Avatar: Fall
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Release date

August 26, 2009‎

Last chapter

Avatar: Rise

Part two

Azula was accompanying Zuko out of the prison island. He had regrettably signed the document. They were about to enter the flying ship, when Hawky swooped down. Zuko detached the letter.
"Toph," he said. "Sick. And," he yelled out, "Aang saw mother!" He shot fire out of his arms in anger. "It's true..." he said to himself.
"The Avatar saw mom?" Azula questioned. "To think, if you had waited a day to talk to me, you would have gotten your answer without setting me free." She laughed evilly.
"Guards!" Zuko yelled. "Seize her!" he pointed at Azula. The guards grabbed her arms to prevent her from bending.
"You can't do this!" she yelled. Zuko took out the document, and dropped it into the boiling lake.
"Bring her to her cell." The scroll caught fire.
Hakoda returned in the morning. Everyone was surprised that Toph had survived the night. He had heard that it was a plague, confirming what Koh had said, but there was no medicine.
"We have to take her to Iroh. If he is still alive, he could tell us the medicine. We could save them both." Everyone agreed. But the problem was, not everyone fit on Appa.
"Not everyone will fit on Appa," Aang said, counting everyone. Pathik, Hakoda, Pakku, Piandao, Mai, Katara, Sokka, Toph, me, Suki. That's ten. He can hold about four people. So..." Aang glanced at Sokka, who always came up with the plans.
"So, you, Katara, Toph, and Mai go find Iroh. We'll wait here." Everyone nodded in agreement. Katara hugged her father and grandfather, and the adults lifted Toph onto the bison.
"Yip, yip," said Aang, looking uncomfortably at Toph. Suki made sure she didn't fall off, and Katara used the water every time Toph moaned in pain.
Both Avatar and Fire Lord arrived in Ba Sing Se at the same time. Iroh was still alive.
"We're doing what we can," said the man next to Iroh. They were in Iroh's room in the palace.
"Is he responsive, can he talk?" asked Zuko.
"Not really. He moans sometimes, and we think he understands us. But he hasn't answered any questions." Not paying attention to the Doctor's words, Aang bent over Iroh.
"Iroh, this is the Avatar. We need to know the cure, the tea that cures the plague." Zuko pushed him aside.
"A relation," he said. "My mother, who would she be looking for!" He was yelling now.
"Zuko!" Suki cried. "This is more important!"
"Please stop yelling!" the doctor yelled. Aang then did something he had never done before. He waved his arms, sucking all the air from the room. He was careful to leave Iroh air. The three of the yelling people clutched at their throats. Aang returned the air, and Zuko glared up at him angrily.
"I'm sorry," Aang said sternly. "I've never done that before. But this is more important Zuko." Aang leaned in. "Iroh, we need the cure." He didn't speak.
They sat there for hours, watching Iroh, waiting for him to speak. He finally did.
"Aang," he breathed. Aang leaned over Iroh's body to hear him better.
"Yes, Iroh?"
"I'm here, do you know the cure."
"Ith's, i...s Aang."
"That's gibberish!" Zuko yelled. "Tell him what he wants to hear!"
"Yeah, that was Zuko."
"No, it's Zuko's now."
"What's Zuko's now?" Iroh was gasping for air.
"It's Aang..."
"Yes, I am Aang!" he said frustrated.
"Zuko's now, what you need..." Iroh paused. "You were my son..." He stopped talking. He stopped breathing. Iroh died.
"No," Zuko breathed. "No, you can't die!" Zuko cried out in anger. "You are the only one who can help me, you're my only family, you can't leave me alone!" Zuko broke down into tears. Aang put his arm around the sixteen-year-old, but Zuko shrugged him off.
"Aang, it is Aang, it's Zuko. It's Zuko's now... What does that mean?" Toph had survived another two nights, and Sokka and they others had arrived at Ba Sing Se.
"This may sound weird, but I think he meant the tea shop, the Jasmine Dragon," said Aang. "He meant the shop is Zuko's now."
"So, that means that the dragon might sell the cure, as tea." said Katara.
"No, me and Zuko checked, after he calmed down."
