|By Agent Slash||Genre||Rating||Reviews||Updates|
|More from Agent Slash||Action/Adventure, Drama||PG-PG13||Positive||N/A|
|Targets, Part 1|
Night had fallen on the Northern Air Temple. All of its inhabitants slept away without a care. The man whom everyone referred to as the Mechanist, however, was a late cat-owl. He liked to take midnight strolls in hopes that an idea for a new invention would pop into his head. Though tonight he was wishing he had just stayed inside. He was running for his life as men and women in white chased him through the temple grounds. The Mechanist wasn't as young as he used to be. It was getting hard for him to run, but he would rather be tired than suffer whatever these people had in store for him. It was impossible to call for help as they were too far away from the temple for anybody to hear anything. The Mechanist looked behind him to see how close his pursuers were to catching up to him. They were just a few yards behind him now. I've got to run faster, he thought. He looked back in front of him to see a man with a large, black beard also wearing white standing in his path. He stopped running and looked at the man, fearful for his life.
"So, you must be Fa Ling Lu," said Bai Lung. "Or do you prefer to be called the Mechanist? You know, for someone with your intellect, one would think you would recognize a trap when you see one."
The Mechanist slowly backed away only to run into his pursuers who were now standing right behind him. He looked up at the bearded man's face and asked, "What do you want from me?"
"My name is Bai Lung," said the bearded man. "I'm the leader of the Light Clan."
"Light Clan?" asked the Mechanist, clueless at first. Then it dawned on him. "I've heard of you! You're that heathen who attacked Republic City!"
"And I've heard of you," said Bai Lung. "You're an inventor whose creations have both helped and hurt people. In fact, it seems that your inventions have a knack for getting you into trouble from time to time."
"I do my best to use my inventions for the good of mankind," The Mechanist said. The man was shivering from fright.
"I also understand you have knowledge of a certain prophecy," said Bai Lung.
The Mechanist's eyes widened. He was clearly twice as spooked as he was before. "Prophecy? I know nothing of any prophecy."
"Allow me to refresh your memory, old man," Bai Lung snarled. "Although the conqueror has fallen, a warrior of light will arise and dominate every weakling in his path. Does that sound familiar?"
Of course it sounded familiar. How could he forget the first and, before this, the last time he had heard those words? But he had long since done his best to forget all of that. "It sounds familiar. Why?"
Without warning, Bai Lung fired a blast of light straight into the Mechanist's chest. The inventor was blown back and landed in the snow. "Check him," Bai Lung ordered. One of the people who had pursued the Mechanist went over and put her head to his chest. "He's dead, sir."
"Excellent," said Bai Lung. "Now let's get out of this place. These Air Temples are far too peaceful for me."
As his vision grew, Aang saw his room materialize around him. After a few moments, he sat up in his bed and yawned. He smiled as he pondered how nice it had been to finally get a good night's sleep. Before leaving his room, he stopped and poked his head out of his bedroom window. The Avatar admired the beauty the day brought and for the first time in a while, he was finally able to relax upon seeing rays of light shine down on him. As the sparrowkeets chirped and Air Temple Island broadcasted its usual tranquility, Aang happily walked into his kitchen to see Katara scarfing down a bowl of cereal. "Wow. You're really going at it with that cereal," Aang said.
Katara looked up and wiped the milk off of her face. "Yeah, I'm just really hungry this morning," she replied. "You want some?"
"Sure," Aang replied. He moved over to the table and sat down next to his wife who was already pouring the cereal. "Thanks, Katara," Aang said warmly.
"You seem to be in a good mood this morning," said Katara.
"I finally got a good night's sleep," said Aang. "There weren't any nightmares or anything."
"Well, that's great," said Katara. She went back to eating her cereal and then, with her mouth full, she asked, "Did Zuko ever send a thank you note for that book you got him?"
"Yeah," Aang said. "He said he enjoyed it."
"I was beginning to wonder if he ever sent it," Katara commented.
"Well, he did have to send it all the way from the Fire Nation," said Aang.
"Good point," said Katara.
There was a pause before Aang said anything else. "I think we should spend this entire day together. Nobody but us."
Katara smiled and kissed her husband softly on the lips. "I think that would be a great idea." The waterbender finished her breakfast and got up from her chair. "I'll get dressed and we'll head out."
Aang nodded. "I'll come join you. I need to get dressed, too."
After the two of them got dressed, they walked outside and breathed in the fresh air. "Doesn't it feel good not to have any worries in the world for a change?" Aang asked.
