Mako looked at the right side of the motorcycle's mirror and picked up his hair one last time. He excitedly walked to the side of the princess’s car, impatiently waited for the her.
With the opening of the outdoor, Mako unwittingly pried the princess with her aloof but captivating look, agitating nonnegligible demand attention on herself that she'd probably gotten used to.
Their eyes met. Senna felt pleasant to see him yet achieved not spoil her stiff face and showed no emotion but just put a slight smile on her face. As attracted, Mako struggled to look normal. He quickly opened the Sato Mobile's door for her, stated his greeting.
"Good morning, Your Highness."
Senna looked at him before getting into the vehicle with the same smile.
"Good morning...It's good to have you back, detective." She softly patted his shoulder.
The car first stopped at the city hall. Senna interviewed with the president one last time due to her request but, had to reject her again in the end since she tried to convince her again about the funds again.
Then the car arrived at one of the restaurants in Fire Nation District.
With Mako following her, she approached the table where King Wu was already sitting and drinking his cocktail. Mako remembered the conversation at the festival between them. He withdrew one step back to watch his reaction secretly grinning. Wu formally stood up by buttoning up his suit to greet the princess.
"Princess-Hah! You!" He was stupefied with wide-open eyes. Senna smiled in joy.
"It's good to see you again." Wu suddenly noticed Mako.
"Mako, tell me I'm dreaming and she is not the Princess." Mako shook his head still grinning. Wu rapidly turned her began talking, protecting the shock on his face. Risen brows, open mouth and eyes.
"But you told me-and yesterday you didn't come?" Senna apologized and explained the reason implicitly, glancing at Mako who instantly blushed.
Getting over the shock, Wu held her hand and softly left a kiss on it. After everything she had said about herself, he had been preparing himself for this meeting without knowing he was already beaten.
They sat around the table. Senna ordered Mako to wait outside. He attempted to object, but she didn't let him and just reminded the rules from the first day and strictly ordered him again. With her frigid voice, Mako grumpily stepped back. Now she was like exactly in their first day.
Ordering their food, Senna coughed to start up this well-planned conversation, now making a contact with his eyes.
"King Wu, today I called you here because I want to end the conflict left by your aunt..." Wu looked at her confused.
"Conflict?" She wasn't surprised, due to the information she gathered about him, began recounting.
"My grandfather Lord Zuko and Avatar Aang made a deal with your aunt's father for purchasing the Republic City lands. However, ever since your aunt became the queen, she had always accused them to steal from the Earth Kingdom, plotted about my nation, and even once attempted to have me and my mother killed in Ba Sing Se."
Wu desperately stated his sorrow and apologized with a down face, as now their meals were served. Senna waited for the waiter’s leaving to answer. Then, she patted his shoulder with an intimate smile.
"Please don't. I won't judge you or your people due to her actions all in the past. Me as the next Fire Lord and representative of the current Fire Lord here, I wish to have great relations with the Earth King and between our people from now on and in the future."
"It would be an honor, Princess." Wu gladly stated after her appeasing voice. For him, this meeting turned out to have unexpected topics that his heart filled full of hope for future events.
As seeing the happiness on his face, Senna, feeling her triumph, rose her glass to make a toast.
"For the greatest future." Wu joined her with repetition of her byword.
During the rest of the meeting, Senna showed him well-written papers suggesting what could be done and discussed items one by one with him.
In the end, with stating their farewells and hopes to meet again on better occasions, Senna took out the files and walked away giving one last smile at him.
Leaning to the inner door Mako was waiting for her with crossed arms observing the whole interview away. He tried to figure out what was being talked about, but giving up on this vain effort shortly, he just observed them. He made of that the princess's movements were just like the Fire Lord Izumi, from his first encountering (the emergency meeting for defeating Kuvira): Intimate but also frigid knowing what she was doing.
She was born to be the Fire Lord.
Viewing Mako at the door, Senna rolled her eyes for his wayward nature, calmly passed him without saying a word. Mako moved to pursue but stopped by Wu now asking questions about the princess in sequence. Mako deliberately gave him simple evasive answers and shortly achieved to escape from him. He went outside, saw the princess at the end of the stairs looking around.
"I guess your little chitchat is finally over." She teased him waiting for him to reach her side.
"I'm sorry Your Highness. He just...likes to talk." He excused nervously with bowing. Senna didn't respond. Considering it as a mark Mako moved to open the door, but she held his shoulder, stopped him.
"We're not leaving yet." She calmly stated pulling away her hand. With turning face to her he questioned the reason.
