Chapter Seventeen: Lake Laogai

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Chapter Seventeen: Lake Laogai By Avatar: The Last Airbender


Act I

Katara: We found a printer to make our posters.
Sokka: Hey, I thought designing “the lost Appa poster” was my job. I’ve been working all day on my Appa.
Aang: Sokka, the arrow is on Appa’s head.
Sokka: This IS his head.
Katara: Why are feet coming out of it?
Sokka: Those are his horns! I haven’t seen him awhile ok?!
Toph: It looks just like him to me.
Sokka: Thank you, I worked really… Why do you feel the need to do that?
Katara: Let’s just stick with the professional version.
Sokka: Grrrr!
Aang: Come on, let’s get busy!

Quon: So you’re the genius behind this incredible brew. The whole city is buzzing about you. I hope Pao pays you well.
Iroh: Good tea is its own reward.
Quon: But it doesn’t have to be the only reward. How would you like to have your own tea shop?
Iroh: My own tea shop? This is a dream come true.
Pao: What’s going on here? Are you trying to poach my tea maker?
Quon: Sorry Pao, that’s business for you, am I right?
Pao: Mushie, if you stay, I will make you Assistant Manager. Wait, Senior Assistant manager.
Quon: I’ll provide you with a new apartment in the upper ring. The Tea shop is yours to do whatever you want. Complete creative freedom.
Iroh: I even get to name the shop?
Quon: Of course!
Pao: Uh, Senior Executive Assistant Manager?

Iroh: Did you hear nephew? This man wants to give us our own tea shop in the upper ring of the city.
Quon: That’s right young man. Your life is about to change for the better.

Zuko: I’ll try to contain my joy.

(Closing the door behind him, Zuko steps out to lean against the front of the teashop. One of the Appa leaflets flutters out of the sky, Zuko catches it out of the air and reads it. Realizing the import of it, he begins scanning the sky for the source of the paper. He climbs to the roof of the shop just as another scattering of them settle to the street. Looking at the leaflet once more, his face becomes set with determination.

Cut to the interior of the upper ring house, where Katara and Sokka are playing a card game on a wooden table. Toph lies on her back nearby, bouncing a small ball off of a wall. Aang and Momo burst though the front door. Both approach the table.)

Aang: I just finished dropping all the leaflets. Has anyone come in with news about Appa?
Katara: It’s only been a day, just be patient.

Aang: Wow, you’re right! Patience really pays off. Joo Dee?!
Joo Dee: Hello, Aang and Katara and Sokka and Toph.
Sokka: What happened to you? Did the Dai Li throw you in jail?
Joo Dee: What, jail? Of course not. The Dai Li are the protectors of our cultural heritage.
Toph: But you disappeared at the Earth King’s party.
Joo Dee: Oh, I simply took a short vacation to Lake Laogai, out in the country. It was quite relaxing.
Katara: But then they replaced you with some other woman who also said her name was Joo Dee.
Joo Dee: I’m Joo Dee.
Aang: Why are you here?
Joo Dee: Dropping flyers and putting up posters isn’t permitted within the city. Not without proper clearance.
Sokka: We can’t wait around to get permission for everything.
Joo Dee: You are absolutely forbidden by the rules of the city to continue putting up posters.
Aang: WE DON’T CARE ABOUT THE RULES, AND WE’RE NOT ASKING PERMISSON!! We’re finding Appa on our own and you should just stay out of our way!
Sokka: That might come back to bite us in the blubber.
Aang: I don’t care. From now on we do whatever it takes to find Appa.
Toph: YEAH! Let’s break some rules!

(Toph turns and blasts out the nearest wall with earthbending.

Cut to the outside. As the dust clears from the destroyed wall, the heroes leave out the front door. Panning back, we see a pair of Dai Li agents watching from atop a roof across the street. They lie on their stomachs, peering down over the peak of the tile rooftop, then slip away.

Shift to the exterior of the Dai Li headquarters, then to the fire lit interior of Long Feng’s private audience chamber. Feng sits on a small chair, while Joo Dee kneels before him.)

Long Feng: I am very disappointed in your work with the Avatar and his friends, Joo Dee. I had hoped that you would be able to control this situation.
Joo Dee: I’m so sorry, but they don’t trust me anymore. I don’t think I can keep working like this.
Long Feng: Joo Dee, the Earth King has invited you to Lake Laogai.
Joo Dee: I am honored to accept his invitation.
Long Feng: Good. Now go await further orders.

