was at his home, the island sanctuary known as Air Temple Island. He sat outside, meditating on the events that had transpired recently. He would have to know more about this Light Clan, but how would he find out? The Lion Turtle would not tell him, and there was surely no Avatar who could help him. And, what did that one man mean when he mentioned the 'Dark Society'? Aang opened his eyes and walked towards the house. He approached a side door when he heard the radio blaring.

On the other end was a talk show host somewhere in Republic City. "Well, don't you think that everybody should be angry with Mayor Qian for not really doing anything to help Republic City during his time as mayor?" asked the host.

"No, I think Mayor Qian has done something that the Avatar hasn't done in at least nine years. He has worked with the people and helped tackle the issues here in Republic City," replied the host's guest.

"No, look, if you look at the stats, everything is in Avatar Aang's favor," the host retorted. "Now, do you think Avatar Aang has failed in his duties to protect people?" he asked.

"No, actually, that's not true. Avatar Aang has-"

"No, no, answer the question!" the host demanded.

Having heard enough, Aang walked over and changed the radio station, hoping to hear something else. He was disgusted with what he heard. He heard the voice of a different talk show host speaking. "You honestly think that Avatar Aang has done anything productive? He abandoned the world for a hundred years!"

"Well, I honestly think you are being a bit too hard on the Avatar," said the guest. He was immediately met with a fiery comeback from the host.

"Avatar Aang is an enemy of the United Republic of Nations in my opinion!"

"Well, I think his heart is in the right place-"

"You're damn wrong about that! He's just a phony if you ask me! Fucking pacifist piece of shit."

Then Aang heard a voice from behind him. "Don't let them get to you," said Katara. "They are just talk show hosts. You can't let them-" Katara then heard something else from the host.

"And what about that wife of his -- Katara? Yeah, that water slu-" Aang then jumped back as he saw a water slash shoot forward and destroy the radio.

"I will not tolerate this!" Katara yelled. "Somebody needs to talk some sense into these people!"

"Katara, calm down," Aang urged his wife.

"I mean, honestly! All you have ever done is save lives and help people and bring peace and balance to the world! How could they possibly criticize you for that?!"

"Qian has the media on his side," Aang said. "You know that. But, we can't let this get in the way of dealing with these Lightbenders."

Katara took a moment to simmer down. She then nodded. "You're right," she said. "Thanks." The two embraced in a hug and then entered the sanctuary together.

The following morning, Katara got up out of bed and went downstairs to the dining room. She found Aang already there, sitting at the table with a bowl of Flamey-O Instant Noodles. "Good morning," she said warmly.

"I thought about it last night," Aang said, ignoring his wife's statement. "And I know what we are going to do about these Lightbenders."

"What?" Katara inquired.

"We're going to do it the old fashioned way."

In his office, a stocky man with gray hair who was in his late fifties was searching through his desk for something. His assistant, a young man in his mid-thirties was standing opposite him. "Mayor Qian, are you sure attacking the Avatar is really a good idea?" he asked.

"Look, he is a menace!" Qian responded angrily, frustrated at not being able to find what he was looking for. "You may not be able to see it, Zhu, but I do. With the kind of power he has and the right mindset, he could easily destroy us all!"

"What makes you say that?" Zhu asked.

"Finally!" Qian exclaimed. He pulled several documents out of his desk and handed them to Zhu. "Do you see? Right there, he brutally killed two people in just a matter of seconds, while he was restrained, no less!"

"He was just doing his job," Zhu protested.

"And look here!" Qian said, pointing to another of the documents. Zhu flipped several pages and looked at another. "The fact that that Avatar Jun character caused colossal devastation during his time and attempted to destroy our world just eleven years ago shows that with the right mind, the Avatar could, in fact, destroy us all! He is a menace and until that air headed chief of police has him locked up, I will continue doing my duty to the people of Republic City.

"I just don't see anything wrong with him," Zhu stated.

Qian looked at his assistant with a very serious expression. "Listen, Zhu, I like you, but if you want to continue working with me and work your way up in this business, you need to develop a spine! Now, I am going to hold a press conference. Will you be with me or not?"

Zhu paused before responding. He did not feel this was morally right, but he liked his job, and even though he and Qian disagreed on some things, he considered the man a true friend. He nodded. "I'm with you."

Everyone was gathered in the courtyard of Air Temple Island. "Thanks for coming everyone," Aang said.

"Like we really had a choice," Sokka remarked.

