Eyes open meeting the gaze of many anxious stares. You say my name so softly and tenderly yet also with subtle hesitation, for you fear that it may break as soon as it has left your lips, like the shattering of glass as it hits a stony floor. My blurred vision finally comes into focus and I am able to see your face clearly, your eyes red and wet from crying, your skin pale and the dark circles under your eyes from the lack of sleep. Your hair sways with the gentle breeze that passes, stray strands blowing in front of your face, and yet you are still beautiful.
I then shift my eyes to the other faces that surround me, faces with a mixture of worry and sadness masked upon them. I try to comprehend the reasons for these solemn looks and then I remember.
My mind flashes back to what happened before the darkness engulfed me. I manage to slowly move my hand to my chest, and feel the soft fabric of bandages beneath my fingertips. The excruciating pain that I had felt before was no longer there, now instead my chest felt numb, which I gladly welcomed.
I look back to you and you smile warmly at me, but I can see in your eyes that you are still worried no matter how much you try to hide it from me. You look up to your mother concerned, who smiles at you and nods her head. I am confused as to what is happening as you look back at me and then tell me to rest. Only now do I feel the exhaustion and tiredness. I shift my eyes once more around the other faces, their expressions now changed to ones of relief and happiness, but I can still detect the small signs of worry that remain in the eyes of some.
My eyes finally come to rest on your face again; you have a little more colour in your face, unlike before. You lean down and softly kiss my cheek as I shut my eyes; your warm lips send a faint shiver down my spine as they come into contact with my unusually cold skin. Then I hear you quietly whisper the words 'I love you' in my ear, before I fall asleep with a smile on my face.
Tia, Kuzon, Sora and Rima
Rima had stopped at a stall in the street that they were in to get Tia and Kuzon something to eat, figuring that they must be starving after spending so much time locked up and probably not being fed well. Whilst Rima was doing that, Sora had taken them to one of the tables not that far away so that they could rest for a bit. Sora swung his feet up onto the table leaning back in his chair, Kuzon rolled his eyes,
"Can't you sit at a table properly?" He asked looking at him. He looked back at Kuzon for a while, studying him before replying,
"Actually no I can't, because unlike you I wasn't raised in a fancy place, and if you think I'm gonna change because you're royalty then you're wrong, and I don't care what you do to me because I've been assigned to protect you and help you find your friends, so I'm ready for a fight at any time." Kuzon frowned at him, his eyes glinting slightly as Rima came over with some food.
"Sora, legs, move." She told him. He gave an effort filled sigh before moving them, Kuzon smirked. Rima proceeded to put the food down on the table after he had moved his legs and took a seat next to Sora, then smiled warmly at Tia and Kuzon,
"Dig in, you guys must be starving," She said to them pushing two bowls of food and a couple of pairs of chopsticks towards them. Both Tia and Kuzon thanked her graciously then dug in, as her and Sora stuck into their own food.
"So..." Sora began with a mouthful of food, spraying half of it across the table as he spoke. Tia looked rather revolted as she brushed some half chewed food off of her lap. Kuzon watched frowning at him,
"Do you actually have any manners at all, or have you always been as disgustingly behaved as an untrained hog monkey?" He asked. Sora glared at him from across the table and opened his still full mouth to reply; before Rima glanced at him sternly making him immediately shut it again.
"Sorry," She said to them apologetically,
"He has absolutely no idea how to act around royalty," She smiled slightly at them, embarrassed by Sora's lack of etiquette.
"Clearly." Kuzon muttered under his breath, causing Tia to stifle a giggle as she heard it. Sora swallowed his mouthful then carried on from where he left of before,
"Are you both able to fight, or will Rima and I have to have all the fun if we bump into some more of those creeps?" Kuzon looked at him, his liquid gold eyes staring at Sora's dull brown ones, his eyes glinting dangerously as he smirked,
"Want to find out?" He retorted coolly. Tia turned her head to face Kuzon,
"D'you really think now is the best time? We need to find the others so that they know that we're safe," She said reaching her hand to his and taking it in hers gently. Kuzon sighed keeping hold of her hand and squeezing it gently,
"I guess you're right."
