(137 AG) Wave of Despair
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The Darkest Flame



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The Scollard

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(137 AG) A Blast from the Past

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(137 AG) Cat and Mouse

They watched him from the rooftops, using Aang's airbending to safely traverse between the high buildings. They made sure to keep a close eye on Lee, who had picked up a black trenchcoat since he finished talking to them at the casino, so that they didn't let him out of their sight. They watched him as he wandered around city blocks and through crowded places, perhaps worried he was being followed and deciding to lose his pursuers.

"What's Lee doing now?" Toph asked.

"It seems he's heading into another marketplace. So either this guy really likes looking at fruit, or what he is planning is important enough to try and lose anybody who might be following him" Aang said.

The market was shaded by large cloths that were strung up between stalls. Due to the cloths, they were not able to see inside from their vantage point on the roof. Aang and Tenzin reached the ground first, using their airbending to ride a ball of air down the side of the building. They were soon followed by Lin and her mother, who instead slowed their descent by earthbending while sliding down the building's outer walls. The four benders converged at the entrance to the market.

"Where is he?" Aang asked, "I saw him just a second ago."

"We should check out the market, Aang" Toph said, "I may be able to find Lee by sensing the vibrations of his footsteps. He does seem to have an interesting way of walking."

They ran into the market, searching for the gangster who had lost them in the crowd of the busy market. There were stalls and people seemingly everywhere. How in the world were they supposed to find one person among the many? Suddenly, Toph stopped.

"Aang," she said, "I think I found something."

"Is it Lee?" he asked.

"The vibrations I'm feeling seem to match his footsteps, but they are getting mixed up with all the others from the crowd," she said, "It's hard to concentrate on only one set of footsteps, so I can't be sure."

"Where are they coming from?" he said, "It's now our only lead."

"Here," she said, as she started leading the way.

Toph walked through the aisles and rows of the market as they the members of the group with eyesight kept their eyes peeled for a man in a black suit. They passed stalls carrying all sorts of goods, ranging from foreign furniture to local produce. They turned down one aisle and managed to catch a break in their search.

"There he is" Lin said, "Good thing we didn't lose him."

Lee was walking down the aisle, seemingly browsing the produce. Well, very quickly browsing the produce, as he was briskly walking down the aisle and not bothering even a passing glance to the stalls. However, he picked up a fruit from one of the stalls, and, without even looking, tossed the payment to the merchant. They followed him through even more aisles, where he tried to lose them, or perhaps somebody else, using sharp, quick turns down random aisles and intersections. He also seemed to be eating his fruit as he navigated the maze that was the market. Suddenly, he stopped, causing the group to stop as well.

"He's going to turn around," said Toph.

Mr. Lee turned around, placing the remains of the fruit in a nearby trashcan. As he looked around, he peeled his eyes for any familiar faces, anybody who had been following him. He scanned the area, but noticed nothing. He turned back and started walking away, it was time to act now.

"Phew" Tenzin said, "That was close."

The various members of the group had hidden themselves behind anything they could find; stalls, carpets, anything really. Thankfully, their hiding places allowed them to avoid being seen by Lee. All the members of their small group got out of their hiding places, as people were starting to notice them and were probably wondering what they were doing. They continued following Lee, using both Toph senses and their eyesight. Thankfully, they figured their tail was over as Lee exited the market. He walked out and quickly headed to an eight-story building on the right side of the street. He opened the door and headed in. Right after he had done so, the group quickly rushed over to the same door, ready to find out what Lee was planning.

"It seems to be an apartment building" Lin said.

They looked inside the building through one of the lobby's windows. They hadn't seen Lee, so they came inside. They heard footsteps coming from upstairs, so they creeped up there, careful not to make any noise that would alert Lee to their presence. The footsteps stopped as they reached the floor they were coming from. They leaned around the corner, peeking their heads out to see Lee knocking on a door. The door quickly opened and a familiar voice came out.

"What do you want, Lee?" Chang said.

"I'm here to finish some business" he replied, "To put the finishing touches on our deal."

"Okay, come in then" Chang said.

Lee entered the apartment, and the door closed again.

"So Lee sold out his boss and his triad to get money working with Chang" Lin said.

"Certainly looks that way" Aang said, "He said that Chang wanted to purchase the casino, and with Yarolaq out of the way, he can. They can make a lot of money from that venture and..."

