Post by The Crystal [Hope] Catacombs on Apr 14, 2007 14:55:34 GMT -5
Hey, thanks again to all the readers. Special thanks to yasudaratsu, who has given me so much help and advice, not only with my fan fiction, but also with things in my personal life that have stressed me out and effected my writing. Hopefully, it's not too bad this week! I know it's sort of long, but bear with me, please!
"There is it!" Sokka said, unable to keep the excitement out of his voice as we flew towards the ferry.
"Finally," Toph sighed. "I miss Appa's saddle. Holding onto his fur is giving me major hand cramps."
We landed in a mostly cleared out area, right near the ticket line. Some people backed away from Appa, a bit shocked, but many waved as they recognized me as the Avatar. "Excuse me, could we just ask the lady a quick question?" I asked the first person in line. He nodded graciously. "Thank you."
"No cutting in line!" the woman shouted at me. I winced.
"We aren't buying tickets. We're looking for a girl by the name of Suki; she's one of your employees, I believe?" I asked sweetly.
"The girls are over there," she snapped, pointing to a group of tall, brown haired girls in uniforms. "Now get outta line before I call security!"
"Thank you!" I said quickly before scrambling away.
"Well, where is she?" Sokka practically jumped on me when I rejoined everybody.
"The lady said they're over there," I told him. His eyes searched the group of girls, but his smile dissolved into a look of uneasiness.
"You don't think she's..." Katara began, but she broke off her sentence.
"N-no! She couldn't be!" Sokka paused. "Could she?" A worried silence fell over us until...
"Hey!" a voice yelled behind us, causing Sokka to jump and Momo to fly into the air in surprise. We turned around. Suki stood there, with her hands on her hips and a smile of her face. "What are you guys doing back so soon?"
Before anyone could answer, Sokka wrapped her in a hug, kissing her lightly on the lips. She laughed as they seperated. He held her face in his hand. She winced.
"What's wrong?" he asked. Without answering, she untied her hat, revealing a long, thin burn mark that ran from right below her ear to her hairline.
"The others and I found Appa in the forest while we were out gathering food for the refugees on the ferry. Three Fire Nation girls tried to take him, but we attacked instead of letting them steal him away. A girl in pink knocked us out, and when we woke up, our Kyoshi uniforms were gone and each of us had a matching scar," she told us.
"Azula!" Sokka gasped.
"And Ty Lee, of course," Katara added in a whisper.
"That's how they got into the city! They managed to pose as Kyoshi Warriors by stealing your uniforms!" Toph concluded.
"This isn't right. Now I have more reason than ever to fight them," I steamed angrily. Suki stared at me, not sure what I meant.
"We were wondering if you could look after a friend of ours. He's very important and needs someplace to lay low for a while," Katara explained.
"Sure. No problem. Who is he?" We stepped aside to reveal the Earth King.
"I am pleased to meet you. I am the Earth King," he greeted her. Shock and concern was plastered on her face as she curtsied to him stiffly. "My palace has been overtaken by the Fire Nation. The Avatar is going back to Ba Sing Se to stop them."
"I would be honored to protect you," she answered. She turned to me. "Are you sure you can handle this, Aang?"
"Yes. I'm sure." She smiled weakly and patted me on the shoulder.
"Good luck. To everyone," she added. She and Sokka kissed once more before we left.
My stomach was clenched with fear. If I failed to defeat Azula, I would let everyone down. I took a deep breath and tried to clear my mind. I peered over Appa's large body to the water below. It took me back to a time, just a few months ago, when anything seemed possible. Back then, I was so excited to learn waterbending. I was excited to be so close to Katara and Sokka. I was finally excited about being the Avatar. It all felt like an amazing adventure.
Now it feels like a curse, I thought to myself as we passed over a ferry. People looked up and waved, smiling. Children laughed and squealed "Look! It's the Avatar!". I pasted on a smile and waved back.
Okay, so it wasn't all bad. It felt sort of nice to know that kids looked up to me, and that I was famous.
Appa approached land and I breathed in sharply. My feelings were jumbled, but I knew what I needed to do. The dull throbbing in my back reminded me.
"Aang, are you positive about this? I mean, there might be another way," Katara said. I looked away, glancing down at the landscape. Appa seemed to be moving faster now.
"Katara, I'm Aang's teacher as much as you are. And I've been teaching him how to look problems in the face and defeat them. He can't just avoid it," Toph cut in, showing her blunt but effective wisdom. "This is the best way to go."
