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The episode opens in a forest while Momo suddenly appears, jumping from a tree to another tree. A mysterious figure is seen following him, and Momo lands on a roadside kiosk, while Team Avatar is arriving at it.
Katara [Walking toward a poster on the kiosk, present in the middle of a crossroad.] This should give us a good idea of what's around here.
Sokka [Flips a small pouch to find it empty aside from a few crumbs.] See if you can find a menu, I'm starving! [Wipes his mouth.]
Aang I bet we'll find something to eat here, [Pointing at the poster.] the Fire Day's Festival. [Momo jumps down. Aang begins reading-out the poster.] Fire Nation cultural exhibits, jugglers, benders, magicians ... [Turns to Katara.] This would be a great place for me to study some real firebenders.
Sokka [Looking at another poster on the other side of the kiosk; seriously.] You might wanna rethink that. Look at this.
Aang [Comes over to at the poster.] Hey, a poster of me!
Sokka A wanted poster! This is bad. [Aang removes the poster from the wall and starts reading it.]
Katara [Stares at the wanted poster.] I think we better keep moving.
Aang [Looking at Katara.] I have to learn firebending at some point and this could be my only chance to watch a master's up close.
Katara [Swayed by Aang; while her head is bowed.] I guess we could go check it out. [Aang begins rejoicing.]
Sokka [Moves in front of Katara; in an opposing tone.] What? You wanna walk into a Fire Nation town where they're all fired-up with their ... you know, fire? [Aang becomes serious again.]
Katara [Starts walking toward Appa and is followed by Aang.] We'll wear disguises and if it looks like trouble, we'll leave.
Sokka [Not convinced; sarcastically.] Yeah! Because we always leave before we get into trouble.
Aang [To Appa and Momo.] You guys stay out of sight here while we go to the festival. [To Katara and Sokka.] Ready disguises!
Sokka and Katara put on their black cloaks while Aang pulls his orange shawl over his head with a smile on his face making him look ridiculous.
Sokka [Sarcastically at Aang's goofy disguise.] It's like you're a whole different person ... [Katara giggles.]
Aang Let's go.
The gang looks around seeing everyone in masks.
Katara I think we need some new disguises.
Sokka Where are we gonna get masks like that?
Mask dealer Get your genuine Fire Festival masks here!
Sokka That was surprisingly easy.
The gang chooses three masks. Katara chooses a lady with makeup, Sokka a blue smiling mask with petals around the rim, and Aang who chooses a red mask with a frown on it. Katara removes Sokka's mask, revealing him to be frowning, and Aang's mask, revealing him to be the one smiling. She places Sokka's original mask over Aang's face and Aang's over Sokka.
Aang Hey, there's some food.
Sokka Finally! [To the shop keeper.] What do you have?
Shop keeper Flaming fire flakes! Best in town.
Sokka I'll take'em!
Sokka gobbles down the fire flakes, but has a spasm from the spiciness.
Sokka Aaahhh! Hot! Hot!
Katara [Sarcastically.] "Flaming fire flakes", hot? What do you know?
Aang Hey, look at this.
Puppet Fire Lord Don't worry loyal citizens! No one can surprise the Fire Lord!
Fire Nation kids [As an Earth Kingdom general puppet pops up behind the Fire Lord's puppet, with a rock ready to attack.] Oh no! Look out! [The puppet breaths fire, burning the other puppet.]
Katara Aang, hold on! Where are we going?
Aang I don't know, but there's a big crowd so it must be good.
Sokka [Sarcastically.] Knowing the Fire Nation, it's probably an execution.
Aang I gotta learn that trick!
Malu Thank you! For my next trick I need a volunteer from the audience!
Aang [Waving his hand up in the air all around childishly.] Oh! Oh! Me! Me!
Sokka [In a stern tone while pulling his arm down.] What do you think you're doing?
Aang I want to get a closer look.
Katara It's better that we don't attract any attention to ourselves.
Malu How about you, little lady?
Katara [While backing away.] Uh.
Malu Awww, she's shy. Leeet's give her some encouragement, folks!
Aang [In a jealous tone while folding his arms.] Awww! That could've been me.
Malu This next trick is called "Taming the Dragon." [While sitting her down in a chair and tying her to it.] You will be my captured princess! Don't worry, young maiden! I will tame this fiery beast! It's too strong, I can't hold it!
Aang We gotta help her!
Sokka No, we don't want to make a scene!
