Set after episode, the Firebending Masters. It was dinner time after Zuko and Aang arrived back from the Sun Warriors’ community. Aang, Sokka, Katara, Toph, Haru, the Duke & Teo, wait for the arr...
Summary: Set after episode, the Firebending Masters. It was dinner time after Zuko and Aang arrived back from the Sun Warriors’ community. Aang, Sokka, Katara, Toph, Haru, the Duke & Teo, wait for the arrival of their newest member to come from his room. Everyone is still uneasy around the fire bender. Soon they have to leave the Air Temple. Ever wondered what the Fire Nation value the most? Find out. What other secrets would be discovered?
(Before on Chapter 15)
“What do you think they would do to us?” Teo asked him, fear in his voice.
“I don’t know yet.” Zuko answer him. Truefully, he didn’t know. If he hunch was right, their chances of survival could be in good odds. But if proven wrong… they will end up dead. “Where are the others?”
Teo shook his head. “I think they escaped.” he answered. “I was first to be captured after you fell. My wheelchair wasn’t made to go in fast speed in a forest.” he laughed in bittersweet voice.
Zuko nodded. “Are they okay?”
“Yeah I think so.”
Zuko sighed in relief. “Are you injured?”
“Beside of being hit on the head, no.”
“Do you think--”
Zuko then stopped, as dark shadow loomed overhead. Slowly he turned and come face to face with a Yu Yan Archer.
“/I hear that you speak in beast-speak.”/ the man said in beast-speech. “Where did you learn that, word-speaker?”
(Now on Chapter 18)
Zuko didn’t know what to say. The Archer stood above him looking down on him with his glowing golden eyes narrowing as Zuko tried to think up an answer.
“/From my mother.”/ Zuko answered the Archer. He hopes the Archer would believe him.
The Archer looked at him in a question look, as if looking at him to see or not that the boy was lying to him or not. “Really now,” the Archer asked. He smirked at the wounded boy who looked at him in bravely, hiding the fact that he was nervous. The Archer was slightly impressed, as most people look at him in fear, but this young boy looked at him knowing who he was and what he was capable but yet respect him, but yet nervous of what he will do to him. Not something you see every day.
Looking at him, the boy is clearly Fire Nation, judging way the boy was dress and the color of his eyes, perhaps from the Fire Islands themselves. Where did the boy learn to speak his tongue? From a Yu Yan Archer that lived in the boy’s village and taught him, and if that was true, could that Archer be his mother? Did his mother, from a Yu Yan Archer tribe was forced to marry a Fire Island man and secretly taught her son behind her husband back? It wouldn’t surprise him one bit, as it is forbidden in many places in the world. /“I doubt on that.” /The Archer continued.
“/I speak the truth.”/ Zuko said his voice now dreading with fear. What if the Archer doesn’t believe him and decide to kill him and the others? Zuko buried his thoughts and fears from his mind, slightly thanking the many years of training from his homeland.
The Archer didn’t reply but spat at him across the face. As the Archer started to walk away, quickly Zuko yelled despite the consequences that would soon follow. “I, Zuko, son of Ursa, grandson of Dragon Master Kuzon, from the Phoenix Tribe. I am not foe. We are kin!”
The Archer and those that stood in the camp suddenly stopped of what they were doing. They look at him in amazement. Zuko didn’t know what he did wrong, or rather if what he just spoke would be any good. Having people stare at you was unnerving.
The Archer slowly turned to face and then approached him, as he cocked his head at the side as if not knowing what to do. Zuko then noticed that the Archer was very hesitant for some reason. The Archer then lowed down to the ground to his level and then (in Zuko’s amazement) starting to untie his bonds from his hands and feet. “Heal him!” /he bellowed at the same old woman from before. Zuko looked at the old woman who stood behind, hiding from view near the tree that Zuko was once tied to. Was she standing behind him all this time? “We’re heading out, pack up.”/ He ordered to the nearby men, not daring to look at Zuko straight in the eyes.
