The Second Prince: Starting Flame
Chapter One: Approach the Scene-Part One
Fire Nation Royal Place Gardens
Summer 92 ASC
I was only eight years of age as I furtively sneaked through the trees, checking my surroundings. I stood tall and graceful; I didn't even make a sound as I looked for my older brother, Prince Zuko. Instead of fighting, Mother wanted us to play a simple, non-violent game of hide-and-seek.
"And absolutely no fire bending," she warned. Her golden eyes zoned in on me. "That also means no extortion, manipulation, and/or power-broking, Azulon."
I sighed then crossed my arms. "Fine. Take all the fun out of playing with Zuzu."
I really didn't need to use any of those skills Mother said anyway; it was always easy to beat Zuzu at these kinds of games. He was never subtle nor smart. Father said that all the traits of a Fire Nation Prince skipped Zuko.
"That boy is of no use to me," he said one day. He was talking to our mother. They had just witnessed our fire bending performance at the Academy a few minutes before. As always, I out-shined Zuko. Mother defended him as usual. Her reason for every one of Zuko's failures was that he needs time to learn and he was just a late bloomer. Father just waved her off.
I pressed my back against a tree. I was careful not to tear my clothes; I had already burned one pair that were used for public outings. I had wanted to get more practice in before I showed my bending in front of Fire Lord Azulon and the noblemen. Mother was still angry. Right now, I wore the clothes of a young royal prince: a gray shirt with a red and black tunic over it and gray pants that tucked into a pair a black, pointed boots. My hair was in a traditional top-knot with my head-piece placed on top.
I tensed when a heard some noise. I looked towards the bushes that were moving in front of me. Looking closer, I could see the glint of Prince Zuko's crown through the leaves. You always surprise me every time with your stupidity, Zuzu. I slowly sneaked up to the bushes without making a sound just like Father taught me. I was upon inches to the bushes. I could hear the slow breathing of Zuko as he tried to stay hidden.
I decided to tease him a bit. Mother didn't say anything about deceit. "Where could Zuko be," I asked to myself, making sure he heard me. "He has never been this good at hiding," I said to myself. I stopped when I noticed the absence of his breathing. I smirked.
"He must have hidden in the palace," I told myself. I made my way over the entrance of the gardens. In the corner of my eye, I could see that Zuzu poked his head out of his poor hiding place to watch me. That idiot had a look of triumph on his face. So Little Zuzu finally thinks he has beaten me? I walked into the hallways, but as soon as I was out of sight, I swiftly jumped out of the nearest window. I saw the back of Zuko, who was still hiding, through the brush I landed in. I didn't take notice of the new hole in my pants as I quietly walked up to him and touched his back.
Prince Zuko gave a start from the faint brushing of my fingers. His eyes were of a deer-moose caught in a hunter's trap. Zuko turned around and narrowed his eyes when he saw me laughing at him. His face turned red in anger. Here comes his trademark temper.
"How did you find me," Zuko shouted angrily as his fists clenched at his sides. "I swear to Agni that I saw you walk back into the palace!"
"Have you ever heard of the word decoy or maybe deceit, Zuzu," I asked. "I wanted you to think that. Maybe you should start to use that brain that you have inside that dense skull of yours."
He clenched his fists. "One of these days, Azulon," he warned as he pointed his finger at me, "I will finally beat you."
"I wouldn't count on that day happening anytime soon," I replied with a smirk.
Before Zuko could comment, Mother walked up to us. "It is good to see that you are both playing together again after your latest fight," she said with a smile.
She spoke of last week's accident. Zuko was practicing his fire bending stances while I watched him from the sidelines. After about ten minutes of observing each of his failures, I grew bored. I don't even see the reason why he would keep trying, I thought as I saw him land on his butt again. He was attempting to create an ark of fire with his foot. Looking around, I spotted his duel dao swords that Iroh given to him.
They were curved and single-edged. This feature made them very effective in fights. For better handling, the hilts curved in the opposite direction of the blade. For an extra feature, the swords had specially shaped guards that allowed them to be sheathed in a single scabbard. This served as a birthday present for Zuko's ninth birthday a couple of weeks ago. As a bonus, Iroh got Piandao, the greatest swordsmen in the Nation, to teach him. All I got for my birthday was one toy solider from each of the four nations. I had fun practicing my aim on them. Mother wasn't happy about that either.
