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Shadows of Flames
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Aang: Story of an Airbender





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Shadows of Flames is the fourteenth chapter of Aang: Story of an Airbender. The chapter sees the return of Kuzon, as he and Aang infiltrate the Yamiichiba Hunters, suspecting they may have captured and sold Airbenders in the Black Market.

The Story so Far

Disaster has befallen on the Air Nomads, as Ento mysteriously dies, and Afiko replaces Gyatso in the Southern Council of Elders. Now suspecting of an attack from the Fire Nation, Gyatso informs Aang on the secrets of the Avatar, before sending him off to continue his quest for the missing Airbenders, but the real mystery, as Mia now knows, resides within the walls of the temple.


~~Afiko's Room~~

Afiko stared outside the window as the morning sun shined its way through the window, filling the entire room with a blinding light. The traitor watched the South Tower without blinking, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. The plan was in action. He had noticed someone or something outside the Avatar Chamber, and that person needed to die.

The door creaked open, announcing Gyatso's presence. "Hello Monk Afiko." Gyatso said, bowing in respect. Afiko snorted in respect. Gyatso frowned, but masked it with a smile, "Aka and Aang are leaving today." The monk slowly walked next to Afiko, trying to follow his gaze. "Wouldn't it be nice if we went and wished them good luck on their journey?" Gyatso asked.

"Bah!" Afiko shouted, turning away from the bright, happy, fun-filled morning. "Aka may not be the Avatar, but he is still the best Airbender in the temple. Monk Tashi and High Monk Pasang have agreed to that fact as well." Gyatso shook his head. "Afiko, you mustn't let emotions cloud your judgment. Aka is effected by your character."

"Are you saying I'm a bad father?!" Afiko snapped, anger flashing in his eyes.

"I merely stated my view on the matter." Gyatso said, walking toward the door.

"Remember, Afiko, the bravery of the teeniest spider-fly can overcome the strength of the mightiest dragon." Gyatso walked down the hall, leaving Afiko alone.


Gyatso walked down the stairs, stepping onto the pavement. Aang laughed in delight as he tightened the reins on Appa's horns. The monk walked in silence, thinking about Afiko until a voice interrupted him.

"Gyatso!" A man yelled.

Gyatso's eyes widened in terror, as he turned to face the man. He was average height with brown hair now streaked with grey. "Kira?"

The man smiled, "You do remember me?! Happy days, eh? Aang and Aka are about to compete for the title of the Avatar!"

"Aang is the Avatar, Kira." Gyatso explained.

"Same difference!" Kira bellowed, laughing. "Mia has told me all about you. I've seen you once or twice but I never suspected that you were trying to avoid me!" His face darkened. "Were you trying to avoid me?"

"Hey Gyatso!" Aang shouted, sliding over to the monk. He looked at Kira. "Who are you?"

"The name's Kira, youngling." Kira shouted. "I know you're hanging around with my daughter, Mia."

Aang's eyes widened with shock, "You're Mia's dad? She said you were forced to stay in the Northern Air Temple for the c-"

"She said all that?" Kira asked, his laughter dying. "I'll need to speak with her." He mumbled some words, caught the stares of Aang and Gyatso, and bellowed. "Well, it was nice to meet you Avatar!" Kira turned, frowning as he walked toward the Temple.

"Gyatso, you know Kira?" Aang asked.

"I'm afraid so Aang." Gyatso said sadly, stroking his beard.

"Aang!" Mia shouted, running up to him. "I have to tell you something very important." The Airbender panted with every word.

Tsungi horns echoed across the Courtyard. High Monk Pasang rose as the Southern Council of Elders sat in their respective places.

"Hold on a second Mia." Aang said, "High Monk Pasang is about to speak."

High Monk Pasang forced a smile, "Greetings everyone. You may be wondering why we have gathered you here today so early in the morning."

"Not really." Someone shouted, "We know Aang and Aka are trying to find missing Airbenders by going different directions, and whoever can bring any news on the Fire Lord's plan will win respect from the Southern Council of Elders."

"Rumors do travel fast." Monk Meiji stated.

"Well, but you all wouldn't know that we fear the Fire Nation may be attacking our temple's walls soon." High Monk Pasang said grimly.

"No, we already know that." The same man said. The crowd murmured in agreement.

High Monk Pasang's fake smile melted off his face. "With war coming, we must all be prepared, even if our instincts are wrong. As such, Aang and Aka will need to find missing Airbenders so they may reveal the secrets of the Fire Nation."

"Aren't we a peaceful people?" Afiko spoke up. "We let the world see us as the pacifists of the four nations. Now, we are planning a strike, and the other nations don't even know about it? That's hardly the Air Nomad way." Afiko said, smiling.

"Afiko." Monk Pasang said coldly.

"Pasang, you of all people must know that our culture and our way of life is that of a peaceful nation. You started the Air Agents and now you're practically declaring war on the citizens of the Fire Nation? Is there no end to this treachery on our society?"

"He has a point. Monk Pasang did in fact created the Air Agents and the only ones to come back alive were Afiko and recently, the late Ento." The man spoke up.

