The noise was so quiet that no normal person would have noticed it, but I'm no normal person. The light scuffle sound drew me to the back of the palace beyond the garden wall in the nearby alley. I used my Airbending to hop up onto the wall, greeted by the sight of two Firebenders fighting. By the sounds of it, there was a dispute over something said, so it would be easy for me to diplomatically solve the problem without bloodshed.

At least that's what I thought.

The moment I hopped down they both turned on me, almost as if it was planned. I fought them off easily, sometimes taunting, sometimes asking why they were fighting me, but never getting answers.

Using the wall, I evaded the stockier man's fire whip, but the thinner man caught me with a fireball to the chest, causing me to fall onto my back with a gasp, the wind knocked out of me.

"We have her now. The boss will be pleased with our work," the thin one snickered closing in on me.

"After months of tracking her, we finally will get our pay," the stocky one continued gleefully.

Not if I had any say about it! I flipped up, sending a barrage of fireballs at them, following up with a stream from my mouth. They were caught off guard, so my attack pushed them back quite a bit, but they returned with a vengeance.

By this point, though, I've had had enough. Moving my foot slightly, I caused the earth to trap their feet, gluing them to their places with shocked shouts. Yet they kept attacking, so I also trapped their hands. Now that I had the upper hand they were afraid, though they still shouted profanities and taunts at me.

With fists coated in orange flames, I advanced on them, their fear growing with every step I took.

Finally the thin one cracked, whimpering, "What are you going to do to us?"

"Oh, I'm not going to do anything. You are going to give me answers," I replied, flames flickering on my lips as I spoke. "And if you don't, you'll find out just how strong I am with the elements."

He shuddered slightly at my words. I was now close enough for them to feel the heat of my flames.

"What do you want to know?" the stocky one asked, his voice a little stronger than the thin man's.

"I want to know why you are trying to catch me. Then I want to know who you're working for," I demanded, my eyes no doubt deadly.

"We were hired to gather information on you the day you healed our boss, who we will not tell you the name of. He saw your powers and he wants them for himself, though we don't know how he's planning on doing this," the stocky man told me.

I glared at his refusal of a name, but decided to skip it and continue. "How much do you know about me?"

"We know that you can somehow bend all of the elements, plus that you have a supernatural power of some sort that you use to heal others. We know that you are related to the Avatar and that you hailed from the Southern Air Temple. We know that you go there at least once a year to commune with the dead spirits. We also know that you are able to heal almost every injury and illness, not including death itself."

The thin one seemed more willing to give me answers, so I focused my silver gaze on him. "What else can you tell me about your employer?" I tried to make my voice as harsh as possible, which was hard seeing as it was out of character for me, but if it meant my survival, then I can be mean if I had to.

"Not much. You already know that he plans to use your powers for himself, but we weren't given any more details. He apparently has a secret place that he's building for when he captures you. The young Fire Lord knows him and has told him about your relationship with the Avatar. That's all we can tell you about him. I swear!" He was truthful at least, which was concerning seeing that Zuko knows this guy and is giving him information on me.

"That is all I have to ask you for now. I'm going to release you, and I want you to return to your boss and tell him that if he ever threatens me or my friends again that he will personally have to deal with my wrath. And I never want to see your sorry faces ever again, and if I do, they won't be as pretty as they are now. Understand?"

They both nodded, the thin one sweating profusely. He was weak, not a good person to hire. Whoever this mystery man was, he couldn't be too intelligent.

I released their arms and legs, coating my fists in fire again once I did. "Now go, and never return." They ran off into the darkness, leaving me to ponder their words and focus on the achiness the fight had brought me.

Bit of a change in pace. This is an important conflict, and it took me a while to get it the way I wanted. I still feel like I could have done more with the actual fight itself... Anywhoo, I hope you enjoy it! I'd love to get some feedback on what you all think!