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The Avatar and the Fire Nations Princess

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Chapter 1: The Birthday Gift

It was the morning of Azulas 8 birthday, on the steps to the Fire Nation Palace. Prince Ozai, his wife Princess Ursa and his two children Azula and her slightly older brother Zuko waiting patiently for an important delivery. Azula jumped up and down with excitement, because today she gets what she wanted for a very long time. Something that she has wanted for almost 3 years. Today she gets her own slave.

"Are they there yet?" Asked Azula, full of anticipation.

"It won't be too long Azula," her mother replied ruefully.

"I still think it's a stupid idea to get a slave." Zuko replies regretfully.

"Nobody asked for your opinion!" Shouted his father Ozai, whereupon Zuko flinched away. Zuko looked at the floor and said nothing.

“I definitely want a slave who is smaller than me, maybe the same age. But I still don't know what to do with him first? "Said Azula with a tense expression on her face." Maybe I'll give him a punch in the stomach as greeting so he knows who has the upper hand. Or maybe I let him carry me around and every time he gets too slow I light his butt on. Or better yet, I burn his feet, and every time they heal I burn them again. "While Azula explains her plan, what she will do first, she lets out a crazy laugh.

Zuko couldn't help himself and took a step to the side, away from his sister.

Meanwhile, an armored carriage with half a dozen guards around it drove down the path to the foot of the steps and stopped a few yards in front of the feets from the royal family.

A man in his early thirties got out of the carriage wearing a well-groomed suit.

The man bowed to the future Fire Lord. "Greetings Prince Ozai, my name is Hiroshi Sato, I am the leader of our slave compound. We are here to bring you your slave. ”Hiroshi said it in a submissive tone.

Ozai greeted him incidentally and replied "Now that the formalities are behind us, I would like to choose a slave."

Hiroshi bows and gave the order to the nearest guard to line up the slaves from the carriage. The guard bows and does as he was told.

The guard pounded loudly on the armored carriages door, then a guard from the other side of the carriage opened the door and pulled on a long chain. The chain ran around the waist of the tethered slaves. It were six childrens from the Water tribe all tied to the chain.

Every child wore dirty and battered rags as clothing, but what stood out were the heavy handcuffs that every child wears on their hands and feet. The children are between 8 and 10 years old. All children look emaciated and fragile and look like they have not slept in at least 3 days.

Each of these children had a blank expression on their faces, as if they had given up hope.

The sight of the children breaks Ursa’s heart, she couldn't stand the sight and apologized with the excuse, “I'm really sorry, but I forgot something in our room.” Ursa bowed and went up the stairs to the Palace.

Azula anxiously asked her father "can I choose one now?!"

Ozai smiled maliciously and replied, "Feel free to choose anyone you like." Azula jumped up.

She ran over to the tightly chained children and examined each one.

Zuko looked away in disgust.

The first child Azula examined was a somewhat longer boy with black unkempt hair, probably 10 years old, but not clearly recognizable due to malnutrition. Azula judges "too big." And went to the next one.

The second child was a 9 year old girl with a bandaged leg. She was the same size as Azula, with long brown hair tied in a braid. Azula judges "too crippled."

The third and fourth children are identical twins, a boy and a girl, both believed to be 8 years old with short tousled hair. Both slightly smaller than Azula. Azula smiled slyly and started looking at both of them until the twins had tasks and looked away fearfully. Azula grinned maliciously and said, "I would like to pick you two, but unfortunately Dad only allowed me one slave." So she went to the next child.

The fifth child was a 10 year old girl with hair so long that it covered more than half of her face. The girl looked fragile and was a little taller than Azula, but that wasn't what Azula bothered "why should I choose a slave if I can't even see the pain in his expression?" After the verdict, she turns to the last child .

When her gaze met the eyes of the last girl in line, the sight almost took her breath away. It was a girl with light blue eyes a few inches shorter than Azula, and her long brown hair was tied in three braids, one on each side of her face and a wolf tail on the back of her head. Azula thought it looked kind of cool, but she would never say that out loud.

Azulas examines her from head to toe, apart from the fact that the girl looked a bit scared she had nothing to complain about. Azula circles the girl and asks her maliciously "What's your name slave?"

The girl replies in a low voice, "M-my name is K... Korra."

After Azula heard the sound of her voice, she didn't know why, but she knew she must have Korra.

"Congratulations Korra," as Azula says these words, she turns away and proclaims, "You will be my personal slave."

"B-but..." Korra stammered before she got a hard hit in the stomach that almost stole her breathe, followed by a hard slap to the face whereupon Korra fell to the ground.

"First rule," began Azula, raising a finger, "you only talk when I allow you."

Korra held her cheek while trying to hold back her tears and nodded. She now moved to a sitting position, whereupon she gets a painful kick in the back. Korra lets a scream of pain out.

“The second rule,” Azula now holds up two fingers, “you don't sit down until I allow you. So get up. "

Korra stands on shaky legs, her eyes down and nodded.

Azula turns to her father with a smile, points her finger at a trembling Korra and says "I want this one."

"Very well, daughter," answered Ozai, while he turned to Hiroshi, "we have made our decision."

Hiroshi orders his men to loosen Korra's chains from the other children.

The children tried to plead with the guards to prevent them from taking one of their friends, since everyone knows what is expected of a slave when he is sent to a new master. And they could hardly imagine the horror that is expected of their friend when they are brought to the palace of the Fire Lord.

The guards ignored the supplications, removed the chain that was attached to the other children and put a collar around Korra's neck and a leash on the collar, which they in turn gave to Hiroshi.

Hiroshi Sato hands the leash that are attached to Korra's neck to Prinz Ozai, he bows and says, "I'm glad you made your choice, please consider this slave as a token of my honor." Whereupon Ozai nodded and accepted the leash.

He in turn handed the leash over to his daughter and says "here your slave don't break it on your first day." Whereupon Korra swallowed fearfully and Azula accepted the leash with a smile.

"We will have so much fun together,” smiled Azula evilly. Korra only shivered at this thought, as a Fire Nation princess barely older than herself, takes her life into her hands.

Meanwhile, Zuko couldn't help but take a closer look at the new slave. His first thought was 'I'm already sorry for her' on closer inspection, his second thought was 'She's pretty cute'.

The guards meanwhile load the carriage with the rest of the children.

Before Hiroshi got into the carriage, he gave Ozai one last piece of advice, "I'm sure you already know that, but don't forget that even though she's still a child, she's still a waterbender."

Ozai, arrogant as he is, laughs with contempt at this warning and says "I don't think we will have a problem with it, especially when my daughter is through with this worthless scrap." With this sentence Ozai turned around and left up to the palace steps.

Hiroshi Sato bowed one last time and drove away with his carriage and his men.

Azula jumped on Korra's back, Korra barely standing on her feet, while Korra's legs wiggled Azula shouted “Forward! Water tribe rat! "

Before Korra could even take a single step, she fell face first and with Azula still on her back, on the floor.

Azula, although unscathed, angrily pulls the leash and chokes Korra. "You worthless, stupid thing, I didn't even have you for 1 minute and I almost died because of you."

Korra, with her hands on the collar, is desperately trying to get air in her lungs. She tries hard to apologize "I-I... I... I'm s... sorry..." This statement only made Azula angrier so much that she pulled the leash even harder, so that Korras Back arched backwards.

Azula leaned down to Korras ear and whispered "You broke the first rule again," Korra couldn't concentrate on the threat because she hardly gets any air in her system. "Take this as your first warning, if you disappoint me or break the rules again I will kill you." With this warning she let go of the leash abruptly so that Korra falls back to the ground. Korra wasted no time and inhaled greedily the air.

Azula smiled happily and said in an almost sugar-sweet voice "Now that you have understood the rules, get up and take me to my room."

Before Korra could ask where Azula's room was, she remembered the first rule, with this knowledge, she struggled back on her feet with shaky legs and Azula still sitting on her back.

While Korra tries to go up the stairs, Zuko sees this scene in front of him and feels as if he has got Korra's chains. There is nothing he can do for her in due time without drawing his father's wrath upon him.

He would like to loosen Korra's chains and get her as far away as he can, but he is afraid of the consequences that should await him if he really put it into practice. He averted his gaze from them and ran past them to his room so that he no longer has to watch the torture of the poor girl.

Although Azula loves to run after her brother and annoy him, she got a new toy that she has so many plans with.

While Korra makes her way to Azula's room with great difficulty, Azula can't imagine anything else than what she could do with Korra. With a malicious smile, the only question left in her head is 'what should I start with?'

Chapter Text

Chapter 2: Mixed Feelings

It has been three days since Korra was handed to Azula, and each new day is a new personal hell for her.

The third day is almost over. It was evening and the family members went to their respective rooms.

Azula happily walked the hallways, with an exhausted and beat up Korra in tow.

Korra almost lost her balance when Azula pulled the leash slightly. "Faster slave!" Azula shouted as Korra's progress slowed down.

Korra hadn't even been to the Fire Nations Palace for a week and her life was already a living nightmare. Not only is she forbidden to talk, eat, and rest, every time Azula is bored or upset, she would either set Korra’s feets on fire, slap her face, or punch her in the stomach or face, but that were the harmless punishments.

The worst punishment was the collar that she has to wear every day. At the request of Princess Ursa, she is rid of the chains that she wore on her hands and feets, but the scars where she wore the chains she will have to wear them for the rest of her life. It will be a constant reminder of her position as Slave.

But despite all of this, she can't bring herself to hate Azula for it. Korra hates the Fire Nation. The Fire Nation took everything from her before she was even born.

The first time she met Azula, she lost herself in her golden eyes. And despite all the blows she receives, she can stand Azula.

The two went through the door to Azula's room and like in the past three days, the first thing Korra saw was a huge, comfortable-looking bed in which she would like to just step on it and sleep, but that was an unattainable dream, at least in her current situation.

Azula's room was at least 20 times larger than her old cell in the slave compound. In her room there was a desk with a mirror, a large closet with more clothes in it than Korra has ever worn in her life, and another door that leads to Azula's personal bathroom.

Azula, like every evening, pushes Korra harshly to the floor and pulls her across the room until she reaches a certain point on the wall. The spot is across from her bed. She ties the chain to a hook on the wall so that Korra is tied up until the next morning.

Korra had a blank expression on her face, she tried to defend herself with words the first evening, but that only got her a painful blow in the stomach. She's just waiting for her Mistress to go to bed and finally fall asleep so that she has at least a few minutes for herself.

Azula examines her work and nodded calmly. "Another day is over now, do you have anything to say before the next day begins?" Azula asked with a devious grin.

Korra replied with a gentle smile and a gloomy look, "Only that I wish you a good night's sleep, Mistress."

When Azula heard these words she was initially shocked, but that didn't last long when she gave Korra another painful slap in her face. Korra fell to the floor, holding her cheek, and looked up at Azula with fear in her eyes.

Azula gnashed her teeth and looked down at Korra and yelled "Do you think this kindness would bring you less beatings?!"

Holding hands in front of her head, Korra replies "N-no, my ... a...Aunt always told me that ... everyone should wish everyone a good night, as nobody knows what the next day will bring ..." after her aunt's wisdom leaves her mouth, she ducks her head out of fear that she will be punished again.

But nothing came.

Korra put her arms down and looked up, she only saw how Azula turns to her bathroom and close the door behind her. Korra lets out a breath, not knowing that she was holding her breath.

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In the bathroom, Azula splashes water on her face and, while she sees herself in the mirror, just asks herself 'why didn't I burn her face as a punishment'. But just at the thought of burning her face she got a strange feeling, as if something is telling her that it‘s wrong.

Azula shakes her head to get rid of her thoughts, then she changes her clothes to her nightgown.

Leaving the bathroom, she saw Korra instantly jump up and stand up stiffly, probably hoping inwardly that Azula didn't realize she had broken the second rule.

Azula ignores her and says without turning around "Don't fall asleep before I allow you, you know what happens if you don't follow my orders." With this warning she went to her bed and lay down on her back.

Korra can do nothing else than watch as Azula cover herself warmly in a comfy looking blanket and slowly fall asleep.

Korra would like to lie down and fall asleep, but she knows what will happen to her if she falls asleep without permission. So she waited patiently in case Azula is still awake and finally allows her.

A whole hour passed before Korra had the courage and quietly sat down.

Korra stared at her sleeping Mistress from her position, wondering what it would be like to sleep in a cozy, warm bed. Just at the thought, her eyelids get heavier and heavier, she practically struggles to stay awake, but without success. After what felt like an eternity, she gave up and fell asleep, not knowing that Azula was secretly watching her.

Usually Azula wouldn't hesitate to jump up and give Korra a beating for her disobedience. But this time she could only watch while she slowly fell asleep with a smile on her face.

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The next morning, Korra was awakened by a ray of sunlight hitting her closed eyelids. She twitched slightly and finally opened her eyes. A few seconds after seeing Azula in bed, she remembered where she is and jerked to her feet with a tense, fearful expression. Praying that Azula didn't catch her sleeping.

Almost an hour passes before Azula slowly woke up and rubs her eyes. She turns her head to Korra's position and asks "Have you been up all night?" Knowing that she was sleeping a little. Before Korra could even give an answer, she said, "Good, as a reward you can sit down until I'm finished in the bathroom."

Korra was amazed that was the nicest gesture Azula has ever made for her. She had tears in her eyes as she slowly sat down and said "Thank you very much, mistress."

Azula had mixed feelings after this sentence, the first was a kind of guilty feeling about the tears, the second was like butterflies in her stomach, the third was a kind of aversion to the word 'mistress'.

Azula got out of bed and said "Don't think too much about it." and disappeared into the bathroom.

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As Azula disappeared through the door, one of the servants came through the room door that leads to the hall with a tray full of food.

He sweeps his gaze around the room until he stops at Korra.

He asks in a sullen voice "Where is the princess?"

Korra points to the door and says "She is in the bathroom."

The servant hands somehow to harsh the tray to Korra and says in a murderous voice “This is for the princess and only for the princess! You are welcome to eat the leftovers the princess leaves. "

“But why here? Shouldn't she have the breakfast with her family? ”Korra asked in her reserved manner.

"Usually, yes, but Fire Lord Azulon has called a meeting early this evening for his whole family, where he will make his first decision for his successor."

Korra just nodded and asks "should I tell it to the princess?"

"That won't be necessary, there is a scroll on the tray." With these last words the servant left the room and left Korra alone with a full tray.

Korra looks down at the tray and regrets it at once. There is more food on the tray than she would get in a month at the slave compound. Her mouth watered, but she refuses to take any of it, not out of fear but because she thinks stealing is wrong, no matter what kind of theft. So she waits sitting until her mistress comes out of the bathroom.

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Alone in the bathroom, Azula slides to the floor, leaning her back against the door, saying to herself, “Why? Why did I spare her? Why do I feel so strange every time I hurt her? Why isn't she angry with me? "And the most important question she has asked herself since day one:" Why can't I take my eyes off of her eyes? "

Tormenting with these questions, she went to the sink, washed her teeth and face, and went back to her room.

There she saw Korra waiting for her with a tray.

Korra stands up slowly so as not to spill anything, and presents the tray to Azula.

The first thing she saw was a scroll. She took it and broke the wax seal. She read the contents carefully before crumpling the scroll up and throwing it in the trash. Then she went to the wall and loosened Korra's leash from the wall.

"What are you waiting for?" Asked Azula, taking a seat at her table. "Put the food on the table."

Korra immediately set the tray down on the table and took two steps behind Azula, as she would normally do at the family's large dining table.

Azula immediately started to eat.

Azula took such a big breakfast for granted, but not Korra. On a good day she would get an old roll and the usual leftovers of the guards who guarded her and the other slaves.

Korra looks everywhere but not to the food, worried that her hunger will get worse.

Azula calmly eats her breakfast, not noticing how Korra's stomach growls. Korra meanwhile holds her stomach to stop the growling.

After what felt like an eternity, Azula wiped her mouth with a napkin and said the words Korra has been waiting for since the previous afternoon. "You have a minute to eat the leftovers. Everything that is left over at the end of the time will be thrown away. With these words she put the tray down on the floor and got up. Then she went to her closet, where she changed her nightgown to her everyday clothes.

Korra meanwhile, without losing a second, immediately pounces on the leftovers. The leftovers were chewed off, tiny and smeared, but Korra didn't care. She ravenous ate all leftovers, before the minute was up. Just before the end she saw something she had never seen before, a fresh, untouched bun. Without thinking she took the roll, she had tears in the eyes after the first bite, because that was the first time she ever ate a fresh one.

Azula meanwhile got dressed, she was wearing her standard clothes. She turned around and the expression on Korra's face reflected in the mirror hit her right in the heart. Korra had tears in her eyes, whereupon Azula just wanted to hug her and whisper softly in her ear 'everything will be fine, I'm here for you.' But she couldn't do that so she said in her neutral voice, 'stop it, it's just a bun."

With tears in her eyes and a smile on her face, she turns to Azula and says in a happy voice "I'm sorry mistress, but this is the first time I've ever eaten a fresh one."

This phrase hit Azula unexpectedly. She had a dumbfound expression on her face. Instead of yelling at Korra as usual or hitting her, she said, while she takes Korra‘s leash "Pick up the tray, my friends will come over later and I don't want to keep them waiting."

The two left the room and handed the tray to the same servant that brought it. Then they made their way to the Royal Garden.

Chapter Text

Chapter 3: Target Practice

Later in the early afternoon, Azula's friends gathered in the Royal Garden. A girl with a smile on her face, pink clothes and long hair, tied in a braid. The other girl had a blank, bored expression on her face, in fiery red clothes.

When the girl in Pink saw how Azula walks to them, she happily somersault forward and stopped in front of Azula's face.

“There you are, Mai and I have been wondering if you will show up.“ The girl in pink says in an excited voice.

Mai just shrugs her shoulders and only replies with a "Meh"

Azula turns her head to the black haired girl, nods and says "Mai" then turns her gaze to the girl in pink and says "Ty Lee".

Ty Lee was just about to suggest some activities to do during the day when she noticed an unfamiliar figure behind Azula.

Ty Lee walks behind Azula and circled, with a happy grin, around Korra. She looks Korra up and down.

Korra feels uncomfortable as she is circled and examined.

Ty Lee came to a stop behind Korra and asks "Who is this?"

Azula replies with a fist on her chest and a proud smile, "This is Korra, my personal slave."

Ty Lee immediately jumped up and immediately started bombarding Korra with questions, "So you are a slave? What's it like to be a slave? Do you know other slaves? How many masters have you served? Aren't you too young to be a slave? How old are you actually? ”With each question, Ty Lee moved closer and closer to Korra's face, so that Korra has to arch her back.

Sweat drops came from Korra's forehead while she confused, tried to understand what was going on. Before she even could answer a single question, Ty Lee was pulled away from Korra. Mai approaches and examines her, much like Ty Lee. Then she says in her sullen voice “So you've finally got a slave?” Mai took harshly Korra's face in her hand without permission and took a closer look at her.

Mai turns Korra's face in all directions and judges "Well, she doesn't look like much, but at least we have a new punching bag." With these words she let go of her face, then she slapped Korra’s face.

Ty Lee was shocked to see such a behavior from her friend “what's your problem?!” she says a little too loudly.

Whereupon Mai shrugs her shoulders and replies "I'm bored and she doesn't look like it bothered her."

Korra meanwhile holds her cheek in pain.

Even if Azula wouldn't publicly admit it, the sight of it made even her angry. Since she doesn't want to admit it, she decides, "Enough with the fooling, we still have plans for the day."

Then, with Korra on the leash, she went ahead to the center of the Royal Garden.
Ty Lee not far behind. Mai looks bored after them and collected her book from the floor and followed them.

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Zuko and his mother came through a different entrance to the Royal Garden. Then he saw how Mai gave Korra a painful slap to the face. He clenched his teeth at the sight. He would like to go to Azula and her friends and free Korra from their violence, but he was afraid to appear weak in the eyes of his sister and her friends. Because of this reason he continues his walk with his mother to the pond to feed the turtleducks.

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Some time later, in the late afternoon, Ty Lee is teaching Azula how to do fast somersaults. On her first attempt, she landed on her butt while Ty Lee is doing perfect somersault with a nearly perfect landing, Azula kicked her feet off and laughed at her.

After Azula finished laughing, she helped Ty Lee to her feet. Ty Lee took it in humor.

While Korra is tied to a tree, she holds up a parasol so that Mai can read her book without being blinded by the sun.

As Mai finished her chapter, she closed her book and asks, bored, "How about we do something exciting?"

When Azula and Ty Lee are ready for another lesson in acrobatics, they stared at each other in the eye until Ty Lee asks "What were you thinking of?"

Mai thought for a moment until her eyes stop at Korra and on a apple tree. She had a sinister smile on her face and announced "Let's do target practice."

With a raised eyebrow, Azula says, "Are you sure?" Mai’s answer was a nod. "As you like." Azula turns her gaze to Korra and orders her "Go into the kitchen and get us all the empty cans that you can find."

When Korra tried to give her consent, Mai said with a terrifying voice, "That won't be necessary. I was thinking of a different kind of target practice. "Azula and Ty Lee just looked at each other questioningly, while Korra has a queasy feeling in her stomach.

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The four girls went near the well. Mai dragged Korra in front of the well and turned Korra wir her back to the well.

"Are you sure this is safe?" Asked Ty Lee as Mai puts an apple on Korra's head.

"Yes, pretty much," said Mai as she took a throwing knife out of her pocket and tossed it up and down. Korra broke out in sweat when she saw the sharp knife, she was in panic and would like to run away if her legs didn't feel like jelly.

Azula searches the front yard, hoping somehow to prevent the inevitable. She saw how her mother went with a servant back to the palace, she followed the path her mother took and saw Zuko sitting alone by the pond. A thought occurred to her straight away.

"Wait!" Shouted Azula as Mai was about to throw the knife. She saw Mai‘s angry expression on her face and Korra as she calmed her heart down. She saw Korra how she slowly inhale and exhale.

"What's wrong, I was just about to throw a knife," Mai said with a bored look

"Well, I thought it would be funnier with Zuzu." Azula replies with a malicious smile.

Mai‘s cheeks flushed slightly as she turned away. Azula seized the opportunity and ran to her brother, knowing that if anything should happen, he wouldn't hesitate to help Korra.

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Meanwhile, Zuko continues to feed the Turtleducks when his mother was called away. Until he heard the name he hated the most "Hey Zuzu!"

Zuko looks sullenly in the direction of his sister. "What do you want Azula?" Asks Zuko.

Azula stares at her fingernails and replied nastily, "Besides annoying you? Me and the girls are doing target practice, and I wanted to ask if you would like to take part?"

Zuko asks more out of curiosity than interest, "What target exercises have you been thinking about?"

Azula points with her thumb in the direction of her friends and slave "We were thinking of shooting apples off the Water tribes head."

Zuko immediately jumped up and shouted "Are you crazy?!"

Azula shrugs her shoulders calmly and replies, “At least not me. It was Mai‘s idea."

Zuko blushed for a second before he realized what they were up to. "You can't use a child as a target!"

“She is not a child, she is a slave! My slave!” Not knowing who she is trying to convince. "And if you don't want to join in, it's your problem." Azula turns around as she anticipated, waits for Zuko's answer.

Zuko gave up and says "All right, I'll come with you, but please don't burn her body or face."

Azula smiles and replies "Don't worry, I want to keep her for at least a week before I start to burn her badly." With this sentence she went back to her friends, while she was followed by Zuko.

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Mai places an apple on Korra’s head again and asks the group "Who wants to go first?"

This question makes Ty Lee shudder. She moves to the side and announces "I'm not going to take part."

"That’s my slave, I will go first." Says Azula as she prepares to bend fire.

Korra stood there petrified and gulped in fear. She prays that she will hit the apple and not her.

Azula fires a small fireball and hits the apple off Korra’s head. The apple falls into the well behind Korra.

Korra let out a long breath in relief. A stone fell from her heart.

"That was too easy." May announced. She points to a place further away “Let's make it a little more exciting. Let's go 10 meters further in that direction and fire from there. "

Not waiting for an answer, she took 5 apples from the apple tree. Mai places an apple each on Korra’s outstretched palms, and on her shoulders and the last one on her head. “Woe to you when you move.” May threatened.

Korra just gulped in response.

Mai, Zuko and Azula went to the new spot, Mai announced “This time I'll start.” Without warning, she took a throwing knife and threw it in Korra’s direction.

The knife hit the apple in her left palm. Korra doesn't know whether to be relieved or panicked. On the one hand the knife caught the apple, on the other hand there are 4 more apples.

Azula doesn't lose a second and follows with another fireball. She hits the apple on the right palm.

3 are left.

Zuko considers whether or not to participate. He's on target, but still fears he might accidentally hit Korra. Without taking a risk, he fires a small fireball half a meter to the left of Korra. He just hits the water in the well.

Azula and Mai laughed at him. Azula says spitefully “were you serious? How can you shoot so badly? ”Azula laughs at him, but she was secretly very grateful. While Zuko is an accurate firebender, he has problems with range.

"That's how you do it!" Shouted Mai as she throws another knife in Korra’s direction. It hit the apple on the right shoulder.

2 apples are left.

'Please hurry up,' Korra says inwardly.

"Was that all you can?" Scoffs Azula as she shot the apple from Korra’s head with another targeted fireball.

Only 1 apple left.

When Mai took out another knife, she got an idea. She smiled darkly and threw the knife.

The knife flew in the direction of the apple. However, Mai did not aim for the apple, but at Korra's left shoulder.

The knife pierces Korra's shoulder. Korra fell back into the well and let out a weeping scream followed by a ‚splash‘

Azula and Zuko ran in Korra’s direction at the same time, both with a panicked look.

While Ty Lee was shocked at the sight. She went straight to Mai‘s direction and asked “Are you totally crazy?! Don't you worry about her?! What if she loses her arm thanks to you?! "

Mai replied with a shrug, "I'm just worried about my knife." Ty Lee couldn't believe what she was hearing and ran after Azula and Zuko.

Korra lay bleeding in the well. She pulled the knife from her shoulder and pressed her right hand on her bleeding shoulder. She couldn't think clearly because of the pain, she bends the water from the well to her shoulder.

Azula was the first to arrive at the well. She took a handkerchief out of her pocket and was about to press it onto Korra’s wound when she saw what Korra was doing.

Azula couldn't believe her eyes. She was almost speechless about what she saw, the water on Korra’s shoulder glows for a few seconds until she takes her hand off her shoulder. There is no longer an open wound to be seen, only a fine, little scar where the knife was previously.

Azula remembers where she was as she heard footsteps behind her. She took the handkerchief and quickly tied it around Korra’s shoulder. Azula helps Korra up, who is still holding her eyes closed in pain. Meanwhile, Zuko and Ty Lee have arrived behind Azula.

Without hesitation, Zuko asks, "How are you Korra?" While Ty Lee examines Korra's shoulder.

“She is fine.“ Azula replied for Korra, who still has tears in her eyes. „That’s not even a scratch.“

“Not even a scratch?!” asks Zuko angrily, while his fists tremble. "What's wrong with you?! She was stabbed with a knife! She needs a healer! "

"I'm not the one who threw the knife."

"But you didn't prevent it either!"

Azula fake sighed, "All right, I'll take her right away to the palace healer."

However before Azula could even grab the leash, her mother came back to the front yard with a scroll and announced, "Children’s a letter has arrived from your uncle."

It was unusual for them to receive a letter from their uncle in such a short time. They only received a letter with gifts 5 days ago. Zuko got an engraved knife that he always carries with him, while Azula got a doll that she immediately set on fire.

Azula and Zuko stared at each other, they know something was wrong.

Azula turns to Ty Lee and asks her, "Can you take Korra to the healer?"

Ty Lee nodded with a slight smile. She took Korra’s leash and leads her to the opposite entrance.

Mai saw the scene play out before her eyes. Azula and Zuko went with their mother to a bench to read a letter while Ty Lee takes Korra to the healer.

Mai didn't know how to react until she got a thought. She had a devious grin and went after Ty Lee and the slave.

———————————————————

Ursa breaks the wax seal, and when she read the scroll, tears came directly to her.

"Your cousin Lu Ten is dead." Said Ursa sadly to her children’s.

Azula and Zuko didn't know what to do. Their mouths opened and closed, but not a word comes out.

Chapter Text

Chapter 4: A Mother’s Request

Time flew by after they received the sad news about their cousin.

It was the evening after the meeting with their grandfather Fire Lord Azulon.

Azula left Zuko's room, she was supposed to cheer him up, but it ended up with her teasing him.

Azula walked down the hall, without her slave, to her room.

When she arrives in her room, she sees Korra sitting on the floor crying.

Azula wasn't in the mood for more tears, so she slams the door loudly behind her.

Korra was startled by the loud bang and immediately jumped up. She turns in the direction of her mistress, while bowing she says "Sorry Mistress, I didn't mean to break the second rule."

"Now you've broken the first rule too," said Azula. Korra winces, she knows what will follow next. Azula was about to strike a hard blow when she noticed something on Korra. "Where did you get the black eye?"

Korra raised her hand to her right eye, she turned her gaze to Azula and told her, "Well... your friend with the knives paid me a visit after I was looking for a way back to your room. She was angry that her knife got dirty and beat me up as a punishment..."

Azula doesn't know how she should feel, if she takes a closer look at Korra, she can still see some blood on her upper lip and a few bruises on her face. So she asks the first question that comes to her mind "Why didn't you go back to the healer?"

Korra closed her eyes and recounted the incident. “The healer did not treat me at all, after your friend Ty Lee dropped me off at his place, he told me that he would never treat someone like me. Then he threw me out of his door. "

Azula was angry, angry with the Healer, angry with Mai, and especially angry with herself. She should have stopped the target practice from the beginning.

"Answer the following question and I'll forget that you broke the first and second rule." Korra nodded. "When I saw you lying in the well earlier, you were waterbending, why did the water glow on your shoulder, and why has your wound healed up?"

Korra lets out a breath “So you saw that? Then it probably makes no sense to branch over it. I unconsciously healed my wound with waterbending. "

Azulas eyes almost bulged out "you can heal injuries with water?"

Korra rubs her neck and explains, "Well not any kind of injury, but yes."

Azula intrigued by Korra’s waterbending ability says "What are you waiting for? Show me how you do that."

Korra rubs her upper arms when she replies to timid, "I need some water."

Azula rolls her eyes. She took Korra by the leash and led her into the bathroom. Azula took some water from the sink and splashed it on Korra’s face.

Korra gives a slight start and stares at Azula questioningly.

"What are you waiting for? You have some water, now show me how you can use it to heal your face."

Korra was amazed, she thought that Azula was going to stab her other shoulder or even want to cause severe burns. However, she never thought that Azula would let her heal her face.

Without asking any further questions, Korra collected all the water from her face and began to make small circular movements over her face. Like with the fountains water, the water began to glow.

Azula was speechless again, watching the injuries on Korra’s face heal.

The water has stopped glowing and Korra bend it back to the sink.

Korra closes her eyes and smiles cheerfully at Azula. Azula blushes slightly and blinks a few times until she asks "from where did you learn that?“

Korra stares sadly at the floor and replies, “My aunt taught me in the slave compound. And every time I or one of the other slaves were badly injured, she would secretly heal us."

Korra's tone became pretty sad, as if something bad had happened.

Korra closed her eyes as if remembering something long past, but she didn’t elaborate on what it might be.

Since Azula didn't know how to answer, she says instead "It's late and I'm tired, it's time to go to sleep."

She took Korra’s leash and led her to the usual place on the wall, where she tied the leash.

Azula turns to the closet and asks "Before I get ready for bed, is there anything else you want to tell me?"

Korra looked to the side, there was something that she really wanted to tell her, something that she was dying to tell her. But she couldn't tell Azula, at least not yet.

Korra thinks back.

———————————————————

2 hours earlier

Korra just recently received a beating, from Mai. And has been looking for Azula's room for the last 3 hours. Every time she meets a guard or a servant, she asks for directions. The guards would always come back with the same answer, a kick in the back.
The servants would either ignore her or send her in the wrong direction.

In the end, Korra succeeded in a huge room. Then sweat flows from her forehead.

At the far end of the room there was a long pedestal that practically stood in flames. The Fire Lord sat on a throne. 4 people sat in front of the pedestal,
Prince Ozai, Princess Ursa, Prince Zuko and Princess Azula.

'That must be the meeting that was planned for today,' Korra thinks to herself as she sees the scene in front of her.

Korra panicked and hid behind the next pillar.

From there she saw everything.

How Prince Ozai flatters his father. How he tries to portray his own brother like a failure. And how he brags about his daughter's achievements and abilities.

While Azula is giving a demonstration of her firebending skills, Korra lost herself in her performance.

Korra was intrigued by the sight of Azula, her grace, her elegance and the controlled strength that lies behind her firebending skills. Then Korra whispers one word "Beautiful."

After the performance, Zuko gave a lumpy performance that was the exact opposite of Azula's performance.

After the performances and some other flattery, Ursa and her children were sent away so that Ozai could talk to his father in private.

Korra thinks about whether she should go too, but she wanted to know what the Fire Lord has to say, so she moves to a nearer pillar.

After some back and forth, the Fire Lord demanded that Ozai sacrifice one of his children to prove his submission and to be considered as a successor.
To which Ozai replies darkly, "As you wish, father, my son as proof for my loyalty."

The Fire Lord laughed darkly. “You don't think your son has any value as a sacrifice.” Ozai stares at him quizzically “I want you to sacrifice your daughter. She has the skills of a Firebending Master and the potential to be a great danger to me. "

"Kill her and you have proven your loyalty."

Ozai was amazed and speechless, he hadn't planned to kill his daughter. His son was pathetic and expendable for him. However, his daughter had made him proud, but nevertheless he made the only decision that is important to him. "As you wish father, my daughter as proof for my loyalty."

Korra couldn't believe her eyes and ears. The Fire Lord ordered the murder of his niece, and his son cold hearted agreed.

Korra got sick, 'I have to get out of here and warn Azula,' Korra thinks to herself.

Azula torments her, but according to Korra’s opinion she doesn't deserve to be killed.

But before that she has to find a way out of the room unnoticed, and find a way to Azula or her room.

———————————————————

Korra has been running through the corridors for almost an hour looking for a trace of Azula or her room.

Korra’s legs burned with exhaustion, but she couldn't slow down, not when it came to life or death.

When she turned the next intersection, she bumped into a person and Korra fell to the ground. She shakes her head to clear her head. She looks at the person she bumped into and was slightly startled.

It was Azula's mother, Princess Ursa, who looked sadly at Korra.

Korra bows immediately and yells “I'm sorry Princess Ursa!” And since she has no more time to lose, she adds “Please punish me quickly! I have to go to Azula!"

Ursa looks at Korra startled "Why should I punish you?"

Korra really didn't feel like playing this game “Because I bumped into you. Please, I have no time to waste. It's about live and dead! "

Ursa couldn't stand the sight of Korra in this state. She grabbed Korra by the armpits and lifted her to her feet. She saw Korra’s face and was shocked, “What happened to your face? Was it Azula? "

“No, that was one of her friends, the one with the knife, but that's not important right now. Prince Ozai plans to kill Azula!

Ursa looked away in silence.

Korra thought Ursa wasn't taking her seriously, so she tries again. “Please believe me. I heard the Fire Lord give the order himself. And Prince Ozai even agrees."

Ursa had tears in her eyes. She sniffed as she said, "I already know."

Korra is stunned, this short sentence brings out the worst thoughts in Korra 'does she want Azula to die? Would she really prefer one child to another? Is Ursa OK with that? How can a mother let her child die like this? ‘

Korra came to when Ursa began to speak again. "I overheard the conversation too, and I don't agree." Korra is now all ears and would kill to find out what Princess Ursa is up to.

"Follow me Korra, I'll take you to Azula's room." Ursa holds out her hand, Korra blinks a few times, she searches the floor, and picked up her leash and holds it out for Ursa. Ursa doesn't know whether to laugh or cry, so she smiles slightly. “I don't need the leash. Give me your hand.“ Korra hesitated a little, but she obeyed to the request and pressed her hand into Ursa's.

Ursa leads Korra down the aisle while they are on their way, Ursa says in a calming tone. "Don't worry, I've made a deal with Ozai."

Korra looks up at Ursa with interest and asks “what kind of deal?” Ursa returns the eye contact. Korra stares away, blushing, "If I'm allowed to ask?"

Ursa giggles and says, "it's better if you know as little as possible about it.“ But let's put it this way, after my next act I have to leave the palace forever because the whole Fire Nation will despise me. "

Korra really doesn't know how to react, after all, the Fire Nation despises everything and everyone and what kind of act could be so bad that Ursa have to leave the palace forever.

While they turn left, Ursa drops her head and asks Korra a request that is heavy on her heart. "Korra, what I'm going to ask you now is very difficult for me. I want to request something, something I can't request from anyone else, not even Zuko. "

Korra waits anxiously to hear what a princess like Ursa could request from a slave like herself.

“I know my daughter isn't the nicest person in the world, or at the palace. But she is and will always be my little girl. She can come off a little bloodthirsty at times, but she still has time. She is only 8 years old, she still has time to get on the right path. "

Korra doesn't understand what's going on "I'm sorry, Princess, but I don't really understand."

Ursa stopped suddenly, so Korra stayed. Ursa kneeled at eye level and stares Korra straight in the eyes while lightly holding Korra's shoulders.
“I ask you to take care of my daughter. Don't let Ozai's madness corrupt her. Ozai is a monster, but that doesn’t mean that Azula must become one too. It is a lot to ask in view of your situation, but I beg you. protect my daughter."

Korra was speechless. Not only that she has to protect a princess, no, it is the princess of all people who torments her day after day. However, Ursa was right about one thing. She still has time to get on the right path. Maybe if Korra helps her, she will recognize her mistakes and want to change.

Before Ursa could add anything, Korra says with fierce determination, "I accept your request and I will protect her with my life."

Ursa didn't think Korra would agree so quickly, she assumed that she had to keep convincing Korra.

Tears of joy came to Ursa and she couldn't help but take Korra in her arms and hug her. She said the words "thank you very much" over and over again.

Korra just smiles back and replies "Don’t mention it."

———————————————————

They finally arrived in Azula's room, Korra searched the room for her mistress, but she was not in the room.

Korra turns to Ursa, who was just about to leave the room.

Korra was dumfounded so she asks "where are you going?"

Ursa stopped, with her back to Korra, she replied, "I have to go now, it's time to go."

Korra’s eyes widen "don't you at least want to say goodbye to your children?"

"I can't, it's better for everyone if they don't find anything out about it."

Sorrow overran Korra, with tears in her eyes she shouted “You can't just go away! You cannot leave before you at least say goodbye! "
Tears flowed down her cheeks, with a wobbling lower lip she added, "do you know what I would give if I could hear just a single word from my mother?"

Ursa turns to Korra with tears in her eyes, she kneeled down at Korra’s height and kissed Korra lightly on her forehead "You will understand it when you are older." With these words Ursa left the room.

Korra braces herself against the wall when her legs slackened, she doesn't know if it's because of exhaustion or sadness. She slowly went to the ground as her tears keep growing.

Suddenly she hears the door slamming loudly behind her, when she whirled around she saw Azula.

———————————————————
Present

Korra replied with sadness in her eyes and a small smile "Just that I wish you a good night's sleep Mistress."

Azula shrugged her shoulders and just says "whatever" as she puts her nightgown on and goes to bed.

Korra stares at Azula's sleeping form and smiles slightly as she softly whispers, "Sleep well Azula."

Chapter Text

Chapter 5: The Intruder

In the middle of the night while everyone is fast asleep, Korra is still wide awake, not because Azula gave her the order, but to take care of Azula.

She even had her leash untied from the wall in contingency to be ready for all possibilities.

She knows that she can trust Ursa, but she has a bad feeling about leaving Azula unguarded that night.

To pass the time and to stay awake, Korra even started doing some exercises like push-ups and sit-ups.

The hours go by and Korra doesn't know whether to be relieved or tense. For one thing, the night is pretty quiet, for another, a murderer could come any time through the door.

Korra was starting to get tired to distract herself from it, she stares out of the window at the full moon.

The full moon has always had a special meaning for Korra, it's almost as if she always gets a power boost on nights like this with the full moon.

Korra is tempted to fall asleep. Just as her eyelids were getting heavier again, she suddenly heard noises that came from behind the door from the hallway. She jumped up and placed herself near the door so the intruder couldn't see her, if it is one.

She saw the door open slowly. She places herself in a fighting stance and waits patiently.

The intruder who came through the door was the servant from the day before. Korra was about to relax when she saw a knife in his hand.

The servant lifted the knife.

Without thinking further, she jumped on his back and bit his neck.

"YEOUCH!" Shouted the servant loudly.

Azula wakes up abruptly. With blurry eyes she saw in front of her how her servant, with a knife in hand, wanted to throw her slave off his back, but Korra is stubborn and will not give up.

The servant grabbed Korra with his free hand and threw her with full force at Azula.

They both fell to the ground with a loud bang. Korra get up again, slightly dazed, and does not avert her gaze from the servant, who slowly walks over to them. She says to Azula “get out, I'll stop him!” While running towards the servant.

This time the servant is prepared for Korra and kicks her aside with a hard kick. Korra lay unconscious a few yards behind the servant.

Fury overwhelmed Azula as she jumped up, while attacking the servant with firebending.

Azula fires fire ball after fire ball at the servant, who in turn easily evades all attacks.

Azula was ready to fire another Fire Salve when the servant kicks her legs and she falls on her back. While Azula tried to get back on her feet, but she got a painful kick in the stomach that stole the air out of her body, and then another, which caused her to crash against the wall.

Azula was light-headed and in pain, thinking to herself while in this position, 'is that what Korra feels day after day?'

The servant now stood over Azula, who is still holding her stomach in pain.

The servant had a sick look and a sinister smile on his face.

"You know, I actually wanted to kill you quick and painlessly." The servant taunted while he grabbed Azula by the neck and lifted her up." But now I'm going to have some fun with you. Then I allow you to die. "

Azula had fear and panic written on her face. A million thoughts ran through her head 'why is this happening? Why does he want to kill me? Will anyone miss me when I die? Will Zuko, Ty Lee, Mai and my parents mourn about me if I die? Will Zuko and my mother be happy when I die?‘ And the last question she asks, Surprises her very much 'What will happen to Korra, will she miss me?‘

"Let's have some fun," says the servant with a terrifying grin.

His hand, with the knife, slowly approaches Azula's left eye.

Azula closed her eyes, waiting for the final blow to come.

But it never came.

Azula opens her eyes, what she saw almost stole her breath.

The servant has a frightened expression on his face. His body trembles as if it were freezing.

The knife is forcibly pulled away, but there is no one to hold his hand.

"Wh-what the hell are you doing to me?"
Asks the servant when his hand, which was holding Azula, is torn open.

Azula falls to the floor and she crawls to the next wall without hesitation. She looks back at the servant, who is now on his knees.

"STOP THAT!" He yells as the pain grows stronger.

Only then does Azula notice the figure standing behind her old servant.

It's Korra in a strange position, as if she's reaching for something.

Then Azula realized, Korra was bendind, she was bedning his blood.

Azula doesn't know if she should be happy or shocked about it.

But she can think about that later, now she has an intruder to take care of.

Without wasting any more seconds, Azula stands up again and strikes forward with her right fist, creating glowing hot flames, and burns the servant's torso.

The servant fell to the ground with a loud, painful cry. He lie motionless there.

Korra relaxes her position when she sees the servant fall to the ground.

Azula went to the servant lying on the ground and checks if he is still breathing.

His torso is burned, but he's still breathing.

Azula was furious and was about to strike the final blow when she heard.

"AZULA!"

She flashes up and sees Korra running to her and lifting her up in a bear hug.

"I'm so sorry!" Korra cried as she hugged Azula tighter and tighter. "I should have protected you better!"

Azula turns blue slowly as she says with her last breath "I... can’t... breathe..."

Korra’s eyes widen, she puts Azula immediately down. Azula puts her hands on her knees and breathes in and out, slowly getting air back into her lungs.

"I'm sorry, I'm just so glad that nothing happened to you." Korra says while bowing.

Azula blushed, she really didn't expect that her slave, who she has for less than a week, would save her life.

Azula was about to say something when the servant jumped up from the floor, knife firmly in hand.

Azula was frozen in fear. The servant was about to strike for the final blow when he was hit in the face with a fireball.

The servant stepped back while, blinded, he took a few steps back.

The fireball did not come from Azula, however, she looks astonished to the side and sees Korra with her fist forward. Steam comes out of Korra’s fist.

Azula had a lot of questions she wanted to ask Korra, but first she has something to do.

Azula had had enough of the servants. She generates electricity at her fingertips and sends the lightning bolt in the direction of the servant.

The servant's eyesight returned, the last thing he saw was a flash of lightning in his direction

The lightning strikes the servant. The servant wriggles and lets out one last excruciating scream before falling lifeless to the ground.

Shortly afterwards, three guards stormed through the door, the leader of the guards asks "what's going on here?"

Azula casts a venomous look at the guards, who practically collapse at the sight.

Azula clenched her teeth, she points to the floor. “You ask what's going on here?! Look on the ground! ”Only now do the guards see the dead, smoking, servant.

“What happened to him?” Asks the leader.

"What happened to him?" Azula repeats with her eyes closed. "You should rather ask what happened to me." She took the knife from the hand of the dead servant and pressed it under the leaders chin, the two other guards had panic and didn't know what to do. The leader's pupils have shrunk as sweat drips from his forehead.

"This intruder was going to kill me while I was asleep and you were way too late!" Shouts Azula as she turns away from the scared guards. "Now make yourselves useful and get this stinking carcass out of my sight."

The guards practically overran each other to drag the dead servant out of the room.

When the guards shut the door, Azula turned to Korra, who stood motionless the whole time.

Azula walked slowly over to Korra. Korra smiles slightly at her.

Azula points to the bed and says "Sit down."

Korra stares at the bed and back at Azula, who is sitting down.
"What are you waiting for? Sit down. We have a few things to discuss. "

Korra hesitates, but sat next to Azula.

Some time went by, Korra would like to say something but doesn't know how Azula will act now that the situation has calmed down. After what felt like an eternity, Azula met Korra's eyes and began to speak.

"You’re a waterbender?"

Korra nodded.

"You are a waterbender who can bloodbend?" Azula stares Korra sharply in the eye.

Korra rubs the back of her neck "well, that's complicated to explain."

"I am listening."

Korra looks at the floor and lets out a long breath “That was the first time that I have ever bloodbend. I saw how the servant grabbed you and I was just so angry with him. I looked for water but couldn't find any. Until I felt water in his body, I can't explain it to myself either, but I had to try something, otherwise he would surely have killed you. I concentrated very strongly and stretched my hands out like I normally do waterbending.” Azula stares at her, after her explanation, in silence and with shrunken eyes. Korra stares at Azula in her eyes and smiles slightly at her. "Fortunately it worked."

Azula argues and averts her gaze from Korra. "When the servant jumped up again, you blinded him with firebending." That was more a statement than a question.

Korra nodded “Yes, my aunt and uncle forbade me to bend fire. They were afraid that the guards in the slave compound would kill me then. That's why I kept it a secret. "

Azula‘s eyes widen "You are the Avatar!" Azula screamed but not loud enough for anyone outside the room to overhear.

Korra raised an eyebrow "what is a Avatar?"

Azula jumped up "Don't sell me for stupid!" Korra flinched back. "You already know. The Avatar, Master of all Elements. How else are you able to bend two elements? "

"I'm sorry, but I've never heard of an Avatar."

The way Korra says it convinced Azula. She knows a liar when she saw one, she lies quite often herself, but she is one hundred percent sure that Korra is not a liar. Azula turns her gaze to the ground. Azula had more questions about Korra’s abilities, but wanted to ask them another time. First off, she has an important question that she desperately wants to have answered.

"Answer me one last question,"

Korra nodded

"Why didn't you just let me die?" The question shocked Korra, she really hadn't expected this question.

Korra first looked at the ground then at Azula and replied with a gentle smile "Because you didn't deserve to die."

Azula was shocked by the answer. Before she could asks any more questions, the door to the room opened abruptly.

Two new guards, in skull masks and full body armor, came through the door. They bowed, then one of them said, “Princess you and your brother are called to the throne room immediately. Something happened that the whole royal family has to know about. "

Azula stares sharply at the two of them and asks "what's so important that it can't wait until after dinner?"

“We are not allowed to talk about it. So if you had the kindness? "

The guards disappeared through the door.

Azula turns to Korra "We'll continue the questioning later." Korra nodded.

Azula took Korra’s leash and was about to leave when Korra noticed something.

"Um... Mistress, isn't that your brother's knife?"

Azula picked up the knife from the ground and examined it, and it’s true, it's her brother's knife. There was only one thought.

'Did my brother order my dead?‘

Chapter Text

Chapter 6: After the Storm

It’s almost morning, but the sun has not appeared yet.
Azula, with Zuko's knife in one hand and Korra’s leash in the other, walked down the corridor before going to the throne room. She wanted to confront her brother.

Korra followed a few steps behind, thinking, 'It can't be that Zuko commissioning a murder to his own sister, that was definitely Prince Ozai.' But she couldn't tell Azula that without evidence.

Azula smiles wryly when she sees Zuko running down the hallway in her direction. She whispers to Korra "Don't interfere, I'll ask Zuko a few questions."

Korra nodded

Zuko stopped in front of Azula. Without losing a second he asks "Have you seen mother anywhere?"

Azula was surprised, but she didn't want to be seen that way and replied calmly,
“No, why should I?“

Zuko notices his knife in Azula's hand. “What are you doing with my knife? Give it back to me."

Azula holds the knife in front of her face and takes a closer look "Oh this is your knife, here take it."

Zuko took it from her hands and tucked it in his belt, then asks his next question "Do you know why we were called into the throne room so early."

Azula shrugged "Let's find out."

Zuko goes a few steps ahead while Azula turns to Korra. "It wasn't him."

Korra’s eyes widen "How do you know?"

Azula began slowly to follow Zuko. "He wasn't surprised to see me and he was angry as always when I had his knife, not surprised."

A stone fell from Korra's heart. She knew from the beginning that it wasn't Zuko, but couldn't prove it. "Anyway, I'm glad it wasn't him."

Azula looked at Korra, shrugged her shoulders and walked on, with Korra not far behind her.

———————————————————

When Azula, Zuko and Korra arrived in the throne room, they saw loads of
high-level generals, servants and guards, including Imperial Firebender, which was strange as they almost never move away from the Fire Lord.

On the platform, where the Fire Lord sat the day before, stood Prince Ozai, 2 Imperial Firebenders, and the 5 Fire Sages, Kaja, Nyahitha, Shyu, the Great Sage and the High Sage.

But what caught her eyes the most was a high-quality coffin covered with red sheets.

Someone died.

Zuko turns to one of the female servants and asks "Who died?"

The servant looked sadly at the ground and replied in a broken voice, "This will be now announced."

Something about the tone of her voice told Zuko that she knows exactly who died, but she can't tell him. He just knows that it has to be someone important, otherwise wouldn’t all the Important Generals and the 5 Fire Sages gather around.

The High Sage stepped forward. In a loud, authoritarian voice, he said to everyone in the throne room, “Something unexpected happened that night. That night, less than 3 hours ago, our beloved Fire Lord was murdered in his sleep by a traitor to the nation.

Outrage spread among the audience. Some of the servants already knew that the Fire Lord had been murdered. One of them found him dead in bed and passed it straight to the next guard.

"The Fire Lord wasn't his only victim that night."

The spectators wait quietly to find out the name of the next victim.

"After the coward murdered the Fire Lord, he tracked down our beloved Princess Ursa in her room and burned her down to the last hair, only a piece of cloth, from her nightgown, is left." As if the High Sage wanting to confirm his statement, he held what was left of the burnt night dress in the air.

Zuko fell to his knees, he burst into tears at the sight of the nightgown. Azula tried to be strong, but tears came even to her eyes. She unconsciously dropped Korra’s leash and took a few steps in the direction of the platform as if mesmerized.

Some of the maids gasp and collapse at the sight. It was well known that Princess Ursa was on good terms with the servants.

Korra came to tears but in contrast to Azula and Zuko, she was more shocked than sad. She knew it couldn't be true because she was talking to Ursa a few hours ago.

Korra thought, 'Princess Ursa was planning to leave the palace after completing her end of the deal. Then why should she leave it in a nightgown? After all, she'll likely be out and about for a while. Shouldn't she wear everyday clothes because of that? Korra keeps the thought to herself for the time being, because she doesn't know how the audience will react if she should shout such accusations into the room.

Korra stares sadly at the floor and was silent.

Prince Ozai took over the word “There is, however, a small glimmer of hope from this tragedy. The killer did not get away with his deeds.” He raised his left arm and pointed to a certain person. “My daughter Azula killed the killer of my beloved father and wife.”

Azula looked up at her father, she didn't want to show any grief, 'So our old servant was the murderer of my mother and my grandfather, and without Korra he would have killed me too.' Azula thought to herself as everyone stared at her.

Zuko looks at his sister with tears in his eyes. He doesn't know whether to feel sadness or anger. For one thing, his sister killed the killer, and for another, he's angry that he couldn't do it. The murderer took the most important person in his life.

The 5 Fire Sage turned to the coffin. The High Sage says "With this knowledge that the culprit cannot take another breath, we now release the soul of the Fire Lord Azulon so that his soul will rise again like a phoenix." With these words, the 5 Fire Sages ignited the coffin.

