A/N: I know it's been four and a half months. My only excuse is school. I'm so proud that this chapter is actually a decent length though. I wanted longer chapters otherwise the first half of this chapter would have been up two or three months ago. There's a link to my blog in my profile where I often talk about my progress on this fanficion. Merry Christmas! Or whatever holiday you celebrate! Thanks gloomymaikolover for reviewing! Please review if you read the story. I'd even welcome a one word review! It's better than nothing. Enjoy the chapter!
Chapter 6: A Scary Surprise
"Um, Ai? Are you awake?" Kazuna had come straight to Ai's room after finishing her breakfast. She knew that Ai would be the most understanding and could then help her tell the others. Ai was easiest to tell because she wasn't as likely to jump in Kazuna's face and start yelling. Kazuna was not good with people when they were yelling. She preferred dealing with happy, smiling people.
"I am now." She managed to get out as she yawned. She sat up in bed and rubbed her eyes. "What is it?"
"I, uh." Kazuna stumbled over her words. "Promise not to yell?"
"Yell? Why would I yell." Ai seemed confused. Ai wasn't known to yell. She liked to handle things without it, so it really confused her when Kazuna mentioned it. It had to be something pretty bad if Kazuna was worried about Ai yelling.
"Well... I don't think I'm going to go anymore." Kazuna spoke so quietly that Ai had to strain her ears to hear her.
"Go to find Azula with us you mean?" Kazuna just nodded at Ai's question. She was scared to say anything more. Ai laughed.
"What's so funny?" Kazuna was confused. She had been so sure that Ai would be mad. Why was she laughing?
"Because, you were so worried I'd be angry, but I actually agree with you."
"Agree with me? Why?"
"I was a little bit wary of the plan from the start. You know how Ichiko gets. She gets so excited about something and she can get you so excited about it too, but then, when you think about it, you realize you don't actually feel the way you thought you did."
"I think I know what you mean. So, you never wanted to go?"
"At first I didn't think it was a good idea, but for a while I actually agreed with Ichiko. Then, last night when I was trying to fall asleep, I thought about it, and realized everything that's wrong with the plan. Plus, it wouldn't look good if the Princess of the Fire Nation runs away with her friends to go fight her evil aunt." Ai smirked as she said the last part.
Kazuna laughed at Ai's joke. "True," she agreed. "What do we tell the others."
"The truth. That we think it's a bad idea. I'll get dressed and then we'll go tell them. I'll be ready in just a minute."
"Fire Lord Zuko," Zuko looked up from his breakfast when he heard the servant address him. He was eating breakfast by himself. Aang had finished and went to meditate about ten minutes ago. "There's a problem sir."
"What is it?" Zuko hoped that it wasn't something about Azula. Maybe there had been some small crime in the capital or one of the servants was causing some problem. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case.
"Azula got away sir. They weren't able to catch her, but they think she was heading for the capital. She's probably already here."
"Call an emergency meeting. I want every officer and the Avatar there. Let Mai, Katara, Sokka, Toph, Suki, Kaimu, Ty Lee, and Haru know that there presence would be welcome as well."
"Yes sir." The servant bowed and left.
As soon as the servant was out of sight, Zuko dropped his head into his hands. He couldn't believe this was happening. There had been peace for so long, and now it had been broken. Not just by anyone, but by his sister. He had been able to avoid killing her last time, but some how, he didn't think it would be that easy this time.
"We need to talk." Ai had gathered her friends for a much needed meeting. She was a natural at speaking in front of people. Kazuna, however, was staring at her feet. She was best friends with Ichiko, but she couldn't help admitting that Ichiko scared her a little.
"What is it princess?" Ichiko didn't say princess in an honoring way, but more like it was the most horrible thing someone could be. "Please don't tell me you two are chickening out?"
"There's a difference between chickening out and knowing when when something is not a good idea." It was those words that had Kazuna deciding to let Ai do all the talking. She was better at it. Besides, now that Ai had basically said Ichiko's plan was a bad idea, Ichiko was going to be furious. Kazuna really didn't want to be on the receiving end of that.
"Yeah, there's a difference," Just as Kazuna had thought, Ichiko was absolutely furious, "But this isn't one of those cases! I can't believe you two are doing this! Fine! You two stay here and have a nice, safe time while we go fight some bad guys."
Ichiko started walking off, but all the others remained standing by Ai and Kazuna. After realizing this, Ichiko turned around. "Well, what are you waiting for? Are you coming or not?"
