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|By Agent Slash||Genre||Rating||Reviews||Updates|
|More from Agent Slash||Action/Adventure, Drama||PG-13||Positive||N/A|
|The Carnage of Qian|
Cables roared through the crowd of innocent civilians who were madly dashing away from City Hall, desperate to escape from the hundreds of brainwashed metalbender cops who had, just moments ago, been patrolling the area.
Dozens were impaled by the zipping metal cables while dozens more were crushed by metal debris from buildings all around the area. Meanwhile, Team Avatar was fending off the various law enforcement officers, many of whom they recognized. The entire group formed a circle, placing Katara in the middle as to avoid any sort of damage to the fetus within her.
Aang leaped into the air and bent an air slash with his feet, deflecting several of them away while Bo encased several more in ice.
Zuko unleashed a barrage of fireballs at a large group of officers while Rong covered his backside by firing a lightning bolt at the ground in front of the officers.
"What are we supposed to do?" asked Toph. "We can't just kill them!"
"Why not?" asked Ling.
"Because they aren't doing this of their own free will!" Toph insisted. "Qian has them all brainwashed! These are good cops and-" Before the blind earthbender could finish, she was met with a metal orb plummeting down from above. She stopped the orb in midair and bent it out of her way, only to have three officers land before her, all of whom she recognized all too well.
Penga attacked first, lashing out at her metalbending instructor with a cable which Toph easily deflected.
Next up was The Dark One who had his metal blade drawn on the wrist of his armor and swung it ferociously at the police chief.
Meanwhile, Ho Tun shot a metal disk at his boss who ducked out of its way and bent it back at the formerly gentle giant, knocking him on his back. She then bent a chunk of earth out of the ground into The Dark One's stomach, sending him crashing to the ground as well.
Aang looked up to the podium where Qian stood and watched in horror as two officers impaled the other two candidates, thus effectively eliminating the competition. He then heard as Qian bellowed before his massive audience.
"On this day, the United Republic of Nations is under my absolute control! Those who weep for the dead weep for corruption!" the mayor declared.
Aang scowled at the mayor and drew his glider. He twirled it open and grabbed onto the handles, but just before he took off, he heard his wife call out.
"Aang, the baby is coming!" Katara cried.
Aang's eyes widened and he turned all of his focus to his wife. "Are you sure it's the real thing?" he asked.
"Yes, Aang, I'm sure," said Katara.
"Then we have to get you to the hospital!" Aang said.
"No," Katara insisted. "You have to stop Qian. Let someone else take me."
"Katara, I'm not going to miss the birth of my child!" Aang protested.
"Aang, if you don't stop Qian, then your child may die before he is born!" Katara shot back.
Aang said nothing, as he knew this was most likely the truth. Normally he would have debated with himself, but there was no time and he knew it. He had to make a fast decision. "Alright, fine, take Ai and Bo," he said. "And, Katara, for my sake, your sake, and the baby's sake, please be careful."
"I will," Katara replied.
The two shared a brief kiss before parting ways. Aang ran over to the nearest members of the team, who happened to be Suki, Zuko, and Yukio.
"This was supposed to be my wedding day!" Suki shouted, enraged at this turn of events. She viciously slammed her fist into a metalbender's face, causing him to collapse.
"What do we do?" Aang asked. "We can't possibly neutralize all of these cops!"
"I do not know," Yukio replied. "Are there any sort of people who can help us defeat this many people?"
None of them could think of an answer, especially with the intensity of the battle raging around them, consuming every bit of thought that they had. Then Zuko thought of an answer. "The United Forces!" he said. "They're stationed not too far from here! I remember my uncle saying he passed them on his way into the city a few days ago."
"How are we going to get all the way out into the middle of the ocean?" asked Suki.
"Take Appa and go," Aang said, blowing his bison whistle. The Avatar was already thinking one step ahead. "Tell the United Forces that Republic City is under attack."
Seconds later, Appa came roaring in, swatting several officers away as he landed. Just then, Sokka and Ling came running over, having fought off another group of officers.
"The three of you get on Appa and go!" Aang said. "The rest of us will do our best to hold them off!"
"Don't worry, Aang, we'll be back as soon as possible," said Suki as she, Sokka, and Ling all climbed onto Appa's back. "Yip, yip," she said as the sky bison rose from the ground.
As the three heroes soared over the Republic City skyline, they witnessed the officers spreading all throughout the city, destroying everything in sight. "This was supposed to be our wedding day," said Suki.