Suddenly, their conversation was cut off by the sound of glass smashing. They quickly rushed to the apartment and opened the door to see Lee hitting Chang's head into the table. He looked up and pulled Chang's head for a final smash, hitting him into the table so hard the impact probably broke his nose, if it wasn't broken already, of course. Chang fell to the ground, clutching his face.

"Hello, Avatar" Lee said, "I thought someone was following me."

"What are you doing, Lee?" Aang said.

"As I told you before, Avatar, I'm dealing with some..." Lee said, before kicking Chang in the stomach, ""

"And your business involves killing people?" Aang said sarcastically.

"Well, yes. I am a hired killer after all," he said, answering Aang's rhetorical question, "Though I personally like to consider myself to be in the business of pest control."

"And, let me guess, you consider Chang to be a pest" Aang said.

"Men like Zhao Chang are the worst kind of pests. They swarm upon a place of destruction and disaster and try to use it to make a quick yuan," he said, "They relish and thrive in chaos, and that's why they need to be dealt with. I mean, he would probably start a triad war to make some money. Oh wait, he already did. That's the reason why Yarolaq sent me to kill him."

"Yarolaq's in jail" Toph said, "Why on earth are you following the orders of the guy you just sent to prison?"

"I'm the kind of person who never leaves a job unfinished" Lee said, "Besides, I enjoy killing. It's fun, and this guy really deserves it."

Aang and Toph looked at each other, realizing exactly how big of a mistake they made by arresting Yarolaq. It seemed that opportunity was too good to be true.

"Now, Avatar" Lee said, "I'm afraid Mr. Chang time in this world is just about finished. Isn't that right, Chang?"

He kicked the man hard in the stomach again, causing him to cry out. Lee quickly drew some water from his flask.

"No words for mercy, Avatar. You're not even trying to stop me. That's because you know that what this guy did, all the people who died because of him, and all the destruction he's caused, makes this right" Lee said, "Sure, you won't kill him yourself because you want to hang on to your silly moral high ground. Let me tell you, Avatar, we are all bad people, the people who show it are the ones who want things to change, to become better. So let me kill him. Let me make things better."

Aang brought himself into a fighting stance.

"Despite what you said about Chang, and what he apparently did, I'm not going to let you kill him," he said, "Maybe he started this gang war, but I don't know that for certain, and even then, he deserves to be put on trial, not executed in cold blood."

"Frankly, Avatar" Lee said, "Your idealism shows just how naïve you are. Problems just don't go away when you stop a leader, or arrest a gangster. You're just replacing them, and that does nothing. Things don't disappear when you can't see the physical effects any more. They simply bide their time and wait underneath the surface to hatch themselves again."

"And taking someone's life will fix the problem" Aang said.

"No, it requires more than that" Lee said, "But the death of Zhao Chang will be the first step on the way to my triad taking over this city, and crushing these firebenders once and for all". Suddenly, the door swung open. The group turned around and saw a young boy, around Tenzin's age standing in the doorway.

"Dad, I'm home," he said, "What's happening? Who are these people?"

"Han. Leave" Chang sputtered out, "It's just business."

"Do what your dad says, kid" Lee said, "We are currently in an important meeting, and you don't want tied up in affairs."

"I... I'm not leaving" Han said, "Who are all you people?"

He turned to Toph and Lin.

"Why are you two wearing police uniforms? Why are you all here?" he said, scared.

"This man is planning to kill your father" Aang said to the boy.

"What..." Han said, raising his arms into a fighting stance, "I can firebend, I'll fight you."

"That would be a bad idea" Lee said, "How old are you, kid?"

"Old enough to stop you from killing my father," he said, trying to sound tough, but failing.

Lee chuckled.

"Actually, Lee" Aang said, "It would be a bad idea to try and kill your only hostage when you're about to face 5 benders, one of whom is the Avatar. Let him go. Can you really kill him in front of his own son?"

"Very well, Avatar," he said.

Lee went into a fighting stance, expecting an attack from any of the benders in the room, his eyes scanning the room for anything he could use to his advantage. Aang looked at Chang, he was pretty beat up, his blood running down his face. However, he was crawling away from Lee. He eventually got close enough for Aang to help him up. Aang grabbed the business man and lifted him off the ground. Chang leaned against one of the walls, as Lee dropped his arms, keeping one foot in front of the other.

"The answer is yes" Lee said, seemingly out of nowhere.

It all happened in a split second. Lee crouched down and started moved his arm in a circle in front of him. The water flowed out of the flask, following his movements. As his arm was at the lowest point of the circle, the water started freezing to the ground. As he brought his arm up, a wave of ice started forming in front of him. The crest of the wave reached change, and a small movement by Lee turned the smooth crest into two sharp shards of ice. The ice stabbed into Chang's torso, lifting him off the ground as Lee finished the movement.

