Azula stared up at her opponents, her brother, Zuko, and the water tribe girl, Katara. She'd recently fought them both in an Agni Kai. Though victorious against her brother, using his newfound compassion against him as she aimed a lightning bolt at Katara, the waterbender had bested her in the end. Her mind already broken, Azula wept for minutes. Visions of her long lost mother plaguing her mind as her strive for perfection, beaten into her by her father at an early age, and the stress of living up to her father's former role of Fire Lord while he became the Phoenix King had driven her to the brink with her defeat finally pushing her over the edge.
"She's broken," said Zuko. "I don't think there's anything left of her mind." As she silently watched her opponents, a glint of light caught her gaze. She glanced on a nearby rooftop and spotted a man loyal only to her father aiming an arrow at her brother with another palmed, more than likely for her hated rival, Katara. Azula did not know what came over her. What possessed her to do what she did. She heated her hands, hiding a wince as the molten metal melted around her wrists. She slowly sat up as her brother and rival turned to leave her where they'd left her. Azula spotted the archer loose an arrow and ran at full speed. She pushed her brother to the ground. Katara turned to her, believing her to be trying to attack them again only to pause as Azula took an arrow to the chest.
The former Fire Princess growled and blasted large stream of blue fire from her fist as the man loosed the second arrow in surprise as the flames consumed him. Azula stumbled as the now flaming arrow joined its twin in her chest. "Azula!" Zuko ran to his sister as she collapsed, gasping. "Why did you do that?!"
"I… I don't know…"
"Katara! Do something!" Azula slapped her rival's hands away from her.
"Y-you will do no such thing! I-I w-will not rot in s-some cell! I'd rather die!" Azula grunted in pain as she felt the arrows puncture her lungs. Azula coughed up blood as it filled her lungs. All sound started fading to her and her vision slowly started turning black. She soon found herself not lying in her brother's arms but standing in a familiar place. The gardens of the Fire Palace where she spent some days in her childhood with Ty Lee and Mai teasing Zuko as they grew up.
"Azula," asked a familiar voice behind her. Azula turned around and spotted a face she hadn't seen since she was a child.
"What are you…? No…."
"Is this another hallucination? No, I definitely remember being shot by a few arrows. And my mind seems clearer than it has been in the last few weeks." Azula sighed as she came to the only conclusion she could think of. "So I'm dead. I see."
"Azula. I'm so sorry."
"There's nothing to be sorry about. I knew what may happen to me when I followed father's orders. Being the Fire Lord comes with its fair share of enemies. Though I thought I'd at least last a decade before someone tried to kill me."
"Who did kill you?"
"A man loyal to father. Truth be told, he was trying to kill Zuzu. And I, against my better judgement, saved his life. I still do not know why I did that. Just a few moments earlier, I was trying to kill him."
"You what?! Why?!"
"He sided with the Avatar. Before that he disgraced himself in front of father and the generals of the Fire Nation Army. Zuzu was a failure and a disgrace to the Fire Nation!"
"He is your brother!"
"And that means he's anything more than what I've called him? He was weak! As were you."
"Do you know how I died, Azula?"
"You were killied in battle."
"I died saving an enemy soldier from our side."
"Why on earth would you do that?"
"He was injured and one of my men was going to kill him rather than take him in alive. He was defeated. He didn't deserve death."
"He was an enemy of the Fire Nation!"
"That doesn't justify death, Azula."
"Your cousin speaks truth, Azula," said a voice behind her. Azula turned around and found a woman with her mother's face and flowing red hair.
"Mother," Azula exclaimed.
"Not quite. I've merely adopted her appearance to give you a familiar and friendly face to speak to."
"Friendly face." Azula scoffed. "I hated my mother."
"If you truly hated her, she wouldn't have appeared as the form of your conscious and reasoning. The hallucinations you'd been seeing the last few weeks."
"What do you know?!"
"I am Agni. Spirit of Fire and protector of the Fire Nation and it's children."
"Why should I care?"
"Because I'm giving you what most never get in their afterlife. A second chance."
"Because of your last actions. You saved your brother."
"No doubt a manipulation of your kind. A trick to make me do something I wouldn't normally do."
"Azula," cautioned Lu Ten. "She's a spirit. Show some respect."
