Reviews for Trapped in Yu Dao
Data Seeker chapter 8 . 11/18/2015
Hi

This is what I think of the second half of your story.

The quality is like the pervious chapter, good in many ways.

The plot continues as Mia and Sokka investigate this super weapon. The complexity and intrigue of the plot is good.

The revealing of the antagonists of the story was interesting: Kori, Longshot and Smellerbee- who are in league with a secret terrorist organization that has yet to reveal itself. The interaction and fights are suspenseful with clever dialog and such. The only thing I dislike is the death of the foes. I’m not a big fan of character death- with a few exceptions.

That part with Mia losing her clothing was handled very well- namely you weren’t provocative. STORY WRITERS SHOULD TAKE SOME LESSIONS FROM YOU.

The aftermath with the weapon gone and the world undergoing a change was dynamic, well written, drama and emotion.

Sokka and Mia on a team and will continue traveling together. I like the chemistry between them. You did this romance very well.

I guess now we wait for the sequel.

The wholesome standards are high. You handled various mature references and themes very well.

I hope this review brightens your day. God bless

Data Seeker
Data Seeker chapter 4 . 11/18/2015
Hi

Your sequel to your 'Trapped in Ba Sing Se’ is basically good.

The quality is good in many areas: good narration, interaction, dialog, suspense, drama and humor.

Some areas need work, for example, I can’t tell if one scene is a flashback or not.

The basic status of the world is interesting, the war is over, Ozia escaped, Zuko and Azula rule the Fire Nation as equals, and international complications are threatening the new peace.

The beginning with Sokka and Mia on their own missions which then converge was basically good- though I didn’t find Sokka’s embarrassing situation amusing though.

The following where Sokka and Mia team up to continue their mission: to meet Zuko and convince him to make concessions before all chaos breaks loose was good.

Their arrive at Yu Doa and meeting Sneer and Kori was interesting. Mia’s confronation with Zuko was great, namely their characterization and such. The reference to Azula and how she is somewhat different was good. Zuko’s reasons for not making concessions are interesting. A super weapon is out there and it could fall into the wrong hands.

Well that’s the first half of the story. Now for the rest.

This is what I think of the wholesome standards thus far.

The language is clean.
The sensual reference is passable or dubious. Thanks for not being very suggestive.
No extreme violence or any other vile content.

I hope this review brightens your day. God bless

Data Seeker
Anon E. Moose chapter 2 . 5/22/2015
A second reading of the story made me have a quite bit different impression I have to say.

You have Sokka set up for almost certain failure: He is but one person whereas each of Mai's endeavours has hundreds of people-hours of preparation from the contacts and their gathered, accumulated and compiled intel to having custom tweapons/tools developed and tested to having an entire organization - plus Kyoshi Warriors at beck and call - backing her.

A propos Kyoshi Warriors: For wanting to allegedly settle down in contrast to Sokka they are apprently quite often and long NOT on their island. Appears quite hypocritical. Also quite odd they would follow Iroh, not the Avatar, considering who Iroh is. (With that knowledge Jin's behavior is also odd.)

White Lotus in general, espeacially with Iroh in charge, is quite darkly ironic: He attacked Ba Sing Se and has on that and other occasions been responsible for many deaths before his change of heart. Yet he is the puppetmaster behind the world stage and going unpunished. And even though he all that time with Zuko that is turning to have not been effective he still does not take of Zuko and Azula - permanently - even though they have long been proven enemies to the peace.

And the Avatar? Hardly doing anything effective apprently. Only one guy on the Avatar's side and he's outnumbered, outclassed and outresourced.

So once again the Fire Nation in the persons of Iroh, and Azula and Zuko - who he lets do their thing, again - is directing the world and causing it trouble. I wonder if that view was intended.
Guest chapter 2 . 1/20/2015
and numerically (the overthrow of the Earth King and even Long Feng as well as the conscription of The Mechanist helped things)! HOW IN THE WORLD DID THE EARTH FREAKING KINGDOM AMASS A FREAKING FORCE THAT COULD STRIKE THE FIRE NATION MAINLAND?! THEY DON’T EVEN HAVE FREAKING AIRSHIPS OR NAVAL SHIPS THAT COULD CARRY THE TANKS AND SOLDIERS NECESSARY TO IMPLEMENT AN INVASION THE SIZE THAT HIT CALDERA DURING THE ORIGINAL SERIES, LET ALONE ONE THAT COULD ACTUALLY SURVIVE POSSIBLY MULTIPLE DAYS OF COMBAT!

WHAT IN THE EVER LOVING FU-WU-WARRIORS?!

Anywho, I’m assuming Iroh is just overreacting. That, or you’re poking fun at The Promise, again. I’m banking on the latter.

Also, both Mai and Iroh assume Azula has influenced Zuko…. Was he made Fire Lord between the time of the prequel and now? Does Azula still hold the Princess title, or does she serve as his personal advisor or something? Wouldn’t Azula be as much an important target in this as Zuko?

“‘I cannot tell you have to do this, but it is because of the mysterious nature of the task that I specifically select you. I am sorry.’"

Just me, but I think “I cannot SAY you have to do this” would work better in that sentence… Also, Iroh, you don’t have any other ninjas in your White Lotus organization to use? Is Mai really the only one you can call on? Seriously guy, just say she’s the only one Zuko might talk to about this, no need to be ambiguous.

