|More from PSUAvatar14||Action/Adventure/Drama/Romance||PG (Some violence early)||None yet|
|Survivors of the Conflict|
4 February 2012
Survivors of the Conflict is chapter sixteen of.
The battles end. Who has won?
The flames simmered down over the Fire Nation Capital.
The battle had ended.
Somewhere were six domestic soldiers that had surrounded Aang and Zuko, in addition to Zorro and Ezan. Whether or not the soldiers had lived was unknown.
What was known was the victors.
Aang and Zuko stood, albeit barely, after exhausting a large amount of their energies on that attack.
However...they had won.
Zorro and Ezan lay on the ground, having sustained several major burns. They also had each slammed into nearby walls. Their present state was also unknown.
What had happened was that when Aang activated the Avatar State, he was able to throw together an air shield with his staff in addition to firing the attack. The shield protected him and Zuko from the bulk of Zorro and Ezan's counterattack, though naturally some flames managed to sneak through. The oddity of the move aside, it had succeeded. Further, some of the flames even worked to stop the attack directed at them, and since the Avatar and his friend had an advantage due to more preparation, they were able to hit their opponents.
"Zuko..." Aang looked over to his friend, the Avatar holding his hands on his knees, his head hanging down. "You okay?"
Zuko took several deep breaths, him being in the same stance as Aang. "I'm fine...Aang...I'm fine."
As they stood there, each trying to regather their breaths, a Rebel Army soldier approached them, riding a komodo rhino he had seized from the domestic forces. "Avatar Aang! Fire Lord Zuko! Come with us! We are about to take the Capital!"
Aang and Zuko simply nodded, and they each boarded the rhino. The soldier led the rhino to the front of the Royal Palace, where about 500 Rebels had surrounded about one hundred of Zorro's forces, including the royal guards. In addition, Generals Tizou, Bujing and Azai stepped out of their tank. They had helped defeat several domestic forces under the tank's cover.
"Surrender now!" Tizou yelled to a stunned General Fuang as the soldier carrying the Avatar and Zuko arrived. "As you can see, we have the Avatar and the true Fire Lord with us! You are surrounded! Clearly, Zorro and Ezan are each defeated! Surrender, General Fuang! You are out of options."
Fuang took a second to survey the new situation of hopelessness. He then knelt down in front of the soldiers. "I surrender. The Capital and this nation are yours."
The Rebels cheered loudly as they entered the Royal Palace. One led with the previous flag of the Fire Nation, the one that flew over the Royal Palace before Zorro seized the nation. He ran to the flag tower and set Zorro's flag ablaze, tossing it to the ground below, inciting another Rebel cheer. He then restored the old flag to its glory.
Aang and Zuko dismounted the rhino. They then met each other for a short embrace.
"Good job....Fire Lord Zuko," Aang said with a smile.
"I couldn't have done it without your help....Avatar Aang," Zuko replied with a chuckle.
They then broke the embrace and walked towards the three generals, who were standing at the front lines, watching their soldiers celebrate their conquering.
"Congratulations to the both of you," Tizou said with a bow. "We are pleased to serve you again, Zuko."
"Just a second," Azai noted. "Technically, when the nation is overthrown by an organization, its leader becomes the Fire Lord. That would be you, Tizou!"
"Like I'm really going to keep the title," Tizou replied. "I'll be transferring those powers back to Zuko as fast as I get them."
"Thanks," Zuko remarked. "But Aang and I have some people to meet back in the Earth Kingdom. I can't take the title back just yet. Tizou, you will have to hold it."
"All that said," Bujing took control of the conversation. "What are we to do with Zorro and Ezan?"
As soon as he said that, a Rebel soldier had returned with Zorro and Ezan on his komodo rhino. "Sirs, we have checked the situation. Fire Lord Zorro is dead...no pulse. General Ezan still lives, but we are not sure he'll survive."
"Take Ezan to the medical ward, then," Tizou said. "If he lives, he will be tried for his crimes."
"Yes, that is the next issue," Bujing noted as the Rebel rode away. "What do we do to these heathens?"
As this was all said, Aang was left feeling unsure, feeling like he helped to kill Zorro. Although he had to release some of his spiritual ways, it still hurt him inside to know he was at least partially responsible for the death of a human, even if it was someone like Zorro.
Zuko rested a hand on Aang's shoulder; he knew. "Listen, Aang...even if you were responsible, remember...it was for the world. You did what you had to do. Like that other Air Nomad Avatar said, you have to make sacrifices. Besides...I have a role in Zorro's death as well. We both did the attack. Cheer up...what's important is that we won."
"I don't know," Aang responded hesitantly. "Even being just partially responsible is hard to swallow. I shouldn't have done what I did. I took a life...I know I did."
"Aang," Zuko began. "We had no choice. If we didn't perform that move, if we didn't stop Zorro...we'd each be dead right now. You did what you had to do...there was no other way."
The Avatar took a second to let his mind absorb Zuko's words. He didn't know whether or not Yangchen had taken lives in her life, but she had told him that he had to give up his spiritual needs. He thought it long and hard, but finally accepted it. He knew it wasn't just him as well. "You're right, Zuko...you're right."
"That said," Zuko began again. "We'll have to decide on punishments for Ezan and everyone else some other time. Like I said, Aang and I have people to see in the Earth Kingdom. We'll return in a few days, and can resume this matter when you make me Fire Lord again."
Tizou bowed. "At your request, sir."
Zuko had one last thing to say. "Thank you, you three. You stood up for this nation while I was gone and feeling down about my loss. You helped get to this city and free it from the tyrannical Zorro's hands. You must also accept credit for the work today. Without you three standing up, no army would have defeated Zorro. I am glad to have you all on my staff."
"You are welcome," Bujing said with a bow. "We look forward to serving you again, sir."
"Glad we could help," Azai added. "Just don't sell yourself short," he added with a chuckle.
"Goodbye for now," Zuko finished with a smile. With that, him and Aang made their walk back towards the submarine they had arrived in.
"You ready, Zuko?" Aang said to his friend. "We're going to see everyone again. Mai's waiting for you...and Katara for me." He grew thoughtful, getting excited to see Katara again after the rough battle.
"That's true, bud," the soon to be Fire Lord replied. "I know they won their fights."
After a fifteen-minute walk, they arrived at the lead ship, where the submarine was being safely kept. The sun had emerged from beyond the clouds, if only briefly. It shined down on the ocean water, creating a twinkle within. It was as if it was a sign from the spirits, showing that the future was bright again, the world now safe.
The submarine set on its way, the long journey beginning.
