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While Aang and his friends journeyed to the Southern Air Temple they had to make a stop. Katara was sent out to go to the local village to find some food. In the village she found Poluka, a Firebender from the Colonies. Meanwhile Zuko snuck away, stole an air balloon and headed to Ba Sing Se. When he got there he was recognized by his ex-girlfriend who never knew he was the new Fire Lord. When she found out she started to attack him, but she lost. Then he was challenged to an agni-kai with Zhao which he accepted to win his mother back…
Book 4: Air
'Chapter Three: Wrath of the Firebender Part Two'
Zhao shot a fireball at Zuko. Zuko responded quickly and jumped away. Then he came back at him with a fire whip. He hit Zhao on the shoulder. But, the ex-admiral didn't take it and fired a series of blasts, which hit almost everything but Zuko. Some houses caught fire and the people inside of them had to abandon them.
"Tonight, Zuko, I will have my revenge!", Zhao shouted and he shot another blast at him.
"You wish", Zuko yelled back and he fired away some shots which barely missed the target.
"Tonight your reign will be over, Zuko and I will force them to make me Fire Lord!"
A series of blasts were exchanged, neither of them hitting the target.
"You can never do that, Zhao. The people are loyal to me, aren't they?", he asked, looking to his uncle. Iroh just looked at him and said: "Zuko, don't let him fool you. He obviously forgot who you are. Just use your surroundings to your advantage."
His mother looked at her son in terror.
Then, Zuko hid behind a wall, carefully watching his advancing opponent.
"Don't give up, Zuko! You're strong. You can defeat him!", Jin shouted from the sideline.
"Yes, Zuko", Zhao said. "You're not a coward, are you? You can't run away from this battle like that. You have to face me!"
"I will", Zuko whispered and he jumped on top of the wall and bended lightning at Zhao. Zhao didn't see this coming and was struck. He was shot back at another wall and he was barely conscious.
Meanwhile, Aang was looking for Katara and with his air glider he flew beside some mountains, but his vision was impaired. The sun had set and Katara was nowhere around. After a long search, Aang decided to return to the base camp near the village. But behind the mountain where Aang just flew, Katara and Poluka were walking and talking to each other.
"Poluka, are you sure we're heading the right way", Katara asked him.
"How should I know? I'm not a compass!", he answered agitated.
"So you don't know where we are?", she asked him.
"Nope, I haven't got the slightest idea of where we could be."
"But, how am I supposed to get back to the camp then?", she asked annoyed.
"If you want to go back to the village…", he started and Katara started to smile, "I still haven't got a clue of where we are now."
Katara's smile turned down.
"But…", he started and Katara got her hopes up again, "I do know we're in the Earth Kingdom."
"But how do you get anywhere without knowing where you're going?", she asked.
"Well, that's a little thing called traveler's instinct and it's inside my head."
Katara made a face.
"But that means I'm never gonna see Aang or Sokka or anyone I know ever again."
"Ah, don't be sad. I'm sure you're going to see them again, sometime", Poluka reassured her.
Katara didn't believe him and he knew that so he told her the truth.
"The fact is…", he started, "I need your help."
"You what?", she asked disbelieving. She couldn't believe he asked her for her help.
"Well, actually I led you to my own village."
Katara couldn't believe her ears.
"You did what?"
"I need you, Katara. I need you to do something for me."
"Well, I don't know. I guess it wouldn't hurt to help you", she said.
"Great!", he said and his face began to shine. "I want you to take out this Earth Kingdom village", he said and he pointed next to him. Katara swallowed. Poluka was pointing at the great city of Omashu, property of King Bumi. "They are the rebelling Earthbenders that destroyed this city."
"NO!", she said. "Those are my friends, my allies. I won't attack them!"
"Please Katara, I can't do it without you. If you cooperate I will bring you back to the village. If you don't, well… "
"Then what?", Katara asked agitated.
"I won't bring you back to your friends and there is a chance you'll never see them again."
Katara hesitated. What would she do? Help him and betray her friends? Or refuse to help and risk the chance never seeing them again? At last she decided.
"I will help you", she said.
Struck down the ex-general lay at Zuko's feet. He was almost unconscious and unable to move.
Zuko slowly walked towards him.
"Come on! Strike me down!", Zhao yelled at him.
"No", Zuko said.
"Coward! You just don't have the guts to kill me!"
"Do you want to try me out?", Zuko asked in a threatening way, but in his heart he knew Zhao was right. He didn't have the guts to kill him.