“Despite her ill feelings, Mai couldn't deny that she was starting to feel more alive. Danger, choices, friends who might be enemies, actions that she might regret later…”

I guess Mai’s one of those short-term focused sorts.

I’m going to stop here, for now, because it/s almost 1:30am and I need to finally slap more words into Destiny Crossroads’ 2nd chapter before I go to bed. But I’m going to leave this hanging overnight because I find unfinished things to be VERY uncomfortable, and thus feel OCD-style compelled to complete them. A sort of no-person-present-accountability thing.

Anywho, see ya around 11:30 tonight.

Mike50333

(P.S.: So it looks like will only log the first 9,875 characters, w/spaces... PERHAPS YOU COULD THROW IN A COUNTER INTO THE REVIEW TEXT FIELD SO THAT PEOPLE CAN KEEP UP WITH THAT LIMIT AND AVOID HAVING THEIR REVIEW TEXTS GETTING CUT-OFF AT ARBITRARY-LOOKING PLACES, ! Anywho, I'll keep an eye on that from now on.)
mike50333 chapter 2 . 1/20/2015
Ugh. I’ll be blunt, I am far too reliant on ideal conditions and need to learn to adapt and get out of my comfort zone in terms of working conditions... That said, let’s get to it.

Same sitch as last time - review will be typed in as-I-read fashion, and will probably take a couple days to complete. Chapter’s been read-over once, so I’ll be able to combine reactionary responses with more thought-out … thoughts.

And we’re off!

So we start off with our spy sweeping the table in a rather unengaging game of asian-space-equivalent-of-poker. ...Except the space. Because technology hasn’t advanced that far yet. … I’ve got Space Battleship Yamato 2199 on my mind; been meaning to check the anime out for a while… And I’m off track again. I swear, it’s not your story, my mind seriously drifts like this. Anyway, the game’s boring, as is the city. I guess she hasn’t tried out the Wu Tu Electric Boogaloo Haiku Jamboruu (ignoring the forced misspelling at the end, does that count as alliteration? lol)? I hear it’s smokin’ during the fall months. Oh, speaking of Haiku…

‘And him being a family man! What his children will think when they find out about his haiku, I don't know.’

Is it actually an illegal activity in Ba Sing Se? By that unidentified patron’s words, it seems, at best, taboo...ish. Seems strange, given the Tales of Ba Sing Se mini-sode, but I guess it could be an underground haiku club. ...With a bouncer… That could be easily spied on by any random passer-by… I don’t think I can buy them being so lucky as to have avoided detection by or being reported to the authorities. I smell shenanigans! Or perhaps it’d only been their second or third session when Sokka showed up…

Oh that paragraph with Mai’s reflection of her improved capacity for empathy, and her seeming growing disdain for those lacking it, just warms my heart.

“Mai laid her cards out on the table. ‘Positive sixteen. I win.’”

Grrrr… What game are you and what are your rules?

“Her uncle would be proud”

I wonder what Uncle Warden thinks of Mai nowadays in the show’s canon? He seemed to hold her in high regard, what with his willingness to denegrate Zuko over the breakup w/ her.

“The dealer was reshuffling the deck when another servant slid up behind Mai and whispered, ‘There is a young lady to see you in the lobby. She bears an invitation for tea at the Jasmine Dragon.’

Mai's fatigue instantly dried up and blew away. ‘Finally. Something to do.’”

I just wanted to acknowledge how much that second-to-last sentence made me smile, imagining Mai’s fatigue as a layer of ash that just swirled away on a gust of wind.

I’m gonna end up doing that a lot in my reviews of your work.

Hi Jin! Her working at the JJ post-war seems to be a near-constant in the fandom. :)

‘Jin nodded. ‘Iroh sent me to invite you to take tea with him. A private meeting.’

‘“Yes, because a discussion about an absurd danger to the fate of the entire world is never complete without tea.’”

Well, to be fair, such a substance can provide necessary stress-reduction when discussing such affairs.

But then, Mai’s destroyed a freaking prototype boat-mounted heat-ray. The tea thing, therefore, is a mere formality. Iroh has so much faith in her. :D

Oh, and are you an illustrator, or have connections of someone who is? Because I want a concept sketch or something of that ship you described that Mai destroyed. Like bad. Real. Freaking. Bad.

“As they entered the little museum, Jin waggled her eyebrows at Mai.

‘Iroh says that you might find the set from the Itoku era interesting.’

Mai sighed. ‘Jin, I know which one activates the door. I have done this before.’

‘Aw, but I enjoy this sneaky stuff.’”

Funny thing, a lot of Avatar...erotic...fan-images...shutthecrapup...features Ty Lee and Jin together.

I think I just got why.

“Iroh took a sip from his own cup before answering. ‘Destiny- and I- have selected you to save the world. Again.’”

I wonder, sometimes, if Destiny actually has any agency, or if Iroh managed to capture her and keep her under his control under some sort of spirit-seer contract? I mean, sure, he’s a good guy...sorta...but still. Subjugation of powerful spirits like the Shaper of History can’t lead to good things. Agni forbid the guy have a bad day…

“Mai drank from her own cup, not because she was thirsty, but because she was being served tea and it was expected of her.”

...Wait, I thought she was trying to override the whole ‘Do whats expected of you...’ overthinking it ,she’s just being polite.

‘And what am I saving it from this time? Another rogue general? A wealthy nutcase with dangerous toys? Unimaginative romance stories?’

Oh my god, Love Amongst the Dragons is going international! EVERYONE TAKE COVER!

