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250px-Kuei
The 52nd Earth King, born Kuei,[2] was the ruler of the Earth Kingdomduring the latter part of the Hundred Year War. For most of his early reign he was nothing more than a figurehead, with the true power residing with the city's Grand Secretariat, Long Feng.[3] Although he briefly regained full power following the involvement of Avatar Aang,[4] he was forced to flee Ba Sing Se after a coup orchestrated by the Dai Li and Princess Azula.[5]

Kuei returned to take his rightful place as Earth King following the conclusion the Hundred Year War, and afterward tried his best to be a strong and benevolent ruler for his people to redeem his past mistakes. However, his new-found determination almost led Kuei to renew the war with the Fire Nation because of Fire Lord Zuko's refusal to remove his coloniesfrom Earth Kingdom territory.[1] However, Team Avatar's intervention allowed the crisis to be solved peacefully.[6]

HistoryEdit

Ascending the throne at age four following his father's death, Kuei became one of the youngest Earth Kings. However, due to the monarch's youth, it was deemed appropriate to appoint the minister Long Feng as regent, a position from which he quickly assumed total control over Ba Sing Se. As such, for much of his reign the Earth King was a mere puppet of Long Feng, relying totally on his advice and unable to make simple decisions. The King had no knowledge of the Hundred Year War or anything beyond the confines of the Earth Kingdom Royal Palace. Only the Avatar would eventually reveal to the Earth King all the lies that he had been fed by Long Feng.[4]

Excluded from the decisions of government, Kuei dedicated his time to the pursuit of several hobbies. With a love of animals, he collected an extensive menagerie of creatures from all over the world, brought to him by the many expeditions of the Ba Sing Se University. His favorite pet by far was a rare bear named Bosco, whom he kept with him most of the time and seemed to be his only real companion. Kuei dedicated much of his time toward the animal, feeding it expensive meats, hosting parties, and ordering several unsuccessful expeditions to find Bosco a mate.

The Avatar and his allies, Katara, Sokka, and Toph Beifong, launched an attack on the Earth King's palace, battling past the Dai Li and the Earth King's royal guards. After getting to the King's throne room, the four told the King about the Hundred Year War and Long Feng's treachery. At first, the King did not believe them, but after the Avatar showed the King Appa's bite on Long Feng's leg, the King agreed to go with Aang and company, to see if their statements were true.

The four first took the King to Lake Laogai where the Dai Li secret headquarters used to have been. However, the Dai Li had already destroyed their base, and the Earth King remained skeptical of the children's efforts, encouraged by Long Feng. However, Aang managed to convince the Earth King to go to the Outer Wall, in exchange for a ride on Appa, showing him the drill, a massive Fire Nation war machine. Long Feng tried to cover it up as a construction project, but the Earth King was completely unconvinced. He ordered the Dai Li to arrest Long Feng; they obeyed, and Long Feng was taken prisoner for crimes against the Earth Kingdom.[4]

Later, the Earth King stayed in Ba Sing Se with Katara while Aang, Sokka, and Toph departed to the East. During aCouncil of Five war meeting on the invasion of the Fire Nation on the Day of Black Sun, while the Earth King was out of the throne room, Katara rushed in to warn the Kyoshi Warriors that Prince Zuko was in Ba Sing Se, and learned that the "warriors" were none other than Azula, Ty Lee, and Mai, the Fire Nation princess and her consorts. Ty Lee disabledKatara's bending and the waterbender was taken to the Crystal Catacombs of Old Ba Sing Se.[7]

When Sokka and Toph returned to warn the Earth King, Azula and her consorts were revealed when Ty Lee started flirting with Sokka, who admitted he was into Suki, which led Ty Lee to breaking their cover by admitting she did not know who Suki was. While she fought Sokka and Mai fought Toph, Azula sneaked up behind the Earth King and threatened to kill him with blue fire, and they too were captured. However, Toph used metalbending to get them out of the Dai Li prison while Aang and Iroh rescued Katara and Zuko in the Crystal Catacombs. Toph and Sokka prepared to evacuate the city with the Earth King, as the Dai Li were launching a coup, but the Earth King refused to leave without Bosco. Toph and Sokka faced Ty Lee and Mai in a battle and won, and took Bosco. The Earth King, his pet, and the two children fled Ba Sing Se, but not before picking up an injured Katara and Aang, who fought against Azula, the Dai Li, and Zuko, who turned to Azula's side in the end. As the quintet left Ba Sing Se, the Earth King remarked, sadly, "The Earth Kingdom ... has fallen.

At the Southern Water Tribe warriors' camp at Chameleon Bay, the Earth King chopped up Bosco's dinner and fed it to the bear using chopsticks. The next morning, Kuei read an encyclopedia to Bosco, teaching the bear how to live in the wild. Sokka grabbed the encyclopedia and tore it up, saying he would personally teach Bosco how to live like a real bear. However, after a day of unsuccessful attempts to train him, Sokka called the whole endeavor a waste of time. Kuei remarked that he had learned something, though: he realized that there was a lot in the world he did not know about, just like how Bosco did not know how to be a "good bear". Kuei proclaimed that he would experience the world as a humble man, as he and Bosco ripped off their royal garments. Kuei jumped onto Bosco's back, and the two rode away.[8] Kuei spent the following a period of time after his deposition traveling around the world in exile with his bear. During this period, he hoped to come to better understand the life of peasants outside the palace.[9]

At the end of the Hundred Year War, Kuei returned to his rightful place as the Earth King after Ba Sing Se was liberated by the Order of the White Lotus and Ozai was defeated by Aang. As part of his new commitment to more hands-on ruling, he immediately began a project to dismantle the remaining Fire Nation colonies in the Earth Kingdom. This project, called the Harmony Restoration Movement, got off to a good start and was approved by the new Fire Lord, Zuko. However, a year into it, problems in Yu Dao, the first Fire Nation colony, led Zuko to withdraw his support from the movement, and created tensions that threatened to return the world to war.[10]

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