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|Tracking the Assassin|
The White Lotus
While Aang was recovering from his battle, Zuko disguised himself in simple clothing, and a cloth wrapped around his scarred eye, then went to a nearby town for supplies, and information. After finding all the food and medical supplies they needed, Zuko stopped in the local tavern. His gaze swept around the tavern, no one stuck out aside from an elderly man sitting at a pai sho table. Zuko walked to the table and sat down. The elderly man stared at Zuko and gestured to the table.
Zuko nodded and placed a white lotus tile in the center. The old man's eyes widened slightly as he looked back and forth from Zuko to the table.
"So you favor the White Lotus Gambit?" he asked placing another tile on the table.
"Those who stick to the old ways often find friends." Zuko replied doing the same. Once they had finished the tiles were in the patten of a bloomed lotus.
"Welcome my young brother, the White Lotus opens wide to those who know its secrets." the old man said getting up gesturing Zuko to follow. Zuko followed him to a small building. Inside was nothing but a flower shop. The old man and Zuko walked to a door at the back of it and went through. Once inside the old man spoke again. "Now Firelord Zuko, what do you want to know?"
"I want you to tell me all you know about a man named Nero." Zuko answered while unwrapping the cloth around his head.
"If you're talking about who I think you are, I can't tell you much." The old man said taking a seat. "But I can tell you about his order. Nero is a member of our opposite, the. They are as old as the Order of the White Lotus, but with a much darker purpose. They exist only to kill whoever they are pointed at."
"So why are they targeting me and my friends?" Zuko asked still standing. "Why did they send Nero after my father and sister?"
"Zuko, I'm afraid I must tell you that Grandmaster Iroh has also been killed by them."
"What? Are you sure?" Zuko asked balling his fists.
"I'm sorry Zuko." the old man said lowering his gaze as Zuko violently punched a hole in the wall.
"Do you know where their base is?" Zuko muttered darkly.
"We don't know the location of their main base, but we know of a local one."
"Where is it?" Zuko asked
Assaulting the Base
When Zuko returned to the team's campsite they seemed to be a bit upset.
"Where have you been?" Sokka asked walking up to him.
"I've been out gathering supplies, I told you that before I left," Zuko explained.
"It doesn't take eight hours to get supplies when town is about two miles away." Aang said sternly.
"I also got some information about Nero. There's a place nearby where he might be." Zuko said as he set his pack down. Zuko explained what he found out and in a matter of minutes they were moving to the base he'd learned about. They arrived at a tall building on a mountain in the middle of nowhere.
"You sure this is the place?" Katara asked as the approached the door.
"Yeah this is it," Zuko said noticing the black lotus symbol on the door. "Toph, you're up."
"With pleasure." Toph said walking up to the door and gently knocking.
"What is it?" a gruff voice called from the other side.
"Special delivery." Toph said before pushing the door in, crushing the assassin on the other side. Another assassin struck at her with a water whip. Katara moved in front of Toph and countered with her own water whip. The assassin fell, and the team stormed into the building. Several men and women also stormed into the room. Sokka and Suki engaged themselves against the nonbending ones, Aang and Zuko took the firebenders, Katara battled the waterbenders, and Toph faced the earthbenders. The team battled their way to the top floor. After Toph broke the door down they were faced with one man standing before them.
"Very impressive," he said clapping his hands.
"Stand aside and we won't hurt you," Aang said placing his staff in front of him
"Speak for yourself." Zuko cut in briskly walking up to the man. "Tell us where Nero is or else."
"Nero? You mean that overconfident child," the man said. "Why he's at our home base."
"And where is that?" Zuko said taking a step forward.
"Now, now that would be telling." The man said before cracking a fire whip at Zuko. Zuko stepped out of the way and blasted the man out the window. Before he fell Zuko grabbed him by his ankle and held him suspended in the air.
"Now where is he, or do I have to find someone who will talk?" Zuko said slightly loosening his grip.
"Wait, wait! I'll talk, I'll talk!" the man cried his pupils dilating in fear. "Home base is on Ember Island! It's on Ember Island!"
"You have got to be kidding me," Zuko said while pulling him back inside.
"I swear it's there." the man cried. Zuko turned and ran to Appa.
"Zuko wait up!" Aang called while following.
"We have to go now." Zuko yelled as he climbed on Appa's saddle.
"Why?" Katara asked. "What's wrong Zuko?"
"Mai and the kids are on Ember Island," Zuko answered "They could be in danger."
Nero's New Assignment
Nero, Des, and Lian stood at the bottom of the stairs leading to the Firelord's summer home.
"It's been awhile since we sent those guys in." Lian said pacing back and forth. "How hard can it be to grab one woman and her children?" As the words left her mouth one of the men sent up came flying out the door, down the flight of steps, and landed square on his back in front of them with two stilettos sticking out of him.
"Apparently very difficult." Des said while Nero knelt next to the bleeding man. These are just centimeters away from vital organs. Either she is very lucky, or she is really good. Nero thought while yanking the blades out of the fallen assassin. "Lian would you be so kind?" Des said gesturing to the unconscious man.
"Fine." Lian said while bending his blood back into his body. As Lian healed the man Nero began walking up the stairs.
"Hey Nero we need them alive remember." Des called. Nero just waved back and continued.
"Well don't go getting yourself killed." Lian said once she finished healing her patient.
Nero calmly walked up the stairs to the house. The door hung open from when the assassin flew out. Nero walked in and saw the other men he'd sent up here with stilettos, daggers, and other objects in them. All of them were still alive, with the weapons barely missing the vital organs. Guess she's really good. As Nero turned a corner a dagger flew at him, he turned and caught the weapon mid flight.
"Hmm, guess you're better than those others." Mai said walking out of the shadows holding another dagger.
"I don't want to hurt you." Nero said dropping the weapon he'd caught. "Please just come with me."
"I don't think so buddy." Mai said throwing her weapon, this time to kill. Nero quickly sidestepped and charged forward as another weapon emerged from her sleeve.
The resulting fight nearly destroyed the entire house, but Nero had managed to knock Mai unconscious without getting severely injured. As he stood over her unconscious body he wondered where the children were. Then a small blast of fire hit him in the back, doing nothing.
Nero turned to see a little boy and girl each in a firebending stance. Nero couldn't help but smile at the two. As he approached they both shot little balls of fire at him that he just batted away with a lazy flick of his wrist. Before long Nero was right on top of them, reaching for their wrists. They turned to run but were cut off by Lian and Des.
"We got tired of waiting." Lian explained as she grabbed the boy.
"Looks like you got her though." Des said while grabbing the girl.
"Lets go." Nero said turning and picking Mai off the ground.
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