...Wait a second…

If it turns out that Zuko’s dislike of the play actually holds merit… That means the kid is a connoisseur of stage plays… When did he find time to become a stage play critic in the middle of all that daddy angst?!

“You Dao”

Get your pronouns out of my proper nouns, man! I’m eating here!

Waaait...

"’That's a colony, isn't it? Rich. They make something special there?’

Iroh nodded. ‘Metal, actually. You Dao is one of the oldest of the colonies, and quite well-regarded for the quality of the weapons and armor produced by the city's smiths. The Earth Kingdom people who lived there already had access to excellent mining opportunities and metals of rare quality, and after the Fire Nation conquered it, our people shared the secrets of our most advanced forging techniques. Those were then further advanced by the skilled craftsmen who worked there. It is a perfect story of how the ways of two nations can come together to create something greater than the mere sum of their strengths.’”

Firstly, I never even thought of Yu Dao as being a previously conquered Earth Kingdom city.../state...Dammit Legend of Korra - seriously, how does one rinky-dink looking village comprise an entire state?! Secondly, have the Fire Nation squatters actually developed a legitimate respect for the EK natives, to the point of seeing them as equals, or is Iroh just sugarcoating things?

“As a well-manufactured product of the Fire Nation herself…”

Wow. I can imagine Mai using this knowledge, both of herself and of Azula, to egg the latter into concentration-eroding frustration in the middle of a fight, post-war in the show’s canon. Even better, Mai, at least, is still well-sane, while Azula, frankly, is spoiled goods. A decidedly malfunctioning product, no longer good for its original purpose.



Mai. The girl with words as sharp as her knives. :D

...wait, mind drifted again.

"’Meanwhile, the ways in which the people in green are exploited by the people in red is lost in the sound of all that jingling money, right? Don't tell me that you want me to do something about that. I'm not the Avatar, I just throw knives.’"

And that answers my earlier question, confirmed by Iroh.

Sad. No fault of yours, just would’ve been cool, personally, to have seen such a status-quo shattering event…Aw well, realism reigns supreme.

...Oh man… So the events of The Promise are happening in this universe too?! Dammit, Gene Yang, when will your reign of canon-jack-uppery end- wait, these are different circumstances, aren’t they?

“‘He and Azula must know that this move could reignite the war. Perhaps they feel that their control of the Fire Nation is too tenuous to give up a prize like Yu Dao.’”

Makes sense, I guess. Between the rare metals and the manufacturing methods employed in that city, relinquishing control would mean, at the very least, that Earth Kingdom forces, would now have access to the sorts of forged armor/swords/other military metallic impliments that the Fire Nation has. It probably is a stretch, but if any wartime manufacturing businesses saw that and suddenly decided that the Fire Nation wasn’t nearly as lucrative a client to continue producing weapons for and either switched alliances or went independent… Especially if they were responsible for producing the country’s tanks and/or naval ships…

Might not be as big a deal if they’re owned directly by the FN government, I guess, but still… IF this triggered post-war defections, and the Earth King either decided he wanted to flash his balls or got impeached by someone more confident and competant with vengeful intents, things could get ugly in due time…

How absolutely sad that the contributions I WISH I could give to ASN forum postings are being inserted in the review of a fun story like this…

Anywho,

Iroh wants Mai to go in and assess the situation, figure out what the frackle is going on, and if necessary, disable or eliminate the offending elements.

I guess Mai isn’t so heartlessly badass as to be comfortable with having to confront Zuk oin such a fashion. Or perhaps theres still some fear of Azula within her. Both? We’ll see…

“Mai pondered the child she with whom she had grown up”

I think this portion of the sentence is made rather clunky with the over-effort in sounding...poetic? Also, it forces you to use the word “she” in a redundant fashion.

“‘Maybe Azula has gotten to him?’ She wasn't sure if she hoped for or dreaded the possibility.”

I honest to God want to know what attributes Azula could have imparted into Zuko that could POSSIBLY make Mai eager to see him afterwards!

“‘I'm not sure how Azula would benefit from this. The Earth Kingdom and the Fire Nation are on the verge of war, but this time the Earth Kingdom has the strength to strike directly at the Homeland-’”

WHAT?! How in God’s Holy Name could they have amassed enough of a force to strike the Fire Nation directly?! Jesus Christ, when I thought of A Future Uncertain, at least the Earth Kingdom had managed to slay Ozai, putting a distraught Iroh in power that was far too grief stricken to continue the war, and that gave the EK five years to rally and build their forces, both technologically a
Evil Lord Kane chapter 8 . 12/14/2014
Good sequel!
mike50333 chapter 1 . 10/20/2014
(Cont'd)

" It had seemed like a problem with a simple solution. When running from a pair of pursuers through a crowd, simply use the crowd as natural cover. It was like covering yourself in plants while hiding in the jungle, except it was a jungle of people, and Sokka was a people, so it was actually more like a plant hiding in a bunch of other plants. The problem was that all plants were naked, so it was easy for them to blend together. Unlike Sokka, though, the people around him were actually wearing clothes, and that even included the people in obscenely revealing Fire Nation swimsuits."

I can't stop grinning. lol

"Sometimes, it was hard being a special flower."

Someone call a doc!

" Obviously, it was time for Operation: 'Get Off the Street, You Dummy.'"

Hmm. Still funny, I admit, but this might get old soon if it's hammered further into the chapter.

"'Hey, guys. I don't suppose you'd believe that I'm just a guy who wound up on the wrong side of a really mean prank?'"

