Burn My Dread FES

By Iain R. Lewis

Disclaimer: Characters and concepts belong to Nickelodeon, some of the concepts are similarly inspired by Persona 3 and Persona 4, property of ATLUS games.

"Nakushitemo torimodosu kimi wo I will never leave you.

If you wanna battle then we'll take it to the streets."

Lotus Juice feat. Yumi Kawamura

Prologue: Shin Megami Tensei

"Finally, I thought you'd never come."

In a space full of black, stood a girl. Despite the lack of anything to stand on, she seemed to manage just fine. Looking boredly at the person she spoke to, the person who did not respond, she walked over, causing the black to ripple like satin.

"Are you listening to me?" she asked, accusingly.

The person looked over, opening eyes of gleaming gold. The girl smiled, and looked her over, circling her in the blackness. The person turned to follow the girl, but the girl put a hand up, and if through unspoken commandment, the person stood still.

"You're looking well!" the girl said. "All considered, you shouldn't look so complete. That takes an awful lot of will. I don't think many people could pull it off. Still, almost is not quite perfect, and not quite is not good enough."

The person tried to speak, but her lips were so dry, she felt like she hadn't spoken in years.

"Don't try and talk," she said, "I mean, you can, but it won't do you any good. I can hear your thoughts, anyway. I mean, this isn't real, after all!"

"The end is coming," the girl continued. "I remembered, so I thought I'd tell you. You can thank me later."

Then, she put her hand through the person. Despite the feeling that it should hurt, it did not in fact cause any manner of discomfort. Pulling her tiny arm out, the girl, about eight years of age with hair and dress that just faded into the blackness around them, straightened herself out, and opened up a small sheet of paper.

The person stared at it, uncertain what to make of it.

"It's a contract," the girl said. "Did you forget what one of those are, too?"

The girl laughed. "Oh wow," she said, "You are pathetic! I can't believe it. You don't remember how to sign a contract do you. I bet you don't even remember what name to put at the bottom of the paper."

The person reached out, looking for something to write with, and finding no such implement, paused.

In her hand, a golden pen formed, and she clutched it tight. "That's right," the girl said, "Just sign your name on the paper. It's a contract. It just says that you'll accept full responsibility for your actions. You know, the usual stuff."

The person tried to search out her name in the empty expanses of her mind. A mind that should, she thought, be populated by clear memories and thoughts, but found vastly unfilled. Still, somewhere, in that void, she found something that was familiar, something distinctly her own.

She wrote on that sheet of paper a name.

Azula Houou

And with those words, the pen became nothing, and the paper was taken by the little girl, who folded it up, and then, taking each end of the booklet in her hands, she compressed it until it vanished into thin air. "Wonderful. Oh, there was something else I need to tell you!" she said quite happily.

"No one can escape fate forever, it delivers us all to the same end."

"-- don't believe it --"

Azula opened her eyes. The first thing she felt was a sudden disorientation. The light hurt her eyes, and she took a minute to adjust. When she did, she looked around, and saw a room full of nurses looking over her.

"She woke up," somebody said, to someone outside, "Call Mr. Houou immediately."

Azula could feel her lips feeling parched. She looked at the myriad machines she was hooked up to, and the hospital gown that fell loosely over her body. She furrowed her brow, and looked around for a minute, before grabbing one of the nearby staff by the arm, and hissing, "Who did this to me?"

"Miss," a woman said, entering the room, "I'm glad to see you've recovered, now would you kindly unhand Nurse Nametame before you hurt him."

Azula did so, turning to look at the authoritative woman. "And who are you?"

"Your doctor. With the recent recovery of most reported apathy syndrome cases, we were expecting you to recover. It just took longer."

"How long?" she managed to croak out. "How long have I been out like this?"

"It's been about four months," the woman said, "Give or take a few weeks. I want to ask you a few questions. What's your name?"

"Azula, Azula Houou," she said. "Why would I not know that?"