Taking my chance when he wasn't looking, I grabbed them. With a smile, I took off to my room. That is where Zuko found me a few hours later. Not wanting to be out of character, we immediately started to argue. Of course, that leads to fighting which usually progressed into me throwing fire at him while he dodged. It ended with Zuko having a serious burn on his arm. Father was pleased. He told Mother that boys will be boys, but Ursa wouldn't have it. As punishment, she locked both of us in our rooms for the rest of the day.
Zuko didn't suffer that much because Mother came in every other five minutes to check on him. She even gave him treats! She only came into my room once, and all she did was yell at me about being irresponsible with my bending. To further my punishment since I burned Zuko, I wasn't allowed to go with Chan, my friend and classmate, to see his father's ship.
"You came just in time," I said. "In a few more seconds, you would've had no choice but to break up another fight."
She ignored my comment. "Your friends are here to visit you," she informed us.
Zuzu frowned. "Is Chan coming," he complained. Those two never got along. Zuko saw Chan as another version of me. Of course, I was smarter and far crueler, but Zuko still didn't like him. His dislike for him soon grew into hatred when Chan started to flirt with Mia, Zuko's crush.
Laughing, Mother answered his question. "Yes dear, he is coming, too. You two should get clean up before they get here." She looked towards me. What did I do, now?! She bent down and examined the new hole in my trousers. "I thought I told you not to ruin anymore clothes, Azulon!"
I heard Zuko laughing at me as Mother dragged me to my room.
Royal Training Grounds
Winter 100 ASC
"Fire is the element of power."
One guard charged at me. He quickly sent two streams of fire. Defense. I drew my arms together to absorb the on-coming flame. Offense. When the fire dissipated, I threw my arms down and kicked two fire blasts towards the man. He copied my previous defensive move, but my blue fire was too strong; he was sent flying from the impact. He landed on the ground defeated. Two more guards appeared and simultaneously shot fire streams towards me. Defense. I pulled my arms together once again as the flames surrounded me. I would have been seriously burned if I wasn't wearing my training armor.
"Fire benders use their drive and will to overpower their opponents. You, Prince Azulon, must know when to strike and when to dodge."
Slowly, I moved my hands in a circular motion to wipe the fire off me. I placed my body into a basic fighting stance again. I am the dragon. One of the men shot three blasts of fire at me. Instinctively, my body bent backwards to escape the first blast. I got back up again. I kick my right leg out to extinguish the second one. The third blast passed mere inches from my face after I moved to the side. I wield the blue flame. I rushed forward. Together, the two men created two fire arcs in my direction. I went into a tumble to dodge the raging fire.
"You are the Crowned Prince. You will not be defeated by the guards who live to protect you."
I cannot be overpowered. Finding my inner fire, I took a relaxed stance as one of the guards ran up to me. I extended my left leg, powered by fire, to throw him off balance. He stumbled. Offense. To finish him off, I punched him in the jaw. Seeing his fellow guard defeated, the remaining guard retaliated with a quick sequence of fire blasts. Defense. I lifted my feet and hands to respectfully extinguish each flame. Offense. Planting my feet firmly on the ground, I twisted my arms in a series of quick movements. Blue fire ignited around my arms. I snapped my arms in front of me to deliver a concentrated blast to the guard's chest. The attacks connected. He was thrown into a nearby wall and slid down the surface unconscious, leaving a trail of smoke. I cannot be tamed.
Smirking, I turned around to face my twin teachers Lo and Li. They were appointed as my fire bending mentors when I was a child. They were also my brother's mentors before he was banished. Their job was to oversee our training. Zuko and I would be taught the techniques and Lo and Li would prefect our combat.
"That was very good, Prince –"
Lo was interrupted by the arrival of a servant. The servant bowed to me and Lo and Li before announcing the reason of his presence. "Crown Prince Azulon the Second, the Fire Lord seeks your presence," he informed.
Disclaimer: I do not have any rights that relate to Avatar. If I did, the comics would have been extended into another season.
AN: This is a story that I have been working on for a good while. I no-way near finishing it, but I decide to post what I have so far. Hopefully, I will be inspired to finish writing it. It going to take me a while because I have enough ideas to make about four stories. I have a set the plot line to this story, but I am open for suggestions! Read, Review, and/or PM!
Beta Readers: Wings of Avalon and The Spirit Of Flight