"It is fine, Lu Ten," said Agni. "We spirits are used to disbelief from those who pass over to our world."
"Why take an interest in me," asked Azula. "One act of selflessness and you spirits consider it a change of heart? Make no mistake, I am still Princess Azula! Rightful Fire Lord and ruthless leader of its military forces! One act of kindness…"
"Means you're not completely like your father. Had your life continued passed this moment, you would have spent many days within a cell, having your mind treated after your breakdown. You also would've recovered and found a new sense of duty, protecting the Fire Nation from the shadows and defending your brother's reign as he, alongside the Avatar, restored balance to the world once more."
"And now that I am dead?"
"A new destiny awaits you. One in another world."
"And what is to become of this one?"
"See for yourself." Agni gestured to the koi pond beside her. Azula looked within and saw her brother, much older and wizened leading the Fire Nation with the Avatar as a dear friend. Upon the Avatar's passing, a new Avatar is born, a small girl from the Southern Water Tribe. Azula watched with piqued interest as the new Avatar, Korra, grew up to be an overconfident brat, tempered only by the former Avatar's son. She watched her many trials. Victories and defeats. Mistakes and corrections.
"She seems rather skilled."
"She will be. These events have yet to happen. Your brother will have a role to play. Though he will face many challenges himself, without you working from the shadows, he will find another way to overcome those who oppose him and Avatar Aang."
"You mentioned a new destiny. What is it?"
"Another world is in need of a guardian. This world, abandoned by its gods and beset by a force of darkness. It is well beyond our reach to influence. But resurrection can bring them a champion."
"And this champion is supposed to be me? I'd make a much more fitting conqueror than a champion."
"You'll find conquering this world easier said than done. Their technology far exceeds that of the Fire Nation."
"I highly doubt that. Our technology is what allowed us to wipe out the Air Nomads, after all."
"You will truly be in for a surprise, Azula." Agni waved her hand and Azula found herself falling, her cousin's troubled face the last thing she saw before she was cast into darkness.
Azula groaned as she found herself on a grassy field and looked around. She saw she was in an unfamiliar forest baring red trees. Far away on a clifftop overlooking the forest. A man with white hair and wearing a dark green suit stood next to a woman with blonde hair tied into a braid, wearing glasses and a white blouse and black skirt with a black and purple cape. He sipped a coffee mug in his hand as she looked at a tablet in hers. "Professor Ozpin," she said.
"Hmm," Ozpin replied.
"Someone else is down there with the students."
"Oh?" Ozpin took the tablet from her and observed what she did. A girl with black and gold armor over red garments rose on the video feed they were observing. "Now who is she, I wonder."
Azula looked around and heard no wildlife around. "Odd. Normally I'd at least hear a bird." A growling caught her attention. She turned to it and saw an unusual beast she'd never laid eyes on before. It resembled a wolf with black fur. It stood taller than her and had what seemed like bone on it's back and face. It growled at her and advanced. Azula stood her ground, unimpressed. "What are you? You're certainly not something I've ever seen before." It slashed its large claws at her. Azula dove under them and faced the beast. "You dare strike at me?!" Azula sent a stream of fire at the beast, burning half of its body.
It howled in the air and more of its kind came to its call. Azula frowned, annoyed by the addition of the beasts. At once they pounced at her. Azula stood her ground and sent blasts of flame at each beast, knocking them out of the air. One stayed on the ground and watched her. It was larger than the others, the bone on its back protruding into spikes as it snarled at its unusual prey. "You must be the alpha. Disposing of you should make sure the rest of these mongrels submit to me." Azula took a stance and charged lightning at her fingertips. The alpha snarled and charged at her. Azula grinned wickedly and shot the lightning straight at its heart, burning a hole right through its chest. Rather than submit at the death of their alpha, the rest of the beasts charged her at once. Azula frowned and formed daggers of fire in her hands as they got close.
Azula ducked under the claws of one and slashed at the hindlegs of another. She stabbed one of her blue fire daggers into a third's head and kicked away a fourth. The first tried once more to slash her with its claws as the last one attempted to take a bite out of her shoulder. It clamped down on her shoulder guard and ripped it off of her as she burned the first beast. Azula shot flames from her feet and lifted herself off of the ground and above the last three beasts. Azula fired an intense stream of blue fire at two of the beasts before slamming her boots down on the last one, snapping its neck. To her surprise, the corpses seemed to turn to ash around her, even the ones she didn't burn completely to a crisp.