"It feels terrific," said Katara. The two strolled through the island together, admiring the wondrous beauty of their home, until they saw an object flying overhead. Katara pointed upward and spoke, "Aang, look up in the sky."
Aang looked and saw the flying object too. It looked all too familiar to him. It only took a moment to realize what it was. "It's a glider."
"A glider?" asked Katara. "But that's impossible. Who else but you would use a glider?"
"There's only one person we know," Aang replied.
The man gliding down towards them was now as clear as the day itself. He landed on the island before his old friends and looked up at them with narrowed eyes that looked as though they had been shedding tears. Without even waiting for the couple to speak, he opened his mouth. "I need your help," he said. The man was shaking.
"Help?" asked Aang. "What do you need our help with, Teo?"
The paraplegic man responded bitterly. "I need you to help me find the Light Clan."
"What did they do to you?" asked Katara.
Teo's eyes squeezed shut. It was difficult for him to prevent the tears from flowing once more. After a few moments, he said it. "They killed my father."
Aang and Katara's eyes widened. They were horrified to learn that their old friend was now a victim of Bai Lung's injustice. "I guess we won't be having a day to ourselves after all," Aang said to Katara.
Silence filled the air at the Misty Palms Oasis. That's just how Hoku liked it. He watched as the bartender swung his swords left and right, making him a smoothie. After he was done, he put a miniature umbrella in the drink and slid it to his customer. Hoku looked at him and said, "You know, I never get tired of that," as he handed him a gold piece. He drank his smoothie in silence until he saw a bearded man dressed in white come through the door. Hoku could tell this man was a stranger. He most certainly was not from around here.
The man in white sat next to him and spoke. "Are you the one the call Hoku?" he asked.
"Depends on who's asking," Hoku replied. It was an old habit of his to be skeptical.
"A friend," the man in white said. "I need your help with a very important matter."
"And what might that be?" asked Hoku.
"You think you have eradicated all traces of your past life. However, there are those who know of it. Like me, for instance." "Oh?" Hoku asked, amused. "You think you know about my past?"
"I know I do," replied the man in white. "In your earliest days you were a soldier in the Earth Kingdom Army. You helped stop a Fire Nation General named Reiko from destroying the Earth Kingdom. Later on you became a member of the Dai Li and helped with the assassination of the Kang Ho Separatists. After you escaped the Fire Nation, you participated in the Second Liberation of Ba Sing Se and were present when the Dai Li ultimately disbanded that day and you have since been living here in the Si Wong Desert. You also 'took care' of a very special prisoner. What did you do with him?"
Hoku was speechless. This man knew everything about him, yet he had never seen him before in all of his life. "H-how do you know this?"
"I make it my business to know," said the man in white. "Now answer my question."
Hoku hesitated. "Listen, no offense, but I don't trust you."
In seconds, the man in white had Hoku pinned to the bar. "Now I'll ask you once more," he said. "Where is the prisoner?"
"Who are you?" Hoku inquired.
"I am Bai Lung. You basically already know me. You're one of the few people to have heard the prophecy."
Hoku's eyes widened in shock. "You're the warrior of might?"
"Wrong. I am the warrior of light," Bai Lung replied. "You must have misread it."
"So that's what this is about," said Hoku. "That damn prophecy. I knew that thing would get us all in trouble. Have you killed any of the others yet?"
"That buffoonish mechanist is dead as is your friend Konghe."
"You killed them?!" Hoku asked, angrily.
"I didn't even have to kill Konghe," Bai Lung stated. "He's been dead for quite some time, though I would have killed him with just as much ferocity as I will you. Tell me where the prisoner is and your death shall be swift instead."
"You want to know where the prisoner is? Fine. I have no ties to him anyway. He's in the Earth King's prison," said Hoku. "Very good. Now face oblivion!" Materializing the light particles in the air, Bai Lung created a light staff and jabbed it into Hoku's center.
The former Dai Li agent screamed in utter agony as he felt Bai Lung's not-so-swift blow. Bai Lung smiled as he twisted the staff, purposefully paining his victim with every jolt. After about seven twists, Hoku's eyes were lifeless ones. Bai Lung stood up and left the establishment, finishing Hoku's smoothie as he left.
"We can't let him get away with this!" Sokka declared. "He's crossed the line! We need to take him out."
"Sokka, I know you and the Mechanist were friends, but we can resolve this without anyone having to be killed," Aang said.
"Speak for yourself," said Teo.
"Teo, surely you aren't considering killing him?" Aang said.
