Disclaimer: I do not own Fairy Tail or Avatar: The Last Airbender
Natsu's ears perked as he heard the solid deadbolt of the iron door become unlatched for the first time since his imprisonment. The Dragon
Slayer had no real idea how long he had been trapped within the small confines of the chamber, never once had the Dai Li given him food or water, the reason he imagined was due to the fact they were scared shitless of what he could do even in his weakened state.
Lifting his eyes he could see the two guardians of the city look at him warily before going through several stances and the jagged rocks that had been piercing his joints allowing him to drop his arms for the first time since being imprisoned. Yet that was all he needed as a spark ignited in his eyes that caught the Dai Li agents off guard.
Azula wasn't quite sure what to expect when she had seen the number of Dai Li agents before her all sporting a various number of injuries. When she had taken the leadership of the Dai Li forcefully off of Long Fang she had discovered that all of this had been done by a single fire bender. No matter who they were, somebody able to take on an entire army by themselves was somebody she wanted fighting by her side. That was if she deemed them worthy of doing so.
A jet of flame bursting out of the doorway that the Dai Li agents had stepped through catching her and the people around her by surprise. Ty Lee 'ooed' at the display as the flames extinguished to find that the two agents that had been sent in were now screaming in agony on the ground in front of the doorway. The Dai Li members took a couple of nervous glances around each other, something that didn't go unnoticed by Azula.
Mai merely lifted an eyebrow.
Slow steps echoed around the room as the feared warrior came into view, tearing the remaining chains off of his arms with just his brute strength, an impressive feat in it's own right. Azula focused her eyes as she looked at the pink haired teenager who looked like he had gone through war without a medic within a thousand mile radius. Even though she could see some cuts and scrapes across his body he walked with no limp or any indication that he was feeling any pain. Dried blood had solidified in his hair giving him a devilish look and the toothy smile he sent their way made him look like a demon in human form.
"Finally got bored of trying to wait me out?" he asked as he expected the next battle to take place almost instantly. The Dai Li for the best part seemed to back away slightly at the challenge but Azula steeled herself as she stepped forward towards the man who clearly made at least one of the Dai Li piss themselves if the new smell in the air was anything to go by.
"What's your name?" asked Azula as she continued to close the distance between them.
"Natsu Dragneel," answered the Dragon Slayer.
"Do you know who I am?" asked Azula as she came to a spot roughly ten feet away from the boy.
"Should I?" asked Natsu in response.
"I am Azula, princess of the Fire Nation," declared Azula, practically believing that the teen would begin to grovel at her feet as a response.
"So?" replied Natsu, not really being overly impressed as he picked at some gunk in his ear.
Azula, for her part, did an amazing job of hiding the fact that she had never been so insulted before in her life. She could potentially believe that if the boy didn't believe her or outwardly refused to believe that she was a princess but he simply blatantly didn't care. Blinking a couple of times she pondered the thought of frying him this instance for such insolence.
"I will accept your rudeness to the fact you have spent the better part of a week confined in isolation and are clearly in a disgruntled mood," said Azula calming herself before she sent a bolt of lighting straight through his head. "I have been informed by the men behind me that you infiltrated this city single handed and managed to cause quite a stir whilst laying waste to a good deal of the military force the city contained."
"Point being?" asked Natsu with a shrug of the shoulders, not really having seen his victory over the Earth Kingdom as anything that big. He should have been able to do more but he hadn't truly recovered from the attack on Tenroujima.
"Do not try my patience," stated Azula quickly becoming tired with the pink haired teen's attitude. "If you are as strong as they say, I want you to fight for me, that is only if you are as good as they say you are."
"Want to find out just how good I am?" asked Natsu as a toothy grin crossed his face. That was all the indication Azula needed to strike, having seemingly lost all care whether or not the boy survived. Thrusting her hands forward, two torrents of blue fire burst forth and crossed the small distance between them before engulfing Natsu in the blazing inferno. No look of remorse crossed Azula's features, if he wasn't able to counter such a simple attack then he wasn't worthy of standing by her side.
Her eyes, along with the eyes of all the people standing nearby went wide as the blue blaze that surrounded Natsu became to twist and turn before dancing upwards before dropping directly into the gaping mouth of the pink haired teen. Azula stopped her attack as the last of the flames were eaten by her opponent who rubbed his mouth with the back of his palm. "Damn that was tasty," said Natsu with a smile. "Is it my turn now?"
With his question unanswered his fists began to burn as fire was summoned without any firebending poses having been struck. Azula once again found herself stumped by the display in front of her, unable to comprehend just how the skin that was encased in fire wasn't melting off the bone.
Charging forward with seemingly inhuman speed, Azula quickly found herself on the defensive as she did her best to dodge the attacks being sent her way. She didn't want to risk blocking or parrying any of the blows, fearing that the fire on his fists would cause more damage to her then they clearly were doing to him.
Having seemingly become bored of the action before her (or actually having become worried for Azula), Mai sent three daggers forward at the pink haired teen as she leapt into the action. Seemingly sensing the oncoming attack, Natsu twisted his head to see the weapons soaring towards him. While he dodged the first two easily enough he reached around and plucked the third one out of the air, the sharp metal cutting into his palm but he wasn't even phased as he crushed the metal in his hand like it was nothing more than a piece of paper.