"When were you born."

"The third day of the month of Virtuous Descendents," Azula said. "Why?"

"Count to ten."

"Pointless," she said, "I know how to count to ten. Do you want me to do it in a different language. Une, deux, trois--"

"That's fine, Miss Houou. How many fingers am I holding up."


"Very good, Miss Houou," she said, nodding. "Your brother, Zuko, will be here soon. I believe he had a graduation to attend."

"A graduation?" she tried to do the math in her head. "It's been too long. How dare they leave me in that state. How dare they!"

The doctor seemed to be less than pleased. "I believe perhaps a psych evaluation may be in order."

"That won't be necessary, doctor," a calm, level-headed voice said. "She's just disoriented, I'm sure." Azula arched an eyebrow when Zuko entered the room. Somewhere over the course of the months he'd grown into a more confident man. She wouldn't admit that aloud, but she could almost be proud to call him brother.

Almost, but almost was never good enough. "Can I have a private moment with my sister?" he asked. The doctor looked less than enthused with the idea, but nodded. "Thank you." When the nursing staff finally filed out of the room, he sat down next to her, and looked her over.

"Well, if it isn't my loving brother," she asked, coldly. "I bet you were dreading this moment."

"Was I?" Zuko managed to answer in a level voice. "Azula, you've been gone for a long time. We tried to find you."

"You failed," she said.

"Yeah," he answered, "We did. Azula, what happened to you, in there?"

"I -- I don't remember," she said. "I'm not sure there's anything to remember."

Zuko sighed. "The last time I saw you was before the last battle with Agni. You stayed behind."

"Are you certain, I don't recall that," she said with absolute certainty. "To be honest, there's a lot I don't recall clearly. How can I be certain what you tell me is the truth. Perhaps you want to use me in this state to brainwash me into becoming the perfecft little sister you always imagined."

The accusation hung heavily in the air. Zuko did not, at first, respond, but when he finally steeled himself for a resposne, it was strange. "If that's what you want to believe."

"I suppose you're still associating with those traitors in the Bending Club. Did Aang put you up to this?"

Zuko's reaction was unexpected. HIs face scrunched up, and he seemed absolutely furious. Taken aback, Azula started to prepare some new line of questioning. In her hospital bed, she couldn't really bend fire easily without making an absolute fool of herself, and she couldn't feel her strength, quite yet.

"Aang," Zuko finally said, "Went somewhere very, very far away."

"Good," Azula hissed. She felt some pang in her heart that said otherwise, but she was careful to keep it secret, and not to let her body to show even the slightest hint of weakness. As far as she was concerned, until she was certain of those blanks in her memory, she would act as though he remained a threat.

Zuko, however, seemed much more patient. "He missed you, before her left. I know he wished you were there to send him off."

Azula scoffed. "He was a fool."

"Yeah," Zuko said, quietly, "Maybe."

She paused, "He really missed me? You aren't trying to lie to me, are you, Zuko?" she watched him carefully, expecting some kind of response, some hint that he was trying to trick her. Instead, he nodded, confidently, and looked away.

"I graduated today," he said, "Everyone is having a party tonight."

"Well, good for them," Azula said.

He sighed, breaking into a wry smile, "I figured you'd say that. I guess I won't tell them to come say hello."

"Why should I want to see them?" Azula asked.

"I thought you might like some company," he said. "I guess I was wrong. My apologies, Princess Azula."

She stared at him, her eyes furious. "Don't you dare mock me, Zuko. You could have done something, but you left me in that state for four months."

"Yeah," Zuko said, staring back. "You did more than enough in that state as it was. Maybe it's better you can't remember."

He stood up. She looked at him as he pulled his jacket straight, and then said, "Where are you going?"

"To my party," he said. "Sokka and I both graduated, so we're having it at the old dorm. If I miss the tram I'll be late."

"Why are you telling me this?"

"Because I hope, if the doctor lets you out, you'll try and make some time."