Well, considering the Universe's reputation with you...

"The guy on the left got a top right in the eye, and screamed. The guard on the right had his own scream cut off by another top that actually landed right in his mouth, eliciting a gagging sound that made Sokka swallow in sympathy. There were simultaneous crunches as another pair of tops smacked right into the guards' noses, and then Mai was between the guards, grabbing the one on the right and swinging him to crash into his partner."

Wow. Mai's officially graduated to the empathy-less level of badass. Frankly, I wish she'd done this to Zuko at the end of The Proactive Provocations of a Puberty Possessed Peon.

Also, those mutual betrayals that Mai keeps harping on in her head? Yeah, I don't think they'll be happening now. Or in the distant future. Or ever.

So, Mai not only bails him out, but is having them pose as a couple in an attempt to hide in plain sight from guards that are hunting them, and even gives him some advice on how to make it look more convincing (as if he needs it :P) and how this will help keep the heat off their tail. Did you happen to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier, per chance? Because this bears some resemblance to that scene with CA and Natasha in the mall. Awesome movie, btw. _

Feeling hurt by Sokka's suspicions and assuring that she and Ty Lee are looking out for his and Suki's safety. Aww. :)

You know, it's kinda amazing how only a year ago, Sokka would've seen a girl saving his bacon as the most heinous of offenses, let ALONE someone from the enemy nation. Ohhh, how people change. _

Seriously, I don't know if this general situation is just a trope as I don't frequent spy movies (like nearly at all; only exposure I actually have is the aforementioned Marvel movie and the Bourne trilogy), but this seriously resembles that scene I mentioned earlier.

It's really cool seeing Mai care about her family, even with their helping to cause her regressed ability to emote. And if last-year's free comic day feature of her is anything to go by, she has a special spot in her heart for little Tom-Tom. Very mature of her, not being jealous of her little brother. :D

Pirates. The perfect go-to scapegoats of any universe.

So Aang's managing both the withdrawal of FN forces AND the relocation of the colonies back to the Fire Nation territories, pre-war at least. Man, he has a lot on his plate. And it sounds like Katara's gonna be helping with rebuilding efforts in the SWT. Lot on their collective plates right now. At least it'll be interesting for 'em. Stressful, but interesting. :)

Awwww, Sokka cares for Mai's family too. _

" And thus Sokka found himself taking a moonlit stroll on the beach with a pretty girl, except it was an Enemy Beach, the girl was a defector from the Fire Nation and just a friend, and they were out on the beach in order to escape an all kinds of people who would see them dead."

I think you added an unnecessary "an" in that last segment of sentence; should probably just be, "...and they were out on the beach in order to escape all kinds of people who would see them dead."

Mai respecting the couple's space and Suki being firmly confident in their relationship to not suspect anything infidelic. Yay! _

"'How did you lose your clothes spying on a crime boss?'b /

Then the night spoke in Mai's voice, and it said, 'Well, I had already stolen your clothes once. I may as well go for a full set.'

There was silence for a moment as Sokka tried to come to grips with Mai deliberately making a joke.

Then he laughed."

Man, the fact that Ty Lee was too stunned to even react to Mai speaks voooooolumes.

...You weren't kidding, negative space IS powerful in writing :D

A very picturesque ending to the chapter with them riding their eel-hounds into the moonlight (I don't think the moonlit sky gets enough credit in cinema as a thing to ride into, which is weird with how inherently romantic nighttime seems to be...when constant news of overnight murders and home invasions don't sour the mood. _) Though I'm lost on one thing. I get the light of the moon part, that seems pretty literal, but I'm thrown for a loop with the flames. Is this supposed to represent the torches still lit at the yet-festive Ember Island at their backs? Do they have torches mounted on their eel-hounds and and they're using that for navigation? Is it supposed to sort-of foreshadow the rising tension that's ahead for our heros? Nothing bad, just something I'm rummaging through my mind trying to figure out...

Aaand that's finally it! Took me three days to get this review done, but it's done! I'll keep the summary of my final thoughts short, but I have to say, I! Am! Hooked! I haven't had a chance to look over the chapter's length, but I'm guessing it clocks in at around 7K words. If so, I could scarcely tell throughout my first reading because it reads like a breeze. The characterization was on-point, the humor was a constant win, though Operation: Running Gag did run the risk of going a bit too long for my taste, at least for a single chapter), and my GOD if you don't know how to write fast-paced and fluid action! And I love how you're dealing with the fact that Mai's floating on the sea without a paddle in terms of where she still fits in with things. I believe she still has some slight sentimentality for the Fire Nation, if only because Zuko (they were an item in the previous story, right? Seriously have to re-read that), but she's very much a realist in that she knows she's less-than-welcome, especially with her main squeeze and his sister running the show now. And I assume the protection Iroh can provide her can only last for as long as she's needed for the White Lotus's operations, so she's going to have to develop a few contengiency plans pretty soon...

I wonder if the circus has any openings? It may not stimulate her mind much, but the stunts CAN be harrowing. :)

And I wonder if the chicken-shark Ozai has any plans, or if he's just hiding away like a hobo?

Only time will tell.

All I have left to say is that you get a solid 9/10 from me, good sir! Keep it up!

Grace and Peace, and Happy Writing!
mike50333 chapter 1 . 10/20/2014
(Cont'd)

" He noticed that the men were wearing something that, while no more modest, was at least more in line with their gender expression, and once again cursed the universe for not providing him with the right disguise just because he wished it."

