Dai Li agents
Civil Unrest
Chapter information

Dancing Shadows





Release date

June 29, 2011

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Bar Fights are Fun!

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What Goes Around

The third chapter of the first part of Dancing Shadows.


Feng and Wei pull off a job for the Dai Li.


The Job

Feng woke up, groggy. He sat up in bed and rubbed his eyes. It was midday already. He dragged himself out of bed, and out into the kitchen. He grabbed a loaf of bread and sat down in a chair. Wei was probably out of the house already. He had needed that long sleep, he had spent the entire day before training, hard. He and Wei would definitely need it.

Since their job killing Lu Zeng, Feng and Wei had been given and completed four other jobs, each for decent pay. Since then, they had been training almost every day, determined to get better at their job.

Feng finished his bread and walked out of the house. He decided to take a walk. As he turned out of the square his house was located in, he was suddenly slammed against the wall. He looked up and saw a man with a hard face, with brown hair put in a medium-length ponytail. He wore the uniform of the Dai Li.

"Come with me," the man said. "We have something to discuss."

"And why should I trust you?" Feng asked.

"Because if you don't come with me, then you'll be put in prison to rot for the next fifty years."

"I'm coming."

Head of the Dai Li

"Come with me. We have something to discuss."

"That's what I thought." Feng followed the man into a nearby alley. The man stopped at the end of it and said, "My name is Jin Lo. I'm from the Dai Li. I'll cut straight to the point. We know about you and your partners "jobs." You don't do what we say, and you will get thrown into prison."

"How do you know about the jobs?"

"We're the Dai Li. It's our business to know everything. That includes who just killed who. Now, I have a proposition for you. Are you willing to listen?"

"Do I have a choice?"

"You do. The problem with that is if you take the wrong choice, you get thrown in a prison. Now, here's the proposition. There's a man we want taken down."

"Wait a minute, what? The Dai Li wants me to take someone down?"

"Just listen. You know about the War, right?"

"Yeah, sure, the big War that we've been in for almost a hundred years now. We're not allowed to talk about it in the city, right?"

"And there lies the problem. This man we want taken down, he's been making speeches. Advertising the corruption of the Dai Li and the Earth Kingdom in general, spreading unrest about the War. If this continues, there is threat of serious civil unrest."

"Why can't the Dai Li themselves deal with this?"

"Are you kidding? If someone found out the Dai Li assassinated that man, there WOULD be serious civil unrest."

"And so, you need someone on the outside. Preferably, someone you can blackmail."

"Blackmail is such a strong word."

"Yet appropriate." Jin ignored this and continued.

"The man's name is Maesong. You will find him preaching his unrest two squares down from yours. You do this job, and all charges against you and your partner will be dropped. You don't do it, and you'll rot in prison. We have a deal?"

"I guess so."

"Good. We'll be watching."

Jin Lo turned and walked a short distance down the alleyway, then slid a piece of earth down from under his feet and dropped down. The earth slid back into place.

"Of course," Feng muttered. "Great, now I gotta tell Wei we're doing a job for the Dai Li."

He walked back to the house, where he found Wei sitting by the table, playing with a dagger.

"Hey, Wei," he said. "I got us a job."

"Nice. How much for this time?"

"No money."

"What? Then what for?"

"A clean slate. The job is for the Dai Li."

"The Dai Li!? What?"

"They know about our recent jobs. A man from the Dai Li told me that if we don't do this job, they'll throw us in prison."

"Great. So, what's the job?"

"Apparently a man named Maesong has been preaching about the War. The Dai Li is afraid of civil unrest. We're supposed to deal with this man."

"Alright, then, sit down and give me the details. Grab the map, too, we need a plan."

From the Shadows

Feng grabbed a map of the Lower Ring they had bought from Old Joe out of a cupboard and sat down. He pointed at the square two squares down from theirs.

"The square Maesong will be preaching in is right there. Now, we need to figure out a way to assassinate him without being seen. And if we kill him in front of everyone, I doubt the Dai Li would be pleased. Any thoughts?"

"We need to tail him, from the rooftops. Find out where he lives. Sound good?"

"Yeah, perfect. I want this done, let's get down to the square within the hour."

"Got it."

Half an hour later, they had collected their weapons and gone to the square. As they walked in, they could hear a man speaking loudly.