"Great, there goes my chance for a bit of fun, and maybe being able to pummel princey a little," He smirked at Kuzon who gave him a deadly glare in response. Tia squeezed his hand a little tighter, then turned to Sora, just as Rima smacked him one round the back of the head.
"Not to call your fighting bad or anything, but I think if you did fight it would be Kuzon who would be doing the pummelling," She smiled innocently, then delicately placed her chopsticks on the top of her empty bowl with her free hand. Sora just huffed and glared at Rima for hitting him, she just smiled in response,
"I think you'll be having plenty of fun now," She said to him, rising from her seat, her hand gripping the handle of her katana. Sora looked up at her confused, then out the corner of his eye he saw five Dai-Li and six Yu-yan behind Tia and Kuzon, advancing on them fast. He grinned then got up,
"Don't worry your highnesses we'll protect you, and show you how the professionals deal with things," He laughed pulling his katana out of its sheath and jumping onto the table before proceeding to jump over the heads of Tia and Kuzon, landing a front flip perfectly just to show off. Rima sighed then followed him.
Tia grinned, she had known that they had been there just before Rima had stood up, and with a twist of her ankle and a small stomp from her heel, each one of the men were encased in earth. Both Rima and Sora stopped where they were to look at the young princess as she turned round in her seat, an angelic smile gracing her lips. But the smile wasn't there for long, and it quickly turned into an all but happy frown, as the earth around the men began to crack, before shattering, sending hundreds of jagged shards of rock hurtling towards them.
Tia quickly stood up, just as Kuzon instinctively moved in front of her to protect her. She sighed but gave a small smile as she raised her hand stopping the shards in mid-air just before they hit Rima and Sora. She moved to the side so that she could see in front of Kuzon, keeping her hand and the shards in place, then with a flick of her wrist, the shards turned so that the points were facing the men, that was until two of the Yu-yan shot arrows towards Tia, catching parts of the sleeves of her tattered robe, the force knocking her backwards, and pinning her to the table they had been sat at, and causing the shards to fall to the ground.
In the split second that this had happened, Sora had taken advantage of the situation and had managed to climb onto the roof of one of the nearby houses, using whatever he could find to help him get up there. Meanwhile Rima had run straight at them, dodging most of what was fired at her, and using her katana to deflect the rest.
Kuzon watched trying to think of a strategy, whilst the men were distracted, before he got a hard kick in his backside, causing him to stumble forward a little,
"Hey! Daydreamer! Mind helping?" Tia called, blowing stray strands of hair out of the way of her eyes, as a gentle gust of wind blew them across her face. Kuzon spun round, as Tia struggled to try and get her arms free. He blinked a few times confused for a moment then shook his head and pulled the arrows out of the table and her tattered sleeves, before throwing them on the ground and helping her to her feet.
She automatically focused her gaze on the brawl in front of her, as Kuzon looked her over quickly to make sure she was alright. When he was satisfied he too turned to watch what was happening. Tia focused on Rima as she drew closer to the men, whilst Kuzon focused his gaze on Sora as he ran across the rooftops, before jumping down to land next to Rima as she reached the men, swinging his katana down onto one of the men as he landed, all the while with a grin on his face.
"Think they need help?" Kuzon muttered under his breath, but loud enough for Tia to hear him. Tia just shook her head,
"Nah I think they're good, besides Sora seems to be enjoying himself." They both looked at him as he effortlessly took out three more, smirking.
"That all you got boys? I'm disappointed," He grinned cockily as he casually stepped to the side to dodge an arrow that had been fired at him before giving a sarcastic yawn. Rima on the other hand was a lot more graceful than Sora was in her movements, as she fluidly dodged attacks, and nimbly moved out of the way of arrows that were aimed at her, even when she took out two of the Dai-Li, slashing both of them deeply across their chests in a single blow.
Whilst Rima and Sora were busy fighting them, and Kuzon and Tia had been distracted by them, watching closely just in case they needed to interject themselves at any point, two of the Yu-Yan had quickly run into a nearby street, taking a narrow passage which led them to be behind Tia and Kuzon. As soon as they arrived out the passage and had a good clear view of the two young royals, one of them shot two arrows hitting Tia in the backs of her legs. She let out an ear-splitting scream and collapsed in a heap on the floor. Kuzon quickly turned and ducked out of the way of the arrows that had been aimed at him, before swinging his arm in front of him sending poison covered darts hurtling towards them, which had been hidden in a protective little sheath specially made for them, up his sleeve.
