Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Avatar: The Last Airbender characters that appear in this story.
This is an AU/canon-divergence so there will be differences between the show and this fanfic. For example, this AU only takes a few elements from the comics that followed the original series. I am saying this here in the beginning so that people can leave a review after finishing the chapter instead of just reading said line and skipping the rest of the chapter to leave a review.
There may or may not be a few things that I will retcon here that would make some things in the previous chapters redundant.
I want to give a personal shoutout to Disgruntled Welsh and the rest of the peeps on the Sokkla Discord server. Without them, I wouldn't have been able to get out of my writer's block and complete this chapter. Again, shout out to them.
What would you like to see more of?
Do you want more fight scenes? Do you want to see the Shimads brothers in action again? How about Aang? Would you like to see him penguin sledding? Let me know what you'd like to see and if its within reason, I can make it happen!
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Radiant Eclipse Chapter 5
Three months ago
Royal Palace, Glacier City, Southern Water Kingdom
September 10, 110 AG
Sokka rubbed his hands together as he waited patiently for his cabinet and the top military generals and admirals to arrive. He wanted the meeting room to be quite big but never fully realized the true scale of the room until he was the only one in. He was thankful that it was to his liking, which made his patience a bit longer. The long table provided enough personal space for anyone that wanted to use it. Sokka of course, sat right in the middle along with Azula. Though Azula wasn't with him and the second meeting she had skipped out on, she was very unusual.
The first time that Azula missed the weekly meeting, it was understandable. She was bedridden with a bad fever and her body ached (thanks Sokka). That was enough for her absence to be excused but when Sokka saw her earlier, she was completely fine and healthy. So it was really weird and confusing to him when she refused to show up. However, he did note that Azula's attitude was very somber as if something tragic really happened and just caused her mood to swing.
Thankfully, the people that he waited for walked in. His father, High-Chief Hakoda, led the way as the room started to fill up.
Father and son shared a hug.
"It's always a pleasure to see you, your highness." Hakoda chuckled.
"Please dad, just call me Sokka, or son, or Captain Boomerang!" Sokka chuckled as well.
"What does Toph call you again? Snoozles? Right?" He asked.
Sokka's eyes widened comically. Since when did his father start calling Snoozles? Has Toph been visiting the Southern Water Kingdom all this time? Right under his nose? Were they close friends now?
"Snoozles. Yeah, sure dad. Says the one that slept halfway through the previous meeting." Sokka joked.
"I didn't sleep halfway through the meeting, I just closed my eyes for a moment and just so happen to forget to open them for a bit." Hakoda joked back.
The two shared a heartfelt laugh before returning to their seats as the last few entered the room and sat down. The first to speak was The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Shimada. He is the highest-ranking and most senior military officer in the Southern Water Kingdom Armed Forces. He is also the father of the two best warriors on the planet, Hanzo and Genji.
"Your highness, Chief Hakoda." Admiral Shimada bowed to the two.
"Admiral Shimada, my man! There's no need for fancy greetings. Just call me Sokka!" Sokka greeted with a smile.
Hakoda released a small chuckle as Admiral Shimada nodded, taking note to call the king by his birth name from now on. Some of the others looked quizzically, wondering why Sokka was being very casual despite being around him for quite some time now. However, none of them could complain, seeing as his leadership type and skills were very effective and not dictator-esque like Ozai.
"Of course your hi...Sokka...I do have bad news to share." Admiral Shimada said.
Sokka and the rest of the people remained silent. Admiral Shimada usually had good news to report as he was the top officer of the military, so to hear him say that he had bad news to report, usually means that it was bad. Like, really bad.
"The Royal 4th Fleet has reported sights of the North Water Tribe rebuilding their armed forces with supplies and equipment from an unknown entity, which is rumored to be from a wealthy Earth Kingdom family. The intel that was provided to me was from an Earth Kingdom civilian that unfortunately passed away. While I do not know who the culprit or culprits could be, I am requesting permission to send in several Shinobis from the 104th Scout Regiment to conduct reconnaissance operations Ba Sing Se, Omashu, Chin Village, Gaoling, and Zaofu." He stated.