"They cover it up! They keep it from us! There is war outside of our walls! It will not stop while we cower away in here! It will find us! And yet the Dai Li keeps it from us!" the voice was coming from a large man on top of a wooden platform. The man had short, brown hair.

"That must be Maesong," Feng said. "Wow, he's loud. Okay, let's see... We should tail him from the rooftops, less chance of being seen that way... Hey, Wei, stand over there, okay?"

"Really, Feng, again? Fine..." Feng launched her onto the roof, then himself. They looked around, and found a house with a large chimney and crouched behind it.

They waited for a long time. Eventually, as the sun began to set, Maesong got down from his platform, and turned down a road. Another man followed him.

"Man, he's got a bodyguard," Feng observed. "Come on, Wei, let's go!" Feng and Wei jumped across the rooftops, never letting Maesong out of sight for long, but always making sure they were hidden. Eventually, Maesong turned into an alleyway, and eventually arrived at a large mansion. He went inside, and when he did, two more men took positions outside the house.

"Man, where does he get the money for this? A mansion, guards..." Feng whispered.

Wei replied, "Won't matter once he's dead. Let's get inside."

"There are two guards there. Probably more elsewhere. You have an idea?"

"Get out your bow, Feng."

Feng grabbed his bow off his back, and notched an arrow to it. Wei grabbed a knife out of her belt.

She whispered, "One, two... Three." Feng loosed his arrow and Wei threw her knife at the same time. Wei's knife hit the guard in the stomach; she quickly threw two more and hit the man twice more. He fell over, dead. Feng's arrow hit his guard in the shoulder, Feng quickly loosed another one, and it hit the man in the throat. He pulled the arrow out, and fell on his side, dead. Feng and Wei jumped down. Feng examined the door. It was locked; they would have to find another way in.

Wei suddenly whispered, "Quick, Feng, grab a body and stash it somewhere, guards are coming!" Feng rushed over to the body of the man he had shot, made a depression in the ground, and threw the body in.

"Hey, Wei, throw your guy's body in here!" She did as he said. Feng closed up the depression, and the two quickly dove behind a corner as the two guards came by.

One of the men stopped and looked around.

He looked to the other guard and said, "Hey, aren't there supposed to be some others on watch right now?"

"Yeah, I think so. Probably snuck off for a drink. Well, let's go tell the boss. Sounds like those two won't be getting paid."

The two men walked into the house.

"Okay, now, how do we get into the house?" Feng asked. Wei replied,

"First things first. We should check out the perimeter. There might be more of the guards, they'll make things harder."

"Got it. Let's go."

Finding an Entrance

The pair got up to the rooftops again and crouched down. The house was located at the end of four alleyways, and surrounded by other houses. It was in the middle of a small courtyard. There was a fountain on the side of the courtyard Feng and Wei were at. They snuck around the rooftops of surrounding houses, darting from cover to cover. On the next side of the house, a small garden was outside the house. Six guards were patrolling this side.

"Okay, Wei, we need to take these guys out quietly. Only kill when the others can't see them. Keep an eye on those two by the bushes, first." The two guards were near some shrubs, fairly isolated. After a small period of waiting, the two guards sat down behind the shrubs to rest. Feng and Wei maneuvered to an angle on the roofs where they could get a clear shot. Once he was there, he notched an arrow to his bow.

"Get ready, Wei. One, two-"

"Wait a minute, Feng. That's a long way. I can't throw that far."

"Fine, then." Feng drew another arrow out of his quiver, and held it at the ready. He aimed, and loosed the first arrow, quickly notching and releasing the other arrow after it. The first guard fell dead; the second didn't have time to shout for help before the second arrow pierced his skull.

One guard walked over into the first side of the courtyard.

"Hey, Feng, I'm gonna get down to the ground."

"Okay. Don't get caught." She dropped to the ground, and, using crates scattered around the courtyard as cover, went back to the main entrance and snapped the man's neck. She put his body in some crates nearby.

The three guards left were still in the garden, two near the front of the garden, and one near the door to the house itself. Wei nodded up to Feng. Using the crates as cover, she snuck over to the other side, and put a knife through one of the guard's heart. Feng put an arrow in the other man's neck. Wei then ran up and put a knife in the last man. Feng jumped down from the roof and nodded to Wei.

"Nice job. Let's get our stuff back, stuff these bodies, and move on." Feng gathered the arrows that hadn't broken, Wei collected her knives, and they both helped drag the bodies into some of the many crates nearby.