Ozai sits down on his knees in front of the burning coffin. The Fire Sages line up around him, two on each side, and the High Sage behind him.

The High Sage now held a headpiece, that’s shaped like the Fire Nation insignia, in the air “With the passing of our beloved Fire Lord Azulon, the crown will be given to the next Fire Lord. Bow down to the new Fire Lord Ozai.” With these words he puts the crown on the topknot from Ozai.

Lord Ozai looks up darkly.

The generals, guards, and servants bowed without words.

The sight of his father makes Zuko shudder. He couldn't stand the sight of his father any longer, and secretly left the throne room.

Korra saw Zuko leave the throne room and wondered if she should follow him or not.

Until she notices Azula standing motionless. Korra decided to go to Azula.

Korra taps Azula's shoulder a few times, nothing happens. She circles around Azula and looks into her expressionless face. "Mistress, should I carry you to your room?" Azula did not answer.

Azula just stood there, like a statue.

Korra looks around and the people gradually left the throne room. She didn't know what to do, so she took Azula and carried her.

Korra piggybacked Azula and was about to leave the throne room when she felt a hand on her shoulder.

Korra turns and sees one of the Imperial Firebenders. "The Fire Lord demands to see the princess in the evening." Korra just nodded and disappeared like everyone else through the door.

———————————————————

This time Korra has made a mental note of the way back to Azula's room. After a few minutes they were back in the room, where they had been fighting the servant a few moments ago.

Korra sets Azula down on her bed. Azula just lay there, staring at the ceiling with a broken look as if she didn't care.

Korra tried her luck and asks her the question she wanted to ask all along, "How are you feeling?"

Korra could see Azula's expression suddenly change from expressionless to hateful.

Azula jumped up and tackled Korra to the ground. She looks at Korra murderously as if she had lost her mind.

Azula clenched her teeth "How do I feel?" Azula's hands come to Korra’s neck. "You're asking in all seriousness how I’m feeling?" Korra had panic written in her eyes as Azula choked her harder and harder.

"I’ll tell you how I'm feeling!" Azula yelled as she stopped choking Korra and instead started slapping her in the face.

“I woke up in the middle of the night while a madman was trying to kill me while I was sleeping!

Azula's tears flowed slowly.

One punch follows the next punch.

"Then I found out that my good-for-nothing slave is the Avatar!"

Another blow made contact with Korra’s left cheek.

"Then the madman made me believe that my own brother wanted to kill me!"

The next fist made contact with Korra’s right cheek.

"Afterwards I found out that my grandfather was murdered!"

This time, Azula's fist made contact with Korra’s nose.

Blood slowly drips from Korra’s nose and lower lip. Although Korra was slowly crying, she had a determined expression on her face.

"Even if his dead doesn't mean anything to me, I found out that my mother was also killed!"

Azula's tears kept flowing as she continues to hit Korra.

"MY MOTHER DIED BELIEVING I AM A MONSTER!!!"

Azula set her fist in flames, but before Azula's next blow could even hit Korra, Korra grabbed Azula's fiery fist. The fire burned Korra's palm, but she kept her face straight.

Azula's eyes widened. Before she could even think of using her other fist, Korra pulled Azula towards her.

Korra didn’t pull Azula to hit her, instead she pulled her down to press her in a hug.

Azula tries to wriggle out of the embrace.

Every time Azula tries to squirm out of the hug, Korra just presses her tighter.

"You are not a monster," Korra whispers in Azula's ear.

Azula suddenly stops squirming, her eyes widened.

She was rooted in Korra’s arms while Korra lightly strokes her head.

Azula still has tears in her eyes and a broken look, but she is slowly calming down. She closes her eyes, succumbed to the warmth of Korra’s body.

After a while, Korra broke the hug and smiles at Azula.

Azula already misses the warmth from Korra’s body. Azula opens her eyes and was shocked at the sight of her work.

Blood came from Korra’s lower lip and nose. Korra has a black eye and lots of bruises on her face.

Azula cannot believe what she did, but on the other hand she can. After all, she thinks she's a monster.

Azula began to feel sad when the tears came to her. She presses her face into Korra’s collarbone and repeats the words "I'm sorry."

Korra strokes Azula's head and keeps saying, “It's okay. Nothing happened."

Azula trembles in Korra’s arms "It is true, I am a monster."

Korra smiles. "I don't think you're a monster," says Korra while Azula continues to shiver, "and neither does your mother."

Azula suddenly stops shaking and looks at Korra with tears in her eyes.

With red eyes, Azula asks "How do you want to know that?"

Korra gave a small smile when she said "I was talking to your mother last night," Azula's eyes widened, "she asked me to take care of you."

Azula blinked something fractured in the depths of her eyes. She seemed to sink deeper into Korras arms. Her voice hitched on a rough patch in her throat "why should she ask you for something like that?"

"Your mother must think that you are worth saving," Korra replies with a smile.

Azula raised her gaze, bloodshot and bewildered. "Then... does she still... love me?"

"I think you should ask her yourself."

Azula is getting angry. She clenched her fists in the tatters of Korra “how am I supposed to do this? She is..."

"Alive and well." Interrupts Korra.

Azula looks astonished. "How... do you want to know that?"

Korra starts stroking Azula's head again when she started telling her everything she discussed with Ursa the previous evening.

Korra tells her all about how she hid behind the pillar when Azula and her family gathered in the throne room.

Azula is speechless, 'how could Korra stand there without me noticing it?'

Then she told her how Lord Azulon had ordered her dead and Ozai agreed to it.

"You're lying!" Shouted Azula as the tears came. "My father would never agree to kill me!"

"Not even then to become the next Fire Lord?" Asked Korra without any resentment.

"..." Azula was speechless, she knows her father would walk over corpses if it means that he will be the next Fire Lord. But would he really go over her corpse to achieve his goal?

'Who am I kidding? Of course he would kill me to become the next Fire Lord.‘

After what felt like an eternity, Korra continued her story. “When I found out, I ran all over the palace to warn you. Unfortunately, I don't know my way around the palace, that's why I've often got lost. Until I stumbled into your mother at some point. "

Azula was all ears, she really wants to know the part with her mother.

Korra got tears of joy when she relates about her conversation with Ursa. Meanwhile, tears of sadness came to Azula. “So my mother made a deal with my father to save my life?” Azula asks in a hoarse voice, to which Korra nodded happily.

Azula‘s eyes widened when she concluded „My mother must have killed my grandfather!“

Korra’s pupils dilate "That explains everything. She told me that after she fulfills her end of the deal, she had to leave the palace forever. Because after her act she will be despised by the whole Fire Nation."

"But why did they still try to kill me?"

“I'm sure Fire Lord Ozai gave the order, but I can't prove it. I guess he wanted to be on the safe side in case your mother either couldn't fulfill her end of the deal or is caught by doing it."

Azula had to dig deeper just so she could be one hundred percent sure that her mother was still alive. "But how do you know that my mother is still alive and that she was not killed by the dead servant or one of the guards?"

Korra smiles and says, "Quite simply, which woman would flee in a nightgown?" Azula's pupils widened. "Non."

Azula looks down and smiles.

"In addition, the servant was a
non-bender and the guards were certainly not allowed to know about the deal in case someone warned Fire Lord Azulon."

Azula stares at Korra with a small smile. "So my mother is still alive?" Whispers Azula as her tears flow down.

Korra wipes away Azula's tears with a thumb and replies with confidence, “I'm quite sure. She is tough."

Without warning, Azula, presses Korra tighter. Azula hides her face in Korra’s collarbone and whispers the words "Thank you."

Korra caresses Azula's head and replies with a gentle smile, "Don’t mention it."

The two sat in an embrace, while the sun started slowly to rise from behind them and touches them with warming rays.

Chapter Text

Chapter 7: New Destination

In the early afternoon, in a hidden bunker under the throne room, the new Fire Lord paced up and down.

The bunker is about the size of Azula's room. The bunker is decorated in the colors of the Fire Nation. There are bookshelves on the side walls with loads of scrolls and books. In the center is a large table and an armchair that could be mistaken for a throne. Directly behind the table are two portraits, one of Fire Lord Sozin and the other of the recently deceased Fire Lord Azulon.

One of his generals kneeled in front of the Fire Lord.

The Fire Lord said, without even looking at his general, "do you know why I called you here?"

The general looks up "Yes Fire Lord, the servant failed to kill your daughter."

"The servant has not failed," says the Fire Lord as he turns to the general. "You have failed Zhao!"

Zhao blinked a few times, "Sir with all due respect, but I didn't screw up the attempted assassination."

Ozai stared murderously into Zhao's eyes. "You had the order to kill her, not some servant who ran along!"

Zhao doesn't know what to say and crouches down. He knows what to expect if someone upsets the Fire Lord, so he kept his mouth shut.

Ozai turns his back to Zhao and looks at the portraits of his father and grandfather. "Do you know what the secret of my father and grandfather's success were?" Asks Ozai, without really expecting an answer.

Zhao looks down knowing that the Fire Lord will tell him the answer.

"They have never let the incompetence of their generals stop them and have eliminated any danger in advance," says Ozai as he turns to Zhao. "My grandfather killed his best friend Avatar Roku and exterminated all the Air nomads before anyone could stand in his way." Ozai slowly walks in Zhao's direction and stopped three paces in front of him. “In return, my father had enslaved all Waterbender and let his own nephew, Lu Ten, murdered because he feared that Iroh would become too soft for the war, which ironically happened after the murder. He also wanted to see my daughter dead, because he thought that she would someday kill him in his sleep, which I believe she would. But now that her mother has done that for her, the question is, who could pose a danger to me?"

Zhao almost stutters when he says "I could kill your daughter myself tonight, if you wish?"

Sweat drops came of Zhao's forehead while he waited anxiously for the answer.

The Fire Lord replies, “That won't be necessary. The attack on her was just a precaution in case Ursa should fail.“

Ozai scowls at Zhao. "On the one hand you failed to kill a little girl, on the other hand it is a stroke of luck."

Zhao doesn't know whether to feel fear or joy.

"Hmm" Ozai rubs his goatee while thinking, 'Azula will be very useful to me one day, but I can't leave her here in case she finds out I wanted to kill her. But I can't send my daughter to a battlefield right now, on the one hand she is too young and on the other hand she has too little experience. So what to do? ‘

All of a sudden, Ozai had an idea. Ozai scowls in. "Send a message to my son, he should meet me today at the same time as his sister. I have an idea for both of them."

Zhao salutes "Yes sir!" He says as he leaves the bunker.

As Zhao closed the door behind him, Ozai smiled darkly and whispered to himself, "soon, my little monster, you will be the destroyer of nations, and once you have done the deed you will no longer be needed."

———————————————————

After the morning, after Azula got through her breakdown, the time has passed in a flash.

After the breakdown, Azula allowed Korra to heal her injuries and to rest in her chair, as a little reward, because she was guarding Azula all night.

Azula and Korra spent the rest of the day in her room without doing anything.

Azula spent all day thinking about what to do with her life after learning that her mother took a life to save hers.

———————————————————

It was early in the evening when Azula and Korra arrives at the gates to the throne room. They were waiting to be called in.

Azula was pacing up and down when she notices her brother slowly walking in their direction.

Azula puts her hands on her hips "What are you doing here, Zuzu?"

Zuko looked annoyed while he crossed his arms and answered “Father asked me to come here. And what are you doing here?"

Azula crossed her arms while she turns her back to Zuko "Me too."

While the siblings are talking, Korra noticed Zuko's bloodshot eyes and slightly burned sleeves. ‚He was probably relieving some steam by training.‘

“Do you know why father called us here?” Asks Zuko

Azula shrugged "I don't know, we'll find out in a moment."

The gates to the throne room open behind them. The three children turned to the gates and saw one of the Imperial Firebenders come out "The Fire Lord is waiting for you."

With these words, the Imperial Firebender disappeared back into the throne room. Azula, Zuko, and Korra followed him.

The first thing Azula and Zuko saw was their father sitting on the throne with a flame wall around him. With 4 Imperial Firebenders standing on the steps of the platform.

’It didn't took too long for him to act like a Fire Lord,‘ thought Azula with disgust for her father.

Azula and Zuko didn't know how to act in the presence of their father, so they did what they usually do when they faced their grandfather, they bowed. Korra looks terrified at the Fire Lord, then at his children, she almost stumbles when she finally kneels down.

Korra took a large gulp of air, she already saw Ozai a few times, but this time he looks more fiercely.

"You are finally here," said Ozai full of arrogance. He was about to say something when his gaze falls on Korra. "What is the slave doing here?"

Korra flinches, not sure whether he expects an answer from her or Azula.

Azula stands up, crossed her arms and rolls her eyes. "Duh, she's my slave of course. I take her pretty much anywhere.“

Zuko slowly stands up too and looks at Korra, who is still bowing and staring hard at the floor.

Fire Lord Ozai glares at Korra.

"Come to the point father." Said Azula while she glared at her father "Why are we here?"

Zuko added "I would like to know that too."

Ozai takes his eyes off Korra and stares at his children. “Let's get to the point right away. From tomorrow on you will be trained like the soldiers in our training camps. You will be shipped to a academy."

Zuko is surprised while Azula raised a brow. They ask “Why?” At the same time while Korra is still kneeling.

Ozai smiles darkly as he gives them a simple answer, "I don't want an incident like last night to happen again."

Zuko stares down sadly while Azula looks down angrily.

Zuko was the first to speak, "What can we understand by this training?"

The Fire Lord replies, "Isn't it obvious?" Ozai counts on, "First you get trained in firebending, then comes hand-to-hand combat, sword fight and strategy."

Azula asks annoyed "Is that all?"

Ozai smiles darkly as he stares at Korra. "Besides, you will be trained to feel no mercy."

Zuko looks disgusted and thinks, 'That won't be that difficult for Azula.'

Ozai gets up and walks slowly in the direction of his children. "You know, why don't I give you a little demonstration?"

Without further words and before they could understand what her father meant, he grabbed Korra’s leash and lifted her up, dangling from the leash.

Korra struggled while trying to get air in her lungs. Ozai smiles sadistically while enjoying Korra’s panicked look.

Azula gets angry 'How dare he? He already took my mother away from me. I will not allow him to take my slave from me.‘

But before Azula could do anything, Zuko screamed in panic “STOP IT! You're killing her!"

Ozai threw his son a skeptical look. "That's the whole point, you shouldn’t show mercy, especially not to a Water Tribe scum."

"She's still a child!" Shouted Zuko. "Let her down."

In response, Ozai raised Korra a little higher.

Korra’s face started turning blue, while her struggle slowed down.

Azula couldn't stand the sight anymore and fired a small fireball in Ozai's direction.

The fireball hit the leash and cut through it. Korra fell to the ground and began to struggle for air.

Korra coughs and snorted as the color slowly returned to her face.

Ozai looks angrily in the direction of his daughter "Tell me why you saved the life of this worthless slave."

Azula would like to say 'Because she protected me from your assassination attempt.' Since Azula was afraid that her father would kill Korra with a quick fireball she says “I want her to curse her life. I want to torment her day after day. I want her to beg me for a quick death and only then will I fulfill her wish and kill her slowly and painfully."

Korra and Zuko shuddered at these thoughts, but only Korra knows that she only said this to save her life.

Ozai turns his gaze in the direction of his daughter “very well my daughter, it looks like you have already learned not to show mercy.” After these words, he turns his gaze in the direction of his son. “However, you have learned nothing beyond that you showed weakness in front of a slave. "

"But ..." before Zuko could finish his sentence he was interrupted by his father. "Get out of my sight."

Without further words, Zuko left the throne room, aggrieved.

Azula turns to Korra and orders, "As for yourself, go to my room immediately and wait for your punishment." Korra nodded and bows while she also leaves the throne room after Zuko.

—————————————————————

Zuko left angrily the throne room and walked quickly the hall down.

Korra came through the gate shortly afterwards and ran after Zuko.

Korra almost caught up with Zuko. "Prince Zuko please wait!" Korra shouted.

Zuko stopped and turned to Korra. He has a grim expression on his face.

Korra stopped and took a breath. She bows while smiling, she says "I just wanted to thank you for trying to save my life." When Zuko heard this sentence from Korra, he got very angry.

Without thinking and without warning, he knocks Korra to the ground.

Korra stares at Zuko, startled.

Zuko stares full of hatred into her eyes, "Shut up Water Tibe rat!" He shouted. "Haven't I been through enough already? I don't need some runaway slave who brings me problems with my father!"

Korra raised a trembling hand in Zuko's direction, "B-but ..."

"I SAID SHUT UP!!!" interrupted Zuko. "Get out of my sight! I can't stand your sight anymore!"

Korra came tears in the eyes, she stood up, bowed and whispered "I'm very sorry."

Zuko felt guilty at the sight, but before he could say anything, Korra ran while crying in the direction of Azula's room.

Zuko stares sadly at the floor, 'Great, Zuko, you've vented your frustration and anger on an innocent girl.'

Zuko slides to the ground while he stares at the ceiling. He whispers to himself "what should I do."

——————————————————————

Meanwhile, in the throne room, the Fire Lord is still talking to his daughter.

“In short, you and your brother are going to be shipped to Ember Island tomorrow. You will live in our holiday house. Where you two will be taught various types of warfare for the next 4 years. After your training you will be sent back here, where you will be involved in the war strategies,” lists Ozai.

Azula is certain that the training will not be a problem for her. She is already a Firebending Masters and unlike most kids her age, even unlike most high-handed generals, she has a good strategic memory. The best thing about the training is that she gets away from her father for quite a while. She can no longer bear the sight of him.

Azula thinks about something then asks "Can I take my slave with me?“

Ozai raised a brow and asked "Why?"

Azula shrugged "I'll need a servant when I'm gone for 4 years."

Ozai shrugged and allowed his daughter to take her slave with her, 'Still better than having her here around me,' the Fire Lord thinks.

Ozai points to the gates "Go to sleep now, you will be picked up tomorrow morning."

Without further acknowledging him, Azula turned to the gate and left the throne room.

——————————————————————

Azula didn't went straight to her room. Before that she went to the palace library to get three books for the trip. A book about different fighting techniques, a book about the four nations and her favorite book "Love Amongst the Dragons".

Azula was just coming through the door to her room. She immediately notices how Korra is sitting and sleeping in her usual place.

Korra was sitting curled up on the floor, her head resting on the wall, fast asleep.
Azula couldn’t believe that she let Korra sleep in that position for the last few days, on the other hand she could believe, that she let her sleep that way. Azula looked at her bed and came to a conclusion.

Azula decided to wake Korra up. Azula walked over to her. Kneeling down, she gently shook Korra.

Korra woke with a start. Her eyes shot open and she sat up. Korra looked at Azula, her eyes widened

“Princess I-I‘m so sorry, I was just so tired.“

Azula waved her hand „It’s ok I‘m not mad. It’s midnight anyway.“

Korra and Azula stood up.

"Come with me, you'll sleep in my bed tonight."

"I don’t mind sleeping on the floor, your highness. You don’t have to worry about me.“

Azula crossed her arms „I will not let you sleep on the floor. I‘m not cruel“

Korra didn’t respond.

Azula scratched the back of her head „well not anymore, I mean I’m trying not to be, it’s complicated.“

Before Korra could refuse, Azula interrupts her with an icy look "No more back talk, you do what I say."

Korra nodded and followed Azula to her bed.

Azula changes into her nightgown and goes to bed. She looks at Korra, who is still standing in front of the bed and just looking at it, not knowing what to do.

"What are you waiting for?" Asks Azula, "Climb on the bed."

Korra gave a small smile and climbed in the bed.

"It's so soft," says Korra.

Azula blushed and answers "Yeah I think so."

Korra snuggled into the mattress while Azula watched her with a small smile.

"Azula?"

"What is?"

"I wish you a good night."

Azula blushed and replied "You too."

Without further words they fall immediately asleep.

Chapter Text

Chapter 8: Changes

It was the morning where Azula and Zuko were due to be shipped to Ember Island.

Azula wakes up with the first rays of the sun. She was cuddled up in her bed and would like to continue to lie in bed until her eyes notice a shape next to her. She looks in the direction and realizes that it was Korra. Only now does Azula notice that she was lying on Korra with her right arm.

She blinked a few times until she scrambled a few paces away from Korra. Azula blushed, she already missed the warmth that came from Korra’s body.

Azula stares at the sleeping form of Korra and smiles slightly. She sat on the bed for a few more seconds when suddenly a stench reached her nose.

Azula covered her nose and looked around the room to find out where the smell was coming from. Until her eyes landed on Korra. Azula slowly approaches Korra’s head and sniffed at her, she immediately regrets it. She quickly jumped back while holding her nose. This jerky movement, however, woke Korra up.

Korra rubs her eyes as she slowly wakes up with a smile.

She notices Azula holding her nose. Korra raised a brow "Are you all right?"

Azula replies with tears in her eyes "You stink."

Korra stares questioningly. She raised her right arm and smelled under her armpits. “I don't smell anything,” says Korra

"Seriously? When was the last time you took a bath?"

Korra scratched the back of her head "well, I never took one."

Azula blinks twice until she screams "YOU NEVER TOOK A BATH?!"

Korra looks embarrassed to the side. "Once a month, we were gathered in the slave compound. Our arms and legs were chained to prevent us from bending the water. Then we were splashed with boiling hot water.” Korra shuddered at the thought.

Azula is now staring guiltily at the ground. "At least that can't go on like this." Korra looks in Azula's direction. "You can't go on like this"

Korra blushed.

Azula went to the bathroom “What are you waiting for? Come along."

Korra blinks a few times before she follows Azula into the bathroom.

Azula points to the wooden tub "Take off your clothes and get into the tub."

Korra looks uncomfortable "uhm..."

Azula raised a brow "what's wrong?"

Korra blushed "Can I bathe alone, if it’s possible?"

Azula waved dismissive “You don't need to be shy. You have nothing that I haven't seen already."

Korra's tears came when she looks away, embarrassed. Her fingers trembling as she holds her rags.

Azula rolls her eyes “There's really nothing to it. Take off your clothes and get in the tub."

Korra gave up. With a heavy heart she pulled down her rags clothes. As her clothes hit the floor, Azula let out a startled scream.

Korra’s body was decorated with scars, bruises and burn marks.

Azula holds a trembling hand in Korra’s direction. She practically touches them when she asked with a shaking voice "F-from where d-do you have all this scars?"

Korra doubles up and starts crying.

Azula walked over to her and kneeled down. She put a hand on Korra’s shoulder.

In a calm voice Azula said "It's ok, you can tell me where they come from."

The tears flowed stronger "The guards In the slave compound have tormented us day after day."

Korra points to a long scar on her chest, "Sometimes they whipped us." she points next to a pink, almost oval scar, on her hip, "Sometimes they burned us for fun." Korra's points with a trembling finger the next scar, near her belly button "but the worst was, they let us fight each other." Korra curls up as her tears flowed even stronger than before. "I had to fight my best friends while the guards placed bets on us."

Azula strokes Korra’s head until she noticed a mark between her shoulder blades. Without thinking, she asked "Why is the Fire Nations insignia branded on your back?"

Korra crouched even more. She spoke with a trembling voice “That is the burn mark of the slaves. The soldiers marked our backs to remind us every day that we are slaves."

Azula felt nothing but anger for her own countrymen’s. Furthermore, she has never disgusted the Fire Nations Insignia as she did at this moment.

A thought occurred to Azula. "Korra look at me." Korra hesitates slightly, but looks at Azula with tears in her eyes.

Azula takes a short breath "I can't change what happened to you..." Suddenly Azula looks sad and stares everywhere, but not in Korra's direction "and I can't change the way I treated you..." Azula turns her gaze back to Korra. She now has a determined expression on her face, "but I can change how you will be treated for the next years."

She took Korra's hand and helped her to her feet. Without warning, she put Korra in a tight hug, as if afraid that if she doesn't hold her, Korra will go away. "I promise you that I will never let anyone harm you again."

Korra’s tears flow even stronger now. She pressed her head into Azula's collarbone, to feel some warmth.

They only held each other for a few minutes, but it felt like forever to them.

——————————————————————

After some back and forth, Korra finally went into the tub.

Azula notices Korra relaxing in the water. She smiles almost continuously, as if the water had a magical effect. Azula doesn't know if it's because she's a Waterbender or because she's been taking her first bath in years. Either way, Azula only knows that she will never get tired of Korra's smile.

After Korra got out of the bathtub, Azula was about to hand her a towel when Korra simply bent the water away from her body.

Azula's eyes widen. Korra looks away, slightly embarrassed.

"I totally forgot that you Waterbenders can do that." Smiles Azula

Korra blushed but grins.

Korra was about to put on her rags when Azula grabs her wrist and leads her to her closet.

Azula found it uncomfortable to touch the wrist, not because she was disgusted, but because of the scars Korra that are on every joint.

"It's time you got dressed properly," says Azula as she rummages through her clothes to find something suitable for Korra.

Korra blushed “You don't have to. I can just put my clothes on again."

"These are not clothes, that are rags and you will never wear them in my presence ever again."

Azula holds one of her old clothes and an old pair of boots in front of Korra to see if it would suit her. When she saw that it might suit her, she nodded and said, “This is one of the changes I was talking about. From now on, you won't wear rags anymore."

She holds the clothes in front of Korra. Korra hesitates slightly as she took the clothes.

“I'm going to take a bath now. You get dressed meanwhile.“ Azula says as she went back into the bathroom.

Korra put the clothes on immediately, even just to get rid of her nakedness. However, she has no idea how to put on shoes as she has only walked barefoot all her life. Korra practically struggled with her new shoes. She fell a few times before she ended up wearing the shoes on her feet.

Korra wipes her forehead. It was exhausting to put on the shoes. She went to the only chair in the room and sat down.

She was just about to take a rest when the door to the room opened.

Korra turned to the door and stand up. She saw one of the male guards come in with a tray full of food.

He looked grim when he noticed Korra. He storms over to her and slams the tray on the table as he grabbed her hair. She let out a painful scream.

"How dare you to wear the clean clothes from the princess?!" he yelled. “I should burn the clothes off your body!” Threatens the guard.

The guard was about to say something when the bathroom door opened loudly. He looked in the direction of the door and saw Azula come out of the bathroom, dressed in a bathrobe. She looks very pissed off. "YOU WILL NOT DO ANYTHING LIKE THAT!" Shouted Azula.

The guard abruptly let go of Korra. "B... but princess, s-she stole your clothes." Says the guard full of fear.

“She didn't steal anything. She wouldn't dare to steal something from me.” Azula says darkly as she walked slowly to the guard. The guard swallowed in fear. “I gave her the clothes. If I'm moving to a new place for some time, then my slave should at least look a bit spruced up. Don't you think so?” Azula said menacingly.

While the guard was much taller then the eight year old princess, he felt himself shrinking at the sight of the half pissed of princess "O-of course your h-highness."

The guard gasped slightly as he tried to change the theme. He points to the tray and says "I brought you your breakfast."

Azula stares at the food skeptically and says “Is that all?” The guard stares dumbfounded “I didn't had dinner yesterday.” She points to the door of the room while she says “You have exactly 5 minutes to get another tray full of food to bring, or I will make sure that you are transferred to the next pigsty!"

The guard immediately ran out towards the kitchen, knowing that it wasn't just an empty threat.

Azula turns to Korra "Did he hurt you?"

Korra replies with a smile, "I've had worse."

Even though Azula knows Korra meant it as a joke, she can't help but feel guilty.

"What did you mean when you said that you would be moving to another place for some time?"

"Oh yes, I haven't told you about it yet. The two of us and my brother will later be shipped to Ember Island. I and my brother will be trained there for the next 4 years in a academy so that we can later fight in the war."

Korra doesn't know how to answer that. On the one hand, she doesn't want Azula to fight in a war, on the other hand, she knows that it will eventually come to that.

Meanwhile the same guard came back through the door, panting with another tray in his hand.

Azula turns to the guard, "Why did it take so long?" She asks.

The guard stands up. "I'm sorry your highness." Says the guard in fear as he puts the tray next to the other.

He bows before leaving the room.

Azula took one of the trays and handed it to Korra. Azula smiles "Eat, we have a long drive to go on later."

Korra stares greedily at the food, "Are you sure mistress?"

Azula sighs "That's a another change too, never call me mistress again when we're alone."

Korra blushed, but nodded.

“And now eat. You didn't eat anything at all yesterday. "

Korra smiles and started to eat. Azula smiles at the sight and started eating her own food.

——————————————————————

After their breakfast, the day passed very quickly. Servants came to Azula's and Zuko's rooms to pack their things and then take them to a ship.

They were taken to a large warship and each were put in a cabin about half the size of their actual rooms. Azula and Korra were put in a cabin together, while Zuko was put in a cabin alone.

——————————————————————

Azula and Korra lay around the cabin, bored. Azula was on the bed while Korra was on the floor.

Azula complains, "I'm so bored."

"Me too. How long will it be until we finally arrive? ”Asks Korra

"According to the captain, about 12 hours."

Both sighs.

They both hang around for a few minutes until Azula says "why don’t we go do something?"

“Um, sure, what did you have in mind?”

"Perhaps we could spar?” said Azula.

Korra raised an eyebrow „Spar?“

Azula smiled „yes, without bending. I promise you, that I won’t hurt you.“

„Are you sure? I don’t want to hurt you.“

That provoked a laugh from Azula. “Cocky, aren’t you? I’m pretty sure I can take whatever you can throw my way.”

Korra shrugged. “You’re on, then.”

They took up positions opposite each other in the cabin. They bowed before each other and readied their Fighting stances. Before Azula even had time to consider a move Korra darted forward, swinging a kick at her flank from the left. Azula ducked it and slid sideways underneath her, aiming to knock her off balance. Korra was too fast for that however and had already pulled up and away, swinging down to catch her exposed side. She twisted at the last second, barely dodging the blow. Springing back, she managed to regain a defensive stance and prepared her own attack. She feinted to the left before propelling herself up and over with a uppercut, trying to catch Korra in the side of the head. To her surprise Korra anticipated her, closing the distance she caught her arm and spun her to the ground, pinning her.

Azula blinked a few times, not sure what just happened.

Korra the Slave Girl. The girl that let herself get beaten day after day just defeated her in a sparring match.

Azula didn't want to let the defeat sit on her and said "Again!"

They repeated a few more times the sparring match, but everytime with the same result

After her fifth straight loss, Azula was forced to admit that Korra was considerably better than her.

They both collapsed to the cabin floor, panting. Azula couldn’t help but steal a glance at Korra, glistening with sweat. She was beaming.

"Not bad for a Water Tribe.“ joked Azula.

“You’re not too bad yourself.” Korra smiled back, feeling pleasantly exhausted and completely at ease.

They sat up. Azula scratched the back of her head "Tell me Korra, how could you defeat me so easily?"

Korra blushed and said “My uncle trained me and the other children in various fighting techniques. But we were never allowed to use it against one of the guards because he was afraid that they would kill us if we resisted."

Azula stares at Korra in amazement "If you've been stronger than me all along, why have you never fought me back?!" Azula was ashamed to admit that Korra is stronger, but that's a question she really wants to know.

Korra scratched the back of her head “That's actually quite easy to answer. I didn't want to hurt you."

Azula was speechless. Korra notices Azula's expressionless face, "It's really nothing. I admit, you've really hurt me, but I was treated much worse in the slave compound, "added Korra with a smile.

Azula was ashamed to think of what she's done in the past. Until she remembered another question "Then why didn't you fight Mai?"

Korra shrugged, “She's your friend. I thought that you wouldn't want to see me hurt her."

Azula tries not to let her sadness show at the thought of how Korra let everyone hurt her.

‚Is the Fire Nation really that cruel‘ thinks Azula.

Azula sighs, the desire to spar has passed. She just wants to change the subject "can you think of anything we could do now?"

Korra blushed while she scratched the back of her neck “would you mind teaching me how to firebend?“

Azula blinks “what?“

Korra smiles sheepishly "I saw you fire bend and it was so strong, so beautiful." Korra blushed when she realized what she just said "I meant controlled." Korra stuttered.

Azula blushed “Well I can teach you, but not here. I don't want anyone to find out that you are the avatar. In addition, the cabin is too small for that. "

Korra nodded "I fully understand."

Azula looks to the side and mumbles "Yes, better safe than sorry."

Azula blinks a few times before she thinks about what she just said. ,Better safe than sorry.'

Azula's eyes widened. She suddenly jumped up when she got an idea. “I have the idea!” She shouted.

Korra was slightly startled. "What is it?"

Azula grabbed Korra’s shoulders and started shaking her. “I have the idea for you. Imagine you Korra the Avatar, as the personal bodyguard of the Fire Nations Princess."

Korra tries to understand what Azula means by this. Korra doesn't know if it's because she has no idea what Azula means by that, or if it's because she's being shaken up.

Azula abruptly stops shaking Korra. Korra’s head turns a bit until Azula leads her to the bed and sits her on it.

Azula stands in Front of Korra “think about it. Imagine if you were my bodyguard, on the one hand, my safety would be taken care of, and on the other hand, you would be treated much better."

Korra ponders what Azula said for a moment.

Azula adds, “With your help, I'm sure the war will be faster over, with the help of the Avatar. And if that is the case and you help win the war, the first thing I will personally do is to ensure that all the Water Tribe People are freed."

Korra’s eyes widen. The last sentence got her out of her mind. She would never have believed in her life that anyone would give her that promise.

Korra had tears in her eyes as she furiously nodded.

Korra jumped up "YES, YES, MILLION TIMES YESSS!!!"

Azula had to take a step back. Nevertheless, she smiles when she received Korra’s answer.

Azula went to her travel bag and took out a book. She hands it to Korra.

“Well, the first thing you're going to do is read this book. The book contains various fighting techniques. "

Korra stares at the book for a few seconds until she looks away, embarrassed.

Azula notices Korra’s discomfort. "What's wrong, are there too many pages?"

Korra scratched her cheek when she embarrassedly admits "I can't read."

Azula blinks as she goes over what Korra just said "You can't read?"

Korra shakes her head.

Azula sighs "It can't go on like this," Azula said as she took a new book out of her bag.

Azula sits down on the bed next to Korra. Korra saw two dragons depicted on the book. “I will now teach you how to read. It is easier to learn to read with this book than with the other."

Korra blushed "Are you sure you want to spend your time teaching me how to read?"

Azula shrugged “I have nothing better to do anyway.” Azula turns to the first page
“This is my favorite book. It's called "Love Amongst the Dragons" now, pay attention. I'm going to teach you the letters first. Then I'll show you how to write and read words aloud. Then I'll read a page, then you will read the next page, then I'll show you how to read other books."

Korra have a small smile and nodded.

Azula smiles "let's get started, step one is..."

——————————————————————
12 hours later

The ship has reached the harbor from Ember Island and the children, with a handful of guards, went to the beach house where they will live for the next few years.

During the entire voyage, Azula taught Korra how to read and write, not on an expert level, but enough to read books and write notes.

Among other things, they also discussed their plans for how they will spend the next few years.

Now Zuko was taken to one room, while Azula and Korra were taken together to another.

They were exhausted for the day and immediately fell asleep.

Chapter Text

Chapter 9: Times Flies

First week, after they arrived on Ember Island.

In the first week, Azula and Korra discussed how they would like to associate from now on.

Every day was the same for Azula and Zuko. They woke up, washed, had breakfast and went to the academy in a rickshaw pulled by Korra.

Zuko felt guilty every time he got on the rickshaw.

Little does he know that Korra pulls the rickshaw only to train her muscles and endurance.

Whenever Korra pulls them to the Academy, she would go into the classroom too and stand in the background. Each time she would stand in the furthest corner, with a blank expression on her face.

Azula and Zuko were among the younger students, but according to the Fire Lord's orders, they were placed in a class of advanced students.

As Azula and Zuko sat down for class, Zuko whispers to Azula, "Don't you find it slowly humiliating for Korra that she spends the entire class day after day in a corner?"

Azula shrugged “She got used to it. Her will is broken and she has become the obedient slave I've always wanted.” Azula lied.

In reality, Azula and Korra have agreed that when Korra is in the Academy and in the company of a third party, she should have a blank expression and act as if she doesn't care. In other words, she should act like Mai.

Zuko wanted to throw up every time he saw Korra like that. The worst for him was the day he wanted to apologize to Korra for what he did to her. As he approached Korra that day, he noticed her bare eyes. He just wanted to talk to her, but she didn't even say one word.

Zuko even got to the point where he blamed himself for how Korra turned out.

——————————————————————
Second week

The students were sent to the cafeteria for lunch.

Azula sat alone at a table while Korra stands next to her with her practiced, emotionless expression on her face. Because she couldn't let the students start the rumor that she was treating a Water Tribe slave well. She fears that this rumor could somehow get to her father, who in turn would kill Korra in front of her eyes to teach her a lesson.

Since she could not let that happen, she treats Korra like an ordinary slave in front of other people. But in private she treats her like her closest friend.

Zuko came to her table, set down two trays, and sat across from her. He hands a tray to his sister. "Aren't you tired of taking your slave everywhere with you?" He asks with a bitter taste.

Azula shrugged "Well, a girl needs her long-term servant," said Azula innocently. Zuko gave her a disgusted look as she started to eat.

Zuko was about to reply when two new figures came to their table.
One boy was probably the same age as Zuko. With spiky black hair, golden eyes and eyebrows that reminds them of a shark. The boy behind him was probably a year younger. He has black hair, with a curl up front and a stockier build. He had green eyes, which is quite unusual for a student at Fire Nations Academy.

The boy with the shark brows asks "can we sit down on your table? The rest of the tables are occupied."

Before Azula could refuse, Zuko replies for her, "Of course."

The two boys thanked them and sat down. The boy with the shark brows sat next to Zuko, while the boy with the green eyes sat next to Azula.

The boy with the shark brows introduces himself "Hello, my name is Mako and this is my little brother Bolin."

With his mouth full, Bolin says "Hi." And some food falls out of his mouth.

"Bolin how often should I tell you, don't speak with full mouth."

Bolin gave a toothy grin "I'm sorry, I was just really hungry. I haven't had eating anything since breakfast. "

"Breakfast wasn't even four hours ago."

Bolin shrugged "I'm still growing."

Mako looks at his table neighbors and sighs, "I'm sorry that you had to experience that."

"Yes, I'm sorry too." Azula replies with a roll of her eyes.

Zuko gave Azula a look that says 'don't be so direct.'

Zuko turns to Mako and says, “It's okay. My name is Zuko and this is my younger sister Azula with her slave Korra. "

Bolin turns to Korra. He almost lost his breath when he saw her. 'She's cute,' he thought to himself.

Bolin tried to get a start “So Korra, you are a slave?“ When Mako heard this, he couldn't help but hide his face in his hands from shame. “How is the life of a slave?” After Bolin added this sentence , Mako kicked him under the table, in the shin. "OW! What was that for?! ”Bolin yelled at his brother.

"For being an idiot." Said Mako cold.

Bolin rubs his leg when he noticed his mistake. "Oh," he turns to Korra and tilts his head, "I'm sorry if I hurt you."

Korra didn't answer, she just stared into space.

Bolin raised a brow and turned to Azula. "What's wrong with her?" Whispers Bolin while pointing a finger, not very subtly, at Korra.

"Nothing." Shrugged Azula.

Bolin turns his gaze to Zuko. He was about to ask something until Zuko shakes his head.

Mako now tries to change the subject by asking "So, how do you two think of the Academy so far?"

Zuko shrugged "Very well, I would say."

Azula, in contrast, crossed her arms ”Quite boring. I'm not learning anything I didn't already know. "

Mako says “This will certainly get better. You will see in a year or two you will enter the advanced classes. "

Azula replies with a sneer "We already are."

Makos and Bolin's eyes widen “No way! You’re already at the advance level?! That's so cool! ”Bolin yelled.

Mako is skeptical. “I can understand that your brother is with the advanced. But you a girl, is with the advanced? I can not believe that. Aren't you 6 years old? Shouldn't you be playing with dolls?” That got him a painful kick in the shin. "What was that for Bo?!"

Bolin replies "For being an idiot."

Mako looks grim “But hat's the truth. She's a girl, they can't do anything."

Before Bolin could do anything, he was interrupted by a bang.

Azula hit the table. She got up slowly.

Zuko rubs his forehead and whispers "Oh no."

Azula walked slowly to Mako, who still has a snooty expression.

"First of all, I'm 8 years old, and I don't play with dolls, I burn them. I prefer playing with weapons." Azula slowly began to say when she stopped in front of Mako. "Furthermore, if you have something to say to me, tell me in the face you sexist."

Mako now stands up too. “Then I'll tell you in the face. You don't belong here."

Azula smiles darkly and Zuko knows exactly what it means.

Azula turns her back on Mako. "Then prove it, you and I, a little fire duel." Mako was speechless. "What is it? Are you scared of a little girl?” Azula says as she walks slowly to the door of the cafeteria, followed by Korra.

“I'm not afraid of anything or anyone! I accept your challenge!” Says Mako

Bolin and Zuko Facepalmed.

——————————————————————

They all gathered on the school grounds. They have improvised a ring with Azula and Mako facing each other in the middle. Zuko, Bolin, and Korra stood outside the ring.

Azula and Mako stepped every 10 steps away. Both Azula and Mako bow before falling into bending stances. Mako fires several shots at Azula, who easily dodges, before she kicks three shots, putting the boy off balance, before Azula jumps, kicking a flame to his chest and knocking him off the ring.

Bolin ran to his brother to see if everything was okay with him.

Azula smiles slyly. She puts her hands on her hips. She went to Mako and looked down at him, wrinkling her nose. "Not bad for a little girl, right?"

Mako looks sullenly away "That was just luck."

"Sure. Talk to yourself if it helps you to sleep in the night." Says Azula as she turns away.

Bolin whispers in Mako's ear, "I hope you've learned your lesson."

Mako sighs and thinks, 'Maybe a little. At least I've learned that I'm fascinated by this girl, and I'd like to know more about her.‘ Mako stands up and bows to Azula and Zuko. "Thank you very much for this practice fight, it was very informative."

Zuko nodded and says "don't take it too hard." When he went back to the classroom with his sister and Korra.

Bolin shouts afterwards "I hope to see you again soon!"

——————————————————————
Fourth week

The weeks passed in a flash. Azula and Zuko began to befriend Mako and Bolin. They even spent time together outside of class. However, they had not yet been invited to their respective homes.

The five, with all the other students, were leaving the academy for the day. Bolin stretched his arms and said, “It's been a long day. I'm sdying of hunger. I've heard of a new noodle restaurant, let us try it."

Azula and Mako shrugged their shoulders and answered at the same time "I don't care." The two stared at each other and blushed as they avert their eyes.

Zuko ignores them and says "I could use some food."

"Then it's settled!" Cried Bolin with enthusiasm. Bolin points with his finger down the street “Let's go right now! The restaurant is about half an hour in that direction. "

Azula rolls her eyes "I don't think about walking there." She walked in the opposite direction with Korra not far behind her. Zuko, ashamed, follows her too. Mako and Bolin start afterwards, surprised. "We'll take our rickshaw.

Mako and Bolin's eyes widen. They were surprised to learn that Azula and Zuko are getting around in a rickshaw. Bolin happily followed, Mako blinks twice and then followed the group.

"That is so cool! You have your own rickshaw. What is it towed from? From an Ostrich Horse or maybe from a Komodo Rhino?” Asks Bolin excitedly.

Azula smiles slyly “neither,” she says as she stops in front of the rickshaw. It was a large rickshaw that could accommodate four adults. Azula turns to Korra "take position." Korra nodded.

Korra went to the front bars of the rickshaw and took them in her hands.

Meanwhile, Azula got into the rickshaw. "What are you waiting for? Get in."

Bolin lost his appetite at the sight.

Mako and Bolin stared at each other. Mako asks “Are you sure that your slave can pull us? Wouldn't it take too long? "

Bolin would like to kick his brother in the shin. 'Seriously, is that the only thing you’re worried about?' Bolin thinks.

Zuko sighs "Even if I hate to admit it, but Korra has never had a problem pulling us back and forth until now."

Mako and Zuko got into the rickshaw. Bolin, on the other hand, turns to Korra and asks her "Do you need some help?"

Korra didn't answer and just looked ahead.

Bolin was about to make another attempt when he was interrupted by his brother. "Get on it Bolin!"

Bolin glanced at Korra one last time, until he ruefully stepped into the rickshaw.

Azula smirked “Let me give you a good advice. Hold on tight. "Before either of the two brothers could ask what she meant, she gave a simple command to Korra "Go."

Without warning, Korra started running as if bitten by a hog-monkey. She ran so fast that Mako and Bolin are pressed against their seats. Azula and Zuko, on the other hand, already know how fast Korra would pull them, and had already started to hold on tightly.

Korra ran around in a maddened mood until she finally stopped in front of the restaurant. Mako and Bolin almost fell out of the rickshaw when Korra stopped. It took Korra less than 10 minutes to get them to the restaurant. She wasn't even out of breath.

Azula had a smug grin as she got off the rickshaw. Zuko couldn't help but smile at the sight of the two brothers.

Mako and Bolin got their nausea under control and tripped out of the rickshaw.

At the sight of the restaurant, Bolin's appetite returned. With his usual smile he says "Welcome to Narook’s Noodles!"

Bolin and Zuko went ahead. Mako turns to Azula and asks "How is it possible that your slave pulled us all the way here without collapsing?"

Azula shrugged "Who knows?"

Azula went into the restaurant, followed by Korra. Mako looks afterwards, amazed, but then goes in too.

——————————————————————

Azula, Zuko and Mako have finished their noodles, they are just waiting for Bolin to finish his third portion.

While Bolin continues with his noddles, Mako turns to Azula and asks "Are you going to starve your slave while we are fed up?"

Azula looks at Korra, who stands behind her as usual. "She'll get something to eat later as long as she behaves obediently."

Mako noticed a small smile on Azula, but it disappeared as quickly as it appeared. Mako doesn't think too much about it and rather concentrates on his empty bowl.

A waitress came to their table and asks "How's it going kids, do you have another wish?"

The boys all shake their heads, but Azula says "I would like to have another portion to go."

"Very well, child." The waitress smiles.

——————————————————————

After Bolin finished eating, and after Azula got her noodles to go, they went back to the rickshaw. After a short running were Mako and Bolin dropped off at their home.

Mako and Bolin's home was a big house, which speaks that their parents must be very wealthy.

After Azula and Mako said their goodbyes to the brothers, they were pulled to their temporary home at full speed.

——————————————————————

Azula and Korra were alone in their room. Korra rubs her cheeks just like she does every evening before the day is over.
“I don't understand how Mai can wear a expression like this day after day?” complains Korra.

Azula smiles gently as she puts the bowl of noodles on her desk in front of Korra. She says “I'm sorry you couldn't eat in the restaurant. I hope you like it."

Korra hugs Azula and replies, “It's okay. I understand it completely."

Azula smiles and returns the hug.

——————————————————————

Later that night, when Azula was certain that the rest of the house was sleeping, she asked Korra, who was lying in bed next to her, "Are you ready?"

Korra turns to Azula and answers with a toothy smile "Always."

Azula and Korra sneak out the window and go to their usual place, not too far from the house.

Since coming to Ember Island, Korra has been trained by Azula in Firebending. From time to time they would practice their other bending skills as well.

Azula was surprised to learn that Korra could already bend three of the four elements at the age of 4.

In the first week they worked on breathing exercises.

In the second week they went through the various fighting stances.

In the third week they meditated.

In the fourth week they started fighting each other. Although Korra is a quick learner, she lost in every Fire Duel against Azula, but Azula lost in every non-bending sparring match.

They just arrived at their usual place. It's a wide field, undisturbed by any unwanted onlookers.

When they come to a stop, Korra asks enthusiastically, “What are we going to start with today. With breathing exercises, meditation, fighting stances or sparring matches? "

Azula scratched the back of her neck "I thought we could work on your waterbending today."

Korra shrugged “What did you think of? Oh, I already know, I could show you some techniques my uncle taught me." says Korra happily.

Azula looks at the floor "I thought we could work on your bloodbending."

Korra’s eyes widen. She took a step back. "Azula are you sure?" Azula nodded ashamed. "I only did it once and that looked pretty scary." Added Korra. Korra shuddered at the thought of her first bloodbending.

Azula sighs “I know I wouldn't really like to think about it myself. However, it cannot be denied that it could be very useful in an emergency. "

Korra hate the thought of Bloodbending, but she couldn't argue that it saved Azula's lives. Korra looked at the floor and nodded.

Azula put her hand on Korra’s shoulder. "I'm glad you see it." She turned her back on Korra and took a few steps forward. "Let's start by recapitulating how it was in the beginning." Korra raised a brow. “I mean what did you feel? How did it feel? Was it difficult to do? What was your motivation to do it?"

"I think I understand what you mean," says Korra.

——————————————————————
Sixth month

The summer vacation has just started and all students are spending the next few weeks either on the beach or visiting relatives in other cities.

Azula was just at the beach with Korra. They just had a hot sparring fight. Azula used Firebending while Korra used Waterbending.

Korra had her bare expression in case an unexpected bystander shows up.

Azula fires a volley of Fire Balls in Korra’s direction, Korra evades without any problems while she replies with a water whip. The water whip hit Azula in the face. Azula fell to the ground.

Azula got up immediately and wiped the water from her face. She smiles darkly "Not bad, let's see how you will react to that?" Azula lights a flame in her hand while Korra prepares another water whip.

Azula was about to fire another volley when her concentration was interrupted by a loud high-pitched scream "AZUUUULA!" Azula looked in the direction of the scream and saw Zuko, Mako and Bolin running in their direction. When she looks back to Korra, she was hit by another water whip and fell to the ground.

Korra was about to run to her to see if she's okay when she sees Zuko in the distance.

Zuko, Mako, and Bolin ran to Azula when they saw how Korra attack her. Zuko and Bolin examined Azula and saw that she was fine. Azula slowly stands up.

Meanwhile, Mako turns to Korra and grabs her by the collar. “What's wrong with you?!” Korra doesn't say a word and stares at him as if he's not there. This behavior only made Mako more angrier. "Answer you dirty rat!" Korra still doesn't responds. Mako lit a small flame in his right hand. "If you don't answer my question right away, I'll burn one of your eyes off!" Korra still didn't answer.

Mako was about to give Korra another burn mark, when someone grabs his hand from behind and throws Mako to the ground. Mako turned to his attacker and saw that it was Azula.

Azula sat on Mako's chest and grabbed his collar. “Why are you attacking my slave?!” she asks murderously.

Mako was astonished. "What do you mean? She went nuts and attacked you!"

Azulas looks grimly at Mako and says, "She didn't attack me." Mako thought he wasn't hearing properly. Before he could ask a question, Azula said, "We had a sparring match." Mako blinked a few times. As if Azula had read his mind, she added, “I ordered her to face me. And I would certainly have won if your brother hadn't screamed like crazy.” With the last sentence Azula turned her gaze to Bolin, who was fascinated by the whole conversation from the two.

"HAHAHAHAHA!!!" Bolin laughs loudly at Mako. "This is the second time that you have been defeated by a girl!" He wipes a tear from his eye.

Mako crossed his arms “that wasn't even a real fight. She also surprised me."

Azula rolls her eyes as she slowly walks off Mako. She goes to Korra and examines if she has been injured.

Mako quietly complained "In a real fight I could defeat anyone."

That aroused Azula's curiosity "Oh is that so?" Mako, Bolin and Zuko looked in Azula's direction. She points her thumb in Korra’s direction, "Prove it by fighting Korra."

Mako raised a brow "You want me to fight your slave?"

Azula rolls her eyes "I just said that sharkbrow."

Mako raised his hands "I don't want to hurt her."

Bolin looks at him skeptically "It looked very different a minute ago."

Mako crossed his arms "That was differently."

"You wanted to burn off one of her eyes!"

Mako rubbed the bridge between his eyes "All right, let's get it over with."

——————————————————————

Mako and Korra stood opposite each other in a sparring ring they drawn in the sand.

Mako had a slimy smile "let's make it more interesting."

Azula, who was standing on the side with Bolin and Zuko, raised a brow "How?"

Mako holds up a flyer "if I win, you will be my companion for the fire festival that will take place tomorrow."

Azula looks at Bolin and says "I didn't even know there would be a party tomorrow."

Bolin rubs the back of his head "We actually wanted to tell you before Mako attacked Korra."

"Oh," Azula says when she turns back to Mako. "And what do I get if you lose?"

Bolin raised a hand “I already know. If he loses he'll have to buy a large bowl for Korra the next time we go to Narooks."

Azula raised a brow when she thought, 'Well, that would be something. So Korra can eat with us without it appearing that I'm treating her well.‘

Azula shrugged "Since I really don't care who wins, I agree."

Bolin cheers "Awesome!"

Mako shook his head "Are you ready Water Tribe?"

Korra gave no response.

Azula gave the answer for Korra “Yes, she is ready. So stop babbling and start fighting!"

Without warning, Mako fires a salve of Fireballs at Korra.

Korra barely dodged them. She counters with some ice spears that missed Mako's head by a few centimeters.

Mako angrily yells “Hey! Are you crazy?! No ice spears!"

Bolin calls from the side "You didn't say that before!"

Mako ignores his brother and with the help of Firebending he jumped high in the air. He let a rain of Fireballs down on Korra.