"Oh! My! God," shouted a girl nearby. Azula turned around and jumped in surprise as a girl the same age as her with short dark red hair and in a black and red outfit with a red hooded cape, sped in front of her. "How did you do that?! Can I do that?! Was that your semblance?!"
"Ruby," called another girl as she walked into the clearing. "Do not leave me like that!" Azula saw she wore a white outfit and kept her hair in a ponytail that hung off to her side. "Who is that? I don't remember her from the launch site."
"Did you see what she did?!"
"The whole forest could see it. Where on Remnant did you find blue fire dust?!"
"Dust," asked Azula.
Back on the cliff, Ozpin and his companion watched the feed with intrigue. "Impressive," said Ozpin.
"How on earth did she do that," asked the woman, Glynda Goodwitch.
"I'm not entirely sure. She's not a maiden, that much we know. But she is exceptionally skillful."
"What should we do with her?"
"For now, we watch. When the tests are done, we recruit her."
"Ozpin, you can't be serious."
"Now, Glynda. You've seen what she can do. Power over fire and lightning. She could prove to be a valuable addition to Beacon."
"I know what I'm doing, Glynda." Glynda sighed and adjusted her glasses.
Azula stared at the girl in front of her, now named Ruby. Her personality reminded her of Ty Lee. The mere thought of her former best friend igniting the familiar feeling of betrayal. Azula growled softly before schooling her features. "Hey," said Ruby. "Do you know where the ruins are? Me and Weiss are kind of… lost."
"You're lost," said Weiss. "You're the one who was leading the way!"
"And you were the fool who followed her," said Azula. "If you could have done a better job, you should have taken charge in the first place."
"Uh, guys," said Ruby timidly. "Can we please not fight? We're going to attract more Grimm." Weiss scoffed in annoyance and agreement.
"Fine." Azula said nothing and turned to Ruby.
"If you're searching for something, perhaps a bird's eye view would help," she said.
"How would a bird help," asked Ruby.
"She means we get to a high spot and look around, you dolt," said Weiss.
"Uh… I knew that…"
"Clearly you didn't."
"Please stop yelling," said Azula. "I find your voice obnoxious."
"Well I find your voice… unpleasant."
"Leave the insults to the experienced. Don't want to make yourself look like an even bigger fool than you already have."
"Urgh!" Ruby looked between both girls before spotting something in the trees and smiling.
"Guys," she exclaimed. "Follow me!"
"Where are you going?!"
"Perhaps up that tree she's obviously running to," said Azula as she followed after them. Azula followed them up the tree and stared at the black mass that was lying on top of the treetop.
"Ruby, this is a terrible idea!"
"Hold on," Ruby exclaimed. Azula watched as Ruby reached behind her back and pulled out a small instrument before flipping it into a scythe. She spotted Weiss grab onto the black mass which was now identified as feathers.
"Crap." She grabbed onto the feathers as well as Ruby grabbed hold as well and poked the tip of the scythe at the black mass. Azula hung on for dear life as the giant black bird with a white mask like the wolves before took off.
"Ruby," shouted Weiss after a few minutes of the giant bird flying at high speeds. Azula and Ruby both looked at her as they struggled to hold on. "I told you this was a terrible idea!"
"We're fine," Ruby shouted back. "Stop worrying!"
"I am so far beyond worrying!"
"In a good way?!"
"What about this situation makes you think this would qualify as a good way," shouted Azula.
"Well why don't we just jump!"
"What are you," asked Weiss. "Insane?!" Azula watched as Ruby let go of the bird and dropped. "Oh you insufferable, little red…" Azula couldn't hear the rest as the feathers she was holding onto flew off the bird and she started falling. She saw how high up they were and shot flames from her feet as she heard Ruby yelling below her and Weiss yelling above. She saw Ruby get hit by another person and into the tree line. She turned back to the giant bird and saw it flying lower as it smelled prey.
"Let go," shouted Azula.
"You're as insane as she is!"
