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|By Agent Slash||Genre||Rating||Reviews||Updates|
|More from Agent Slash||Action/Adventure, Drama||PG-13||Positive||N/A|
"There's something wrong with me!" shouted an eight-year-old Ving. "Mom, I swear, something is wrong with me!"
"There is nothing wrong with you, Ving," the boy's mother said. "You probably just imagined it."
"But mom, I swear I saw it this time!" Ving insisted. "I was outside practicing my earthbending and I started to bend fire! This is the second time this has happened now!"
"Ving, I swear to the spirits, if you don't shut your mouth, there's definitely gonna be something wrong with you!" the boy's mother spat. "You won't be able to sit down for a week! Now get out of here!"
Ving ran outside into field behind his house and wept at his mother's harsh words. Why wouldn't she believe him? He knew what he saw! It wasn't until he saw a shadow cast over him that he looked up. Standing over him was a tall man in a dark cloak wearing a mask over his face.
"What are you crying about?" asked the masked man.
"I hate my mom!" Ving shouted. "She's so mean to me and I can't do anything about it!"
"Your name wouldn't happen to be Ving, would it?" asked the masked man.
"Yes, that's my name," Ving replied.
"Yes, Old Farmer Kashi talked about you," the masked man said. "He said just last month, he saw you bend two elements at once. Is that true?"
"Yeah!" Ving said, leaping up excitedly. "I tried to tell my mom about it, but she didn't believe me."
"I believe you," said the masked man.
"Thanks, stranger!" said Ving. "Who are you anyway?"
"My name is Jun," said the masked man. "Ving, what if I told you that you had the potential to be the most powerful being in the world?"
"What do you mean?" the boy queried.
"You have heard of the Avatar, haven't you?" Jun asked the boy.
"Yes," Ving replied. "But he's dead, isn't he? That's what mom said."
"No, he is still very much alive," said Jun. "Hiding somewhere like a coward. But there is such a thing as the Dark Avatar."
"What's that?" Ving asked, his young mind intrigued by the strange man's words.
"The Dark Avatar is the Avatar's polar opposite. He can bend all four elements just as the Avatar can, but while the Avatar lives for good, the Dark Avatar lives for evil," Jun explained. "And if you let me teach you, I will help you become powerful enough to vanquish anyone you dislike, whether it is your mother or anyone else."
"You can teach me how to bend all four elements?" asked Ving.
"Yes," said Jun. "I will mentor you."
"What about my mom?" asked Ving.
"You must kill her using earthbending."
Ving backed away from Jun upon hearing this. "But she's my mom."
"I thought you said you hated her," Jun recalled.
"If you are to be the most powerful being in the world, you can't have any sense of restraint!" Jun said. "Now go into the house and kill your mother!"
Ving nodded and slowly marched back into the house. He made his way into the kitchen and looked up at his mother.
"Oh, Ving, good, you're here," she said. "Listen, I'm sorry about what I said earlier. I know I haven't been a good mother, but I've just been under a lot of stress ever since your father died. I know that's not really an excuse, but I just want you to know I love you and I'm sorry for the way I've treated you."
Ving was weeping. He was inconsolable. Before his mother could ask what was wrong, the tears streaming down his face became the scars on her forehead as he launched three earth spikes from the ground, incapacitating her. She fell to the ground and gasped three short breaths, with tears now streaming down her face, before dying.
Ving walked out of what had once been his home, his eyes red with tears, and looked up at his new master.
"Excellent," said Jun. "Now let's begin your training."
The dark man in the trees gazed down on the members of Team Avatar who were too frightened by him to pay attention to the smoldering ruin that was once Aang and Katara's home. Darkness emanated from him. His teeth were clenched and although his eyes glowed purple, they were wilder than any animal. His hair was so long in the front that it nearly covered them, but he could still see his prey. Without even speaking, he zoomed down from the tree, leaping to the ground like a wild hog monkey, and screamed bloody murder as he unleashed a dark, purple beam from his mouth.
All those who were in its path leaped out of the way to avoid it. Suddenly, having back into reality, the heroes took their fighting stances.
Zuko bent a fire stream right in the dark man's path while Rong fired at him with a bolt of lightning and Aang unleashed a blast of wind directly at him.
To the shock and horror of the many heroes, the dark man raised an earth shield to block their attacks, then formed a shard made of ice and hurled it at Katara.
Completely taken by surprise, Katara just barely managed to deflect the ice shard with a tentacle of water, having taken the octopus stance.
Everyone just stopped and quietly stared at the dark man, waiting for him to give some kind of explanation, while staying in their fighting stances.
