|More from AvengeBender007||Action/ Adventure||PG/ PG-13||None yet!||Chapter 1|
This chapter, At World's End, appears in Avatar - Book 4: Light, a series created and written by . Please leave a review if you enjoyed the chapter.
|At World's End|
September 3, 2012
"Almost there buddy," Aang called out as Appa gave a good-hearted groan.
Aang's victory against Phoenix King Ozai had, so far, brought the world 3 years of peace and recovery. Refugees had moved out back to their original homes, families were re-united, and everyone could finally breathe safely. Aang had been worshiped and idolized, and everyone dismissed the fact that he had abandoned the world for 100 years.
Of course, he couldn't take all the pride: he had a lot of help along the way. Fire Lord Zuko, albeit the fact that he had once hunted Aang, joined him and his friends and helped take down Azula alongside Katara. And it was Sokka, Toph, and Suki who had subdued the massive fleet of airships, saving Ba Sing Se in the process. They had helped him fight the Fire Nation, they had given him hope when everything seemed impossible, and they had been there for him, even when he had let down. United they stood tall, but divided they fell.
Even after the Great War, problems arose. Aang found himself yet again at his lowest point, but he was open to change. He and his friends mended what they had broken. Everything reverted to how it originally was. All was well but for the Avatar...
Peace just wasn't an option. Every once in a while, he'd receive a cry of help from a distant country, and he would be forced to venture there on Appa. Luckily, Katara accompanied him on his adventures. Although he was too embarrassed to admit it, they had developed a close relationship, and although his friends could spot a wedding just on the horizon, Aang was scared. What if, by the slightest chance, she said no? Sometimes, it even kept him up at night.
His friends... another huge component of his life. Aang heard from them quite often. Sokka was in the same bowl with Suki, but he was the youngest man ever to become Chieftain. After the war, Suki resumed her duties as Kyoshi Warrior Captain, but she still had time for Sokka. Toph had opened up an academy, and was training master earthbenders in the glorious art of metalbending.
Zuko, as happy as tried to be, just hadn't found peace yet. Zuko and Mai were engaged, but their relationship was strained by Zuko's constant urge to find Ursa, his long-lost mother. Whenever Mai suggested giving up the search, Zuko instantly grew furious and blew flames all over the place. Aang thought, with all the world peace going on, finding Ursa would be as easy as airbending, but again, the world hadn't sustained constant peace.
Even now, as Aang could finally spot Kyoshi Island across the sea, he could see why Oyaji called him here. Kyoshi Island was flooded; water poured out of house, and kids ran everywhere, screaming cries of help. The Kyoshi Warriors were gathering the elderly into a safehouse. The Statue of Kyoshi was barely standing on its pedestal, and those who reached its vicinity race past it, worried that it may fall over.
Aang narrowed his eyes, trying to find the sources of the flood. He turned his head, his eyes grew big, and he found out what was flooding Kyoshi Island: the unagi. Grey as smoke, with pitch-black stripes running down the side, and emerald green eyes, the unagi were pathetically thrashing around in the vast sea, occasionally spewing water into the village. They obviously had no intention of stopping anytime soon, so Aang quickly formulated a plan.
He stood at the edge of Appa's head, and called out to him, telling him to get to safety. Appa groaned in confirmation, Aang took a deep breath of reassurance, and jumped off. As he blazed through the sky, he quickly swung his arm forward, bring up a body of water, lessening the impact from concrete to dirt. Aang looked underwater for a bit, and swam to the surface.
He first needed to get rid of the unagi, and then he could turn his attention to the Island. He reminisced about how he and Katara had taken down a serpent years ago; he remembered this with a pang, however, because it made him miss Katara so much. She was sitting back at home in the Southern Water Tribe, probably not thinking about him and the trouble he was in...