Southern Water Tribe
The sun shined down on the bloody battlefield, the fighting of the armies nearing its end. Elements continued to soar through the air, but they became minimal as one side commanded a large advantage.
Away from the main battlefield, there stood one man, another man fallen.
Just one man stood.
The mighty Prince.
Sokka, the son of Chief Hakoda and Kya.
The heir to the Southern throne.
He was the victor.
Before him lay his once mighty opponent.
Sokka had won the final attack, effectively slaying Baktan. He had knocked Baktan's sword away, and then stabbed him deep into his stomach. The fallen Waterbender was barely alive, blood draining from him. Sokka simply stuck his sword in its sheath. He took some time to enjoy his victory, but it wasn't long before his mind wandered to another worry. His thoughts had just one name for that moment.
Where's my sister?
He left the site of the former battlefield and began looking for his sibling. He had had his girlfriend captured, his father captured as well, and his mother taken from him.
The last he needed was Katara captured or even killed.
Another distance away, two Waterbenders lay on the ground, each of them women.
One of them rose after some moments out of consciousness.
Her world returning to her in victory.
She was the last Southern Waterbender.
Given no chance to conquer.
But she did...again.
Katara began a slow walk to her fallen foe. She was staggering, her energy taken out of her from all of the fight, and now dehydration added to the mix. Still, despite her wounds, her cuts, she stood. She wiped some blood away from her mouth and continued the walk.
Kianna was completely out of it. The final blow levied against her was devastating. While Kianna had gone with a more basic water blast, Katara had stepped up her game for the final move. She fired off water bullets and the bullets impacted Kianna several times, throwing her back to an igloo wall and effectively knocking her unconscious. Katara could tell this as she approached the older woman, but decided to stay close to her in case she rose again.
However, this would not happen. Several Water Tribesman quickly surrounded Kianna, and arrested her. As this was happening, Kianna's eyes opened. She could tell she was being led away, knowing this was the end. She turned back to Katara with one last poisonous look from her blood-stained face. "I...hate...you," she declared.
Katara just simply looked at her, electing to let the actions do the talking. As she did this, she heard a familiar voice. "Katara!"
She turned, and a smile appeared on her face as her brother approached. "Sokka...!"
Sokka ran up to his sister, but as he did, he saw her appearing to be falling. Katara indeed tilted over, but Sokka caught her in his arms, slightly knocking him off balance. "Easy there sis..." he said, but was just happy to see her again. He then surveyed her look, studying her messy hair, the blood that had fallen down her face, and onto her clothes. "Oh my...you're a mess...we need to get you to the healing huts."
"Sokka...what about...Dad? Everyone else fighting?" Katara managed to choke out through her faded energy.
"It's looking good," Sokka said with a smile, as he took a quick look at the battlefield, then towards Katara again. "Really good."
Indeed, the Fire Nation troops had fallen back to the first defense line. At the front of the lines was the Southern Chief. He had emerged from the hardship of nearly losing his tribe and was now at the forefront of the operation to maintain it.
Most of the Fire Nation Army was now crushed. Seeing the victories of their symbols of hope, the inspiration trumped the exhaustion of the Water Tribe forces, rallying them to victory over their opponents.
Admiral Xian had been on his ship, watching the situation collapse against him. With his opponents nearing the ships, he called it off. Him and his advisers proceeded to march down the ship's entrance with a white flag.
"We're finished," Xian said. "You have defeated us, Chief Hakoda of the Southern Water Tribe. This is a surrender."
"I didn't defeat you," Hakoda replied. "All these men did."
"Does it matter?" Xian responded. "You have bested my forces. We will pull out of here before more losses are caused. Men, retreat to the Fire Nation!"
The remaining Fire Nation forces, numbering only about fifty, returned to the ships. Some of them lost their weapons, but did not even attempt trying to get them back. They were finished, as their Admiral declared.
The combined forces cheered as the retreat finished. One soldier even brought out a large Water Tribe flag and stuck in the snow at the entrance to the village. "We always have been, still are, and always will be with the Water Tribes!"
Sokka proceeded to the healing huts with his woozy sister, an arm around her back to sustain her. Katara also held an arm around Sokka's stomach to stay upward as well. Within moments, the Southern Prince and Princess had arrived.
Yugoda gasped at the sight of the same young woman who was once her student. "My goodness...Katara!"
"She's in pretty bad shape," Sokka stated. "I think she might be dehydrated as well...the air was dry, and she may have used Weatherbending to moisten it...you know, to draw water from it."
"Let's get her to work now," Yugoda said. She took Katara into her care and into an empty room. Two nurses joined her. "She also needs fluids...quick!" Yugoda commanded, and a third nurse ran off to acquire those.
Sokka waited in the waiting room. He removed his wolfhead's helmet and sat down on a chair, waiting for what he hoped would be good news on his sister.
It wasn't too long after that before Hakoda arrived. "Dad!" Sokka got up and yelled.
"Sokka!" Hakoda returned the favor to his son. The two then met in an embrace, before stepping away from each other. "I just heard about Katara," Hakoda resumed after the hug. "You think she'll be okay?"
"I know she will," the Southern Prince replied. "She's been through a lot...if anyone's tough, it's my sister. I saw the end of the fight...so...they're gone?"
"Yes," the Chief said with a smile. "We have won. The tribe is safe."
Sokka smiled brightly at his father. "I can't wait for you to tell me everything," he spoke with an upbeat tone before switching his look back to worry for Katara. "For now, I just want Katara to be okay."
Fong, Toph, Mai, a nurse, and several soldiers had surrounded the young Firebender as he lay, some looking at him with amazement at the move he had just pulled off, a move that basically extinguished the Fire Nation forces. However, the question was, at what cost?
Suddenly, Reeaki's eyes opened. His vision was a blur as he looked around to no longer see the battlefield, but now the walls of the medical ward, with everyone surrounding him. His memory was also a blur. "Did...we win? What happened?" He asked the spectators around him.
"You did..." Fong began. "...quite possibly the most remarkable Firebending I have ever seen."
"Yeah," Toph added. "Then it just got really cold for some reason."
Reeaki tried to lift his head up, but a nurse quietly advised him to not do so, idly placing it back down on the pillow. "The last thing I remember...I just went to a Weatherbending move...saw my flames...and that's about it."
"It was enough to win," Fong said. "Your move wiped out essentially all of the remaining Fire Nation forces. They surrendered after you completed your move and subsequently passed out."
Reeaki smiled. "Glad to...have helped, Fong."
"You know," Mai then spoke. "Zuko will always be looking for new help once he's Fire Lord again. After that, you should be on his staff."
