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Origin of firebending mural Zuko, something happened to Book 4: Air in the last hundred years.

This fanon has been discontinued, but is still available to read for your enjoyment.

Avatar: The Legend of Aang

Water, Earth, Fire, Air...

Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony

Then, everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked.

For a hundred years the Fire Nation dominated the world

Until...

The new Avatar appeared and defeated the Fire Lord

Hereby, he brought peace and justice to the four nations and restored balance to the world

But, the Fire Nation holds more secrets

And as the time passes, Aang will have to face his biggest challenge yet.















Book 4: Air

.

Chapter One: The Air Nomads



In a peaceful corner of the world the clouds encircled a vast structure, decorated with dozens of shining ornaments. It was the home of a peaceful, pacifist tribe. Clad in orange robes these monks dedicated all their lives to a wonderful art, which they practiced all the time. They were the benders of what we breathe.

They were Airbenders. From all Four Nations they were by far the kindest and the most tolerant, just like the air itself. You cannot feel it, until you move through it.

However, they were also the most sincere. Their schedules were tight and there was almost no spare time left. The trainings were harsh, just like the mentors themselves, but in order to gain discipline you have to make sacrifices.

A bunch of kids was playing in the courtyard under the supervision of their mentors. They were Airbenders and were also clad in orange robes. They used their abilites to fool around a little, in great displeasure to the monks. In their opinion spare time was wasted time. A small bold boy used Airbending to make an airbubble for himself. Then he jumped on it and used his Airbending skills to steer the bubble. It was a funny sight, but it was not appreciated by a grumpy old Air monk watching from the side.

As the boy with the blue tattoos passed by, he touched one of his friends, causing him friend to unmount his air bubble. The boy unmounted his air bubble as well.

"Gotcha", Aang said triumphant.

He seemed to have gained attention, because more pupils came to stand around him.

"No. You cheated!", his friend said outraged, pointing his finger just before Aangs nose in a threatening way.

Aang stepped aside and tried to get away from the converging crowd.

"Of course he did, he's the Avatar. He must have used another type of bending to win this game", a boy from the crowd said.

All of the boys around him seemed to nod, all in the same way. Aang tried to pull himself back, but he couldn't. He was surrounded by his own friends.

"Well, I didn't CHOOSE to be the Avatar. It just happened to me. I don't want to be, anyway", Aang threw back at them. "By the way. I don't even know to bend other elements."

The others didn't look as impressed as he thought they would.

"Of course you don't. That's why you're still here!", some Airbender from the crowd said.

The crowd still seemed to oppose Aang and that made him feel uncomfortable. He felt powerless against them, even though he was the Avatar. It had never proven to be an advantage. It just made him different than the rest.

Aang felt that he started to get angry.

"Just listen to me", Aang frowned. "I don't want to be the Avatar at all. It's just mere coincedence that I am!"

His friend was quite impressed by his outrage. At least, he seemed to be.

"You know, that's right, but it's still not fair that you play with us! I'm sorry, Aang", his friend said with a bowed head. He really expressed that he was sorry that Aang was shut out of the friend's group.

"What!"

Aang couldn't believe his ears. Did they just tell him they didn't want him anymore? Did they just tell him they don't need him anymore? How harsh could the world possibly be. Now, Aang only got his senior friends left: The elder monks.

He tried to wring himself through te crowd, but they were blocking him. More and more, Aang felt that he was shut out and that they didn't feel any compassion for him. For the first time in his life he felt alone.

An Air monk called from the ceiling: "Aang, playtime's over. You must resume your training."

"But I've only been here for like five minutes. Can't I just play on for like half an hour?"

"Half an hour? Are you out of your mind? How could you even possibly think of that?"

"Take him!", some orphan said. "We won't be needing him anyway."

"See? Even your friends say you've been here for a while", the monk said.

"They're not my friends", Aang said with a sad face. "Not anymore."

"Come with me", the monk said, making a gesture.

Aang obeyed the man and lifted himself up using an air blast. Then he followed him into a vast room. He looked around and saw all kinds of pictures resembling Air Masters.

"Aang", the monk said. "Do you know why you're here?"

"I guess because I'm the Avatar and I'm supposed to master all elements", Aang said after a short hesitation.

"True", the man said. "But can you think of another reason?", the monk asked him.

"Well... uhhh..." He paused. "Nope!"

"I figured you wouldn't. Well, don't you recognize these guys? Don't they seem familiar to you?"

"Of course not! I never even saw them! Who are they anyway?"

"Oh, but these are your forefathers, Avatar Aang. These are the Avatars before you."

"That must mean they're dead!", he said.

"That's right. They're not alive, but they're inside you and you could call them any minute you want as long as they want to answer you."

Another monk entered the room. He ran to Aangs master.

"Master, there's someone to see you", he said.

"Oh really? Who is it?", the monk asked.

"He wouldn't say, but he is from the Fire Nation. I recognized his emblem!"

"Warn the others! Tell them we'll welcome our most honored visitor."

"Right away, Master." They bowed to each other. Then the monk turned to Aang.

"Aang, you stay here while we welcome our visitor. I count on you."

Then the monk pushed his hand against a wall right in between the portraits of Kyoshi and Roku. Suddenly the wall started moving and a secret passage was revealed. The monk walked into it.

"Stay here!", he said when he saw Aang had moved. And then he was gone.

Aang woke up in a large room in the Royal Palace. He was meditating and discovered that he was actually daydreaming. That moment Katara came in.

"Oh, I'm sorry Aang. I didn't know you were meditating. I just heard from Zuko that you were here so I...well."

"It's okay, Katara. I wasn't meditating anyway. I just found out that I was daydreaming", Aang said.

They laughed.

"But, anyway", Aang continued. "Why did you want to see me, again?"

"Oh, look at the time! I just realized how late it is and I have to go. Later Aang!"

She left. Then Sokka came in.

"Hi, Aang. Have you seen my sister. She's been acting really weird lately."

"She just left. She came in a few minutes ago. I think you just missed her", Aang replied.

"In that case I must hit the road. Bye Aang!"

And Sokka was gone too.

"What's with everyone?", Aang said to himself out loud.

Only Momo still sat beside him, making some noise.

Toph entered the room.

"Hey there, Twinkle Toes!", she greeted him.

"If you're looking for Sokka or Katara, they've just been here!", Aang said, annoyed.

"I wasn't looking for them. I was looking for you. How's your Earthbending, Twinkle Toes?

She shot a rock at him. Aang just raised his hand and used Earthbending too to block the boulder.

"Never been better", Aang said shoulder-raising.

"Aww, well. Maybe I was looking for Sokka after all. Do you have any idea where he went?", Toph asked.

"Nope", Aang replied.

"You're lying. I can tell!", Toph said raising her voice.

"I thought he said he was looking for Katara, but I'm not sure", Aang quickly added.

"And I suppose you don't know where Katara is", Toph said.

"You're right. I don't."

"Ugh. Do I have to do everything myself? Sokka, wherever you are. I'm coming to get you, right now!", Toph yelled.

Then she left.

Aang stood up out of his lotus-stance.

"Come on, Momo. Let's check on everyone!"

Momo jumped on his shoulder and they left the room. Aang entered a whole labyrinth of halls and chambers and he only saw Toph in front of him.

"Wait!", Aang said. "Toph, I'm coming with you."

"All right, Twinkle Toes. I sense they are...", she tried to sense them with her feet, "this way!", and she pointed left.

"Are you sure?", Aang asked her.

"I'm sure", she replied.

"Great! Then let's catch up with them."

They walked down a couple halls and stairs and they finally got there. They were in front of a huge metal gate with golden door buds. Katara and Sokka were in front of it, arguing.

"You said that bringing Toph wasn't a good idea!", Katara yelled at Sokka.

"Wait a minute! Who thought that bringing Aang wouldn't be so great!", Sokka yelled back.

"HEY, WE'RE RIGHT HERE!", Toph and Aang yelled at the same time.

Shocked, Sokka and Katara turned their heads to face an angry Aang and Toph.

"Oh, we're sorry, aren't we Sokka?", Katara said trying to make it up with them.

"Yeah, of course we are. We didn't mean to offend you", Sokka said.

"Yeah, yeah, save your excuses for some other time! Now, what do we have to do?", Toph asked.

"Well", Katara said, "this door is made of metal and since you can Metalbend we thought that you might be able to open it." She paused. "Well, I thought it was a good idea, but my brother thinks otherwise."

"Katara, that's no metal", Sokka said, "it may look like it, but it isn't. Trust me."

"He's right", Toph said, already touching the vast gate. "This is no metal, but I'm not sure what it is."

"Can you at least TRY to bend it?", Sokka asked.

"Of course", Toph said and she tried, but it didn't work. "I can't", she said. "This is impossible to bend."

"No, it isn't", Aang said. "Do you see those small puppets on top of the gate? Katara, I think you should Bloodbend them onto their sockets."

"No, Aang, I can't!", Katara said and she lowered her head.

"Katara, I need you to do this!", Aang said.

"I said no! I will never ever use Bloodbending again!", Katara said.

Then she started to cry. Aang tried to comfort her.

"I know it's hard, Katara, but you should try it. Remember when I swore that I would never Firebend again after I burned you?"

Katara nodded.

"But you learned afterward that Firebending isn't just destruction", she said.

"I'm sure that there's a good cause to use Bloodbending", Aang reassured her.

"I guess you're right, Aang. Let's give it a try.", Katara said, wiping her face.

Katara Bloodbended the two puppets onto their sockets and they heard a loud bang.

Then the vast gate slowly opened, revealing an almost empty room. There were only a few documents scattered all over the floor. Aang picked a half burned one and read it out loud:

"After the Fire Nation's assault on Ba Sing Se, we Airbenders knew we weren't safe. For the Avatar was born in our Nation, we knew that the day would come they'd attack us. And when they did we hi..."

"That's all there is I'm afraid", Aang said.

"Aang", Katara said a lot happier than a few moments ago, "don't you know what this means? This means that there might be survivors among the Air Nomads."

"Impossible", Aang said. "There couldn't be any survivors, could there?"

"Of course it's possible! Don't you see, Aang? It's right on that paper you're holding. You read it yourself: And when they did we hid ourselves somewhere safe."

"You're right", Sokka said. "Finally, you're right!"

"I'm FINALLY right? Am I FINALLY right?", Katara asked raising her voice.

"Oh oh", Aang said quietly to Sokka.

"Yep, there you have it. Here we go again.", he whispered back.

What followed was an outraged Katara yelling at Sokka.

So, five minutes later Katara sighed deep next to Sokka and Aang and Toph were already gone.

"What", Sokka said. "Where'd they go?"

"Who do you mean?", Katara asked.

"Your boyfriend", Sokka replied.

"What is it about Aang?", she said and she quickly covered her mouth with her hands, looking terrified.

Sokka realized it and he looked terrified too for one moment. Then he grinned at her.

"Do you have a crush on Aang? Are you in love with the Avatar?", Sokka asked grinning.

"Don't tell anyone, Sokkka. I mean it!", Katara said.

Then she started to Bloodbend him. Sokka screamed.

"Ow, stop, stop, stop! Come on. This isn't funny. Please stoooop!", he yelled.

"You will not tell anyone. Do I make myself clear?", she asked.

"Yeah, please stop! It hurts! It huuuuurts!", Sokka screamed.

Katara lowered her arms.

"Good", she said. "I'm glad I can depend on you."

"Sheesh, Katara, you're just like Azula with your Bloodbending", Sokka said.

"And I'm sure Zuko won't like the decision you made."

"Wait a minute, Zuko? The one who hunted us down nearly six months. That Zuko?"

"Yep, and I'm sure he wants you to be his Fire Lady."

Katara frowned one eyebrow.

"Nah, just kidding!", Sokka said. "Besides, Zuko would never want someone not Fire Nation to marry him."

"I suppose you're right. I'm sure Zuko would never want that", Katara said.

"What would I never want?", Zuko asked them when he discovered them in his father's office.

"And what are you guys doing in my father's office?"

"Nothing", Sokka said, trying to act natural.

"That gate could only be opened by using Bloodbending. And my father's servant was the only one mastering that technique. How did you open it?"

"Well, just like you said. We used Bloodbending", Katara said. "I mean, I used Bloodbending."

"Right. From now on, everyone is prohibited from opening doors in this palace without my permission. Do I make myself clear?" Zuko asked.

"Yes, Zuko, we get it. Now can we please use this gate to leave this room?", Sokka asked.

"Fire Lord Zuko."

"Okay, Fire Lord Zuko. Can we please use this door to leave this room?"

"Permission granted. You may leave this room.", Zuko replied.

"Great, bye Zuko!", Katara said.

"Bye, Katara", Zuko said, watching her leave the room. Then he started talking to himself.

"What am I doing! I can't fall in love with her. I can't break Mai's heart again. If I do that she'll kill me! On the other hand: Being with Katara will make me a lot happier than being with Mai. Ugh, why is it always so complicated? Why can't I just live an easy life just like Azula did? What would uncle say?"

He did an imitation of Iroh and while he plucked his "beard" he tried to imitate his voice as well.

"Zuko, you must do what you think is right, then you will be a happy man. Not very helpful, uncle."

Then Mai entered the room.

"Zuko, what are you doing here?", she asked. "Weren't you looking for your mother?"

"Yes, I was, but my father wouldn't talk. He won't say where mother is."

Zuko began to release small tears.

"I'm afraid I'm never going to see her again, ever."

"Oh Zuko, come here", Mai tried to comfort him while she hugged and kissed him.

When they released each other Zuko said he was going to ask Azula.

"I'm sure she knows more about this, because she didn't like me being mum's favorite child. She always got what she wanted except for mother's love."

Zuko entered Azula's prison cell.

"Ah, Zuzu, I wondered when you'd come to visit me", she teased him.

"I'm here for a reason and that's not visiting you because I miss you", Zuko said.

"Where is mother?", he asked.

"I don't know", Azula replied.

"Liar!", Zuko said, shooting fire out of his fists. He started to become angry.

"You're the only one my father trusted completely, so he's had to tell you that!"