Well, if you hadn't gone against the Status Quo, you wouldn't be in this situation. :P

Also, where are they at, some country strip club? ... The irony of classy music coming out of a strip bar baffles me to no end.

' Hey, you ain't a girl! What do'ya think you're trying to pull here, boyo?'

Oh let the boy pretend. :P

'...hey, security, we got a bozo guy in a dress with socks stuffed in his wrap!'

Now had he remembered to grab the wig and Adam's Apple restraints...

" Sokka took that as his cue to jump off the stage and dash for the exit."

Run, you clever boy! lol

" Now, where was Suki? With her help, he'd be able to get rid of his pursers in a delightfully decisive way-

-and why did it feel so breezy?"

*snickers* Nice.

" One moment they were fighting their way out of Boss Pantu's club, stabbing, punching, kicking, tripping, and throwing goons out of windows, which altogether meant Mai was having the time of her life."

Why did it take me so long to realize this? Mai's clearly an adrenaline junkie! She should take up spelunking during her downtime.

Also, they ended up trading the window with Suki. Hah! Nice.

" Sure, there had been some mutual betrayals, but eventually they came to a working agreement, which went on to involve saving each other's lives, and you couldn't face death (or Azula, same difference) with someone and not consider them something like family afterward."

D'awwwww, Mai considers Sokka family! And if Ty Lee and Mai have a sort of sisterly bond between them, then that means Ty Lee finally has an older brother! BONUS!

...Ewwwww, she was hitting on her to-be-older-brother-figure-guy-friend in the original series, GROOOOSS!

"She turned to Ty Lee. 'Did you recognize the girl?'

'Yup!' The tilt of her head somehow managed to express the smile beneath her mask. 'That was the Kyoshi Warrior girl! The leader one! Azula stole her underwear-'

ALRIGHT, WE GET IT, YOU KNOW HER, TMI WOMAN!

...How the fu- does she even know that?!

"Ty Lee blinked. 'What partner?'"

Oh come on, Ty Lee, don't play coy.

Ty Lee: Coy? I'm not being coy.

*scoffs; turns to Azula*

Is she being coy?

Azula: Yeah, coy.

You're being coy!

...

Where did that even just-

Azula: ARE YOU WORKING WITH URSA?!

Back to the review!

"This was her life, now. Danger, escapes, demanding alliances, clever plans, and a touch of ruthlessness. Her family would be horrified, if they knew she was alive, and Mai tried to take some solace in that."

I will officially cry when this girl finds a family to settle down with.

And then cheer with joy when her family becomes the first ever official(?) spy agency. :D
mike50333 chapter 1 . 10/20/2014
(Cont'd)

Eh I won't let it bug me. Besides, it'd be nice to see how Aang handles a briefing monologue.

"' Operation: 'Sarcasm' is not approved for operations at this time, Agent Suki.' He winked and added, 'We're keeping it in reserve as my secret weapon.'"

Classic Sokka. Honestly, I think it's the jokes more than the sex that keeps Suki with him. And since laughter's the best medicine, I don't think she could've found a better match. _

'I think the new treaty outlawed the use of sarcasm in enemy counties.'

I think that same treaty outlawed such adorable couples, too. Also, that is one ineffective treaty if it only affects enemy "counties." Does the Avatar Universe even have "counties?" lol

And will I manage to get past two paragrahs without making a comment?! ROFL

I'm enjoying the contrast between Sokka/Suki's and Mai/Ty Lee's resources and approaches of attack. Also, I find it strange how well the banter between the two "savage" teens seems to fit in with planning a break-in. :D

" Girl muscle is the best muscle, now and forever."

Sokka is the best character in Avatar, now and forever!

...Oh great, now Ty's crying. _

So, back to the first nonbending duo, and we're at the crime boss's office. Which has a surfboard of all things. Also, award winning rendition of Love Amongst the Dragons?! Clearly the Fire Nation has no taste! That or it's a fake that was distributed to all the commercial establishments of EI. Either one wouldn't surprise me.

And with the knowledge that this lady actually owns the island (we talking legally, or with an iron fist? I assume the latter), it's hit me how far Mai's come in your fics from being the pouty broody girl that leaned haphazardly on Zuko's shoulder.

"'I don't make deals with people who I don't know. You come to me in a mask, representing unknown people? Young lady, I don't know what kind of criminal you think I am, but that type of thing is simply not done this close to the Capital. We cover ourselves only in silks. Give me your name, or I shall show you some of the weapons hidden in my silk.'"

I am getting SUCH a Godfather vibe from this.

"The cat in Pantu's arms let out a hiss. If that was rehearsed, Mai was impressed."

Right with her.

And I'm in agreement with Ty Lee, too. Phonetic humor never goes out of style. :D

"' I mean no disrespect, but not all of us enjoy the protections that you do. I'm a facilitator offering promises, letting you know that there is an alternative to becoming the next target of the people who sent the Fire Lord running scared.'"

Calling out the disproportionate securities of the rich while passive-aggressively planting seeds of doubt in those securities. Nice.

Pity it doesn't seem to have worked...

Also, my brain must be tired right now, because my eyes read 'local Home Guard division' but my mind read back 'local Home & Garden division. Seriously, for a second, I was wondering why Mai and Ty Lee were about to be attacked by a bunch of gardeners and carpenters.

I'll pick this up tomorrow morning

...

