Ex-Fire Lord Ozai yanked ruthlessly against his chains. He thought that his strength was the one thing that could save him from the hell that he was being forced to live in for the past two months. He knew that he wasn't in the worst of conditions, compared to the broken bones of the seven Dai Li or his own daughter, but he felt that he needed to be even more respected for the well-known figure that he is- or was- yet was being treated as if he were barely a human. The muscles he spent his entire lifetime to achieve were deteriorating to barely anything. His shirt hung off of his shoulders, and the only thing that kept his pants around his waist was a string that Katara was able to tie around his waist. The chains hadn't rusted at all, and the cuffs were tight around his wrists. He gave up quickly; fighting was inevitable.
Azula felt defeated just by watching her father fall apart before her. Azula wanted to put all of the energy that she had left into fighting back and setting everyone free, but she knew that Katara was too strong. Whenever Katara would sense that she was threatened by Azula's actions, she would use water to freeze Azula's hands and feet and took out anything that could allow Azula to access fire. She had now began coming to the prisoners during the day so she wouldn't need a torch, and her rations varied depending on the amount of leftovers from the morning meals. She was now a skeleton with skin, covered in the dingy red sack of a dress she wore for prison garb and layers of dirt. But nothing was going to defeat the Princess of the Fire Nation.
"Tonight's the night, father," Azula told her father as he stopped fighting his chains.
"What are you talking about?" he asked bitterly.
"I'm tired of this Southern Water Tribe villager terrorizing us. We are royalty, and we deserve to be treated as such."
"You shouldn't bother," Yon Rha sighed. "When this girl becomes determined enough, she will fight back. She nearly killed me the first time she confronted me. Now, I wish that she actually did."
"It's because we're not friends of the Avatar," one of the Dai Li said mockingly. "We aren't one-hundred-and-thirteen-year-old boys who seem as if they are thirteen. We aren't the saviors who are going to bring world peace."
"Yet, look at how high we are in power," Azula said. "The Dai Li, who served the Earth King and Fire Nation. Yon Rha, commander of the Southern Raiders. The Fire Lord."
"And the Fire Nation Princess," another Dai Li pointed out.
"We all fell to the hands of an angered fifteen-year-old girl," Yon Rha noted.
"Well, tonight is the full moon," Ozai said. "She's not going to miss another chance of visiting us." He turned to his daughter. "This is your chance, Azula. I know you can defeat her and free us." Azula beamed; it had been a long time since her father had praised her.
"I will, Father," she said. "Shh! Here she comes!" A light travelled closer towards the corridor, letting everyone know that Katara was on her way. Everyone stiffened except for Azula, who was prepared to burn Katara with the fire coming her way. She waited until Katara appeared, but the fire was gone. Even more peculiarly, rather than wearing the same prison garb as the others would, she was wearing a white gossamer gown instead.
"Hello," Katara greeted subtly. "I guess you're all wondering why I'm here."
"To trap us with somebody else who you despise," a Dai Li answered.
"Not today," Katara told the prisoners coolly. She smiled and revealed the light behind her back, catching everyone's eyes. The light came from a glass in Katara's hand, held on a stick. They had never seen such a controlled fire in their lives, and were amazed about how bright it was.
"I've never seen such a beautiful fire," Yon Rha breathed.
"It's like the sun... trapped in a ball," Ozai said. "What is that?"
"Just a new invention," Katara answered. She twisted the glass, and the fire disappeared. "It's called a lightbulb."
"Lightbulb?" everyone asked.
"It's a ball of light, but it's not fire," Katara explained. "And it's very controlled. There's also electricity."
"The only electricity comes from lightning," Azula said pointedly. "There's no way anyone else could possibly use it without dying."
"Oh, but we can." Katara smashed the lightbulb against the wall, letting the glass fall around her feet. "See? It's not fire. It's an element. It's called Mercury. And it's not a bendable element." She turned and began walking away.
