A/N: Yeah…I totally could not leave this idea alone. So I welcome you all to the sequel/companion to Wolf Moon. This will be another three-part series, and will, of course, eventually sport the M rating, so consider this your first heads up.
Day of the Dragon
"Treat him as a king, and in return he will treat you as a queen; and together you can serve one another with the happiness and love each deserves."
It took an enormous amount of effort to calm his mind amidst the various and powerful surges of energy coming from the distance. The burbling of the spring his body was immersed in was almost comforting…almost. Zuko's body was on fire, literally radiating with flameless heat from within. The palace springs, which were always so cool and comforting in any season, bubbled with rage due to the sharp spike in temperature from the Fire Lord's body. His mind was racing, his emotions flaring and subsiding in an unrelated sequence. His body had begun to spasm and twitch, for hours, since the events had begun and it was taking all of his focus and strength to maintain a modicum of composure.
He wished he could say he was enjoying himself, naked in a spring; reclining against the stone walls surrounding the normally calming waters, but it was taking too much effort to control his emotions…let alone his body. His arms rested upon the lip of the wall surrounding the spring and he watched in frustration as his hands twitched violently against his own volition before tiny flares of lightning began to arch between his fingers. Zuko fisted his hands, sighing loudly—and producing a rather large jet of fire from his nostrils.
The Fire Lord's head thudded against the rim of the springs, wishing that time would have mercy on him and make this day end so that nightfall could bring relief to his conflicted body.
It was not precisely how Zuko had imagined his day to begin: naked in the springs of his now vacant palace with a nation full of Firebenders becoming unsettled and irate and an entire world of distant Firebenders behaving similiarly.
Thank Agni they were not all royalty…
At sunrise when Zuko, as well as the rest of the nation's Firebenders had risen for the day at the beckon of their greatest energy source, he had noticed almost immediately that he seemed to have an overabundance of energy coursing through his body. The Fire Lord had not been alarmed, choosing instead to meditate for a moment to alleviate the excessive energy within him. It was not until Zuko was seated before his balcony window, eyes closed and thoughts moving inward that he realized that his mind was also experiencing a surfeit of erratic movement and was progressively getting worse. Zuko opened his eyes, his brow creasing in a frown as he felt his entire body begin to hum with pent up energy, as if his entire being was a taut string ready to snap at any moment. His appendages began to twitch in an effort to relieve the near-painful tension.
Something is wrong.
A sudden banging at the Fire Lord's bedroom door, followed by a shout alarmed Zuko to the point of flinching, a gasp escaping from his mouth in a long stream of fire that thankfully went out the balcony window instead of creating a problem inside his bedroom.
"Fire Lord Zuko! Your Majesty, something has happened!"
Tiredly wiping a hand across his face, Zuko stood, yanking open the door and being greeted by a very nervous looking servant. They observed one another for a moment, the usual decorum between Fire Lord and servant suspending as they watched each other's bodies twitch and jerk erratically and beyond their control. All of his employees in the palace were Firebenders; it was a tradition that dated back to the first Fire Lord that was used in an effort to ensure the safety of the royal family. Zuko wondered if all of the Firebenders in the nation were being affected. A flush crept up Zuko's neck as he realized that his spasms were getting worse, more so than his servant.
He cleared his throat, "What is it?" Twitch. Damn it…
The servant snapped out of his daze and quickly bowed his head, as was custom, murmuring an apology before righting himself. "Moments ago we received word that the volcano on Roku's Island erupted—"
"—an incredibly large eruption, sir, larger than the last one a decade ago. Smoke can already be seen from here and word was received by a passing naval ship that the entire island is completely covered in lava."
That much heat and energy spewing from the Earth was going to make being a Firebender more than a little unbearable until the volcano calmed down…which was likely going to be a while. Roku's volcano spewed for almost a week ten years ago, but nearly every available Firebender had been off fighting in the war and the energy and heat from the volcano was used as an advantage to gain the upper hand. Zuko was sure that every Firebender around the world would still feel the volcano, but was going to be irritable if they were unable to expend that energy.
Speaking of irritable.
Zuko stiffened, closing his eyes as an enormous flood of pure, agonizing rage overwhelmed his mind. His hand shot out, gripping the doorframe as his body shook from the devastating need to disembowel something. He heard the servant gasp, then curse as what seemed to be a stream of fire erupted from the man's mouth. This was not good. Zuko could not even begin to understand who or what his anger was directed toward, and doubted it was a justifiable source to begin with.
"Hang on," he hissed through clenched teeth as he attempted to regain command of his own body and thoughts. It was frighteningly spectacular, that a volcano eruption had such an immense impact on his being.
He inhaled and exhaled deeply for a moment before opening his eyes, offering an apologetic smile to the twitching man.
"I guess what they say about royalty is true, huh?" he said in an attempt to lighten the mood, unsure if the man realized how close he came to being knocked on his ass by the enraged Fire Lord.
It was often thought that the Fire Nation royalty were direct descendants of Agni, the spirit of fire. Historically, Firebending royals always drew more strength than other Firebenders from sources of energy: the sun, hot climates, volcanos, comets. If this was true, then Zuko was going to be his biggest problem during the volcano.
