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December 14, 2011
In the wake of Aguma's murder, Chuan and Mayana are confronted by a surprising survivor of the Air Temple attacks...
Book 2 Chapter 2: The Betrayer
"YOU KILLED HIM, YOU KILLED HIM!!" Mayana was screaming. Tears formed in her eyes and she began backing slowly away from the lifeless corpse.
Chuan was breathing deeply, reveling in what he had just done. "It's finished," he said.
"Yes, it would appear it is," said a deep voice from behind him.
Chuan and Mayana whipped around to see a trio of figures grouped together on the other side of the bridge.
"Who are you?" Chuan asked nervously.
"Who am I? Who am I?" the voice asked. "That's the question, isn't it? But my boy, I would have thought you'd have recognized me." Turning to the silhouettes on either side, the man's voice asked, "Can we get a little light here? I can't see a thing."
Small blurs of flame whizzed through the air, settling inside of several small lanterns scattered throughout the area. As light illuminated the temple grounds, the trio stepped out of the shadows and into the courtyard.
"No," Chuan gasped.
"You," said Mayana.
"Me," replied Monk Wu Han. "Yes. And it appears that you have done my dirty work for me, young one." He smirked. "You were quite ruthless in your assault. It was very...unlike an Airbender."
"You don't know the first thing about me," said Chuan, casting a sideways glance toward Mayana, who had momentarily stopped crying but still looked immensely frightened.
"Oh, I don't?" Wu Han laughed. "Boy, I know everything about you! I've known you since the day you were born."
"You betrayed the Airbenders," said Chuan as realization dawned on him. "Aguma..."
"...Was never guilty of anything more than being a dismally detestable old man, no," Wu Han finished for him. "That's got to sting, knowing that you're responsible for his death. He did try to stop me after all..."
"What!?" Chuan cried. "Aguma...knew?"
"Oh, of course! All along, too. He came to this temple to warn them of the Fire Nation's impending attacks, after all. He sought to save the Avatar..." Wu Han laughed at the thought.
"So the letters were in his room...because he stole them from you!" Chuan pieced together. "He was spying on you..."
"If you were bright, you would have realized that sooner, foolish boy," Wu Han spat offhandedly. Chuan felt anger flare up inside him again as the monk added, "Aguma would never have been able to pull this off. A plan of this degree involves some backbone."
"But why?" Chuan asked, disgusted with the entire affair. "You had everything you could ever have wanted at the Air Temple. How can you live with all their deaths on your conscience?"
"Oh, so Aguma's death has begun to weigh on your soul, eh, boy?" Wu Han said, grinning.
Chuan looked at the ground, ashamed. How could he have been so stupid? He had been blinded by his emotions. He had used his Airbending offensively again...if only he had listened to Saicho in class, or Mayana's cries to stand down!
"But to answer your question," Wu Han continued, "how could I live one more day in that wretched temple? It was an enormous group of imbeciles and airheads, and I was their leader. The Airbenders spent all their time relying on meditation and compromise to solve their problems. The Fire Nation, on the other hand, has realized as I have that results only come when you work for them."
"But..." Chuan was at a loss for words to say to this monster. "What did the Airbenders ever do to you?"
"What did they do?" Wu Han scoffed. "Nothing! And that's all they ever did. Nothing! With the Fire Nation, I will lead an army that will wage war on the world! They will fight offensively, and I tell you, boy, that because of that they will get RESULTS!" He had a crazed glint in his eyes now. "I would warn you against repeating the mistakes of your ancestors, but if the dead body rotting behind you says anything then I don't think you need that little piece of advice."
"I'm nothing like you," Chuan said, gritting his teeth.
"Careful, there's that anger again." Wu Han was still smiling, and Chuan noticed how unnervingly crooked his teeth were. "See?" he was saying. "You and I are one and the same."
"No!" Chuan cried. He turned to Mayana. "Mayana, do you trust me?"
She said nothing, just stared up at him with an awful, tear-striken gaze that broke his heart.
"I said, 'do you trust me!?'" Chuan repeated.
Wu Han laughed. "Of course she doesn't!" he spat. "She just saw you kill an innocent man. Who would trust you? Trust is for fools, regardless. That would be a trait held in high esteem by the Airbenders, now wouldn't it?"
"Shut UP!" Chuan screamed. "Mayana, I don't know what's going to happen, but I need you to trust me this once. After that, you can leave and never see me again, I don't care! But right now you just have to trust me." Chuan regretted these words as soon as they left his mouth.
Mayana took a few reluctant steps forward, and Wu Han did the same. "Where do you two think you're going?" he leered. "The eradication of the Airbenders was my mission from the Fire Lord himself. I can't let my record be marred by a couple children escaping from right beneath my nose. That would be...improper."
The two Firebenders stepped toward them, and Chuan raised his arms protectively in front of Mayana.
"Let us leave," he said forcefully.
"Kill them," Wu Han responded. "And leave no trace that they were ever here..."
I'M BACK!!! After a prolonged hiatus I'm back to publish the second book of the fanon (since only one chapter got posted before I left for a while, just think of it as a break between books haha)! Please please please, post comments if you read. That way I know that people ARE reading, and can hopefully make it even better. :)
For the collective works of the author, go here.