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A Nice, Calming Coup of Tea

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“Hello, welcome to the Jasmine Dragon. My name is Lee and I’ll be your server today.” Ginseng, two sugars.

“Hello, welcome to the Jasmine Dragon. My name is Lee and I’ll be your server today.” Oolong, extra cream.

“Hello, welcome to the Jasmine Dragon. My name is Lee and I’ll be your server today.” Jasmine with one sugar, Jasmine with two sugars, lots of milk, and two scoops of honey. Is it even tea anymore?

No new customers. Grab a broom. Sweep the porch. Have to keep it looking nice.

One of the spoiled brats spilled its tea and is screaming about it. “I’m terribly sorry about this, let me clean it up for you.” That was me, of course. Can’t expect the kind of snob that would produce such a howling spider-monkey to have any manners, or know how to clean up after themselves. No tip. Because the little bastard didn’t want the—honestly underpriced—tea Uncle so painstakingly made. He really should charge them more.

*sigh* Another monotonous day over. You’d think that my “new outlook” would make things at least seem better, or even different, but everything’s still exactly the same. By Agni, I wish something exciting would happen, or I might consider burning this city to the ground just to shake things up. Oh well, it’s not as though anything new will happen tomorrow.

I wish Azula were here. She’d know how to make things interesting.

***

“We are your humble servants.” Yes, little puppet king. Dance on my strings. Oh, they found out about the eclipse? Probably from the University. It’s not like anyone else has the know-how, or the interest, to predict the motions of the sun and moon in the sky. How did they know it was a weakness? Did the waterbender figure out that the Sun is the source of our power, since the Moon is hers? Oh, the talking head is still flapping its gums. “Perhaps we could discuss this later, Your Majesty? With a smaller audience?” Oh, now you realize that such sensitive information should not be shouted for anyone to hear. This will be too easy.

The puppet has a puppeteer. Because of course he does. Or did. It’s impressive that a peasant could find a way to control royalty, but now it seems he thinks that a Fire Nation Royal, born to rule with Power, could ever be as weak as a mud-born fool with a fancy hat. He thinks he’s subtle because he can outwit someone he raised and a few people less than half his age, none of which are as sharp as a rock on the riverside. This will be interesting, like figuring out which side of Zuzu’s sand castle I should push it from.

Zuzu…I wonder where he disappeared to? It was fun playing with him again, but he’s got uncle fatso trying to make him weak. I could use him here, to bounce ideas off of. I wonder if he’d still fight me without the Avatar as an objective? Would he fight alongside them if uncle was still there? Would he side with me? Not without reason, not after I tried to bring him in as a prisoner. I shouldn’t need him, not when the Avatar has already left. Where? Doesn’t matter, Zuzu will find him. He always does, apparently. I can handle the Avatar’s hangers-on on my own. The only reason why I retreated was because he and uncle were there. What reason could I give him, just in case? I know he wants to go home, but without the Avatar,…wait. If we kill the Avatar, Ba Sing Se will automatically surrender and if I share the credit with Zuzu, the Fire Lord will likely not pay much attention to the specifics of Zuzu’s terms of banishment. It’s not as though he was serious when he gave them, right? Well, that’s enough idle thought for one night. It’s a moot point anyway so long as Zuzu isn’t here and the Avatar is half a world away. Maybe I’ll ask the idiot where he is tomorrow.

I wish Zuko were here. He’d be able to make things interesting.