"Silly Zuzu, why'd he tell me where mother is? I loved her too you know. Besides, I don't really care knowing that!"

"Azula, I'm asking you one more time. Please, do it for me", Zuko went down on his knees. "Where is mother? Tell me, I need to know!"

"I already said that I don't know", Azula replied.

"Liar!", Zuko yelled and he started to make some strange movements with his arms. He Bloodbended and tortured his sister.

"Zuzu, what are you doing? Ow, ow, ow, stop it!"

"I'm Bloodbending you! If you won't cooperate, you'll have to pay a price."

"Ow, stoop! Please stop! Where'd you learn that? From that Waterbender?"

"That's not important! I need to know where mother is!", Zuko said and he started to add fire.

"She's at Ba Sing Se!", Azula screamed in pain.

Zuko released her.

"Father banished her and sent her to Ba Sing Se", Azula said.

"Is that true?", Zuko asked.

"Of course it's true. Why'd I lie to you? If I did I know you'd come back for me and torture me even more."

"You'd better hope it's true!", Zuko said and he left.

Meanwhile, Aang found the others in the main hall.

"I'm going to the Southern Air Temple", he said. "And I will find the surviving Airbenders. I promise."

"I'm with Aang", Toph said.

"Me too", Sokka said.

"Count me in", Katara said.

"Me too", a girl from around the corner said.

"Suki!", Sokka ran to her to hug her and Suki ran to him too. There, they hugged and kissed for a very long time.

"This is going to be amazing!", Toph said full of sarcasm.

"Well, if you're all coming with me I guess we'd better find Appa", Aang said.

"No need", Sokka said. "Momo already found him."

"Really, where?"

"Behind you."

Appa flew into the room and stopped by to give Aang a lick.

"Yep, that's Appa all right. I could smell him miles away", Toph said.

When everyone sat on Appa the Avatar released the magic words:

"To the Southern Air Temple. Appa, yip, yip!"

And they flew off...

Meanwhile in Ba Sing Se...

The Dai Li were talking to an awful familiar Fire Nation Admiral within the walls of the Earth King's Palace.

"The Fire Lord has fallen, admiral"

"Has he?", Zhao asked surprised.

"Yes, he's been defeated by the Avatar", the Dai Li replied.

" In that case Zuko must be the new Fire Lord and he should be coming this way", Zhao said in a threatening way.

Then he turned his head and looked at the Fire Lord's mother.

"Yes, Ursa. I'm sure your son will come to save you. And when he does, I'll have my revenge!"




Previously...

Aang had a flashback about his life in the Southern Air Temple. Then, he and his friends discovered a gate that leaded to Ozai's office. There Aang found a scroll that told him that the Air Nomads could still have survived. Also, Zuko tortured his sister to find out about his mother who is in Ba Sing Se. Meanwhile in Ba Sing Se an old Fire Nation Admiral held Zuko's mother hostage.

Book 4: Air

Chapter Two: Wrath of the Firebender Part One

Aang, Katara, Toph, Sokka, Momo and Suki were flying on Appa. They have flown for a day and since they left the Fire Nation they still haven't seen any land until today.

"There, land!", Toph yelled.

"Where, I don't see it!", Sokka yelled back.

"I'm blind, you silly! Of course I can't see land!", Toph said.

"Oh, yeah. I knew that. Of course I did."

"But Toph's right. There is land! Right over there", Suki said, pointing in front of her.

She was right. There was land in front of them and a small village, probably an Earth Kingdom village. Aang decided to descend Appa to the ground and he gave a gentle pull on Appa's supports, so the giant flying bison descended. Once on the ground Aang and his friends decided to stay there for the night.

"Toph, you and I will use Earthbending to set up a camp", Aang said.

"All right", Toph said to Aang.

"Katara will ask food from the other villagers and Sokka and Suki will find some wood so I can Firebend it."

"As you wish, Avatar Aang", Sokka said, bowing to him.

"Please, Sokka, you don't have to do that. I'm your friend, remember."

"Aang, I was just teasing you", Sokka said.

"Anyway, just go with Suki and find some wood, got it?"

"Yes, we're on our way", Suki replied before Sokka could say anything back to him. Then they left.

"I'll be on my way too", Katara quickly added and she left as well.

"Well, that leaves just you and me, Toph", Aang said. "And Appa and Momo, of course", he quickly added.

"Yeah, I guess. We'd better build up the camp soon. It's getting dark", Toph said.

Meanwhile, Fire Lord Zuko escaped his Throne Room and changed his clothes to wear a regular Fire Nation soldier uniform. Then he snuck before two guards and made his way to the hangar. When he got there, he jumped on an air balloon and heated it up using Firebending. The air balloon took off and Zuko left his home once again. "To Ba Sing Se!", he said to himself.

Later that night Katara walked into the village and saw there was something wrong. There was nobody on the street and all windows were closed.

"Hello? Is anybody out there? Hello?"

Until she saw someone. It was a boy who quickly ran away when she spotted him.

"Boy, wait!", Katara said and she chased him. He tried to stop her by Firebending in her face. Katara responded quickly and blocked his attack by Waterbending.

"So you're a Firebender, huh?", Katara said.

She made a ball of water and shot it at him, so he'd freeze. She missed. Another ball was shot at him. This one was blocked by his fireball. Katara now saw a fountain in front of her and used that water to her advantage. She froze the boy and ran to him. She then defrosted his mouth and ears, so he could talk and listen.

"Listen, boy! Where are all the people from this village?"

"I-I-I don't know", he said carefully.

"What do you mean you don't know. You do live here, right?"

"No", the boy replied. "I'm a traveler, just like you."

"Oh", Katara said surprised. "I didn't know that. In that case I'm sorry."

"It's okay. I'm Poluka by the way", the boy said.

"I'm Katara", she said while handshaking.

"Nice to meet you, Katara", he said.

"It's nice meeting you too", Katara said, blushing.

"Well, I wanted to ask you something. Will you please release me from this iceberg?", Poluka asked her.

"Oh, of course. I'm sorry I did that", Katara apologized.

She made a quick move with her arms and the ice melted right away.

"Thanks. That's a lot better", he said when he was free.

They started to walk further into the village, talking.

"Where do you come from", Katara asked him.

"Oh, I'm from the Colonies, but the rebelling Earthbenders destroyed my village a few months ago. Since then I've been on my own, looking for food everywhere I come. You must be the from the Northern Watertribe", he said pointing at Katara's necklace.

"Well, actually I'm from the Southern Watertribe", she said. "I got this necklace from my mother who got it from my grandmother who was engaged to someone from the Northern Watertribe."

"But if you're from the Watertribe. How did you end up here, deep in the Earth Kingdom?", Poluka asked.

"Well...", Katara started, "that's kind of a long story and I don't want to bore you with that."

"No, please, I like long stories and it looks like we still have a long road to walk on."

He smiled at her. She smiled back and started talking: "So, we, my brother Sokka and I were on the South Pole and then we found a huge iceberg with a boy inside of it and then..."

Meanwhile, Sokka and Suki were in the woods, trying to find some wood somewhere. Sokka took a sniff: "Ah, fresh air. I haven't breathed that for a while. The air in the Fire Nation is always so thick and full of ashes. I wonder how the Fire Nation's citizens can endure such conditions."

"Sokka", Suki said. "You are looking for wood aren't you?"

"Of course I am", he replied. "I'm always looking for things to burn." He imitated admiral Zhao and put on his helmet. "I'm a Fire Nation admiral!"

Suki laughed. "Hahahaha, oh Sokka. Sometimes you're still just a kid. But that's what I like about you."

"You do?", he asked with disbelief.

"Yeah, you silly. Isn't that obvious? Your misplaced jokes are always funny."

"Yeah, I guess you're...", he abruptly interrupted. "Wait a minute...misplaced? My jokes are misplaced?"

"No, no, no. I didn't mean that. Sokka, that's not what I meant."

"So you think my jokes are MISPLACED?", Sokka asked raising his voice.

"Sssssh...Not so loud. You might be attracting predators."

"Oh, so now I'm a prey too? Isn't it wonderful? They can come and eat me!"

There were some growls behind him.

"Very funny, Suki. Now stop", Sokka said, not impressed

"What? I didn't do that", Suki said.

The growling grew louder.

"Be-be-behind you", Suki whispered in fear. "Wo-Wo-Wo-Wolfmole."

"I already got you, Suki. It's not funny anymore."

A giant wolfmole spread it's claws above Sokka's head, ready to strike.

"Just look behind you!", she yelled.

"What?" Sokka slowly turned his head and somehow his head began to glow and the sun blinded the wolfmole. It ran away, because it couldn't stand the light.

"Aaaaaaaah!", Sokka screamed, wildly waving his arms around.

"Relax, warrior. It's already gone", Suki reassured him. "It has somehow been blinded by light. Then it ran away."

"I know it's gone. I just added the screams for the show."

"Right", Suki said with disbelief, but she nevertheless smiled at him. He smiled back at her.

"But Sokka, your head glowed too", Suki added.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, when you turned your head it began to glow and the wolfmole was blinded by the light, so I thought that you can somehow emit light with your head." Sokka looked at her as if she had lost her mind. "It was just a silly idea of mine", she quickly added when she saw the look on Sokka's face.

"Anyway", Sokka continued, "the sun is setting, so we have to hurry finding that wood."

"The wood... Right", Suki said.

Suddenly her eye and his eye spotted a piece of wood and they quickly reached out with their hands, touching each other. She quickly drew her hand back and blushed. His face also turned red and he laughed a bit. They smiled to each other and they made eye contact. Then Sokka's hand reached out to Suki's hair and their heads slowly moved to each other. Then they closed their eyes and drowned in a very long kiss.

Meanwhile in the Royal Palace...

A guard entered the Throne Room and said there has been an attack, but he was surprised there was no one there. "Hello, Fire Lord Zuko? Hello? Where are you?"

Then he saw some shadows, growing larger and larger and then it jumped at him. The man screamed in terror.

Fire Lord Zuko was on his way and he felt great euphoria when he finally reached the city. That's not because he was about to save his mother, but it was about seeing his uncle again. He didn't know if he was still alive. Standing on top of the air balloon he said to himself: "There it is, Ba Sing Se. Mother, here I come."

He (crash)landed his balloon somewhere near the palace, assuming that his mother would be there somewhere and he stepped out of it. It was almost dark, so there weren't much people outside, so he did draw a lot of attention.

"Hey, aren't you the new Fire Lord?", some farmer asked him.

"Yeah, I recognize him. That's Zuko", another farmer confirmed.

"Zuko?", a girl in front of him asked. "I thought your name was Lee."

"Jin", Zuko said and his mouth fell open.

"You're the new Fire Lord? So you weren't a simple tea merchant after all." Her eyes began to grow tears. "You lied about everything! You lit the candles using Firebending, didn't you? And most of all, you broke my heart." She started crying. Zuko reached out to comfort her.

"No!", she said, waving his hand away. "In fact, I lied about something too." She raised her hands, pulling a rock out of the floor. "I'm a secret agent of the Dai Li." She shot a rock at Zuko who barely blocked it.

"And therefore I'm an excellent Earthbender", she concluded, shooting another rock at him which also barely missed him. After that Zuko began shooting fireballs at her.

The fight drew much attention and shortly afterward even at the Palace they knew about it.

In the Guest Room a Dai Li agent warned Zhao that Fire Lord Zuko had arrived and that he was taken care of by their secret agent.

"Good", Zhao said. "But do not allow her to finish him. I want to do that."

"As you wish, sir."

"Soon this Fire Lord will fall and then I will be crowned as Fire Lord Zhao! I personally think that that sounds a lot better than Fire Lord Zuko."

"I agree with you, sir."

In the streets the fight went on.

Jin appeared to be quite agile and evaded every fireball Zuko shot at her. But Zuko could block most of her attacks too, so their forces were nearly equal. But then Zuko shot one fireball that did hit his ex-girlfriend. She fell down from the air, smacked on the street and had a large burn on her belly. Zuko started to run to her when he saw she was hurt.

"Jin! Jin! Are you all right?", he asked concerned.

"Ow, you burned me! Don't think I'll ever date you again!", she said in pain.

"Don't mind, I already have another girlfriend", he said. "That looks like a pretty severe burn. If only Katara were here..."

"Is that your new girlfriend?", she asked him.

"No, but with her Waterbending she could heal your burn", he replied. "Now I have to take you to my uncle. To the Jasmine Dragon."

He lifted her up and lay her over his shoulder, walking to his uncle's tea shop. When he entered the shop he didn't see his uncle. He quickly put her down on a bench in the corner.

"Uncle! Uncle! Uncle, where are you? Uncle Iroh? UNCLE!" Zuko looked for him everywhere, but he couldn't find him.

"Well, well, if that isn't my nephew." Iroh just walked into the shop.

"Uncle!", Zuko said and he ran downstairs to hug him. "I'm so glad that you're still alive. I can't believe you actually conquered Ba Sing Se on your own."

"Well, I must admit the Dragon of the West did have some help in achieving this great goal", Iroh said. "I was assisted by the Order of the White Lotus. That's how we conquered Ba Sing Se."

"I'm still proud of you, uncle", Zuko said, hugging him tighter.

"Oh, Zuko. Why didn't you tell me you had a visitor coming over", Iroh said when he saw Jin sitting in a corner. He greeted her. She smiled back.

"Actually, uncle, that's not just any visitor. She's a secret agent of the Dai Li. Doesn't she seem familiar to you?"

"Yes she does. That's the same girl as the one who used to come here a few months ago. What is she doing here?", Iroh asked.

"She's hurt, uncle. She's been burned", Zuko replied.

"Oh, how'd it happen?"

"Well, she kind of had her revenge on me and we started to fight and eventually I burned her", he explained.

"Oh, so she knew who you were, didn't she?"

"Not until today!", Jin said. "Why didn't you just tell me who you really were? Or were you afraid of telling me?"

Zuko walked towards her and replied: "Yes, I was afraid of telling you. I'm sorry."

Jin started to cry. "I really liked you, Zuko, even though you seemed a little rough on the edges and you didn't say much. I was in love with you, but you lied to me and I will never forgive you."

