|"Where'd your friends take my sister?! Same place you're keeping the other kids?! Answer me!"|
|— Zuko to a fake Kemurikage.|
Smoke and Shadow Part Two is the second installment of the Smoke and Shadow trilogy. It was released in comic book stores on December 16, 2015, and in mass market retailers on December 29, 2015.
With the disappearances of children in the Fire Nation Capital, Aang and his friends try everything they can to figure out what is going on. He and Zuko must work together to keep the peace, but the New Ozai Society and the appearance of the Kemurikage may prove too much for even the Avatar when the true culprit of the kidnappings is revealed.
At the Jasmine Dragon, Aang finishes a meditation session with the Air Acolytes. Xing Ying wakes Jingbo up, who apologizes to Aang for having fallen asleep again. Aang reassures him that he will get the hang of it with more practice and thanks Iroh for allowing him to host the meeting there, who is pleased to do so, finding tea and meditation go well together. Sokka and Katara arrive, asking if he is ready to go, as everything is already packed on Appa. Iroh asks where they will be going, and Sokka excitedly answers they are going to the South Pole. Aang explains that they have been meaning to do so ever since meeting Sokka and Katara's friends in the Earthen Fire Refinery. Katara looks forward to meeting Hakoda again, Aang is excited to go penguin sledding, and Sokka wishes to eat auntie Ashuna's seal jerky again. Katara is confused by Sokka, remembering that he hated Ashuna's seal jerky, but Sokka explains that "absence makes the heart grow fonder". Aang appreciates the good weather, believing it will let them travel fast. Suddenly, a messenger hawk arrives with a message from Zuko to Aang, regarding spirit threats in the Fire Nation. Aang asks them to join him, but Sokka points out that Spirit World affairs usually take a long time to resolve, and that their father is waiting for them. Katara tells Aang to take Appa and meet them at the South Pole after the issue is dealt with. Aang apologizes, and Katara says it comes with dating the Avatar. Aang takes off on Appa, and Katara and Sokka bid Iroh farewell.
Aang arrives at the Fire Nation and greets Zuko, who reintroduces him to Mai. Aang mistakenly assumes Mai and Zuko are back together, but Zuko subsequently introduces him to Kei Lo, presenting him as Mai's boyfriend. Aang stumbles on his words as Mai dryly invites him to make the situation even more awkward. Zuko finally introduces Aang to constable Sung, who is leading the investigation on the kidnapping. Sung greets Aang, who is surprised by the nature of the situation. Mai explains to him it was Tom-Tom who was kidnapped, and the Kemurikage were the ones responsible. Sung reveals there have been several dark spirit sightings in the capital, though Tom-Tom is the only one who has been kidnapped.
Ukano intrudes on the meeting, despite a guard's protests. Zuko allows him to stay, as he is the victim's father. He notices Mai and blames her for her brother's kidnapping, confident Tom-Tom would have been safer if he were still living with his father. To Ukano's annoyance, Kei Lo scoffs at his belief that staying at his house was safer against dark spirits. Aang interrupts their argument and asserts they need to figure out their next move together. Ukano accuses Zuko of being weak, believing that to be the reason the spirits are acting up. He then claims that spirits begin to act up when the human world is weak. Aang berates him for his misconceptions. Ukano urges Zuko to declare a curfew and send out an elite task force to confront the spirits. Sung points out that gathering such a task force would take a while. Aang opposes Ukano's suggestion, as a curfew would make the population more fearful, and points out that regular bending would not work against spirits. He suggests finding out what happened to Tom-Tom first and plan their next move from that. Mai supports Aang's idea and, after a brief moment, so does Zuko, who orders Sung to escort Ukano out, and Ukano yells at him, calling him an impostor unworthy of the throne, startling the Fire Lord. Zuko asks Mai if her father was involved in the New Ozai Society's attack on him, believing to have recognized his voice, but she denies knowing about Ukano's involvement with the group. Aang wants to know more about the Kemurikage, and Mai tells him that they are just an old legend. Zuko has an idea of where to find out more information and asks them to follow him. Before following Zuko and Aang, Kei Lo argues Ukano ought to be arrested for his involvement in the attack, and asks Mai why she lied. Mai believes her father is right about Tom-Tom's living situation and argues that when he is found, she will need her father to take care of him, which he cannot do if he is arrested.
Ukano complains about being escorted out, and Sung explains he is only following orders. Ukano asks him if he has children, which Sung confirms, having a four-year-old boy. Sung sympathizes with Ukano's plight and assures him he will act as soon as Zuko gives the word. Ukano berates him for waiting, sure that Tom-Tom's kidnapping was only the beginning, and advises Sung to keep an eye on his boy. From afar, Kiyi witnesses the exchange and asks Noren what it was about. Ursa tries reassuring her about the palace's safety, but Kiyi quickly rebukes her, saying that she asked her father, and once again complains about Ursa's cold hands.