Sokka nodded as he took all of the information in.
Before the Kingdom's forming, the Southern Water Tribe was engaged in a civil war with her Northern counterpart. Many battles occurred with most of them happening in the oceans and the Patola Mountains. Some of the skirmishes lasted a few hours or days and with the Battle of Whaletail Island being the longest at two weeks. Neither Water Tribe had a major victory over the other despite the Northern Water Tribe losing more ships than the South.
However, the South was unaware of the fact that the North was amassing a large invasion force which in turn, ultimately happened.
The invasion of Glacier City marked the first time that the South Pole was invaded by a foreign state that wasn't the Fire Nation. Several capital-class battleships formed a naval blockade around the Southern Water Tribe to prevent the Fire Nation from intervening. Many of the Southern Water Tribe's residents were scared for their lives. Some fought back but perished from the onslaught of the North. And while the South managed to fight them off for some time, the North had superior numbers and ships, which forced the South back.
Nobody initially knew how the Northern Water Tribe managed to form a large Navy capable of bypassing the Fire Nation's and Earth Kingdom's territories but Azula provided the answer, the rogue Southern Raiders.
Azula stepped up to the plate and helped the Southern Water Tribe defend Glacier City from the Northern Water Tribe and the Southern Raiders. Everyone was surprised to see the woman helping the people who despised her, the ones who wanted her out of the South and backed to where she belonged at the Boiling Rock. None of them knew why Azula was helping a nation that held so much animosity for her. Nevertheless, their former Fire Nation Princess opinions changed when she saved an orphanage from collapsing to the ground.
She also helped turn the tide of the war when she sunk half of the Northern Water Tribe and Southern Raiders' ships with one lightning strike thanks to oil being spilled from the damaged ships.
Due to Azula's efforts, the Northern Water Tribe was left with a weakened military, along with the Southern Raiders, to hear that the North was rebuilding their military made him concerned. He nodded and decided to grant Admiral Shimada permission. The Admiral then bowed before dismissing himself from the room.
A few moments later
The rest of the meeting went quite smoothly despite Azula's absence. Most of the stuff she handled, notably the budget of the exact orphanage that she saved, he handled with ease, which surprised him. He knew how much the orphanage meant to her so he made sure that it was well-taken care of.
The ones that remained in the room were Sokka and Hakoda.
"Azula's sick again?" Hakoda asked.
"No, but something else is troubling her." Sokka sighed, sitting down as he sipped his tea.
"Do you know?" Hakoda sat down next to his son.
Sokka shook his head. Many things could make Sokka genuinely upset but Azula being upset was up and above everything else.
"No, but I could go find her," Sokka said.
"Then go." Hakoda nodded.
Sokka took some time to find Azula. He walked around the palace, asking the servants left and right if they had seen the Azure Queen. None of them had seen her so far, making Sokka wonder where she was until the realization came.
Whenever Azula was upset or angry, she would go penguin sledding in hopes to change her mood. He knew that Azula liked the Otter Penguins a lot and talked about wanting to keep a few in the palace to play with them.
Though, he finally found her. She was sitting on a ledge next to an Otter Penguin. Azula seemed very dejected as if she received some pretty bad news. It was obvious to Sokka that she was crying earlier, evident by her smudged makeup.
"Azula." Sokka called out.
Azula turned to Sokka but didn't say anything to him. She sighed, turning back as she stared at Glacier City, as it was a nice view of course. The Otter Penguin was enjoying the head scratches that he was receiving.
Sokka sat to Azula's right, holding her hand gently but firmly. He was piecing his words together so that he doesn't anger Azula in any way. Perhaps he should ask her if she's okay? Or if she wants anything? Right? The Palace definitely had anything and everything Azula wanted and needed. He could just have a servant fetch said thing.
"What's the name of your friend here?" Sokka asked, looking at the Otter Penguin Azula was petting.
"Never thought of one." Azula said, sounding dejected.
"Azula, are you alright?" He asked.
"Do I sound okay to you my dear?" Azula turned to Sokka.