Korra dodge his rain of fire, and when he landed, Korra struck him with her elbow in his stomach, then grabbed his head and flung him over her shoulder to the sandy ground.

Mako could hardly breathe after the blow. He was about to get up when he was hit in the face by a water whip. He slipped outside the ring.

Bolin ran to his brother while Azula and Zuko went to Korra.

Azula patted Korra on the shoulder and said, "Good job."

Zuko thinks it might be the light, or even the sweaty fight against Mako, but he could swear he saw how Korra blush.

Bolin helped his brother to his feet. Mako looked pretty pissed off. "She was just lucky."

Bolin rolls his eyes 'Yeah, yeah, keep telling yourself that,' he thought to himself.

Zuko tries to change the subject, “how about we go to Narooks now? I'm pretty hungry. You also owe Korra a bowl of noodles."

Azula agrees. "I could use something to eat."

"Me too!" Cried Bolin.

Mako rolls his eyes "All right, I'll surrender to the majority."

Azula claps her hands and says "So it's a deal, everyone in the rickshaw."

——————————————————————
1 year 3 month

In the evening a hawk arrived with a letter for Azula.

It was from her friend Ty Lee. Since they broke up so Azula could go to the academy, they've kept in touch, unlike Mai. They wrote to each other at least once a week.

Azula wrote about her progress in the academy, about the friends she has made and about her life with Zuko. Sometimes she even wrote about Korra.

Ty Lee, on the other hand, told Azula of her dream that when she is a little older she would like to go to the circus to become an acrobat.

This time Ty Lee wrote about a new precise fighting technique that Ty Lee developed together with one of her friends. She calls it "Chi-blocking". She described the technique perfectly in her letter, along with some sketches.

Azula smiles and thinks that she wants to practice this technique with Korra.

——————————————————————
2 year

During the night, Azula and Korra went to their usual training place. They have made a lot of progress since they trained together. Azula and Korra have learned various fighting techniques together, including chi-blocking, which they have learned halfway. Korra, on the other hand, has practically mastered the firebending, according to Azula. However, she still needs practice, just like earth bending. However, she has mastered waterbending. Azula and Korra have even found out together that Korra can only use bloodbending while the full moon shines, because for some reason her waterbending is at the strongest there. Azula doesn't know if it's because she is from the Water Tribe or if it has to do with her being the Avatar. The two are now trying to find out whether Korra's bloodbending works without the help of the full moon.

Nonetheless, the two of them enjoy every second they spend together.

They were in a hot fight against each other. Until Azula lifts her hand and says "Ok, that's enough."

Korra relaxes.

Azula tossed Korra a towel and she immediately wiped the sweat from her face.

Azula and Korra sat side by side on the grass and, as usual, gazed at the starry sky.

Korra smiles every time she looks at the stars. "The stars are beautiful tonight."

Azula looks at Korra and nodded. 'Not as beautiful as you, though,' thinks Azula. When she realized what she was thinking, she turns her gaze from Korra and inwardly screams, 'What was I just thinking?! Did I say beautiful?! How do I get that? Do I have feelings for her? No, that can't be, we are both girls, something like that doesn't work between two of the same sex. Or does it?'

Korra waved in front of Azula's face and asks “are you okay? You're quite red in the face. "

Azula says a little louder than intended
“I'm fine! Let's keep going! "

Before Korra could give an answer, Azula got up and ran forward.

Korra shrugged and followed Azula.

——————————————————————
3 year

Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years.

Azula and Zuko learned a lot about warfare in the Academy. About fighting techniques, strategy and even about certain aspects of dealing with machines.

Azula, Zuko and Korra have developed splendidly over time.

Zuko has grown longer and has built some muscles. He has become faster, stronger and more precise.

Azula, unlike her brother, is not quite as long as he is. Her firebending has almost perfected itself. Her hair is longer and she now looks like a mature girl.

However, the biggest change has been made by Korra. She has become longer than Azula and Zuko. She has built a lot more muscles all over her body than the two together. Her hair has grown longer and like Azula she has grown into a mature girl.

It will only be a few more months before Azula and Zuko graduate from the academy and sail back to the Fire Nation.

In the entire time they have been sent to Ember Island, they have not received a single letter from their father.

The servants, however, send the Fire Lord a report every 4 months stating how his children are doing in the academy.

——————————————————————
3 year 7 month

Azula and Zuko were sitting in a large room with all of their classmates.

Today will be the day. Today all of the academy's students graduate.

Azula, Zuko, Mako and Bolin sit next to each other, in one of the front rows. With Korra in her usual place, next to Azula.

All the teachers who have trained them over the years stood on the podium in front of the students.

On the podium, Azula's favorite teacher began to give a speech. It is an extremely tall woman who always wears a headband. She shaved her sides and wore a long braid. “My students, today is the last day I can call you that. After all, since tomorrow you no longer are students, but warriors who will fight for the honor of the Fire Nation. "She turns her gaze in Azula's direction. "Some of you have achieved something amazing..." Now she looks in Bolin's direction “... while others have just got through."

Bolin blushed, he was staring at everywhere but her.

The teacher reached into a wooden box and took out a scroll. She held it up. "Now come to the front as soon as I say your names."

She turns her gaze to her students “Let's start with the Top Student of the year. Please come up here and get your diploma Azula."

Azula stands up confidently. She goes to the pedestal with her head held high. She bows to her teacher and says "Thank you very much, Master P‘li."

P‘li smiles and hands her the diploma.

Azula held the diploma high in the air. All the students and teachers applauded, Bolin was of course the loudest.

——————————————————————

When all of the students received their diplomas, they left the academy excitedly.

The five were just going to their rickshaw.

Bolin shouts into the air “Yeah!” He threw his arms around Mako and Zuko's shoulders. “From now on we are no longer students, but real men. So what should we do first? "

Zuko shrugged and said, “I'll leave that to you. Since Azula and I will be going home next week. "

Mako ponders for a moment, "I heard there was going to be a big beach party for all graduates tonight."

Bolin throws his arms in the air "Then let's go there!"

Azula rolls her eyes as she gets into her rickshaw. The remaining three followed up, while Korra started to take position.

——————————————————————
In the evening on the beach

The party Mako mentioned was even bigger than they expected. There were huge bonfires, loads of foods and drinks, and even people making music.

Some of the older students even seemed to have obtained alcoholic drinks.

All the students celebrated like crazy. Some danced wildly around the fire, some sat in front of the campfire. Some even stood in front of a table to watch others arm wrestle. Others flirt with drunk girls.

Bolin immediately went ahead to the food and began to cram a lot into his mouth.

Zuko went to the campfire and sat in front of it with a drink.

Mako wanted to prove himself and went to the table where people lined up to arm wrestles.

However, Azula and Korra didn't know what to do, so they mingled with the people.

Azula lost Korra in the crowd. She looks for her everywhere, until someone from behind slaps her on the back and yells “If that isn’t ms. top student!“ Azula turns to the new voice and notices that it is Chan, with his best friend Ruon-Jian who was standing next to him. They are two of the older students from the academy.

Azula gave him a suspicious look "What do you want?"

Chan held up his hands. "Why so suspicious? Can't two guys even approach a girl without having ulterior motives? "

Azula crossed her arms, while she glared at him.

Chan held out a drink for her, "I thought you must be thirsty."

Azula hesitates, but took the drink and finished it. She raised a brow "That tastes good, what's in there?"

Chan shrugged and held out two more drinks for her. She took both and drank them too. She was slowly getting dizzy.

“You seem to be very thirsty. Come with me so we can continue to fill you up.” Chan took Azula's hand and led her somewhere else. Azula followed tipsy.

Chan and Ruon-Jian do not notice that someone is following them.

After a few minutes, the three of them reached an empty spot on the beach.

Azula raised a brow and asks dazedly "Where are the drinks?"

Suddenly, without warning, she is thrown hard in the sand. Azula was lying in the sand, she asks "What is this about?!"

When she was about to straighten up, she is pressed to the ground with one foot.

Chan, who is pushing Azula to the ground, says with a manic smile "Now you are not so cheeky Ms. top student!" He sits down on her stomach and grabs her neck. "It's time for someone to teach you a lesson."

Azula is dazed and looked panicked. She could hardly breathe.

Ruon-Jian laughed loudly as the scene played out in front of him. He picked up a large stone from the ground. He was about to smack it against Azula's head until someone grabs him by the hair from behind and throws him at Chan.

The two fell to the ground. They were pissed off. They turned to the new person. It was the slave, who Ms. Top Student took everywhere with her. They raised their eyebrows.

Chan was the first to get back on his feet. "You made a huge mistake, scum."

Korra does not reply, but places herself in a fighting stance.

Chan and Ruon-Jian prepare fire knives.

In the blink of an eye, Korra dashed to Chan and Ruon-Jian disabling them with a series of lightning-fast chi-blocks. They barely managed to react before falling to the ground, stunned.

The two had a frightened expression "What did you do to us you witch?!" they roar.

Instead of answering them with words, Korra waved her hand. A small wave came out of the sea, with which she freezes the two of them from the torso on the ground. Probably until tomorrow morning.

The two of them are trembling all over but could not move. On the one hand because of the chi-blocking, on the other hand because of the ice.

Korra meanwhile went to Azula, who was still lying dazed on the floor. She took some water and began to heal her throat.

Then she piggybacked Azula and carried her away from the two idiots.

Chan shouted afterwards, "You can't leave us like this!" Korra's answer was a waterwhip against his head.

——————————————————————

It has been hours since the three boys saw Azula. Zuko, Mako, and Bolin looked everywhere for Azula. They were out of breath. Zuko asks the two "Did you find her?" They shake their heads.

Zuko was about to continue the search until he notices Korra carrying Azula. Mako and Bolin followed his gaze and saw them too.

They ran straight to the two of them. They immediately noticed Azula's dazed expression. Zuko shouted "What happened to her."

Korra didn’t responds and continued her march.

The three boys raised their brows and followed her.

A while later they got to Azula's and Zuko's house.

Korra gently places Azula in her bed and covers her. Azula fell asleep immediately.

Since Zuko, Mako and Bolin are also currently in Azula's room, Korra went to the farthest wall in the room. She lay on her side and fell asleep.

The three were stunned by Korra’s behavior. Zuko stares at Azula sadly. They weren't always on the best of terms, but he couldn't imagine what had happened to her in the past few hours. Zuko's thoughts were interrupted by Bolin “What has happened to her in the last few hours? And more importantly, why is Korra still here? "

Mako raised a brow “what do you mean by that? She is Azula's slave."

"That is why I‘m asking. If I were a slave, I'd run away as soon as possible. She, on the other hand, carried her almost unconscious mistress all the way to her bed without turning away or complaining. So why didn't she run away when she had the chance?"

Mako's and Zuko's eyes widened. Bolin was right. Korra a slave carries her mistress to bed instead of running away when she got the chance.

The three stared first at Azula, then at Korra. Could it be that they both have a secret?

——————————————————————

The last week has passed quickly. Azula, Zuko and Korra were on the ship that will bring them back to the Fire Nations palace.

Azula stood by the stern of the ship, staring sadly at Ember Island. The island is getting smaller and smaller.

She mourns the wonderful time she had there with Korra. When she looks at the front of the ship, she feels sick from the ever-growing island. It is the heart of the Fire Nation.

Azula has not seen her father in almost 4 years and if she has her way it could happily stay that way.

Azula notices a hand on her shoulder. She turns and sees Korra smiling at her. Azula couldn't help but smile at the sight.

Azula puts her arm around Korra’s shoulder. They both look ahead. They don't know what the future holds for them, but they are sure that they will find out soon.

Chapter Text

Chapter 10: Scars

Azula and Zuko had been back at the Fire Nations Palace for 2 months. During this time, they were in the war room weekly to discuss the next steps.

Azula had a lot of good ideas to take over Ba Sing Se, such as building a huge drill to penetrate the walls. Zuko has presented some ideas here and there on how to boost morale, but they fell on deaf ears.

Every time at these strategy meetings, Korra stood next to the door like a statue.

Azula and Zuko, together with their uncle and father, sat with the most important admirals and generals of the Fire Nation at the war table to come up with a new strategy for the takeover of Ba Sing Se, as Azula's idea will take a few years to complete.

One of the admirals pushes a figure on the war map near a large wall. "We will place the 100 battalion here so that they can draw fire," says the admiral.

A general stares skeptically at the war map and says, "Do you seriously expect a gang of newbies to be able to defeat highly trained and experienced Earthbenders?"

The admiral smiles slyly. “I don't expect that. They only serve as living bait to lure the Earthbender out."

The rest of the generals and admirals seemed to be okay with the plan, except for one.

"You can't do that!" Zuko yelled.

The admiral looks pissed off in Zuko's direction "I beg your pardon?"

“You can't sacrifice a whole battalion. Are you crazy These men love their homeland, how can you betray them like that?"

"THAT'S ENOUGH!" Shouted the Fire Lord as the Fire grows bigger around him. “There is only one solution to such disrespectful behavior. An Agni Kai! “The whole room is silent.

——————————————————————

The crowd gathered around a platform to see the Agni Kai between Zuko and the Admiral.

Azula stood at the front, with Korra on her right and her uncle on the left.

Azula saw Zuko kneel at one end of the Agni Kai platform. She was delighted to see her brother kick this cocky admiral in the ass. At least she has, until she notices her father climbing to the other side of the platform.

When she saw her father, she wanted to warn Zuko. But it was too late. She could only hope that her father didn't kill Zuko.

Azula unconsciously took Korra’s hand.

Zuko turns to see that his opponent wasn't the admiral, but his own father.

He was petrified, he even fell to the ground to apologize for his disrespectful behavior, but that only fell on deaf ears.

The Fire Lord raised his hand and then the inevitable happened.

He branded Zuko's face.

At the sight of her brother squeezing and screaming in pain, Azula squeezed Korra's hand as she averted her gaze ruefully.

——————————————————————

After some servants carried Zuko from the war room to the healer, the session ended abruptly.

Iroh, the uncle from Azula and Zuko, immediately followed Zuko.

Azula, in contrast, immediately took Korra’s hand and ran with her to a small private room.

When she was sure that no one could hear her, she turned to Korra, she almost pleaded "Is there any way you could heal Zukos eye?"

Korra thinks about it for a moment and answers "Unfortunately I can't do anything about the scar, but I could at least make sure that he no longer has pain and that he doesn't lose the sight of his eye."

Azula sighs "Better than nothing after all."

The two went in the direction of the healer.

——————————————————————

Zuko was in so much pain. He lay strapped at the doctor's table while a healer and his assistant examine his eye.

Iroh stood at the side of the table and couldn't believe the sight. He knows his brother is a heartless monster, but even he didn't think he'd go that far and burn his own son.

The healer turns to Iroh and shakes his head. "Unfortunately I can't do anything for his eye."

Although he already knows the answer, Iroh asks "What do you mean by that?"

The doctor sighs "I'm sorry, but I'm afraid Prince Zuko will lose his eyesight forever."

Before Iroh could reply anything, the door opened loudly. He turned to the door and saw that it was his niece and her slave.

Azula immediately looks at the healer and his assistant. She points to them with two fingers at them and then with a thumb in the direction of the door "You two out of here immediately."

Before the healer could argue, Azula gave him a cold look. He took his legs in hand and left his room with his assistant. Azula slams the door behind them.

Korra walks in the direction of Zuko, who was slightly dazed.

Iroh turns to Azula and asks "What is the meaning of this?"

Azula looks her uncle in the eye and says "What happens now stays between us."

Before Iroh could ask anything, Korra took some water from her flask and immediately started to heal Zuko's eye.

Iroh stares in amazement at the glowing water. He whispers "She is a healer."

Azula nodded.

Korra gently wipes the water around the burn area until most of the eye has healed.

She took a step back and lead the water back into her flask.

Zuko don’t have any pain anymore.

Iroh immediately went to the table and unbuckled Zuko. Zuko sat up and brought a hand to his eye. The scar was still there, but not that large anymore. More important the pain was gone and he could see with his eye again.

He saw Korra and Azula about to leave the room and yelled "Wait!"

The two girls stopped immediately, their backs still turned to Zuko.

Zuko isn't sure if Korra will answer or not, but he has to ask her "Why did you help me?"

Korra turns her gaze to Azula as if she is mentally asking her if it is okay to answer. Azula nodded. She says without turning around, in a monotone voice "Because I know how it feels to be hurt."

Before Zuko could say anything, Azula and Korra walked through the door.

——————————————————————

Azula marches quickly through the hallways. Korra has trouble following her.

When she caught up with Azula, Korra asks "What are you going to do?"

Without slowing down, "I'll confront my father."

They were about to take the next arch to the right when they see Lord Ozai with Azula's most hated general, General Zhao.

Azula doesn't know if she hates him because of his arrogant manner or even because of his ugly sideburns. Either way, she knows when her father talks to Zhao, it doesn't mean anything good.

Azula stayed out of sight of the two older men. She presses Korra aside. They stay out of sight to hear what her father has to say.

——————————————————————

Lord Ozai says in his arrogant way "I want you to exile my useless son in one of our prisons."

Zhao smiles slyly. "In which one did you think of?"

Ozai says, as if he was already expecting the question, "To the Boiling Rock."

Zhao salutes "Yes Fire Lord."

Azula can't believe what she's hearing. As if it isn't so bad that he burned her brother for a lifetime, no now he wants to take him to the hell on earth. The Boiling Rock is the best guarded, best secured prison in the world. She knows that Mai's uncle is the director there.

Azula clenched her teeth 'You have already taken my mother from me, I will not let you take my brother from me too.' She thinks to herself. She looks everywhere just to find out how to save her brother. She looks at Korra, then slowly an idea occurred to her.

Azula crosses her hands behind her back as she walks slowly towards her father. She stamped lightly for her father and Zhao to notice her. The two men turn their eyes to Azula and Korra.

Azula looks sly while she says "Seriously, you just want to exile Zuko, that's a really harmless punishment."

Lord Ozai raised a brow, he knows when his daughter talks that way, then she have a diabolical plan in mind. A plan he is only too happy to hear. "What did you think of?"

Azula pretends to think, "How about sending him on a search instead of just going to prison?"

Zhao skeptically raised a brow "What kind of search did you have in mind?"

Azula smiles darkly "Send him to find the Avatar."

Lord Ozai crosses his arms "The Avatar has been disappeared for 100 years."

Azula replies, “That's the whole point. The Avatar has disappeared and will probably never come back." At the questioning look from her father and the general, Azula says "If he should find the Avatar, then he has more than proven his worth. If not, he'll be wasting all his life searching for the Avatar, just so he could restore his honor."

Lord Ozai smiles sadistic “I like your plan. All right, I'll give him his honor back as soon as he has found the Avatar." He turns his gaze to Zhao. "Prepare a small team for my son, I'll send him off as soon as possible."

Zhao salutes and walked away to carry out the order.

Azula was about to leave when her father said, “Keep up the good work and I'll declare you as chief strategist.” With these words, her father probably went into his room.

Azula waits a few more seconds. Until she lets out a long breath. She turns to Korra. Korra stares sadly at the floor.

Korra asks ruefully "Would you like Zuko to hand me over to your father."

Azula raised a brow "Of course not."

"But you suggested that Zuko should search for the Avatar?"

“Yes, but I would never hand you over. I just wanted Zuko to get out of here so he'd be safe. As long as he is here, he will be in each second in danger."

Before Korra could say anything, Azula covers her mouth and signals with a finger to her mouth that she should be quiet.

Azula whispers "shhh... I hear footsteps."

They both turn to the steps and see that it was Iroh. He has his hands up his sleeves while he slowly walked towards them.

Azula had a bad feeling and asks "How much did you hear?"

He gave a simple answer "Nothing at all."

Azula and Korra raised a brow.

Iroh smiles softly. "I just saw you found a way to save Zuko's life, even if he won't like it."

Azula had a slightly panicked look "You won't say anything, will you?"

Iroh shakes his head "I won't tell him anything he doesn't need to know."

Azula exhales with relief "So if you are not here to blow me up, why did you follow us?"

Iroh took his hands off his sleeves. In his right hand is a book that looks quite old.
"I wanted to thank you two again for what you did for Zuko..." he now hands over the book to Korra, "... and since I think that a simple thank you is not enough, I thought that I give you my most precious possession."

Azula raised a brow "Your most valuable possession is an old worn-out book?"

Iroh smiles "Read the name on the first page."

Korra shrugged and opened the book. Korra smiles when she saw the name. The name means something to her, although she has never heard the name before. But somehow she knows the name.

Azula notices Korra's gaze and stared at the page. She raised a brow "Kyoshi?" She turns to her uncle and asks "Who is Kyoshi?"

Iroh turned his back on the two girls while he said "She was the Avatar before Roku." With this sentence he said his goodbye and went there from where he came from.

Azula and Korra stared into each other's eyes. Korra asks her anticipated "Can I read it?"

Azula looks through all the corridors "Yes, but not here."

Korra smiles like a little child.

——————————————————————

Korra spent the entire evening and night reading Kyoshi's logbook.

Azula wakes up in the night and sees that Korra is not lying in the bed next to her. Korra sat on a pillow in a corner and continued reading the book.

Azula smiles slightly. Since the day she taught Korra how to read, Korra has read one book after the other.

Since she didn't want to disturb Korra while reading, she put her head back on her pillow and slept.

——————————————————————
A few hours later.

Korra was almost through with the book.

She turns to the last page when something suddenly fell out of the book. It fell on her lap.

Korra was surprised. She took the object and examined it closely. She recognized it immediately. It was a stone that Azula's uncle likes to play with.

It was a pai sho stone. And when she looked more closely, she saw that a white lotus was painted on it. Korra didn't think much of it. Iroh probably used the stone as a bookmark. Korra shrugged and put the stone in her pocket. She reads now the last page of the book.

Chapter Text

Chapter 11: The Journey Begins

Two years after Zuko was banished and sent to find the Avatar.

Azula has just turned 14 years old. Korra doesn't know when her birthday is, but she is sure that she is exactly the same age as Azula.

It was in the afternoon and they were in Azula's room.

Azula and Korra trained together every night, similar like in Ember Island. Korra has practically mastered all of her familiar elements, including bloodbending. However, she still can't airbending, and that's what gets both of them pretty frustrated.

Korra admitted defeat, she hung her arms and complaint “I still can't airbend. No matter what I try, it just doesn't work."

Azula held her chin while she ponders aloud "Well, to learn an element, you need a master of the element."

"Yes, but there is no Airbender alive."

"Well that's true, but maybe there are still some scrolls of their airbending techniques."

That aroused Korra’s curiosity "Is there really something like that?"

Azula rubs her chin “Probably, unfortunately nobody knows where the air temples are. The Airbenders liked to keep hiding back in their time."

Korra pouts.

Azula rolls her eyes, "But I know of another place where we can get the scrolls."

That in turn aroused Korra’s interest again.

Azula smiles. "Have you ever heard of the Wan Shi Tong Library?" Korra shakes her head. Azula says “This is the largest and biggest known library in the world. Every knowledge of this world is in this place. This probably includes scrolls about airbending and the story about the Avatar."

Korra’s eyes shine "Do you think there are books about Avatar Kyoshi too?"

Since Azula's uncle gave them Kyoshi's logbook, there has hardly been a day that Korra has not read the book. She was very fascinated by the life Of Kyoshi. She even drawed loads of pictures based on the book, such as pictures of her old training methods, how Kyoshi killed Chin the conqueror, the island where Kyoshi lived, the familiar animal of Kyoshi, pics of Ragni, the best friend of Kyoshi even portraits of Kyoshi herself, however what Azula liked most, Pictures of the legendary lion turtles. The pictures looked like they could have been taken by a professional.

Azula smiles softly, "I'm pretty sure of that."

Korra jumps up and takes Azula's hands in her own hands. "Then let's go right away!"

Azula took her hands off Korra and said,
“It's not that simple. The library is lost. We have to go to the person who rediscovered the library first and ask him about the map."

Korra scratched the back of her head
“Oh, that makes sense. Well ok, who is the person who discovered the library?"

Azula ponders “As far as I know, there were two men. One of them was General Zhao. The other one was, as far as I know, Hiroshi Sato..."

Korra stiffened when she heard the name.

Azula does not notice Korra's stiff posture and adds. "And Hiroshi Sato is the one who has the map."

Korra started to hyperventilating, she could hardly breathe. She collapsed.

Now Azula began to notice Korra's behavior. She ran quickly to her and grabbed her shoulders. "Korra what's going on?! Talk to me!"

Korra held her head as tears came to her. She was trembling all over.

Azula ran quickly to her bed and took the blanket. She covered Korra with it, then pressed Korra’s head to her chest.

Azula circles with her hand on Korra’s head while she softly whispers,
“Everything will be fine. You can trust me with everything that worries you."

Korra slowly began to calm down.

Azula asks sadly "Is it because of something I said?"

Korra takes a deep breath "I-it's ... be-because ... o-of Hiroshi Sato ..."

Azula raised a brow "What about him?"

Korra breathes in and out, she thinks she can tell her right away. “Hiroshi Sato is a monster. In the past in the slave compound, he made me suffer day after day." She took another deep breath. "He put me every day in a pillory and incited my own tribe against me. He promised them food every time they threw stones at me. On other days, he hung me by my ankles in his office for hours. But the absolutely worst was that he kept putting me every now and then in a small underground cell for at least a week. There was no light at all, it could even have passed months without me noticing. Whenever the guards took me out of the cell, they would lead me straight outside and put my eyes straight into the sun and then open them. I was then always blinded for days, if not weeks. Since then I have been very afraid of going to underground rooms."

Azula was shocked to hear that the director himself commissioned to torture her friend. She waited a few extra minutes for Korra to calm down and asks the only question she can think of? "Why? Why did he let them torture you, of all peoples?"

Korra is trembling. She stops shaking when Azula holds her hand. Korra sighs "Because I befriends with his daughter."

Azula's eyes widen.

Korra explains, “Hiroshi's wife and daughters brought us food and medicine whenever they could. One day when I was just 4 years old we started making friends. The friendship meant a lot to me because it showed me that not everyone from the Fire Nation is evil." Korra sighs as if what she wants to say now is very difficult for her." But then, 2 years later, Hiroshi has figured it out. He forbade his daughter to interact with peoples from my Tribe and made my life a living nightmare. I haven't seen Asami since that day."

Azula didn't know what to say, so she took Korra in a hug. They sat like this for a few more minutes.

——————————————————————

After Korra's breakdown, Azula wanted Korra to rest and she let her sleep in her bed.

Azula was walking alone down the hallways to the throne room. She wanted to talk to her father, so that she can go on an expedition. Of course she doesn't want to tell him what she's actually up to.

As she entered the throne room, she saw her father sitting in his usual place. General Zhao stood in front of him, with a handful of soldiers, with the 5 Fire Sages in chains.

Azula raised a brow, wondering 'Why are the Fire Sages in chains?'

General Zhao seemed to be coming to the end of his lecture, "This is why these traitors of the Fire Nation are before you today."

The Fire Lord stares down the Fire Sage "Is it true what General Zhao told me?"

The High Sage stepped forward, bowed and replied "Fire Lord, as I have told General Zhao countless times, only Shyu helped the Avatar."

That piqued Azula's interest. She moved closer to listen better. However, she stayed behind one of the pillars to stay out of sight.

The Fire Lord turns a skeptical eye in Shyu's direction "Is it true?"

Shyu, without showing fear, replies, "Yes, I did. It was the job of the Fire Sages to serve the Avatar and it still is."

The Fire Lord asks "Oh, is that so?"

Shyu raised his head "Yes."

“Then you have sealed your fate. You will all be executed tomorrow at dawn.” Ordered the Fire Lord.

The other Fire Sages look in shock, but Shyu wasn't afraid.

"Let this be a lesson to any traitor who opposes the Fire Nation and the Royal Family."

"You are the traitor," Shyu says without fear.

He made everyone in the room breathless with this statement.

Zhao was the first to come to, "What are you saying?!"

Shyu stepped out "You all heard me..." He looks directly at the Fire Lord "You are the greatest traitor of the entire Fire Nation. A traitor who sits in his cozy palace while others fight and die. A traitor who banished his own son simply because he wanted to protect the lives of his own countrymen. And a traitor who steps over the corpses of his own family to come to power."

Shyu now looks into the crowd “Now tell me who is the real traitor here? We? ..." He now looks back at the Fire Lord
"Or he?"

They all stood in silence until the Fire Lord broke the silence with his sinister laughter. "Those are the last words you will ever utter ..." He commands his soldiers, "Go get them all out of my sight, and put them in separate cells."

The soldiers grabbed the Fire Sages and got them out.

Azula looks after them. She really wants to know what was going on and decided on a plan for the night, but she has to go to Korra first.

——————————————————————

Later in that full moon night, Azula and Korra, put each a mask on and wore completely black clothes. A full bag was with them. They crept to the cells not far from the palace.

Each of the Fire Sages was on a different level. However, Azula quickly found out where Shyu was. They went through the prison hall looking for his cell.

After a while they found his cell, but it was guarded by two guards.

They stayed around a corner out of sight of the two guards.

Korra asks "How do we want to get past the guards?"

Azula thinks briefly “How about you knock them out with bloodbending?“

Korra stares to the side in shame. "Are you sure, you know that I don't like to use it."

Azula put a hand on Korra’s shoulder. "I wouldn't ask you if it wasn't important."

Korra sighs “Alright.” She prepared her bending stance and waved her arms towards the guards.

——————————————————————

Shyu stares outside his bars at the two guards. He wonders if there could be any way to save his friends lives and his own.

He was about to lose hope when he noticed how the guards suddenly became very stiff, as if they were being raised by some strange force. They writhed a little until they fell unconscious to the ground.

Shyu stopped at the bars to see what happened. He sees that the two guards are still breathing. He averts his gaze from the guards when he heard footsteps. He looked in the direction of the steps and saw two masked girls walking in the direction of his cell. He notices that one of the two girls is from the Water Tribe.

His eyes widen when he thought he recognized the girl. He asks astonished
“Katara is that you? How did you get here?"

Korra raised a brow. She looks at Azula who just shrugged.

When Azula and Korra come to a stop in front of the bars, they took off their masks. Azula says "You seem to have mistaken us for someone else."

Shyu stepped back in shock. "Princess Azula, what are you doing here?"

Azula stares him straight in the eye and says, “I want some answers. And you are the only one who can give them to me."

Shyu says "What if I gave you the answers?"

Azula shrugged "It depends on how I like the answers, then we'll see."

Shyu sighs, he has nothing to lose anyway.

Azula asks "Tell me what you meant when you said you helped the Avatar?"

Shyu looks confidently into Azula's eyes and tells her the story of how the Avatar and his two friends came to the Fire Temple to look for answers on how they could end the war. They planned for the Avatar to talk to Avatar Roku, but for some reason it didn't work out the way they wanted it to. Shyu also shared how he stood up against the Fire Nation soldiers just so the Avatar and his friends could escape on a flying bison.

Shyu sighs "And now I'm locked up here and waiting for my execution."

Azula and Korra were amazed. They looked each other in the eye.

Korra was the first one to ask "Why do you think this boy is the Avatar?"

Shyu raised a brow “Because he's the Avatar. He is the last Airbender in the whole world."

Korra stepped back astonished. "There is still an Airbender out there?"

Shyu nodded.

Korra looks at Azula as if to ask her if she should tell him. Azula held up a hand and shook her head.

Azula stepped closer to the bars. “Before we talk any further about the Avatar, I have another question. You called my father a traitor who steps on the corpses of his family. What did you mean by that?"

Shyu says without a hint of fear, "Your father commissioned your grandfather's murder."

Azula shrugged “I already know that. The question is, how do you know it?"

Shyu stares straight into her eyes. "Your mother told me."

Azula hastily grabbed the bars. She had a panicked expression "You talked to my mother?!"

Shyu nodded “She came to me 6 years ago. She was on the run."

Shyu started talking about how Ursa came to the Fire Temple 6 years ago. She was exhausted and had been on the run for days. She had neither money nor provisions. He tells Azula how he helped her by sending her to his friends. They got Ursa out of the country and helped her by giving her a new identity.

Azula took a few steps back, tears in her eyes. She almost collapsed if she wasn't caught by Korra.

Azula yells “You are lying! If you are really telling the truth then prove it! "

Shyu reached into his robe and pulled out two scrolls that were well hidden in his robe. He hands the scrolls to Azula.

Azula took it and saw that each scroll had a name on it. Her name was written on one and her brother's name on the other. Azula noticed immediately that the names were written in her mother's handwriting.

Shyu mentions “Your mother gave me the scrolls just before she disappeared. One of them is for you, the other for your brother. I carried them for years with me in case, that I will ever see you or your brother."

Azula hands her brother's scroll to Korra while she opens her scroll and begins to read.

“My dearest Azula, if you read this it means that we will probably never see each other again. I'm sorry I couldn't personally say goodbye to you and your brother. It was very difficult for me to leave you, but I had to in order to save both of your lives. Your father intended to have you both killed on different nights. I was able to get him out of it by killing your grandfather. I beg of you not to follow the footsteps of your father. He is a monster who would even kill his own children for nothing more than the chance to be the successor of your grandfather. However, you are not a monster, you are my little girl and always will be.
I don't know if we will meet again one day, but I know that even without your mother you will grow up to be a beautiful young woman. I also know that you will be in the best of hands. Whatever your choice in life will be, I will always love you.

In love

Ursa "

Azula trembled tears drip on the scroll. Korra had to stabilize her so that she wouldn't collapse.

Azula covers her mouth with one hand and whispers “She loves me. My mother loves me."

Korra smiles slightly as she lightly strokes Azula over her hair.

Korra notices something shiny at the end of the scroll. She shows it to Azula.

Azula's tears flowed stronger when she took it from the scroll. At the sight of it she smiles softly "It's my mother's favorite hairpin."

Azula presses the hairpin to her chest.

Out of respect, Shyu waits a few minutes in silence until he asks "Did I answer all your questions?"

Azula stands up and rubbed away her tears.

Azula turns to Korra and nodded as if to give her an ok.

Korra took a step closer to the cell. She clears her throat “I have one more question. Where did the Airbender and his friends fled to?"

Shyu shakes his head "I'm sorry, but I'll take the secret with me to the grave."

Korra grabbed the bars "Please, I urgently need an Airbender teacher."

Shyu raised a brow "What do you mean by teacher?"

Azula sighs "You didn't sacrifice yourself for the Avatar, but for an Airbender."

Shyu shakes his head. "That can't be right. He's been airbending in front of my eyes, he told me that he was frozen in an iceberg for 100 years. He has to be the Avatar."

Azula shakes her head "No, I'm sorry. He is definitely not the Avatar."

Shyu went closer to the bars. "How do you want to know that?"

Azula points in Korra’s direction with a thumb and says "Because she is the Avatar."

Shyu first stares at Korra until he burst out laughing "Ok, you almost had me."

Azula smiles slyly as she says "Korra."

As if it were a request, Korra opened her palm. She light a little flame with her hand. Shyu's eyes widen. Korra puts out the fire and bend the water from her flask.

Shyu took a few steps back and whispered "By the flameo, she is the Avatar."

Korra says with a satisfied grin "I can earthbend too."

Shyu fell back to his rear end. He raised a hand in Korra’s direction. "If you are really the Avatar, why are you staying in the Fire Nation? And why weren't you killed?"

Azula answers his questions "I'm the only one who knows that she is the Avatar."

Shyu is afraid to ask the next question "Then what are you two going to do?"

Korra looks in Azula's direction "I don't know."

Azula took Korra’s hand in her own and let out a long breath “I suggested that she become my bodyguard so that she can lead a slightly better life. But now that I've read my mother's letter, I'm not so sure anymore."

Shyu rises up "If you would allow me, maybe you should hear about this prediction before you make a decisions..." after having the attention of the two girls, he says "Sozin's comet, with which Fire Lord Sozin exterminated once all air nomads, will return at the end of the summer..."

Before Shyu could continue speaking, Azula interrupted him. Azula waved "Yes, yes, every Firebender in the world knows about it."

Shyu sighs, "Yes, but did you imagine what someone like your father would do with the power of the comet?"

Azula's eyes widen “The last time an entire nation was wiped out. Only the spirits knows what he is up to with this power."

Shyu closed his eyes. "He will probably want to wipe out either the Water Tribe or the Earth Nation."

Korra stepped back in shock, she covers her mouth with her hand. "No."

Azula stares at the hairpin in her hand. She squeezed her eyes shut. She has made a decision. "He won't do any of this shit," Azula says firmly.

Korra knows this look and is waiting eagerly for the idea that came to Azula.

Shyu, on the other hand, has no idea what the Fire Nation Princess means.

Azula clenched her teeth "I will not allow him to put his insane plan into practice..." she now turns to Korra "I will not allow him to cause the world any more pain than before. I'll see to it that the war comes to an end..." Now she looks Korra straight in the eyes and asks "would you help me?"

Korra had the biggest smile she's ever seen. In a flash, Korra took her in a tight bear hug and shouted “Of course I'll help you! I would follow you to the end of the world!"

Azula feels pain and joy in that very second.

Korra broke the hug. She smiles and asks "What is our first step?"

Azula turns her gaze to Shyu "First of all we will free Shyu."

Shyu's eyes widen.

Korra searches the guards who are still unconscious for a the keys. She found it and gave it to Azula.

Azula opens the cell. Shyu is happy and just wanted to get out of his cell, but he is pushed back into the cell by Azula.

"I thought you'd get me out of here?" Asks Shyu

Azula smiles devious and replies "You didn't think we'd get you out of here through the front door?"

At Shyu's questioning look, Azula went to the opposite wall and said to Korra "Show us some earthbending."

Korra smiles and broke the wall like nothing.

Shyu knows that she is the Avatar, but was still amazed.

The three of them left the cell through the hole. Korra put the hole back together so no one would see how Shyu fleed.

——————————————————————

The three had to avoid a lot of guards. After what felt like an eternity they arrived at a stable full of Ostrich Horses.

Shyu was out of breath, he couldn't walk any further.

Azula looks down the streets to see if there are any guards walking around. She saw nothing and turned to Shyu.

"Since we are alone now, we still have a lot to discuss before we part ways," says Azula.

Shyu was too exhausted to react immediately.

Azula took the bag Korra had been carrying the whole time and handed it to Shyu.

Shyu asks when he opens the bag "What's in there?"

Azula counts on “A cloak, some money, and something to eat and drink. The food should be enough until you get to the next town."

Shyu took off his old robe and started wearing the new cloak.

Shyu smiles and asks "How did I deserve this?"

Azula shrugged "I must have liked your answers."

"What if you didn't liked my answers?"

"Then I would have left you to your fate."

Shyu gulped.

Shyu was about to mount an Ostrich Horse until Korra stopped him.

Korra says "Wait, before you go, I would like to know where the Airbender had fled?"

Shyu sighed “I don't know. He didn't tell me. But I could think that he and his friends flew to Ba Sing Se."

"Why there?"

"He thinks he's the Avatar, maybe he's trying to plan a battle plan with the Earth King."

Azula rubbed her chin "That might even be true."

Shyu now mounts an Ostrich Horse. He was about to leave until he thought of another problem. "Wait a minute, I can't leave yet, the other Fire Sages are still locked up."

Azula raised a brow “Why? They tried to kill you?"

Shyu sighed "Yes, but I can't leave them to die while I'm free."

Azula groaned. She rubbed the bridge between her eyes "If I promise that I'll get them out of their cells, will you disappear in the night?"

"Yes, but what are you going to do?"

Azula smiles slyly “Just leave that to me. I promise you on my honor that they will be free by tomorrow."

Shyu doesn't know why, but he believes her.

Shyu bows to the Avatar and the Fire Nations Princess “Farewell and thank you for everything.” With that he rode out of town.

Azula and Korra turned back to the palace and started walking in the direction of it. They held small talk on the way there.

"How are you going to get the four old men out of jail?" Asks Korra.

Azula replies with confidence, "Wait and see, then you'll know."

——————————————————————

The morning after Azula and Korra had their breakfast, Azula went to her father alone to discuss a delicate matter.

“YOU WANT WHAT?!” shouted the Fire Lord, who is sitting in his usual place.

Azula rolls her eyes. This outbreak might have startled one of the servants or one of the guards, but not her. "As I said, we should let the Fire Sages go back to their temple."

"Why should I release even one of these traitors?"

Azula plays as if she's amazed "Oh, just say you haven't heard the news yet?"

Ozai raised a brow "What news?"

"Oh nothing too wild. One of the five broke free yesterday and disappeared,” says Azula calmly.

The Fire Lord suddenly stood up. "WHAT?! HOW DID HE DO IT! ”He yells.

Azula shrugged “Who knows. But he left the others behind. That proves that he is the only traitor of the gang."

“I don't care, the four will be executed anyway!” Judges the Fire Lord.

Azula crossed her arms "Then let me explain it to you. What is easier to find one new Fire Sage or five?"

This statement came as a surprise to Ozai, he hadn't even thought that if he executed the old Fire Sages, he would have to appoint new ones. Not to mention the time behind the appointment of the new Fire Sages. It could be weeks if not months before he replaces them. The time he would waste on the appointment could better be wasted in the war.

Ozai doesn't want it to look like his daughter has beaten him up and waits a few extra minutes before giving his verdict. "I've made my decision, the 4 remaining Fire Sages will be spared." He turns to one of the guards standing in front of his throne. “You there, release the Fire Sages and send them back to the Fire Temple immediately. They can appoint a new Fire Sage themselves.” The soldier salutes and disappears to carry out the order.

Azula sighs "When that's all I go back to pack for my big journey." She counts down from three inside.

3

2

1

"Wait." Says the Fire Lord "which Journey?"

Azula turns to her father with a mock, puzzled look. “Have you already forgotten? We talked about it last week."

The Fire Lord raised a brow “Are you going to fool me? We didn't do that."

‚I don't have to fool you, you're doing that for me,‘ thinks Azula.

Azula raised a brow “Wow, you really forgot it. Then let me explain it to you again. We had agreed last week that I would do a kind of world tour today in order to become aware of the weak points of the Earth Kingdom."

'You don't need to experience my true motive.' She thinks.

Ozai yells “That's a lie! I never agreed to that!"

This is what Azula has been waiting for, she took a scroll from her belt and said "Yes, you did, I got it in writing from you."

She hands him the scroll.

Ozai was amazed when he reads the words on the scroll. It was definitely his signature, but he couldn't remember writing it. What finally convinced him that it came from him was the royal stamp imprint on the corner.

He rolls the scroll back up and hands it back to Azula. “All right, we had this conversation. I hope for you that you have prepared yourself for it."

Azula smiles triumphantly. "Of course, my slave is packing my things, but I’m still waiting for the money.“

"Which money?"

“Well, the money that we agreed for the trip. Do you want to read your official letter again?"

Ozai waved a hand “It's okay, I'll give you 200 gold pieces for your trip.” Ozai snips his fingers, then a servant came out of the background and hands over a full pouch to Azula.

Azula smiles as she takes the pouch and says “I didn't expect more. If that was all, then I still have to pick up my slave and be on my way."

Azula walked confidently out of the throne room.

Outside the throne room, she thinks, 'Idiot.' And walked comfortably in the direction of her room.

——————————————————————

Azula has come back to her room. Korra had just finished packing.

Korra turns to Azula and asks excitedly
“Did it work? Did he fall for it?"

Azula smiles and replies "Yes, he fell for it."

Azula and Korra had decided to leave the palace, they planned it in the night. Azula had the idea that they were forging a letter in Ozai's handwriting. Since Korra is a good artist, she showed Korra an old letter from her father so that she could copy his handwriting. The easiest part was the stamp, which Azula simply stole from the war room.

Azula looks at the contents of the bag. There were clothes, Azula's favorite book and Kyoshi's logbook. Then there is the sketchbook from Korra and some provisions.

Korra smiles like a little child, she asks with anticipation "When do we start?"

Azula turns to the door and says "Right now."

Korra grabs the bag and follows Azula.

——————————————————————

They got into a carriage pulled by two Ostrich Horses.

Korra took the reins in her hand and asked Azula "Where are we going first?"

Azula had already thought about where they go first, in that night. She takes out a map and shows Korra a spot on it. The passage looks familiar to Korra, but she doesn't know why. Azula says with a determined look, "We'll go there first."

Korra asks as she is about to set the carriage moving. "Why there?"

Azula smiles when she looks Korra in the eyes "Because I want to fulfill my promise a little earlier."

Korra was shocked. Her tears came slowly. She threw herself into Azula's hands and whispered the words "Thank you very much." Meanwhile, Azula smiles and strokes Korra's hair.

After the hug they continue their journey, and the first stop will be the place Korra fears most, but cannot wait to get there either.

They were on their way to the slave compound.

Chapter Text

Chapter 12: The Slave Compound

Azula and Korra have been riding for almost a week, in the direction, to the slave compound.

Since their journey began, they have been taking turns driving the carriage. They spent their nights in tents under the starry sky and kept telling each other stories. Every now and then Azula catches Korra drawing a new picture.

This past week they have been able to chat freely without the fear that anyone spies on them.

It was the morning of the seventh day. Azula is driving the carriage while Korra is rummaging through a bag.

Korra puts the bag aside. "Bad news, we have run out of food."

"Don't worry, we will reach our destination in a few hours, we will get provisions after our work is..."

Out of nowhere, a tree suddenly fell in front of them, blocking their way.

The Ostrich Horses were frightened and upset. Korra jumped off the carriage and calmed the Ostrich Horses down.

Azula was always amazed at how well Korra can handle animals.

The bushes behind Korra began to shift. Azula and Korra turn to the bushes and saw how two soldiers of the Fire Nation, with skull masks and full body armor, came through the bushes.

Azula and Korra exchange a look, they don't know what Fire Nation soldiers are doing here.

Before one of the girls can ask the soldiers anything, the longer one of the two soldiers says. "Give us the carriage and the slave, and no one will be hurt."

Azula and Korra raised a brow simultaneously. They exchange looks until they burst into laughter.

The two soldiers exchange a look. The shorter of the two asks "What’s do funny?"

Azula gets out of the carriage. She puts her hands on her hips "You probably don't know who you have in front of you."

The longer soldier says “We don't care!” He creates fire knives. While the other lifted a boulder.

Azula raised a brow "Oh, you must be rebels."

The Earthbender replies "I would rather call us freedom fighters."

The Firebender whispers "Not important."

Azula rolls her eyes. She turns to Korra and nodded.

As if Azula had given her a silent order, Korra darts in the direction of the masked rebels.

The Earthbender tries to block her path with boulders, but Korra easily sidesteps them. After the blocking doesn't work, he bend a large chunk of chunk.

She spun on her heel to avoid the chunk of rock, and as she pivoted she saw how it breaking into smaller pieces and come back towards her. Korra rooted herself to the ground, slamming her boot onto one of the earthbender’s feet as she did, and wrested control of the rocks from him. She ducked, making a minimum of motion with her hands, and let the earth fly into him, peppering his torso with the jagged little stones. He staggered back and fell.

His companion tightened one hand into a fist, letting fire burst out from both sides, but he never had a chance to lift his arm. Korra threw jabs at him in a flurry of motion, from his elbow to his shoulder, and the flame sputtered out uselessly around his hand. She did the same for his other arm, weaving around him to get a better angle, before hooking her boot behind his knee and sending him to the ground. Azula stepped out of the way as he fell, and Korra kept her pose as she stood over him.

The firebender tries to straighten up, but fails because Korra Chi-blocked him.

Azula places a foot on the firebender's chest.

Azula clapped her hands "That was a new record," she says in Korra’s direction. Korra blushed.

Azula created flames in her right hand. She says, "You deserter, just give me one good reason why I shouldn't kill you and your friend right here on the spot?"

"Because they're not worth it," says a new voice.

Azula and Korra turned to the voice. Korra’s eyes widen at the sight of the new person.

A girl came out of the bushes opposite from them with two soldiers with the same armor and skull masks like the other two.

The new person were a long girl, probably same age as Korra and Azula. She had raven black hair spread out around her neck like black silk, complementing perfectly to her beautiful face, with enough make up to make her eyes and lips stand out. They could think she was some Fire Nation noble if not for her emerald green eyes.

Azula groans as she kicks over the Firebender, which is still lying on the ground. "Are you rebels or soldiers of the Fire Nation?"

The new girl snips her fingers and the two men behind her immediately started to bend water. 'So rebels,' thinks Azula.

“Let me introduce us. I am…"

"... A-Asami?"

What? Asami blinked. That wasn't how this was supposed to go. The Water Tribe Sklave next to the Fire Nations girl was staring at her and... Were those tears in her eyes? What in the flameo was going...

“Asami! I was hoping that we would see each other again!"

The slave lunged, quicker than Asami or Azula had expected, and tackled her. She ressed her against a tree with enough force to drive the air out of her lungs.

"I thought I would never see you again!"

Yes, she was crying, on Asamis shoulder. That would get her shirt wet. And her hair.

The four rebels and Azula were dumbfounded, by the scene that was playing in front of them.

Azula tapped Korra’s shoulder "I think it's enough. We need some answers and I think you're hurting her "

Korra finally released her and Asami took a deep breath. A few deep breaths. Air had never tasted sweeter than right now.

Korra blushed "Oh! I'm so sorry! I don’t know my own strength, I mean… sorry!"

Asami takes a closer look at the slave. She looked familiar to Asami, but she didn't know why.

Then Asami looks into Korra’s eyes. Those blue eyes looked very familiar. And then it dawns on her.

Now it was Asamis turn to lunge at Korra. She tackled her to the ground in a breathtaking bear hug.

At first Azula thought that Asami was attacking Korra, but then she saw tears in Asamis eyes.

"Korra it's you?! I missed you so much!"

Korra smiled with tears in her eyes. She returned the hug.

“I thought you were dead! For years! Dad and the sklaves said you were lost! Oh, Korra!"

Asami repeats one sentence over and over. "You're alive! You're alive! "

One of the masked waterbender whispers to the other "I really don't know whether we should fight or not?"

The other one shrugged.

When Korra and Asami broke the hug. Korra turns to Azula, and Asami to the masked rebels.

Korra says to Azula "Azula I think this is a misunderstanding."

Azula raised a brow.

Asami clears her throat, she speaks to the rebels, “Things have changed here. From now on they are friends and not enemies."

The masked waterbender are skeptical, but relaxed their fighting stances.

The masked Firebender, who is being helped by the Earthbender, says “You have nice friends there. I have no idea what they did to me, but I can't move."

Asami laughs lightly when she turns to the two girls. "That would interest me too. How do you know how to use
chi-blocking?"

Azula doesn't know why she tells it, but if Korra trusts her, it's enough for her "Well my friend Ty Lee..." but before she could finish the sentence she was interrupted.

"You know Ty Lee?!" Asami ran in the direction of Azula and put her hands on the shoulders of the slightly smaller person in front of her. "Then you are even better friends than I thought."

Azula had a dumbfounded expression "Wait do you know her too?"

Asami blushed slightly "I think we should discuss this further on the way to our hiding place."

She turns to the waterbenders "Would you be so kind to help your friend who is lying on the ground?"

As if the waterbenders, only now noticed, they ran to their friend who’s still lying on the ground.

Asami ordered "Put him in the carriage, it's a long way to our hiding place."

The firebender asks "You want to bring outsiders into our hiding place?"

Asami gave him a deadpan look "Isn’t it obvious?"

Asami wrapped one arm around Korra’s shoulder and the other around Azula's shoulder.

They walked in the direction of the carriage. Asami and Korra were smiling at each other the whole time, while Azula gave them a slightly jealously look.

——————————————————————

The small group is now on the way to the hiding place in Azula and Korra's carriage.

Asami sat in the carriage with Azula, Korra as well as the Earthbender and Firebender, while the Waterbenders drive the carriage.

Asami was sitting cross-legged across from Korra and Azula. She started the conversation "Now before we lead you to our hiding place, I would like to know why you are on the way to the slave compound?"

Korra had a big smile, she was about to say what they were up to until Azula took the word. "How about if you tell first us who you actually are? Before we start disclosing personal matters."

Asami playfully raised a brow. She smiles gently. “I think that's fair. Well, as you may have heard, I am Asami Sato."

Azula waved frantically a hand “Wait a minute, Sato? As in Hiroshi Sato? Daughter of the Merciless Slave Compound Director? ” Asami grumbled but nodded ashamed. Azula asks again "Hiroshi Sato is your father?"

Asami crossed her arms "He hasn't been my father for a long time."

Azula mimics Asamis pose and crossed her arms. "Oh really? Since when?"

"Since he had my mother killed."

That silenced Azula.

Instead of Azula, Korra took the word. "He killed Yasuko?" Korra's tears ran down her cheeks. She knew Yasuko from before. Yasuko often brought her something to eat when Hiroshi chained her upside-down from her ankles in his office. Of course, Hiroshi didn't know anything about it, otherwise he would certainly have hung his wife next to her back then.

Asami stares sadly out the window. “He found out that my mother used to bring food and medicine to the slaves. For this reason he tortured her for weeks and then 3 years ago had he executed her in front of everyone.” A tear ran down her cheek.

Korra is afraid to ask the next question, and is afraid to ask that too. “What about June? Is she...” She couldn't even finish the question.

Asami let out a long breath. "No. My sister is still alive.” Korra was relieved. She began to breathe again, not realizing she was holding her breath. "June couldn't take father anymore and ran away from home."

Korra took Asami in her arms. "I'm so sorry." Asami sank into the embrace, she didn't know she needed it.