*RINGRINGRING! RINGRINGRING! PHONECALL! PHON-*

*smacks phone off of nightstand*

Ugh, I need to get a different ringer... Okay, back to this.

So, looks like Sokka's having trouble sneaking into the facility. If only he realized he had a smorgasbord of potential distractions to use. A few gold coins and a bunch of booze, and you'd have a ready streaker.

Seriously, I wouldn't put that past him. :P

Not that it terribly matters. He's managed to get in, still. And now he's effecting a confident swag walk like a good spy. Make sure he gets a spy biscuit for his hard work. :P

"Operation: "Sneaky Sneak" was going perfectly."

And Operation Running Gag is a go!

And of course he left the Bouncer Magnet on.

And the proper response to a badge request is to high-tail it outta there. If it works for The Doctor, why not Sokka? lol

Ya know, at first I thought it would have been worse to find a room full of people but it actually makes sense now that I think of it. More faces for the body guard to sift through means a higher likelihood for Sokka to either wait him out or slip past him if burly mahn comes in. Now all he has to do is not screw this-

" Sokka glanced back over his shoulder and caught a glimpse of the burly guard looking around through all the activity, so Sokka ducked behind the closest curtain and found himself in a little space. What was this, a closet of some kind?"

Ohhhh no...

" Then Sokka looked down and saw the pile of clothes at his feet. Ah, it must be a place to get changed in private, complete with conveniently placed disguise!"

Okay yeah, this does look good, just don't ji-

"Sometimes, the universe really did pay him back for all the trouble it otherwise put him through."

Dammit Sokka!

"Then Sokka saw that what the clothes were, and realized that the universe was a huge jerk after all."

You should have learned this back in Ba Sing Se, Sokka! Never bet against the status quo! Now you have to try and find this guy in a freaking dre-

" Then a call came out of, 'Quick, we need you on stage!' and Sokka turned to find someone with an air of importance looking right at him."

Aaaand you're screwed. :P

Let's see how our Dangerous Ladies are doin'.

"Pantu raised an eyebrow. 'Worse for me? What can two little girls without weapons possibly do? It's a shame, but people who speak to me of the Fire Lord must be made to disappear.'"

Okay, you WANT me to put a russian voice on this dialogue, right? If so, then HAH! I defy you and apply a Scandinavian accent! Because my sense of humor is squirrely. :P

Anywho, these odds aren't looking very good... FOR THEEEEM!

And it turns out that bowl of rice had a purpose. Ty Lee, you are glorious! :D

" As she spun, she did her little trick: she reached within to the energy that flowed through her body like blood, the energy that Ty Lee was able to disrupt with but a touch when she chose, and willed it to converge into her arms, into her hands, into the chopsticks between her fingers. When she let go, three of the thin wooden projectiles went flying forward with far more speed than the strength of Mai's arms and the momentum of her spin could have produced. They flew with all the power she hoarded within what passed for her heart."

Wow. You almost make it sound like she airbended the things. lol And wow did that sound sappy-ish at the end. :P

"The third chopstick had been aimed at the soldier in the center, and instead of nailing his clothes to anything, the projectile speared the fist that he had been raising in a Firebending punch, cutting off the connection to his element. His breath exploded out of him both from pain and the stifled flow of energy, and Mai left him to once again face Pantu."

Wow, Mai must be taking some chi-blocking lessons from Ty Lee. Also, FLIPPING OWWWWW! My freaking throwing arm is aching just reading that!

Speaking of Ty Lee, it's always a joy seeing these two tag-team! ...Did I say that already? If so, it begs repeating - these two are awesome!

So Mai catches the knife, knocks out the traumatized guard, sets the knife in a reverse-grip, gets ready to throw it at Pantu, and-

She was brought to a halt when Ty Lee grabbed her arm and said, "What are you doing? We need to get out of here before more people come!"

I've always suspected that Ty Lee picked up Kyushi Jutsu (I think that's what it's called; some think it's Dam Mak(?) ) because she really really REALLY doesn't like hurting people, and absolutely abhors killing. It looks like you've taken up the same interpretation. Something silly I've come up with to compliment that is that Ty Lee actually is a late-bloomer Firebender (a rare brown-eyed one, apparently) who went through a similar experience like Aang with Katara, where she got too enthusiastic with her bending as a beginner, trying to show off with her baby sister, lost control, and caused a permanent scar on the little toddler. Between the event itself and the fact that her already strenuous relationship with her parents and siblings ended up collapsing as a result, this served as the catalyst for her to finally run away. She also abandoned her firebending gifts out of fear of hurting more people, and picked up her non-bending fighting talents from a circus carnie.

...So yeah...i can't think of a good segue back to the story sooo...

"Ty Lee's grip just tightened in response. 'That's not our job! She hasn't seen our faces, and we can make sure word gets to Zuko and Azula about her. Let's just leave! Please!' Ty Lee might have been wearing a mask, but her glistening eyes were perfectly visible."

I just realized between that and your pointing out in the paragraph below Mai's returning the knife to its "proper grip" that Ty Lee knew her intentions just from the way she held the knife. Now it COULD be somewhat common knowledge to those in that universe what a reverse-grip on a knife or dagger means, but until I get confirmation of this, I'm still going to view this as Ty Lee being either that knowledgeable about Mai and her handling of knives, or having almost Azula-grade people observation skills.

