Downtown Station in Republic City
Gone in the Night
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Avatar: Into the Light





Written by

Agent Slash

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Warriors of the Night

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The Assault, Part 1: The Warrior Cometh

Zuko, Rong, and Feng had just made it back to the Fire Nation Royal Palace. They had been riding for several hours and were exhausted.

"What a night," said Rong.

"I'll say," said Zuko. The Fire Lord hopped off of Feng and looked up at Rong.

"So, I guess I'll go now. It was great seeing you again," Rong said. She turned Feng around and prepared to leave.

"Hang on, Rong," Zuko called out.

Rong turned her head around to see her friend.

"You and Feng must be too tired to go all the way back to Republic City. Why not stay here for the night?" Zuko asked.

"Oh, are you sure that's alright, Zuko?" asked Rong.

"Of course. Surely there is an empty bedroom somewhere in the palace," Zuko replied.

Rong smiled at her friend. "Thank you, Zuko." She got off of Feng, grabbed his reigns and followed Zuko to the palace.

Meanwhile, in Republic City, Sokka wasn't exactly having a good night's sleep. The warrior tossed and turned in his bed, making soft groaning noises as he did so. Suddenly, he shot up out of his covers, having finally woken up from his nightmare. "Oh, good, it was just a nightmare," Sokka said, relieved. He got up out of bed and went into his kitchen to get himself some leftover arctic hen. He sat in his kitchen munching on his meal and then started to speak. "Man, I wonder why I've had that same nightmare every night for the past few days. I mean, what could I possibly be doing that could make me dream about Momo eating the rest of the group." Sokka paused for a few moments before speaking again. "And now I'm talking to myself. Well, I think that's enough of the arctic hen for tonight."

Sokka got up from his seat and started back towards his bedroom. He was halfway there when a horrible screech came from the opposite end of the room. Sokka turned around to see a terrifying gargoyle creature hanging from the ceiling. It was completely black with red eyes, two grey horns, and a set of wings. "What the" Sokka wondered aloud. The gargoyle dropped down from the ceiling and flew at the warrior with its arms outstretched. Sokka did not have anything to defend himself with, so he ducked in order to avoid the gargoyle's attack. The creature flew over him and into his room, crashing into the wall. It let out another screech and flew towards Sokka once more. The warrior quickly scanned the room, desperate to find something to fight off the spirit with. He spotted his boomerang lying on the floor just a few feet away and ran for it. The gargoyle changed it's direction while Sokka ran for the boomerang. He grabbed it, turned to face the creature, but it was too fast. It grabbed it's victim and vanished.

Zuko was restless. He paced the halls of the Royal Palace, struggling to find a way to tire himself out. Meanwhile, Rong was fast asleep. As Zuko passed her door, he thought to himself if Rong was still awake. It can't hurt to poke my head in her door. He thought. He approached Rong's door and opened it. He saw Rong lying down, but wasn't sure if she was asleep yet. He walked over to her bed, to look at her face to face and saw she was asleep. The Fire Lord decided not to disturb her and started towards the exit. He had taken two steps before the shadowy figure launched itself from the corner of the room. Alarmed, Zuko yelled and sent a blazing arc of fire in the creature's direction. The creature flew over it and screeched, awakening Rong who let out a scream of alarm. They briefly saw the glowing, red eyes and black wings of the creature before it snatched them up and disappeared.

Aang and Katara were asleep in their bed. Both of them as peaceful as can be. Then, a figure slowly crossed the room and went up to Aang. The figure shook the Avatar, attempting to awake him. The Avatar opened his eyes and immediately sprang up in defense. This caused Katara to awaken as well. Even Momo was startled and let out a chirp of surprise. The two of them saw the being that had disturbed their slumber and relaxed. "What are you doing here, Ai?" asked Aang.

"It's Bo. I remembered I left one of my necklaces at his house, so I went back to get it and he wasn't home," Ai replied.

"Maybe he went out for a midnight walk?" Katara suggested.

