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|Battle for the Fire Nation Capital, Part 2: Sons of Ozai|
Rebels made their way down into the city, trampling several people who had not sided with them. Jun and Aang were still battling inside the palace. Jun was relentless but Aang was not going to give up. Soon, the palace had turned into a battlefield.
Banhen and his troops had finally reached the palace. “Kill everyone who is not on our side!” Banhen commanded. “Kill the Avatar, kill his friends, kill Jun and his team! I want every last one of them annihilated!” Aang turned his focus to the Rebels’ tanks and took them down with an enormous blast of air that also blew Jun away. The heroes could tell the situation was not good. They were badly outnumbered. The Rebels were getting out of their destroyed tanks and attacking them.
“This is bad!” Katara said.
“No, really, do you think so?” Sokka yelled, sarcastically. “Guys, they are holding Toph hostage!” The warrior informed his friends.
“What?” Suki asked alarmed while battling several Rebels at the same time. “How did they manage to take her captive?” She asked.
“Chao snuck up on her! He betrayed us!” Sokka responded.
“I knew there was something wrong with that guy!” Katara said.
Suki prepared to find and rescue Toph when a knife zoomed right past her head. She turned and saw Hong Wu with a grin on his face. “We meet again, Suki,” He said.
“I hope your face is not still damaged from that kick I gave it!” Suki taunted. Hong Wu’s grin turned into a frown. “You may have defeated me last time but this time I will see to it that you do not make it out of this fight alive!” he yelled. He hurled several knives at Suki who dodged them with ease. She took out her fans and leapt into the air, preparing to land on his face. Hong Wu pulled out a concealed knife and stabbed her foot just before it made contact with his face. Suki fell to the ground and yelled out in pain. Hong Wu let out an evil laugh. “Oh, I am going to enjoy this very much!” He said as he took the knife and prepared to stab her with it. “Maybe even more so than I am going to enjoy watching Jun die at the hands of Banhen because of the deal I made with them.” The assassin added.
This proved to be a grave mistake as he was lifted up by someone from behind. “What deal, you traitorous snake?” Jun spat.
Hong Wu was terrified and knew he should not have opened his mouth. He chuckled before answering his master’s question. “I uh might have made a deal with the Rebels saying if they successfully killed you in battle then I would give them five hundred gold pieces.” Hong Wu replied, nervously.
Jun was infuriated. “You back-stabbing, little traitor!” Jun shouted. Hong Wu pulled out a knife and stabbed Jun in the back. The evil masked man released his grip on Hong Wu and fell down on his knees.
“Sorry, ‘Master Jun’ but it looks like I am the victor here!” Hong Wu declared.
Jun stood up and punched Hong Wu in the stomach so hard he flew back several yards into the palace. “You wish!” He retorted. Jun ran over to finish his former teammate but was lashed in the back by a fire whip that came from Aang. Hong Wu took advantage of this moment and ran as far away as he could from the action.
“I guess you thought you could run away from our fight.” Aang presumed.
“No, Avatar. I never run from a fight but that worm, Hong Wu has crossed the line and I had to deal with him.” Jun said. “Now I shall deal with you!” He shot a bolt of lightning at Aang who redirected it right below his feet. They continued their battle there.
The Rebels had spread out throughout the palace, securing everything while others were still occupied with Team Avatar. “There is too many of them!” Omar shouted. “He was then hit by a fire ball and taken captive by the Rebels.
“I am going to find Toph!” Ai decided.
“Okay, be careful!” Katara replied.
Ai bolted down the hallways of the palace looking for the Rebels, knowing that one of them had Toph. Where could she be? Ai asked herself, stressed. I will find her. Don’t worry, Toph. I’m coming.
Banhen had just entered the throne room. The only other one there was War Minister Qin who was planning out strategies that could prove useful against this invasion. The War Minister gasped before he was shot by Banhen’s lightning. “This throne room belongs to me now.” Banhen said, proudly.
The Rebel leader then heard someone approaching him from behind. “Where is she?” Zuko asked.
“Where is who?” Banhen asked.
“My mother, where is my mother? You said you knew where she was!” Zuko reminded him.
“Ah, yes. Ursa.” Banhen recalled. “You might know she was banished by your father but I doubt he told you her location.”
“Quit stalling and tell me where!” Zuko was losing his patience.
“After your mother was banished, she trekked into the Earth Kingdom and made a life there.” Banhen elaborated.
“Why was she banished?” Zuko interrogated.
“She was framed for Azulon’s murder.” Banhen replied.
“What?!” Zuko burst out.
“Your father killed Fire Lord Azulon and blamed it all on Ursa therefore charging her with the penalties as if she had actually committed the murder.” The Rebel leader explained. At that moment Aang and Jun came bursting into the room. Banhen used this as a distraction. He shot a large wave of fire at Zuko who blocked it and hurled a fire bomb at Banhen’s feet. The Rebel leader flew backwards into the air and hit the ground with a thud.
“Come on, Zuko! We have to stop the other Rebels from coming into the throne room! Katara and the others cannot do it alone!” Aang urged.
“But what about-” Zuko started to protest.
“Don’t worry. I can tell only one of them will be left standing when we get back.” Aang assured his friend. Zuko hesitated. He could not just run away from this fight. It is for the greater good. He thought to himself. I cannot let the other Rebel troops get this far into the palace. Zuko nodded and ran out of the room. Aang followed him seconds after.