"Because the next meeting is late in the afternoon and I've never been here for almost four years. I wonder what's changed." She excitedly explicated still looking around. “You can leave too but make sure to be here after two hours."
"I'm supposed to not leave your side. I'm coming." Mako answered formally waited for her to object but she just passed over him.
Now, walking beside her with united hands on his back, he hesitated to open up a conversation depending on the rules from the first day. However, he recalled yesterday: their chat in his room. This added encouragement to take action.
"You were really good in there. I gotta say I'm impressed." She looked up at him surprised and answered him with suspicion.
"You didn't even join, How can you say that?"
"I observed you and Wu and depending on what I'd read about the charities and your doings for your people or with them, I could tell you did a great job." After his explanation, Senna stopped him from arm looking with the same suspicion.
"How do you know about my actions and charities for my nation?" He unwittingly blew himself out that he wished to take it all back. He began to stammer with slightly sweating.
"Uhh...I just-I found out about your actions in Fire Nation, for your people." She rose her brows.
"Did you search for me? For what exactly do I owe this interest on me, detective?" Senna asked cynically with a stiff face curbing herself from giggling.
"No-I mean yes, after learning that you were the princess...I just wondered about you and read some articles." She couldn't hold more and smiled looking down due to contentment. She kept walking without any question that Mako rolled his eyes, easily comprehended he shouldn't have said those.
"You said before you've never been here right?" The Princess asked Mako, after short but torturous silence for him, looking back at him.
He silently nodded, she turned back.
Mako was going to ask the reason if she hadn't run one of the inner streets full of small shops shouting a name. As he followed her quickly, he viewed her and a woman tightly hugging each other with laughing. With Mako’s arrival at their side, the woman, Master Yue, stopped talking, shortly examined him, and shortly after proclaimed briskly walking inside without asking any question about him.
"Tea's on me!"
Senna enthusiastically shouted her with approval and turned Mako. She held his arm with a radiant smile as dragging him in, he couldn't object but only accord.
With unexpected size of the inner place due to the small entrance, the bookshelf, in the left side, took Mako's attention first. It had 3 wide long column full off well-sequenced books. The golden flower chandeliers lighted around not too luminously, making the area commensurately dim. The walls were brown with the same golden flowers on it and the chairs were light red and tables brown again, all placed in particular sequence that he loved the harmony of the place, strangely feeling no foreignness.
A few minutes later after settling, Másteres Yue came back with three cups on a tray, kindly served them one by one with intimate smile. Then she and the princess continued their chatting about numerous topics fulfilling their longings.Senna gave a compassionate glance at Mako already noticing his boredom, she found it normal. Calling his rank, she advised him to stroll around and check the bookshelves if he'd like.
Mako was glad to finally be able to stand up. The chat was about matters he had no idea about or never heard. Even though Mako first tried to listen, it didn't take long for him to bore. He gladly stood up, giving the princess a grateful smile, walked to the bookshelves.
"Just tell it, Yue." Senna calmly gazed at her, asking, after made sure of Mako's secession due to her disturbing glancing at him as taking a sip from her tea.
"He is such an attractive man. I can see your compatible energy with each other, princess."
Senna slightly coughed with this statement, then cynically tittered with red checks. She explicate his situation as her guardian. However, Master Yue kept insisting with blinking an eye. "But such a handsome guardian, right?"
"Hey stop it!" She proclaimed to seem serious.
Másteres Yue's mood suddenly changed. She softly grabbed her hand and inserted it on hers, compassionately made eye contact with her.
"But somehow, sometime you need to marry Princess. You can't always work, join the meetings or fight in the battles. You need to give yourself some time." Senna shrugged and tried to smile to relieve her not turning away eyes.
"I'm happy now and I'm sure when the right time comes, I'll meet the right person." Senna hopelessly said, knowing she probably sensed it too, but Master Yue didn't go forward. She didn't leave her hand yet the tone of her voice changed. Now it was just like in the beginning.
"But you should be hurry princess. Handsome men like him usually have so many women around them."
Másteres Yue took the cups, deliberately left her alone with thoughts, yet Senna didn't want to brood more. Shortly after her, she sneaked into the shelves, and found him within the second and third. She slightly leaned down with crossed arms and watched him.
He had a book in his hands reading the summary written back. His face was changing due to what he was reading. Generally, it was tense, but in some parts, he slightly smiled or rose a brow. He was engrossed in the book that she curiously attempted to see the title secretly, yet she couldn't because it was covered by his fingers. She moved away from the shelf, walked to him.
