Set after episode “The Firebending Masters”. It’s dinner time after Zuko and Aang arrived back from the Sun Warriors’ temple. Aang, Sokka, Katara, Toph, Haru, the Duke & Teo wait for the ar...
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?
Hakoda woke up with a start, as he heard shouting beyond his cell door. He got up and ran to his door, peering his eyes though the small window. His eyes widen as he watched Bato, Tyro, and everyone else that aid him in the Invasion, tied together marching in a line out from the Prison.
Where are guards taking them? Execution? No!
Hakoda yelled out his friends’ names. All of them looked at him, just as Bato was about to speck to him, a Fire Nation guard slugged him in the gut. “Keep moving, Slim!” snarled the guard, pushing Bato onto the ground kicking him. “Get up!” as he roughly grabbed him by the throat, forcing him to stand.
“Let him go! Where are you taking them! Tell me!” Hakoda yelled. His yells went unheard, beside his troops.
Just then, the Warden of Boiling Rock, walked up to his cell door. His face was so close to his own, that Hakoda could smell the alcohol that the Warden drank few moments before. The Warden’s golden eyes was dark and cold, and as he smirked at him, his yellow teeth was shown in a cruel smile.
“Now, now.” the Warden said /nicely/. “No need for yelling.”
Hakoda spit on him.
The Warden was not pleased at all. With a snap of his figurers Hakoda’s cell door suddenly opened, as two other guards grabbed his arms and throw him onto the metal floor. The Warden whipping the spit off of his face with cloth that he kept in his belt.
The Warden kicked him.
Hakoda’s hissed, biting his lips refusing to cry out.
“Your friends are going in a little trip. As you, Hakoda of the Water Tribe, will stay here and rot.” The Warden turned to one guard. “Take him to the torture chamber.”
Hakoda’s eyes widen, as he felt hands roughly grabbed him. He tried to run, kick, do anything to brake free, but there was nothing that he could do. The guards’ iron grip was too strong. And where will he go? They are in an island on a boiling lack on a volcano in the middle of the sea. He is not water bender, he can not escape on his own. It is not time to do so.
Just as he was felt himself being dragged, before he turned the corner, something that he heard behind made his stomach turn.
“Sire, the /princess /is here.” one guard said. He spoke the word in uneasy.
Hakoda’s eyes widen? The Fire Nation princess is coming here? Why?
“Good. I will want to speck with her alone…” of how the Warden said it, Hakoda knew that it wasn’t good.
“Sir, where will her cell be?”
“I will take her there myself.”
As the guards and he turn the corner, the Warden out of sight, thoughts enter his mind. He is now alone in the Boiling Rock prison. His friends, his allies are now heading into a unknown fate.
And now, as he just learned; the Fire Nation princess is now too a prisoner, such as he. He wondered what the princess had done to deserve to be taken here. As what he was heard, the prince, not his sister was the traitor.
Something moved around his soul, a sickly feeling of fear over took him. Not from his fate of going to the torture chamber. No, it was the sickly thought that he didn’t know why he thought of it.
The Fire Lord is loosing his humanity.
Azula didn’t know how long it been since her father had ordered her imprisonment to Boiling Rock.
When she approached the prison ship, that the men dragged her to, they had forcedly strip her down to her undergarments and threw her into a small cell and locking it. Ever since then, no one ever came near her cell. Which she didn’t know if it was a good thing or not.
For all this time as she waited for her fate. She had been in the cell for what it seems like years, half naked in the cold, being forgotten. The moment that door opens, she will kill all of the thugs that dared to treat her, their princess as common traitor. She will kill them all, they deserve nothing but death. After that, she will escape this hell hole of a place. That was her plan. And it will work.
Hours later, the cell door finally opened with click.
/Azula looked up from her dark corner, the place where she waited, as two prison guards walked in. She jumped them, using her blue fire, she attack the guards with fiery cry, with murderous eyes.
“Ah!” the two guards screamed in surprised, as Azula landed on top of one, making the other fell down out from the cell and onto the hall.
