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|Making the Final Preparations|
Everything was blurry. All Aang could see were two familiar faces staring at him. The Avatar could barely make out what it was they were saying. "I hope he is okay." One voice said. "Don't worry he will be fine." Said another. Aang came into focus and saw Katara and Mai standing over him.
"Thank goodness you are okay!" Katara said with relief.
Aang groaned; he felt sore all over. "What happened?" He asked, wearily.
"After you defeated Xian, you blacked out and Mai brought you here." Katara answered.
"Thank you, Mai." Aang said.
"You are welcome, Aang." Mai replied.
"How are you feeling?" Katara questioned.
"I feel fine," Aang said. As the Air Nomad attempted to get up he clutched his chest in pain. "What is happening? Why am I so weak?" Aang asked.
"You lost almost all of your life energy in that battle," Katara responded. "Since you defeated Xian, it will take at least twelve hours for you to gain it all back. If he had gotten away, you would not have gotten any back at all; it would be his."
"Aang, you should rest until you get all of your life energy back." Mai suggested.
Aang nodded although he wished he did not have to lie down and do nothing while everyone else was planning and actually doing something worthwhile. Katara must have read his thoughts. "I know you feel like you are not any help by staying here but you are helping. If you tried to take on Jun or Banhen right now you would lose. You need to rest so when you do fight them you will be able to do it at your full strength." She assured him. Katara then leaned down and gave Aang a light kiss. She and Mai then exited the room, leaving Aang to rest. Aang thought for a moment about Katara's words and then laid his head down to rest.
Team Avatar could see a palanquin approaching the beaches of the capital. Everyone but Zuko knew who was in it. "Hey, Zuko who is in the palanquin?" Sokka asked.
"You will see." Zuko replied.
The servants carrying the palanquin set it down and a man stepped out. "Greetings, my friends!" The man said.
"Hey, Omar!" Ai replied first. "I did not realize you were coming!" she said, excitedly.
"Zuko asked me to come and help with the preparations," Omar responded. "Also, I think you will be pleased to hear that Earth King Kuei has finally made a full recovery." He added.
"That is wonderful!" Suki said.
"So, how have you been?" Katara asked.
"Well, after you guys left I was promoted to the position of leader of the Council of Five to take How's place and I have been pretty happy ever since. The others are doing fine as well," He answered. "By the way, Ai where is Cheng? I thought I sent both of you," Omar inquired. Ai sadly cast her eyes to the ground and said nothing. "Oh, I see." Omar realized what had happened and was also saddened by the loss of his friend.
"There is something else you should know, Omar," Ai started. "I have decided to leave the Earth Kingdom Military and join Team Avatar." She stated.
Omar was a bit stunned to hear this. "Are you sure that is what you want?" He asked her.
"Yes, I am sure." Ai replied, sincerely.
"Very well; I support your decision," Omar said. "We will miss you back home, Ai."
"Say goodbye to the others for me." Ai said.
"Okay, let's go to the war room to discuss what our tactics are." Zuko motioned for everyone to follow him.
In the war room, everyone sat and looked up at Zuko sitting on his throne. "As we discussed already, we will allow Banhen and his Rebel troops into the city. Once they are in we will trap them using our harpoons mounted on the beaches. This will make their defeat quick." Zuko announced what they had already discussed the previous day.
"But, sir, what if they try to Firebend at us?" Admiral Chao asked.
"I have already thought of that," Zuko informed him. "If the Rebels show any resistance, they will easily be subdued by our troops. We have something they do not, strength in numbers."
"Something tells me Banhen will not go down that easily," Sokka stated. "He will definitely put up more of a fight than that."
"So let him," General Chi Fu spoke up. "What is one Firebender against all of our troops and you young heroes as well?"
"This man took down his opponent in an Agni Kai while he had just lost an eye," Katara reminded everyone. "I think you are underestimating him."
"That may be so but that does not mean he is powerful enough to take down all of our troops!" Chi Fu retorted.
"And what about Jun?" Suki asked. "I am willing to bet a lot that he and his gang will show up too." She pointed out.
"That is most likely true." Iroh agreed.
"Big deal, we can just give him a beat down if he bothers to show his masked face." Toph proclaimed.
"How could you underestimate him so easily?!" Mai was shocked at Toph's statement.
"What I want to know is who the genius was that supplied them with Fire Nation Tanks!" Omar raised his voice.
This discussion had turned into an uproar of people indistinctly arguing back and forth. Zuko had completely lost control of the meeting. "Enough!!" He yelled as the flames around his throne grew. "Look, you are all making good points but we need to come to a decision." The Fire Lord said in a more calm tone.
"So then what is your decision, Zuko?" Ai inquired. Zuko sat for a few minutes trying to decide what to do. Everyone sat and watched him. Finally Zuko had decided.
Banhen grinned as the capital came within his sight. He was finally about to grasp the power had dreamed of for such a long time. He and his men were currently underwater, in the submersible tanks that had been invented for them by the fools on Ember Island they had forced into doing so. Soon I will rule the Fire Nation and when that happens I will rule the world shortly after. The Rebel leader thought to himself. His men had now landed on the beaches; the battle for the Fire Nation capital was about to begin.
"Fire Lord Zuko!" A man shouted, running into the war room. "The Rebels have landed on the beaches!" the man informed everyone.
"Good now activate the harpoons just like we planned." Zuko ordered. The man bowed and left the room.
Jun and his team could see the Rebels below. "It looks like they finally showed up." Mongke commented.
"I guess that means it's time for some fun!" Azula said, crazily.
"Then what are we waiting for? Let's go!" Hong Wu said, eagerly.
Jun stood smiling behind his mask. He then chuckled to himself. "Let's go then." He said. Jun jet propelled himself off of the mountain and headed for the beaches below. The others soon followed him and it was then that everyone knew that the fate of the Fire Nation was about to be decided.
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