Also, on that note, I LOVE it when people write Ty Lee as being as emotional as she is in the show, but also having very functional, admittance-to-the-Fire-Nation-Academy-For-Girls worthy intelligence. Thank you sir. _ (can you tell I'm a Ty Lee fanboy? lol)

"Mai realized, with some sense of gratitude, that the time had not come to cross that line, yet. 'All right, let's get out of here.' Mai spun the knife again into a proper grip, and then pulled Ty Lee around the unconscious thug on the floor and back towards the door."

Huh. I guess Mai's not too keen on killing either? Intriguing.

Hah! The head-hopper has returned! :D
mike50333 chapter 1 . 10/20/2014
Welp, it’s nineteen minutes before 1AM. I’ve got my coffee cup full of black arabian bean juice in one hand, a pizza slice from Little Ceaser’s in another, and the loathing that I take so long to review things sitting in my brain. I’ve got my Google Drive doc up in one tab, your latest magnum opus in the other, and I- OW! ...just broke a finger trying to crack my knuckles all dramatic-like…

Pain be damned, let’s DO FLY! ...wait, that doesn’t-

Ahhh, Ember Island! Home to exotic housing, stereotypical frat boys, bizarrely tame frat parties, and the ever popular household bon fire! Truly a lovely kay to begin our journey in! And the Fire Nation is celebrating the restoration of the status quo after a hundred years of trying to siphon the Earth Kingdom’s natural resources, household utilities, and wifi internet. And they’re calling it the Freedom Festival...Yay?

Mai’s right, their grasp on reality is weird…

So Mai’s unsure of her place in the world ever since she played her part in retaking Ba Sing Se. Is Mai in an exiled state of relations w/ the Fire Nation? Is she wanted? I understand that she’s headed over to talk to a shady lady, just interesting that she and Ty Lee feel the need to wear those masks all the way to their destination, though she did mention that it was apparently an event staple... ...Wait, if she is wanted, is Ozai still in control? Did he actually accrue just enough common sense to know when the war was lost and surrendered? Did my hand just turn into a pufferfish?

*checks hands*

Nnnnope… I’ll have to re-read Trapped in Ba Sing Se to make sure I understand the full gist of Mai’s sitch. Yes, I’m a Kim Possible fan, sue me. lol

Annnnywho, Ty Lee shows up and is primed to chow down on a bunch of rice. Pity it isn't noodles; I'm actually visualizing Ty Lee slurping down a bowl of noodles, Naruto style, and it is adorable. I find it oddly cute that they’re posing as a couple, which is odd in itself because I normally don’t care about romance, let alone the yuri/yaoi variants, unless there are wacky shenanigans involved. The Fire Nation may have a history of being led by tyrannical men (and almost an equally tyrannical girl), but it must be acknowledged that the country is respectably progressive. ‘Course, I could be reading too much into that word wrapped in the apostrophes (if I got the name of the symbol wrong, forgive me; my mind won’t let me recall the name of the single-unit variant of the quotation mark).

“‘I can't believe you,’ Ty Lee said from behind her own Spirit of Roses mask. "You could be a dragon, or a smiling komodo rhino, or even a sooty copper fritillary. A sooty copper fritillary, Mai. But instead you pick the plainest mask you could find.’”

...A sooty copper fritillary… That’s not a reference to that one species of butterflies that ended up getting coated in soot thanks to air pollution and smog, and wound up becoming more susceptible to predators because they lost their ability to camouflage against white-colored trees, is it? If so...Man, I already loved Ty Lee, but serious points to the girl’s environmental awareness. lol

Also, is it just me, or does Ty Lee actually go out of her way to poke fun at Mai’s repressive emotions and gothic style? I wonder how often they go tit-for-tat? Honestly, it’s times like this that I’m baffled at how the Avatar fandom will harp on about the biggest stretch of a ship that is TyZula, but never really seem to have fun discussing the Ty!Mai friendship. … Or do I just not appreciate romance like most people do? Maybe I put too much stock as a far-off observer of relationships into friendships over love, whatever that crap is? I dunno…

...Sorry, tangent.

So attempting to get back on track, Mai’s simple and short reply to Ty Lee’s observation elicits what Mai knows to be a deep frown of a response. And the first thing I think of is the girl’s indignant demand for an explanation when Mai insulted her attention/love seeking behavior. … Yeah, I’m really starting to visualize how a Zuko’s Alone styled flashback to accompany the monologues would have delivered not only a more visceral impact in terms of emotion, but would have turned the petty insults between the friends into something closer to chest stabbingly cruel dismissals of legitimate family issues. Of course, some meaner banter between Azula and Ty Lee might’ve given us the slightest bit of spice, but honestly, Azula seemed too bored for actual insults (she was happy to let Zuko take over, though :P) and honestly, Ty Lee showed she’s clearly too nice to be that mean.

I just went way off track again, didn’t I? _

...Wait, she’s getting how much of that rice?! ...Well, she is getting an extra pair of chopsticks, so I guess she’s gonna share ‘em. Still… a carton? If that’s anything like a carton of milk, the girl must eat! Must have the metabolism of a greyhound… Or me when I was in my teens.

'The Earth King has no Fireballs’

Frankly, thanks to The Proactive Provocations of a Puberty Possessed Peon, or The Promise, that’s a song (it’s a song, right?) that I’d love to see actually performed! :D

“...The Fire Nation had little to brag about. Ozai had disappeared, in a move that was less of a 'tactical retreat' and more of 'running scared like a chicken-pig at the slaughterhouse,' and its new Regent rulers had surrendered to the invaders.”

