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|More from Wonderfully_weird||Action, Mystery, Romance||PG-13||Positive||As They Come|
This is the seventh chapter of Fanon: Deadman by Wonderfully_weird
The Story So Far
While Khan escorts Jin to her apartment, Ari and Sung Jie find not one, but two riddles. Also, Ari figured out that the names of the next victims were embedded in the haikus, then predicting that the Avatar would be the next target. When Khan cathes up to them, he suggests that there is also another target.
Meanwhile, wanting to inform Khan that the victims aren't dead, Toph and Aang head to the apartment complex he lives at. However, the closer they come toward the building, the stronger Aang's pains become. Then, Khan, too, falls victim to something similar.
Iroh and Nianzu carefully lay Poppy's body onto the long table Li had carried out into the foyer. Fu rushed in with all the towels and napkins he could find, saying that he couldn't see anything that looked like gauze. Soon afterward, Kao came in, grasping a kettle filled with hot water. Iroh was not looking to what he and his employees were going to have to do, although the retired General had to perform this act many times before when he was in the army.
"Don't you dare unwrap those bandages around my foot! It's improper for a man to do so!" Poppy yelped at Nianzu, whom Iroh had asked to lift the hem of the skirt slightly so Iroh could unwrap the bandage. To his amazement, as he carefully undid the bandage, he saw a tiny, deformed foot no bigger than his palm. The other employees blushed and averted their eyes, as if the sight were smut.
"DON'T STARE! IT'S RUDE!" Poppy screamed. "IROH! HOW COULD YOU?"
The other employees shuddered, but Iroh asked calmly, as to not alarm them any further. The men were not quite sure what Iroh was up to, but they trusted the wise old man; they assumed that they would be fired if they didn't. After a moment or two, Iroh told Li to wrap one of the towel into a cylinder and ask for Lady Bei Fong to bite on it.
"Are you mad? What are you doing to my lily feet?" Poppy scowled. Lily feet? The term rung a bell. The first and last time Iroh had heard of "lily feet" when he first came to the Earth Kingdom on a military excursion in his twenties, something about how wealthy women would have their daughter's feet bound so small that they could fit into your hand. Until now, Iroh thought the practice was a joke.
"My lady, your foot was damaged very badly when you tried to run out into the snow. The skin broke along with most of the bones, which caused profuse bleeding," Iroh began, eyeing four of the employees to hold down Poppy's arms, "and it also nearly severed your foot. So, my lady, I know that this will be very painful, but, for your health, I will have to amputate your foot."
Poppy looked horrified, but after eyeing all the bloodied towels and napkins on the ground then at her lily feet, Poppy teared. Iroh did not say anything as his firm hands glowed with heat. She squinted her eyes shut as one of the men placed a towel in her mouth. Then a hot sear! She bit down as hard as she could. A greater burn! A harder bite. Then the pain stopped. She felt some liquid being poured over where her foot had been then a towel to dry it off. She heard something rip, and a silk-like fabric was then bandaged around the stub. Poppy opened her eyes.
"Iroh, you tore your sleeve," she noted. At the moment, Poppy was simply in a state of pure shock, but was glad the whole ordeal was over. Now, her mind went back to wondering where Toph and Aang could possibly be. Hopefully not too far. But her mind was tired. Poppy just wanted to sleep. So, that's what she did.
Iroh and his employees took a huge sigh of relief. Those ten minutes had held a year's worth of emotional turmoil. As soon as Poppy was asleep, the employees went to the kitchen to wash the soiled towels and napkins. As for Iroh, he sat by the table, not believing what he had just done. Secretly, he hoped to never to do it again.
Toph refused to believe what was happening; Aang paralyzed, Khan writhing on the ground, and some two goons standing around taking up space. The situation was hopeless!
"Toph!" Khan yelped. "Get Aang and yourself out of here! It's not safe for you!"
"Well it's not safe for you either!" Toph argued. "If anything, it ain't safe for your little, unprepared cronies."
"But we work for the—"
"I don't care, Missy! Just get out! It's obvious that you have no FREAKING idea what you're doing!" Toph yelled at Ari. "Now get yourself and that numskull with you out of here! Go to the damn department for all I care! Say it's something beyond they're control!"
Ari and Sung Jie we're sure if they should be taking orders like that from a teenager, but, if she's affiliated with both Khan—who apparently wasn't Khan—and the Avatar, she obviously meant business, not to mention her voice was scarier than the creaks and groans the fourth floor was making. They fled.
"Wow, Toph, you really had them running," Aang managed, slowly trying to stand to his feet. "Weird. I don't hurt right now!"
The same could not be said for Khan, whose body was jerking against the floor uncontrollably. His eyes rolled back into his skull, his facial scars wriggling in worm like fashion. Toph and Aang assumed fighting stances, bracing for what this spirit had to offer. A foul wind stormed through the hall, gushing into the room, followed by metallic clatter and rattling from the pots and pans in the kitchen. Aang's tattoos flashed in and out the louder and stronger the noises and gusts of wind became. Then, a blackened silhouette materialized behind Khan's body, which was now still as death.
"Aang, what's going on?"
"Toph...I think you're going to have your first supernatural encounter!" Aang said, then, to the spirit, "Who are you?"
A disembodied voice cackled.
"Do you not remember me, Aang?"
The silhouette's form was now stabilized, enveloped in a shadowy fog. Toph panicked for she couldn't sense the spirit with her Earth Bending; she could definitely hear it though.
"What are you?" Toph demanded, "Why are you doing this?"
A deep, baritone cackle shook the room.
"How funny you ask. Would you really like to know?"
"Toph, do not interact with this spirit; it will kill you if you taunt it," Aang quietly warned.
Suddenly, everything was still. No sound. No wind. Nothing. Just Aang, Toph, Khan, and the Spirit.
"Aang...I am Death. You tried to escape my grasp many years ago. Like this man here." Death stomped a misting foot over Khan's chest; Khan emitted a loud scream, quickly dying once Death moved his foot. "I had to find a way to lure the both of you here so that your souls can be collected. You escaped from limbo. You escaped from death. You escaped your fate. Now, prepare to regret that decision—"
Toph leapt out in front of Aang, rushing towards Khan's limp body. Aang tried to stop her, but the spirit's energy caused Aang to collapse.
"Fool! Did you not hear the Avatar's warning?"
"Take me instead of him. Aang, I mean."
"If it means getting all of the innocent people you cursed out of limbo, take me. The world needs Aang. It can do just fine without me."
Toph turned to face Aang, "But before I go, may I have a final word with the Avatar?"
"If it is your wish," the Spirit droned, releasing his grip on Aang so he could stand. Toph walked back toward Aang and led him out of the room.
"Toph, why are you doing this?"
"Because I have an idea..."
She whispered some things into Aang's ear. Aang was both impressed and worried by Toph's plan. They had to risk it though.
"Alright Toph, but be careful."
He hugged Toph as if she were his own child about to be executed.
"Relax, Twinkle Toes: I got this."
Toph reentered the room, submitting herself before the great Death spirit.
"Very well, child," Death said, placing a foggy hand over her forehead. Dead. Her corpse collapsed atop Khan's as Death evaporated.
"Toph, I hope your plan works."
For the collective works of the author, go here.