Draining the grass
Warriors of the Night
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Avatar: Into the Light





Written by

Agent Slash

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Love and Secrets

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Gone in the Night

It was morning on Ember Island. Four days had passed since the explosive night at the campfire gathering and everyone was preparing to leave. Both Appa and Feng were loaded up with the gaang's belongings and were waiting outside on the beach. Inside the beach house, everyone was searching their rooms for anything they might have left. On her way out of her room, Ai rounded the corner and nearly ran into Bo. The two chuckled at the situation. "Funny how we keep running into each other like this," said Bo.

"Yes, there was the time in the jungle and the time on the beach and the time in the water and just yesterday in the village," Ai replied.

"It's as if fate is trying to tell us something," Bo joked. The two laughed awkwardly for a moment until the awkwardness got a hold of them both. "Well, I'll see you outside," Bo said, hastily.

"Yeah, see you," said Ai. The two then darted off in opposite directions, hoping the other didn't think the situation was too strange. Ai made her way outside and saw everyone else waiting.

"Well, it may have gotten off to a rough start, but I think this trip was pretty fun," said Aang.

"If you also exclude the so-called play we saw," Ling said. "None of those idiots could act and the script was so horribly written you'd think it was made by a blind hog-monkey."

The others looked at their teammate with surprised expressions.

"What? I like good theatre," Ling said, trying to sound cool.

Just then, Bo came out of the house with his bags.

"It looks like we're ready to go," said Katara.

"Then let's get to flyin'!" Sokka said.

"No matter how many times you say that, it's not going to catch on, Sokka," Toph said.

"I seem to remember you saying that about every other thing that has caught on," Sokka refuted.

"Let's just go already," said Toph.

Suki climbed onto Feng and then looked back at Rong. "I guess you should come with me. It might be... uncomfortable for you to go on Appa."

"Thanks, Suki," Rong said. As soon as she climbed onto Feng, Suki whipped the eel hound's reigns and took off.

"Yip, yip, Appa," Aang said. Appa lifted off of the ground and flew away with the rest of Team Avatar on his back.

Hours had passed and Team Avatar was flying through Hu Xin City on their way to the Fire Nation. As they flew over it, they saw several figures down below waving and heard them screaming at them to land.

"Hey, do you guys see that?" asked Zuko.

"Yeah, who are those guys?" asked Sokka.

"Whoever they are, Suki and Rong are stopping for them," said Aang.

"Then we should probably stop too," Toph chimed in.

Aang took Appa down to meet the group of people below. Aang leapt off of Appa to meet Suki and the others and recognized them as the other Kyoshi Warriors. "Suki, didn't you tell your warriors to go back to Republic City?" he asked.

"No, I told them to stay here," Suki replied.

"Why? What's going on?" asked Rong.

"I'll explain later," Suki said.

By this point, Katara and the others had joined them. "What going on?" asked Katara.

"We found out where he's hiding. He's got a base in the United Republic near the Su Oku River," Miki told her leader.

"Who does?" asked Sokka.

Suki realized her friends would not stop questioning her about this issue. I guess I should tell them now. She thought to herself. "I wasn't completely honest with you before," she started. "Yakone wasn't the head of that manufacturing job. He was someone else's lieutenant."

"Who?" asked Bo.

"Hong Shu," Suki replied.

Everyone else's eyes widened in shock. "Hong Shu is back?" Aang asked.

"Yes. He's running his own criminal empire now and is doing business with the Light Clan," Suki replied. "I asked the girls to stay back and find out where his base was."

"Oh, there is one more thing we should tell you," Ning said. "After we left the hospital where we found out the information, we were attacked by these two ninjas."

"Ninjas?" asked Ling.

"Yeah, they made us give them the information and then told us to stay out of their way," Ning said.

"Well, they can forget about that," Suki stated. "I don't know what their beef with Hong Shu is, but it doesn't matter. I'm going to kill the son of a bitch before they even find him."

"With a four-day head start, I wouldn't be surprised if they've already found him," Zuko said.

"We have a means of transportation. They don't," said Suki. "Besides, if there is even the slightest chance we can get to Hong Shu before them, we should take it."

"I agree," said Sokka. "I know how much you want this, Suki. I'm with you all the way."

"Thanks, Sokka," Suki said. She then looked at everyone else. "Well?" she asked.

The rest of the group was still mulling it over. After several moments of pondering, the rest of the group nodded in approval.

"It looks like you guys have found a way to keep me around a little longer," said Zuko.

"Wouldn't want you running off again," said Aang, jokingly.