"No, of course not." Sokka sighed, kissing Azula's knuckles.
Azula sighed. While she didn't think that her words didn't come off as rude, she didn't want to upset Sokka by any means.
"Have...have you ever felt replaced, Sokka?"
"Hmmm, never had. Katara and I are the only two children of my dad as far as I am aware unless he decided to have more offspring without my knowledge." Sokka chuckled.
Azula's mood dropped slightly. She didn't show it.
"I...I...I got a letter from Zuko." Azula spoke.
"What's in it?" Sokka asked.
Azula handed the letter to Sokka. There were burn marks on the envelope but weren't big enough to incinerate the letter within. He watched the otter penguin slide down the hill, joining the rest of the pack at the bottom. Even though his wife has permitted him to read the letter, Sokka still felt that he was intruding on her privacy and shouldn't read the letter. He decided to not read it. Instead, he shoved it gently into his pocket before pulling her into an embrace.
The Azure Queen finally decided to speak.
"Zuko said that Ursa gave birth to another daughter, Kiyi. I...I don't know what to say about that. I just feel replaced, ya know? My mother never made any effort to take Zuko and me with her, away from Ozai. I feel that I was just a test run for Ursa just to see where she went wrong and that the next girl she was going to have was going to be the best daughter in the world. No stubbornness, no rudeness, and no evil within. She didn't want a clone of Ozai as her daughter, she wanted someone that's kind-hearted and carefree, naive to the cruelty of the world. No wonder why she didn't want anything to do with me." Azula sighed.
Sokka kissed Azula's forehead and pulled her onto his lap. He hugged her tight and soothed her, letting her know that he was going to be there for her. He moved his hand through her hair, squeezing her hand firmly yet gently in intervals.
"Now? NOW? She has the audacity to finally want to talk to me?! After having another girl with a man neither Zuko nor I have met yet?! It is abysmal for her to consider such a thing! What makes her think that I want to see her again after all these years? I want nothing to do with her and I absolutely don't want to have anything to do with that...that brat Kiyi!" Azula rested her head on Sokka's shoulder.
"I think it would be a great idea for you to meet your mother." Sokka chuckled.
The old Azula would've lashed out in anger. Her eyes bulging, veins on her forehead protruding and threatening to pop. The old Azula would've fried Sokka on the spot with her lightning.
The new, and hopefully improved, Azula, released a sound of defeat. She didn't know what to do next. She would be lying to herself if she never thought about visiting the Fire Nation to see Ursa after so many years. She'd also be to herself if she said that she didn't want to meet Kiyi or Ursa's new husband for that mother. She was curious as to how they're doing. Azula was still angry at the fact that Ursa had another child with a stranger (from Azula's POV). But...but.
"I'm...I'm not sure." Azula sighed, her arms circling Sokka's waist.
"I mean, I'm not telling you that you should actually go see your mother again but I think it would be a great idea nonetheless. I think it'd help ease the pain that's in your heart for far too long. Perhaps you could hear her reasons why she abandoned you and Zuko with Ozai and with no attempts to get you two back. Now, you're in no obligation to forgive her and quite frankly, I would be angry at her too if she was my mother." Sokka chuckled, kissing Azula's forehead.
Azula sighed as she leaned onto Sokka. She knew that he and Katara would practically do almost anything in the world to see their mother again. Azula felt bad. The Southern Raiders were the ones responsible for the destruction of the Southern Water Tribe and the death of Kya. From the stories that she had heard from Sokka, Katara, and Hakoda, Kya was a fantastic mother.
She wondered what it would be like to have Ursa back in her life again. To try to be the mom to her and Zuko. Perhaps that she should give her another chance.
"So you really think that I should go and talk to my mother?" Azula asked.
"Yes." He replied curtly with a smile.
"I'll consider it."
Azula shifted her position so that her head was rested on his lap. She turned her head and faced Glacier City. The former Fire Nation Princess found it very ironic that she was the matriarch of the nation that her birth one wanted to burn into ashes. Nonetheless, she was eternally grateful for the second chance that she was given by Sokka. If it weren't for him, then she possibly wouldn't have broken away from Ozai's brainwashing and influence.
