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|The Dai Li Part 1 – The King's Return|
August 17, 2010
The Dai Li Part 1 – The King's Return is the thirty ninth chapter of Avatar: Guardian. It is the first part of the Book 2 finale.
This chapter is intended to show the growth and development of Kuei as a character, and his differences from the original series.
The Earth King is welcomed back, and in a meeting with Team Avatar, he tells of his travels around the Earth Kingdom.
"Don't worry about it. Most of the time when you were in Ba Sing Se, I didn't even know that you were here. That city probably was the Worst City Ever. Bosco and I would like to thank you for finding us. Isn't that right Bosco?" Bosco gives a groan in agreement and snuggles up against Aang.
"Certainly," Kuei replies with a nod.
Long Feng's Plot
An agent of the Dai Li sprints through the forest, looking for where the rest of the organization happens to be. He eventually finds them, and asks where their leader is. He walks up the man, who is eating his dinner.
"Sir, we have new news about the Earth King."
"Go on..." the leader replies, continuing to eat.
"Sir, our reports indicate that the Avatar has located him and has taken him into Ba Sing Se." Long Feng puts his food down and begins pacing around the camp site. "What do you want us to do sir?" the agent asks him.
"This is too perfect. Now that he's in the city, we can quickly infiltrate the city and regain our standing in the government. No one will know, since he's just arriving back. Order everyone to pack up: we're infiltrating Ba Sing Se."
The King's Arrival
Eventually, large numbers of royal guards swarm around the group. "My liege, let us escort you into the Council's chambers." They begin walking along with all of Team Avatar. When the group enters the chamber, all of the generals immediately stand up and bow to the King.
Eventually, General How gets up and walks over to Kuei. "Welcome back, my King."
"General How, it's nice to see you again. It's been a while since I have seen a face that I recognized." Kuei replies.
"May we take this meeting elsewhere my King? Your servants have been cleaning your palace for no reason, and they asked to be informed of when you arrived back," How requests, motioning gently.
"Certainly, I have missed my old clothes. What I have now is fairly nice, but I have never gotten used to this breeze..." Kuei says with a slight grin.
"Yes, your majesty. We will have your servants fix that right away." How replies, motioning the king to head towards his palace.
The Earth King's Journey
A few hours later, Kuei is sitting on his throne for the first time in more than a year. Team Avatar is sitting on chairs that Aang and Toph raised from the ground while General How is sitting at Kuei's right hand.
"Where have you been, my King?" How asks the King, who is getting used to his throne again.
"My journey hasn't been always easy, but it has been enlightening beyond measure. I have seen my entire kingdom, and it is beautiful. When I first left, I decided that Bosco and I would see the entire land. I saw many peoples that I had never even thought of before. There were so many people who were in such a different position than the people that I have known. They were poor, suffering, and I was presiding over a country that did nothing about it. I continued my travels though. I eventually ended up at the Southern Tip of my Kingdom. I then went West, I saw the scars of war that have been left on my country. I ended up in a village, and I saw the meaningless struggle going on between two families. I decided to help, and eventually revealed my identity to them. I ordered them to stop their meaningless fighting and that if not, their wealth would be seized and they would be banished. They decided quickly that their struggle was not that important to them. To be honest, they couldn't even remember what the fight was about in the first place. After I heard that the War was over, I decided that there was one more thing that I needed to see in my journey. I went to see a properly administered city, as nothing more than a beggar. King Bumi is an excellent leader, wise and likely the most intelligent person I have ever heard of. Afterwards, I went to Gaoling, to see an untouched area of my kingdom. I saw the pain of the citizens who were not even directly affected by war. I decided that after that, I needed to return. I have learned much, and I am ready to lead my nation."
"You are right, your majesty." Aang begins. "First of all, you are ready to lead your country. And Bumi is wise, but I never pegged him as very intelligent."
"Oh, Avatar, but he is. His strategy when the Fire Nation attacked his city was to wait and take them out from the inside. Genius!"
"True... he must have gotten smarter in the past hundred years."
"So, what have I missed in Ba Sing Se in the past year?" Kuei asks, looking across the faces of the people in the room.
How begins. "Your majesty, the kingdom has been plagued by Long Feng and his Dai Li agents for almost the entire year now. They have attacked villages, and event tried to take the Fire Lord's life. Their attack patterns suggest that they wanted to capture you. Now that you're here, I suspect that they won't be far behind. All of those who have been captured by our army have escaped, and we have no intelligence reports of where they might be."
"I have a feeling..." Sokka begins, "That they will be in Ba Sing Se soon. They have been following your path, and they will eventually find that it points here. I recommend bringing as much of the military here as possible. If you could get a good defense here, then that would give us time to catch them from behind. Once they're surrounded, we can then capture them all, and we won't have to worry about them any more."
"But how would we get them here?" How asks.
"The same way you would coordinate normal orders. Don't you guys have a system or something for that?" Sokka replies.
"No, we have sent messengers for all of our orders. I don't know how fast a normal man can travel to give orders for the troops to come to Ba Sing Se."
"No wonder you guys were loosing to the Fire Nation" Sokka thought. "You need to send the orders out as quickly as you can then. It's only a matter of time before they get here."
"To do that, we need the Earth King's seal. Sire, it's up to you." How says as he bows, taking out a scroll and raising a platform for Kuei to sign it.
Kuei reads the order, and quickly adds his seal. "There. Please, put an end to the Dai Li. And set up a speech to the citizens of the Upper Ring, I want my city to know that I am back." Kuei adds.
Preparing for battle
"Sir, the men are ready to go."
"Good. Send them out." the leader orders sternly and coolly.
