Life Happens Wherever You Are (Zuko x OC)

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter 21

I stirred against Zuko, feeling the warmth of his chest on my cheek. Zuko shifted as well, his eyes fluttered open, looking down at me. A smile crept across his face as he looked at me, and then he yawned and stretched. I sat up, squinting at the morning sunlight that was streaming through our window.

“Are you ready to serve the King?” I asked Zuko, watching him stand.

“Yes, I think it will go great. As long as if the Earth King likes tea,” Zuko chuckled to himself, pulling on his serving robe.

I laughed softly, “That is true.” I stood and pulled on my dark green dress, tying it securely.

We both walked out of the room and into the main area where Iroh was getting things ready.

“Ah! There you two are!” I could hear the excitement in his voice, and he had a huge grin on his face.

I smiled, “Good morning Iroh,” I bowed my head. “I was thinking, it would probably be best if I didn’t come with you two to the palace.”

“What?” Zuko turned to me, searching my face.

“Why is that, Mara?” Iroh asked.

“Well,” I fidgeted with my dress. “I am not really a server, you guys are. I wouldn’t really have anything to do if I went. I was thinking that I could go visit Pao and see how his plants are doing, as well as check up on your tea shop Iroh.”

Iroh smiled warmly in response, “How very kind and thoughtful of you Mara. If that is what you want to do, you can do it.”

I smiled back at Iroh and turned to Zuko. My stomach fluttered when our eyes met, my thoughts flooded of the night before. He had a confused look on his face, which turned into what seemed to be worry.

“Be careful while you’re out there by yourself. I don’t want you to get hurt,” Zuko said softly, leaning into me.

“I’ll be safe, I promise.”

Zuko still looked uneasy but nodded to me. Iroh finished packing what he needed and I helped them load it into their carriage before getting into my own and heading to the lower ring. I hope Pao is still doing okay. We hadn’t been away for too long, but who knows what could have happened.

The carriage stopped down the street of Pao’s tea shop and I got out. I walked to the entrance and stopped, taking a breath before entering.

Pao greeted me with a huge smile, “Mara! What brings you here?”

I smiled back at him, “I told you that I would visit didn’t I? How’re the plants doing?” I walked to the back of the shop with him so that he could show me.

He excitedly presented his flourishing plants, “Look! This one has a bud on it!”

“That is great Pao! See, I told you you could do it,” I examined the rest of the plants and saw that they were all doing good. Satisfied with what I had taught him, we went back to the front of the shop. “How is business?”

Pao sighed, “Well, it hasn’t been the same since you left, but Mushi had left some tea recipes with me so it is better than it was. I hope all is well at the new tea shop?”

“Yes, very well. They are actually out serving the King right now, very exciting.”

Pao nodded, I could tell he was discouraged.

“Pao, don’t give up. Some day you will be as great as them,” I smiled warmly at him, which he returned.

After some more conversation, I decided it was time to head to the Jasmine Dragon to see how things were doing. I said goodbye to Pao and went back to the carriage that brought me there, only to see that it was not there. Where could they have gone? I sighed in frustration. I told them to wait for me here.

“Looking for something?” I heard a familiar voice behind me, making my blood run cold.

I whipped around to see Azula, but not dressed like the last time I saw her. She was in some sort of earth kingdom armor, her face painted white with red below her eyebrows. If I had not known her before, I would not have suspected.

I steadied my breath before answering, “What do you want? How are you in the city?”

She laughed, sending chills down my spine. “It is easy to fool people when you are dressed as their warriors.”

She’s obviously not alone here, she wouldn’t be that stupid. How many more were there? I’m not even confident that I could take Azula one on one after seeing what she is capable of in the abandoned village. And if she has more hiding in the shadows? There is no way I could fight and win. I tried to scan every corner and shadow in sight, I didn’t see anyone out of place.

“Please make this easy on me, you know you cannot win. I’d hate to waste my energy on you,” Azula stepped closer.

I gritted my teeth. Osana had always taught me never to give up without a fight. I sure as hell was not going to surrender. I widened my stance and looked around for any source of water I could find. I had my flask attached to my waist, but I would have a better chance if I could find more. That was when I spotted a water well not too far down the street to my left. Azula must have followed my gaze because she decided it was time to start.

“I guess we’ll do this the hard way!” she yelled, running towards me with a fireball in her hand.

My eyes widened and I threw up a stream of water to block the fire she had thrown at me. I rolled to the left, dodging her next attack and then sprung up and started running towards the well. I looked back just in time to see a blast of fire coming my way. I threw myself on the ground and rolled, narrowly escaping. I was close enough now to feel the water in my grasp, so I stood quickly and grounded myself, facing Azula. Once she saw me, she stopped running and walked cautiously towards me.

“What do you want Azula?” I spoke through gritted teeth. My eyes were focused on her, watching her every move.

“If I told you that now it wouldn’t be any fun!” she laughed coldly, sending chills throughout my body.

As quickly as I could, I lifted my hands, bringing water up from the well behind me. Azula’s eyes widened, and she started running at me, shooting blasts of fire. I brought my hands together in front of me, sending the water behind me rushing together from both sides and towards Azula. The water blocked all of the fire blasts she had thrown, and I could barely see her get knocked off balance.

