City of Walls and Secrets
Written By: Tim Hedrick
Directed By: Lauren Macmullan
Storyboard By: Lauren Macmullan, Chris Graham, Kenji Ono, Dean Kelly, Tomihiro Yamaguchi
Animation By: JM Animation Co, Ltd
Transcribers: Avatar_Mom, Aangster, Psycho Silver
["Previously on Avatar" sequence, including clips from "The Library", "The Serpent's Pass", and "The Drill".]
(Fade into a scene of fox antelopes grazing on a hill side. They look up at the monorail tracks above as a car slides past, pushed by two earthbenders. Cut to inside the car, where Aang, Katara, Sokka, Toph and Momo are awaiting their arrival at Ba Sing Se. Katara looks out the window and spots the inner wall of the capital drawing closer.)
Katara: Look, the inner wall. I can't believe we finally made it to Ba Sing Se in one piece.
Sokka: Hey don't jinx it! We could still be attacked by some giant, exploding Fire Nation spoon. Or find out the city's been submerged in an ocean full of killer shrimp.
Toph: You been hitting the cactus juice again?
Sokka: I'm just sayin', weird stuff happens to us.
(A very strange man with a glossy stare and a large yellow plant in his mouth takes a seat between Toph and Sokka, startling them. Weird music plays as he chews the plant.
Aang looks out the window then closes his eyes sadly.)
Katara: Don't worry Aang, we'll find Appa.
Aang: It's such a big city.
Sokka: He's a giant bison. Where could someone possibly hide him? Oh.
(The car passes through the inner wall and enters the vas, enormous city. Ba Sing Se stretches almost as far as the eye can see, and is riddled with many roads and buildings. Their car finally comes to a stop at the monorail station. All of them disembark and are greeted by another spectacular view of Ba Sing Se.)
Toph: (sighs) Back in the city. Great.
Sokka: What's the problem? It's amazing!
Toph: Just a bunch of walls and rules. You wait; you'll get sick of it in a couple of days.
(Aang looks at the bison whistle resting in his palm. He brings it to his lips and blows it as he looks across the city.)
Aang: I'm comin' for you buddy. He's here. I can feel it.
(Behind the group, the monorail cars depart. On the other side of the track is a woman with long dark hair that billows in the wind. She approaches them with an unnatural smile on her face.)
Joo Dee: Hello, my name is Joo Dee. I have been given the great honor of showing the Avatar around Ba Sing Se. And you must be Sokka, Katara, and Toph. Welcome to our wonderful city. Shall we get started ?
Sokka: Yes. We have information about the Fire Nation army that we need to deliver to the Earth King immediately.
Joo Dee: Great, let's begin our tour. And then I'll show you to your new home here. I think you'll like it.
(Joo Dee turns around and attempts to lead Aang and his friends.)
Sokka: Augh! Maybe you missed what I said. We need to talk to the King about the war, it's important.
Joo Dee: You're in Ba Sing Se now. Everyone is safe here.
(Everyone has a confused look on their face in reaction to Joo Dee's odd statement.
Fade to an overhead shot of the area of the city near the wall. An ostrich horse is pulling a carriage containing Joo Dee, Aang and his friends through the streets. Many shops and refugees line the streets. Cut to a shot inside of the carriage.)
Joo Dee: This is the lower ring.
Katara: What's that wall for?
Joo Dee: Oh, Ba Sing Se has many walls. There are the ones outside protecting us, and the one's inside that help maintain order. This is where our newest arrivals live, as well as our craftsman and artisans, people that work with their hands. It's so quaint and lively.
(Cut to a shot of two shady men conversing in an alley. One of them is holding a large sword that glistens in the light. Both glare at the carriage as it passes.)
Joo Dee: You do want to watch your step though.
Katara: Why do they have all these poor people blocked off in one part of the city?
Aang: This is why I never came here before. I always heard it was so different from the way the monks taught us to live.
(Shift scenes to another part of the lower ring. Cut to Zuko walking down the street. Iroh catches up to him from behind, holding a large vase with several orange flowers placed in it. Cut to a close up of Zuko staring coldly at the flora.)
Iroh: I just want our new place to look nice in case someone brings home a lady friend. (He gives Zuko a small nudge with his elbow.)
Zuko: This city is a prison. I don't want to make a life here.
Iroh: Life happens wherever you are, whether you make it or not. Now come on, I found us some new jobs, and we start this afternoon.
(Cut to a shot from behind Zuko and Iroh as they walk away from the camera. Someone's feet step out in front of the camera. Cut to a close up of Jet staring hard at the two firebenders.
Jet: Look at them, firebenders living right under everyone's nose. (Smellerbee and Longshot walk up to Jet from an alley.)