Aang, Zuko, Mai, and Kei Lo arrive at the High Temple. Kei Lo asks Mai if she has ever been there, and she confirms that once, an ex of hers took her for a romantic meal over the burial site of his ancestors. Zuko confirms it was romantic. Aang awkwardly asks them to move on and do what they came there to do. Zuko and Aang greet Shyu, now a Great Sage. Shyu begins to explain the necessity of introspection and new meditation classes, but Zuko interrupts him, saying that they need to go down to the Dragonbone Catacombs. Shyu opens the entrance, and the four go in.
At his home, Sung has dinner with his wife, who notices his concern when she talks about their son, Guri. He begins to explain Ukano's situation, but decides against bringing his work troubles home with him. Sung hears footsteps coming from Guri's room and rushes to the scene, finding smoke coming from underneath the door. Sung kicks the door down and finds two Kemurikage with his son and orders them to release him, both he and his wife each drawing a knife. They briefly scuffle, and the Kemurikage disappear in the smoke with Guri, to Sung and his wife's despair.
In the Dragonbone Catacombs, Kei Lo asks Zuko about the place. Aang asks Zuko how the visit is supposed to help them, and Zuko points to a mural depicting the history of the Fire Nation, including its myths and legends. They come across a blocked corridor, which Zuko explains Sozin had blocked when he came into power. Aang wonders why Sozin did not have it destroyed, and Zuko goes on to say Sozin still wanted to be able to consult its contents, even if he officially denied its existence. Aang notices the locking mechanism to be similar to the one from the Fire Temple on Crescent Island, and the two proceed to firebend at the locks.
At the Fire Nation Royal Palace, Ty Lee informs Suki about more dark spirit sightings, urging them to take action. Suki explains that Aang and Zuko have gone out to learn more about them, while Ty Lee is concerned the same thing that happened to Tom-Tom will happen to someone else. Ursa overhears their conversation and goes to find Noren, growing concerned when she notices Kiyi is not with him. He tells her Kiyi is sleeping in the other room, and Ursa runs over to embrace her.
After many tries, Zuko and Aang fail to open the gate, and Kei Lo volunteers to try. Aang wonders if Kei Lo is a firebender, but he denies it and asks Mai for four of her throwing knives. He explains that they did not notice the lock mechanism is not located in the dragon's mouths, but actually their noses. He begins to insert the knives in their nostrils, which Aang finds both gross and disrespectful to the dragons. Kei Lo asks for Mai's assistance in operating the mechanism, and they manage to open the gate. Mai is impressed by Kei Lo's talents and wonders what other talents he may have.
Sung visits Ukano at his home and apologizes for not believing him. Ukano surmises Sung's son has been kidnapped. Sung confirms it and adds that other kidnappings have been reported. Ukano asks about Zuko's reaction, and Sung explains that he was nowhere to be found. He goes on to say that he agrees that they cannot wait to act to protect their children, much to Ukano's satisfaction.
In the sealed corridor, the group finds more paintings of past Fire Lords. Zuko himself is not sure how many there have been, as all the history books he read began with Sozin, and wonders if a certain figure he sees will have been the first Fire Lord. Kei Lo finds the Kemurikage on a mural, and Mai locates a scroll, recording the Kemurikage's origins. Mai asks Aang for lighting, but Zuko provides it instead. She begins to read the records, which date back to before the creation of the Fire Nation, when the Fire Islands were ruled by warlords. Back in that time, the warlords fought each other for territory, with the common people usually getting caught between the conflicts. The cruelest and most ruthless of them, Toz, demanded tributes from the tribes in his territory once per year. One day, one of the villages refused to give him tributes, so Toz had all the village's children kidnapped, who were never seen again, and their mothers died of sadness. Aang is appalled by this and wonders where his past incarnation was at the time, though Zuko brings up the possibility of this happening before the advent of the first Avatar. After the mothers' deaths, dark spirits began to haunt Toz and his men, drifting into his encampments at night and kidnapping children as well. Toz's followers deserted the camps in fear, and his regime fell. The dark spirits were the Kemurikage, whose sadness was insatiable. As Mai finishes the story, a wisp of smoke comes out of the illustration of the Kemurikage on the mural. Aang feels the smoke wants him to follow it, despite Zuko's protests. Kei Lo asks if this sort of thing is a common occurrence, which Zuko confirms to be the case with the Avatar, Mai commenting Zuko has interesting friends.