A frightful scream from the village brought Aang back into reality. Standing on frozen water, Aang quickly gathered the situation. They were 3 unagi, all in the same vicinity. Thinking that his plan may be possible, Aang pushed his hands together and breathed, initiating the Avatar State for a mere second. This gave him enough power and energy to start racing on the water, his arms swinging like pinwheels. He made a loop around the unagi, with more and more water tugging behind him. As he gathered more speed, the water began to circle each other, forming a sort of vortex as anticipated. With a great heave, he pushed the water towards the unagi, trapping them in a whirlpool. They thrashed around more furiously, clashing against each other, until they broke out of the whirlpool. They were more violent, and they started to peck at Aang. Aang dodged one, and pushed it away with impressive airbending.
Aang pushed the "whirlpool" idea out of his head. He, again, dodged the unagi and froze the area where the unagi had struck, trapping its mouth. He bended the water dripping from his head around his body, and froze it, forming icy pillars to support the unagi.
However, Aang's victory was very short-lived. The second unagi came out of nowhere, slammed against the other unagi, breaking the ice, and driving Aang back very far. Aang bounced against the water furiously, stinging him like fire knives.
Furious in spite of himself, Aang quickly formulated yet another plan, before the unagi got even more out-of-hand. Thinking of how the unagi were pecking at him, Aang swam swiftly, and taunted them with fire discs. The unagi turned around and pecked at him. Grinning in anticipation. Aang quickly dodged it, and leapt on its back. Racing up its grey spine, Aang quickly got hold of its thin cartilage structures, and commandeered the unagi. He took a horse-stance, and used the unagi as "friendly-fire. Aang aimed for the nearby unagi, shot out rapid bursts of water, dazing the unagi. They tried to fight back, determined just like Aang, but they were struck with concessive jets of water.
Unable to hold their watery ground, the unagi fell to the water, and sank underneath. With a triumphant smile on his face, Aang leapt off of the unagi’s face, spun around quickly with his airbending agility, and shot a solid fire-ball at the unagi. Scorched and oppressed, it didn’t even give into a fight. It sank into the water.
Only priding himself for defeating the unagi shortly, Aang turned his attention back to the village. This part was much simpler. Activating the Avatar State for a brief second once more, Aang pushed his arms outward, sending the water back into the ocean. He swiped the water with decisive air, cutting it backwards. Knowing that this would be a slow process, Aang used the ground as a kick-start to boost himself up into the air. Floating in an air globe, Aang held a fire bomb in his palm, and flared it towards the village, instantly drying the village and evaporating the water.
He floated back down to applaud and cheers of joy; Aang could even spot someone thrashing around just like the unagi, foam dripping from his mouth. Aang, now on the ground, turned his attention to Oyaji, and surprisingly, Suki.
“Just doing my duty of the world,” Aang said to them before they could respond. Suki ran to him, pulled him into a tight, bone-crushed hug, and beamed at him.
“Just can’t thank you enough. Sokka will be sorry he missed all the action,” Suki responded with a slight chuckle.
“What’s with the unagi? They’re not usually like this, are they?” Aang inquired.
“No; it’s puzzling us just as much as you. We’ve been seeing a lot of activity from them lately.” Suki said in a matter-of-fact tone.
The sun dipped beneath the horizon, and Aang still couldn’t shake off the cries of help. He had had his hand wrung so many times from Oyaji that it was sore. Thinking of how it was getting late, and Katara would be waiting for him, Aang addressed Oyaji.
“No really, it was nothing. I should be getting back home now!” Aang half said, half yelled with a loud yawn.
“You can stay with us Aang. We have plenty of upper-class inns. You can leave first thing in the morning,” Suki reassured.
It was very later after all, and Appa was tired. Katara would be worried. But all those happy faces, the idea of dessert for breakfast, was all just too welcome. Aang gave in. He allowed the Kyoshi Warriors to escort him into a fancy house with a gold roof. He gave one last wave at his window, stripped his clothes, and went to sleep
_ _ _ _
After all these years, he was still my best friend. And a few months later, he was my best man. I trusted him and loved him like he was my brother. It pained me to think about what changed him those years I was gone, training hard. His perspective on the world had changed. He had gone from laid-back, easy-going, and friendly, to serious, decisive, and detached. He no longer cared for the balance of the world; he only cared about expanding his reign, his reign of tyranny. What ever happened to him… what ever happened to Firelord Sozin!
