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|Unleashing and Taming the Demon Bird|
Unleashing and Taming the Demon Bird is a short side story in the Wanted Universe. It takes place duringand goes on until the beginning of . As the Title suggests the short revolves around Tengu as he unleashes and later tames a part of him he'd rather completely forget about.
Tengu sat crossed legged in Appa's saddle as the sky bison raced to Ember Island. He'd spent most of the trip trying to make up his mind about one question. Should he do it? Should he become the Demon Bird again? Tengu shot a glance to the sleeping forms of Katara and Zuko. Then at Aang, who was huddled over, trying to stay awake. Seeing an opportunity he closed his eyes and went to place inside of himself he would've preferred never to have existed. The domain of the Demon Bird.
When Tengu opened his eyes he found himself sitting on what an appeared to be a plain made of white cobblestone. There was no grass, no vegetation, and no signs of life at all. There wasn't even dirt, just an endless plain of white stones packed tightly together. There was no sun or moon in the sky, no stars, and no breeze. This place was dead.
"A fitting place for him." Tengu muttered as he rose to his feet. Without any idea where his quarry was, Tengu started walking. As he walked an almost overwhelming feeling came over him. Loneliness. In this dead, dried up place there was no one and nothing to distract you from the fact that you were completely and utterly alone. The lack of a sun kept you from complaining that there was a glare in your eyes. The lack of a breeze prevented you from enjoying its fresh coolness. You couldn't even complain about it being too hot or too cold because there was no definable temperature. Tengu almost pitied the demon bird for trapping him in what was surely his own personal hell.
He walked through the lifeless area for what seemed like hours until he found what he was searching for. The creature was chained to his throne, blood flowed freely from the horrid wound on his neck, and his black eyes. As Tengu approached the demon bird, the creature turned its black stare to him.
"You came." The demon bird growled. The sound of its voice sent a shiver up Tengu's spine.
"I assume you know why." Tengu stated. The demon stared at Tengu with open contempt.
"Yeah I know why. But what I don't know is why I should even bother helping." The demon growled.
"Because you don't seem to realize that you don't really have a choice." Tengu growled back while grabbing the demon bird by its bleeding throat. The creature howled in pain as Tengu's fingers dug into the wound. "I don't need you in order to rescue Toph and cause some mischief at home. It'll just be a lot easier with you." Tengu removed his hand from the demon's throat. "Now if you agree to help I'll free you from that chair. If you behave I won't chain back down to it once we're done."
As a gesture of good faith Tengu snapped his fingers and the shackles that held the demon disappeared. "Very well Tengu. You and I shall become united once more." Tengu held out his hand and the demon bird took it with its taloned hand. While they shook hands Tengu noticed the wound on the demon's neck began to slowly sew itself shut. When Tengu tried to release the demon bird held tight. "On one condition though. I get to redecorate this dump."
Tengu opened his eyes and found himself once again on Appa's saddle. Katara had woken up and had relieved Aang of his post. The Avatar was now sleeping on the saddle. Zuko had also woken up and was sharpening one of his swords. The Fire Lord glance up at Tengu and gave him a small grin. Tengu returned the smile with a smirk. It wasn't the smile of a friendly, pious, monk. It was the smirk a killer. Tengu felt a strange sense of joy as the Fire Lord appeared slightly disturbed by his almost sinister smirk. The Demon Bird had returned.
Tengu was emotionless as he and Ursa snuffed out more lives in the Black Lotus Base. Tengu's body had become what Lu Ming had trained it to be for years, a weapon, and a weapon had no right to feel joy or regret about whom was slain by it. Despite that Tengu couldn't help but feel confused. Why were these men and women willingly rushing to their deaths? It was almost like their lives weren't worth living.
The question was blotted out quickly though. If it was their wish to die, Tengu was more than willing to grant them their desire.
The Demon Bird rejoiced as Tengu killed his way through the Black Lotus base. The creature laughed with joy as countless bodies fell into his domain. As the demon rejoiced blood began to gather at it's taloned feet. Curious the Demon Bird crouched down and plucked out one of the stones that made up the endless plain of white that was his proverbial prison. After taking a second to recognize the stone as a skull a great fountain of blood erupted from the ground.
"Hmm. Finally something to work with other than bones." The Demon Bird commented as the blood began flood the monster's domain.