"I honestly doubt I'd have time even if she did, the dragon seems content letting me wallow in this bed forever."

Zuko shrugged. "If that's your decision, Azula, I won't stop you. It was good to see you again." He walked out, and Azula's eyes followed him, careful that he was gone before she slumped back in her bed and felt the crushing weight of how weak she felt.

Her hair seemed to be cut in an unfashionable style, and was growing just a tad too shaggy for it, and her nails longed for a decent pedicure. She could feel dark rings under her eyes, and she felt fatigue aching at every joint.

She closed her eyes. Maybe, she hoped, sleep would take her and she wouldn't have to worry about the emptiness inside her head.

Her eyes drooped, and she fell into a long, quiet slumber.

The graduation party had another, ulterior motive. Looking over the old dormitory looking so empty really hit home that their life before was past. Katara sighed, resting her hand against the door to Aang's old room. She couldn't bear opening it.

Most of the things had been sent to his guardian. She met him briefly while visiting Aang in the hospital, a cheerful old man with a heavy heart and a heavy burden. She pushed away from the door and walked down the stairs.

Toph's perception without her bending was impaired, but to assume because she was blind she did not pick up on things could not possibly be more wrong. She heard Katara's footsteps -- light, quick, with a sudden hop when she reached the last two steps -- and looked over. "And look who's joining us again, did you have fun tormenting yourself again."

"I don't know what you mean," Katara said. "I just wanted to -- you know -- reflect."

"Yeah, I'm thinking no," Toph said. "You were standing outside Aang's door without enough guts to open it up and look inside."

Katara grimaced, "Maybe, so what. I'm totally fine, Toph. That's the past."

"That's why you dumped boyfriend number fifty-two noisily over the phone right before graduation?" Toph asked.

"I haven't dated fifty-two boys, Toph! Stop making things up."

"Okay, maybe boyfriend number three. Katara, really," she said, her voice softening, "This is really hurting you, I get it. You don't need to cover it up by just -- you know, forget it. You want to make a mess of your life, you go do that."

Boxes filled the lounge, tucked in behind the desk and over beside the staircase, leaving enough room for their graduation party without forgetting that tomorrow all their things would be moved back home and they'd have to find a new dorm to stay in.

Closing it waas the merciful thing, really. There were too many memories, too many painful memories, now that Aang was gone. Katara still tried to riddle out the strange reasoning behind it. Why did he, of all people, need to do that? Couldn't the Avatar use one of its many past lives to do the same thing?

It made her angry, and it made her sad, and it all just wrapped up in her head like a tornado.

"Hey, what's with the glum faces?" Sokka called out as he threw open the door. "Sokka Floes is going to Ba Sing Se University next semester, and he's got the diploma to prove it!" He looked so happy, smiling bright like that, his voice danced with excitement.

Both Katara and Toph, unbenownst to each other, shared a sentiment of bitter jealousy.

"They're probably glum because they saw you coming," Zuko muttered, brashly. He pushed past Sokka and sat down.

"Where did you come from?" Sokka asked.

"None of your business," Zuko snarled right back.

"Okay, okay, fine," Sokka said. "Whoa, down boy."

Katara frowned, "Do you have to be so rude, Zuko? You left in a hurry, we were just worried something happened. Was it the hospital?"

Her eyes lit up hopefully, and Zuko paused. "Yeah," he said. "Sorry, it wasn't about Aang."

"Oh," Katara's eyes clouded over again, and she looked away.

"Was it your sister?" Sokka asked. He looked for a reaction on Zuko's face. He received very little. Zuko looked over at him, and looked down. "It was. Did -- did something happen?"

"Yeah," Zuko said.

"And?" Toph added, impatiently, "That thing that happened would be?"

Zuko looked over at her. And then, his eyes looked to Katara, who seemed to be interested again in the conversation. "She woke up. She doesn't remember much clearly, especially after she was trapped in the Spirit World."