"You still remember that, huh?" Zuko asked.

"Alright, let's get a move on!" Suki said, urgently.

"What about us?" asked Ning.

"Good job, girls," said Suki. "Now you can head back to Republic City."

"Alright, good luck," said Miki.

"Thanks," Suki replied. She and Rong then mounted Feng and took off.

"Yip, yip," Aang commanded. Appa lifted up and soared off of the ground, following Feng.

"Are you sure you're ready for this?" asked the male ninja.

"Yes, I am sure," the female ninja responded.

"Are you absolutely sure?" the male ninja asked.

"Raijin, I have been preparing to kill this bastard my whole life. I will never forgive him for what he did to my family. He must die!" the female ninja shouted.

"Keep your voice down, Ju. We may be in the forest, but we're close enough to his base to where he can hear you if you're too loud!" Raijin said.

"Sorry, Raijin," Ju apologized. "You just have no idea how long I have waited for this day and how much I want to slit his throat and watch the life leave his eyes!"

"I have been hunting him with you for years now. I may not want this as badly as you, but it will still give me great satisfaction to kill him," said Raijin.

"Then let's go," said Ju, standing up and unsheathing her sword. "I have a monster to kill."

It was night in the area of the United Republic known as Kawanaga. Most of Team Avatar was flying overhead looking down at the area's famous cherry blossoms lined along the Su Oku River, while the rest of the gaang rode through them. "Stay on the lookout for Hong Shu's base," Zuko said. "We need to fly lower ahead of time so they don't see us coming."

"Righty-o then, Sifu Hotman," Aang replied.

The group continued to fly until Ai spoke up. "I see it!" she announced. The group looked over and saw it in the distance.

"How do we know that's it?" asked Ling.

"We can't take any chances," said Sokka. "Take us down, Aang."

Looking down at Suki and Rong, Zuko made several fire sparks with his hands.

Rong looked up and saw the sparks from above. "They're flashing us the signal," Rong said to Suki.

"Alright," Suki said. She pulled on Feng's reigns and made him come to a stop.

Appa flew closer and closer to the ground and eventually landed on the side of the river next to Feng.

"Alright, everyone knows the plan, right?" asked Aang. Everyone else nodded. "Then let's get moving." Everyone dismounted their animal guides and started moving along the river bank. It wasn't long until the heroes reached the outside of the fortress.

"So let me get this straight; Hong Shu owns this?" asked Bo.

"I know, it's shocking," said Suki. "To think he was once just a little weasel teaming up with the most powerful to survive."

"Having your spirit fused with another person's body must really do wonders for you," Rong joked.

The team kept moving towards the base, being careful not to be spotted.

"Alright, now once we break through the entrance, all of the guards are going to be fixated on us, so keep running, keep fighting, and don't turn back," Suki said.

The group moved closer to the entrance and got to where they could see that no one was guarding the entrance. "Hey, what gives?" asked Toph. "I don't feel anybody else."

"That's odd," said Katara.

"That just makes it easier for us," Aang said. "Let's go." The gaang moved swiftly and silently through the halls of the base, on the lookout for any kinds of traps. "Well this is odd," said Ai.

"Yeah, they're making it too easy for us," Ling concurred.

They moved completely through the base, making it all the way to Hong Shu's bedroom. "Alright, Toph, Ling, metalbend the door down," Suki said.

The two earthbenders took a step backwards and thrust their arms into the large, metal door – knocking it down. The group stood facing a bed with a human-shaped lump underneath the covers.

"Go ahead," Sokka said.

Suki approached the bed slowly. She drew her katana and threw the covers off of the bed. As she got ready to strike, she saw that no one was underneath the sheets – just a human-sized sack of flour. Everyone was confused until a new, heavily armored metal door rose up where the old one had been. All of the exits were sealed off with the same kind of metal. Then, they all heard a voice over a loudspeaker.

"Thank you all for joining me tonight." Hong Shu's voice was unmistakable. "You little fools fell right into my trap just as I knew you would."

Toph and Ling attempted to metalbend the wall down, but to no avail. "This isn't ordinary metal! I can't bend it!" Toph shouted. "It's platinum," Ling said. "No earthbender can."

"Well, now that I have all of you in my grasp, I guess I can do away with you. Farewell, you little pests!" Hong Shu said.

Suddenly, everyone lost their balance and started falling. It didn't take them long to figure out that Hong Shu had activated a trap door. Within about fifteen seconds of screaming and blackness, everyone hit the ground. Zuko created a flame in order for everyone to see in the darkness. "Is everyone okay?" he asked.

