Dai Li intervenes
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Avatar: The Flaming Stone

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"What-? What are you doing here? Help! Somebody please help me!" shouted Joo Dee at the top of her lungs before an earth hand covered her mouth. Two more earth hands brought her to the ground. She broke free of them and shot a small rock back at Long Feng, which he blocked easily. Several Dai Li agents emerged from the shadows and unleashed several chains upon the helpless woman. Within a few seconds, Joo Dee had been captured.

"You always were a weak Earthbender," mocked Long Feng. "Too bad the prince isn't here. I'd like to thank him for sending our own men to guard me in Ba Sing Se." The group laughed.

The streets of Omashu remained quiet, as if nothing had occurred.

The next morning, the people of the palace realized that Joo Dee had not returned. Several men and woman went about the city searching for her, including Toph. Toph was walking trough a courtyard surrounded by small, worn down buildings. She started to sense footsteps on the stone roofs.

"Hey who's up there?" she demanded.

Receiving no response, she launched a rock at the figure she had sensed. Before she could tell whether or not she hit her target, she sensed many more footsteps on the roofs around her. She started to call out when chains rained down on her from above and rendered her completely immobile.

"Put her with the other one," a man with a deep voice ordered. Moments later, Toph felt herself being thrown into a small crate made entirely of wood. A hand reached into the crate and dropped a few herbs inside. Toph got a whiff of the herbs' scent and began to feel drowsy.

She awoke to hear a woman protest as she is dragged out of the crate Toph shared. It was Joo Dee. Seconds after, Toph was also removed from the wooden prison. She was relieved to feel sand beneath her feet. Now she could at least "see" very blurry versions of her captors.

"Excellent work gentlemen," spewed the indistinguishable voice of Long Feng. He began to give orders but was immediately interrupted.

"Hey scumbag!" Toph snarled. "Why don't you take me out of these chains and face me like a man!"

Long Feng just laughed softly. Enraged by that, Toph kicked sand up in his face.

"That's enough from you!" shouted a volatile Long Feng. Joo Dee began to weep.

"Look at you. You're as pathetic as ever," said the Dai Li leader as he walked up to his former slave.

Joo Dee spit in his face.

"Take them away," the embarrassed man ordered.

"Actually, I'd like to keep them in my presence a bit longer if you don't mind." The words were spoken by the same voice that both Toph and Joo Dee knew very well. The voice of a ruthless psychopath. The bender of blue fire, Azula, looked at the prisoners with her usual evil smirk.

"Absolutely, your highness," said Long Feng as he knelt along with the other agents.

"Are you not going to kneel?" asked Azula not expecting a response. Toph prepared to strike with Sandbending when two agents knocked her down.

"Don't bother," the former princess said without looking at her attacker. She paused for a brief moment, then continued. "You know, when most of the prison guards are on your side, it's only a matter of time before they give you some assistance. I was escorted off of the Boiling Rock like a hero. Those who stood in my way never had a chance. They were taken down by there fellow guards, you see. It's quite nice to have others do everything for you." She turned to Toph. "Of course, you know all about that, being blind and helpless."

While insults ran through Toph's head, Joo Dee tried to calm her down. "She's only trying to make you angry."

"Quiet!" barked the Firebender. She calmed herself and turned to Long Feng. "I trust everything went smooth with your escape."

"The operation went flawlessly. My own men were the ones sent to guard me just as planned."

"Excellent. Pac Jing deserves much credit for his role too. It isn't easy to impersonate one of the highest Earth Kingdom generals."

"Indeed. Perhaps we shouldn't discuss so much while in the presence of the enemy."

"I suppose you're right," said Azula with a short sigh. "But it doesn't matter. They'll never see the light of day again!" She nodded at the agents, signaling for them to take Toph and Joo Dee away. A blindfold was put over Joo Dee's eyes and one around Toph's feet, and the two were led across the beach onto a grassy landscape. Finally, they were shoved into some kind of wooden bunker.

After a few minutes of speechlessness, the prisoners began talking.

"Joo Dee," began Toph, still blindfolded. "Is the impersonator they were talking about-"

"I believe so," replied Joo Dee as if reading Toph's mind. "General Stole was one of them."

"But it wasn't the real Stole, was it?"

"No, they said it was an impersonator."

A few more silent moments went by as the two sat there not sure what to do.

"Do you think we'll ever get out?" inquired Toph.

Before Joo Dee could answer, the door to the bunker was opened. The only noise in the room was a voice that, up until then, Toph and Joo Dee viewed as friendly. It was the fake General Stole.

"I'll make this quick."

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