|By Agent Slash||Genre||Rating||Reviews||Updates|
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Qian strode through the hallways of City Hall, more serious and determined than he had ever been in his life. Those who shared offices with him in the building thought it best not to converse with him, as they knew why the mayor was so serious. Today he was getting reelected one way or another. He would see to that. He made his way into his office and closed the door, seeing Zhu was already there.
"Are you ready for the big day, sir?" he asked.
"You bet your ass I'm ready," Qian said. "Today is going to be a bright day for Republic City, my friend. I can already hear the crowd chanting my name after they hear I've been reelected."
Zhu could clearly see that the man was beaming with confidence. Nothing could ruin this day for him, and if it tried to, he would snap its neck.
"Just to be clear," Qian started, "Everything is in place, right?"
"Yes, sir," Zhu replied. "Everything is all set."
A sinister grin quickly spread across Qian's lips. He was, at this moment, content with everything in the world. "Very good, Zhu."
"Now, sir, I thought it would be best to review all of the other candidates," Zhu advised.
Qian nodded, prompting his assistant to lay his files down on his desk.
Zhu drew two sets of files from the folders, each with a photo attached to them, and handed them to Qian before giving him the rundown. "The first candidate's name is Chu. He's a retired Commander who served in the Earth Kingdom Army during the Hundred Year War. He's a strong advocate for the Avatar, so you'll really have to try hard to convince everyone why he's wrong and that your anti-Avatar agenda is the way to go."
"That shouldn't be a problem," said Qian. "What else do you have for me?"
"The other candidate's name is Sato," Zhu continued. "Yuki Sato is a former Fire Nation rights activist from a small fishing village known as Jang Hui. During the Hundred Year War, she detested Fire Lord Ozai's treatment of his own people and campaigned for basic human rights for all of her fellow citizens."
Qian was still unfazed by all of this news. He cracked a smile as he spoke his next words. "As far as I'm concerned, she is just another small obstacle for me to leap over."
Just then, a knock befell his door. He walked over to the door and, upon opening it, saw two familiar faces on the other side.
"Detective Pong," Qian greeted, donning a faux polite attitude. "So good to see you again. Did you want to ask me something?"
"Me and Officer Soon here were just on our way to breakfast and we thought we'd stop by and wish you good luck," said Pong.
"Well, thank you very much," said Qian. "I appreciate your support."
Having nothing else to say, Pong decided not to let an awkward silence fill the room and got on with it. "Well, I'll see you later at the election," he said.
"Indeed you shall!" Qian replied, closing the door behind him.
As Pong and Soon walked away, Pong couldn't help, but notice that Soon kept rubbing his temple, obviously suffering from some kind of headache. "What's up, Soon?" he questioned. "You have some kind of migraine?"
"My head's been killing me today," said Soon. "It's been hurting a little for the past few days, but today it's just killing me."
At first, Pong dismissed this as general information, but then he considered something. This was the fifth cop on the force in the last three days that had complained to him about a headache and Pong was not a man who believed in coincidence. "Yeah, that's odd," he said quietly, distracted by the new suspicions that were forming in his head.
It was finally time. The day that everyone had been waiting for had finally arrived. Today was Sokka and Suki's wedding day. Sokka could hardly contain his excitement and an enormous smile consumed nearly half of his face as he prepared for the best day of his life. At this moment, he was wandering around Air Temple Island, having agreed with Suki the previous night that the next time they should see each other was at the ceremony. He was so eager about it, he couldn't simply sit down and wait for the hour to arrive. Yet, as eager as he was, there was something else that was lingering in his mind, something that troubled him. He knew his father would be at the ceremony and that he would ask him if he had thought about becoming the new chief of the Southern Water Tribe, something he wasn't really willing to do right now. But how could he just disappoint his father like that? And who would lead the tribe of Hakoda decided to step down?
It wasn't until Aang called him into the house that he was able to at least slightly focus on something else. Sokka made his way into the house to see all of the male members of Team Avatar sitting around the living room. "Hey, guys, what's going on?" he asked. "Well, we figured since all of the craziness with the wedding planning is over, we'd send you on to marriage with a bachelor party!" Bo declared.