Long Feng: If the Avatar keeps searching for his bison, it could upset the delicate balance we worked so hard to achieve in this city. It could even cost us control of the Earth King.
Dai Li Agent: Should we take care of him?
Long Feng: No. It’s much too dangerous to confront him directly. Let’s see if we can still handle this… quietly.

Iroh: So, I was thinking about names for my new tea shop. How ;bout the Jasmine Dragon? It’s dramatic, poetic, has a nice ring to it.
Zuko: The Avatar’s here in Ba Sing Se. And he’s lost his bison.
Iroh: We have a chance for a new life here. If you start stirring up trouble, we could lose all the good things that are happening for us.
Zuko: Good things that are happening for you. Have you ever thought that I want more from life than a nice apartment and a job serving tea?
Iroh: There is nothing wrong with a life of peace and prosperity. I suggest you think about what it is that you want for your life, and why.
Zuko: I want my destiny.
Iroh: What that means is up to you. The Tea Weevil! No, that’s stupid.

Sokka: Well split up to cover more area. Toph, I guess you should just come with me.
Toph: Why because you think I can’t put up posters on my own?

Toph: It’s upside-down isn’t it? I’ll just go with Sokka.

Jet: Katara?

Jet: I think I can help you.

Jet: Katara! I’ve changed!

Katara: Tell it to some other girl, Jet!

Jet: I don’t want to fight you! I’m here to help.

Sokka: Katara, what is it?
Katara: Jet’s back.

Act II

Katara: We can’t trust anything Jet says.
Sokka: But we don’t even know why he’s here.
Katara: I don’t care why he’s here. Whatever the reason is, it can’t be good.
Jet: I’m here to help you find Appa.

Aang: Katara, we have to give him a chance.
Jet: I swear, I’ve changed. I was a troubled person, and I let my anger get out of control. But I don’t even have the gang now. I’ve put all that behind me.
Katara: You’re lying!

Toph: He’s not lying.
Sokka: How can you tell?
Toph: I can feel his breathing and heart beat. When people lie, there is a physical reaction. He’s telling the truth.
Aang: Katara, we don’t have any leads. If Jet says he can take us to Appa, we have to check it out.
Katara: Alright… but we’re not letting you out of out sight!

(She stabs her finger at Jet once more for emphasis, eyes narrowed.

We cut to Jet entering a dimly lit warehouse, which sits empty except for a few sacks and a pile of canvas and rope.)

Jet: This is the place I heard about.
Aang: There’s nothing here.
Katara: If this is a trap…!
Jet: I told you, I work nearby! Two guys were talking about some giant furry creature they had. I figured it must be Appa.
Toph: He was here!

Aang: We missed him.

Janitor: They took that big thing yesterday. Shipped him out to some island. About time, I’ve been cleaning up fur and various, uh leavings all day.
Aang: What island?! Where’s Appa?!
Janitor: Foreman said some rich royal type on Whaletail Island bought him up, guess for a zoo or such, though could be the meat would be good.
Aang: We’ve gotta get to Whaletail Island. Where’s Whaletail Island?
Sokka: Far. Very far. Here it is. It’s near the South Pole almost all the way back home.
Katara: Aang, It’ll take us weeks just to get to the tip of the Earth Kingdom. And then we’ll need to find a boat to get to the island.
Aang: I don’t care. We have a chance to find Appa. We have to try.
Janitor: Must be nice to visit an island. I haven’t had a vacation for years.
Katara: Don’t you have some more hair to clean up?
Janitor: Shuffle on, I get ya. No more need for “old sweepy.”
Katara: You’re right Aang. Right now, our first concern has to be finding Appa. We can come back when we have him.
Sokka: All right, let’s get moving.
Jet: I’ll come with you.
Katara: We don’t need you help.
Jet: Why won’t you trust me?
Katara: Gee, I wonder?
Toph: Was this guy your boyfriend or something?
Katara: What? No!
Toph: I can tell you’re lyyyyying.

Sokka: We can take the train out to the wall, but then we’ll have to walk.
Aang: Don’t worry, on the way back, we’ll be flying!
Toph: We’re finally leaving Ba Sing Se. Worst city ever!