Smellerbee: Jet, you saw a man with a hot cup of tea. It doesn't prove he's a firebender. And what if he is, are we supposed to attack them I thought we were starting over here, changing our ways.
Jet: We are, when I get the evidence I need, I'll report them to the police and let them handle it. Ok?
(Shift scenes back to Joo Dee taking Aang and his friends on the tour of Ba Sing Se. Their carriage is crossing over a bridge. They are now in a much cleaner and nicer looking part of the city.)
Joo Dee: This is the middle ring of Ba Sing Se, home to the financial district, shops and restaurants and the university.
Sokka: Yeah, we met a Professor from Ba Sing Se University. He took us to an ancient underground library where we discovered information about the war that is absolutely crucial for the King to hear!
(Sokka says this all in one breath, and leans in close to Joo Dee to emphasize his point. Joo Dee simply grins cheerfully.)
Joo Dee: Isn't history fascinating? Look, here's one of the oldest buildings in the middle ring, Town Hall.
(The carriage stops and Joo Dee exits. Sokka stares after her, bewildered.)
Sokka: Is that woman deaf She only seems to hear every other word I say.
Toph: It's called "being handled". Get used to it.
(Toph crosses her arms and Aang and Katara look at Sokka hopelessly.
Change scenes to a small tea shop in the lower ring. Jet is leaning against the shop's wall near the window. He turns around and peeks inside, spotting Zuko and Iroh speaking with the tea shop owner.)
Tea shop owner: Well, you certainly look like official tea servers. How do you feel?
(Zuko and Iroh are both wearing aprons. Iroh desperately attempts to tie the string behind his back, but his effort is in vain.)
Iroh: Uh, Does this possibly come in a larger size?
Tea shop owner: I have extra string in the back. Have some tea while you wait.
(The owner pours two cups of tea and hands them to his new employees before heading to the back of the shop. Iroh takes a sip from his cup, but quickly pulls it away, his face contorted in disgust.)
Iroh: Eeow! This tea is nothing more than hot leaf juice!
Zuko: Uncle, that's what all tea is.
Iroh: How can a member of my own family say something so horrible? We'll have to make some major changes around here.
(Iroh grabs the tea pot and heads over to the window Jet is spying through. Jet gasps and pulls away just in time and Iroh dumps the tea out the window. Jet slowly stalks around the corner of the shop and leaves.
Shift scenes to Aang and his party. Their tour has come to the Upper Ring, a beautiful area full of rolling hills. Tall pagodas are seen sitting atop of these hills.)
Joo Dee: The Upper Ring is home to our most important citizens. Your house is not too far from here.
(Fade to the carriage passing by another wall with a tall gate. Behind it the roof of an enormous building can be seen. Three men standing in the gateway, wearing dark robes and wide brimmed hats turn their eyes towards the group.)
Katara: What's inside that wall?
Sokka: And who are the mean looking guys in robes?
Joo Dee: Inside is the Royal Palace. Those men are agents of the Dai Li, the cultural authority of Ba Sing Se. They are the guardians of all our traditions.
Aang: Can we see the King now?
Joo Dee: Oh, no! One doesn't just pop in on the Earth King.
(Aang nods his head sadly. Fade to a shot of the sky. Momo flies in a circle before descending and landing on the roof of a small but very lovely house.)
Joo Dee: Here we are. Your new home. (A messenger runs up to Joo Dee and hands her a scroll.) More good news, your request for an audience with the Earth King is being processed, and should be put through in about a month. Much more quickly than usual.
Sokka: (stunned) A month!
Joo Dee: Six to eight weeks, actually.
(Joo Dee grins at them. Fade to commercial.)
(The episode returns with a brief shot of the new house before cutting to a panning right shot of the living room. There are lit lamps hanging from the ceiling. Katara and Toph are sitting on square mats in the middle of the room. Behind them are some steps leading to a slightly elevated portion of the room.)
Joo Dee: Isn't it nice? I think you will really enjoy it here.
Sokka: I think we'd enjoy it more if we weren't staying so long. Can't we see the King any sooner?
Joo Dee: The Earth King is very busy running the finest city in the world, but he will see you as soon as time permits.
Aang: If we are going to be here for a month, we should spend our time looking for Appa.
(Momo perks up at the mention of Appa.)
Joo Dee: (bowing) I'll be happy to escort you anywhere you would like to go.
Toph: We don't need a babysitter. (Toph stands up and begins heading for the door.)
Joo Dee: Oh, I won't get in the way. (takes a small step into Toph's path) And to leave you alone would make me a bad host. Where shall we start?
