Epilogue II: Revelations

"You have both failed me." Yanwu snarled from behind the indestructible wall of energy that kept him trapped inside the giant, gnarled tree on the barren and desolate field.

"No, the Steel Empire failed you." Azula corrected. "They were a means to an end, and they failed to live up to their assigned task. I can hardly be faulted for that, especially considering I gave those fools my assistance and they squandered it. Really, they're the ones at fault here. I'd recommend that they be the first humans you annihilate."

"I already know who I'll be annihilating first." Yanwu snarled. "And I am not speaking of the conflict in the Southern Water Tribe. I am speaking of how as of now you have failed to eliminate Raava's pet."

"But I did get her to open the Northern Spirit Portal." Azula pointed out. "Now once Harmonic Convergence comes, you will be freed."

"Unless they are closed again before the Convergence and then kept closed." Yanwu replied. "There are too many risks involved. My return must come to pass. After all, neither of us can get what we want most while I remain trapped in here."

"Not all of you is still trapped in there though." Azula noted with a smile. As she did, the other figure present, who up to that point had been both silent and motionless, stepped forward. The same black cloaked figure that Zuko had encountered before stood before Yanwu, who stared him down.

"Only a small fragment of me inhabits that body, or perhaps it is more fair to say his mind and soul. Guiding him, directing him, having him carry out my orders and desires without even realizing it. The fool never should have come in to the Spirit World, least of all to where the Spirit Portals are. I may not be at my full power, but I haven't lost all of my tricks. It was a simple matter to get a small portion of myself past this damnable prison and into his body, allowing me to control it and speak through it like a marionette and his puppeteer."

Azula chuckled wickedly. "I'm not surprised. His type is always so spiritual. And so conceited."

"Indeed." Yanwu turned back to the black cloaked figure who a part of him was able to control and speak through. "Lower your hood so I can see your face again. It's been a while since I last laid eyes on it."

The black cloaked figure did as instructed and pulled down his hood. As he did, Unalaq was not even aware of his surroundings, being deaf and blind to everything around him save for the overpowering voice of his master. And even that became little more than a fleeting and barely measurable whisper once Yanwu stopped exerting influence for whatever reason. Unalaq would remember nothing of this encounter (or any of the previous ones) the second it was concluded, and any lingering memories would be chalked up to spiritual nightmares or useless apocalyptic visions.

"Look at this face well" Yanwu told Azula, as he did Unalaq speaking the exact same sentence as Yanwu spoke through him, Unalaq's voice being Yanwu's. "…for it is the face of a complete and utter fool."

Author's Note: Well folks, there's your plot twist. I think this may just be the shortest chapter I've done so far, but it is an epilogue, so I can let that slide. Anyway, with Book 2 done I think I'm going to let LoK The Azure Edition sit for a little while and focus more on some other stuff. But don't worry: I'll try and resume this with Book 3 before the summer's over. Special thanks to everyone who's stuck with me and appreciated my story thus far. My story's proven to be pretty polarizing, but it's nice to know at least a couple people have liked it.