Sokka looked at Aang, raising an eyebrow as to whether or not the Avatar approved of this.
"Don't look at me," Aang said. "It was their idea."
"Alright, fine," Sokka said. "So what exactly do you guys have in mind for this bachelor party?"
Ling got off the couch and went into the kitchen to retrieve something while Bo explained.
"Well, since we know Suki won't let you have this stuff in the house, we decided to send you off with one last taste!" Bo said as Ling returned to the living room with five glasses of cactus juice in hand.
"Guys, this isn't a good idea," Sokka said. "I don't want to show up to the wedding with cactus juice in my system!"
"Don't worry," said Zuko. "There's only enough in here to last for a few hours. By the time we have to start getting ready for the wedding, it'll all be out of our system."
Aang looked at the juice hesitantly, worry rushing all throughout him. "Uh, guys, I don't know about this," he said.
"Come on, just take a sip!" Bo encouraged the airbender.
As everyone else gulped down their cactus juice, Aang slowly took a sip. "Not bad," he remarked.
Detective Pong was making his way back to City Hall. The supposed coincidences were burning in his brain. He decided that if he didn't figure out what the connection was between the headaches that all of the metalbender cops were having and the fact that they were all having them at the same time, he was going to lose his mind. It was his nature as a detective to question these sorts of things.
He had been around police headquarters and had asked many of the officers when the headaches started. Nearly all of them said that they recalled going to City Hall just before they began, but when he questioned them about what they were doing there, none of them could remember, saying that it was all a blank.
Well, it wouldn't be for much longer. He had gotten clearance from Chief Beifong herself to search through the lower levels of City Hall, the levels only few knew about.
Once he finally reached City Hall, he made his way in and took the elevator down to the lowest level of the structure. Before him was a great hallway that contained many rooms and Pong knew he would have to search through them all for some kind of clue. He entered the first room, only to find a large filing cabinet. Figuring this could be a good start, he opened the filing cabinet and perused through it, not finding anything particularly interesting, until something caught his eye: a file that was marked, Daughters of Ozai Letters. He looked through the file and saw several letters to and from Mai, whom Pong recognized as the leader of the Daughters of Ozai.
The letters detailed how Qian beckoned the group into the city in order to kill Avatar Aang and his friends. This was jolting information, but it still didn't explain the headaches. Pong thought it would be wise to search the other rooms for more proof. He left the current room he was in and entered another one down the hall. What he saw here shocked him even more than the last one. He saw a torturing machine in the center of the room spattered with blood stains. He knew what this machine was used to do. It was used to completely wipe a person's mind clean and build it back up with whatever the machine's user wanted.
He then moved over to a table in a corner of the room and saw pictures of it being used. He saw it being used on the Aang imposter known as Huong. The Detective's insides churned as he processed this information. This man was the mayor of Republic City and he had been responsible for two of Republic City's biggest recent incidents! There was no telling what else he had done!
As Pong exited the room, he heard voices coming from down the hall. He stealthily moved down towards the end of the hall, where the noise was coming from. He peeked into the door, taking caution not to be seen, and was horrified by what he saw on the other side. He recognized Qian's assistant, Zhu, standing in front of a very large group of men and women in uniforms and he now fully understood the connection.
He dashed to back to the elevator, panicked and rattled by this revelation to his core. He would see to it that Qian would not last another day as mayor of Republic City.
Meanwhile, everyone was ducking for cover as Aang was literally bouncing off the walls and speaking in a very rapid manner. "Wow! I can't believe I never tried this before! This stuff is amazing! It sure is the quenchiest!"
"This is probably the craziest thing I've ever done," said Ling.
"How does it feel?" asked Zuko.
"Not bad at all," said Ling.
"Guys," Sokka said, heavily under the influence of the juice. "I have a wedding in a few hours. How crazy is that?"
"Dude, that's totally crazy, man," Bo replied.