"Why was Zuko freaking out like that?" asked Sokka.
"Iroh was the only family he had. Zuko knew he was going to die This 'lost relation' his mother was looking for would be his only family after Iroh died. Now they'll never meet," Katara sighed sadly.
"Zuko doesn't realize it," said Aang. "But he and the lost relation already met."
"What do you mean?" Katara asked.
"Ursa never met her grandfather. After her parents died, and she was banished, I'm sure she went looking for him."
"That doesn't make sense," said Sokka. "Avatar Roku died before Ursa was born."
"Yeah, and I am the reincarnation of Roku."
"Ursa...was looking for you?" Katara asked.
" the same time Zuko was chasing us at the South Pole. If she had found me then, she would have seen Zuko..."
"...being like Zuko was back then," Katara finished for him.
"Yeah." They were in Aang and Sokka's guest room in the fire building, where Zuko stayed while he was in Ba Sing Se. Zuko walked in, it was lucky he hadn't come in a second earlier.
"I was just at the Jasmine Dragon," Zuko started. "I didn't find the cure, but I did find this." He held up a letter. "Apparently, Iroh recognized his symptoms, he started writing this:
Dear Zuko,
By the time you read this, I will be very sick, and unable to talk to you. If you ever have any question about your past, remember the scrolls. Sozin's scrolls. I have fallen ill of a very deadly disease, one that the world hasn't seen in hundreds of years. No one still living knows the cure. Not even myself. I am afraid the cure is lost forever, there is no way to cur
"He was trying to say, 'there is no way to cure me.' Which means Toph is going to die..."
Sokka looked over at Aang excitedly. "Wait! You could ask a past Avatar, one had to be alive back then, if it was a big thing, they might know the cure!" Katara shook her head.
"It was only big in the Fire Nation. The chances are only one in four that he or she would know the cure."
"There's something I haven't told you, Roku said I can't talk to past Avatars anymore, because I completed my training."
"Oh." Katara looked worried. But why shouldn't she be? Toph was dieing, Zuko was in distress, Aang was in a very confused place, Iroh was dead, and Sokka...
"I have an idea!" Sokka cried. He pulled out his sword, and lunged at Zuko, who held out an arm, which Sokka ran into. There was a crash, and he hit the floor.
"What was that?" Katara asked Sokka.
"I figured if know what, never mind, you'd think I was crazy anyway."
"No, no, go ahead, tell me. I want to hear how attacking Zuko will help us save Toph."
"I figured if I got Zuko mad, he would attack Aang, trigger the Avatar State, and that would cure Toph."
"That has so many things wrong with it. One, why would Zuko attack Aang if you hit him? Two, Aang can go into the Avatar state whenever he wants now, remember? Three, how could that possibly help Toph?"
"I told you that you'd think I was crazy." Suki and Mai walked in.
"You are crazy," both said in unison.
"Thanks for the support," Sokka said, glaring at the two giggling girls. Mai was smiling, which wasn't only completely off-character, but highly inappropriate due to the current situation.
Zuko was alone. His mother and uncle gone, leaving him to rule an entire nation. Toph was sick, and slowly dieing. Suki, Sokka, Katara, and Aang were, just two days ago, considering permanently living in the South Pole, but of course the had changed.
"I thought the trouble was over," Zuko said quietly. The war ended, the tyrant was put in jail, good won. So why is everything so wrong?" Mai walked over and hugged him. Suki turned away as not to embarrass the Fire Lord, as did Katara and Sokka. But Aang froze, staring at his friend, as if Zuko had the cure written on his back.
"Zuko," Aang gasped.
"What?" Everyone looked over at the bald boy.
"I found the cure."
"There!" Aang pointed at Zuko's back.
"What, my shirt?"
"Yes." Aang pointed at the emblem on Zuko's shirt. It was the normal Fire symbol, the three black flames with a red background.
"What about it?"
"Fire. The plague only affected the Fire Nation. Why do you think that would be?"
"I have no idea!" Sokka cried. "Just tell us!"
"Volcano ash. I'm sure that has to have some sort of effect on your health. That's why it only affects the Fire Nation. The last volcano to erupt was over a hundred years ago, when Roku died. But that was a very small island, everyone had evacuated. If we look up the Volcano before that..."