"Do you like it?" With the sound, Mako slightly jumped, instantly staring beside him. With short eye contact, Mako looked down the book than her again.
"It seems interesting due to the summary." Senna moved to him a few steps closer and finally had the chance to see the title. Having recognized the book, she slightly smiled.
"It was one of the writer Gun Sho's famous books. Do you know him?" He shook his head. Now all his attention was on her.
"He was a fire-bender, pro-bender, before being a writer. His team won six championships in a row. In this book, he tells everything about pro-bending and everything about his life as a pro-bender: daily life, championships, relations, disputes in the team." She recounted distinctly.
"I've been a huge pro-bending fan since reading this at age of fifteen." Mako rose his brows due to shock grinning.
"Really? You don't seem like a woman who goes to the pro-bending matches and cheer to the pro-benders." His voice easily gave away him that he didn't believe her, yet she couldn't blame him.
"Actually I did. Fire Ferrets were my favorite team and there was a great fire bender. His name was..." in the middle of her explanation, Senna suddenly looked up at him. "You can't be that Fire Ferret player Mako right?" She asked with not being able to hide her excitement, kept looking up at him confused with shining eyes. Mako’s hand rested on the side of his neck shyly smiling.
"Uh...Actually, I am."
"Get out of the town!" Senna instantly reacted; that Mako laughed since it was similar to his.
"Why are you so surprised? Don't I look like a pro-bender?" He curiously asked as putting the book in its place.
"No...It's just-I couldn't picture you as a pro-bender. You seem like you were born for being a detective." Senna didn't ponder her answer much and just responded him.
Mako couldn't talk for a moment since the ambiguity of the sentence. Then he put a slight smile on his face,leaning down little to the shelf. He looked right in her ambers, gave his best shot.
"Should I thank you for this compliment or this despising?" She laughed automatically looking down, Mako exalted himself from inside.
"Thanking for the compliment would be better for you." She paused. "How did you start pro-bending anyway?"
Mako shrugged, just told the story in a short, of course not mentioning his workings for the Triple Threats. "It was nothing special. After I got my fire bending I educated myself to protect my little brother but after coming across to the matches, I thought I could make money with it. I was seventeen."
Senna insightfully nodded her head, then addressed some memories of her watching his pro-bending matches and confessed her admiration to his bending style.With this, Mako instantly rose her brows with an open mouth, surprised.
"Really? But I'm sure you know more things about fire-bending than me." Senna approached, put a hand on his shoulder, and, just like before, sensed his accelerating heartbeats with a smile, looking up at him.
"Bending is not just about power. I admired your skills to use it which made you beat the opponent even your power or knowledge might be less than his or hers ." Mako beamed, contented to be praised about his bending by her probably one of the strongest fire-bender. Especially after Kuvira’s attack, he needed this.
After her farewell with Másteres Yue, now walking into the streets, they kept talking about pro-bending, and Mako promised her to take one pro-bending match the next time she came.
"So you're sure that next time I come here I'll see you again?" Senna asked to baffle him with a cynical smile. Mako easily comprehended her intention. Willing to play her game, he answered shortly.
"You said yourself." Her smile widened looked right inside of his eyes.
"But I can change my mind." Mako quickly moved a few steps forward from her and opened his arms with shrewdly smiling.
“I don't think you would want to miss a chance to watch a pro-bending match with your favorite pro-bender." Senna chuckled looking down and ,strangely for her, accepted her defeat without resisting.
The chat between them continued as Senna showing him around, but this time the princess generally turned him and gave pieces of information about Fire Nation. Mako preferred listening to her and saw the shine in her eyes, while she was telling something she liked. Now, the strict mature woman from the meetings turned into a little kid, and Mako just watched and followed her wherever she was taking him with a slight smile.
"You really don't like talking detective, do you?" She softly asked and Mako questioned the reason for her statement.
"Because since leaving the tea shop, I'm the only one who has been talking and you're just nodding your head or say the same things: Oh! Interesting! Really!" She beamingly made his imitation in the last sentence with thickening her voice.
"I'm not talking like that." He objected but softer than general. She burst out laughing.
"Is that really the only part that interested you?" He laughed in diffidence and felt needed to explain himself.
"Okay. I can't say I'm so fond of talking, but now the reason of my silence is that we're in kind of in your territory where you have a great amount of knowledge." Her laughing turned into grinning with a questioning tone.
"So you're saying I have to wait till your time comes."