While the two hugged, Azula couldn't think of anything other than wanting revenge on Hiroshi Sato, even though he isn't even her father.

After a while, Korra and Asami broke the hug. Asami shed a tear when she said,
“Well since then I've put together a rebel army from Firebenders who can't stand to treat the Waterbenders that way anymore and from freed slaves from the compound who want their friends out of there."

Asami now turns to Azula, "Since you now know my motives, I would like to ask for yours."

Azula sighs, she can't find any lies coming from Asami's mouth, so she has no reason to lie either. "First of all, my name is Azula ..." Before she could continue she was interrupted by the still masked Earthbender.

"Wait a moment! Azula? As in the Princess Azula? As the Princess Azula, the daughter of the Fire Lord?"

Azula don’t appreciate it when someone interrupts her, but she nods anyway in response to his question.

The Earthbender squealed "Don't you remember us anymore?"

Azula raised a brow "No. How so? Should I?"

As if to answer her question, the Earthbender took off his skull mask. She saw a familiar face.

"B-Bolin? Is that you?“ When Azula asked the question, Bolin rushed towards Azula with a huge hug. Azula could hardly breathe. Bolin let her down after what felt like an eternity. Azula gasps a little “Yes, you are Bolin. I would recognize this hug anywhere."

Bolin gave a wide grin. "If you remember me, then you will definitely remember..." Bolin took off the mask of the Firebender without warning. "Mako!"

Azula smiled slyly "Yes, I would recognize those sharkbrows anywhere."

Mako rolls his eyes "Some things will probably never change," he mutters.

Azula leans back and crosses her arms behind her head. "Yes that is true. Like the fact that you have been defeated by a girl again."

Bolin laughed, Mako grumbled.

Asami smiled deviously "So you're the one who they call Ms. Top student, who always kicked Mako in the ass in the academy."

Azula crossed her arms. She had a proud smile "You heard that right." However, her smile faded when she turned to Mako.
“What are you doing here? I thought you wanted to become soldiers? "Now she turns to Bolin "And Bolin, I thought you were a non-bender. What is an Earthbender like you doing in the Fire Academy?"

Mako sighed “Well how should I explain it to you?” He ponders for a moment “I think it would be best if we start at the beginning. Our mother was an admiral from the Fire Nation. She was married to an Earthbender. I was born as Firebender and Bolin as Earthbender. Since our parents were worried about Bolin, they forbade him to bend outside of the house. After we graduated from the Academy, we actually wanted to join the soldiers. But then two years ago, on the day before we were about to ride to the slave compound, soldiers led by a general with stupid sideburns stormed our house and killed our parents. They called our mother a traitor to the Fire Nation. They were killed in front of our eyes. If the soldiers hadn't chained us back then, I would have killed the general.” He clenched his teeth at the thought. “Since that day we vowed that we would do everything in our power to revenge our parents death. And now we are here. We met Asami, joined her rebellion. And ever since then we have been smuggling the slaves out of the compound every now and then."

Azula nodded while she thought. "And why did you want my carriage and Korra?"

Bolin took over the word "Well we need lots of carriages to send the slaves to a secret place." He now looks at Korra. "We also wanted to free Korra from slavery."

Korra and Azula exchange a look until they both burst out laughing.

Mako and Bolin stared at each other questioningly. “What's there to laugh about?” Asks Mako.

Korra replies, “I don't need to be set free. I'm traveling with Azula voluntarily. "

Bolin stutters "D-did you forget h-how she treated you at the academy."

Korra had a knowing smile. "We only let you see what we wanted you to see."

Bolin raised a brow. He asks "But you are a slave."

Azula replies for Korra, “She only plays the slave in front of witnesses. We're actually best friends among us."

Bolin and Mako gawked at them.

Asami smiles "I knew that you are not a normal slave owner."

Azula smiles, but it was a sad smile. "I made up my mind early on that I wanted to change Korra's life for the better."

Korra smiles in Azula's direction.

Out of respect, Asami waits a short while before she asks “Now to stay on the subject. What are you doing here? Ironically near the slave compound."

Azula is now without a doubt sure that she can trust Asami and her rebels. "We are here to free all slaves."

All eyes, apart from Korra’s, widen at Azula's statement.

Asami says neither worried nor cheerfully “Well, that's a good decision that I'll be only too happy to help you with. But how did you imagine it?"

Azula smiled "Well, we had actually come up with a good plan, but now that we've met you and your rebels, we might even come up with an even better one."

Asami smiled while she held her hand out. She said "I'm in partner."

Azula took her hand. They shake their hands.

——————————————————————

A few hours later.

They have now arrived at the secret rebel camp. The camp is well hidden by huge trees and bushes. There are a lots of tents in the Camp where the peoples probably life at the moment. About a dozen Water Tribe children are currently playing wildly at the camp. Aside from the children’s , there were about two dozen Firebenders left without armor. A dozen adult Waterbenders and a stable full of Ostrich Horses, in front of the stable there were about 20 carriages that the rebels surely stole.

The carriage came to a standstill. The Masked Waterbenders, untie the Ostrich Horses and lead them to the others.

The group got out of the carriage. Korra was the last to come out, but what she saw brought tears of joy to her. See saw Waterbenders and Firebenders in the same place, neither fighting nor attacking each other.

Asami puts a hand on Korra’s shoulder and says "Just like we always imagined when we were kids, right?"

Korra nodded slowly. She can't find words to describe it at all. She didn't have to when two new Waterbenders appeared.

The Waterbenders each wore a wolf tail. The longer one is around 14 years old while the younger one is around 12 years old.

Korra narrowed her eyes slightly at the newcomers. They looked familiar to her.

The older of the two doesn't seem happy, he asks Asami "Why do you bring strangers here?"

Asami smiled her presenting with one hand to Azula and Korra, “Well, we'll change that immediately. May I introduce you... “Asami had no chance to introduce them.

“Noatak! "Tarrlok!" Korra yelled excitedly as she lifts the two Waterbenders off the ground in a bear hug.

The two Waterbenders couldn't breathe.

Azula walked slowly to Korra and playfully patted her twice on the back. "I think you should let them down slowly. They hardly have any color on their faces."

Korra puts the two Waterbenders back on the ground.

The two Waterbenders struggled for air and slowly they got color back in their faces.

The younger, Tarrlok, looked at Korra questioningly "Who are you and how do you know our names?"

Korra giggles "You don't recognize me anymore?"

Tarrlok takes a closer look, but he really can't tell who the person in front of him is.

Korra gave a smug grin when she said "Maybe you will recognize me when I do this." Without warning, she grabbed Noatak's right arm and threw him to the ground with a shoulder throw.

Tarrlok winced at the sight.

Noatak jumped up again angrily, he shouted, while he clenched his fists "What was that for Korra?!" When he said the name he had to blink a few times until he noticed what he said. He had a dumbfounded look when he repeated
“Korra? Is that really you?"

Korra puffed out her chest, she gave a toothy smile "The one and only."

Noatak and Tarrlok were shocked. Their tears slowly came as they throw themselves into a fierce hug on Korra. They never expected to see their old childhood friend again.

Noatak says as he hugs Korra stronger, "We thought you were dead."

Tarrlok shouted tearfully "We missed you so much!"

Korra began to cry too. She replies "I missed you too."

Asami, Azula and Bolin smile at the sight, but of course someone had to keep their meeting short, so Mako marched up to the trio and said "No more hugging, we still have work to do."

Bolin glared at his brother. "You are a real grouch."

Mako ignores his brother. He went in the direction of a tent. Bolin followed.

Tarrlok and Noatak, however, ignored Mako and turned to their old friend. Noatak says "You have become quite tall and muscular."

Korra leans down at Noatak's eye level, smiling. "Unfortunately I can't say that about you Pipsqueak."

Tarrlok laughed at his brother while Noatak groaned.

Tarrlok wipes away a tear. “It's so great to see you again. I’m sure that your aunt and uncle will agree with us."

Korra’s eyes widen. She grabbed Tarrlok by the collar and shook him vigorously, “My aunt and uncle are here?! Where?!"

Tarrlok has no chance to answer as he is about to be shaken up.

Noatak calmed Korra and released the grip on Tarrlok. Tarrlok fell to the floor in a daze, looking like he was about to throw up.

Noatak points in the direction of a large tent. “I know your aunt is in the first aid tent. Your uncle could be there too, but I'm not sure. "

Korra hastily grabbed Azula's hand. Azula had no chance to say anything when Korra started walking very quickly in the direction of the tent. “You absolutely have to get to know my family!” She says excitedly.

Azula practically flew after her. It's like getting off like a kite.

Asami followed with a smile, followed by Noatak and Tarrlok.

——————————————————————
In front of the first aid tent.

Korra was now standing in front of the tent. She touched her chest and takes a deep breath before going inside. She searched it and saw some Water- and Firebenders recovering. In the corner, at the far end of the tent, were two Waterbenders, a woman and a man. The female Waterbender had two braids, who is talking to a mountain of a man. When the couple heard a few steps behind them, they stopped talking and turned in the direction of the steps. At the sight of the person they couldn't speak.

It's been almost 7 years since they last saw her, but they recognized her right away.

The two Waterbenders ran quickly in her direction, afraid that if they went too slow, they would lose the person forever.

The woman reached her first. She had tears in her eyes as she brings her hand to the face of the girl who is standing in front of her. She touches her face and softly whispers "Korra is that really you?"

Korra's tears flowed. She took the woman's hand and pressed it to her face to feel it warmth. "Yes aunt Senna, it's me."

When the two Waterbenders heard this short sentence, they burst into tears. They hugged Korra very tightly as if they were afraid that it was just a dream.

The man whispers "I'm glad you are fine Korra."

Korra replies with a big smile, "I'm glad you're both okay, uncle Tonraq."

Senna and Tonraq were just Korra's aunt and uncle, but they loved her like their own daughter.

After a long-awaited hug, the three broke their hug and turned to the people at the entrance.

Korra went to them with a smile. She grasped, gently, Azula's hand and led her to her family. However, Azula had a slightly panicked expression. She was uncomfortable meeting Korra's aunt and uncle.

Korra points to Azula with one hand. "May I introduce you to my friend Azula." She now points to Senna and Tonraq with her hand, "Azula this is my aunt Senna and this is my uncle Tonraq."

Azula waved shyly.

Tonraq narrowed his eyes on Azula "Isn't that the person to whom you were given away as a slave." Azula is intimidated by his gaze.

Azula wants a hole in which she can hide. She was never that much ashamed of her past as she was at this moment.

Korra waved her hand playfully “That lies a long time behind us. We have become good friends since that day. "

Tonraq asks, “If that's the case, then I have no problem with her. However, I would like to know what you two are doing here?"

Korra stares at Azula in anticipation, as if to ask if it's okay to tell them everything. Azula was still embarrassed about it, so she replies with a forced grin.

Korra started telling them everything they went through together. She also tells them about their decision to bring down Fire Lord Ozai.

"... and now we're here to free all the Waterbenders." Korra came to the end of her story.

Senna hugged her niece. "I knew that you could be relied on."

Tonraq, however, turns to Azula. When Azula had to tilt her head towards the man, she imagined the worst. What she got instead was a hug that tore her off the floor. “I guess I misjudged you. Please accept my apology."

Azula would like to accept the apology, but can barely breathe at the moment. She started turning blue.

Senna notices her and pats the much taller man on the shoulder. "Honey, I thought you wanted to thank her, not kill her," she says playfully.

Tonraq releases the breathtaking embrace and puts Azula back on her feet. Azula staggered slightly as she gasped for air.

Tonraq rubs his neck while blushing. "I'm sorry, something must have come over me."

Azula gasps as the color returns to her face. She waved her hand slightly dazed, "It's okay."

Asami clears her throat to get everyone's attention. When all eyes turn on her she says, "I think we should discuss our final step in the strategy tent."

——————————————————————
In the strategy tent.

The group has gathered around a table. On the table was a map from the slave compound. The group is currently planning their next steps to free all slaves.

Asami pointed with a finger on a width spot, on the map. "If we could somehow manage to get all of the guards to this point, we could use our allies Water- and Firebendern to incapacitate the guards without much bloodshed and free all enslaved Waterbenders."

Azula rubs her chin while she thinks, "Do you have any ideas how we could do this?"

Asami says determinedly, “I actually thought of standing across from my father and telling him that there are a lot of deserters in the compound and that I know the names and faces. I would tell him to line them up, and then when they least expect it, we strike."

Bolin, Tarrlok and Noatak thought the idea was good. Mako and Tonraq think the idea could use a few subtleties. Senna was more concerned about the injuries that might arise. Korra was still thinking. And Azula had something to add.

Azula says “I think I have a better idea. I could go to your father there, use my statute as a princess and tell him the slaves are being relocated to a new camp. Then we will move the Waterbenders somewhere safe. Unfortunately I don't know where to go yet. In the best case he won’t ask any questions. In the Bad case he would somehow a message to my father and then I will be banned and hunted down from the Fire Nation."

Tarrlok speaks up. “You don't have to worry about the hideout. We have taken care of that for a long time. Noatak found a swamp weeks ago where a Water Tribe has lived in safety for years. They agreed that we may settle our captured Water Tribe brothers and sisters there."

Korra beamed "This is the greatest news ever!"

Bolin smiled at Korra’s behavior "That's why we planned to steal your carriage. With your carriages, we now have enough carriages to relocate all the waterbenders." Bolin rubs hus neck in a embarrassing manner. "Of course only when we have freed them."

Korra gives Bolin a big bear hug. The air is pushed out of Bolin. Bolin thinks, 'Is this how the people I hug feel?'

Mako clears his throat. “Can we concentrate on the plan, please?” He asks sullenly.

Korra dismisses Bolin and focuses on the map in front of her.

Tonraq takes the word. "Well we have now heard two ideas, which one should we choose?“

They all considered. They were about to make up their minds until Korra raised her hand. "Um, I think I have another idea."

Mako rolls his eyes “I'm sorry Korra, but we already have two ideas here. I'm sure your idea is pretty good too, but you're not exactly a strategist."

In perfect Sync everyone around the table shouted "SHUT UP MAKO!"

Mako crouched back, startled. His foot becomes entangled in the tent and he falls backwards, painfully, onto his butt.

Bolin went to his brother to help him up.

Tonraq clears his throat "Now that you have all the attention, why don't you discuss your plan with us?"

Korra started explaining her idea of how to best to combine both plans. The group was very enthusiastic about the plan, especially Azula and Asami.

Azula put her right arm around Korra’s shoulder. "This is a great idea. Let's do it."

Asami puts her left arm around Korra’s other shoulder. "I'm in for it too. We'll get started in a few minutes as soon as we've told our rebels the plan."

Korra blushed when she's squeezed in on two sides by pretty girls. It feels like ton be the middle of an sandwich.

Korra is playing with her fingers as she whispers softly, “I'm glad you like it. If it goes as I imagine it, then there will be no blood on either side."

——————————————————————
Two hours later in front of the slave compound.

After the group told the rest of the rebels their plan, they were all ready to help them with their plan. It took some time to prepare everything, but they were all ready to free their captive brothers and sisters.

Korra, Asami and Azula now stood in front of the slave compound. With them were about a dozen rebels in disguise, including Mako, Bolin, Noatak, Tarrlok, Tonraq and, despite Tonraq's objections, his wife Senna.

Some of the other rebels are hiding in the bushes and the rest are in the rebels hiding place to take care of the children’s.

Korra got sick at the sight of the slave compound, but she pulls herself together.

Azula stood in the middle. She looks first at Asami, Asami nods, then at Korra. Korra stares into the void. Azula puts an encouraging hand on Korra’s shoulder. "It will be fine. Think what we will achieve when you go through these gates one last time."

That brought a smile to Korra’s face. She nodded. She takes a deep breath, then exhales, and as if on command, she now has a blank expression on her face.

Azula smiles, she knows Korra is ready now. Without losing her concentration, she took the first step in the direction of the gates.

After a short walk, the rebel force was stopped by two gate guards.

One of them steps forward and says,
“Stop, tell us your reason for being here.” He demands it more than that he asks it.

Asami says "We received important visitors."

The other guard asks "Oh yes, and who is the ’important’ visitor?"

Azula with her hands behind her back stepped forward, followed by Korra "That would be me."

The two guards are frightened. They stood very stiffly while they saluted. One says “Princess Azula, what an honor to see you here today. We didn't expect your presence."

Azula narrowed her eyes at them "Do I need an invitation to come here?"

The guards almost pissed themselves "Of course not!" They said in sync.

“Then open finally the damn gate for me! I have something to discuss with Sato."

They saluted and fulfill their order.

After opening the gate, the three girls marched through the gate first, followed by the masked rebels.

As the gate closed behind them, Azula turns to the rebels and tells them, "Wait here until I finish talking to Sato."

The rebels saluted. That was her sign to mingle with the real soldiers.

In case anyone is watching them, Asami went ahead and said as they planned before. "Now Princess Asami, now that you are here, how about I lead you straight to my father?"

Azula signals with her hand that she should go ahead.

Asami has to lead Azula and Korra through the whole compound to lead them to her father's office.

They passed many cells. Some of the cells were empty, but the filled cells were almost breathtaking. In some cells, Waterbenders were chained to the walls from starvation, in others children and their parents were cramped in cells, and others were filled with crying women’s who had just been tortured.

The sight almost brought tears to the eyes of the three girls, but they had to stay strong and continued towards the office of the director.

——————————————————————
In Hiroshi Sato's office.

Hiroshi was sitting in his elegant armchair and was just going through some documents when his daughter came through the door without permission.

"You have a guest." She said.

Hiroshi glared at his daughter. As he turns his gaze back to his documents, he says, "Whoever that is, he can wait."

"No, she can't," said a new voice.

Hiroshi looks up and almost had a heart attack. He jumped out of his chair and bowed to the person in front of him.

Azula ignores him. She walked past him and sat in his comfortable armchair. Korra stood next to her, with her practiced callous expression.

Hiroshi gets up again. “Princess Azula, what a pleasure to see you. And I see you still have your slave. Do you want to change her for a new one, or do you want us to torture her a little for you?"

Azula held up a hand to silence Hiroshi. Azula rubs her fingernails against her clothes, then examines them. "I'm here for exactly two reasons."

Hiroshi sat in a chair in front of his desk to hear the reasons.

When she saw Hiroshi, Korra wanted to attack Him. He tormented her every day in her childhood. She would like to strangle him, but they still had a plan to stick to.

"The first reason I'm here is because I want the map for the Wan Shi Tong Library."

Hiroshi raised both brows, his curiosity has been piqued. "You are welcome to have the map, but may I ask why?"

Azula replies coldly "No you can't."

Hiroshi gulped. He got up immediately and looked for the map in his closet. He placed a scroll and an old book on the table.

Azula took the scroll and noticed immediately that something was wrong. "Where's the rest of the map?" She says as she continues to study the map.

Hiroshi took his glasses and started wiping them. “Well I only have half of the map and a journal. The other half is in Admiral Zhao's possession."

Azula raised a brow "Since when has he been made to a admiral?"

Hiroshi replies, "A day or two ago."

Azula waved that question to the side, “I don't care if he got a promotion, but I still need the other half of the map. Where can I find Zhao?"

Hiroshi expands a map on the table. On the map are the different bases, of the Fire Nation. Hiroshi pointed to a base near the water. "As far as I know, he's on that one, at this base, near the port."

Azula nodded. She put the map and the journal in a bag.

Azula locked her fingers together "Now we come to the second reason I'm here..." when she got Hiroshi's attention she says, "is that your slave compound is a joke."

Hiroshi's eyes widen, he has never heard anything so ridiculous “Excuse me, but my slave compound is without question the best in the world. My slaves are so battered that they don't even dare to stare into my eyes."

"Oh please, every child can say something like that. I want to see solid evidence. "

Hiroshi had a smug smile “I’m sure that you have already seen some slaves in their cells. I’m sure that that is proof enough."

Korra clenched her fists, she would love to break Hiroshi's bones.

Azula had now a smug smile "I didn't talk about the slaves."

"From what then?" Hiroshi really doesn't know what Azula is alluding to.

"I was talking about your guards, they're a joke."

Hiroshi stutters, "Well ... t-that ... is ..." He had no chance to finish when Azula interrupted him.

“I want to see your guards myself before I leave. I want you to gather them all in the great hall, and I mean all. Even the guards that are working with the garbage."

Hiroshi's eyes widen "Really everyone?"

Azula answers harsh "Yes everyone!"

Hiroshi salutes, he was just about to carry out her order, when she says "There is one more thing."

He stopped immediately. He turns to Azula and asks "Which would be?"

"I need your general key."

Hiroshi was astonished.

Azula points with her thumb at Korra,
"I don't want her standing around all the time. I want your daughter to put her in a cell until I arrive."

Hiroshi liked the idea and hands his general key to his daughter without much ado.

Asami says, "If you don't need anything from me, I'll put this slave in a cell."

"Make sure it's a small cell," says Azula.

After hearing this, Asami and Korra left the office. After they closed the door, Asami says with a smug smile "So far as good as planned, now comes the next step."

Korra smiled, she is eagerly to start with the next step.

The two went in the direction of where the cells are.

——————————————————————

Hiroshi called all employees of the slave compound into the great hall over the loudspeaker. It took a little longer than Hiroshi had hoped, but that was more because the compound is so huge. It took the guards a while to get into the great hall, but in the end they were all there.

There were several hundred soldiers in the hall, where they usually wash the slaves once a month.

Azula watches from a bridge, where she can see all the men who have gathered in the hall. The bridge also had some buttons that could be used to lower or raise the bridge. There was another button Azula plans to press later.

Hiroshi Sato and his daughter stood with Azula on the bridge, as well as two masked soldiers.

Azula searches the whole room like a hawk. She notices that, as they all agreed, her rebel group are placed at the exits.

Her concentration was disturbed by Hiroshi Sato.

“I have gathered all the guards down there, as you have wished. Now that you've seen them, is that the end of the inspection?"

Azula narrowed her eyes, "I need a megaphone."

Hiroshi glared at the guards behind him. “You heard her. Bring her a megaphone."

Before the soldiers could carry out the order, Asami held up a megaphone. "It's all right Dad, I already brought one with me."

Hiroshi took a little too harsh the megaphone from his daughter and ruefully hands it to the Fire Nations Princess.

"Here your highness. Is there anything else I can do for you?"

Azula ignores Hiroshi's embarrassing behavior and took the megaphone harsher as Hiroshi did so from his daughter.

Azula speaks through the megaphone “Ladies and gentlemen, as you know, I am princess Azula. I'm here today to inspect you all! Raise your hands when you have understood everything!"

The guards stare questioningly at each other. Despite having tons of questions, they held up their hands in spite of everything.

Azula smiles slyly as she utters the next words "Now take off all your armors and throw them and your weapons aside!"

There was a lot of murmuring among the soldiers. The guards even asked questions.

"How so?"

"Why?"

"Is this a joke?"

Azula took the megaphone and said angrily, “I hate to ask twice! Take off your equipment and throw them and your weapons aside!"

The guards know what to expect when they disobey the orders of a superior, they hardly want to imagine the horror of what happens when they disobey the orders of the royal family. For this reason, all the soldiers, some hesitantly, took off their equipment and threw them aside with their spears and swords.

The soldiers now all stood there in their underwear, except for the masked rebels and the two soldiers on the bridge.

Azula smiles underhandedly "I'm glad that you can obey orders!" While Azula distracts the soldiers and Hiroshi Sato, the masked rebels secretly toke away the weapons.

Hiroshi approached Azula "I'm sorry if I should disturb you, but why should my men‘s take off their clothes?"

Asami slowly approaches the buttons on the railing of the bridge.

Azula closed her eyes and started laughing darkly. "Well I figured that your men ..." she paused dramatically, "MIGHT NEED A HOT SHOWER!!!"

Before anyone could understand what Azula meant by that, Asami pressed the button with full force.

Boiling hot water shot from the ceiling at the half-naked soldiers.

"AAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!"

The soldiers began to scream like crazy.

Hiroshi's eyes widen "Princess what's the meaning of that?!"

Azula waved her hand in the direction of the soldiers and said, without a megaphone, "Just a long overdue purge." As she said those words, all of the trapped Waterbenders came from the entrances and exits, led by Korra.

Korra yells “Come on friends! Just like I told you!"

The waterbenders gather around the soaked soldiers. Before the soldiers could even fire a fire salve, the Waterbenders began to make circular movements.

All the water that came out of the ceiling and the rest of the water that is either on the ground or on the soldiers circles around the soldiers like a giant watersnake, all the water whirled around the soldiers. The water is getting faster and faster. One by one, the soldiers are carried away by the water.

As the last soldier is now in the water whirlpool, Korra yells "Now!"

All waterbenders made a quick wave movement at the same time, the water froze immediately.

All the soldiers were now trapped in a gigantic iceberg. Some of the soldiers could still blink their eyes, but could not free themselves from the ice.

It feels like forever to the waterbenders that they could bend the water.

Hiroshi Sato looked at it with horror. He turns to Azula. "You didn't do that for nothing." He yells at the two guards standing behind him. "Grab the princess and put her in chains!"

Hiroshi waits a few seconds, but when none of the guards does anything he turns to them, what he saw caused his eyes to widen. His own daughter attacked the two guards while all of his soldiers were ambushed. She stood over his men who were lying motionless on the floor.

Azula applauds her, "I didn't even know you could use chi-blocking too."

Asami smiles as she shrugged. "Well, yes. Me and Ty Lee invented it together."

Azula was almost speechless. "Wait a second! Are you the friend Ty Lee mentioned in her letters?"

Asami blushed at the thought of
Ty Lee "It seems so." She smiled.

Azula was about to say something when she noticed Hiroshi who was about to leave.

He ran down the stairs and was about to flee to an exit. But before he could reach the door, he was hit by a powerful punch to the face, which almost caused him to lose a tooth. He was now injured and lying on the floor. He looks up at the person who punched him in the face. His eyes shrinks at the sight of the person. It was Korra, the slave he had loved to torture since her childhood.

Korra cracked her knuckles when she scowls at Hiroshi Sato. "Not so fast Sato. You don't really think that you could just run away after all the suffering you did to my tribe."

Hiroshi glared, screaming angrily "I should have killed you when I still had the chance!"

Korra giggle, but it wasn't a happy giggle, it was a dark, harsh giggle. Korra shakes her head slightly "Yes, maybe you should have done it..." suddenly in a blur she was holding Hiroshi Sato by the throat a foot off the ground against the wall of the building. “Then I would not have had to see my people being tortured every day. The suffering and the destruction caused by your commands will haunt us for the rest of our lives.” She now grips his throat even tighter. For the first time in her life Korra had a sadistic look, "Now tell me what would be the appropriate punishment for such a person?"

Hiroshi was panicked, he's sure what she's up to. As Hiroshi was about to plead for his life, he notices some figures behind Korra. There were about a dozen of his men. He now had a pleased expression on his face, as if he had already won. He says in his condescending way, “I'll make you an offer. You let me down now, and I will only enslave you again and not kill you."

Korra Said with a knowing smile "Oh really why should I do that?" She then looked behind her as if she was noticing the troops for the first time before adding "Oh you think they belong to you." Korra started to laugh.

Hiroshi was dumbfounded at the laughter. "What's so funny?! You are surrounded!"

Korra turns to the masked troops and says with a toothy smile "Guys! Why don't you take your helmets off?"

The troops took off their helmets and masks.

Hiroshi's eyes shrank. Sweat ran from his forehead. The masked troops were partly Waterbenders and partly Firebenders. Among them were faces he knew. He angrily says "Mako, Bolin you traitors!"

Mako approached Hiroshi and said, “We can only betray those to whom we are loyal. And you weren't anyone we were loyal to."

Asami and Azula approached Korra, but stayed a step behind her.

Korra clenched her teeth “I would kill you. I would kill you and no one would complain about it. I'm even sure that everyone here would even cheer for it." Korra's gripp on Hiroshi's throat loosens a little, but she still held him. "But I'm not a monster like you. I won't make the decision about your death today." Hiroshi slowly got a sly expression on his face, which disappeared when Korra added, „I'll leave the judgment to your daughter to decide." Hiroshi is shocked.

Korra let Hiroshi fall painfully on the floor and took a few steps back. Asami approached her father.

Hiroshi stares up at his daughter. "How could you betray me like that."

Asami shakes her head. "It was pretty easy. You locked people up and treated them like animals. And after Mom wanted to help them, you had her killed in front of me and my sister."

“DON’T YOU DARE TO BRING YOUR MOTHER INTO THIS CONVERSATION! SHE HELPED THE SLAVES! SHE FREED A FEW! SHE SHARES THE BED WITH ONE OF THEM , AND THAT WITH A WOMAN! SHE WANTED TO DISHONOR ME AND MY DEEDS TO THE FIRE NATION! PUT THE NAME SATO IN THE DIRT!"

“It wasn't your name,” Asami says, dangerously calm. “Sato was my mother's family name. A woman from the Earth Nation. You just married into a wealthy family and tarnished their good name.” Asami turned her back on her father and began to put on a strange looking glove. "I'm going to tell you something that you probably don't know. My mother, my sister and I have helped the slaves as well as we could for years. On the day we were going to free all the slaves, Mom locked me and June at home so we couldn't go with her that day. On the day when her worthless husband set a sneaky trap for her." Asami takes a few steps closer to her father and kneels at his eye level. "Somehow ironic that you and your men fall into our trap out of fear of your honor."

Hiroshi is very angry with his daughter, he would like to strangle her. But he couldn't do anything as she has waterbenders, deserters and even the Fire Nations Princess on her side.

Full of false courage, he asks in his condescending manner “And what are you going to do now? Kill us like I killed your mother?"

Instead of getting angry, Asami grins slightly, she puts her right hand, with the glove on her father's chest. She says in a calm voice, "Although you deserve the dead, neither I nor anyone else here will kill you."

Hiroshi smiles slyly. "So what do you want to do? Let us all out?"

Asami closes her eyes with a smile "Oh, I wouldn't go that far." Before her father could ask, he felt electricity running through his entire body. He wiggled the entire time, where the glove was on him. After Asami released her hand from her father, he slumped down to the ground.

He was now immobilized on the floor. He stares at his daughter in fear, "W-what have you done to me?"

Asami got up and cleaned her knees. “I shocked you with my electrified glove. But don't worry, it only lasts for a few minutes."

Asami turns to Korra and nodded.

Korra approached Hiroshi. Hiroshi panicked when he saw her, he was about to say something, until Korra freezes his mouth with a jet of water so that he cannot say another word. Korra lifted Hiroshi easily onto her shoulder.

Azula took over word. She claps Hiroshi lightly on the cheek. "Don't worry, we'll bring you and your men to your new home."

——————————————————————

The rest of the rebels, who were hiding in the bushes, entered the compound after the other rebels secured the situation.

The frozen Fire Nation soldiers were freed from the iceberg and put in the cells.

Both the guards and Hiroshi Sato were put in the cells where the Waterbenders were previously.

Asami, Azula and Korra stood in front of Hiroshi's cell.

Hiroshi stares angrily through the bars. “I hope you are happy now. You destroyed everything I worked for all these years. "

Asami crossed her arms “Let's not even start who destroyed what here. You ruined the lives of many Waterbenders. And yes, I am happy that you are now in the cell, but don't worry, once the war is over you will get a fair trial. If I were you I wouldn't give too much hope for that." She turns her back to her father. "As much as I hate you, you are still my father, and even if you can't believe it, I had even as you started as director here, I never hated you. My dislike for you only developed when you started torturing the Waterbenders for fun. And when you then had mom killed and when my sister disappeared because of you, my dislike for you turned into pure hatred." She slowly began to walk away from the cell with Azula and Korra. "Maybe I will visit again in a few years. Until then you will have to live like an animal in a cell."

Hiroshi grabbed the bars and shouted
“Asami you useless bitch come back and let me out! Asami!!! "

Asami ignores his screams and went back to the great hall to speak to her rebels.

The way to the hall didn't take very long. The freed Waterbenders are being provided with food and new clothes by the rebels. Senna is treating the injured among the liberated.

After talking to the rebels, Asami turns to Korra and says, "I have to go to my father's old office for a minute to look for something."

Asami headed for her father's old office.

Azula keeps glancing at the crowd as if she's looking for someone. When she doesn't find anything, she asks Korra "Um Korra?"

Korra looks at Azula "Do you need something?"

Azula rubs the back of her neck, feeling a little uncomfortable asking this question, "I'm just surprised, aren't your parents here?"

Korra had a sad smile "I never met my parents."

Azula fears the worst, she wanted to ask more questions, but it was difficult for her to ask them. Fortunately, things were made easier when she felt a hand on her shoulder. She turns to the person who owns the hand and sees Senna.

Senna smiles gently. She turns to Korra.
“Korra could you please continue to heal the injured? I'm getting tired.” Korra nodded and went to heal the injured. When Korra is out of earshot, Senna turns back to Azula. "I know what kind of questions you wanted to ask, and you don't have to worry about Korra's parents. They're both non-benders and that's why they're probably still in the South Pole."

Azula lets out a long breath, not realizing she was holding her breath.

“I'm just so sorry about Korra. She has lived so long without even having seen her parents. Or her siblings.” Senna says sadly.

Azula's eyes widen “Korra has siblings?!” she cries out, fortunately, all other people around her are busy with other problems than a slightly hysterical princess. Azula blushed when she realized where she was. She asks again “She has siblings? Are they in the South Pole too?"

Senna smiles “Yes. She has a slightly older brother named Sokka and a slightly younger sister named Katara."

Azula thinks back 'Katara? That was the name Shyu said, when he saw Korra.‘ She asks "Does Korra know that she has siblings?"

Senna shook her head “No. She never asked, and it never really came up. Why do you ask?"

Azula gave a sad smile "I was just curious."

Azula sighs ' t would be better not to tell her yet. I don't know how she would react.‘ She thinks to herself.

Azula asks the question she's been trying to ask since she started making friends with Korra. "How did Korra end up here?"

Senna has a sad expression on her face.
“I have to warn you, it's not a nice story.” She took a breath and began to tell the story.

“About 13 or 14 years ago, my sister Kya and her husband Hakoda and me were in a tent to give birth to Kya's third baby. Korra was only a few weeks old there and her brother was 13 months. Right at the moment my sister decided on a name for her new baby, Firebenders marched into our village to enslave Waterbenders once again. We hid Kya and Katara in a pile of furs while Hakoda took Sokka to safety. Unfortunately, Kya and Hakoda entrusted me with Korra that day. I planned to flee with Korra in a igloo, but that didn't work out as we expected. The Firebenders saw me how I defend myself and Korra with waterbending, which is why they pounced on me. The Firebenders thought Korra was my daughter and they dragged her here with me. Since that day all of our lives have turned upside-down. The only positive thing that came out of it is that I could hug my husband again. He was kidnapped a few months ago, while defending our village. I have my husband back, but Korra lost her parents and siblings. Since then, Tonraq and I have sworn to raise Korra like our own child, which is not particularly easy in a slave compound."

Azula nodded slowly, tears came to her. She never realized that the Fire Nation enslaved Waterbenders at such young ages. As if sensing her grief, Senna took Azula by her shoulders and hugged her to her chest.

"It is fine. You and all the others present managed to free all waterbenders.” Senna whispers softly in Azula's ear. She began to stroke Azula's head. "You are not the monster that locked us up here, nor are you the one who obeyed the orders to do so."

Azula's eyes shrank when she heard the word "monster". Azula pressed her head tighter into Senna's collarbone. More tears came to her. She thinks, 'I could have become such a monster if it wasn't for Korra.'

Azula didn’t want to let go of the hug. She really didn't. She gripped onto Senna holding her for a bit longer. Senna didn’t mind, not one bit.

However, their long hug was cut short as Mako came from behind them. He said as if he hasn’t noticed them "We are ready for the next step."

He turned away from them and walked in the direction that lead to the compound gates.

Azula already misses the maternal warmth that emanated from Senna. She rubbed away her tears. "I think it's time to move the Waterbenders."

Senna smiles softly, "I'll see you outside then." Senna went ahead.

Azula remained standing for a few more minutes. She looks sadly at the floor until she feels a hand on her shoulder. She turns to the person and sees that it is Korra who is giving her a toothy smile.

Korra says softly, "I think we should join the people’s outside."

Azula came to tears. She pounces on Korra and presses firmly against her. Korra was surprised, but returned the hug.

Azula says softly as her tears flow “Thank you so much for being my friend. I don't know what would have happened if I had never met you."

Korra smiles. She replies while caressing Azula's back, "I'm very grateful for our friendship."

——————————————————————
In the rebel camp

All freed waterbenders are being loaded into carriages to be sent to the safe haven. The carriages are still loaded with enough food and water for the journey.

Noatak and Tarrlok examine the carriages again before turning to Asami. Noatak says “All the waterbenders are loaded. They have been informed where we will take them. Some are disappointed that we are not going to the South Pole, but they understand it."

Tarrlok adds, "When we told them that it would be too dangerous to go back to the South Pole as we might endanger our brothers and sisters who are still living there, they agreed to live in the swamp."

Noatak turns to Korra. "Are you sure you don't want to come with us?"

Korra shakes her head with a smile. "As much as I would like to do that, I can't."

Tarrlok asks “Are you sure? I mean you would be with your people’s after all. With your family."

Korra turns her gaze to Azula while answering Tarrlok's question, "I have another job with a certain person that I would like to do."

Azula smiles in Korra’s direction.

Noatak and Tarrlok took Korra in a huge hug. Tarrlok said for both of them "We will miss you."

Noatak adds "Promise us that you will come and see us when you have overthrown the Fire Nation."

Korra laughs heartily "I promise."

After the hug, the two brothers went to the foremost carriage. Noatak took the reins. Tarrlok shouts to the other carriage leaders, “We'll start riding in a few minutes, please make sure everyone stays in line. We will probably arrive at the Swamp in a week."

While the carriage riders go through everything again, Senna and Tonraq went to their niece, who is talking to Azula and Asami. They took all three girls in a mighty hug without warning. The three girls return the hug without complaining.

As they break the hug, Tonraq says "Well this time at least we get the chance to say goodbye." Korra wiped a tear from her eyes while she nodded. He smiles gently as he says, "I'm very proud of you and I'm sure your father and mother will feel the same as soon as they see you."

Korra burst into tears. "I would like to visit them as soon as we end the war."

Azula puts a supportive hand on her shoulder. "Don't worry, you'll see them." Korra smiles at her promises. 'I'll take care of that personally,' thinks Azula.

Senna approached her niece. "Before we go, I have a little gift for you." Senna took something out of her bag and gave it to Korra. It was an ampoule with a thick green liquid. When Korra takes a closer look at the vial, she notices that a kind of root is floating around in the liquid. Senna does not give Korra the chance to ask
“This is an ointment that is obtained from the spirit vines. If you combine the ointment with your healing abilities, you can use it to heal injuries better." Korra smiles before she can put the ampoule away, Senna adds, "I wasn't able to test it, but I have the feeling that it might be able to heal blindness. So if something should ever happen again, as it used to like in the past..." Senna points to the ampoule. "Can you try and heal it with that"

Korra smiles from ear to ear, she took her aunt in a hug that Senna lift off the floor. "Thank you very much, that will be very helpful for us on our trip!"

Senna laughs in the hug. She pats Korra on the back. "Be careful that you won't need that from the start."

Korra puts Senna down. She gave a toothy smile "I can't promise that."

Tonraq puts a hand on Senna's shoulder. “We have to go now. The others want to start the drive. ”Senna nods.

Senna and Tonraq gave Korra one last hug before getting into a carriage.

The carriages began to move. Korra, Asami and Azula waved goodbye as they waited until they could no longer see the carriages.

Azula turns to Asami. She rubs her neck. “I want to thank you for all that you have done for us. You even turned against your own father to help us."

Asami smiles slyly "It almost sounds as if you want to say goodbye to me."

Azula blushed “Well yes. Isn't it a farewell? I mean at least someone has to stay here to make sure that the Fire soldiers stay locked away."

“I've talked to Mako, Bolin, and the rest of the Fire Nations rebels. I told them how to watch out for and how best to deal with uninvited inspectors."

Asami approaches Azula, she went down to eye level. The two girls almost touched. "I thought that I could accompany you."

Azula blushed furiously from up close she took a big step back. She shakes her head a little too hard. “I can't allow you to do that. You have already done too much."

Asami yelled, “I haven't done too much! I want to help that the war finally come to an end! And I still have to clean my family name and I also have to find my sister! Only then can we talk about whether I have done too much or not!"

Azula sighed she doesn't know what to say, luckily, Korra took over. “I think we should take her with us. I am sure that she will be of great help. You saw for yourself how she took down two soldiers and her inventions could also be helpful."

Azula thinks about it.

"We would also have more fun on our trip with another travel companion," adds Korra.

Azula gave up. "All right, she can come with us."

Asami took Azula in a side hug "Oh, someone seems to be getting soft."

Azula grumbled, she was about to threaten Asami, but was interrupted when Korra hugged them both.

Korra smiles like a little child. "Yeah! The duo became a trio!"

Azula rolls her eyes but still has to smile at Korra’s foolishness.

After the hug, Azula says, “Well we have a new girl in the team, but we have to find a way to get to Zhao. After all, we are now traveling without a carriage or ride."

Asami laughs slightly. "Do you really think I hadn't taken care of that?" Asami went to what looks like a giant box that is covered in white sheets. Asami knocks against it, "With that thing we'll get there in no time."

"I was wondering what that thing was," Korra noted.

"May I present you?" Asami pulls the sheets off. "The Satomobile!" Asami unveiled a black vehicle that drives with four rubber wheels instead of wood. "Or car for short." Asami shrugged.

Azula and Korra stare at the Satomobile in amazement. They started touching it all over the place.

Asami clears her throat “If you've gawked enough, we can slowly start driving.” Asami got into the driver's seat and buckled up “The faster we get to Zhao, the faster we get to the Wan Shi Tong Library, the faster we can find Airbending scrolls there, the faster Korra can start her airbending training."

Azula raised a brow as she got into the passenger seat. "How do you know Korra is the Avatar?"

Asami smiles “As a child she showed me how she bend water, fire and earth. I was sure that she just had to learn airbending."

“Well combined,” says Azula.

As Korra got into the back seat, Asami says, “I have to warn you, I built the Satomobile to be two or even three times as fast as the fastest Ostrich Horse. So better fasten your seat belts."

Azula and Korra raised a brow But buckled up anyway.

Asami starts the car and started to drive off pretty quickly.

Azula was terrified of Asami's fast vehicle, while Korra was absolutely thrilled.

"Whoooo!" Korra cheers when she held up her hands while Asami drives "I love the Satomobile!"

Chapter Text

Chapter 13: The Blind Bandit

As Asami promised, the Satomobile is really faster than if they were traveling in a carriage.

The three girls only stopped every now and then to rest or so that Asami could check whether the vehicle could continue.

During the time that the three are traveling together, Asami and Korra have revived their old friendship. Azula, however, feels like the fifth wheel on the car when they talk about the old days. She doesn't know how to behave when Korra and Asami are talking and laughing. It is almost as if she is jealous of them both. But why?

——————————————————————

It's been 3 days since they freed the Waterbenders. They are now on the heels of Admiral Zhao to get the other half of the map from the Wan Shi Tong Library.

The small group talked about their various favorite pastimes before deciding to take action against the Fire Nation.

Asami tells how she enjoys working on things and inventing new things, like the electrified glove and the Satomobile.

Korra tells how she likes to read and draw pictures, like the pictures she drew of Kyoshi.

Azula tells how she likes firebending and how she likes to write own stories.

——————————————————————

It was still early in the morning when Azula looked at the map, she noted, "We have reached in less than half of the time, that we would normally have needed by a carriage. I can’t believe it. We would need more than a week to reach this spot, when we used the carriage."

Asami gave a smug grin as she continued to steer the vehicle. "Have you ever doubted it?"

Azula rolls her eyes. She focuses again on the map, “We are near a city. It's called gaoling."

Asami looks at Azula "Did you say gaoling?" Azula nodded. Asami looks back on the street “My mother took me and my sister here for a week every year to visit our aunt. We always lived with her and her husband, in their house.” Asami now had a sad look.

Azula says "If you want, we can drive there and say hi."

Asami shakes her head slightly. "It would be uncomfortable. They don't know that Mom died yet."

Azula had also now a sad look on her face too. She always found it uncomfortable to talk about family matters because she herself comes from a broken family. She looked in the direction of the street when she said softly "I think you should tell them."

Asami raised a brow “Who? What?"

Azula exhales "You should tell your relatives." At Asami's shocked expression, she adds. "If a loved one in my life were dead, I would like to know so that I can start getting over it."

Asami was split in the discord. Azula was right, but she doesn't know how to tell her relatives. Asami sighed "I don't know how."

Azula puts a supportive hand on Asami's shoulder “It's okay. I'm there for you, and I'm sure Korra too." She asks Korra without turning around. "You’re there for her too, don’t you?" She got no answer. She turned to Korra and saw that Korra was sleeping. She turns back to Asami. "Even if Korra is asleep, I know that she would vote for us to go there."

Asami lets out a long breath. "That's probably a good idea, but I can't show up there without June."

Azula shrugged “I don't see any problem. If it helps you I'll pretend to be your sister."

Asami stares at Azula and raised a brow “You don't even look like my sister. Alone the size difference."

Azula blushed "I'm not that small!"

Asami laughs heartily. "I'm just kidding." Asami rubs a tear away. "Now seriously. I can not do that. You don't know my sister. Her personality and appearance are unique."

"Then be with me. You show me how your sister behaves, then I will imitate her. Even if you don't believe it, I'm a pretty good liar."

"Oh believe me, I believe you immediately."

Azula blushed and glared while Asami sticks out her tongue.

Azula tries one last time "Just imagine how relieved you would be when you got this behind you."

Asami can't argue, she would be a lot relieved if she could tell her relatives that her mother has died. On the other hand, she would not like to lie to her about her sister. After some thought, Asami admitted defeat. “All right, I agree. But first we have to change your appearance a little."

Azula smiles triumphantly. "Well, it works. So what do we start with? "

Asami stops the Satomobile, she looks in the direction of Azula and smiles slyly. Azula suddenly gulped, she has a bad feeling.

——————————————————————

After a little style change, Azula looked almost like Asami's sister.

Azula's hair now partially covers half of her face, her pink lipstick has been changed to a dark red one. Her topknot is the only one that is unchanged, but they have removed the Fire Nation insignia from her topknot. The biggest change however, was her clothes. She was now wearing a sleeveless dark red dress with long gloves that almost reached her shoulders.

Asami nodded in agreement "Well you looks almost like my sister, except for the size, but we can't change that." Azula glared "Now we just have to go through the stuff you should answer, if they ask you any questions." Azula nodded.

"Question one, what's your aunt's name and who is she married to?"

"My aunt's name is Poppy Sato, she has been married to Lao Beifong for almost 15 years. She changed her name Sato into Beifong after the marriage."

"Question two what is the name of their daughter and what topic should you not mention in front of her?"

"Their daughter's name is Toph Beifong, she is actually twelve years old and our cousin. Under no circumstances should I mention anything about her eyes or her eyesight, as she is blind."

"So far so good. Question three, what is our father doing at the moment?"

"He is the founder and ceo of his own company Future Industries, a company where he works on vehicles. The Satomobile is his doing, when they ask about it."

Asamis sighs "Question four how did our mother die?"

"She was seriously ill and died in her sleep four years ago."

Asami claps her hands “You have the looks and you have the most important knowledge. Now all that's missing is if you can fool the people with your new look."

Azula smiles slyly. "Then let's try it on Korra."

Asami now also has a devious smile while they both go to Korra, who is still sleeping.

Korra sat in the back seat of the car and is sound asleep. Her peaceful sleep was disturbed when Asami gently shakes her, “Korra wake up. Here is someone who would like to see you again.” Said Asami in a sing song voice.

Korra groaned as she slowly woke up. She rubs her eyes “Asami? What's going on?"

Asami opens the car door "You won't believe who wants to see you."

Korra gets out of the car and yawns, "Who?"

“Who do you think? Wolfstaily.” says a voice from behind Korra.

Korra’s eyes widen, there was only one person who calls her that. She turns around excitedly, but as she turns around she sees in front of her not the person she thought. Her anticipation fades. She raised a brow “Azula? Why are you dressed like June?"

Azula raised a brow “Who is Azula? It's me June, or have you already forgotten me? Wolfstaily."

Korra turns to Asami and whispers in her ear, “Is something wrong with Azula? Or why is she disguised like your sister?"

Asami sighed “It doesn't work. Azula you can take off the disguise."

Azula shakes her head slightly. "No. First of all I want to know why it didn't work?"

Korra has no idea what's going on. "Can someone please explain to me what this is about?"

Asami and Azula started telling Korra about their plan, what they were up to, and that they wanted to try it out beforehand, on a person who already knew Asami's sister.

Korra still doesn't fully understand, but her answers were enough for her. "I think I understand."

Asami nodded sadly "Yes, I want to tell my relatives that my mother died, but I don't dare to face them without June."

"So that's why Azula dressed up like June."

"Yeah and I would like to know why it didn't work out on you?"

Korra gave a friendly smile "Well, it's because of your eyes."

Asami and Azula raised their brows "Because of the eyes?" Both ask simultaneously.

Korra shrugged "I admit, they have almost the same eye colors, but there is something in your eyes that makes you recognizable." Asami and Azulas had a dumbfounded expression. Korra added "Or it could be because I've known you for so long."

Azula blushed while she scratched the back of her head. "Well that's devastating."

Asami sighed "Maybe we should let this off."

Azula yells “No way!” As Asami and Korra stare at her, she says “I'm sure they will mistake me for your sister. After all, they haven't seen you for three years."

Asami scratched her cheek "Four years actually."

Azula points in Asami's direction “Four years. That's even better." Asami thinks about it. Azula added
"Trust me. I'm sure it will work out just fine."

——————————————————————
Half hour later in front of the gates to the Beifong Estate.

Korra asks as the group drives up to the gate "Are you sure you really want to go through with this?"

Azula smiles confidently. “Trust me it will be fine. And don't forget, you'll pretend to be our bodyguard."

Korra nodded, but felt uncomfortable because she doesn't like lying to other people, but otherwise it would be very helpful if Asami got over with this.

The group stops in front of the gate to the estate. There were two Standard Earth Nation guards. They looked puzzled when they saw the vehicle, but they behaved professionally. One of them went to the car and asked "Can I help you wirh anything?"

Asami gave a small smile. "Yes. We would like to see our aunt Poppy Beifong. Is she here?"

The guards narrowed his eyes to the person in front of him. "Wait a moment. Asami Sato, is that you?"

Asami smiles "Hello Shiro hasn't seen you in a long time."

Shiro smiles back. "Far too long." Shiro turns to his colleagues "It's okay, you can let them in."

The two guards open the gate and Asami steers the vehicle in front of the door of the stairs to the estate.

A well-dressed girl in a white dress sat on the stairs. The girl has long black hair that is shaped like a pillow on her head. The girl is surrounded by two guards.

When the girl hears the car stop in front of her, she almost gives a start. She asks "Who is it?"

One of the guards replies, “A strange looking carriage came up. With three teens who are just getting out."

The three girls were just getting out of the car when the two guards questioned them, "Tell me your names and why you are here."

Asami looks at Azula, both nodded at the same time, as if they wanted to say to each other "Let's go."

Asami took a step forward. “Don’t you recognize us? It's Asami and June Sato. And we would like to speak to our aunt, to give her some important information."

The guards' eyes widen. The two bowed. One of them says, “We're sorry we didn't recognize you right away. I will report to your aunt immediately that you are both here."

The guard who was just talking ran into the estate to announce their presence.

Asami went to the girl and said softly "Hello Toph, do you remember my voice?"

Toph nodded

Asami smiles "Then you will definitely remember June's voice."

Azula stepped out "Hi Pipsqueak, how are you?"

Toph shook her head.

Azula rubs the back of her neck "It's been four years since we were last here."

Toph nodded.

The girl, who has been silent until now, points a finger at Korra and asks "And who is the third person in your group?"

Korra was surprised. If the girl in front of her is the one Asami recently told them about, how is it possible for her to know that she is present.

Korra clears his throat “Hello, my name is Korra. It's good to see you...” Korra shakes her head in embarrassment when she realized what she was saying. She corrects "I mean to meet."

Korra raised her hand as a gesture to shake Toph's hand. When the guard saw it, he stormed forward. He grabbed Korra's outstretched hand. Korra narrowed her eyes. She reflexively took the arm off the guard and threw him, a little too hard, on the floor with a shoulder throw.

Asami blinks a couple of times.

Azula facepalmed.

Toph had a width grin "I have no idea who this girl is, but I like her."

Korra just realized what she was doing. She was about to help the unconscious guard, but was distracted by a new voice.

"What's going on here?"

The four girls turned to the new voice and saw a slightly older woman and the other guard from earlier.

Asami bows in greeting, Azula follows her example and bows too. It took a little longer for Korra, but she also bowed at in end.

As they straighten up again, Asami says, "Aunt Poppy, it’s so good to see you again?"

It took Poppy a second to recognize the person in front of her. Her eyes widen as she says "Asami is that you?" Asami nodded slightly. Poppy turns to Azula "Then you're June." Azula nodded. Poppy took both girls in a family hug. "So much time passed by. It's so nice to see you again. "

Poppy now turns to the still unconscious guard "What happened to him?"