"And it dates a few hundred years ago, it would sync up with the story!" Sokka yelled in triumph.
"Exactly. No one may remember the cure for the plague, which I'm sure got worse every person it passed to, but they may know the cure to the poison from Volcano fumes!" Aang and Sokka were both halfway to the door before Katara stopped them.
"When would Toph or Iroh would have been near a Volcano?" this stumped Sokka, but Aang was quick to answer.
"The comet. Sozin's Comet. There was so much smoke in the air, and ashes, fire, it was like being at an erupting volcano."
"Then why aren't we sick?" Katara was determined to prove her brother and boy friend wrong. But this time, it was Zuko who answered.
"We may be. It's been two months since the comet. It's only hitting those two now. Toph is young, and as tough as she may be, she has a history of birth defects. Her blindness, for example. And Uncle is-" Zuko paused and shivered for a second. "was very old. It affected them first, but we may develop the sickness over time. We need to find the cure, and all drink it. We need to get this out to the public, it could be an epidemic." Katara seemed stumped. Zuko's logic was indisputable. Aang was nodding in agreement, as were Suki and Mai. Sokka had a confused look on his face, not following anything.
"Yeah," Katara said finally. "Let's do that."
"But how..." asked Zuko. "How do we tell everyone to take the medicine?" he was getting frustrated again.
"You are the Fire Lord, I'm sure you could-" Sokka started.
"He knows that. But the disease is so uncommon. I doubt there is much medicine ready now. If we tell everyone, there will be a rush to get it, and more people will die..."
"But we can't keep it to our selves!" said Suki.
"I got it," said Aang. "We tell individual sectors, we'll start with the Earth Kingdom, then the Fire Nation, then Water. It hit here," Aang gestured all around him. "first, the comet."
"But we still need to find the cure, find out what it is, we still could be wrong-" started Katara.
"The cure is a tea, I'm sure if we go to any tea shop, they'll know what we need," said Suki.
"Koh said no one knew about it though," Mai pointed out.
"Yeah, no one knows it cures the plague, but ash poison..." Katara said.
"And Koh could have been lying," Sokka injected.
"I got it," Aang muttered.
"Got what?"
"Yeah Aang," Sokka said. "You really have to say full thoughts, saying 'I got it' and waiting for us to ask 'what' is getting annoying. Just say what's on your mind." Aang glowered and Sokka.
"The answer to all of those questions, is at the one place where all knowledge is kept."
"The sprit world?"
"Sort of, the library."
"But the library was completely buried underneath the desert sands by Wan Shi Tong to return to the Spirit World so his knowledge could never be misused again."
"Misused. We're going to use it to help people. I'm sure if I ask Wan Shi Tong-"
"We're still going to need about a hundred Eartbenders." There was silence for a moment.
"The Dai Li."
Long Feng stood, shackled, in front of the three children. Zuko had remained in Ba Sing Se to talk to the Earth King, who would be one of the first to get the cure. Mai had opted to stay with him. Suki had stayed behind with Toph, so it was only Aang, Katara, and Sokka who went to the boiling rock.
"He was transferred here a week ago," the warden said. "After he got a fair trial, they brought him here instead of leaving him in Ba Sing Se. we have him in a wooden cell." The three children entered the cell.
"Long Feng," Aang began.
"Yes, but on one condition," Long Feng cut in.
"The only reason you're here is for information, or a favor. I will give it to you, on one condition, you set me free." Long Feng gave an evil cackle. "An ultimatum if ever there was one."
"Actually," said Sokka. "We have an ultnamatinum for you!" Aang leaned over to Sokka and whispered.
"Yeah, that."
"Which is?" Sokka smiled.
"The cure, to the poison that flows through your blood!" Now Sokka cackled.
"What, what is he talking about?" Long Feng asked Katara.
"You're poisoned, we all are. Sozin's comet poisoned everyone on Earth, we need the Dai Li. But after Azula betrayed-"
"Spectacularly and brilliantly betrayed!" Azula called from down the row of cells.
