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|Avatar: The World's Fate - Chapter One: A Stranger at the Western Air Temple|
Aang was relaxing near the Western Air Temple’s fountain. Toph was moving some rocks with Earthbending to make herself a nice big armchair out of earth and Sokka was cleaning his boomerang. He could hear Katara tidying their bedrooms and Suki’s pen scratching the paper; she was writing a letter to her new best friend, Ty Lee, back at Kyoshi Island. It was an ordinary morning at the Western Air Temple. Aang had the awkward feeling he was being watched. He decided that if he left the temple for a couple of days, this feeling would go away.
“Hey,” he told his friends.“Why don’t we visit Kanna at the Southern Water Tribe today? It would be a great opportunity to see Pakku again.”
“Nah,” answered Sokka, “Why would we visit Pakku again? We visited him last month; we don’t need to go again.”
“I guess you’re right… Hey we can go to Kyoshi Island! Suki would love it, wouldn’t you, Suki? And we would get to see Ty Lee again!” said Aang.
“I don’t know, Aang, I should have told them before. You know, they love to be prepared when I come so they can throw a party. I don’t know… and I just wrote Ty Lee a letter. Anyway, we saw them two weeks ago, Aang, remember?” replied Suki. She wasn’t in favor of going to Kyoshi Island. Ty Lee was enjoying being the leader of Kyoshi Warriors and she was really good at it; she could handle another week without Suki.
“Yeah…” said Aang disappointed. He felt an urge to leave the Western Air Temple, but he didn’t know why. “But we can go visit Toph’s parents!”
“Are you out of your mind?” asked Toph annoyed. “We were there yesterday. I’ve seen enough of my parents for a month or so.”
“Or we could go ride the Elephant Koi!” Aang insisted on leaving the Western Air Temple.
“Aang, relax,” said Sokka. “What is wrong with you today? We came back from Toph’s parents last night. Let’s sit around a bit, okay? If you want to get moving so much, you could go look around the temple! There are many places you haven’t seen.”
“Yes, I’ll just do that,” Aang said finally.
“I’m coming too!” said Katara from the bedrooms. “I’m done here!”
Aang stood up. “Let’s go then!” he said, grabbed his glider and started walking up the stairs leading to an upper hall. “Come on, Katara!” he said loudly.
“Coming!” she replied and ran towards him. They started walking in a corridor. They came across a door which could be opened only with Airbending. Aang Airbended and opened it. They walked in.
“It’s nice in here,” said Katara and walked towards some pillows. She lifted one and examined it.
“Aha…” said Aang. He wasn’t satisfied. He still felt he was being watched. He was examining the room, but he felt it did not belong in an Air Temple. There was a mattress, a pile of pillows which was being examined by Katara and a bag with clothes. But why everything was in green and gold? These were the colors of the Earth Kingdom. He couldn’t think of one monk who would choose these colors for his clothes and pillows. As he was about to tell Katara, she talked. Her voice was trembling.
“Aang, I think you need to see this.” Aang approached her. She was pointing at a pile of clothes that seemed like they were worn some days before. And they were not monk robes or nurse clothes. They looked like the clothes the Joo Dees wore at Ba Sing Se. They left the room and started walking towards the corridor's exit.
“Katara, I don’t get it,” he said. “I was sitting near the fountain, and I felt like I was being watched and then we come here and we find clothes that look like they were worn last week, not a hundred years ago and look like the clothes of the Joo Dees at Ba Sing Se, not the clothes of a monk or a nun and everything we found in here was at the colors of the Earth Kingdom, and… it’s weird, Katara”
“Maybe you were being watched. We were being watched and we didn’t notice a thing! I bet the Dai Li has something to do with the situation! Let’s go find the others and tell them; we could go ride the Elephant Koi or something!” said Katara.
“This could be an explanation, but, Katara, how did they get in the room? These doors can be opened only with Airbending. And I doubt they found an Airbender around to open them the doors, since I never opened these doors since today.” Aang answered. Katara was about to answer when they heard loud noises from the room. They ran to the room to see, but no one was there. Aang caught a slight move behind one of the bushes at the corridor’s side.
“Get out from there!” he shouted, grabbing his glider and preparing to attack.
