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|The Capitol Part 1 - Absolute Rebellion|
25 February 2011
The Capitol Part 1 - Absolute Rebellion is the fifty-eighth chapter of.
Jiang Rha and Zhian launch the Phoenix Warrior's largest endeavor.
A foreboding sign
Jeong Jeong sat at his desk in his office. His newly appointed position had been spent fighting rebels who wanted to reinstall Ozai to the throne. After he signed a few orders, he stood up and walked into a corner of his office which had candles lined up in a semi-circle. He sat down and began to simply breath. The fire grew and shrank with each of his breaths, continuing for at least an hour.
His three hour long meditation session was cut short by someone breaking his door down. "Sir! We have a problem!"
"What is the situation?" Jeong Jeong's voice says, calm despite the messenger's dire tone.
"Sir, there are Fire Nation ships approaching that aren't flying Fire Nation flags! There are also rumors that a similarly sized group of ships broke through the Great Gates of Azulon a few hours ago!"
Jeong Jeong's eyes open wide. He swiftly stands up and turns to the aide. "Find me a telescope." He briskly walks past the messenger and down the hall, giving a sense of urgency to the messenger's mission. Moments later, Jeong Jeong arrives at a tower in the capital plaza, and the messenger hands him the telescope he requested. Jeong Jeong looks through, towards the ocean, and sees a fleet of ships flying black and gold flags. "It's them. Send orders to evacuate the capital. Make sure the Fire Lady is removed first." The messenger salutes the admiral and quickly leaves the room. "This land will witness more destruction," the old officer quietly mutters to himself as he lowers the telescope.
The ships pull into the shore and their bows fold forward for the soldiers invasion. The Fire Nation soldiers, in their defensive positions, brace themselves, and the Phoenix Warriors remain on their ship. The two sides stand back for minutes, waiting for the other side to make the first move. From the back of the group, Zhian pushes his way through the crowd. "Let me through. What's keeping you from attacking? Go!" Zhian orders, sprinting off into the courtyard with a motion for the rest of the Phoenix Warriors to follow him. Zhian stops running upon reaching the center of the courtyard. His arms make wide arcs, and lightning blasts at the battlement he was pointing at.
The soldiers in the opposite battlement begin launching fire balls at Zhian, and he begins blocking the fire blasts. "Men: attack the battlements!" Zhian orders, and the soldiers begin focusing their attacks on the high towers.
One battlement in particular begins focusing its attacks directly at Zhian, because he stood out as the leader. Zhian deflects the blast and readies his own. Soon after, a battlement from the other side began focusing on Zhian as well. One blast is simply too powerful to diffuse, so Zhian braces himself. He splits the blast, pulling each side around his body; one side he sends into the nearest wall, the other flies out of his control. The fire blast hits a ship, while Zhian simply looks on in irritation. He sends a jet of fire into the nearest attacking battlement, damaging its weapon beyond use. "Serves you right," Zhian mutters to himself as he turns towards the next target.
Before he can begin an attack, he sees the plaza gates opening. Zhian hears a collective scream as Fire Nation soldiers charge through the slowly opening gates. His Warriors seem to match the Fire Nation soldier's enthusiasm with actions rather than words. The Phoenix Warriors charge towards the Fire Nation soldiers and chaos ensued. The young Colonel, looking at the beginning of the battle, decides to charge in. Pushing one Warrior aside, Zhian steals his opponent. The soldier sends a fire ball at the Warrior, but he slides to the right. Zhian sweeps the soldiers' foot from under him, hooking their legs together. Zhian reaches forward and grabs the soldier's leg while pulling him off balance. While the soldier falls, Zhian sends a fire blast directly into his chest. Zhian runs off into the crowd of battle, leaving the soldier on the ground.