She sat up and kissed Sokka's cheek.
"I love you." Azula said, smiling warmly.
Sokka chuckled. He pulled Azula up onto his lap. His back was leaning against a pillar, Azula straddling his lap. His arms snaked around her waist as he kissed her deeply. Their tongues clashed.
"Mmmm, I love you more." Sokka smirked.
They continued kissing each other, more passion behind the previous smooch. It lasted for spirits knows how long. They didn't care if anyone caught them making out. As long as they had each other, they'll be fine.
Somewhere in Glacier City.
December 18, 110 AG.
Asi and Iko's father, Hadouma, was tied up to a chair. His hands were bound by a unique kind of rope that restricted his bending. Despite being middle-aged and in the early stages of Parkinson's, Hadouma was still a formidable water bender. Unfortunately, he couldn't use his fingers, toes, or even his eyes to bend. Perhaps the rope was more than just unique. It probably had some sort of special properties that would mess up a person's bending.
"Damnit, why are you doing this?" Hadouma asked.
"It's simple. Your kids are close to Azula. By using them, I can finally get my chance at killing her." The assailant said as she removed her mask.
Hadouma's eyes widened as much as they could. Zirin was the woman underneath the mask. She sported a huge burn scar on the right side of her face. Zuko's scar looked like it was done by a professional painter when compared to the Kemurikage leader. Zirin lit a small fire on her left finger before dragging it across Hadouma's forehead. She smirked mischievously when the man in front of her squirmed in agony. He begged for her to stop but Zirin wouldn't. She ignored his pleas as she ignited her fist and punched Hadouma square on the jaw. He groaned, spitting out blood.
"I won't let you touch them!" Hadouma shouted at Zirin.
"Yeah, we'll see about that old man."
Zirin formed a fire dagger in her left hand. She approached Hadouma, lifting him by his hair. The bender tried wiggling his toes to bloodbend but Zirin stomped on them before he could do so. Again, her victim groaned in pain. She was about to incinerate his head with her dagger but was then interrupted by another Kemurikage member that walked in. Her attire was akin to Zirin's minus the masks. Zirin had a Red Lotus insignia on top of her mask while her colleague only had a red line on top.
"Iko and Asi are approaching the house."
Zirin nodded. As much as she would've liked to burn Hadouma to a crisp, that would have to come another day. She shoved the old man at her colleague, waving them off towards their hideout as she used her bending to ascend onto the roof. It was a pretty large hole that would've been noticed by anyone that cared to look but since everyone was celebrating at the festival, nobody was around, save for a few people walking back to the plaza.
Asi and Iko didn't pay any mind to what was going on around them, nor were they aware of the big gaping hole that was on the roof of their home. And yes, none were aware of Zirin observing the two. The siblings were busy eating their snowcones and discussing what they wanted to do for the rest of the festival.
"So...who do you think will win between Sokka and Azula's team?" Iko asked.
"All honestly, probably Sokka's team. It'll be a tough fight no doubt but it seems like the King's team are more determined to avenge the blowout loss from last year." Asi replied.
The siblings approached the doorstep but stopped when they noticed several footprints leading out from the door and towards the street, stopping at a light post. Iko knelt and used his right hand to remove the snow next to the footprints. His eyes widened when he noticed the drops of blood. He looked up at his sibling, whose eyes were also wide in horror. None of them could perceive the thought of their father being kidnapped, or possibly harmed in any way. Iko took point as the two approached the door.
He used the index and middle fingers on his right hand to bring snow in front of him and clenched his left fist, turning the snow into ice. Asi, on the other hand, did the same but formed several, lethal throwing knives instead.
"What the heck happened here?" Iko muttered as he knelt to touch the blood.
The elder twin admitted to himself that the kidnapping of his father was now the most probable. His coat was still hanging on the rack. His fur boots were still to the side. His mug of cocoa was still warm. Wait, why was it still warm? Asi walked up to the mug and touched it.
"Someone else is here, and it ain't our dad." Asi whispered.
