I sat there, alone, confused. He was gone. Dad was gone. Sinzu was gone. Everyone I knew, Except for mom. But even so…

I had befriended him. I had been obnoxious with him. I had stolen his swords, and he hadn't been angry, he'd taught me how to use them. He WAS Sinzu, even though they didn't look alike. Sinzu looked like me, shaggy haired, dark skinned, but this man had that scar on his face. But they both treated me like a younger brother, like a kid.

I had only known him for a day. But he was so much like my older brother, that he almost took Sinzu's place. But no, Sinzu was dead, and this man was… fire nation.

I know I should spit and scorn at him. The fire nation is the reason Sinzu's dead. His troop was captured and put on the front line in fire- navy uniforms, unarmed. That's what the thugs said. I know I should hate the man... I even said I DID… but I couldn't bring myself to believe it.

Zuko. Prince of the fire nation. The word Zuko means failure, but Zuko hadn't failed. He'd saved me from those bullies. Even though doing so would either kill him, or blow his cover. He'd risked his life to save me. And I had turned on him. The entire village had, thrusting out the first person to stand up to the thugs since my brother.

I needed to go find him. I needed to go help him somehow or at least say I'm sorry. He couldn't have gotten far! That ostrich horse wouldn't last another day anyway. But if I got hurt… I needed a weapon.

I turned to the dagger in front of me. He had left it for me. I grabbed it tentatively. My mother stood a few feet behind me. "Lee, don't worry about him. That horrible man won't be coming here anymore. He'd be killed by the refugees if he did. That thug isn't going to hurt you…"

"STOP IT, MOM!" I had gotten up and yelled. My mother was stunned. Well, of course she doesn't expect her nine year-old son to yell at her. I pointed to the direction that Zuko had disappeared. "That kid just saved my life. And we treated him like dirt. Fire nation or not, he saved me, and I owe him everything I've got. I have to find him. I have to help him. He can't have gotten far."

I saw her about to reply harshly and spoke more. "And you can't follow me. If something were to happen to me, I need a home and a mom to come back to."

She nodded, not about to object, tears glistening. "At least take the pig- rooster. And take one of the thug's ostrich-horses. Don't forget you have a family." She handed me the reigns of a horse and perched a small pig-rooster on my shoulder. I hugged her, and mounted the ostrich-horse, and rode off toward the sunset.

This ostrich horse was the picture of health. The constant "police work" made it strong, and fast enough to beat a broken down one. I had supplies, where all Zuko had was himself. This is a little harsh of me to think this way, but hey! I'm only surviving!

I had trotted for days, without any trail but some hoof- prints. The scorching heat sometimes burned my shoulders, but the metal armor my horse wore was probably worse. I could only keep going. The pig- rooster made sure I didn't fall asleep, even though I'd stayed awake for the past 48 hours.

My food was running low, and I had drank the last few drops of water in my canteen a few hours ago. I was dying of thirst.

Then I saw it. A lush green forest, with the sound of rushing water, filled my tired eyes. It was a desert oasis. Perfect. I could get there.

I was in the forest, drinking from the clear- blue water that flowed in a stream. The Ostrich-horse and pig rooster followed, and their heads sank to water level. I've been deciding on names for the two. The pig rooster was male. Maybe Shy-rek? Yea, Shyrek. And the ostrich female….Froan. So my Posse… Lee, Shyrek, and Froan. That sounded good.

I heard a rustle behind me. The radiations of freshness coming from the water suddenly turned cold. The sound was heavy. An animal. I quickly rummaged through my bag for my dagger, unsheathing it slightly. I sat for a moment, listening for the sound again, hoping to catch my dinner. The bush rustled again, and I instinctively flung my dagger. I then heard someone scream…