"Fine! Stay on that bird and be potential feed for it!" Azula slowed her descent as she drifted towards the ruins as a girl with red hair and a pink and white outfit rode in at the same time on a bear with the same bone mask as the bird and wolves.
"Did she just drift down with flames coming out of her feet," asked a girl with long black hair, a black and white outfit and a black bow on her head.
"I…" said the blonde in the tan and yellow outfit that showed off her assets. She watched as bear girl ran over and selected a strange figure from one of the pillars among the ruins. Azula didn't know the significance of the figures and so ignored them as the girl ran off to a boy wearing a green outfit. Mere seconds later, a giant black and white scorpion chased another red haired girl with crimson and gold armor out of the forest. She barely made out the new girl calling out a name and a boy's voice calling from where Ruby had flown off to. Not long after, said girl jumped over to the rest of them. "Ruby?!"
"Yang," exclaimed Ruby as she went to hug her as the bear girl appeared between them.
"Nora," she exclaimed. Azula shook her head and looked around for any more potential threats as the black haired girl turned to them, nodding to the second red head.
"Did she just run all the way here with a Deathstalker on her tail?" the blonde, now named Yang, growled.
"I can't take it anymore!" Azula found herself impressed as the girl's hair seemed to catch fire as she got angry. "Can everyone chill out for just two seconds before something crazy happens again?!"
"I don't chill out," said Azula as she caught the girl running from the now dubbed Deathstalker.
"Thank you," she said.
"Um," said Ruby. "Yang." Azula turned to her and saw her looking up. Azula followed her gaze and spotted the giant bird they'd flown in on had descended lower in the sky, Weiss still hanging on for dear life now from the bird's giant talon.
"How could you leave me," exclaimed Weiss, close to tears.
"You said you weren't going to jump," muttered Azula.
"She's gonna fall," said the girl in black.
"She'll be fine," said Ruby.
"She's falling," said the boy in green. Azula sighed and took off into the air. She caught Weiss above the tree line as a blonde boy dove for her only to miss because of Azula and plummet to the ground. Azula lowered them to the ground and Weiss blushed at the way she was being held.
"You can let me down now," she said as Azula landed. Azula set her down and she landed on the back of the boy.
"Ow," he groaned. Azula picked him up and pushed him to the group, keeping an eye on both the Deathstalker and the giant bird. Azula took appraisal of the people she was with as Yang spoke up.
"Great," she said. "The gang's all here! Now we can all die together!"
"Not if I can help it," said Ruby as she unfolded her weapon.
"Ruby, wait!" Azula watched her ally held the scythe behind her. A loud bang emitted from the weapon and Azula noticed the pillar beside her suddenly sporting a now hole as Ruby was propelled forward. Her initial strike was blocked by one of the giant pincers knocking her away.
"Don't worry! Totally fine!"
"She doesn't sound too sure of herself," said Azula. She watched the Deathstalker close in on Ruby who aimed the top of her scythe at it's head. Azula heard another loud bang and saw sparks fly off its armor as Ruby was knocked back slightly before running away and folding the weapon back up before returning it to its place behind her cape.
"Ruby," shouted Yang as she ran towards the younger girl. A loud screech brought Azula's attention to the bird. It screeched once more before shooting its massive feathers at Ruby.
"Ruby," she found herself calling. "Watch out!" One of the feathers snagged Ruby's cape to the ground and Yang backed up to avoid getting hit by the feathers. Azula, for the second time in her life, found herself rushing forward to save someone as she saw the Deathstalker preparing to impale Ruby with its golden tail. She propelled herself forward with her flames as she spotted Weiss, out of the corner of her eye, rushing forward as well, strange white glowing circles appearing beneath her feet as she did. Both got there and Azula saw Weiss stab her thin sword into the ground, causing ice to form a wall between them and the Deathstalker, trapping its tail.
"You are so childish," exclaimed Weiss.
"Weiss," asked Ruby as she looked up.
"And dimwitted, and hyperactive, and don't even get me started on your fighting style. And I suppose… I can be a bit…"
"Of a fool yourself," asked Azula.
"Difficult…" She gave Azula a look but softened her gaze slightly. "But if we're going to do this. We're going to have to do this together."