“/Yes sir.”/ They said and disappeared with a burst of winding fire. Teo beside Zuko jumped, his eyes widen of what he just seen. Did he just saw a group of people disappear in fire? Are they dead? Where did they go?
The Archer turned back to Zuko. /“You will also release my friends.” /Zuko said to him in a demanding voice.
The Archer didn’t reply; instant he walked up to Teo, Sokka and then the Duke untying their bonds.
“/We will be leaving shortly. I hope your… friends will wake up before then.”/ He said before he left from view.
Teo looked between the scary half painted face guy that left and back to Zuko. What the hell is going on? Quickly he pushed his body close to the firebender, watching the old woman as he did so.
The old woman eyed Teo for a moment, as if calculating if or not he was a threat to her. Seeing he wasn’t with his unusable legs, she turned back to treating Zuko.
Teo watched the woman, use her firebending closing up Zuko’s torn flesh, forming into a line scar. Zuko hissed as his flesh blended together, wishing that Katara was here healing him instead of the old woman before him. At least waterbending was much for painless then firebending.
“Teo, everything is going to be okay.” Zuko told him, as he looked up at the fearful eyes of the youth.
“What the hell is going on, Zuko? What kind of a language is that? And how in the heck does this woman healing you? I thought only waterbending heals…” Teo demanded.
“It the language of my mother’s people. And to answer your question, all elements can heal. You just need to know how. Waterbending is the most common, because water is naturally a healing source.” Zuko said, not wanting him to explain anymore.
“Your mother?” Teo asked trying to piece everything that he was told together. Zuko knew that Teo was skeptical, seeing that this was his first time specking about his mother. “So... what did you yell back there that freak out all the Archers?”
Zuko shrugged. “I don’t really know. It was something that my mother taught told me before she left. She said, it will save my life someday. I guess she was right.”
Teo didn’t know what the firebender meant by that, but didn’t comment.
“Ah, my head.” Teo and Zuko jumped at the voice. They turned and saw Sokka sitting up rubbing his head. “What the heck happened? One minute I was eating that yummy food Katara made and the next… hell on earth happened.” He turned and looked around himself. “Oh my spirits, it wasn’t a dream!”
“Sokka! It’s okay, don’t do anything—” Zuko started to say, but was cut short as Sokka suddenly stood up and was knocked back down on the ground by the old woman. Zuko’s and Teo’s eyes widen of how quick the woman was suddenly stood up, whipped out her arm grabbing a nearest rock from the ground, smacking Sokka across the face. The old woman quickly sat back down and went back to work.
“Sokka! Are you okay?” Teo asked him, pushing his body towards Sokka.
“Ah, what the heck hit me?” Sokka asked rubbing the spot where the rock hit him. One side of his face was red, hinting the first signs of bruising.
“That woman over there… she’s quick with her arm and –and, it was so cool.” Answered Teo.
“Where are we? Where are Katara, Aang, Haru and Toph?” Sokka asked him, not realizing that Zuko was listing on them.
“Ah, I don’t know.”
“They escaped, for now.” Zuko answered, the two boys looked at him. Zuko knew that the Yu Yan Archers only let them go, but soon to the captured. “We are with the scouts of the Dragon Tribe. Right now they are packing up to take us to their village and their leader, I hope.”
“The who?” Sokka asked.
“The Yu Yan Archers, they are the scouts of the Dragon Tribe.”
Both Teo and Sokka were slightly confused; Dragons Tribe? Are like the Sun Warriors? “How do you know that? Please don’t tell me they are Fire Nation.”
Zuko rolled his eyes. “Yes they are Fire Nation. Their foreheads, the leather bands that they wear; it is the shape of fire breathing dragon, which is how I know of what tribe that they are from. There are four tribes of the legendary Yu Yan Archers: the Phoenix, the Dragon, the Tiger and the Sphinx tribe. Both the Phoenix tribe and the Dragon tribe are known to be part of the war, for they are the most feared and the most deadly of the four. However, the Tiger tribe and the Sphinx tribe are known to stay out of the way from war, for they are not Warriors, but Protectors. The Dragon tribe that we are prisoners of, they are known to be more powerful with their firebending.”
