He couldn't believe it. He didn't want to believe it.

After all this time and not knowing... he felt so dumb. So used and so stupid. There were times when the thought of keeping his subjects safe were the only thing that dragged him from bed every day, the thought that he was excelling as emperor, that he was doing a good job and his citizens were happy.

They were at war.

At war with the Firenation.

The Firenation who had started the war years ago, the war he thought he had kept his people from. They had tried to bring down the great wall and he had been completely, stupidly, oblivious.

He sighed loudly, watching as Basco went to mingle with the avatar and his friends.

If he looked at it in a positively light - what else could he do? the alternative was mulling over the thought that he had been an idiot - there was the fact that he knew about it now, and had the avatar as ally.

He covered his eyes, "I just can't believe it."

Everyone looked at him sympathetically. Except the little blind girl. He guess she was looking at him; her head was turned to him, but he had no way of knowing – that didn't matter.

"When do we attack?" he asked again, entwining his fingers nervously. Perhaps he could get some help.

"The day of black sun."

Yes! Just enough time to call him and get ready for the sure-to-be-horrifying battle. "Would it bother you if I got reinforcements?"

The Avatar's grin widened. "What? Not at all! The more the better!"

Sometimes, he wondered how a boy so young and so... innocent could be the avatar. Surely there had to be some justice in this world. At such a young age... so much responsibility. Of course, he's not really that young, 112 and all, but still, the Avatar had the heart of a child.

"Who do you have in mind?" the water tribe girl asked – her name was...it started with a K...oh, right. Katara.

"I have a cousin. He lives really far, but he should be able to make it on time."

The gang cheered, and he chuckled nervously.

His cousin was great at fighting – at least, last he saw him he was -and was allowed to wander, so he should have some experience. More than him, definitely.

"You!" he pointed at a guard. "Write a letter of emergency now!"


"To Emperor Ling Yao."