"Yes, sir." The man runs out of the room. The leader stands up, turns and walks calmly out the door.
The Earth King's Address
"Ladies and Gentlemen! I hereby present to you, your Earth King!" This is met by deafening cheers and screams from the crowd. Once they were slightly calmer, Kuei walked out and looked at the crowd, which made them resume their cheering.
"Citizens of Ba Sing Se!" Kuei was then cut off by more screams. "Please. I am here to tell you that I am a changed man. No longer do we have to live under the shadow of surveillance! No more do we have to live in fear of tyranny! I am here now, and I now realize that it is my duty to properly lead the people of my Kingdom, and I shall. The war has left deep scars between the nations, but I believe that we can get the world back in order. Here with me, are leaders of the other nations. Avatar Aang!" Aang walks slowly out and stands to the right of Kuei to even more deafening screams than Kuei had to endure. "Heirs to the Southern Water Tribe, Sokka and Katara!"
The siblings walk out slowly as well, Sokka waving his hands in the air and enjoying the attention. "This is what I've been missing..." he whispers to Aang as he takes his place between Kuei and Katara. Katara quietly reaches out and holds Aang's hand, who gives it a small squeeze back.
"From the prominent Bei Fong Family, Toph!" The crowd cheers again, but Toph advances to the King's left side unfazed. "And finally, Fire Lord Zuko!" The crowd has loud cheers for Zuko as well when he emerges from the balcony. "The world will be made whole again. I have traveled for the past year, and I have met amazing people, unique people, but most importantly; I have met my people. I will help reunite my country, and I will do my part to help reunite the world. I can only ask that you all support me in my-" He looks over to Aang, then across the group to the other members. "-Our, quest for peace." Kuei then bows to the crowd, then to the members of Team Avatar. He motions for the team to come back into the palace with him, and they follow him.
The Plan in Action
As the guards of Ba Sing Se's Outer Wall pace through their daily patrol, one thinks he hears something. He looks over the wall, and doesn't see anything. He turns around and is face-to-face with an agent of the Dai Li.
"Shhh..." the agent whispers before using his Earth Gloves to send the guard over the wall. A few more agents rise up from the ground of the wall. The first agent gives a few quick hand signals and the agents split into two groups, each heading in a different direction. The agents defeat the guards who try and stop them, and they send a signal over the wall. Several Dai Li agents at the base of the wall begin making a tunnel through the wall. They eventually crash through to the other side, and begin fighting off the soldiers stationed on the inside of the wall. The agents don't have much trouble, as they are faster than these soldiers. One agent takes out several soldiers with just his pair of rock gloves.
Once the soldiers are all defeated, Long Feng walks through the tunnel in the wall. "It's good to be back..." he says with a sneer.
The King's Decision
"That was so nerve-wracking! I thought I was going to pass out there!" Kuei exclaims, slumping back onto this throne.
"I could feel it. I thought you were going to make the entire balcony collapse," Toph replies, creating a stool of earth for the rest of the team to sit on.
"So, how did you think I did?"
"That went pretty well," Sokka replies. "You couldn't have given me a better title?" Katara responds by giving him a small push.
General How enters the hallway quickly, and bows to Kuei. "What is it General?" Kuei asks.
"Sir, the kids were right. The Dai Li have just penetrated the Outer Wall. What should we do?" How asks.
"What do you recommend?" Kuei asks, in a much more authoritative tone than just a few moments earlier.
"We need to surround them with our armies and defeat them right now," How replies.
"That won't work," Sokka interrupts. "The Dai Li effortlessly defeated all of the guards of Omashu. What's to stop them from doing the same thing here? Your soldiers are Earthbenders, the Dai Li are Earthbenders. Any bending would be neutralized. But the Dai Li are quick, and they use different methods than your Earthbenders. We need to go and take them down," Sokka finishes by thumping his fist into his open palm.
"I agree," Zuko adds. "The only way to get rid of them is to take them out by force."
"Yeah, I'm looking forward to getting rid of Long Feng," Toph begins. "Who's in?" she says, sticking out her hand into the center of the group. Zuko and Sokka quickly place their hands on top of Toph's, followed by Katara. Aang hesitates, but reluctantly places his hand on the top.
"Great! Welcome back Team Avatar!" Sokka yells.
This chapter was written in the days following The Bos' announcement that there would be more holdbacks with Avatar: Guardian. The Bos had an idea about Kuei making a speech, and that idea quickly bloomed into Kuei's experiences around the Earth Kingdom. The Dai Li were included to accelerate the Earth King's decision regarding what to do about the Dai Li.
In this chapter the Dai Li's speed and stealth is emphasized, showing their difference from a typical Earth Kingdom soldier and from the typical Earthbender; further setting them apart as Azula said, "They're Earthbenders, but have a killer instinct that's so... Firebender". Long Feng's planning is also emphasized, showing how he managed to rise from a poor background to prominence.
Kuei's newfound wisdom is also showcased. Kuei's experiences have been shown to better him and make him more mature. He has a better sense of who to trust, and a new sense of determination for peace.
References to the Original Series
- General Sung is still at his post of protecting the Outer Wall of Ba Sing Se, a position he held during The Drill.
- At the beginning of the chapter, Kuei remembers flying over the wall of Ba Sing Se after it fell.
- Toph remembers Ba Sing Se as the "Worst City Ever", mirroring her dialogue in Lake Laogai.
- Kuei mentions leaving Team Avatar to explore his Kingdom, something Sokka mentioned in The Awakening.
- Kuei mentions Bumi's principle of Neutral Jing, the tactic that allowed him to liberate Omashu.
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