Aang woke with a start, beads of sweat trickling slowly down his face. He had just experience a wild dream… but was it a dream. He had been listening to Roku… no… he was Roku!
Aang heard a splash of murky water behind him. Instinctively, he jumped out of bed and raised his hands in a self-defense stance. And everything fell out of balance to him.
He was standing in the middle of the Spirit World, all those wild elements coming back to him. And strolling towards him, calm and relaxed, was his past live: Roku.
“Hello Aang. It’s good to see you, although it looks like I’ve come as a shock to you,” Roku spoke. Aang didn’t respond. He merely gaped at Roku, who continued speaking.
“Why don’t we take a walk?” Roku asked politely, but his voice a little forced. Again, Aang didn’t speak, but he nodded, and the two began walking. Finally, Aang plucked up the courage to talk.
“Why – how… what is all this,” Aang asked, struggling to find the right words.
“This, as I like to say, is your party. Your mind, your dream.”
“So, none of this is real, then?”
“Well, I’d like to say it is real. Because what I’m about to tell you is very real,” Roku said in a very serious tone. Aang stopped in his tracks, and ignored the fact that his feet were dirty and freezing due to the murky water.
“Something has fallen out of balance again…” Aang said, with a sigh. Roku looked at Aang with almost an expression of pain in his eyes, almost as if he were struggling.
“It pains me to tell you this, but you are correct. The darkness we fought so hard to contain has returned to destroy us. To destroy you.”
“What is this darkness? And I want the truth Roku, no lies, only the truth,” Aang said with a noticeable edge to his voice. Roku looked offended, but continued to plow on, and Aang noticed that, as they walked, the scenery was changing. The trees that snaked around them were replaced with more, normal trees, emerald green with brown trunks. The sky had gone from a yellow-ish color to a paler, white color. Before Aang could question this, Roku spoke.
“In the era before the Avatar, before energybending in fact, only the spirits existed. There was only one world, and that world is the one on which we are standing. They debated over the idea of man, and after years and years of arguments and agreements, man was created, and a new world alongside it. In order to guide them towards the right path, the spirits sent some of their own kind before man. These spirits who lived on Earth were called the First Civilization. They were granted the most powerful element, lightbending.”
“Lightbending? How could that be the most powerful? Fire has the same effect,” Aang pondered, interrupting Roku.
“You’re mixing up firebending and lightbending. Lightbending was… destructive, untamed, and frightening. You’re underestimating it, Aang. Master lightbenders could cause blindness, remove all the light from a village, and in some extreme cases, make the world go dark for a short period of time. We granted the spirits this power so they could have higher superiority over the humans. Over time, however, they grew… bored. They became careless, and they let wars go on between the humans. Then, the rebellions began. They stormed the Spirit World, and when the solar flare arrived, they attacked.”
“Solar flare? How does that do anything?” Aang asked, bewildered. The scenery was more pristine now, but occasionally he could hear growls and or cries of joy from above. “And what are those sounds?”
“Those sounds Aang, are from memories of your past,” Roku said. “The solar flare was the lightbenders’ version of Sozin’s Comet. They were granted unbelievable power… I can’t imagine.”
Aang allowed Roku a minute of silence, and then cleared his throat.
“The War began, and when it was over… We allowed those Spirits who survived to live on an island far, far from the mainland, at world’s end. But now, we believe they have returned for vengeance.” Roku finished.
“There’s more to this story that you’re not telling right?” Aang sighed.
“Yes, Aang, but it’s only for your sake, And one day, when you are at your lowest you will hear the whole story. But now, we have training to do,” Roku said.
The scenery had altogether changed: they were now walking on lush, green grass alongside a pure river. Tall trees with large trunks stretched high into the sapphire-blue sky.
“Roku… where are we?” Aang asked curiously.
