|By Agent Slash||Genre||Rating||Reviews||Updates|
|More from Agent Slash||Action/Adventure, Drama||PG-PG13||Positive||N/A|
It was a dark day in the Spirit World in two different senses. In one sense it was dark, because it had been overcast all day. In another sense it was dark, because of what was occurring on this dreary day. In a wooded area, four individuals sat completely secluded from the world around them and studied each other, waiting for the head of the group to speak. Each individual thought about what the other was like, making their own assumptions about them. Finally, the leader stood and spoke.
"As you know, I recently formed a partnership with the mayor of Republic City," she said. "He lent me one of his men and I bestowed upon him the power of airbending. He fought the Avatar and failed to kill him. Now it is up to us. Each of you has a personal vendetta against the Avatar. That is why I have selected you to do this. I was going to stay out of this and let only these two handle it," she said, motioning towards two of the individuals. "But your case is so complex, I simply had to let you in on this," she added, motioning to the third. "Now what is our objective?"
"Take revenge against the Avatar," spoke the others.
Meanwhile, in the physical world, there were different things to worry about. Sokka paced back in forth throughout his living room, mumbling aloud to himself while he grew more and more frustrated.
"Uh, Sokka, are you sure you don't need any help?" asked Bo.
"Alright, fine!" Sokka admitted. "I need help writing my wedding vows! There, are you happy I said it?!"
"I'm just happy I don't have to listen to you mumble to yourself anymore," Katara joked. Everyone except Sokka had a laugh at this.
"Ha, ha, very funny," Sokka said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "Now could you please help me out?"
"You really don't know what to say?" asked Rong.
"Well, if I did, I wouldn't be asking you for help, now would I?" The sarcasm never left Sokka's voice.
"I mean, you guys have known each other since we were teenagers," said Ai. "You'd think you'd be able to come up with something."
"And she told me she gave you this whole, big, romantic speech when you proposed," Katara added. "Why not come up with something like that?"
"Well, it was easier then," said Sokka. "I've just got nothing now."
"Well, try thinking about everything you've gone through together," Aang suggested. "How much you value what she's done for you."
"I suppose I could try that," Sokka pondered.
"Or just write about how much pain you would go through if she weren't around and show her how much you need her," said Ling. "That's what I did for a while after Rong and I broke up."
Everyone in the room leaned over and stared at their friend, filling the room with an unbearably awkward atmosphere.
Frozen by embarrassment, Ling rapidly searched for a way to recover. "Uh, I mean, write her a poem or something, I don't know," he said, turning away from everyone while Rong lovingly chuckled.
"Hey, what time is Zuko supposed to get here?" asked Bo.
"He should be here fairly soon," Aang replied.
"Aren't we going to pick him up?" asked Ai.
"He shouldn't be here for another half hour, but I guess it wouldn't hurt to go ahead and get down to the airport," Aang said. He lifted himself from the couch and made his way to the door.
"Don't worry, Aang, we'll be sure to fill you in on all the thrilling details when you get back," said Katara. Everyone else laughed once more as Aang left.
"We're arriving at Republic City International Airport," Jin said to Zuko.
"Very good," said Zuko, staring out of the window in his quarters. He could see the airport directly ahead with airships making their way in and out through the night sky.
"It'll be nice to see them again, won't it, sir?" asked Jin.
"Yes, it will," said Zuko. "That is, when they aren't saving me from my own nightmares."
"Right, well, we should be landing in a few minutes," Jin chuckled.
As the airship moved closer to the ground, the two firebenders felt several bumps along the way. Unsure of what was happening, Zuko looked up to the ceiling. Before he could ask any questions, the airship violently shook, throwing Zuko and Jin from their feet. They got back to their feet and looked once more to the ceiling. "What's happening?!" Zuko questioned.
"I don't know!" Jin replied. The ship shook once more, but failed to throw them this time. They then noticed that the airship was descending.
"Tell the crew to abandon ship!" Zuko ordered.
"Yes, sir!" Jin replied, running to carry out the order.
Zuko followed behind her, making his way to a ladder in the center of the airship. He climbed the ladder and reached the top of the airship, getting a clear view of what was damaging his airship. He froze, utterly stunned by who he saw atop the airship with him. His enemies stared straight back at him, sinister grins spreading to the edges of their lips. "Well, look who it is," said one of them. "The banished prince who thinks he's the Fire Lord. How does it feel to know you're a disgrace to your family's name?"
