AATAFOVS / Battles Of The Mind

Season 3, Episode 2. Preceded by Far From The Nest, followed by Blows That Hurt Most.
In the last episode, Avatar and his friends fled their home base just before the Dark Council found it. Solo lived without alcohol during this time, amazingly failing to undergo any withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, some of the Vamp Benders disliked their living in a cave. After a long argument, they split up into smaller groups, and were promptly captured by the representative of the Dark Council, who had been watching them from the start. We now return with the continuation to this adventure.

Avatar awakens in a dark room. Standing before him is a downcast Professor Udite.

Avatar: Professor! What is it? Where are we?
Professor Udite: I have made a terrible mistake. Great harm has resulted from it.
Avatar: What was it?
Professor Udite: I lead you on a path of aggression... A path of false truths... All against the Dark Council.
Avatar: Huh? The Dark Council tried to kill us repeatedly! It is only thanks to us that one of them does not rule a cold, dead world at this very moment! We have destroyed countless evil artifacts, stopped a half dozen of their plans!
Professor Udite: And it was all my mistake. I believed they were the greatest evil to walk the multiverse. In truth, though they have their imperfections, they only seek to conquer it in order to save it.
Avatar: Save it? From what?
Professor Udite: From something that causes infinite injustice. Everywhere, powerful being akin to the Council are already in power. The Council seeks equality for all, which would be better than the evils. You have seen only the most illusory realms. The whole of reality is controlled by a soulless being... A being of emptiness and cold, which cares not for humanity or any other race...
Avatar: Okay, that's just lame. Your impression of the Professor, that is. He was never this pessimistic... The last thing I remember is being captured by the forces of the Dark Council... You are one of them!
Professor Udite (now transforming into a shadowy figure): Hmm... You are cleverer than we assumed... But still, we have an offer. Join us. We have captured not just you, but all your followers. We could kill them! And with the Council, you could unlock true power, not just the psychic opening of your little story gates. Think... You have not actually seen your dear Professor in months. Has it not occurred to you that he is likely dead, and we have been using you all this time?
Avatar: No. I would rather die than be a part of your crimes against existence. My friends will stand by me, even though I am sure you will tempt them too. As for manipulating us, you had nothing to gain from having us kill your members and and decrease your power. I will never join you.
Shadowy figure: As you wish. There is no longer a future for you. (he disappears, and Avatar fades back to sleep).

Nerdly finds himself facing the shadowy figure near the peak of a snowy mountain.

Nerdly: This must be a dream... Who are you?
Shadowy figure: You may know me as The Shadow.

The Shadow praises Nerdly's knowledge and describes how he is undervalued by his friends. Nerdly is shown the many peoples living at the base of the mountain, and told how their lives could be improved were Nerdly to receive the respect and power he deserves. Nerdly questions what would be expected of him. The Shadow attempts to avoid the subject, but he eventually mentions the Dark Council, at which point Nerdly rejects it.

Nerdly: My father died working for you. None of my friends would even consider joining you. My only fate would be to die while fighting the only family I have ever known.

At this, the figure leaves him, and he relapses into unconsciousness.
Next up, Sue receives the offer, in a jungle mindscape. She openly laughs at the Shadow's claim that she is disrespected by the other Benders. Sure, Avatar may be the leader, but "that doesn't get him any respect either." She tells the Shadow that even if she cared about respect, the Dark Council has no chance of giving it to her.

Sue: If they respected each other, they'd be honest about all those plots, instead of coming to face us one by one.

Sue's loyalty is unshakable, and the Shadow promises that she too will die. The vision ends.
Solo meets a giant beer bottle at a generic party scene.

Solo: Okay, I know this isn't real. You don't exist, and this is just insulting.
Giant Talking Bottle: Huh? You're sober?
Solo: And I have been for the last week or so. The last thing I remember is being captured by dudes with laser guns, and knocked out. You must be on their side!
Bottle: Uhh...
Solo: For the first time in years, I can think clearly. You're trying to make me go back, and keep being mostly useless to my brother and the team!

The remainder of the conversation is mainly composed of Solo vowing to fight his addictions, and later trying to beat up the bottle. The Shadow gives up the disguise, and condemns Solo to elimination.
Cleo faces The Shadow in the Benders' base. It is in one piece as she remembers it.

The Shadow: I have an offer for you.
Cleo: You look kind of evil... You're with the Dark Council?
The Shadow: Naturally. But this isn't about me; it's about you. The Dark Council would like to make a deal.
Cleo: What sort of deal?
The Shadow: We have captured you, and all your friends. Actually, "friends" may not be the right word for this...
Cleo: Huh?
The Shadow: In all your battles with us, have you ever been of any use to them? Does it seem to you that you only exist for their amusement, and are regularly humiliated before them?
Cleo: Well, sometimes...
The Shadow: Have you ever truly been taken seriously by them? Sue's kitten receives more praise than you do.
Cleo: That's true. I've always secretly hated that Fluffy... It's all I can do not to kick her...
The Shadow: Could it be because they see no usefulness in you? (Cleo is silent) Might it be that they are not like you? All of them have abilities or skills. Do you feel as if you've been shortchanged?
Cleo: Yes...
The Shadow: You have never killed an enemy, have you? You are unable to hurt us, and your companions disrespect you for it.
Cleo: That's true...
The Shadow: The Dark Council can help you. With us, you could gain the power you deserve. We would even spare those miserable "friends" who have been dragging you down, just to demonstrate your mercy.
Cleo: Sounds good... No! There may be problems, but I'm not giving up on them. I can make a difference, without joining you people.

Though Cleo was on the edge, she held out, and a disappointed Shadow leaves her mind, planning the elimination of all the prisoners.
In a dark void filled with flashes of colored lightning, The Shadow makes a last-ditch effort, and tries to convert Fluffy.

The Shadow: We have been watching you, "Fluffykins." You are one of the strongest of the Benders. Your ties to them are weak. Join us.
Fluffy (transforming into the serpent form, and growing leathery wings): This is pathetic. You have nothing to offer me. And you can stop this dark, shadowy charade (a blast of light hits the figure, making it stagger and causing the artificial shadows to slowly disappear). Both of us girls are too old for this.
The (female) Shadow: You... dared to attack my power? I shall have to destroy all of you!
Fluffy: I'm not worried. I was until I saw the pitiful egoist the Council had chosen.

The Shadow leaves, shaken. Fluffy, instead of returning to sleep, begins working to break into conscious reality.
Cut to an empty hallway in what looks like a military base. The camera zooms down brightly lit corridors, past soldiers such as those who captured the Benders. It enters a prison area, and stops in front of a heavy door to a small cell. Directly behind a metal grill stands a prisoner, clearly a teenage girl.

Prisoner (in a high pitch, to a guard stationed nearby): Oh, noble sir! Could you come here please?
Guard (in a gruff voice): What is it this time?
Prisoner: I've just realized how very attractive you are! Come here!

The guard does so without hesitation. The moment he opens the door to the cell, a hand shoots out with lightning speed, and brushes his neck. It leaves a deep gash, which begins to bleed. The guard topples backwards onto the floor, and lies still. The plainly-dressed prisoner comes out, and drags him inside. Viewers for the first time see the feline ears on top of her head, and the razor-sharp claws retracting into her fingers.

Cat-like girl (muttering): Laser rifles and special combat training, and these guys still believe that a catgirl could fall for them. I'm almost doing the world a favor by killing them.

She shuts the door to the cell, and sneaks away down the corridor.

Catgirl (muttering for exposition): Now to find these other prisoners I heard about. I'll need them to get out of here.