When the twins walked right under the gaping hole, a large fire blast shot down. Iko had managed to react in time, shielding himself and his sister from Zirin. Asi shot two throwing knives in the direction of the fire. But then, the two were knocked back by a follow-up fire blast that was fueled by carnage and destruction. While Asi and Iko were gaining their bearings back, Zirin flew down, controlling her descent with fire. She now had her mask on, looking as menacing as ever.
Zirin extended her arms to the side before clapping her hands together, unleashing a gust of fire that would've incinerated both Iko and Asi if they hadn't dodged in time. The living room was now ablaze. While the twins could put out the fire by themselves, they still had to deal with the one that was responsible for it.
Iko shook the shield, turning it into a water whip. He then cocked the whip back and flung it at Zirin, who side-stepped to dodge it and retaliated by hurling a ball of fire at him. Asi flung her arm from the left to the right, bending the snow from the outside into the living room and used it to block the fireball on time. Despite her actions, it didn't prevent Zirin from crossing her arms and stretching them out, setting the entire house on fire. To the twins, it was a living hell and the demon spirit was coming for their souls. To Zirin, it was one step closer to getting to Azula.
"I promise to spare you two if one of you could bring me your Queen." Zirin said, the flames getting more intense as she approached the twins.
"Never!" Asi shouted.
Asi stretched her arms out front and clenched her fists. In the sequence, she turned the snow into ice that trapped Zirin in place. The fierce Firebender didn't know why but she tried wiggling out first, which provided Iko the opportunity to reform his water whip. The elder twin was successful in striking Zirin in the back twice. Even with the pain surging through, the Kemurikage melted the ice by heating her body. She then followed up with a flaming hot spinning wheel kick that struck both siblings. The two were flung out to the back, groaning in pain as they watched their home slowly burn down to the ground.
"Damnit, she's too strong." Iko muttered as he got up.
"No need to say that twice." Asi replied sarcastically.
The siblings looked at each other. While there was still a possibility for them to overcome Zirin, bloodbending would surely help elevate those odds. Even so, neither Asi or Iko were capable of using bloodbending at a proficient level. And even if they were, neither were sure if they had the mental strength to carry out the bending. They looked at each other again before nodding.
"Guessing bloodbending is off the table then." Iko chuckled
"Neither of us are capable of using said bending without harming our mental health so I'd rather not." Asi smirked.
Her smirk dropped when another huge hole formed. Zirin waved her hand, moving the fire away from her as she stared the kids down. Suddenly, she conjured small sparks of lightning. Asi and Iko knew the devastation a single lightning strike could do. Both siblings stomped their right foot into the snow, raising a huge pile of snow that they turned into ice. The twins then thrusted their left fists out, sending the huge block of ice towards Zirin.
"Should've bended more ice, you Snow Savages." Zirin snarled.
Zirin directed her charged lightning at the block of ice, watching it disappear in thin air. She herself flew into the air via her bending. Then, she hurled several fireballs that were hot enough to melt both waterbenders. The two retaliated by hurling huge snowballs at the fireballs. They managed to clear all of them and even managed to knock Zirin out of the sky.
"Damn, nice!" Asi complimented her brother.
"Teamwork makes the dream work." Iko said proudly.
The twins then walked up to Zirin, who was laying "motionless" on the snow. Asi formed an ice spear with her bending and was about to hurl it at the Kemurikage leader but Iko stopped her at the last minute. The younger sibling looked at her brother with much curiosity, but then realized the look on his face. It reminded her that no matter how bad Zirin was, they were to never stoop down to her level.
Iko's actions gave enough time for Zirin to stand back up and hurled a great wall of fire that trapped the siblings. There was no escape and the two needed to defeat Zirin. Both Iko and Asi were growing more scared than brave as they looked around for an avenue for escape. That also gave enough time for Zirin to charge up enough lightning to knock out Iko.
Asi felt space and time move slow as she watched Iko drop to the ground unconscious. There was a huge burn mark on his back. She shrieked for a moment before charging at the Kemurikage leader in anger. She formed an ice dagger in her left hand while using her right to create an ice path towards Zirin. Suddenly, a fireball struck Asi in the chest, knocking her out of commission for the time being. Zirin turned in the direction where the fireball came from and looked at two of her fellow Kemurikage members.
