It was a little chilly when Azula woke up at the crack of dawn. For the most part it was still dark outside, except for a few slivers of light that peeked out and crashed against the clouds, announcing the morning. Slowly, Azula crawled out of her bed, rubbing her eyes with a yawn. This was the first time she had woken up before dawn since she had brought to this strange tree house sanctuary. She stood up, her usual grace had returned to her. The wobbly, unbalanced girl from a few days ago was a thing of the past. Bending over, Azula picked up her blanket and flipped it over her shoulders. She then headed out of the hut and into the morning darkness.
The stars and moon were still sparkling, but tints of yellow and orange were seeping through. Azula crossed her arms and sighed, leaning up against the wooden wall. Near the river, the trees parted, allowing a wonderful view of the eastern horizon.
Waking up early like this had been the first bit of normalcy that the princess had experienced since she had first arrived, three days ago. Her eyes slipped closed as a gentle breeze swept through the forest and blew gently through her thick black hair. It was a refreshing change, Azula thought, pretending to be this Akuen girl, this alter ego. Azula knew that her duty was to her father and the Fire Nation, so not working towards her goal of capturing her brother and the Avatar was driving her crazy. True, Azula knew she had to fully recover from all of her injuries before trying to resume her mission. A broken arm would take at least a month to heal. She felt pretty useless too, Jet had been doing almost everything for her.
The three days that had passed had already seemed like months. Time just stopped here.
"Didn't expect you to be up..." Jet whispered as he stepped off the rope bridge and noticed Azula's presence. He smiled, even if she couldn't see. Azula jumped a little, not expecting him. She was startled, but not noticeably. She turned to face him, though she didn't really look at him. Her eyes were empty.
"I like the sunrise...its usually a habit of mine to get up early and watch it..." Azula said, but then turned back towards the sky. It was slowly getting lighter, brighter.
"It is beautiful, isn't it?" Jet asked, keeping his distance from her. He was almost tempted to tell her that the sunrise wasn't and never would be as beautiful as she was. He decided not to, though. Not yet, at least. He barely knew her at all, he didn't know how she'd react to it.
"It is..." Azula agreed absently.
"Here, I was coming to leave this with you, so you'd wake up and there it'd all be for you..." Jet explained, stepping closer to her so he could hand her the paper, ink and brushes. Azula adjusted her blanket over her shoulders so she could pop her arm out to take the supplies from him.
"Thank you, " Azula told him as he handed over the stack of paper.
"Took these past few days for me to find all this stuff for you, but I got it."
"You didn't have to go through all that trouble for me, " Azula murmured, looking down at her bare feet, hiding the rosy blush that was creeping to her cheeks. If he hadn't been standing in front of her at the moment, the princess would have dealt herself a hard smack to her face.
"Of course I do, what kind of gentleman would I be if I didn't fulfill the requests of a pretty girl, such as yourself."
"Wow, you're just a stereotypical nobleman, aren't you?" Azula asked sarcastically.
"Thank you, Miss Akuen, I pride myself in my impeccable manners, " Jet said, bowed to her, mimicking a polite royal. Azula smiled at him, he was kind of cute- wait! No! He wasn't cute. His impression was cute.
"I should head back inside, " Azula mentioned, shaking her head a little to get her hair out of her face. Jet straightened his posture and only stared at her, asking her silently why she was trying to get away. The shine in his eyes dimmed, Azula noticed, he looked a little upset now. The princess bit the inside of her lip, then sighed. She'd probably regret this later, but a little voice in the back of her head was telling her to. Normally she ignored that particular voice, but no one would find out. Azula knew she'd probably end up killing him in the end anyway.
Silently, Azula stepped towards him, till their bodies were almost touching. She put her hands on his shoulders and used them to hoist herself up so she could whisper in his ear.
"Thank you for everything you've done, if it wasn't for you, I'd be dead..." Azula told him, softly, smiling a little.
"Anyone would have done the same," He murmured, pushing her off of him. Azula looked up at him, a little insulted.
"No, if I were you, I would have left me to die."
"I should go. Longshot and I need to go catch breakfast, " Jet explained, turning around swiftly, leaving her standing there.
"Fine, " Azula spat, quietly before storming back into the little house. She threw the paper and such down on the floor, the sheets flying all across the room. The brushes and vial of ink making quiet bangs as they all hit the floor.
Azula sat down on top of a crate, crossing her legs. The nerve of that stupid boy! Brushing her off completely! She knew he was infatuated, it was hard not to be infatuated with the princess. Every straight male that ever had had the pleasure of laying eyes on the princess was infatuated with her.
But why was she all upset about it? Azula slapped herself, mentally for even caring about what he did.
It was this damn forest, this damn, stupid forest, far away from anything Azula knew. It was this damn disguise, this girl who was practically Azula's complete opposite, this stupid, frail Akuen. That damn thunderstorm, causing her to get swept away to this place, this place that was challenging everything...
It would just have to be something else for the princess to overcome. It was a challenge, so she could overcome it, correct? And perhaps...even...make it work to her advantage?
Yes! She could make this work to her advantage! The beginnings of a devious plan formulated in her calculating mind, causing a smirk to grow on her face. She started laughing, jumping off of her perch on top of the crate.
"This will be all too easy..." Azula whispered to herself, laughing a little as she reached down to pick up the pieces of paper, the brushes, and the vial of ink.
"Where's Longshot?" Jet asked, upon running into Smellerbee near the center of the tree top hideaway.