The meeting of old friends
The invasion was working perfectly. His soldiers were more experienced than their opponents, and this allowed them to strike at the right moments and win their individual battles. As Jiang looked from afar to see his soldiers defeating those commanded by the Fire Nation government, he turned his sights to the Capital crater. The view itself is impressive, but it's the single figure standing at the top of the crater he is concerned with. "Jeong Jeong..." he quietly mutters to himself. "Ah, how the tables have turned..." Jiang begins walking through the fray of battle, knocking everyone out of his way; Fire Nation or Phoenix Warrior alike. The few Fire Nation commanders who tried to challenge him were swiftly dealt with; with Jiang leaving large burn marks all over their bodies before throwing them to the ground.
One particular commander starts sending volley after volley of fire blasts at Jiang from the bottom of the capital crater. Jiang quickly dodges and sends his own volley at the soldier, who stops his attack to dodge. Jiang quickly generates a massive lightning bolt and strikes the commander down on the spot. He simply steps over the body and continues up the crater, ignoring the battle behind him.
"Jeong Jeong! It's good to see you again!" Jiang yells to the top of the crater, his voice emblazoned with a dark hint of sarcasm.
Jeong Jeong replies with a large fire blast aimed directly at Jiang. Jiang parts the blast, and jets himself closer to the top of the crater. "Leave this city alone, traitor," Jeong Jeong says to his former friend, assuming a fighting stance as the sole defender of the capital.
"No kind words for your best friend? You did become a savage while hiding in those woods. Pity, you could have joined me. Instead, you will fall with the rest of this nation!" Jiang quickly replies, sending a whirling kick of fire in the direction of his friend. Jeong Jeong propels himself into the air and sends a blast of fire from his mouth towards Jiang. "More savagery..." Jiang taunts while charging another fire blast.
When Jiang fires the blast, Jeong Jeong disperses it and decides to set things right. "I want as little damage as possible. We will duel, like last time. Winner claims victory for this day. Loser's army surrenders," Jeong Jeong suggests, standing up and leaving his stance.
"Very well," Jiang begins, also standing erect. He gives Jeong Jeong a dark stare coupled with a grin. "But I will not settle for another defeat. You will fall this time." Jiang turns and jets into the battle, leaving Jeong Jeong standing alone on the side of the capital crater.
"One will stand, one will fall. That is the nature of the Agni Kai. I wish it did not have to end this way, my old friend..." Jeong Jeong coldly mutters to himself as he calmly walks down towards the battlefield.
Jiang touches down in the center of the battlefield. "Silence!" he screams to the legions of soldiers battling for the control of the capital. "Both sides have orders to stop fighting. This battle is to be decided by an Agni Kai. Phoenix Warriors! Fall back to the shore!" As Jiang finishes barking out his orders, Jeong Jeong arrives on the scene. "There he is..." Jiang thinks to himself.
"I have agreed to this so that no one else will be harmed. I offer you one last chance, leave now and we will not pursue you!" Jeong Jeong offers bitterly.
"You just want to try and make it through this day with your life... But you won't! I will have my honor back, and you will have nothing!" Jiang screams as he sends a powerful kick towards Jeong Jeong. Jeong Jeong disperses the blast with a whirl of his hands. Jeong Jeong's soldiers quickly begin trying to intervene, but are stopped in their tracks by a large fire wall.
"No. I will fight him, on my own. This is how this conflict needs to end. Retreat to the gates," Jeong Jeong tells the highest-ranking officer in sight, who nods in agreement and fear. Jiang begins swinging his arms in a powerful circular motion; with the energy he is creating crackling in the air. Jiang thrust the bolt at Jeong Jeong, who jets himself out of the way and sends a powerful jet of fire between Jiang's legs. Jiang begins stumbling, and Jeong Jeong jets towards him at full speed. Jiang falls to his back and catches Jeong Jeong between his legs before throwing Jeong Jeong to the ground.
"It looks like you will be getting more scars now," Jiang says with a dark smirk growing on his face. Jiang's hand becomes covered in fire and he thrusts it directly towards Jeong Jeong's face. Jeong Jeong catches Jiang's wrist and pushes it to the side, sending the jet of fire into the wall of the plaza. Jeong Jeong blasts Jiang with a jet of fire point blank, and knocks the rebel leader ten feet away.