"It still will be," said Sokka. "We'll get to the United Forces and we will save the city from Qian."
The two of them embraced in a deep, passionate kiss as they continued to fly, losing all sense of what was around them until Ling's voice snapped them out of it.
"Keep your eyes on the sky, guys!" he warned.
The couple snapped out of it and Suki steered the sky bison out of Yue Bay and into the Mo Ce Sea.
Meanwhile, on the ground, Aang twirled open his glider and hardly said a word before flying off. "I'm going after Qian. Good luck out here. He then took off towards City Hall, determined to stop the mayor once and for all.
The remaining members of Team Avatar, Toph, Zuko, Rong, and Yukio assumed a formation and sprinted into the crowd of officers.
Rushing as fast as they could to the hospital, Ai and Bo were lugging around a heavily pregnant Katara who was having contractions every other minute. "Are you sure you're going to be able to make it?" asked Bo.
"I've made it out of tougher situations than this before," said Katara. "I'll be just fine."
The waterbending trio rushed several more blocks, taking care to avoid any officers that came their way and having to bend several aside. After much struggling, they finally reached the hospital and burst through the doors. "This woman needs help now!" said Ai to the nurse receptionist.
"Help? We all need help!" the receptionist cried.
"You don't understand! She's in labor!" Bo explained.
"Please you have to help us!" Ai pleaded.
The receptionist hesitated, eyeing the door and wondering if she should make a beeline for the exit, but it seemed her morals overtook her and she moved towards Katara. "Alright, come with me!" she said. "I'll take you to a delivery room."
Suki, Sokka, and Ling were racing through the sky, desperately searching for a fleet of ships in the water beneath them. "How are we going to find them?" asked Ling. "They could be anywhere out here. We could just be going over miles and miles of open sea."
"Where's that new optimistic attitude Rong told me you were developing?" asked Suki.
Ling sat in silence for a moment, pondering how to respond to the question. "You'll have to forgive me for having a bleak outlook on the situation," he said. "I just don't see any-"
"There it is! There's the fleet!" Sokka called out.
The three of them eyed the great armada of ships that lay before them, just a mile or so out into the sea.
Suki increased Appa's speed and the great beast groaned as he landed on the lead ship. The three heroes dismounted and were immediately greeted by troops, one of whom was being hostile. "Hey, what do you think you're doing intruding on a United Forces battleship?" he asked.
"Lu, are you stupid or something?" asked another soldier. "These guys are friends of the Avatar. Can't you see the giant sky bison?" Appa groaned in response to the soldier's question.
"Oh, right, sorry," he said.
"What the hell is going on here?!" an angry voice demanded from behind the troops. They all parted like the very sea beneath them all as an imposing, physically fit man in his mid to late forties with graying hair on the sides stepped up to the three heroes. "What is the meaning of this? Why have you landed on my ship?"
"Who are you supposed to be?" asked Ling.
"My name is General Kong," said the man. "I am in charge of this armada. Now answer my question."
"Sir, we come to give you urgent news," said Sokka. "Republic City is under attack. Mayor Qian has brainwashed every metalbender cop in the city and has unleashed them against everyone."
"What?!" Kong asked, baffled by the warrior's words. "You expect me to believe that steaming load of ostrich horse shit? You're making up stories and wasting my time."
Suddenly, a voice both Suki and Ling were quite familiar with filled the air. "What the blooming spirits is going on out here?" The three heroes looked to see two men and two women approaching them. "Are we under attack?" asked the same person as before.
Uncontrollable smiles spread across Suki and Ling's faces as they ran to hug the friends they had not seen in nine years. "Gahno!" Suki called out to the former Si Guan Lian leader.
Ling ran over and embraced Kuong and Otaka, who were shocked to see their old comrades again.
Gahno, taken by surprise, happily embraced his old friend as well. "Oh, it's so good to see you kids!" he said. "Well, I guess you're not kids anymore," he added with a chuckle.
Once Ling was finished with Otaka and Kuong, he moved over to Ren. "Come on, Ren, you know you want a hug, too," he said.
Ren looked at the earthbender in her usual deadpan way and said nothing at first. "Oh, alright," she admitted. She hugged her old friend and, with only the slightest bit of joy in her voice, said, "It's good to see you guys again."
"So to what do we owe this unexpected pleasure?" asked Otaka.
"Republic City is under attack and we need the United Forces' help to save it," Suki explained.
"Then what are we waiting for? Let's go!" Kuong said.
"Silence, Captain!" Kong ordered. "I am in charge here and I say we stay put! I don't believe any of this nonsense for a second."