Reeaki kind of flinched up. He then looked to see Hashidi, the fellow crossover he had met just a couple of weeks ago. "Uhhh....about that...may I speak with Hashidi privately please?"
"Very well," Fong said. "Everyone but Hashidi, clear the room."
All the spectators walked away from the room, except for the only other man that Reeaki knew was in the same situation as him.
"That was a dangerous move," Hashidi told Reeaki. "From my knowledge of Weatherbending, that drains energy. I think you can get it back slowly over time, but--"
"Not my point," Reeaki said. "Over the last couple of days, I thought about things. I have liked being here, very much so...but, I left a lot of old friends behind in State College, and I have dreamed for so long about getting my education at Penn State, especially because of my major. I think...no, I'm pretty sure I want to go home. I have done what I needed to do here."
Hashidi nodded. "To be here is definitely a great experience. You came at quite a time, and you indeed succeeded with your task. That said...in a few days, after you do take time to heal, we'll head back to Ba Sing Se. I will lead you to the portal near the city, and from there, you will return to State College, and Penn State."
"Thank you," Reeaki said with a smile. "I'm glad I'll also get the chance to properly say goodbye to everyone, then. It has been quite an experience...I mean here, there's basically no technology, it's a whole new culture...it has given me a look into these types of cultures and makes me appreciate what I do have back home as well. I couldn't imagine living without the stuff we have back home...but, it was enriching to see such a lifestyle."
"Glad you enjoyed it," the elder crossover replied.
"You can send everyone in now if they wish," the younger crossover finished, finally being able to pick his head up as his will came back to him.
Hashidi re-invited everyone to return to the room. Also walking in was the injured Kyoshi Warrior leader, Suki. She was being supported by crutches, and her ankle was wrapped in a cast, her state looking much like Zuko's had been earlier in the adventure.
"I heard what you did," Suki told Reeaki. "That was something else."
"You doing all right?" Reeaki's attention was at her handicap.
"I'll be fine," the warrior calmed Reeaki's worry. "Just like Zuko, this will probably be for a short time. I sprained my ankle pretty badly...so it might be a couple of weeks before I get off these things."
"Man," Reeaki said. "What is it with you guys and bad ankles? Sokka broke his during Sozin's Comet I had heard, Zuko messed his up not too long ago..." he was laughing and in overall good spirits. "I kid, I kid..."
Suki even chuckled a little. "Guess things just happen that way."
"So, what do we do now?" Mai wondered.
"If you wish," Fong offered, "you can join me and my soldiers for a victory feast around 7:30 tonight."
"Sounds like a plan," Reeaki replied. "Who agrees?"
The rest of the team nodded in agreement. "Fighting for a day works up a big appetite," Toph remarked, holding a hand over her growling stomach.
"After that," Mai said. "I guess we have...to wait," her mind wandered over to Zuko, who was still at-large and likely would be for several hours.
Suki's mind also drifted over to her boyfriend, Sokka. She also thought of Katara, who had become a close friend to her since Ty Lee's death. "It's going to be a long wait..."
Southern Water Tribe, 18:30
Katara lifted herself off the bed, still sore from the long fight she had just taken on. She then finished up a glass of water she had been provided to help her rehyrdrate. Having just been cleared by Yugoda to take some steps outside, she left the healing hut room and made her way out to the healing area. Her face lit up with smiles she saw her brother and father looking right at her.
"Katara!" Sokka exclaimed as his sister appeared again.
"Katara..." Hakoda added with a smile on his face.
The Southern Princess ran up to her waiting family, and soon, the three were wrapped in a group hug.
"I knew you had that fight in you Katara," Hakoda said to her daughter. "You have proven yourself once again, and you and Sokka continue to make me the proudest father in the world."
"Don't scare me like that again, sis," Sokka teased, referencing how his sister had collapsed into his arms an hour ago. "Seriously...way to go. I think Ty Lee would look at us and be ecstatic."
Tears dripped down Katara's face as she thought of her best friend. "Yes...she would, Sokka."
The three separated from their embrace. "I guess this means we won?" Katara wondered. "I mean, if you're here, Dad..."
"Yes," Hakoda said with a nod. "The Fire Nation is going home. Obviously, we now have to wait for results from the other battles. But, this tribe still stands."
Katara contained her excitement into a simple smile, knowing her physical home was safe. However, she got a little worried as she thought of her other home. "The others...Aang..." she whispered.
Sokka was quick to put an arm around Katara's back. "Don't worry...you really think Aang and Zuko combined couldn't do the trick? Hey, that reminds me...Dad, we have to go to the Earth Kingdom, to reunite with everyone. We're sorry we have to go...but..."
Hakoda shook his head but was still smiling. "It's completely okay. I understand you're looking forward to seeing your lovers again, and also your friends. I look forward to each of you returning soon. Katara, I assume Aang will be with you."
"You'd better believe it Dad," Katara said. "Even if I have to drag him while he's kicking and screaming," she added with a laugh.
"Oh come on sis," Sokka added. "You know Aang likes it here."
"Gee Sokka, I thought you of all people would catch on to a joke," Katara teased at her brother.
Hakoda laughed at his children's exchange. "All right...well, just take care and be safe. You don't know what you'll run into on the flight back."
"We will Dad," Sokka said.
"See you soon," Katara added.
The two siblings left the healing huts, making their way back towards the location where they had left the Avatar's sky bison for the past 36 hours. Soon enough, they located Appa.
"There's our favorite flying bison!" Sokka said, and climbed up to the top of the animal. "Need any help, Katara?"
Katara felt her body continue to ache, and decided to take up the offer. "It would be appreciated, bro."
With that, Sokka reached his arm out. Katara took hold of it, and Sokka lifted his sister up onto the bison's head. Katara then moved onto the bison's saddle. "Want to do the same thing we did last time? Two hours piloting him each way?"
"If you want to," Sokka replied. "Appa...yip yip!"
The sky bison took off into the sky on Sokka's command, beginning the long flight to the Earth Kingdom.
The setting sun cast a bright orange light on the Southern Water Tribe, where the fires left behind had been extinguished by other Waterbenders. There was still an ugly scene where the battle field was, but other than that, it looked pristine and peaceful.
Free of the world around it.
Safe from invaders again.
Saved by its symbols of hope.
The seas, 19:00
Aang stood on the submarine's deck by himself, the sea breeze cooling him off after the day of fighting was ended. At the very least, he had helped to restore peace in the Fire Nation. Whether or not the rest of the nations stood was unknown to him.
His mind was clearly occupied. He had slowly moved past the death of Zorro, and knew he could no longer let himself be dragged down over that. For now, his mind was focused on the fates of the nations...and her.