Jiang quickly springs up, as the burn on his chest was not severe enough to keep him from continuing this important battle. "You'll have to do better than that!" Jiang taunts while sending a fire ball at his former friend. Jeong Jeong intercepts the fire ball, directing it around his body and back at its creator.
"Your technique is useful after all," Jeong Jeong notes as Jiang disperses his own attack.
"Yes, and I have a few more up my sleeve!" Jiang retorts as he generates lightning. He propels himself to his right and thrust his fingers forward to Jeong Jeong. Jeong Jeong quickly rises into the air and sends a jet of fire a foot in front of where Jiang would have been. Jiang lands and sends a massive fire jet at Jeong Jeong, who sends his own, more compressed jet into the middle of Jiang's. The two blasts collide and the resulting explosion sends the two former friends backwards and face down on the ground.
Escape through a Siege
Mai paced through the palace halls, something she had been doing a lot since her husband left. This time was different, as she had Ty Lee cart wheeling through the hall ahead of her.
"Did you see that move? I learned it while I was on Kyoshi Island!" Ty Lee announces as she finishes a fancy flip.
"What are you going to do when you can't do a flip and land on your head?" Mai asks drearily.
"Well, I guess I just need to get it right the first time. I don't really know what-" Ty Lee begins. As the ditsy Kyoshi Warrior stops, a group of Imperial Guards swarm the room.
"Your highness, we have orders to evacuate you from the palace. Your life is in danger."
"Is this some kind of drill for you people? I really don't want to have to play along with some kind of fake emergency." Mai's tone didn't change, but Ty Lee seemed worried.
"Ma'am please. This isn't a drill. There is an invasion and you must be evacuated to a safe location," the guard replies.
"Come on Mai, we've got to go!" Ty Lee said, pulling Mai's arm and leading her towards the guard.
"I was going to go anyway," Mai says as the guards and Ty Lee lead her down another hallway.
The Final Deserter
The two Firebenders slowly rise back to their feet. Jiang rises first, and watches his friend slowly get up. Jeong Jeong stands straight, wiping dirt from his face. Jiang's face contorts into an evil smile. "I remember them. I don't think I ever did apologize for giving you those," Jiang says in a taunting voice. Jeong Jeong stares blankly back, his face not so much as twitching. "I never was good at those twin swords..." Jiang mutters, his voice trailing off. Jeong Jeong slowly assumes his battle stance, and with good reason. "Unfortunately for you, I learned from that!" Jiang rotates his arms behind him and brings then down his front, creating a vertical arc of fire.
Performing a familiar motion, Jeong Jeong creates a perpendicular wall of fire, shielding himself from Jiang's attack. Then, resorting to a more familiar technique, he pushes the wall towards his opponent. Jiang simply jets over the blast, parting the top half of the wall to ensure his safety. Landing as quickly as he had taken off, Jiang begins bending the fire from Jeong Jeong's wall into an attack. The wall begins curving forward, eventually splitting where Jiang had split it initially.
Jeong Jeong parted the blast while thrusting his fist upward, creating an upward arc of fire the length of his arm. As Jiang's fire cleared, Jeong Jeong launched the fire forward at a blinding speed. Jiang barely had time to move his head out of the way as the fire brushed against his shoulder.
Jiang stumbles back, recuperating from the force of the impact. "Lucky shot," Jiang sneers while reaching up to hold his wound. "You won't be getting any more of those..." During the period where Jiang was recovering, Jeong Jeong remained vigilant, but did not attack. Jiang eventually lowers his hand, showing his readiness for battle. Despite his damage, Jiang was the first to attack. He sends several small fire blasts towards Jeong Jeong, pacing closer with each attack. As he approaches, the blasts become faster and more frequent. Jeong Jeong's age prevents him from blocking them all, eventually forcing him to make a fire wall directly in front of his body. Jiang's eyes light up, finally seeing the end of Jeong Jeong.
Jiang stops his fire volley, thrusting his hands to the sky while curving his fingers. The fire wall in front of Jeong Jeong begins wavering. Jeong Jeong pushes the wall towards Jiang, but it was too late. Jiang takes control of the fire, thrusting his hands back towards the ground. The fire follows, flowing and engulfing Jeong Jeong's body.