“This is the afterlife for all Avatars. This is your home. And this,” Roku said, gesturing towards the tree-house structure, “is where we like to train.”
They entered the building and there was a magnificent sight. The tree house structure itself was huge with columns of stone holding it up. The ground was scorched with fire, and rocks of various sizes littered it. But what was going on… was far more intriguing: his past lives were battling each other! Aang spotted Kuruk and Kyoshi, a brutal duo, taking on 3 Avatars that Aang couldn’t recognize. Kuruk dodged a water whip from one of the Avatars, and counter-striked with a blazing fire-stream taking out two of the Avatars. It seemed like they’d been fighting for a while, because the Avatar that was left on the other team didn’t even put up a fight.
“Now, I believe, it is your turn Aang.” Roku said. Aang gave Roku an incredulous look; meanwhile, Kuruk and Kyoshi had spotted Aang and strode up right to him.
“Next match is on us kid. We’ve been training for a couple of hours, so don’t wet your pants when you lose,” Kuruk smirked arrogantly. Then the two strode off again.
“There’s NO WAY I can take them on! Kuruk… he has all the strength in the world!” Aang said desperately, flailing his arms around.
“Yes,” Roku said, and Aang was surprised to see he was smiling, “Kuruk does have all the strength, but that’s all he has. Remember, even strength has to bow down to intelligence and cleverness. Think ahead of the game.”
A metal bell was hit, signifying the start of the match. Immediately, Kuruk launched himself into a water spout, and Kyoshi bended rocks toward her, and began shooting compressed earth bullets at Aang. Aang swerved to the side, and raised an earth column, blocked the bullets. With his other hand, Aang used airbending to swipe at Kuruk. Kuruk used his water spout to move to the left, and began shooting water jets at Aang.
Muttering in frustration, Aang began running furiously and quickly in circles, trying to develop a tornado. The water jets Kuruk fired went around Aang, and rebounded back at Kuruk, whose water spout dissipated. After a few moments, Aang, panting, stopped running and flung his tornado towards the duo. Kuruk created a water board and surfed to safety, but Kyoshi, the stubborn person she was, held her ground, raising fragmented sections of earth upwards. Her columns were too weak and crumbled, and Kyoshi herself was thrown back.
Grinning in spite of himself, Aang was finally able to breath for a bit. Turning his attention towards Kuruk, Aang fired two concessive fire punches and kicks, and followed up with a blistering fire arc. Kuruk raised up a water wall to from a shield, and began shooting ice daggers at Aang, who flared a fire bomb, melting the ice. Building up momentum, Aang flashed up a fire serpent, mounted it, and rode it towards Kuruk. The serpent provided air superiority, and with this, Aang began pulling fire from his serpent, and shooting it at Kuruk, who stumbled back. Aang leapt off and was about to deliver the final blow of fire, when Kyoshi rode in on a giant earth wave, and pushed earth-columns upwards, blowing Aang away.
His head dizzy and ribs aching, Aang struggled to stand still. He wiped the fountain of sweat from his face, and assumed a fighting stance. Kuruk and Kyoshi began shooting compressed bullets of ice and earth at Aang, who struggled to hold his stance. He fired a decisive air kick at the two, and swung his arm forward, bringing up 3 earth columns. The bullets, however, were too much, the columns crumbled, and Aang, unable to sustain the bullets, fell backwards.
He was aching all over, even if this was his dream. Roku’s voice rang in his head, “Remember, even strength has to bow down to intelligence and cleverness.” Determination replaced his struggles, and Aang picked himself up and gathered the situation: there was a fresh supply of rock, so maybe if he blew it back… it’d only lessen Kyoshi. Aang needed to get rid of one to take down the other. A stream of water was flowing; Kuruk would surely run out of ice soon, so he would go to the stream. But he could earthbend unless Aang blew it away! Grinning, Aang pushed his head back and gathered as much air as possible, and then let it loose, the rocks flying away. Aang then cupped his hands and blew slowly, chilling the air and making it hard to firebend.