The Yu-Yan didn't have time to react to kuzon's quick reactions, and had no time to dodge the darts before they were both hit dead on in the forehead. The poison immediately took effect and spread throughout their bodies, travelling through the blood in their veins. When it reached their hearts they gurgled and in literally a matter of seconds, they were nothing more than bodies collapsed in heaps on the ground. Kuzon glared at their bodies cursing under his breath then quickly turned his attention to Tia, who lay on the ground crying in agony, fresh blood staining her tattered robes and the ground beneath her.
Sora and Rima took care of the rest of the men quickly after they had heard the blood curdling scream from Tia, before running back to join them, sheathing their bloodied katana's on the way. Kuzon fell on his knees next to Tia and very gently, he carefully lifted Tia's dress out of the way to see the damage.
"GET THEM OUT!" Tia screamed through her sobs, as she moved to pull them out, before Sora crouched down next to her and held her wrists with ease to stop her.
"If you pull them out, you'll only make the damage that they have inflicted worse than it already is," He told her softly.
"We have to find Katara and the others, Katara will be able to help her," Kuzon stated as he looked up at Rima his face a mask of hatred, but she could see sadness and fear dancing in his now hardened golden eyes. Rima nodded then looked down at Sora,
"Can you manage?" She asked him. He huffed at the fact of her doubting his abilities,
"Of course I can," He replied then looked at Tia, her face contorted with pain, her eyes half shut and her cheeks drenched with salty tears,
"I'm gonna let go of your wrists so I can carry you okay? So promise me you won't try pulling them out?" He asked her. Tia nodded noting that all hints of sarcasm that was usually clear in his voice had gone; now it was only filled with concern and the tone of his voice was gentle. He carefully let his grip on her wrists go, then moved his arms under her body, one supporting her back the other behind knees, and lifted her up with ease, trying not to jolt her so much. She was incredibly light. Then he looked to Kuzon,
"Hey, I have a couple of strips of bandages I carry with me for emergencies, would you get them out for me? They're in my pocket." He asked as politely as he could manage. Kuzon did what he was asked, moving carefully so he wouldn't knock Tia and cause her any more pain.
"Good, now tie each strip tightly around her lags, above the arrows so it'll help stop the flow of blood." Kuzon nodded and did as Sora said, wincing when he accidently knocked one of the arrows in her leg, causing Tia to scream and struggle in Sora's arms, but his arms were like iron bars and they held her easily in place. Once Kuzon had finished Sora quickly set off running behind Rima, with Kuzon following behind, running through the city once more to look for their friends.
Iroh opened his eyes and put his hand to his head. He grumbled to himself before taking in his surroundings. He jumped when the palace shook after another boulder was launched at it,
"What the..." He looked to the front of his cell, and realised the door had been left a little ajar. After managing to slowly get to his feet, he stretched. He had no idea how long he had been out for, but he was thankful that the drugs Azula had ordered him to be given had worn off.
He walked to the front of the cell and pushed the door open with a squeak, then he looked around again. He noticed the unconscious prison guard in one of the other cells, and then the red stretcher that had been left on the floor. He furrowed his eyebrows as this stretcher was only used to carry dead people, but he saw no body, in fact the only other person in here was the prison guard, and Iroh was positively certain that he was alive. What the hell was going on?
He jumped when the palace shook again as another boulder had been hurled at it. He took a couple of steps out of the cell towards the stretcher, then realised that there were small pools of partially dried blood around it. He frowned again. Whoever had been on this stretcher had been badly injured, and had been moved.
Iroh though it best not to dwell on this subject especially since he couldn't get his head around it at the moment, and decided that it would be best to focus on getting out of the prison, and find out what was going on. The only fact that he knew for certain was true was that Azula had something to do with it. His power crazed niece. He shook his head not wanting to think any more of the monstrous woman, and then headed up the prison stairs to find out what was happening.
