|Azula the Park Fairy: Azula Takes on Jubilee Park
Author: Eduard Tubin PM
Azula has a bad flu and Karo tries to make up fairy stories to entertain her. This is a crossover between Avatar: The Last Airbender and Pearlie - a funny kid cartoon based on a series of Pearlie the Park Fairy books.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Humor/Parody - & Azula - Words: 7,095 - Reviews: 3 - Published: 08-14-10 - id: 6239570
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Azula the Park Fairy
Azula Takes on Jubilee Park
Azula had not had a good day.
She lay on her back on a well manicured lawn and heard loud bongo drumming coming from an old red, steel, mailbox many feet over her head. Azula sat up on the lawn and found herself vastly more disturbed by the scale of the things around her than the fact she had no idea where where had ended up. For the first time in her life she had the fear of something stepping on her.
"Iroh used to say knee high to a cricket." She mumbled as she looked around at the lawn and the huge shrubs. "I never expected that fool to predict the future."
Azula walked toward the bongo drumming and looked up at the mailbox.
"Drummer boy!" She shouted. The bongo drummer quit playing.
"Hey dude!" A friendly face leaned out of the mail slot and waved as he looked down at Azula. He had brown dreadlocks and a blue and turquoise colored hat. "Welcome to Jubilee Park."
"Dude?" Azula rolled her eyes but didn't have time to debate the odd looking man.
"I didn't hear about another fairy coming to Jubilee Park." The odd small man flew out of the mailbox in his tan pants and light green shirt. Azula watched in amazement as the man flew down to stand before her.
"Jasper's the name." He stood in front of Azula.
"Fairy?" Azula found herself taken a bit aback by that odd comment.
"You got the wings man." Jasper said as he pointed to her transparent and lightly red tinged wings. She gasped when she saw her long and delicate wings that hung off her back.
"How did I become an air bender?" Azula kept looking at her delicate wings which to her seemed completely unfashionable and disgracefully feminine for a warrior.
"We should see Pearlie." Jasper said calmly. "Come on. Follow me."
Azula watched Jasper take off from the lawn over the sunlit park. She flapped her wings although she had no clear idea how she could make them work and she took off although she felt off kilter and shaky.
Jasper kept looking behind him to watch the odd fairy as she tried to keep her balance in mid air. She didn't act like a fairy and dressed in an odd military uniform. The gold hair decoration in her hair and her black uniform with gold accents seemed a bit excessive to his elven tastes. He took care not to fly too close to trees and other obstacles since Azula seemed to have difficulty maneuvering in three dimensions. She kept stalling out and falling to the ground and once nearly flew into the trunk of a tree.
Azula found the scale of the trees and flowers astonishing but she had to concentrate on her flying. She could gain lift through flapping her wings but she discovered she had difficulty keeping a straight course or steering in a specific direction. She felt like she had taken a walk on an ice covered pond but in three dimensions. She felt out of place but she watched Jasper carefully as he maneuvered toward a large fountain with a statue on the very top. Azula followed Jasper to a small clam-shell under the foot of the bearded statue of an old man holding the trident. She had given up trying to explain things as she saw more and more of the place called Jubilee Park.
"Hi Jasper!" A blond haired woman in a pink top and blue pants greeted the elf as he entered the clam. Azula had never seen a creature quite like herself – at least she had not recalled having the ability to fly or having wings. She had never seen any creature like the cheerful and delicate blond haired fairy standing before her. "Who is your friend?"
"I am not his friend." Azula steadied herself on a frail looking red chair. "I am Princess Azula."
"Oh! Hurly Burly! Pleased to meet you! I am Pearlie! Welcome to Jubilee Park!" The fairy in the pink top first jumped up and down and then hugged Azula. "We have not had a Princess here before."
"Uh!" Azula pushed Pearlie away from her and spoke in cold measured tones. "Why am I here?"
"I don't know." Pearlie said excitedly. "Fairy HQ must have had a reason to send you here."
"Hello everybody!" Opal flew into Pearlie's small house and greeted Pearlie and Jasper and took a long look at the strange woman in her odd military like uniform as she tried to make sense of her. Opal had dark skin and black hair done up over her head but not in the delicate bun like Azula wore. Azula looked at Opal and then at Pearlie and across to Jasper and sat down. She realized these odd creatures meant her no harm but in the absence of information she decided to wait calmly for the answers to come. Opal had the same cheerful disposition as the other two but did seem more cautious.