"Yes, come on and kill me! It is the only way to win your mother back!", Zhao replied.
Zuko walked up to his knocked down opponent, ready to strike any minute.
"You're just too weak to kill me. What if the people who serve you heard that? I think they wouldn't want a weak ruler to control them."
"I'M NOT WEAK!" Zuko started to throw a series of fireballs at his opponent, so he vanished in an ocean of flames.
Then he turned his back on him and walked away, not saying any word to any of the witnesses on the sideway.
Suddenly a fireball hit him from behind. The Fire Lord fell and smacked on the floor.
"Hahahaha, fool! You didn't think I'd give up so soon, did you? Oh no, this fight has only just begun."
Zuko quickly turned on his back and used Firebending to get up again. Panting, he fought back against his opponent, who already started to throw fireballs.
He almost hit Zhao with his fire blast, but the finishing blow was blocked. Suddenly Zuko jumped on a house and used the high ground to his advantage. However, his opponent followed his lead and they ended up face to face on top of a house.
"Even if you killed me, it'd already too late", Zhao said while firing another blast.
"What do you mean?", Zuko asked while blocking it.
"By now the Royal Palace should already be controlled by the Dai Li and they should already have taken your girlfriend hostage."
"Yes, they have taken her as a hostage."
"That's impossible. The guards would never let them pass!"
They jumped to another roof.
"Oh, but you forget one crucial fact. The Dai Li are your allies, Zuko and they used that in their advantage."
"No, that can't be true. You're lying!"
"Why don't you check out yourself, Zuko?", he asked. "But the chances that you'll ever see your mother again will be very slim."
"So, I have a little proposition for you. Or you make me the new Fire Lord and I'll set your mother as well as your girlfriend free, or you leave now, head to the palace and risk he chance of ever seeing your mother again, if you were to make it. It's your decision. Choose wisely."
Meanwhile in Omashu…
Katara and Poluka were already inside the city, discussing their plan to take the city.
"I know the weak point of the city", Poluka said to Katara while hiding behind a bush in front of two guards. "If I heat up the clay of what the city mostly exist, it will eventually melt. Then you can wash it away with your Waterbending and the city is gone. Now you can help too, by cutting off the support poles beneath the city."
"Well, I don't know. It sounds dangerous", Katara hesitated.
"Do you want to see your friends back or what?"
"Then please cooperate", he said agitated.
"All right, but I don't think it will solve anything."
"Oh, but I think it solves everything and, since I'm in charge, you'll have to obey me. If you bring down the eastern pole, I'm going to take down the west."
He got up and jumped to the western support pole.
"All right, I guess", Katara said.
She got up as well and ran towards the eastern support pole. She ran till she was out of his sight. Then she turned and went up to the palace. When she got there she snuck behind the two guards and used Waterbending to open the doors. Next, she snuck through the palace, looking for Bumi's bedroom.
"Hey, stop right there", a guard said and he shot handcuffs at her. She tried to defend herself, but it was too late. She was busted!
"So, we've got an intruder, haven't we? I bet you're from the Fire Nation", one of the guards said.
"But this one's pretty. I wonder what plans Bumi has got for you", the other guard said.
"Well, for your information, I'm not from the Fire Nation. And two, I already wanted to speak with Bumi ", Katara said.
"Well, that won't be possible, cause well eh…", one guard started.
"He wants to enjoy his naptime", the other guard finished.
"Right", Katara said while pulling up one eyebrow. "Well, tell him it's urgent!"
"Okay, we'll tell him as soon as he wakes up."
"NO!", Katara shouted. "He needs to know it now, it's urgent!"
Meanwhile, Poluka was outside and he already finished on pole, so he moved to another. However, he didn't see Katara anywhere. So she left, huh, he thought. Well, I don't need her. I can do this fine by myself.
"Stop right there", an Earthbender suddenly shouted at him. He immediately shot some stonecuffs at him, which he blocked by Firebending. The guard saw this and alerted the entire city.
"Firebenders! The Fire Nation strikes again! Call reinforcements!"
Suddenly tens of Earthbenders appeared in the city and they all attacked him. He had a rough time avoiding all those flying rocks and other attacks. But he went on to the next pole.
"I want to see Bumi, now!", Katara yelled inside the palace.
"Oh, but why'd you want to see me then?", Bumi asked from behind the guards, which immediately bowed to him.
"But sir", one guard said, "didn't you want to finish your naptime?"
"Yes, yes, of course I did, but then someone woke me up, talking loudly", Bumi replied.
"Oh, that'd be me", Katara said and she became red.
