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|The Return of Xian|
"He is getting closer. I can feel it," Yangchen stated.
"Yes, he and Aang will surely do battle soon," said an Avatar dressed in Earth Kingdom attire.
"Yes, Hozen; But will he survive?" Shui questioned.
"I have no doubts about the boy's abilities," Kyoshi replied.
"Yes, have faith in him, Shui," Roku added.
"We shall see," Avatar Wuming said.
"Okay, guys, we are almost at Ba Sing Se," Sokka informed the other members of Team Avatar.
"We just need to get through the Si Wong Desert, cross the Serpent's Pass and then its smooth sailing from there," Kato said, adding to Sokka's statement.
"Guys, Appa is getting tired. Maybe we should rest," Aang pointed out.
"Good idea," Katara agreed.
"Aw, but we are so close!" Sokka said, disappointed.
"Relax, Sokka. We can go to Ba Sing Se tomorrow." Toph convinced her friend. Aang landed Appa and everyone prepared to set up camp.
Zuko and Mai were riding on a Mongoose Dragon on their way to the Fire Nation Colony of Yu Dao. They stopped when they saw what was ahead of them. "Oh, great, we have to go through this desert to get there?" Mai complained. "Don't worry; we can make it in a few days' journey." Zuko assured her. The couple continued to ride off into the desert.
"And then Avatar Kuruk revived all of the citizens and we finally had our karaoke night." Suki had just finished telling a story.
"Wow that sounds like a crazy adventure." Aang commented.
"So that's what Piandao meant when he said he got into some trouble recently." Katara caught on.
"Well, all of these good stories have made me tired. I'm going to sleep." Sokka announced.
"Yeah, the sooner we get out of this giant sand pit the better." Toph concurred as she got into her sleeping bag. Everyone else got into their sleeping bags and drifted off to sleep, unaware that they would soon be under attack.
Zuko and Mai had been riding for hours and Mai was getting drowsy. "Zuko, can we stop and rest for the night?" Mai asked. Zuko was about to respond to his girlfriend's question when he saw a camp up ahead. He saw six sleeping bodies and knew who they were when he saw Appa asleep among them. Mai snapped awake when she saw a man with a black robe approaching her friends. "Who is-" She started. The couple's Mongoose Dragon was killed by a bolt of lightning striking it in the center of its face. Zuko and Mai let out a scream as they fell off the dead creature. The figure in black robes prepared to strike Aang but was halted after being hit by one of Mai's daggers. The figure Airbent at Zuko and Mai but the pair was too quick and sidestepped the blast. Aang was awoken by the noise and saw the figure in black immediately. Without getting up, he breathed a gust of air at the person, knocking his robes off and revealing his face. Everyone was now awake and could clearly see who the man was.
"It's you!" Aang exclaimed.
"So Aang did not kill you!" Ai realized.
"No," Xian replied. "He simply returned me to the Spirit World."
"Who is that?" Kato asked nobody in particular.
"His name is Avatar Xian. We met him a while ago back in the Fire Nation." Sokka explained.
"Well, well, look who is here." Katara remarked, looking at Zuko and Mai.
"Look, guys, we are really sorry for ditching you but-" Zuko tried to explain.
"Silence! You children are going to suffer for defeating me the last time we met!" Xian declared.
Everyone was up now and ready to fight. "Wait, guys, only I can kill him, remember?" Aang reminded everyone. "Or can you?" Suki asked. Aang knew what she meant. The thought of killing someone was awful. But if he made a promise to do it before to one of his friends, then he could certainly do it to someone as evil as Xian. However, he had not made Xian any promises.
"I can." Aang assured his friends.
"I think not." Xian remarked. The Avatar Sandbent a whirlpool underneath Aang's feet. The Air Nomad quickly twirled open his glider and took off into the sky to avoid being sucked underground. Ai pulled water out of her water skin and aimed a wave at Xian who blocked it by simply outstretching his arm. Zuko and Aang launched fire streams at the evil Avatar but he countered with his breath of fire and nullified their attack. Kato ran at Xian and brought his swords to the villain's neck, stabbing right through it.
"Ha! It looks like we win!" Kato boasted.
"Wait, Kato that will not work!" Katara insisted.
"What are you talking about? I just stabbed right through his-" Kato was interrupted by Xian's fist meeting his face. Kato was knocked back a few feet after being punched in the face. "How?!" Kato yelled in bewilderment.
