Iroh groaned a little as he opened his eyes. He could hear the ocean and for a moment he wasn't quite sure what was happening then he felt Naga's hot tongue liking him.
"Ah! Naga stop! Ew." He shook his head and then flinched. "Oh it feels like I got hammered last night. With a hammer." He stood up a little dizzy. Naga got to her feet and gave him something to lean against. He petted the dog. "Thanks girl." He looked down and saw something red hanging from her mouth. "What do you have there girl?"
He pulled out a piece of sleeve with a golden cuff. He looked at his own jacket, which was not missing a cuff. He frowned. "I wonder how this got in your mouth." He sighed. "Ok girl, nice and easy let's get up to my room and see what the damage is."
The first person he ran into was Bolin who looked like he had just struck gold. "Iroh! Thank the spirits! You're alive!... covered in sand and have a bruised forehead but alive." He pulled one of Iroh's arms over his shoulder to help him stand and walk a little faster. "Here let me help you to you room…rough night? Your nose is bleeding."
Iroh pinched his nose. "I-I think so, I'm still piecing stuff together and…" He thought about the few things he learned the night before. "I think I saw my grandfather last night."
Bolin nodded his head. "Yeah, um sir Lord Zuko had been here almost all week and was at dinner last night."
"Not that one, the dead one."
"Ok… how hard did you hit your head?"
"I didn't hit my head someone hit me in the head…I think with a rifle butt. It's really foggy but I probably wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Naga." He held up the piece of sleeve. "This was in her mouth when I woke up this morning. I'm willing to bet my assailant has an arm injury that looks a lot like a bite."
Bolin took the piece of cloth and looked at Naga. "Ew, well if I got bit by Naga I would definitely be favoring that limb, if I still had it."
Iroh nodded. "Yeah me too. Look, I need to get cleaned up can you keep your eyes open for anyone one who looks like they've got a injured arm? You know just incase they're still on the Island or attending the fake wedding later."
Bolin nodded. "You got it Sir. Hey, after I get you to your room I'll go find Korra for you so she can heal that bump on you head. You shouldn't get fake married looking like you just stumbled out of a real stag party."
Iroh laughed. "I think I would feel better if I was. You can go find Korra but if she's busy don't bother her, it's really nothing."
Bolin shrugged. "Ok, but from someone who's actually seen the bruise it doesn't look like nothing." He left Iroh standing at his door. "I'll be back in a bit with Korra or at least some aspirin!"
"Aspirin would be nice." Iroh mumbled opening his bedroom door and entering.
Korra looked at her reflection in mirror as Lafey brushed and styled her hair. She didn't see herself looking back it was someone different. Her face was covered in make up giving her skin a lighter, fairer, tone that didn't fit her. She frowned; she didn't like her reflection. She looked like china doll and felt just as free as one. She could see in the mirror a new apportion, not the water tribesmen but, Lu Ten in his uniform his hand always on his sword. Ever since she had been walked back to her room the night before she had seen him standing vigil in any reflective surface.
Lafey put the final comb in Korra's hear. "There, you look like a proper bride, you're doing a spectacular job at looking like a political bride at that." She pointed to Korra's frown. "Smile dear, you're not really getting married it's just a rues to catch those escaped criminals. Tomorrow you'll be as single as Aang's statue."
Korra couldn't help but chuckle. "Do you really believe that?"
Lafey shook her head. "No, but I fear for my family if I don't pretend to."
"The White Lotus has threatened your family?"
Lafey leaned against the wall. "Yeah, it was never Mother and Father that made the political matches, you know. That was all doing by the White Lotus an organization that's there to supersede borders and keep the peace. It's such a shame there are good some people in its ranks and their history with the prior avatar and his friends because if there weren't then maybe it could be completely disbanded and made over." She glanced over at the white dress laying on Korra's bad. "You know I wore a dress similar to this on my wedding day. It's quite the piece of art don't you think?"
Korra looked at the dress uninterested. "Oh? I guess it's nice. It's white and has nice embroidery work if you're into that."
