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Fanon:The Return of the King (Book Four: Air)

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Kuei and Bosco
The Return of the King
Chapter information
Series

Book Four: Air

Chapter

2

Written by

Rayla

Editor(s)

Rayla

Release date

Sun. Sept. 6, 08 / Mon. Sept. 7, 08

Chronology
Last chapter

The Aftermath

Next chapter

TBA

The Return of the King is the second episode in the fanon series Book Four: Air.

Overview

The Earth King is returning to Ba Sing Se and the Avatar and his friends are staying to welcome him. Meanwhile, Long Feng is plotting his escape from prison and recapture of Ba Sing Se. Team Avatar must stop Ba Sing Se from being under Long Feng's control once more.

Full Chapter

{{Scrollbox |content= Sokka rushed into the cabin, where Aang, Katara, Toph, Zuko, Suki, Mai, and Ty Lee were busy packing. The group was leaving for the Fire Nation that afternoon. "Look, Hawky's back!" he exclaimed, holding up his messenger hawk, which was perched on his arm. "Who's Hawky?" asked Zuko, who hadn't looked up from folding his Earth Kingdom robes. His question was never answered, however, because just then, there was a shrill cry as Momo flew at Hawky and the two started attacking each other and chasing themselves around Sokka's head. "Hey, quit it," cried Sokka, batting at them, but missing and whacking his own head. Aang and Katara got up and pulled Momo and Hawky apart.

After the drama ended, things went pretty smoothly. "I can't wait to get out of this boring place. It's almost as bad as Omashu," said Mai, yawning. "I hear you," said Toph. "I don't get why we can't leave right now. This place sucks."

"The Earth King is returning today, remember?" said Zuko, getting up and putting his arm around Mai. "It's only proper that the Avatar and his friends be there to welcome him." "He should be the one welcoming us," said Toph. "I mean we're the ones who freed his entire kingdom, aren't we?" "I'm just worried about how he'll rule this place," said Katara, putting all her clothes away neatly into a bag, then sitting up and stretching. "Last time we saw him, he wasn't the most able ruler, now, was he?" she continued.

"Don't worry, Katara," said Aang optimistically. "Long Feng is no longer around to manipulate him anymore."




Long Feng sat waiting in his prison cell. After a while, he heard the noise he had been expecting: a piece of metal being slid back as a disguised Dai Li agent delivered him his food. He was one of the few who had stayed loyal to Long Feng after Princess Azula of the Fire Nation had come and the rest of the agents had shifted their loyalty to her. The Dai Li members who had remained had been forced to hide their identity after Ba Sing Se was recaptured by the The Order of the White Lotus, as the Dai Li was now known as a group of traitors. This particular agent had taken the disguise of a prison guard, allowing him to have contact with Long Feng.

As he pulled the bowl of gruel towards himself, Long Feng questioned, "Is everything set as planned?" "Yes, it is," replied the agent. "All the remaining Dai Li agents are positioned to allow you to break out of this prison and then continue as planned." Long Feng nodded, satisfied, and then began eating as the guard took his leave. This would be the last time he had to eat the prison's bland food. He was already savoring the moment when the remaining Dai Li members could reveal their secret identities and Ba Sing Se would be under his rule again




Done with their packing, Team Avatar began walking towards the Earth Kingdom palace. Their arrival on the streets of Ba Sing Se caused quite a stir among its residents. One man dislodged himself from the rest of the crowd and walked up to Aang.

"Avatar! Avatar!" he cried excitedly, "The animals are so happy! I just visited them this morning! They love their new home!" Then, the man took a deep breath and continued in a calmer voice, "You remember my zoo and the terrible conditions the animals were living in until you freed them and set up a large place for them to live outside the city, don't you?" "Of course I remember. The city was nearly destroyed after I set them free, wasn't it," said Aang with a chuckle, remembering that wild time. "I'm glad to know the animals like their new home," he called to the zookeeper as he ran to catch up with his friends, who had gone on ahead.

A group of pretty looking girls with their hair tied up with above their heads with flowers and wearing expensive-looking clothes giggled as Sokka passed by them. "Hi, Sokka," they called, batting their eyelashes. Sokka looked over at them and realized they were the girls from the poetry club he had so impressed until he had added an extra syllable to one of his haikus and been kicked out. "Oh, hello ladies," he answered them. The girls perked up their ears and looked at him expectantly. Sokka realized he had just said the opening line of a haiku. "I see you remember me. The haiku master," he continued, carefully counting each syllable on his fingers. (He did not want to mess up and get his butt kicked again.) The girls giggled for a second time. A disapproving looking lady, also with styled hair and rich clothes, whom Sokka recognized to be Madame Macmu-Ling, the leader of the poetry club, walked up to him and said,
"I was wrong it seems
You are not so worthless as
I first expected

After all, you did
Assist in the great defeat
Of the Fire Nation"

"Yeah, I know I'm good," said Sokka boastfully. And then remembering he had to speak to speak in Haikus, he added,
"Kicked a few Fire Nation butts
Every now and then."
The girls giggled again and Sokka swelled pridefully. Suki was starting to get jealous. She tugged on Sokka's sleeve, trying to get him to keep moving, but Sokka wouldn't budge. No way was he going to miss the opportunity to show off to a bunch of pretty girls!