The dark man, whose eyes had never left his prey, stopped glowing purple and glared intensely at Aang. "I am Ving!" he screamed. "I am the Dark Avatar!"
Aang turned his head back to look at Yukio. "I thought you said the Dark Avatars didn't know who they were anymore!"
"He must have found out somehow!" Yukio explained.
"I must kill you!" Ving said. Everyone noticed that the man, no, the monster was shuddering. "I have to kill you!" he yelled even louder than before. "You must die!"
"Ving, just calm down," said Aang. "This doesn't have to get any worse. You don't have to kill anyone. You can just walk away right now."
It seemed that Ving understood what Aang was saying. He even seemed to respond somewhat. His breathing slowed and it seemed he had backed off. Then in just one bone-chilling moment, the Dark Avatar hollered into the sky once more and shot a dark beam of energy at his target.
Yukio's eyes widened as she was impaled by the beam. She dropped to her knees and fell over on her side, blood oozing from her stomach. That did it.
"NO!!!" Aang cried. His teary eyes lit up, as did his tattoos, and he entered the Avatar State.
Everyone else took action immediately without a single moment's thought and unleashed all of their bending styles at the Dark Avatar all at once, prompting his eyes to glow as well, entering the Dark Avatar State. "I must kill you!" he shrieked, unleashing a massive ball of air, propelling all of his opponent's attacks away from him and shoving an enormous gust of wind in Aang's face.
"You will not get away with this!" Aang shouted. "Do you hear me?!"
"You are going to die!" Ving snarled. "I am going to cut open your head and use it as a cup to drink the rest of your friends' blood!" Screaming once more, a scorching ball of flame came flying out of his mouth, an attack which Aang deflected with a stream of water, which he then hardened into ice and sent straight into Ving's face.
The monster flew backwards and landed in the trees, only to get back on his feet seconds later. By that time, Aang was already right on top of him. He formed a rock pillar right in front of where Ving was standing, launching him even further back.
Aang flew over to where Ving had fallen, but was met with another dark beam straight from the Dark Avatar's mouth, a deafening cry coming with it. The Avatar found himself pinned to the ground, unable to move and in complete, utter agony. He tried to resist the dark energy which was sapping away more and more of his strength every second, but the ear-splitting, terrifying, and almost otherworldly screaming overwhelmed him.
Had it not been for Ai shooting five ice spikes into Ving's arm, Aang most likely would have died.
"Let's go!" Ai ordered.
"Hurry up, Twinkle Toes!" Toph called out, coming to Ai's aid. She raised earth restraints from the ground to keep Ving down. She could only hold it for so long, though, so as soon as Aang made it over to the docks, she let go and took off with Ai, grabbing onto her friend and sliding on the earth down to the dock with the others.
Toph and Ai mounted Feng with Suki and Sokka, while everyone else got on Appa's back. "Yip, yip," Aang said, his eyes and tattoos back to normal. And in no time, the group of heroes was off in a flash, leaving the Dark Avatar behind.
"He's going to catch up to us!" said Rong.
"What do you want us to do?" asked Sokka.
"Go into the drainage pipe!" said Ling. "It's the only place we can go!"
"That's not an option," said Aang. "I can't get Appa to go in tunnels."
"Yeah and what if he follows us in there?" asked Zuko.
"Right now it's the only idea we have and we don't have time to think of anything else! He's probably following us right now!" Ling shot back.
Without any further debate, Aang steered Appa in the direction of the sewer pipe and landed him inside.
The group on Feng's back quickly followed.
Upon entering the tunnel, Appa began to growl in annoyance.
"Just hang on, buddy," Aang said, petting him on his side. "I know you hate tunnels, but we have to stay here for a while."
Appa bellowed in understanding and lay down on his stomach.
All of the waterbenders were huddled around Yukio, who was losing consciousness fast.
"Can you guys heal her?" Aang inquired.
"We can try," said Katara. "But she may have lost too much blood already."
"You have to do something!" Suki begged.
"You guys work on that," Aang said. "I'm going to face Ving."
"By yourself?" asked Ling.
"No," Aang replied. "Sokka, Toph, Suki, I need you two to stay here and protect Katara, Ai, and Bo. Zuko, Ling, and Rong, you're with me."
"Uh, how are we supposed to fight him in the middle of the open sea?" asked Zuko.
"I've got it covered," said Ling. With several motions of his arms, the earthbender raised the sea floor up to the surface, providing him and his colleagues with a platform to stand on.
"Great," Aang said. "Let's go." He twirled open his gilder and sped off into the sky towards the rapidly approaching Ving.