I took one arm and made a fist, making the water grab her. Then I lifted my arm quickly before she could break away and swung it over my head and on the other side, slamming her as hard as I could on the ground.

Breathing heavily, I retracted the water, half on each side of me. Azula didn’t move for a moment, but I stayed alert. I could see her breathing heavily as well, and then she shifted. She brought her hands up next to her chest and pushed the upper half of her body off of the ground. Her hair dripping wet, and the fake warrior makeup was almost completely gone. She coughed and then started to laugh.

“You know, when I saw you at the abandoned village, I thought you were with the avatar. But then, when we arrived, I saw you with Zuzu and my pathetic uncle. I thought you were earth kingdom, but I guess I underestimated you, water girl,” she looked at me with hatred in her eyes, “I won’t do that again!” she yelled, spinning her legs around her, making fire come in waves at me. A move I saw Zuko do when I first found out who he was.

I brought up a wall of water in front of me to protect me, and then pushed at it repeatedly, forming icicles and shooting them at Azula. She expertly dodged them, and flipped around to the side to shoot a fire blast at me from around my wall of protection. I brought the wall down and rolled to the side to avoid them, and then whipped a stream of water sharply at her. Since she was focused on me this time, she easily stepped away from it.

“Typical water tribe, limited moves and poor training,” she seethed, circling me.

I thought about turning around in a circle with her to be sure to keep my eyes on her at all times, but I decided against it. I didn’t want to seem like I was worried.

I took a breath before responding calmly, “How many water tribe people have you actually fought before? From what I’ve heard, no one has actually seen you outside of the palace for years, let alone fighting in the war,” I smirked, “Seems to me like the only fighting experience you have is in training, and not in the real world, princess,” I mocked. In reality, I was stalling. There is a move that Osana had just begun to teach me that she said is used against fire nation, but we didn’t have much time to practice before she passed.

Azula glared at me, and stopped circling. “You know nothing about me,” she growled through gritted teeth. I could tell I had gotten under her skin. Good. If I can get her distracted I might actually make it out of this.

I laughed as coldly as I could, making her glare at me. “Oh please, if it wasn’t true people would actually recognize you while you are out on the streets. Don’t you wonder why your precious father has kept you a secret this entire time? You may have years of training, but you have no experience fighting in actual battles with other nations. And that,” I chuckled before continuing, “Is what matters.”

She blinked hard, but didn’t move. I didn’t move either, didn’t break eye contact. We stood there for a moment, staring at each other. Osana had taught me certain things of the Earth kingdom ways of fighting, and part of that was waiting, watching.

“When you watch your opponent, you can see when they are going to strike, and how they are going to strike. Then, you know how to block and when to strike back.”

Osana’s voice sounded in my head, she was explaining the importance of the move she was teaching me. I focused my breathing, readying myself for it. I had never successfully done it before, but it’s now or never.

Then, I saw my chance. Azula’s eyes narrowed and she focused all of her power and anger into one spot. I reacted immediately, bringing one hand up making that section of water rush towards her. While it was moving, I flexed my hand, twisting it sharply and giving the water a faster more powerful force. It rushed towards her, and she focused on it, getting ready to block. Exactly what I wanted to happen. While she was focused on the other hand, I flicked my other one up and with one sharp movement towards her, sent a slice of water from the side. She was so focused on the original strong blast of water that she didn’t see the small slice of water coming at her until it was too late.

It smacked her in the face, sending her tumbling to the ground. I retrieved the water and stood up straight.

“Like I said, princess, the real-life experience is what matters.”

All of a sudden, before I could react, a black stone came flying towards me, latching onto my wrist. I looked down at it and used my other hand to try to pull it off, but it wouldn’t budge.

“What the...” I began, as another one attached to my other hand. Then it hit me. When Jet got arrested, this is what was used to restrain him.

Just as the realization hit me, my arms were yanked backwards by an invisible force, and connected together behind my back. I struggled as hard as I could against them, trying anything I could to break free.

Then they stepped out of the shadows, men dressed the same way as those who took away Jet.

“Hey, I’m not the one you should be arresting here,” I struggled as they walked up to me.

One of them hit the back of my knees, making me fall to the ground. I glared at him in anger and confusion. What the hell is going on?

“Look, I don’t know what you guys think happened here but –” Before I could finish my sentence, one of them went over to Azula. She was still laying on the ground.

“Princess Azula, are you alright?”

Oh you have got to be kidding me.

Once she had refocused, she yelled, “Don’t touch me!” and pushed off the one who was trying to help her up. She quickly stood and brushed herself off, and then stalked over to me.

I looked her right in the eye.

I saw her fire. It was completely different than Zuko’s, even before his change. Hers had an unbelievable amount of hatred exploding inside of it.

“What’s the matter princess?” I seethed, “Typical that you had to have your men come and save you.”

She grabbed my jaw tightly and leaned down until she was inches from my face. “Next time, I won’t need them.”

My nostrils flared as I glared at her.

She threw my face away from her and strode off, calling back, “Bring her. I need her for the next part of my plan.”

The men pulled me upright and dragged me after her. I struggled against them, but their bindings were too strong.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.