“Out of fire and earth. And you’re not good at air, are you? You’re going to need water!” Aang mocked.
Kuruk looked at Kyoshi, nodded, and ran towards the river. Smiling in anticipation, Aang let his arm hang loose, and then fluctuated it up furiously, drenching Kuruk. Without hesitation and before Kyoshi could strike, Aang froze the water again and again, encasing Kuruk. Sensing victory, Aang turned his arms upward. Water and air began flowing towards him, and began hovering around him. Aang raised himself up on an earth pillar, and pulled his arms down, forming a hurricane. Thunder cackling and bits of ice flying everywhere, Aang pitched the hurricane at Kyoshi, who attempted to form an air tornado, but failed, and she was thrown back.
A metal gong sounded again, and Aang knew he had won. He wiped beads of sweat from his face, and drenched himself in water to cool down.
_ _ _ _
After Kyoshi and Kuruk had congratulated Aang’s performance, Roku came up to Aang, himself.
“That was some game you played Aang! Always remember, strength always bows down to wisdom,” Roku advised.
“Thanks… now about those lightbenders.”
Roku and Aang walked to a nearby tree, sat next to it, and Roku began talking.
“I wish there was a way we could settle this… but war seems to be the only solution. You know the stakes Aang. This’ll be far harder than defeating Ozai, or learning all four elements.”
“Well, it doesn’t hurt that I’ve mastered the elements a thousand times.”
“I suppose not. You will need your friends for this journey, Aang, but more importantly, you will need the Fire Lord.”
“Why’s Zuko so important?” Aang said quickly and a little harshly.
“His mission is tied in with the lightbenders; this place might just have what he’s looking for,” Roku said.
“How do we even get there? How do we find this place that’s at the end of the world.”
“ All you must do is ---,” Roku’s sentence was drowned out by a large, metal gong, louder than the one in the tree-house structure. Everyone nearby looked around frightfully, and Roku himself looked petrified.
“You must go! Quickly – QUICKLY!” Roku yelled. The Spirit World began to unravel in front of Aang, and he heard a low rumble.
“Remember what I told you Aang! Before you go, take off to the Southern Air Temple! Don’t trust---,” but exactly who Aang wasn’t supposed trust wasn’t revealed. He began to fall into a shadowy abyss.
Aang woke with a start; he looked around wildly, but this time, he wasn’t in the Spirit World. He was on Kyoshi Island. The sun was rising: the pure, colorless vastness of the sky stretched over him. Had all of that been real? Aang wished it wasn’t, but he knew it probably was. Something… something terrible had happened. He needed to talk to his past lives, but he needed to mediate somewhere spiritual. The spirit oasis immediately popped up in his head, but he dismissed that place; it take him days to go all the way up to the Northern Water Tribe. Thinking that Oyaji probably would know of a place, Aang quickly made his bed, changed into his clothes, and went outside.
A crowd of fan-girls had gathered outside, and it was well over half-an-hour before Aang was able to shake them off. Receiving instructions from Suki, Aang ran to Oyaji’s house.
“Aang, I was just thinking about you. It’s good ---,” but Oyaji’s sentence was unfinished when he saw Aang, panting, and his clothes all messed up.
“I need – a spiritual place, NOW,” Aang panted. Oyaji, mortified, led Aang to a beautiful graveyard, which held Kyoshi’s body. Leaving Aang alone, Aang went to Kyoshi’s tomb, crouched nearby, and meditated. He needed someone… someone to talk to. He breathed in and out, slowly. He cleared his mind, and sought out his past lives. And Kyoshi appeared.
Faint blue and shimmering, Kyoshi looked distracted and kept looking over her back, as though someone was following.
“Kyoshi, what happened back at the Spirit World?” Aang demanded.
“It’s… not my place to say, Aang. I can’t answer that, but I assure you everyone is okay,” Kyoshi reassured.
“What is going on?” Aang asked?