"I mean, I'm going to be married," said Sokka. "And why is everything upside down?"
"It's not, man," said Zuko. "I think you had a little too much juice."
"Yeah, but it'll, like, wear off in a little bit," Sokka replied. "I wonder what the girls are doing right now."
Suki stood before all of the female members of Team Avatar, all of them gazing at her in the most gorgeous wedding dress they had ever laid eyes on. "It's so amazing," said Ai.
"You look so beautiful," Rong agreed.
"Oh, well, it's a shame I'll never get to see it then," said Toph.
"Thanks, guys," said Suki. "This is going to be the best wedding day ever. I can feel it."
Katara smiled as tears began welling up in her eyes. "I'm so happy you're marrying my brother," she said. She embraced the Kyoshi Warrior in a hug, her emotions all over the place as she started bawling.
"You think the pregnancy hormones are getting to her yet?" Toph remarked, sarcastically.
Katara regained her composure, wiping the tears from her eyes. "I'm sorry, guys," she said. "I'm fine."
"Are you sure you are going to be able to make it?" asked Yukio. "You are due to give birth any day now."
"Don't worry, I'll be fine," Katara insisted. "My due date isn't for another week, so unless the universe just decides to make our lives more difficult, I think we'll be fine."
"Well, I guess it's time for us to go," said Suki. She walked to her bedroom to get her things, thinking about how, in just a few short hours, she would be married at last to the man she loved most.
Aang was gathering his things, avoiding eye contact with everyone else in the house. The effect that the cactus juice had on him left him embarrassed beyond belief. He planned not to speak to anyone else until the wedding until he heard an announcement on the radio.
History will be made today as Republic City's mayoral elections start in just a half hour. Mayor Qian will find himself sparring with candidates Chu and Yuki Sato for leadership of the United Republic of Nations.
"Hey, guys," Aang called out. Everyone poked their heads into the living room to hear what the Avatar had to say. "We need to go down to City Hall. The mayoral election is today. I think it's really important that we go there and see who get elected."
"Do we have enough time for that?" asked Sokka.
"I'll phone the girls," Aang said. "I'll tell them to show up, too."
With no disagreements, Aang picked up the phone and dialed while everyone else made their way to Appa.
Pong sped like a bolt of lightning through City Hall, making his way to Qian's office. He had to catch the mayor before the election started. He pushed through several other officials, not even taking the time to apologize for knocking them over. He finally made it into Qian's office and saw that the man has not yet left.
"Detective Pong, is there something wrong?" asked Qian.
"I know, Qian," said Pong.
"You know about what?" Qian inquired.
"I went down to the archives," Pong elaborated. "I saw the letters, the photos, the torture machine, and I saw Zhu in the room with all of those men and women. I understand now why all of the cops have had headaches. The only thing I don't understand is how you got access to Dai Li technology."
Qian, acting as innocent as ever, smiled and chuckled to himself. "Pong, I haven't the slightest idea what you're talking about."
"Qian, you can't deny it," said Pong. "I'll make sure everyone knows after I've brought you in."
"Brought me in?" Qian asked, still acting innocent.
"You're under arrest for crimes against the United Republic," said Pong, revealing a pair of handcuffs from his overcoat. He strode towards Qian confidently, making his authoritative presence known. "Don't make this any harder than it has to be," he said.
"I won't," said Qian. Faster than Pong could have anticipated, Qian drew a knife from his trench coat and stabbed the detective in the gut, then covered his mouth to silence him. As Pong fell to the floor, moaning and writhing in pain and agony, Qian stood above him and smiled. "For the record, Pong, I am the United Republic," he declared. "And neither you nor anyone else is going to stand in the way of what I have planned. Rot in peace, Detective." He then made his way out of the office to the podium, leaving the detective to bleed to death on the floor.
All of Team Avatar watched as the three mayoral candidates stood atop City Hall, preparing to give their final speeches before the results were tallied.
Every cop on the metalbending police force was present, making sure no one tried anything dangerous.