"Ow!" Azula felt a sharp jab to her back as she sat down and pulled out a long wooden wand painted red with a delicate cross painted orange on the top of it.
"Have you got a space to stay?" Pearlie asked politely.
"I hardly see accommodation fit for a princess in this place." Azula tapped her wand in her hand.
"We have nice places all over the park." Opal said reassuringly. "I saw a nice hole in a big tree by the snack bar."
"I have to live in a tree?" Azula sounded incredulous.
"A bonzer place." Opal said. "Lots of room and you can see persons coming."
"I hate to be rude." Azula began. "Why do I care about persons?"
"They can't see you!" Pearlie gasped. "If they see you then they will know fairy folk exist in the park and we will have to leave. It is one of the most important rules in fairyland."
"This is a hole!" Azula stood on the branch outside of a hole in a eucalyptus tree and looked scornfully inside a hole something her size had carved in the tree.
"We call it a fixer upper." Pearlie told Azula in her usual cheery voice. "Give that want a little wave, find a few things you like and you'll have a great place."
"Indeed." Azula crossed her arms and pondered two things. She had no idea how she could make a hole in a tree a liveable space and she pondered how badly the authorities in charge of reincarnation had screwed up to place her in a situation where she had to ponder that question. She had realized the problem she had with scale came from the fact fairy folk stood as high as a mouse. This meant she could make a home in a hole in a tree and it meant her military career had come to an end. She walked around the wooden cavern that she imagine would end up as her home with her arms behind her back. She had only spent six hours in Jubilee Park and yet the sudden materialization of a blond, middle age man in a red poncho and orange shirt on the branch outside the hole came as no surprise.
"Pearlie!" The man said in a commanding tone. "Oh! I see you met Princess Azula."
"Indeed Gobsmack!" Pearlie smiled. "We have started to work on her place."
"I trust you will train her properly in the art of park management." Gobsmack turned to Pearlie. "She has come from another realm – sent to us on the highest authority."
"What if I don't want to manage a park?" Azula glared at Gobsmack from inside the tree.
"You have no choice." Gobsmack pointed at Azula. "You should consider yourself lucky they chose to transfer you to Fairyland and not send you someplace awful. You will train here in the art of park management under Pearlie until Fairy HQ decides you are ready to manage a park in your own realm."
"I will train her." Pearly smiled at Azula. "You have my word."
"I leave it with you." Gobsmack said in a quieter tone. "Now I will visit Saphira's spa and have my knees buffed."
"What was that?" Azula pointed her wand at the place where Gobsmack had once stood.
"Gobsmack? Oh! Don't mind him!" Pearlie entered the hole Azula had found for a home. "He is the inspector from Fairy HQ. He makes sure we keep out of the way of persons and that the parks run smoothly."
"Well! That cleared that up." Azula said morosely.
"How would you like to decorate your place?" Pearlie asked in an excited voice.
"A nice washroom with marble bathtub." Azula pointed her wand and strangely enough the bathroom appeared in a flurry of white smoke as she had imagined it.
"See!" Pearlie said. "You will fit right in."
Azula had her tree house set up by the middle of next morning. She had a huge four post bed with a canopy, red linens, sturdy padded wooden chairs, a place for dressing and putting up her hair – a primping room as she called it. She had a small kitchenette to prepare tea or snacks although Pearlie told her she could eat out much of the time. She picked out a few choice places to add windows to make the place less gloomy and allow the cool breeze through on the hottest days. She made sure she had a thick door to protect her privacy. It all had a woodsy feel to it but she had a clean and private place to live. She had room to create a second level and placed her grand looking bed on the second level connected through a spiral staircase.
Azula hated all of this – she detested spending time with good willed ding bats but she had little choice in the matter. She had to accept the situation as it was until she could figure out how this had come to be. She sipped a cup of orange fizz – as the fairy folk called it – as she sat in a large red velvet chair and pondered her situation.
A knock came at her door and when she answered it she saw a huge gray, hairy bat at least her size. Azula waved her wand and a bolt of blue fire flew from it.
"Ouch!" The bat spoke with a thick German accent and wore thick black framed glasses.