“There’s a storm coming, Aang. Considering whom you are, and what you’ve done in the past, if I were you, I’d batten the hatches and wait for all of this to be over. Because they’re coming for you,” Kyoshi said grimly, and with that, she darkened up and then vanished into the thin air. No Spirit World, no Roku, Aang only had one mission now: get to Zuko.
_ _ _ _
Fire Nation Palace 15 Years Ago
Young Zuko scrambled behind the porch. Nope. He ran alongside the bushes and peered over them. Nope. He burst open Azula’s room, and his. Nope. He considered giving up entirely, when he heard a faint giggle next to him. He spun around, and shot a weak stream of fire into the bush, revealing his mother.
“Careful now, young prince! Don’t want to burn me!” Ursa said with a laugh, scooping up Zuko.
“Again mom, again!” Zuko cried out.
“Again? Are you sure? Will you be able to find me?” Ursa questioned as though it were very serious.
“I’ll find you! I will always find you!” Zuko confirmed. Always…
_ _ _ _
Fire Nation Palace Present Day
Zuko stormed into his room, angry that he was out of places to look. For 3 years, 3 long years, he had search for his mother in the unlikeliest of places. Nothing. She had left with a trace…. but she had to be alive! Mai entered the room, and sat on the edge of his bed.
“Zuko, you have to give this up! We’re all out of places!” Mai cried desperately.
“Maybe… maybe we were at the wrong place at the wrong time! We should go check Ba Sing Se again!” Zuko retaliated. Mai let out a long sigh and didn’t bother hiding her disappointment.
“Zuko, I don’t think we’re going to find her!” Mai beseeched.
“No… I will find her. I will always find her. Always,” Zuko said. “What about me? What about us?” Mai questioned. “Mai, this is my family we’re talking about. Ursa is all I have left in my immediately family. Ozai is rotting away in a prison, Azula is a mental institute… she’s all I have left!”
“You have to understand Mai, you have to,” Zuko pleaded.
“I understand, but ---,” but Mai’s counter-argument was drowned out by a loud tapping on the door.
“Come in,” Zuko said, regaining his posture. It was Zuko’s most trusted general, Kyoto.
“Firelord Zuko, I am sorry to disturb you, but you have a visitor. He needs to see you very quickly,” Kyoto said with a slight bow. Kyoto left the room, along with Mai, and Aang came in.
“This isn’t good, is it?” Zuko muttered, making a cup of tea, and when Aang didn’t respond, he continued. “I got tea and biscuits. Come on in and sit down, because it looks like we have a lot to talk about.”
_ _ _ _
“So, you’re saying, Ursa is tied in with the lightbenders?” Zuko asked, an hour later after Aang had filled him in on everything.
“Yeah, but it makes no sense,” Aang answered.
“Yes, yes it does! I haven’t found Ursa yet, because I’ve been looking in the wrong place! It all makes sense! She’s at the island at world’s end, and we’ve never been there before!” Zuko cried, letting out a long whoop, knocking over a few candles on his dresser. While Zuko put them back up, and lit them, Aang spoke.
“What about the lightbenders?” Aang asked.
“The Firelord and the Avatar, and a bunch of friends. I think we could take on these lightbenders any day,” Zuko said arrogantly.
“I don’t know. Roku seemed to fear the lightbenders very much,” Aang said. Zuko turned away towards his dresser.
“Roku could be --- why did the candles just go out,” Zuko said, pointing at his dresser.
“The breeze from outside?” Aang threw out, obviously wanting to get back to their conversation.
“The window is closed. That’s weird --- arrgh!” Zuko yelled, clutching his finger, which displayed a burn mark.
“I hovered my finger over the candle, and it burned me!” Now, that Aang was closer, he could see that the light was gone, but there was tiny, barely noticeable flicker of fire. Gears shifted in his head, something clunked into place, and Aang realized the problem too late.
“Zuko, we need to ----,”
Zuko’s room was blasted apart, and Aang and Zuko were thrown back into the yard in a shower of rubble. Three people, dressed in velvet suits, with black goggles, appeared. They assumed fighting stances. Aang picked himself up, gathered Zuko, and the duo prepared to fight.
