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|The New Member|
It was just a few hours after Team Avatar's battle with Hama and the heroes had scoured almost all of Ember Island looking for Jun. Nearly ready to give up, Team Avatar went into town and found a tavern to rest in. "This is hopeless." Sokka started. "We need to come up with a list of locations that we need to search instead of randomly looking for Jun."
"You are right." Aang agreed. "All we have done so far is hopelessly search for him."
"Where are all of the places where Jun would hide?" Katara asked.
"Don't forget we are looking for the Rebels too." Toph added.
Sokka pulled out a map and put it down on the table for everyone to see. "Okay, so we know he will not try hiding in the Foggy Swamp again, that would be too obvious." The warrior said.
"It would have to be somewhere with no one around and where no one would ever find him." Zuko said. "So that leaves us with the Si Wong Desert, The Great Divide, Mei Ling Forest, and-" Zuko paused and thought of the last location where either one of them could be hiding.
Zuko opened his mouth to speak but Aang was too fast. "The Air Temples," The Avatar realized.
"What?" Katara asked.
"Think about it, no one would ever think to look there and they are all completely abandoned." Zuko elaborated.
"Not all of them. What about the Eastern Air Temple?" Katara asked. "Isn't that guru you met living there?"
"No, Guru Pathik no longer lives there." Aang responded. "He moved to the Southern Air Temple."
"I do not think it matters." Suki chimed in. "Jun is definitely powerful enough to take down some guru."
"Well, I guess we will check each of the Air Temples first and if we do not find them there then we can search in each of these other locations." Sokka decided.
"I will alert the Order and tell them to look twice as fast." Iroh noted.
"Sounds good to me," Aang concurred. "Come on, let's get on Appa." He ordered. As the heroes walked towards the exit, they saw a face they recognized standing in front of them.
Jun approached the Royal Palace, stealthily. He saw the guards and knew this would be fun. Before anyone could sound the alarm, the guards outside the palace were murdered by Jun's multiple lightning bolts. Azula stood amazed. Even she, a Firebending prodigy could not generate multiple lightning bolts at the same time. Jun, Azula and Hong Wu stormed the palace, quickly killing all of the guards inside. "Find them and kill them all!" Jun shouted. The three villains continued running through the palace but found no sign of them. They went to the roof of the palace as it was the only place they had not looked.
Azula was starting to hyperventilate. "Where... are... they, Jun?!" She demanded. Jun was unsure himself as to where the Avatar and his friends were.
"They do not appear to be here." Hong Wu said.
"Gee, did you figure that one out on your own, smart guy?!" Azula screamed. Hong Wu was taken aback by her hostility. Azula was clearly letting her insanity get the better of her.
Jun slammed a large fire blast into the ground in anger, creating a fire column. "This is bad," he stated.
"Yes, Jun it is bad!!" Azula hollered. "You keep promising me my revenge on my brother and that Water Tribe peasant but we never manage to kill them and now my patience is running out, Jun!!"
Azula's master approached her, slowly and dealt a blow to her stomach. Azula was caught off guard by this and fell down in immense pain. "If you ever address me this way ever again, I will have no choice but to punish you, Azula." He spoke. Azula was speechless. "I like you, Azula. I see much potential in you; but I will not hesitate to take you down if you forget your place, do you understand?" Jun finished.
"Yes, master." Azula said, weakly. For the first time, Hong Wu felt remorse for someone. However, he dared not speak or he would receive the same fate as Azula.
Team Avatar knew the one that stood before them and they all rushed to greet her. "Ai," Katara happily said their friend's name.
"How are you, Ai?" Aang asked.
"G-g-guys, they are coming." Ai said, obviously scared.
"Who is coming? What is wrong?" Mai questioned.
"Are you okay?" Aang asked his friend. "You look like you just saw Koh the Face Stealer."
"The Rebels are here." Ai informed them. Everyone was alarmed by this news.
"How far away are they?!" Zuko questioned.
"They are already here on Ember Island." Ai said.
"How did they get in the Fire Nation?" Mai asked.
"After you guys left Ba Sing Se, Omar sent me and a few others to track down Banhen and the other Rebels." Ai started.
"Who is Banhen?" Toph asked.