On the streets, Sung and Ukano come across a senior citizen walking with his grandson and announce the curfew. The grandson asks if the curfew was implemented under the Fire Lord's authority, to which Sung replies that it was implemented out of necessity. An organized group marches beside them, the Safe Nation Society, which Sung explains to be a voluntary militia, as his police force would not be enough to protect the entire city. The senior citizen is skeptical of the involvement of dark spirits, when suddenly a woman cries out about her kidnapped daughter. The Safe Nation Society spots the Kemurikage and begins attacking them.
Aang, Zuko, Mai, and Kei Lo give chase to the wisp of smoke. Mai and Kei Lo wonder where it is leading them, thinking it will be an even darker and danker place, Kei Lo noting Mai is cute when she is pessimistic, which she says she has been told. The wisp goes into a dragon effigy, prompting Aang to request Kei Lo's assistance in opening it again, revealing downward stairs. Mai refuses to venture further, and Aang requests Kei Lo to follow him, in case anything else needs unlocking. Kei Lo obliges. Left alone, Zuko offers Mai to increase the lighting, but she declines his offer. Zuko says Kei Lo is nice, and that he is glad Mai is at least happy (by her standards), but he confesses that he misses her. Mai snaps at him, wondering why he would say that, and Zuko responds that it is the truth. Mai yells that they had their chance and that they should both move on. Zuko says he is not arguing that but fails to elaborate further. He asks her if she has the same feelings for Kei Lo as she had for him. Mai asks him to stop, but he insists. Mai says Zuko broke her heart twice and blames herself for allowing it to happen. Mai concedes that Kei Lo probably likes her much more than she likes him, and that is how she needs it to be, refusing to ever allow herself to be hurt like that again.
Aang and Kei Lo follow the wisp of smoke into a crypt, where the smoke materializes into a Kemurikage, who greets Aang. The Kemurikage reveals she and her sisters haunted the warlords of the Fire Islands for centuries, until the islands were united into the Fire Nation by the first Fire Lord, the one resting in the crypt in which they stood. The first Fire Lord brought the warlords to justice and ushered in a long era of peace. Their sadness receded, and they never again crossed into the physical world. Aang asks why they have resumed kidnapping children, and the Kemurikage repeats herself, confirming that until the present moment, they have not ventured into the human world.
Returning to the city, Aang fills in Zuko and Mai about what he learned. Although Zuko was not convinced, Mai brings up the possibility that the ones responsible for the recent events might not even be spirits. Aang hears the Safe Nation Society marching in the streets, and the team descends to find out more. Ukano declares his prediction correct, revealing to Zuko that other children have been kidnapped, including the constable's son. Zuko empathizes with his situation, while Sung pleads that he was unable to find Zuko, and he had to take action. Ukano explains to them about the Safe Nation Society, and Aang questions how he managed to gather so many volunteers on such short notice. Ukano boasts how the society recently prevented the kidnapping of a child not long before they arrived. Aang informs him of the possibility of the perpetrators not being spirits, which Ukano promptly dismisses. Mai accuses Ukano of hiding something, but he denies it. Zuko is sorry about Sung's situation and vows to find his son but suspends him from his post until further notice for implementing a curfew without his authority. Zuko also commands Ukano to disband the Safe Nation Society, or face arrest. Ukano begrudgingly complies and tells his daughter to come find him when she realizes the truth. Aang considers Zuko's actions against Sung to have been excessively harsh. Zuko hates having had to do it but says he had no choice. A female citizen approaches him and respectfully informs him the Safe Nation Society has just saved her daughter, which is more than what Zuko has done. Mai criticizes Zuko's handling of Sung, believing him not to care about the feelings of his people. Kei Lo asks her to inform him when she is done talking about her ex-boyfriend so he can kiss her good night. Mai apologizes, feeling empty without her brother. The two kiss and decide to rest and figure out what their next course of action is the following day. At home, Mai puts away a picture of her and Zuko. At the palace, Kiyi discreetly calls Zuko, who inquires why she is still awake. Kiyi says Ursa is holding her too tight with her cold hands. Zuko takes her to another room. Kiyi asks Zuko about his day, and he tells her he had to deal with a problem their nation is having. Zuko does not give her details, telling her he will take care of it. Kiyi is confident he will and goes to sleep in another room.
Guri wakes up asking for his mother and is greeted by Tom-Tom, in a room full of playing children. Guri begins crying, and a little girl tells him not to be scared and that their parents will be there soon, pointing out Ukano's presence as proof. Ukano tells the children to go to sleep, telling them their parents will not come for them until they are asleep. Tom-Tom asks his father why they have to stay there and says that he misses his mother and sister. Ukano tells him it will be just a few more days, that he and his friends will make the nation strong and safe again and that staying there is their part in making that happen. Tom-Tom asks if the scary ladies who brought him there are his friends. Ukano confirms it, adding that they are not so scary once you get to know them. Tom-Tom asks if that is the case, why does his voice shake when he speaks to them. Ukano does not answer, wishes him good night, and leaves.