"Zhao?" Zuko asked.
"So, this is the Fire Lord?" asked another one. "Not bad at all," she said, naughtily.
"Who are you?" asked Zuko.
"My name is Yazdalia," she said. "It's the last name you'll ever hear!" She fired a blast of dark energy at him, prompting him to leap to the side of it.
"You're the one who poisoned Aang's mind!" Zuko realized.
"Aw, I'm flattered the Fire Lord has heard of me," Yazdalia said, tauntingly.
Just then, another shot was fired from behind Zuko. Zhao and Yazdalia ducked out of the path of the fireball and saw Jin standing behind the Fire Lord. "If either of you think you're getting out of here alive, you're out of your minds!" Jin threatened.
"Who's this?" Zhao asked. "Your new girlfriend? What, was the gloomy girl not good enough for you?"
Furious, Zuko shot his fist forward for another attack, but was lifted into the air by something that took him off guard.
Jin shot at it, but it hollered down at her. "Cease your firing or I'll drop him!"
Jin immediately stopped firing.
Zuko recognized the voice of this third assailant as it spoke once more. "Where is the Avatar?" Zhi Jing inquired. "She said he would be here!"
"Sorry, but Aang couldn't make it today," said a voice from above. "I'll be taking care of you instead!"
Zhi Jing looked up as a metal cable swung down out of Penga's arm and struck him in the face. He lost his grip on Zuko, but another cable caught him and landed him safely atop the airship.
The next thing Zuko knew, there were at least six metalbender cops with him on the airship.
"This thing is going to crash and burn any minute!" said Jin. "We have to get off now!"
"Where are we going to go?" asked Zuko.
"Come with us back to the police airship!" Ho Tun said.
"They're right. We have to get off this thing!" Zhao said.
"This isn't over," said Yazdalia. She and Zhao were lifted into the air by Zhi Jing and quickly flew away, vanishing into the night.
"Hold on," said Penga, grabbing hold of Zuko. She metalbent her cable upward and latched it onto her airship.
Ho Tun grabbed onto Jin and lifted her up as well.
They made it into the police airship just in time to see Zuko's burst into flames as it hit the ground.
"Did everyone make it out?" asked Zuko.
"Yes, they all got out safely," said Jin.
"Toph, have them bring the airship down to pick up my crew," Zuko said, spotting his friend.
"Alright," said Toph.
As the airship lowered, Toph asked the question that was on everyone's minds. "What was that?"
"I have no idea," Zuko said. "They just showed up out of nowhere and started attacking."
"They mentioned Aang," Jin recalled. "They must have attacked you to get to him."
Zuko paused before speaking again, still in disbelief of what he saw. "Zhao was with them."
"Are you sure?" asked Toph.
"Absolutely," Zuko responded.
"How can that even be possible?" asked Toph.
"It wasn't just him. Zhi Jing and Yazdalia were there, too," Zuko explained.
"It's like an Avatar Vendetta Squad or something," Toph said.
"It does seem that way," said Zuko.
They reached the ground and got out to see not only Zuko's crew, but Aang as well. "You want to tell me what that was all about?"
On the flight back, Zuko and Jin explained everything, leaving Aang quite stunned to say the least.
"It's enough of a shock that Zhi Jing and Yazdalia are back, but Zhao is back too? How can that be?" Aang wondered.
"I don't know," said Zuko. "It's all so confusing."
"Well, hopefully Yukio will have some answers," said Aang.
Appa landed in front of Sokka and Suki's house and the four of them dismounted, making their way into the home.
Once they entered the house, everyone arose to greet the two firebenders. "It's great to see you again, Zuko!" said Katara.
"You, too, Katara," said Zuko.
"Zuko! Welcome back to the city, buddy!" Sokka said, giving Zuko a slight noogie.
"Congratulations, Sokka," Zuko said to his friend.
Just then, Suki walked in the front door, at first slightly startled by all of the people in her home, but then happy at the sight of Zuko. "It's nice to see you finally made it, Zuko," she said. Moving over to embrace him.
"Congratulations, Suki," he said.
"I hate to ruin the happy feelings here, but we kind of have something important to say," said Toph.
"What is it, Toph?" asked Ai.