(Cut to a brief overhead shot of the outer ring before changing to a shot of a bowl of birdseed connected to a pole. Momo jumps on to the bowl and begins eating the birdseed but is quickly scared off by a cat owl as it screeches at him. Cut to a wider shot of the room. Aang and his party are in a pet store and are speaking with the owner at the counter.)
Pet store owner: I'm sorry, but I haven't heard anything about a flying bison. I didn't even know there were any.
Aang: If someone wanted to sell a stolen animal without anyone knowing, where would they go?
Sokka: (agitated)Where's the black market? Who runs it? Come on, you know! (points an accusing finger at the owner)
Pet shop owner: (nervous and perspiring) Uh... (looks at Joo Dee standing behind Aang and Sokka. She smiles at him and slowly shakes her head) That would be illegal. You'll have to leave now. Your lemur is harassing my sparrowkeets.
(Cut to a shot of Momo at another birdseed bowl surrounded by squawking sparrowkeets. He covers his head and quickly gobbles a several small handfuls of birdseed.
Fade to the courtyard of Ba Sing Se University. There are a few students walking around and a tall statue in the middle. Cut to a shot of Aang and his group speaking to a student sitting at the foot of the statue's pedestal.)
Student: Hmm, I've never seen any sandbenders or nomads around here. You should ask Professor Zei, he teaches the class on dessert cultures.
Sokka: Right. And which of your professors could we ask about the war with the Fire Nation?
(The student, unsure of what to do, glances at Joo Dee, still smiling and standing behind the rest of the group. She leans in and shakes her head at the student. Sokka catches this out of the corner of his eye and turns to look at Joo Dee, but she stops before he can tell what she is doing.)
Student: (nervous) Uh, I don't know. I'm not a political science student. I have to get to class. Ugh!
(The student hurries to get away, but trips and drops the scrolls he is carrying. He gasps and grumbles as he picks them back up and continues on. Joo Dee waves goodbye as he goes.
Fade to a shot of Aang and his friends standing at the steps of their house. Joo Dee is sitting inside the carriage and talking to them through window.)
Joo Dee: Well, I'm sorry no one has seen your bison. Why don't you go get some rest? Someone will be over with dinner later.
(Aang and his friends watch as the carriage drives off. They then notice a man in the house across from them peeking through a window at them.)
Sokka: (whispering) Hey, come with me.
(Everyone follows Sokka across the street. Cut to a shot of Sokka knocking on the front door. The same man appears and opens the door, smiling at them.)
Pao: You're the Avatar. I heard you were in town. I'm Pao.
Sokka: So Pao, what's goin' on with this city? Why is everyone here so scared to talk about the war?
Pao: (shifting his eyes left and right)War? scared What do you mean?
Toph: I can feel you shaking.
Pao: Look, I'm just a minor government official. I've waited 3 years to get this house. I don't want to get into trouble. (looks left and right to make sure no one is watching)
Katara: Get in trouble with who?
Pao: (putting a finger to his lips) Shh, listen, you can't mention the war here, and whatever you do, stay away from the Dai Li.
(Pao slides the door shut and everyone stares at each other.
Fade to a shot of a complex of apartments. It insight time now, and from a balcony in the shadows, hiding behind a clothesline, Jet spies on Zuko and Iroh in the apartment across from him. He can see them through the windows on both sides of the room, and shifts his gaze to either side as they talk. Iroh is standing by a counter with a teapot and Zuko is lying on a cot.)
Iroh: Would you like a pot of tea?
Zuko: We've been working in a tea shop all day. I'm sick of tea!
Iroh: Sick of tea? That's like being sick of breathing! (rummages through the cupboard beneath the counter) Have you seen our spark rocks to heat up the water?
Jet: They're not there. (Jet opens one of his palms to reveal two emerald green spark rocks) You'll have to firebend, old man. Where are you going?
(Jet narrows his eyes as Iroh walks away for a moment. Iroh soon returns with a pair of spark rocks.)
Iroh: I borrowed our neighbors, such kind people.
(Iroh strikes the spark rocks together near the small pile of twigs beneath the teapot. They quickly ignite and a small flame is created. Jet ducks behind the clothesline and leaves.
Fade to a shot of the Avatar's residence. Morning has come, and a blue jay is singing in the trees. Katara walks out from the front door, stretching and yawning. She grabs a roll of papers sticking out of a mail slot attached to the wall. Katara reads it briefly and gasps with excitement before running back inside. The others are all lounging around the upper part of the living room.)
Katara: I've got it! I know how we're gonna see the Earth King!
Toph: How are we supposed to do that? "One doesn't just pop in on the Earth King" (mimicking Joo Dee).
Katara: The King is having a party at the palace tonight for his pet bear.
Aang: You mean Platypus-Bear?
Katara: (duly) No, it just says "Bear".