One of the assassins sprouted stilettos, and began hurling them at Aang. Aang pushed his arms sideways and up, bringing water from a nearby pond, and freezing the stilletos. Aang jumped over the ice structure, and began shooting consecutive air kicks and punches. Meanwhile, Zuko was handling two assassins at once. He dodged a dagger from one of them, and lashed at the assassin with fire, leaving a painful scorch mark on the suit. Zuko diverted his attention to the other assassin, and began clawing at the assassin with fire daggers. The assassin moved his back and forth, and when Zuko swung his arm up, the assassin did a perfect back flip.
Meanwhile, Aang was hovering in an air globe, firing air blasts as the assassin, who in return, shot a furious orb of light at Aang. The orb exploded, and Aang fell to the ground, unable to see.
“Arrgh! I can’t see! ZUKO!” And bellowed. Zuko turned. Aang lay sprawled on the ground, while the two remaining assassins close in. Zuko took a deep breath and flung his arms back. He used jet propulsion to get to Aang, and then he used breath of fire to scare away the assassins. With a final blow, he streamed fire and pushed the two assassins back, making them scamper away.
“Aang. Aang. AANG!” Zuko shouted.
“Arrrgh. I’m fine, I can see now. What – who were those people?” Aang muttered with a slight groan.
“Let’s find out,” Zuko said, gesturing towards the fallen assassin. However, before the duo could start an interrogation, the assassin bit an upper pocket on the suit, bit a pill, and was dead within seconds. The pocket was positioned perfectly, so that anyone could easily bite it open. Aang and Zuko pondered for a moment, and then they heard a scream from the plaza.
“The other two assassins! C’mon Zuko – hurry!” Aang screamed, using airbending to run faster than he had before, Zuko gliding along on an intense fire serpent. The assassins had taken the civilians in the plaza hostage, and they spoke before Aang and Zuko could react.
“STOP! If you attempt to attack, we will slay these civilians! You will drop your hands, and let us go, or we swear that we will kill these civilians. Surely, young Avatar, you wouldn’t want innocent blood wasted on your hands?” The assassins spoke deeply, his words perfect.
Aang and Zuko dropped their hands and stood aside while the assassins scurried away. When Zuko had called his guards to secure the civilians, he and Aang continued pursuit. With the two of them blazing across the road with airbending and firebending, they caught up with the assassins in little time. With no time to lose, they began wordlessly performing a firebending technique they had learned years ago: the Dancing Dragon. They performed a consecutive pattern of fire kicks, punches, and jabs, until, alas, the two assassins feel to the ground, steam rising from their suits.
Again, the two assassins committed suicide. Aang wasn’t remotely surprised. He could hear voices behind him, and saw Mai fling herself into Zuko’s arms. Kyoto, Zuko’s general, approached the three, and spoke.
“Firelord Zuko, I am deeply sorry for my absence. Are you okay?”
“I’m okay,” Zuko replied, cuddling Mai.
_ _ _ _
The next morning, Zuko’s guards revealed that the assassins’ clothing was unlike anything they had seen before. Even the weapons were mysterious. Aang, on the contrary, expected this, and consulted Zuko the same day.
“I don’t expect you to come with me. After last night…,” Aang didn’t finish. Zuko smiled, and clasped Aang’s shoulder.
“After everything we’ve done together? We’ll join you; Mai’ll be please, she’s been bored. Where do we go next?” Zuko asked. Aang pondered for a little bit, and then recalled something that Roku had told him.
“The Southern Air Temple.”
Kyoto had come to wish Firelord Zuko a safe journey, but Zuko reassured him, and all of his people, that he would return before taking off. A few minutes before departure, Iroh, who had returned the same morning from a trip, came to Zuko’s room.
“Ahh, Zuko, leaving without saying good-by!”
“Uncle! It’s so good to see you!” Zuko exclaimed with delight, rushing off his bed to hug him.