Malu The rope, it's breaking! [Aang saves Katara with his airbending, dispersing the flames is a ray of colors while he loses his mask in the process.] Hey, you tryin' to upstage me, kid?
Aang starts doing a goofy dance as everyone boos at him for ruining the trick.
Citizen Hey! That kid's the Avatar! [Aang stops dancing and runs.]
Sokka I think it's time to go.
Chey Follow me! I can get you outta here! [The kids follow Chey.]
Guard There they are!
Chey throws a series of explosives at the Fire Nation soldiers that are chasing them.
Guard Over there!
Aang I'm calling Appa. [Aang blows his whistle.]
Sokka I hope he can really hear that bison whistle!
Chey [Making a sharp turn down one of the several alleys.] This way! [Comes running back.] Okay! Not this way!
They make another turn, but the way they came is blocked by guards. Chey throws another smoke bomb and runs past them into another alley. They group comes across another dead end where there is an enormous supply of fireworks. Cut to an overhead shot that reveals Appa has arrived in the nick of time.
Aang Appa! Down here!
Appa lands between the kids and the guards, with his backside facing the guards. Appa airbends a gale force wind which results in the guards getting blown out of sight. As the guards run back into the alley, Appa has already taken off. Cut to Chey, he bites the top off a bomb to light it. He throws it at the fireworks supply and it blows up creating a beautiful display of fireworks. Cut to Chey removing his hood as they cruise away.
Aang Nice touch setting off the fireworks.
Sokka [Impressed.] You really know your explosives ...
Chey I'm familiar.
Sokka You're a Fire Nation Soldier!
Chey Was. My name's Chey.
The group lands and makes camp.
Chey I serve a man. More than a man really, he's a myth, but he's real, a living legend, Jeong Jeong the Deserter. He was a Fire Nation general, or wait, was he an admiral?
Sokka [Not amused.] He was very highly ranked, we get it.
Chey Yeah! Way up there! But he couldn't take the madness any more. He's the first person ever to leave the army - and live. I'm the second, but you don't get to be a legend for that. That's okay though. Jeong Jeong's a firebending genius. Some say he's mad - but he's not! He's enlightened.
Aang You mean there's a firebender out here who's not with the Fire Lord? [Gets up in excitement.] We've gotta go see him! He can train me!
Sokka [Snaps at Aang.] We're not gonna go find some crazy firebender!
Chey [Annoyed; Stands up to gesture.] He's not crazy! He's a genius! And he's the perfect person to train the Avatar! That's why I followed you into the festival.
Sokka Look, thanks for the help, but we're leaving for the North Pole in the morning.
Aang Sokka, this could be my only chance to meet a firebending master who would actually be willing to teach me.
Katara It can't hurt just to talk to him.
Sokka [Very annoyed.] That's what you said about going to the festival! Why doesn't anyone ever listen to me?
As Sokka turns to pout, he almost runs right into a spear. In a flash, they are surrounded by men wearing straw hats, light armor, wearing tribal make up, and wielding spears.
Lin Yee Don't move!
The tribal folks escort them to their settlement.
Lin Yee [Angry.] Jeong Jeong told you not to look for Avatar!
Sokka Hold on, you know these guys?
Chey Oh yeh! Lin Yee's an old buddy! Right, Lin Yee?
Lin Yee [Not amused with Chey.] Shut up! Keep moving.
Down the hill, there is a little cottage with leaves and logs.
Lin Yee Go on. He sees you only.
Chey Oh that's okay, we can chat later.
Aang Is that where Jeong Jeong is? I need to talk to him right away.
Aang tries to move forward, but it stopped by a spear shaft.
Lin Yee No! You wait there. [Pushes Chey forward.] Go now!
Chey Don't worry! Everything'll be fine. He's a great man, great man!
Chey walks toward Jeong Jeong's cottage. Back in the Fire Days Festival in the now deserted central square of the town where some guards are being interrogated by Admiral Zhao who is accompanied by a few guards himself.
Zhao So, the Avatar was here and you let him slip away?
Guard captain [Anxiously.] Yes, sir, but other than that the festival went off without a hitch! [A huge piece of burning planks of wood falls in the background with a massive crash making the guards twitch.] No fights. Theft was way down.
Zhao [Irritated.] I don't care about your local crime rates! Which way did they go?
Guard captain They headed into the forest, up the river I suspect.
Zhao Ready the river boats. We're going after the Avatar.
Back in the settlement, Chey exits Jeong Jeong's cottage. He arrives back where Aang and the others are fast asleep. Everyone wakes up instantly as Chey approaches.