While everyone waited, Ai asked the question that was on everyone's mind. "What do you think is going to happen if Qian gets re-elected?"
"Then I'll have to deal with him yapping in my ear for at least another four years," Aang said.
"Aang, you seriously don't think that he could pose a serious threat?" Katara questioned, seriously worried about the results.
"It's like I said before, Katara, he's just a politician. What's the worst he could do?"
The crowd fell silent as the candidates prepared to give their speeches. All eyes and ears were on the potential leaders as they spoke. The first to speak was Chu.
"For years I served in the Earth Kingdom military and fought against the Fire Nation. During that time, I always asked myself one question: why can't we all just be united? That question burned in me for years until the war ended and even after the Fire Nation was defeated, I still asked myself that very same question. Then I learned that Avatar Aang and Fire Lord Zuko were building this place: the United Republic of Nations. I learned that it was a place where all of the nations of the world could unite as one and I immediately moved here as soon as this great city – the first of many in this nation – was built. And after all these years, I still haven't forgotten who made this possible: Avatar Aang."
The mention of Aang's name was met with a brief round of applause.
"Avatar Aang created this great land and yet our current mayor seeks to persecute him! I promise that if you vote for me, there will be no more anti-Avatar propaganda being spread throughout this city!"
The candidate was met with a roaring applause from the crowd as he looked to his opponent for her speech.
Yuki Sato approached the microphone on her podium and cleared her throat before speaking. "I was born and raised in the Fire Nation in a small fishing village known as Jang Hui," she started. "There we were oppressed by brutes who used all of our food and medicine for themselves and polluted our river, causing all of us to live in sickness and poverty. My point, my fellow United Republic citizens, is that I know what it means to be oppressed and if you vote for me, then I will assure you that you will no longer have to live in fear of this man's oppression!"
Yet another loud applause was heard throughout the crowd.
Qian then stepped up to the podium and prepared to give his speech. "Ladies and gentleman of Republic City, I have served as the mayor of this city for eight years and I cannot express my gratitude enough to you all for allowing me to look over you for all these years as if you were all my children."
"Are you buying this load of crap?" asked Toph.
"Not for a second," said Ling.
"I know that these two have said some nasty things about me and that I have said some rather crude things about the Avatar in the past, but I promise that if you re-elect me, you will see the truth behind those crude statements. You will see Avatar Aang for the menace that he is. By the end of my next term, I will have exposed him as such and I will make all of you realize that I am the only leader that this city needs." Qian was becoming more and more passionate as he spoke. "I love this city and I love the United Republic of Nations and by the spirits, I will do whatever is necessary to save it and you from that arrow-headed freak!"
Qian stepped back from the podium and was shocked to hear no applause at all from the crowd.
"Liar!" called out a woman in the audience. "Avatar Aang has done more good for this city than you've ever have!"
Qian was taken aback by this outburst and was soon met with another.
"Yeah, all you've ever done is try to further your own goals and preach anti-Avatar hate speech! Avatar Aang is a hero! You're just a spider rat!"
Qian was speechless against the entire audience that had now turned against him. They booed and roared insults at him and they could barely hear Zhu as he walked in front of the three candidates with the results in his hand.
He held his hand up, signaling for silence as he looked at the card. His heart skipped a beat as he read the card aloud. "The results are in and the mayor of Republic City for the next four years is..."
The suspense was killing everyone. Team Avatar, the audience, the candidates, everyone had to know what was on that card. They had to know.
Before the crowd even had time to applaud, Qian thrust his arms forward, sending his podium crashing down into the crowd. He then yelled out a phrase that, at first, no one understood. "The time to strike has arrived!"
Suddenly, all of the metalbender cops all over the area, stiffened like statues. Their pupils widened and each of them had the scowl of a ferocious warrior as they moved toward the crowd.
All of the members of Team Avatar understood what was going on, even if no one else did.
"Every single cop in the city has been brainwashed by Qian," said Aang.
- The candidate named Yuki Sato is Hiroshi Sato's aunt.
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