The prison guard who was in the hall looked up in horror, shocked that the prisoner was so strong. Dazed he glanced at his fellow guard but yelped of what he witnessed.
Azula snapped the guard’s neck.
Just then, six guards came in, two of which helped the surviving guard up from the ground, as the other four tackled Azula.
“Get the fuck off me!” Azula bellowed at the guards. “Release me, you peasants!!”
“Someone get the drug!” one guard yelled.
“Oh my Spirits, she killed Zane!” yelled another.
Azula with all her might she fought against the guards, but there was too many of them. Within minutes the four guards pinned to her the ground. Someone pinched her nose, making her to open her mouth, as something was placed on her tongue.
She gagged and tried to split it out, but one guard force her mouth to closed and forced her to swallow, just as the guard pushed her down to the ground.
Azula knew what they drugged her, as her body started to shake. The drug that the given her was keep her weak, weak enough that it would be difficult to firebend and to escape, for a whole week.
“You will all pay.” Azula said looking at all the guards, trying to control her shaking.
Few laughed, as the others was unsure of what to do. This prisoner is their Nation‘s heir. When they had orders to take the heir to Boiling Rock, they thought the Fire Lord has finally lost his mind. They knew that the Princess will take her revenge, it was only a matter of time.
“We have orders Princess. You are our prisoner now.” one said stepping forward. He throw something at her. She catch it and looked at it; it was prisoner’s uniform. The shirt and pants was ragged, stained in blood, as if the former person that wore it before her was stabbed in the stomach. And looking at the stains, it seemed that the guards didn‘t care to wash it off after they dispose of the body.
“Put it on.” the guard ordered her. Azula glaring daggers at him. With no choice, she did.
Just as she finished dressing herself, two guards grabbed her by the arms and dragged her from her cell. Azula tried to fight back, but she was too weak to fight, only strong enough to walk. She hated herself of showing such weakness.
They led her down the ship’s halls. Azula then knew that they had arrived to Boiling Rock.
Fear started to claim her, but just as it started, Azula banished it, just as she was taught in from a young age. A true Fire Nation was trained to not show fear, for that was weakness.
They led her out from the ship, up the active volcano and into the gondola.
Azula looked around, as she sited on one side of the gondola. She was alone, guarded by guards. They didn’t recognized her, which she was somewhat grateful for. If the other prisoners find out about her being the Fire Nation princess they will kill her and with her drugged, she wouldn’t define herself
The gondola shriek with a sudden halt. The guards roughly grabbed her and let her out.
They made her kneel on the ground, as the Warden was seen walking up to her. As he approached, Azula can tell that there was lust in his eyes. A sudden dread over claim her.
“Well, well, well, Princess Azula. Don’t you look pretty.” the Warden said. Azula felt the two guard’s grip loosened from her shoulders. Where they shocked of who she is? “Take her to my quarters.” the Warden demeaned.
“But sire, she’s the Princess! You can not rape--”
“I have strict orders from the Fire Lord himself, that she must be punish of what I see fit. Do you question your loyalty?”
The young guard froze and was speechless.
“Take her to my quarters, Lieutenant.” the Warden hissed at the solider.
The Lieutenant straighten his back, his face shown with no emotion what so ever. “Sir, yes sir!” he yelled. He and the female guard led her down the hall, sealing her fate.*-
Mai sat in silence not touching her food that was in front of her as she looked up at a Song and her mother who too was watching her in silence.
They look at her in both concern and wonderment, when made Mai uneasy as she wasn’t used to be look at, beside Zuko. It made her feel like she was caged in a zoo.
“So…” Song began, trying to break the still silence. “How did you get hurt?”
“Song!” her mother snapped at her. “That is not polite to ask such a personal question.”
Mai slightly bite her lip, for she wasn’t used to talk during dinner. “It is alright, Lady--” Mai began, but stop short of not knowing Song’s mother’s name.
“You can just call me Aria (1),Mai.” Aria, Song’s mother smiled sweetly at her.
“Of course.” Mai said not knowing what to say. In the Fire Nation, it is dishonorable to not call the Lady of the household just only her given name, unless being of blood or being a close friend.