"Took you long enough to deal with those brats." Ren, the Kemurikage's second in command, said to Zirin.
"Wanted to toy around with them a bit. They're impressive, but not enough." Zirin replied, tying up Asi.
The sounds of people approaching the house were heard. After tying up Iko and Asi to prevent them from bending, the Kemurikage escaped. And to add insult to injury, Zirin stomped her foot on the ground, increasing the intensity of the fire. She smirked in a wicked manner under her mask before leaving toward's Kemurikage's hideout.
Few minutes prior.
It was a hard-fought battle that saw the lead being juggled around 31 times, which was now the world record. And despite the best effort from Azula's team, Sokka's team prevailed in triple overtime with a score of 147-140. Sokka's team was more than ecstatic, evident by pouring the large bucket of sports drink on Sokka. The Queen's team, despite feeling down for losing, were proud of themselves nonetheless. It was a fierce battle to the very end.
"Basketball seems like an intricate sport if I must admit." Ursa said to herself as she walked up to Kiyi and Azula.
The former Fire Lady wasn't sure what her two daughters were talking about, but it nonetheless made her smile.
Azula and Kiyi shared a laugh as their mother stood along. The three shared a few words before walking outside along with the players and the guests. Outside, many people were either conversing with one another, eating at the concessions, or asking for autographs from the players. Azula looked at the star player of her team, Sayuri. The kid seemed a tad bit nervous, which seemed unusual to Azula as Sayuri was the most confident player on the team. She continued to observe Sayuri and noticed that her eyes were darting back and forth from a man that was approaching her.
"So Azula, there are a few merchandise vendors that I want to see. Would you go with me?" Kiyi asked.
"Yeah, sure. Just give me a moment." Azula replied as she walked towards Sayuri.
Azula pushed through the crowd, ignoring the requests for autographs from her supporters. Her royal guards tried keeping up with her pace but then suddenly lost sight of her. The monarch certainly had ways to be elusive while being chased.
"Let's go. You could've won the game but you cost your team the win." Sayuri's father said, holding her wrist rather aggressively.
Sayuri pleaded with her father to release her from his fold but he refused. He dragged her away from her team. Sayuri's team looked on with distraught, unable to do anything as they feared the captain's father's power. Regardless of said power, Azula stepped in front of Sayuri and her father.
"And where do you think you're going, Aput?" Azula asked.
Aput looked at the Queen with a slight smirk on his face. He liked it when people called him by his name instead of "The Crazy Man". He, like a few others, disliked having a monarchy. What even made it worse was that he was very anti-Fire Nation, more specifically, anti-Azula. The Anti Fire Nation League was a group consisting of people like Aput that wanted change in the governmental system. And as much as Azula and many others abhorred the AFNL, there wasn't much that the Council of Chiefs nor the Royal Cabinet could do aside from making anti-discrimination laws.
"Taking my daughter home of course. I don't want her to turn out to be a cruel teenager like you once were." Aput replied sarcastically.
Azula bit her tongue as she fought the urge to slap the living hell out of the man in front of her. As much as the people would give her a pass for doing such an act, it would ruin her reputation in the other nations. She simply inhaled deeply while fixing her sleeves.
"That was a long time ago, Aput. People can change, given the proper care and guidance. And it seems to me that you can't provide either for Sayuri. You just seem like my father Ozai. Manipulative, abusive, and quite frankly, a narcissist. You think you know what's best for your daughter, I disagree. Do you want what's best for Sayuri? Then let her be. Stop forcing her to do things your way." Azula stated, stepping close.
Aput snarled before calming himself back down. While he wanted to challenge Azula to a fight, there was a time and place for everything. He knew that he was no challenge to the Queen of the Southern Water Kingdom and even if he was, he was greatly outnumbered. His vengeance and hatred will have to come another time. Just not now.