"Three of our enemies destroyed Zuko's ship," said Toph. "We had to get him and Jin here on Appa."
"Who was it?" Katara asked.
"Zhi Jing, Yazdalia, and Zhao," said Zuko.
"What?" Suki asked, surprised.
"How can Zhao still be alive?" asked Ai.
"That's what I wanted to ask Yukio," said Aang. "Is there any way for a spirit to resurrect the dead?"
"No," said Yukio. "But I know how this Zhao still lives. I heard my sister speak of him; how he served her lover, Jun. When Zhao was pulled into the Spirit World by La, the ocean spirit, he had not died. He was still a mortal man living in the Spirit World. When he died on the day that Jun died, he entered the Spirit World, as all humans do, and became a spirit. So now he lives as a spirit and seeks vengeance. If you were to kill him again, then he would be dead forever."
"I'm not going to kill him," said Aang. "I very foolishly and impulsively made the decision to do that long ago to both him and Long Feng, but I won't do it again."
"Then we must send him back to the Spirit World along with my sister and that beast," said Yukio.
"How can we do that if we don't even know where they are?" asked Ling.
"Well, they're looking for Aang, aren't they?" said Sokka.
"Yeah," said Aang.
"Then they'll come back for you eventually."
"He's right," said Rong. "We just have to lure them away from the city and then we can deal with them."
"Let me guess, I have to stay here?" Katara asked, already knowing what the answer was.
"Sorry, Katara," said Aang.
"Yeah, yeah, just go," she said.
"Jin, can you stay and make sure nothing happens to her?" Aang asked.
"Of course, Aang," said Jin.
"Alright, then let's go."
"You said he would be there," said Zhi Jing.
"He was there," said the leader of the group. "You idiots simply failed to notice him."
"Listen, Kela-" said Yazdalia, threateningly.
"There is no need for aggression amongst ourselves," Kela said, prompting the darkbender to stand down.
"Then mind your tongue," said Yazdalia.
"If it makes any of you feel better, I am going with you this time," Kela said.
"Alright," said Zhao. "Then what exactly do you want to do next?"
"I could track him in minutes," said Zhi Jing. "Wherever he is, we'll find him."
"No, we aren't going after Aang directly," said Kela.
Everyone else in the group exchanged puzzled glances at each other, wondering what Kela's plan was.
"Let's attack him a little closer to home."
On the outskirts of Republic City, in a very hilly area, Team Avatar was spread out waiting for their adversaries to show up.
"Any sign of them?" asked Aang.
"Nothing back here," Bo reported.
"I don't see anything," said Suki.
"Neither do I," said Yukio.
"We've been out here for almost an hour," said Zuko. "What reason do they have for taking their time trying to find us?"
Aang scanned beneath the hill they were standing on, trying to make certain that they had a good view of everything. "Toph, can you feel anything?" he asked.
"If I could, I'd let you know," Toph replied.
"This just doesn't add up," Sokka said. "Zhi Jing is supposed to be the Spirit World's best hunter, right? It shouldn't take him this long to track you."
"Well, what do you think they're waiting for?" asked Aang.
"I don't think they're waiting for anything," said Sokka. "I think that instead of attacking you directly, they're gonna attack somewhere in the city and make you come to them. I think-" suddenly something new dawned on him.
"What is it, Sokka?" asked Suki.
"Oh, no," said Sokka.
"What?" asked Aang.
Back in the suburbs, Katara and Jin sat in the living room, Jin sipping a cup of tea. "Yeah, things have been getting kind of heated in the Fire Nation," she said. "Pardon the pun."
"Heated how?" Katara queried.
"Oh, it's nothing major," Jin said. "Some people just aren't happy with the way things are going."
"So, they're not happy with being at peace with the rest of the world? They're not happy with being prosperous?"
"I know, I know, it's ridiculous, but, like I said, it's nothing major," Jin said.
Without warning, Zhi Jing burst through the wall, screeching loudly as he zipped into the house.
Within seconds, Jin was on her feet, fighting off the gargoyle spirit.
Following behind Zhi Jing were Yazdalia, Zhao, and Kela who loomed over all else, instilling a sense of fear in her foes.
"Who, what are you?" asked Katara.
"I am Kela the Screamer," said Kela. "I am terror beyond your wildest nightmares. We'll soon find out yours." With a loud hiss, she sprayed the gas at the two women, but Jin grabbed Katara by the shoulders and spun her out of the way.