"So, she doesn't know about Aang and --" Sokka frowned. "She's okay, though?"

"Same, icy, psychotic Azula?" Toph clarified.

"Yeah," Zuko answered, "Same old Azula."

"At least she can't firebend anymore," Katara grinned, wryly, "Or else we'd all be dodging thunderbolts right about now."

"Katara," Sokka said, level and calm. Katara looked over at him, and at the look he gave her, she grew quiet.

"She's right, though," Zuko said. "Was I stupid for thinking she could change?"

"No," Katara admitted, "There's some good in there, it's just covered up by all that rotten stuff your dad put into the two of you. And you turned out okay, in the end."

"Thanks," Zuko said dryly, "That means so much to me."

"No need to be sarcastic," Katara said, her voice starting to fade as she felt more and more uncomfortable, "I was just saying."

"Real smooth, Katara," Toph said. Her bangs fell over her pale eyes, and she tapped her cane to the floor. "So what do we do about this? I mean, she did help us when you get down to it, but she almost killed us before."

"And she succeeded once," Katara muttered.

"I don't know," Zuko said, "But this is my problem, not yours."

"We're here to help, we're your friends, Zuko. Or did you forget that?" Sokka said. "You've been getting more and more distant lately."

"Whoa," Toph said, "Why are we getting so angry? Let's just party like there's no tomorrow, okay? Forget about Azula, forget about all of the stuff we've been through and just be like normal high schoolers celebrating the fact that two of our friends are going to be shipped off to college."

"I guess you're right," Katara said. "We're friends, right? Let's just trust each other."

"All right," Zuko said.

"So, you order the sushi?" Sokka asked.

"I don't know, Sokka," Zuko muttered, "Maybe I ordered the sushi after your fifty-million text messages asking me if I did or not."

"You never answered them!"

"This is why I regret having a cell phone."

The Sun was replaced with the Moon, and the night sky cascaded over the city of Ba Sing Se. Sozin Memorial Hospital was no exception, and the moonlight cast Azula's room in a pale and unearthly light.

She opened her eyes, and clung to herself desperately. Sleep seemed to be too close to what she'd been doing those past four months, and it left her uncomfortable and nervous afterwards. She stretched her arms out.

"Good evening," someone said.

Azula's eyes focused just beyond her arms at a strange, small girl sitting on her bed. "You -- haven't I seen you somewhere before?"

"Very good," the little girl answered. "I wanted to talk to you, and since the moon is full, I thought I'd come and say hello."

"Who are you?"

"I don't got a name," she said, "Not one of my own, yet, anyway. But I will, soon, just you wait and see."

"What is it you wanted to tell me, anyway?"

"That's no way to treat someone who's going to do you a favor. Oh well, I suppose, since it's you, I can overlook it." The girl laughed, hopping off of the bed and walking over towards her. "I remembered that I had to tell you where you have to go."

"I have to go somewhere?"

"That's right. A place between time and memory, built by hands unknown," she said. "Soon enough, you'll know the way, but until then, we're going to be apart. You'll find me, won't you?"

"Why would I want to do that. You're a figment of my imagination, or some such."

"Oh, you're impossible," the girl said. "I don't want to be left alone too long, so you'd better come and find me there. If you don't, I'll get you back somehow."

Azula smirked. "I'd like to see you try."

The girl pouted. "Okay, fine. You're mean, but since it's you, I'll forgive you! You'll find me in that place, whether you want to or not."

The girl walked away from the bed, passing through the shadows between the windows and vanishing as if walking behind some invisible screen. Azula paused. She furrowed her brow and considered what she'd just seen.

She'd seen far stranger than a little girl who could vanish into thin air, but something about her seemed familiar and yet disconcerting. The feeling welled at the pit of her stomach, but she couldn't place it.

But those thoughts were soon derailed as there was a noise from somewhere outside her door. It sounded like a loud crash, but then, nothing. The entire room seemed entirely too quiet now, and she reached for a light.