Madame Macmu-Ling ignored Suki and addressed Sokka again.
"True you may fight well
But your poems have not improved
They're pitiful still"

She turned her back to Sokka and walked away with a pleased air while Sokka gaped after her. "That's not true, lady! My poems are not pitiful; they're, um, awe-inspiring," he called after her.

This time it was Suki who laughed. "You added an extra syllable when you said 'um,' she teased. She tugged on his sleeve again, this time succeeding in yanking him forward, and said, "Come on, let's get out of here." "Bye, ladies," called Sokka, as Suki continued to drag him away. "Bye, Sokka," they giggled.

One of the girls detached herself from the rest and walked up to Toph and Katara. As she approached, Toph suddenly tensed. "Star," she muttered to Katara, who looked up and recognized the girl who had once greatly hurt Toph's feelings. Toph moved her arms upward and a piece of stone ripped loose from the Earth. She yanked her arms forward, and the stone went crashing onto the girl, who was thrown backward onto the ground. Katara, opened her water skin and got ready to attack as well, but the Star cried "Wait!" just in time. Katara hesitated, the water hanging in the air, as Star got up and dusted herself before continuing towards them, this time more cautiously. She stopped a few feet away from them and began speaking, rather awkwardly. "I just wanted to...er...apologize for what I said about you last time."

Katara nearly let her bending water fall to the ground in surprise. Even Toph was shocked. Star certainly had not seemed like the type of girl who would ever feel sorry about anything. Still, there was something different about her. The spoiled girl no longer walked with her chin held high and an arrogant expression on her face. Still, Toph wasn't buying her story. "I don't believe you," she said suspiciously, lifting a large rock off the ground using her bending power. "No, really, I mean it," said Star, looking at the rock nervously. "I began thinking, really thinking, after I found out it was you guys who had stopped the war. It made me realize how wrong I had been about you and how much better you really are than me. So, I decided to say I'm sorry."

The whole time Star was speaking, Toph was using her Earthbending to try to detect any sign of deceit coming from her, but to her surprise, it really seemed as though Star was speaking sincerely. She certainly looked like she meant it. Katara and Toph exchanged glances (actually, Toph just turned her head in the direction of Katara as she couldn't glance), and then Toph set the rock back on the ground and Katara bended her water back into the water skin. "Apology accepted," said Toph, though a bit roughly, before turning and walking on. She still didn't entirely like Star, but perhaps the girl was not as bad as Toph had first thought she was.

The group was finally able to reach the palace courtyard, where the citizens had been gathered to await the arrival of their monarch. A large crowd had gathered there, with a gap in between for the King Kuei to make his way through, but the people parted respectfully to allow the Avatar and his friends to pass by. A guard walked up to them and escorted them to a place right in front of the royal palace, where Iroh was also standing. "The King will appear in a few minutes," Iroh informed them as the crowd waited in anticipation. From far away came the sound of a horn blowing, announcing the Earth King arrival in the outer ring of Ba Sing Se.




The disguised Dai Li guard walked up to Long Feng's cell. "Almost all the citizens and guards have gone to the palace as you expected," he informed Long Feng, through the cell's bars. Long Feng smiled. "Good," he said, "are all the other Dai Li agents ready?" "Yes, everyone is in position," the guard replied. "Then give them the signal," commanded Long Feng. "It is time to put our plan into action."

The Dai Li member stamped the ground. At once, a small trench was formed that began extending out of sight and divided, until it reached all the disguised Dai Li members. A few seconds later, there was a commotion as the Dai Li rushed out of the places where they had been hiding outside the prison and began attacking the guards. The guards had been distracted by the sudden appearance of the small trench and were caught unaware by the surprise attack. Within moments all the guards standing outside the prison had been taken care of and the Dai Li proceeded inside, where they finished off the remaining guards. When all the guards had been dealt with, the guard who had actually been part of the Dai Li took out a ring of keys from his robe and used one to unlock Long Feng's cell door.