"Listen, sir," said Gahno. "I can assure you that these three are some of the most loyal and trustworthy people we know and if they say Republic City is in danger, then we believe them."
"Yeah, and what harm can it do to check anyway?" asked Ren.
Kong paused, weighing out the good and bad that would come from visiting Republic City. "Alright," he conceded. "We'll play your little game, but if this is some kind of ruse, then I will make sure that you three will never see the light of day again."
As the remaining members of Team Avatar battled outside, Aang rushed through the corridors of City Hall, making his way to what had once been Qian's office, but was now his lair. He turned another corner and saw Zhu in the fetal position, slowly rocking back and forth. Aang approached the man, causing him to look up in fear.
"This wasn't supposed to happen," Zhu said. "He was just supposed to use the officers to intimidate people into letting him stay in office. He promised that no one would get hurt."
"You knew about this?" Aang asked.
"I helped brainwash them," Zhu admitted. "But I didn't know what he was going to do with them, I swear!" He paused, finding the courage to confess what needed to be confessed. "I knew he hired the Daughters of Ozai to go into your home and that he sent that Avatar imposter after you, but I only went along with him, because ever since you were infected with that dark energy stuff, I thought you were a menace. I didn't realize that Qian was the menace all along. I'm sorry."
Aang leaned down and looked Zhu in the eye, keeping eye contact as to convey the gravity of the situation. "Zhu, is there some kind of secret phrase that can snap these metalbending officers out of it? If you helped brainwash them, you have to know."
"Yeah, it's 'the time to strike has ended'," Zhu said.
"Thank you, Zhu," said Aang. "I promise I'll put an end to this."
Toph, Zuko, Rong, and Yukio were surrounded on all sides. Yukio fired a beam of light into a line of metalbenders in front of her while Rong sent a blazing fire slash in the direction of about a dozen more.
"We're seriously outnumbered here," said Zuko.
"Anybody got a plan?" asked Rong.
Just then, a bellowing roar was heard from overhead and Appa came zooming down towards the officers, swatting many of them away with his tail.
The four comrades looked to Yue Bay to see a fleet of ships approaching and felt a great relief to know that the fight would be over much sooner now.
"I want them taken alive!" Kong ordered. "Do you understand? Now move out!"
The door to Qian's office burst open. As Aang rushed into the room, he stopped and saw Qian facing opposite him, staring out of the window behind his desk, witnessing the carnage below. "Look at it," said Qian. "Do you see all of this? This is my arm reaching out over the city. Imagine if I can extend my reach across all of the nations." He turned to face Aang, grinning smugly as he laid his eyes upon the airbender. "Go ahead. Imagine it. It's the last thing you'll ever imagine before you die."
"How do you imagine you'll kill me?" asked Aang.
"Because I know you won't kill me," said Qian. "And that's your problem, Avatar. You're weak. You're spineless. You're a relic! You try to keep peace between the nations and always show up when one nation tries to conquer another and you claim that you're keeping balance and preserving world order, but to conquer your enemies' territory, to claim it for your own, that is the natural order! It has been ever since the dawn of man when people started leaving the backs of lion turtles and taking the spirits' land from them. I'll see to it that my empire is the most powerful in history."
"I'm surprised at you, Qian," said Aang. "I always thought you were just another stupid, corrupt politician, but now I see you are out of your mind. You're a coward. You attacked my pregnant wife both here and in my home. World domination? An empire? You're the mayor of Republic City. The Fire Nation had an entire army and they couldn't win the war for one hundred years. Do you think you'll be able to do it with a couple hundred metalbender cops?"
"You won't sway me, Avatar," Qian said. "Nothing you say or do will stop this."
"But something Zhu says might help," said Aang.
Qian's eyes widened. He looked out the window and, just as he saw the metalbender cops moving towards City Hall, he heard the familiar voice of his assistant shout, "The time to strike has ended!"
At once, every cop who hadn't been captured by the United Forces ceased what they were doing and looked around them, questioning where they were.
Madly enraged by his ultimate defeat, Qian lunged at Aang, pinning the Avatar to the floor and clobbering him mercilessly. He reined blows upon him, viciously screaming as he did so and bruised his face.
As Aang felt the mayor's blows and felt like he was about to lose consciousness, his eyes and tattoos glowed and he earthbent the man into the ceiling, knocking him out cold. Aang stood up and looked down on the former mayor of Republic City as the United Forces troops moved in to arrest him. As Aang walked out, he remembered that Katara was likely giving birth at this moment and rushed to see her.