"Only another Avatar can destroy me!" Xian informed Kato. "Unless all four nations were to come together and wipe me out but last time I checked there were only three!" He said, demonically smiling at Aang. The Airbender, enraged by the man took his staff and using Airbending swung it at Xian with full force. The evil Avatar screamed as he flew back several yards away from the heroes. Everyone prepared to finish Xian when suddenly, they saw him get up. "You may be able to avoid me but the blind one cannot see out here in the sand!" He said, looking at Toph. Using Airbending, Xian sprinted over to Toph, preparing to kill her. For the first time in what felt like forever, Toph actually felt fear rising up inside her. She was truly blind and had no Earthbending to help her. She prepared for the blow but instead she heard a boy scream. Toph knew who had screamed and did something she thought she would never do again. A tear ran down Toph's cheek as she heard Kato's scream. "Foolish boy! You have sacrificed yourself for someone as insignificant as her?!" Xian's voice boomed. Running up from behind, Aang prepared to bend all four elements at Xian. Before he could do so, he was grabbed by Xian and slammed into the sand below him. His body felt as if it was filled with a thousand bolts of lightning as Xian Darkbent Aang's life energy. The Air Nomad screamed as his life energy was taken from him. Before it was too late, Aang entered the Avatar State and forced Xian off of him.
"Give me back my life energy, Xian!" Aang shouted.
"If you want it back then you will have to defeat me in battle! And it looks like that won't be happening this time!" Xian proudly declared.
"You are wrong, you monster!" Aang yelled in the voices of all the past Avatars. He quickly bent all four elements at Xian, causing him to yell out in pain. And vanish just as before. Aang exited the Avatar State and hit the ground.
"Aang!" Katara shouted!
"Talk to us, buddy!" Sokka said.
"Come on, Aang please be okay!" Ai pleaded.
"Don't worry, guys I'm fine." Aang said, a bit weakly.
"Guys, Kato is hurt really badly!" Toph cried out.
"Not as hurt as you are going to be!" The voice of Xian called out. A hand suddenly landed on Aang and Xian had the most terrifying expression on his face that anyone present had ever seen. "I am not finished with you yet, Avatar!" He announced.
"Then maybe we need to lend a hand." A voice said. Everyone saw about a dozen spirits appear before them.
"We are very few of the past Avatars." Roku introduced themselves to Xian.
"We are here to make sure you never do anyone any harm ever again!" Kyoshi elaborated.
"Stay back!" Xian warned, afraid of what the other Avatars might do to him.
"You thought you were clever cutting off our connection with the mortal world? Well we found a loophole." Avatar Hozen said. Xian began to back away but in a flash of light, he vanished along with the other Avatars of the past. Everyone ran over to check on Kato.
"Katara, please, can you heal him?" Toph begged. Katara took the water out of her water skin and attempted to heal Kato.
"I'm sorry, Toph but I don't think he is going to make it." Katara said, beginning to tear up. Everyone else was saddened by this as well, even Zuko and Mai who did not know him that well.
"I can heal him." Aang said.
"No, Aang, if you enter the Avatar State again, you might die. Xian used up a lot of your life energy and you could strain yourself too hard." Katara urged him.
"I have to try." Aang decided. The Avatar's eyes glowed for a moment and then returned to normal. He then took Katara's healing water and used it on Kato. After he was done and had exited the Avatar State, Kato was still unresponsive. Everyone was about to lose hope when Kato's eyes opened and everybody was filled with joy.
"Kato, the way you risked your life to save Toph was amazing. You just proved yourself worthy. Welcome, officially to Team Avatar, Kato." Aang congratulated his friend.
"Come on, we need to get our rest for tomorrow." Katara said.
"Well, I guess we will be on our way." Zuko said.
"How are you going to do that? Walk?" Sokka asked, sarcastically.
"Just tell us where you need to go and we will give you a lift." Aang said.
"Look, guys. We are really sorry. We just wanted to find Zuko's mom. It means a lot to him and we did not want to get in the way of you guys going to Ba Sing Se." Mai explained.
"If you take us back we promise never to leave the team again." Zuko promised his friends.
"Of course we will take you back." Katara said.
"Yeah, you guys are our friends." Aang added.
Mai and Zuko smiled at their friends' acceptance. "Thank you, guys." Zuko said, happily.
The next morning, everyone awoke. "So, where are we going, Sifu Hotman?" Aang questioned his friend.
"The Fire Nation colony of Yu Dao." Zuko answered.
"Yu Dao it is," Aang said. "Yip, yip, Appa!"
"Jun, there is someone here to see you." Azula spoke.
"What do you want?" Jun asked, irritated.
"Hello, Jun." A man said.
"Who are you?" Jun asked.
"A miserable failure that is what he is." Azula commented.
"Oh, so I am failure now, am I, Princess?" The man asked, insulted.
"Silence! What do you want?" Jun repeated his question.
"What I want is a spot on your team. I have heard about you and how you have a bone to pick with the Avatar and his friends and I want in. I am a master Firebender, Former Fire Lord Ozai's most trusted Admiral, and I managed to escape the Spirit World," The man informed Jun. "I am definitely qualified."
It took a moment for Jun to decide on whether or not he should let this peron join him.. "Very well, seeing as how I am in need of a new team. What is your name?" Jun asked.
The man grinned before answering the question. "It's Zhao."
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