"He's already down there, waiting for you, stupid. You're late, what were you doing?" Smellerbee asked him, crossing her arms and looking at him with a raised eyebrow. Jet only looked down at Smellerbee, glaring at her, his eyes saying, " You don't need to know what I was doing."
"You were with girliegirl, weren't you?" Smellerbee asked, though she already knew.
"Yeah, but you didn't need to know, " Jet muttered.
"Hey, am I not allowed to worry about you every once in a while? You're obsessing, again, " Smellerbee said.
"Don't I always obsess?" Jet asked, starting to climb up the ladder that was nailed into a tree. He needed to go fetch his hook swords. He'd be pretty useless hunting if he didn't have some kind of weapon on him. Once he had gotten them, he climbed back down.
"Just be careful, Jet...You're going to get yourself hurt again..." Smellerbee sighed.
"There's nothing between Akuen and me, so drop it, kay?"
"Yeah, just keep telling yourself that..." Smellerbee mumbled as Jet grabbed a rope and swung down to the ground.
This is not a diary. It will not be a collection of all the trivial things that happen in my day to day life. I don't care what I've been eating, I don't care what I've been wearing. All of that is just useless information. This is, however, a reminder of all of my duties, all of my beliefs since everything around me seems to be causing all of my royal upbringing to come crashing down to the ground.
In this strange, almost fairytale-esque forest, I cannot be myself, Princess Azula, daughter of Fire Lord Ozai and heir to the coveted Fire Nation throne. While I recover from various injuries, the worst of which is a broken arm, I must disguise myself as this stupid Earth Kingdom girl, Akuen. While it is refreshing to forget all of the constant rules that a self-respecting Princess must follow, I must not forget. My duty is to my country, to my people, my father. I must capture my idiot of a brother as well as suceed where he failed. I must capture the Avatar and quite possibly his sidekicks as well.
I have been struck with a moment of brilliance, just a few moments ago, before I started writing this all down.
I had been outside, conversing with the boy who rescued me, the rebel Jet. He is the leader of this rag-tag gang of freedom fighters. Albeit, he is cocky and completely unrefined, he is...well, tolerable I suppose you could say. If it wasn't for him, I would probably be dead. I can tell, I can see it in his eyes that, like most members of the male species, he is completely infatuated with me. I know I'm quite a sight to behold, but I am not your typical 'girlfriend' material.
But I can use his infatuation with me to my advantage, as well as my alter-ego. When he asked me where I was from, I told him I grew up in Ba Sing Se, the capital of the Earth Kingdom. Using this disguise, I am certain that I can sneak behind the walls of the infamous city. Once I am behind the walls, however, there is little I can do alone. It would be near impossible, suicidal even, to attempt to overthrow the capital on my own. I know I am very powerful, but even I can't take on perhaps thousands of angry, passionate earthbenders.
I need help. And help, may just come in the form of this young man, this Jet and his band of kids. One of the boys, Longshot, he has the precision and skill with a bow and arrow that a YuuYan archer has. Smellerbee, the only girl, has incredible talent with a blade. I'd even go as far to say she could rival Mai. Pipsqueak's strength is a very valuable asset indeed and the Duke's abilities as a stealthy spy would be very useful. From what I gather from the chatter between all of them, Jet is an amazing leader. He is charasmatic, he is able to lie to these children, tell them exactly what they want to hear to get them to keep fighting. And he's not afraid to sacrifice some for the cause.
If I can get them all to trust me, to believe me like they do him, I suspect I will be able to trick them all into helping me overthrow Ba Sing Se. By the time they all figure out who I really am, it will be too late and victory will be mine.
That brings me to my next point of interest. How will I go about getting these little warriors to trust me? If I can get their leader to trust me , I think they will all learn to trust me as well. The quickest way of gaining Jet's trust, I imagine, will be to play off of his emotions. How he brushed me off earlier, it was clearly a sign of denial, he doesn't want to believe he has these feelings for me so soon, after such little time. I admit, though, it seems like more time has passed than three little days. Since I am such a wonderful actress, I'll make him fall for 'Akuen'.
I do not have that much time, but I cannot rush and scare him off either. If things work, I can time this perfectly with the comet's arrival and my power will increase tenfold.
I must go now, Smellerbee has come to summon me for our ritualistic, boring morning meal.
"Come on, Akuen, time for breakfast, " Smellerbee droned, leaning in Azula's doorway. Azula glanced up at the tomboy and then pushed the paper and ink to the side.
"Great, what are we-"
"Same old shit, " Smellerbee answered the question before Azula had an opportunity to finish asking.
"Perfect," Azula said sarcatically, standing up and brushing off her baggy clothes as best she could with one good hand. The two girls then headed down to the center of the complex system of treehouses and bridges, but of course, the short journey was not silent.
"Be careful, kay?" Smellerbee said, after both of them had remained silent for quite a long while.
"...What do you mean?" Azula asked sweetly.
"Jet, I see how he looks at you already, he's been looking at you that way since he brought you here," Bee explained.
"Oh, right," Azula bit her lip and looked down at her feet.
"So don't hurt him okay? Every girl he meets ends up trampling on him or something...and its hard to see someone you look up to like that in so much pain and you can't do anything about it..."
"I won't hurt him, I promise," Azula told the younger girl as they arrived for breakfast. Longshot and the Duke were dishing out the grub as Jet and Sneers watched over everyone coming in, taking a silent roll call.
"I'm gonna hold you to that, girlie, " Smellerbee mumbled as she and Azula split their separate ways.