Tengu stood ready as the large force of assassins rushed towards their location. He'd willingly volunteered to hold them off while Aang and the others escaped with the injured Toph and the kid who'd been wounded saving her. If they thought he was trying to be noble and sacrifice himself for them however they would've been dead wrong. That's what Tengu the monk would've done, not Tengu the Demon Bird. Currently Tengu only wanted the chance to kill as many of the Black Lotus he could in one fell swoop. He never got the chance as Ursa stabbed him with a dagger coated in neurotoxin from a shirshu tongue. He caught one final look at Ursa before he passed out.
When Tengu came to he found himself on a small island in a sea of red. Tengu found it strange that the terrain of the Demon Bird's domain had changed so significantly in the short time since he'd last visited. In the distance Tengu could make out the faint outlines of what appeared to be mountains. Remembering what Aang told him about what he'd seen when the Avatar had turned him into an airbender, Tengu figured he'd find the demon bird over there.
With no hesitation, he stepped into the sea of blood. The crimson liquid came up to his shins as Tengu trekked towards the mountains. Thanks to what Aang had told him, he wasn't as surprised as he would've been when he reached the mountains and found that they were made up of bones and rotting corpses. Despite not being surprised Tengu was still disgusted.
"You like what I've done with the place?" the Demon Bird asked, appearing suddenly behind him.
"Not in the slightest." Tengu responded while turning to the monster. The area wasn't the only thing that had changed. The Demon Bird's own appearance had been altered significantly. There was no longer a large gash in the creature's neck that bled constantly. It's eyes were no longer a soulless black but a bright almost cruel red. The red arrow tattoos all over its body seemed to almost glow and radiated pure hatred. But to Tengu the most disturbing thing about the abomination was the fact that its face looked exactly like his long dead brother.
The other things, from the glowing tattoos to the large black bird wings sprouting from its back and taloned feet, made the creature seem like nothing more than an imaginary monster. But having Tengu's brothers face made it seem like something else. Like the creature was sent from hell purely for the task of tormenting Tengu.
Tengu's disgust must've been visible because the Demon Bird cocked his head curiously. "Does this face disturb you?" it asked, "Perhaps this one will make you feel better." As the monster spoke it's face shifted from his brother's strong almost chiseled face to Xaomian's soft delicate one. Even the voice altered to fit Xaomian's voice perfectly.
"What the hell are you?" Tengu scowled.
"I'm whatever you want me to be." Was the demon's reply. The Demon Bird snapped its clawed fingers and several bones shot out of the mountains around them and from the sea of blood and arranged themselves into a small makeshift throne. The demon sat on the small throne and reclined as he continued speaking. "I can be the result of you going insane, or a demon that's possessed you, or even all of the hatred in your heart that you've tried so hard to quench throughout your life. Or I am none of these. Perhaps I just simply am. But personally I think that it more along the lines of I am you, or perhaps you are me would be more accurate. Either way you slice it one of us wouldn't exist without the other." The demon's face changed to match Tengu's as if to make his point.
"You're me huh." Tengu stated before gesturing to the mountains around them. "Then what the hell is this place?"
"Most likely it's where you store your guilt, or where I store my fun and pleasures." The demon responded as it's face morphed once again, this time to Lu Ten's.
"You're a sick bastard." Tengu cursed.
"Look who's talking!" The demon yelled, leaping to its feet while taking Lu Ming's face. "These mountains are made up of all the people you've known who've passed on because of you. That lovely desert of white cobblestone earlier was something similar. Those were the bones of those you've killed with your own hands. That blood your standing in is from everyone who's ever been affected by your actions, regardless of whether or not you knew them." The Demon Bird circled Tengu while it scolded him. "This whole place wouldn't be possible if it weren't for you! Don't try and talk like you had nothing to do anything that you've done through out your life. Like I said earlier I'm you, I've felt your emotions every time you've had to fight. You consciously hate and detest having to take someone's life yet you are perfectly willing to do so. Do you know why? Because subconsciously you're exactly like me. You enjoy it. You love the power you exert as you snuff out another life. You love the feeling of being in control of someone else's life."
"Oh it seems like we have another one coming down." The Demon Bird said turning as a new body fell into his domain. Tengu stiffened once he recognized the falling figure.
