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"Housecleaning" is the twenty-second chapter of The Shadow of Kyoshi.

Overview[]

Kyoshi goes to Zoryu and tells him to spare Yun's impostor and the Saowon clan. When he refuses, she warns him that if he will not show them mercy, she will not show him mercy either. Intimidated by her, he tells her that, upon seeing Yun again, she should consider that everything he is doing is because he is angry at everyone for lying about his Avatarhood and especially at her as she is the true Avatar. Kyoshi is deeply saddened as she acknowledges this may be the truth.

Synopsis[]

Kyoshi goes to the War Room of the palace and sees Zoryu leaning over a large table with a map of the Fire Islands and one of Ma'inka Island, preparing to attack the Saowon clan. She notices that he is alone in the chamber with an artist drawing a portrait of him in order to capture the end of the Camellia-Peony War. The Avatar tells the artist to leave, but after the young woman starts walking, she turns toward Zoryu, waiting for his permission. He dismisses her and, once Kyoshi and him are alone, he states that he is starting to gain the population's respect after tricking everyone into thinking that he captured Yun.

She inquires into where he found the decoy for the earthbender and he replies that Yun and Jianzhu explained to him the importance of having such an impostor available, chuckling. The Fire Lord adds that no one is as unique as they believe and that the Fire Nation is a populous country, telling her she would be surprised to see who the Earth King has masqueraders of, but that there is no one who could replace her. Kyoshi asks him what will happen to the Saowon and he answers that the other clans will help the Fire Army round them up, arrest, and execute them. He says that the ones on Ma'inka Island will likely retreat to the mountains and that he will begin a siege in which they will either surrender or die from starvation.

In an attempt to justify his actions, the Fire Lord assures Kyoshi that, unless the members of the Saowon are wiped out, the Fire Nation will be torn apart by civil war for the crown. The Avatar thinks how it is not enough for him that his enemies have been dishonored, but that he has branded them as criminals and trapped them on their home island and reminds him that if Yun returns, his ruse will be discovered. Zoryu responds that he is aware of this and that all he has done was buy her time to find the earthbender. She notices how, when she arrived in the country, he asked for her help, and now he is demanding that she deal with Yun. He continues saying that she is not done assisting him as she does not want the nation to suffer any more than he does.

She muses how she had been concerned with becoming like Jianzhu and, while she never let the challenges she faced change her for the worst, that Zoryu has become just like him as the world was full of people similar to the late Earth Sage. Kyoshi considers that working with the Fire Lord is against the daofei oaths she swore and that the best she can do is save as many people as possible.

The Avatar tells him that she will help him only if he spares the Saowon clan. He replies that, even if they did not collaborate, they still undermined his authority and that Chaejin would not spare him if their roles were reversed. She responds that they should be punished in accordance with what they did and repeats that there will be no slaughter as Zoryu counters that he will look weak if he shows mercy. Kyoshi says that he can craft his image into what he wants since he is an experienced politician.

Displeased, he inquires whether there is anything else she wants as she answers that Yun's impostor should be sent home and paid for his troubles. Zoryu refuses, stating that he needs to hold an execution to satisfy the population and asks why she cares about the life of a peasant. Kyoshi quickly gets to him and brings a closed fan under his chin, warning him that right now she cares more about the decoy's life than his. She reminds him that she can bend the waves surrounding his islands and the air he breathes, letting him know that if he kills the impostor, he will experience how it feels to be abandoned by the spirits in the face of the elements.

The Fire Lord cowers in fear before her but remembers the power his title holds. He grins at her and says that, upon encountering Yun again, she should consider that she does not understand his feelings. As Kyoshi presses the fan deeper into his jaw, he explains that everything Yun has done is because he hates her, Rangi and him. The Avatar yells that she and Rangi had been his friends and that he is acting out of vengeance as he said himself. Zoryu states that not even the earthbender himself might know that these are reasons behind his actions, but that she should consider his deeds and who he has hurt the most.

The Fire Lord adds that Yun hates him for ruling his country without him, Rangi because Hei-Ran loves her unconditionally as Jianzhu did not care about him, and Kyoshi because she is the Avatar and he is unable to accept that he is not. He concludes by saying that everyone lied about his Avatarhood, but that she "stole" it from him. Zoryu steps away and goes back to the map, telling her that Yun is punishing them for moving on from him and having what he does not and that he will exact horrible revenge upon her lest she accepts the truth.

Kyoshi suffers deeply while thinking about this and muses that there was no way of proving Zoryu wrong other than her faith that she knows Yun better. Anguished, she replies that he must know all this from playing Pai Sho with the young earthbender. He says that he knows this because he is not blinded by the past and that it is possible that a spirit is controlling Yun, but that does not change what needs to be done. He tells her to leave as she should find Yun and he has to plan the future of his nation.

Production notes[]

Series continuity[]

  • Zoryu procures a decoy for Yun to fool the Fire Nation nobility and prevent a civil war, similar to how Zuko uses Iroh as a decoy for himself in Smoke and Shadow Part One to fool the Fire Nation citizenry and protect his family.[1]
  • In the face of Zoryu's demand that Kyoshi has not finished helping him, Kyoshi realizes she has become the lackey of a crown and forgotten the daofei oaths she vows to uphold in "The Agreement".[2]
  • Kyoshi warns Zoryu that he lives on top of what she controls, a threat Kyoshi proves true during her flashback appearance in "Avatar Day" when she uses the Avatar State to separate the Yokoya peninsula from the mainland.[3]

References[]

  1. DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). Smoke and Shadow Part One (September 23, 2015), Dark Horse Comics.
  2. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Sixteen, "The Agreement". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  3. O'Bryan, John (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (April 28, 2006). "Avatar Day". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 5. Nickelodeon.
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