"Hello." A fairy with long black hair darker than hers and a spider web themed dress, blue boots and blue shirt stood at the door. She tapped her wand patiently. "I came to welcome you to the park. We have had a spell of splendid weather – I hope you're enjoying it."
"Another dimwitted moron extending their greetings?" Azula stood in front of the woman. "Here to discuss the weather?"
"I don't think so!" The black haired fairy laughed derisively. "I am Saphira – Pearlie's cousin - and I am not one of those dimwitted cheerful fairies."
"And the bat?" Azula remained standing in the door.
"Ludwig – he's my incompetent assistant." Saphira said. "I didn't know if you would receive visitors so I sent him to check out."
"What do you want?" Azula decided to drive to the point.
"I can help you and you can help me." Saphira said seductively. "I can tell you want more out of life than to take care of caterpillars and spiders in some out of the way park."
"Indeed." Azula said cautiously. "I don't need your help."
"If you want to think it over you will find me in the greenhouse." Saphira made her voice sound sweet but not too sweet. She looked over to Ludwig the Bat who had remained quiet all this time to make certain he did not say or do anything to make her appear foolish before someone she knew was a Princess. "Please feel free to pay me a visit and use my spa facilities."
"I will give it some thought." Azula remained cool sounding but raised her eyebrow.
"It comes highly recommended." Saphira snapped her fingers. "Ludwig! We have to go now!"
"Yes! Mistress!" The bat said obediently as Saphira jumped on his back and they rode away.
Azula had trouble understanding how a bat could speak and even more trouble understanding how it had acquired such a strange accent. She sat back down and drank her orange fizz as she pondered her odd fate. She had begun to believe she had died during a tour of duty but she could recall nothing at all about how it had come to pass.
"Wicked digs man." Jasper showed up in the mid afternoon and knocked on Azula's door along with Pearlie and a large number of rose petal muffins. The elf looked around the small niche Azula had made for herself with some approval.
"We didn't see you all day." Pearlie said in her own cheerful matter. "We brought muffins and blueberry fizz."
"Pearlie makes the most awesome Rose Petal Muffins!" Jasper said enthusiastically as he grabbed two and stuffed them down his mouth. In Azula's mind, Jasper had to have come from the Earth Kingdom and a very low caste within that society. "Dude! You have to have one."
"I saw a wasp taller than me. It flew past my window this morning and I felt like I had to duck under my bed!" Azula sat down on one of her large wooden chairs. "Should I consider more fortifications?"
"Oh Azula!" Pearlie hugged Azula warmly. "You need time to grow used to the park but you'll fit right in. Have a muffin please?"
"I will try one." Azula took one of the muffins and pushed Pearlie away from her. The Rose Petal Muffins tasted as fine as anything the Royal Palace Baker could make and Azula found it very pleasant.
"Told ya!" Jasper laughed when he saw Azula crack a weak smile.
"Gobsmack didn't tell me anything about you." Pearlie admitted and set the muffins on Azula's wooden counter and then took a jug of blueberry fizz and poured out three tall glass cups. "I suppose Fairy HQ have their reasons!"
"I used to be a soldier." Azula had placed a large banner with the Fire Nation emblem on it directly above her chair. "I don't suppose you have much need for a soldier."
"Oh my no!" Pearlie handed Azula a glass of blueberry fizz.
"Well. There you go." Azula sighed and sipped the blueberry fizz. She could summon fire from her wand but at such a small scale she had to real power. She could see no purpose in conquering the small realm of the park. She saw no purpose since the persons held real control over this world. The great powers that ruled the realms had found a perfect place to sequester her – Fairyland – where the very nature of things kept her from wreaking havoc in her drive for power.
"You sound sad." Pearlie had great empathy and could sense a sadness in the poor fairy but decided not to pry into her affairs. "We will go out tomorrow and I will start teaching you."
The next morning Pearlie and Opal showed up at Azula's little tree house and knocked politely at the door.
"Good morning Azula." Pearlie called out as the door opened. Azula wore her finest military attire with high boots and her black and gold vest and did nothing to soften her image.
"How's it goin' mate?" Opal asked politely and tried to sound calm despite the fact she found the amber eyed Azula intimidating.