"You have not heard?" Ai seemed shocked by this. "He is the Rebels' new leader. From our intelligence reports he earned the title by defeating his comrades in a series of Agni Kais," Ai explained. "Anyway, back to what I was saying before. Omar sent me and a few others to find the Rebels and assassinate Banhen before he reached the Fire Nation because we knew that would be his first target. However, we were discovered and I was the only one to escape," She paused. "Cheng did not make it." She said, slowly. All of Team Avatar felt sadness at the thought of Cheng being dead. He had helped them fight off the Rebels during the Second Liberation of Ba Sing Se.
Suddenly, everyone heard noises outside and the sound of people screaming. Everyone ran outside and saw the Rebels attacking the city with Fire Nation tanks. "Who supplied them with Fire Nation tanks?!" Zuko asked, alarmed. "Enough! This ends now!" The Fire Lord declared.
Banhen saw Team Avatar and ordered his men to halt. "So, we finally meet, Team Avatar. And who is this?" He asked, pointing to Ai. "Oh, yes. You were the one that escaped me." He recalled.
"Banhen, I am giving you one chance!" Zuko announced. "Surrender now or my friends and I will have no choice but to kill you!"
"You might not want to do that, Fire Lord Zuko. After all, I am the only one who knows where your mother is." Banhen replied.
Zuko's eyes widened and he was overcome with shock. "You are lying!" Zuko spat. "How would you know?"
"You dare call me a liar?" Banhen inquired. "I give you my word, I speak nothing but the truth," Zuko was speechless. He attacked Banhen's tanks, destroying them within moments and then launched himself at Banhen. "Where is she?!" Zuko screamed.
Banhen countered with a fire stream. Zuko put up a fire shield to defend himself. "Enough!" Banhen shouted. "Surrender or I will destroy this entire town!" he threatened.
Aang knew there was no other way than to retreat. And he knew his friends knew it, too. He surrounded his friends with a dust cloud and jumped onto Appa. Everyone else quickly climbed on as well. "Yip, yip Appa!" Aang said. Appa quickly soared away.
"We cannot let them reach the capitol." Zuko said with panic in his voice.
"Don't worry, Zuko. We will make sure they never take the Fire Nation." Sokka assured him. Everyone looked at Ai and could tell she was in deep thought. "Ai, what are you so deep in thought about?" Suki asked.
"There is something I think I should tell you guys," Ai said. Everyone was waiting to hear what she was going to say. "I am really a Waterbender." Ai announced.
Everyone was surprised by this. "But I thought you said you were from Omashu." Toph said.
"I am but my mother was from the Northern Water Tribe. She met my father in Omashu and they settled down there," Ai elaborated.
"That is right; I never saw her bend before." Mai pointed out.
"I should have told you." She said.
"Ai, it is okay. No one has any reason to be upset with you for not telling us that." Iroh said. "You have suffered much recently. You have lost a friend you cared deeply about." Iroh started.
"He was more than my friend." Ai said as she started to tear up.
"I understand," Iroh replied. "However, you have a long life ahead of you and now you have the chance to make things right." He said, calmly.
Ai looked at the wise old man and stopped crying. She clenched her fist, tightly. "You are right," She said. "And I will. Just drop me off at the nearest town." Ai told her friends.
"Actually, Ai we have an offer for you," Aang began. Everyone else knew what he was thinking and had no objections. Ai looked at everyone with confusion. "Ai, would you like to join us?" Aang asked.
Ai was stunned by this offer. "Are you serious?" Ai asked in disbelief. "Of course," Aang said cheerfully.
"We would be happy to have you on the team!" Katara agreed.
"Come on, Ai; what do you say?" Suki asked.
Ai thought for a minute. After careful consideration Ai gave her answer, "Yes!" She answered, excitedly.
"Welcome to Team Avatar, Ai." Aang said to his new teammate.
Jun, Azula, and Hong Wu had left the Palace and were now hiding in a secret bunker that once belonged to Fire Lord Ozai. "What, he was not there?!" Mongke asked, annoyed that they had once again failed to track Team Avatar down. "That blasted Banhen must have given us false information!"
"Or information he thought was correct." Hong Wu suggested.
"Yes, but I suspect they are still here in the Fire Nation and we will track them down." Jun responded. He would not let them get away from him this time. They can play hide and seek all they want but sooner or later I WILL kill them all. Jun thought.
- The Mei Ling Forest mentioned is the forest where Jet's treetop hideout was located.
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