As Long Feng stepped out of his cell, all the other agents filed into the corridor where he was standing and organized themselves into two rows, one by each wall. Long Feng looked around at them all. He was displeased by how few there now were, whereas before Princess Azula came, there had been almost a hundred. He cursed the princess and the Avatar and his friends as well, as they had been the ones who had gotten him into prison in the first place. But soon, very soon, he would have his revenge. "There are few of you left and the Earth King is sure to have many guards," said Long Feng walking up and down the corridor, between the rows of the Dai Li. "That is why we must keep the element on our side, the element of surprise. We will attack quickly and effectively. Aim for the King because with him as our prisoner, his guards will do whatever we tell them to," Long Feng commanded. "Also, capture the Avatar and his friends. I want them alive," he added, his eyes glinting. "I have plans for them. Now go and get ready. As soon as I give the signal, attack."

The Dai Li bowed and filed out of the room. Long Feng bought up the rear, grinning maliciously. "Soon," he taught, "the Earth King will have fallen and Ba Sing Se will be mine again!" Long Feng began to laugh evilly, his laughter echoing eerily off the walls of the prison.




Team Avatar was unaware of what had been going on in Ba Sing Se's prison. They were all waiting eagerly, with the exception of Mai, who as usual was bored by the proceedings, for the king to arrive. "This is taking forever," Mai said, yawning. Just then, a horn sounded again, this time much closer. "Look!" exclaimed Sokka, excitedly. "There they come!"

First appeared a row of Earth Kingdom guards, marching in an organized manner. And behind them, surrounded on either side by two other rows of guards, was King Kuei and, of course, his pet bear, Bosco. The Earth King was not dressed in his royal robes, but was garbed in a worn out shirt. A final row of guards were in the flank of the procession.

A cheer rose through the crowd at the sight of their king returning. Kuei waved excitedly at his subjects and Bosco growled enthusiastically. When they reached the palace door, a group of servants came out and brought out a heavily brocaded cape which they put around Kuei's shoulders so he now appeared more like a king and less like a peasant. Kuei then turned to face his people, and a hush fell through the crowd.

"My people, I'm sure you all know by now about our victory over Fire Lord Ozai. We have lived in ignorance about the war for too long. It is now time for us to move out of our past ignorance and return Ba Sing Se to its former glory," he called to them. The crowd erupted into cheers.

Kuei then turned to Team Avatar and said, "I would like to thank the Avatar and his friends for the major part they played in the war. It is thanks to them, and The Order of the White Lotus, that Ba Sing Se is free once more. I'm honored to have them in Ba Sing Se with us. I've also heard that General Iroh plans to live in Ba Sing Se from now on and would like to welcome him to our city and thank him for choosing it as his home. I've been informed that he now runs a tea shop here in Ba Sing Se which is credited with selling the most delicious tea in all of the Earth Kingdom. I must make sure to invite him over to my palace to serve tea for me someday." Team Avatar joined in the applause and Iroh bowed, beaming.

Then amid all the cheering, a loud rumble was heard and the earth below the speculators began to move. Loud screams filled the air and there was instant chaos as people began fleeing in all directions. "It's an earthquake!" someone shouted. Then up from beneath the tunnels they had bended into the earth sprung the Dai Li agents.

They created giant hands from the earth that shot at the Earth King but his guards were able to get between the earthen hands and their kings just in time. Some of the guards fell to the floor, the great hands gripping their bodies and making them unable to move and fight, while the rest rushed at the Dai Li.

Team Avatar also sprung into action. "Finally, some excitement," said Mai as she threw a group of stilettos at a Dai Li member, pinning him to the ground. Ty Lee rushed at another member, and before he had time to react, blocked his chi, taking away his bending, and temporarily paralyzing. Sokka and Suki used their weapons to fight while Aang, Katara, Toph, Zuko, and Iroh fought with their bending.

Long Feng surveyed the battle from afar. Things were going badly for the Dai Li as they were terribly outnumbered. And the king was too well protected, surrounded by his guards. Then Long Feng saw something that gave him fresh hope: King Kuei's beloved pet, Bosco, was standing slightly apart from everyone else, attacking a Dai Li agent. He was completely unprotected. Seizing the chance, Long Feng bended a circular wall around the bear trapping him inside. Then he rushed to Bosco, and bending a piece of earth into a sharp dagger, held it in front of the bear.

"Stop!" he commanded to Team Avatar and the Earth King's guards. "I'll kill the bear if you continue to fight." Everyone froze, staring at Long Feng and the imprisoned bear. "Bosco!" the Earth King cried. Bosco moaned and tried to claw his way out of his tiny prison, but his paws were pinned to his side.