“There is someone behind those bushes!” he yelled at Katara.
“Why didn’t I get my bending water with me?” she said to herself angrily.
“I’m sorry, tree,” she murmured. Then she extracted the water from a tree and got ready to shoot it at the enemy. Slowly, a woman came out from behind the bushes. It was the woman who said her name was Joo Dee after Long Feng had talked to them in the Library, back at the Earth King’s palace in Ba Sing Se.
“Please let me explain!” she said. Katara looked at Aang for orders.
“Freeze her,” he said.“Then we can hear what she wants to say.” Katara shot the extracted water at Joo Dee and breathed out loudly to freeze it. Joo Dee was now frozen in a block of ice with only her head out.
“Now talk!” shouted Aang.
“I am not here to hurt you!” she said loudly.
“Yes, I guess Long Feng didn’t want to hurt us too. He accidentally ordered the Dai Li to arrest us, threw me down at the ancient town with Zuko and cooperated with Azula!” said Katara sarcastically.“You can not fool us again, Joo Dee. Get used to it.”
“You have to believe me… You are all in danger and I am in danger too because I informed you! And… and I’m not Joo Dee.” said Joo Dee desperately.
“Oh, so now they brainwashed you to use another name! Let me see… maybe Lee Ton!” said Katara.
“We won’t believe you, Joo Dee. Now get out of here!” said Aang furiously.
“Please, listen to me. Then you can do as you wish. I’ve already destroyed my life by coming here.” said Joo Dee again. Aang was ready to answer when they heard steps coming from the corridor’s entrance.Then they saw Toph, Sokka and Suki coming towards them.
“You thought I wouldn’t sense you, Joo Dee? I recognized your little steps when you hid behind those bushes. Let me handle her, Twinkle Toes,” said Toph and prepared to Earthbend her earth armchair towards her so she could throw the rocks it was made of to Joo Dee.
“Wait. Let her talk.” said Aang to Toph. “But keep her frozen,” he added to Katara.
“My true name is Song. The... the Dai Li brainwashed us to keep the people in the city quiet.To make sure they wouldn’t start protesting against the Dai Li and the Earth King. But now they don’t need that. They want the people of Ba Sing Se to start a revolution. Not against the Dai Li and the Earth King, against the Avatar… and the benders. They now are creating anti-benders. The whole idea started when you took away the Fire Lord’s bending abilities.” She said and pointed at Aang. “The Dai Li thought they could start an anti-bending organization, turn the world against the Avatar and his friends; the biggest threat in their plans of taking over the world, then get rid of that organization and move on with their plans. But they made a mistake. They could not imagine how many people who could not bend were awfully jealous of the ones who could. They just needed a little push, and they became obsessed with the idea. The Dai Li first thought it would be good, they could start easily, but soon realized it would be impossible to stop the organization, which now included all the people of Ba Sing Se.”
“Wait a minute," said Sokka. “How in the world did they turn the benders against the benders?”
“How did they make Jet fight against me under Lake Laogai?” asked Aang. "They brainwashed them. Right Joo Dee?”
“Exactly, Avatar. They brainwashed them so they wouldn’t remember they ever had bending abilities. And they brainwashed the relatives and friends of the brainwashed bender so they would think that person never had bending abilities.”
“Yes, but then how would the people know there were any benders? They would think there was not such thing as bending in Ba Sing Se!” said Katara.
“They left some benders. Two hundred or so. The ones who were causing trouble when the Dai Li was trying to cover up the fact there was a war going on out of the walls. Most of them just happened to have bending abilities. So they did not brainwash them and they let the people take care of them,” replied Song.
“And what about the Dai Li agents? They were benders too!” Toph demanded to know.