Ving screamed as he whizzed two ice disks into the target Jun had set up for him. At thirteen years old, the boy had been trained harder in the span of five years than most had been trained in a lifetime.
"Harder!" Jun said. "More ferocity! I want you to attack it with two hundred percent power!"
Ving repeated the move, slamming two more ice disks into the target with twice as much ferocity as before.
"I said attack it!" Jun howled. "Now are you going to try or are you going to keep swinging your arms around like limp noodles?! If you are going to kill the Avatar and the Woman in White, then you need to be the strongest! Now strike it again, damn you!"
With a bloody cry of absolute fury, Ving swung his arms and released a gargantuan blast of dark energy, resulting in the complete annihilation of the target.
"Good," said Jun. "We've trained enough for today. Get gone and have some rest. You'll need it for what's in store tomorrow." Ving sank to the floor, not even looking up at his master as he walked away. To say he was exhausted would be an understatement. He was on the verge of passing out.
Why don't you just leave him?
"I can't," said Ving. "He'd kill me."
You can kill him.
"No, I can't," the boy protested.
You can. You're stronger than him.
"Stop it!" Ving pleaded.
Kill the Avatar! Kill the Woman in White! Kill Jun!
"Why won't you go away?!" Ving despaired. "Why won't you leave me alone?!"
He was no match for the voices in his head. It was like one man arguing against an entire crowd of people. And they weren't going anywhere.
Rong fired the first shot, sending a speeding bolt of lightning in the direction of the Dark Avatar, who easily avoided it.
Then Aang raised a spiraling torrent of water from the sea and drilled it into Ving's head, sending him crashing downward.
However, the Dark Avatar was quicker than the average bender and managed to jet propel himself sideways. He flew sideways on his back and took aim at the platform which contained Aang's colleagues. Once he took aim, he hurled a fire slash at the three, with Zuko nullifying the attack.
Then Ling took aim, breaking several small chunks off of the platform and launching them at his enemy. The chunks of earth rammed their way directly into Ving's fist, shattering upon impact. The bewildered earthbender stood motionless at the sight of the Dark Avatar's sheer power, nearly leaping into the water out of shock when another lightning bolt from Rong shooting past his head jolted him back into reality.
Aang threw his glider into the bay and contained himself within an air sphere. He made several motions with his hands, creating five enormous fire whips, and launched all of them straight into Ving's path.
The Dark Avatar countered with a massive airbending slice, negating Aang's attack. He then propelled himself forward, ramming into Aang and sending the two of them crashing into the harbor.
"Where'd they go?" asked Rong.
"I don't know! I can't see them!" Zuko replied.
This was no longer just a battle of the elements. This was a brutal battle of humanity. Ving lay under Aang with the Avatar's fists reigning blows upon him. "You killed her!" he hollered. "You killed Yukio!"
Ving was on the ground, emitting a disturbing mixture of both sobbing and laughter from his mouth. "The Woman in White had to go bye-bye! She had to kick the daisies!" He continued making this horrible sound even as Aang continued to beat him. He raised his fist once more, but stopped.
"No. I won't kill you," he said.
In an instance so quick it felt like less than a second, Ving had pinned the Avatar on the ground. "Gotta die, Avatar! Avatar's gotta die!" He pressed his hands into Aang's center and lit the Avatar up like a purple Christmas tree.
Aang writhed around in pain as the sadistic beast grinned an especially toothy grin and nearly hopped up in down in excitement.
Ving sat in the cave that had been his home for the last seven years. Thankfully, there weren't any rhinoceros beetles that wanted to kill him today. He sat alone with his thoughts, meaning he wasn't alone at all. He jolted his head sideways, spooked by some mysterious presence he felt. He turned his head upward to the roof of the cave, but saw nothing. Then, like a wild animal, he scanned the rest of the cave to make sure no one else was around.
"Someone here," he explained.
No one is here, but us.
No, there's not.
"Avatar!" Ving suddenly shouted. "Where?!"
Where is the Avatar?
"Where?! Where?!" Ving repeated.
He's out there waiting for you.
"What 'bout J-Jun?"
Leave him. He is only holding you back.
"Gotta find the Avatar!" Ving yelled.
Yes, Ving. Find him. Murder him. Split open his skull and use it as a victory cup. You have been taught darkbending by Jun. No one who has ever fought him has had that advantage.
"Gonna kill him! Gonna fucking murder him!" Ving declared.
Yes. Go. Do it now.
Ving made his way towards the mouth of the cave, stumbling along the way before stopping just at the exit.
"No!" Ving shrieked. "I'm a person! I... have... to... fight... it..."