"And now this soldier will buff frogs?" Azula did nothing to take the edge off her personality and she double checked for her wand as she stepped off the branch to follow Pearlie and Opal. Azula slid sideways and Pearlie grabbed her gently to steady her course.
"Today we have to clean all the roses in the flower beds by the fountain." Pearlie announced.
"I find this humiliating." Azula let out a breath. "And you can let go of me now."
Azula flew along with Pearlie and landed next to her in front of a large bed of red roses. Azula found this humiliating in every detail but her stubborn streak and sense of discipline did not allow her to protest against her fate. She refused to cave into the kind of despair those who cast her into this fate had wished for her.
"Hey dudes!" Jasper flew down and landed next to Opal. "And the new dude?"
"Just great." Azula moaned but decided not to remind the airheaded elf she was a girl because he seemed to have no capacity for such details.
"She is learning how to care for the roses." Pearly said.
"Oh cool!" Jasper hovered a few inches above the roses.
"Now take your want and make the wind blow gently across the rose petals like this." Pearly motioned in a wide circle with her wand. A gentle breeze blew across the petals of the roses and they swayed gently in the breeze.
Azula did as instructed but with a horrible feeling of humiliation. She succeeded in stirring up a cloud of rose pollen and it landed all over the group. Azula began to sneeze and cough. Pearlie waved her wand gently and the dust gently floated away.
"My heart is not into this." Azula crossed her arms. "I can't spend my life primping flowers."
Saphira descended on the group sitting sidesaddle on her bat Ludwig. Ludwig landed and Saphira stood up and faced the group.
"I see you have started training Azula on the fine arts of counting flowers and checking up on how the small little birds are getting on." Saphira spoke derisively in order to sound as superior as possible and to irritate and degrade Azula.
"She has lots of promise." Pearlie said with a snappy voice.
"She could work for me." Saphira said seductively.
"I don't want to pamper fairy folk either." Azula faced Saphira with her arms crossed and a stone cold harshness in her voice. "If you want another foot pampering servant look elsewhere."
"Well!" Saphira jumped on Ludwig who grunted and they took off.
"She sounded put out." Opal said quietly. "You put her in her place."
Azula had lived in Jubilee Park for a week and in spite of her spectacular grumbling and constant complaints about her cruel fate; Pearlie found her a dutiful worker and she had a keen eye for detail. Azula disliked pink and soon the petunias growing at the base of her tree had begun to flower in a spectacular red. Azula found the petty humiliations of a gardener a bother but as she realized soon enough – no one in Jubilee Park had an opinion she gave a fig about. She had managed to find a few things she enjoyed. The rats – Mr. Flea and Scraggs – caused a good deal of trouble but Azula soon had them living in fear. Azula had mastered the art of flying and she had a talent for aerial acrobatics and she had perfected the art of dive bombing and hitting her target. If the rats littered and Azula caught them – she dove out of the sky and wailed like an air raid siren. She dropped acorns on the heads of the misbehaving rats to drive home the point. She had the desired effect and soon the rats had quit littering.
"Hello Azula!" Pearlie said as she landed on the dock. "A bit hot this afternoon."
"I had noticed." Azula sat on the edge of the dock on the park pond and had her attention focused on a book entitled: Welcome to Our Lily Pad – A First Year of Remedial Frog.
"I see you're studying the Frog language." Pearlie said as means of a segue. "They have beautiful poetry."
"If you say so." Azula said unemotionally and closed the book. Azula had trouble understanding how a language with no word for shapes, that conjugated most verbs by the shade of green of the speaker could convey poetry but then again she had much more trouble understanding how she had come to crack open a first year student book on the Frog language.
"I wanted to talk to you about the way you dealt with the rats – Scragg and Mr. Flea." Pearlie began delicately.
"They have to learn not to litter." Azula placed her book on the dock.
"They say you pelted them with acorns." Pearlie nervously twiddled her fingers.
"I live in a tree." Azula said coldly. "I work with what I have."
"I know they test your patience but you have to treat them kindly." Pearlie said kindly and patted Azula's shoulder.
"Have they quit littering?" Azula asked.
"Well...they have." Pearlie looked a bit taken aback. "They have kept out of the rubbish and away from the persons' food."