The Target

As Wei was moving to climb up to the rooftops, Feng put a hand on her shoulder.

"Wait a minute, Wei," he said. "This entrance is good. Let's just move inside, I just wanna be done with this." Wei nodded, and they moved over to the door. Feng quietly opened the door, making sure to prevent it squeaking. They moved inside, and Feng shut the door just as quietly.

They were standing inside a large living room. It was extremely well furnished.

Man, where does this guy get his money? Feng wondered. "Alright, Wei, let's find Maesong so we can get out of here," he whispered. Wei nodded. They silently walked over into the next room in the house, it was a large dining room, with an enormous oaken table in the middle.

"Hey, Feng, where do you think this guy is?" Wei whispered.

"I dunno. It's full dark by now, though. He'll be sleeping, somewhere. This house has at least three floors. I imagine he'll be somewhere near the top."

"Got it. Oh, and Feng. We should try and kill Maesong in some way that doesn't look like he just got his throat cut, okay?"

"What? Why?"

"The Dai Li wouldn't like it much if he was found with half his head off, and I'd like to stay out of jail."

"Okay. We'll figure something out. Come on."

The pair moved through the house, looking for stairs. In the next room, another large living room, there was a guard drinking out of a canteen. Feng snuck up to him and broke his neck, proceeding to hide his body in a large cupboard. The next room after that had stairs, which they went up, trying not to squeak. Feng stopped Wei at the top of the stairs.

"Hey, Wei, look up there." Up ahead there was a grand oaken door. "Think Maesong's in there?"

"I dunno. Worth a shot, though. If nothing else, there's money. We need some more cash, because someone decided to take a job not worth anything." Feng laughed quietly.

"Shut up, Wei." They silently moved forward to the door. Wei opened it carefully. Unfortunately, as she opened it, the door squeaked loudly.

"Damn," she swore. They stopped and looked into the room. It was, indeed, a large bedroom.

A figure in the bed in the middle sat up, groggily.

"That's Maesong," Wei said. Feng nodded. They strolled into the room. Maesong looked at them.

Old Fire Nation civilian

"It was the Dai Li, wasn't it!?"

"What? Who are you?" Feng didn't answer. "You- You're- I knew this would happen, I knew it! Where are my guards? Why aren't they here? Guards!" Feng spoke up.

"Sorry, Maesong. The guards aren't coming." Maesong looked scared at that point.

"How do you know my name!? Who sent you? It was the Dai Li, wasn't it!?" Feng didn't answer. He drew his dagger, ran forward, and stabbed Maesong threw the heart.

"Feng!" Wei said. "We were supposed to make his death look natural!"

"Don't worry, I got it!" Feng looked around for a bit, until he found what he was looking for. He grabbed an broadsword off of the wall. "People need to stop buying antiques like these." He placed one in the wound, at an angle that it looked as though an accident. "Come on, Wei. Let's leave."

A Clean Slate

The duo celebrated with some drinks at the nearest bar, then went back to their home and fell asleep.

The next morning, Feng and Wei went out to buy more food. As they walked through an alleyway, Feng heard a noise. He whipped around, bringing a dozen earthen spikes out, pointed at the noise. Jin Lo was standing there. He waved aside the spikes lazily.

"Did you do it?"

"It's done. Don't worry, we hid all the guard's bodies, and made his death look like an accident."

"Very good. You and your partner are released from all charges. Your slate is wiped clean. Well done." Jin Lo walked down the alleyway, and disappeared, as before.

"So, that's Jin Lo, huh?" Wei said. "Not very friendly, is he?"

"Not really," Feng replied. The duo laughed about it as they walked down the alleyway.

Jin Lo knelt before a tall figure with a long, black ponytail, with his back turned to Jin. They were in the palace of Ba Sign Se.

"It's done," Jin Lo said. The figure spoke in a commanding voice.

Long Feng grins

"Keep an eye on those two."

"Very good. The pair you contracted, Feng and Wei?"


"Keep an eye on those two. I have a feeling we'll be seeing more from them."

"Of course."

The man walked two steps forward, lowered the wall, walked in, and then closed the wall. Jin Lo walked away in the opposite direction.

"Keep an eye on them," he muttered to himself. "Of course."


  • Jin Lo will be seen later in Dancing Shadows.
  • This chapter took a good while to complete, as the author had writer's block for a while.

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For the collective works of the author, go here.

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