"Probably...but don't expect too much." Mako lifted his hands till her breast to express him, unintentionally sounding humorous that made her laugh again.
"After this day, don't worry."
That was the only conversation between them, as they were walking to the car. Senna once in her life didn't worry about what she should say or not, against someone. She didn't pretend to be content. She actually was content...content of his chatting.
After the last meeting, now the princess was on the boat approaching the quay of the Air Temple Island to have dinner with Master Tenzin, his family, and the Team Avatar.
Ikki shouting her name with Meelo, ran to the edge of the quay. They greeted the princess with bowing.
"It's an honor to meet you, meet a princess." Ikki stated clapping hands Meelo took her hand and kissed it.
"Princess Senna, I'm Meelo. A natural leader, the best airbender in the world, and her brother." He used a sarcastic tone on emphasizing the last two words that Ikki ignored him.
Senna patted their shoulder beamingly stating her pleasure to meet them. The others came to her side, she all greeted them one by one. Master Tenzin depicted his gratitude to host her here.
"It's a pleasure for me as well. My mum used to tell me so many stories about Team Avatar's children's relations and adventures happened in here." She stated with the same naturally radiant smile on her face since arrival.
Asking about each other with Korra, she was about to go inside with everyone before hearing Bumi's voice howling.
"Where are youuuu, little draaaagon?" Bumi ran to the quay.
"Hereee!" Senna shook her hand. She walked briskly to him, and they enthusiastically hugged each other with Bumi lifting her rotating a few times that Senna couldn't help laughing like a little kid. Bumi landed her down grabbing her shoulders, quickly laying his eyes on her.
"Look at you! The last time I saw you, you were a little girl." With his humorously cutting tone, Senna rolled her eyes yet still smiling at him.
"It was three years ago Bumi. I don't think I was that little." He shook his forefinger in front of her.
"No, no. You were such a peevish teenager but now you're a young lady." Senna automatically beamed at him as him leading her inside with chatting to catch up with each other.
At the dinner table, listening to the conversation about the recent state of the Republic City, Senna was also answering all the questions which Ikki was asking her about being a princess. As sitting next to the princess, Mako unwittingly listened to her conversation with Ikki, admired her resistant patience since he probably couldn't endure that long. With regular glancing at her, he had his meal.
Short after the end of dinner and beginning to drinks, Meelo suddenly shouted Mako's name making everyone jump. "I have some questions for you!" He paused and his eyes shrank. "Math questions." Everyone began laughing except Mako gazing at him, crossed his arms, trying his best to sound cold. However, it was unbelievable.
"You always make me solve them Meelo but they all are your homework." He stated fed-up.
"But I learn better when you solve it. Wait here, officer." Meelo softly objected but without hearing his answer flew away with air ballon.
"I can see you're good at math." Senna stated little approaching to his ear, giggled thanks to their conversation.
"As I told you I love numbers." Meelo came back and sat between them putting forward the papers.
"Would you mind me watching you, Meelo? I'm a little interested in math and maybe I could help." Senna affectionately asked grinning.
"Of course Princess, but I don't think he will be needing your help."
Mako started solving the questions and explaining distinctly to Meelo. He put his greatest effort to choose his words carefully since he was being watched by the princess, and when it came to the last question, Mako couldn't find the answer, he tried again but failed once more. That suddenly changed Meelo's confident-of-him mood.
"Do you see princess? I'm trusting this man considering he is good at math but he can't even solve a simple problem." They laughed together that Mako gazed both sullenly scowling and rapidly turned into the question again. "You forgot to add this one." Senna pointed to one of the numbers in the question. Mako quickly glimpsed at her still pouting and rapidly turned to the question as she kept laughing at him secretly.
"That's it!" He, out of control, raised his voice with a triumphantly ambitious face, made everyone look at him. He shortly expressed the reason with an intimate smile; turning to Meelo, gazing, he harshly gave the papers.
"Next time you ask, I'm sure I'll need some time to consider your request."
Meelo scowled at him pouting as leaving their side. Mako looked up, smiled Senna as thank you shortly responded by her with the same face.
After the dinner, the crew decided to show the princess around the island.
"Actually it looks better in the morning but I hope you like around at night." Korra intimately depicted the princess strolling around as all lined up. Senna kept her stance happy. "Don’t worry. I think It looks kind of exotic.” Shortly Bolin excitedly started to narrate the story of how they had traveled to all the Earth Empire to find air benders to the princess.
Senna carefully listened to him, generally smiling sarcastically as the Queen's general greediness.