"Afiko was an Air Agent?" Aang asked, whispering.

"We must not let Afiko ruin this moment of truth. If we are to sustain our civilization, we must act!" Monk Pasang said, trying to win support of the people.

"I'll be the one to come back." Aka stated confidently, Airbending onstage. "I'm at the top of my Airbending classes and I agree with my father that our way of life has been corrupted by High Monk Pasang. These missing Airbenders will speak the truth and then we will decide what will become our great nation!" Aka shouted.

The nomads cheered, as Monk Pasang's face turned white with horror as if the life was sucked out of him. Afiko smiled, "Now, let's go see our Avatar and my son, Aka, as they depart on their perilous quest."

The crows cheered again as Aang and Aka boarded Appa and Kita, respectively.

"Get ready to go down Uh-vatar." Aka mocked.

"Can't we be friends?" Aang asked. "What did I do that made you hate me so much?"

"You were born." Aka replied. He snapped Kita's reins and the bison took off into the sky, on a course for the Eastern Air Temple.

"Yip, yip!" Aang said, half-heartedly. Appa roared and slammed his tail on the ground, taking off into the night sky.

"Aang, wait!" Mia shouted. However, it was too late. Aang and Appa flew into the distance, vanishing behind the soft fluffy clouds.


~~Fire Nation: Pokena Village~~

Kuzon stared at the group, eying them carefully as they walked around the abandoned market. The Yamiichiba Hunters strolled through leisurely, ignoring everything and anyone in sight.

"Are you sure we're in the right place?" Dao Zhe asked. Nuzi curled up in his arm, smiling affectionately.

"I'm telling you Dao Zhe!" Saisho shouted, pointing at a ruined house. "The man who lived there told me he could get me a dragon egg!"

"It doesn't matter if Saisho is stupid, Dao Zhe." Kikka said. "Dragon eggs sell very high, and we need that money to put our plan in motion."

Kuzon growled silently. "What could they be planning? Dragons are sacred creatures!"

"Boss, I thought I heard something." A male said.

"Hush Bardus!" Dao Zhe said.

Kuzon slowly walked backwards, silently turning a corner. He slammed against something big and hard. The firebender looked up to see the growling face of Kikka.

"Well, if it isn't my favorite firebender!" Kikka shouted. She grabbed a spear as fast as thought and aimed it at Kuzon. The firebender jumped to the ground, crawling between her legs. Kikka roared in frustration and turned. Kuzon ran behind a house, and down the street. The hunter followed, swinging her spear with deadly accuracy.

"Kikka!" Dao Zhe's voice shouted.

Kikka growled, and followed Kuzon deep into Pokena Village. Kuzon turned and summoned a fire dagger, slicing the spear's head off. Kikka screamed and kicked Kuzon in the gut. The firebender flew back, landing on the street. The hunter shouted and kicked Kuzon's side with all her might.

"No!" Kuzon shouted as he rolled down a steep slope, and flew into the ocean. Kikka smiled, and walked back to the hunters as Kuzon's motionless body floated through the cool, blue water.

~~Fire Nation: Mt. Mentior~~

Appa roared as he landed on a smooth, but rugged floor. He drank the water, tired of flying for so long. Aang airbended himself onto the floor.

"Great flying buddy." Aang said, rubbing the bison's neck. "Now, all we have to do is find Kuzon. Maybe he can lead us to the Yamiichiba Hunters."

Appa opened his eyes, and spotted a body floating in the water. The bison roared in alarm, frightened.

"What is it Appa?" Aang asked, and noticed the body for the first time. "We have to help him!" The airbender waded into the water and pulled the body onto dry land. Appa sniffed the body, and licked it, washing away all the mud and grime.

"Kuzon?" Aang asked.

The firebender slowly opened his eyes. "Aang?" Kuzon asked. "What are you doing here?"

"What am I doing here?" Aang asked. "We found you in the ocean. We thought you were dead!"

"I wish I was." Kuzon said. "The Yamiichiba Hunters are hunting dragon eggs again! And this time, they say that someone's going to help them!"

"We can't let that person help them!" Aang said. "Speaking of the Hunters, I need to ask you something very important." "What is it?" Kuzon asked.

"How can I join them?" Aang asked.

~~Fire Nation: The Black Market~~

"I still can't believe you're going through this hotman." Kuzon whispered. He and Aang walked out of a room, dressed in Yamiichiba Hunter uniforms with masks covering their faces. "This isn't flamin'"

"I told you hotman." Aang said, admiring himself in the mirror. "The Yamiichiba Hunters run the black market, and they might have seen kidnapped airbenders being sold to the Fire Nation."

Kuzon thought for a moment. "I overheard the guards at the Fire Nation palace once telling the others that Fire Lord Sozin was planning something huge, something big. They said it will start a new era of peace, whatever that means."

Aang turned to face his surroundings. Shady characters wandered the rugged, dirty streets. They looked around, looking for things to steal, and to run if the guards came to shut them down. The Yamiichiba Hunters strolled into view, clutching a box.