"The gas!" Katara yelled. "Stay away from the gas!"
"Why? What'll happen?" asked Jin.
"That's the stuff that traps you in your nightmares!" Katara explained.
"Oh, shit!" Jin shouted.
The gas was closing in on them and each of the villains was anxious to see it take effect, but three of them were blown forward by a huge gust of air. Kela, unshaken, looked back to see Aang stand before them. His eyes and tattoos briefly glowed, signaling the activation of the Avatar State.
The other three got back on their feet and moved towards Aang, but the airbender leaped over them and airbent the gas away from Katara and Jin.
"You come here and attack my wife instead of attacking me? You're nothing more than cowards," Aang spoke.
"That's rather amusing coming from an airbender," said Zhao.
Aang airbent an air stream at the admiral who ducked to avoid it. He then shot a wild wave of fire at the Avatar who nullified it by sending an air vortex at the four of them.
In response, Zhi Jing flapped his wings downward, sending a powerful gale of wind at Aang, knocking him off of his feet and into a wall.
He got back to his feet and, drawing water from the air, waterbent at Yazdalia who solidified the dark particles around her and created a shield to deflect the water.
She then disposed of the shield and fired several blasts of dark energy at Aang while Zhao hurled fire slashes at him and Zhi Jing flew towards him with his claws ready to rip him to pieces.
Aang retaliated with an enormous burst of air from his mouth, throwing his three opponents backwards.
Kela, still unshaken, extended her arms forward and released more gas upon Aang who disposed of it with more airbending.
Outside, the other three got back on their feet and were ready to assist Kela, but were met with two fire blasts from Zuko and Rong.
Zuko and Zhao locked eyes, signifying to everyone that they wished to fight each other one on one. Zuko leaped forward, streams of fire coming out of his feet. Zhao nullified the attack and sent a fire slash in Zuko's direction which was quickly deflected.
Meanwhile, Yukio and Yazdalia locked eyes. "Hello, sister," Yazdalia said. "It's been, what, nine hundred years since we last saw each other?"
"It has been nine hundred and seven by my count," Yukio replied.
"Well, do tell me what you think of the Spirit World when you arrive!" Yazdalia shouted, unleashing a massive surge of dark energy at her sister.
Ai, Bo, and Ling intervened, with the two waterbenders raising an ice shield and Ling raising an earth one. The defenses were shattered instantly, knocking the four of them backwards.
Meanwhile, Sokka, Suki, and Rong were dealing with Zhi Jing. The shadow spirit lunged at them only to be met with a fiery barrage from Rong. She created a fire ring and shot it at the beast who avoided it with ease. Again and again Rong attempted to shoot the hunter down, but he was too fast.
Sokka threw his boomerang at the spirit which had no effect as Zhi Jing swatted it with his hand.
"You're fighting me with toys?" Zhi Jing asked, insulted. "You're trying to defeat the greatest hunter in both the spirit and physical worlds with toys?!" With a horrific screech, he launched himself at the foursome with his claws outstretched.
Rong fought back with another blast of fire, trying to keep her enemy at bay.
Back inside the house, Kela continued to battle Aang, swiping at him every which way. Her sharp fingers extended into claws and shot forward, attempting to skewer the Avatar.
Aang dodged her attack and watched as a bright burst of fire nailed Kela in the stomach. Jin ran over next to Aang and stood by him, waiting for Kela's next attack.
Outside, Zhao and Zuko were still going at it. With a furious yell, Zhao leaped, spun around, and released a torrent of fire from is feet.
In response, Zuko raised a fire wall that countered the attack and then shot two fire streams at the former admiral.
Zhao sidestepped the blasts and landed on his feet, panting heavily. "I'll see to it that on this day the whole world sees you for what you are," said Zhao. "A treacherous, disrespectful, scarred coward! But most of all, I want you and everyone else to know that, in the end, it was I, Zhao the Conqueror, Zhao the Moonslayer, Zhao the Invincible who beat you!"
"You want to know why you could never beat me, Zhao?!" Zuko shot back. "Because you're not the better man! You never have been and you never will be!" With every ounce of strength he had, Zuko motioned his arms over his head and back down in front of him and summoned a fire bomb which he proceeded to hurl in front of Zhao, blowing him into the sky and knocking him unconscious. The defeated admiral hit the ground and didn't get back up.