"Now!" shouted Long Feng to the Dai Li, and they rushed at the Earth King. Toph used this distraction to move her arms in a fluid downward movement, and the walls surrounding Bosco crumbled. Bosco swiped at Long Feng with his claws and the Dai Li leader was thrown backward, momentarily stunned. Seeing Bosco was free, the King's guards came in between their monarch and the Dai Li once more and the fight resumed.

Long Feng staggered upward again. Everywhere he looked, the Dai Li was losing badly. A short distance away, Zuko and Katara worked together to bring down an agent, Zuko by shooting a blast of fire at the man's legs and Katara by encasing the man's body in ice when he fell down. Further on, another agent was thrown into the air then fell back onto the earth with a thump, knocking the breath out of him, with one of Aang's great gusts of air. Iroh was fighting a group of Dai Li agents...and winning. Now, only a handful of the Dai Li remained who were still able to fight.

"Retreat!" Long Feng shouted. "Grab the others and go!" The remaining Dai Li abandoned their fights, grabbed their fallen comrades, some pinned down, some unable to move, and some unconscious, and bended themselves beneath the Earth and out of sight once more. Long Feng was the last to go. "I'll be back," he said savagely to Aang just before disappearing from sight. "And when I am, you'll be sorry you ever set foot in Ba Sing Se," his voice echoed out of the earth.

Toph rushed up to the place where he had vanished and felt the ground around that sight. "There's no trace of which direction he went," she called to the others. "Then, we shall search every corner of Ba Sing Se to find him," declared the king. "Guards! Track down Long Feng!" he commanded. "Scour the entire city until you find him, then imprison him once more!" The guards who hadn't been harmed during the battle rushed to obey their king, dispersing through the city.

"They won't find him," Katara whispered to her friends. "Long Feng is a very clever man. He's probably out of Ba Sing Se by now." "Even when the war is over, I still can't just relax and let down my guard," said Aang, sighing. "We might have saved the world, but we still have enemies."

Team Avatar looked around at the sight of the battle. The courtyard of the royal palace had been almost completely destroyed. Most of the civilians had gotten away unharmed, but a few had gotten caught in the fighting and were injured, though no one had been severely hurt or killed. Katara moved away to heal the wounded soldiers and civilians.

After all his guards who were still capable of fighting had gone, Kuei walked up to Team Avatar and bowed to them. "Once again, you have saved Ba Sing Se...and Bosco, too," he said to them. "The Earth Kingdom and I shall never be able to repay you. Is there anything I can do for you to ease our debt?" "You can give us supplies. We'll be leaving for the Fire Nation soon," said Sokka. "Of course," said the Kuei. "They shall be ready in a few minutes." He called one of his attendants, and after Sokka had given him a list of the provisions they needed, the attendant rushed to the marketplace to get them.

As they waited for him to return, the guards came back with the news that they searched everywhere in the city, but Long Feng appeared to have left Ba Sing Se. The king ordered them to prepare several hunting parties to track him down. As the guards left once again, Aang said, "I wouldn't worry too much about Long Feng right now if I were you. I doubt he'll return to Ba Sing Se anytime soon." "Perhaps," replied the king, but he still looked worried.




Long Feng stood several miles away from the outer ring of Ba Sing Se. the Dai Li had made camp here in order to recover from the battle. A few had gone off in order to steal enough ostrich horses to carry them all. The rest were nursing their wounds.

Long Feng paced back and forth for a while before speaking. "We'll have to come up with another plan," he finally said. "For now, we'll travel the four nations, gathering those who wish to fight with us. After we've assembled a good sized army, we'll attack Ba Sing Se once more, and this time," he said, his voice becoming dangerous, "we will not fail."

After a group of ostrich horses and other animal that could be for transportation had been assembled, the Dai Li silently climbed on, then galloped away, leaving Ba Sing Se behind.




As the sun was sinking in the horizon, Team Avatar finished loading all their luggage onto Appa. The attendant had returned shortly with enough food and other provisions to last them for the entire trip to the Fire Nation. Zuko was the last to climb onto Appa. He hugged his uncle, and Iroh offered him his blessings and a few words of advice. "Zuko, as the new Fire Lord, you have many new responsibilities. The war has ended, but as proven today, there are still many obstacles on our path to complete victory. Some of your people might not like how the war has concluded. Be a just Fire Lord, treat everyone kindly, and they may soon come to see that the war ended in the best way possible. Do not be quick to make harsh decisions as they will influence your entire nation. Always think everything through patiently. As the Fire Lord, you can help the Avatar restore complete balance to the world."

Zuko thanked Iroh for his advice, then hugged him once more and finally climbed onto Appa. As the great sky bison departed into the night, the people of Ba Sing Se came out of their houses and waved to the group, silently thanking them for everything they had done.

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