She tried to stand up, but she couldn't. It was too painful. Zuko immediately stood next to her.

"Uncle, first aid, now!", Zuko commanded and a few moments later Iroh came back with a small box in his hands. He took out some bandages and Zuko bound them tightly, but not too tightly, around her belly.

"There, that's better, isn't it?", Zuko asked her.

"Yeah, thanks Zuko. You're not that much of a jerk after all."

"I said it was complicated!", he said annoyed.

"I meant about the lying", she said.

"What did you want me to say then? Well, I'm actually a banished Fire Nation prince who's looking for shelter here in Ba Sing Se. Wouldn't you turn me in to the Dai Li then?"

"No, because I was in love with you and I didn't want to lose you. I just wanted and I still want to hear the truth, then you earn my friendship."

"I should listen to what this girl has to say, Fire Lord Zuko", Iroh said to him. She must be an extremely powerful Earthbender and she could be a really great help."

"I think you're right, uncle. Very well, I will tell the truth and be honest with you, but you then owe me your friendship. Does that sound fair?", he asked.

"It would be an honor to serve you, Fire Lord Zuko", she said and she bowed to him, smiling.

"Okay, where should I start? Okay. Uhh...I started hunting the Avatar when I was banished. I've been hunting him for nearly two months, but then I changed..."

Meanwhile...

Poluka and Katara were still walking and Katara just finished the story of Avatar Aang.

"Well, that's an amazing story. I'm impressed", Poluka said.

"But it's true, I really accompanied the Avatar in his journey to master the elements. You don't believe me, do you?"

"Of course not. The Avatar disappeared a hundred years ago. Why'd he be back now?", he asked disbelieving.

"Well, believe it or not, he defeated the Fire Lord on his own and, of course, we defeated the rest of the Fire Nation, including Azula."

"You know Azula? The Lady of Fire?", he asked.

"Lady of Fire? Is that her nickname?", Katara asked laughing.

"Yes, it is. In the Colonies we've got a lot of other nicknames for her, but this one is the most popular."

"Anyway, if you don't believe me I can take you to him", Katara suggested.

"To who?"

"To the Avatar of course. I will take you to Aang."

"Really, can you?"

"Sure, as long as I", she paused and looked around her, "...can find the way back to the camp."

In camp Avatar Aang and his friends were worried. It was almost dark and Katara still hadn't returned. Suddenly he took his glider and said: "This doesn't feel right. I'm going to look for her."

He opened it and flew off to the horizon.

In the Jasmine Dragon Zuko finished his story about his past.

"Wow", Jin said, "I never knew you were so strong. I always thought you were just like the regular guys, but you are so strong and I'm glad you finally told the truth. I now know I can fully trust you."

Suddenly two Dai Li agents came in. They broke down the door using Earthbending and they tied Zuko's arms together, also using rocks. Iroh and Jin were about to intervene, but he waved them aside. "Let them take me. Whatever they want me for, I'm ready for it."

"Come with us", one of the Dai Li said. "There is someone at the palace who wants to see you."

He obeyed and his makeshift handcuffs were released.

There she was! His own mother who he hadn't seen in five years was now standing before him on the Palace Stairs. Zuko began running to her.

"Zuko?", she asked. "Is that you?"

"Mother!", he said while he ran across the streets of Ba Sing Se.

"Not so fast Fire Lord!", Zhao said. "If you want to save your mother you'll have to win a duel."

"I'll do whatever it takes to save her!", Zuko yelled.

"Then you wouldn't mind for an AGNI-KAI TO THE DEATH!", Zhao shouted.

"I accept", Zuko said.

They took off their robes and began shooting fire at each other!





Previously...

While Aang and his friends journeyed to the Southern Air Temple they had to make a stop. Katara was sent out to go to the local village to find some food. In the village she found Poluka, a Firebender from the Colonies. Meanwhile Zuko snuck away, stole an air balloon and headed to Ba Sing Se. When he got there he was recognized by his ex-girlfriend who never knew he was the new Fire Lord. When she found out she started to attack him, but she lost. Then he was challenged to an agni-kai with Zhao which he accepted to win his mother back...

Book 4: Air

Chapter Three: Wrath of the Firebender Part Two

Zhao shot a fireball at Zuko. Zuko responded quickly and jumped away. Then he came back at him with a fire whip. He hit Zhao on the shoulder. But, the ex-admiral didn't take it and fired a series of blasts, which hit almost everything but Zuko. Some houses caught fire and the people inside of them had to abandon them.

"Tonight, Zuko, I will have my revenge!", Zhao shouted and he shot another blast at him.

"You wish", Zuko yelled back and he fired away some shots which barely missed the target.

"Tonight your reign will be over, Zuko and I will force them to make me Fire Lord!"

A series of blasts were exchanged, neither of them hitting the target.

"You can never do that, Zhao. The people are loyal to me, aren't they?", he asked, looking to his uncle. Iroh just looked at him and said: "Zuko, don't let him fool you. He obviously forgot who you are. Just use your surroundings to your advantage."

His mother looked at her son in terror.

Then, Zuko hid behind a wall, carefully watching his advancing opponent.

"Don't give up, Zuko! You're strong. You can defeat him!", Jin shouted from the sideline.

"Yes, Zuko", Zhao said. "You're not a coward, are you? You can't run away from this battle like that. You have to face me!"

"I will", Zuko whispered and he jumped on top of the wall and bended lightning at Zhao. Zhao didn't see this coming and was struck. He was shot back at another wall and he was barely conscious.

Meanwhile, Aang was looking for Katara and with his air glider he flew beside some mountains, but his vision was impaired. The sun had set and Katara was nowhere around. After a long search, Aang decided to return to the base camp near the village. But behind the mountain where Aang just flew, Katara and Poluka were walking and talking to each other.

"Poluka, are you sure we're heading the right way", Katara asked him.

"How should I know? I'm not a compass!", he answered agitated.

"So you don't know where we are?", she asked him.

"Nope, I haven't got the slightest idea of where we could be."

"But, how am I supposed to get back to the camp then?", she asked annoyed.

"If you want to go back to the village...", he started and Katara started to smile, "I still haven't got a clue of where we are now."

Katara's smile turned down.

"But...", he started and Katara got her hopes up again, "I do know we're in the Earth Kingdom."

"But how do you get anywhere without knowing where you're going?", she asked.

"Well, that's a little thing called traveler's instinct and it's inside my head."

Katara made a face.

"But that means I'm never gonna see Aang or Sokka or anyone I know ever again."

"Ah, don't be sad. I'm sure you're going to see them again, sometime", Poluka reassured her.

Katara didn't believe him and he knew that so he told her the truth.

"The fact is...", he started, "I need your help."

"You what?", she asked disbelieving. She couldn't believe he asked her for her help.

"Well, actually I led you to my own village."

Katara couldn't believe her ears.

"You did what?"

"I need you, Katara. I need you to do something for me."

"Well, I don't know. I guess it wouldn't hurt to help you", she said.

"Great!", he said and his face began to shine. "I want you to take out this Earth Kingdom village", he said and he pointed next to him. Katara swallowed. Poluka was pointing at the great city of Omashu, property of King Bumi. "They are the rebelling Earthbenders that destroyed this city."

"NO!", she said. "Those are my friends, my allies. I won't attack them!"

"Please Katara, I can't do it without you. If you cooperate I will bring you back to the village. If you don't, well... "

"Then what?", Katara asked agitated.

"I won't bring you back to your friends and there is a chance you'll never see them again."

Katara hesitated. What would she do? Help him and betray her friends? Or refuse to help and risk the chance never seeing them again? At last she decided.

"I will help you", she said.

Struck down the ex-general lay at Zuko's feet. He was almost unconscious and unable to move.

Zuko slowly walked towards him.

"Come on! Strike me down!", Zhao yelled at him.

"No", Zuko said.

"Coward! You just don't have the guts to kill me!"

"Do you want to try me out?", Zuko asked in a threatening way, but in his heart he knew Zhao was right. He didn't have the guts to kill him.

"Yes, come on and kill me! It is the only way to win your mother back!", Zhao replied.

Zuko walked up to his knocked down opponent, ready to strike any minute.

"You're just too weak to kill me. What if the people who serve you heard that? I think they wouldn't want a weak ruler to control them."

"I'M NOT WEAK!" Zuko started to throw a series of fireballs at his opponent, so he vanished in an ocean of flames.

Then he turned his back on him and walked away, not saying any word to any of the witnesses on the sideway.

Suddenly a fireball hit him from behind. The Fire Lord fell and smacked on the floor.

"Hahahaha, fool! You didn't think I'd give up so soon, did you? Oh no, this fight has only just begun."

Zuko quickly turned on his back and used Firebending to get up again. Panting, he fought back against his opponent, who already started to throw fireballs.

He almost hit Zhao with his fire blast, but the finishing blow was blocked. Suddenly Zuko jumped on a house and used the high ground to his advantage. However, his opponent followed his lead and they ended up face to face on top of a house.

"Even if you killed me, it'd already too late", Zhao said while firing another blast.

"What do you mean?", Zuko asked while blocking it.

"By now the Royal Palace should already be controlled by the Dai Li and they should already have taken your girlfriend hostage."

"Mai!"

"Yes, they have taken her as a hostage."

"That's impossible. The guards would never let them pass!"

They jumped to another roof.

"Oh, but you forget one crucial fact. The Dai Li are your allies, Zuko and they used that in their advantage."

"No, that can't be true. You're lying!"

"Why don't you check out yourself, Zuko?", he asked. "But the chances that you'll ever see your mother again will be very slim."

"Mother!"

"So, I have a little proposition for you. Or you make me the new Fire Lord and I'll set your mother as well as your girlfriend free, or you leave now, head to the palace and risk he chance of ever seeing your mother again, if you were to make it. It's your decision. Choose wisely."

Meanwhile in Omashu...

Katara and Poluka were already inside the city, discussing their plan to take the city.

"I know the weak point of the city", Poluka said to Katara while hiding behind a bush in front of two guards. "If I heat up the clay of what the city mostly exist, it will eventually melt. Then you can wash it away with your Waterbending and the city is gone. Now you can help too, by cutting off the support poles beneath the city."

"Well, I don't know. It sounds dangerous", Katara hesitated.

"Do you want to see your friends back or what?"

"Yeah."

"Then please cooperate", he said agitated.

"All right, but I don't think it will solve anything."

"Oh, but I think it solves everything and, since I'm in charge, you'll have to obey me. If you bring down the eastern pole, I'm going to take down the west."

He got up and jumped to the western support pole.

"All right, I guess", Katara said.

She got up as well and ran towards the eastern support pole. She ran till she was out of his sight. Then she turned and went up to the palace. When she got there she snuck behind the two guards and used Waterbending to open the doors. Next, she snuck through the palace, looking for Bumi's bedroom.

"Hey, stop right there", a guard said and he shot handcuffs at her. She tried to defend herself, but it was too late. She was busted!

"So, we've got an intruder, haven't we? I bet you're from the Fire Nation", one of the guards said.

"But this one's pretty. I wonder what plans Bumi has got for you", the other guard said.

"Well, for your information, I'm not from the Fire Nation. And two, I already wanted to speak with Bumi ", Katara said.

"Well, that won't be possible, cause well eh...", one guard started.

"He wants to enjoy his naptime", the other guard finished.

"Right", Katara said while pulling up one eyebrow. "Well, tell him it's urgent!"

"Okay, we'll tell him as soon as he wakes up."

"NO!", Katara shouted. "He needs to know it now, it's urgent!"

Meanwhile, Poluka was outside and he already finished on pole, so he moved to another. However, he didn't see Katara anywhere. So she left, huh, he thought. Well, I don't need her. I can do this fine by myself.

"Stop right there", an Earthbender suddenly shouted at him. He immediately shot some stonecuffs at him, which he blocked by Firebending. The guard saw this and alerted the entire city.

"Firebenders! The Fire Nation strikes again! Call reinforcements!"

Suddenly tens of Earthbenders appeared in the city and they all attacked him. He had a rough time avoiding all those flying rocks and other attacks. But he went on to the next pole.

"I want to see Bumi, now!", Katara yelled inside the palace.

"Oh, but why'd you want to see me then?", Bumi asked from behind the guards, which immediately bowed to him.

"But sir", one guard said, "didn't you want to finish your naptime?"

"Yes, yes, of course I did, but then someone woke me up, talking loudly", Bumi replied.

"Oh, that'd be me", Katara said and she became red.

"Oh, it's fine, subject to you have got a good reason to do so."

"Well, sir. What I was trying to tell you is..."

When Katara finally finished her story, Poluka had already taken down three support poles.

"So, what we have to do is reinforce those support poles?", Bumi asked her.

"No, we have to let him think the city has fallen. Otherwise he won't ever bring me back to my friends."

"Very well. My guards and I will make that happen."

"Thank you, your highness", Katara said and she bowed.

"In the meantime, you go visit him and tell him you already took down the main pole."

"Okay, your highness."

Back at Ba Sing Se Zuko had to choose for his mother or his girlfriend and his Fire Lord title.

"Please Zuko, don't choose me!", his mother shouted from a distance. "Don't give up your title for me. Save your Nation and your girlfriend and go! I'll be fine."

All Zuko's thoughts were racing through his mind right now and he couldn't choose, whether he should give up his title or not.

"I won't fight you!", Zuko said finally.

"Very well. Then you just sealed your own destiny", Zhao said calmly.

Suddenly he shot a fireball at Zuko's mother who literally faced death.

There were only meters between the fireball and his mother and Zuko swore he heard: "Goodbye Zuko..." coming out of his mother's mouth.

A grand flash of light and Zuko knew it was over. But when the flames disappeared he didn't see his mother on the floor, but his uncle.

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!", Zuko screamed and he released all his power in one single shot at Zhao who flew away almost two hundred meters and crashed to Ba Sing Se's inner wall.

Now Zuko was sure he was dead and he had his revenge, it didn't bring satisfaction. It only brought grief and sadness.

Zuko ran to his uncle as fast as he could and joined his mother who already stood there.

He saw his uncle, more vulnerable then he'd ever seen him. There was a huge burn on his body and he was in terrible pain.