The servant cleared his throat nervously, "Um, your Majesty, that's not all."
Zuko quirked his brow, hoping the additional bad news was something he could manage, "Yes?"
The servants fidgeting got worse, making Zuko more aware of his own spasms and twitches. He tried to ignore it, sure that he looked ridiculous standing there in nothing but his sleeping pants and twitching like a lamb at slaughter. "Well, sir, it was reported that not long after the volcano erupted…a rather large lightning storm formed over the island as a result of the volcano."
Shit! Zuko's body sagged against his doorframe. At least the volcano and the lightning storm explained why he could feel his spastic moods and twitching body getting worse. However, while Zuko could attempt to manage his erratic Firebending on his own, he could not hope the same for his people. There were thousands of civilian Firebenders in his nation alone, let alone the hundreds who were abroad for political or personal reasons. Zuko sighed, ignoring the frightened squeak from the servant when fire spewed from his Fire Lord's lips…again.
Rubbing a hand across his face, Zuko faced the servant, hoping he could maintain a semblance of order over his Firebenders until the event was over. He noticed his hand was blackened with soot. He blushed, apparently he was breathing a lot of fire.
"Have my assistant send messages to all Fire Nation message posts around the world alerting the other nations to what has happened. I want all Firebenders to use extreme caution in public and I strongly recommend they stay indoors and away from people until this event has passed. Also, I want this wing of the palace evacuated of all staff…I need to be alone for a—"
A soldier was running toward him, a look of absolute terror on the man's face. Agni…what now?
The man stopped before him, weakly saluting before doubling over to catch his breath. The man was also trembling and twitching erratically, more than the servant, and was panting bursts of flames from his mouth and nose.
"What is it now?!" Zuko snapped without meaning to. The soldier and servant both flinched, the soldier snapping upright and trying to stand at attention, but failing due to the uncontrolled spasms of his body. Zuko sighed again, this time having the foresight to turn his head away from the two men so he would not bathe them in fire.
"My apologies. What is it?" His tone was still harsh, his words clipped but he could hardly help it anymore.
The soldier wasted little time, saying, "It's a comet, sir."
Zuko's eyes widened, his nostrils flaring with jets of fire as he felt his body begin to tremble and shake anew with excessive anger. "That…is not funny, solider," he growled through clenched teeth.
The soldier handed him a piece of parchment, "Tell me about it, sir. We just received this message from Ba Sing Se not even seconds after the lightning storm began. Says they spotted a comet coming their way late last night and is going to pass directly over the Capital in a couple of hours, sir."
"Shit!" Zuko did not bother looking at the message, instead ripping a hand through his short hair. His emotions were clouding his thoughts, causing him to panic. His day just went from an inconvenience to a full-blown disaster. Every Firebender was a ticking bomb now. One little annoyance, one tiny argument could explode into a fight; one with innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire. Zuko began to tremble; he didn't have much time left being lucid, he knew that. Soon he was going to lose control of himself and his staff could pay the price. Something had to be done; one Firebender in another nation could spark another war if things got out of hand.
Zuko groaned, his body beginning to spasm erratically, his fingers igniting at random with flame before snuffing out and starting all over again.
"I want all Firebenders in the Fire Nation confined to their homes and quarantined from others. This is a mandatory shut-in for the safety of everyone. Send a message to every Fire Nation post in every country warning them of the danger and telling them to stay away from any Firebenders; or ordering them to confinement if they can. Have…have a message sent to the Avatar, asking him to do something with the damn volcano. And lastly—"
A large stream of fire spewed from Zuko's mouth toward the two men, forcing them to duck beneath the flames before Zuko clicked his teeth shut, shutting his eyes and taking a moment to compose himself. This is getting out of hand.
Without bothering to apologize, Zuko rasped, "I want the palace evacuated immediately. All staff, all guards…everyone needs to get out."
The soldier shook his head, "W-what about you sir? The guards do not want to leave your side—"
Zuko hissed, his eyes clenching shut as he fought the urge to rip the man to shreds. They needed to leave. Now.
"Have the most senior of my guards, only those who are Masters, disperse through the Capital to prevent any fighting from breaking out. Everyone else needs to leave the palace immediately. I…I am going to be a problem…soon."
He barely heard the mumbled 'yes your Majesty' before he was finally alone. His body sagged against the doorframe, his entire being feeling as if it was being pulled in a thousand different directions. He felt a little better; at least if he was alone the only damage he could cause was to the palace itself.
Zuko hoped he was the only Firebender that was close to losing control. Powerful Firebenders would definitely feel the various sources of energy, and be affected by it, but Zuko prayed that distance would alleviate the intensity of the energy being pushed into the atmosphere. His servant and the soldier had appeared twitchy, but were able to function with what appeared to be relative ease.
It was taking all of Zuko's strength to remain where he was until the palace was empty.
Zuko suddenly smelled smoke and opened his eyes, seeing the little wisps of smoke dance in front of him. He glanced around before his head snapped to where his body was leaning against his doorframe.
His now charred doorframe.
Cursing, Zuko took off at a run toward the one place he knew he could cool down in solitude.
A/N: Eh? Love it? Hate it? Either way I hope you all enjoyed. Next chapter will officially be rated M; so this was your second warning!