"We have an old saying where I come from." Azula smiled and had a look in her eyes that Pearlie recognized as a certain glint of cruelty. "A kind word and a sharp blow to the head accomplishes more than a kind word."
"I appreciate your help but please don't hurt anyone." Pearlie asked in her sweet manner.
"If you will excuse me." Azula picked up her book and stood up. "I think I caught Ludwig or Saphira sneaking around my place."
"If you took time to look." Azula flew up and faced a very indignant Saphira. "You would have noticed I set up a net trap in front of the door."
"Grrr." Saphira had tangled with Azula and did not wish to test her patience or kindness. She sat curled up in the net Azula had set up prior to leaving with Ludwig crushed into a gray ball and looking very hopeless. "I came to visit you."
"Why did you open the door?" Azula placed her hands on her hips. Saphira found her military mannerisms intimidating. "If you had knocked you would not have sprung the trap."
"You didn't answer the door." Saphira answered back sarcastically.
"Hold on." Azula waved her wand and a tongue of flame grew from it and burned the rope that connected the net to the capstan and weight. The net fell to the ground with Saphira and Ludwig along for the ride. They both grunted as the net struck the ground. Saphira tore herself free from the net and flew up to face Azula hovering a few meters above her door.
"How dare you do that to me!" Saphira looked at Azula with great fire in her eyes. "I came to see you."
"We have no reason to speak to each other." Azula crossed her arms and hovered.
"I wanted to talk to you about Pearlie." Saphira regained her composure. "Can you see yourself as one of those cheerful park fairies?"
"I am in no danger of cheerfulness." Azula saw Ludwig try to struggle free from the net. With a flick of her wand she freed the poor bat who flew up and rested on the branch by Azula's front door.
"You don't wish to see Pearlie lose her job as park fairy?" Saphira lacked Azula's skill at anticipating the actions of others and this bothered her. She felt insecure of her own position in the park since she had bothered applying herself at fairy school and had to rely on Pearlie's delusional faith in the innate goodness of all to remain in Jubilee Park. Opal and Pearlie had become close friends. Azula had a direct approach to problems and had proven her value to Opal and Pearly by instilling enough fear in the two park rats to make a real impact on littering.
"I have no desire to become the park fairy for this park." Azula reminded Saphira. "Pearlie likes her job and carries it out with all her skill and dedication. I do my best because I do not wish to appear worthless and useless in the eyes of others. Call it a manner of honor."
The next day late in the warm afternoon Azula sat on the branch outside of her house and played with a small person's red Yo Yo she had found while doing her duties around the park. Jasper sat beside her and talked with Azula's eucalyptus tree but Azula didn't know the elf could talk to trees or that trees had well formed opinions on anything. Azula had become friends with Jasper since they shared an interest in things mechanical and they shared a common love of golf. In spite of his ridiculous looking dreadlocks and easy going nature he had proven quite clever in his own way.
"What are you doing you insane pointy eared freak?" Azula asked with her usual tact.
"Talking to your eucalyptus tree." Jasper answered happily.
"What does it have to say?" Azula asked as she played with the Yo Yo.
"It just told me that it isn't your eucalyptus tree." Jasper lay on his back and put his feet up. "It said it is it's own eucalyptus tree."
"Can't say I pondered that." Azula sneered. "A tree with a gift for sarcasm. I will call it Marvin from now on."
"Hello guys." Pearlie hovered and then landed on the branch. "La La La, Do Di Do."
"What did I forget?" Azula cut to the point. "What has Saphira complained about."
"She means well." Pearlie smiled and watch the Yo Yo and wondered what fascination the person's toy held for Azula.
Ludwig landed on the branch with Saphira riding him sidesaddle a few moments later.
"What do you want?" Azula asked bluntly.
"I came over to say hello." Saphira cooed. "Pearlie? Did you know your friend Azula threw a rock at me?"
"Acorn." Azula corrected Saphira. "Jasper and I went out to play golf with acorns. You flew over and cost me a stroke."
"How nice." Saphira sneered. "I don't want you golfing around my spa because you might break a window in the glass house."
"The side of the glass house facing the Desert Garden sits in the midst of our tenth hole." Azula swung the Yo Yo around and caught it in her hand. "Par four - dogleg to the right."
"Grrr!" Saphira growled and then took off on Ludwig with the bat straining to bear her weight as he flew.