"Thanks, Toph," I told her. She didn't answer, but I didn't need a reply. Because just then, the outer wall of the city came into veiw. "Here we go again, buddy," I murmured to Appa.
The city was oddly quiet. Althought it was just past noon, there was almost no one out in the city. The walls were unguarded. We managed to land right outside the palace without seeing a single Dai Li agent. Inconspicuously, we entered, all walking with stealth and holding our battle stances. Suspicious, we glanced around. The halls were silent, though.
"There's nobody here," Sokka whispered. Katara, eyes wide, slapped a hand over his mouth.
Everything felt calm. I relaxed my body, letting my heartbeat become regular again. The others followed suit, dropping their arms to their sides.
Suddenly, Toph whipped around, sending earth flying behind me. But as she did so, we were ambushed, locked tightly into handcuffs made of stone. Even Toph was unable to move to escape.
The Dai Li pushed us towards the large throne room. I noticed that the door had been repaired and repainted, but I made no effort to speak. We were lead inside, where the Fire Nation princess sat primly on the Earth King's throne.
"Why, hello," she greeted us.
The Dai Li agents held us tightly as they pushed us into the throne room. My wrists ached from the stone cuffs encasing them, but I didn't dare say a word. Azula sat before us, legs crossed, an unreadable expression settled on her pretty face.
"I've been expecting you to come back," she said, her voice like melting ice. "Dai Li, please excuse everyone but the Avatar. You may show them to their rooms." They cleared out my friends, who glanced back at me with puzzled faces.
"What do you want?" I snapped at her, narrowing my eyes. But she didn't answer. Instead, she got up off the Earth King's throne and began to circle me slowly. I grew uncomfortable under her gaze and began to squirm a bit.
"Avatar...Aang, is it?... I'd like to apologize," she said. I froze, suddenly a loss for words. The whole angry speech I had been planning to shout in her face disappeared from my mind. "It wasn't right of me to hurt you. I see that now. We should all be on the same side here, looking for peace. Violence wasn't necesary. I hope you'll forgive me."
"What...Why...Why should I trust you?" I managed to stammer at last. Her face portrayed true shame, though.
"I understand that after what I've done, I don't deserve forgiveness. But perhaps if I offered my services, you would reconsider," the princess suggested. I was stunned.
"I'd like to be your firebending teacher." I could feel my eyes practically bulge out of my head.
"You? Teach me?" I said, unable to force out a complete sentence. I remembered the calm way that Katara taught me, the strict way that Toph trained me. Could this b*** really teach me how to firebend? She was so cruel and heartless!
She spoke with such kindness. It almost reminded me of Katara, or Sister Iio. Maybe she really did regret what she had done. Maybe she was more like her brother and uncle than I had assumed; after all, both Zuko and Iroh had helped me in one way or another. Perhaps there was more to her than I believed.
"I... I'll have to think about it," I answered finally.
"Of course. The Dai Li may lead you to your room. I'll be by later tonight to recieve your answer," she told me. Her voice was softer now, not so icy.
My hands were released and I followed the Dai Li to a big green-and-brown room, where I promplty flung myself onto the bed and closed my eyes. I certainly had a lot to think about.
Post by The Crystal [Hope] Catacombs on Apr 21, 2007 13:05:27 GMT -5
This week, I'm adding two shorter chapters instead of one long one. Thanks to everyone who has been reading!
Ty Lee and Mai were eagerly awaiting me in my quarters... well, Ty Lee was eager. Mai simply looked bored, as usual.
"Well, girls. The plan has been put into action. The Avatar is now considering my offer," I told them, sweeping by and planting myself in the seat by the window.
"That's great, Azula!" Ty Lee squealed happily, cartwheeling over to give me a hug around my neck. "Don't you think so, Mai?"
"I don't know, Azula. Don't you think you're treading dangerous ground here?" she replied.
"What do you mean by 'dangerous ground'? Mai, I really don't think you should be the one to contradict me here," I said, admiring my razor-sharp nails.
"Well, don't you think that by making the Avatar more powerful, you're setting the Fire Nation up for disaster?"
"See, Mai, this is why I'm the princess, and you are simply the daughter of a rich family. I understand politics. To gain control of a powerful person, you must find their weakness. The Avatar is a young boy; emotions will easily effect him because he is not hardened like older men. By using his feelings against him, I will be able to get him wrapped so tightly around my finger, he will forget that I am his enemy," I explained haughtily. She rolled her eyes, but I ignored her.
"Gosh, you're so smart, Azula!" Ty Lee complimented me.