"Mum", Zuko asked, "Is he going to be okay?"

"He'll be fine", Ursa replied. "He just needs some rest and some bandages. Zuko, will you get those for me?"

"Sure, I'll be on my way." And Zuko went back the Jasmine Dragon.

Katara had taken Poluka outside of the city and said that she had already taken out the central support pole.

"All right", Poluka said. "The city should fall, NOW!"

The ground started to rumble when Poluka shot the final blow and the city slowly descended. It literally sunk beneath the ground. However, what he didn't see were the hundreds of Earthbenders, including the King, who let the city sink using their Earthbending. They went on till the city was below the surface.

"Yes, we finally did it! The great city of Omashu has fallen because of two invading teenagers. What if discover that? Wouldn't they think the second most impenetrable city was actually the most penetrable city?"

"Well", Katara said.

"Of course. I see the main articles in the newspapers right before my eyes: "Two teenagers destroy entire city. Then we would be popular."

"Well, actually...", Katara started, but Poluka interrupted her again.

"There is one thing that doesn't fit, though."

"Which is?", Katara asked curiously.

"I just wonder why the city didn't collapse. It should have collapsed, shouldn't it?"

"Why?"

"Well, the entire city was built on support poles deep in the ground, so if the support poles are destroyed the city should fall and...", he suddenly realized it. "You were friends with this city, weren't you?"

"Well, actually we were just allies, but you're kind of right."

"Now I know what you did when I didn't see you anywhere."

Katara was scared and she swallowed. "Really, what did I do according to you?"

"You were right here, pretending that you'd attack the city. But you didn't, did you? You just wanted me to bring you back to the Avatar!"

"You're right . You're right. I didn't attack the city. I just couldn't, because they were too close to me as they were my friends."

"In that case", Poluka said and Katara prepared for the worst thing that could happen, "I'd like to meet the Avatar myself sometime."

"Really, so you will join me?"

He nodded.

"Great, she said. Then we'll be off now, right?"

He nodded again. "Right this way", he said while pointing in the opposite direction of the city.

When they got out of sight, the city arose again to its original state.

In Ba Sing Se Zuko got back back from the Jasmine Dragon with some bandages in his hand. He quickly walked to his badly injured uncle.

"Here", he said while handing over the bandages.

Ursa carefully wound the bandage around Iroh's body.

"Zuko", Iroh said slowly. "Go now to the Palace and save your Nation. I hope it's not too late to dissipate the Dai Li and to save your girlfriend. But first you must find the Avatar. Only together you can recapture the palace."

"I will, uncle", Zuko said. He then stood up and walked to the wrecked air balloon. Partly repairing it, he said to himself: "Aang, wherever you are. I will find you." Next, he lifted the air balloon and took off to the south, because of a strong feeling that told him Aang would be there.





Previously...

Team Avatar was on its way to the Southern Air Temple, but they had to make a stop, so they stopped near an Earth Kingdom village. Katara went to look for food and ran into a Firebender named Poluka. While talking he decided to take her to win his home city Omashu back. Katara then warned King Bumi and he misleaded Poluka, pretending that the city had fallen (there were actually Earthbenders descending the city beneath the ground. Meanwhile prince Zuko was challenged to an agni-kai with Zhao. At the end Zuko had to choose: giving up his title and winning his mother back, or leaving now to recapture his palace and risking the chance he'd ever see his mother again, Of course he chose the second option, which resulted in a fireball fired to his mother. However, his uncle jumped in its way before it could hit her. Full of rage Zuko then released all his power in one single shot, resulting in Zhao's absolute death. Then Zuko decided to look for the Avatar to recapture his palace...

Book 4: Air

Chapter Four: The Motion Spirit

When the sun rose the next morning, Katara and Poluka finally reached the base camp. Aang just awoke, saw Katara walking in, but he thought he was dreaming. "Katara", he said. "You're in my dream, Katara."

"Aang, wake up! This is not a dream. I'm really here", Katara said.

Aang slowly stood up and started to walk to her. However, when you're half asleep, it's not that easy so he swung a little with his arms and staggered a lot. In doing so he took one step, walked over Kataraand fell on the floor. Suddenly he awoke. He immediately stood up, headbutted Sokka's head, who just got up behind him and directly fell on the floor again.

"Ow, Aang. What are you doing?", Sokka asked him agitated.

"Katara", Poluka whispered. "Is the bald one the Avatar?"

"Yes", she whispered back.

"Wow, cool!"

"Katara, who is that?", Sokka asked her, pointing at Poluka."

"Oh, hi everyone. I'm Poluka", he said and he shook hands with Sokka.

"Katara, why did you bring this guy here?", Sokka asked her.

"Well, that's kind of a long story", she replied.

"She ran into me in the village nearby. Then we talked and talked, without minding the road and eventually we ended up lost", Poluka said.

"Then I asked him where we were, but he didn't answer. Next, I told him I travelled with Aang, the new Avatar. Then he started to get interested and he was excited to meet him, so he guided me back here. So, here we are!"

Aang and Sokka didn't look much happier than a few moments ago.

"Morning everyone!", Toph said when she got up out of her earth tent.

Apparently she was the only one who was really awake, because she immediately noticed Poluka's presence.

"Who's that?", she asked while she sent an earth wave at Poluka. He was launched almost ten feet and then he fell on the floor.

"Toph, easy! That's a new guy. His name's Poluka", Katara said.

Toph walked to him, at least she thought she did. She actually walked to Sokka and she stretched her arm. "Nice to meet you, Poluka. I'm Toph", she said while handshaking with Sokka.

"Well, nice to meet you too, but I'm Sokka and we already met, remember? Poluka is a little bit more to the left."

"Oh, why didn't you say that? You know I'm blind, don't you?"

Then she walked to Poluka and shook hands.

"Hi, I'm Toph and I'm an excellent Earthbender."

"Yeah, I already felt that", Poluka said.

Toph giggled.

"Even though I'm blind, I can see with my feet. You see, they feel the vibrations in the ground. However, if people don't say anything, I can have a hard time finding them."

But Poluka didn't listen anymore and he ran towards Aang, roughly shaking hands with him.

"Hi, you must be Aang right? The new Avatar. I know so much about you. I heard for example that you lost your flying bison and you had to spend a week in the desert, tracking it. I also heard you defeated more than a hundred Fire Navy ships by your own in the Avatar State. And you even defeated the Fire Lord after mastering all four elements. Can you please, please, please, please show them to me? Please? Pl..."

Poluka spoke very quickly and didn't give Aang a chance to say anything back.

"STOOOP!", Aang yelled in the middle of Poluka's phrase. He looked disappointed for being interrupted so abruptly.

"I'm glad you know all about me, but you don't have to tell me that. I know it too. I've been there, you know."

"Of course I do. I just wanted you guys to know I really, really, really wanted to meet you."

"Well, all right", Aang said and he started to get a little angry. "You have met me now. Now you can leave!"

"But I thought..."

"LEAVE!", Aang shouted.

"Okay", Poluka said and he sounded disappointed. Then he started to run away, crying.

"AANG!", Katara shouted. "You didn't have to send him away like that. You don't know what he's been through!"

"Well, I'm sorry Katara, but I had to. It's too dangerous for him to join our team. He doesn't know what we've been through. He thinks it's just a game!"

"Aang's right", Sokka said. "We can't just add more members to Team Avatar. He'll have to understand the consequences."

"Well I'm sorry, but I know what he's been through. He does know pain, because he's lost everything in the war. Now he's a traveler, just like us."

"Traveller or not. He has to meet the level of our team", Sokka said.

"Well, I'm sorry too, but I'm going with him!", Katara said.

"Katara, no!", Aang said.

"Goodbye, Aang", Katara said, with tears in her eyes. Then she turned her back on Team Avatar.

"Katara, wait!", Aang shouted, but it was too late. Sokka's sister had left.

"What's wrong with her?", Toph asked.

"I don't know, but something's not right", Sokka said, deeply sunk in his thoughts.

.

Meanwhile somewhere in the air above the Earth Kingdom...

Zuko was leaning forward over the edge of the air balloon, looking down, fascinated by everything that was underneath him. Suddenly his eye fell on an old familiar of his. Then, he decided to take a look and lowered the air balloon. After he had sunk a few yards he could see Katara from up close.

"Katara!", he yelled. "Over here!"

She almost tripped, because of his yell and she looked up. "Zuko!", she said when she saw the contours of his face. He smiled at her and tried to land the air balloon properly. However, the whole structure crashed (again) and a clumsy Zuko climbed out of it. Katara just looked at it.

"Oh, Zuko", she said. Then she continued on a more serious tone. "Why are you here? Don't you have to rule the Fire Nation now that you're the new Fire Lord?"

"That's exactly why I'm here. I'm here to find Aang. I need him."

"But why?", Katara asked.

Then Zuko explained the events of yesterday. When he was done he said: "That's why I need to see Aang. Where is he?"

"I don't know", Katara replied emotionless.

"What do you mean you don't know?", Zuko asked her. "Weren't you travelling with him?"

"Yeah, I was, until we split up."

Zuko was shocked. He couldn't believe what Katara was saying.

"You SPLIT UP? How's that possible? You've always been there for each other, supported each other and now you easily split up?"

"Yeah, it was after some stupid fight about a new guy who wanted to join our team, but after Aang and the guys said, 'no,' I decided to go with that guy."

"Wait a minute, you just don't care about it?", Zuko asked, not believing his ears.

"Yeah, well...What can I say?"

Something very strange is happening here, Zuko thought. What's going on? What's wrong with Katara? She acts like she doesn't care at all about the split-up with Aang. And you don't just split up after a stupid fight about some guy!

"Katara, who is that guy you're talking about?"

"Oh, that's some Firebender named Poluka."

Zuko was shocked.

"I know that guy", he said after a long pause. "He was in my academy and always better than me at everything. Azula used to be in love with him. They form a very dangerous couple, however. Together they can accomplish almost everything. They both used to tease with nearly everything."

"Oh", she said, still in an empathic tone.

"Katara, that guy's dangerous! You should go back right now and apologize to Aang."

"But Zuko, he's the one who started arguing. He should apologize to me first", Katara said.

"Katara, he's dangerous! You shouldn't go with him. He must have evil plans of some kind. I know he seems innocent, but he isn't. Trust me."

"Oh, all right!", she said agitated. "I'll return to Aang."

"Good", Zuko said. "Then everything should be just fine."

.

Meanwhile in Camp Avatar...

Suki just got up and came out of her earth tent.

"Good morning, everyone", she said, while looking around her. She saw that everybody was a bit depressed and some were even angry and others just didn't care.

"Why are you all so sad?", she asked. "What happened?"

Sokka kept his head down while walking towards her.

"Well", he said. "Katara left."

"She WHAT?"

"I already said. She just left."

"That's horrible! How could she do that to us?"

"Well", Aang started. "She argued that some Firebender should join our team. We said it was not okay, because he wasn't capable enough and that's why she left."

"But that's impossible! No one leaves after one or two arguments."

"Well, she did and that's not my fault!", Aang said. "I never even liked her, anyway!"

Suki couldn't believe her ears.

"You didn't mean that, did you?"

"Of course I did. I hated her!"

Suki stood there as if she was struck by lightning. She was shocked by Aang's lack of interest.

"This isn't normal, right Toph?"

Toph also just stared empathic at her surroundings and didn't even hear Suki's question.

This isn't right, she thought. There must be something behind this. And I'm going to find out what! She stood up and started to look for something suspicious. Therefore, she went through everybody's stuff. She even turned Sokka's socks inside out to find out if there's something in it. After she sought through everybody's stuff she gave up.

Then, her eye fell on a small sign in front of the Earth Kingdom village:

"BEWARE FOR THE MOTION SPIRIT!", it says.

Aha, she thought. Whatever's wrong with them, it must have something to do with that spirit. I'm sure the people in the village know more about the Motion Spirit.

.

Zuko and Katara were walking back to the main camp and in the afternoon they finally reached the village. There they ran into Suki who greeted them almost immediately when she saw them. They greeted back, but Katara wasn't as aroused and happy as Suki was. When Suki saw there was something wrong with Katara she said she wanted to speak with Zuko alone.

"Zuko, I wanted to say that I know what's happening here", Suki whispered.

"Well, go ahead", Zuko said. "What's the matter then?"

"It's something called the Motion Spirit", she whispered.

Zuko looked shocked and after a long pause he said: "I know that spirit."

"You do?"

"Yes, my mother used to threaten us with it. For example if we didn't listen. Then, she used to say: If you don't listen right now, I'll deliver your spirit to the Motion Spirit. It's often called the Emotion Spirit. It's said that the Motion Spirit radically changes the emotions of people. For example, it turns a happy person into sad person and a careful person into a radical person."

"Oh, so that's what happened with Katara, Aang and Toph."

"Yes, but it only happens when they touch the Spirit and I don't know how that's possible", Zuko said.

Then Suki began to think. Why are Toph, Aang, Sokka and Katara the only ones affected by the Spirit?, she asked herself. Then she got the answer. "I know!", she said. "I know why only they are affected!"

"What", Zuko asked. "Why, then? Tell me."

They are benders, right? And we aren't, so there's your answer. Only benders can be affected by the Spirit."

"I'm sorry", Zuko said. "But that's not true. Sokka's not a bender, right. Also, according to the legend even not-benders can be affected, so that option is out of the question.

"But what could it be then?", Suki asked herself out loud.

"I don't know", Zuko said.

"What could it be?"

"We should ask Poluka", he said. "I bet he knows more about this phenomenon. I even think he's behind it."

"I guess you're right, Zuko", Suki said. "Let's find out about his hideaway, by asking Katara."

They came back from behind the shed to ask her, but Katara was gone.

"KATARA!", Zuko yelled.

No reply.

"She's gone", Suki concluded. "Now we have to find Poluka AND we have to catch up with Katara."

"I'm sure Katara knows where Poluka is and wherever she goes, he'll be there. Just like the old times with my sister", Zuko said.

"But we're never gonna catch up with her by running after her, are we?"

"We don't need to", Zuko said while opening the doors of the shed.