Suki reports to Zuko that the Kyoshi Warriors have finished their rounds. Suki offers him company, which he accepts. She assures him Tom-Tom will be found, but finding him is not on Zuko's mind. He recounts a picnic he and Mai took Tom-Tom to when Michi had errands to run. At first, he was annoyed, wanting to spend time alone with Mai, but Tom-Tom began chasing a glow moth. He was so happy, and Zuko could not remember a time he himself felt so elated. Zuko was impressed that despite what he went through in Omashu, Tom-Tom was still able to experience such happiness, and wonders if when he is found, he will still be able to feel that happy again. Zuko notices smoke coming out of Kiyi's room and rushes there. The Kemurikage have taken Kiyi but are intercepted by Zuko, Aang, Suki, and Ty Lee. Zuko and Aang firebend at them, and one of them kicks Aang in retaliation. Certain now that they are human, Aang tells Ty Lee to chi block them. Suki grabs hold of the one holding Kiyi, who passes the child to another Kemurikage. They begin shrouding the area in smoke, obscuring themselves, but Aang airbends the smoke away, allowing Zuko to land a hit on one of them. Zuko demands to know where his half-sister was taken; however, the Kemurikage suddenly attacks with lightning, causing Zuko to conclude that the Kemurikage is none other than Azula.
- Main article: Transcript:Smoke and Shadow Part Two
- Aang expresses excitement over the prospect of penguin sledding in the Southern Water Tribe, which he and Katara did when they first met in "The Boy in the Iceberg".
- When Kei Lo remarks that Mai is "pretty cute when [she is] pessimistic", she responds by saying that she has been told this before, recalling the time Zuko told her that she was "beautiful when [she hates] the world" in "The Headband".
- Shyu became a Great Sage following the end of the Hundred Year War.
- Fire Lord Sozin closed off a large majority of the corridors in the Dragonbone Catacombs in order to make it appear as if the history of the Fire Nation began with his rule.
- Kei Lo is a nonbender.
- The Kemurikage have not haunted mankind since the time of the first Fire Lord, thus revealing that the perpetrators of the kidnappings were human impersonators.
- Mai reveals that she and Zuko once shared a meal over the burial site of the previous Fire Lords back when they dated.
- Aang is visibly uncomfortable at Kei Lo's use of "babe" as a nickname for Mai, prompting Zuko to remark that he is not one to talk, in reference to Aang's use of "sweetie" to refer to Katara.
- One of the villages under Toz's control had huts with doors bearing elaborate swirling patterns similar to those seen on Raava.
Library Edition reveals
The Smoke and Shadow Library Edition compiles all three parts of the Smoke and Shadow trilogy together with trivia- and production-based notes in the sidebar of many pages. These notes were written by Gene Yang and the Gurihiru team. The following are notable points from the Library Edition that pertain to the early production phase of Smoke and Shadow Part Two and trivialities as attested by the aforementioned crew members.
- Gene Yang (author-perspective, storytelling trivia):
- Aang rings the equivalent of a Tibetan singing bowl during meditation (p. 81).
- Although it is not shown in the comics, Shyu was appointed Great Sage following the end of the war (p. 97).
- Yang drew from his own personal experiences to write the confrontation scene between Zuko and Mai in the catacombs (p. 127).
- Yang wanted to show that the position of Fire Lord is rooted in good. Specifically, not every Fire Lord in the nation's history was like Ozai, Azulon, and Sozin (p. 131).
- Mai's feelings for her brother changed as her character developed in the series (p. 139).
- The Kemurikage were developed to serve as the embodiment of fear (p. 152).
- Gurihiru (stylistic and artistic trivia):
- Prior to starting work on the second part of Smoke and Shadow, Gurihiru traveled to China and took many architectural reference photographs (p. 81).
- Clothing from the warlord era of the Fire Islands referenced the Ainu, an indigenous group of the Kuril Islands (p. 115)
- Avatar: The Last Airbender - Smoke and Shadow Part Two release date. Dark Horse Comics. Retrieved on November 22, 2015.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender - Smoke and Shadow Part Two release date. Amazon. Retrieved on August 16, 2015.
- Sunu, Steve (December 1, 2014). Exclusive: Yang Guides Avatar: The Last Airbender Through Smoke and Shadow. Comic Book Resources. Retrieved on December 1, 2014.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender - Smoke and Shadow Part One. Barnes & Noble. Retrieved on November 22, 2015.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender - Smoke and Shadow Part Two. Edelweiss. Retrieved on March 30, 2015.