"As it stands, the world needs a change after everything that happened in Republic City. Non-benders feel more alienated now than ever before. I would like to once again want to present the royal council with the availability of chi-blocking courses at schools. Non-benders need to feel safe from bullying benders."

Without a second thought, Zuko said, "No. That type of knowledge is too difficult to control. Even if we set up regulations, they would be too easily broken. There are countless other types of skills non-benders can take up for self-defense."

The man making the proposition floundered with the rejection. Other members murmured among themselves.

Asami tried to help, feeling sympathetic to the man's plight. "Can you come up with any way to make sure bullying non-benders don't learn from the normal non-benders? If not, then they can learn other self-defense skills that can't be abused."

He venomously turned on her. "One would think that you of all people, Miss Sato, would be more understanding of my desire to… bring equality to everyone."

The man stormed out. She sighed, glancing back at the Firelord. While Asami wasn't technically part of the royal council, she's been considered an unlisted consultant. Many people that have seen her the last few weeks are shocked. The rumor goes that an Equalist's daughter is whispering into the Fire Royalty's ear.

Asami had hoped that her reputation would be less sullied by her regular attendance at political meetings but instead, she's dragging the royal family through the dirt. She's made countless phone calls to other companies in an attempt to reinitiate trade. They all ended the same way: "we're sorry but you must understand that with your father's history…" She isn't sure what else she can do to prove her worth.

Barely a moment passed before an older man and a girl shuffled in. They bowed to the royal family briefly. The doll-like girl was dressed in traditional, formal Fire Nation wear. Asami immediately felt her cold golden eyes size her up. It took all her strength not to glare at the rude gesture, opting to lift a brow. The girl, instead of looking embarrassed, actually smirked widely.

Firelord Zuko smiled and greeted them, "Hello, Senpo and Raylee. How have you been?"

Asami watched them speak fondly back and forth, hoping the girl would finally say something. Since she was barely listening to the men, she jolted straighter when her name was mentioned.

"Asami's had some pretty good things to say," Zuko said.

Senpo tightly said, "Yes, I'm sure. Miss Sato, I'm so sorry about your father."

She's had enough of this nonsense. After being accused of being an Equalist on a daily basis, Asami boldly dismissed the notion, "I have to say I'm completely ok with what happened since I am the one who personally took down my father and put my father in jail."

He seemed uncomfortable by her response. His daughter finally spoke up, "It's so good to finally meet you Asami. It's nice to put a face to everything I've heard about you."

Asami swiftly and subtly retorted, "You're much too sweet, Raylee. It's too bad I've never heard of you."

"Really?" Raylee feigned surprise, "That's very strange. After all, I was engaged to Iroh."

Asami's eyes widened impossibly. To say that Asami was rendered speechless would be the understatement of a century. There was nothing she wanted more than to pounce this girl. But first, Iroh had some explaining to do…

Ursa cut into the awkward moment, "Raylee, I have heard you've become quite proficient in Firebending. Do you plan to join the United Forces?"

Senpo cleared his throat, "That is the reason we came today. We are holding a celebration for my daughter's acceptance into the United Forces this Saturday. You are all invited, of course."

The United Forces? But that would mean she'd be close to Iroh all the time! A disturbing, erotic image of the girl getting undressed on Iroh's desk flashed before Asami's eyes. Nooooo! Asami hid her panic under a mask of cool grace. "Congratulations, Raylee."

"Thank you. I'm excited to inform Iroh myself," she giggled.

Oh hell no. "No need. I'm sure I can tell him tonight, that is, if I manage to recall." Asami smiled cheerfully.

Raylee frowned at Asami's implication. Asami silently dared the girl to continue. The firebender forced a smile, "You're too kind. I hope we become good friends."

"Me too," Asami replied.

After all, keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.