Post by The Crystal [Hope] Catacombs on Apr 21, 2007 13:39:41 GMT -5
When I woke up from my nap, Katara, Sokka, Toph and Momo were all standing around my bed. "Woah!" I jumped a little, still dazed with sleep.
"Finally!" Sokka sighed, as if it had been a great stress to watch me sleep.
"So, what happened, Airhead?" Toph urged me.
"Huh?" I mumbled, rubbing my eyes.
"With Azula, Aang. What'd she say?" Katara asked.
"Oh. She... she said she wanted to be my firebending teacher," I said, not quite believing the words even as I said them. Did that really happen?
"What!?" Sokka cried. "Aang, she practically murdered you!"
"Yeah, but that's in the past. I mean, she apologized for trying to kill me and said that we should try to make peace," I offered. They all still looked doubtful.
"So, are you going to let her teach you?" Toph wanted to know. I paused.
"Yeah. Yeah, I think I am," I replied finally. Sokka rolled his eyes, and I could tell he wasn't happy with my decision. He left the room through the second of three doors that connected to my quarters. Toph followed, opening the third door and earthbending it shut behind her.
"Aang. I don't want to lecture you, I really don't," Katara said when they left. "I'm not trying to be your mother."
"I know. I'm sorry I yelled at you," I apologized.
"It's okay. It's just that I just want you to make good choices. You're the most important person in the world, and the decisions you make effect a lot of people," she continued.
"You think I made a bad decision." It wasn't a question.
"Well, yes," she agreed. "I don't think Azula is trustworthy, and she might be in this for something other than peace."
"I don't know. She seemed pretty sincere," I mentioned. She didn't answer. "Katara, I know I'm risking a lot here. But I feel like I need to give her a second chance. Plus, she seems to be an amazing bender. She's better than Zuko, and he's older. She can even bend lightening! Shouldn't I learn everything I possibly can?"
"Yeah, but still. She's the princess of the Fire Nation. Is she really going to teach you firebending? She'll know your goal is to face her father."
"Well, maybe now I won't have to. Maybe we can make peace. I know talking things out doesn't always solve problems, but is fighting really the answer? I mean, we have a chance for peace. I'm gonna take it," I told her.
Katara didn't say anything for a long time. "We should put some more water on those gashes," she said after a while. Just like every night before, I layed down on my stomach and she knelt beside me on the bed. Carefully, she drew water from her pouch and let it swirl around my wounds. Then she put it back.
Post by The Crystal [Hope] Catacombs on Apr 28, 2007 13:07:17 GMT -5
My footsteps were silent as I approached the Avatar's quarters. I raised my hand to knock on the door, but decided against it. If he had decided his answer was no, then there was no way he would let me in. Despite my confidence, I figured I would rather be safe than sorry at this point. I opened the door.
He stood in front of a full length mirror, his shirt off, his back bare. An ugly wound scarred the smooth skin right over his arrow tattoo. He didn't acknowledge my prescence, only stared coldly into his reflection. But I knew he knew I was there. I came up behind him, seeing my own ravishing face appear in the mirror next to his.
"Have you decided?" I asked quietly. He nodded.
"Yes." He paused. "I've decided to accept your offer. I'd be glad to have you as my teacher." He didn't glance away from the mirror, and I could tell he was still conflicted.
"Thank you. We'll start training tomorrow afternoon. Is that alright?" I said. He nodded. It was time to convince that he had made the right choice. I ran my fingers over his back, softly touching the scar I had left him. "I'm so sorry."
"It's okay," he mumbled, still not looking at me. I felt a flash of anger surge through my veins. Was he trying to ignore me? I took his wrist and tugged him towards me. "What?" he said, finally turning away from his reflection to face me.
"I don't want you to forgive me so easily. I don't deserve it." He looked at me, and I had the feeling he was buying it. I still gripped his wrist. It was raw where the stone cuffs had bound him earlier. "I want you to trust me. But that doesn't need to happen all at once. I just want another chance."
"I'll give you another chance."
I smiled. "Thank you," I replied. "Goodnight, Avatar Aang."
As I left the room, tingles of pleasure ran up and down my spine. I loved getting what I wanted. I had the boy in the palm of my hand. Already, I had made him feel guilty for not trusting me. Soon I would be able to make him want me. He would stay with me, a prisoner without even realizing it.
Post by The Crystal [Hope] Catacombs on May 5, 2007 12:22:54 GMT -5
Here's the next chapter, everyone (if anyone out there is still reading)! Please leave a comment, even if it's just to tell me I suck. I like to know how readers are responding. Thanks yet again to yasudaratsu for your amazing help!