Aang What happened? Can I see Jeong Jeong now?
Chey [Looking downcast.] He won't see you. He's very angry that I brought you here. He wants you to leave immediately.
Sokka Finally! Let's hit the road. [He stretches back out again.]
Aang Why won't he see me?
Chey He says you're not ready. Says you haven't mastered waterbending and earthbending yet.
Aang [Shocked.] Wait, how does he know that?
Chey He saw the way you walked into camp. He could tell.
Aang I'm going in, anyway!
Aang walks to Jeong Jeong's cottage. He takes a deep breath, parts the curtain, and walks into the darkness. Cut to a dark figure seated cross legged amidst a semicircle of candles, his back to Aang.
Jeong Jeong Get out.
Aang Master, I need to learn firebending.
Jeong Jeong Only a fool seeks his own destruction.
Aang [To Jeong Jeong.] I'm the Avatar, it's my destiny to— [Gets interrupted.]
Jeong Jeong Destiny? What would a boy know of destiny? If a fish lives its whole life in this river, does he know the river's destiny? No! Only that it runs on and on out of his control! He may follow where it flows, but he cannot see the end. He cannot imagine the ocean.
Aang Okay, but it's the Avatar's duty to master all of the bending disciplines.
Jeong Jeong To master the bending disciplines, you must first master discipline itself. But you have no interest in this, so I have no interest in you! Now, get out.
Aang Please, I have to learn. This could be my only chance.
Jeong Jeong Are you deaf? How can I teach you if you refuse to listen? Before learning firebending you must learn water and earth. Water is cool and soothing, earth is steady and stable, but fire, fire is alive! It breathes, it grows. Without the bender, a rock will not throw itself! But fire will spread and destroy everything in its path if one does not have the will to control it! That is its destiny! You are not ready! You are too weak!
At this final gesture the candles around Jeong Jeong violently flame up to illuminate the entire hut before quickly going out. A vision in front of Jeong Jeong begins, as one candle is seen lit in front of the firebender. A tree is in the background behind the Deserter. In front of him, stands Avatar Roku.
Roku You think I am weak?
Jeong Jeong Avatar Roku! No, No! I did not mean that.
Roku I have mastered the elements a thousand times in a thousand lifetimes. Now, I must do it once again. You will teach the Avatar [He raises his hand and ignites the tree behind Jeong Jeong.] firebending.
Jeong Jeong Yes, yes, I will teach you.
Aang Really? That's great! [Raises his hands happily; Jeong Jeong groans in dismay fearing this may not end well.]
In the morning outside of Jeong Jeong's cottage. Sokka is sitting on a boulder by the river, fishing. The screen pans up the river where Katara is practicing waterbending before switching to Aang and Jeong Jeong in front of the cottage. Aang stands, bandy legged, on a flat stone in the river. Jeong Jeong stands a foot or two away on the bank in front of his cottage.
Jeong Jeong Widen your stance. Wider! Bend your knees. Now, concentrate. [Aang expresses his concentration.] Good, good!
Aang Wait! What do I do now?
Jeong Jeong [Turns around.] Silence! Talking is not concentrating! Look at your friend, is she talking? [Points at Sokka.] Even that oaf knows to concentrate on what he's doing!
Sokka [Annoyed.] Hey!
Aang But what am I concentrating on?
Jeong Jeong Feel the heat of the sun. It is the greatest source of fire. Yet, it is in complete balance with nature!
Aang So when do I get to make some fire?
Jeong Jeong Concentrate!
Aang breathes and is embarrassed as his friends laugh at him from behind. He turns to look at them, but they stop instantly, as he tries to act innocent. Cut to a long shot of the figures in the distance climbing the slope of a mountain. Cut to a close-up shot of Aang and Jeong Jeong walking up the path to the mountain's summit.
Aang Are we coming up here so I don't burn anything with my fire blasts?
Jeong Jeong No fire yet.
Aang What?
Jeong Jeong Power in firebending comes from the breath. That is why you must master proper breath control.
Aang You brought me up here to breathe?
Jeong Jeong Assume your stance.
Aang assumes the proper stance.
Jeong Jeong [Faces the opposite direction of Aang.] Wider.
Aang You're not even look— [Interrupted by Jeong Jeong.]
Jeong Jeong Wider! Now, inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth - without talking. Good. Keep going.
Jeong Jeong walks down the path and out of the frame as Aang continues to breathe, a look of fierce concentration on his face. Cut to a view of Aang's lower body as he parts the curtain into Jeong Jeong's cottage.