There were about eight Ostrich Horses standing in it. He carefully tried to mount one but it didn't cooperate, so he immediately fell off of it. That resulted in a hilarious action and Suki grinned at him. When he finally mounted it, she tried to mount one as well, but that wasn't easy. Now it was Zuko's turn to laugh.

"Yeah, you laugh!", she said agitated.

"Now you see it's not that easy. An Ostrich Horse is a stubborn creature."

"Yeah, I guess", she said and she tried to steer her animal in the right direction.

"I'm not going with you, Zuko", Suki suddenly said.

"What? Why not?", he asked surprised.

"I'm going to look after Sokka and the rest. They need me."

"Well, all right. Good luck then."

Then, Zuko and Suki separated.

.

Katara was merely a few miles away, so Zuko quickly caught up with her. When they saw her they just kept following her for an hour. Then, when they saw Poluka coming out off his hideaway, Zuko showed himself.

"Aha! So it is you, after all!", Zuko said.

"Zuko?", Poluka asked. "Azula's little brother. What are you doing here?"

"I think I can better ask you. WHAT are you doing here?"

"But I asked you first."

"Yeah, but my question's better."

"I still asked you first!"

"My questions are still better!"

Then Zuko and Poluka started to fight. Not by bending, but with their fists. Katara just stood there. She didn't care at all about what was happening around her.

Zuko punched Poluka right in his face. Blood hosed out of his nose. Of course, Poluka didn't take this and he punched back. The punch barely missed Zuko's head, but it did hit his shoulder. He felt that it was broken. He couldn't bend anymore with that side. Zuko still had his other arm to fight with, but he couldn't. His shoulder was too painful.

"Ah, Zuko. Now you see that I'm still way better than you are."

"No, you're not! You're just sneaky! You cheat to win, just like Azula."

"See? That's why I'm always better than you. You give up too soon!", Poluka said.

"Your weakness is your overconfidence!", Zuko yelled.

Then Poluka took something in his hand and threw it at Zuko. When it hit him on his hand, he felt something going into his body and then he crashed to the ground. He was hit by some sort of amulet and it lay next to his head. Poluka laughed with a mean laugh. Zuko crawled to the amulet and grabbed it, so he could inspect it from a closer distance. It was an amulet like no other. The crust was made of copper and the inside was a shining gem that immediately glowed as soon as Zuko touched it. Zuko kept staring at it and suddenly the head of a woman appeared inside it. Zuko was scared off, because the woman was hideous, but he understood that that was the Motion Spirit.

"Yes, Zuko. That was the Motion Spirit you saw in there. Now, you too are affected by her emotions. When she gets angry, you get angry. When she gets sad, you get sad. She actually was an Avatar, but because of her ugliness she killed herself. This is how I've been controlling Katara for a while. You see, the Motion Spirit's my slave, so I can command her to get angry and sad. If I don't command anything, she will get empathic, just like her followers."

Zuko just stood there, motionless.

"Now, Zuko. I want you to get angry! Release your frustration!"

"NO!", Suki yelled from behind the rocks. Then she showed herself. "I will not let you do this! I'm a Kyoshi Warrior and we don't tolerate scum like you!"

"Zuko. Attack her!"

Zuko obeyed and he angrily shot fireballs at her. Suki hardly evaded them using her agility.

Then she tried to bring him down, which was hard, because he was exceptionally mad at her.

"Zuko, please. Don't let the spirit mess up your emotions. Try to stop being angry!"

Zuko said nothing, but kept attacking her and she kept evading the attacks.

Suddenly Poluka was knocked out by a splash of water. Katara stood on the opposite of him and she watched him with an angry look. Apparently Poluka forgot that the spirit's emotions would affect all of its followers. She sent another wave of water at him and he was frozen solid. Suki saw it happen and she quickly grabbed the amulet. She felt the spirit go inside her, making her feel all kinds of emotions. But she stayed focused and thought. Wait a minute! If she was so ugly, she must have never felt happy before. That's the answer! I need to make her laugh, but how?, she thought. However, she didn't have much time to think, because she was a target of Zuko's.

"This has to work", she said and she started to make faces in front of the amulet. Then, the spirit's face appeared and it looked at Suki. Suki made all kinds of funny faces and eventually the spirit inside the amulet started to laugh. Suddenly everyone started to laugh, even Suki herself. Then the Avatar's spirit broke the spell and everyone turned to normal again. Even Katara, who was about to kick Poluka from the edge of a cliff from rage turned to her normal self again. She saw her friend hanging on the cliff and dragged him onto the solid rock again.

"Thanks", he said and he sighed.

"Don't you dare ever showing up again!", Katara threatened.

"No thanks. I've had enough adventures for today", he said.

"You bet you have!"

Poluka grabbed his things and he quickly ran away. While he ran on the cliff, he tossed the amulet in the ravine. There, it shattered to pieces.

.

Back at camp Avatar that evening, the friends told each other about what had happened.

"So, it must have happened when he shook hands, holding the amulet in his hand. It's an old trick, but it works", Suki said. "That's why only Sokka, Aang, Katara and Toph were affected."

"You're right", Zuko said.

"So, I've been a real jerk this morning, haven't I?", Toph asked.

"You're always a big jerk!", Katara flapped out, deeply hurting her feelings. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean that. It just, sort of flapped out."

"I know that, Katara. I think you are a big jerk too."

"What, you...", Katara spluttered and then she made up her mind.

"Enough fighting for today", she said.

"I agree", Aang said.

"But soon we WILL have to fight", Zuko said in a sad tone.

"What are you talking about, Fire Lord?", Sokka asked him curiously.

"I'm talking about my Nation", he replied. "It needs my help."

"But why?", Aang asked him.

"In order of Zhao, the Dai Li invaded the temple and they now control the Fire Nation."

"What?", everybody said simultaneously.

"I need Aang to recapture it. I know it."

"But, Zuko. We just found clues that there still might be surviving Airbenders around", Aang said.

"It's okay. Really, I'm fine." Zuko looked down and seemed disappointed.

"But your Nation's far more important", Aang finally said.

"It is? Oh, thank you, Avatar Aang"

"But, only on one condition", Aang added.

"Whatever you want", he said.

"After we saved your Nation, you're coming with me."

"All right. Then I have to send a replacement, but that's okay. I'm glad you'll help me, Avatar."

.

Meanwhile in a dark room, Poluka bowed for a sinister old man.

"I failed the mission, master. The Avatar's still alive."

"That's okay, my pupil. The mission has succeeded. I now have the Avatar where I want him."

"Really, how?"

"Let him think the Airbenders are still alive. That will do for now."

"Yes, master", he said and he was about to leave the room.

"Stop! I still have one more mission for you."

"What do I have to do?"

"Lead him here. I will take care of him personally."

"As you wish, master."





Previously...

In an agni-kai to the death Zhao told Zuko that his palace was invaded by Dai Li agents. Then Zuko had to choose between his mother and his people. He chose his people and Zhao shot at his mother. However, it wasn't his mother that was hit by the fireball, it was actually his uncle. Then Zuko put all his strength in one shot and killed Zhao. Then his uncle told him that he should find the Avatar before recapturing the Palace. Zuko found him near an Earth Kingdom village and when he told him about his problem, Aang decided to help him recapturing the village...

Book 4: Air

Chapter Five: The Reunion

Appa flew over the Earth Kingdom, carrying Team Avatar on his back. On the road our friends recognized a lot of things, like Bei Fong mansion, the Avatar Day-village and countless other things. After three days Appa was getting tired of flying all over the world and Aang decided to make a stop in an old village.

"Appa, go down buddy." Aang gently pulled his supports and the giant flying bison obeyed. When the team set foot on the ground Zuko started to recognize this village.

"I've been here a few months ago, when I travelled alone. I met Lee here and was confronted with Earth Kingdom soldiers who were pro-Fire Nation."

Zuko thought of this town with great sadness, which you could see on his face. Katara tried to comfort him but he waved her aside.

"No", he said. "I don't need comfort."

"Well, should we try to land elsewhere?", Aang asked him.

"I'd appreciate that, yeah." Zuko tried to act as natural as possible.

"We could go to Kyoshi Island", Sokka suggested. "It's not that far, so we might make it before Appa starts crashing down."

"That's a great idea, Sokka!" Suki was high in the clouds because of what Sokka just said. "Then I could see all my friends again."

"You all agree with that idea?" The Avatar wanted to be as fair as possible. When he noticed everybody nodded he said: "To Kyoshi Island!"

Then Appa flew away from all of Zuko's memories again. However, when Zuko looked back at the village one more time, he saw Lee enthusiastically waving at him. He smiled a little and waved back.

"Who're you waving at?", Katara asked.

"No one", Zuko replied. "Just an old friend."

.

After half a day Kyoshi Island was finally in sight.

"Aang!" A girl on the side called him. "Hey, everybody. It's Aang! The Avatar's back."

Soon the rest of the people of the island smiled and waved at the Avatar as he closed in. Aang got a warm heart by looking at so many people supporting him. He'd never seen anything like it. It gave him hope. It gave him strength.

As soon as Appa landed a dozen of girls flung at Aang and they hugged him and kissed him all over. Katara didn't appreciate all the attention that was given to him and she just turned away from him. Then, when Suki's father heard the girls yell, he came as well to close his daughter in his arms.

"Suki, where have you been? I was awfully worried about you." Her father started to grow tears. "I thought I'd lost you."

"But I'm still here dad. I travelled with the Avatar and I saved the world."

"You did? But...But...But that's fantastic. I am so proud of you now."

"I'm glad to hear that, dad."

.

Toph and Sokka also climbed out of the saddle. Sokka looked around and noticed that the island had changed since their last arrival a few months ago.

"It seemed to have changed", he said. "Last time I got here the houses were made of wood, not rock."

"I don't know", Toph said. "I've never been here at all. But I guess it's okay. The ground feels soft, so I'm okay with this island."

Then she heard a frog chatter next to her, but she thought it was a human. So, she ran to the edge of the village where the sound came from.

"Oh, hi", she said. I'm Toph. She stretched her arm to give it a hand. After a while she took it back.

"Well, that's not very nice. I am stretching my hand here! Or are you blind too?"

Then the frog chattered again. Rib bib.

"Oh, I see. You're a frog! I'm sorry to bother you, mister Frog."

It chattered again.

"So you don't answer at all do you?"

Rib bib.

"Oh, come on. Answer me!"

Rib bib.

"You know, that's not very nice to say!"

Rib bib.

"That's rude! How could you be so mean?"

Rib bib.

"Oh, come on! You didn't mean that, did you?"

Rib bib.

"You did. Oh you...You're going to pay for this!" Then she Earthbended the frog and it flew away a long distance. There, it landed on its feet and it chattered again.

Rib bib.

Then Toph, angrily went to the center of the city and she ran into Sokka.

"Hey, Sokka. The frogs around here are really rude, aren't they?"

Sokka didn't listen and walked on through the rest of the village.

"Ugh, why is everyone so rude to me?"

Then, again, a frog next to her chattered.

/This scene's been cut out for the extreme rate of violence in it and is not suitable for children/

.

Aang and the girls were already gone to the center of the village.

"Aang! We'd like you to see this." A girl took him by his arm and dragged him down the path to an enormous thing, hidden under a sheet.

"No girls. You'll have to wait for that until the ceremony", a man said from within a house.

"Aww, please dad. Can we please show it to Aang, please, please, please, please?"

"My decision is fixed. You'll have to wait for tonight."

"What ceremony?", Aang asked the girls surprised.

"It's the Avatar ceremony, silly. We agreed to have that when you'd return, because you have saved our village." The girls seemed surprised that Aang didn't know about this.

"So you celebrate the day that I returned?"

The girls nodded.

Then Aang suddenly realized that it was today exactly one hundred and one years ago that he abandoned his people. Then he felt a strange feeling about the fact that they actually celebrated his abandonment. He couldn't describe the feeling but it made him also feel sorry.

.

In the meantime Zuko snuck out of the saddle as well, but everyone immediately recognized him.

"That's that Firebender who wanted the Avatar. Attack him!" The villagers started to throw food and other house supplies at him.

Zuko was shocked. "No, stop! I'm good now. Stop!"

But it didn't work. More and more people started throwing things at him.

"I'm sorry for what I did. Really. I'M SORRY!"

The people stopped throwing at him.

"Look, I may have done some bad things lately, but I'm sorry. I'm with the Avatar now."

"Oh, yeah? I just think you stole his bison and came here to capture him", a man yelled at him from the side.

"Yeah!", the others agreed.

"But he's right!" Suki appeared behind the villagers. "He is with the Avatar now!"

"Oh. If you say so, Suki, then I guess it'd probably be true."

Then the villagers got into their houses again.

"And if you dare to burn down our houses again, you won't succeed, because they are now made of rock!"

"It's nice meeting you too", Zuko said.

"Come on, Zuko. Let's go to my dad. He'll prepare us for the ceremony."

"What ceremony?"

"It's a ceremony what I also just found out about. It's seems to be related to Aang."

"Aang has a ceremony? I wonder what that's going to be about."

.

That night all of the villagers were gathered in the center of the village. They were waiting for their mayor, Suki's father, to speak. All of them were wearing Aang- or Kyoshi-costumes. Even Katara, Sokka, Toph and Zuko were wearing costumes. However, there weren't any Aang costumes anymore for Zuko, so he had to wear a Kyoshi costume, which he didn't like at all.

"I look ridiculous", he said to Katara.

"Everybody does. That's the whole idea!"

Then the mayor stepped forward to his catheter and picked up a scroll.

"Silence!"

Everybody stopped talking at once.

"Today we celebrate the Avatar's return. Today should be a day full of joy, without any disputes. Today we have a bunch of surprises for the new Avatar. Step forward, Aang."

The mayor stepped aside and the boy with the arrow appeared behind him. Then the mayor spoke again.

"Avatar Aang. Having you on our island opens our hearts and gives us joy. We should all celebrate this. I pronounce this day as Aang Day, to honor your return."

Aang wanted to say something, but the mayor waved him aside.

"But that's not all. We also rename this island. From now on this island will be known as Avatar Island."

