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While Appa flew Suki fit Sokka's rib with a splint as they flew away from Omashu. "OWWWWWW!" he screamed as she set the bone in place. "Why is it always me who gets hurt?"
"I guess the universe doesn't like you." Suki said wrapping the bandage around him.
"Uh guys, I think the universe actually HATES us." Zuko said, moving to the back of Appa.
"Why do you say that Zuko?" Sokka asked, turning around and seeing Nero propelling himself through the air with black flames. "OH COME ON! HE CAN FLY TOO!?!"
"Aang I think it's time for some fancy flying." Zuko starting a deep breathing exercise. Once he finished he launched multiple fireballs, followed by a massive wall of fire. Nero maneuvered around the fireballs and flew right through the fire wall, taking a deep breath Nero sent a stream of fire towards the sky bison. Zuko tried to counter with his own fire, but Nero's black fire punched its way through effortlessly. "Right!" Zuko yelled grabbing onto some of Appa's fur. Aang pulled hard on Appa's reins and Appa barely turned in time. Zuko steadied himself and formed two massive fire whips and cracked them at the pursuing assassin. Nero tried to avoid them but the random patterns of the whips was too hard to predict and one slammed into Nero sending him flying into a canyon below them.
Zuko sighed when Nero didn't reappear and sat back down with the group. "Good job, Zuko." Katara placed her hand on his shoulder.
"Yeah, I guess the universe doesn't completely hate us after all." Sokka said before wincing from his broken rib. As soon as he finished saying it a large wall of black fire appeared in front of Appa, who pulled up in a panic and almost sent everyone flying off his back. "And the universe still loves proving me wrong."
"You still make it too easy Sokka." Toph said as Nero flew up in front of them.
"And I thought you were persistent." Katara said to Zuko as he was about to stand.
"No, I'll take him." Aang said picking up his staff and asked for Katara's water pouch as Nero seemed to be waiting patiently. I may have to... he couldn't finish the thought and flew off to face his enemy.
As Aang flew towards Nero, the assassin stopped firebending and descended to the ground. Aang flew down and landed five feet in front of him. Nero had a fresh burn going across his chest, from his right shoulder to his left hip. When he tore the rest of his shirt off Aang saw numerous burns across his body.
"Who are you? Why are you doing this?" he asked the assassin trying to find a reason for his aggression.
"I told who I was already didn't I?" Nero asked innocently.
Aang smiled slightly "You did didn't you, Nero? Okay, but why are you attacking us?"
Nero shrugged his shoulders and replied "It's what I do. It's all I'm good at."
"You don't have to do this." Aang said trying to persuade Nero.
"Yes, I do." And with that Nero launched a massive fireball at Aang, who barely reacted in time and brought up a rock wall. The wall shattered from the force of the attack and the shrapnel bit into Aang's skin. As Nero charged forward Aang took the water pouch and sent a stream of water that froze into an icicle as it approached Nero. Nero turned as it passed by his chest. When Nero turned Aang swung his glider and created a massive gust of wind that slammed Nero into a rock formation several yards away. As Nero stood there stunned Aang shot two rock spikes that pierced into Nero's left shoulder and right leg. Aang then used airbending to enhance his speed and charged toward the pinned Nero. Before he collided with the pinned assassin Aang created an Air Wake at the last minute, which crashed into Nero with great force, crushing the spikes used to pin him. Aang stood panting heavily as Nero pulled himself from out of the rubble, his left arm hanging useless and dragging his right leg. Nero took a deep breath and shot a stream of fire from his mouth. Aang created a water shield and blocked the attack, Nero seemed to be getting weaker. While Aang was preoccupied Nero began to generate lightning in his finger tips, all of them. Nero shot the bolts out of all five fingers on his right hand and they arced toward Aang and struck him in various points of his body. Nero kept the lightning going as long as he could, bringing Aang to his limit. Nero stopped the lightning and Aang fell to the ground.
Suddenly Aangs eyes and tattoos began glowing a bright blue, there was a powerful gust of wind as Aang slowly rose into the air. "So this is the Avatar State?" Nero thought aloud, looking at Aang then at his bloodied shoulder. "I won't last long at this rate."
Fury of the Avatar State
The infuriated Aang hovered in the air, glaring down at Nero, who stared impassively back. Aang slowly raised his hand in the air, palm facing Nero, and blasted a large stream of fire at him. Nero shot himself out of the fire's path with his good arm, breathed fire at the glowing Avatar. Aang jabbed forward and sent compressed air straight through the fire, stopping it in its path and blasting Nero into the ground. As Nero struggled to raise Aang slammed into the ground creating a massive shock wave that sent Nero flying in the air. Nero seemed to hang there a moment as Aang rushed over to him and launched him down with a water whip. Nero landed with a thud on his back as Aang slowly descended. Nero managed to pull himself to his feet and stood submissively with his back to the canyon right behind him.
"Finish me." he said in barely a whisper. Aang hesitated as he began to realize what he was doing, his eyes and tattoos stopped glowing as he turned around.
"No. I won't kill you." Aang said with his back to Nero.
"Why do you show compassion to your enemy?" Nero asked slightly frustrated with Aang's refusal to kill. "Answer me!" he yelled while sending a fireball at Aang. Aang turned around and blocked the attack with a simple wave of his hand, Nero was too weak to continue.
"I show compassion because otherwise I'm just like them." Aang answered solemnly. Nero suddenly began to sway where he stood.
"We'll meet again." he promised before falling back into the canyon.
Hours later Aang was sleeping in the makeshift camp the group made, trying to recover from his wounds. Meanwhile at the bottom of the canyon was a river, several miles down it Nero was pulling himself out of it. He lay on the shore with his blood seeping into the sand and water. He was barely alive when a young woman just a little older than Nero walked up to him and checked his pulse.
"Well, well, well Nero." she said bending his blood back into the wounds on his body and then sealing them with waterbending. "I guess you finally met your match." As she slung Nero over her shoulder Sid walked up to them and licked Nero's hand as it closed.
- This chapter was the first time Nero seemed to lose his temper.
- This chapter contains one of the most ONE SIDED FIGHTS EVER.
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