Princess Azula of the Fire Nation knew very well about her father's ability to be cruel. He was a power hungry being, consumed with the obsession of conquering the world. It was difficult to be the child of this man, and Azula knew of this deep inside her heart.
Being the princess, it was her sworn duty to act upon her father's commands, not only because she was his daughter, but because she was beneath him. Her job was to bow down to him on her knees, and to carry out every single one of his orders without batting an eyelash.
It was very difficult.
Azula found herself, at many times, consumed by the unrelenting pressure slammed onto her by her own father. The pressure of capturing the avatar, the pressure of being the second-most powerful firebender there ever was, and the pressure of being strong-willed and performing to her highest extent.
Her training was relentless, stretching many hours a day in the blazing sun, but Azula pushed through every day, knowing that she was maintaining her status as a very feared firebender. It was a part of her, her pride and joy, and she did not mind using it to hurt others, as long as her father was satisfied.
That night, Azula lay in her bed with tight muscles, feeling worn out. The Day of the Black Sun had just passed, and she had acted as distraction for the avatar in order to protect her father. All firebenders lost their power that day, including herself. Azula had to make due with her raw physical strength, agility, and endurance to draw the attention of the avatar and his friends. Even with the help of the Dai Li (who were taken out by the earthbending girl), Azula had to fend off aggressive attacks without her advantage of fire.
She couldn't help but smirk a bit to herself. That day was a pure display of her strength, even without her characteristic blue flames or lightning. Surely, she had proven that she was a formidable opponent.
But then a frown made its way onto Azula's face. Even though she had risked her life to defend her father, without any bending whatsoever, Azula could not remember a time when he properly complimented her. In fact, in the aftermath of the invasion, Ozai hardly even acknowledged her for her courage. Azula's frown deepened as she recalled the events of the day before, after the invasion had failed...
Azula knelt on the ground before the Fire Lord, an expression of fresh triumph emblazoned on her face. Her black and red armor was dusty and smudged from fighting, but the princess held herself upright and proud. "Father, we have defeated the avatar's forces. I assure you this is a considerable blow to their confidence. They shall not take the Fire Nation lightly!"
"Hm," Ozai nodded.
Azula rose up to a standing position. "They were quite surprised to see me sitting on top of the throne instead of you," she said smugly.
Ozai suddenly turned to Azula with anger blazing in his eyes."I should tell you that your brother, Zuko, has informed me about the truth of what happened in Ba Sing Se. It was you who failed to kill the avatar, not him!"
Azula blanched, but rapidly recovered. "Yes...I know."
Ozai regarded her suspiciously. "And why, may I ask, were you unable to carry out your duty?"
The princess felt nervousness creep into her spine, but shoved the pathetic emotion away as quickly as possible. She made sure her voice was steady before answering, "There was no way he could have survived my lightning alone, father. The waterbender has the ability to heal using water...that was the avatar's only means of survival."
Ozai's fists clenched together, and expelled a steady stream of hot breath out through his nose. "That's not all. Zuko has now fled the Fire Nation, and is in search of the avatar...he wishes to join forces with him."
Azula's eyes widened at the information. She composed herself and said, "Yes, I was aware that Zuko had left."
The Fire Lord's eyes narrowed. "How did you know?"
"I...I saw him leave on an airship."
The Fire Lord involuntarily began to heat up the room in his anger. "WHAT? You saw that traitor leave and you did nothing to stop him?" he bellowed.
"Forgive me, father, but there were far too many things to give attention to at the moment," Azula hastily crafted up the response. "I simply thought that Zuko was traveling somewhere...it never occurred to me that his intentions were to side with the avatar."
Ozai hissed in anger and turned around, his scarlet robes flowing around him. "I expect you to track him down, and dispose of him. Do you understand?"
"Do not disappoint me," the Fire Lord glared at his daughter.
And yet she already had. Once when she failed to kill the avatar, and a second time when she did not chase after Zuko. But Azula could not tell her father the truth.
The truth was that she had felt too tired to run after her brother. She was sick of constantly pursuing her enemies, and after that very long day, Azula had simply let her brother off the hook.
Had I felt...lazy? Azula asked herself fearfully. No, no, that cannot be it. It simply wanted Zuzu to have a head start, that's all. Azula quickly dismissed the absolutely ridiculous notion. Tomorrow I will begin my chase for him. She sighed.
Azula knew that weakness was not an option. Her entire life, she had trained herself to become powerful, pushing herself to the limits in her bending, as well as studies of military strategies. Her entire life was devoted to pleasing her father, Fire Lord Ozai, and to complete her duties as princess. She was, after all, the heir to the throne, not the pathetic excuse of a prince, Zuko.
Her brother had betrayed the nation, yet again, and ran off to join the avatar in his mission to stop the Fire Nation.
Lying in her bed, Azula felt herself scoff with disdain. Why am I thinking about Zuzu? For a while now, she had been pushing back thoughts of her brother. He's weak, he's stupid, and he will never be worthy of me! Why am I thinking about the vermin?
Azula rolled over onto her side, tossing and turning under the thick covers. He's a traitor...but even so, why do I feel a pathetic longing for him? Then a thought occurred to her. I must miss torturing him, that's all. The princess sneered as she closed her eyes. Yes, that's it.
This chapter was just a brief introduction, and the next will have more dialogue, possibly action (Action will come more in later chapters, definitely! Don't worry!). Please review!