You are not a person anymore. You are a psycho. You are a beast. You are death incarnate. NOW KILL HIM!!!
All of the voices in his head were cackling madly, like a demonic version of an audience at a comedy club.
After this went on for nearly two minutes, the last remains of Ving's sanity untethered from his mind and floated away into the abyss of nothingness.
"Gotta murder the Avatar!" he bellowed before jet propelling himself away into the night.
Now his destiny was finally about to come to fruition. He grabbed hold of the man he had searched his whole life for and had nearly drained all of his life energy.
Then, suddenly, his arms began to move involuntarily. His entire body violently contorted and was thrust into the bay, plunging deeper and deeper into the depths of the ocean as Katara's bloodbending did its work.
The waterbender did not release her grip until several minutes had gone by, making sure the Dark Avatar was dead.
Meanwhile, as Zuko, Ling, and Rong took Aang back to the sewer pipe, Ving was drifting down to the bottom of the sea.
In his last moments, the madness finally stopped and the voices ceased and in the end, for him, there was silence.
Back in the drainage pipe, Aang was on the verge of death. All three of the waterbenders gathered around him and readied their healing water.
"Alright, let's try it," Katara agreed. "On my count," she said to Ai and Bo. "One, two, three." The waterbending trio pressed their hands into Aang's abdomen, their hands aglow with the healing water.
They stopped after roughly ten seconds and Aang opened his eyes and sat up. "Thank you, Katara," he said softly. "Now help Yukio."
The three waterbenders quickly rushed over to Yukio and began repeating the same process, but the lightbender held up her hand to stop them.
With what little consciousness she had left, Yukio opened her eyes half way and looked up at her friends. "He was the one," she spoke. "He was the one who murdered my family."
"What are you talking about?" asked Katara.
"I told you that I had had families in the past. Over the millennia, I had many, but the most recent one was murdered... by him."
"Don't worry, Yukio, we got him," said Toph.
"Now I can see them again," Yukio said.
"What?!" Katara asked, alarmed.
"Do not mourn me, friends," she spoke softly. "Be happy for I am finally going to die. I am finally, after all these millennia, going to be at peace."
"Yukio, what are you talking about?" asked Suki.
"I have lived for thousands and thousands of years, wanting my time to come," Yukio explained. "I have been places and seen things you could not begin to imagine. I have been treading the Earth, knowing that every day for the next hundred years, I would still be here. Now I can finally die. I can finally accept that my long and incredible journey has come to an end. In these few short moments I have left, I can reflect on all of the wondrous things I have experienced and enter the Spirit World knowing that my time here was spent well and in good company." Grinning the faintest of grins, she weakly outstretched her palm. "Thank you all for being my family this past year. And Aang, I know you will be the one to stop the prophecy once and for all."
Aang grabbed Yukio's outstretched hand and shook it, just before it dropped to the ground. Her eyes were now closed and her breathing had ceased.
"There's something we can do," said Aang. "If I enter the Avatar State and heal her, then I might be able to bring her back."
"Didn't you hear her?" asked Ling. "I don't think she wants us to bring her back."
"We can't let her die," said Aang. "We have to save her."
"No, we don't, Aang!" Ling protested.
"Ling, she was on the verge of death," said Katara. "She probably didn't even know what she was saying. We have to at least try to bring her back."
"We don't have any more time to talk about it," said Aang. His eyes and tattoos lit up again and he pressed his hands into Yukio's stomach, causing her to light up a bright blue.
The suspense was deadly. Everyone was waiting to see if she would awaken, but nothing happened. Everyone bowed their heads out of respect for their fallen comrade.
A slight cough indicated the lightbender still lived. She opened her eyes briefly and closed them again, not witnessing the tears of joy everyone was shedding.
"Yukio, everything is okay," said a man with chiseled facial features and a top knot on his head. With him were two small children, a boy and a girl. "You're finally home with us now. You're finally home.
The most joyous tears of bliss were running down Yukio's face as she embraced her family.
They had built their own home in the Spirit World and had welcomed Yukio into it. She held her children in her arms for the first time in so long and had spent the days spending time with her husband and playing with her kids. In the yard outside their home, she picked them up playfully and set them down gently. She kneeled down to their level and placed a hand on either one's cheek. "You are my everything," she said to them. "You two are the light of my life. You are my pride and joy."
"Mommy, where were you all this time?" asked one of them.
"I was away for a while, sweetie," she said. "But I am here now and I am not going anywhere."
"Kids, dinner is ready!" called Yukio's husband.
The children went zipping past their mother, eager to eat their supper.