"You better believe I am," Teo replied.
"I agree with Teo," said Toph. "He murdered our friend. It's only fair he gets what's coming to him."
"Yeah," Suki agreed. "Besides, you don't even have to do it, Aang. One of us can."
"I just think that as long as I have the power to take away his bending, this can be resolved without any more bloodshed," Aang replied.
"Aang, listen, I know you're a pacifist, but I want Bai Lung's blood. You can either help me get it or you can stay out of my way," said Teo.
"Teo, I know Bai Lung murdered your father, but revenge isn't the answer," said Aang.
Teo scowled and wheeled himself into another room.
"I can't believe him," Aang said. "I used to really admire Teo's spirit. He's always had the spirit of an Air Nomad even though he's not one. And now he's completely different."
"So were you once," said Katara. "When Appa was stolen."
"She does have a point there," said Toph.
"Well, I think whatever Teo decides is best," said Ai. "He's more involved in this than anyone."
The man sat in the dark, green hellhole that he had now lived in for thirteen years. Although he hadn't really lived here for some time. He simply existed there. He had lost the will to live by now, yet he could not die. At one time he wondered how this could possibly have been his fate, but he stopped questioning things years ago. In the depths of the Earth King's prison hole, Bujing sat and stared at the metal ground before him. He then heard footsteps, but as usual, he did not acknowledge them. He just simply stared in silence. He did find it odd that there was a different man here today to give him his food. What was even odder was how he didn't have food with him. He wasn't even wearing a uniform. He was dressed in a white kimono. "Are you Bujing?" he asked.
Bujing barely nodded.
"You know, I was actually quite surprised to discover that you were still alive," said the man. "What was it I heard Joo Dee said about you? That her agents 'disposed of you quickly'?"
Bujing looked up at the man. "Have you come to save me?" he whispered. "How did you know where I was?"
"I located a certain Dai Li agent. He told me exactly what he and his cohorts did to you on the day of the Second Liberation of the Earth Kingdom."
"Who are you?" asked Bujing.
"I am Bai Lung. I am your salvation."
"You've come to save me?" Bujing smiled. His spirits were slowly uplifting. Hope was finally returning to his heart as he laughed with joy. "Finally I will see the light again!" he cheered. "I will see the light again!"
"Oh, yes, Bujing. You will indeed see the light again," said Bai Lung. He opened the former Fire Nation general's cell and blasted him in the face, killing him instantly. "Disgusting filth," the lightbender spat as he left the prison.
As Team Avatar sat around discussing what should be done, one of them spoke up. "Guys, be quiet!" Bo said, suddenly. Sitting near the radio, he turned up the volume so that everyone could hear the news report.
If you're just tuning in, there have been at least two murders that seem to be related: one at the Northern Air Temple and one at the Misty Palms Oasis. Both murders were apparently committed by the same man. Authorities have stated that they believe the culprit is none other than the Light Clan terrorist known as Bai Lung. Authorities are also investigating a possible third murder in Ba Sing Se. Stay tuned for more information.
"Well, I'd say shit just got a whole lot more real than we were anticipating," Ling said.
"Yeah, no kidding," said Rong. "What do you think Bai Lung's goal is?"
"I don't know," said Aang. "But we have to stop him before he murders anyone else."
Bai Lung had yet another victim cornered. She hurled her meteor hammer at the Light Clan leader, but missed. Bai Lung ran at his opponent and fired a light beam at her which she subsequently sidestepped. "Give up, you foolish mercenary! You may have escaped death once, but you are not about to do it again!"
"I'll never surrender to you and I'll never let you kill the others!" the woman shouted.
"My dear Mitsuki, it isn't my fault you all have targets on your backs," said Bai Lung.
"How could you possibly know that I survived the explosion in the Hiyuri Valley?" asked the woman known as Mitsuki. "And how could you know I knew about the prophecy?"
"Because you just told me," Bai Lung smirked.
Embarrassed by her slipup, Mitsuki threw three throwing stars at Bai Lung, but the lightbender dodged it and blasted the woman's feet, rendering her immobile. Mitsuki looked up at Bai Lung, knowing that the end would come soon. "You'll be stopped. I may not be the one to do it and perhaps Hong Wu and Ming will fall to you as well, but somewhere, sometime, someone will bring about your end, you horrible monster."
"Only things that are weak come to an end. My wrath will be eternal." And with that, Bai Lung silenced Mitsuki for good. There were only two more targets left other than Team Avatar and he knew exactly where to find one of them.
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