Sokka: Certainly you mean his pet Skunk-Bear.
Toph: Or his Armadillo-Bear.
Toph: This place is weird.
(After a moment of silence where all seem to agree with this last statement, Katara speaks.)
Katara: The palace will be packed. We can sneak in with the crowd.
Toph: (lying down) Won't work.
Katara: Why not?
Toph: Well, no offense to you simple country folk, but a real society crowd would spot you from a mile away. You've got no manners.
(Toph grabs a pastry from a bowl next to her and starts eating it.)
Katara: (hands on her hips) Excuse me? I've got no manners? You're not exactly lady fancy fingers.
Toph: I learned proper society behavior and chose to leave it. (throws the half eaten pastry off to the side) You never learned anything. And frankly, it's a little too late.
(She picks her nose and flicks the snot off her finger.)
Sokka: Ah-Ha, but you learned it. You could teach us.
Aang: Yeah, I'm mastering every element. How hard could manners be (grabs a nearby curtain and drapes it around himself like a noble's robe, and begins talking in a very sophisticated manner) Good evening, Mr. Sokka Watertribe. Ms. Katara Watertribe. Lord Momo of the Momo Dynasty, your Momo-ness.
(Momo peeks out from a carpet he's hiding under and nods his head, the sound of a gong adding to the effect. Sokka is now wearing a curtain like Aang.)
Sokka: (mimicking a typical high class snob) Avatar Aang, how you do? Go on.
(Aang bows to Sokka and Sokka bows back. Aang tries to out do Sokka's bow with a deeper bow and Sokka returns this bow with an even deeper bow. Both of them try to bow at the same time, but they knock each other's foreheads' together and fall backward.)
Toph: Katara might be able to pull it off, but you two would be lucky to pass as busboys.
Sokka: But I feel so fancy.
(Something small lands on Sokka's head.
Fade to a shot of the house. It has reached dusk now and the lights inside have been lit. Cut to a shot of Aang and Sokka's hands appearing on screen. Aang's is balled into a fist and Sokka is wiggling his fingers.)
Sokka: Fire! Augh! Ooh!
(Sokka grumbles at having lost the game. Aang raises his hands in triumph before he flicks Sokka's forehead. The doors in the background slide open to reveal Katara and Toph wearing exquisite Earth Kingdom dresses and holding a fan. Their hair is tied around head dresses decorated with flowers, and both of them are wearing makeup. Toph and Katara stare at the boys calmly before giving in to a fit of giggles. Aang blushes and stares dreamily at the site of the two girls.)
Aang: Wow, you look beautiful.
(Sokka's hand inches towards Aang's head from off screen and delivers a flick to the airbender's forehead. Katara is about to say something when Toph places her fan in front of Katara's mouth.)
Toph: Don't talk to the commoners, Katara. First rule of society.
Katara: We'll get in the party, and then find a way to let you in through the side gate.
(Aang and Sokka watch as Toph and Katara leave the house. A moment later, the sound of a gong is heard as Momo walks past them, wearing one of the curtains as a cape. Aang looks at Sokka, who merely shrugs.
Cut to outside the tea shop. An officer walks in through the door. A guard walks in through the door. The camera zooms out to show Jet spying on the shop from an alley. Smellerbee and Longshot walk up behind him.)
Smellerbee: Jet, we need to talk.
Jet: What? Oh great, it's you guys. Where have you been? I could use some help with surveillance here.
Smellerbee: We've been talking, and we think you're becoming obsessed with this. It's not healthy.
Jet: Oh, really? You both think this?
(Longshot silently places a hand on Smellerbee's shoulder, indicating his agreement.)
Smellerbee: We came here to make a fresh start, but you won't let this go. Even though there's no real proof!
(She gestures at the tea shop across the street.)
Jet: Well, maybe if you'd help me.
Smellerbee: Jet, you've gotta stop this.
Jet: Maybe you've forgotten why we need to start over. Maybe you've forgotten about how the Fire Nation left us all homeless? How they wiped out all the people we loved. If you don't want to help me, I'll get the evidence on my own.
(Longshot and Smellerbee look down guiltily. Jet stalks off towards the tea shop.
Cut to inside the tea shop. Iroh is pouring a cup of tea for the officer that had walked in earlier.)
Officer: This is the best tea in the city!
Iroh: The secret ingredient is love.
(Iroh waves a hand through the steam coming from the teapot and walks towards the back of the shop where the owner is.)
Tea shop owner: I think you're due for a raise.
(Not a second later, Jet slams the tea shop door open and steps inside.)
Jet: I'm tired of waiting. These two men are firebenders!