"Not really my style but my love-my good, friend Lela does this kind of work as a hobby and let me tell you this kind of work takes months to complete." Lafey traced the out line of a white lotus flower. "This must have been in the works for a long time and these symbols are all uniquely southern water tribe too. Strange."
Korra looked over at the dress. "So what? I'm from the Southern Water tribe why would that be strange?"
Lafey picked up the dress and readied it for Korra to slip into. "It's strange because tradition would dictate that the images be of both the bride and the groom's cultural symbols. I know that's how my dress was when I married duke, no now, Prince Wu." Lafey pinched her nose. "Spirits, I'm going to have to watch his back now with the mess the Earth Kingdom's in." She shook her head. "Anyway what this dress tells me is that the White Lotus always planned on marrying you off and they intended it to be to a person of the Water Tribe."
This did not surprise Korra in the least as the last few buttons of the dress were fastened. She just looked in the mirror. "So they always had this plan for me? Zaheer breaking out was just the icing on the cake. I wonder what would of happened if I had be reincarnated as a man. Would things have played out the same?"
Lafey looked at Korra solemnly. "Probably not, but I must admit if they did the idea of you and my brother just got a lot more interesting and a lot more scandalous."
Korra burst out laughing thinking about the implications. "If things played out the same wouldn't I be with you? You know ignoring your husband."
Lafey laughed. "I already do ignore him."
Korra couldn't help but keep laughing. She needed to laugh; it made the situation seem just little bit better. "Thanks for that image…and thanks for helping me get ready since Asami's not here and I really don't want one of those scary White Lotus ladies helping me."
Lafey nodded. "You're welcome Korra, and if you want I can go find your polar bear dog and get her already should you suddenly decided you'd rather elope."
Korra couldn't help herself and gave Lafey a hug. "You would do that?"
"Yes, avatar Korra, I would and just a bit of advice: Omashu has always marched to the beat of it's own drum and there are no flowers with in it's walls. Just painted ladies and masked men." She gave Korra a knowing wink.
Omashu had over the years turned to be a floating city of theaters, bars, and brothels. It wasn't the place respectable people lived but some times they would visit. Really with the rise of cities, like Zho Fu, Omashu had been almost forgotten and as Korra looked at her reflection it was the perfect place to go when you wanted to be forgotten. She pulled on a robe over her white dress and left her room hoping that she'd be able to find Iroh or one of her friends to tell them of her possible plan for escaping.
Iroh grimaced looking at his reflection. He had been hit so hard in the head he could read "Made in Fire Nation" with in the bruise. He styled his bangs hoping to hide the worst of the burse until he could find Korra or another water bender to heal it. He tensed when he heard his door open but relaxed seeing it was only Zechi.
Zechi smiled and shook his head. "Bolin said he found you. I just had to check to make sure you were ok. What became of you baby brother? You didn't spend last night in your bed and the avatar looked quite distressed about it."
Iroh pointed to his head and smirked. "Someone decided to give me some drastic sleep aid. I woke up in the bushes by the beach with Naga watching over me." He pointed to Naga who was sitting on the prince's bed. "She still seems to be at it."
Naga growled at Zechi who stepped back and started to rub his arm. Iroh's eyes narrowed seeing how his brother was acting and how he held his arm.
"Are you ok? You're holding your arm weird did you injure it?" He reached out to take a closer look but Zechi pulled away.
"It's fine baby brother. I just sprained my wrist a yesterday"
"Well let me see it then. I learned how to properly wrap a sprain in the United Forces and the way you're holding it now it only going to injure it more."
Zechi seemed to relent. "Fine. Take a look." He held out his arm for Iroh to see.
He watched as his younger brother drew closer and wrapped his had around the dagger he kept hidden at the small of his back. His aim was to slip it in between Iroh's ribs and ending his younger siblings life quickly and without much strife. He'd have to take the dog out too but that wouldn't' be too hard he guessed. Then it was all down hill from there, run through the halls telling everyone that Iroh had been murdered along with Naga. Grab Korra, tell her he'd keep her safe and be out of the city to the north where Zaheer waited for their arrival.