"Ooo, I want a turn," declared Ty Lee as she leapt down from her position and thrust a fist out at Natsu who ducked underneath the blow before trying to uppercut the overly cheerful girl who merely backflipped away from the outstretched fist.
As the two fought and countered each other in a spectacular battle of fighting skills, Azula summarized everything that this boy had done so far and how much of a threat he truly was. He could crush metal with his bare hands and eat any fire that was sent his way (though she theorized there might just be a limit to his ability), if he decided to tackle on the Fire Nation she didn't know just how much of their army would fall by his hand before he finally fell. That was provided he fell at all. If she couldn't suade him to join her side then he would undoubtedly be a bigger threat than the Avatar ever could be.
It was an all or nothing scenario.
Setting herself up in a very specific stance, Lightning began to dance at her fingertips as Ty Lee took a vicious blow to her stomach, knocking the wind out of her. Before the former circus performer could recover a fist was buried into the side of her face, knocking her to the side.
"Like eating fire, eat this!" declared Azula loudly getting the Dragon Slayer to turn towards her just as she unleashed her attack. The Dai Li who had been unmoving the entire time out of pure fear, watched with wide eyes as Lightning danced through the air for a split second before striking Natsu directly in the face, knocking the pink haired teen back a step.
A smirk of victory crossed Azula's lips before she found out that Natsu was completely unharmed, but even seemed stronger now that lightning seemingly danced across his body. "Tasty," he said with a grin, the secondary meal having been just as good as the first.
"Were you in the circus?" asked Ty Lee as she got back to her feet having not fully recovered from the brief battle, the strength of Natsu's fists striking her having felt like being struck head first by a rhinoboar.
"This is nothing," said Natsu paling slightly knowing that his strength still was nowhere near that of Erza or Gildarts, having gone head to head with the mage who had fought Acnologia head on was still lingering in the back of her mind. He recalled the first part of the exam where he had to fight against Gildarts and despite getting a small victory by having the mage move from his original spot, when the S class mage had just shown just a glimpse of his actual strength he was powerless to do anything.
A slow clapping echoed through the hall and all turned towards Azula who was seemingly applauding the teen in front of her. The fear she had seen in the eyes of the Dai Li she made sure not to show within her own pupils. The teen not only frightened her but had her nearly collapse to her knees, the threat that this boy could potentially be was just that high. She couldn't defeat him, nothing in her arsenal could likely even cause a burn mark on his skin. The Dai Li had been defeated by him and only seemingly walked away from the battle once their numbers were replenished, but even then they had lost a great deal of their strength. Ty Lee had had the best chance against the fire wielder (she dared not call him a firebender because clearly whatever it was that he was doing had no connection to firebending that she knew of), but even then she had been taken out of the equation against opponent who was physically stronger than her.
As the saying went, 'if you can't beat them, join them.' Although in this case Azula would make sure that Natsu would join her, the price of failure in this respect could be the worst thing to happen to the Fire Nation for generations. She knew that her father would disapprove of this scenario on face value alone but the princess believed that once he saw his abilities then he too would see that this teen would be given anything he wanted just to ensure that he didn't become an enemy.
Or the Fire Lord would have him assassinated in his sleep.
Either option worked.
"Congratulations, you passed the test," said Azula calmly.
"Test?" repeated Natsu becoming thoroughly confused, the lack of eating and drinking over the last few days not helping his cause to make sense of what was going on.
"Yes, the test," said Azula slowly making sure that she didn't slip up at all. "As a member of the royal family I can only have the best bodyguards imaginable, and after your demonstration I believe that you would be perfect for the job."
"...Okay…" said Natsu trying to figure out just what was going on. While the lightning he had just eaten had been tasty he was pretty certain that the woman had tried to injure her in someway or another. "Not quite sure what's going on but I've got to go find my friends."
Azula cringed slightly at that; if these friends were as strong as the pink haired warrior then they could be in for a lot of trouble. "You can come with us, I'm sure we can find your friends on our way back to the Fire Nation."
"Really, that'd be great, I'm pretty sure I know where one of them is already, maybe two, it's a bit hard with all these different smells around," said Natsu happily.
"You smell people?" asked Mai slightly disturbed.
"They must be pretty stinky," said Ty Lee having recovered from the battle she had had.
"Not really, it's just something my father taught me when I was young," said Natsu. "For instance, I can tell that one person has been travelling away from the town and one's just gotten in range."
"Just who was your father Natsu?" asked Azula wondering whether or not the boy's father had been a commanding officer in the army.
"The fire dragon Igneel," answered Natsu. Needless to say of all the things that had been seen and heard today this was the statement that got the biggest reaction.
The hooded figure turned his attention skyward and looked at the large flying animal soaring overhead. He couldn't tell quite what it was but that had been a similar story for most things he had discovered in this land. Having helped a Earth military convoy that had been attacked by Fire Nation soldiers he had been given all the details on the background of this world, much like he had back when he had first arrived in Edolas.
Lifting his nose in the air he could just make out the scents of both Wendy and Salamander, one of which was moving in the opposite direction. With a shrug of the shoulders, the man knew that if Wendy was on the move then she was likely helping somebody, it's just what she did.
Holding his stomach as it roared lightly, the black haired man knew that he needed a solid meal sometime soon, he had eaten far too little since arriving in this world. Perhaps something with a little rust on the side for some extra flavor would do nicely.
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