"You insolent ash-maker! Do you think you can come into our land and tell us how to raise our kids? You are Fire Nation! Born and raised! So before you even attempt to lecture me about raising Sayuri, how about you go help the nation you came from first?! So the kids there won't be discourteous like Ozai or you!"
Sayuri was shocked. Not because of her father's words, nor was she shocked because of Azula taking it in without retaliating physically. She was shocked because of the crowd gathering around. She feared a violent altercation could occur. She also feared what her father would do to her once two would get home.
"Oh, those words truly hurt me. Did your mother drop you on your head when you were a baby? I mean, with that big ass dent on your forehead, I would be inclined to believe so. And have you taken a look at yourself? You're a damn slob for crying out loud. Please fix yourself before you wreck yourself. Are you and the rest of the Anti Fire Nation League a bunch of incels? Or are any of you just a bunch of uneducated morons that don't think before they speak?" Azula laughed, along with a few in the crowd.
Azula sniffed the air for a moment.
"And gross! Get away from me! You smell like a wet possum-pigeon." Azula pinched her nose, waving her hand.
Aput grew furious. He was close to forming an ice dagger and impaling it through Azula but again, he didn't want to risk it. Not yet. He scoffed as he and Sayuri walked away. Azula then turned to Genji and Hanzo, ordering them to follow the father and daughter from a distance.
"Don't interfere unless either of you deems it necessary." Azula said.
The brothers nodded before disappearing into the crowd. While the altercation between Azula and Aput had some talking about it, most of the crowd resumed what they were originally doing. And yes, Azula was suddenly flooded with autograph requests. And yes, she had learned the art of signing fast.
Kiyi noticed the large smoke a few blocks away. She walked up to Azula and tugged on her sister's sleeve to get her attention.
"Yes?" Azula turned to Kiyi.
Azula looked in the direction Kiyi pointed at, noticing the large smoke growing into the air. She grew curious. While fires were possible in the Southern Water Kingdom, the large smoke puffing into the air made her think otherwise. To her, the fire seemed to be really intense, which could be due to a Firebender. She turned around to look at Zuko, who was looking back at her.
"If Zuko's next to Sokka and Kiyi's right next to me. Then who?" She thought to herself.
Azula turned to her team, excusing herself for the time being as she gestured for Sokka, her blood relatives, and the Gaang to follow her. They loaded up into carriages and Appa respectively as they made their way towards the fire.
"Are you alright?" Sokka asked Azula.
"No, something seems wrong. The fire is coming in the direction where Iko, Asi, and Hadouma live. Let's pray to the spirits that nothing's wrong with them." Azula replied, staring out the window as they got closer to the source of the smoke.
Azula's hopes dropped when she noticed the home of the twins and Hadouma in flames. She stopped the carriage and used her bending to fly towards the house. She passed by the crowd.
Sokka, who managed to catch up with Azula, now stood next to her.
"Shouldn't we, you know, let the firefighters handle this?" Sokka asked while chuckling nervously.
"No, we shouldn't wait. Follow me."
The fire was a lot more intense than she had initially thought, which made her really angry as there was only one person, or one group perhaps, that could pull off such a thing. Azula then changed her mind as she watched the firefighters put out the fire. She and Sokka then walked into the house to investigate. The interior of the house was mostly burned, save for the ones that were made out of material that fire couldn't turn into ash quickly. Sokka picked up a bag that belonged to Iko.
"Damn, let's hope that they got out okay." Sokka muttered.
Despite the house looking nice prior to burning down, it was rather small and there wasn't much else inside that could possibly lead to the whereabouts of the family. The two then walked outside and noticed a trail of blood. Sokka held Azula's hand and linked his fingers with hers as he comforted her. He knew how close Azula was to the twins, and he knew how much Hadouma was an uncle/father figure to her.
"Hey, we'll find them. I promise."
Azula nodded as she tried to swallow the anger that was building up in her. She now knew who were responsible for the kidnappings of Iko, Asi, and Hadouma. She thought years ago that the problem was resolved, she was wrong.
Azula was going to find Zirin and she will make sure that she will never rise from the ashes of her shame and humiliation.