The switch did nothing. No light to shine on the hospital which seemed now all the more disturbing. The sanitary, white walls seemed far too tall, and the ceiling seemed to dip down at the center, as if weighed down by something above her.

All tricks playing in her mind, for certain, but still, convincing tricks. She got to her feet, and found surprising fortitude and strength in them. She looked at the hospital gown and frowned in distaste. She wasn't about to go out and explore in what she was wearing.

She looked around the room for something substantial.

Sitting on a chair, pushed to the side, she found her school uniform. It looked like it had been put there earlier, but the only person she could think of who could bring that for her was her brother, and that was as unlikely as a ghost pulling it out of her wardrobe.

She changed, quickly, in case anyone came in, and then pushed the door open.

Outside, the hospital was dead quiet. There was no one moving about the hallways, and the sounds of machines were absolutely silent. She could spy a nurse's station at the end of the hall, but there was no one there.

Across the hall, she could see what had crashed, it was a wheelchair, now up-ended, but there was no one in it, and no one she could see who could have pushed it into the wall. Still, curiosity got the better of her.

Not curiosity of who shoved the wheelchair, and if anyone else was here, but curiosity on whether or not she could sneak out of her infernal prison. The hallways were empty, the doors were slammed shut, and the entire expanse of the hospital she could see was plunged into darkness.

Not even an emergency light to aid her, she found her way to the main entrance, and the doors to freedom besides. The main reception desk was unmanned, but the flicker of a security display cast the only source of man-made light in the building.

She tried to open the doors, but to her surprise, they refused to budge. They seemed locked. Turning to the reception, she walked over. The door to behind the desk was unlocked, and the door pushed in. She wondered idly why this felt almost like one of Sokka's dumb video games. She looked for a key, but found nothing. Her eyes passed the monitor, noting with a glance that it was the hall outside of her room. The wheelchair's wheel still spun, and she could see into her room from the still opened door.

Someone was standing just inside, though it was too dark to make out who.

Azula did not process this all while looking at the monitor, her eyes still scanning the room for some way to open the door.

But when she realized that someone was inside her room, her eyes darted back to the monitor.

The hall was empty. Not even the wheelchair remained. The door was closed, and she couldn't see anyone moving in the halls. Her stomach tightened as she felt herself become hyper-alert. Someone else was in the hospital, and she didn't see anyone else --

And it was only her composure that held back a scream as that figure now stood right in front of her. He was walking to the door, back to her, and he seemed enshrouded in darkness as he moved. The only thing she could see of him clearly was a tattoo that ran up the back of his neck like a line, but vanished into dark shadowy hair.

The doors opened as he passed, and Azula just stared after it for a moment, before she followed it.

"Man, this is nice," Sokka said, delightfully picking away at the expensive looking sushi spread. "Raw fish, who'd have thought of it, right?"

"The Fire Nation," Zuko answered. "Obviously. You better appreciate that that's coming out of my personal account, too, Sokka."

"Oh, I do," Sokka said. "But hey, it's like a wrap party, you should have called it a business expense."

"There's only so much I can put down to a business expense," Zuko muttered.

"So, where is everyone? They're late!" Toph asked. "Mai and Ty Lee were supposed to come, right? And I know Suki's coming to her own party."

"Oh, Suki's coming," Sokka said, "I just got a call from her."

Katara looked over at Zuko, "And Mai?"

"Mai's probably coming. She didn't sound very enthused."

"Does she ever? I got to hand it to her, when she gets here. Remember when she called the Principal an idiot to his face?"

"Highlight of the graduation ceremony," Sokka added.

"Oh yeah, that was today," Toph said, smirking. "You've got an awesome girlfriend, Zuko."

Zuko grunted.

Katara looked to the door. "Still, they're really late at this point. Sokka ate half of the sushi already."

"They're probably busy doing girl things," Sokka said.