There was a huge applause and Aang was starting to feel a little uncomfortable.

"But there's still one thing more. Because you have saved us, we have made something that you might like." He winked his daughter who pulled the sheet off.

There was a huge statue of Aang right next to Kyoshi's statue. Aang looked at it full of awe.

"We knew this day would come, Aang, our saviour!"

There were fireworks behind his head and Aang turned around. He saw the fireworks formed Aang's head in the air. Then, Aang felt that he should say something and so he did.

"Well, uh. I don't know what to say, really. Uhh, first of all, thank you for coming here!"

There was a lot of applause and cheering and Aang waited for the others to finish, so he could continue his story.

"Uhhh, thank you for all the support. It's been an honor to me."

Again, the people started to cheer and applaud. After it was silent, Aang wanted to continue again, but the mayor interrupted him: "Thank you, Aang."

"Wait, I didn't finish my story."

"Oh, I'm sorry. Please." The mayor stepped away from the catheter and Aang stepped forward again.

"Uhh, I'd like to say...", he was really nervous, but eventually he said it, "today is exactly one hundred and one years ago that I abandoned my people, I'm sorry." Then the pressure became too much and he ran away.

Katara and Sokka ran after him.

"Wait, Katara. The mayor still has to do his speheech", Sokka said while he was dragged away by his sister.

"Oh, come on! Let's find Aang!", she said while running after him.

"Wait! Katara!", Sokka panted, trying to catch up with her.

.

She found Aang at the beach, meditating. She touched him and looked concerned.

"I'm sorry, Katara. I shouldn't have run away like that."

"No, it's okay. I understand why you ran away."

"You do?", he asked her.

"Yeah, I do. I understand it's hard sometimes to be the Avatar."

"Then you don't understand it. It's not that I'm upset about."

"Then what are you upset about?"

"It's just so odd that those people are actually celebrating the fact that I abandoned my people."

"Oh", she said, showing compassion for him.

"Now they must be very crossed with me."

"No, they're not. It's not your fault you abandoned your people."

"Yes it is. I chose to run away, because the monks would send me away. Then the Fire Nation attacked and killed them all. I should have been there."

"AANG! Thank goodness, I found you", Sokka said, panting from running after him. "The whole village is worried about you."

"See, what did I tell you?" Katara smiled at him. "Of course the people aren't mad at you. They're with you, remember? And they'll support you, no matter what."

"I guess you're right", Aang said.

Then the ground started to rumble and waves started to form in the sea. Aang warned the village by Soundbending through Appa's whistle. Then, a great alarm sounded and the whole village started to panic. Aang, Katara and Sokka started to jump back from beach as the waves grew larger and larger. Katara was about to run back to the village, but Aang wasn't going to retreat.

"Katara, I have to do this", he said and she nodded.

"Be careful", she said, while holding his hand and then she let him go.

Aang faced the larger and larger growing waves as they crashed down on the beach and eventually they stopped. Then, from out of nowhere an enormous tsunami showed up, big enough to cover the entire island.

"Come on", Aang said. "Come on and take me!"

Then his arrows and tattoos started to glow and Aang entered the Avatar State.

.

In the village, Toph, Suki and Zuko tried to figure out a plan to bring the villagers to safety, but they couldn't figure something out. Then, Sokka stood up behind the catheter and shouted:

"STOP!"

The whole village was silent. The only thing you could hear was the sound of crashing waves, getting closer and closer.

"Now, if we want to survive this, I suggest we abandon this island. It's the only way to avoid drowning."

The whole village started to rumor again.

"I suggest that the ones who can swim should swim. We'll transport the rest of you on small, makeshift rafts. If we are to survive, everyone should help making those rafts. In the meantime, the Avatar will hold off the tsunami for as long as possible."

Then everyone started to run back and forth to help wherever they can. Some even cut down trees with their fans to help them making those rafts.

"Nice speech", Toph said to him, while helping a little girl lifting a tree stomp.

"Thanks, I'm glad you appreciate it." Sokka cut down a tree with his sword and even Zuko helped, slicing down two trees at the same time. Toph just shot them out of the ground using Earthbending, while Suki used ribbons to tie the rafts together.

.

Meanwhile, Aang used his powers to Waterbend the giant wave as much as he could, but it was too strong. He was about to lose consciousness when Katara came in. She helped him bending the tsunami back to the sea. But even she couldn't and Aang got out of the Avatar State. He fell down from the air and now Katara had to lift the full weight of the water. She saw Aang lying unconscious beside her and she wanted to help him, but she couldn't. If she did, she'd lose the struggle with the giant wave. Then, the Unagi showed up and helped her by blowing the entire wave back. But even the Unagi couldn't do anything about it and it quickly disappeared. Katara now felt that she was losing consciousness. No, she thought. I can't give up! I have to hold it. I have to! But she did lose consciousness and she felt that she lost her grip over the enormous wave. She slowly fell down and thought that all was lost.

.

"Katara! Katara! Wake up, Katara!"

She slowly opened her eyes and saw Aang bowing over her.

"Aang! Are you all right? I thought you were unconscious"

"I was, but then I was woken up by the Unagi and I saw you struggling with the tsunami. You were really great, Katara!"

"Thanks, but what happened?"

"Well, after you passed out I went into the Avatar State and I lifted the wave over the island and then it crashed down in the sea behind the island. So, the island isn't submerged."

"Aang, that's brilliant! You're truly amazing!" Aang blushed a little.

"Well, uhh, I..."

Then Katara flung at him and kissed him, very intensely.

"I always wanted to tell you this, Aang. I love you."

"I love you too, Katara."

Then, the two love birds kissed and hugged each other again at the beach.

.

The next morning Aang declared that they would free the Fire Nation from the invasion of the Dai Li.

"Aww, Aang. Are you leaving already?", the girls asked simultaneously.

"Yes, I am. But don't worry. I'll be back soon!"

"Yay", the girls yelled.

Aang prepared Appa for departure and said goodbye to his friends on the island.

Toph stood in front of the frog she was angry at the day before.

"Well", she said while stretching her hand. "I guess this is goodbye"

Rib bib.

"Oh, we're not even gonna shake hands, are we?"

Rib bib.

"I understand! You're busy, right?"

Rib bib.

"You do? You think I should go for it?"

Rib bib.

"All right. I hope you know what you're saying."

Rib bib.

"Okay, I'm gonna say it right away."

Rib bib.

"Bye bye, mister frog."

Rib bib.

Aang lifted himself up the flying bison, using Airbending and then he pulled up Katara, Sokka, Toph and Zuko.

"Take care and do return. We'll be waiting for you", the mayor of the village said.

"All right, I will. I promise."

When everybody climbed aboard the giant flying bison, Sokka saw that Suki was still on the ground.

"Suki! Aren't you coming with us?"

"I'm sorry, Sokka, but I decided to stay with my family."

"But, but...", Sokka spluttered, disappointed, but it was too late.

Then the flying bison flew away from the island.

"Relax, Sokka, you've still got me!", Toph said.

Sokka didn't reply; he just looked at her.

Then our friends disappeared in the sky, on their way to the Fire Nation.





Previously...

In an agni-kai to the death Zhao told Zuko that his palace was invaded by Dai Li agents. Then Zuko had to choose between his mother and his people. He chose his people and Zhao shot at his mother. However, it wasn't his mother that was hit by the fireball, it was actually his uncle. Then Zuko put all his strength in one shot and killed Zhao. Then his uncle told him that he should find the Avatar before recapturing the Palace. Zuko found him near an Earth Kingdom village and when he told him about his problem, Aang decided to help him recapturing the palace. After a short stop, Suki decided to stay on her home island, but our fearless heroes continue their journey towards the Fire Nation...

Book 4: Air

Chapter Six: Fighting Old Battles Part One: Friends or Foes

The air around the heroes started to darken and the clouds gathered. It was going to thunder soon. Appa looked around in terror and made clear that he wasn't too happy with the storm.

"I'm sorry, buddy, but we're almost there."

Then, rain started to splash down and Team Avatar got all wet on the back of Appa.

"Aang, I think it's best for us to turn around", Katara said to him concerned.

"She's right, Aang. I don't like the sound of that thunder", Sokka said.

Then the thunder started to strike. Appa growled.

"Come on. Just a little more", Aang said, but Appa refused.

Another strike and this one was very close to Appa.

"Aang, we should really turn around", Katara insisted again while a bunch of thunderbolts hit the ground.

"Just do it, Aang", Toph said. "I don't want to get hit by something I don't see or hear coming."

Another strike.

"Go", Zuko said in his usual hoarse voice.

"What? Are you crazy?", Katara asked him, not believing her ears.

"We just passed the Gates of Azulon. We're almost there."

Katara was about to say anything back, but Aang interrupted her: "Guys, please. Stop fighting. We're going through."

Then, another thunderbolt struck and this one seemed to hit Appa.

However, Zuko responded quickly and redirected the bolt of lightning.

"Aang, go on. I'll hold them off", Zuko said.

"Uh, okay. Appa, yip, yip!" He tugged the supports and Appa accelerated through the clouds.

Zuko redirected another lightning bolt and that one hit ground. That meant that they had reached the capital.

"We're there! Appa, take us down!", the Avatar yelled at his flying bison.

Through the storm Aang didn't see the dozens of fireballs that were fired at them. Appa had a rough time avoiding them all. Then, Appa got hit by a fireball and crash-landed on the beach. Aang entered the Avatar State and took out some catapults that were firing at them, by launching back the flaming rocks. Aang then made a shield around Appa to protect him from the incoming fireballs. Though Appa fell down, his passengers felt safe and they didn't worry as much as they should.

Dozens of Firebenders stood in line to attack them and they launched a wave of fire. Aang protected the group by splashing the soldiers with a wave of rain. Soaking wet, the benders got up again and were just about to attack when Katara came in and closed them up in a cell of ice.

"Bye!", Sokka said, while passing by.

"See ya", Toph said almost directly after him.

"Later", Zuko said in the same way as the rest of the team did.

Looking insanely angry, the imprisoned Firebenders growled as they passed by.

Then Aang lead the group within the Avatar State, pulling off most of his tricks, to defend his friends from attacking Firebenders.

A second division of Firebenders followed the first one and tried to take out the Avatar as well.

However, even they had to admit that Aang was way too strong for them and therefore, after a short trial of strength, they started running for him like chickens. Then a huge lightning bolt struck a house near the beach. The fire it had created, started to grow and in a matter of moments even more houses caught fire. Although it rained, the fire didn't go out. Aang saw this and immediately got there to extinguish the fire. He Waterbended huge balls of water and then splashed them down at the target. Sokka also helped by holding up a bucket, waiting until it was filled with rain and then threw it over the house.

New Firebenders were on their way, however and the ones who were imprisoned in ice had gotten free. So, after a few seconds, Team Avatar was surrounded once again.

"Zuko! Go to the palace. We'll hold them off", Katara yelled, while splashing water in a guy's face.

The guy got mad and immediately shot fire at the small Waterbending girl. He missed and, instead of hitting Katara his fireball actually hit a colleague of his right behind her.

"Hey, idiot. What are you doing?"

"I'm just firing at that Waterbender!", he angrily replied.

"Well, then you should think of wearing glasses."

"Are you blind or something? I already am wearing glasses!", the guy yelled, pointing his finger to his face.

"Well, I'm sorry. I guess your ego was too big for me to notice that you were wearing glasses!"

"That's it. You've crossed the line!"

"It took you a long time to notice that!"

"Arrrgh!" The Firebender shot at his own colleague who quickly blocked it. Of course, he didn't take this and he shot right back at him.

"Fight! Fight! Fight!", the audience shouted. Even Sokka shouted with them, but they were too busy watching the two fighting Firebenders to notice that their enemy was right behind them.

Fire was shot all around in the pouring rain and the two men soon started to get tired.

"I'm blowing you off!", one guy panted.

"Yeah, well. You should hit me first!", the other guy said out of breath.

Then the fight continued.

Toph and Momo decided to stay with Appa who was badly bruised from the bolt that hit him. Appa growled in pain. The Firebenders had already left to the Central Plaza.

"I'm sorry, Appa, but we have to wait for Aang's return." Appa growled again, seeming to understand her.

"I'm glad you're okay with it."

Then a thunderbolt hit something. Appa roared in terrible pain.

"Appa, no, Appa!".

Toph was shocked from that sudden lighning bolt.

"Appa, are you okay?"

The roaring didn't stop. Even Aang could hear him. So did the Firebenders.

"Appa, calm down. Please, calm down! You're gonna be okay. Stop growling, please!"

Toph waved her arms around wildly to make him stop. Luckily, he stopped. But it was too late. A division of Firebenders was already on its way downward.

Aang had heard the roars of his bison and he dropped a tear while he looked back.

"I'm sorry, buddy. I have to do this."

"Okay, Aang. Are you ready?", Zuko asked him.

When he had come to his senses, Aang nodded.

"All right. I'm storming down the path to the Palace's doors. Cover me."

"Okay."

While having Aang covering him, Fire Lord Zuko stormed onto the Central Plaza. He looked around and saw hundreds of Firebenders coming their way. He swallowed.

"Well, Aang. Do you have any last words to say to me? I think now's the time."

Aang looked scared at their opponents. "Well...uhhh...No."

Then his tattoos and eyes began to glow and he Earthbended a huge shield of earth around them before the Firebenders could attack them. Next, he pushed all sides of the cylinder-shaped shield away, thus repelling all Firebenders from himself. However, he also destroyed some houses from the capital. Then he got a flashback from the time with the Guru.

"Next is the...", the Guru said.

"...Water chakra", Aang finished.

"Brilliant. I know one day you'll be a good Guru too." Then he continued his story. "This chakra deals with pleasure and is blocked by guilt. Now, what are the things that burden you so? What do you blame yourself for?"

Then the world started to fade away before Aang's eyes and he got a vision.

Then he left the Avatar State, because one of his chakras was blocked. He blamed himself for destroying the houses of his people and hurting so much soldiers. Zuko just looked at him, he was speechless.

"I'm sorry, Zuko. I can't. I can't hurt more people than I already have."