"Fore!" Azula shouted out over the morning air on a crisp sunny day.
An acorn sailed across the desert garden and ended up on the roof of the glass house, rolled down and landed at the front of Saphira's door. Azula obeyed the rule of golf which dictated that she play the ball where it landed. Acorns made crummy golf balls but they didn't cost anything and made use of the multitude of acorns that lay scattered about the park. Jasper and Azula helped scatter them randomly about the park.
"Fore!" Jasper struck the acorn and it sailed over the stone wall of the park.
"That will cost you a stroke." Azula heaved her bag over her shoulder and trudged toward Saphira's front door.
"What are you doing?" Saphira met Azula at her front door and asked the question in a harsh and rude manner as if she had found a child misbehaving.
"Hold on." Azula swung her golf club and sent the ball flying off the park wall and it rolled into the park pond. "Do you know why they call it 'golf'?"
"I don't care!" Saphira snapped. "I don't want you and that elf playing around my spa."
"All the other four letter words were already taken." Azula placed another ball on the ground and lined it up.
"Can you hold the door open?" Jasper asked politely as he walked up to the door.
Azula swung and the acorn rolled past Saphira and inside her spa then rolled to a stop near the edge of a hot tub. Azula walked past Saphira who growled in anger and tapped the ball into the hot tub.
"Sweet! We found the place for our tenth hole." Jasper said to Saphira who seemed put out.
Jasper and Azula had improvised the golf course and the tenth hole lacked a final hole but had a good number of hazards such as Saphira's spa, the log Opal lived in, the park wall and many sand and water traps. They had decided the tenth hole was a par four since that was the largest number of strokes they had played without losing the acorn in something, under somewhere or someplace to icky to crawl in.
"Can we book a spa appointment between nine and ten?" Azula walked slowly past Saphira gently swinging her golf club and left.
"Grrr!" Saphira slammed the door.
"Could I ask you not to play golf around Saphira's spa?" Pearlie sat on a picnic blanket with Opal, Jasper and Azula. She spoke diplomatically and kindly although Saphira had probably used much less tactful language in reporting Azula and Jasper's conduct. "She worries that you might break her glass windows."
'We thought of that." Azula sipped her tea. "A broken window counts as a stroke. We count Ludwig as a water trap."
"Please?" The green eyed Pearlie batted her eyelashes which meant Azula could give up on her favorite hobby: tormenting Saphira. "I need to keep peace in the park and so please play golf away from Saphira's spa."
"We need a new tenth hole." Azula mused.
"Howdy mates!" Opal flew in for mid morning tea with Pearlie and landed softly next to her. "How'd the golf game go?"
"Saphira spoiled our fun." Azula grumbled. "We need a new tenth hole to complete our course."
Jubilee Park had a transit stop across the street from the North Entrance to the park and the goal of the tenth hole now became to knock an acorn out the gates, over the heads of the waiting crowds at the stop, into the glass shelter and off the latest 'have you seen my cat Muffles' poster. They could not leave the park and this new tenth hole remained an elusive one to complete. Jasper had managed to hit the acorn hard enough to send it through an open window on a bus in their first attempt at the new hole. A puzzled bus passenger tossed the acorn onto the busy street. Jasper and Azula knew they stood an excellent chance of getting crushed and decided against playing the shot as it landed.
Jasper and Azula concluded their game with tea in the fairy ring with Opal and Pearlie. Pearlie served tea and rose petal muffins as she discussed the day full of park duties. Azula sat on a golden colored mushroom, still hated parts of her job and grumbled about the ducks not listening to her injunctions. Pearlie had come to accept this kind of griping from Azula. She had a good team that seemed to support each other and helped her cope. Opal had the down to earth people skills; Jasper had the easy going artistic side that helped him with plants and Azula had the hard working, determined nature that kept the rats and Saphira in line. Pearlie didn't pretend to understand Azula but Pearlie had trouble understanding Jasper at times. Azula loved order and discipline and for Pearlie that meant well behaving rats.
"Hello." Saphira spoke with a fair amount of venom in her voice when she saw Azula. "How is the new fairy working out?"
"Azula's bonzer!" Opal said and patted Azula's back. Azula cleared her throat and blushed slightly. "No one keeps the rats in line like she does."