“Where are you going?” Iroh asked.
“The Southern Air Temple. Aang believes that going there will help us on our journey to this place that lies at the end of the world.
“I have a favor to ask of you, my dear nephew,” Iroh asked with a deep sigh.
“Don’t go Zuko,” Iroh pleaded, while Zuko stared on. After a while, Zuko turned away and sat on his bed. “Why?”
“Zuko, the night your mother vanished forever, she came to me, asked me a favor. She asked me to take care of you. I swore to her that I’d protect you… and I haven’t,” Iroh said quietly.
“I have to do this Uncle. Aang is my friend, and as Firelord, I have to protect my people from threats.” Zuko responded. Iroh shook his head slowly, and walked out, leaving Zuko alone.
_ _ _ _
Southern Air Temple Present Day
In light of recent events, Aang, Zuko, and Mai all agreed to approach the Southern Air Temple cautiously. Aang dropped Mai and Zuko off first, went around the Southern Air Temple, and then returned back. Mai decided to stay on Appa, leaving Aang and Zuko to do the adventuring.
“So, what now?” Zuko asked, looking at Aang. Aang shrugged, and then responded.
“Let’s just look around for now,” Aang said. Zuko rolled his eyes and walked off towards a tunnel. Roku hadn’t been clear on what to do when they had arrived at the Southern Air Temple. But looking around seemed like a good idea. Even though Aang had lived here for 12 years, he’d hadn’t been to most places since he was young enough.
He started to head up a rusty set of stairs, when he heard Zuko call his name from another room. Perplexed, Aang went into a smelly tunnel, stalactites and all, until he found a grey building emitting a purple glow. Aang opened the door, and found Zuko looked at 3 distinct orbs of light, which seemed to be emitting some sort of…, energy. He also thought he heard some faint ticking noise, but he dismissed that thought.
“Have you ever been here before Aang?” Zuko asked, not taking his eyes off of the energy orbs.
“No, I didn’t even know this place existed,” Aang said, and this time, he was sure he could hear the ticking noise. Aang looked around but there was nothing else except for a bunch of arrows.
“What are these doing here?” Aang asked angrily, for his people were peaceful and never would’ve used arrows for anything.
“Must’ve been built a long time ago; look at all those holes in the wall,” Zuko said, ignoring Aang’s last statement, and pointing at the grey walls. Indeed, there were pitch-black holes in the walls, but they were deep. Something didn’t seem right to Aang… the arrows… the ticking… but he didn’t know what was wrong about the holes.
“Zuko, maybe we should leave,” Aang said, his voice quivering.
“Why? These orbs could be what Roku wanted us to find.”
“I just have a bad feeling ---.”
Gears began shifting inside the walls, and a metallic gong sounded. Crossbows appeared out of the walls and began firing piercing arrows at Aang and Zuko. Aang hopped up high in the air, while Zuko created a fiery aura to melt the arrows.
Aang swung his arms upward, blowing off the roof, and Zuko rushed through the door apprehensively. Aang retreated to the ground, and as they ran to Appa, they could hear the metal gears retracting. They didn’t stop running, as though they were being followed, and, at last, they made it to Appa where Mai was brandishing her stilettos.
“What’s wrong?” Mai demanded.
“Nothing,” Zuko replied.
Moments later, they were soaring across the sea. Aang felt shamed. He had endangered his friends again. Even worse, this showed Aang that the lightbenders were everywhere. He turned his mind to the current situation.
Mai was taking a refreshing nap in the saddle, while Zuko and Aang steered.
“Now, we start our perilous journey, I assume?” Zuko asked.
“Not yet… we have to get our team back together.”
Author's Notes Edit
And's out... FINALLY! This fanon is back up and running with the first chapter. I made it long and action-packed; some plot-developement. Word count was 6052! So yeah, the stage is set. Next chapter will be more fun... getting the team back together. Hope you enjoyed! AvengeBender007 22:24, September 3, 2012 (UTC)
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