The on looking crowd gasps at this brutal burning, as no Agni Kai in the past fifty years had burnt a victim at this level without an immediate death. Jeong Jeong lied on the ground, some exposed skin charred and parts of his clothes ablaze. Jiang paced closer, eventually standing over his conquered nemesis with a look of final indulgence. "I have killed the Dragon of the West; I have killed the Phoenix King; and now, I will kill the Deserter!"
"You may be able to kill me, but your reign shall not last. The capital will fall, but your fall will be greater. I have played my role, and now it is up to someone else to decide yours," Jeong Jeong wheezes. Jiang merely rolls his eyes.
Jiang creates a small flame in his palm, no bigger than any of his fingers. As Jiang increases the size of the flame, he also brings his hand closer to his face. "Good bye, you crazy savage," Jiang mutters, and Jeong Jeong solemnly closes his eyes. Jiang brings his palm to face Jeong Jeong, sending the fire bellowing towards the defeated Firebender. Jeong Jeong doesn't resist, and accepts his fate as the fire consumes his shoulders and head.
A chance at escape
As Zhentu lies asleep in the cargo hold of his ship home, he feels a sudden lurch that shakes the entire ship. As he listens, he hears screams from outside and grows curious. Following the same guidelines he had when he had left the first ship, Zhentu slowly paces through the empty halls of the ship he had never explored. Luckily, since all the ships were the same, he had no trouble finding the deck.
As he walks onto the deck, he finds a similar yet somehow different situation. On one hand, he can see massive amounts of fire, most of it likely unneeded. On the other, he is looking at the crater of the Fire Nation capital. Deciding he needs to do something to help the citizens of the capital, he rushes to the ramp. As he approaches the steps, he stops in his tracks; the battle ahead is too much for him to get through. He looks to his right, and sees a path through the forest leading up to the capital crater.
While sprinting through the forest, Zhentu realizes that Jiang Rha would do the same thing to the Fire Lady that he had done to Ozai. "That monster..." he mutters to himself as he picks up speed. He must get to the palace before the invasion force.
As smoke rose from Jeong Jeong's body, his second in command watched in shock. "No! We will not surrender to the insurgents! Men, attack!" the officer orders. He clearly hadn't been paying enough attention to the person standing next to him. Zhian's hand caught fire and punched the officer in the stomach, before grabbing his head and violently throwing him face-first to the ground.
"Any more questions to the victory?" Zhian asks the group of officers nearby. Their looks of terror were good enough. "You!" Zhian barks to a nearby officer of the Phoenix Warriors. "Take control of these traitors, round them up and ship them off to a prison somewhere." The soldier salutes nervously, still shocked at what just happened. "Why are you still here? Now!" The soldier nods and begins motioning and ordering soldiers to move the defeated Fire Nation troops out of their defensive positions. All Fire Nation soldiers and Phoenix Warriors were busy, the Fire Nation soldiers being taken prisoner, and the Phoenix Warriors making sure that there were no prisoner rebellions.
Zhian paced around, eventually ending up behind Jiang Rha, who was standing over the smoldering body of his former friend. "Today, I have my honor back. You took mine, I took yours." Jiang mutters, leaving his final words for Jeong Jeong.
"Touching," Zhian says. Before Jiang can turn to retort, Zhian sends a fire jet into the Admiral's back. Jiang Rha collapses onto his knees and one hand from the force of the blast. Zhian does a sweeping kick and a fire blast knocks Jiang over onto his back, which is already burnt. Jiang's scowl of pain is no match for the dark look in Zhian's eyes. "Today, I take control." Zhian nonchalantly paces closer. He thrusts his foot onto Jiang's chest, pinning him further to the ground. "And you won't stop me," Zhian finishes, his tone even darker than the demonic glare he gave the old admiral. He turns and begins walking towards the capital crater as Jiang gets to his feet.