"Wise words." Azula turned to the Deathstalker and stared into its eyes. Normally, animals cowered away from her in fear as she stared them down. But the Deathstalker didn't seem to know fear as it struggled to get free of the ice wall.
"So if you quit trying to show off…" She turned to Azula. "And you can stop insulting me from now on…" She turned to Ruby. "I'll be… nicer…"
"I'm not trying to show off," said Ruby. "I want you to know I can do this."
"Then don't rush off alone," said Azula. "That will the very thing that gets you killed." Weiss gave her a look before returning her gaze to Ruby.
"You're fine." Weiss started walking away. Azula turned to the Deathstalker as the feathers turned to ash just as the wolves did previously.
"Whoa…" said Ruby as they stared at the giant scorpion.
"I wonder if it can be tamed," said Azula.
"Why would you tame it?"
"For intimidation." They turned around as they heard running footsteps. Yang got to them and pulled Ruby into a hug.
"I'm so happy you're ok," she exclaimed. More screeching brought their attention to the sky.
"She won't be for long is we don't do anything," said Azula. "Regroup with the others!" She turned to the Deathstalker as it tried once more to get free. She sent a stream of fire to its face, burning half of its eyes and scorching the bone carapace before following after Ruby and Yang.
"Guys," shouted the blonde boy from the tree. "That thing is circling back!"
"Then we kill it, and the Deathstalker."
"Look," said Weiss. We don't have time for dilly dallying. Our objective is right in front of us."
"She's right," said Ruby. "Our mission is to grab an artifact and make it back to the cliffs." Azula turned to the smaller pillars and looked at each one before selecting one at the same time as Ruby and the boy. She turned it over in her hand before stuffing it in a pouch at her hip. Azula saw the ice Weiss had formed starting to crack.
"Time we left," said the boy in green.
"Right. Let's go!" Azula turned to the girl the Deathstalker was originally after.
"You, girl with the shield and spear. Cover the flank! Anyone else with a shield, stay by her side!" She turned to Weiss. "Ready to make more ice, Fool?"
"As long as you're ready to conjure more flames, bitch." Azula grinned and formed ball of flame in her hands.
"Always." As one, the group took off. She looked behind her at Yang and the girl in black. "Stop lagging behind or I'll feed you two to them myself!" They ran to a grouping of larger ruins and hid behind cover. Azula spotted the giant bird land on a crumbling tower in the middle of a large canyon.
"Well that's great," exclaimed Yang. Azula heard the sound of crashing trees and spotted the Deathstalker tailing them.
"And that's just perfect."
"Aw man," exclaimed the blonde boy. "Run!" they moved up behind the next set of giant pillars, getting some protection from both sides.
"Nora," said the boy in green as the bird took off again. "Distract it!" Azula ignited the grass between them and the scorpion, buying them some time as Nora skillfully evaded the bird's feathers, a strange weapon in her hands. Three consecutive bangs could be heard as Azula watched three projectiles launch from the weapon and explode against the bird. At the same time, the Deathstalker charged through the flames and lunged at her and Nora. The boy in green and girl in black held it off by landing strikes against its head. Weiss landed beside them and grabbed hold of Nora before a white circle appeared at their feet. She jumped forward and Azula propelled herself with flames, noting she was moving faster than normal.
Azula winced as more loud noises filled the canyon as Shield Girl's spear also emitted loud bangs, more sparks coming off of the carapace They ran across the old stone bridge and Azula spotted the bird circling back around. "Everyone," she shouted. "Stay down!" Azula charged up lightning in her fingertips before sending a blast of it at the bird! It screeched as it singed its wing while it flew under it. "Dammit!" Azula launched herself into the air as it slammed itself into the bridge. She landed on its back and dug in with fire daggers. "Why must you be so difficult! Just die!" She grunted as she was flung off and landed on the cliffs above. She growled and sent a stream of flames at its head.
Ozpin watched as the group fought off both Grimm on his tablet. The mysterious girl was proving to be an experienced leader and capable fighter, as was Ruby Rose as she led the fight against the Nevermore. He nodded as he spotted Jaune Arc, the student he knew forged his transcripts to get into the school, take charge as well. Directing Pyrrha Nikos, Nora Valkyrie, and Lie Ren against the Deathstalker. "What did I tell you Glynda?" Glynda said nothing as she watched the ensuing battle.