Jeong Jeong What are you doing here? I did not tell you to stop!
Aang I've been breathing for hours!
Jeong Jeong You want to stop breathing?
Aang I want you to stop wasting my time! I already know how to squat and breathe and feel the sun! [Wiggles fingers to the ceiling to gesture this.] I wanna know how to shoot fire out of my fingertips!
Jeong Jeong [Sighs gruffly.] I had a pupil once who had no interest in learning discipline. He was only concerned with the power of fire - how he could use it to destroy his opponents and wipe out the obstacles in his path, but fire is a horrible burden to bear. Its nature is to consume and without control it destroys everything around it. [While he was speaking, the camera cuts to Zhao on his boat; several men attack him, but he fends them off easily, leaving a fire in his wake. Cuts back to Jeong Jeong.]
Jeong Jeong Learn restraint, or risk destroying yourself and everything you love.
After several hours Jeong Jeong finds Aang in front of the hut meditating.
Aang I thought about what you said, I promise I'll be more patient.
Jeong Jeong We're going to work with fire now.
Aang Oh yeah! [Aang gets excited and airbends himself into the air. He quickly gets serious again.] I mean, let us begin.
Jeong Jeong grabs a falling leaf and burns the center.
Jeong Jeong Concentrate on the fire. I want you to keep the flame from reaching the edges of the leaf for as long as you can.
Tribal man Master! There is trouble.
Aang What's going on?
Jeong Jeong Concentrate on your leaf!
Aang [Annoyed.] This is the worst firebending instruction ever! All he does is leave me for hours to concentrate or breathe!
Katara I'm sure there's a good reason.
Aang But I'm ready to do so much more.
Aang remembers to concentrate on his leaf and gets into a stance and breaths. Moments later, the leaf burns up creating a small flame.
Aang [Excited.] I did it! I made fire!
Katara Aang, that's great, but you should take it slow.
Aang starts playing with it by tossing it back and forth from in front to behind himself. He makes a blast go in the opposite direction.
Aang Now that's some firebending!
Katara Aang, you'll hurt yourself!
Aang I wonder how that juggler did it.
Aang tosses it into the air and spreads his arms out. For a second, he has a smile on his face, but it vanishes as he accidentally burns Katara's hands. Katara shrieks in pain.
Aang Katara! I'm so sorry!
Sokka comes running to Katara's side.
Sokka [Concerned.] Katara, what's wrong? [Angrily.] What did you do?!
Aang It was an accident! I was, uh... Katara, I'm so--
Sokka furiously tackles Aang.
Sokka [Enraged.] I told you we shouldn't mess around with this! Look what you did! You burned my sister! [Katara runs away.] You burned my sister! [As Jeong Jeong walks in.] This is all your fault!
Jeong Jeong I know! Now pack your things. You must leave immediately.
Katara runs off.
Aang I'm sorry, I didn't ... [Sokka runs off.] I'm sorry! [Jeong Jeong looks at Aang, displeased.]
The scene cuts to Katara who is sulking by a creek due to the pain of her burns. She dips her hands in; they glow briefly, and a few seconds later her hands are healed.
Jeong Jeong You have healing abilities. The great benders of the Water Tribe sometimes have this ability. I've always wished I were blessed like you - free from this burning curse.
Katara But you're a great master. You have powers that I will never know.
Jeong Jeong Water brings healing and life. But fire brings only destruction and pain. It forces those of us burdened with its care to walk a razor's edge between humanity and savagery. Eventually, we are torn apart.
Suddenly the water is front of them is blasted with flames. Jeong Jeong gets up and gets into a defensive bending stance and breaks the flames that wash over him and Katara. The screen changes to a frontal shot of Zhao's riverboats coming toward them before switching back to Katara and Jeong Jeong.
Jeong Jeong Go get your friends and flee! Do not come back here or you will all be destroyed. Hurry!
Jeong Jeong faces the boats that land harmlessly around him. The screen shows Zhao looking ahead through a telescope from the main deck of his ship. He lowers it and smiles. The screen goes back to Jeong Jeong produces a large wall of fire in front of the ships. An overhead shot of the ships is shown; the boats turn to land on the beach. The screen goes back to the front of the beach. Zhao comes into view.
Zhao Don't worry, men. My old teacher gave up fighting a long time ago. [The screen pans to Jeong Jeong. Suddenly, Zhao parts through the wall.] Haven't you, Master Jeong Jeong?
