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|The Rise of Jun|
"This place is so empty," Aang said, staring at the beautiful Ba Sing Se sky.
"Don't worry," said Katara, "Zuko's messenger hawk said he and Mai would be back today and Toph should be home from teaching her class soon." The young Waterbender looked at her boyfriend with compassion in her eyes.
"Thanks, Katara. You're right, I should relax," the Avatar replied.
"Oh, so you don't enjoy our company, is that it?!" asked Sokka, who was sitting next to Momo. Everyone laughed at this until they heard a voice from behind.
"What's so funny?" They turned to see Toph standing in the doorway.
"See, I told you she'd be back soon." Katara smirked.
"Hey, Toph!" Aang greeted her.
"Hey guys," she replied. "You wouldn't believe how frustrating it can be in that dojo sometimes. Some of these kids just don't get it!" she expressed with annoyance.
"You should be patient, Toph. You've just got to give it a while. They'll understand if you guide them down the right path and allow them to figure it out through hard work and practice," the Air Nomad wisely stated.
"I've known you for over a year, Twinkle Toes, and that Avatar wisdom is still pretty annoying," the young Earthbender uttered. Everyone but Aang snickered at this.
Suddenly, a mighty roar erupted through the air. They looked up to see Appa landing in front of their house. They rushed to greet the two people getting off of him: Zuko and Mai.
"How was your trip?" Katara inquired.
"Another failure," Zuko responded, sadly. Zuko and Mai had been searching for Zuko's mother, Ursa ever since the war ended.
"Cheer up, Zuko. We'll find her," Mai reassured him. "Hey, I've got a great idea! Why don't we all go to see your uncle at the Jasmine Dragon?" She said excitedly.
"Yea, that's a great idea! That will cheer everyone up!" Aang replied, enthusiastically.
"Hold on!" Sokka remarked. "What about Suki? We aren't going to wait for her?" The warrior questioned.
"Maybe we'll run into her on the way there," Toph spoke up.
"Okay," Sokka sadly said as they began to walk.
"Guys wait up!" They heard Suki's voice calling to them. "Sorry I'm back so late," she apologized.
"Suki, where were you?" Sokka asked her.
"Sorry I didn't tell you, Sokka. I went for a walk by myself," she answered regretfully.
"Why?" Sokka asked her.
"Sokka, I'm sorry I just needed some time to myself, that's all," the Kyoshi Warrior responded.
Sokka said nothing as they began walking towards the Jasmine Dragon.
Two of the guards saw him first, a dark silhouette approaching the royal palace. He wore a black hood, robe, and a mask with red eyes, and on the forehead, there were symbols of all four nations with circles and slashes through them. The rest of the soldiers saw him a few seconds later.
"Hey you, stop!" one of them shouted. The shadowy figure fired a lightning bolt at the guard's face, killing him instantly.
"Hey! What do you think you're doing?!" Another guard yelled. He looked like the commander. "Take him out men!" the commander ordered. The rest of the guards instantly started launching boulders at him upon hearing the order.
"This will be easy," the man declared. The guards were blown off of their feet by the man's massive fire wall. None of them got back up. The man walked up the steps and broke down the doors leading to the Earth King's throne room. He approached the last door and destroyed it as well. The Earth King took one look at him and instantly felt fear welling up inside him.
"Who are you?" The Earth King demanded.
"My name is Jun," he replied darkly. "Where is The Avatar?" He questioned.
"Why do you want to know?"
"Where is he?" He repeated.
"If you mean him harm, I'll never tell you!" Kuei spat.
"You will if you value your life." Jun replied.
"You wouldn't dare kill the Earth King, you fool!" Kuei shouted.
"You are the fool if you think I fear whatever your pathetic, so-called, army has to show me!" Jun retorted. He sensed it immediately. "Thought you could sneak up on me did you!" He bellowed. Jun turned around and with a single blast, killed the Earthbender who was preparing to strike him. He walked over and was pleased to see the man he murdered was the leader of the Council of Five: General How.
"I'll ask you one more time! Where is The Avatar?!" Jun shouted as he grabbed Kuei by the neck. The Earth King had two choices: cooperation or death and he was forced to make that choice now.
The Jasmine Dragon is so peaceful, Aang thought to himself as he took a sip of his delicious ginseng tea.
"Ba Sing Se sunsets are so beautiful," Katara remarked.
"Not as beautiful as your gorgeous blue eyes," Aang replied. There was no need for anymore words, Aang and Katara passionately kissed each other for very long.
Meanwhile, Sokka approached Suki inside. "Hey Suki, is everything alright?" He asked. Suki hesitated.
"I went without you because I needed time alone to think," she replied. "It's just that, I miss Ty Lee and the other Kyoshi Warriors, but I don't want to leave you guys," she explained.
"Why didn't you just tell me before?" Sokka asked. "All you had to do was ask Aang. I'd love to take you to Kyoshi Island! We could stay there for a few days and you could see them again!" he said.
"Sokka, that's great!" Suki said before giving Sokka a light kiss on his lips.
"Oh my gosh!" Katara screamed from outside.
"What's going on?" Iroh inquired. Everyone else ran outside to see what they were looking at. Their faces froze with horror as they saw the Royal Palace with smoke coming out of it.
"Sorry Suki. It looks like that trip will have to wait," Sokka said slowly.
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