A/N: The humor in this fic is meant to work on two different levels – first there's general humor, usually related to Avatar, the second level involves various Journey to the West (Monkey) jokes, along with a few obscure Japanese jokes. Unless you're really familiar with Journey to the West (wikipedia is your friend btw) I don't expect anyone to get all of them. I'm unsure if the creators of Avatar are aware of the parallels between Avatar and Journey to the West (Zhu Bajie really did get thrown out of heaven for romancing the moon, and Xuan Zang really is the name of the monk to name a few) but I thought it would be fun to write a pastiche.
Spoilers for season 1. Vague spoilers for season 2. This fic is unbetaed. If some grammatical error is really bothering you, feel free to review and tell me what it is so I can fix it. Enjoy.
Long ago in a land much like our own – providing you grew up in ancient China - there was an ancient Earth king, Bumi, who wished to learn the true secrets of the four elements. He sent emissaries to the far reaches of his kingdom – 12 kilometers to the east, 103 kilometers to the west, 5 kilometers to the north, and 30 kilometers to the south (King Bumi was a fan of non-symmetrical country planning). Those emissaries requested all of the wisest men, women, and animals in the land to converge on the capital of Omashu and explain the secrets of the four elements to him, preferably in very small words.
And so they came. The great witch of the northern swamps Nema came, riding on her elephant chicken. Nema spoke of Plant Bending and her elephant chicken spoke of the secret swamp banana groves, but Bumi had already heard of these secrets and sent them back with orders to invent a better banana souffle. Next came Himitsu, Master of the Thirteen Philosophies, Keeper of the Nine Great Secrets, and Teller of Overly Long Jokes, but he refused to talk of anything but the weather and kept making the whole court fall asleep with his jokes. So Bumi ordered him gagged and sent him back to the West.
From the East came the twins, Ussou and Shinri, and they fooled the court for many days with their fantastic tales until it was finally discovered that they were repeating the Great Book of Tales (written five hundred years before in the Klassiku era) verbatim, thus revealing that the court was severally lacking in a Klassikul education. The south, having none of the traditional philosophical schools, and being replete with farming villages, sent one very old lady with a request for better irrigation ditches. While there, she also called the king an idiot and told him to stop pestering her with questions and go find the Avatar. Bumi thought this was a fantastic idea. He sent earth benders to fix the south's ditches, and one lone messenger to find the Avatar and remind him that he owed Bumi a cart full of cabbages.
The Avatar had been missing for many years – one hundred years in fact – due to an unfortunate incident involving skinny dipping at the South Pole. He was consequently, frozen in a giant ball of ice (later tales would confuse this with a giant rock) along with his steed, the mystical white bison Appa who had fallen from heaven many years before (his sense of direction wasn't so good).
Luckily for Bumi, the Avatar had been found (and given some clothes) by two members of the Southern Water tribe. Their names were Sha Katara, a water bender, and her brother Zhu Sokka, who having had great luck with women (namely with the moon princess, Yue), was now cursed to have bad luck with them; some would say this is the natural state of teenage boys. Since Bumi was an old friend, the Avatar was happy to come visit, but he had to inform his friend that he could only share knowledge of the secrets of air bending (and also that he had no money to pay for the cabbages). After getting Xuan "call me Aang" Zaang to work his debt off by doing a few tasks for him (finding Bumi's lost diary key, feeding Flopsie, etc.), King Bumi charged his friend with retrieving the sacred scrolls of Fire, Earth and Water. Aang agreed since it coincided with his own quest to ride every strange creature in the known world (minds out of the gutter, children). So, after an admonition from Bumi to bring him lots of souvenirs, the three companions set off on the mighty Appa in search of the sacred scrolls.
Since they were in Earth country, they decided to retrieve the Earth scroll first. Confidently, they approached the city of Ba Sing Se, but were turned away due to Aang's passport being expired. After deciding to return to Omashu, they encountered a mysterious tea-loving, Pai Sho playing old man on the side of the road. For the price of listening to his rather confusing jokes and drinking enough tea to float a hippo bird, he told them that the Earth scroll was actually guarded by the fearsome Blind Bandit in the treasure house of the Beifong family.
Aang's group approached the mansion of the Beifong family expecting a fight, but were instead invited in and treated as honored guests. They were fed many strange and filling delicacies of the four nations. Sha Katara and Zhu Sokka devoured the meal (Katara in particular was entranced by this new food called "cho ko latu") and fell immediately into a deep sleep. But Aang, as a member of the Order of the Airbenders was only allowed to eat fruit pies, and his sleep was light and much disturbed by Sokka's snoring. He was awakened in the middle of the night by the smell of barbecue sauce and voices discussing the best way to cook a human being. Being rather slow on the uptake, Aang went back to sleep.
He was awakened later by a rough kick to his side. Sha Katara and Zhu Sokka were awake as well and a blue-faced demon stood in the middle of the room. The demon hissed at him, "Leave now! These idiots are going to eat you!" There was a long pause while everyone considered that and then, "Ewww!"
Aang's face hardened in determination. "Not without the Earth scroll."
"Fine," spat the blue demon in disgust. "It's to your right, down the hallway and past the toilet. Just follow the signs for the Beifong Treasure House tour."
The demon disappeared, and they headed for the treasure house. Unfortunately, the mysterious old man had been correct and standing in front of the stone door was the Blind Bandit. While they were marveling at her shortness, the Blind Bandit attacked, easily defeating their best attacks and royally "whupping their butts" as it is said in the old language.