"Do you know the queen?" Senna instantly turned to Mako curiously looking at her, not realizing she'd been watched, and shortly explicated their relations.
After the end of the story, all startled to having suddenly faced off with first Meelo and Ikki air-running to them, then Jinora and Kai, slowly walking behind. Except for Senna giggling, all frowned warning them.
"Have you seen a bison princess?" Ikki ignored others and asked to the princess laughing. Senna shook her head with slight sorrow. Meelo coughed, stepping to her like a nobleman. "That's why I came here, beautiful lady to show you and end this tedious conversation." Meelo said looking at Bolin and they stuck their tongues out at each other.
Senna nodded with smiling at him, softly patted his shoulder to make him start moving. With short walking, they reached a human-made nest in the forest full of bisons. She looked all Bisons in their chamber with shock, rose her brows.
"Except Senkaku Island I didn't know there were that much in here." With the princess's obvious amazement, Jinora narrated to her how they'd found them near to the Northern Air Temple and fought with the Earth Kingdom's merchants.
"Would you like to feed them? I can escort you." Meelo asked standing in front of the princess reaching out his hand with slightly bowing.
"Can you assure me that you are trustworthy, air-bender?" She bowed little too, asked with grinning at him.
"Then let's go." She held his hand towards her and together they walked to the bison with the crew following them behind.
Senna first watched Meelo showing her how to feed, then with lettuce she grabbed, she attempted, but the bison suddenly pushed her back, she didn't expect as staggered to the bump. However, her arms was held with two arms, on about to fall. With the warmth Senna felt again, it wasn't too hard to guess who. She stood up with Mako's help and he softly held her hand that Senna first looked down then at him. She felt her increasing heartbeats, yet didn’t felt need to injury.
"Let me help you." Mako directed her to the bison. Both first took some lettuce from the box. Then standing on the opposite sides of the bison, they leaned down together. He first directed her hand to its head and the other one with lettuce to its mouth.
"I did it." She looked at him, radiantly laughed with her eyes shining that Mako was petrified with the beauty so close to him and couldn't help himself responding, but Meelo suddenly came between them.
"They liked you princess." He stated and her answer immediately came.
"I always have good relations with animals." After feeding the bisons a little more, they walked back to the Air Temple chatting.
"How can you trust someone so easily?" Bolin curiously asked what is in his mind to Senna, moving next to her with pushing Korra. Senna gave a look to Bolin, slightly laughing. Then with her forefinger, she pointed Meelo now heatedly arguing with Ikki a little away.
"The person you called someone is a 9-year-old-kid Bolin." With her cynical statement, Bolin kindly objected, concerned.
“Yes, but still I gotta warn you, Princess, the world is not somewhere you can trust that easily."
Her happy face suddenly fell, looked down for a second, making Bolin think he'd said something wrong. However, Senna made a contact with his eyes intimately but slightly smiled at him.
"Who says I do? I just trust kids so easily because they're not like us." She answered.
"What do you mean?" Korra curiously handed down the conversation.
"They just live their lives. They have no anxiety, no worries, or not thinking of their profits. They can easily tell you everything right or wrong and never let you down, unlike so many adults." This time, Mako objected to her claim.
"Even as kids not all of them can be trusted."
Senna looked up at him and demanded to explain himself as wondering his idea. Mako calmly turned her and pointed to Kai. “For example Kai. He was a thief and lied to us when we found him. If we had trusted him at that time, he would have stolen everything we had."
"Hey, I'm here!" Kai furiously proclaimed gazing at him.
"But he is not now right?" Senna first looked Kai blinked her eye and then back at Mako attempting to answer back.
"Yes but still..." However, she didn't let.
"You're wrong detective. Even in that time, you trusted him and your trust made him who he is today." Mako couldn't say a thing but saw the raw joy in her face to have outwitted him.
That was the last conversation between them till the Air Temple. Then, the time of leaving came. Senna intimately stated her farewells one by one with everyone with a radiant smile on her face, invited all to the Fire Nation and walked to the boat with Mako right behind her.
After settling, Senna closed her eyes and peacefully let the wind blow her hair not knowing she was watched by Mako with a contemplative face, a mesmerized smile, and his right cheek leaning beside on right hand. He felt his whim again and easily predicted what would happen next: He would draw her all night.
In front of the hotel room's entrance, Senna made formal but intimate farewell reciprocated by him with the same words due to the elegance of her saying. He hardly achieved to wait for her till going into her room and after that he tensely, with a lighting speed, went down and got on his motorbike to reach home before losing the whim.