(Jet points an accusing finger at Zuko and Iroh. The camera zooms in on the two, their attention fixated on the freedom fighter. Jet unsheathes his hook swords and prepares to fight. Iroh and Zuko quickly exchange a look, unsure of what to do. Fade to commercial.)
(The show returns to a shot outside the tea shop of Jet standing in the doorway, swords drawn and ready to fight. Everyone's attention is focused on him.)
Jet: I know they're firebenders! I saw the old man heating his tea!
Officer: He works in a tea shop.
Jet: He's a firebender, I'm telling you!
Officer: Drop your swords boy, nice and easy.
(The two officers sitting at one of tables stand up and prepare to take care of Jet.)
Jet: You'll have to defend yourself. Then everyone will know. Go ahead, show them what you can do.
(Jet poises his hook swords and slowly walks towards Iroh and Zuko. One of the officers prepares to draw the swords at his waist when Zuko steps in front of him and grabs the hilt instead.)
Zuko: You want a show? I'll give you a show.
(Zuko unsheathes the officer's double broadswords and enters his fighting stance. He then pulls a table in front of him with his foot and kicks it at Jet. Jet slices his hook swords into the table and jumps over it. As he lands, Jet swings both hook swords down at Zuko, who deflects the attack and jumps backward on to another table. Jet swings one sword through the middle of the table, slicing it in half. Zuko steps to one half of the table and balances on one foot. Jet follows up his attack by cutting through the legs on the half of the table Zuko is standing on. Zuko quickly hops on to the other half that is still standing and lands in a crane stance. Jet knocks this half to the ground, but Zuko jumps into the air and swings both broadswords at Jet's feet as he lands. Jet somersaults away and lands in a crouching position before charging forward at Zuko again. Zuko swings both of his swords at Jet. Just as both pairs of weapons clash together, the action pauses a moment and the screen flashes.
Cut to a shot of the palace gate. Several high class citizens are lined up and being admitted inside by a guard. He is checking out the invitation of one group before letting them pass. Toph and Katara are next in line and approach the guard.)
Guard: Invitation please.
Toph: I think this will do.
(Toph holds up the official seal of the Bei Fong family to the guard. The camera cuts to a closer, detailed shot of the seal.)
Guard: No entry without an invitation. Step out of line please.
Toph: (irritated) Look, the Pangs and the Yum Soon Hans are waiting in there for us. I'm going to have to tell them who didn't let me in.
Guard: (unyielding) Step out of line please.
(The guard points his finger to the side. Katara and Toph walk off disappointedly. The sound of a carriage grabs their attention. They see a high ranking government official step out of the carriage. Two guards bows to him. Katara smiles as an idea comes into her mind. She and Toph walk towards the official.)
Katara: Sir I'm sorry to bother you, but my cousin lost our invitations. (whispering) She's blind. Do you think you could help us? Our family's inside and I'm sure they're very worried.
Long Feng: (smiles and bows his head) I am honored, please come with me.
(Long Feng walks towards the guard at the entrance with Toph and Katara following closely. The guard bows to him and the three of them head into the palace. As they are walking in, Toph and Katara stick their tongues out at the guard while his back is turned.)
Toph and Katara: Nyah! Pssfft!!
(Shift to an overhead shot inside of the palace. Many guests are conversing around a long dining table with an assortment of foods placed upon it. At one end of the table is the Earth King's bear eating a steak, his drool dripping of his chin. He is dressing in a yellow shirt and a green hat. Seated to either side of him are two guests.)
Guest 1: He's taking all the good stuff!
Guest 2: Quiet, you don't know what I had to do to get seats this near the bear!
(The bear swipes what remains of the steak into the first guest's face before pouncing onto the table and devouring a large plate of meat in front of him. Cut to a close shot of the bear gorging. He pulls his head away as Toph, Katara and Long Feng walk into the hall.)
Long Feng: It's beautiful, isn't it? By the way, I'm Long Feng. I'm a cultural minister to the king.
Katara: I'm Kwa mai, and this is Dung. (Toph frowns and tugs at a string hanging from Katara's headdress.) Ow!
Long Feng: Now where is your family? I'd love to meet them.
Katara: Um... I don't see 'em right now. But I'm sure we'll find them soon. Thanks for all your help.
(Katara and Toph walk away from Long Feng. A moment later, Long Feng mysteriously appears in front of the two girls.)
Long Feng: Don't worry, as your escort it would be dishonorable to abandon you ladies without finding your families first. We'll keep looking.
(Long Feng turns around and begins leading Toph and Katara.
Cut to outside the palace. Two guards are stationed at the gates. The camera zooms out and Aang peeks around the pedestal of a statue of a lion. Cut to a shot of Aang and Sokka peeking around both sides of the pedestal.)
Aang: Where are they?