"Please, Aang. I need you to do this. I can't do this myself", Zuko begged him.

But Aang left the scene without a word and tried to find a safe spot, away from the fighting and the noise.

"Then I'll have to do this on my own!"

Zuko bashed open the palace doors and was immediately welcomed by the Dai Li. However, it wasn't a pleasant welcome. As soon as he entered the palace they started to move the ground around him so they could capture him. However, since the last battle, Zuko had grown very skilled and the Dai Li were no match for the new Fire Lord. After he defeated both agents, he took out his dual swords and held it to the throat of one of the knocked down agents. Then he yelled at him.

"Where is my girlfriend? Where is Mai?" He tightened his grip. "Tell me!"

The Dai Li didn't look scared at all. They looked like they didn't care.

"You wouldn't dare!"

"Do you want to try me out?" Zuko slowly poured his sword in the neck of his opponent. "Well, do you?"

"No, we told the Fire Lady we wouldn't tell you where she kept your girlfriend."

Zuko stared at him as if he were crazy.

"You idiot! His sister gave strict orders that we wouldn't say her..."

"Shush, you almost told him", the other one interrupted again.

"Azula? Is she behind it? But how..."

He heard clapping and an awful familiar voice behind him.

"Well done, Zuzu. You're finally here to save your "girlfriend", aren't you?", Azula sneered at him.

"What have you done with her?", Zuko burst out.

"I'm right here." Mai was just around the corner and she seemed rather upset.

"Mai!"

"How could you, Zuko?" Supposedly for the first time in her entire life Mai cried. She actually cried genuine tears.

"Oh, Zuzu. What have you done this time? Does it have something to do with that Watertribe girl?", Azula teased him.

Mai still cried and Zuko wanted to comfort her, but she yelled at him and waved him away.

"Stay away from me!"

"You don't actually believe Azula, do you?", Zuko asked Mai.

"But I always tell the truth, don't I?", she said hypocritically.

"Well...", Mai sniffed. "I don't know what to believe."

"But don't you know that Azula always lies?" That moment Zuko got a flashback.

"Dad's going to kill you. Really, he is", a young Azula teased Zuko.

"Haha, Azula. Nice try", Zuko said sarcastically.

"Fine, don't believe me, but I heard everything. Grandfather said that dad's punishment should fit his crime. "You must know the pain of losing a first born son, by sacrificing your own!", she imitated Azulon's voice.

"Liar!", Zuko said, but he knew that she was actually telling the truth.

"I'm only telling you for your own good. I know! Maybe you can find a nice Earth Kingdom family to adopt you."

"Stop it! You're lying! Dad would never do that to me."

"Your father would never do what to you? What is going on here?" Ursa entered the room, looking concerned.

"I don't know", Azula said hypocritically.

"Come here, young lady. It's time for a talk!" Ursa dragged down Zuko's sister from his bed.

When she left the room Zuko started talking to himself.

"Azula always lies, Azula always lies..."

In a corner outside the battlefield, Aang had found a safe spot where he could meditate and try opening his chakra again. He crossed his legs and started meditating all over again. Okay, he thought. What first? The first thing going through his mind was the cocktail of onion and banana juice. He made a face when he remembered how it tasted again. Then he crossed over the memory of his second chakra:

"The second chakra is the chakra of Water. It is located in the milt. It deals with pleasure and is blocked by guilt. Now, Aang. What do you blame yourself for?"

He saw himself running away from the Air Temple and he tried to deal with that. Then he had another flashback at what just happened. He burned all the houses and saw people helplessly escaping it. Have I really done this? He thought by himself. Did I really do all that damage, just because I just wanted to defeat evil? I can't believe I've really done that. When he managed to deal with it, he sighed. His second chakra was reopened.

Meanwhile at the Royal Palace.

"Mai, I'm not lying. He's just trying to protect his Waterbender. He and his Watertribe girl are a stain to this world!", Azula sneered.

"Is that...true?", Mai sniffed.

"Of course it's not! Azula always lies!"

"I'm sorry Zuko...", Mai said. She turned around, seemingly leaving, but then she threw her throwing knives at him. He was now pinned down to the wall of his own palace.

"Zuko!" Katara saw him hanging on the throwing knives. Then she turned her head and her greatest fear became reality. Azula was free. She saw the madness in her eyes, which had only grown since the last met.

"See?", Azula hysterically said to Mai. "Zuko's "girlfriend" has already shown up to save him."

Zuko saw that Mai actually believed his sister.

"What?" Katara looked stunned. "What are you talking about. I'm not Zuko's girlfriend."

"You might not believe it but I know everything about my brother. I can even tell whether he's in love or not."

"Is that...true?" Katara couldn't believe her ears and stared at Zuko, awaiting his response.

However, Zuko didn't respond.

Mai left the room in tears.

"I count that as a yes. My brother always had a thing for younger girls." Azula laughed hysterically.

"So, what are you going to do? Are you going to save my pathetic, weak brother or are you leaving this place right now and never ever see me again?"

Katara slowly turned her head. "I'm sorry, Zuko."

"Katara no! Please. You know what's going to happen if you leave my sister unharmed. She will deceive you. She will deceive us all and rule this nation. You can't let that happen."

Katara slowly turned her back on the Fire Lord and a small grin was visible on Azula's face.

Almost immediately, Katara turned around and Waterbended ice spikes in her face. She barely evaded them. Azula didn't take this and started to shoot lightning at the young Waterbender. Katara had trouble, but she was eventually able to evade it. A fight started in which you weren't able to see who was on the winning hand. Both girls had equal strength and skill. Zuko tried to get off the wall by moving his arms wildly, but it didn't help. The shuriken were too tight to lose them.

Meanwhile Toph heard the soldiers nearing the beach and she made herself ready for them.

"It came from here", she heard someone saying in the distance.

"Did it? I don't see anything, you know."

"I'm sure it was here, look!"

"Just sand. Wet sand."

"Look more carefully", the soldier said again.

"The ground, it's burned."

"That can mean only one thing: It's a lightning strike!"

"You're right, so there you have it. It was just a lightning strike. No need to worry."

Toph heard them leaving, but she accidentally tripped over Appa's tail. The beast roared.

"Stop right there!", a Firebender said when he saw Toph coming from behind a rock. Toph got scared from the footsteps getting closer and closer.

"Get up, you", a foul man growled.

The soldier pulled her up by her arms.

"Did you make that roar?"

"Of course I did. I work in the circus, you know and there I need to master the technique to roar. Otherwise, the animals in the circus won't obey me", Toph lied.

"Are you sure, because it didn't sound like a human growl to me. It sounded more like a real animal", the foul man said.

"But I can prove it", she said.

"All right then. Prove it."

She smoothly pushed a boulder in Appa's direction who started roaring again. Simultaneously with Appa's roar, she mimicked him.

"Fair enough. But will you please demonstrate your roar somewhere else? We're in the middle of a battle here. You see, the Avatar has come to defeat the Fire Lady."

"Has he now? I hope he'll die in battle", Toph lied convincingly.

"Don't count on it. He has already defeated the Fire Lord, remember? He's not going to be defeated easily."

Meanwhile in the Royal Palace Katara and Azula were still fighting each other.

Every move Katara made was blocked by Azula and the other way around. That way the fight remained outstanding.

"Give up, Waterbender. You won't win this way."

"Never, I'll never give in! Not to you", Katara flung at her opponent.

"Fine. Have it your way", Azula said in a cold voice, blasting fire at her, which she could barely evade.

"I can't leave my friend behind", Katara panted, while her eyes watered a little.

Zuko watched her proudly and his eyes too, dropped a tear.

"Aww, isn't that sweet? She came here to save my pathetic brother. Wouldn't you just love her?"

Zuko saw Katara staring at the floor, hiding her tears, but he also saw his sister, ready to strike.

"Katara , look out!", he yelled, but it was too late.

Azula made a twisting move and the young Waterbender smacked down to the floor. Smoke arose from her fingertips and Azula couldn't care less about what she had done to her foe. Katara just lay there on the floor. She was knocked out!

"Noooooooooooooooooooooo!"

Sokka had entered the palace and saw his sister lying on the floor. Next to her stood Azula and his greatest fear had become reality. Terrified, he tried to be brave and took his weapon out of its shed. Loudly screaming, he began to hack into his arch-enemy, but it didn't make any difference. Azula just stepped aside and made her foe lose balance, so he too fell on the floor.

"Hah! No one can stop me now. I am too strong for any of you!"

Azula triumphed as she had won. The palace lay before her feet and her enemies were defeated.

"Fools! You don't stand a chance against me."

"I will."

A small, bald boy with an arrow stood in front of the Palace's gates.

"Ah, the Avatar has entered the scene, hasn't he? You'll regret what you've done to my father!"

"No, you will regret what you've done to my friends!"

"Oh really. And why should I believe just a small boy like you?"

"Because I'm the Avatar, that's why!"

"Oh, in that case: Prepare yourself!"

She sent a blazing thunderbolt at him, which he barely evaded. Aang opened his glider and was about to go into combat, but Sokka warned him: "Don't do it. She's too strong."

"I have to do this, Sokka! Katara's life is on steak. The fate of the whole world is on steak."

"Aang, look out!", Zuko suddenly shouted.

A bunch of fireballs was fired at the small boy. He quickly made a shield of air around himself to protect him from incoming fireballs. After Azula had stopped firing, Aang quickly snuck behind a pillar. Azula saw this and she immediately continued throwing fireballs and casting lightning. Then she made a whip of lightning and swung it around the pillar, but Aang had foreseen this. The crushed pillar revealed that the Avatar had escaped once more. Azula became mad and shot fireballs all around her to find him. Then he showed himself, sticking out his tongue to her. However, Azula did not appreciate this and she immediately casted lightning in his direction.

"Aang seems to have found her weak spot", Zuko said from the side, but not too loudly.

"Which is?", Sokka asked him.

"Don't you see? He's driving her mad, so she can't focus anymore and focusing on your opponent is essential in Firebending."

"I see. That's indeed very clever of him."

Fire.

It enlightened the entire room and the Avatar couldn't get hit.

"Come on, Avatar. You can't run forever. You have to face and fight me, or I'll hurt your girlfriend."

This final statement made Aang stop in his movement.

"What?"

"You heard me. This may be the last time you'll see your girlfriend if you don't face me."

"No, Katara!"

He saw Azula threatening to burn his friend, by holding her hand in front of her face.

"This is not good", Zuko said.

"Why not?", Sokka asked him.

"She is calm and focused again, so she is a lot stronger now."

"Aang, watch out!", Sokka yelled from the side.

But it was too late. Aang was focused as well. He leapt up, opened his air glider and flew towards the Fire Nation princess. He evaded the fireballs shot at him by leaning to the edges of his glider, causing it to twist and turn. Azula saw him getting closer and closer and eventually she struck him down with lightning. Just like in Ba Sing Se, Aang fell lifelessly out of the sky.

The pain was not describable. It was as if the sun had gone out. Sokka and Zuko watched at him full of disbelief. This can't be happening, they thought. It just can't.

To be continued...





Previously...


When Zuko finds out his Palace is invaded by the Dai Li he sees the Avatar in the hope that he could help him recapturing it. He finds him somewhere near an Earth Kingdom village near Omashu and luckily Aang wants to cooperate. Now they have beleaguered the main capital and taken control of the Central Plaza. Inside the Palace, Zuko was surprised by the appearance of AZULA! Yes, the Dai Li had set free their former master. Mai was also there and she was quite cross with him, because he hadn't told her the truth. She pinned him down using her shuriken to his own wall. From there he had to watch a fight between Azula and Sokka and Katara. Katara fell down and was knocked out by Azula. Then Sokka came in, saw his sister lying on the floor and tried to fight Azula, but it was no use. He too was easily defeated. Last, Aang entered the scene and tried to fight Azula as well, but she was too strong for him. Just like in Ba Sing Se he was struck down by Azula's lightning. Now the whole world is in grave danger. For, without the Avatar, the future doesn't seem so bright at all...


Book 4: Air


Chapter Seven: Fighting Old Battles Part Two: Revelations


Two children were playing in the promenade in front of the Palace: A boy and a girl. They were both about the same age and the girl's hair was braided in a lovely way. They were two happy children, without knowing of the war that had gone on for too long now. Their father always seemed to put the girl in advantage in comparison with the boy, while their mother seemed to spend more time with the boy. The two children were playing hide and seek and they had the entire promenade to hide in.

"Gotcha!", the boy laughed, when he looked behind a bush.


"No you didn't! I showed myself. That's not fair", the girl said.


"It's not my fault you showed yourself", the boy brought in.


"It maybe not, but this one still doesn't count."


"Oh, I see. You just can't stand losing, can you?", he tried to tease her.


"Of course I can."


"All right. Prove it!"


"Maybe some other time. Now I need to rest a little, because, gosh I'm tired."


"No you're not. A few moments ago you were just as active as you are now. You just don't want to prove it. You know I'm right!"


The girl was speechless. She didn't know what to say. Deep from inside she knew it was true, but she couldn't bear telling him the truth, so she lied, as she would for the rest of her entire life.


"I can stand losing", she said, showing no emotions at all, not a single clue that she lied.


She didn't even tremble, like most people do when they lie.


"All right", he said. "Then this one will count!"


"Oh, okay. This point counts. Are you happy now?"


"No, but that doesn't have anything to do with this."


"Children. Uncle Iroh's here!", Ursa said from the door opening.


"Yay!", Zuko said, but Azula wasn't so excited.


Ursa saw her depressed face and asked her what was wrong.


"Nothing", she lied and she walked on, her face down.


Zuko saw it, but he didn't pay much attention. Instead, he ran into his uncle's arms and greeted him like never before, as his father didn't have much time to spend with him. Iroh's son, Lu Ten was there too and he also greeted the crown prince.


"Uncle, I'm so happy to see you", Zuko said.


"I'm glad you are, my nephew", Iroh said.


"Hi, Zuko. Shall we play?", Lu Ten asked him excited, but Zuko declined.


"Nah, don't feel like playing now. Go play with my sister if you like."


"Aww, come on. Just for a few minutes. It'll be fun!", Lu Ten said, while he was jumping up and down like a monkey.