I should have gone with Katara...I would have known that she was safe. Now I'm left here, thinking...not knowing...
He gave a nervous sigh, looking straight ahead at the sea.
"This would be a perfect time for Uncle to talk about how the open sea makes a man think," Zuko said as he approached the Avatar from below deck. He then stood next to him, his hands on the railing that separated them from the sea. "He always told me that, when I was...you know, different. I always was thinking about a lot, and he always said I should just look at the sea, like this."
"It certainly has made me think," Aang replied, looking towards his friend. "I miss Katara...and I wish I knew if she was okay. I should have gone with her....I mean, that's no offense to you, Zuko...I'm just so worried, and being away from her for so long, in the heat of this fight..."
"I know it must be hard," Zuko replied. "When I came to join you guys in the first place, I had to leave Mai behind. I was away from her for several weeks, who knows what could have happened? I later found out that Azula had almost killed her, and that Ty Lee's quick thinking prevented it. It's definitely tough to leave behind the ones we love, but, Aang...you have to put trust in Katara. You know she's a real good fighter."
"Of course I do," Aang said, then turning his head back to the sea. "I guess...I just love her so much, I'm worried about her. She told me about how hard it was to be without me in the weeks I was in a coma following the loss of Ba Sing Se. At least she could revive me, but, Zuko...I can't revive her. I would hate to lose her...more than I hated to lose the entire Air Nomad race, or feeling like I had failed the entire world. Katara means everything to me."
Zuko placed a hand on Aang's shoulder. "I know she does...and Mai does to me as well. Like I said, though...we have to trust them. We can't let ourselves become nervous wrecks because we think they may not return, or be waiting for us. We'll be fine, Aang."
The Avatar simply sighed. "I suppose you're right. Like I said, I trust that Katara won...I guess my love for her...oh, you get it. That said...what are you going to do once you become Fire Lord again? Like Tizou said, you have decisions to make on Zorro's staff."
The Fire Lord took a moment to mull things over. "Well, it all comes down to our legal system. If a jury finds anyone guilty of high treason, they'll be executed. Ezan will likely be convicted of that, if he lives, a decision I won't protest. He did help overthrow us, after all. As for the rest of his staff...likely normal treason would be the charge for them...that would be multiple years or a life sentence. Ultimately, I am the final call on all of it, they are right."
The term 'execution' made the Avatar a little uncomfortable, however, this was not the place to spark a debate now. The matter could be addressed later.
They continued to look ahead at the seas, when Zuko elected to head back below deck. "I'm going to get some sleep before we get back. Aang...you should join me. Uncle always told me that a man needs his rest."
"You go ahead," Aang responded. "I'll stay up here for a little bit."
Zuko idly nodded and returned below deck.
The sun completely left the clearing sky as they sailed east. Aang watched as its glows of orange danced across the ocean. He looked to the sea and continued thinking of the girl he knew that mastered the flow of the water.
I'm coming, Katara...
Onboard Appa, 20:00
The day faded into a clear night, providing a half-full moon and the bright stars. The rough and tumble day was over, the calm, serene night took over the scene.
Katara bent some water out of the sea and froze it into an ice mirror. She was fixing up her hair, restoring the bun and hair loopies, though keeping it down for the most part, in the traditional style she had maintained since two summers ago.
Sokka simply continued to direct Appa over the ocean. Some thirty minutes ago they had run into a stray thunderstorm, requiring Katara to use her Weatherbending.
The cold of their home was now long gone, each allowing them to remove their fur coats, freeing them up somewhat.
The young Prince took a look at his timing device. "Should be about two and a half hours, sis," he said to her. "In thirty minutes, you take over."
Katara idly nodded as she continued finishing putting her hair together.
Sokka looked back to his sister in wonder. "Hey, you've barely said a word since we left the South Pole. You okay?"
The Southern Princess stopped working on her hair for that moment and sighed. "If you want to know the truth...I'm scared. For Aang."
Her brother sort of chuckled. "Really, you're worried about the mighty Avatar? Katara, do you honestly think he and Zuko didn't win?"
"No!" Katara snapped back. "I don't think they lost...I just...I would be happier if I saw him right now. You know..." She drifted off into a daydream, a short dream that featured her hugging him tightly, happy to see him back, the fears leaving her body like a city being evacuated. However...it wasn't true...for now.
"Hey," Sokka began. "I guess that's natural. You grow that attachment to someone, and you always have that fear when you get separated from them...especially like this. I mean, you got two baddies in the Fire Nation, they managed to take over the whole Capital, master Firebenders..."
"Not helping!" Katara again snapped.
"Look...don't worry," her brother again said. "You have to let that trust you place in a loved one override that natural fear. I'm sure you trust Aang a lot...like me with Suki. Sure, I'm a little worried, but I trust she did well enough to succeed, and I know I'll see her again."
"I do trust Aang did enough to win," his sister replied. "I guess...having already lost someone I cared about a lot....I'm more nervous than usual." She looked at her Ty Lee wristband again, thinking of the girl she had considered as her sister, knowing she did leave them already. "I don't want to see anyone else go."
"We'll be fine," her brother assured her. "I promise."
Katara idly sighed. "I hope."
"Right now, just keep your head up," Sokka added. "You never know if we'll run into another storm."
Katara then shifted her thoughts. "I wonder what will happen to the tribe now that the fight's over. We lost some of the new buildings in that fight, I saw others damaged....that stinks, we were doing so well..."
"I know," Sokka said. "But we're still doing better than the year before the War ended. As long as Dad helps maintain relations with the North, the tribe will rise again. Also, don't forget sis, we are just as much a help as anyone. It probably will be a while before things get started though...that battlefield was a mess."
"You can say that again," Katara remarked. "We've only read of what our home once was. I know it would look beautiful once they finish reconstruction. Just stinks that we suffered such a setback."
"Setbacks happen," Sokka replied. "You just have to get up from them and keep going...and that's what we have to do."
"We did a lot of that lately," Katara noted to all the struggles they dealt with over the last month. "You're right...I know the tribe will bounce back."
"Exactly," Sokka added with a smile.
The flight continued, them making their way to see loved ones again, the radiant moon spirit guiding their way.
Earth Kingdom, 21:00
Reeaki, Suki, Mai and Toph had gathered at the beach where the mission had begun just short of 48 hours ago. It was there where all of Team Avatar were to gather should they return safely. Tents were set up where they would stay the night, enjoying the clear but now chilly night thanks to Reeaki's Weatherbending.
Suki and Mai rubbed some sticks together to start a campfire as Reeaki's Firebending was still too weak. He was shooting out only some weak flames as he was struggling to restore his energy. Not that it mattered, at least he knew. He figured this would be the time to tell everyone about his decision.