"You... You..." Aang said.

"Killed him. Yes, Avatar" Lee said.

Chang tried gasping for air, but his breaths were short and shallow. One or both of his lungs were probably pierced. Blood started coming out of his mouth, dripping onto the ice, staining it with small, red droplets. Lee waved his hand and melted the ice, and used the water to send Chang's body flying into the corner.

"Dad!" Han cried, his voice choking. He ran over to his father's body and cradled it.

Lee moved his hand, and most of the blood-stained water flowed back into his flask. He was playing with a small amount of the red liquid, sending it around his hands before putting back with rest of it in the flask.

He chuckled.

"Look," he said, "I'm bloodbending."

He was straight up laughing now.

"Mr. Lee" Toph said, trying to compose herself, "You are under arrest for the murder of Zhao Chang."

"Very well, Chief Beifong," he said, grinning and holding back his laughter, "I take pride in my actions."

He raised up his hands as a gesture of surrender.

"You... monster" Han said, still sobbing, "You killed my father, the only family I have left and you... you just laugh and joke about what you did."

"Well, your father shouldn't have gotten himself caught up in the triads if he wanted to raise a son in peace. Really you should be blaming him, I just follow my orders and do my job" Lee said.

Han got up and walked over to Lee, shaking with anger. His shirt was covered in his father's blood. Aang noticed its particular smell had taken over the room, tainting it. He had to stop more blood from being spilt, by Lee or Han.

"You... You just killed him, and YOU blame him for it" Han said, "Why shouldn't I kill you now, to avenge him. To make you suffer like you made him."

Han shot a flame out of his hand to add credence to his threat. Lee laughed.

"Just try to hit me, kid," he said jokingly, before suddenly changing to a serious tone, "It won't end well for you."

"LET'S SEE" he yelled.

He threw his fist at Lee, a jet of flame erupting from it. Then suddenly Lee raised his hand to block, and the next thing Aang saw was Lee's hand around the boy's wrist. He twisted the boy's hand so that the flame hit the roof and dissipated. Lee put his free arm around the boy's neck, neutralizing him. Suddenly, a shard of ice was pressing again his face. The shard of ice seemed to come from Lee's wrist.

So that's what the flask on his wrist was for.

"Let the boy go, Lee" Aang said.

"I don't think so, Avatar. I don't let my hostages go that easily," he said, gloating. "It's amazing how worked up all you got for such a little thing."

"Little? You killed a man, Lee" Toph said, indignant, "You took somebody's life away right in front of us, and you call that little?"

"Yes" Lee said, "Think about it, all of you. If I hadn't killed Chang today, so what, age would have done my job in a few years anyway. That is, if an accident or another gang member didn't deal with him first. What difference had me killing him now made?"

"He would have lived a few more years" Aang said, his teeth grinding in anger, "He would have been able to live his life, to raise his son, a little extra longer. Instead, you took that away from him."

"But what is living, Avatar" Lee said, "Is it doing the same thing over and over, going through a little cycle day after day, again and again? No, it isn't. Nobody truly lives; they simply go round and round in circles until they die. They get up, do the same thing as the day before, then go to bed. I simply ended the cycle for Mr. Chang here, changing absolutely nothing. I could have killed him tomorrow, or the day after, and it still wouldn't have changed anything."

"However, Avatar" Lee said, grinning while pressing the ice shard harder against the boy's neck, "I don't think now is the best time to discuss philosophy. In fact, I believe it is time to make my exit. Don't try anything, Avatar, or the kid dies. His life is meaningless, like his father's, and I really don't care whether he lives or dies. You, on the other hand, do, so I would suggest you don't do anything that might cause my hand to slip, and send the kid's blood all over this beautiful carpet. Do we understand each other?"

Aang sighed, he really couldn't do anything without risking the boy's life.

"Yes, we understand each other," he said through gritted teeth.

"Perfect, Avatar" Lee said, chuckling, "Just what I like to hear".

He started walking around them, keeping the boy in between him and Aang's group at all times, and always pressing the ice shard against his throat. Eventually, he reached the door.

"Goodbye, Avatar," he said, "We may meet again, but don't try to follow me."

He placed on of his hands, the one with the ice shard, on the door knob and opened it. He backed out of the door, keeping his eyes on the group at all times. He turned the corner and disappeared from their sight.