"Just go, Zuko. I think it's a good idea to play with Lu Ten for a while", Ursa said from behind him.


Zuko was scared of that sudden voice and quickly looked back to see who it was.


"Thanks, aunt. I'm glad you agree with me. Come on, Zuko."


"Oh, okay. I'm going already."


"Have fun, you two!", Ursa said to the two of them.


And the boys walked out.


Zuko was still stuck between the shuriken and the wall. He tried to move, but he couldn't. Then he saw Aang getting hit by a thunderbolt and everything suddenly went extremely slow in front of his eyes. Aang slowly fell out of the air and smacked down on the floor with a loud noise. His tattoos glowed for one moment and then the light faded. The Avatar had fallen.


Zuko felt all kinds of mixed emotions now in his heart. He'd have liked to burst out in rage and kill his sister with all the power he possesses. Or yell at her until she had became deaf. He'd have done horrible things to her, things that can't be imagined. But he couldn't. He was stuck and there was no one to help him. How can this be, he thought. She just took him out of mid-air and she just killed him, not feeling any compassion for him, showing no emotion at all. She didn't regret it at all. That is not human, that's monstrous.


No one said a word when Aang hit the floor. It was silent. Everything was silent. Even Azula, who normally would have gone through with her doings, unlike the rest of the people, was silent. Outside, the whole world felt that they had lost Aang's presence. The Four Nations were silent.


A light. A shining bright light. It enlightened the area. A blue tattooed boy was ascended by a cerebrum-biblical cord towards the light. His eyes went open. He didn't see with his eyes, but with his mind. He saw the light covering everything. Although the light was brighter than the sun's, he wasn't blinded by it. Then, also by using his mind, he heard a voice speaking. It was a low, strong voice and it seemed somehow familiar.


"AVATAR. YOU ARE CHOSEN. YOU WILL FINISH YOUR QUEST. ONLY THEN YOU WILL HAVE PEACE WITHIN YOURSELF. NOW GO AND FULFILL YOUR DESTINY."


The cord broke and the boy fell hundreds of meters down, away from the light, towards his body in the mortal world.


"Uncle, haven't you had a brother or sister?", Zuko asked, serving a cup of tea.


They were in a Fire Nation Ship, a few weeks after Zuko was banished.


"I suppose you have forgotten that I'm your uncle and therefore your father's brother", Iroh answered.


"Oh yes, of course I didn't forget that", Zuko laughed, a little embarrassed.


"Although, I did have another brother", Iroh continued in a more serious way.


"You mean I have another uncle!"


Zuko was stunned.


"Uhh, no, you HAD another uncle."


"Tell me!"


"It was in the time that my father, Azulon, was the Fire Lord. There was your father Ozai, Imao and me. We were about the same age, but I was the oldest, so I would be the next Fire Lord. However, I didn't really care about my future and my childhood passed by very quickly. Before I knew it I was a General of the Fire Nation. Imao was my youngest brother and there was quite a gap between our ages. He was only a teenager when I was already a full-grown man. Unlike your father, Imao was pretty jealous of me being the crown prince. He wanted to be the crown prince himself. He wanted to be the Fire Lord. At first it wasn't that much of an issue, but after a while it became an obsession of his. For instance, he tried everything to outstand us, just to become Azulon's favorite child."


"Really, what'd he do?"


"Well, in the beginning he just tried to seem better than me, which I didn't mind by the way. But after a while I sensed dark feelings and even plots to injure me and sometimes even kill me! I guess he wasn't aware of the fact that he had another brother who would become Fire Lord before him. Anyway, after a lot of failures he eventually gave up and didn't speak to me for almost a month. And then one morning, he was gone."


Zuko watched him with for a while and he didn't say anything.


"But, but how?", he asked him.


"He vanished, just like the Avatar."


"Don't you start about the Avatar again. Do you know why I have this bandage covering my eye?", he said angrily, pointing at his forehead. "It's all because of him! He did it. He's the cause of all bad things in the whole wide world. That's why, when I find him, I will torture him until he begs me to stop!"


Iroh just sat there and drank up his tea. He didn't pay much attention to what his nephew had to say.


"IF you find him", Iroh said, between two gulps. "Get real. He hasn't been seen by anyone in a hundred years, so why'd we find him?"


"Because I think I know where he might be", Zuko said determined. "To the Western Air Temple!", he yelled at his crew.


Within the Palace walls, everything was silenced by the efforts of Azula. A light had gone out and darkness now covered everything. Zuko couldn't bear to watch, just like Sokka. Their friend had been ripped out of their hearts. He would only exist in their hearts.


Suddenly, a small straw of light appeared. It shone through the thick ceiling as if there was no ceiling. It was not bright, but it was definitely there. It slowly descended to the body of the fallen. Only Azula saw this happen. Then, the tattoos started to glow and there was slight movement. The Avatar opened his eyes once again and they glowed like never before. He was slowly put down on his feet by the light and eventually it disappeared. The Avatar stood fast and faced his opponent once again. Azula was speechless. She couldn't grasp the fact that he had actually returned from his death.


"This...", she muttered while witnessing a light brighter than she had ever seen. "... this is impossible."


Sokka and Zuko turned their heads simultaneously because of the light that had suddenly appeared. Their jaws dropped open and they were speechless.


Outraged, the Avatar Spirit took control over Aang's body and enlightened it from inside out. All Avatar Spirits were now working together as one and he had entered an alternative Avatar State, for his body wasn't glowing blue, but scarlet red, as were his eyes.


The shining appearance ascended and levitated through the air, moving to a motionless, trembling, Azula. She watched him approaching and suddenly she felt fear like she's never felt before. At first she walked away from him slowly, but since he kept following her she started running. The outraged, red Avatar Spirit was now preparing to cast a blazing Fireball at her. Suddenly, she stopped running and there was true despair in her eyes. She knew she couldn't run forever, so she fell on her knees and begged the spirit for mercy.


"Please Avatar, I'm sorry! Don't kill me! Please." She even cried with it.


It touched Aang's soul. He couldn't kill her now. She was too vulnerable right now. Aang regained control over his body and left the Avatar State. He looked at her, but he didn't know what to think of her. Was she really sorry for everything? Did she feel genuine guilt?


"I think everyone deserves a second chance", he eventually spoke and walked over to her, offering her his hand.


Everyone was astonished. Did he really say this? Did he really accept Azula's apologies after all she had done to him?


When he got close, she revealed a huge Fireball she had created and cast it at him. She had proven she had deceived everyone once again. There was no time to think for Aang. He jumped away quickly and the cast Fireball crashed on the wall, leaving a black, burned spot. "Does this never stop?", Aang asked himself out loud while leaning against a wall. He also realized the fight wasn't over, not by a long shot. With pain in his heart he regained his strength and opposed his archenemy one more time. He stretched both his arms, Earthbending the floor under Azula. He closed her in by forming a pile of rocks into a cage. Unfortunately, her Firebending skills got her out of that trap. As this technique didn't work the Avatar swung around his arms and formed a tornado. Then he pushed both his hands in Azula's direction and a wave of earth was sent after it. Surprisingly, Azula's agility got her out of this too, for she climbed against the wall up the ceiling, crawled out of the opening on the top, made by the Avatar's attack, until she stood on top of the Palace. Realizing she had an advantage from the high ground, Aang opened his air glider and flew upward to the roof. She already stood there, waiting for him.


"I'm going to end this, Avatar, for once and for all!", she yelled at him.


"So be it", Aang said confident, when he had set foot upon the roof.


Azula took the offense and cast lightning at the Avatar, which he blocked by sweeping his air glider in front of it. Avatar opened his air glider and quickly evaded the fireball sent at him. He flew high up in the sky and started to make circles. His Airbend abilities caused his air glider to circle faster and faster. He kept flying in circles and eventually a tornado showed up in the circle. He floated upward high above the air cylinder and pushed it forward to Azula. She saw the tornado getting closer and tried to think of a solution to get of there, but she had to think fast; the tornado was on its way. When it reached the roof of the Palace, tiles were lifted up and they joined the ever growing chunk of debris. Azula still stood there, motionless, as she couldn't think of an evasion plan. As a last refuge she tried to grab hold on some tiles, but they too were lifted into mid-air. Eventually, the storm took her out of sight and she disappeared in the distance.


Exhausted, Aang jumped down from the roof to the floor and checked on his friends. Katara was still unconscious, but Zuko and Sokka weren't. They asked him how it went.


"She's gone for now", he started positively, "but I don't think it's over yet", he added sadly.


"Me neither", Zuko said rather disappointed.


"What happened?", Sokka asked.


"I blew her away with a giant tornado", he said while thinking he must be blind or something that he missed that. "Oh, yeah", he thought out loud and stopped at once when he realized he talked to himself. He couldn't have seen it, because he was lying on the ground, powerless.


"What?", Sokka asked curiously.


"Nothing", Aang replied quickly, as if he knew that question would come.


Realizing Katara was still lying unconscious on the ground, he ran over to her the moment he spotted her.


"Katara, Katara, wake up!", he said, while shaking her tender body roughly.


When she didn't respond tears appeared in Aang's eyes and he hugged her tight.


"Come on, Katara! It's over. The bad dream, it's over", he whispered in her ear, hoping it would bring her back. Aang felt his hand rubbing over several burn marks and he feared he would never see his love again.


Then, some coughs and Katara's beautiful eyes slowly opened, peering in Aang's.


"A-A-Azula. Is she gone?", she asked, while looking into his big, bright eyes.


"For now", Aang said and he looked away, to the beautifully adorned Royal Garden.


"But something tells me she'll be back."


When Zuko enters the bedroom he spots the note on the bed. Even from a distance he could see it was written by Mai. He jumped up his bed and read the letter carefully.


Dear Zuko,


Don't look for me, because you won't find me. I've accepted the reality between you and your friend and I don't my hopes up. I could have known, but I was too blind to see it. Anyway, I have left you, because you have left me. I thought we could be together after the war. Apparently I was wrong, terribly wrong, because you left me again in secret. It was then that I knew that you were not in love with me. The only thing I ask myself is why. Why did you pretend to be in love with me? Why did you choose someone else over me again. I guess I'll never know.


The best,


Mai


Zuko had to read the letter multiple times to realize she had really left. She didn't know he was looking for his mother. She didn't know he was looking for the Avatar. He didn't even write her one letter and he was suddenly gone for supposedly two weeks. And she was also held hostage by corrupt agents of the Dai-Li and Azula. No wonder she believed Azula when she told her he was in love with Katara. He suddenly got tears in his eyes. He didn't want THIS to happen! It's true he has feelings for Katara, but that doesn't mean he doesn't love her anymore. He searched the letter one more time for clues of where he could find her, but in vain. She had carefully written this letter and hadn't left any clue in it that might lead him to her. Why, he asked himself. Why do all bad things happen to him? Why are things always complicated for him? Why can't he get rid of the feelings for Katara? And most importantly: Why did she choose hìm?


The next day Zuko was back on his throne and started a very important meeting with his best Generals and captains and even the Fire Sages.


"As you all might know, I'm currently in grave danger", the Fire Lord stated.


"Yes, we know", an old man, probably a captain, said. "Why did you mention that?"


"Because I'm leaving the Palace again", Zuko said.


Everyone was shocked by this sudden announcement and the entire council rumored about dozens of things, constantly interrupting the Fire Lord.


"That is why", Zuko said raising his voice, "I will leave the reign of this Nation to my uncle."


Rumors again and one of the Generals said: "But sir, isn't your uncle currently in Ba Sing Se."


"Yes, he is. That is why", he raised his voice again, "someone has to substitute for him and I will decide who that will be."


The rumoring faded.


"But sir", the same man asked again, "can't you just wait till he has arrived?"


"No, I can't, but I can't say why. That is a secret."


"All right, but who's the substitute then?"


"That's my highest ranked General, General Shinu."


The man in question stood up and walked to the throne. There he bowed deep for his superior.


"I'm honored to present my services to you, my Lord."


"All right. Then I'll be leaving now. I suppose you can handle it?"


Shinu, who had already stood up said with a suspicious grin on his face: "That I can, my Lord. That I can."


Zuko went to the Messenger Wing, picking a messenger hawk for his very important letter. He literally bumped into Katara while stepping through the doorstep. She seemed to have received a lot of mail from her father, because it was scattered all over the floor.


"Oops", he said in his usual voice.


"Doesn't matter", she said blushing, while squatting to pick up her scrolls.


"Quite some mail have you got there", he mentioned.


"Yeah, it's from my dad. He wants to know if we're okay. First you don't receive anything from him and the next moment he stuffs the paws of your messenger hawks full of scrolls. The poor thing had to fly all the way from the South Pole."


"I wish my father sent me some mail", he blabbed out.


Katara didn't know what to say. Instead she bundled her scrolls together in one pile and held them to her breast.


"I guess, I'll see you later", she awkwardly said goodbye to him.


"Yeah, later", he said, while entering the Wing.


When he tried to pick a messenger hawk, the beast started to peck his arm.


"Ow, stop that or you'll find yourself in a cooking pot."


Miraculously, his threat have kept the creature quiet. At least, he thought so. For when he tried to wrap a rope around its paw, the bird started picking again.


"Ow, what'd I just say?"


The beast kept on picking him.


"Hey, I mean it!"


It didn't stop, no matter what he tried.


"All right, you asked for it."


With one hand he grabbed the bird, while he bended a Fireball with his other hand.


"If you don't stop right now, you'll get fried", he threatened, moving the bird closer to the fire.


The creature stopped picking at once and the Fire Lord swiftly wrapped the rope with the piece of paper attached around the hawk's paw.


"All right, hawky. Bring this letter to my uncle in Ba Sing Se."


He released the bird and it flew through the sky in the direction of Ba Sing Se. Behind the mountain, a bright beam of light appeared, zapping the messenger hawk. A huge figure emerged where the beast had crash-landed. His massive hand unwrapped the rope from the hawk's paw. He opened the scroll and his giant, three-eyed head scanned over it. He growled something and his third eye opened. A huge flash of light combusted the area and the messenger hawk was never seen or heard of again.

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