"Hey," the world crossover began. "Can I talk to everyone?"
"Sure," Suki said, and the other three joined him around the campfire.
"Guys..." Reeaki began. "If I were to say I didn't like this experience...I would be lying. It has been entertaining, enlightening, enjoyable...whatever you want to say, to be a part of your world. I have seen many things I never thought I would see, and got the chance to live out the experience of being a bender. With that said...I took time to thought about things...I can't stay here. I have too much going on back home, too much I have missed, a lot I need to do...I have decided that I will leave this world. I will go back to Ba Sing Se with Hashidi, and he will take me to the portal to transfer me out of here."
The three girls looked at him oddly for a second, absorbing his decision.
"That's too bad," Mai said. "Like I told you earlier, I think Zuko would have picked you to be on his staff, you could have done a lot here..."
"I agree with Mai," Suki added. "But...it's your decision. If you feel like you want to go back home, we won't stop you. It has been an interesting experience to travel with you."
Toph punched Reeaki in the arm in her standard show of affection. "We're going to miss your crazy Firebending, and that Weatherbending too. You were an awesome fighter."
Reeaki rubbed his arm after the teasing blow. "Thanks, guys. I'll stay with you all overnight so I can properly say goodbye to you all. It's never easy to say goodbye...but, I have dreamed of my future in my world for a while...and I'd rather not lose that dream. You're great friends...but who knows how much time has passed in my world. My friends back home...who knows?"
"We understand," the Kyoshi Warrior leader replied. "Don't worry about us."
"Again, I hate to see you go," Mai said. "I'm sure Zuko and everyone will too."
"I'll miss you all," Reeaki said.
The three girls smiled at the soon to be departing crossover.
Despite the impending exit, Reeaki sat in peace, feeling fulfilled. He didn't care if he didn't have his bending at that moment. He had done what he was brought there to do.
Now, he could look forward to fulfilling his other goals.
Arrival of Team Avatar
The sky bison was exhausted, having flown at fast speeds across the ocean to get back to the Earth Kingdom. The flight had taken a little longer than usual because the siblings had made a pit stop in the southwestern part of the nation for dinner. Regardless, they were now set to arrive on the shores.
Katara was in control of Appa for the second leg of the trip, as per the deal her and Sokka had. She saw the shore come into sight, and soon she saw some recognizable figures. "Sokka, look! I can see everyone!"
Sokka looked through his telescope, and there, he could make out the campsite. He grinned as he prepared to see Suki again.
The rest of the team looked up into the clear nighttime sky and could see the shadow of the sky bison in the shadow of the night. Suki's eyes lit up with happiness as her boyfriend and her best friend were on their way. The rest of the team looked up with satisfaction and easing fear as Appa was brought lower, his landing on the shores approaching.
Katara directed Appa to a safe landing sight on the shore, at the campsite. With that, she and Sokka dismounted.
"Welcome back," Reeaki said with a smile. "Good to see you two again."
"Sokka!" The Kyoshi Warrior leader's voice yelled, and she began moving towards her warrior love, the crutches supporting her.
"Suki!" The Southern Prince responded, and walked up to her.
The next thing they knew, they were locked in a tight embrace, Suki with tears dripping down her face and her head rested on Sokka's shoulder. After a moment, they moved in for a warm kiss, happily enjoying each other's presence once again.
Katara had her own reunion ongoing all the meanwhile. "Welcome back, Sugar Queen," Toph said with a smile. Katara reached down and met Toph for a hug, before turning to the girl she had very recently made a friend of.
"Glad you're back," Mai said, genuinely smiling.
Katara embraced Mai, and once again the Fire Nation noblewoman returned the favor. "It feels great to be back."
After they separated, Katara felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned to see Suki smiling at her.
"Hey you," Suki said.
"Hi there," Katara replied, keeping her bright smile.
The two girls met for a hug, their friendship continuing strong in the light of Ty Lee's death.
"She's watching us," the Kyoshi Warrior leader said, her voice sort of muffled in the hug. "I know she's happy right now."
"She is," the Waterbender replied, some tears escaping from her eyes and trickling down her cheeks.
After the two girls broke their hug, Sokka and Katara received their receptions from Reeaki. Katara gave him a quick hug, while Sokka shook his hand in traditional Water Tribe style. However, after this, Katara took notice of something rather disturbing to her. "Where's Aang?"
"We haven't seen him or Zuko yet," Mai said as she shook her head.
Katara gave slight gasp, then her head tilted downward as the feelings of relief ran away from her. Suki placed a hand on her shoulder. "Don't worry Katara....they'll be back before you know it."
"I wish they were here already..." the Princess' voice drifted off away from her close friend. "You were with Sokka during Sozin's Comet...I hated not knowing where Aang was for days..."
"Just take it easy," Suki replied. "Stay confident that they'll return."
"All right," Toph then declared. "I want some storytelling from Sugar Queen and Captain Boomerang."
Katara and Sokka took a seat on a log, while the rest of the team sat on other logs of their own.
"It was a long and hard fight," Sokka began. "For the first day, we didn't even see Kianna or Baktan. We just met up with Dad and fought with him and the other warriors. It was a tough battlefield, I mean, we saw a lot of people getting killed. When the day ended, we were pushed back about halfway to the center of the village."
"Today was crazy," Katara picked up the story. "Sokka and I again joined all the warriors, and we were winning...we almost had the Fire Nation pushed back. Then, Kianna and Baktan came out of nowhere and began using their Waterbending. Baktan was doing that crazy thing with the sword and ice, and Kianna was raining down ice spikes. We started falling all the way back...until Sokka and I got them out of their hiding place within the armies."
"I fought Baktan," Sokka again spoke. "He was a tough fight...at first, it was just swordfighting. I threw my boomerang at his water skin, thus breaking it and making him swordfight. I almost had him beat, but then he used the snow to Waterbend, and he had me down for a moment. I got up though, and soon we were back to fighting. Finally, after a while, we took it to one last shot. We charged at each other with our swords...and I used mine to knock his out of his hands. Then, I just stuck my sword into his stomach...killing him."
Katara gasped audibly. "You killed him?"
"Yeah," Sokka replied. "I killed him, right then and there."
Suki looked to her boyfriend with surprise, but then a smile. "Way to go, Sokka. Way to fight like a true warrior."
Katara had mixed feelings, but shook them off quickly and was just happy that her brother had won.
"You're up," Toph said to Katara.