Mighty glad to have that insight…though I’m still wondering who’s actually in charge… If Zuko and Azula are in charge, then Mai’s being on the run makes sense for obvious reasons. If Iroh’s currently at the helm, I would think Mai has little to worry about, at least if she were in Caldera. Speaking of Caldera, I’m thinking back on your The Promise review, I think that’s where you mentioned this. Mai of Volcanic Mountain Depression. Ty Lee of Volcanic Mountain Depression. ...Wow. A country that uncreative was going to share its culture with the world?! I mean, I know they’d outlawed dancing and singing by the time Ozai was in charge, if not beforehand, but Jesus Christ! I’m honestly surprised that colored chalk is manufactured anywhere in the Fire Nation, let alone- dammit!
“Her gaze traveled over the plaza, a little collection of shops and cafes that had brought their wares out into the open air. … Only one business in the plaza had not turned itself inside out for the night, a former villa now marked with the characters for Entertainment and Exclusive. “

Well that’s not suspicious. :P

“The sounds of actual professional music wafted from within to compete dully with the raucous singing coming in the streets.”

Nope, doesn’t stand out in the slightest. lol

Ty Lee soon returned- face once again exposed below a raised mask- and was already digging into her rice with a pair of chopsticks. Another pair stuck up out of the rainbow-colored grains like incense sticks at a grave.

Rainbow-colored rice.





...Too easy.

Alrighty, so they’re back on the move, and wow.

“She cut through the carousers like a knife through the air, angling and shifting her weight so that she didn't so much as brush against the teenaged fools who tumbled and stumbled through the plaza.”

Okay, I find it hilarious that, of all things I can connect between myself and Mai, it’s how we handle crowds of people in our travels from Point-A to Point-B. Seriously, whether people are drunk or sober, I do the exact same thing all the time, especially when I’m rushing through my grocery store or mall shopping.

Huh, so, Mai and Ty Lee are working with Iroh as agents of the White Lotus. Interesting. :)

"They were stopped at the main entrance by a man who stood like a haphazard pile of muscles."

I live and breathe for your descriptions. :D

Welp, they're in now, and the Fire Nation shows still more of its wondrous deadbeat culture. Seriously, no wonder they had to spread their ways through war, they're positively boring. lol ...Well, they DO have poetry, that counts.

Glorious. Even as enemies, Mai stands to benefit from Azula. Anywho, the girls are in to meet "The Boss," just as soon as they pass a weapons check. I'm sure Mai's smart enough to leave her knives either out-of-reach or hidden just outside the place. Or maybe she's had a surgery since the war that lets her SHINK out knives from her knuckles. :D

" She caught sight of Ty Lee's rice. "You can't bring that in."

Dammit Ty Lee, why must you ruin everything?!

Aaaand I immediately have to redact that statement. Yeesh, and I though Kim Possible's doggy pout was dangerous. ... Nonononononononono, I am NOT about to visualize Ty Lee's version, I want to live long enough to finish this review!

And now, to Sokka and Suki. And it looks like they've got the same catch-the-firebending-rat-dictator goal as our first duo. And are going after the same guy, too. Sweet.

Sounds like he wanted to do a redux of Wang Fire, only now with glasses. I'm liking that mental image. Instead, he's apparently just regular Sokka, but in a crappy shirt. Well, if his visage isn't well known in the Fire Nation, I guess this could work. And Suki's pretty much nameless, I'm sure. I'm betting they'll manage.

"'Operation: 'Hunt Down the Abdicated Fire Lord and Drag Him Whining to the Earth Kingdom Where He Will Be Imprisoned Forever' shall be successful!'"

"'Is that really what our mission is called? It doesn't exactly seem Aang's style...'"

Aang's assigning spy missions? ... Well, it could be this one assignment... If this is a regular thing, I don't know how I feel about it. I don't think it'd be bad or anything, it'd make sense, making use of espionage and such to help further peaceful endeavors - whatever keeps his hands and conscience clean, right? And that would especially be the case with the hunt for Ozai. It's just that I don't think he was much of a leader figure unless he was backed into a corner. Though it's foolish to think he COULDN'T step up, after all people mature.
A Goat chapter 8 . 10/3/2014
I really enjoyed this story. In fact the worst part of this story is that it's over. "But" word play is always fun. I liked the ending scene. Reminds me of the last scene of True Lies. Good call back to the first chapter with Sokka's streaking. What else to say but thanks for writing this and I look forward to your next Mai and Sokka adventure. Cheers
A Goat chapter 7 . 9/24/2014
Another great chapter of action! The Smellerbee, Longshot and Mai fight was excellent especially getting Longshot to make that fatal miss. That would have surely killed him if others didn't.
Loved the classic 'join us' dinner scene.
Thanks for writing.
Private Fire chapter 1 . 9/11/2014
Wow! You really packed the action, humor and thrills here. I loved the idea of Double-O Mai and was looking forward to it. You do not disappoint. Your Agent Sokka is too much! :) You've got him in character - operation sneaky sneak and whatnot.

For a bonus you give us a theme song too! Who can ask for anything more? Well, I guess we can ask for more . . . AND as I'm a late comer, you've got the tale wrapped up for me to enjoy my leisure. Thank you. You are too kind . . . and wacky . . . or should I say loopy?
Maran Zelde chapter 8 . 9/10/2014
Oh, Kori missed. Well, that works too.

This was an entertaining story. I'm interested in reading that sequel.
Ecomadness chapter 8 . 9/10/2014
I really loved this story so much I can't wait for more.
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