Azula took over the word, “Well, this is how it happened. You see, our bodyguard Korra here." She points to Korra, who is currently looking everywhere, just not in their direction. "Is a little overcautious. She thought that your guard wanted to attack her, then one thing led to another."

Poppy now had a happy expression. She circled the unconscious guard and went straight to Korra. “Did your parents finally see that you needed more protections.” She circled Korra and inspected her more closely. Poppy happily began examining the muscles of Korra’s arms. Korra is uncomfortable with that kind of attention. “I see you have a strong bodyguard here, and one your age. Your mother picked her out pretty well."

At the mention of her mother, Asami looks sadly to the side.

Poppy notices it and asks "Asami what's going on?"

Asami sighs "There is something we have to tell you."

——————————————————————

Asami, Korra, the disguised Azula, Poppy and her daughter Toph have gone to the great hall where Poppy's husband sits on a throne-like chair. Poppy took a seat on her own throne-like chair next to her husband, Lao.

After all the greetings and living through the old times, it was time to tell them about the passing of Yasuko Sato. Poppy burst into tears, after hearing, that her sister died. Lao was shocked. Toph didn't know her that long, but showed sympathy for her dead aunt.

Lao noted, "So that's why you haven't visited us in years."

Asami nodded sadly "Yes, it wasn't easy for us to get over her dead."

Poppy asks while she wipes her tears “Why didn't your father come with you? I know that he works a lot, but why doesn't he think it necessary to tell us personally?"

Azula stepped forward. “You know our father. After her death, he is only busy with his work. You could say he's locked up with his work."

The beefongs nod understandably.

Lao says "Nonetheless, you have traveled a long way and we would be honored if you could spend the night with ."

Asami had actually planned to continue driving after delivering the message. That's why she says, “We are honored, but we didn't plan to stay here. We had planned to continue traveling."

Poppy smiles softly "Oh where are you going?"

Azula replies “We were planning to go on a little trip around the world. You know, to clear out head."

That aroused Toph's curiosity, “Really? That sounds exciting. Mind if I join?"

Before anyone can even come up with an answer, her father said loudly, “No way! The world is not the right place for a blind girl like you to burst!"

Toph whispers "As if you wouldn't tell me that every day."

Unlike the other people in the room, only Korra seems to have heard what Toph was saying. Korra felt bad for the blind girl, but couldn't help her.

Lao clears his throat “Back to the topic. We would appreciate it if you stayed here in our home tonight."

Before Asami could refuse again, Azula says "We would be honored to stay here over the night."

Lao claps his hands together "Now that this has been clarified, how about we have breakfast together?" Without waiting for an answer, Lao and his wife went ahead to the dining room. Toph and Korra ruefully follow them.

Before Asami follows them, she whispers loudly to Azula, “What have you done?! That wasn't the plan! "

Azula gave a smug smile "Well we could sleep in a decent bed and take a decent shower again before we continue with our journey."

Azula didn't give Asami the chance to answer. She went into the dining room.

Asami sighs and remorsefully follows Azula.

——————————————————————
During breakfast.

All six people were now sitting at the breakfast table. Lao and Poppy each sat at one end of the table. Asami and Azula sat next to each other on one side of the table, while Korra and Toph sat on the other side.

Asami and Azula talked to their relatives, while Korra and Toph sat quietly eating their scrambled eggs.

After eating, Lao stood up as he wiped his mouth, elegantly, “If you will excuse me, I have to look at some important documents. It shouldn't take too long. As soon as I'm done we can start to discuss some important matters regarding Yasuko's death."

While the servants slowly begin to clear the table, Lao was about to leave the table, but was stopped by his daughter.

"Father, didn't we planned to walk through the village today and spend the day together?" Toph says in a somewhat monotonous voice.

Lao shakes his head “I'm sorry honey, but I can't. I still have a lot of documents to go through and we have visitors. I promise you that we will go tomorrow."

Toph groaned as she crossed her arms “But you've been saying that for the whole month. Always tomorrow. I'm slowly thinking that we will never go."

Poppy intervenes, “Toph dear, if it weren't such an important topic now, I would ask your cousins to show you around the village. But that just doesn't work."

Toph grumbled but was silent.

There is an embarrassing silence for the next few seconds. Before either of the parents could say anything, Korra freely says "I can lead her around."

All eyes turn to Korra. Korra blushed and rubs her neck. She is uncomfortable with all the eyes that are on her. "Well, with your permission, I could take your daughter wherever she wants."

Lao shakes his head "I'm sorry, but I would never trust a stranger with my daughter. In addition, not one from the Water Tribe."

Poppy upset complains about her husband. “Lao? You are going too far."

Azula and Asami weren't exactly thrilled that Lao was discriminating against their friend's tribe.

Korra got angry when she heard this, but remained calm on the outside. “Well, I don't know what your problem is with the people from the Water Tribe. But I can assure you that I come from the Earth Nation."

Lao crossed his arms. He narrowed his eyes at Korra. "Prove it. Prove to me that you are from the Earth Nation and I will allow you to take my daughter through the village."

Korra had a knowing smile. She got up from her chair and said with a proud grin "Nothing easier than that." She stomped with her foot on the ground, causing a small stone the size of an apple to land in her hand. She makes small hand movements around the stone, which creates a small stone sculpture in the shape of Lao's head. Lao jumped back in shock when he saw the girl in front of him earthbending. "Is that proof enough?" Asks Korra while she holds out the miniature figure for Lao as if she wants to give him it as present.

Lao took the figure he says as he examines the figure "Well, I'm impressed that you're an Earthbender. That does prove that you come from the Earth Nation, but it doesn't prove that you can take care of my daughter." He turns to his nieces. "You know her, how is she as a bodyguard?"

Asami smiles. "There is no better one than Korra."

Azula happily adds, “She saved my life at least three times. So believe me when I tell you that your daughter will be in the best of hands."

Lao was about to refuse until Poppy says "Your word is proof enough for me." She turns to her husband. "I think we can trust Korra with our daughter."

Lao glared “We can't. She has no idea how to take care of a blind girl."

"Actually, I know my way around it very well," Korra said casually. Lao stares at Korra. “In my childhood, some children and adults were blinded every now and then for a few days or weeks. I often took care of them with my aunt.” Korra tries to rewrite her past somehow, so that it won’t sound like a completely lie.

Lao turns to his nieces "Is it true what she says?"

Asami nodded “I know her aunt, just like my mother. They were good friends."

Lao rubs his temple. He looks at Korra. "I admit defeat, but I hold you responsible for the smallest incident."

Korra rolled her eyes "I can live with that." It wouldn't be the first time someone would blame her for anything.

Korra turns to Toph "How's it going? Would you agree that I take you through the village?"

Toph was a little speechless until she nods.

——————————————————————

After the breakfast, Asami, Azula and Korra were lead to a guest room, as the two girls could talk with Korra in peace.

"Have you lost your mind Korra?!" Azula roared. Korra crouched slightly. Azula waves her hands in all directions as she continues to yell "How can you offer to take a blind girl you don't know through a city you don't know either?! You know we can't help you in this situation because we have to maintain a charade! So tell me what were you thinking?!"

Korra plays embarrassingly with her fingers. "I thought because we would be spending the night here one way or another, that I could somehow show my appreciation."

Asami says “I've known you long enough to know that there's still something behind it. So tell us what's going on?"

Korra sighs, she could actually tell them what's behind it, since it's not exactly a secret "Well, I don't know how to say it, but I think Toph can, although she can't see with her eyes, can see in another kind of way."

Azula laughs heartily “Oh come on. How should something like that be possible?"

Korra went to a window in the room and looked at the blind girl who was waiting for her. “I noticed a few different things about her. For example, even though I didn't say a word, she knew that I was there too. She walked through her house without bumping into anything, and it wasn't until we were having breakfast that she found her seat without any problems and ate the food without even needing help."

Azula shrugged "She's probably very lucky, or she might have made a mental note of where everything is in her house so she doesn't walk into a wall."

Korra exhales “That could be true, but didn't you hear how happily she asked if she could come with us on our journey? I think she would like to travel the world."

Asami puts a hand on Korra’s shoulder. "I know what's going on. You compare her with yourself. But she's not like you, she didn't grow up in a slave compound, or was for the most of time locked up."

Korra walks slowly to the door. She says quietly "You don't have to be a slave to be locked up."

Asami and Azula watch Korra as she slowly disappears through the door.

Asami sighs as the door closed. She turns to Azula and says "I don't know what to do."

Azula turns her back on her and says with a smug grin "I don't know what you're up to, but I'll take a nice long bath." Azula disappeared through the bathroom door.

Asami groaned. She drops on the bed. She covers her face with her hands and says "Spirits help me."

——————————————————————

Korra went outside over there where Toph is waiting for her with her parents and two guards.

Korra greets her friendly "I'm sorry if you had to wait too long, I still had to clarify something with the Sato sisters."

Poppy waved her hand "It's not a problem."

Lao grumbled, "Speak for yourself." His daughter seems to have heard it. He now went to Korra. "Now listen. I hate to trust others with my daughter, but I have no other choice. You will lead her safely through the town. You will buy her something to wear and have lunch with her. Then you lead her back here through this front door. Do you understand it?"

Korra found it very difficult not to hit the man in front of her in the face, but since it probably won't help either Asami or Toph, she replies "No problem."

Lao points to the two guards next to his daughter. "These two guards will accompany you everywhere." Korra glanced at the blind girl and saw that she was dissatisfied with this decision.

Korra clears her throat "Sir, with all due respect, but I think your guards are unnecessary in this situation."

“I don't think so. The men’s will definitely go with you. I don't want anything to happen to my daughter."

"I understand that, but I don't think your daughter will agree."

“She doesn't have to agree to it either, she just has to live with it. End of the discussion."

Korra has met many people’s in her life who like to give orders, but she has never met a man like this one in front of her, who thinks that he has to protect his daughter from everything and everyone just because she is a little different as the others. She doesn't know her real father, but she is sure that a father should treat his daughter with more respect and freedom.

Lao hands her a bulging wallet “The money here is for the food and clothes. I trust that you won't pocket the money."

Korra narrowed her eyes "I'm not a thief."

Lao took the purse back. "If I think about it, one of my men should keep the money with him." He hands the purse to one of the guards, then disappeared through the door to his estate.

Poppy approached Korra when her husband is out of earshot. "I'm sorry for the way he treats you. He's usually not like that. It is very difficult for him to entrust our daughter to a stranger.“

Korra waved her hand “I get it. Believe me, I've been treated far worse in my life. His words don't doesn’t bother me."

Poppy smiles. She says goodbye to Korra and her daughter and followed her husband into the house.

Korra turns to Toph. "So Toph, what is the first thing you want to do?"

Before Toph could answer anything, one of the guards replied, "First of all, she wants to buy new clothes, then have lunch."

Korra rolls her eyes, she turns to the guards "I talked to Toph, not you."

The other guard says "We have our instructions and you have yours."

Korra would love to freeze the two guards. But she has other matters to attend to.

Korra approached Toph. "How about if you go ahead and show us where you want to go first?"

Toph beamed, but before she could say anything one of the guards yelled “Are you out of your mind ?!” Both girls look in his direction “You want to let a blind girl take the lead?”

One of the guards went in front of the girls and the other went behind behind.

"I will lead the way, while my colleague takes care of your safety from behind." Said the demanding guard.

Both girls roll their eyes at the same time. The two girls know that it is not worth arguing with guards.

They follow the guard in front of them while the other walks after them.

——————————————————————

Korra and Toph walked through the town, led and followed by two annoying guards.

After a few minutes, Korra started talking to Toph without the guards noticing. “I'm sorry we have to walk around with two guards. I definitely didn't imagine the day be like this."

Toph replied disinterestedly, "Funny, that's exactly how I imagined the day to be."

Korra was half-smiling "So you always walk through town with two guards?"

Toph shook her head “I don't walk through town that often. To be honest, today is the first time in two years."

"You really never walked through town without guards?"

Toph shook her head "My parents are afraid that I will get lost."

Korra has to ask "Wouldn't you get lost?"

Toph crossed her arms. She pouted "I don't have to be able to see in order to not to get lost."

Korra had a knowing smirk "I noticed."

Toph turns her head in Korra’s direction so fast that it almost fell off her. "What do you mean by that?"

Korra smiles triumphantly. "Let's put it this way, I'm an attentive observer."

Toph rolls her eyes "Whatever. Let's just get the day behind us."

"You don't seem to enjoy the trip."

Toph inconspicuously points in the direction of the guards "How am I supposed to have fun when I have three babysitters?"

Korra sighs, she doesn't know Toph that long, but she thinks Toph could use a fun day. She rubs her chin while she thinks. Her eyes widened when she got an idea.

She tilts her head to the level of Toph and whispers softly in her ear, "Tell me, if I can shake off these guards, would you feel better then?"

Toph raised a brow “Much better actually. What are you going to do?"

Korra had a devious expression on her face when she saw an alley in front of her "If I give you the signal, then run through the alley up there."

Toph doesn't know what Korra is up to, but she was ready.

As the group approached the alley, Korra suddenly shouted out of the blue "WHAT'S THAT THERE!"

The guards couldn't see anything but wanted to check it anyway.

The guards ran forward as if stung by a tarantula and searched all the corners.

When the guards couldn't find anything, one of them said to the other, "Typical women’s, are afraid of their own shadow." They both laughed at his cheap joke. They turned to the spot, where the two girls have to be, but they found no one there.

The two guards panicked and searched the place but found no trace.

One of them turns to where the alley should be, but there he saw only a rock wall. He scratched his head "Wasn't there an alley?"

The other guard says frantically "We don't have time for it, we have to find Toph before her father finds out!"

"You are right. You walk down the street and I go in a different direction. We'll meet in front of the Beifong Estate in three hours at the latest."

After the two guards agreed, they ran as fast as they could in opposite directions.

The wall that blocked the alley sank. The lowered wall reveals Korra and Toph, who was bending the wall back down.

Korra looks in all directions to see if the guards are gone. When she no longer sees them, she turns to Toph.

She leans against the wall. "I didn't know you were an Earthbender."

Toph gave a smug grin "What should I say, I'm awesome."

Korra asks "Since we are alone now, can I ask you something?"

Toph shrugged "You just did that."

“I'll take that as a yes. Can you tell me how you can see without seeing properly?"

“I use Eartbending for that. I feel everything that is made of earth. I feel all the vibrations in the earth, and I always know whether there is an obstacle in front of me. It's similar with people."

Korra is fascinated by her talent. She couldn't hold back when she asked "Can you teach me?!"

Toph raised a brow “Why do you want to learn this? You can see normally."

Korra sighs "Yes, but who knows, it could be that I won't be able to see anything tomorrow." Korra didn't really want to reveal the real reason.

Toph crossed her arms "I'm thinking about it." Toph was just walking out of the alley. She turns to Korra “Are you coming? You promised me a great day?"

Korra smiles, she thinks, 'Well, that’s not a no.'

——————————————————————

Korra and Toph had been walking for a while, until Toph's feet tangled in her dress and she fell to the ground.

Korra immediately helped her up.

Toph groaned as she brushed the dirt off her dress. “Stupid dress. It's bad enough that I have to wear it at home all the time, but also here, where I'm out of the house for the first time in a long time?"

Korra asks "If you don't like the dress, why are you wearingit?"

Toph says, as if it had to be clear, "My parents keep putting me in that stupid dress."

Korra thinks about it for a moment. She looks around. Her gaze stopped at a particular shop nearby. She says, “Then the first thing we will do is get you more comfortable clothes. There's already a clothes shop up there "

Korra led the way to the store, followed by Toph. Korra looks at the clothes and notices a sign on the window.

Toph grumbled “How do we even want to buy new clothes for me? The guards have all the money."

Korra smiles slightly. “Don't worry about the money. The sign here says, Buy and Sell New Clothes. We could sell your old dress and buy you something more comfortable."

Toph beamed "Then let us do that!" Toph would do anything to get rid of her uncomfortable dress.

The two went into the shop. There were a few customers in the shop, but no one noticed them.

Korra says to Toph, “Pick one. Which feels best for you."

Toph narrowed her eyes on Korra "You know I'm blind, don't you?"

Korra laughed lightly, "I said feel, not which one you like best. Touch the fabrics of the clothes, and which one feels best for you, then we will take that."

Toph understands now. She went to work to feel which fabrics would be most comfortable for her. Korra had to check the size from time to time to see if it would fit Toph or not.

A few minutes passed and Toph still hasn't found anything. However, Korra has found something that she wants to show Toph immediately.

"Hey Toph. I think that could suit you. The size could also be right.” She was now holding a white and yellow garment with green sleeves.

Toph touched the fabric and found it to be quite comfortable, so she agrees to try it on.

Korra leads her to a fitting, where she immediately changes her clothes. When Toph left the fitting, she was no longer wearing her uncomfortable white dress, but the clothes Korra had chosen.

Toph asks, while spinning around, “And? How do I look?"

Korra says as she picks up the old dress, “I think it suits you. But I think it's more important what you think of it?"

"I think it's great! With these clothes I have freedom of my movements. Something I can't say about the other."

Korra nodded "Before we sell your old dress, are you sure you want to sell it?"

Toph waved her hand "Don't worry, I still have a few at home."

The two went to the counter. Korra puts the dress on the counter and says to the disinterested woman standing behind the counter, “Hello Ma‘am, I would like to sell this dress, "she points to the clothes that Toph is wearing, "and buy this one."

She grumbled as she looked at the dress on the table. Her eyes widen, she has hardly ever seen this material of the dress. She couldn't let that them see, that she want, so she clears her throat and says “Well, the dress isn't worth much. I can give you the clothes that your little sister is wearing, for this dress."

Korra ignores the woman calling Toph her sister. Korra narrowed her eyes, she doesn't believe a word the woman says.
“The dress is made of pure silk, and you seriously want to tell me it's worthless?” She's no idiot, Azula taught her a lot about the value of various things, including fabrics, on Ember Island.

The woman tries another attempt. "As you wish. I'll also give you 5 pieces of silver."

Toph can feel how the pulse of women race. She says to Korra, “Maybe we should have accepted the other buyer's offer after all? After all, he offered us 20 pieces of silver."

Korra raised a brow, but after a second she understands what Toph is up to and plays with “You're right. Take off the clothes, then we'll bring him the silk dress."

Korra took the dress off the counter. They were about to make their way back to the fitting until the woman yells "Wait!"

Korra and Toph exchanged a knowing smile, they turn back to the woman.

The woman cleared her throat, she was holding out a bag full of money. "I'll give you 30 pieces of silver for the dress."

Toph quickly took the dress and held it in front of the woman, she says "I'll give it to you for 40."

The woman grumbled, she put ten more pieces of silver in the bag. “All right, there are 40 pieces of silver here. Do I get the dress now?"

Korra and Toph exchanged the dress for the purse and left the shop.

When they were outside Korra says "Whoooo, we showed her!"

Toph gave a toothy smile “You can say that out loud. At first she thought that we wouldn’t find out her lies."

"You know when someone is lying?"

Toph shrugged "Only from bad liars."

Korra smiled, she tossed Toph's hair a little and says "Since it is now slowly starting to get to noon, how about we go out and eat something?"

As if on cue, Toph's stomach grumbled. She blushed, while she scratched her cheek "Well I could eat some food."

Korra smiles "Then let's go find something decent."

——————————————————————

The two girls found a small snack bar where they could eat something in peace. They were sitting at a table outside, surrounded by families who were having lunch at their own tables.

Korra is eating a plate of steamed fish while Toph is eating a plate of roasted chicken.

During the meal, Toph asks "Tell me, Korra, how is it to travel the world?"

Korra started to smile "Well we are not that long on our journey, but I can tell you it is just amazing. The world is so big and there is so much to see." Korra turned pale when she noticed what she was saying.
"Sorry, I didn't mean it that way."

Toph waved a hand “It's okay. It never really bothered me to be blind.” Toph leans her head on her hand. She looks dreamily “I would like to travel the world. Even if I cannot see, I would like to experience what is going on in the world."

Korra eats the last bit of her plate and says "You know, if your parents don't mind, I could ask my friends if we could take you with us."

Toph shakes slightly her head "That's very nice of you, but my parents would never allow that."

Korra shrugged "We only know that when we have asked."

Toph doesn't answer, but secretly hopes that somehow her parents will agree.

As Toph takes her last bit, Korra asks "What do you want to do now?"

Toph rubbed her neck “Well, I've heard that there is an Earthbender school somewhere. I would like to go there."

Korra stood up. "Well that's a plan, let's go."

——————————————————————

The girls went to Earthbending School, and what they experienced there made them speechless. The teacher was the purest vulture. He either told the hardworking student that they needed more lessons, or told beginners that with his help and a lot more lessons they could quickly become true masters.

The two left the school without causing much fuss.

Outside, Toph almost broke into a fit of anger. "This lousy rate is supposed to be an earthbending master?! I can't believe that my father wants to hire him as my private teacher!"

Korra blinks a few times "Your father hired this vulture?"

Toph pouted while she crossed her arms
“Who are you telling that? I've never fought anyone before, but I'm sure I could beat this guy and everyone else in this school."

Korra smiled slightly "Well, you don't seem to lack optimism."

Toph glared.

Korra was about to suggest something when two older students walk past her. They are probably in Korra’s age.

"I wonder if the big bad Hippo will defend his title today," one student said to the other.

Korra and Toph turn in the direction of the students. Their interest was aroused.

"Definitely not, the headhunter will definitely win this time."

Korra’s curiosity got the upper hand, she went to the students and confronted them with "Excuse me, what event are you talking about?"

The students stare at her. One of them sarcastically says, “Oh, no event at all, we're just talking about the Earth Rumble. It's nothing but the biggest tournament for Earthbender. Two Earthbenders compete against each other and they fight until someone falls out of the ring or is unable to fight."

Korra and Toph looked at each other enthusiastically, Toph asks "Where is the Earth Rumble taking place?"

The students change a look. They burst out into laughter. One of them says
“Seriously? A little girl like you wants to watch such a carnage? That’s just a place for the big guys and the best earthbender in the world."

Toph glared "I'm the best Earthbender in the world."

"Sure you are."

Korra got a little angry and approached the students. "How about a barter?" The students stare greedily at Korra. "You tell us where the tournament is going."

The students exchanged a quick look, they looked back at Korra and said, "What's in it for us?"

Korra gave a friendly smile, she cracked her knuckles "Then I won't break your bones."

The two Earthbenders laughed loudly. "You seriously believe that you can take on us?"

Korra shrugged "I've seen your earthbending and your been pretty bad."

The students got mad. They took up their fighting stances. They stomped on the ground, they lifted each a brick. They punched the bricks in Korra’s direction. Korra easily sidestepped them.

Korra says to Toph "Hey Toph, how about if you prove your words from before?"

Toph smirks "With pleasure."

Toph brought her fists together, cracking them.

Toph stamping down on the ground, she chipped away several large stones and launched them with eye-blurring speed at her two opponents.

The two students had no new chance to declare another attack. Because they were shot at from all sides.

The two land roughly on the floor. They could no longer stand up.

Toph relaxes her fighting stance.

Korra applauds Toph "Bravo, you didn't exaggerate that you could beat the students."

Toph raised her chin triumphantly up "And never forget that."

Korra laughs a little while walking slowly to the students, who are still lying on the floor. She grabbed their shirts. She was holding them both by the collars a foot off the ground. “That was just a warning. Now tell me exactly where the tournament will take place, then I'll spare your bones."

The students gulped, they spoke so fast that Korra could hardly follow. They told them the best way to get to the arena. After they have said everything, she put them back on the floor and says to them, “See? It wasn't that difficult."

She turns to Toph. "How are you interested in some great Earthbender fights?"

Toph beamed, "Always."

——————————————————————

Korra and Toph went to the arena right after they intimidate both students. They were more than thrilled when they got there.

There were hundreds of cheering fans waiting for the spectacle.

Korra and Toph looked for seats that were close to the arena, but not too close that they would be struck by a rock if they sat too close.

It had just started. There were many great matches and many great Earthbender maneuvers.

Korra and Toph didn't have a favorite among the Earthbenders, but they were cheering the loudest after every knockout.

In the final match, the Hippo defeated the Headhunter. He raised his arms in victory.

The fights are coming to an end and the presenter Xin Fu stood in the middle of the ring while he presented the Hippo, shouting in the crowd “The Big Bad Hippo defends his title and remains our champion! After a shocking climb up the ranks, The Headhunter is defeated in the final match."

The audience cheer and boo him out. But some of the fans were also sad that the matches were over.

Xin Fu now held a full bag in the air. He shouted into the crowd, “We've seen a lot of fights today, but there is sure time for a last fight. Each of you dear fans now have the chance to win both the title and 50 pieces of silver. Anyone of you who dare to do so is welcome to get in the ring."

——————————————————————

When Korra heard this, she excitedly said to Toph "You should fight him!"

Toph narrowed her eyes at Korra “You must be kidding. The guy could eat me in one bite."

Korra smiles, “I'm totally serious. I've seen you defeat the two Earthbender students, and I've seen how you use your earthbending. You have a good chance to win."

Toph's eyes widen, no one had ever trusted her so much, not even her parents. She has to ask that. "Are you sure that I can win?"

Korra looks at Toph with a encouraging smile. "There is only one way to find out."

——————————————————————

Xin Fu is getting impatient. "Is there really no one who wants to face the champion?"

"I do!" Yelled a voice from behind Xin Fu.

Xin Fu turns to the voice and saw two girls walk to the ring. He went straight to the older one and said "So you're the challenger?"

Korra shakes her head with a smile. She points with a thumb to Toph and says "Not me, she."

Xin Fu looks at the little girl in front of him, he thought it was a joke. "Isn't she too small to compete here?"

Korra shrugged “Maybe. But you didn't call up any sizes or ages."

'Shit.' Thought Xin Fu. He didn't think a small child would compete. But to keep up appearances, he let her fight in the ring today. "All right, the fight will start in a few minutes." He looks at Toph and asks her, "What's your wrestler's name?"

Toph blinked a few times, not understanding the question "My wrestler‘s Name?" She repeats.

Xin Fu says “Yes, you know, the name we will call when you’re in the ring.” He points to the challenger “You didn't think that the fighters were really called that, did you? I mean, did you seriously think someone could be called Hippo."

Korra raised her hand. "I do."

Xin Fu sighs "Think about a name quickly, I have to talk to the champion in the meantime."

Xin Fu went to the hippo to talk to him.

Toph says “Damn it, I can't think of a name. What about you?"

Korra thought for a moment, she couldn't think of a name straight away. She thinks back over how they spent the day. How they had outsmarted the woman in the dress shop, and how Toph had defeated the two students. Out of nowhere she says without thinking "How about the Blind Bandit?"

Toph rubs her chin while she thinks. She repeats "The Blind Bandit?"

Korra’s eyes widen when she realized what kind of name she had chosen. "I'm sorry Toph, it just came out."

Toph smiles “I like the name. From now on I'm The Blind Bandit."

Korra was almost speechless. "Are you sure?"

Toph nodded confidently.

"All right, I wish you the best of luck, Blind Bandit." Korra held out a fist.

“You should wish that to the Hippo. He's going to need all the luck in the world as soon as I'm done with him. ”She fist bumped with Korra.

Korra smiles. She went to Xin Fu to give him the name, then left the ring and took a seat nearby.

Xin Fu cleared his throat when he called into the crowd. “Someone volunteered to compete against our reigning champion. Welcome the Blind Bandit."

When Toph stepped forward, the crowd fell silent, they thought it was a joke.

Unlike the other fans, Korra cheers and yells "Come on Bandit, show them how a girl fights!"

The Blind Bandit and the Big Bad Hippo faced each other.

Xin Fu asks the fighters "Are you ready?" He does not wait for an answer when he says "Then let's go!"

The Hippo in a sumo wrestler's stance stomped the ground, with one foot and then the other. The entire arena began to move from side to side.

Toph know what he was planning. She wasted no time, kicking up a piece of the arena floor and sending it flying at him. Somewhat to her surprise, he spun away from the projectile, despite his giant size. He landed, somewhat awkwardly, he offered a counterattack. The ground broke up in front of him, and he punched the shards of the stone tiles at her, following her progress around the platform as she ducked and dodged the rocks.

Toph raised up a stone shield, she blocked his latest shot and then broke the shield free and sent the shield zooming across the floor at him. He couldn't easily avoid it, it caught him square in the head and bore him backwards. He fell out of the arena.

Xin Fu and the crowd were speechless, they couldn't believe what they were seeing. A little girl beat the reigning champion without any problems.

The crowd continued to be silent until Korra started cheering and applauding. This sparked a chain reaction when everyone else in the audience started cheering for the Blind Bandit.

In a choir the fans began to cheer.

"BLIND BANDIT, BLIND BANDIT, BLIND BANDIT, BLIND BANDIT, BLIND BANDIT!!!"

Korra went back into the arena and lifted Toph in a hug "I knew you could win."

Toph doesn't say a word, she was speechless. She would never have believed in her life that she could defeat an Eartbender champion. But she is now here in an arena, cheered by hundreds of fans. She gave in to the moment.

Xin Fu shouted into the crowd, “We now have a new champion! The Blind Bandit won the fight! Let's hope that she will take part in the next Earth Rumble!" While the fans continue to cheer, he hands over the prize money and the champions belt to Toph."

Korra lifts Toph's arm, lifting Toph a few foot of the ground. She signals that Toph is the champion.

Toph can't help but smile the entire time as she continues to be cheered. She might get used to fighting in the arena.

——————————————————————

Korra and Toph left the ring. They were on their way to leave the arena.

Toph is cheering all the time while she proudly wears the Champions Belt. The belt was a little too big, it covered almost the entire torso of Toph.

Toph fist bumped the air “Did you see how I kicked the Hippo out of the ring?! That was absolutely awesome!"

Korra laughs a little “Yes, Toph, I saw it. Just like the hundreds of cheering fans."

Toph just couldn't stop smiling after a day like this. "Thank you Korra."

Korra raised a brow "For what?"

“That was the greatest day of my life. And I owe it all to you."

"Nothing to thank for."

Toph stared dumbfounded "Nothing to thank?" She repeats. “Thanks to you I finally got out. Thanks to you I got rid of those annoying guards. Thanks to you I finally have comfortable clothes on. Thanks to you, I finally had something real to eat without anyone to cut it in bite sized pieces. Thanks to you I was finally able to prove myself as an Eartbender.” She listed of. "If anything, I owe you everything."

Korra smiles softly. "Nothing that cannot be fixed with a simple thank you."

Toph's eyes widen "Are you serious?"

"Of course."

Toph stares ahead as they still walk down the hall to the exit.

Toph smiled when she announced, “I've decided to travel with you guys. And during the trip I will teach you how to see without eyes."

Korra was happy about Toph's decision, but also a bit suspicious. "That's great, but we still have to ask your parents."

Korra and Toph took a few more steps until they noticed what Korra had just said. They both stopped abruptly.

“Damn” both say at the same time.

They both looked at each other. “We should have been back a long time ago!” Shouts Toph.

Korra remarks, "Then let's not waste any more time."

Korra grabs Toph so she can safely carry her on her back. "Hold on tight." Korra started running as fast as she could towards the Beifong Estate.

——————————————————————
In front of the Beifong Estate.

It was already in the evening when Korra and Toph arrived in front of the estate.

Korra just put Toph down.

Toph notes, "I have to say, you run really fast."

Korra gave a toothy grin "It's because a few years ago I pulled a rickshaw every day for four years."

“Impressive,” says Toph with a width smile.

"As a matter of fact. Very impressive.” Says a new voice, very sarcastically.

Korra and Toph gulped, they turned to the new voice and saw that six people were standing in front of them. Toph's parents, Asami and Azula, and the two guards they took off hours ago.

Toph's parents glared at them while Asami and Azula were more concerned than angry.

Asami and Azula went to Korra while Poppy ran to her daughter and took her in her arms. "Oh Toph are you okay? We were so worried."

"Yes mom, I'm fine. Nothing happened to us.” Toph says grumpily.

Lao got a shock when he saw his daughter "Toph, what are you wearing?"

Toph says, while her mother keeps hugging her, “New clothes. My old ones were too uncomfortable for me."

Lao narrowed his eyes "And where did you get the money for it?"

"We sold my old dress."

Poppy was now shocked, she held her daughter by the shoulders when she looked into her daughter's eyes. "You sold a silk dress for a cheap outfit?"

Korra defends Toph "I prefer that we got rid of her uncomfortable dress to get her an outfit that she feels more comfortable in."

Asami puts a hand on Korra’s shoulder and whispers in her ear "Hold back a little, we've been trying for hours to convince them that her daughter is okay."

Korra groaned, she whispered back "We were just having fun, nothing more."

Lao marches with the guards to Korra and stopped in front of her. “What do you have to say in your defense?” He asks angrily.

"That we had a great day." Joked Korra.

Lao was not laughing, he ordered his guards "Arrest her."

Korra crossed her arms as the guards slowly get closer. "I warn you, you don't want to do this, and I promise you that I will hurt you if you touch me."

The guards ignored Korra's threat and march to her. The guards were just at arm's length when they suddenly fell into a hole in the ground.

Everyone present had a dumbfounded expression, except for Toph and Korra, who has a knowing grin.

Lao yells “What have you done now?!” he narrowed his eyes on Korra “I promise you that you will spend the rest of your life in prison!”

"Dad stop!"

Lao turns to his daughter, who has freed herself from her mother's grip. "She doesn't bended the hole. I did."

Laos eyes widen "Why should you do this?"

Toph doesn't say a word.

Azula cleared her throat “How about we all calm down first? And let both explain why they are so late?"

Lao grumbled, but before he could say anything his wife said, “You're right June. How about we go back into the house and talk to each other there in peace?"

With the exception of Lao, everyone agreed to this. They all went into the house.

The guards who were still in the hole shouted afterwards "Hey what about us?!"

——————————————————————

They all gathered in the great room, except for the guards, they were send to the guards room, to recover. Toph's parents took their seats while everyone else stood. Lao send all the other guards from the hall outside so that they can all talk in peace.

Korra and Toph tell everything they did that day. How they bought Toph's new clothes. How they ate lunch. How they went to the Earthbender School and Toph knocked down two of the students. How they went to Earth Rumble. And how Toph was announced as the new champ.

Asami and Azula were more than just enthusiastic, they were jealous that the two of them had such a great day, while they themselves had to keep up a charade all day long.

Lao and Poppy, however, were not enthusiastic. Lao was more than just disappointed in his daughter, so he says, “It looks like I learned something today. And I've made a decision for you Toph."

Toph blinked a few times, eyes narrowing dangerously. "What do you mean you've made your decision about me?"

Lao says "I've clearly given you too much freedom." Toph's expression dropped.
"You’ll have a twenty-four hour guard from now on."

Azula stepped up, hands out. “Please, we know you're angry about their day and that Toph fights in an arena, but you can’t—” Azula had no chance to finish her sentence.

"Do you see fit to tell me what I can and can't do in my own home, June?" Leo asked coldly

"I would like to tell you something else." Azula mumbles under her breath.

Toph now says "Dad you can't do that."

"I fear that you does not understand that we have your best interests at heart. Who else will protect you in this treacherous time?" Lao says as if he was the wisest man alive.

Korra had enough with this nonsense, she stepped closer to the parents, she now stood in the middle of them "What are you protecting her from?!"

All eyes in the hall turn to her.

Korra doesn't let anyone interrupt her when she lists, “Protect her from never making real friends. Protect her so that she hides her true personality forever. Or do you protect her from isolating her until at some point she runs away from home?!"

Lao got up with a jerk "What are you allowing yourself?! I treat my daughter very well. She gets the best clothes from me. The best room. The best food. And as much free space as she needs."

Korra could no longer listen to his bullshit. She clench her fist while she pointed at Lao with the other hand. "Are you serious?! You're practically locking her up in your estate! You don't treat her like your daughter, you treat her like a slave! And I know a lots about slavery, I was once a slave myself!"

Everyone in the room was in shock. With the last sentence she left everyone speechless, even Lao.

Poppy hides her mouth, she was the first to whisper softly "You were once a slave?"

Instead of answering, she turns her back on them and lifted her shirt a little so that they can see some scars and the branding of the slaves.

Poppy was in shock when she saw the branded Fire Nations insignia. Her tears came slowly.

Even Lao was silent for a respectful minute.

Toph stepped closer to Asami and Azula, she whispers to them "What is Korra showing them?"

Azula sighs "She's just showing your parents the insignia that the Fire Nation branded on her back."

Toph now had a slightly sad expression, she never expected that her friend was a former slave. She's just ashamed that she complained about her own life while her friend was growing up as a slave.

After a few minutes of silence, Korra put down her shirt and says, more calmly than before, “I spent a whole day with Toph, she told me a lot about her life and the way you treat her is just pathetic. You are so afraid that something might happen to her that you have forgotten what she might experience. Besides, she's still a child, and children need their freedom. You isolate her from the world, and if you are not careful, she will like everyone else who is locked up try to break out at some point. Do you really want to lose your daughter that way?“

Lao and Poppy got almost no sound, it was Lao who remorsefully says "I only wants the best for my daughter."

Korra exhales “I understand that, but you can't protect her from everything. At some point she will get into a situation where she will be left on her own."

Lao and Poppy walked slowly to their daughter. They kneeled at Toph's height and tearfully took her in their arms.

Toph was puzzled, but returned the hug.

Poppy whispers "Oh honey, what have we done?"

Lao added “We're so sorry. We can't undo the way we treated you, but we can work on it."

Toph smiles from ear to ear.

After a few minutes of silence, the family broke their embrace. They wiped their tears away.

Poppy was the first to ask her daughter "Is there anything we could do to make you feel more comfortable in the near future?"

Toph already knows what she wants. She asks with a beaming expression "May I go on a world tour with my cousins and Korra?"

Lao sighed "I'm sorry, even if I want to give you more freedom from now on, that's still a big step."

Toph averts her gaze, not out of anger, but rather understanding. "It's because I'm blind, isn't it?"

“Partly yes,” replies her mother, with a heavy heart.

Lao mumbles "If the situation were different, we could talk about it."

Korra’s eyes widen, she thinks, 'Why didn’t I think about that earlier?' She rummages through her pocket. She takes out an ampoule. She turns to Toph's parents and says confidently. "There may be a way your daughter might see."

The family took this as a complete surprise. It was Poppy who said, "You know a way how she can see?"

Korra holds out the ampoule.

Lao stares at the ampoule skeptically “And that stuff should help my daughter to see?“

Korra admits, “I'm not sure if it will work. But it's still worth a try."

Lao was skeptical, but if there is a way his daughter could see properly, he definitely wants to try it. He and his wife stepped aside.

Korra was now standing in front of Toph, but before she starts, she asked "Toph, before I start, do you want to be able to see with your eyes?"

That came as a surprise, Toph never thought there was any way she might see. She wonders what it would be like to see her parents for the first time. She replies "If it is possible then yes. I would like to see."

Korra opens the ampoule and begins to bend the green ointment out of it.

Toph's parents' eyes widen. They turn to their nieces. Poppy asks "How is it possible for your bodyguard to bend two elements?"

Asami and Azula exchange a knowing smirk. Azula replies "you seem like a smart woman, figure it out."

Lao whispers "She is the Avatar."

Toph had a dumbstruck expression she repeats "You are the Avatar?"

Korra replies while concentrating on the ointment, “Yes, plus one from the Water Tribe. But that's not important right now. I have to concentrate now."

Toph and her parents had a few more questions, but were silent so Korra could do what it takes to enable Toph to see.

Korra began to make small circular movements. The ointment began to glow in a bright green light.

Korra bends the ointment to Toph's eyes. Korra says before she started healing her. "Open your eyes wide and don't blink." Toph does what Korra told her while Korra started treating Toph's eyes. Korra gently places her right hand on Toph's eyes.

When the ointment touched Toph's eyes, she felt a pleasant cold. She feels the ointment completely enveloping her eyes. The ointment began to glow brighter.

Everyone present held their breath in excitement. They are anxiously waiting to see whether the remedy works.

After what felt like an eternity, Korra took her hand from Toph's eyes.

Toph closed her eyes and started wiping the ointment off her face.

When Toph's parents approached their daughter, Korra took a few steps back to make room for them.

Lao and Poppy now stood tense in front of their daughter.

Poppy asks the question everyone wants to know, "Toph, did it work? Can you see us?"

Toph wiped off the rest of the ointment. She kept opening and closing her eyes.

At first she sees everything blurry. But after every blink, the picture in front of her becomes sharper. She blinks a few more times. By the last blink, she saw two unknown people for the first time. She hesitates slightly when she asks
"M-Mom... D-Dad... is that you?"

Her parents burst into tears. They hugged their daughter very tightly as if they were afraid it was just a beautiful dream. Her father replies "Yes, Toph, it's us." He says with tears in his eyes. His wife couldn't help but kiss her daughter on her forehead.

Tears came to Toph, that was the first time she had seen her parents with her own eyes. Until now she could always feel with her earthbending skills, however she never had a clear picture of what they look like.

Everyone else had tears in their eyes after that scene. How could they not? Even Azula had some tears.

Asami whispers to Azula so that no one can hear her, “Azula? Are you crying?"

"No I'm not!" Azula yelled and quickly turned away.

After they break the hug, Toph looks around the room. She has stars in her eyes. She had never imagined that it would be so nice to be able to see something. Tears of joy flowed. She looked at her cousins and walked over to them. She looked at them from head to toe. She gave a toothy smile "I have to say, your voices match your looks."

Azula raised a brow "I don't know if it was a compliment or an insult."

Asami smiles slightly. She shrugged and says “Who cares. I'm just glad it worked."

Toph smiles as she nodded "Yeah, and I only owe that to Korra." When she mentioned the name, she realized that she still had to thank someone. She turns to the last person in the room. That was when she saw Korra for the first time. She ran up to her quickly and tackled her to the ground.

Both fell to the ground with a thud. Toph hugged Korra, still lying on the floor, and kept repeating the words "Thank you!" While her tears flowed.

Korra in her position can only respond with a friendly laugh. She ruffled Toph's hair while she says "No problem kiddo."

Toph blushed and pressed closer to Korra. "I can't thank you enough."

Korra smiles softly "Nothing to thank for."

“I wouldn't say that,” says Toph's mother. Korra and Toph break the hug. Toph stood up while Korra straightened up into a sitting position.

Lao cleared his throat “We have to apologize to you Avatar. Thanks to you, our daughter can see. Something I've believed until now that would never happen. We owe you."

Korra held up the vial. There was only 1/3 of the ointment left. She stares at the ointment with a smile. “To be honest, you should thank my aunt. She gave me the ointment. And she was the one who told me that it might cure blindness.” She puts the ampoule back in her pocket. "It looks like she was right."

“In spite of this, you deserve a reward.” Lao says humbly. "Make a wish and I will make it possible."

Korra thought for a moment. She knew immediately what to ask Toph's parents. But before she does, she stares at Asami and Azula as if to ask for their permission.

Both girls knew what Korra was up to. Asami responds with a friendly smile while Azula shrugged. That brought a big smile on Korra’s face.

Now that she has the permission of her travel companions, she first turns to Toph, who have a pleading look, then to Lao and says "I would like to take your daughter with us on our journey."

Lao’s pupils shrinks, he didn't think she would ask him for something like that. He couldn't help but say, “I can't do this. She is my only daughter."

Asami intervenes, "Yes, she is your only daughter, and that's exactly why you should let her go with us."

Lao narrowed his eyes on Asami "Just because your father gives a shit for you doesn't mean that I do it too."

Asami got angry, but it was Poppy who said "Lao you're going too far."

Asami held up a hand to signal that she didn't need any help. "You're right, my father gives a damn about me, my sister and my mother."

Lao's eyes widen, he didn't want to offend his niece, he was just concerned about his daughter. “Listen, Asami, I'm sorry. I'm sure he's having the biggest problems you can imagine right now. After all, he has a company to run and his wife died."

"She died because he had her murdered!" Asami yelled.

That overran the Beifong family completely by surprise.

Asami sighs, it might be time to tell them the truth.

Asami started telling them the full story. That her father was a miserable slave driver. Why her father had her mother killed. How she built a rebel army. How they joined forces to free the Waterbenders and locked all Fire Nation soldiers, of the slave compound, in the cells. And how they are now all on their way to find a way that Korra learns airbending and then wants to bring Fire Lord Ozai to his knees. However, she didn't tell them that Azula is not June.

Toph looks at Korra. She had stars in her eyes as she exclaimed "I knew you were awesome, but I never thought how really awesome you could be!"

Korra shrugged "What can I say, I'm awesome." They fist bumped.

Poppy, on the other hand, was shocked to find out what kind of a pig her brother-in-law really was. But she was pleased to learn that he was sitting in a small cell.

Lao sighed, he wanted to find a new reason why his daughter couldn't travel, but before he could say anything his wife said “I think Toph should go with them.” Lao's eyes widen. He stares his wife straight in the eye. Before he has the chance to say anything, she says, “I think it's time she go to see the world. Her cousins are traveling with her and she is protected by the Avatar. They also want to travel to Ba Sing Se. I think it's time for your sisters Lin and Suying to meet their niece. What do you think?"

Lao didn't want to give up, but he had no choice. He locked his daughter up practically every day. And it's not like that he lose her forever. Besides, his sisters had long urged him to want to see their niece, but he never found the time. Lao lets out a long breath, he says with a heavy heart "I agree."

Toph beamed, she jumped into her parents arms and hugged them tightly. Her parents return the hug.

When the hug ends, Lao gets serious. “There are, however, some conditions. You will stay away from any fights as much as possible. You do exactly what your cousins Asami and June says. And if it is possible, we would be happy if you send us a letter from time to time."

Toph smiles, "With pleasure Dad."

Poppy clapped her hands "Now that everything has been settled, how about we finally have dinner?"

They all agreed and went to the dining room together.

——————————————————————

After a pleasant dinner, the girls were sent to the guest room. Lao and Poppy had offered that each could have a own room, but they refused.

Asami suggested they could have a slumber party. Whereupon all the girls, including Toph, agreed.

They spent the night together, telling stories, playing games, and eating.

Toph relate again how she beat the Hippo in the ring. Since Asami and Azula thought that Toph fought a animal, Korra drew a picture of Toph and the Hippo fighting each other in the ring.

Asami and Azula now understood what Toph meant. Toph, on the other hand, stares in fascination at the drawing of how sie fought the Hippo. Asami also liked Korra’s drawing, so Korra showed them her sketchbook. There were a lot of pictures that she drew in her past and during their journey. Azula already knows the pictures, so she watches the girls in front of her with a smile.

After a while everyone was spread out on the floor and slept soundly.

——————————————————————

The next morning Poppy packed some things for her daughter, afterwards everyone gathered at the breakfast table.

After they all had a quiet breakfast, they had a long goodbye with Toph's parents. Asami, Azula, Korra and Toph then got into the Satomobile. Even if Toph was still Blind, she would never have seen a vehicle like the one she got in.

Asami got into the drivers seat, Azula into the passenger seat, while Korra and Toph got into the backseats.

Toph's parents gave their daughter one last hug before they leaved.

When the Satomobile got faster, Toph was terrified at first, but after she got used to the speed she screamed "Whoooo! I love the Satomobile!"

Korra smiles "Yeah, I said the same."

After the group is a safe distance away from Gaoling, Azula says, "Please stop, I want to change my clothes."

Asami replies "No problem Azula." When she slowly comes to a standstill.

Azula got out of the car with a bag and disappeared behind a bush.

Toph raised a brow "Why do you call her Azula?"

Korra laughs. "Are you telling me that you didn't see through Azula?!"

Toph had no idea what Korra means "By what should I have seen through her?"

Asami with a knowing smile turns to Korra "It looks like Azula hadn't promised too much."

Korra smiled and nodded.

Toph really wants to know now. "What's going on here?"

Azula came out of the bushes and got back in the car, in her normal clothes and hairstyle. "It feels good to have my own clothes back on." Exclaimed Azula.

Azula notices everyone's staring at her. She asks "Have I missed something?"

Asami and Korra laughed while Toph had a dumbfound expression at Azula’s new look.

Asami had a width smile, she says to Azula “You were right.” Azula doesn't know what she means. Asami added "You are a good liar."

Azula now understood what Asami meant. She crossed her arms, raised her chin and says victorious "Have you ever doubted me?"

Asami rolls playfully her eyes. She started to drive on.

Toph still doesn't know what's going on.

Korra puts a supporting hand on Tophs shoulder. "We'll tell you everything on the way."

Korra’s word was enough for her. She blindly trusted Korra. She stared in the direction they are driving and can't wait to see what the future holds for her.

Chapter Text

Chapter 14: Vendetta

In the early evening, Azula, Asami, Korra and Toph went to a tavern.

They are on their way to a certain Fire Nations outpost near a port. But wanted to eat something in the tavern and stay for the night.

Toph was impressed with the tavern. A few days ago, her parents would never have allowed her to go into a tavern, but now she is here.

It has been four days since Toph joined the group. And in that time she got pretty close to the group. They let Toph know what their next steps will be.

Toph is fascinated by how her cousin Asami overthrew her father. She also thinks Asami is brilliant at how she can invent and build new things.

In Azula's case it was different. She found it exciting to find out where she's from, even if she's from the Fire Nation, and top of the line the daughter of the Fire Lord. Furthermore, it was an interesting experience to see that she can't catch everyone lying.

With Korra, however, it was a very different story. She was closer to Korra than to the other two girls. Korra was like a big sister to Toph. She respects her very much. The first moment she met Korra, she already knew that she would like her.

Since joining the three girls, her life has improved for the better.

She has a better relationship with her parents. She could join them on their journey. And most importantly, thanks to Korra she can see with her eyes.

Everything she sees in the world is pretty new to her and she likes almost everything she can see. She can't thank Korra enough for this.

Toph is teaching currently Korra how to only see with Earthbending, but Toph thinks that it will never be enough for what Korra did for her.

——————————————————————

The tavern was packed with the purest scum. With bandits, pirates and bounty hunters.

A couple of the guests were pretty drunk. They made a lot of noises by fighting with others. Others did arm wrestling. Or flirt with the waitresses.

The four girls sat down at a table. There was some sort of menu on the table, if you can even call it that.

Azula raised a brow at the prices. She doesn't think about paying for it herself. She whispers something in Korra’s ear, whereupon Korra smiles and nodded.

Azula had a devilish smile.

Azula climbed up on the table. Asami and Toph raised a brow.

Azula took a glass from the table, tossed it in the air and fired a Fire Ball at it, with which she destroyed the glass.

The guests in the tavern turn their gaze in Azula's direction. They stopped their activities abruptly when they heard Azula destroy the glass.

Azula clears her throat as she looks around the crowd. "To make it short. I challenge you all in an arm wrestling competition." she thought that talking too long is of no use to drunk people. So she told in a short version.

The guests at the tavern burst out laughing. They call out stuffs like

"Are you serious doll!"

"I would like to push you!"

"How about you visit me and my girlfriend for the night?!"

"While you're already up there, how about a dance?!"

Azula was already expecting such behavior, so she now uses the language everyone uses. She took out a gold piece and held it up in a clearly visible position. "Anyone of you who can defeat my slave in a arm wrestling match will get a gold piece from me!"

The outlaws wouldn't be told twice. They all smile deviously. They all gathered around the table.

While everyone was gathering around the table, Asami and Toph went to a larger table and sat there.

Toph asks Asami "Why did Azula call Korra her slave?"

Asami replies, “Don't worry, she doesn't mean it like that. Azula and Korra are pretty good friends. The slave camouflage only helps to move around so that we are not asked unwanted questions, by Fire Nation Soldiers."

"Oh, that's why Korra wears a collar all the time."

“You could say that. But in reality, I don't know why she's still wearing it."

Toph stood up. "If you would excuse me, I would like to see Korra, how she wins the money from the bandits."

Asami whispers to herself, "I really hope it's just a cover."

Asami got up and joined Toph by watching Korra.

——————————————————————

Korra is playing her seventh consecutive arm wrestling match, and she came out as winner every time. She denies the arm wrestling matches with different people. With women’s, with men’s, with bandits and pirates.

The outlaws at first thought it would be very easy to win the money from a little slave girl, so they bet huge sums on themselves or on the person who will fight Korra. But every time they lost their bets.

Some of them didn't want to accept their defeat and got violent. But after Asami beat up two of the bandits and Azula badly burned three of the pirates, people calmed down fearing that they might be harmed next.

After Korra defeated several more peoples in arm wrestling and won a mountain of gold pieces, the outlaws stopped and went back to their tables, ashamed.

Laughing, Toph shouts after them "Losers!"

The girls sat down at their table again. Azula started counting the gold pieces. She says, "The guys gave up faster than I thought."

Korra leans back in her seat. She smiles and says "They were just small fishes."

Toph laughs heartily while Asami just sat there and smiles.

Asami asks Azula “Why should Korra arm wrestle at all? We have enough money with us."

Azula shrugged “Did you see the prices? I wasn't going to go broke just because we wanted to eat and sleep here."

Asami accepts her answer. Azula waved a waitress to them.

After everyone ordered a dish, the waitress got them their food and drinks.

They were already halfway through their dishes when a gang of pirates loudly walked through the door and cheered like crazy.

They occupied the largest table in the tavern. They placed a large chest on the table.

The pirate captain shouted joyfully "Drinks on the house for everyone!"

The rest of the guests in the tavern cheer. That almost made up for their previous loss.

The four girls ignore the Pirates at first until one of them approaches Asami from behind.