I barely slept that night. My mind was spinning and even mediation couldn't stop my thoughts. Azula's soft, regretful attitude had caught me off guard.
I tried to tell myself that it was nothing, just a girl trying to win forgiveness. Yet at the same time, I knew it was wrong. No matter how she acted, she was not the friendly type. Every time I had come in contact with her and the others, she had been cold as ice and her eyes had shone with a blood-thirsty sparkle. She was just like her father.
I knew she was trying to trick me. She knew I didn't trust her, and that I just barely forgave her. She wanted to gain redemption in my eyes, in the Avatar's eyes. But I wasn't sure I wanted to truly forgive her.
It wasn't that I didn't believe she deserved a second chance. But it's like I told Katara: I'm not a little kid.
When Azula shot me down, it was like nothing I had ever felt before. It was electrifying and the pain was like no other. It felt like my chest was exploding. And as I went down, right before I lost consciousness, I remembered all the people who were relying on me. The whole world is counting on me to save them, Fire Nation included. General Iroh was a good man. And I suspected that there were many firebenders that wanted the war to end as well.
If Azula had killed me, if Katara had not saved my life, then all the nations would be in trouble. Air Nomads would be entirely extinct. The Avatar Cycle would end. Azula had put everyone in the world in danger. And yet she wanted my forgiveness.
And she was using her charm to try and get it.
My early morning waterbending lesson with Katara was a mess. Part of me wanted to tell her about last night, but it felt awkward. My stances were all incorrect and the water sort of bubbled and stalled when I tried to move it.
"Aang, what is wrong with you today? You're usually not like this," Katara commented.
"It's nothing. I guess there's just a lot on my mind," I replied, not looking at her.
"Oh. You're first session with Azula. When are you going to start?" she asked.
"Noon," I answered.
"Look, I know you're probably a little nervous. But if you act this way with Azula, you'll never learn firebending. Come on, you need to concentrate," she urged me. Sighing, I resumed my stance, thinking about the water and nothing but the water. I managed to get through the session.
"Okay, I think that's enough for today. Besides, you should eat something. Your firebending lesson is in an hour," Katara finally said. My stomach lurched. She had no idea how tough it was going to be.
I'm still reading, And I'm still liking your work ^^ But, I get the feeling something is missing. Don't know what or why I get that feeling.. uhh, It's maby just me, but still... ( I'm not good at helping.. eheh, sorry..) Anyway, keep going with the good work! ^^
I hate to agree with Bard Child, but that color is killing my eyes. If you want us to know what POV it's in (Without simply stating "Aang's POV" or "Azula's POV"), just drop subtle hints at it. We'll figure it out eventually. Also, it's unnecessary after Chapter 2 or 3, as we can already guess what POV it's in by the pattern they go by.
About the story itself, eh, it's alright. There's some glaring problems, however.
First of all, STOP REGURGITATING PHRASES FROM THE SHOW. That wasn't directed solely at you, but there's so many people that reuse things that were already said in the show in their fanfictions. "Twinkletoes", "Sugar Queen", "Idea Guy" (Which is what you used), I'm sure the Gaang has the creativity to make up more than that.
Second of all, I don't know whether you watched "Appa's Last Days" or not, but Suki and Azula were involved in a duel, and "The Earth King" revealed that Azula won. The chances of Suki escaping that encounter unscathed are slim to none. In Chapter Four, you describe (barely, more on that later) the Gaang giving the Earth King over to Suki. Er, no. Even if Suki survived and wasn't captured, I'm pretty sure she would mention something about nearly being killed by Azula.
Also in Chapter Four: "Suspiciously, we entered, all walking with stealth and holding our battle stances."
^I think that word you're looking for is inconspicuously. If they entered "Suspiciously", I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have made it far.
You honestly need to use more detail. In Chapter Four (Sorry I'm ragging on Chapter Four so much, but it's the one closest to the message box), you have the Earth King dropped off with Suki, and *BAM* they're at the palace. What happened on the way to the palace? How many guards did they sneak past? What changes did Azula make? How did Sokka manage to cover up for sneezing about 2 meters away from a Dai Li agent, while that agent was straightening his hat and sipping a cup of tea? Slow down for a minute and tell us what's going on.
There's many more errors in this story, but I stopped reading after Chapter Five due to the colors, and I'm short on time at the moment. I'm not saying that this story is completely awful (Actually, it's quite a bit better than a lot of stories I've seen on this site), so please don't go on a rampage about it. Just delivering some healthy criticism.