Jun stood up and looked around. Aang and Zuko were nowhere in sight. The only person he saw was Banhen. The leader of the Rebels was trying to get back on his feet. It took him a few tries but he eventually got his balance back. “Well, Banhen. It seems the Avatar and his friends are elsewhere at the moment.” Jun said.
“So it seems.” Banhen observed. He created a fire whip and lashed out at Jun. The masked man countered by neutralizing the attack and breathing fire out of the mouth hole in his mask. Banhen leapt to the side and shot several fire blasts at Jun who dodged them with ease.
Jun then created a fire dagger and ran at Banhen. “Let’s see how you look with a second eye patch to match the first one!” He yelled. He swung the dagger at Banhen but Banhen was too quick. He leapt backwards to avoid getting stabbed in his only eye that had not been blinded. Jun then got the upper hand and breathed more fire at Banhen who fell down on his back. Jun loomed over the Rebel leader and placed a hand on his forehead. He let out a maniacal laugh. “It looks like I win, Banhen!” He declared. Banhen was shocked as Jun fell to the floor after being attacked from behind by a huge fire blast.
Banhen saw Mongke standing behind the body of Jun. He chuckled at this. “I knew you would come through, my friend.” He said.
“Of course,” Mongke replied. “Now, my brother; let us finish this!” A burst of blue fire was then shot from an unseen attacker. Azula came running in and saw Jun lying on the ground. Jun got up off of the floor and bolted right past Mongke and out of the throne room with Azula.
“Coward.” Banhen simply insulted him.
Ai had checked almost every part of the palace and still had not found Toph. Where are they keeping her? Ai wondered in frustration. She turned one corner and saw Chao accompanied by two guards carrying her body. Ai froze the two guards and ran over to retrieve Toph. Chao attempted to strike her but Ai was faster than he was. She picked up Toph and ran away from Chao. As wrong as it feels running away I have to. I cannot risk Toph’s life. Ai thought.
Katara, Sokka, Mai, and Iroh had already started retreating. “Where are Aang and Zuko?” Katara asked, worried.
“I don’t know! Where is Suki?” Sokka replied.
“And what about Ai and Toph?” Mai asked.
“They will be fine,” Iroh said. “You must trust in your friends.”
“You are right.” Katara agreed. The four of them approached the exit but were blocked by several guards. Katara froze them all, trapping them against the wall and everyone made their exit. Come on, guys. Please be okay. She thought as she mounted on Appa.
Before she could take off, Ai came bolting out of the palace carrying Toph. “Wait!” She yelled. She lifted Toph up and gave her to Katara who placed her in Appa’s saddle. Ai climbed up next.
“Yip, yip!” Katara ordered. Appa flew away but did not leave the volcano. The Sky Bison stayed high in the air waiting for the other members of Team Avatar to come out.
“Ai, did you see Aang, Zuko, or Suki in there?” Sokka asked. Ai shook her head.
Toph’s eyes opened slowly. She felt the saddle underneath her and knew she must be on Appa. “What did I miss? Did we win?” She questioned.
“No, not unless Aang can somehow pull of a miracle of a victory,” Katara answered. “Let’s just hope he is okay."
Aang and Zuko were fighting off as many Rebels as they could but it was no use. There were just too many of them. “We have to retreat!” Aang said.
“No! I will not abandon my country!” Zuko argued.
“Zuko, we have no choice. Would you rather fail your country by being imprisoned or killed or would you rather live to see another day and take back the Fire Nation?” Aang asked his friend.
Hong Wu was knocked backwards. The assassin had a black eye and was heavily panting. His opponent, despite her many years of training and agility was also very tired. Suki had managed to catch up with Hong Wu and had been battling with him for what felt like hours. Hong Wu screamed and ran at Suki with a knife in each hand. Suki grabbed hold of Hong Wu’s wrists, being careful to keep her distance so he could not stab her. She kneed him in the ribs and he collapsed. Suki prepared to deliver the final blow but she was suddenly dragged backwards by two people from behind. “What are you doing? I was about to finish him!” Suki yelled.
“We have to leave now!” Aang told her. Suki struggled, trying to release Aang and Zuko’s grip but it was no use. Hong Wu got up and limped out of the palace with no one paying him any attention.
Katara saw three people exit the palace and knew who they were. She made Appa land again. Aang Airbent Zuko and Suki onto Appa’s saddle and then he Airbent himself. “Let’s go, Appa! Yip, yip!” Aang ordered. Appa flew away from the capital. On their way out, Team Avatar could see the dead bodies of those who had tried to resist lying in the streets. Appa soared away from the Fire Nation, leaving it behind.
The Fire Sages stood behind Banhen who was knelt down on one knee. All of the surviving citizens were at the palace. “All hail Phoenix King Banhen!” The great sage declared. Everyone bowed at his feet.
“We have done it, Banhen!” Mongke said, happily.
“Yes, the Rebels are finally in control of this nation!” Jin added.
“No, Jin,” Banhen spoke. Mongke and Jin were puzzled by their ruler’s words. “I have decided that we shall no longer be addressed by that name. It is too unoriginal, and weak-sounding,” The new Phoenix King walked over to the edge of where he had just been crowned Phoenix King and gazed into the dimming, fiery sky. “From now on we shall be known as the Sons of Ozai!” He announced.
Team Avatar was flying away on Appa, knowing they had failed and that the Fire Nation was now under Banhen’s control.
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