"Hey sweety. How about if you give a rich man a special massage? ”Says a pirate with long black hair.

Asami ignores him and continued eating her meal.

The pirate is getting impatient, he grabbed her shoulder and says "I warn you babe, I always get what I want."

Asami was about to grab his hand roughly and break it until she notices someone touching her with his foot under the table. She looks in the direction of the foot and sees that it was Azula. Azula inconspicuously shakes her head. Asami doesn't know what Azula is up to, but knows that she has a plan.

Azula says to the pirate "I will give you exactly five seconds to take your hands off my sister before I make sure that all your bones are broken."

The pirate lets go of Asami. He glared in Azula's direction, "Oh yeah? And how do you want to do that? "

Azula smiles as she snaps her fingers.

As if Azula had given her an order, Korra got up and stood in front of the pirate. She is almost as big as the pirate.

The pirate was a little intimidated by the muscles the slave girl has in front of him. He didn't know how to proceed, luckily he didn't have to do it when his captain yelled "Oh! Get here immediately!"

Oh says full of false courage "You were lucky." He went back to his pirate gang.

Asami says when the pirate was gone, "I would have loved to break his arm."

Azula says “That's exactly what I wanted to prevent. We don't need more people to break their bones."

Toph says "It's a shame, I would have loved to see that."

"Me too." Korra said as she sat down again.

——————————————————————

After they each eaten the last bit of their dish, they sat around a bit in the tavern.

Toph has just finished telling them the story of how she learned earthbending from a Badgermole as a small child. Which was not easy for her to tell because the pirates from earlier are too loud.

They were about to get up and rent a room for the night until Azula heard something that made her curious.

"It's hard to believe that we got so much gold for the murder of a Firebender!" Said the pirate from earlier.

The captain replies, while having another drink, "You mustn't forget, it was a Firebender, of the royal family!"

When Azula heard this, she marched in anger in the direction of the pirates, but was held back by Korra. Korra whispers to Azula "What are you up to?"

Azula glared “Those stinking pirates may have murdered my brother. I want to get some answers out of them."

Asami who overheard it says "Hold back a little, I'll get your answers."

Toph raised a brow "What are you up to?"

Asami smiles, “I will use my charm.” She does not wait to argue and approached the pirates.

Toph says while she looks after Asami "I have no idea what she means, but I will just trust her." She turns to Azula and asks "I didn't know you had a brother."

Azula sighs “Yes, his name is Zuko. Two years ago our father, wanted to exile him to the best guarded prison on the world. I made sure he was sent to hunt for the Avatar instead. Since Korra is the Avatar, I knew he would never find the Avatar. However, that changed about a month or two ago. An airbender has popped up pretending to be the Avatar, but that doesn't matter. I just want to know why a gang of pirates decided to murder him."

Toph didn't know what to say, so she didn't say a word. She never had a brother or sister so she didn't know what it felt like to lose one.

In the meantime, Asami obtained some information by flirting with the pirates.

She went back to her group to tell them everything.

Asami says, “Here's what I found out. They definitely killed your brother. They made a lots of jokes about his scar on his face. Two days ago they received the order to murder your brother on his ship. They snuck on his ship yesterday and blew up the whole ship including your brother."

Azula got more than angry she got mad. She marches straight to the pirates.

Asami and Toph tried to stop her, but were stopped by Korra. She shakes her head, and Asami and Toph understood. They stayed in the background, but were ready to intervene in case Azula needed help.

——————————————————————

The pirates celebrated as if there was no tomorrow.

The captain was about to have his next drink until someone tapped him on the shoulder. He turned to the person and saw that it was a pretty girl.

He's smiling slyly when he says, "How's it going, babe? Are you interested in spending the night with a very, very rich man?"

Azula's answer was a punch in the face. Before the captain even understood what was happening, Azula grabbed his collar and threw him with full force against another table. The table broke under the heavy weight of the captain.

His Pirates were shocked, they were sitting stiff when their captain was attacked in front of their eyes.

The captain slowly rose from the broken table. The second he got up on his feet again, Azula kicked him with full force in the stomach, with which he flies through the door and ends up in the dirt outside.

His gang of pirates ran after their captain.

Two of the pirates helped their captain up.

When Azula and her friends came out, the pirates were raising their weapons.

The Captain narrowed his eyes “What's that supposed to mean?! Why are you attacking me?!"

Azula forced herself to calm down. She still needs some answers. "I have a few questions and you will answer them to me."

The pirate from before asks "What if we refuse?"

Azula looks up at the starry sky and says, as if she was talking about the weather, "Well it's a beautiful full moon night to die."

The captain and his gang are getting really mad. The captain yelled as he picked up his sword, "I won't answer a single question! Only over my cold lifeless body!"

Azula smiles sadistically "That's exactly what I plan to do."

Korra went over to Azula. They exchange a look and both nodded as if they had agreed on the next step.

Azula says “Even though I would love to beat you all to a pulp, I'm in a great hurry. So tell me what I want to know and I promise you that you won't have to suffer."

The pirates burst out laughing.

Asami turns to Asami and Toph, who are standing behind her. She tells them in a serious voice, "Stay back."

They both know that Azula is up to something and doesn't want anyone other than the pirates to get hurt.

Azula narrowed her eyes “This is your last chance. Throw away your weapons."

The captain pointed his sword in her direction and ordered "Seize them!"

Azula shakes her head slightly as the pirates slowly walk in their direction.

She only says one word "Korra."

Korra stepped in front of Azula. She raised her left hand towards the pirates. She made a claw hand, afterwards all pirates stopped abruptly and became stiff.

The pirates looked panicked when their bodies no longer obeyed them.

Korra forces everyone to their knees with a wave of the hand.

Asami's and Toph's eyes widen. Asami asks "What is Korra doing with the pirates?"

Azula responds with a single word, "Bloodbending."

Toph was speechless, if she didn't see it with her own eyes she wouldn't believe it.

Azula turns to Asami and Toph "Please do me a favor and go back to the tavern. I don't want you to see what I'm going to do now."

Asami has a hard time saying it, but she says it anyway, "I know what it's about, and I would probably react that way if they had killed my sister."

Toph confidently says "I'm tough, I can take the sight."

Azula sighs but nodded.

She stepped forward and stopped in front of the captain.

The captain's face is contorted with pain. He pleaded "Stop it!"

Azula says “Depends on your answers. If you can answer my questions, then I'll think about it."

His gang yelled in pain, "Then ask your damn questions!"

She doesn't wait for the captain's answer and says, "Who ordered you to kill my brother?"

The eyes of the Captain shrinks, he didn’t know that the banned prince had a sister. He yells "I don't know his name!"

Toph yells from her position, "He's lying!"

Azula thinks the same. She generates electricity at her fingertips and sends the lightning bolt in the direction of one of the pirates.

The lightning strikes the pirate. The pirate wriggles and lets out one last excruciating scream before falling lifeless to the ground.

The pirates pupils shrank at the sight of their fallen comrades.

Azula glared "I ask you again, who gave the order to kill my brother?"

The captain gulped "I-I don't know his name!"

Toph didn't want to say it because her stomach was slowly turning. "He's... lying..."

Azula killed the next pirate with a lightning bolt.

Azula looks in the direction of the rest of the pirates "Tell me scums, does one of you know who gave the order?"

The Pirates pleaded in choir “No! Only the captain knows the name!"

Toph says "They are telling the truth!"

Azula glared at the captain “I thought so. Tell me the name of the client."

The pirates shouted “Please, Captain! Just tell her his name!"

The captain admitted defeat he says "His name is Zhao, he’s a Admiral of the Fire Nation!"

Toph says "He's telling the truth."

Azula glared she muttered "This lousy rate, he will pay for it."

The captain says "You have your answers, let us go now!"

Azula nodded darkly "You're right, I have my answers."

The pirates were relieved for a second, until Azula generated electricity again. She sends the lightning bolt in the direction of all of the Pirates.

The remaining pirates' eyes shrink before the Electric charge hit them. They were under agonizing pain before they finally died.

Toph needed to close her eyes, out of fear, that it will haunt her in her nightmares.

Asami took Toph in her arms, she whispered “It's okay. Just let everything out. It is never easy to see something like that."

Toph collapsed in tears. "I'm sorry. I wanted to be brave."

Asami says softly "You wouldn't be human if you didn't mind at all."

Azula says to Korra "Loosen your grip."

Korra stopped the bloodbending and headed towards the tavern.

The captain fell to the ground. He relaxed his body slightly as he slowly started to get up. He says "So now you want to let me go after killing all my men’s?!"

"Who said that I Let You Go?"

Before the captain understood what she meant, Azula started punching him in the face. The captain fell to the ground again. Azula sat down on his chest and kept punching him in the face.

Azula stopped after a while. The captain started to spit blood. Azula grabbed his hair and lifted his head slightly so that the captain could look into her eyes. “You know, your men’s were very lucky. They died quickly. With you it’s differently, you will die slowly."

She gave him another punch with which she broke his nose. The captain is in terrible pain.

While Azula continues to beat the captain up, Korra came out of the tavern with a carpet and the chest that the pirates celebrated recently.

Azula gave the captain one final blow, knocking him unconscious.

She turns to her friends if she can still call them that. She notices Asami's shocked expression and Toph's bloodshot eyes.

Azula sighs "That's the reason why I wanted you to go back to the tavern." Azula looks sadly at the ground. "I can understand that you don't want anything to do with me anymore."

Korra stepped out and she was now standing in front of Azula. She took Azulas blood-smeared hands in her hand and with the other she bended the water from her flask and cleaned Azula's hands.

After Azula's hands have been freed of blood, Korra says "It needs to happen more, to get rid of me."

Before Azula could reply, she was held in a hug. Korra held her tight so she knew that she would never leave her alone.

Asami and Toph joined the hug. They hugged Azula too.

Asami says, “I understand the anger you must have had with the pirates. I got the same anger at my father when he had my mother killed and my sister ran away because of him."

Toph tearfully says "I will not judge you because I would probably have done the same."

Azula burst into tears. She has never had friends as good as the three who are hugging her right now. Azula returns the hug, crying.

After they break the hug, Toph asks "What is our next step?"

Azula made it up the moment she started attacking the pirates.

Azula turns to Asami "How long would it take to get to the port?"

Asami ponders "If we drove off now, we would get there at daybreak."

Azula smiles "Then let's drive through the night."

Asami shrugged "After such an action I won't be able to fall asleep anyway."

Azula smiles slightly.

Korra wrapped the unconscious captain in the carpet and threw him over her shoulder.

They all went to the car and got in, except for Korra. She stuffed the carpet and the chest into the trunk. Then she got in too.

When everyone was seated in the car, Asami started to drive in the direction of the port.

——————————————————————
The next day, in the early afternoon, in Admiral Zhao's office.

Zhao sat at his desk while Iroh sat on a chair in front of him.

They slowly came to an end, after talking about how best to seal the Northern Water Tribe.

In the end, Iroh asks the question he has been asking almost every day since his nephew was attacked by pirates. "Have the pirates who are responsible for Zuko's death been caught yet?"

Zhao tries to keep his smile under control. He replies, although he never gave the order, “It shouldn't be too long anymore. I told my soldiers to look for them everywhere."

Iroh pretended to believe Zhao even though he knows exactly what is going on.

Two guards with skull masks just came through the door. One of the guards says, “Sir the ships are all prepared. We're just waiting for your orders."

Zhao smiles devilishly, "Then let's not waste any more time," he says while slowly getting up and leaving his office. One of the guards follows him.

Iroh got up a little more slowly. He stopped shortly before he left the office and whispered to the other masked guard "You have one hour hour at maximum."

The guard nodded.

Iroh left the office and closed the door behind him. The guard is now alone in the office.

He immediately took off the mask. He turns out to be Zuko. He was able to jump into the water shortly before the explosion.

He searches the entire office to see if Admiral Zhao has any information on the Avatar.

Meanwhile, Admiral Zhao and Iroh walked down the hallways. They wanted to get to balcony of the tower, to give the order, that they will set the sails as soon as possible in the direction of the North Pole.

They were almost there, until they saw two people approaching them.

Iroh's eyes widen, he didn't think to see the two in front of him again so soon.

Zhao, unlike than Iroh, bowed as soon as he noticed the person in front of him. He says “Princess Azula, it's so nice to see you, but I don't know how I deserved the honor.

Azula narrowed her eyes at him.

——————————————————————
An hour earlier, outside the outpost.

The group drove all night to get to the outpost as quickly as possible. During the entire night, Asami had to be very careful, because every few times she caught herself almost dozing off while driving.

Asami holds her hand in front of her mouth while she yawns. She rubs her eyes and says "We have now arrived."

Azula and Korra got out of the car. Korra went to the trunk and took out the carpet and a traveler bag.

Toph sighed. “Alright. Let's get going." She said sleepy.

Toph and Asami were about to get out too, until Azula raised a hand.

Azula says "It would be better if you both stay here."

Toph asked grumpy "Why?"

Azula explains, “It is better that no one sees Asami so she doesn't have to answer questions about the slave compound or her father. And as for you Pipsqueak, I don't want to have to explain what an Earthbender girl is doing here."

Toph is still grumpy but accepted the answer.

Asami says, while yawning again, "That's fine with me."

Azula turns to Korra. "Are you ready?"

Korra nodded. She inhales, after exhaling she has a practiced blank expression.

Azula pointed to the tallest tower on the outpost. “Do you see this tower? The commanding officer is always located in such a tower."

Korra nodded. She was currently in slave mode.

Azula smiles gently, she hates the slave mode from Korra but was grateful that she has perfected it over the years.

Azula led the way while Korra slung the bag square over her shoulder and tossed the rug over her shoulder. She followed Azula.

Asami and Toph watching them, while they walk to the tower.

Toph asks concerned "Why did Korra have a blank expression?"

Asami sighs “Azula and Korra call it the slave mode. Korra always had this expression when she was surrounded by another person. To fool them all. The slave mode has protected her over the years, even if it was difficult for both of them."

Toph stares sadly to the side. "She must have had a hard life."

"You have no idea. Just because she was born as a Waterbender, she was enslaved and tortured daily since childhood days."

Tears begin to form in Toph's eyes. She smiled slightly "For everything that matters, I'm just glad that those times are behind her."

Asami nodded slightly “Yeah. Me too."

Toph tried in a weak attempt to change the topic. "So what should we do until they come back?"

Asami replies, “We could park the car somewhere safe and then sleep in it. I am really tired."

Toph beamed. "Agreed, I'm pretty tired too."

Asami starts the car and parks it behind some trees. Where she and Toph fall asleep immediately.

——————————————————————

Meanwhile, Azula and Korra headed for the tallest tower in the outpost.

The soldiers they meet on their way salute as soon as they see their princess walking past them.

Azula ignores each and every one of them and doesn't answer any questions they asked.

They just arrived at the main tower. They took a few steps until they saw three people in front of them.

One of them was an ordinary masked guard, the other was Azula's uncle Iroh and the last, the man she wanted to see, was Admiral Zhao.

She was surprised to see her uncle here, but she didn't care at all at the moment. She only wanted one thing and that was revenge.

——————————————————————
Present.

Azula fake smiles "I would like to talk to you in private" she narrowed her eyes on the guard "Without your guards."

The guard salutes, he was about to leave, when Azula orders him, “I want you to pack me a sack full of provisions. I expect it to be ready as soon as I leave this tower. So don't be late."

The guard almost pissed himself off when Azula gave him an order. He knows what happens if he refuses the order or does not do it properly.

The guard ran past Azula so fast that she could barely follow. She doesn't care if it's out of fear or loyalty, she has other problems.

Azula turns to Zhao and says, “Where is your office? I don't want any of your other guards to disturb us."

Zhao bows and leads Azula to his office.

——————————————————————
At the same time in Zhao's office.

Zuko is still looking for clues on how to catch the Avatar, but he couldn't find any.

He mutters to himself, "If I were a self-loving, dishonorable general, where would I hide important informations?"

His thoughts were interrupted by the footsteps he heard outside the door.

Hey gulped, he didn't have time to search anymore. He saw another door next to a bookcase. He didn't think twice, he grabbed his helmet from the table and went through the door. It leads into into Zhao's personal bathroom. He closed the door, but not completely. He left a crack open to see who was coming into the office.

Zhao, his uncle, and his sister with her slave came through the door.

Zuko's eyes widen as he sees his sister and Korra. He whispers "What is Azula doing here?"

Zhao moves the chair out in front of his table so that Azula can sit on it.

Azula ignores his gesture and walked past him to the comfortable armchair behind the table and sat down on the armchair while Korra stood on her right side.

Zhao grumbled but didn't say a word. He wanted to sit down on the chair that he offered Azula.

Azula held up a finger, causing Zhao to stop before he could sit down.

Azula says "Where are your manners?" She points to Iroh and says "Show some respect for the elders."

Zhao stepped away from the chair and said sullenly, "Oh, how about if you took a seat?"

Iroh sat down on the chair and had a friendly smile.

——————————————————————

From his position, Zuko notices that Korra is carrying a rolled up carpet. Besides that, he sees that Korra has gotten longer and more muscular. He was surprised to see her. He thought that as soon as he was sent to find the Avatar, Azula would be the first to kill Korra. He was pleased that it wasn't the case.

——————————————————————

Zhao says the very first thing that crossed his mind. "I have to say, princess, you've grown into a pretty young woman." He stares at her eagerly.

Korra still had a blank expression, but thinks, 'Gross! You are more than twice as old as Azula.‘

Iroh looked disgusted after hearing the nonsense from Zhao.

Azula ignores him and says "I'm not here to be advertised, you old pig." Zhao winces slightly. "I'm here to sort out a few things before I continue my journey."

Zhao bows and says "How can I serve you your highness?"

Azula is inspecting her fingernails when she says, “To cut a long story short. I'm here so that you can hand me the map for the Wan Shi Tong Library."

Zhao gulped of all the things that Princess Azula could ask for, of all things she had to ask for is the one thing that Zhao would never give away.

——————————————————————

From his hiding place, Zuko raised a brow, 'What does she want from a library?' He thinks to himself.

——————————————————————

Zhao tries to mislead her somehow by saying, "I'm sorry your highness, but I'm afraid the map is in the possession of Hiroshi Sato, who is currently in the slave compound.

In response, Zhao received a finger snap from Azula, prompting Korra to put half of the map on the table.

Zhao's eyes widen. He gulped as Azula glared in his direction. She says “I was there a few days ago. Sato gave me his half of the map and said you had the other."

Zhao doesn't know what to do.

Azula repeats, “I want the map. And now."

Zhao makes a pathetic attempt to apologize. "Oh, you meant this map. Yes, I have this map right here on the bookcase."

Zhao ran to the bookcase next to his bathroom as quickly as possible.

——————————————————————

Zuko walked a little further into the bathroom, fearing he'd get caught.

——————————————————————

Zhao rummages through his shelf and takes out the map. Without much more back talks, he places the map on the table.

Azula took both halves of the map and placed them side by side. Now she can see the the location and the exact position of the entrance to the Wan Shi Tong Library. She rolls up the two maps and handed them to Korra, who she immediately puts in her bag.

Azula said, "Now that that's settled, I would like to know why the soldiers out there are in hurry?"

Zhao proudly crossed his arms as he explained. “You see, I have planned our next big step. We will travel to the North Pole today and besiege the Northern Water Tribe. And according to our information, the Avatar is currently at the North Pole. We'll kill two birds with one stone."

Instead of Azula applauding him or patting him on the shoulder, as Zhao actually imagined, Azula laughs at him.

Zhao no longer understands the world. He asks "What's so funny?"

Azula pretends to wipe away a tear. She replies, “Your plan is doomed to fail. Only an idiot attacks Waterbenders in their area. They also currently have the Avatar on their side. Have you thought about it How did you plan to besiege the North Pole and grab the Avatar at the same time?"

Iroh had a slight smile when Azula gave the admiral her opinion.

Zhao straightens his collar. He clears his throat. "Well your Highness, there is another plan that you haven't heard of yet."

Azula leans back in her chair. “Then tell me your plan. And don't leave anything out."

Zhao takes a scroll out of his belt. He presents it on the table. Two fishes are depicted on the scroll. One white, the other black. The moon is shown under the white fish, the sea is shown under the black fish. A map is shown below the figures, that would lead them to the fishes.

Zhao started talking about how he stole the scroll from the Wan Shi Tong Library years ago. He explains that the fishes are the spirits of the sea and the moon.

He explains, “As soon as we have control of the moon spirit, the waterbenders can no longer bend. We would bring a whole tribe to their knees."

Iroh was shocked, he got up from his chair and said in fear, "Zhao, you must not mess with the spirits under any circumstances."

Zhao laughs maliciously. "Oh oh, I know what they say about you and the spirits. They say you can see them."

Before Iroh can further express his concerns, Azula interrupts him with a question. She asks innocently "Could I see the scroll?"

Zhao thought that there was no problem with it and handed her the scroll.

He proudly says “I will be a legend! The Fire Nation will for generations tell stories about the great Zhao who darkened the moon! They will call me Zhao the conqueror! Zhao the moon slayer! Zhao the invincible!"

——————————————————————

Zuko rolled his eyes from his hiding place.

——————————————————————

Azula takes a closer look at the scroll until, without warning, and to the horror of Zhao, she burns the scroll.

Zhao was about to grab the burning scroll, but was stopped by Korra.

The scroll crumbled into ashes. Azula wiped her hands with a cloth.

Iroh was relieved that the scroll was burned. He didn't know what he would do if Zhao carried out his insane plan.

Zhao screams in shock, "What's that supposed to mean?! That was the only scroll I had!"

Azula says as if it should be clear, “Because your plan is stupid. You want to destroy the moon. Ever thought that the Fire Nation needs the moon too? How else are we supposed to sail without problems at night?"

Zhao cries out, "Just because of such concerns you are destroying a centuries-old scroll?!"

Azula leans back relaxed in her armchair. With a smug grin she says, "I have more concerns, but that was the most important." Before Zhao could reply anything, she says, "By the way, the siege of the North Pole is hereby canceled."

Zhao thought he couldn't be more shocked. He yelled "You can't be serious!"

Azula raised her head, grinning crookedly. "Of course I am serious."

Azula looks at Korra and nods, whereupon Korra puts the bag she was carrying on the table. Then she went to the office door with the carpet and blocked the way out.

Zhao with a dumbfounded expression asks "What’s the meaning of that?"

Azula narrowed her eyes on Zhao "I heard an interesting rumor." At Zhao's questioning look, Azula continued "I heard that a gang of pirates murdered my brother."

——————————————————————

Zuko's curiosity was piqued. He opens the door a little wider to see what Azula is up to.

——————————————————————

Zhao's eyes widen slightly. He clears his throat “Well, princess, that's a tragic story, but unfortunately it's true. I can assure you that I ordered my soldiers to find the pirates and hunt them down."

Azula raised a brow “Are you sure, that that's all you have to tell me?"

Zhao triumphally replies, “Yes. Pretty much."

Iroh knows that Zhao is lying, but he stays calm to see what his niece is up to.

Azula says sharply "That was your last chance to be honest."

Zhao doesn't really understand.

Azula snaps her fingers, whereupon Korra unrolls the carpet she was carrying very hard, whereupon a person fell a little too hard on the floor.

Zhao's, Iroh's, and Zuko's eyes widen. The man who fell off the carpet is the captain of the pirates, that were hired to assassinate Zuko.

Korra grabbed the hair of the slightly fogged captain and straightened him into a sitting position. The first thing they noticed was that the captain's face is smeared with blood and bruises.

Azula says in the room, "I see you recognize this man again." Azula now asks the captain "Is that the man who ordered you to kill my brother?"

The captain hardly got a word out, so he nodded.

Zhao in a weak approach "I've never seen this man in my life."

Azula shook her head "Your lies may have worked on my father or even my brother, but not on me."

Azula took out the chest that was in the bag and placed it on the table so that it was clearly visible. She opens the chest.

Zhao's pupils are shrinking, that's the chest he gave to the pirates. The worst thing is, the chest still has his seal, with which he can tell that it comes from him. In retrospect, he should have given the pirates the gold pieces in a bag.

Azula now took a stamp that happened to be on the table. She says, “If I didn't know better, I would say that the chest bears your seal.” As if to check it, she stamps the table, creating the same seal as in the chest.

Azula got up from the chair and walked behind the captain. With her right foot she pushes the captain to the ground. She asks him, while she looks in Zhao's direction, "How's it going, Captain? Is there anything else to confess?"

The captain got a barely audible "no" out.

Azula walked away from the captain and nodded in Korra’s direction. Korra grabbed the captain's head with one hand and lifted him harshly onto his legs.

Azula and Korra took a few steps away from the captain.

Azula crossed her arms behind her back. She says to the captain "Now that you have given me all the information I wanted, I think you deserved a reward."

The captain stares in greedily, which is difficult to see through all the blood and swelling on his face. He looks at the chest on the table and asks greedy, but still barely audible "Does that mean I can keep the gold?"

Azula gave a sadistic smile. She shakes her head slightly. "No. Your reward will be that you can see all your pirates friends again."

It took the captain a microsecond to understand what Azula was talking about. But before he could take a step to the door, he was hit by an electric strike. 1000 volts shot through his body. He fidgets pretty hard until he finally falls lifeless to the ground.

——————————————————————

Zuko's pupils shrinks as he watched his sister's attack. He's never seen anyone die in front of him in his life. If he wasn't distracted by the fact that the captain wanted him dead, he'd probably vomit at the sight.

——————————————————————

Korra unemotionally covers the captain's smoking corpse with the carpet.

Azula now turns to Zhao, who is almost peeing in his pants. Azula asks, “Now that the last person involved in my brother's murder is dead, there is only one question left. What should I do with the client?"

——————————————————————

Zuko raised a brow, he whispered „Azula killed all Pirates that were involved by my attempt assassination?“

——————————————————————

Zhao tries to make as much space between him and the princess as possible. He tries somehow to save himself from it. "You should actually be happy about it."

Azula narrowed her eyes "And why should I be?"

Zhao thought he was hooked when he said, “Well, you don't have any more competitors to steal the throne from you as the next Fire Lord. The throne belongs to you after your fathers passing."

——————————————————————

Zuko thinks, 'With that you have her, you disgraceful dog. She would do anything to become the next Fire Lord.‘

——————————————————————

Azula glared dangerous at Zhao "Do you seriously think that the position as Fire Lord means anything to me?!"

——————————————————————

This took Zuko by surprise.

——————————————————————

Zhao almost rolls over when he tries to find an answer. “Now why should it mean nothing to you? I mean think about it. You would then be like your father. You would be worshiped by the whole nation. You would be respected by our enemies. You could choose your own husband. Nobody would have more honor than you.” He mentally nodded when he told her the answers.

Azula started laughing darkly. "I will now give you my opinion on what would happen if I was named Fire Lord." She turns to Korra and circled her as she lists "I will be feared by the nation. Our enemies will hate me and will seek for ways to take my life. And if I am announced as Fire Lord, I would automatically be the most dishonorable person in the entire world.“

——————————————————————

Zuko was amazed, he didn't know that his sister thought so little of the position as Fire Lord.

——————————————————————

Zhaos is now soaked in sweat.

Iroh watches the scene with fascination. He held back all the time, wanting to know what his niece is up to.

Azula was now slowly walking in Zhao's direction. She stopped a step in front of him. "I'm going to tell you a secret now, one that I wanted to take with me to the grave." Says Azula dangerously calm. “Two years ago I suggested to you and my father that Zuko should be sent to find the Avatar, something I know that would never happen. But what I didn't tell you at the time was that it should be done to protect Zuko's life. To protect him from you and my father. In retrospect, I should have taken his safety in my own hands back then by killing you."

——————————————————————

Zuko's eyes widen. He took a few steps back into the bathroom, where he almost slipped. He whispers to himself "Azula tried to save my life?"

——————————————————————

Zhao took a step back in shock. “You can't do that. I just followed orders. I am a loyal admiral of the Fire Nation!"

Azula shook her head "If you were loyal, you would never have ordered the murder of my brother, who was the prince of the Fire Nation." At that moment, a thought occurred to her, where she is not sure whether it is true. "Or mine."

Iroh was shocked to learn something like that.

Zhao frantically waved his hands "I never did that!"

"Oh yes? What was six years ago? You wanted to have me murdered at the hand of my old servant."

Zhao cried out without thinking, "That was your father's order, I just passed it on!"

Azula smiles slyly "Thank you for admitting it." Zhao raised a brow "I had no idea who had passed the order on until now." She narrowed her eyes on Zhao. "I knew that my father wanted to end my life back then, I just didn't know who the coward was who couldn't do the job himself."

Zhao gulped, He tries a final approach “You must know your Highness. Your brother has acted against the wishes of the Fire Nation quite often. I recently had the Avatar under my control, but your brother made sure that he escaped."

Azula and Korra exchange a look. They both had width knowing smiles. Azula thinks, 'Why keep this a secret any longer?‘

Azula turns her back to Zhao. She headed in Korra's direction and stopped next to her. As she turned to Zhao, she says, "I can assure you that my brother did not free the Avatar."

Zhao angrily replies, "Of course he has! I was there myself!"

Azula smiles as she shakes her head. "He didn't free the Avatar because the Airbender Boy is not the Avatar."

Zhao's and Zuko's eyes widen.

Zhao replies, “Of course he's the Avatar. He's the last Airbender!"

Azula raised her head up "I can't explain it to myself, but the Airbender is definitely not the Avatar."

Zhao asks annoyed "How do you know?!"

Azula says without much context "Because I've been friends with the Avatar for many years."

Zhao's and Zuko's eyes widen.

Zhao yells "What ?! If that's true, why didn't you tell your father?! We could have won the war with the Avatar long time ago!"

Azula crossed her arms “That's the whole point. I don't want the Fire Nation to win the war. I have joined the Avatar so that we can finally bring the war to an end."

——————————————————————

Zuko can't believe his ears. His sister, who has harassed him since childhood, arranged for him to be sent on a search for someone whose identity Azula has protected for years. Presumably to protect him and the Avatar.

——————————————————————

Zhao is now more angry than afraid. “You traitor! How dare you betray both the Fire Nation and your father Fire Lord Ozai?!"

Azula got serious. “To be honest, it was very easy.” Azula counts on “He tried to murder both me and my slave. He wanted to ban Zuko to the Boiling Rock. Through his commands he made orphans, including my friends Mako and Bolin. He enslaved and tortured the Waterbenders. He is to blame for the suffering and destruction that have befallen the world. And thanks to him, my mother had to flee the country so that she could protect me and Zuko."

——————————————————————

Zuko thought he couldn't get more shocked than he already is. All these years he thought that his mother had died, and now he hears that she has fled. She fled so she could protect her two children. The tears slowly came to him. He wanted to storm into the room, but he couldn't do it. Out of shock, he cannot go through the door.

——————————————————————

Zhao has had enough "And what do you want to do now?! As far as I understand, your brother never really liked you!"

Azula looks slightly sad at the ground. "It is true. I and Zuko never had the best relationship.” She narrowed now her eyes on Zhao“ Nevertheless, he is and remains my brother. And you took him away from me."

Zhao is mentally preparing for a fight. He's sure that Azula wants to kill him here and now. Kind of like how she killed the captain.

Azula was about to announce her judgment when she heard a loud ”SKREEEEEE!” Behind her, she looks in the direction of the noise and was distracted for a second. Zhao thought it was his chance. He pulling one arm back and releasing a powerful shot at Azula.

Azula was distracted, but that doesn't mean that Korra was it too. She jumped between the approaching Fire Shot.

She negated the shot with a powerful kick.

Korra secretly used firebending to negate Zhaos shot, but from the outside it looks like, it did seem that she negate the shot with just her raw strength.

A bare fist collided with Zhaos face, sending him flying backwards, smacking him agains the office door, he fell afterwards with a thud to the floor.

Zhao was holding his bleeding nose. He positions himself in a sitting position.
Zhao was now staring shocked at Korra, unable to figure out how she diverted his attack. "How did you ...?"

Azula now stepped in front of Korra. She glared at Zhao “You know I was going to fight you in an Agni Kai fight. If you had won, I would let you live, if you had lost, I would have executed you. But I see now that with a coward like you, it would just be a waste of time.

Zhao gulped, he's scared to ask the next question. "What is that supposed to mean?"

Azula narrowed her eyes "That means that you will die as you lived, dishonorable!"

Azula focused her energy to produce lightning and shoot it at the former Admiral.

Zhao last words were "PLEASE NOT!" Before he was hit by the deathly lightning strike. He slumped lifeless to the floor.

"Tsk, even his dead was dishonorable," said Azula.

——————————————————————

Zuko couldn't believe his eyes. As she now believes, his sister has avenged his dead. He doesn't know whether to be proud or disgusted. On the one hand, the man who made his life a living hell died. On the other hand, his sister killed two men’s in cold blood in front of his eyes and a whole gang of pirates on top of that.

——————————————————————

She stares at the charred corpse of the admiral a little longer when she was disturbed by a new loud "SKREEEEE!" She turned to the noise, and saw that it was a Hawk that flew in through the window. The hawk appears to be carrying a message.

Korra walked over to the hawk and held out one arm gently. The hawk seemed to consider the gesture inviting and jumped onto her arm. Korra lightly caresses the hawk's plumage, which seems to please him.

Azula smiles at the sight, but is much more interested in the message. She walked over to Korra and carefully removed the note from the Hawk.

Korra looks blank in Azula's direction.

Azula says as she rolls out the message, "Korra, you don't have to pretend anymore. You can now behave normally again for the time being."

As if a button was pushed, Korra’s blank facial expression changes to a friendly expression. "That's better," says Korra. She plays with the hawk a little longer until she asks Azula "What's in the letter?"

——————————————————————

Zuko is speechless again, he thinks, 'Korra’s unemotional manner was just an act? How many more surprises await me?‘

——————————————————————

Azula notices that there are three pieces of paper, so she started to look at the papers more closely. “Two of them seems to be blueprint.s“ she recognized one of them, that was the idea she had told in the war room two years ago. It were blueprints for a giant drill. She immediately burned the blueprints, she didn’t want to deal with it, when they finally arrived in Ba Sing Se. By the other blueprint „I think I'll show it to Asami later.” She puts the blueprint in her belt. Now she's focused on the letter. "The message says. Admiral Zhao with these blueprints we will rule the world. Send it to the Fire Lord immediately so that he can approve the projects and we can go into mass productions. Sincerely, General Chang."

Korra shakes her head "What a bullshit," she says. And keeps focusing on the Hawk, who seems to like Korra quite a bit.

When Azula read this message, she immediately had a brilliant idea, but she can only discuss it when she gets to Asami. Now she has another important concern.

She turns to her uncle, who sat quietly the whole time. "Uncle, I have a favor to ask of you."

Iroh nodded and asks "What can I do for you?"

Azula sighs, she doesn't know how her uncle will react. "I want you to desert."

Iroh and Zuko's eyes widened. Iroh asks “Why should I do this?” He asks more out of curiosity than out of shock.

Azula went to the table. “I plan with the help of the Avatar to take on the Fire Nation. And I don't want to lose another family member."

Iroh was surprised to hear that from his niece. He is even more surprised by the fact that she avenged her brother even though she does not know that he is still alive.

After a moment, Iroh says with a friendly smile, “As you wish, Azula. I don't want to stand in your way or the Avatars."

Azula smiled. She closed the chest on the table. She hands the chest to her uncle and says "You will certainly need money for your new life."

Iroh accepted the chest with a bow.

Azula says, turning to Korra, "I would have two more requests before you leave the Fire Nation, though.“ Iroh nodded as if to say I'm all ears. Azula took a piece of paper out of a drawer and a pen. "I would like to ask you to write the message that the blueprints are rejected. Think of some excuse and then send it off with the admiral's seal. You should also tell the soldiers out there that the siege of the North Pole has been canceled."

Iroh says kindly “Of course, that's not a problem for me. And what is your second request."

Azula nodded to Korra, who then puts the hawk on the table and takes a scroll out of the bag. She handed the scroll to Azula.

Azula says sadly, while she is still holding the scroll, “I actually had planned to hand this over to Zuko. But since it is no longer possible ..." she holds out the scroll "I want you to bring this scroll to the place where Zuko was murdered and then burn it. Perhaps it is possible for him to read this message in the afterlife."

Iroh took the scroll "What's in there."

Azula sadly shakes her head. "I don't know. Almost a month ago the former Fire Sage Shyu handed me two scrolls after I and Korra got him out of prison. One was for me, the other for Zuko, both came from our mother.

——————————————————————

When Zuko heard this he collapsed on the bathroom floor. He couldn't believe everything that had happened before him. First, that Azula came all the way to kill both the pirate captain and Admiral Zhao in revenge for him. Then the realization that she saved his life years ago by sending him on a search for the Avatar, who she has been friends with for years. That Korra’s unemotional expression has been just a charade all these years. How she wants to stand against the Fire Nation. And now how she handed over a letter to her uncle that came from his mother.

Zuko would like to go to his sister and ask her again personally, but he doesn't know how to do it. He's also not sure if he should be mad at her or happy. So he stayed hidden in the bathroom until his sister decides to leave the office.

——————————————————————

Korra puts a hand on Azula's shoulder and asks sympathetically "Do you need a minute?"

Azula touches Korra's hand with her own. She breathes in and out "I'm ready."

The two girls were just about to leave the office when Iroh said "Wait." They turned to Iroh. Iroh takes another scroll out of his sleeve. He handed it to his niece, he explains cryptically "Since you are on a journey with the Avatar, I am sure that this technique will bring you a lot."

Azula nodded and tucked the scroll into her belt. Azula smiles slightly as she looked at Korra for a second. "I promise I will share the scroll with the Avatar."

Azula and Korra bowed a final time to Iroh and then left the office.

After Iroh was sure that his niece and Korra were out of earshot, he said in the room, "All right, Zuko, they're gone."

A few seconds passed before Zuko, with bloodshot eyes, opened the bathroom door and stepped into the office.

Zuko was devastated, he didn’t even feel that bad, when he survived the explosion.

He hesitantly asks "Do you think she told the truth about my mother?"

Iroh smiled and handed the scroll to his nephew. He replies, “There's only one way to find out.“

With a heavy heart, Zuko opens the scroll.

“My dearest Zuko, if you read this it means that we will probably never see each other again. I'm sorry I couldn't personally say goodbye to you and your sister. It was very difficult for me to leave you, but I had to in order to save both of your lives. Your father intended to have you both killed on different nights. I was able to get him out of this madness by killing your grandfather. I beg you to keep your distance from your father. Don't follow in his footsteps. He is a monster who would even kill his own children. You and your sister, however, are not monsters. You are children who grew up in a war-torn world. Where mostly your father and grandfather are responsible for it. I don't know if we will meet again one day, but I do know that even without your mother you will grow up to be a honorable man. Whatever you choose in your life, I will always love you, my little Turtleduck.

PS. Take care of your sister.

In love

Your mother Ursa"

Tears drip down on the scroll. Zuko whispers “It's my mother's handwriting. The letter is without doubts from her.” Zuko rubs his temple as he says, “Azula was telling the truth.”

Iroh puts a supportive hand on his shoulder. He asks "What are you going to do now?"

Zuko sighs. “I don't know. I've been looking for the Avatar for almost three years, and now suddenly something like that happens. And now I don’t know anymore what to believe."

Iroh waits a few seconds until he suggests “We should both desert.” At the questioning look from Zuko, he adds “The Fire Nation thinks you're dead, and it stopped meaning anything for me a long time ago. I think I will leave it behind me. Are you coming with me?"

Zuko sighs. He don’t have another way, “I have nothing more to lose. Where will we go from here? "

"I was thinking of Ba Sing Se."

“Why should we go to the Earth Kingdom?” Asks Zuko skeptically.

Iroh shrugged “Many refugees are fleeing there. I am sure that two more will not attract attention."

Zuko sighs. He scratched his hair "Well I have no better idea."

Iroh sat on the chair, he grabbed a pen and paper and said, "Then after I've done the favors for Azula, we can go immediately." He began to write the letter Azula asked him for. When he finished writing it, he sent it away with the hawk.

——————————————————————
Meanwhile.

Azula and Korra got out of the tower as quickly as possible.

They went all the way back they came from.

They got to the main gate from where they came in the port. The exhausted soldier from earlier is already waiting. On the ground next to him were four sacks full of provisions full to the brim.

The soldier salutes while presenting the sacks. Azula nodded in his direction. She snaps her fingers, whereupon Korra, with a blank expression, carries the four sacks on her shoulders without any problems.

Azula can't see the soldier's face, but she's pretty sure his eyes go wide. She says to him without looking at him ”Dismisse.” She doesn't wait for him to give her an answer and walked past him. Korra follows her.

——————————————————————

Azula and Korra were looking for the Satomobile.

Korra thought it was the perfect time to try the technique that Toph taught her. She stomps on the floor and feels the vibration of the surroundings. Korra feels that the Satomobile is nearby. She walks ahead and after a few minutes they found the Satomobile, behind some trees and bushes. With a sleeping Asami and Toph in the seats.

Azula and Korra exchange a look until they burst into laughter.

They both thought it would be better to let them sleep as they still have a long way to drive.

Azula and Korra use the time to look at the scroll from Iroh. Their eyes widen. The techniques looked like a combination between waterbending and firebending. But what surprised them the most is that it's a technique that allows them to redirect lightning.

They stare into each other's eyes, they smile as they know their next step. They will learn this technique before Korra takes on the Fire Lord.

——————————————————————

Asami and Toph woke up some time later. They rubbed their eyes and saw Azula and Korra go through strange stances.

Toph asked "Am I dreaming or is Azula trying to practice waterbending forms?"

Azula and Korra heard Toph and turned to her and Asami.

Korra says with a smile, "We are currently practicing a technique to redirect lightning."

Asami raised a brow "Where did you get such a technique from?"

Azula answers "From my uncle." Since Asami is awake now, Azula can ask her. She took the blueprints from her belt and handed them to Asami. “I intercepted these blueprints before anyone else could see it. Can you tell me what these blueprints are for?"

Asami looked at the construction plans with interest. She was excited about it. She says excitedly “These are the plans for an airship. With that we could easily fly through the air. If I made a few changes here and there, it could fly even faster. The Fire Nation is probably planning to build these airships in series in order to take over Ba Sing Se."

Azula mumbled “That's exactly what I feared. I hope Uncle Iroh manages to dissuade them."

"As soon as we have the time, I'll start building one for ourselves," says Asami. She safely packs away the blueprints. "Speaking of where are we going now?"

Azula pulls out the two halves of the map. “The next stop will be the Wan Shi Tong Library. We now have the complete map and Korra urgently needs to learn airbending."

Asami nodded „Because I agree with you. How about you and Korra sleeps in the back seats while I drive?"

Before Azula could refuse, Korra said with a yawn, “This is a great idea. I am really tired."

Azula blushed, she forgot that they all drove through the night because of her revenge. Instead of refusing, she got into the back seat and fell asleep while Toph takes her place in the passenger seat. Korra stows the four food sacks before she sits down in the other back seat and sleeps.

Asami began to drive off.

After a while, Toph looks back at the two sleeping girls and almost fell out of the moving car with laughter. She kept her laughter in check so she wouldn't wake them up.

Asami notices Toph's suppressed laughters and asks “What's going on? Has anything strange happened?"

Toph pointed, while still giggling, in the direction of the other two and says "Look at the two."

Asami looks in the rearview mirror to see what Toph meant. When she saw them she started to giggle too.

Azula and Korra held each other tightly in their arms while they slept. Korra’s head was resting slightly on Azula's head.

Asami continues to giggle, but concentrates on the street again.

Toph says excitedly "I'll tell the two lovebirds to take a room."

Toph took a deep breath, she was just about to start, but before she could say anything, Asami put a hand over Toph's mouth. Asami says, “Let them sleep in peace. Like us, they were up all night."

Asami took her hand away. Toph grumbled. Asami rolls her eyes. She says with a friendly smile, "You can annoy them later when they woke up."

Toph beamed, she can't wait for them to wake up.

Asami smiles. She says, as she starts to drive faster, "Next stop Wan Shi Tong Library."

——————————————————————
Meanwhile at a lake.

Iroh has just done Azula's favors and all soldiers who were called up have been sent back to where they originally came from.

When leaving the tower, Zuko put his helmet with the mask back on. After leaving the tower, Iroh and Zuko set fire to the tower so that no one would find the former admiral's body.

They grabbed an Ostrich Horse and left the outpost.

They knelt in front of the lake. Zuko takes out his knife and cuts off his topknot, then Iroh did the same.

They only watched afterwards how their topknots swim away.

They mounted the Ostrich Horse and headed in the direction of Ba Sing Se.

Chapter Text

Chapter 15: Wan Shi Tong Library

The group of four girls had been driving for two weeks to get to the Wan Shi Tong Library. Every now and then they stopped at cities, villages, or just in the forests to rest.

The group just arrived at a place called Misty Palms Oasis.

There were a lot of thieves and scoundrels in the place. Most of them are either interested in stolen goods or just quick money.

Before the group of four went to a kind of rest stop, they had to hide the Satomobile well so that it wouldn't be stolen.

As they walked through the door to the rest stop, all the guests stared at them immediately.

Some stare at them out of greed, while others are interested in other things.

One of the burly guests, probably a bandit, went straight to Asami, he says half drunken “Hey babe. Do you want to get to know a real man?"

Asami replies as she and her friends walk past him, "Sure, if you know a real man, send him to me."

The bandit didn't put up with it and grabbed Asami by the shoulder from behind.

Asami grabbed his arm and threw him over her shoulder to the ground, before twisting his arm.

The bandit screamed like crazy when Asami broke his arm.

The other guests who watched the spectacle were either disinterested, fascinated, scared or gleeful.

The five friends of the bandit, who saw the whole scene, didn't like the spectacle. They all picked up their swords and were ready to attack the four girls. But before they could approach, Korra and Toph stomped on the floor, all five bandits received a stone pillar in the stomach, with all bandits being shot in the air. Two of the bandits slammed into the ceiling. One of them crashes through a table. And the last two, one of them crashed through a window and the other through the door.

At the shocked expressions on the faces of the other guests, Toph asks, while introducing herself and her friends, "Does anyone else want to mess with us?!"

The guests looked away in fear.

The four girls stepped over the bandit, who was still mourning over his broken arm, and went to the now empty table from the bandits.

Asami, Korra and Toph sat down at the table, while Azula went to the bar and ordered for each of them a melon cocktail.

As the four girls enjoys their cocktails, Asami discusses the concerns she has had since heading for the desert. “We have to find a way to drive through the desert. It won't work with the Satomobile as the tires will get stuck in the sand. In the worst case, it will even sink into the sand."

Azula rubs her chin while she thinks. "That's a problem. How do people usually travel through the desert?"

“It's simple, we're sailing,” says a voice from behind the group. They all turned to the new voice and saw a bunch of strangely wrapped men and women approaching their table. The one who talked was probably their age. The teen sat on a chair between Azula and Korra at their table while his people circled the table.

Azula asks in an annoyed tone "And who are you?"

The teen says in a mock bow “Allow me to introduce myself? My name is Ghashiun, I’m the leader of the sandbenders."

Azula groaned "Is that supposed to impress anyone?"

Ghashiun started laughing as he took Korra's melon cocktail and drinks it himself. Korra stood up angrily. The sandbenders around her became tense. The situation would certainly have escalated had Azula not raised a hand, whereupon Korra sat down again.

Ghashiun eyed Korra a little more precisely "I have to say, you have your slave under control." He says while he continues to drink his stolen cocktail. His gesture only makes Korra angrier.

Ghashiun puts the cocktail down and says, very relaxed, “Well, I've heard about your dilemma about traveling through the desert. I thought I could provide you with my services?"

Azula replies sarcastically, "Oh you want to help a group of four girls in need, how chivalrous of you."

Ghashiun laughs easily. "Of course it has its price, like everything in this world."

Asami speaks up. “That was clear. How much?"

Ghashiun leans back and continued drinking the cocktail. He says "Well how about a barter deal?"

Azula raised a brow "What do you want from us?"

Ghashiun smiles slyly. He points with his thumb to Korra "Not much, just your slave."

All the girls at the table got angry. It was Toph who shouted "Put your offer somewhere else!"

Asami adds "Not interested."

Korra doesn't say a word, but is ready to hit a certain Sandbender.

Azula shook her head "What my companions want to say is that we would like to know why you want our slave?"

Ghashiun shrugged “Isn't it obvious? I need a hard working woman who is not afraid to work unpaid. And your slave doesn't exactly look like she's shying away from hard work. Apart from that, she is quite an eye-catcher."

Toph replies with a disgusted look on her face, "I hate everything you are saying right now."

“No one asked you.” Says Ghashiun, he turns back to Azula “What do you think of the suggestion? A slave for a safe crossing of the desert is really a small price to pay for it, don't you think?"

Azula says two words "Not interested."

Ghashiun raised a brow “Seriously? She's just a slave, she can't possibly mean so much to you?"

'She means more to me than you will ever think,' thinks Azula.

Azula shakes her head. “You don't get her, end of story. If you manage to transport us through the desert you will get money."

Ghashiun slowly got up. "I will not agree to that."

Before he could say or do anything, Asami asks "How would you even get us through the desert?"

He points with a thumb outside "It's very simple, we use sand-sailers, so we can easily get from one place to another in the desert with sandbending."

Asami had a mischievous grin. She whispered something in Korra’s ear. Korra smiled and nodded. Afterwards Asami whispered the same in Tophs ear, who had now a devilish smile. Toph nodded and whispered it in Azulas ear. Azula nooded too with a slyly smile.

Ghashiun raised a brow, he asks "What is there to whisper?"

Azula says "How about a game?"

That aroused the interest from Ghashiun "What kind of game?"

Azula says “One of your men against Korra in an arm wrestling match. If we win we get one of your sand-sailers, if you win you get Korra."

Ghashiun thinks it will be an easy win. "Put another 50 pieces of silver on top and we have a deal."

Azula holds out one hand and says, „Only if you'll put another melon cocktail on top for Korra if she wins."

Ghashiun shakes her hand "Deal."

Everyone but Korra left the table.

Toph asks confidently "Which of you grains of sand wants to take on the challenge?"

"I'll take that challenge!" A muscled-bound sandbender proclaimed, pushing through the rest of the sandbenders. He was the prime example of every muscle bound meathead Azula could picture. Muscles bigger than his own head, big tough attitude as he uncaringly pushed passed his allies, and making the entire table shake as he slammed his massive elbow onto the table. "Come on, shrimp!" He taunted, grabbing Korra’s hand.

Asami and Toph gulped, they weren't sure if Korra could defeat this mountain of a man.

Azula on the other hand had a confident smile.

Ghashiun smiles as if he has already won. He gives the signal "Get started!"

They started with their arm-wrestling match and almost immediately, the large man grunted loudly as he attempted to push down the hand of his opponent. Veins could be seen popping around his skull and face as sweat flowed down his face. Korra on the other hand, just smiled the entire time, letting out an insulting yawn with her hand over her mouth.

"Oh, I'm sorry, did we start yet?" She taunted. By the time the man could so much as glance back to her, she already slammed his massive hand's back onto the table. The sandbenders booed as the buffed man slumped over in a pout, walking away from the table in shame. "Ok, I won. What's next?" She said.

Ghashiun was speechless, his strongest sandbender lost to a little girl, he just couldn't believe it.

Azula pats him on the back. "And? Do you get her the cocktail before or after you have given us the sand-sailer?"

Ghashiun grumbled.

——————————————————————

As agreed, the girls got a sand-sailer and a new melon cocktail for Korra.

The sandbenders explained how it works before they sailed away.

One of the sandbenders asks Ghashiun "Won't your father be mad that we lost a sand-sailor?"

Ghashiun replies “No, he won't. We only stole this sand-sailor recently.

——————————————————————

Korra and Toph both use sandbending to steer the sand-sailor, that they won recently.

They sailed to the place where they hid the Satomobile.

Asami was reluctant to leave the Satomobile behind, because of that they built a kind of raft and parked the car on it. They attached the raft to the sand-sailor. After everything was fastened, they sailed on in the direction of the library.

——————————————————————

They've been sailing the sand-sailor for three hours. Korra and Toph tried as hard as possible to get them as quickly as possible through the desert.

Asami, who is currently studying her father's map and journals, says "It won't be too long anymore, we should see the library soon."

Korra replies with a smile and without any signs of tiredness “It's okay. I could hold out for hours.what’s with you Toph?"

Toph replies exhausted, "Yeah, it's easy peasy."

Asami says, “Toph, you don't need to exert yourself. We could take a break if you want."

Toph shakes her head as she concentrates on the sailing, “No, I can do it!” She thinks, 'If Korra can hold on, then I can take it, too.' She doesn't think of it as a competition between her and Korra. She thinks it more as that she doesn't want to disappoint Korra by collapsing while Korra is still fit.

Azula walked next to Korra, she says what she wanted to say before, but since they were otherwise busy she forgot. “The way you beat the muscular sandbender was pretty impressive. I almost thought that he would defeat you."

Korra laughed. "Actually I thought he was stronger, but his muscles were just filled with hot air." Korra ponders for a moment, she asks a question where she is not sure whether she wants to know the answer "If I had lost, would you really have hand me over to the sandbenders?"

Azula laughs heartily, Asami and Toph joined her laughing, they heard the question too. Azula finally says “Not even in your dreams. If you had lost, we would have beaten up the sandbenders and stole a sand-sailor from them."