"No, when I got there I noticed his place was damaged. It looked like there had been a fight... I think he's been kidnapped."

Aang took a moment to consider the possibilities of who had kidnapped their friend, if that was the case. Who could it have been? The Light Clan? Hong Shu? An older enemy? Or perhaps it was some spirit they didn't know causing mischief. "Alright, we'll go down to the police station. Hopefully Toph can help us figure this out," Aang said.

"Alright, let's go," said Ai, hastily.

Ling was backed into a corner in a dark alley. The shadowy, gargoyle creature had him right where it wanted him. "What do you want from me?" Ling asked. "Are you here to put me out of my misery?"

The spirit got closer – perfect. Ling bent the ground beneath him upwards, but the creature flew upwards, avoiding it. It grabbed Ling, pinned him against the wall, and whispered into his ear. "I am the hunter and you are the prey." With that, they both disappeared.

Aang, Katara, and Ai had arrived at the police headquarters. They walked across the lobby and approached the front desk to see a familiar face standing there. "Hey, Ho Tun, may we speak to Toph?" Aang asked.

"Yeah, why, did something bad happen?" Ho Tun asked nervously.

"Our friend has been kidnapped and we need her help to find out who did it," Katara replied.

"Oh! I knew it! It involves doom! I knew there would be doom tonight! I was right!" Ho Tun shrieked.

"That's enough, Ho Tun!" someone shouted from just a few yards away. Everyone looked over to see Toph. "Remember how we agreed you wouldn't go all doom-and-gloom on anyone who came to you with a problem anymore?"

"Right, sorry, chief of Police Toph," Ho Tun apologized. The cowardly metalbender trotted away as Toph approached the desk.

"So, what's up, guys?" Toph asked.

"Bo has been kidnapped," Katara explained.

"What?" Toph asked.

"Or at least that's what we think," Aang said.

"We need your help to find out what happened," said Ai.

"Well, if Bo was kidnapped, then I'm just the girl to find out who did it," Toph said.

The four friends had made their way back to Bo's house. They were examining the scene of the supposed crime, searching to see if there was any evidence to support the idea of there being a kidnapping.

Toph made her way into Bo's bedroom and felt to see if anything was there. She noticed something odd was sitting near the bedroom door. She walked over and picked it up. "A claw? What is this doing here?" she asked herself. She left the room and regrouped with her teammates. "I found something," she said. The others came over to her and looked at what she found.

"A claw?" asked Ai.

"It was near the door," said Toph. "I also noticed there were some claw marks on the edge of the door, which means whatever did this wasn't human."

"Do you think it was an animal or a spirit?" asked Katara.

"I'm willing to bet it was a spirit," Aang said. "It must have taken him."

"So then I guess that means you'll have to-" Ai started.

"Go into the Spirit World," Aang said, finishing her sentence. He sat on the floor and closed his eyes.

"Are you sure you can get there, Twinkle Toes?" asked Toph.

"Don't worry, he's got this," Katara reassured her.

Aang took several deep breaths and focused his spiritual energy. In a matter of moments, the airbender's eyes and tattoos glowed and he had crossed over into the Spirit World.

"Good luck, Aang," said Katara. "We're counting on you."

Aang opened his eyes and saw before him the bizarre landscape of the Spirit World. "Alright, I got here just fine. Now what do I do?" he asked himself.

"Just ask for help," said a voice from behind him. The Avatar turned to face a woman he had met before. She wore Water Tribe clothes and had long, black hair.

"Avatar Shui," Aang said. "It's been some time."

"That it has, Avatar Aang," Shui replied.

"So I guess you can tell me what I'm dealing with here?" Aang asked.

"Yes, it is an ancient spirit named Zhi Jing; a gargoyle-like shadow creature whom I ran afoul back in my days as the guardian of the world. He has taken your friends and lured you here for one reason only: he is a hunter who loves to lure his prey in the most interesting ways possible and he has selected you and your friends as his next victims," Shui explained.

"And where is he?" asked Aang.