Aang was the last one to arrive at the hospital. He ran through the emergency room and into the room his wife was in. He froze as he looked upon the infant she held in her arms. His eyes welled up with tears as he sat next to his wife and continued looking at the baby. He was transfixed by it. He had an offspring. A child to call his own. He couldn't even touch it, he just looked at it. Finally, he managed to speak. "Is it a boy or a girl?"
"It's a boy," Katara replied.
"Our son," Aang simply said. "This is our son." He ran his hand across the infant's head, amazed that he had a child.
The couple heard the door open and saw none other than Chief Hakoda enter the room. "Oh, my spirits," he said. "Is this my grandson?" "It sure is," Katara said. "This is Bumi."
"He's beautiful," Hakoda said. "I'm so happy for you two." He then placed his hand on his daughter's shoulder and left the room, only to have Sokka enter just moments later.
"Oh, wow," he said. "I'm an uncle! Come here, little Aang Jr."
"That's not his name," said Katara.
"Oh, my bad," Sokka said. "Little Katara Jr."
"No, his name is Bumi," said Aang.
"Oh. That's nice, I guess," said Sokka.
"So did you take care of it?" Katara asked.
"Yes," said Aang. "Qian will spend the rest of his life in prison."
"So what will become of the United Republic's leadership?" Sokka inquired.
Aang pondered this for a moment and then stood up, having come to a decision. "Something that made the Air Nomads' way of life so peaceful was that they didn't have just one leader. They had a council of elders to lead them. That way, it was impossible for one person to have all of the power. I think that is what should become of the United Republic's leadership. We'll have a council with four members, each of them representing the four nations."
"Uh, can there be five," said Sokka. "You know, since there's two Water Tribes."
"Alright, five then," said Aang.
The door opened once more and Hakoda poked his head through. "Hey, Sokka, can I speak with you for a moment?"
Without a word, Sokka left his friends and joined his father outside.
"So, have you thought about what I said at dinner that night?" asked Hakoda. "Are you ready to become the Chief of the Southern Tribe?"
Sokka took a deep breath, looked his father in the eye, and said, "No."
"What?" Hakoda asked, surprised by his son's decision.
"I've decided that I'm going to lead the new United Republic Council and represent the Southern Water Tribe. I'm sorry, dad, but I can't leave Republic City. Suki and I just can't do it."
Hakoda gave his son a warm smile and embraced him. "Don't worry, son, I'm sure you'll make a great leader here. I guess your old man is going to have to try to stay in shape to lead the tribe any longer."
"Thanks for understanding, dad," said Sokka.
"Now, if I'm not mistaken, you have a wedding to get to," Hakoda added.
Everyone was exhausted after the day they'd had. Many of the wedding guests were still thinking about the massive attack they had just fended off, but it was all over now.
Many people were in attendance. Hakoda, Jin, the Si Guan Lian, many old acquaintances from the gaang's old travels, and even General Kong was there as he had nowhere to go until all of the metalbending officers were rehabilitated.
Everyone watched as the doors opened and Suki came walking down the aisle, wearing the most radiant dress any of them had ever seen. Behind her were Ning and Miki, throwing flowers onto the floor as flower girls do.
Sokka stood on the altar with Iroh to his left. His best man, Aang, stood to his right as did his groomsmen, Zuko, Bo, and Ling. As Suki reached the altar, she saw her maid of honor, Katara, and her bridesmaids, Toph, Ai, and Rong to her left.
Everyone was silent as the ceremony started.
"Dearly beloved," Iroh started. "We are gathered here today to join Sokka of the Southern Water Tribe and Suki of Kyoshi Island in the bonds of holy matrimony. Let us give thanks for the life they have shared and will share and pray that they will have love everlasting."
The Dragon of the West turned to Sokka and asked, "Do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?"
"I do," said Sokka.
"And do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?" he said, turning to Suki.
"I do," said Suki.
"Then by the power invested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride," Iroh said, cheerfully.
The two of them embraced in a deep kiss and held it for an extremely long time. No one told them to stop. It was too joyous of an occasion to do anything about it. All was right with the world once more. Qian was arrested, the Light Clan showed no signs of ever returning. Everything was perfect.
Perched on the edge of a cliff was an army of men and women in white, all of them splitting up into separate groups as they prepared to mobilize.
"Alright, you all know your objective," Bai Lung said. "Let's get this started. The time for war has arrived."
For the collective works of the author, go here.