Azula kept an onslaught of flames going each time the bird got near the cliff, limiting its flight path to one side of the canyon only as it avoided getting burned. "Weiss," she called down into the canyon. "Can you keep it in place?!"
"I can try," she yelled back. You guys keep it distracted!" Azula built up a charge again as Ruby and Yang acted as bait for the bird Weiss managed to trap a portion of its tail in ice when it got close enough and Azula sent out another bolt of lightning. It managed to puncture its wings, making it screech in pain. Azula gave a sadistic grin at the sound as it broke free and flew at a slower speed. More bangs echoed in the canyon as Ruby and the others used their odd weapons, Weiss' shooting streams of whatever made the ice at the bird. Azula sent a massive fireball to aid the onslaught and switched things up by sending the occasional fireball at the Deathstalker.
She watched as it flew into the tower Ruby and the others were standing on. They showed remarkable agility as they ran off a falling slab of stone and found their way back to stable ground. Azula and Yang both hit the bird on the front and back with fire and explosives simultaneously. "Hey," called Ruby. "Blue fire girl! We have a plan!"
"Execute it then," Azula shouted back.
"Hey," called the blonde boy. "We could use some lightning here!" Azula looked at the Deathstalker group and saw the spear sticking out of one of its remaining eyes. Azula grinned sadistically and charged up one last bolt before unleashing it at the metal weapon. The Deathstalker screeched as it pulled the spear out and threw it behind itself. The group fighting it ran passed as Nora slammed it with her now giant hammer and sent it falling down into the canyon. Azula looked down and spotted the bird land on a building built into the cliff she was standing on directly below her. She sent down a massive stream of fire, pinning it down long enough for Weiss to once again trap its tail. She smirked as she saw Ruby being flung towards it with a makeshift sling shot before running up the wall, dragging the bird along the cliff with the blade of her scythe. Azula fell passed them and flew upwards, giving Ruby an even bigger boost of speed. The bird's body caught on the cliff and Ruby and Azula decapitated it before landing back where Azula had been standing for the last few minutes of the fight.
Azula and Ruby stood on the edge of the cliff, watching the bird's corpse fall down to the hidden depths. Azula tucker a hair back into place and composed herself. "Now that that's settled with, how do we get them out of there? I don't suppose your scythe can turn into a fifty foot rope?" Ruby chuckled nervously until she spotted a Bullhead coming and smiled.
"There's our ride!" Azula turned around and gaped at the vehicle. It was smaller than her father's zeppelin and moved faster than anything she'd ever seen created by the Fire Nation.
"Come on," said Ruby as she ran for the Bullhead. "Let's get back to school!" Azula followed after her, for once surprised. To think someone was able to make this. She was impressed to say the least. After picking up the others, everyone started congratulating each other. "Oh man! You were so cool, Yang! The way you shot into the Nevermore's mouth!"
"You were cooler," said the blonde boy, who Azula now knew as Jaune. "Running up that cliff and slicing its head off?! That was insane!"
"We all have to agree though," said Nora. "That the coolest thing was definitely the lightning and blue flames! I've never seen anything like that before! You were awesome!" Nora turned to Azula before blinking. "Uh… whatever your name is."
"Oh yeah," said Ruby as she turned to her as well. "We never got your name, did we?" Azula looked at everyone and saw they were staring at her expectantly. She sighed.
"My name is Azula. Azula… Agni." Ruby smiled.
"Nice to meet you, Azula!" The former Fire Princess turned away from everyone, opting to stare out of the window as they flew to… whatever this school was Ruby mentioned.
Ozpin sat in his own Bullhead, watching the feed of the students and mystery girl as they chatted away on their Bullhead. He zoomed in on Azula's face and hummed in interest. "Azula Agni. Where on Remnant did you come from?"
Ever get an idea in your head and you just can't get to sleep until you write it out and make sure you know you have it down so you don't forget about it? Then you know how I felt tonight. This concept popped into my head yesterday and here I am at 1 in the morning typing it out so I don't lose my train of thought. If you guys like it, I'll continue this story at my discretion. If not, it'll be updated probably once every other month or so. Let me know what you guys thought of this in the reviews. Until next time, Y'all!