"No" Aang said, his voice taking on a defeated tone.

"Aang" Toph said, "We can still get Lee."

"But at what cost, Toph," he said, "Do we have him wipe out an entire family just to catch him."

"Yes," she said, "Think about it. If we let him go, he will kill again. If we stop him, we'll still be able to save at least some other lives, lives he will take if he gets away."

"No" Aang said, his voice growing confident, "We will stop Lee, and we will save that boy."

"Let's go, then," Toph said. "He already has a bit of a lead on us."

They rushed out of the apartment, and headed down the stairs and out the door into the street. Aang peered into the crowd on the sidewalk across from him. If Lee was there, he had a good chance of seeing him. There weren't many people on the other side, so finding a man in that crowd wouldn't be an impossible task. He felt something lightly and looked up.

"It looks like it will rain soon" Tenzin said, staring at the gray clouds above, "It only starting to drizzle now, but it's going to get worse."

Aang looked back across the street, and saw a black figure. He tried to get a closer look, but the figure went into one of the buildings on the other side of the street before he could make out any other details. However, it was their best lead on Lee.


A shriek rang out from the other side of the street. Aang and the group rushed across the busy street, dodging carriages rushing towards them in both directions. A carriage swerved to miss them, consequently crashing into a building.

"You idiots, GET OFF THE ROAD" the irritated driver yelled.

They finally reached the other side when they saw people rushing out of one of the building. The members of the group were able to put two and two together and deduced that that was where the scream came from. They rushed towards the building, dodging through crowds of people. Aang sent a blast of air towards the door, throwing it off its hinges. They burst inside, taking a look at the surroundings. There were couches and desks, including a main one, behind which was a shaking woman, near a set of stairs. A set of signs near the stairs had numbers on them and there carpets were set all over the floor. It seemed to be a hotel lobby of sorts. However, the thing that caught their attention the most was Lee in the centre of the room, still holding the ice shard to Han's neck.

"Ah, Avatar," he said, "I see you decided to show up, despite all my warnings to you"

He chuckled.

"I'm disappointed," he said.

"We are here to stop you" Aang said.

"And risk the kid's life, I see" he sighed, and took the shard off the boy's throat to motion to the group, "Remember kid, it's these people who caused you to die."

"GAAAHHHH" Lee suddenly yelled, as Han elbowed him in the stomach.

The boy forced himself out of Lee's hold and ran out of the building. Lee stood there in the centre of the room, and looked up at the benders, his eyes filled with shock.

Suddenly, just about every element was flying at him. He dodged underneath a boulder, which crashed into the signs, causing one to point towards the floor instead. Aang sent a blast of fire towards him. Lee rolled towards the desk, dodging the blast which dissipated into the air. He reached out in front and grabbed at the woman's clothes.

"STOP OR SHE DIES" Lee yelled.

He was grabbing the back of her shirt, and had his little ice blade at her throat. He pulled her over desk, and positioned her in between him and Aang.

"Looks like we're in the same position as before, Avatar," he said, "My conditions remain."

Aang just glared at him.

"At a loss for words," he said, grinning, "Understandable."

He slowly started walking back towards the staircase.

"I really must be going, Avatar," he said, "I have an appointment to make."

He reached the staircase.

"However, I don't see why we can't have fun for a little while longer," he said, in his infuriating gloating tone, "However, this time we play on my terms." He slit the woman's throat, her blood covering his shard of ice. The blood drained out of the cut, dripping onto the floor.

"Let's begin, Avatar," Lee said as he threw her body to the ground and bolted up the stairs.

Aang, Tenzin, Toph, and Lin followed him, giving chase.

Author's Note

And here's another chapter. I'm sorry for the wait, but parts of this chapter were difficult to write and plan, until I thought up the best way to do it. For references, they mostly involve Lee this chapter. His method of killing Chang is somewhat based on the way the Tyrant from Resident Evil kills its victims, though I didn't know it at the time, it took one of my friends to point out the similarities to me for me to realize it inspired me, however Lee uses an ice wave instead of claws in this case. The short ice shard he uses is based on the hidden blade from the Assassin's Creed series, as well as a gangster switchblade, as both are easy to conceal and great weapons for a hitman like Lee. I won't make any guarantees on when the next chapter will come out. I am currently working on it, but I also am trying to finish a chapter for the other story I'm writing, which I haven't updated in a while. Anyway, please review if you like the story, or if you have any constructive criticism. I always appreciate it.

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