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|The Burning Threat|
5 November 2010
The Burning Threat is the forty first chapter of.
"That was some good tea," Katara begins, thinking about all of the times she heard about Iroh's tea.
"That was nothing. Uncle can make tea much better than that," Zuko interjects. "He is easily the best tea maker in the world."
Toph, who had been simply agreeing, suddenly spoke up. "Guys, someone is coming. Oh, wait," she starts, only to be interrupted by the arrival of General How.
How bows to the team, specifically to Aang and Zuko, before beginning his message. "Esteemed allies of Ba Sing Se, the Earth King has requested your presence. He says this matter is of dire importance."
The team looks to each other, and everyone quickly nods in agreement. "Let's go," Aang says, summing up the collective group opinion.
A Conquered Province
"Sir, that's the third Earth Kingdom attack this week." an advisor says to Jiang Rha. "Our numbers are starting to run thin, and our morale is running low. What are we going to do?"
"These Earthbender savages are harmless. We have a deep stronghold in the so called Earth Kingdom. We need not worry," another advisor starts.
"No. Those savages were declared winners of the war. We must not underestimate them," Jiang quickly points out.
"But they didn't win the War! The Avatar helped them! He's not here now, we are better than these so-called benders."
"The Earthbenders in this village are powerful. Many of them were part of the force that invaded us during the Day of Black Sun. We shall not leave them any opportunity to take back any of their territory. If they get any hope, they will fight harder. "
"Then what can we do?" another advisor asks.
"When they come back for their next attack, we will catch as many as we can, and force them to watch as we burn their village to the ground." The room falls silent as Jiang completes his idea. "We will break their will."
The Final Threat
Team Avatar walks into Kuei's throne room, where the Council of Five and Kuei were already waiting. "Welcome! The heroes of the Earth Kingdom are here!"
Sokka smiles widely at this. "Thanks... Hero is an appropriate title, isn't it?"
The rest of the group ignores Sokka. "What do you need?" Aang quickly asks.
"Please, take a seat," Kuei asks. How rises and create stools for the Team to sit on. "General How has a dire situation at hand."
"Thank you, sir. We have received reports that say that there is an army of Firebenders occupying the Southwestern Earth Kingdom. The area had been cleared of occupation a few months before the end of the War, but it has recently been captured again," How finishes, his line of sight shifting to Zuko.
"That's impossible. I've ordered all Fire Nation ships not assisting in the relief effort not to leave Fire Nation waters." Zuko replies in his own defense.
"There have been continuing reports of villages falling under siege. After their villages are conquered, their houses are branded with an image of a burning bird."
"It's the," Zuko begins. "They're this rebellious organization that captured my father and wants to start the War again. Just tell us where to go, and we will find them."
"That's the problem. It's not just one village. They have taken a large portion of our land," How adds. "It won't be easy to get back."
"You can get your troops ready, I will get mine ready. We will go ahead and take back as many towns as we can," Zuko replies firmly. "I promised that I would restore the honor of the Fire Nation, and these rebels are dishonoring us all over again."
"But where do we start?" Sokka asks. "Do we have a map, something that would indicate where they are?"
"We have a map, but these Phoenix Warriors have an unpredictable strike pattern," one of the Council members replies.
"Wait. Are these all of the strike points?" Zuko asks, getting up and asking if he can see the map closer.
"Yes, those are all of the reported attacks. Why?"
"I remember these locations. These were some of the first towns in the Southwestern Earth Kingdom to fall during the War. The Phoenix Warriors are recreating the War all over again!" Zuko recalls.
Aang's head drops. "I won't let the world fall into this kind of chaos again. We're stopping them."
"Is that village the one I think it is?" Sokka asks, getting up and taking the map from Zuko. "Katara, the next village in Zuko's order of attack is Haru's village!"
"Haru? The kid from when we were at the invasion?" Toph asks.
"Yeah, that's him. We're going to go help Haru," Katara adds firmly.
"We will put orders out immediately. We need your seal again, sir," How adds, pulling out the scroll containing the orders.
Kuei reads the order and places one of his many seals on the scroll. "How, I give you this authority to rid our country of these invaders."
"Thank you, sire," How says with a bow. He picks up the scroll and tucks it away in his robes. "Council, away. We must discuss plans to protect our Kingdom." With that, the other four members of the council get up and walk out of the room, leaving Kuei alone with Team Avatar.
"Your majesty, what will happen to Long Feng?" Sokka asks while sitting back down.
"Well, it turns out that while I was away, the Council of Five ordered that the trial I ordered Long Feng to stand was commenced with out him. Without a defense, the trial was quickly over, and he was proved guilty. He was sentenced for life imprisonment, which Toph here has made much easier with her metal encasing."
"Thanks," Toph says nonchalantly.
"The Dai Li are finished, and we no longer have to worry about them. Many of them have joined what used to be the military. They are using their talents to help rebuild the Kingdom that they betrayed," Kuei explains. "The Earth Kingdom is at peace again."
"Once the Phoenix Warriors are defeated it will be. Are we excused, your majesty?" Aang asks, standing up and sending his seat back into the floor. "I want peace as soon as possible."
"Certainly, Avatar. I would like to extend the thanks of the entire Earth Kingdom to you. You are a true savior to us all," Kuei replies. "If there is anything I can to do help you on your journey, let me know."
"You could give us some money, you know, for supplies. We do need stuff..." Sokka mutters under his breath, just loud enough for Kuei to hear him.
"It would be an honor to help in any way," Kuei replies. "Farewell Avatar. Have a safe journey."
"We will." Aang turns and leaves the room and the rest of the team follows. Before exiting the room, Toph turns and stomps the ground, sending the rest of the stools into the ground and leaving the throne room the way it was before.
References to the Original Series
- Sokka's line "You could give us some money, you know, for supplies. We do need stuff..." was paraphrased from his line at the end of The Spirit World.
- The Burning Threat is the only chapter of Avatar: Guardian to have a preview released before publication.
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