Smellerbee: Jet!

Katara: I thought you said you didn’t have your gang anymore?
Jet: I don’t.

Smellerbee: We were so worried. How did you get away from the Dai Li?
Katara: The Dai Li?!
Jet: I don’t know what she’s talking about?
Smellerbee: He got arrested by the Dai Li a couple weeks ago. We saw them drag him away.
Jet: Why would I be arrested? I’ve been living peacefully in the city.
Toph: This doesn’t make any sense. They’re both telling the truth.
Katara: That’s impossible.
Sokka: No, it’s not. Toph can’t tell who’s lying because they both think they’re telling the truth. Jet’s been brainwashed.
Jet: That’s crazy! It can’t be. Stay away from me.

(Everyone encircles Jet, and they begin to close in around him.

Cut to the night sky, lit by the full moon. A lone Dai Li agent walks down the street past the entrance to an alley. Charging up the street behind him is the masked figure of the Blue Spirit.)

Blue Spirit: Out of my way, skinny.

Dai Li Agent: Huh?

Blue Spirit: If you don’t want to end up like him. You’ll do what I say.

Katara: The Dai Li must have sent Jet to mislead us, and that janitor was part of their plot too.
Aang: I bet they have Appa here in the city. Maybe he’s in the same place they took Jet. Where did they take you?
Jet: Nowhere. I, I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Aang: We need to find a way to jog his real memories.
Sokka: Maybe Katara could kiss him. That should bring something back.
Katara: Maybe you should kiss him, Sokka.
Sokka: Hey, just an idea.
Aang: A bad one.
Sokka: Oo, wait. I got it.
Jet: I don’t think its working. Puh!
Toph: Try to think of something from your past that triggers your emotions.
Smellerbee: The Fire Nation, remember what they did to your family.
Katara: Close your eyes. Picture it.

Jet: No! It’s too painful.
Katara: Maybe this will help.

Jet: They took me to a headquarters under the water, like a lake.
Sokka: Wait! Remember what Joo Dee said? She said she went on vacation to Lake Laogai.
Jet: That’s it! Lake Laogai.

Act III

Sokka: So where’s this secret headquarters?
Jet: Under the lake I think.
Toph: There’s a tunnel right there near the shore.

Jet: It’s all starting to come back to me.

Dai Li Agent: I’m Joo Dee. Welcome to Ba Sing Se.
Joo Dees: I’m Joo Dee. Welcome to Ba Sing Se.
Dai Li Agent: We are so lucky to have our walls to create order.
Joo Dees: We are so lucky to have our walls to create order.
Jet: I think there might be a cell big enough to hold Appa up ahead. I think it’s through here.

Zuko/Blue Spirit: Expecting someone else?

Sokka: Now that’s something different.
Long Feng: You have made yourselves enemies of the state. Take them into custody.

(The Dai Li drop down to the floor, encircling the heroes. Two agents launch a stone fist attack, but Toph disintegrates them in mid-flight. As the dust clears, she launches them across the room with a pair of rock pillars.

Behind her, Jet turns and rushes another pair, cutting their stone fist projectiles from the air. Sliding along the ground past the first, he trips the second with his hook sword, slamming him hard to the ground.

Long Feng watches dispassionately as Aang deals with two more of his Dai Li with air and earthbending. Katara and Sokka manage to destroy two more of the glove projectiles before being seized by two more. Toph intervenes with a stone wall before they can be drug to the waiting Dai Li. They send a rush of stone towards Toph, but she rises high into the cavern on a pillar of rock, forcing them to pursue her the same way.

Two more Dai Li race up the walls to either side of her, to strike out at Toph with horizontal columns of stone. High in the cavern, Toph swats aside the first two agents, then leaps to avoid the two columns as they crash together beneath her. Landing atop them, she bends up a pair of stone blocks from the columns, using them to drive away both of the remaining agents simultaneously. A fist of stone grabs the back of her shirt, and she is hauled through the air toward a waiting Dai Li. Jet intervenes at the last moment. Leaping past he hooks her belt with his sword, pulling her to safety as the agent kicks a stone foot attack after them. Longshot covers them as they land, intercepting the missile with one of his arrows. Joined by two of his brethren, the Dai Li retaliate with three fist attacks at Longshot, but Jet cuts them from the air with a whirlwind of slashes.