(Aang and Sokka duck back behind the pedestal. Momo is there with them.)
Sokka: Look, I came up with a backup plan. (picks Momo up by the armpits We dress Momo like a ghost, OK? (begins waving Momo through the air) He flies by the guards creating a distraction, then we blast a hole in the wall... (Aang stands up and peers over the pedestal)
Aang: Or, we could go in with these guys. Toph said we might pass as busboys.
(Cut to a shot of a carriage parked in front of the gate. Sokka peeks over the pedestal and the camera zooms in on a few busboys unloading supplies from the back of it and bringing them inside. Cut to a shot of Sokka and Aang. Momo is clinging to Sokka's head.)
Sokka: OK, but remember that Momo ghost plan. I think it's a winner.
(Sokka and Aang sink back behind the pedestal.
Shift scenes to outside the tea shop. Zuko bursts through the door and tumbles into the street. Jet runs after him and does a few spins before striking at Zuko with both swords. Zuko manages to block the strike and both combatants lock swords.)
Jet: You must be getting tired of using those swords. Why don't you go ahead and firebend at me.
(They both struggle to gain control and walk off to the side. Iroh is standing in the doorway and watching, worried. Off screen, the sound of swords clanging and the fighters grunting is heard.)
Iroh: Please son, you're confused. You don't know what you're doing!
(Cut back to Zuko and Jet. Zuko swings at Jet, but Jet catches Zuko's broad sword with the ends of his hook swords, spins around and deflects it to the side. Zuko spins with it and tries to counter attack, but Jet hooks the ends of his swords together and begins them at Zuko in large circular motions. Zuko retreats back a few steps to avoid the bladed hilt.)
Jet: Bet you wish he'd help you out with a little fire blast right now.
(As Jet swings at Zuko's feet, Zuko stabs one of his broad swords through the hilt, pinning it to the ground. Jet looks at it with annoyance before focusing back on Zuko.)
Zuko: You're the one who needs help.
(Both fighters are down to one sword each. Jet lets go of his pinned hook sword and retreats a step. He turns in a circle and tries to swipe at Zuko, but Zuko quickly advances and swings his sword at Jet in a horizontal motion. Jet pulls his attack just in time to bend backward and avoid Zuko's blade. The scene goes into slow motion as Zuko's broad sword passes over Jet, cutting the wheat straw sticking out of Jet's mouth in half. The scene replays, only this time the shot is a close up of the wheat straw.
The scene goes back to normal speed as Jet regains balance and jumps backward on to the edge of a well. By now several people are in the street watching the fight.)
Jet: You see that? The Fire Nation is trying to silence me. It'll never happen.
(Jet hooks his sword on to a wooden beam above the well and swings forward at Zuko, attacking him with a flying kick.
Shift scenes back to inside the palace. Aang and Sokka are dressed as busboys and are serving guests. Aang is pouring a drink and Sokka is serving food on a plate. Both of them stand back to back. Momo's tail is sticking out from under Aang's hat.)
Aang: Where are Toph and Katara?
Sokka: Forget about them, just keep an eye out for the King.
(Momo's tail rises up to Sokka's face and begins wagging back and forth.)
Aang: I don't know what he looks like.
Sokka: You know, "royal", flowing robe, fancy jewelry.
(Sokka grabs Momo's tail forcibly, causing the hair on it to stand up on end. Cut to a panning right shot of the crowd of guests, who all fit Sokka's description.)
Aang: (voice over) That could be anyone.
(The camera cuts back to Aang, then quickly pans right to show Toph standing right next to him.)
Toph: Another crab puff please.
Aang: You found us.
Toph: I'd know your little footsteps anywhere Twinkletoes.
(Sokka smiles and presents his tray to Toph, who grabs a crab puff and begins to nibble on it. Katara joins the group. Aang blushes when he sees her.)
Sokka: (sarcastically) Thanks for letting us in.
Katara: Sorry, but the guy who escorted us in, won't let us out of his sight.
(Sokka peers behind Katara, trying to spot the escort.)
Sokka: What guy?
(Cut to an overhead shot of the group. Long Feng is nowhere in sight. Joo Dee approaches the group from off screen. Her normally cheerful demeanor is replaced with anxiety.)
Joo Dee: What are you doing here? You have to leave immediately, or we'll all be in terrible trouble.
(Joo Dee tries to push Sokka out of the way, but he blocks her with his tray.)
Sokka: Not until we see the King.
Joo Dee: You don't understand. You must go.
(Joo Dee shoves Sokka into Aang, causing him to spill the contents of the pitcher he is holding on to a guest.)
Female Guest: Aarrhhh! Oh!
Aang: Sorry! No, don't shout.