“So how did it happen?” Song asked her again, ignoring her mother‘s glare.
Mai took a deep breath. “I was attacked by five men. And one of them shot me.” she said flatly, not wanting to get into detail.
“Oh, that’s horrible.” Song said, knowing that Mai wouldn’t give her anymore info.
There was silence again, but it was cut short as a tea pot that was filled with water started to boil over. Song quickly got up and ran into the kitchen. Mai watched her, as what she saw startled her. Song’s left leg was covered by scars, similar scars that Zuko had over his eye.
Mai didn’t say anything, knowing full well of how she gotten it; the Fire Nation. And to many Earth and Water people only speak evil to her Nation, so she kept quiet about it.
Mai‘s eyes ever so slightly widen as something clicked at her mind in relation. Where was the Lord of the household? Judging of how sever Song’s scars on her leg, she was attacked by a firebender, not just an accident, and with no father around, it was possible that he was either killed or captured in a Fire Nation raid.
Song came back from the kitchen, taking the tea pot and sat it on the table. “Would you like some tea Mai?” She asked her.
Mai nodded. Song filled her cup and then her mother’s and then herself.
“My daughter tells me you will be leaving tomorrow morning? Why so soon?” Aria asked Mai.
“Yes, I’m leaving tomorrow. I need to get to the--” Mai answered her, but stopped.
“To where?” Song asked.
“A town in the middle of the Earth Kingdom. I forgot what its called.” Mai lied.
“How do you forgot what the city is called? Is it your near hometown?”
Mai shook her head. “No. I never been there before.”
“Then how do you know where to go?”
“A map?” Mai said, folding her arms. Song’s blush in embarrassment.
“At least stay for a couple more days.” Aria said. “You need more time to heal. If you go to your travels the stitches will tear apart.”
Mai shook her head. “I don’t need rest. I need to go as soon as possible.” her voice suddenly went cold, shocking the two women, who looked at her with wide eyes. “I only come here for healing. I need to get to my family.” she wasn’t really lying. Zuko is her soon-to-be husband, and when they marry, Iroh would part of her family.There was no room for arguments. It was final.
Early that following morning, Song came into the visitor rooms, walking pass Mai‘s room, seeing Mai putting on her clean clothes. At first she blushed in embarrassment, wanting to give her privately she was about to walk faster to pass by, but something caught her eyes that made her stop.
She peeked her head pass the doorway watching Mai put on her red shirt, in a weird looking style that she didn’t recognize, with an unusual insignia on the breast area; it wasn’t any earth kingdom symbol or water kingdom symbol that she knew of. And the Air Nation (beside the Avatar) are extinct. The only other nation was Fire Nation.
And not to mention it’s the only Nation that wears the color red.
Song’s gasp with widen fearful eyes. Mai was Fire Nation. Her and mother are in danger!
She watch as Mai quickly put her earth colored clock around herself as if hiding the fact that they were Fire Nation clothes, grabbing her belongs that she and her mother found on her ostrich-horse.
Without a second thought, Song’s ran towards to mother to tell her the ill news.
Mai knew Song was watching her.
But it was too late.
Before Mai could catch her, Song ran down the hall like a coward. ‘Stupid earth-dweller.’ Mai thought. She knew that needs to get out, now.
She quickly grabbed the rest of her belongings and went out of her room.
Just as she was about to step out from the house, she came face to face with Aria.
Aria stood in front of her, blocking the doorway towards the door. Aria wasn’t the tallest woman in the world, at least four inches shorter then Mai herself, but the look Aria was giving her, Mai then knew she was caught.
“My daughter tells me your are Fire Nation.” Aria said flatly.
Mai didn’t know what to say. Standing at her full height, she side her hands into her sleeves of where her shurikens (2) and other sharp knifes were hidden, ready to attack the woman if necessary, which she didn‘t want to do. Aria had helped her and attacking her is dishonorable in the Fire Nation.
“I know who you are” Aria continued. “Your name is Mai daughter of Zhong Governor of New Ozai. (3)”
There was no denying of what Aria knew. Would the woman attack her? Send her daughter to the Head of the village and kill her?