"Um, yeah. After Azula betrayed them they refuse to take orders from anyone but you. We need you to tell them to help us get the cure."
"And why should I do that?"
"Because if you don't everyone will die, including you," Aang said angrily.
"And why should I care? I'm going to rot in this cell for the rest of my life. I'll help you, if you set me free. And That, is the final ultimatum."
"Fine," said Aang. "But you need to help us personally; you need to come to the library with us." Long Feng frowned.
"Library, why to you need Earthbenders for a library?" Katara smiled.
"You'll see."
They borrowed about thirty Fire Nation tanks from Zuko, which could cross the desert in only an hour. Aang flew on Appa ahead of the group, trying to locate the library. He found it, and swooped down on the tank Katara and Sokka were in.
"Left, go left a little, it a little ways that way!" Aang shouted over the high winds. A storm was brewing on the outskirts of the desert. It started to drizzle by the time they reached the spot where they knew the library must be.
"It was here," Sokka said. "Can't you guys feel it?" he asked the Earth benders.
"Feel it, what are you talking about?"
"Never mind." Zuko jumped out of the tank he and Mai had been riding in.
"This is it?" he looked around. "It's flat," he looked at the sky. "and it's raining.."
"It's under the sand," said Aang. He turned to Long Feng. "So, use your bending, lift it up, then you can go." Long Feng smiled his evil smiled.
"Oh, no. Don't think I'm leaving. Me, and all the Dai Li, are getting the cure first, and to make sure you don't run off on me, I'm coming in with you."
"Fine," Zuko cried. "Just hurry and lift that da-"
"Zuko!" Mai cried.
"Sorry. Lift that darn thing." Mai smiled at Zuko, who smiled back sarcastically. The Earthbenders all stood in a circle around the giant building. They all made the same movement with their arms, and the ground started shaking. The tip of the building appeared, rising out of the sand. By the time the entire building was aboveground, the drizzle had turned into a storm. The sand was quickly turning to mud.
Aang used airbending to lift himself, Katara. Sokka, Zuko, Mai, and Long Feng through a hole in structure twenty feet off the ground. Momo followed.
The library was almost the same. There was considerably more sand in it, and the owl and the dogs were gone. The group went one way, and Long Feng the other.
Hours past, the group searching every corner of the library for the cure, or any hint of a medical tea. It was Zuko who found it.
"Here!" he called. "I think I found it!" the rest of them ran over.
"What does it say?"
"A tea that long ago was used to cure a terrible plague, is today a favorable beverage," Zuko read out loud. "The memorable-jasmine tea." Everyone around Zuko gasped.
"It's yours," Sokka breathed. "He did mean the tea shop, but the tea there was the cure..."
"Come on, we have to get the cure to Toph, and-" but Aang was cut short. Long Feng had walked up to the six of them. Momo sniffed uncertainly at him.
"So you found your cure," said Long Feng. "What is it?"
"Jasmine tea," Zuko growled. "You can get some for your men when we get back to Ba Sing Se." Long Feng shook his head pityingly.
"I'm afraid you won't be getting to Ba Sing Se." The building began to shake.
"You traitor!" Sokka yelled. He turned to face the rest of the group, who were all looking around, worried looks on there faces, at the collapsing building.
"What did you expect?" Long Feng smiled, and rocks formed all around him like Earth armor. He crashed though the wall, and out into the storm. The group had one glimpse of the outside, before the Dai Li dropped the library. Sand fell through all the windows, and the hole Long Feng had made. They were trapped
"We're trapped," Katara breathed. "We have the information to save the world, and we're trapped in here." It was dark, being underground. Zuko and Aang lit all the torches in the area, and the group was sitting around a fire, contemplating their escape.
"You know..." said Sokka. "We don't really need a lot of Earth-y-benders, if Aang did that rock thing that Long Feng did, he could carry us out one at a time!" this suggestion was quickly shot down.
"Long Feng just broke through the wall, we're underground, Aang can't run up."
"Aang can't run up carrying one of us while covered with rocks."
"Yeah, I can't do that." There was silence for a long time as the fire flickered.
"What about the Avatar state?" asked Mai.
"Yeah!" cried Katara, her face brightening, but Aang just shook his head.