"Girl things, right," Katara rolled her eyes. "Maybe they got lost. I'm going to give them a call."

"How do you get lost coming here, anyway?" Toph muttered.

Katara turned on her phone, and seemed spellbound for a moment. She looked over at Sokka, and said, "Is your phone out of service too?" He looked at his, and just as he was about to say no, he stopped, and nodded his head. "Okay, I'm going to just go out and see if I see them."

She walked up to the door, when she heard a loud bang against it.

"Is that them?" Toph asked.

"That sounded like someone hitting the door, not knocking on it," Zuko said. He pushed past Katara and began to open the door when someone walked right through it. They only saw him for a moment, but his eyes were blue, so blue that they seemed to glow.

And then, he was gone.

"What was that?" Sokka asked aloud. He reached besides the door for his baseball bat. "I got a bad feeling about this."

"Yeah," Zuko muttered. "I thought I was seeing things."

Zuko turned the handle and opened the door.

Azula had barely time to organize her thoughts let alone plan ahead. She followed that shadowy boy through the city for reasons she wasn't sure of. When she finally did reach his destination, to her surprise, it was the old dormitory. The building stood just the same as four months ago, probably untouched inside as well.

She saw her brother's car parked outside, and the lights were on inside. The shadowy boy, who until now had kept a few steps ahead of her had vanished somewhere, and she went towards the door of the dorm.

She fought back the urge to knock. There wasn't much she could do or say. Her brother had welcomed her back, but some of the jumbled up old memories did not put her and the other Benders on very friendly footing. She remembered Yomi, and she remembered fighting with them inside.

She remembered Aang, standing before her, but she couldn't remember what he was saying, or why when she reached for her gun, she had not fired at him.

"Why can't I remember?" she wondered, quietly to herself. She turned to leave, when she saw that shadowy boy again. He stared at her with brilliant blue eyes that seemed to bore right through her. He walked forward, towards her, without a single hesitation. She slammed her back into the door.

"Stay back," she warned. The boy didn't listen. He walked right in front of her and then right through her and through the door behind her without so much as a sound.

She shivered. The sensation of him walking through her was cold and uncomfortable. The night wind did little to make her feel warmer. Autumn seemed to bring with it chillier nights. When she was last outside, it was summer, and the uniform she was wearing was made with that in mind.

She pushed herself off of the door, and tried to regain her composure. It wasn't an unbearably cold night, but something in the air seemed to bring chills down her spine. In front of her, the ground seemed to churn, and from the pavement, a large talon covered in chiton broke out, and a large monster clawed its way out from the ground.

It stood a head taller than her, with a large hunched back, with large goat horns growing out of the closest thing the creature had to a head. Most of its body was covered in a layer of chitonous armor, shaded a deep brown. It stood on four legs, and the talons were attached to long arm-like appendages.

It was a shapeless monstrosity.

Azula's breath remained calm. She brought herself into a careful Firebending stance, and she thrust her arms forward.

To her shock, nothing blazed from her fists, and she realized just how cold she really felt.

The door of the dormitory opened, and Zuko called out to her. "Azula?" His eyes focused on the creature, and they narrowed, "Get inside, quickly."

Azula did not need to be told twice. She pushed past him inside, and the creature followed after. Zuko shut the door, and looked around, "We need to barricade this, quickly. That spirit won't --"

His words were cut off by the creature tearing through the door, breaking the lock and shoving it open. Zuko was tossed a few feet into the room, and he rolled when he hit the ground, knocking his head against the television set.

"Where did this come from?" Katara asked. "This is impossible. Did you do this, Azula?"

"Nice to see you again, too, Katara," Azula managed. "Why isn't my bending working? What did you do?"

"Hi, Azula," Toph said. "Meet Kettle, Kettle, meet Pot. Will you two stop arguing and figure out something we can do? What kind of spirit is it anyway?"