(Aang uses his hands and foot to airbend a gust at the guest. His hat is blown off, along with Momo. It dries her off, but also turns her hair, clothes and makeup into a mess. Aang smiles sheepishly. The guest is briefly shocked, but smiles in amazement.)
Female Guest: (inawe) The Avatar. Ooh, I didn't known the Avatar would be here.
(All the guests' attention is now focused on Aang. Joo Dee's large, happy smile quickly turns sour and is replaced by a frown and a look of pure dread. Aang looks around at the guests as Momo hides back under the hat on the floor and slinks away. Aang blushes and waves at the crowd, laughing nervously. Sokka leans in towards Aang.)
Sokka: (whispering)You keep their attention while I look for the King.
Aang: Watch this everybody!
(Aang leap out of his busboy clothes and on to the long dining table as Sokka walks off into the crowd. Aang swings his arms over the guests' drinks, waterbending the liquid out of the cups. He jumps onto a pitcher and balances on top of it. Aang brings the liquid above his head and creates a swirling multicolored ball. The crowd 'oohs' at the spectacle. The king's bear growls with delight at Aang's antics.
Cut to outside the tea shop. Zuko growls as he swings his broadsword at Jet. Jet parries the attack and steps to Zuko's side and the two end up back to back. The camera orbits around Zuko and Jet as they attempt to strike at the opponent behind them, but neither can get past the other's defense. Cut to a shot of two Dai Li walking through the crowd and towards the swordfight.)
Dai Lee Guard 1: Drop your weapons!
(Zuko and Jet step away and face each other. Zuko lowers his sword and Jet points at Zuko and Iroh.)
Jet: Arrest them. They're Firebenders.
Iroh: This poor boy is confused. We're just simple refugees.
Tea shop owner: (pointing at Jet) This young man wrecked my tea shop, and assaulted my employees.
Officer: It's true sir. We saw the whole thing. This crazy kid attacked the finest tea maker in the city.
Iroh: (blushing) Oh ho ho. That's very sweet.
(The two Dai Li walk up behind Jet, who looks at them angrily.)
Dai Lee Guard 2: Come with us son.
(Jet swings his hook sword at the Dai Li guard, but he catches the sword with his hand covered in stones. The guard then disarms Jet and both guards pull the boy's arms behind his back, binding his wrists together using the stones on the palms of their gloves. They drag Jet away towards a wagon designed for holding captured criminals.)
Jet: You don't understand! They're Fire Nation! You have to believe me!
(Zuko and Iroh watch as Jet is being put into the wagon. The crowd begins to disperse. On his knees, Jet looks up as the doors slam shut. The people left in the street watch the wagon roll away. Longshot and Smellerbee look on, hidden within the crowd, and silently walk out of sight.
Shift scenes to the palace. Two lines of guards walk into the hall. Eight of them are carrying a curtained platform. The Earth King sits quietly on the platform, and though the curtain veils him from view, a close up reveals his appearance. He has a young, pointed face and narrow eyes. A pair of round spectacles rests on his nose, and he dresses in traditional Earth Kingdom colors and patterns. Cut to a shot of the crowd as they marvel in the presence of their host and ruler. The camera pans left as Sokka sneaks through the crowd and attempts to get a better view of the king. Cut to the line of guards as they place the platform down and face the guests. Sokka looks over at Aang and points at the earth King.)
Sokka: Aang, the Earth King.
(The camera quickly shifts to Aang, who is entertaining the king's bear with some waterbending. Noticing him, Aang bends an air scooter and whisks down the table.)
Aang: Greetings your majesty.
(Three guests pull their food and drinks off the table before Aang can run over them with his air scooter. Cut back to the procession of guards and the Earth King. The platform is carried off while a line of guards walk up to the long dining table. Sokka exits the crowd and tries to follow the king, but two Dai Li guards grab him and begin leading him away, pulling his arms behind his back.)
Sokka: Hey, let me go.
(Cut to a shot of a pillar in the hall. A Dai Li steps out from behind it and throws his hands out, causing the stones covering his hands to fly forward. Cut to Katara and Toph. While Katara is looking away, the stone gloves of the Dai Li grab Toph and pull her backward, covering her mouth to keep her silent. A second later, another pair of stone gloves grabs Katara and pulls her back. Cut to a Dai Li guard standing watch. The camera shifts down to show Momo still hiding under the busboy hat and trying to sneak past, his ear and tail sticking out from under. The Dai Li reaches down and pulls the hat off. Momo looks up with surprise.
Shift back to Aang who has reached the other end of the dining table on his air scooter, knocking over several dishes. He dismounts the scooter and holds his arms up in triumph. Long Feng walks up to Aang from behind the line of guards and addresses him.)
