I opened my eyes.
It was dawn, and Momo was twitching in his sleep. Outside I could hear Appa's quiet snores.
Very quietly I found my glider and slipped upstairs onto the roof. Ba Sing Se was spread out below me, stretching to the horizon in every direction. Even at this time of day I could hear distant movement coming from the Lower Ring.
There was a stiff breeze blowing, still warm despite the lateness of the season. The astronomers were predicting a long summer and a late autumn.
Azula's son would be born at the turn of the season, I realised. Thinking of Azula brought a rush of shame, rage and grief, and I acknowledged it all. Mai was wrong, I realised, hiding everything behind a stone mask. I might go and tell her that later. If I did it while the Jasmine Dragon was busy, she might not throw that many knives.
Azula's son would have been Zuko's nephew. That was a weird thought. But a good one, that a trace of my friend would return to the world.
I'd tell Mai that, too.
The sun was over the eastern wall now, and the wind was picking up. I threw my glider into the air and leaped off the roof to meet it.
I soared up, over the city, out to the walls and beyond.
I wouldn't stay much longer. I wanted to go back to the Northern Water Tribe and learn healing. I wanted to see Kyoshi Island again, and to visit Bumi, and to see how the liberated colonies of the western coast were getting along.
But for now, it was a new day, and I was flying.
Phoenixes that played here once, so that the place was named for them,
Have abandoned it now to this desolate river;
The paths of Wu Palace are crooked with weeds;
The garments of Qin are ancient dust.
...Like this green horizon halving the Three Peaks,
Like this Island of White Egrets dividing the river,
A cloud has arisen between the Light of Heaven and me,
To hide his city from my melancholy heart.
On Climbing in Nanjing to the Terrace of Phoenixes, Li Bai