"You mean other than the fact that we're stuck in this pitch black pit with no way out? Yeah, we're just perfect!" Sokka remarked.

Rong created a flame as well for extra light. "Any ideas on how we can get out of here?" she asked.

"Yes, because when Hong Shu built this place I'm sure he designed it so that his prisoners could escape," said a voice from further away in the pit. The gaang looked over and Zuko and Rong moved their flames in that direction. They saw the two ninjas Miki and Ning had encountered in Hu Xin City.

"You two are pretty mouthy for a couple of ninjas," said Bo.

"And you are all surprisingly clumsy for the world's greatest team of heroes," the female ninja retorted.

"Just who are you guys anyway?" asked Katara.

"My name is Ju," said the female ninja. "And this is Raijin. We are lifelong partners and friends with a common goal: to kill the son of a bitch who took my family away from me; to kill Hong Shu."

"Well, get it line!" Suki shouted. "He's mine!"

"Guys, we can't do this right now!" Aang said. "Right now we have to focus on getting out of this dungeon."

Suki and Ju glared at each other, with Raijin looking very on edge.

"I know we aren't friends," Ling started. "But I admire people like you. I admire your kind."

"You friend there knows some respect," Raijin spoke up.

"Oh, please," Rong scoffed. "He wouldn't know respect if it bit him in the a-"

"I strongly urge you not to finish that sentence," Ling threatened.

"Okay, there must be some way out of this place," said Sokka.

"Aang, maybe you can use your glider to fly up there," Katara suggested.

"Yeah, he's the Avatar, by the way," Bo bragged.

"Really? You don't say," Ju said, sarcastically.

"Yeah, then I can just make a path for the rest of you!" said Aang. "Katara, Bo, give me your water pouches."

The two waterbenders did as they were told. "Flamio," Aang said. He then opened his glider and flew up to the bedroom, being careful to land in a space where he wouldn't fall. Once he reached the top, he bent the water from the pouches into stairs made of ice. The rest of the group, as well as Ju and Raijin, made their way up the steps.

"So now what?" asked Zuko. "How are you going to bust through the door?"

"There's only one way," Aang said.

"Honey, are you sure?" asked Katara.

"Don't worry, Katara. I'm much more in control of the Avatar State than I used to be," Aang assured his wife. He took a deep breath, and then his tattoos glowed, briefly, as did his eyes. With one powerful swipe of his arm, he blew the door into the hallway. Seconds later, he released himself from the Avatar State. "Come on," he said. The others followed him out of the room, running down the halls.

"Now where do we go?" asked Ai.

"Hong Shu has probably already made for the exit! If we hurry we can still catch them!" said Ju.

Everyone ran for the exit, desperate to make sure he didn't get away. Finally, they made it to the exit and saw that there was nothing left. In the distance, they saw several airships flying away.

"We can still catch them on Appa!" Aang said.

"No," said Katara. "We lost them. We don't know which ship he's in. We can't just guess."

Suki turned to face Ju and Raijin. "Look, I understand you have a score to settle with Hong Shu, but I can't let you get to him first. I'm only going to ask this once: please back off."

Ju scoffed at her rival. "You think you can just tell us to back off? You are sadly mistaken, you little fool," she said. "We will get to him first and you had best stay out of our way." She and Raijin leapt away into the night.

Team Avatar stood staring at where the two had just been, and then Rong broke the silence. "Well, I guess Feng and I can take Zuko home."

"Are you sure you want to do that?" asked Katara.

"Yes. The rest of you go on ahead," Rong said.

"Alright; we'll see you back in Republic City, Rong," said Aang.

"Bye guys. It was fun," said Zuko.

"Hopefully we can do it again soon," said Aang.

Appa was flying into Republic City with Team Avatar on his back. He landed at Suki's house first, dropping her off. "We'll see you in the morning, Suki," Katara said.

"Bye, guys," Suki replied. The others took off and she went inside. She walked through her house, went into her bedroom and sat on her bed. She was about to undress when she felt someone leap out from behind and grab her.

"Hello again, sweetheart," Hong Shu said.

Suki struggled, but it was no use. Hong Shu had her. "I just thought I would pay you a visit now that your friends are gone," he said. He grabbed a knife and prepared to stab his nemesis in the back. Suddenly, a giant shadow-like figure flew towards him. He let go of Suki and stumbled backwards. Suki looked at the creature, which let out a ferocious, screeching roar and closed her eyes. In an instant, Hong Shu was all alone. Suki and the shadow creature were gone. Hong Shu got up, left the house, and kept walking.

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