"Um, Ichiko, I'm not sure how to put this, but I don't think it's a good idea either." Hajime's agreement with Ai and Kazuna caused Ichiko to look heartbroken. It was one of the very few times when her crush became blatantly obvious. All the others chimed in their agreement, and Ichiko went from looking heartbroken to furious.
"Fine! I'll go by myself then!" She ran away before anyone could stop her. Hajime ran after her, but she was to fast. He collapsed on the ground about twenty feet away.
The others stood there in shock. They had no idea what to do. They swore it looked like Hajime was crying, but they'd never seen him cry before. What had they done? Ichiko could get killed! Maybe it would have been better to have gone with her. At least then, they would have stood a better chance. Ichiko was good, but how good was she compared to Azula?
"Stupid friends." Ichiko couldn't help the disgust in her voice at the word friends. Friends would have come with her. They would have helped her no matter how dangerous. Especially Kazuna her supposed best friend who hadn't even been brave enough to speak up to her.
And then there was Hajime. Her heart broke at the mere thought of him. She'd always hated boys her age. They were stupid, immature, and, well, stupid. She couldn't waste her time on such stupid things as romance and definitely not marriage. She'd told her parents this once, but they'd both said she'd grow out of it. She'd thought they were crazy, but then one day she'd been practicing fighting with Hajime just like any other day. She still wasn't entirely sure how it had happened. All she knew was that she had fallen asleep that night dreaming of him. Not that she'd ever admit it.
She'd been walking around fuming for awhile. She was already out of the Fire Nation capital. The few people still out and about at this hour had left her alone. Luckily, she hadn't been recognized. Why would a young girl with such important parents be wondering around the city alone at this time of night? Idiots. She thought. The world's full of them.
All of the sudden, she heard something up in a tree. She didn't know why, but it scared her. Probably just some type of bird or something. The last thing she needed was to get attacked by some wild animal. She really wished she was an earthbender and had the ability to see with the earth like her mother. Although, she didn't think even her mother could see what something in a tree was.
"Well, well, well. Look who I've found. You wouldn't happen to be the daughter of my dear friends Sokka and Toph would you?"
Ichiko had never heard the voice, but she some how still knew. Azula.
"Are we going to have to supervise you kids at all times!?" Becoming a mother had made Mai a lot more emotional. It was just impossible to hold in your feelings when your child was in danger. And that seemed to happen a lot with her kids. This is what I get for marrying the Fire Lord. Then again, Azula would be a danger to my kids no matter who I married. Befriending her was the actual mistake.
"But mom, we didn't run off!"
That may be true, but they almost did. Besides, a mother was allowed to overreact in these types of situations. She had to admit. Sokka and Toph were the ones who really deserved to freak out. Sokka looked terrified about his daughter. Toph however looked like she was ready to give Ichiko the punishment of a lifetime when She came back. If she came back... What a terrible thought.
"We need to come up with a plan." Aang was already thinking of possible ideas as he said this.
"A plan? There's no time for a plan! My daughter might die!" Toph was not a plan person. Especially not with her daughters life at stake. She was a quickly confront the enemy and cause them as much pain as possible type of person.
Sokka was conflicted. He was the plan guy of the group. He took pride in that, but right now he couldn't help but agree with Toph. They had no clue what would happen to their daughter. He knew they needed a plan, but every part of him was screaming to get to his daughter as quickly as possible.
"Toph," Aang spoke up. "I know you're scared about Ichiko, but we have a better chance of getting to her quickly if we have a plan. We don't know what Azula's going to do."
"Exactly!" Toph was yelling and had stood up from her seat. She looked like she was getting ready to earthbend Aang into the ground.
"Kids, I think you need to head up to bed." Katara stood up and pushed the kids towards the door. "And I mean actually go to bed this time."
Again not heeding the adults' advice, Ai, Ayame, Hajime, Ikuo, and Kazuna had gathered in Ai's room.
"I can't believe this is happening." This wasn't the first time Kazuna had voiced this.
"Neither can I." Nor the first time Ayame had agreed with her.
"I'm going after her." Hajime stood up abruptly and rushed out of the door.
"What!?" Ai scrambled after him. The others followed behind.
"She's in trouble, and I'm not going to sit around and wait for the adults to make their stupid plan. You can come with me or not. Your choice." He stopped walking and looked at them.
The others looked around at each other. They were going. This wasn't running off to fight for the heck of it anymore. Their friend was in trouble, and they were going to help her.