"I don't think I can do it, I was able to control it enough to fight Ozai, but I don't think I can do anything involving so much precision." The silence returned.
The next morning, or what everyone thought was the next morning, Zuko and Aang went to explore the Library. No one had been on the bottom floor yet, and they were hoping to find a food source. Water wasn't a problem. Katara and Aang had bent all the water from the storm through the sand, Aang made a pot out of part of a pillar, and Zuko had lit a fire under it. They were hoping to make soup.
It was a long walk down the stairs to the bottom floor.
"Do you really think plants could grow all the way down here? I mean, it's been underground for months." Aang sighed at Zuko's question.
"No, I don't think there will be. I don't think there's food anywhere in the library, but I'm not going to tell them that."
"I think they might already know." Pointed out Zuko. "No offence, but you're not exactly a genius, they might have figured out that plants can't grow with no sunlight or water."
"Sunlight." Aang stopped walking. Zuko didn't notice until he was a good ten steps below Aang.
"The calendar."
"Calendar?" Aang turned, and started running up the stairs, the fire he was holding for light went out. "Wait!" Zuko cried, but it was hopeless, Aang was already five floors up.
"Calendar?" Sokka asked, ten minutes later.
"The calendar you used to find out about the eclipse. If we use it, we could get out."
"How can a calendar help us get out?" asked a panting Zuko.
"The moon."
"What about it?" Aang bent down, and started to draw a diagram.
"The moon makes Waterbenders more powerful. If we use Waterbending to make a hole, a small one, just like in the drill, out sideways at an angle through the sand until we hit sun, or moon light, then use the calendar to see-"
"To see when the moon lines up with the hole," Sokka finished. "You and Katara could use your super water powers to blast us a tunnel through the sand and to freedom!" In theory, it was a great idea, but once Aang and Sokka found out how long it would take to find when the moon lined up with the moon. After hours of searching they found something.
"So," said Aang once he and Sokka had rejoined the rest of the group. "If we make the hole the same size as a gold piece, rising at a ninety degree angle, then it will be three days before the moon lines up with it."
"Or," said Sokka. "If we do an eighty degree angle, it'll take a week for the moon to line up with it. Which means the tunnel it self is shorter, but we have to wait longer."
"We may have to wait the week," said Katara. "At the rate this hole is going."
Mai found food the next day. While sitting in the shadows, skulking, she discovered a strange plant. It didn't have any weird affects, so Zuko and Sokka went to look for more. Aang and Katara had been working on the hole since Aang returned from the calendar.
What they did was take small amounts of water, fire it at same spot over and over, and once they got a substantial dent, they would freeze the edges so it wouldn't collapse.
"How's it going?" asked Sokka, who had just returned to the area Aang and Katara were working with a hand full of the plants.
"Slow," Aang panted, wiping sweat from his fore head, and adding the droplets to the water he was throwing at the small hole.
"Well that's...uh, expected." Sokka dropped the plants by the boiling pot, and turned to find more.
Mai sighed, and picked up the plant Sokka had dropped. She peeled the skin off the tiny fruit attached to the plant, and dropped it in the water.
That night, or, what they thought might be night, they feasted. The soup was amazing, and they all finished three bowls of it before returning to work. Zuko and Sokka, finding more plants, Mai, boiling the water, Aang and Katara, making the hole, and Momo...
"Get out of there!" Aang shouted at the lemur. Momo, claustrophobic from being underground, had tried to squeeze himself through the tiny hole. "Move!" Aang quickly Airbended the Lemur a side, and shot a powerful water ball at the small hole, now considerable long.
"What do you think is going to happen to Toph?" It was the first time Katara had spoken in hours. Aang did not want to give his answer, he knew what was going to happen to Toph, he had known since she had gotten sick.
"She's going to die." Katara looked at him, a half scared, half angry look on her face.
"Why would you say that?" Aang stopped Waterbending, and looked over at his girlfriend.
"In the swamp," he said. "Time is just an illusion, in the swamp we saw someone we lost, or were going to lose. You saw you're mother, Sokka saw Yue, and I saw Toph. It means I'm going to lose Toph." Mai looked up, interested.