"I know how we are going to find the Light Clan. The next time one of their Lightbenders attacks, we will capture them and force them to give us information."

"How?" asked Toph. "By saying 'pretty please'?"

"We'll find a way," Aang replied. "Once we get the information we need, we will search for their location and try to reason with their leader."

"Sounds like a plan to me," said Sokka.

"One more thing," Zuko chided in. "I noticed that what they were wearing was of United Republic origins. It wasn't made by their own."

"What are you saying?" asked Ai.

"I'm saying that I think somebody in the United Republic is making them armor and, possibly, other things," said Zuko.

"I noticed that as well," said Aang. "That's why I'm going to ask the Kyoshi Warriors to investigate," he said, turning to Suki.

"You want me to take the girls to find out whether or not someone has been supplying these guys?" she asked.

"Yes," said Aang.

"Me and my warriors know about everything going on in this city," Suki said. "We have done a number of investigations and have checked out all of the crime."

"I don't think whoever is making this stuff are in Republic City. They probably have their operations based somewhere else in the United Republic," Aang said. "Please, just investigate for me," he pleaded.

Suki nodded in compliance.

"Then I guess we're all set!" said Bo.

Katara then realized someone was missing. "Hey, where is Rong?" she asked.

"Oh, she was busy with something," said Bo. "I don't know what."

"Alright, my warriors and I will head to Hu Xin City to start the investigation," Suki said, changing the subject. "That's where most manufacturing takes place."

Aang nodded.

Zuko then spoke. "Well, it's been fun guys, but I have to get back to the Fire Nation."

"Oh, come on, can't you stay around and help us for old times' sake?" asked Ai.

"I sure would like to, but I can't stay here for too long," Zuko replied. "My country needs me."

"Alright," said Katara. "But you're still coming for our vacation to Ember Island, right?"

"Absolutely," Zuko responded.

"Alright, well, see you later, Sifu Hothead," said Toph.

Zuko bowed. "Don't worry, I'll keep in touch." And with that, he walked away. He stopped when he realized he needed a way to get back to the mainland. "Hey, can I get a ride?" he asked.

Team Avatar was flying over Republic City on Appa, escorting Zuko to his personal airship. "As soon as we drop off Zuko, we can drop you off in Hu Xin City, Suki," Katara said.

"No, I think it is better if we don't make a big entrance," said Suki. "We can get there in a day or two by boat."

"Alright then," Katara agreed.

It was not long before Team Avatar noticed something was going on down below them. There was a large group of people assembled in front of City Hall once again. Aang and the others looked down to see Mayor Qian and his assistant having a press conference. "This could be trouble," Katara whispered, echoing Aang's thoughts.

"Alright, next question," Qian said.

A man with a feathered hat spoke first. "What are your plans to deal with these Lightbenders?" he asked.

"Well, obviously, this cannot be allowed to happen again, so I will speak with our-" the next word pained him, but he almost said it without making it obvious. "Esteemed chief of police about mobilizing the police force and going after them."

"Are you going to cooperate with Avatar Aang on this matter also?" asked a woman with short, brunette hair and glasses.

"No, Avatar Aang can stay out of my way," Qian replied. "I will not be working with that menace on this assignment."

Having had enough, Aang grabbed his glider and leapt off of Appa. People below saw him and started pointing towards the sky. Aang landed and closed his glider. "Answer me this, Qian," he said. "When the Hundred Year War ended, what do you think people said? 'Thank goodness for Mayor Qian for calling Fire Lord Ozai a menace', or 'Thank the spirits for Avatar Aang and his friends for risking their lives to defeat the Fire Lord and end the war?'"

There was a murmur from people in the crowd.

"Avatar Aang, I suggest you leave," said Qian.

"And just so you know, I have Chief Beifong on my side, I think me and my friends will be the only ones investigating in Republic City," he added, making sure he kept a civil tone.

"Did you come down here just to oppress my freedom of speech which all of us are entitled to?" Qian asked. Again, there was another murmur.

"No, I came down here to tell you that you can smear me in the media all you want, but as the Avatar it is my duty not to worry about you and focus solely on this issue, so don't even bother." Aang twirled open his glider and flew back up. There was a small applause from the crowd as he flew away.

Qian glared angrily into the sky, but a nudge from Zhu reminded him to keep his cool. The man cleared his throat before speaking. "Next question."

Author's Notes

  • The reporter with the feathered hat is the Feathered hat man's father.

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