The old admiral sends a jet of fire towards Zhian's back, much like the younger Phoenix Warrior had done a moment earlier. Zhian expected this, and diverted the fire around him. Zhian sprinted towards Jiang, who began shooting more fire at him. Zhian deflected his last blast and kicks Jiang back onto the ground. "Don't you forget it." Zhian's tone was somehow even more menacing than before. He did a swiping kick, knocking Jiang out before walking back to the capital.
"The Fire Nation is mine to control." Zhian mutters to himself as he watches the Phoenix Warriors swarm the capital.
Through the tunnels
The guards lead the two teenagers through the halls of the palace, looking for the right door. "Where are you taking us?" Mai asks between gasping breaths.
"We're talking you out of the capital. Your husband found the secret passages that Fire Lord Sozin had installed in the palace. One of them leads you right out. And it should be... here!" the guard exclaims as he finds the right area.
"Come on Mai!" Ty Lee screams, pulling Mai's sleeve into the secret hall.
"Fire Lady! Run! I'll hold them off!" the guard calls down the hall, turning and assuming a stance. He deflects a fire blast and launches one of his own. The guard screams as he is consumed by a fire blast.
"Come on Mai!" Ty Lee repeats, pulling on her friend even harder through the tunnels.
The enemy soldiers run down the halls, following Mai and Ty Lee. The one furthest back collapses as he is hit in the back by a fire blast. "Get away from them, you scum!" the liberator barks as he launches another fire jet. The enemy soldier deflects the blast while jumping back.
"Ty Lee, stop!" Mai orders, causing the bubbly noble to stop.
The soldier continues deflecting the new person's fire blasts, stumbling back at the ferocity. Mai runs back and sees the one soldier remaining deflecting fire blasts from an unknown source. Mai draws her knives and throws them into the soldier's back. They stab deep into his armor, and he stumbles forward into the other's fire blasts.
"Thank you for your assistance, Fire Lady," the defender says while bowing. "My name is, and I will keep you safe."
"Thank you!" Ty Lee exclaims, running over, wrapping her arms around Zhentu.
"I'm sorry, but there's little time! Come on, let's go!" Zhentu says, breaking free from the hug with his cheeks red. He motions for the ladies to go ahead of him, and the two run down the tunnels as Zhentu closes the door.
The three run in darkness for a while, with only Zhentu's Firebending lighting the way. The former Warrior runs into a wall, and the group temporarily stops. "What's that smell?" Zhentu asks while rubbing his shoulder.
"There's something sticking out of the wall!" Ty Lee exclaims.
Mai runs her hand along the ledge the others had mentioned, and withdraws her hand quickly. "There's something gross in there."
"I think I recognize this," Zhentu exclaims, walking up to the strange substance on the wall. "A soldier who returned to my village smelt like this for a whole week! It's a form of blasting jelly!"
"Blasting jelly?" Ty Lee asks.
"Yes, he told me that it is used for," Zhentu begins, lighting a spark with his fingers. He puts his finger into the substance, creating a fire that spreads in both directions along the wall. "Lighting," Zhentu finishes with a smirk. He moves to the other side, finding an identical pool of the jelly. Zhentu lights the fuel in the same way before motioning for the two girls to follow him in the other direction.
The idea for this chapter was conceptualized early in Guardian's history. After deciding Jiang Rha mastered Firebending alongside Jeong Jeong and forcing them to be enemies, The Bos envisioned a conflict. The Bos tinkered with several ideas, one being Jeong Jeong killing Jiang as the final battle. Then, upon deciding Jiang's victory would allow for a better showdown later in the finale, Jeong Jeong perished.
Zhentu's realignment is completed as of this chapter, as he finally is acting on his conscience. The Bos had the idea of putting Zhentu in a situation with Mai and Ty Lee from the beginning of Book 3. Their plotline continues throughout the finale, with Zhentu guiding the two girls and acting as their 'Guardian'.
This chapter was written in various segments, spanning several months. The initial encounter between Jiang and Jeong Jeong was written first, with several other parts being added as new character plotlines were finalized.
For the collective works of the author, go here.