Mai folding her arms, sighed. It was just her luck that she gets found out. At times like this she wished she was with Azula, Ty Lee and Zuko.
“So, you found out finally.” Mai heard herself say. “What are you going to do? Kill me? Many tried and failed.”
Aria shook her head, rolling her eyes. “I help your kind time to time.” she hissed. “When Iroh and his nephew came over I knew who they were. Fucking bastards, of all I did for them they stole one of our ostrich-horse!”
Mai was taken back, slightly shocked that Aria was capable of swearing (for she couldn’t see the woman do so) and also the fact that she said ‘I help your kind…’. It made her reel like they were two different species.
“They never told me about that.” Mai said.
“It doesn’t matter.” Aria said. “Of what I want to know is what side are you on…”
Again Mai didn’t know what to say. Should she lie or tell the truth? “I’m on Zuko’s and Iroh’s side.” Mai answered flatly.
Something flashed through Aria’s eyes, that Mai didn’t know what it was.
Then Aria did something that shocked Mai. She moved from the hall, giving her a clear path to leave the house.
“Then leave in peace, Mai. If you see Iroh or that blasted nephew of his, tell them that they owe me a ostrich-horse!”
Mai smiled shaking her head. “I will tell them that.” she started to walk out, but then stopped. She turned towards Aria. “If anything happens to you or your daughter, go the town called Misty Palms Oasis. There you will find an old man name Fung (4)next to the Pai Sho table. Show him a white lotus tile and play him a game. He then will help you to safety from the War.”
Aria nodded, not knowing how a Pai Sho game can help her or Song, but she expected her advise (knowing little of the Fire Nation) and let her out.
Mai left the healer’s house, not looking back, heading to Misty Palms Oasis, the place where Zuko had marked her to go to find Fung, who in the previous time had helped him and Iroh, will help her get to the Headquarters.
It was late in the afternoon when Katara first woken up.
She yawned and stench to the heavens, slightly smiling. She then felt something clutch on her. The thing that was clutching onto her was warm, and it was comforting. She looked down and saw it was Aang.
‘So that was my pillow.’ Katara thought to herself, smiling at the memory last night, when she was cold as something came near her and given her warmth, which she grasp tightly through out the night.
But then something in her mind clicked. If Aang was here sleeping next to her, then who is leading Appa?
Her thoughts suddenly turned to Zuko in horror, as she whipped her head around and saw that he was not on the same spot that she last saw him. She then turned towards Appa’s head and found Zuko sitting on top of Appa’s head.
He was sitting his back turned from her, sitting there still as a statue.
Katara didn’t know what to do. Should she stand up, start yelling at him and in the progress wake everyone up? Or should she sit there let him lend them to their deaths?
“I know your awake.” Zuko said suddenly, making Katara to jump in surprised. Zuko turned to her, his golden eyes darkened when he saw it was Katara that was first to wake. “Please don’t wake the others. I rather enjoy the quiet.”
Katara didn’t know what to say. She then watch as Zuko went back facing ahead.
There was silence.
“How much longer until we get there?” Katara asked, as if showing him that she can also be civil.
Zuko then turned back to her, slightly shocked that she asked him that question in an almost civil fashion.
“A week or two.” he answered flatly.
“That’s nice.” Katara said.
They looked at each awkwardly.
“So, what are we going to do when we get there?” Katara asked him, slightly curious. She scold herself for it.
“We will seek the Dragons Masters.” Zuko said truthfully.
“The Dragons Masters are the greatest Firebenders of all Fire Nation. They are the Elders of our people. They will send word for us. To see if I have taught Aang worthily enough. If he does not pass then--” Zuko bite his lip.
Curiosity got a better of her. “Then what, Zuko?” she asked.
Zuko sighed. He really needs to keep his mouth shut. “I mean… If Aang fails their tests. It will not only show the he’s weak, but me as well. If he fails, then I failed not only him but to the World. If I don’t show them that I’m not weak, as my father told me countless times, then I will never become a Master.”