"He resides in an area of the Spirit World not too far from here: The Yinying Valley. It is one of the deadliest areas of the Spirit World, so be cautious."

"I will," Aang said. He started walking towards his destination, intent on saving his friends.

It took the Avatar about 45 minutes to reach his destination, but he had finally reached the Yinying Valley. It was a very bleak place with black grass and a deathly atmosphere. Aang continued to walk through the place in hopes that he would find his friends. He observed the terrain and found it quite unpleasant. Everywhere he went looked like lifelessness and he couldn't help but get the feeling that even though he did not know this spirit, it probably enjoyed this setting. Just then, Aang heard a screech. He looked up and saw a black, winged creature flying around just a few meters away. Aang knew this had to be the spirit Shui had referred to and called out to it. "Please listen to me," Aang said. "We don't have to fight. Please release my friends and let us go. We've done nothing to you."

The spirit screeched again and this time it spoke as well in a deep, eerie voice. "Why, of course you have, Avatar," it said. "You and your friends have challenged my might. Avatar Shui did the same, so I arose to challenge her, but she defeated me and I was confined to the Spirit World for over 1000 years as punishment! But now I am free to kill anyone who challenges my might!"

"I am only going to ask this once more: please leave me and my friends alone," said Aang. "Please tell me where you're keeping them."

"Why, they are right beneath me, of course," Zhi Jing growled. The spirit gestured below where the captured members of Team Avatar were chained to large poles protruding from the ground. "Now why don't you give up? You do realize where you are, don't you? You can't bend here and this is not like the time you fought Koh. There is no one here to help you!"

Aang took his defensive stance. "I'm not backing down," he declared.

Zhi Jing screeched and flew straight at his opponent. He opened his hands, and prepared to claw the Avatar in the face. Aang ducked and the spirit flew straight over him. The airbender rushed for the poles with Zhi Jing close on his tail. Aang kept sprinting, but the spirit was gaining on him fast. He reached the area where his friends were being held and looked back to see Zhi Jing rapidly gaining on him. Aang quickly unchained Zuko first. "Move; hurry!" Aang ordered. The Fire Lord leapt out of the way, while Aang stayed rooted to the ground.

Zhi Jing nearly had him now. He let out a vicious screech and was ready to rip Aang to shreds, but Aang leapt out of the way just a split second before the spirit got him and Zhi Jing crashed into the pole, becoming tangled in the chains. It furiously screeched as it struggled to get out. "This isn't over, Avatar!" he yelled. "I'll destroy all of you! No one is mightier than me! I am the ultimate hunter!"

"Well, good luck getting out of there," Sokka called out. Aang unchained him next. He then proceeded to unchain Suki, Bo, Ling, and Rong.

"Are you guys ready to go?" asked Aang.

"Yeah, I really wish they had bathrooms in the Spirit World," Bo said, holding his bladder.

"I know just what you mean," Sokka replied.

"I'll take care of you, Zuko," said a voice out of nowhere. Then, in a blue flash of light, Shui appeared. "I'll get you and Rong back to the palace. You still have someone there you need to get back home, don't you?"

"Feng," Rong said.

"Alright, we'll see you guys later," said Aang. The Avatar closed his eyes and focused once more. After a few deep breaths, everyone appeared back in Bo's house.

"You did it!" Katara said.

"Way to go, Twinkle Toes," said Toph.

"Oh, thank goodness you're okay," said Ai. "Although I didn't know all of you had been kidnapped."

"Yeah, but we're back now, so it's all good," said Bo.

"Alright, I think we all need some rest after all of this," Ling said, abruptly.

"Well, now that you mention it," Sokka said, yawning. "I am pretty worn out."

"Wait, what happened?" Katara asked.

"We were kidnapped by this huge gargoyle spirit," Suki said. "It took all of us in our sleep."

"Wow. Thank the spirits it didn't get any of us," said Katara.

"Well, I guess we should get some rest now. Goodnight, gaang," Aang said.

"Goodnight," everyone else said. They all went their separate ways, making their way yo a peaceful night's slumber.

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