“Great more firebenders.” Muttered Sokka.
“Wow,” Teo said. His eyes look at Zuko, wanting more. “What are the other tribes known for?”
Zuko smiled, glad that someone is interested of his people. “It is said that the Phoenix tribe is known to bring people back from the dead and even can speak with those that passed over in the next world.” Teo’s eyes widen. Sokka on the other looked at him not believing him.
“Cool.” Teo said smiling.
“The Sphinx tribe is known for their enigma nature and their intelligence. The Tiger tribe is only known mostly of their trust of the old ways, the protectors of the ancient culture of the Children of Fire. Thousands of years ago, before the four kingdoms of the four elements was formed, both the tribe of the Sphinx and the Tiger tribe was a pointed as protectors of the Children of Fire….”
“Zuko?” a small voice called out.
“Hey the Duke. You okay back there?”
“You’re alive!” the Duke jumped up and landed on top of him, hugging him. “I thought when those devils shot you, you were dead!” Zuko suddenly felt happy knowing that someone in the group cared for him.
The old woman smiled at the young child, clearly not knowing what the Duke said about her and the other men. She stood up, bowed and left.
“That was weird.” Sokka said, cocking his head at the side seeing an old woman, the same one that knocked him down without breaking a sweat bow to Zuko. He knew that Zuko was royalty, but isn’t the Fire Nation wants him dead, not bowing to him?
“Zuko said something to them. They are friendlier then before. That Archer over there,” Teo told Sokka, pointing at an Archer that seemed to be the leader. “Seems to be a leader or something, was planning on killing Zuko, but then Zuko yelled something, or more like growled. Then suddenly he and everyone else were starting acting weirder.”
“What did you say to them?” Sokka asked Zuko.
Zuko didn’t want to the tell them. “Just told them of what my mother taught me before she disappeared. She said many times it will save my life someday.”
“Zuko, I thought you were dead.” The Duke said to him, clearly not listening of what he, Sokka and Teo was talking about.
“I’m not dead, see I’m right here. If the Archers wanted me dead, then I would be dead by now.” He told the child. The Duke slowly nodded.
“Zuko…” Teo said looking ahead of him. Zuko, Sokka and the Duke followed Teo’s eyes. Their eyes landed on an Archer walking towards them, the same one that almost attacked Zuko.
“/Time to go, grandson of Kuzon.”/ The Archer said.
“I can’t believe we left them there!” Aang said, pacing around in front of Katara, Haru and Toph. “They might be dead for all we know!”
“Aang, stop it. We will get them back.” Haru assured to him.
“I can’t believe I told you to left Zuko there after he fainted. I could easily use my airbending and carry him! He tried to warn us. Did you see how he was acting? We thought he was losing his mind! And now he is dead! It is my entire fault! What kind of Avatar I am to leave a friend?” Aang went on, ignoring all his friends.
“Yeah, yeah we know Trickle-toes. You’re a lousy Avatar, you failed the World twice. We know that all ready. And stop pacing; you’re giving me a headache!” Toph said rolling his eyes.
“Do you know what I think? They are dead, it’s my entire fault!”
“Aang it is not your fault!” Katara said trying to reason him.
“We can’t stay here and pout. We have to get moving.” Haru said.
“Yeah you’re right. We have to go back.”
“What?” Haru said in disbelief.
“We have to have saved them, Haru. We have to get them back.” Aang said.
Haru glanced at Katara. There was tears flowing freely now, not knowing what fate brought to her brother. Was he even alive?
“Your right, Aang. But how are we going to do that? They are Yu Yan Archers! They are Fire Nation, they are killers. We’re just kids!”
Aang looked at him, knowing that he was right. “I haven’t thought that far.” He admitted.
Toph sighed in frustration.
“Aang, do you think Sokka is okay?” Katara asked him.
“I really don’t know, Katara.” Aang said sadly.
The four friends waited, thinking of what to do.
Toph immediately sat up from the ground, making the other three look at her at alarmed. “What is it, Toph?”
“Someone is coming!” she said. Everyone got up, formed into a circle raising their hands ready to attack anyone that came near them.