“They told them it was not bending, it was a kind of magic at the earth hands the Dai Li was using to attack. They believed them, because they tried it themselves, they saw that even though they were not benders, they were able to move them. Of course that was not true. The Dai Li agents moved them secretly using Earthbending.” answered Song. “Now the people want to get out of Ba Sing Se and spread the word about anti-bending. Of course, the Dai Li is trying to stop them, they can not have the whole world brainwashed and a new war will begin between benders and anti-benders if the members of the organization spread the word. The Dai Li prefers to fight secretly, as you know. They play their own game and let simple people out of it. And they always win. You have to stop them, if the people of Ba Sing Se get out of the walls, the new war that will begin might be impossible to end, the anti-benders haven’t got a leader, and you can not kill them all, it is not possible and not humane at all. But if the Dai Li manages to turn them first against you and your team and then against the world, I don’t think you would be able to prevent the war. The Dai Li won’t have a problem with the war. They don’t care about the world, they just want to make money and feel they are the brightest, the most powerful people on earth.Maybe the next Avatar can prevent the war, as long as they don't 'take care'of Aang while he is in the Avatar State, but the next Avatar will face the same difficulties Aang faced learning all four elements, I doubt he will even find an Airbending instructor. But still, he will have to grow up before even starting mastering the elements. The story will be repeated. They'll tell him he is the Avatar from an early age; he'll be confused, he'll run away and he'll freeze in an ice block for fifty years or so. By then Dai Li's plan will have been achieved. The world will never be the same after the Dai Li conquers it." Song made a dramatical end.
“I knew Long Feng would be up to something bad any moment. But you have to admit it, he is a clever bad man.” Said Sokka. He could not see a way out of that mess. Even if they managed to stop the Dai Li, a new war would start, and if they managed to prevent the war, they would have done Dai Li a favor. Everyone in the room was as devastated as Sokka was, but Aang the most. It was not so nice to have to worry about the consequences after his death, and he would have to be the next Avatar's guiding force, just like Roku was for him. He felt he didn't have enough wisdom and life experience to instruct someone else. He still needed Roku's help sometimes; he couldn't help another Avatar. And it felt just wrong to ask Roku to be the new Avatar's guiding force instead of him. It was not Roku's duty to guide two new Avatars that didn't know what they were doing.He didn't even want to think of how they would prevent the war and stop the Dai Li. Let alone there was no way the new Avatar could learn Airbending. And there wouldn't be an Avatar at all if they managed to kill him while he was at the Avatar State. Aang knew that this night and for many other nights he would have nightmares.
“Yes, Long Feng is a clever bad man in jail” said Song “Joo Dee is the problem. The real Joo Dee, the one that was your tour guide when you first came to Ba Sing Se. After Azula managed to become the head of the Dai Li, she saw it was not impossible to trick Long Feng. She did just what Azula did – and succeeded. Believe me, Long Feng is a little angel in front of that evil lady.” Explained Song.
“So why did you came to warn as? You know we don’t stand a chance against the Dai Li, but even if we won, we would not be able to prevent the war. You will be on the losers side whatever happens.” Said Suki. She looked at the people around her, who had suddenly turned to statues. The pain shown in Katara’s face was unbelievable. Aang seemed to feel confused and angry with himself, Sokka was in huge rage. Toph’s expression could not be read, but she knew she felt just like the others did. Suki was a statue too. A statue similar to Katara. They both were the most sensitive parts of the team. They cared for everyone the most.
“There was a man who once owned the Jasmine Dragon. He had left Ba Sing Se a couple of months ago. Iron… Irot… anyway, something like that. He came to talk to me. He asked me some questions, about my past, which is really complicated, about why I am on Dai Li’s side… and he was so wise. He then told me he and the Order of the Blue Lotus or something like that had known of the Dai Li’s plans and that he wanted me to do him a favor. He wanted me to betray the Dai Li and warn you. He said there was good inside me… So here I am.” Song finished the analysis of her acquaintance with Iroh.
“Did he tell you why he didn’t come to tell us?” asked Aang disappointed. Iroh’s help would be more than welcomed at the situation he was in.
“No, he didn’t say a thing. So what are you guys planning on doing?” asked Song nervously.
“We are finding Iroh” announced Aang. Then he left the room slowly, his eyes wet.
For the collective works of the author, go here.
|A Stranger at the Western Air Temple • The Start of the Journey • Iroh's Story, Part One • Iroh's Story, Part Two • One's Worst Enemy • The First Bloodbender • Agathy • Always There • Hama's Secret • The Proposal • The Feelers • The Training • The Cave Under • A Talk with Roku • Aang and Shuo • The Statue|