"Ursa." He whispered.
"Oh you know this person." The Demon Bird asked as it's face morphed into Ursa's. "I must say, at this rate I'll have more face than Koh himself. But then you know all about face stealing don't you. After all you personally tore this face off." The monster's face shifted once again. This time into Sǐwáng Zhī Shǒu's tattooed mug. "Let me be perfectly honest. This is my favorite one."
"Why's that?" Tengu asked balling his fist.
"Because he's the one who killed the little whore who had you chain me up in the first place." The Demon Bird growled, "I laughed as your darling wife died in your arms." Without the slightest warning Tengu punched the Demon Bird as hard as he could across the face. Before Tengu's monster could react, Tengu was following his punch up with a solid kick to the creature's chin. The demon stepped back as he recoiled from the force of Tengu's kick. As Tengu stepped forward to continue his attack, the demon recovered and caught Tengu's fist in his hand. With a wide grin the Demon Bird brought his foot out of the blood and gave a debilitating kick to Tengu's chest. Tengu was sent flying through the throne the Demon Bird had made and splashed across the blood's surface.
When Tengu rose to his feet, the demon had already closed the gap between them. The creature slammed it's palm against Tengu's face and lifted him off the ground. The Demon Bird carried Tengu through the air until it threw him into one of the mountain of bodies that surrounded them. Tengu crashed through the mountain and proceeded to fall to the sea of blood below. As he fell the demon circled around and moved in for another attack. Tengu twisted in the air while kicking out with his foot, and caught the demon on the top of its head. The creature splashed into the blood below as Tengu used his airbending to land gracefully. When the Demon Bird rose to his feet Tengu sent a blade of air arcing towards it. The demon growled as it flapped it's wings and countered Tengu's single blade with an entire gale of air blades. As the multiple blades of air rushed towards Tengu, he spun the air around his forearm and made his air shield.
"Oh, where did that technique come from?" the demon asked.
"Don't you know?" Tengu asked, pleased that he'd been able to surprise the monster. "I thought you said you and I were the same. Don't tell me that you were trying to lie to me. If you don't know about my shield, then I doubt you know about my sword." The Demon Bird growled with displeasure as Tengu proceeded to create his air sword. He ignored the air blades that cut into his arm. After seeing the damage Tengu's technique was doing to his arm, the Demon Bird smirked.
"Figures, you made a technique specifically for killing." It said, "I told you that you enjoyed killing."
"Killing?" Tengu asked, "I didn't make this technique to kill my enemies if that was your impression. I made this technique in order to protect those I love. And you aren't one of them." As Tengu rushed towards the Demon Bird, the creature tried to shift it's face into Xaomian's. "Nice try!" Tengu yelled as he buried his forearm into his enemy's stomach. "Good bye Demon Bird."
As Tengu tried to withdraw his arm the Demon Bird dug it's taloned hands into Tengu's already mutilated arm. "You think this is it? You think after this I'll just simply disappear? Wishful thinking buddy. So long as you live I shall continue to exist."
"Then I'll just have to beat every time you comeback until I die." Tengu responded as the Demon Bird began to fade. Once the creature was gone the entirety of the Demon's Bird domain began to fade, along with Tengu.
When Tengu regained consciousness he could hear nothing but two things. The sounds of panicked men and women, and a very angry Fire Lord.
Concepts of this one shot began as a way to explain why Tengu was able to shift from "slightly peaceful monk" to 'cold blooded killer" with out much time in between. In addition the author also just wanted an excuse to write for another since he killed off Gao, and the Demon Bird was the perfect candidate.
A vast majority of this one shot, particularly the scenes involving the Demon Bird, were inspired by similar scenes in the anime Bleach, in which Ichigo fights with his inner hollow. During said fight Hollow Ichigo says things to try to get Ichigo to doubt himself. The author decided to give the Demon Bird this trait as well.
Twilitlink also used this one shot expand on the Demon Bird Dragon of the West introduced in one of his chapters in. When thinking of what kind of personality the Demon Bird would have, the author decided to make it somewhat reminiscent of Gao's but with a different purpose. The Demon Bird just wants to cause Tengu as much distress as possible. Twitlink also makes a point not to give the Demon Bird a gender, constantly referring to the creature as it.
For the collective works of the author, go here.