Kuzon swallowed his fears. Aang smiled evilly, and walked toward the group. "Hello, fellow Yamiichiba Hunters. It is I, Gann! And this is my friend, um, Zunok!"

Dao Zhe eyed the two carefully, raising an eyebrow. "What are you doing wearing the sacred Yamiichiba Hunters uniform?"

"We want to join your team!" Aang shouted. "Zunok and I admire your weapons, value your strength, and take note of your wisdom. We have spent years practicing the Yamiichiba Hunting way."

Kikka growled, "The Yamiichiba Hunters are a group dedicated to Fire Lord Sozin. We are his most trusted advisors."

Kuzon's eyes widened, "Fire Lord Sozin? But, why? That is so not flamin, hotman!"

"Zunok, you might want to refrain from using such childish language." Aang said, nudging Kuzon in the ribs.

Nuzi smiled, "These two seem to be worthy in joining our cause."

"They look like young'uns to me!" Saisho growled.

"Come with us." Bardus said, grimly. "You're about to get a first-hand experience dealing with bargain."

~~Fire Nation: Pokena Village~~

The puma goats carried the seven members into Pokena Village, dropping them off in front of a rickety house.

Dao Zhe unclasped the box from the puma goat's saddle, and hopped off the puma goat. Kikka leaped into the air, and kicked the door to the ground. Nuzi, Saisho, Bardus, Aang, and Kuzon walked into the house. No one was inside.

"Find him!" Dao Zhe ordered.

Saisho smiled, and unsheathed his sword. He sliced the chairs to pieces, and slashed the tables into dust. Kikka raised her new spear and stabbed at the windows, feeling everything in sight. Nuzi swung her rope over her head, and attached it to a cannonball. She swung it around the rooms, destroying everything in sight. Bardus unclasped his bombs and rolled them into the surviving rooms. Instantly, they exploded, and the house crashed down. Dao Zhe summoned fire from his finger tips and scorched the remaining pieces of the house.

"What was that for?" Aang asked, anger building up in his voice.

"How dare you speak to Dao Zhe that way!" Nuzi shouted, and raised her hand to slap him.

"It's okay Nuzi." Dao Zhe said. "They're newcomers. You see, that guy sold us this." He patted the box, smiling evilly. "We just wanted to thank him. Now, we can sell this to the Black Market, and get tons of money."

"You monster!" Kuzon shouted. "This isn't flamin'." He extended his palms, and flames bursted out, slamming Dao Zhe into the sky. The box flew in the air. Aang airbended into the air, grabbed the box, and twirled onto the ground.

"Surprise!" Aang said. The friends tore their masks off. "We outsmarted you!"

The Yamiichiba Hunters smiled. As flash as lightning, Kikka impaled Kuzon's leg with her spear and Nuzi knocked the life out of Aang. Bardus threw a bomb, exploding them on the spot. Aang quickly made an air shield, throwing them into the sky.

"We knew who you were since we laid our eyes on you." Saisho smiled.

"Fire Lord Sozin will pay a hefty price for another airbender." Dao Zhe said, getting up.

"Another?" Aang choked.

"We have inside sources." Bardus revealed. "Someone from your very own temple is sabotaging you, and you have no idea who it is."

"Wait, what?" Kuzon asked.

"You idiot! That was top-secret information! Sozin will have our necks for your outburst!" Kikka shouted.

Aang airbended the Yamiichiba Hunters back, and grabbed the box. Kuzon kicked fire at their feet, blocking their path. The Hunters smile faded.

"We'll have to retreat for now." Dao Zhe shouted.

The Yamiichiba Hunters nodded, and vanished the shadows of flames.

"All that trouble for nothing." Kuzon sighed.

"We got this." Aang said, raising the box. "I wonder what's inside." The airbender slowly opened the box, and tears sprouted from his eyes.

"What is it?" Kuzon asked. "Oh."

Inside the box, were pictures of airbenders. Almost all of them had an X across their picture. Their stolen artifacts were inside, some sold for pieces, and others destroyed. A trap door opened up from the ruins of the house.

"Are they gone?" An old man asked. He stared at Aang and Kuzon, their clothes had been burned off, so they stood in their old ones.

"Why did they do this to you?" Kuzon asked.

The old man sighed. "I was housing illegal airbenders. Fire Lord Sozin passed a law not too long ago, that any airbender found must be turned over to him. Because of that, my wife and kids fled to the Eastern Air Temple, and I've been housing others since. The Yamiichiba Hunters somehow found out and hunted them down one by one. I've best get going." He looked at the streets and ran down toward the wharf.

Appa roared in sadness as he flew next to Aang and Kuzon, attempting to warm them up.

Author's Note

I know, you must hate the ending, but it's true. The old man had been housing illegal airbenders and sending them from the Western Air Temple to the Eastern Air Temple. Sort of like the Civil War's underground railroad. Now, the next chapter won't be released until September 26th, so I'll see you then. Oh, don't forget to check Sneak Peek Week in the main page. Catch the review by Minnichi. All of his advice will be used for the next chapter. This one was done yesterday. Until next time...

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