War Room Palace
The Return of Hong Shu
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Avatar: Into the Light





Written by

Agent Slash

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Ling's Scars

The Lightbender sat slumped in a chair in a dark room with only a desk. He looked up at one of the people who had captured him. The person spoke to him. "Alright, buddy, we can either do this the easy way or the hard way," said Toph. "How it all goes down is up to you." The Lightbender remained silent. "Alright, let me ask you something: what exactly are you guys planning?" Still, the Lightbender did not speak. "Hello?" asked Toph. The Lightbender was still unresponsive.

On the other side of the tinted glass, Team Avatar stood and watched Toph interrogate the man. "This isn't going well," said Rong. "What can we do?"

"Maybe we can get The Dark One to come down here and poeticize him into talking?" Sokka suggested.

"No, we just need to wait," said Aang. "I have faith in Toph. I know if anyone can get somebody to squeal, she can."

"Let's hope you're right, buddy," Sokka replied.

Everyone else nodded and continued to watch.

Suki stared up at Hong Shu with utter disbelief. She had not seen him ever since The Battle for Ba Sing Se nine years ago. Her fellow warriors noticed something was up and decided to ask about it. "Hey, Suki," asked Miki. Suki suddenly snapped back to focus and turned around to face her friend. "Is something wrong?" Miki asked.

"Do you guys have any idea who that is?" Suki asked.

"No," Ning replied. "Who is he?"

"Hong Shu," Suki briefly replied. The other Kyoshi Warriors looked taken aback. Suki noticed that her nemesis looked different than when she last saw him. He had obviously had some plastic surgery done in order to make his face look more like his own. He had also fashioned his spiky, silver hair into his trademark ponytail. He still wore Shuang's blue clothes underneath a gray trench coat that came down to his knees.

"What are we going to do?" asked one of the warriors.

"We aren't going to do anything," Suki replied. "I am going to kill him myself."

"But-" Ning started.

"Stand down! That is an order!" Suki raised her voice. She slowly poked her head out from behind the crate, making sure that no one would see her and that Hong Shu and the man standing with him had their guards down. The two of them turned to speak to a man who had approached them on the catwalk. Then, she silently zipped out from behind the crate and unsheathed her katana, intending to throw it at Hong Shu. Suddenly, Suki was struck from behind on the back of her head by a stream of water. She fell to the ground and saw Lin Hui looming over her.

"I found the Kyoshi Warrior," Lin Hui said.

Hong Shu and his associate turned around to see Suki. "Ah, Suki! It's been far too long, hasn't it?" his voice boomed across the factory. "Now, I can get my pay from the Light Clan and kill you!"

In the blink of an eye, Suki swiped her feet at Lin Hui, knocking the Waterbender onto her back. At this instant, the other Kyoshi Warriors leaped out from their hiding spots. All of the workers in the factory had stopped to watch. Suki got back on her feet and grabbed her katana. "Why are you manufacturing weapons for the Light Clan?" Suki demanded.

"Well, I heard they were after you and your friends," said Hong Shu. "I figured I would help get them out of the way and then come after you myself. But, it seems I can just kill you now and never have to worry about it."

Suki looked at the knife in Hong Shu's hand. "If you think one of your little knives can stop me, then you really don't remember anything from our past encounters," she said.

"Yeah, and she has us on her side, so you're outnumbered," Miki spoke up.

"Yes, child, but can you not see that you are outmatched?" asked the man standing next to Hong Shu. "You with your silly fans and your girlish dresses?"

"Don't underestimate them, Yakone," Hong Shu whispered to his associate. "They are tougher than you think."

"I am tougher than you," Suki added.

Hong Shu let out a maniacal laugh upon hearing this. "You tougher than me? I have transcended far beyond what I was when we last met. I have become my own boss! I work as a henchman for no one!"

"So, you are running your own criminal empire now, is that it?" Suki asked.

"Yes, and now that I have you and your warriors here, I can just kill you all myself."