Azula and Lin
Lin hadn't taken her eyes off Sokka's lifeless body, as she and Azula sat in silence together. She had no idea of how much time had actually passed after the two guards had dragged him in and dumped him on the floor. Azula sat drumming her fingers on the arm of the throne, her extremely long sharpened nails were the only noise that could be heard as they repeatedly hit the cold metal.
Both of their heads immediately snapped up as the doors opened. Lin sat frozen in her place. Was there going to be another body? Or was it just going to be some more news of what was happening?
She fixed her eyes on the two small figures at the other end of the room as they drew nearer. Her stomach churned as they got closer and she managed to make out a third figure that they were dragging behind them.
She looked down, she didn't want to know who it was. She carefully shifted her eyes to the side so she could see Azula. She was grinning. Lin looked back down, wishing that she wasn't sat in the same room next to this monster. The two guards finally came to a stop and dropped the body on the floor next to Sokka's. Azula sighed in disappointment.
"And here I was thinking that you might've actually bought me the Avatar's body.
The guards remained silent as Azula looked over the body that was on the floor beneath her.
"And where did you find this piece of trash?" She questioned them,
"She was abandoned like the male in one of the corridors," One of the guards replied. Lin sat barely breathing. 'She', It was a woman, or girl. She prayed that it wasn't one of the children that had lost their life. There was a pause of silence, before Azula waved her hand, motioning for the guards to go. They bowed and left.
Lin shifted her eyes back to Azula who was still staring at the body, then she slowly moved her eyes to look at who it was. She froze. Her eyes fixed on the pale bloodstained face of her mother. She didn't know what to do. She couldn't get up and run to her,
A) Because she was frozen in shock, horror and sadness, and
B) She couldn't give her cover away.
Lin tore her gaze away from her mother's sheet white face, and stared at the wall at the other end of the room, keeping her expression as blank as she could possibly manage, holding back the tears that she felt coming on.
Azula turned her head to look at Lin. She scrutinized her for a moment but Lin remained the same. Azula watched her for a moment longer, then turned her head back to look at Ty Lee and smirked. Lin stood from where she was sat.
"What are you doing?" Azula questioned her, not taking her gaze away from Ty Lee,
"I just need to use the bathroom if that's alright," She paused before forcing herself to say the word "Mother." Azula turned to look at her again before calling in the guards that were stood outside the doors to the end of the room. They hurried through them and bowed before her,
"Take Lin to the bathroom, we don't want anything happening to you now do we?" She said to Lin rhetorically, with a smirk. Lin just bowed, then walked out with the guards following behind her.
As soon as she was in the bathroom, she locked the door and broke down into tears. She wanted her dad. She wanted him to hug and comfort her, ad tell her that everything was going to be alright. But it wasn't. Her mother was dead and it was Azula's fault. The woman that brainwashed her, the one who tore families apart. The woman who killed Kaiya, and the woman that grinned at seeing the dead face of her mother and called her a 'piece of trash'. She loathed her.
Lin hadn't realised that whilst she was thinking of these things, her hands had heated up due to the amount of hatred and rage that she felt, and she had accidently scorched handprints into the floor of the bathroom she had slumped onto. She jumped when there was a knock on the door.
"Is everything alright you're highness?" One of the guards called. How she wanted to scream back at him that it wasn't, how she wanted to tell him her mother was dead and they had dumped her body on the floor in front of her. She dried her eyes with a nearby towel and cleared her throat,
"Everything's fine," She answered him monotone, standing from where she sat. She brushed herself off and went to check herself in the full-length mirror situated on the other side of the bathroom. She stood in front of it for a while, trying to neaten out her clothes, and sort out her face so that it didn't look like she had been crying, then another knock sounded at the door,
"Princess, you've been in there for quite a while, are you sure you're okay?" The same guard asked, Lin could tell by the tone of his voice. She sighed before taking a deep breath, before walking back to the door, unlocking and opening it before stepping out.
"I told you everything was fine, can a girl not make herself look a little ore presentable?" She questioned, looking at both the guards, who shuffled a little uncomfortably where they stood.