[The screen goes for a close of Jeong Jeong's face, and a wide shot as he drops the wall of fire. Cut to Katara running up to where Sokka is preparing Appa to leave.]
Sokka Katara! Are you all right?
Katara I'm fine, we've got to get out of here. Where's Aang? [Sokka gestures to the cottage.]
Katara enters the cottage to find Aang sulking.
Aang Jeong Jeong tried to tell me that I wasn't ready. I wouldn't listen. I'm never going to firebend again.
Katara You'll have to eventually.
Aang No, never again.
Katara It's okay, Aang. I'm healed.
Aang [Surprised.] What? How?
Katara I'll explain later. But right now, we have to get out here. Zhao and his soldiers are attacking!
Aang [Gets on his feet.] Where?
Katara By the river. They captured Jeong Jeong.
Aang I have to help him!
[The screen switches to an overhead shot of the beach. Zhao and his men stand against Jeong Jeong, before cutting to a closer shot.]
Zhao Look at you. You were once so great. I can't believe my former master has become nothing more than a simple savage.
Jeong Jeong It is you who have embraced savagery, Zhao.
Zhao It's Admiral Zhao, now.
Jeong Jeong That title will not help you against the Avatar. Do not try to fight him! You are no match!
Zhao [Amused.] I think I can handle a child.
Jeong Jeong I have never seen such raw power ...
Aang Jeong Jeong!
Zhao We'll see. Men! Take the deserter!
Cut to overhead shot of Jeong Jeong surrounded by five firebenders. Aang stops short in horror as they close in. Jeong Jeong smirks and wraps himself in a ball of flames. When the flames completely dissipates Jeong Jeong is nowhere to be seen.
Zhao [Angry.] It's a trick! He's run off into the woods. Find him! [Faces Aang.] Let's find out what my old master has taught you.
Aang [Shocked.] You were Jeong Jeong's student?!
Zhao Until I got bored.
Zhao throws a fireball at Aang.
Zhao I see he taught you how to duck and run like a coward. But I doubt he showed you what a firebender is truly capable of! [Throws another intense fireball.]
Aang Whoa! Wild shot!
Zhao [Roars with rage.] I'll show you wild!
Aang looks over to the side where Zhao just burned.
Aang No self-control ... [Gets an idea.]
Zhao Stand and fight, Avatar!
Aang [Mockingly.] Oh, were we fighting? I thought you were just getting warmed up!
Zhao [Burns in anger at the remark.] I was ... [Shoots another fireball.]
Zhao fires many more fireballs which all miss.
Aang Is that all you got? Man, they'll make anyone an admiral these days! [Nearly gets blasted.] [Aang cups his hands over his to sound louder.] Ahoy! [Shakes his butt at Zhao.] I'm Admiral Zhao! [Zhao gets even angrier and Aang nearly gets blasted again.] I don't know why, but I thought you'd be better than Zuko. [Aang looks disappointed when he says this. His eyes go wide and he lies down on the deck fast enough to avoid being burnt. Mocking Zhao's firebending.] Sloppy. Very sloppy.
Zhao Nowhere to run now, you little smart mouth!
Aang [Having dodged a series of blasts from Zhao on several ships.] You've lost this battle.
Zhao [Enraged disbelief.] Are you crazy? You haven't thrown a single blow!
Aang No, but you have. [He gestures around, all the boats are on fire and sinking.] Jeong Jeong said you had no restraint. [Jumps in the water.] Have a nice walk home!
Sokka Aang, come on! Let's go!
Cut a shot from behind Aang, who is now looking at the river bank beach. Aang hops on Appa and they fly away.
Aang Wait! Where's Jeong Jeong?
Sokka He disappeared. They all did.
Chey [Walks into the now abandoned village; not amused.] Hey, where did everybody go? [Sarcastically.] Very funny guys
Katara Aang, you're burned! Let me help you. [Katara heals the burn on Aang's arm.]
Aang Wow, that's good water.
Sokka When did you learn that?
Katara I guess I always knew.
Sokka [Sarcastically.] Oh ... Well then thanks for all the first aid over the years. Like when I fell into the greaseberry bramble. [Angrily.] Or that time I had two fishhooks in my thumb!
Aang [Shocked.] Two?
Katara [Amused.] He tried to get the first fishhook out with another fishhook.
Sokka [Still being sarcastic.] Oh, and the time that mink snake bit me! Thanks for healing that up. That was great. Really helpful.
Fade to credits.






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