Avatar Book 2: The Burning Earth

Chapter 3: The Story of Zuko

After a couple of days traveling alone, our supplies ran out. My stomach rumbled in hunger and my mouth felt as dry as a sandy desert. "Where's the next town?" I asked.

"We'll be there soon," Zuko answered. An hour later, we reached a small, rundown town. We came towards a merchant stand. They have to have food and water there! Zuko asked for some water, a bag of feed, and some food. Unfortunately, we didn't quite have enough money. The merchant offered to get us two bags of feed, to which Zuko accepted. We saw two kids off to the side throwing eggs at the 'soldiers' in the corner. The kids ran off and Zuko told the 'soldiers' that he didn't know where the egg came from. As payment, the 'soldiers' stole our feed and left. Afterwards, one of the kids came out and brought us to his home.

"You a friend of Lee's?" the kid's father asked.

"This guy stood up to the soldiers! That kid was with him!" Lee exclaimed.

"Do they have names?" Lee's mother asked.

"I'm Uh…" Zuko mumbles. Lee's father saved us by saying that we don't have to say who we are. Thank goodness! Lee's mother said that we could help Lee's father on the roof in exchange for food. We helped to the best of our abilities with Lee chattering our ears off. At one point, this caused us both to hit our thumbs with the hammers.

"Ow!" I said, shaking my hand as if to relieve the pain. After we worked on the roof and ate our meal, I noticed that Zuko looked a bit downcast. "What's wrong?" I asked.

"Nothing! Just thinking!" He exclaimed in shock.

"About what?" I asked again.

"About…my mother," Zuko replied in a low voice.

"What happened to her?" My curiosity became overwhelming.

"She…disappeared. I don't know what happened to her. Azula said that my father was going to kill me. Mom must have found out. Shortly after, she disappeared," Zuko finished in a cracked voice. I looked at him and saw tears streaming down his cheeks. I placed my hand on his shoulder and pulled him into a warm embrace. I held him as he buried his face into my shoulder and started sobbing loudly. His tears soaked my shirt as I held him. He started to calm down. He lifted his head from my shoulder and looked into my eyes. He was embarrassed, I knew, from the fact that he just broke down.

"It's alright, Zuko. Tears aren't a show of weakness, they're strength," I explained. Zuko nodded and crawled away from me. He laid down nearby and fell asleep. A few minutes later, I had followed suit.

The next day, Zuko and myself were given food for our journey. The 'soldiers' showed up and told Lee's mother and father that their eldest son was captured. When they left, Zuko gave Lee a pearl dagger and we left. An hour later, Zuko had been thinking about his past. Lee's mother came by and told us that the 'soldiers' took Lee. We followed her to help her son. When we arrived, Lee was tied up on a wooden pole. The 'soldiers' started to fight Zuko. He managed to defeat the first three. Zuko started fighting the forth. The forth 'soldier' knocked Zuko down. Just when he was about to deliver the finishing blow, Zuko sprang up and delivered a powerful display of Firebending. "Who….Who are you?" The 'soldier' asked.

"My name is Zuko. Son of Ursa and Firelord Ozai. Prince of the Fire Nation and heir to the throne!" Zuko announced.

"What about you?!" one of the men shouted toward me.

"I am Zuron! Half Water Tribe and half Fire Nation! Son of Tamrok and Avina. I am free to choose which Nation I belong to because I am both!" I shouted. They ordered us to leave, so we did.

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