"That means you, too, mommy," her husband added.
Yukio walked over to her husband and lovingly embraced him in a kiss. "I was telling the kids how much I missed them," she said. "I just want you to know how much I missed you, too."
"You've already told me eight million times, honey," her husband said, teasingly.
"I know," said Yukio, chuckling at her husband's sense of humor. "But I cannot say it enough."
"So that man that killed us brought you here as well?"
"He did," Yukio said.
"Did you ever get to help the Avatar?"
"I did," Yukio replied. "I helped him learn lightbending and gave him the skills he needs to defeat Bai Lung. But enough about that," she said. "That's all in the past now. Let's focus on the future."
The two of them shared another kiss, only to be interrupted by the children reappearing at the door. "Mommy, daddy, are you gonna-" They stopped in their tracks at the sight of their parents kissing.
"Ew, gross!" one of them said.
Yukio and her husband had a laugh at this until Yukio looked down at her own hand to notice something was wrong. She was disappearing before her own eyes and the eyes of her family.
"Yukio, what's happening to you?" asked her husband.
"I do not know!" Yukio said, alarmed.
"Mommy, where are you going?" asked her daughter.
"Why is mommy leaving?" her son inquired.
She sat up in bed and looked at Aang and Katara's faces.
"You're back!" Katara said, gleefully.
Yukio, to mortified to even think, stared, wide-eyed, at the two of them. It took her at least ten minutes to form words and the only ones she could manage to get out were, "How am I back?"
"Aang went into the Avatar State and healed you," said Katara.
Yukio's eyes darted towards Aang and, in a flash, the lightbender leaped up from her bed and had her hands wrapped around Aang's throat.
Having been totally blindsided, Aang was at the mercy of his lightbending teacher. "Do you know what you have done?!" Yukio screamed, viciously. "Do you have any idea what you have done to me?!"
"Yukio, stop!" Katara pleaded.
"You took me away from my family!" Yukio wept. "You took me away from them! How dare you!"
A forceful blast of water from Katara tossed Yukio aside and slammed her into the wall.
Aang inhaled deeply as he got his breath back and stood up to gaze upon the Woman in White.
"Yukio, I'm-" Aang started.
"Consider our friendship over," said Yukio. "I will help you defeat the Light Clan, because that is the only way I can enter the Spirit World again, but our friendship is over." She stormed off into another room, heading for the exit as Aang and Katara stood, feeling immensely guilty, in their temporary bedroom in Sokka and Suki's house.
After that, everyone separated. Aang had it all planned out. Katara and Sokka were to go back to the Southern Water Tribe to talk with their father. Ai and Yukio were to go to the Northern Water Tribe and convince Chief Arnook to back down. Suki, Bo, Ling, and Rong were to go to the Earth Kingdom and speak with the Earth King and he was going to accompany Toph and Zuko to Omashu to speak to King Bumi. Everyone had their mission and knew what they had to do.
In the darkest of prison cells, deep within the largest prison in the United Republic, Qian sat, huddled in a corner. He rarely moved at all anymore, except when he was forced to go into the yard or the mess hall. He just didn't have it in his old bones to move anymore. Even now, as the alarms went off all throughout the complex, he remained still. He didn't give much thought to what was happening until he heard a bang on his door. He looked up at his door only to hear more banging.
Finally, the door came crashing down and three individuals walked into the room. The man who was obviously the leader stepped up first. "Are you the former mayor of Republic City?" he asked.
Qian gave a slight nod before responding. "Yes."
"Allow me to introduce myself," said the leader. "My name is Hong Shu. I have heard a great deal about you. You tried to start an insurrection?"
"Yes," Qian repeated.
"Tell me, did you ever really want to rule over an empire?" Hong Shu asked. "Was world domination really what you wanted?"
Qian slowly shook his head. "No."
"What did you want?" Hong Shu further queried.
"I don't know," Qian said. "I was just angry. I wanted to keep my rule over this city. I wanted everyone to suffer for voting me out. I overreacted. I became the very thing I despised. I became what Avatar Aang has been all along and since he stopped me, now everyone sees him as the hero while I rot away in jail."
"Do you still want to make the Avatar and his friends suffer?" Hong Shu asked.
"Yes," Qian said. "More than anything."
"I have a proposition for you," Hong Shu started. "We have a plan that will result in their ultimate annihilation. Are you in?"
Qian stood up and looked Hong Shu dead in the eye. "I'm in."
- I listened to pieces from Gyorgy Ligeti while writing this chapter. Mainly Requiem. I suggest checking out some of his music. It's pretty scary.
For the collective works of the author, go here.