"Sorry your highness, we were just worried something may have happened," One of them apologised. She sighed then proceeded to lead the way back through the corridors before she froze as Aang sprinted round the corner at the end of the corridor they were stood in. She was immediately pushed behind the two guards that were with her, as Aang came to a stop in front of them. They got into their stances but just before they were about to strike, Lin gave them both a quick couple of jabs in their backs, and they fell limp to the floor completely paralyzed and unable to speak, one of the things her mother had taught her.
Aang looked at her. He saw straight through the false mask that she had on her face, and he could tell that she was completely and utterly distraught.
"What is it Lin?" He asked her softly, moving to stand directly in front of her. Lin just shook her head as fresh tears started to trickle uncontrollably down her rosy cheeks, then without warning she literally threw herself at Aang, soaking his tattered robes with her tears as he gently wrapped his arms around her, all the while keeping an eye out just in case any enemies popped up. Lin managed to stop crying not long after, drying her eyes with the back of her sleeve and stepping away from Aang.
"I have to get back, I've been gone for a while and she'll be wondering where I am," She told him, her voice cracking a little.
"Wait Lin, tell me what's happened that's upset you so much," He looked her, his grey eyes full of concern as he watched her, as she tried her best to hold back some more tears that began to well up in her eyes.
"My..." She began to say before her voice cracked again. She took in a deep shaky breath, holding back her tears as best she could, before speaking again.
"My mum's dead." Her voice was barely a whisper, tears now flowing freely down her cheeks again. She didn't make a noise; she just stood silently crying as she looked into Aang's eyes. Aang had known Ty Lee was dead since he had been there, but he had no idea how she knew.
"That's not all," She began again, as Aang tried to comprehend the situation,
"Sokka ... He's also been killed," She finished, her voice not having grown any louder than before. Aang just stared at her blankly trying to swallow the sudden lump that was caught in his throat. Two of his most dearest friends, who had helped him through thick and thin, facing all the hardships in his life, particularly Sokka, were dead. No it couldn't be. Lin watched Aang as his hands balled up into fists and started to shake, he blinked a couple of tears from obscuring his vision, and she watched them roll harmlessly down his cheeks. She watched as his eyes and tattoo's flashed the blinding white that she had seen before, then she gently took his hand in hers. He looked down at her, his face full of hurt and sadness, much like hers, as his eyes and tattoo's faded back to normal.
"Azula will kill you if you enter the Avatar state when you face her, that's what she's planning," She told him.
"Don't worry about me," He said to her, still looking down at her,
"Now I want you to leave here and go and find the others in the city," He told her, gently giving her hand a squeeze. She shook her head.
"I'm staying with you to face her. I'm not interested in hearing you tell me that it's too dangerous or how many times you're going to tell me to leave, I'm not going to listen. This woman has torn my life apart, messed with my head, made me witness things I will never forget, things that will haunt me for the rest of my life, and all I want is to see her dead." Lin told him her voice monotone again, her tears stopped. She stared up at Aang her golden eyes burning deep into his grey ones.
"You're going to need all the help you can get, she has the imperial guards, Dai-Li and Yu-yan, hidden all throughout the room, and she has the bodies of Sokka and my mother on the floor by her feet as bait to get you into the Avatar state, but, I have an idea." Aang nodded taking in the information. He was completely against having her come with him, but he knew that no matter how hard he tried, she was far too stubborn to listen to reason, and he didn't have the time to take her out into the city and risk getting them into a heck of a lot more fights. So he proceeded to listen to her plan, adding in some bits of his own, mainly ones that would keep her out of harm's way, all the while keeping an eye out for more enemies.
Once they were both certain on what was going to happen, and they both knew exactly what the plan was, Lin started to lead Aang through the corridors to where Azula was, ready for the final deciding battle.
Hi readers! D: Sorry for the ridiculously long amount of time it's taken me tp upload this chapter, i haven't had a lot of time to be writing it, I've had so much going on!
Anyway hope you enjoy this chapter, and i apologise in advance if my next chapter is a while to update, v.v
Thanks to all of you who support me and this story, it means a lot! ^^
And just to let you know i haven't given up on either of the stories that i am currently writing~~