"Obviously, I fought Kianna," the younger of the siblings began. "It started out as an even fight, but then she started overwhelming me. I was letting my anger control me, and my moves were all off. Kianna was focused, and she was hitting me hard. I then got slammed into a wall, and then...at that point, I had a vision of Ty Lee. She was telling me to get up, remember why I fought. Also, I felt ready to give up...but she was saying how that wasn't me, had to remember who I was. She was an inspiration for sure. When I returned to reality, Kianna was ready to rain ice spikes on me, but I got an ice shield up to stop her, and then attacked her and got her away from me. We fought for some time, and then we felt the air get really dry. So, we had to use Weatherbending to moisten the air, and get more water from it. We each became dehydrated and exhausted, so we also took it to a final move. I hardly remember what we used...but I guess what I did was enough. The next bit was a blur...I recall getting up and seeing her defeated, then arrested. I saw Sokka after that, then I don't even remember anything until waking up in the healing huts and seeing him and Dad."
"Katara, you were really out of it," Sokka said.
"Wow," Suki remarked. "You saw Ty Lee, huh?"
"Yeah...like I said, she kind of gave me inspiration," Katara replied. "I can still hear her saying 'remember why you fight, remember who you are'."
After this, the other members gave their side of the story. With tiredness setting in, they all retreated to their tents...except for two.
Katara remained sitting on the sand, looking out towards the sea, a brown blanket wrapped around her. Her face had worry written all over it, thinking of the fact that her love was still out there. Soon, Mai joined her.
"I know you're worried," Mai told her. She was wearing a fur shaw of red to keep herself warm. "I am, too." Mai's face had featured similar features of Katara at that moment. "The uncertainty is very tough, knowing that everyone else is together again."
The Water Tribe girl fought back some tears. "It's very hard, Mai. We'll just have to keep waiting. We know Aang and Zuko will be coming...it's just a matter of when, and that's the hardest part."
"I don't think I'll be able to sleep if Zuko doesn't return tonight," Mai added. "It's really been him that has helped keep me from totally being what I'm known for...you know, emotionless, depressed, that 'weird' girl..."
"Same with me for Aang," Katara replied. "Well, except for the latter. He just...he knows me so well. He knows when I'm hurt, and always comes to comfort me. He also knows how to make me happy. We know each other so well...we had a falling out a few months ago, that almost tore us apart...but we each played on our understanding of one another and stayed together in love. I already lost him once...I don't want that to happen again." She placed her arms on her knees, her head looking toward them.
"Oh yeah, Ba Sing Se," Mai recalled. "I remember Azula being all happy and whatnot...but, yeah. I see what you mean. For now, we'll just have to wait."
The two girls continued to sit and wait, looking forward to the last two of the team returning.
Even after the midnight hour had gone, and some began thinking about sleep, others couldn't, their love interests still out there.
Katara and Mai had each made a promise, to wait all night for their sweethearts to get back from the Fire Nation.
"Where are they?" Katara asked with a tone of fear. "I just wish they would get here...it's getting so late."
"They can't be far off," Mai replied, an arm around Katara's back, and her hand resting on the young Waterbender's shoulder. "They'll be here...don't worry."
Sokka heard the conversation in his tent. He emerged to see the two girls, still sitting on the beached log where they had been for hours now. He walked up to his sister, whom he could see exhaustion setting in on. After peeking at his timepiece, he began to speak. "Katara...it's after 1:00. You should sleep."
"I'm not going to sleep if Aang is still out there," Katara replied to her brother defiantly. "I'll wait until sunrise if I have to! I know I had a hard fight today, but...I just can't rest knowing he's still out there."
"I understand," Sokka said, "but you need to know where to draw the line. It's been several hours now. They'll return...just get some rest."
"Easy for you to say," Mai said with a quiet but annoyed tone. "Your girlfriend was already here! Meanwhile, me and Katara have to wait for hours!"
Meanwhile, a distance away, Aang and Zuko looked ahead, and started to see the shoreline come into view, albeit barely. "Please...spirits...let them be there," Aang whispered, hoping to see Katara first and foremost, but also thinking of Zuko's girlfriend and all of their other friends.
"Looks like we're about to have our answer," Zuko stated. "There's the shore."
"Katara...if you don't see them in an hour or so, get some rest," Sokka said, placing a hand on her shoulder. "You're exhausted...and waiting up all night won't do you any better."
Katara sighed. "Fine..." She then turned back to look towards the water. Suddenly, she could see something out in the distance. "What is it?"
"It looks like a boat of some sort," Mai observed. The object was certainly in the water, traveling closer.
Aang was anxious as the shoreline moved more and more into view. He just wanted to jump off of the submarine deck and Waterbend across the sea, going the rest of the distance to the shore.
Katara and Mai moved as close as they could to the shoreline until the edge of the ocean was at their feet. "It's a submarine...isn't that what they were traveling in?" Mai asked to Katara.
"Yes..." Katara whispered, a mix of fear and happiness on her face. There was a sub, but was it the one they had been looking for? The one with the loves of their respective lives on it?
Aang and Zuko stayed looking head, and they could make out the figures standing at the shoreline easier now. It did seem to be them.
Katara gasped in happiness, a large smile on her face. She could make them out now...two guys, one of which was hers. "Mai...it's them! It's gotta be!"
Mai also smiled. "Zuko..." she whispered with a tone of relief and happiness.
"That does indeed look like them," Zuko said, a smile on his face. "We're good, buddy."
Aang became lost in his happiness. His eyes even watered up a little as he knew his girlfriend was right there, waiting for him. "Yes...we are."
"Just back up some so whoever's directing that submarine can get in," Sokka advised the two girls. Katara and Mai complied; after all, what was a few extra steps just to know that the ones they loved the most were back and safe?
Finally, the submarine arrived at the shore. The rest of the team heard it as it got closer and awoke. "What's going on?" Toph asked.
"Looks like Aang and Zuko are back," Sokka replied.
Mai lost her emotions at this point, crying some tears of joy as Zuko hopped off the submarine deck. "Zuko!"
"Mai!" Zuko yelled back.
Mai ran up to her boyfriend, who was once again set to be Fire Lord. As she ran up to him, Zuko took hold of her and lifted her into the air, twirling her around. After this, the couple hugged tightly.
Aang didn't have to wait much longer before his love came to him, his grey eyes locking onto her eyes of crystal blue. Katara already had tears pouring down from her eyes as he appeared. "Aang!!!"
"Katara!" Aang responded, and threw his staff to the ground, electing to reach his arms out for her. The two ran towards each other excitedly, each of them crying in the process. Katara got to Aang and took a leap into his arms, a motion which resulted in her tackling him to the ground.