Asami says, “I only suggested this arm wrestling because it's the best way to deal with a cheater. I also saw how you beat your opponents in it. That's why I didn't have that much worries that you would win."

Toph joined “Yes! These losers couldn't do anything."

Korra was delighted to learn that her friends had stood by her.

Azula puts a hand on Korra’s shoulder "We would never betray you."

Korra tears came to her eyes, which is difficult to see because of the wind blowing in her face.

After a while they came to a kind of rocky mountain range hidden in the sand of the desert.

Asami says "stop."

Korra and Toph stopped with the sandbending, whereby the sand-sailor slowly came to a standstill.

Azula looks around and says, “Are you sure, that we're there? I see nothing but sand and rocks."

Asami replies, “According to my father's journal, the library is buried in the sand. However, there is a secret path that leads to the main entrance.” She briefly surveyed the desert landscape until she found what she was looking for. She pointed in the direction and says "That rock there that looks almost like an owl's head." The other three look in that direction and actually saw a huge rock that looked like a huge owl's head. They all went there.

The owl's head was buried a bit in the sand, but they could see it clearly. The head was about twice the size of Asamis size.

Toph touches the owl's head and announces in astonishment "This is not a rock."

Asami searches the head and explains "According to my father's notes, there is a secret switch somewhere here that opens the entrance to the library." Fshe finally found the switch in the right eye of the owl's head. She flips the switch, whereupon the beak of the head opens.

They all took a step back.

When the beak opened completely, a staircase was revealed that leads down to the main entrance.

Korra notes, "It's quite a hassle just to hide a library."

Toph shrugged "I guess the owner was a crazy person who didn't want to share his books."

Asami corrects, "I rather suspect that the former owner didn't want his knowledge to fall into the wrong hands."

Azula throws a bag to Korra and carries another shoulder bag on and went ahead, "Anyway, we're here for a reason, so let's go in." Azula went down the stairs, Asami followed right behind her, Korra and Toph followed behind them.

——————————————————————

The four have gone through the entrance and are walking down a very long hallway. Since the hallway is poorly lit, Azula and Korra created small flames with their hands to light up the hallway a little.

They walked down the hallway for what felt like an eternity until they finally came to a huge room where they saw tons of floors with countless shelves full of books and scrolls.

They all have wide eyes when they saw the bookshelves.

Asami says in amazement as she looks around, “This is the largest library in the world. Even with all the time you have, you wouldn't even be able to read a fraction of the books."

Toph, although she only recently learned to read herself, looks at Korra and says "Now I'm grateful to you for teaching me how to read."

Korra gave a toothy smile, she nodded to Azula "You should rather thank Azula, she taught me to read."

Azula blushed slightly, she scratched the back of her head as she thinks back to how she taught Korra to read. And how Korra taught Toph how to read herself. Before Azula could say anything, they all sensed a presence.

They are all tense. They look in every direction but saw nothing until Toph looks up. She shouts “Up there! What's this?!"

They are all looking in the direction Toph is pointing. Up there they saw a black figure flying towards them.

Korra went forward to defend them all in case the figure turned out to be dangerous.

The figure lands in front of them and stands up. The figure looked exactly like the owl's head in front of the library.

Korra asks carefully "Who are you? What are you?"

The owl says very elegantly “I AM WAN SHI TONG, HE WHO KNOWS TEN THOUSAND THINGS, AND YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY HUMANS; WHICH, BY THE WAY, ARE NO LONGER PERMITTED IN MY STUDY.” The owl's voice has a strange undertone.

The four girls blink a few times. Azula, Asami and Toph were speechless. Korra, however, was delighted. She asks excitedly with stars in her eyes “That is awesome! You are a speaking owl spirit. Do you really know ten thousand things?!"

The owl was a little dumbfounded. He was not prepared for a person to be excited rather than frightened. He hides his surprise and says “YES. I AM THE SPIRIT THAT PROTECTS THE KNOWLEDGE OF THIS LIBRARY."

Korra beamed "If you know that much, do you know why the sky is blue?"

"YES."

"Do you know why a bird can fly?"

"YES."

"Do you know how to airbend?"

"ER NO."

"Oh man. Ok no biggie... "

Before Korra could ask another question, Azula stepped forward and says "Before we digress, why are we humans not allowed here?"

The owl turns to Azula "YOUR PEOPLE HAVE USED MY KNOWLEDGE TOO OFTEN TO DAMAGE OTHERS."

Asami says "How do you want to know that?"

Wan Shi Tong spreads a wing as if to show them the dimensions. "YEARS AGO, TWO MEN CAME HERE TO FIND THE BEST WAY TO FIGHT THE WATER TRIBE. ONE FOUND THE PERFECT WAY TO KEEP THEM ENSLAVED, WHILE THE OTHER STOLE A SCROLL TO FIND TUI AND LA, THE SPIRITS OF THE OCEAN AND MOON."

Asami looks embarrassed at the floor. She stepped in front of the owl with a confident expression. “And what if I tell you that these two men failed. Would it then be possible for us to enter your library?"

WAN Shi Tong became curious, "HOW CAN I UNDERSTAND THIS?"

Asami and Azula exchange a look, they nodded in agreement. Asami says “One of the men was my father. He used your knowledge to torture and keep the Water Tribes peoples enslaved, but that didn't do him any good. We took him down almost a month ago. We freed the Waterbenders and put him and his men’s in the cages in which he kept the Waterbenders."

Azula now stepped forward. “As for the other man. I killed him before he could do anything bad to the Spirits."

The owl looks skeptical "SHALL I BELIEVE IT UNSEEN? SHOW ME THE SCROLL THAT THEY STOLE FROM ME THEN I WILL BELIEVE YOU."

Azula rubs her neck in an embarrassing manner. “Well that should be a problem. You see, I somehow burned the scroll."

Wan Shi Tong got angry "YOU DID WHAT?!"

Before the owl could do or say anything, Korra stepped before him. “Before you get angry let us explain. Azula only destroyed the scroll to keep the spirits safe. And if you really know ten thousand things then you have to know that there is knowledge that nobody is allowed to know. That is why Azula destroyed the scroll."

Wan Shi Tong rubs his beak with a wing "THAT MAY BE TRUE, BUT THAT DOESN‘T PROVE THAT YOUR COMPANIONS ARE TELLING THE TRUTH.“

Korra sighs "If you don't want to believe their words, maybe you may believe the words of the Avatar."

Wan Shi Tong leans towards Korra's eye level. "DO YOU WANT TO SAY THAT YOU ARE THE AVATAR?"

As if to prove it to him, Korra started bending a small pebble into the air, followed by a small flame.

It's hard to see it, but the owl's eyes widen. Wan Shi Tong said, while he looks closer at Korra “I HAVE NO REASON TO DISTRUST THE AVATAR, ESPECIALLY ONE WHO WAS ENSLAVED. HOWEVER, I MUST WARN YOU TO NOT TO USE MY KNOWLEDGE TO DAMAGE OTHERS."

Toph answers, “Believe me, we don't need your knowledge for that. We humans can do that even without your knowledge."

The owl nodded “TRUE WORDS. HOWEVER, BEFORE I CAN LET YOU IN THE CLOSE OF MY KNOWLEDGE, YOUR KNOWLEDGE HAS TO BE DISCLOSED SO THAT YOU WILL BE CONSIDERED AS A SCHOLAR."

The four nodded. Asami is the first to present a book “Please take this. This is a journal that my father wrote about your library."

Wan Shi Tong says enthusiastically “TO KNOW THAT'S GOOD ABOUT AND FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE LIBRARY.” He took the book with one of his wings.

Azula stepped out next. She is also presenting a book "I don't know if you will accept such books, but this is my favorite book."

Wan Shi Tong is delighted with "LOVE AMONGST THE DRAGONS, A CLASSIC." He took the book with his grand wing. Azula stepped back, slightly sad, that he took her favorite book.

Wan Shi Tong looks at Korra while waiting. Korra scratched her chin while she was thinking. An idea came to her. She digs around in her bag until she pulls out some sheets of paper. She presents the papers and asks "Do you count drawings of Lion Turtles as knowledge?"

Wan Shi Tong was more than enthusiastic “I LIKE THESE PICTURES A LOT. I DO HAVE SOME PICTURES OF LION TURTLES, BUT NOT ONE THAT IS SO DETAILED LIKE YOURS.” He happily accepted the drawings with his wing.

All the attention now got to Toph, who is still thinking all the time about what kind of knowledge she might give. The owl is getting impatient and Toph is getting nervous.

The owl is distracted when Korra calls "What's over there?"

The owl looks in the direction Korra is pointing. While the owl is distracted, Korra quickly pushes a book into Toph's hands.

Toph blinks a couple of times. She looks at Korra ask if to ask, if she is sure, but she didn't need to ask, as Korra nodded with a smile.

The owl turns back to the girls, “THAT'S ONE OF MY KNOWLEDGE SEEKERS. A FOX THAT IS LOOKING FOR KNOWLEDGE AND BRINGING IT HERE.” He now turns to Toph.

Toph presents the book that she just received from Korra. “I have Avatar Kyoshi's logbook here. But I could understand it, if you don't want it.” Although Toph presents the book, she thinks, 'Please don’t take it. Please don’t take it. Please don’t take it.‘

However, Wan Shi Tong was delighted with the book, “AVATAR KYOSHI'S LOGBOOK HAS BEEN DISAPPEARED FOR ALMOST THREE HUNDRED YEARS. I ACCEPT THIS KNOWLEDGE WITH JOY.” He took the book with his wing.

Toph is forced to smile, but she thinks, 'Damn it, I need to get the book back.'

Wan Shi Tong spreads his wings “YOUR KNOWLEDGE ARE ACCEPTED. WAN SHI TONGS LIBRARY IS OPEN TO YOU.” With these sentences he flew into the air and disappeared through a room that is high up on one of the higher floors.

They looked after him to see where he disappeared. Azula now says to the group "Now that this is done, let's look for why we came here."

Asami asks while looking at all the Upper floors “But where should we start? There are too many floors and shelves here. It will take forever to find the right bookcase."

They all think for a moment until Korra gets an idea when one of the foxes stops in front of her. She says "Maybe one of the foxes can help us?"

Her friends were about to tell her that it was a stupid idea, but before either of them could say that, Korra went to the fox and asked him. The fox gave a friendly howl and ran ahead. Korra followed without thinking. Her friends didn't really know what to do, so they're running behind them. However, they are more likely to follow Korra than the fox.

——————————————————————

The fox led them straight to the bookshelves after they were looking for. As a thank you, Korra gave him a piece of dried meat.

The group is now looking for airbending books and scrolls, and information about the Avatar.

Hours passed while they reads through one book after another.

Azula would always put a book or scroll in her or Korra’s bag when she is sure that no one is watching her.

Asami and Korra, on the other hand, found tons of information about airbending, but more importantly, they found tons of books and scrolls about the Avatar.

Toph wasn't as quick at reading as the others, but she also found one or two helpful books.

After a while, Toph puts aside the book she is reading and says, "I have to go for a minute."

Azula asks, while she puts more books in her bag, "Where are you going?"

Toph got up and said "I have to go to the toilet."

They all shrugged, Asami asks "Should one of us come with you?"

Toph waved a hand “No thanks. I can go to the toilet on my own."

Korra says as she turns to another page "If you have problems finding the toilet, ask one of the foxes for the way." Korra reached into her pocket and tossed a piece of dried meat to Toph.

Toph caught the meat and nodded "I will." So she went to look for the toilet.

While Toph storms off, Asami found an interesting book, one that is more important than the airbending itself. She says to the other two "You have to see that."

Azula and Korra put the books they were reading aside and went to Asami.

Asami pointed at the page she was reading “Listen to what it says here.” Asami clears her throat while reading “If one of the elements should fall out of balance, the Avatar can compensate for that element by teaching worthy people the appropriate element, and with the help of energy bending."

Azulas and Korra’s eyes widen. Korra asks in a tone between astonishment and excitement "Does that mean that I could bring the Airbender back?"

Asami flips to the next page and says "According to the book, yes."

Korra beamed "Then I know what the first thing I will do as soon as the war is over." Korra turns to Asami. "How does it work? What do I have to do for it? "

Asami says as she continues reading the book, “According to the book, all you have to do is learn energy bending. A bending form that you can learn with your inner light. Please don't ask me how this should work, I'm not through with the book yet."

Azula thinks about it for a moment, she has already pocketed a lot of books and scrolls, but these were more like fonts that the owl wouldn't miss. Azula shrugged, she decided the will steal the book later.

While Asami continued reading from the book, Toph came back.

Toph asks "Have you already found everything you need?"

Korra says with a toothy smile "I found some books about Avatar Kyoshi."

Asami says, as she continues reading the book, "I've found a lot of valuable information that would be helpful when we get to Ba Sing Se."

Azula replies while put in another scroll in her bag “We found loads of books and scrolls about airbending and the Avatar.” Azula took a book out of the shelf and opened a certain page. “Did you know, for example, that Korra was in a previous live left-handed?"

Korra rubs her head and says with a smile, "Well, I've always been special."

Toph smiles, but was tense. She says “Maybe we should start leaving this place.” When everyone's eyes fall on her, she says “I mean it's a long way to Ba Sing Se, and we don't have much time until the comet appears.”

Azula raised a brow, she knows that Toph is hiding something, but she doesn't know what.

Asami took the book she had just read and two more and put them in Korra’s bag. "I think we already have everything that we came here for."

Korra shrugged, she would like to stay a little longer, but Toph is right, they can’t waste too much time. However, she asks, "Should we say goodbye to Wan Shi Tong first?"

Toph says a little louder than expected "No!" When the three looked at Toph strangely, she clears her throat and says "I mean he is definitely busy sorting out his knowledge."

Azula says, as she snitch one last scroll, “Yeah, it would probably be better that way. He shouldn't see what we've got in our bags."

They all came to an agreement and were on their way back from where they came in. However, they did not notice a rope being lowered from the ceiling.

——————————————————————

After a while, the group came back outside. They were now standing in front of the great owl's head.

Korra stretches as she says, “That was an experience. I've learned so many things that I didn't even know before." She turns to Toph and asks, "Tell me, Toph. You haven't actually told us yet what you found out in the library."

Toph gave a sly smile. "I learned that Firebenders can't bend during a solar eclipse."

Azula waved “It's not exactly a secret. Most Firebenders know that. We also have measures in case of the event of a solar eclipse."

Instead of knocking down the mood of Toph, she says with a cocky smile “Well, I've found something else there.” Now she takes two books out of under her clothes. One book was the book that Azula had to hand in and the other was Kyoshi's logbook."

Azulas and Korra’s eyes widen as Toph hands them the books. Azula says "How did you get our books back?"

Toph says with a width toothy smile "I asked one of the foxes."

Asami laughs lightly. "That's how you grabbed the books when you left for the toilet."

Toph nodded triumphally. She says to Asami a little ashamed "I'm sorry, I couldn't find your father's journal there."

Asami smiles gently and shakes her head. "It's okay. I’m glad that I’m rid of it."

Before either of them could say anything, they all heard a loud noise. They all turned to the library and saw it slowly sink into the sand.

They all look after as the library disappears into the sand.

Toph says as everyone looks at the place where the entrance to the library was recently, "I think the owl didn't like it that we stole books from his library."

They all nodded in agreement.

Azula shrugged “Well, it doesn't help to mourn afterwards. What happened, happened." She turns in the direction of the sand-sailor." Let's go while there’s still daylight."

The other three shrugged, they think Azula is right, and followed her.

They got on the sand sailor. Asami and Azula secure the books they stole from the library while Korra and Toph position themselves in front of the sail.

Toph says before they start steering the sand sailor. "Korra, can you tell me why you gave me Kyoshi's logbook so I could give it to the owl?"

Korra smiles softly. “You didn't have a book that you could offer to the owl, and since you are more important to me than the book, I gave it to you.” By Toph's astonished expression, she adds “However, I did not expect that you would bring the book back to me."

Toph asks intimated "I’m more important to you than Kyoshi's logbook?"

Korra smiles gently. She ruffled Tophs hair “Yes. You're like the little sister I never had."

Toph had light tears in her eyes, she thought from day one that Korra was like a big sister to her, but she was scared to say it because she didn't know how Korra would react. Instead of saying anything, she took Korra in a tight hug.

Korra was a little surprised, but returns the hug. Toph whispers barely audible "You are like the big sister I never had."

Asami saw the two hugging in front of her and couldn't help but smile at the sight.

Azula, on the other hand, wasn't sure how to feel about it. For one, it's nice that they see each other’s as sisters, but what was she to Korra and what was Korra to her. She knows that Korra has a close bond with Asami. She also knows that she saw Toph as a little sister. But what was she for Korra? Was she an acquaintance, a friend or what Azula doesn’t wants to imagine, was she still her mistress?

Azula shakes her head to clear her mind from the thoughts.

When Korra and Toph broke the hug, they started doing a sandbending stance. Korra says to Asami and Azula with a toothy smile "Hold on tight, next stop Ba Sing Se."

Korra and Toph started to move the sand sailor with sandbending.

They slide through the sand. Their next destination is Ba Sing Se.

Chapter Text

Chapter 16: The Circus

The group has been sailing the desert for a little less than a day. While crossing the desert, Asami and Azula saw the loot they had taken from the library. They have pocketed at least twenty books and scrolls.

As the sun slowly sets, Toph sees something far away, next to a desert village. It looks like a huge red tent.

Toph stops sandbending for a minute. She points in the direction of the tent and says "What is that?"

Asami and Azula stopped looking at the books and looked in the direction Toph was pointing. Asami says with a smile, "This is probably a circus tent." She blushed slightly when she said, "My friend Ty Lee always wanted to work as an acrobat at a circus. And according to her last letter, she made it too."

Azula nodded "Yes, she said that once or twice in her letters."

Korra says, as she continues sandbending, "Is it possible that she works at this circus."

Azula shook her head “I can't imagine that. There are a lot of circus tents. How likely is the probability that she is here of all places."

As she restarts to sandbending, Toph says “I don't know your friend Ty Lee, but even if she doesn't work there, how about we go see a performance? I've never been to a circus before. Besides, it's getting dark anyway."

Korra agrees "Yeah, that would be fun."

Asami adds "I also think Korra and Toph could use a break."

Azula gives herself to the majority and agrees. They are now on their way to the tent.

——————————————————————

They sailed to a safe place near the village where they could park both the sand-sailor and the satomobile. Korra and Toph cover the vehicles in a stone tent, just to be on the safe side so that their vehicles are not stolen.

Since they didn't want to carry the books with them, Asami and Azula put the books in the trunk of the Satombobile.

The group of four slowly walked towards the big tent. A small crowd is waiting in front of it, which suggests the show has not started yet.

They didn't want to wait with the people’s in front of the tent, so they walked along the tent to stretch their legs a little.

They didn't even walk a minute before they heard a very loud roar. They stare at each other, none of them have ever heard a sound like this. They heard the roar again, it came from the inside of the circus tent.

Asami, Azula and Toph wanted to ignore the noise, but Korra was curious and slipped into the tent.

Azula shouts afterwards “Korra what are you doing?! Come back!” But it was already too late. She was already inside the tent.

Asami notes "It looks like we have to go in there."

Azula groaned as she followed Korra inside, who was also followed by Asami and Toph.

They saw Korra standing there amazed and looking ahead.

Toph asks as she crawled into the tent "What is there to see?"

Korra pointed forward with one finger.

Her friends look in the direction and were amazed.

In front of them in a huge cage lies a huge animal, with white fur, horns and six legs. It looked pretty angry.

Toph asks astonished "What kind of animal is that?"

Asami looks from the horns to the tail. Her eyes widened when she realized what was in front of them. "It's a flying bison." She took a few steps closer. "That's pretty fascinating. They have been considered extinct for a hundred years."

Azula rubs her chin while she says “As far as I know, the boy who pretends to be the Avatar has a flying bison. Is it the same animal?"

Toph looks at Azula “If the animal belongs to the Airbender. What is it doing here then?"

Azula shrugged “There could be many reasons. Maybe the bison flew away. Maybe the Airbender sold it. Maybe it was stolen."

Toph nodded, she turns to Korra "What do you think Korra?"

Korra doesn't answer. It's almost like that she is in a kind of trance. She slowly walked towards the cage while the bison is still raging.

She held out a hand as she walked closer and closer to the cage.

Azula was horrified "Korra what are you doing?!" She was about to pull Korra back until Toph prevents her by stepping in her way. Azula asks "What are you doing?"

Toph says, with confidence, “Look. The bison calms down slowly."

When Azula looks at the animal, she really has to admit that Toph is right. The bison seems to calm down more and more, with every step Korra takes closer to his cage.

Korra now stood in front of the huge cage and put an arm into it. The bison slowly approaches her arm and lowers so that Korra can stroke his head a little. The gesture seems to calm the bison down."

Asami says with fascination "If I didn't know better, I would say that the bison knows Korra."

Azula rolls her eyes "How is that supposed to be possible? You know how she grew up. From where should the animal know her from?"

Asami shrugged "I can't explain that either, but let's wait and see."

Korra was thrilled that she could pet the bison and the bison seems to like it a lot too.

That changed, however, when a loud voice from behind Korra yells "What's going on here?!"

The bison got up frightened and started roaring again.

The four girls turned to the loud voice and saw a bald man with a scar on his left eyebrow.

When the man approaches with a whip, the bison becomes more and more anxious. The bison stands on both of its hind legs as it grows angrier. It would surely have escalated if Korra hadn't slipped through the bars and stood with outstretched arms without fear of the bison. Korra calls out in a soft voice, “It's okay, no one will harm you. I won't let that happen.” The words seem to calm the bison down, he got down on all six legs again while he slowly lies down.

Korra strokes his head so he can calm down a little more. However, something happened that she did not expect. When she caressed his head, her eyes began to glow for a few seconds. However, none of her friends saw it. When her eyes went back to normal, she suddenly knew why the bison came here and how it was imprisoned. She even knew what its owner looked like, but what surprises her most is that she even knows the bison's name.

The man with the whip watched patiently as a slave girl appeased his recently bought bison. He looks at the three girls who have watched the whole scene speechlessly. He went to them and asked “Why are you here? This area is closed to spectators."

It was Asami who explained, “We're sorry sir, we heard a loud roar and thought someone was in trouble. That's why we came in to see if everything was okay."

The man says “Yes, everything is fine.” He turns to the slave who is caressing the belly of his bison. “Or at least now. Who is the owner of the slave?"

Azula stepped forward and announced, “That's me. To whom may I introduce myself, I’m Azula, and they are my companions." She first points to Asami then to Toph "Asami Sato and Toph Beifong." She now points to Korra and says "And that is my slave Korra."

He stares at her more closely before he bowed and says, “Nice to meet you. My name is Zaheer and I'm the director of this circus." He turns to Korra. "I have to say, your slave seems to be pretty good with animals."

Azula proudly nodded "Yes, she always had a knack for animals."

Zaheer asks "Are you interested in selling your slave?"

Before Azula could shamelessly refuse, Asami asks "Why do you want Korra?"

Zaheer waves a hand to all the other cages with animals in them "I have a lot of disobedient animals, your slave could be very helpful to me." He turns to Azula "I’m ready to reward you generously."

Azula shakes her head. "No thanks, Korra is not for sale."

Korra calls out from the cage, “Can someone bring some food? Appa has probably not eaten in a long time."

“I‘m coming!” Calls a new voice.

They all turned to the new voice and saw someone come in to them with a cart full of cabbages.

Since the person was pushing the car from behind, they could not see her properly. But Asami and Azula could swear they know the voice.

Zaheer asks “Where have you been all this time? The show is about to start."

She answered “I stretched a little before the show starts.“

The person stepped out of the car, Asami's and Azula's eyes widening.

The girl in front of them is about the same size as Azula maybe a little shorter, with a pink belly free dress and long brown hair tied in a braid. When the girl saw the group in front of her, her eyes widen. She had a big smile when she ran to a certain girl in front of her. She screamed "Asami!"

Asami ran enthusiastically towards her and shouted "Ty Lee!"

They met in the middle. Ty Lee jumped into the air, whereupon Asami catches her easily. They looked into each other's eyes with a smile for a few seconds. They slowly closed their eyes as their heads slowly approach. They felt each other's hot breath on their lips until their mouths come together in a kiss.

Azula, Toph, and even Korra from where she stood, gaped at the sight before them.

Azula's face turned bright red at the sight.

Toph blushed while trying to avert her gaze, which is kind of difficult for her.

Korra was surprised at first, but now she smiles at the sight.

Zaheer, unlike the girls, had a neutral expression on his face, as if he didn't care that two of the same sex were kissing in front of him.

Asami and Ty Lee ended the kiss. Asami slowly sets Ty Lee down on the floor. However, they did not let go completely. They held each other's hands.

Ty Lee started to say "Asami, it's so nice to see you again."

Asami replies with a friendly smile, “It's nice to see you too. However, I didn't think that we would meet again anytime soon."

Ty Lee plays with her hair. She blushed when she replied, “I wouldn't have thought that either. But I'm all the more pleased to see you." Ty Lee took Asami in a hug, which Asami immediately replied, "Did you travel all the way from the Fire Nation just to see me again?"

As they release the hug, Asami puts her hair behind her ear and replies with a smile, "Not exactly."

Before Ty Lee could ask, she heard a loud throat clearing from behind Asami. Sie leans around Asami to get a better view of the other peoples in the tent.

Ty Lee smiles when she sees her old friend. She walked over to Azula and took her in a hug, which Azula hesitantly returns.

As they break the hug, Ty Lee says, "Azula what are you doing here? I haven't seen you for years.

Azula rubs her neck, embarrassed, she muttered "Yes, thank my father for that."

Ty Lee turns to the girl next to Azula "And who is that?"

Asami says as she stands next to Toph "May I introduce you to my cousin Toph Beifong, whom I told you about in our letters."

Ty Lee beamed she lifted Toph and gave her a tight hug. "Friends of Asami and Azula are my friends!"

Toph could hardly breathe, luckily Ty Lee let her down again. She inhales the air quickly.

Ty Lee asks excitedly "Is it true that you are blind?"

When Toph got the color back in her face she says "Well I was blind, but now I'm not anymore."

Ty Lee was curious. She asks excitedly “Really? How did you manage to see?"

Toph pointed smiling to the cage with the bison and says "Korra has healed me."

Ty Lee raised a brow, she turns to the cage. When she saw Korra there playing with the bison, Ty Lee got a big grin. She turns to Azula and says happily, "I didn't think you'd still have Korra."

Asami puts a hand on Ty Lee’s shoulder and says “I think we need to explain something to you. Can we talk in private?"

Ty Lee beamed when she said “Of course! We can go straight to my carriage. I'm looking forward to talking to you a little bit."

Toph asks "Isn't the show about to start?"

Zaheer says, as he starts to feed his animals, "Only in an hour."

Asami lifted Ty Lee by her armpits up to eye level. Their faces were now a few millimeters apart. She whispers in Ty Lee’s ear, "Then we can do more than just talk."

Ty Lee responds with a kiss, which Asami happily returns.

While Asami and Ty Lee continued to kiss, Korra forced her way out of the cage, went to the cart and grabbed some cabbages, then forced herself back into the cage and started feeding Appa, who in turn after he ate the last cabbage, licked Korra in a friendly way. Korra only laughs at the bison's gesture.

Korra whispers to the bison "Please stay calm, I promise to get you out later." She went out of the cage and after her friends.

——————————————————————

The group is now in Ty Lee’s carriage, which is at least twice as long as a normal carriage. There are various costumes, a Table with make-up and a mirror and a comfortable bed in the carriage.

The five sat around. Ty Lee tells them everything that she has experienced in the circus so far. Ty Lee was just about to finish how she ended up at the circus. “And after Zaheer saw my performance, he immediately hired me as an acrobat. Since that day we have been wandering from town to town and performing our performances to make peoples happy."

Korra says enthusiastically "That seems to be an exciting life."

Ty Lee agrees, “Yes. I'm perfectly happy here." She rubs the back of her head as she looks at Asami embarrassedly." Well, I would be perfectly happy here if my girlfriend would travel with me."

Asami smiles "You know why I couldn't come with you."

Ty Lee nodded "Yes, you wanted to free the slaves." Ty Lee raised a brow after saying it. "Did you actually manage to free the slaves?" She now points to Asami with one hand. "I mean you're here after all, so something must have happened."

Asami had a big smile when she thinks back, "Well I freed the slaves with the help of Azula, Korra and a self-assembled rebel army."

Ty Lee beamed her face is now few centimeters away from Azula's face. "You helped Asami to free the slaves?!" Azula feels uncomfortable the way her old friend is looking at her. Ty Lee took Azula by the shoulders and asked with a smile, “I want to know everything! Don't leave anything out! When did you decide to free the Waterbenders?! "

Asami put her hand on Ty Lee’s shoulder and pulled her back into place. She says, "Ty Lee remember our conversation about personal space."

Ty Lee nodded "Correct, stay at least three steps away."

Korra answers for Azula “When should we start telling you? From where we decided to? Or from where we joined Asami and her rebels?"

Ty Lee raised a brow when Korra started talking. She turns to Azula and waits.

Azula notices Ty Lee looking at her strangely. She asks "Is something wrong?"

Ty Lee rubs the back of her neck when she hesitantly asks, "It's just ... don't you want to punish Korra? After all she spoke without your permission?"

Azula now understands her look, she smiles slightly as she says "We left that behind us a long time ago." At Ty Lee’s questioning look, Azula sighs. She looks Ty Lee in the eye and says "I think we should start from the beginning."

——————————————————————

So Azula and Korra began to tell how they had developed a close friendship over the years. How they trained together and decided to fight the Fire Nation. Their first step was to free the Waterbenders who had been enslaved over the years.

They were telling Ty Lee the most important things, what they did and experienced until they ended up at the circus.

Ty Lee is intrigued by the choices Azula has made since they last saw each other.

Ty Lee took both Azula and Korra in a tight hug.

Azula felt uncomfortable with it, while Korra was more enthusiastic about the hug.

Ty Lee asks her as she sat next to Asami and puts an arm around her, "Does that mean you're finally together?"

Azula and Korra went bright red. Azula was shocked to hear from Ty Lee, while Korra looks away, embarrassed.

Azula says louder than she intended, "Why would you say that?! In case you haven’t noticed, we’re both girls! Something like that doesn't work!"

After Azula's statement, Korra looks away, slightly hurt.

Ty Lee and Asami giggle slightly at Azula's testimony.

Asami says “Of course something like that works. Look at me and Ty Lee." As if Ty Lee wanted to underline it, she kisses Asamis cheek. Azula blushed again at the sight. Asami adds, "Who taught you that same-sex couples don't work?"

Azula rubs the back of her neck. She thinks back to an incident that happened a long time ago. An incident that happened shortly before she met Korra.

——————————————————————
Seven years ago

Azula was alone in her room and played with her dolls, she was holding two dolls in her hands while the rest of her dolls sit in front of her. She was so absorbed in her game that she did not notice that someone came through the door of her room.

She smiles excitedly as she continues. She held up two female dolls and said "Do you want..." she held up her right hand with the doll "Akiko, take the one here..." she now held up her left hand with another doll "Keiko as your wife?" She hold both dolls up and was ready to move them so that they will nod "If one of those present here has a problem with these two women’s entering into the holy covenant of marriage, he should speak now or be silent forever..." before Azula could say yes with the dolls she hears a loud voice behind her.

"YES, I HAVE PROBLEM!"

Azula turns around, startled. Her pupils shrink at the sight of the person behind her. She got up immediately and said, “Hello father. Is there anything I can do for you?"

Ozai angrily went to his daughter and tore the dolls from her hands. He held the dolls in front of her "What did I just see here?!"

Azula anxiously replies "I was just playing."

"I did not mean that! You wanted that two women marry each other!"

"But father, they're just dolls."

"I don't care!" He yelled as he burned the two dolls in front of their eyes.

Azula's pupils shrink "My dolls!" She screamed, startled.

Ozai grabbed his daughter by the collar. Her head was now a few millimeters from his face. He says dangerously calmly, "If I ever see you playing a game like this again, I'll burn you personally."

Azula gulped she doesn't know what she did wrong she asks although she is not sure that she should ask her father "What did I do wrong?"

Ozai clenched his teeth “You wanted to marry off two women. Same-sex relationships are prohibited."

Ozai threw his daughter to the ground. She fell roughly on her back. He wanted to burn the rest of the dolls from Azula, but she stood protectively in front of her toys and begged "Please don't."

Ozai was about to kick his daughter away, but then a thought occurred to him. He smiles slyly and says to her "I'll make you an offer." Azula was all ears "If you never play games like this again, I promise you that next month I'll give you a slave for your birthday."

Azula's eyes widen, she always wanted a slave. She had no choice but to agree.

Ozai smiles underhandedly, he turns his daughter around so that she can see her toys well "Prove it by burning your dolls."

Azula stares at her dolls in shock. She doesn't want to do that, she looks at her father to ask him not to do that, but his cold eyes says it all.

Azula sighs, she takes a deep breath and lights her dolls. She watches with a heavy heart as her toys burn before her eyes.

Ozai harshly puts his hand on his daughter's head. “Let that be a warning to you. If I ever caught you play games like this again, or if you play around with a girl like that yourself, you will be the one who will burn."

As Ozai left her room, Azula began to cry.

On the same evening she received a doll from her uncle, she burned the doll immediately, although she would have liked to keep it.

She has never played with dolls since that day ever again.

——————————————————————
Presence.

Azula sighs "To make it short, my father talked me into it." That wasn't a lie, but it wasn't the complete truth either.

Toph muttered to herself "That sounds just like my father."

Asami puts a supporting hand on Azula's shoulder. She smiles softly as she says, “Your father is wrong. Whatever he was trying to tell you, there is nothing wrong with loving someone of the same sex. My father was also a tyrant in this case. When he found out that my mother loved a woman from the Water Tribe, he wanted to have the woman executed. Fortunately, June and I were able to save her before he executed her."

Azula blushed, she scratched her cheek “It's not like I have a crush on a girl or anything.” She stares at Korra for a second. “It's just that I was told all my life that relationships like that is unclean."

Ty Lee laughs “There's nothing unclean about two people loving each other. No matter what gender they are. That's also one of the reasons why I love the circus. There is free love here."

Before Azula could ask, someone knocked on the door of the carriage, and shortly afterwards it was opened.

At the door was a muscular man with long hair and tattoos. He says with a friendly smile "Ty Lee the show starts in a few minutes, you should start changing your clothes."

Ty Lee replies with a toothy smile "I'll do that right away Ghazan."

Ghazan just wanted to go until he saw Korra, he asks in the room "Is that the slave who can handle animals so well?"

Korra was a little embarrassed, but nodded.

Ghazan smiles, he asks "Would you be so kind and help us with some of our animals out?"

Korra turns to Azula ad to ask for permission. Azula nodded, Korra stood up and followed Ghazan to the circus tent.

Toph shouts after she got up and ran after Korra "Wait for me, I want to come along!"

As the three of them got off the carriage, Ty Lee turned to Asami and asked "Would you help me with my make-up and costume?"

Asami smiles "Nothing that I would love to do more than that."

Asami, Azula, and Ty Lee stood up. Ty Lee went to her table and took out the makeup. Meanwhile, Asami circled Azula. She puts her chin on Azula's collarone and grips her lightly.

Azula felt uncomfortable with this sudden physical contact. Azula blushed, she asks "What is this about?"

Asami smiles and says “You can't fool me. I know what you really think."

Azula has no idea what she's talking about so she asks "What do you mean by that?"

Asami smiles as she grips her a little tighter. "I know your real feelings about Korra."

Azula blushed "I have no feelings for Korra." Azula loosens the grip and turns so that she is looking directly at Asami. "She's a friend, nothing more. At first she was my slave now she is my friend, it’s complicated." Azula tries a little too hard to make her feelings clear, but she is not sure whose feelings she is trying to protect, hers or Korra's.

Asami shakes her head with a smile. “I saw you looking at her. I know that you have hidden feelings for her. "

Azula denies a little too violently "I have no hidden feelings for her!"

Ty Lee approaches Azula from behind. She clasps her, similar like Asami earlier, and whispers in her ear, “You can't fool us. I saw you looking at her as a kid. And I can say with absolute certainty that she looked at you that way too."

Azula turned bright red. She loosens Ty Lee's grip, almost tripping.

Asami and Ty Lee laughed a little.

Azula shakes her head a little too hard. She was furious. "Just because you two love each other doesn't mean that it has to be the same way for me!"

Asami asks what both she and Ty Lee would like to know about her. "Who are you trying to convince us or you?"

Azula had no answer to that. She slumped and stares at her hands. She whispers, barely noticing "I don't know."

Asami and Ty Lee had to listen carefully but could understand it. Each of them walked to one side of Azula and sat next to her. Asami puts a hand on her shoulder while Ty Lee takes one of Azula's hands in her own.

Ty Lee Says "It's not easy to talk about feelings, but once you start you will see how good you will feel afterwards."

Azula is afraid to ask the next question. She huddles a little. "B-but what do I do if she doesn't feel the same as I do."

Asami smiles supportively. "Then at least you have your answer and can go on living." She picked up the chin from Azula so that she can look her in the eye. "But if it helps, she will definitely share your feelings."

Azula smiles a little. She got up and took a hold of her heart. She inhales and exhales until she confidently leaves the carriage.

Asami and Ty Lee watch Azula go ahead. Ty Lee whispers to Asami, "Maybe we should have told her not to do this right away."

Asami smiles, she looks at Ty Lee and gave her a quick peek on the lips. She replies “I think she waited long enough. Ty Lee blushed, but smiled. They both lean in for another kiss until they both stood up to work on Ty Lee's outfit for the show.

——————————————————————

Toph was carrying a heavy bucket full of water when Azula came to her.

Azula asks "Do you know where Korra is?"

Toph says as she tries to hold up the bucket, "Yeah. I'm about to bring her this bucket."

Azula easily took the bucket with one hand and asks "Tell me where she is, then I'll bring her the bucket."

"If you bring her the bucket, what else do I have to do?"

Azula shrugged “How about you keep some seats free for us. We want to watch the performance anyway."

Toph found the answer acceptable and pointed with a finger in one direction, “She’s with the bison. She says he has some injuries that she wants to treat."

Azula nodded and headed towards the cage, while Toph walks to the stands.

It didn't took Azula long to find Korra. She was currently busy talking to the bison.

Azulas was standing in front of the cage, she clears her throat to get Korra's attention.

Korra turns and immediately smiles when she sees Azula with the bucket. "Azula, thank you very much for bringing me the water, even though that I actually thought that Toph would bring me the water."

Azula smiled laying the bucket down "Well, I saw that Toph was having trouble carrying it, so I told her to keep some seats for us free while I bring you the water."

Korra smiled friendly "That's very nice of you."

Azula looks away, she thinks, 'Why is it so hard to talk to her all of a sudden?'

Korra bend the water from the bucket. She lead it to the left foreleg of the bison. Only now does Azula notice that it has been seriously injured. Korra started to heal the wound. After a few seconds the wound began to disappear.

When Korra finished, she bend the water back to the bucket and squeezed through the cage so that she stood next to Azula. She says to the bison, "Don't forget Appa, behave yourself for tonight, then I'll make sure you get free."

Appa gave a happy roar.

Korra smiled, she turns to Azula, she looks at her strangely. She asks "Is something wrong?"

Azula can't find a suitable answer, so she asks “Why do you call the bison Appa?” She would like to slap herself for such a stupid question.

Korra smiles and says, “I don't know beforehand, I know that, but when I petted Appa earlier, I kind of saw all of his memories. For example, I know that he belongs to the Airbender. They were on their way to Ba Sing Se when they stopped at the Wan Shi Tong Library. While the Airbender and his two friends were inside, Appa was kidnapped by the same sandbenders we met at Misty Palms Oasis. Now he's locked up here and would like to go back to his owner."

Azula was amazed that Korra found out all of this. Azula blinked a few times until she realized, “They were at the Wan Shi Tong Library too?! Damn it, that was probably at the time the library sank."

Korra puts a hand on Azula's shoulder "I'm sure they got out in time."

Azula grumbled "That's not what makes me feel insecure. If we had seen them there, you would now have an Airbender teacher."

Korra gave a toothy smile “That's no problem. We've got loads of Airbender books and scrolls in our possession, and I'm sure we'll see him and his friends in Ba Sing Se. According to Appa's memories, they are tough."

Azula nodded, she was about to say something, when a loud announcement comes from the main tent.

“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE SHOW WILL TAKE PLACE IN A FEW MINUTES. PLEASE GET TO YOUR SEATS. WE ARE STARTING RIGHT AWAY."

Korra turned to the voice. She says "Maybe we should go there, after all, we still want to see the show." Azula nodded.

Korra went a few steps ahead until she felt a hand on her shoulder. She turned and saw Azula who was feeling a little uncomfortable.

Azula sighs, she thinks, 'Now or never.'

Azula's eyes wander. She swallows as she softly says "Korra, I like you."

Korra smiles and replies, "I like you too, Azula."

Azula almost falls over at Korra’s statement.

Before Korra could turn around, Azula repeated as she looked her in the eyes. “You don't understand. I really like you." Azula underlined the word "Like."

Korra raised a brow, she doesn't quite understand why Azula is repeating it again. However, she replies with a smile, "I really like you too." Korra turned around and started walking.

Azula is getting annoyed that Korra doesn't understand her properly. She grabbed Korra’s shoulder, turned her around, grabbed her chin and kisses her on the mouth.

Korra’s pupils shrink. She turned bright red. She was shocked, but not shocked enough to pull away from the kiss.

Azula opens her eyes wide. She ended the kiss abruptly when she realized what she had just done.

She pushes Korra away from her at arm's length, her face is bright red, but it is not clear whether it is because she has kissed a girl for the first time or out of shame that she kissed Korra without consent.

"I'm sorry, I don't know what came over me."

She passed Korra and was about to run away, presumably to hide in the next hole, but was stopped by Korra, who quickly stopped Azula with one hand. Azula was just imagining the worst Korra could do or say. But instead of Korra saying anything, she took Azula in a tight grip and pulled her towards her for a breathtaking kiss.

Azula's eyes widened for a second, but then she relaxed and gave herself to the kiss completely.

The kiss only lasted a few seconds, but it felt like forever to Azula.

They both smile as they end the kiss. Korra lightly caresses Azula's cheek, she whispers softly "I've wanted to kiss you for years."

Azula blushed as she sinks into the moment. "Then why didn't you do that?"

Korra took Azula in a hug, it pains her to say, “I didn't know how you would feel about it. Besides, you always believed that two girls could never get together."

Azula pressed closer to Korra’s body. She's now ashamed that she believed what her father taught her over the years.

Azula whispers “I never thought that I would feel this way about you, or that you would feel this way about me. Since when do you have feelings for me?"

Korra smiles. "I've liked you from day one."

Azula releases the hug, staring at Korra in shock. “You liked me from the first day? Even though I treated you so badly?"

Instead of answering, Korra smiles gently and nodded.

Before Azula could ask any further questions, Asami came out of nowhere and said "Hurry up a little, the show begins in a minute."

Asami took a hand from each and dragged them after her to the seats.

——————————————————————

During the show, Azula and Korra sat next to each other. They change a look every now and then. Azula rested her head on Korra's shoulder throughout the performances.

The show was, in one word, a real ”Firework”. The animals, the actors and the performance itself were breathtaking.

But what was the most fascinating was the performance that Ty Lee put on. It is as if she defied all the laws of gravity. She did a great job.

Asami stared at her dreamily during her performance.

Toph, in turn, stares tightly, fearing that Ty Lee could fall off the tightrope at any second. Fortunately, she came back unharmed on the floor.

The show is slowly coming to an end. The highlight of the show is Appa, dressed like a clown.

Korra gulped at the sight of Appa. At first it seemed like Appa was going on a rampage, but after he noticed Korra he seemed to calm down and go on with the show.

——————————————————————
After the show.

The show is over and all the guests left the circus with a smile. The young children’s even played out the full performance.

The group gathered in Ty Lee’s carriage to congratulate her on her performance. Asami even organized a bouquet of flowers for her.

Ty Lee was just about to take off her costume. As they compliment her.

Toph says “When you were up there I thought you were going to fall off. But luckily that was not the case."

Asami puts a hand on Ty Lee’s back and says, "She didn't need any luck for that." She kisses her on the cheek as she adds, "She just needed to be able to do that."

Ty Lee laughs as she takes Asami into a hug. "And a girlfriend who cheers for me." They stare into each other's eyes and kissed.

Toph can no longer watch this and walked a little further away while Azula and Korra smile at the sight.

Azula scratched her neck “I think it's time to say goodbye.” She didn't want to leave her friend anytime soon, but they still had to cross a desert.

Ty Lee smiles as she ends the hug with Asami. She turns to Azula and tells her with a big smile "I'll be ready in a minute, I just have to pack a few things."

Azula blinks twice in surprise before asking "Wait a minute, what did you just say?"

Ty Lee laughs heartily. “Oh yeah, we haven't told you about it yet. Me and Asami had a chat while we were preparing my outfit. One thing led to another, in the end I decided to go with you." Said Ty Lee while she was packing some things.

Korra, although happy, has to ask “Are you sure you want to come with us. Don't get me wrong, it would be great if you came along, but what about your work at the circus? Don't you want to work here anymore?"

Ty Lee finished packing, she replied with a slightly sad smile “I would like to continue working here.” She gave Asami a side hug “But my girlfriend is not there, and that bothers me a bit.” She went to Korra and gives her a hug "Besides, who wouldn’t take the chance to travel with the Avatar?"

Korra blushed, as she asks "You know that I am the Avatar?"

Ty Lee releases the hug and went to Asami "Yes, Asami told me everything."

Neither of them really knew what to say in return. So Toph asks "Now that this is resolved, can we start going?"

Ty Lee went to her closet, rummaged through it and pulled out some clothes that are too reminiscent of Earth Nation. She smiles as she handed the clothes to Azula and Korra.

Azula and Korra have no idea why Ty Lee gave them new clothes. They wanted to ask, but as if Ty Lee had foreseen it, she says "We want to travel to Ba Sing Se after all, so you need clothes that don't reflect that you come from the Fire Nation."

Azula and Korra get it now. They went behind a cabin and immediately began to change their clothes.

When they came out of the cabin, Azula wore a long robe in the Earth Nations colors, and she wore her topknot without the Fire Nation insignia. Korra in contrast wore a sleeveless Green Earth Nation Shirt, with Green baggy pants, on her hands she wore now bandages.

Asami nooded in agreement "Now you look like that you belongs to the Earth Nation."

Azula looking at herself and Korra, she grumbled "That's how I feel too."

Korra smiles when she sees Azula in the new robe. She took her in a side hug. "I think you look great," Korra said as she kissed her on the cheek. Azula blushed.

Toph's eyes widen, while Asami and Ty Lee had a knowing smirk.

Ty Lee burst out in a glee "OH MY SPIRITS! I know it since the first day that you would get together!"

Asami smiles, she and Ty Lee took Azula and Korra in a group hug. Toph stood to the side, she didn't want to be part of the hug, but that didn't turn out well when Ty Lee pulled her into the hug. Toph was about to rebel, but in the end she relaxed and sank into the embrace.

——————————————————————

After clearing some things up and Ty Lee packing her most important things, they were on their way to Zaheer to tell him that Ty Lee wanted to quit.

While they are on their way to see him, Korra expresses an important concern.

Azula rubbed the bridge between her eyes "So that I understand you correctly, you want us to take the bison with us on our journey?"

Korra scratched her cheek “It's complicated. It's hard to explain, but I have some premonition that tells me it's important to take Appa with us."

Asami rubbed her chin “I read something there. It says that the Avatar always have familiar animal. The Avatar has the ability to communicate with the animal. Maybe the bison is your familiar animal?"

Korra shook her head “I can't imagine that. Appa wants to go back to its owner. If he were really my familiar animal, the case would be then very different."

Ty Lee says as she turns to the group, “We have to tell Zaheer first that I want to quit. Then we can ask him if he will give up the bison at all."

“You don't have to ask me. I've already made a decision.” Says a voice from behind Ty Lee.

When Ty Lee turns to the voice, she not only sees Zaheer, but also all of her colleagues and the bison next to Ghazan. Ty Lee was speechless at the sight.

Zaheer approached Ty Lee and handed her a full pouch. "It was already clear to me that this would be your last performance when you saw your friends again."

Ty Lee raised a brow "You're not mad that I want to leave the circus?"

Zaheer shakes his head "You know what I think about relieving others of their decisions." He took a few steps back to grab the Bisons leash. "I think you want to take him with you." He hands the leash to Korra.

Korra hesitantly took the leash, she still has trouble seeing leashes. She asks "Are you sure?"

Zaheer nodded “If it hadn't been for you, the bison would certainly have rioted. And since I couldn't buy you to continue calming him down, you can take him with you as a reward."

Instead of asking, Korra nodded.

As she looks at the bison's back, Toph asks "Where does the saddle come from?"

It was Ghazan who replied "When we bought him from the Sandbenders, he had the saddle on."

Before going through the tent, Ty Lee said goodbye to all of her friends and colleagues from the circus.

When they left the tent and felt the fresh evening air, the bison moved a little closer to Korra and nudged her slightly. Korra laughs at the gesture.

Korra caresses Appa's head and says, “Yes, I understand. We'll bring you back to your owner, but unfortunately that won't be today as we don't know where to look. We will try to find him in Ba Sing Se. I promise it."

Appa licks her off with his gigantic tongue. Korra laughs while her friends look on in disgust, not because Korra and the bison get along well, but because the slobber that was on Korra.

Korra bends the drool away from her body. She climbs on the head of Appa and says "We can take off immediately if you want?"

Toph asks, without wanting to act, that she is actually scared at the thought of flying "Wouldn't it be faster if we were to travel across the country, with the car?"

Asami smiles when she replies "According to the books I read in the library, bisons are faster than any vehicle in the world, including my Satomobile."

Ty Lee squealed "You finally managed to build one?"

Asami raised her chin “Of course! You know I'm awesome."

Instead of answering, Ty Lee jumped on Asami's back and kissed her on the cheek.

Azula rolls her eyes at the sight. She says, “Then it is settled, we will travel with the bison from now on. Let's get our stuff first."

Azula waited for no reply and went ahead in the direction of the Satomobile."

They went to the place where they hid both the Satomobile and the sand-sailor. Ty Lee’s eyes widen at the sight of the Satomobile.

As Asami doesn't want to leave the car behind, Toph lifts it into the air with the help of Earthbending and places it in the middle of Appa's saddle. Asami fixes it with ropes so it doesn't fall out.

Korra from her position, strokes the head of Appa and asks "Is it too heavy for you?"

Appa gave a roar, as if to say, it's no problem.

Asami says, as she and the rest of them take a seat in the saddle, “A bison can carry up to 10 tons. The Satomobile, on the other hand, weighs less than half a ton."

Korra nodded she asks "What about the sand-sailor?"

Asami waved a hand “It can stay there. We won't need it outside of the desert."

Korra turns to Appa, she took the reins and says with a smile "Appa, yip yip."

Without warning, Appa slammed his huge tail against the ground, causing the sand-sailor to fly away behind him with full force. Toph stares afterwards with fascination. The thing flies almost all over the desert.

Appa takes off into the air, everyone having to hold on pretty tight. Korra, unlike the others, had a lot of fun when they were flying around in the air, but the others were terrified at first, but that settled for a while.

After a while, Ty Lee rummages through the pouche Zaheer gave her.

There were lots of silver pieces in the bag, but there was something else underneath. She raised a brow when she pulled a Pai Sho stone out of the pouch.

Asami asks Ty Lee "What's a Pai Sho stone doing in your pouch?"

Azula adds, "Did the director try to trick you with this?"

Ty Lee smiles as she takes a closer look at the stone. "No. Zaheer and I loved playing Pai Sho together. I think he set this up so I could have a souvenir.” Ty Lee takes a closer look at the stone. She smiles as she says "And it looks like he put his favorite stone, the white lotus."

Toph says "That's a strange gift."

Asami puts a hand on Ty Lee’s shoulder. "It's the gesture that counts."

Ty Lee smiles as they fly around with her girlfriend on a beautiful moon night flight.

Meanwhile, Azula went to Korra and took a seat next to her. They don't exchange a word, but they smile. Azula puts a hand on Korra’s back while they just sat there enjoying the flight.

They were now on their way to Ba Sing Se and it looks like, with the help of the bison, they will reach it in less than a week.

Chapter Text

Chapter 17: The Kyoshi Warriors

The group has been on their way to Ba Sing Se for almost five days, but since they are out with their new companions they hardly noticed that the time has passed at all.

While flying, they read most of the books from the Wan Shi Tong Library.

Korra has read every book about airbending, but she didn't really get it. She has also started going through the various steps of the airbending moves, although she has learned some of the steps, she still does not even manage to create a small breeze.

The group is just about to rest near the edge of a forest.

While they are resting, each of them is doing something.

Appa is sound asleep.

Asami tinkered on her electric glove.

Azula and Korra are practicing the technique they received from Azula's uncle.

Toph was about to eat a rice cake.

Ty Lee stretches a little.

After a while they gathered in a circle around a map.

Asami pointed a finger on the map and says "Ba Sing Se is not far away, only a few more hours when we fly there."

Toph asks "Have you already thought about how we can get into town?"

Korra says, looking at Appa, "It's really simple, we're flying into town."