"Karo?" Azula lay in her bed with a thick comforter. Her night stand had a pitcher of water, potions and pills to treat her fever, aches and pains and a few books Karo had brought up from the basement.
"Uh?" Karo shifted in the red velvet chair Azula kept in her room.
"Did I ever tell you I had to read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe?" Azula muttered.
"What has over the top allegory got to do with this?" Karo had a fairly low opinion of the same book and had given up on a distinguished literary career when he discovered he could not operate a deep fryer without third degree burns or a visit from the fire department.
"I wouldn't have given a lion the name Aslan." Karo said. "Sounds like the name one would choose for a gay strip club."
"I could not see a lion as the savior of the world." Azula said in a wobbly manner. "Lions typically want to kill and eat zebras or the odd human that strays too close and don't give a rat's ass about the fate of the world beyond that."
"I suppressed most of my high school classes." Karo cleared his throat.
"I don't want you quiz me on plot details or what makes this story Post Modern!" Azula said weakly.
"No danger." Karo said. "I don't know what Post Modern means unless it boils down to something simple like Modern sent through the mail."
"I just have the flu and I am not at death's door but this story has begun to make me long for death. Does it go anywhere?" Azula whined.
"I wanted to tell you a story where you came out the hero." Karo explained as he shifted in the chair next to the bed.
"Well freckle face...I ended up a park fairy?" Azula rolled over in bed. "Sounds sickeningly cute."
"My mom used to read used to read Pearlie the Park Fairy stories to me as a kid." Karo blushed. "Anyhow...I thought you might get bored so I thought I would try to keep you company."
"Influenza and you." Azula coughed into her pillow.
"Can I continue?" Karo poured her a glass of water. "I offered to read an essay on the relationship between central bank interest rates and inflation but you hit me in the head."
"Very well." Azula sighed. "I can't stand up without falling over so I am kind of stuck with you."
"Why do you want to go shopping. Didn't we get everything we need yesterday?" Ludwig flew over the desert garden heading to the clock tower across the street from the park. Great Aunt Garnet ran a store that supplied the magical needs of all the creatures in her secret store behind the clock.
"I need a bottle Supa Dupa Sticky Stuff!" Saphira gave out an evil laugh as she rode Ludwig high above the street. "I have asked Scraggs and Mr. Flea to do a little littering around the park. Azula will dutifully come to restore order and when she lands; you trap her with the sticky stuff."
"Me Mistress?" Ludwig said in his odd German accent. "Azula is – well - a tiny bit dangerous."
"She will stick to the ground." Saphira raised her hands in triumphant victory. "Persons will come and see her stuck there and that will be the end of our stern friend Azula's career in Jubilee Park."
Saphira left Ludwig outside and walked into the small doorway that led to Aunt Garnet's shop. She stood in some surprise for a moment when she saw Azula standing at the counter purchasing magic fairy dust to power up her wand.
"Well...uh...hello." Saphira gulped. "What brings you here?"
"My wand needs a recharge." Azula said coldly.
"Hello Saphira!" Great Aunt Garnet said happily as she stood behind the red counter and metered out Azula's fairy dust. Great Aunt Garnet was a powerful fairy godmother and a bit of a bumbler but everyone knew her and came to her for their supplies.
"Thank you." Azula said as Great Aunt Garnet filled her order. Azula bowed politely in the strange manner she always did and walked toward the door.
"Azula!" Saphira asked pleasantly.
"The rats sold you out for a meal." Azula had a glimmer in her amber eyes that managed to hint a great intelligence and ruthlessness. Saphira had dealt with polite and chirpy Pearlie and with diplomatic Opal and Jasper the scatterbrained elf but Azula could outwit her. "You plan to stick me to the ground with Supa Dupa Sticky Stuff and let the persons see me. What would you do to stop me from taking off my boots and escaping?"
"Grr!" Saphira growled as Azula passed by her and left the store.
"Hello Ludwig." Azula said politely to the sad looking gray bat as she took off to continue her duties. Azula now shared the flower patrol duties with Jasper. Flowers had nasty personalities. Jasper had to deal with roses that wished to impale him with thorns and the taunts of the sunflowers. Azula had become his backup and kept the flowers at bay with her combination of quick reflexes and her ability to lay down the law.