Mai kissed Zuko with tears coming down her face. She had never felt this joy before, but she had seen just how hard hours of anxiety and uncertainty were, and to have Zuko back with her was the biggest relief in the world. Zuko continued to hold his girlfriend close, enjoying the feeling of having her in his life again.
All the meanwhile, Aang and Katara simply gazed into each other's watery eyes, still the each of them on the ground. With no words, they shared a warm kiss, officially bringing them back to one another. Katara's tears fell to Aang's clothing, but Aang didn't care, as he had all he wanted. Katara fell back onto him, and whispered into his ear, "Welcome home, Aang."
"Good to be home," Aang whispered in response.
Reeaki heard all the commotion, still weakened from his large attack. However, he smiled at the sight of the lovers back together, and the whole team surviving the ordeal. "I don't think I even have to ask how Aang and Zuko did," he remarked with a laugh.
"I think the Fire Lord is still right here," Sokka said in response. "All right you two, tell us the story," he requested of Aang and Zuko.
Mai and Zuko separated from their embrace. Katara then picked herself up off the ground and assisted Aang in getting up.
The Avatar wiped his tears of joy away and got to telling his side of the story. "It was an amazing battle, guys. Zuko and I had to do a lot of maneuvering, lots of moves we never thought we would do."
"If it weren't for Aang's Airbending," Zuko remarked, "I'm not sure if we would have made it out alive. He really stepped up a couple of times."
"On the first day, we actually didn't even fight," Aang continued. "We waited, and waited...then on the second day we got our chance. We helped get the Rebels up to the Caldera City."
"Of course," the Fire Lord took back over. "Not everyone was happy...especially Zorro and Ezan. They sort of...tracked us down."
From there on out, the Avatar and the Fire Lord told the stories of the fight, going back and forth in telling pieces of it, before getting to the end.
"We were surrounded by Zorro, Ezan and several soldiers," Zuko recounted. "Then...we sort of...got desperate." He looked towards Reeaki.
"Yeah...we sort of...went to that move Reeaki told us," Aang confirmed what Reeaki began to think upon Zuko's last sentence. "All I saw was flames, and the air around us."
"Aang used the Avatar State and kept us safe, because the other two had done the same move," Zuko explained. "When it ended...we won. Zorro was dead, Ezan barely lived. A Rebel took us to the Royal Palace, where the Rebel generals forced Zorro's general to surrender."
"Hold up, hold up," Sokka cut off the flow. "You guys...killed Zorro?"
"Sokka, you killed Baktan," Toph remarked. "Look who's talking!"
"It's okay," the Avatar assured everyone. "I still do kind of regret killing...but I have had to realize that it's needed sometimes to retain the world's balance...like Avatar Yangchen told me a while ago."
"That was the name of that Avatar!" Zuko finally said. "I couldn't think of it."
After some additional words tossed around, including more stories, Reeaki elected to finally speak of his decision.
"Before we catch some sleep...there is something I have to tell the rest of you," he began. "Toph, Suki and Mai already know this...but here we go for everyone else." He looked at everyone as he prepared for his final speech. "Guys...what you have provided me over the last several weeks has been fun. It has been great to see another culture, and teach all of you Weatherbending. I've enjoyed being a part of your team, fighting for the world, being a part of the ultimate destiny...to be here forever wouldn't be a bad thing...however, I left too many people behind back home, and it has been far too long. I have a full life ahead of me...and, believe me, of no offense to all of you...I would rather pursue it back home. You guys have shown me a lot...just how well anyone can overcome adversity, especially working together...how strong friendship is, how close a common goal, feelings, whatever, how they bring everyone together. It has given me a lot of life lessons I will carry back home."
"So, this is it?" Katara asked. "You're saying goodbye?"
"I'm afraid so," Reeaki answered. "Believe me, I will miss all of you."
Zuko and Aang stood up and walked over to the crossover. The Fire Lord looked at him with an appreciative look. "We'll miss you as well. You were a great teacher...if it weren't for you telling us that move, Aang and I wouldn't have escaped."
"I extend my thanks to you as well," the Avatar added. "I think you will grow up to be a wise man, Reeaki. Good luck in your future."
"The same to you, Aang, and to the rest of you," Reeaki said. "I will now be returning to Fong's fortress to stay the night...tomorrow morning, I will meet with Hashidi, and we will go to Ba Sing Se and the portal there. After that...I will go through the portal and be back home. But yes...I will miss all of you...everyone, take care...and remember, though you already have done them, a lesson for the futures you will help bring...believe deep down in your heart that you are destined to do great things."
The rest of the team walked over to Reeaki, instigating one last group hug.
"Goodbye," Sokka said, giving him a Water Tribe handshake. "You were one heck of a guy."
"As were you, Sokka," Reeaki replied. "Hey Aang, Katara...I want to hear about there being more Airbenders in some years, you hear?"
Katara and Aang blushed. "Okay...sure, Reeaki," Katara said sheepishly.
"Zuko and Mai," the crossover added. "When I hear of the next Fire Lord, I want to hear 'son of Fire Lord Zuko and Fire Lady Mai'."
"You got it," Zuko said.
"That shouldn't be too hard," Mai added as she placed her arms around Zuko.
"I hope you all enjoy peaceful times ahead...you deserve them," Reeaki finished with, as he began walking away, towards Fong's fortress, into the night, and into his future, whatever it would bring him.
Fong's base, 10:00, 16 September
It was the only fitting weather that could go with the new day: The sky was clear, not a single cloud to be found. The sun cast its rays down on the Earth Kingdom base, now safe from the invaders from the west.
A crowd of Earth Kingdom soldiers, a lot of them still remaining from Ba Sing Se, gathered in the center of the base. Returning overnight as well were the soldiers from the Southern Water Tribe, including the wounded General Gala. Most of them had received treatment from the Southern healers, so they didn't need to go to the medical ward.
A couple of soldiers sounded horns, and the soldiers turned their attention to the open area just outside the fortress. Soon, walking out of each side of the fortress and down the stairs were the members of Team Avatar. On the left were Aang, Katara, Sokka and Toph. On the right were Zuko, Mai and Suki. The Kyoshi Warrior leader managed to continue getting down stairs well despite her injury. They each took seats on either side of a podium. The crowd of soldiers cheered greatly as they made their way out, giving all of them their approval.
Coming out of the center of the fortress was General Fong. The crowd applauded
As the applause ended, Fong began his speech. "Good morning, everyone! Once again, we have driven away a threat to our nation, and it was all thanks to all of you in attendance today, showing your pride for your nation, and your willingness to fight for it, leading to the overwhelming of the opponents, and keeping our nation safe again! Further, several of you also showed your willingness to fight for the world as a whole, with your efforts to help save the Southern Water Tribe from collapsing!"