Ty Lee asks innocently "Won't the guards get suspicious if they see us fly in?"

Korra looks at Azula and smiles. She replies "Well, Azula and I have already come up with a plan for this."

Asami's curiosity was aroused "And what is the plan?"

Korra took a deep breath, she was about to explain her plan, when she suddenly felt something in the ground. It was just very gentle, but there is still something.

Toph got up quickly. She says to Korra when she took a fighting stance "I can feel it too."

The rest of their friends don't know what's going on, but they know there's got to be something when Korra and Toph are tense.

Asami put on her electric glove to be on the safe side.

Korra and Toph feel someone watching them. They stare intensely at the adjacent forest edge.

The bushes rustle a little. They all stare and wait to see what is beyond. The bushes rustle louder and louder until a little rabbit jumps outof the bushes.

Ty Lee relaxed her demeanor and said with a smile "It looks like it was a false alarm."

Asami, Azula and Ty Lee were about to relax their postures too until Korra stomped on the floor and raised a stone wall in front of Ty Lee. A second after the wall was raised, they all heard three metallic sounds bouncing off the wall. Korra is lowering the wall again. They were all shocked to see that there are now three throwing knives on the ground.

Ty Lee whispers, stunned, "Those things would have pierced me if it hadn't been for Korra."

Korra says, as she continues to look tense forward, “You can thank me later. Now we have another problem that we have to take care of."

They all took a fighting stance again, with Korra and Toph in front of them.

Toph took a step forward and yelled in the direction of the bushes, “We know that someone is hiding there! Come out and face us or are you cowards?!"

"You should be careful what you wish for little girl, because it could come true." Replied a female voice from the bushes.

It took only a few seconds until half a dozen painted warriors charged across the open field and standing in a perfect formation in front of the group.

Toph says as she continues to stare at the Warriors, "And I thought Asami and Azula were using too much make-up."

She heard a loud "Hey!" From behind her.

Five of the painted Warriors took a fighting stance, while the one in the middle, probably the leader, steps forward. She pointed forward with her fan and said in an authoritarian voice "Step away from the bison and we will spare your life’s."

Azula smiles slyly, she asks "What if we refuse?"

The leader got into a fighting stance as well. She replies without fear, "Why don't you come here and find it out?"

Toph cracked her knuckles, Asami activates her glove, Ty Lee stretched her arms, Azula prepares herself mentally. Korra, however, unlike her friends only looks in the direction of the Warriors.

They all began to take a step forward, but stopped when Korra blocked their way with an outstretched arm.

They stare at Korra with raised brows. Toph asks her "What's going on?"

Instead of answering, Korra slowly walked in the direction of the painted warriors.

The warriors do not know what the person in front of them is up to and were prepared for all eventualities.

The leader says as she turns her fan to Korra, “Are you going to take on us alone? Then I have to warn you, because we are highly trained warriors. You have no chance against us."

Korra was now a few steps away from the leader.

The rest of the warriors were a little nervous when a stranger stood in front of their leader. One of them mutters "She is brave to stand alone against us."

Another replies, “She's probably delusional. After all, she can't really think that she can defeat us all."

Another says "She is convinced of herself, otherwise she would never stand before us."

Korra was now an arm's length away from the leader.

The leader got angry at the behavior of the girl in front of her. She reached out and punches forward with her left fist. Korra, however, caught her fist with ease. Korra puts her other arm on the leader's upper arm.

The leader was a little panicked, the girl in front of her caught her fist without any problems. But what surprised her even more was the fact that the girl does not perform any counter-attack. On the contrary, she seems very fascinated by her arm.

The leader wanted to pull her arm back until the girl squealed with wide eyes and a wide smile.

The leader and her warriors didn't really understand why the girl is so full of anticipation.

"JUST LOOK AT THIS!" Korra yelled excitedly as she examined the arm.

The leader wanted to cover her ears, but that was impossible because her left arm is still in the grip of this strange girl.

Korra stretches out the arm of the leader a little further, with the leader almost falling down.

Korra let go of her arm and took the leader's face in her hands. She kneads her face as if she doesn't believe what's in front of her.

The other warriors and Korra’s friends don't really know what to do, after all there is no fight going on in front of them. But it was still weird.

Korra needs to know and asks "Is that make-up or just a cool kabuki mask?"

The leader says, although she doesn't know why she answers barely audible, because Korra’s hands are still kneading her face "T-that's ... m-make up ..."

Korra beams as she continues kneading “This is so cool. I've never seen a real Kyoshi warrior in my life."

That hit the leader and her warriors unexpectedly. They have never met anyone outside their village who heard about them.

The leader took Korra's hands in her own and pulled them away. She took a few steps back to the other Kyoshi Warriors and asked "How do you know who we are?"

Korra smiles, she points with her right hand at them "Because of your clothes, face paint and fans."

Another of the Kyoshi Warriors asks "How do you know the Kyoshi Warriors?"

Korra shrugged “Isn't that obvious? The Kyoshi Warriors are named after Avatar Kyoshi, who not only saved her village from a cruel warlord, but also the whole world. As far as I have heard, there are still Kyoshi Warriors to this day, although unfortunately Avatar Kyoshi has long since passed away."

The Kyoshi warriors were all surprised and speechless. They would never have thought that an outsider would know so much about their beloved Avatar.

The leader asks "How do you know so much about Avatar Kyoshi and our village?"

Korra took out her favorite book and said, fascinated, "I read everything from Avatar Kyoshi's logbook."

The eyes of the Kyoshi warrior almost bulged out. They have all heard of the legendary logbook that Avatar Kyoshi wrote during her lifetime. The logbook has been lost for hundreds of years, and all of a sudden it is in the hands of an outsider. They don't know how it got into her hands, but they know one thing for sure, they have to get the book and bring it back to their village.

The Kyoshi warriors were both intrigued and angry. They all took up a fighting stance again.

The leader says in a serious voice "Give us the book right now!"

The Kyoshi warriors would have expected everything, but not what followed.

Korra held out the book with a smile and said "Here, please feel free to take it."

The Kyoshi warriors stare into space. They blink a few times before one of them says "You want to hand us the book just like that?"

Korra replies in a friendly manner, "I'm sure that Avatar Kyoshi would want her logbook to be brought back to her home village."

The leader hesitantly took the book. She stares at the book in fascination.

During the book transfer, Korra’s friends also got closer.

Toph asks startled "You just want to give them your book?"

Korra replies with a smile, “That was never my book. It belongs to Avatar Kyoshi. And I'm pretty sure that the residents of the village would like to have it back."

The Kyoshi warriors can't believe it, not only have they found the logbook that has been lost for centuries, no, on top of that, they have found someone who adores Avatar Kyoshi as much as they do themselves.

When she gave the book to one of her companions, the leader asks "What's your name?"

"My name is Korra ..." She motioned her hand to her friends before adding "these are my friends Asami, Azula, Toph and Ty Lee."

The leader nodded "My name is Suki..." she points to the rest of the warriors "and we are the Kyoshi warriors."

Korra squealed as they all loosen up their fighting stance. She was more than excited to meet the Kyoshi Warriors.

Ty Lee tilted her head, clearly trying to figure out why Korra was so astonished to meet some painted girls.

Toph shakes her head, she's trying to understand this. She asks “So that we understand it,” She pointed to the painted girls “they tried to attack us, and after Korra left them her most precious possession, we are all friends now.” Toph jumped furiously up in the air and yelling „Did I miss something?!“

Korra puts a supportive hand on Toph's shoulder to calm her down. She tells her "It's okay, Toph, I'm sure there is an explanation for it." She turns to Suki and asks "Why did you attack us in the first place."

Suki points with her fan in the direction of the still sleeping bison "We wanted to bring the Avatar his bison back?"

Azula raised a brow "What do you mean with Avatar?"

Suki started to explain, “I'll explain to you. A few days ago I accompanied the Avatar and his friends for a few days to make sure that nothing would happen to them at the Snake Pass. During that time they told me how Sandbenders stole their bison. I promised to keep an eye out for him. When we saw him with you, we thought you were holding him prisoner."

Korra waved her hand "We're not holding him, we took him from a circus."

Suki smiles "I believe you." She now turns to her Warriors. "However, we have to take the bison with us."

The Kyoshi Warriors began to take a few steps until Azula stood in their way. She says "You can't take the bison with you." She smiles slyly as she added "The Avatar needs him much more."

The Kyoshi Warriors raised a brow simultaneously. One of them says “Yes, we know that. That's exactly why we have to bring him to the Avatar."

Asami, Toph and Ty Lee had a knowing smile.

Azula says as she puts her hand around Korra’s shoulder, "That won't be necessary, as he's accompanying the Avatar."

One of the warriors yells "No he doesn't!"

Ty Lee whispers to Asami, "Shall we tell them?"

Asami snickers, she whispers “Not now. I want to see what Azula is up to."

Azula gave Korra a side hug "Oh believe me he does."

Suki asks more angrily than she intended “Oh yeah?! And where is he then?!"

Azula smiles a little too innocently. She takes a few steps away from Korra. "Let's just say he's around."

The Kyoshi Warriors saw in all directions from their position but saw nothing.

Suki asks “Where is he? I can't see him anywhere.“

Azula presents Korra with both arms and proclaims "She is right in front of you" she emphasizes the word, she.‘

Korra gave a toothy smile. She closed her eyes and waved.

The Kyoshi Warriors were not amused.

One of them turns her fan on Korra and says "How dare you pretend to be the Avatar?!"

“We know the Avatar. We met him before.” Added another one.

Suki, on the other hand, says “I hope you have a good reason to pose as the Avatar. Because we, the Kyoshi Warriors, don't like it when someone lies in this case."

Korra says "I pretend to be the Avatar because I am the Avatar."

Suki narrowed her eyes “Last chance, stop pretending to be the Avatar. I recently followed the Avatar, so I can say who the Avatar is."

It was Toph who asks "Does this Avatar that you have accompanied have bends more elements or only one?"

The Kyoshi Warriors exchange a look.

Suki's answer scratched her neck "Just one, but that doesn't mean he's not the Avatar."

Asami says quite logically "So it means that he could have posed himself as the Avatar."

One of the Kyoshi Warriors says "That can't be, after all he's an Airbender."

Azula stepped a little closer. "I don't know why he thinks he is the Avatar, but I can assure you that he is not."

Suki looks at Korra, she says a little more calmly "If it should be true, why do you think she is the Avatar?"

Her friends looked at Korra waiting. Korra shrugged, as she says "This is actually very easy to explain."

Korra opens her flask and bend the water so that it circles over the palm of her right hand. She lights a flame, then lets some pebbles float and spin around the flame with the water.

The Kyoshi Warriors were speechless. Their eyes widen. They couldn't think clearly. The girl in front of them is the Avatar.

Korra smiles as she continues to bends the three elements. She gave a toothy grin "I'm the Avatar, and you gotta deal with it!"

Suki was the first to regain her mind. She says "You really are the Avatar."

Korra nodded, she bends the water back into her flask, turns off the flame and lets the stones fall back to the ground.

The Kyoshi Warriors were more than thrilled at this performance. Some of them even turned red, which is hard to see with all the make-up.

They circled Korra, some of them even touching her arms.

Korra feels uncomfortable with the body contact. She even turned a little red.

Azula, in contrast, felt nothing but jealousy, she clenched her fists at the sight of five of the warriors gathering around Korra.

The Kyoshi Warriors cheer.

"That is Awesome!"

"Finally a female Avatar!"

"She could even pass for one of us!"

"I'm so relieved that the Airbender is not the Avatar after all."

"Me too."

"I didn't want to say anything back then, but I think he's pretty weepy."

"Yeah, and the way he was begging for attention all the time, that was pretty embarrassing."

"And his stupid marble trick, that was pretty boring."

"Yes, I almost puked during this action."

"And his voice is way too high for a boy."

It could have gone on forever if Suki hadn't shouted “Ok! That's enough now!" She turns to Korra, who is being lovingly surrounded by her warriors. "I would like to know, if you are really the Avatar, what are you doing here?"

Azula walked between the Kyoshi Warrior and her girlfriend and pulled Korra out. She holds her upper arm as she said "We are just on our way to Ba Sing Se."

Suki raised a brow "What do you want from there?"

Asami was the one who replied, “To make a long story short. We heard that the Airbender is on its way there, and that is one of the reasons we want to be there. So that Korra has an Airbender teacher."

Azula answers the question Suki didn't ask, “Before you ask. No, Korra cannot us airbending. That's why she needs a teacher, and the boy is the last Airbernder in the world."

The Kyoshi Warriors found these answers very logical and a good reason to travel to Ba Sing Se.

Suki asks "What is the other reason?"

Toph answers the question, but only because she feels left out "We want to meet the Earth King so we can build a strong army."

Suki smiles and shakes her head slightly. “That is a nice thought, but the reality is different. Different Armies trying to smash the Fire Nation for a hundred years, but without any success."

Korra crossed her arms, she smiles as she looks at her friends. "That's just because they haven't had us on their team yet." She points to Asami and Ty Lee, "Two martial arts experts, one of whom has great technical knowledge too." she points to Toph "Probably the best Earthbender in the world." She points to herself "The Avatar." and last but not least she points to Azula "And not to forget the Fire Nation Princess herself."

When the Kyoshi Warriors heard the last sentence, they got tense. They surround Azula. They all get out their weapons.

One of them asks "What is the Fire Nation Princess doing here?!"

Another adds “Surrender! Otherwise we will use violence!"

Azula rolls her eyes at their behavior. She raised her hands in surrender. She says without a hint of fear, "Put down your weapons, if I wanted to attack you, you'd be dead by now."

The Kyoshi Warriors were tense until Korra and her friends step between them and Azula.

Suki was shocked by the Avatar's behavior. She asks “Why do you want to protect her? She is the enemy."

Korra narrowed her eyes "She is not the enemy, she is our friend!" That surprised the Kyoshi Warriors. Korra adds, without stepping aside, "And she is my girlfriend."

Azula stepped up to Korra and kissed her lightly on the cheek, as if to taunt the Warriors.

The Kyoshi Warrior's eyes widen. Some of them were pretty jealous of what they were just watching.

Suki loosens her posture a little. She asks Azula "What is the Fire Nation Princess doing with the Avatar?"

Azula rolls her eyes "Weren't you paying attention?"

Suki corrects, "What I meant by that was why should you stand against your own nation?"

Azula sighs “The Fire Nation is evil and destructive. And I want to put an end to that, together with the Avatar."

One of the warriors asks “Why would someone like you do this? Your nation knows nothing but destruction."

Another adds “Yes! Your nation has so many lives on its conscience."

Azula looks at the warriors one by one. She says, “The Fire Nation not only has token the lives of other nations on its conscience. They even killed people in their own nation.” At the shocked expression on the face of the Kyoshi Warriors, she continued“ They murdered the most loyal admirals and generals just because they fell in love with one of the other nation.” She had an image of Mako and Bolin. "The Fire Nation Royals either killed their own family or make them run away from their own family..." she had to look at Asami, who in return looks sadly at the ground. At least she was hugged by Ty Lee "or manipulated her children so that they either became insane or empty." She had to think of her friend Mai.

Suki hesitantly asks "A-and what is it with you?"

Azula found it hard to talk about it until she felt Korra's hand on her shoulder. Azula takes a deep breath before she starts to say "Thanks to the Fire Nation, I lost both my mother and my brother." The eyes of the Kyoshi Warriors widen. Azula added "Technically, my grandfather too, but I never really liked him."

One of the warriors asks “Shouldn't you have to fight for the Fire Nation then? I mean they were probably killed by the Earth Nation then."

Azula shook her head “My father, the Fire Lord gave the order to kill me as a child. My mother made a deal to save me. Since then she has been on the run. My brother was lured into a trap by an admiral a few weeks ago and then blown up."

The Kyoshi Warriors were shocked to learn that even the Fire Lord's daughter had suffered many losses.

Suki had to ask "What happened to the admiral?"

"I killed him like the worthless pig he is."

Azula couldn't get a word out, she couldn't say whether it was out of anger or sadness. That's why Korra took over the word "Since then we've been on our way to stop the Fire Nation."

Asami says, “Korra has already learned three of the four elements. Only the rarest element is missing, airbending."

Toph crossed her arms and says, “That's why we went to the Wan Shi Tong Library to get teaching materials for Korra. We are now on the way to Ba Sing Se, as we will definitely meet the Airbender there. Then he can help Korra with her airbending problem."

Suki sighs, she has no reason to attack Azula if she has really defected, especially if the Avatar himself vouch for her. Suki raised her hand and her Kyoshi Warriors lowered their weapons.

Suki says, “I have no reason to be suspicious of the words of the Avatar. However, I am angry to learn that the Airbender lied to us."

One of their Kyoshi Warriors says "Especially since we considered him and his friends to be our friends."

Before she could say anything, Korra said, “You couldn't say that like that. It could be that he believed that he is the Avatar because he is the last Airbender."

Suki rubs her chin. "That could be possible." She now took a tight posture. She bows to Korra, causing her warriors to imitate her. She says “Anyway. You are the true Avatar and we would like to accompany you. Just see us as an escort."

Korra turns to her friends to see how they feel about it.

Asami's answer is “I think it wouldn't be a bad idea. After all, we will spend some weeks or month in Ba Sing Se."

Toph's answer is a shrug.

Azula's answer is "I don't care as long as they don't get in our way."

Ty Lee’s answer is a squeal as she takes two of the Kyoshi Warriors in her arms in a tight hug and cheers "The more the better!"

Korra turns to Suki with a smile. She thrusts her hand out "It looks like everyone agrees."

Suki smiles, she grasps Korra's hand and gives her an entirely hearty shake.

——————————————————————

After Appa woke up, they took off with their new companion, the Kyoshi Warriors.

Korra and Ty Lee got along well with the Kyoshi Warriors straight away. Asami and Toph found it exciting to learn that the Kyoshi Warriors are all female warriors. Azula, on the other hand, doesn't like the way they looks at her girlfriend. She even sat next to Korra, on the bisons head, and held onto her right arm. She turns to the slightly furiously pissed of Warriors and gave them a smug grin, as if to say, she is mine.

The Kyoshi Warriors were delighted with their companions. Not only are they all on their way to overthrow the Fire Lord. No, they freed the Waterbender slaves and destroyed the Fire Nation plans. But what was best for them, was to learn that they have loads of books on Avatar Kyoshi that are unknown to them until now. Korra was kind enough to give them the books. Aside from the books and the friendliness of Korra, the Kyoshi Warriors were also delighted with the vehicle that Asami built. Asami told them everything that they need to know about it.

They exchanged a few words here and there until Ty Lee shared an important thought. "You know, we absolutely need a group name." At the questioning looks from everyone present, she explains, "You already know so that we can identify ourselves."

All present shrugged. Asami asks "Do you have already a name for us?"

Ty Lee thinks about it for a moment, until a idea comes on, and she announces enthusiastically "We are the Krew!"

Her friends all agreed.

One of the Kyoshi Warriors says "You can call yourselves what you want, we remain the Kyoshi Warriors."

Ty Lee shrugged "I can live with that."

Azula says from her position "Folks, we'll be in Ba Sing Se in a few minutes."

The Krew and the Kyoshi Warriors stare forward to see them slowly approach a huge city with a gigantic wall.

Asami took a telescope out of her bag and took a closer look at the wall. She saw loads of guards patrolling. Some of them had telescopes like her. She asks Azula and Korra "You talked earlier about a plan that would allow us to enter the city unseen."

Korra smiles. She gave the reins to Azula and stood up. She went to the center of the saddle and took a Waterbender position.

Both the Kyoshi Warriors and the Krew were amazed at Korra’s position.

Korra said nothing when she started making large circular motions around her body. Korra is getting faster and faster, she ran all over the saddle while in her Waterbender position.

Toph notices that while Korra is doing her Waterbender stance, the clouds are slowly approaching around the bison.

Asami noticed it too. It is now clear to her what Korra is up to, she says excitedly “You cover us with clouds. You’re a genius!"

Korra smiles as she continues to bend the clouds around the bison. She says, "I noticed that the clouds are made of water, so I thought we could hide in a cloud to get into town unnoticed." Appa was almost completely enveloped.

The Kyoshi Warriors were enthusiastic about Korra’s idea and action. Suki says "You're doing great."

Korra says "The hard part is yet to come."

Suki raised a brow and asks "What would that be?"

Korra gave a toothy smile "You have to look for a place where we can land unnoticed and hide."

The Kyoshi Warriors and the Krew exchange a look until each of the Kyoshi Warriors takes their own telescope out of their Battle garb and takes a closer look at the city to find a suitable location. Asami also started looking for a suitable place too. Azula, Toph and Ty Lee did not take part in the search, As Azula is holding the reins in her hands. And because Ty Lee doesn't have a telescope. And because Toph doesn't have a telescope either, and because she's afraid of heights and can't look down.

They were now completely covered in a cloud. They flew over the city unnoticed.

Asami and the Kyoshi Warriors hawked out for the perfect hiding place.

A few minutes passed before Asami gave the telescope to Azula and announced "I have found the perfect place." She points with a finger down and says "Do you see the abandoned warehouse down there?"

The Kyoshi Warriors and Azula use the telescopes to search for the warehouse. When Azula found it, she said after closer inspection, “This is the ideal hiding place for all of us. And I think that the bison can also fit in without any problems."

Azula directs the bison to the abandoned warehouse, while Korra continues to provide their cover.

Appa lands as gently as possible behind the warehouse, luckily there was a fence behind the warehouse to land there unseen. Only now did Korra stop bending the clouds. The clouds cleared and they all got off the saddles and jumped to the ground.

They went to the huge gates, from the warehouse. Two of the Kyoshi Warriors open the gates for everyone to enter.

They all went through the gates, including Appa.

They all looked around the warehouse and were shocked to find out that the warehouse was dilapidated and filthy. There were cobwebs everywhere, clouds of dust, rusted pipes and broken windows.

One of the Kyoshi Warriors says, “No wonder the warehouse is deserted. That is a dump."

Korra shrugged “I know worse. We can at least hide here until we find the Airbender, then we'll see."

Asami says while taking a closer look at the warehouse, “You know, it's not that bad here. I could start building the stolen blueprints from the Fire Nation here."

Suki asks "What plans."

Asami pulls out the blueprints and shows them “These are blueprints for a flying ship. I wanted to build some prototypes before we go to the Earth King."

Azula rubbed her chin “That's not a bad idea at all. What kind of materials do you need for this?"

Asami counts on "fabrics, ropes and lots of metal."

Azula nodded "Ok we will get that as soon as possible."

Asami gave a gentle smile. She turns to Toph to ask if she could help her with the Satomobile. Toph nodded and helped get the car off the bison.

While everyone is somehow busy, Korra notices that something is hanging at the entrance gate. She went over and saw a note. She tore it off and started reading it. After reading it, she went to Asami and showed it to her.

Asami took the slip of paper and reads out loud “Warehouse for sale, in good shape. As clean as the first day. For sale immediately for 500 pieces of silver. If you’re interested go the address on the backside" Asami turns the note and saw the address.

Toph rolls her eyes "This piece of paper tells nothing but lies."

Asami thinks about the offer and says “We should buy this warehouse.” Before anyone could say anything, she says “But not for this price. I'm going to renegotiate the price."

Suki asks "Why do you want to buy it?"

Azula caught the question up and says “I understand why. So that we can stay undisturbed here without having to fear that the owner might show up."

"And so that I can build our devices here in peace." Added Asami.

One of the Kyoshi Warriors asks "Do you have enough money with you to buy it?"

Asami, Azula, Toph and Ty Lee get out of their bags all the money they still have. Korra didn't have any money with her as she pretended to be a slave all the way through the journey. There was now a mountain of gold and silver pieces before them.

The Kyoshi Warriors' eyes widen at the sight of all the money in front of them.

Asami started counting the money.

Suki asks "Where did you get all that money from?"

Azula thinks about how they got the money. “Let me think for a moment. In any case, I had tricked my father so, that he handed me 200 gold pieces."

Toph says, “I had sold my old dress for 40 pieces of silver. And won 50 pieces of silver in an earthbending competition."

Ty Lee says with a smile, “I got a decent severance payment from the circus. That were about 150 pieces of silver."

Asami says, as she continues to count, “I stole all the money from my father's office after we locked him up and his men’s. That was 500 gold and 750 silver pieces."

Azula puts a hand on Korra’s shoulder. “Don't forget all the money Korra won in taverns and bars in arm wrestling. I don't have the total amount in my head, but she won a lot. So much that we hardly had to spend any of our money.” Korra blushed when Azula praised her.

Asami finished counting the money "We still have exactly 750 gold and 1000 silver pieces, despite our expenses for our journey."

The Kyoshi Warriors stare at the mountain of gold and silver light greedy.

Suki says "This is more than enough to buy the warehouse."

Asami shakes her head slightly. "I will try to lower the price for the warehouse, but unfortunately we will probably need more money so that I can build the prototypes."

Korra says with a smile, "We can sort that out another time, now we're in Ba Sing Se, so let's relax a little before we get down to work."

They all agreed.

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The rest of the day, the Kyoshi Warriors went to see the city without make-up and collected a map of the city as well as some important informations.

The Krew and Kyoshi Warriors have gathered around a campfire in the warehouse, only Korra was absent as she is busy feeding the bison.

Suki says, “Here's what we found out. There is a group called Dai Li, led by the king's advisers, his name is Long Feng. He manipulates the people from Ba Sing Se into claiming that there is no war outside the wall. As much as we've found out, he's pulling the strings behind the king." She lets the info seep in until she goes on to say, "We think we have to somehow shut down Long Feng to get to the Earth King."

The Krew minus Korra thinks about the best way to get to the King for a moment.

Korra joined the group at the campfire. She asks "How did you get all the informations?"

Suki has a serious look “We are trained warriors. We can fight, steal and spy." She now have a width toothy smile "I think we can get some information."

Ty Lee smiles. "I would definitely say so."

Azula rubbed her chin, she thinks about it for a moment. She asks "Do you know where the Dai lis hideout is?"

Suki shook her head "We don't know the exact whereabouts, but we could try to catch one of the Dai Li agents."

Azula ponders for a moment. An idea came to her: "We definitely need one living."

Toph asks "Do you want one of them to take you to Long Feng."

Azula smiles darkly. “I have a completely different thought. I'll discuss it with you as soon as we have a Dai Li agent in our power."

Everyone present was satisfied with Azula's answer.

Asami says “We should be very discreet. And don't attract too much unnecessary attention."

Toph asks, a little too tense, "Does it mean Korra can finally take off her damn collar?"

The Krew members and Kyoshi Warriors stare tensely at Azula. The suggestion that Korra takes off her collar was not made for the first time, but each time, they made the suggestion, there were concerns raised by Azula. But now that they are in Ba Sing Se, the case could be very different.

“I think she should keep it on. I think it would be better that we keep the cover up, at least until we have more informations about the Dai Lis and the Earth King." Says Azula slightly ashamed.

The Kyoshi Warriors wanted to intervene, after all they don't want their beloved Avatar to continue pretending to be a slave. But before either of them could say anything, Korra says with a friendly smile, “It's okay, I trust you Azula. I'll keep it on."

Korra smiles outwardly, but inwardly she was a little downcast. Nobody would be happier than she if she could finally take off her collar.

Ty Lee wanted to soften the situation a bit, so she suggests, “I think it's time to go to sleep. After all, it's late in the night."

It was getting really late and everyone was getting tired. They all agreed to go to sleep. They all got into their respective sleeping bags and began to fall asleep one by one.

Some time passed and everyone was fast asleep except for Azula. She couldn't sleep because she was lost in thought. She sat down and looked at all of her companions. She saw Asami and Ty Lee sleeping side by side. She saw Toph, almost sleeping in a sitting position on Appa, who in turn was curled up and fast asleep. She saw the Kyoshi Warriors quietly gather around Korra to lie near her. And then she looked at Korra, who was lying right next to her.

She smiles slightly as she takes a closer look at Korra. She has a carefree smile on it, but Azula knows it's not true.

Azula thinks back to the time when she joyfully received Korra as a slave. How the collar was fastened around her throat without consent. How she kept her on a leash like a dog. And all the scars she's gotten since childhood.

Azula was back on her back. She stares at the ceiling of the warehouse, she whispers to herself "I'll make it up to you sometime."

She lay around for a while until she felt another body snuggling up to her. She looks surprised at the person and saw how Korra has moved up to her and took her in her arms, while still sleeping.

Azula takes a closer look at Korra’s sleeping form and just smiles at the sight. She repositions herself so that Korra lies on top of her so that her upper body is almost completely under Korra’s. Azula can now feel all the warmth that Korra’s body emits. She started to close her eyes as she slowly sank into a peaceful sleep.

Chapter Text

Chapter 18: Meanwhile

Not even a day after Aang and his friends escaped the Fire Temple, Aang became quite restless. The Fire Sage Shyu enabled them all to escape from the temple. But what was worst for him was the fact that Aang couldn’t like Shyu said talk to Avatar Roku. Avatar Roku did not show up, and that’s what Aang bothers right now.

Sokka says from Appa's saddle, “Sit down at last. You will fall off the saddle if you keep fidgeting."

Aang says tense, “I can't do anything else. Roku didn't appear to me and now I don't know what to do."

Katara says, while directing Appa, "Maybe you should take Shyu's advice and start learning the elements." Katara continues to look forward until a thought occurs to her, "How about I try to teach you waterbending? I'm not a master, but I could at least teach you what I know."

Aang was thrilled and accepted Katara's offer. They ended up at the next lake, where Katara started teaching Aang, but no matter what Aang did, he couldn't even create a small wave. After what felt like the thousandth attempt, Aang gave up and let himself fall to the ground.

Aang shouts in frustration, "No matter what I do, I can't bend the water!"

Katara kneels next to Aang, she says supportively “It's okay. It takes a long time to learn an element. Look at me I'm born as a Waterbender and can hardly bend it either."

Aang sat up, "Yes, you are probably right."

The rest of the day ended with Katara stealing a Waterbender scroll from pirates. But the next morning they had to flee from both the pirates and the Fire Nation soldiers.

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The days passed in a flash. They were traveling from one place to another and there was always an incident.

They almost helped a vengeance-driven rebel flood an entire village. Technically, it was flooded, but none of the villagers were killed or injured. They left the rebel frozen to a tree.

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They helped two warring clans to cross a canyon.

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Katara and Sokka almost broke up with Aang because Aang hid the letter from Bato. But in the end they stayed together after escaping from Zuko and a mercenary.

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Aang and his friends came to a fire festival. Aang figured that maybe he should start with the Fire Element, thinking that playing with Fire could be fun. One thing led to another until they had to be rescued from the festival. After being rescued from the Fire Fest, they met the deserter Jeong Jeong, who was the first Firebender to oppose the Fire Nation. Jeong Jeong refused to become Aang's Firebender Master, but after many endless and annoying begs from Aang, he decided to teach him. After endless attempts, Aang still couldn't Firebending. Aang became so frustrated that he punched a strong gust of wind against a campfire, sending sparks and flames flying in Katara's direction, burning her hands. Aang wanted to apologize, but was attacked by Sokka when he witnessed this. Meanwhile, Katara ran away, crying, to the next pond, where she put her hands in the water. So she found out that she has healing powers. The rest of the stay ended with them escaping Admiral Zhao and his soldiers.

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They met people in the northern Air Temple. Aang was initially not thrilled that people had settled in the abandoned temple, but at the end of the day, after they defeated the Fire Nation intruders, it was okay for him that the peoples stay in the temple.

——————————————————————

They were now at the North Pole, they met the Waterbender Master Pakku. He has agreed to teach Aang, but not Katara. Katara was not pleased and challenges Pakku to a fight. After the fight, they learned that Pakku was the former fiance of their grandmother. One thing led to another, in the end Pakku agreed to teach Katara.

It turns out that with the right instructions, Katara is a quick learner. She managed to beat Pakku's best students within a week, and was declared as a Waterbender Master herself. Aang, however, couldn't even bend water with the instructions of a Waterbender Master. With every Waterbender fight with one of the students, Aang always landed face first in the snow.

Sokka, in contrast to his sister and Aang, has come closer to the northern Water Tribe Princess Yue. Although she is engaged to someone else, she likes to be friends with the chaotic Sokka. The evening before her wedding, she met Sokka one last time on the bridge and kissed him on the full moon night. Because they both know that it will not be possible for them to see each other any longer. The next day she pulled through the wedding to make her father and her Tribe proud. Sokka stayed and watched in silence.

It was another week before the group decided to leave the North Pole. Several ships accompanied them, as the residents of the North Pole felt it was time to help their sister Tribe. During the departure, Sokka looked with sad eyes at the ever-shrinking North Pole to at least try to see his beloved Yue, who said goodbye to him from the harbor, but unfortunately he could no longer see her due to the distance.

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A few days later they returned to the city of Omashu, which was overrun by the Fire Nation. However, they helped the townspeople to escape the city. They almost managed to free King Bumi by accidentally kidnapping the governor's one-year-old son.

When they were handed over, however, they were lured into a trap by a black-haired girl named Mai. Aang jumped behind Bumi, which ended up getting them both onto a slide, they were followed by all Fire Nation guards. Sokka ran away with the baby to get Appa. Katara, however, stayed behind to fight Mai alone.

Mai threw knife after knife in Katara's direction, but Katara blocked every knife with her newly learned waterbending techniques.

As she throws three more knives, Mai says, "Just so you know, you're not the first Waterbender girl I throw knives at."

Katara parried all knives. Her come back was "Let me guess, she kicked you in the butt."

Mai smiles sadistically as she thinks back from Korra’s suffering "No, I trowed a knife in her shoulder." Katara was shocked to hear that. She was so shocked that she almost got brushed by a knife. Mai added "Her screams of pain and tears were the best part."

Katara got angry, she always hated that people from her tribe are treated worse than others, but hearing that made her angrier than she usually is.

Instead of continuing to evade, Katara attacked. She fires water bullet after the other at May. The water bullets flew so quickly towards May that she could hardly avoid them. Instead of firing more water bullets, Katara fires ice spears at Mai.

Mai‘s eyes widen as the ice spears approach her. There was no way she could evade it. She closed her eyes as the ice spears draw closer. The ice spears penetrate her clothes and the wall behind her. Mai expected the worst when she slowly opens her eyes, but not that she is hanging on the wall because of the ice spears.

Katara is slowly approaching Mai. She stood a step in front of her. Katara says very calmly “You are a pathetic figure. Risking a baby's life only to trap us. I hope for you that the governor doesn't want your head for it."

Mai smiles slyly "Why should he want the head of his own daughter?"

Katara took a step back in shock. "You risked your baby brother's life?! How can you be so cruel?"

Mai laughs slightly crazy. “I've already done a lot worse things in my life.” She smiles darkly as she says “For example, years ago when I was just nine years old, I threw knives at an eight-year-old girl. And that was one of the persons of your tribe, and when she was patched together I gave her a good beating." While Katara looked at Mai in shock, Mai said, looking a little closer at Katara, "If I think about it now, she looked almost exactly like you." Mai shrugged "But it's probably because you all look the same to me."

Katara was angry and speechless, she clenched her fists and teeth’s. In a voice suppressed by anger, she asks "How can you be so cruel?"

Mai shrugged "I was probably bored at the time."

Katara's fists shake slightly. In her life she has met a lot of mad people, like the one rebel. But she has never seen anyone knowingly and without scruples torment a child. While Katara falls into a tumult, Mai laughs like a madman.

While Mai continues to laugh, Sokka and Aang come back to Katara. The two boys don't know what's going on. They exchange a look until Sokka says to Katara "I think you broke her."

Katara shakes her head slightly. She says in a calm voice “No, I didn't broke her.” Katara stares at Mai, who has stopped laughing. Without warning, Katara sucker punched Mai‘s right cheek. She hit her so hard that Mai was knocked out immediately. Although her body went limp, she is still hanging on the wall. Katara turns to the boys and says "Now I've broken her." She angrily passed the boys.

Aang and Sokka exchange a look. They don't know what just happened when they were gone, or what the girl told Katara to make her angry. They shrugged and followed her.

Late in the evening, Aang broke into the governor's house to deliver his baby son and disappeared before anyone could see him.

While the governor and his wife hugged their son again, they didn’t notice that their daughter was packing some stuffs. She planned to hunt down the Avatar, even if it was the last what she was doing.

——————————————————————

They fell over a swamp, through a storm that caused the friends to separate.

Katara walked through the swamp alone to look for her friends. Katara was starting to get frustrated that she hadn't even found Appa, even though he's so huge.

Katara stopped abruptly, she saw something far away. As she got closer she noticed that it was a woman with a strange leaf outfit. She shouts, “Sorry ma'am, I think I'm lost here. Could you maybe help me?"

The woman in front of her slowly turns to Katara. When Katara saw her face, she couldn't believe her eyes. She had tears of joy on her face as she ran like a lightning bolt to the woman, she tackled her with a hug and screamed “Mom! You are alive!"

The woman in Katara's arms no longer understands the world. When Katara got off the woman, the woman narrowed her eyes to get a better look at Katara.

The woman inspects the girl in front of her and hesitantly asks "K-Korra is that you?"

Katara raised a brow, she didn't understand what was going on. She says "No mom, it's me Katara."

The woman repeats "Ka... Katara?" Katara nodded. The woman thinks, 'The name, the eyes, can it really be her?' The woman asks, “Do you have a brother named Sokka? And is your father's name Hakoda?” The woman knows it's too far-fetched, but she has to test her theory.

Katara beamed. She smiles but keeps crying "Yes mom, these are their names."

After she has the confirmation, the woman finds it very difficult to burst the girl's soap bubble. With a heavy heart she says "I'm sorry, but I'm not your mother."

Katara didn't understand why the woman in front of her should say something like that, after all she looks exactly like her mother and she knows the names of her brother and father.

Before Katara could say anything, the woman took Katara's hands and said "My name is Senna and I am not your mother Kya."

Katara sobbed, she got almost no sound. Through all the sadness she is feeling, she asks, barely understandable, "B-but ... i-if ... you're not ... my m-mother, who a-are you? And h-how ... is it ... p-possible, t-that you k-know all our ... names?"

Senna smiles softly that Katara strongly reminds of her mother's smile. She says in a calm tone, "I know all your names because I am your mother's sister." Katara's eyes widen. Senna closed her eyes and smiled "I'm your aunt Senna."

Katara got up, she doesn't know whether to trust the woman in front of her or not. On the one hand she bears a strong resemblance to her mother and knows all their names, on the other hand she discovered the woman in a swamp.

Katara asks as Senna straightens up "If you really are my aunt, what are you doing here in a swamp?"

Senna sighs, she was expecting this question, but she was uncomfortable talking about it. She answered Katara's question with a counter-question "Do you know that the Waterbenders from the South Pole were kidnapped from time to time by the Fire Nation?" Katara nodded sadly. Senna continued “I'm one of those Waterbenders who have been kidnapped and enslaved. To be precise, I was kidnapped on the day you were born."

Tears came out of Katara's eyes even faster. She knows that the Fire Nation kidnapped a lot of people from her tribe, but she never would have thought that they kidnapped her own aunt too, especially not on the day she was born.

Senna notices the restlessness in Katara's body. Senna approaches Katara and took her in a motherly hug. Katara lost herself in the embrace.

After what felt like an eternity, they released the hug. Senna asks as she wipes away the tears from Kataras eyes with her thumbs "Are you feeling better?"

Katara felt a lot better from the hug, but since she didn't trust her own voice she just nodded.

Senna took out a flask and hands it to Katara, she says "Drink, then you'll feel much better."

Katara doesn't really know what's inside, but she drank the liquid. She immediately notices that it is water, but not normal water, it had a slightly sweet note. When Katara took a sip, she felt really good. She asks “I feel like I was reborn. What was in there?"

Senna says when she got her flask back “This is water that is secreted from the spirit tree. The water from the tree has special properties."

Katara nodded, she immediately believes Senna's statement, after all, she was feeling much better as she drank it.

Senna says “You told me earlier that you were lost. Where do you want to go?"

When she remembered, Katara says, “I'm looking for my brother Sokka, our friend Aang, and our animals Appa and Momo. Have you maybe seen them?"

Senna shook her head. “I haven't seen them, but I know some people’s who could help us. Follow me.” said Senna as she started to walk a passt Katara. Katara follows her.

While they were walking Katara wanted to know one more question "Can you answer another question for me?" Senna nodded while they continued "You called me earlier Ko..."

"AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!"

But before Katara could finish her question, she heard a loud scream that Katara recognized immediately. She screams as she runs in the direction of the scream "That was Sokka! We have to help him!"

Senna ran after her without asking.

——————————————————————

It didn't take long for Katara to get to a large clearing. There was also Aang who was trying to free Sokka from an algae monster.

Katara wasted no time and attacked the monster with a water whip.

The monster was hit in the head, but didn't seem to mind.

Aang turns to Katara, he asks surprised "Where have you been?"

Katara says "It's a long story." She turns to the monster. "Let's free Sokka first."

Before the Monster or Aang and Katara could do anything, huge ice spikes appeared between the two parties.

The three turn to the person who is blocking their way.

Katara sees Senna slowly walking towards the monster.

Katara panicked and shouted “Aunt Senna! Stay away from the monster!"

However, Senna did not listen to Katara and was now standing directly in front of the monster. She puts her hands on her hips. She glared at the monster and says "Huu you will let my nephew down immediately."

Aang, Katara and Sokka, from his position, were speechless.

The monster makes a gesture as if to say, ’but he started it‘.

Senna narrowed her eyes on the monster “Don't make me pull your ears. You know I would do that."

After Senna's threat, the monster immediately let go of Sokka, whereupon Sokka fell roughly in the swamp water. Sokka got some swamp water in his mouth, he spits it out with disgust. He stumbled as he ran to his sister and Aang.

Sokka asks startled "Who is the lady?!"

Aang stares at the woman in amazement as she continues to discipline the monster. He says in admiration, "I have no idea."

Katara was amazed how easy it is for Senna to appease a monster.

The monster huddles a little when Senna tells him "What are you waiting for, Huu?Take off your stupid algae disguise."

As if on command, all the algae fell off the Monster. The three were surprised that the monster is not a monster, but a half-naked man.

Senna grabbed the man's ear a little too harsh and dragged him after her to the three. The man had the whole way, a pained expression on his face. She stopped in front of them, still with her hand on the man's ear. As she pulls his ear down, she says, "I'm really sorry, but Huu here hates it when someone disrespects the swamp." She turns to Huu, "What do you say when you scare someone to death?"

Huu says, with a painful expression, "I'm very sorry."

Senna let go of his ear and smiles at the group.

Sokka was the first to ask "Who are you?"

Katara smiles as she happily announces "Aang, Sokka, may I introduce you, this is Senna, our aunt."

At the shocked expressions on Aang and Sokka's faces, Senna says to Katara "Maybe we should explain everything to them when we are at our camp."

Katara nodded and goes after Senna. Aang and Sokka were stiff for a few seconds but ran after Katara and Senna.

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A few minutes later they arrived at the camp.

During their walk through the swamp, Senna and Katara told the two boys everything that Katara had been through with Senna earlier. Then Huu explained to them how it works in the swamp, something like don’t mess with the nature.

When they arrived at the camp they arrived at the same time as a group of hunters led by Senna's husband Tonraq and it looks like they made a huge catch.

Aangs, Kataras and Sokka's eyes widen at the catch. The catches are Appa and Momo.

After making it clear, Tonraq and his hunters released the animals.

In the evening the three and the tribe gathered around a campfire and ate that evening.

Sokka was just about to tell how he saw Yue in the swamp, what can’t be possible, there she is currently in the North Pole and married to another man.

After Sokka was through with his story, Aang told the story of his strange encounter in the swamp. Aang says “I saw a girl in the swamp. At first I thought it was Katara, but the girl was much taller and was accompanied by a huge, glowing kite being."

Huu explains: "In the swamp, we see visions of people we've loved folks we think are gone. But the swamp tells us they're not. We're still connected to them. Time is an illusion and so is death."

Aang says "But I never meet the girl."

Senna says “Probably then it is someone you will meet soon. After all, time is an illusion, according to the swamp."

Sokka says “Another topic. If I got it right, you are part of the Tribe from the South Pole. What I would like to know is how did you end up in this swamp.“

Tonraq relates "About a month or more ago, we were all prisoners in a slave compound ..."

Before Tonraq went on, Katara interrupted, shocked, "YOU WERE SLAVES?!"

Senna puts a hand on Katara's shoulder to calm her down. She says in a gentle tone, “It's behind us. We're trying to forget it and look forward."

Katara calms down slightly. She asks barely audibly "How did you all escape."

Senna smiles "Believe it or not, but part of us was initially freed from both the director's daughter and some Firebenders."

Sokka asks unbelievable "You were saved by the Firebenders?"

Tonraq nodded “Yes, but initially only part of us. The rest were released a month ago."

Katara wants to know more and asks "How?"

Senna smiles and replies so that her nephew and niece have a reason to celebrate "We were saved by your sister's plan."

Katara and Sokka raised their brows, they just don't understand what their aunt means by that, so Katara asks to be on the safe side, “What do you mean by sister? We don't have a sister. Or do we?"

Senna was dumbfounded, she asks “Did your parents never tell you about your sister?” Senna was absolutely certain that her sister and brother-in-law would have mentioned Korra at least once.

Katara and Sokka shake their heads slightly shocked.

Senna stares sadly at the fire. She has now realized that their parents did the same thing that she and Tonraq did with Korra. Senna sighs, since it's already out, she can tell them the rest right away. “Your sister was kidnapped together with me.” At the pale expressions on Katara and Sokka's faces, she says with a heavy heart “She was only a few months old.” The siblings pupils shrink from shock. Senna continued “She grew up as a slave just like most of the children’s here, but she has definitely been through more than any of us as she was the directors favorite victim. When she was eight years old, she was given as a gift to the daughter of the Fire Lord. Where she lived as a slave until recently."

Since Katara and Sokka couldn't get a word out of their grief, Aang asks for them "If she lived in the palace of the Fire Lord, how did she escape?"

Senna had a proud smile, she says "She just walked out of the palace with the Fire Lord's daughter."

Sokka beamed "She took the Fire Lord's daughter as a hostage?!"

Senna and Tonraq laughed at the naivete of their nephews. Senna says when she stops laughing, “No, she made friends with his daughter at an early age. At some point, his daughter decided to stand against her father and her own Nation. They came to the slave compound over a month ago to free all slaves. That's when they joined the director's daughter. Your sister had an ingenious plan with which we could free all the Waterbenders and lock up the director and his men’s. Your sister, the Fire Lord's daughter, and the Director's daughter have worked with the Waterbenders and Firebernders to carry out their plan. On the day we came out of the compound we traveled with all the freed waterbenders to this swamp to live in peace. At least until after the war, as most of us want to go back to the South Pole as soon as the war is over."

Katara and Sokka had tears in their eyes, but they couldn't tell whether they were tears of joy or not. Even Aang came to tears after hearing this incredible story.

Sokka says, wiping away his tears, "It looks like the courage is in our family inherited."

Tonraq laughs "You have no idea!"

Sokka turns to Aang and says "After all, we now know now that not everyone in the Fire Lord's family is a crazy madman."

Aang nodded.

Senna says with a slight smile "Yes, your sister has always had a talent for making friends with almost everyone."

Although Katara has tears in her eyes, she smiles. “I would like to meet our sister. Where is she? Is she here?“ Asks Katara while looking at the whole camp.

Senna smiles gently. She shakes her head slightly. "Your sister, along with the Fire Nations Princess and the daughter of the director, set off to find a way to somehow end the war."

Katara stares sadly into the fire. Sokka, on the other hand, really wanted to know one thing, he asks with sadness in his eyes "What's her name?"

Senna smiles happily. "Her name is Korra."

Katara's eyes widened when she realized something. She asks her aunt "Korra is the name you called me, when we met."

Senna nodded “Yes, that's right. You look almost like your sister. You have the same eyes. Apart from the fact that she is a little bigger than you.” Sokka giggled, when he heard the word “bigger”. Katara narrowed her eyes, she punched her brother on the shoulder. Senna smiles at the behavior and says to her nephew, "By the way, she is bigger than you too." Sokka gaped at this fact while Katara laughs at him.

Katara stares at the floor with a gentle smile, she says "Hopefully we'll get to know her someday." Sokka puts a supportive hand on his sister's shoulder. They both smile at each other. They were then taken into a family hug by their aunt and uncle without warning. Katara and Sokka feel safe in their arms.

Aang could not have a say in this conversation between his friends and their aunt and uncle because he did not want to interrupt them. But one thing went through his head throughout the story, 'Is it possible that I saw her in the swamp? And if it is her, what was this glowing kite being?‘

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The next morning, just before the group was about to leave, Katara got a full flask of water from the spirit tree from her aunt. And an ampoule with a gel that is used for healing. Katara gratefully accepted the gifts.

Katara and Sokka were hugged one more time by their aunt and uncle.

As they flew away, leaving the swamp, Katara and Sokka stare with sadness in their eyes at the ever-shrinking swamp.

Aang says from Appa's head “We can turn back if you want to be with your family.” He takes a deep breath and says with a heavy heart “If you want to stay with them, I will travel on alone.”

Katara shakes her head slightly as she turns away from the swamp. "That won't be necessary. You heard our aunt, they all want to come back home as soon as the war is over. Besides, you heard her, we have a sister who we might even meet somewhere on our journey.“ Katara leans against the saddle. She imagines what it would be like to meet her sister.

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The group was now in a village full of peoples that hate the Avatar with all their hearts. Aang didn't want to let it sit on him and raised his voice against the village, whereupon he went straight to the court. Katara and Sokka did everything in their power to help Aang, but unfortunately without success. At the judgment, Aang should be boiled in simmering oil. Fortunately, the village was attacked by a gang that calls themselves the Komodo Rhinos, whereupon Aang's judgment was changed to "Social Service". After Aang and his friends saved the village, they were hailed as heroes and given unbaked cake batter. They ate it in disgust.

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They arrived in a town called Gaoling, where they are looking for an earthbending teacher for Aang. He went to a school that didn't really help him. , but Katara squeezed out two eartbending students, for the whereabouts of where an earthbending competition was taking place. They didn't really find a suitable teacher at the competition, at least Sokka had a good time there.

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At the Misty Palm Oasis, the three met a professor who was looking for a huge desert library. They joined in his search to find information in the library on how Aang could learn the elements and how best to end the war. Sokka found a way to bring the Fire Nation to its knees, but it also triggered the wrath of the owl, who made the whole library sink into the sand out of anger. The three narrowly escaped the library, but without the professor, as he wanted to go under with the library for some reason. When they escaped from the library, they realized that Appa was gone.

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After doing some research, Sokka realized that Appa was kidnapped by the Sandbenders. That made Aang very angry. So much so that he left his friends behind to look for him with his glider. While Aang was gone, Sokka and Momo got very foggy after drinking some cactus juice. Katara tries to keep her head clear, which is very difficult when one of her friends only feels anger while her brother and Lemur dance around drunken.

When Aang came back, they walked the desert for hours, but to them it feels like they are spinning in circles. It was already evening and Katara wanted to persuade her friends to go on until, out of nowhere, a sand-sailor lands in front of them from the sky. They asked no questions and immediately pulled the sand-sailor out of the sand and sailed with it through the desert.

They arrived in the morning at a huge rock where they had to defend themselves from huge insects. Afterwards Sandbenders appeared, who as it turned out, kidnapped Appa. Aang got so angry that he destroyed one sand-sailor after the other. He almost caused a hurricane if Katara hadn't calmed him down.

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The Sandbenders brought the three safely through the desert, whereupon they relax at a water hole. They then went with a small family to take a ferry to Ba Sing Se. They met Suki again at the drop-off point. They all planned to sail with the ferry together, but none of them had an ID and the IDs of the small family were stolen. So they all had to go through the serpent pass.

By the time they got to the serpent pass, Katara had formed an ice bridge to get everyone across safely. However, when they were only halfway through, they were attacked by a giant sea serpent. While Katara and Aang battled the sea serpent, the rest of their group had to swim the rest of the waterway. Suki had to help the pregnant woman to swim over.

When Katara and Aang got to the shore, the woman went into labor. Katara was quick to respond and gave orders on how best to help her bring the baby into the world. With Katara's help, the woman managed to bring the baby into the world unscathed. At the sight of the baby her parents named her Hope, Aang suddenly changed his whole bad mood.

Suki left the group to go back to her Kyoshi Warriors while the rest of the group continued towards Ba Sing Se.

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Once in the City, Aang Katara, Sokka and Momo were immediately picked up by a female tour guide named Joo Dee. She explained to them how it works in the city. She took the group to their new home, which would easily accommodate twenty people. Since the group didn't want to rest yet, they wanted to look for Appa in the City. Joo Dee has agreed to lead them. At the end of the day, they weren't a bit smarter, and with Joo Dee on their heels, they couldn't really question the peoples either.

At the end of the day, while they were in Ba Sing Se, they decided to do the best and take a closer look at the city.

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On their second day in Ba Sing Se, the three disguised themselves as waiters to infiltrate a party for the Kings pet bear. Before they could speak to the King they were forcefully lead by the Dai Li‘s to the Kings advisor, who was hitting slightly on Katara, what angered both Aang and Sokka and disgusted Katara. The advisor Long Fend spoke to them, as if there were no war outside the walls.

Lastly were lead back to their house by a new Joo Dee. In their all of them had just one question “Who can help them in this city?“