"I have a favor to ask you Saphira." Pearlie stood next to Saphira's red velvet couch holding her pink clipboard. Ludwig hung upside down on a sturdy lamp that hung over the cough and listened. "Azula has worked in the park for a month and we never gave her a proper welcome. She had really become part of the team and she helps me keep order in the park. I want to have a party to welcome her and would like to hold it in your spa."
"Azula?" Saphira laughed. "I would like to have a party at my spa but Azula doesn't get along with me."
Saphira meant to explain that Azula had a knack for anticipating Saphira's evil plans to seize power in the park or rid herself of enemies and foiled her. Azula had figured out her plans for Supa Dupa Sticky Stuff and Saphira found herself against a determined and intelligent opponent – not her hard working but unassuming cousin. She had not wished to make any moves without very careful planning.
"Azula just has trouble showing her feelings and maybe you two got off on the wrong foot." Pearlie smiled brightly and batted her eyelashes. Saphira looked at Pearlie as if she had become deluded.
"Why can't you hold it in the rotunda?" Saphira tapped her wand carefully against her leg.
"Gobsmack asked me to ask you." Pearlie's green eyes lit up. "We need the proper setting for the ceremony that will officially make Azula a park fairy in Jubilee Park!"
"Ceremony?" Saphira said thoughtfully. "With important people from Fairy HQ?"
"You could promote your spa." Pearlie said.
"Very well." Saphira waved her hand dismissively. "I would like good reviews for my spa – when do you want to hold this 'event'?"
"A week from today in the evening." Pearlie smiled and wrote on her pink clipboard. "Thank you Saphira!"
"Have a good day cuz." Saphire said insincerely as Pearlie quickly left on a mission to plan the event.
"What does Azula like?" Pearlie paced the clam shell she lived in. "She doesn't talk much."
"She likes golf?" Jasper lay back on her couch and casually made that suggestion.
"Saphira might not like having her spa windows broken." Opal said as she sat in Pearlie's big pink chair. "She was a soldier."
"I baked rose petal muffins and we have plenty of food." Pearlie sounded nervous. "I hope she appreciates this."
"I can play music." Jasper sounded uncertain. "I don't know if she will like the music in Jubilee Park."
"The Jubilee Park Orchestra!" Pearlie stopped and faced Jasper. "The persons have an orchestra that plays in the park in the summer and they keep their music in a building in the back! We could head down to the band shell and Jasper – you could find a piece she might enjoy. Find something special."
"Awesome!" Jasper said and jumped off the couch. "Last summer the persons played a piece that fits Azula almost perfectly!"
"Something brass heavy and march like?" Opal asked.
"Shostakovitch – The Festive Overture!" Jasper smiled. He had taken in the bandstand concert during a pleasant summer evening and the work almost blew him off the pink toadstool he had perched himself on. He spilled his Carnation Crunch snack all over the ground but felt the sacrifice well worth it.
"I think a concert is bonzer." Opal said and threw her fist in the air for emphasis. "I don't know about all this high falutin music but it sounds fun."
"Good one Jasper! I will talk to Saphira about using her spa!" Pearlie smiled and hovered over the ground. "Will you and Opal find the music and put out the word to the Fairyland Concert Orchestra?"
"Karo?" Azula asked in her extra special menacing manner. "I have the flu but you have made me long for some kind of more exotic hemorrhagic fever. Does this story have a point or a plot or violence or something I think a story needs but you obviously think is unnecessary?"
"I thought you could use the entertainment." Karo blushed slightly.
"I left to vomit three times and you kept talking." Azula moaned.
"I didn't want to lose the narrative flow." Karo blushed slightly.
"When you got the flu last month I didn't bother you – did I?" Azula asked sternly. "I pulled your head out of the toilet when you passed out while throwing up but I didn't break open the Fine Nation Big Book of Fairy Stories."
"You told me the story of the evil bitch queen Mai and her moron of a husband Zuko." Karo reminded Azula. "You read the evil bitch queen's letter and used rude names every second word."
"My brother is a spineless wimp." Azula coughed. "Ty Lee is a moron. You have already begun to forget the crucial details."
"Can I continue with my story?" Karo asked politely as he snuggled up to Azula.
"Sure." Azula sighed. "But if I hear the words interest rate or inflation I will bash your head in with the table lamp."