Katara was still. She never thought not one moment that Zuko would care about Aang or the World like that. Maybe just maybe, he might be on their side. She suddenly felt guilty about her actions towards the firebender.
“I think I oat to apologies to you--” Katara started to say.
Zuko then fully turned to her. Is she doing what he thinks she doing? “What?” he asked
“I’m sorry that I have been mean to you and--”
Zuko snorted. ‘Mean is only half of that.’ he thought to himself.
Katara glared at him.
“You know what I mean, Zuko. I may have apologies to you, but it doesn’t mean that I’ll stop watching you. You are still Fire Nation.”
Zuko knew that it was too good to be true.
“I accept your apology. Maybe someday you and I will see eye to eye.”
Zuko ignored her. “And perhaps, we can even duel each other like--friends.”
“You and I will never be friends.”
“Perhaps or perhaps not. Time will tell.”
Katara glared at him.
Zuko smirked. He turned back away from her.
There was nothing else to say to one another.
Within the hour, in Zuko displeasure, the whole group started to wake.
Aang jumped up into the air and landed next to him on Appa’s head. Zuko turned to him, not saying anything, glaring at the Avatar’s joyful smile that made his blood boil. ‘why must he be happy all the time?’ Zuko wondered.
“Thanks for taking over Zuko. I was so tired….” Aang started to say.
“Tired enough that we went the wrong way for gods knows how long?” Zuko asked.
Aang’s smiled turned to an apologetic look. “Sorry.” Aang said.
Zuko rolled his eyes, scowling to himself. He didn’t mean to hurt Aang’s feelings. But he will never admit it, specially in front of them.
“I was wondering. How can a person in the Fire Nation get the title Dragon before the War?”
At first Zuko stair at Aang for the longest moment before he spoke. “In the ancient times, people use to be tested by the Dragons themselves. If they passed then they would gain the title. Now there are so few of them, there has not been a Master that gained the title Dragon for almost 50 years.” Zuko said in sadness
“Oh.” Aang said.
“Yeah! Zuko what are you doing?!” a piercing yell broke the silence.
Zuko cringe at the Sokka’s voice.
“What does it look like? I’m driving.” Zuko hissed at him.
“You are not quified to drive!”
“Who says so?” Zuko asked him.
“Well your not my boss. So shut up.” Zuko said ignoring Sokka.
Sokka glared daggers at him.
“Don’t worry Sokka. I’ll watch him.” Aang said. He turned to Zuko. “Just ignore him.”
There was silence.
“I‘m bored.” the Duke said folding his arms.
“I’m hungry.” Sokka said.
Zuko rolled his eyes. He gave up his honor for this?
“Yeah, don’t worry!” Aang said happily. “We will stop in a hour or two.” he turned to Zuko. “right?” he asked in a whisper.
“When are we stopping?”
“We will stop at some miles from Omashu.” Zuko answered.
“Do you mean, New Ozai?” Aang asked him.
“Yeah.” Zuko said.
(End of Chapter)
(1) Aria: a female name meaning “song” or “melody’ in Italian. An aria is an elaborate vocal solo, the type usually performed in operas.
It is unknown of what’s Song’s mother or father’s name. Which I looked everywhere for it. So yeah, I figured it was a good name for her.
(2) Shuriken: in Japanese, lit: “sword hidden in the hand”. It’s a traditional Japanese concealed weapon that are generally used by shin obi no monor aka ninja (as they are commonly known as) throwing and sometimes stabbing or slashing. They are used in the Japanese martial arts called Shurikenjutsu.
Mai’s fighting style IS Shurikenjutsu for I looked it up.
(3) Zhong: both a female and male Chinese name meaning “loyalty” or “middle”.
It is unknown of the name of Mai’s parents. Only the name of her younger brother.
(4) Fung: is a member of the Order of the White Lotus who lives at the Misty Palms Oasis located at the Si Wong Desert. He a crafty, quick-witted old man who is loyal to his fellow White Lotus society members, regardless of what Nation they are from.
Fung is also the same man that help Iroh and Zuko in the episode “the Chase” from escaping Xin Fu and Master Yu, who wanted the collect the Fire Nation bounties.