Meanwhile Long Feng has seen enough. He flees from the room, sealing a stone door behind him. Back at the battle, Aang lands and blows two Dai Li aside with a burst of air.)

Aang: Long Feng is escaping!

Long Feng: Alright Avatar, you’ve caused me enough problems. This is your last chance, ifyou want your bison back.
Aang: You do have Appa. Tell me where he is!
Long Feng: Agree to exit the city now, and I’ll waive all charges against you and allow you to leave with your lost pet.
Jet: You’re in no position to bargain.
Long Feng: Am I not?
Aang: You’re definitely not!
Long Feng: Jet, The Earth King has invited you to Lake Laogai.
Jet: I am honored to except his invitation.

(Jet suddenly makes a brutal double slash at Aang’s neck, which he nimbly avoids.

Leaping away from him, Aang reels backward in dismay as Jet charges him, snarling with anger.

Cut to Appa in his cell. He is growling and stamping his feet at the Blue Spirit, who stands just beyond his reach.)

Blue Spirit: You’re mine now.

Blue Spirit: Uncle?
Iroh: So, the Blue Spirit. I wonder who could be behind that mask?
Zuko: What are you doing here?
Iroh: I was just about to ask you the same thing. What do you plan to do now that you have found the Avatar’s bison? Keep it locked in our new apartment? Should I go put on a pot of tea for him?
Zuko: First I have to get it out of here.
Iroh: AND THEN WHAT?! You never think these things through! This is exactly what happened when you captured the Avatar at the North Pole! You had him, and then you had no where to go!
Zuko: I would have figured something out!
Iroh: No!! If his friends hadn’t found you, you would have frozen to death!
Zuko: I know my own destiny uncle.
Iroh: Is it your own destiny? Or is it a destiny someone else has tried to force on you?
Zuko: Stop it Uncle. I have to do this.
Iroh: I’m begging you Prince Zuko! It’s time for you to look inward, and begin asking yourself the big questions. Who are you? And what do you want?

(With a cry of frustration, Zuko hurls both of his swords to the ground, followed by the Blue Spirit mask. The camera rises towards the opening in the distant ceiling. Appa is shown anchored by chains on each of his legs, as Zuko’s shout continues to echo throughout the chamber.

We return to Jet and Aang, as Aang backpedals in a desperate attempt to avoid Jet’s furious assault. He pleads with Jet as he continues to dodge his attacks.)

Aang: Jet, it’s me Aang! You don’t have to do this.
Long Feng: I’m afraid he no longer has a choice.

Aang: Jet, I’m your friend! Look inside your heart!
Long Feng: Do your duty Jet.
Aang: He can’t make you do this! You’re a Freedom Fighter.

Long Feng: Do it! Do it now!

Long Feng: Foolish boy. You’ve chosen your own demise.

Jet: I’m sorry, Aang.
Aang: Don’t be.

Katara: This isn’t good.
Smellerbee: You guys go find Appa. We’ll take care of Jet.
Katara: We’re not going to leave you.
Longshot: There’s no time. Just go. We’ll take care of him. He’s our leader.
Jet: Don’t worry Katara, I’ll be fine.

(Jet smiles weakly up at her, and she closes her eyes in grief before rising to her feet. The heroes file off somberly, leaving the Freedom Fighters behind. Toph and Sokka bring up the rear.

Toph: He’s lying.

(Behind them, Smellerbee weeps over Jet. Longshot watches the heroes disappear down a passageway, before readying an arrow to cover the other entrance. Smellerbee gently strokes Jet’s forehead as he prepares his final stand.

Cut to a stone door, which slides aside to reveal Toph, with the others close behind her. They step into a room where the six manacles lie empty within the prison.)

Aang: Appa’s gone. Long Feng beat us here.
Sokka: If we keep moving, maybe we can catch up to him.

Sokka: Do you think we can out run them?
Aang: I don’t think it’s gonna matter.

Aang: What is it Momo?

Aang: Appa!

Long Feng: I can handle you by myself.

Sokka: Yeah! Appa!
Aang: I missed you, buddy.

Iroh: You did the right thing, nephew. Leave it behind.



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