"Why did you come if you didn't bring another prisoner?" Ozai shouted after her. She stopped walking, but didn't turn around to face him.
"Because some prisons are not easy to break people out of," Katara answered quietly. She continued walking away, leaving the others alone in the dark- again.
Toph sat up in her bed. She could feel vibrations on the floor, and she became very suspicious of it. Every so often, after everyone would go to bed, she could feel someone else's footsteps walking around. She wouldn't feel them again until many hours later, waking her up. She stayed quiet about it for a while, but she knew that there was something special about everytime it happened.
"Hello?" Toph asked. She opened the door to her bedroom and crept into the hallway. The floors were wood, regrettably for Toph, but only because she used to frequently use the earth floors to attack people when she became angry. She turned to the left and felt the vibrations become stronger; the intruder was close. Toph ran into the atrium, turning in circles fast. She swore that she could have just felt the person, but now, it was as if they had vanished.
"Whoever it is, I will hurt you!" Toph threatened, putting up her fists. She heard a small whirl above her head, and she suddenly fell onto her stomach as something bound her ankles together her feet. She then felt her hand become tied behind her back. The vibrations of a stranger's footsteps appeared again.
"I'm serious!" the girl snapped. "I'll scream!" She took a deep breath, but before she could do anything, she felt a cloth come over her mouth, smothering her voice. A hand grabbed the back of her head and practically forced Toph to inhale the cloth until she couldn't feel consciousness anymore.
"HELP!" Aang sat up immediately. He looked over to see that the other half of his bed was empty, the sheets were tossed over, and no Katara. He slowly stood out of his bed and made his way towards the door. He wasn't sure if he was just hearing things or if someone was in danger. Besides, he was in his underwear and nothing else. What if he ran into someone else, like Suki?
"Someone help!" It was Katara. Now Aang was running down the hall, not even caring who saw him anymore. He found Katara rocking herself right beside Toph, who was lying unconsciously beside her.
"Toph!" Aang ran to his friend's side and shook her body. "Katara, what happened?"
"I-I don't kn-know," she answered, her voice quaverring. "I heard a scream, and h-here she was. Th-they got aw-way."
"What's going on?" Zuko asked as he came into the scene. Sokka and Suki were right behind him.
"Where's your clothes?" Sokka asked Aang, furrowing his brow.
"I was sleeping, thank you very much," Aang responded bitterly. "But that doesn't matter, because Toph is hurt!"
"Her feet are burned," Zuko said as he examined her feet. "They're worse than when I burned them."
"So, what does that mean?" Suki asked. "Is she going to be alright?"
"They're third-degree burns," Zuko said. "There's a good chance that she won't... 'see' again." Everyone gasped. Katara burst into tears. Aang tried to hug her, but she pushed him away.
"Uungh," Toph moaned as she regained consciousness. "What's going on?"
"Toph!" everyone cried.
"You're going to be okay, Toph," Sokka assured. "Do you remember what happened?"
Toph picked up her head a few inches. "No... they weren't on the ground... I couldn't tell who it was..." Her head fell back to the floor and her eyes rolled to the back of her head.
"You guys should go get help," Katara suggested, sniffling and wiping away her tears. "I'll stay here with her."
"Are you sure?" Aang asked.
"If I'm here, then they won't come back, I'm certain," Katara said, smiling. "After all, it's the full moon." Everyone nodded and ran out of the palace.
"Did you just say that it's the full moon?" Toph asked weakly. "What was that thing that happens on full moons?" Her blank eyes widened in fear. "Oh no..."
"Oh no is right," Katara said. She balled her hand into a fist, and Toph felt her body become contricted, as if she was being choked.
"What are you doing?" she croaked.
"You won't tell a soul, or else your feet aren't the only thing that's going to burn," Katara threatened. "And I can make you disappear if I have to. Do you understand?"
"...Yes!" Toph gasped. Katara unclenched her fist and Toph began coughing as she finally was able to breathe regularly again. Katara grinned.