"If you knew you were going to lose her, why did you bother trying to save her? We wouldn't be here now if we hadn't tried to save her." Katara looked so angry she could shot fire from her hands. But she settled for water.
Mai, drenched, fell backwards onto the floor.
"You Bit-" she was cut off by a loud roar. Sand flew everywhere and the ground shook.
"Appa!" the head of the bison broke through the hole where the sand was pouring though.
"What was that!" yelled Zuko's voice from a ways off.
"It was Appa, Appa's here!" Aang yelled. Zuko and Sokka were there instantly.
Appa had tunneled all the way from the surface to the library.
"I thought he hated being under-"
"It doesn't matter, he knew we were in trouble, and he came to save us," Katara cut Sokka off.
"Actual," said Mai. "I think he was just hungry." Appa he walked over to the soup, and drank it like he hadn't eaten in a week.
"Let's go!" cried Sokka enthusiastically. He climbed up Appa, and Momo followed.
They brought as many of the plants with them as they could, and walked all the way up the tunnel Appa had dug. By the time they reached the sun light, they were tired of walking, and glad they could all just sit on Appa and relax as he flew them back to Ba Sing Se. but their relaxation didn't last long.
"No," said Katara, leaning over the side of Appa to see better. "It can't be."
"How did they do it so fast?" Asked Aang, but the question wasn't directed at anyone.
"How long were we down there, for everything to have changed this much?" For the ground was different, every settlement they past was burning, houses were destroyed, smoke filled the air, people were screaming, bodies littered the ground.
"It's the Dai Li."
Ba Sing Se was by far the worst. The stone buildings had crumbled into disrepair. Aang landed Appa at the Fire building, where Zuko stayed every time he visited the Earth capital, where Iroh had died.
"Aang!" a voice cried out.
"Bumi!" The old man was walking out of the fire building, followed by Piandao.
"We came to pay our respects to Iroh, but then..." Piandao paused. "Where have you been?"
"Does it matter?" Asked Aang. "What's been going on, why is everything like this, where is Long Feng?" Piandao laughed a harsh, cold laugh.
"Long Feng is dead, they executed him this morning, along with most the Dai Li."
"But why?" Sokka asked.
"Why?" Piandao frowned. "You don't know?"
"No, we've been under ground for about two days," Aang said. "We made a deal with Long Feng, we set him free, he help us get into the library, but-"
"Two days, hm." Piandao thought for a second. "He took control two weeks ago, claiming he had killed the Avatar and the Fire Lord."
"Took control?"
"Killed us?"
"Two weeks?"
"Yes," Bumi said.
"He captured the Earth King, and made himself ruler, say he had killed you two. People, of course, fought back, but he told them if they didn't give him the Erath and Fire Nations, he wouldn't tell them the cure," Piandao spat at the ground. "The idiots didn't believe him, demanded he step down, or there would be a full revolt. Then, they started dieing."
"Thousands a day, dropping everywhere in all the nations, finally, they heeded his demands. He gave out the cure to the entire Earth and Fire Nations, but didn't tell them what it was, so they had to keep obeying him."
"But what happened to the Water Tribes?" Katara asked.
"I have no idea."
"And what happened to Toph?"
"I don't know." Katara and Aang looked at each other, sadly.
"What happened after The Dai Li fell?"
"Well," said Bumi, sadly. "Control of the world was up for grabs, and unfortunately, the worst person possible took it."
"Azula?" Zuko asked
"No," said Aang.
"Not Azula?"
"No, not that. The control of the world was not up for grabs; the control of Humans was up for grabs."
"But Humans control the Earth," said Katara. "That's the point of bending, as long as there are benders, humans will control Earth," Aang sighed.
"I know. Which means there's only one thing we can do." Aang looked all around, at the destroyed city, at his old best friend, at his new friends, and finally, and Katara. He leaned in, and kissed her.
Aang walked slowly over to Appa, and jumped on his back.
"Where are you going?" Katara asked. Aang sighed sadly.
"Home, Yip yip." And Aang lifted off the ground, heading for the southern Air Temple, thinking of lying down by Monk Gyatso, and Appa, forever.

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