The soldiers again applauded at the words of the General.
"However," Fong resumed. "At the same time, we also have to thank this courageous, strong, and brave group of young people, led by no other than the Avatar himself! They have all proven victorious in their missions, once again keeping the entire world in balance! They repeated their victories of two years ago, and continue to prove they are worthy of nothing less than the highest of praise! My congratulations to all of you...Avatar Aang, the mighty Katara, the brave Sokka, the resilient Toph Bei Fong, Fire Lord Zuko, the never-quitting Mai, and the courageous Suki!"
The crowd applauded again while the Team Avatar members stood up and bowed.
"Now," Fong continued. "At this point, I would like the Avatar to say a few words."
The general stepped down from the podium and Aang took his place standing there. He stood for a few seconds as the chants of "Aang! Aang! Aang!" rolled through the crowd, before he placed his hands up and moved them down, gesturing the soldiers to quiet down.
"Thanks," the Avatar began his speech. "Well...General Fong, I thank you for the honors you have presented all of us with this morning. This has been a hard fight...we had to come together on three battlefields, in three nations, to stop the new threat to the world's balance. I know everyone will look at me, being the Avatar. However, I owe a lot more to everyone in attendance today. Without my friends, I don't know where I would be. They have helped show me many things, and have been great guides throughout the journeys. Furthermore, they are all just as important to the world as I am, and have proven themselves every bit of worthy on the battlefield, and just as strong, if not even stronger than I, in their respective elements. Secondly, I have to thank all of you men who are before us today. Your fighting helped drive Zorro's forces away from this nation, and also out of the Southern Water Tribe. As Fong said, you are all very courageous soldiers, risking your life in the name of your nation and of the world. You helped save the world from plunging back into a chaos that we had dealt with for a hundred years. As the Avatar, I am eternally grateful to all of you. I can't thank you enough for all that you did over the past two days. Just remember, I value everyone who helps in the effort to keep this world where it should be. Thank you, everyone, for your courage in this fight, and now, we can move to keep the world safe again!"
Once more, thunderous applause went through the crowd of soldiers as Aang left the podium and took a seat again, while Fong went back to the podium, if only briefly. "I now invite the Fire Lord to speak," he said and turned to Zuko.
Zuko then stepped up to the same applause. After he helped to settle that down, he began his speech. "There's not much more I can say that Aang hasn't, otherwise I'd be boring you," he started with a laugh, and chuckles also could be heard in the crowd. "Anyhow...once I return to the Fire Nation, and officially re-take the throne, I will help settle things over here. I am aware your mining village fell to Zorro's forces. I will be able to de-colonize that village and return it to your control. Secondly...well, again, I think the Avatar said it all. Keeping the world's balance is the Avatar's primary duty, but we have to remember that all of us are also involved. Without our cooperation, the Avatar can't accomplish his task. I look forward to working with this nation again to ensure the peace of the world. I hope you will join us as needed. For now, may all of you enjoy your trip back to your homes and families, and enjoy the return of peace! Thank you, everyone!"
The Fire Lord was given his own round of applause, leaving Fong to one more short address.
"I would like to thank one more who is not with us today," the general spoke. "Sir Reeaki was of the Fire Nation, but foremost, as most of you have heard, he was not of our world. When all seemed hopeless, he risked himself in one dramatic move, decimating Zorro's men. It is also thanks to him that we were saved from the coming threat. He has elected to leave our world and return home, and I hope you will join all of us in thanking him for his efforts, and wishing him the best of luck in his future." His speech was briefly stopped by another round of applause. "With that said, as Zuko and Aang stated, it is now time for an era of peace once more! We have all earned this chance to be at rest, and once again, I thank everyone involved in this effort for keeping this nation and the entire world safe again!"
All the soldiers applauded as some other soldiers launched fireworks into the air, all the colors lighting up the sky, bringing an end to the ceremony.
Once the ceremony was over, Fong and Team Avatar met up in the fortress again.
"I needn't say what I already said outside," Fong stated to all of them. "We are forever in your debt. If we can do anything for you...let us know."
"We'll be fine," Aang said. "The world at peace is its own reward."
"You sure, Aang? I could use some---" Sokka spoke but was cut off with a hush from his sister. "You never change, Sokka..."
"Regardless, all I wish to ask, is what will you do now?" Fong resumed.
"We will be leaving in a couple of hours, I guess," Aang answered. "We will be in the Fire Nation tomorrow for Zuko's re-coronation ceremony. After that....I guess we had our separate ways again."
"Then I wish all of you the best of luck on all your future quests," Fong said, bowing to them. "Avatar Aang, I am eternally grateful for all your work. It makes it look kind of silly now that I did what I did during the War to you and your friends. However, I am glad you forgave me and worked together."
"It was great working with you," Aang replied.
The Avatar and the general shook hands thereafter.
"All right, we should probably prepare to leave then," Zuko suggested, standing up. "If we're all going to be back in the Fire Nation..."
"Fire Lord Zuko," Fong said. "I look forward to working with the Fire Nation again."
"As do I with the Earth Kingdom," the Fire Lord replied. "Thank you," he added with a bow.
With that, the team departed and began their preparations.
The fight was over.
Peace was achieved.
Once again, when tested, Team Avatar proved themselves.
They were truly the keepers of the peace.
Okay, the length of this chapter was not supposed to happen. lolfail.
What battles they were. As you can see, Aang is still uncomfortable with death. However, given the tone of other scenes, I had him shake it off.
After getting Katara and Mai on the right foot in chapter 12, to give them this scene I felt was proper...these two had a common fear, perfect bonding chance.
Awww, bye, Reeaki...I was going to have a reunion scene of his own back in State College but this chapter was proving too long for it. If anyone would like to see it, I can do a minisode for such an event.
Reeaki's last words before his departure -- "believe deep down in your heart that you are destined to do great things" -- is the author's tribute to the late Joe Paterno, who coined this quote. Paterno passed away 13 days before this chapter was released.
All that's left is the epilogue...
Thanks tofor the awesome drawing!
For the collective works of the author, go here.
Changing Weather - Not Your Typical Days - Regathering the Team - Into the Fire Nation - The Masters of Weather - The Meteorologists Attack - Recovery and Disasters - Searching for Instruction - Reeaki's Arrival - Training - Reverberations - A Dire Warning - Can We Hold Together? - Last Preparations - The Final Showdown, Part 1 - The Final Showdown, Part 2 - Survivors of the Conflict - Moving Forward
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