Instantly, Suki hurled her sword at Hong Shu who dodged it. Yakone then bent a large stream of water Suki's way. She leapt up, spun out of the way, and threw her katana at Hong Shu, aiming for his neck. Hong Shu sidestepped the sword and looked down on his enemy. "Enough!" he shouted. "I don't need to fight you to beat you. Now, I can just take you down with the click of a button." Suki and her companions then heard a loud roaring sound outside of the building; it was coming from above. They looked up and saw an airship just above the factory. The glass ceiling shattered as three cables were dropped down from the vessel onto the catwalk. Hong Shu and Yakone got on theirs, while Lin Hui Icebent her way over to the third cable and grabbed on. "Goodbye, Suki. I Wish I could stay to watch," Hong Shu said before the cables pulled him and his colleagues upward.

One of the workers called out after him. "Hey, what about us?" he asked.

"You're expendable," Hong Shu called back, just before vanishing from sight. At these words, the workers started fleeing the scene, screaming and trampling over others.

Suki and the other Kyoshi Warriors did not know what was going on, but they knew that whatever Hong Shu was planning, it would kill them if they stayed. "We need to move," Suki said. With lightning speed, the Kyoshi Warriors bolted out of the factory, running as fast as they could until they heard a deafening explosion. They looked back to see the plant in flames. Unlucky workers who did not make it out were burned, while the ones near the blast all fell to the ground, their hearing gone. Suki looked back on the blazing inferno that was once a factory. She and the other warriors then gazed into the sky to see Hong Shu's airship getting away. Suki stared at the ship and remained silent. It was Miki who broke the silence. "So, what do you want to do now?" she asked.

Suki waited before answering. "This is much bigger than I thought," Suki replied. "We need help."

"What is it about this Hong Shu guy that makes him so dangerous?" asked Ning.

"You guys don't understand," Suki said.

"We understand what this guy did to Kyoshi Island. He and his boss had us captured."

"You guys weren't there when he attacked us in the Foggy Swamp or when we fought during the Battle for the Fire Nation Capital or when we fought during the Second Liberation of Ba Sing Se or when he tried to kill us in the Zhiming Stronghold!" Suki said, her voice getting louder after every example. "He and I have a score to settle. We've been enemies for years, and he made it even more personal nine years ago when..." Suki paused. She had never told her fellow warriors how this had happened, but they were about to find out. "When Ty Lee died."

Zuko sat in his war room upon his throne surrounded by flames. "Alright, General Mak, give us your report," Zuko requested.

General Mak stood and bowed to the Fire Lord. "Ever since you left Republic City, there has been at least one more incident regarding the Lightbenders," Mak started. "Just last night, a group of Lightbenders showed up in Qingdae Square and assaulted the Avatar and his friends, causing quite a bit of collateral damage."

"What do you recommend?" asked Zuko.

"It is clear now that these Lightbenders are dangerous and will only continue to attack the innocents of Republic City if the Fire Nation does not become involved. I believe that you should negotiate with Mayor Qian and see if you can move troops into the area."

Zuko pondered this for only a few moments. "I do agree that we should do whatever we can to help, but until I am convinced that Aang can't handle this by himself, I will not speak to Mayor Qian about adding more soldiers."

"Are you sure, sir?" asked one of the other generals.

"Yes, General Zhensu. I am sure," Zuko answered. He looked over at Jin, who was sitting at the front of the table below him, to see what she thought. Jin nodded her head in agreement. "So, are we done here?" asked Zuko. None of the other generals made a statement. "Good." Zuko got up, extinguished the flames around his throne and left the throne room.

Team Avatar stood staring at Toph as she continued to interrogate the Lightbender. "I'll ask you one last time: where is the Light Clan located?!" she demanded.

Still the Lightbender said nothing. Toph gave up and left the room. "I'm sorry, guys. I just can't get him to talk."

The rest of the team was silent. "If Toph can't get him to talk, then who will?" asked Sokka.

Bo got a nervous expression on his face and tried to hide it by turning away. Katara noticed it and decided to say something. "Bo, what is it?" she asked.

"Well, I kind of know one guy we can call in to help us, but I'm not so sure if he'll-"

"Who?" asked Aang.

"No, forget I ever said anything," said Bo.

Rong put her hand on Bo's shoulder. "Bo, we need this guy to tell us the information," she said, her voice filled with urgency. "If you know someone who can help, please tell us."

Bo took a deep breath and turned around to respond. "It's Ling."

Author's Notes

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