"Oh, it's fine, subject to you have got a good reason to do so."
"Well, sir. What I was trying to tell you is…"
When Katara finally finished her story, Poluka had already taken down three support poles.
"So, what we have to do is reinforce those support poles?", Bumi asked her.
"No, we have to let him think the city has fallen. Otherwise he won't ever bring me back to my friends."
"Very well. My guards and I will make that happen."
"Thank you, your highness", Katara said and she bowed.
"In the meantime, you go visit him and tell him you already took down the main pole."
"Okay, your highness."
Back at Ba Sing Se Zuko had to choose for his mother or his girlfriend and his Fire Lord title.
"Please Zuko, don't choose me!", his mother shouted from a distance. "Don't give up your title for me. Save your Nation and your girlfriend and go! I'll be fine."
All Zuko's thoughts were racing through his mind right now and he couldn't choose, whether he should give up his title or not.
"I won't fight you!", Zuko said finally.
"Very well. Then you just sealed your own destiny", Zhao said calmly.
Suddenly he shot a fireball at Zuko's mother who literally faced death.
There were only meters between the fireball and his mother and Zuko swore he heard: "Goodbye Zuko…" coming out of his mother's mouth.
A grand flash of light and Zuko knew it was over. But when the flames disappeared he didn't see his mother on the floor, but his uncle.
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!", Zuko screamed and he released all his power in one single shot at Zhao who flew away almost two hundred meters and crashed to Ba Sing Se's inner wall.
Now Zuko was sure he was dead and he had his revenge, it didn't bring satisfaction. It only brought grief and sadness.
Zuko ran to his uncle as fast as he could and joined his mother who already stood there.
He saw his uncle, more vulnerable then he'd ever seen him. There was a huge burn on his body and he was in terrible pain.
"Mum", Zuko asked, "Is he going to be okay?"
"He'll be fine", Ursa replied. "He just needs some rest and some bandages. Zuko, will you get those for me?"
"Sure, I'll be on my way." And Zuko went back the Jasmine Dragon.
Katara had taken Poluka outside of the city and said that she had already taken out the central support pole.
"All right", Poluka said. "The city should fall, NOW!"
The ground started to rumble when Poluka shot the final blow and the city slowly descended. It literally sunk beneath the ground. However, what he didn't see were the hundreds of Earthbenders, including the King, who let the city sink using their Earthbending. They went on till the city was below the surface.
"Yes, we finally did it! The great city of Omashu has fallen because of two invading teenagers. What if discover that? Wouldn't they think the second most impenetrable city was actually the most penetrable city?"
"Well", Katara said.
"Of course. I see the main articles in the newspapers right before my eyes: "Two teenagers destroy entire city. Then we would be popular."
"Well, actually…", Katara started, but Poluka interrupted her again.
"There is one thing that doesn't fit, though."
"Which is?", Katara asked curiously.
"I just wonder why the city didn't collapse. It should have collapsed, shouldn't it?"
"Well, the entire city was built on support poles deep in the ground, so if the support poles are destroyed the city should fall and…", he suddenly realized it. "You were friends with this city, weren't you?"
"Well, actually we were just allies, but you're kind of right."
"Now I know what you did when I didn't see you anywhere."
Katara was scared and she swallowed. "Really, what did I do according to you?"
"You were right here, pretending that you'd attack the city. But you didn't, did you? You just wanted me to bring you back to the Avatar!"
"You're right . You're right. I didn't attack the city. I just couldn't, because they were too close to me as they were my friends."
"In that case", Poluka said and Katara prepared for the worst thing that could happen, "I'd like to meet the Avatar myself sometime."
"Really, so you will join me?"
"Great, she said. Then we'll be off now, right?"
He nodded again. "Right this way", he said while pointing in the opposite direction of the city.
When they got out of sight, the city arose again to its original state.
In Ba Sing Se Zuko got back back from the Jasmine Dragon with some bandages in his hand. He quickly walked to his badly injured uncle.
"Here", he said while handing over the bandages.
Ursa carefully wound the bandage around Iroh's body.
"Zuko", Iroh said slowly. "Go now to the Palace and save your Nation. I hope it's not too late to dissipate the Dai Li and to save your girlfriend. But first you must find the Avatar. Only together you can recapture the palace."
"I will, uncle", Zuko said. He then stood up and walked to the wrecked air balloon. Partly repairing it, he said to himself: "Aang, wherever you are. I will find you." Next, he lifted the air balloon and took off to the south, because of a strong feeling that told him Aang would be there.