“Well, well, look-y here!” declared a familiar voice from above.
Aang, Haru, Katara and Toph looked up, coming face to face with the former King of Omashu, Bumi who stood there his hands on his hips, grinning.
It has been three days.
Three days since Mai met the three nomad hippies, Chong, Lily and Moku. It also been three days since she tried so many times to get rid of them, but failed each time.
Ever since day one, she had tried to be nice to them asking them to leave her alone, but it didn’t work. Ever minute she wishes to kill them in a slow painful death. She cursed at them and even went as far as threaten to kill them in their sleep, but yet they still smile at her! And that cursed woman, Lily calls her, her sister for Spirits sakes!
But each day past as they follow her with their dancing and with their music, it became harder and harder not to like them. They were so full of life, full with such happiness, something she wasn’t used to in her life, which made her uneasy and yet she also welcomes the company they even her.
They never question her of where she comes from or anything remotely related to her people nor did they judge her when they saw signs of her being Fire Nation. When she asks them (through gritting teeth) of where they are headed, Chong replied “Where ever the wind takes us.” Whatever that means.
On the fourth day, Mai knew that she was close to Misty Palms Oasis, as she looked ahead of herself knowing that the next day or so they would be near Si Wong Desert (1). She knew that before her head any farther, she needed water, lots of it. She sighed as she looked behind herself. If the three nomads are coming with her there, they too need water. If the rumors were right about the cursed desert, they could die a painful death without any water. They didn’t name the desert “Desert of the Dead” for nothing.
Mai sighed, clutching Zuko’s letter from her pocket. Oh how she wish for him to with her right now. She hopes Fung was still there, as what Zuko had wrote. She hopes the Earth Kingdom man would be willing to her help her.
“So who’s the lucky man?” Mai heard Lily ask her.
“Who?” Mai asked her side glancing her.
“The man who holds the other side of your heart.” Lily said smiling at her.
“His name is Lee.” Mai said, hoping that Lily would buy it. She wasn’t really lying, it is Zuko’s name that he use when he traveling through the Earth Kingdom.
“Lee, a very common name.” she said. “A nick name perhaps?”
“Yes.” Mai said, not wanting to go any further on the matter.
Lily nodded. “He is a lucky man, for you love him enough for you to go to him when your home so far away.”
Mai suddenly felt uneasy. Does she know? Mai didn’t reply.
Lily smiled. “Come sister. Let us dance.”
Mai inwardly cursed under her breath.
(End of Chapter)
(1) Si Wong Desert: is the largest desert in the Avatar world. Is it inhabited by Sandbender tribes. It is located at the middle of the Earth Kingdom. “Si Wong” (死亡, /sǐ wáng/) means “to die” in Chinese. It also bears resemblance to the Sahara Desert, the largest desert in our World today.
Author’s Notes: to those that keep asking WHY the Duke seems to care for Zuko a lot, to me the Duke is just a child that is separated from Pipsqueak, the only family figure he had felt. Plus alone without the Freedom Fighters, he feels more alone then he ever felt since the Fire Nation killed his whole family. Plus learning that Zuko had in fact met Jet at one time (and hinted that they were somewhat friends in the past as well), strengthen their bond somewhat. To the Duke, Zuko is a mixture between Jet and Longshot, someone that would be like a brother figure mix with a father figure. The Duke feels connected to Zuko somehow. It’s not surprising, just like before him Jet himself had asked Zuko to join the Freedom Fighters before; maybe he too felt Zuko is important somehow.
You have to remember, the Duke IS eight (8) years old! And Zuko is turning 18 in my story; a year into manhood in the Fire Nation I will add. So yes, Zuko is old enough.
I find something very interesting that I would love to share with you all. I find out what the name “Azula” means: it means “blue” in Spanish BUT in Hindu for “demon”. In Hindu it is spelled “Asura” or “Azura” for the use of “demon” as being the meaning, but the name is NOT Hindu but the name is derived from a Hindu word. It is unknown where the name came from; expect it is the name of Azula in the Avatar world.
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