"One of those ugly ones," Sokka said. "I got this. Bat, do your thing!" He ran forward with the bat and swung it against the creature's legs. The bat splintered into many pieces as it collided with the almost metallic armor-plating. The creature remained undettered from Azula, trudging towards her, bashing anything aside with its goat hurned appendage.

"Okay, I don't got that," Sokka said. "Run!"

"The back door," Katara said, "This way!"

"I know where the back door is," Azula said. Katara took Toph by the wrist and ebgan to run. "Why are you helping Toph find her way around, too?" she snarled, "Do you think we're idiots?"

"No time to explain," Toph said, "Evil spirit creature chasing us."

"That doesn't explain why it's even here," Katara said. "Aang -- he gave up everything to stop this from happening!"

"What are you talking about?" Azula asked. Katara reached the back door first, and pulled at the door ineffectually. "What's the matter?"

"It won't budge!" she said. "The roof!"

The creature pushed into the dining room and snorted. Its horned appendage seemed to follow wherever Azula went. "Cornered," Katara murmured. "Azula, I'll try and distract it. You get to the roof, and take Toph!"

Toph grabbed Azula's wrist. "You better not try and lose me," she said.

"What's with you. You'd usually yell at anyone who treated you like this because you're blind."

"Well, yeah, usually I'm not being chased by a spirit that I can't fight back against," Toph said, "There's an exception to every rule."

Azula frowned, "Without bending, you can't find your way around, can you? You never learned how to do it without earthbending."

"Shut up!"

"I see," she scoffed. "Will that thing just leave me alone."

Katara was pushed aside by the creature with one long flail of its long arms. It pushed forward on them, its four legs refusing to agree on a direction as it moved closer to Azula.

"Hey, loser!" Toph said, breaking her hold of Azula's wrist and running away from her, "Why don't you follow me instead, I'm richer than she is!"

The creature ignored her, standing right in front of Azula. "You just want me, huh?" she asked. "You can't have me without a fight." The creature brought its arm up to strike, and Azula leapt backwards. She was unarmed, her bending didn't work --

And her head was beginning to feel really fuzzy.

When it came for her next, she couldn't find her footing to dodge, and the large ram horns knocked her to the ground. She started to stand when she fell to her knees. The spirit loomed over her, its chitony talon held aloft to finish the job.

She closed her eyes. "A Houou faces death head on."

In the dark expanses of her mind, she felt a light ripple through the black. And she opened her eyes. The creature was hesitating, unsure of how to react to her. Azula felt her body move without her control, turn to face her side to the creature, and then turn back, her arms crossing as she did.

The creature was knocked clean back by a gust of wind that extended from her strike. Dazed, and unsure if it was her imagination, Azula watched as the wind knocked the creature back to the ground.

As it stood up, shakily, her body moved again, and another blast of wind tore through the creature, and it began to fade into a deep, brown fog that evaporated into nothing. "Azula?" Katara managed to mutter, standing up, "What did you do?"

Azula fought desperately, she grunted and moaned as she felt the dizziness overwhelm her senses, and she fell to the ground, her eyes closing, and she fainted clear away.

She fought against the blackness, and fought to open her eyes. When they did open, she found herself not in the dormitory, or the hospital, but a room. It looked like a hotel room. A small table was set up in the center of the room, and a man -- or a boy, she couldn't be sure -- sat behind it.

He wore a bright yellow mask shaped like the sun.

She blinked.

"Where am I?"

"Welcome," the boy said, his voice youthful and excited, "I've waited a long time for this. I'm so glad you could join me here, Azula!"

"Who -- who are you?"

You who have been cast into nothing have a bitter work before you

After all you've done, there is only one hope for freedom.

There exists a place here built by hands unknown,

As long as it exists, the future that you fought to destroy is in peril.

You who would traverse this world between time and memory,

You will be granted a great gift to finish the task left only half complete.

The future is not set in stone, nor is your destiny,

It is your choice now, and you will remain here until your decision is made.

To be continued.