After kicking them around a bit more, she finally spoke. "What do you idiots want?"
"The Earth scroll, Scary Bandit Person," said Zhu Sokka, lamenting the loss of his nine-pronged boomerang to her earth attacks.
"Oh… go ahead. I can't read it anyway."
"Is that because it's in an ancient language lost to the vagaries of history?" asked Sha Katara.
"No, it's because I'm blind."
There was an awkward silence, only broken by the Blind Bandit going to retrieve the scroll. "I'm Sun Toph Beifong," she said.
"Your family's trying to eat me!" accused Aang.
"Geez. Everyone knows that eating the flesh of the Avatar will bring you immortality." There was a moment of silence as they honored that truly stupid idea.
"Are you sure that's not a euphemism?" asked Zhu Sokka, who had the mind of a teenage boy, which was good since he was one.
"It's in all the popular cookbooks," said Sun Toph defensively.
"But you don't want to eat me," said Aang.
"I'm pretty sure that cho ko latu tastes better," was Sun Toph's response, and thus her friendship with Sha Katara was formed. Sun Toph, who was sick of her family's cooking, not to mention the chore of guarding the family treasure house, decided to travel with them, and they set off after the Water scroll.
This involved a long trip to the Northern Water tribes, but since it only involved Appa being kidnapped, everyone dressing in drag, seventeen different people trying to eat Aang, three more meetings with the mysterious old man, an encounter with a freedom fighter named Jet, the blue-faced demon rescuing the group from certain death several times and Aang riding everything from catelopes to giant badger frogs, it's really not all that interesting and we're going to skip over it. When they finally did reach the north, they were handed the Water scroll and told to get out before the people got hungry.
Their final and most difficult destination was the Fire Nation in the west. It was rumored that the fire water had driven everyone in the country mad, especially its rulers. As a result, the Fire nation had waged war on the other three nations for many years. Luckily for the other nations, the fire water also made 99.9 percent of their military leaders incompetent considering they still hadn't managed to conquer the world after a century of warfare. A little known fact was that the only counter for the madness of fire water was jasmine tea which was banned from the palace after the exile of the Dragon of the West.
The majestic Appa was able to evade the Fire Nation patrols and bring them into the country, but once there, they were easily spotted by the large number of people who were now searching for the Avatar due to Appa's convenient shedding. Everyone who wished to capture the Avatar converged on the Fire nation temple where the Fire scroll was kept. This included the mysterious old man, the blue-faced demon, the Fire lord, the Fire lord's daughter, the Fire lord daughter's friends, the Fire lord's armies, the Fire priests, the bandit Jet, a young girl named Meng, Momo (a flying lemur who was actually the creature you needed to eat to gain immortality), and a cabbage merchant. Oh, and there was a comet.
A great battle was fought. Bumi showed up with his armies wondering what was taking Aang so long and could he bring back some Fire Nation flakes? The mysterious old man turned out to be the Dragon of the West and led the White Lotus Cult in a surprise attack on the Fire lord and his priests. Zhu Sokku convinced both the Fire lord's daughter's friends to join his harem. Meng accidentally confessed her love to Momo (it was the big ears…). The blue-faced demon was revealed to be the exiled Fire nation prince, Zuko, who had been trying to defeat the Avatar – by helping him (No one there understood it either…). Zuko refused to fight his father, but had no trouble kicking his little sister's ass. Someone managed to cover Aang in ketchup. Sha Katara defeated the bandit, Jet. The ghost of Monk Gyatso appeared to throw fruit pies at people. Several miscellaneous characters died tragic but off scene deaths. And Sun Toph accidentally destroyed the comet.
Once he was covered in ketchup no one recognized him so Aang went and picked up the Fire scroll. The moment he did, the great Avatar of the past (who was now a minor bureaucrat in Heaven), Roku, appeared.
"I'll take that," he said. "And the other scrolls as well."
"Sure," said Aang cheerfully. He handed them over, and then lowered his voice. "Do you think I should have told them that I had to memorize the scrolls years ago as part of my Avatar training?"
Roku shrugged, his robes swinging open to reveal a Hawaiian print shirt (he was planning a little detour on his trip back to heaven…). "It is the journey that matters. Not the destination. Also, the cool prizes you get at the end." And with that he disappeared.
In the end, Zuko ended up ruling the Fire Nation, and instituted a nation wide law requiring that each citizen must drink at least one cup of jasmine tea a day. He went on to star in many romantic comedies about his attempts to find a bride. His uncle, Iroh, went back to pimping, I mean, playing Pai Sho and was very happy for the rest of his days. The Fire Lord, his daughter, and their armies were all fed Jasmine tea until they repented their warmongering, red-wearing ways.
Sha Katara became a great leader of her people and also starred in many romantic comedies. Her brother, Zhu Sokku, found his curse of poor luck with women was broken and joined Iroh as his disciple in the ways of… Pai Sho. Sun Toph went on to have many adventures and eventually took over Ba Sing Se, and by relation, the Earth Kingdom. And Aang? Aang fulfilled his goal of riding every ride-able animal in the world. He also ate Momo's tail (don't ask) and therefore gained immortality and a place in Heaven. As a reward for their great deeds, his friends became minor gods in Heaven when they died, which was no fun, but you take what you can get. The end.
Reviews are always appreciated:) Thanks for reading.