In the meantime, Yukio, Ai, Bo, and Ling had their hands full with Yazdalia. Ai and Bo continuously launched ice shards at the darkbender while Ling shot at her with boulders.
"Why don't the three of you just give up?" asked Yazdalia. "Yukio is the only one who even stands a chance at defeating me and she can't bend at night."
"Don't be so sure," said a voice from behind her. A flaming disk whizzed by Yazdalia's head as Zuko ran towards her. With her guard down, Bo and Ai encased Yazdalia in a sphere of water, raising it into the air.
"You really shouldn't have underestimated us," said Bo.
"You should really take your own advice," Yazdalia quipped. Without even moving her arms, she created a dark explosion just before the two waterbenders, causing their concentration and their water sphere to be broken.
However, as soon as she reached the ground, the sun started to rise over the mountains.
Yukio saw the opportunity and took it. She fired a small blast of light at her sister, knocking her backwards. As more and more light spilled onto the land, her light blasts increased in size. Finally, she unleashed a full-fledged blast of light, sending Yazdalia flying backwards. "Two down," said Zuko.
Sokka, Suki, and Rong were not having as much luck with Zhi Jing. Again and again Rong fired without much help from the two nonbenders. Zhi Jing was just too quick! She concentrated and, after taking a deep breath focused only on her opponent.
The gargoyle lunged at the firebender with yet another screech. "You're mine!" he bellowed.
Rong looked Zhi Jing dead in the eye, extended her arm, and summoned a bolt of lightning, striking the spirit right in the heart. Zhi Jing let out a cry of weakening anguish and plummeted to the ground with a loud bang.
Everyone stood in awe of what Rong had just done while she reveled in her newfound ability.
Meanwhile, in the house, there was only one left. Kela had Aang and Jin cornered. "May you both rot in your own nightmares for all of eternity!" she screamed.
Aang and Jin watched as she was impaled through the chest by an earth spike. She dropped to the floor, a dead spirit, as Toph stood behind her. "Now that's how it's done!" she exclaimed.
"Took you long enough," said Katara, backed into another corner.
"Sorry, Sugar Queen," said Toph. "It took me a while to get the rest of the force here, but everything is taken care of now, isn't it?"
"Thanks, Toph," said Jin.
"Thank you for saving our lives," Aang added.
"Don't sweat it, Twinkle Toes," said Toph.
"Did you apprehend the others?" Aang inquired.
"No," said Toph. "Zhi Jing is dead and Zhao and Yazdalia got away."
"We'll run into them again eventually," said Aang. "And when we do, we'll bring them in."
"Aang!" Sokka shouted, excitedly running over to his friend. "You should have seen it! Rong was bending lightning!" he said, followed by him making several lightning noises. "It was amazing!"
"That sounds pretty amazing," Aang said. "Now, for spirits' sakes, let's get some sleep."
Back in the Spirit World, Yazdalia and Zhao had regrouped. "It's just the two of us now," Zhao said.
"Yes, indeed. We were the only two that survived," Yazdalia agreed.
"We will find them once again and kill them!" said Zhao. "I will kill that banished prince. I will kill Zuko!"
"Of course you will, my dear," said Yazdalia.
"I am Zhao the Conqueror, I am the Moonslayer! I will capture the Avatar!" Zhao declared.
"You are a fiery man," Yazdalia said. "You have quite a temper not to mention some long sideburns. I like that in a man." She embraced Zhao, bringing their lips together and running her hands up and down his body.
"You're a very beautiful woman," said Zhao. "Together we can conquer anything we set our minds to! We can go anywhere together!"
"Sorry, Admiral, but the only place you're going is the Fog of Lost Souls!" Yazdalia declared. In a flash, the two of them stood over the fog. Yazdalia shoved the confused, former admiral into the fog where he landed on his back.
He stood up and looked up to see if he could find Yazdalia. "Wait, Yazdalia, please don't do this to me! We can be so much more! I am Zhao the Conqueror! I am the Moonslayer! I will capture the Avatar! I must so that you'll set me free! I am Zhao the Conqueror! I am the Moonslayer! I will capture the Avatar!"
Yazdalia stood above the fog, listening to Zhao's cries of desperation, and cackled at the poor man's suffering. "Don't hold your breath, handsome." She then vanished from the fog.
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