Long Feng: Avatar, it is a great honor to meet you. I am Long Feng, Grand Secretary of Ba Sing Se and head of the Dai Li. I'd like to talk to you. Your friends will be waiting for us in the library.
(Long Feng gestures for Aang to follow him and heads toward the library. Aang hesitates for a moment before hopping off the table and following. Cut to a shot of the library's large double doors shutting. The camera zooms out to show Aang and his friends facing Long Feng, who is sitting in front of a hearth that illuminates the area with a green flame.
Sokka: Why won't you let us talk to the King? We have information that could defeat the Fire Nation!
Long Feng: The Earth King has no time to get involved with political squabbles and the day to day minutia of military activities.
Aang: This could be the most important thing he has ever heard.
(The camera shifts behind Aang's party and pans slowly to the right. Long Feng is always visible seated in front of them as the camera passes by each member.)
Long Feng: What's most important to his royal majesty is maintaining the cultural heritage of Ba Sing Se. All his duties relate to issuing decrees on such matters. It's my job to oversea the rest of the city's resources, including the military.
Katara: So the King is just a figurehead.
Toph: (furious) He's your puppet!
Long Feng: Oh, no, no! His majesty is an icon, a god to his people. He can't sully his hands with the hourly change of an endless war.
Sokka: But we found out about a solar eclipse that will leave the Fire Nation defenseless. You could lead an invasion...
Long Feng: (stands up suddenly, cutting Sokka off) Enough, I don't want to hear your ridiculous plan! (there is a brief shot of Sokka with a confused and hurt expression) It is the strict policy of Ba Sing Se that the war not be mentioned within the walls. Constant news of an escalating war will throw the citizens of Ba Sing Se into a state of panic.
(The scene fades to white and shifts to a dark, stone room. A ray a light shines through under a door. The door slides open and two of the Dai Li drag Jet inside, sitting him in a stone chair at the other side. They bind his arms down using square stones similar to the stones that make up the Dai Li's gloves.)
Jet: You have to believe me, they're firebenders! They won't stop until they win the war.
(Several square stones circle Jet's head and clamp down on his skull, holding it in place.)
Dai Li Agent: Calm down, you're safe now.
(The Dai Li agent stands in front of Jet, surrounded by a metal track. From behind him appears a small orange lantern attached to the track. It travels around the track and passes the camera, causing a white flash that cuts back to Long Feng.)
Long Feng: Our economy would be ruined. Our peaceful way of life, our traditions would disappear.
(There is another white flash and the scene shifts back to the lamp circling the Dai Li agent.)
Dai Li: There's no war in Ba Sing Se.
Jet: What are you talking about? Where do you think all the refugees come from? You can't hide it.
(Jet can only watch as the lamp passes by his face. The screen flashes white and cuts back to Long Feng.)
Long Feng: In silencing talk of conflict, Ba Sing Se remains a peaceful, orderly utopia. The last one on Earth.
(Aang and his friends can only stare at Long Feng with a mix of shock and horror at this revelation. The screen flashes white again. Cut to a close up of Jet. A circle of stones covers his mouth, muffling his protests. The lamp passes by his eyes again. Cut to a shot of the Dai Li agent standing within the circular track as the lamp revolves.)
Dai Li: There is no war within the walls. Here we are safe. Here we are free.
(Jet's eyes widen and his protests become silent as the hypnosis begins to affect him. The screen flashes, then cut to Aang and his friends.)
Katara: You can't keep the truth from all these people. They have to know.
(Aang steps forward and points a finger at Long Feng.)
Aang: (defiantly) I'll tell them. I'll make sure everyone knows!
Long Feng: Until now, you've been treated as our honored guest. (steps forward and bends down to look Aang in the eye. Aang stares back at Long Feng with loathing) But from now on, you will be watched every moment by Dai Li agents. If you mention the war to anyone, you will be expelled from the city. (turns around and walks over to the hearth with the green fire) I understand you've been looking for your bison. It would be quite a shame if you were not able to complete your quest. (Aang appears frightened for a moment, but his expression changes to that of silent anger) Now Joo Dee will show you home.
(Long Feng sits back down as the library doors open and Joo Dee walks in. Cut to a shot from behind Joo Dee as she faces Aang's party. Her hair is a different style than before. The group looks at her with surprise. They do not recognize this woman.)
Joo Dee 2: Come with me, please.
Katara: What happened to Joo Dee?
(Cut to a shot of Joo Dee 2's face. She is clearly not the same Joo Dee that showed Aang around Ba Sing Se.)
Joo Dee 2: I'm Joo Dee. I'll be your host as long as you're in our wonderful city.
(Joo Dee 2 smiles cheerfully at the group in the same artificial way as her predecessor. The screen fades to white.)
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