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June 2, 2013
Time went by, and Zuko still hadn't found his colossi. His main colossi that Xreneus had told him about was named Celosia. It was supposed to be an odd, cat-like colossi, which Zuko couldn't imagine. As far as he knew, colossi were huge, gigantic statues, not small, agile bundles of rock. Again, though, it wasn't as if he himself knew much about them. After all, he'd never seen a colossi before to judge any sizes.
As time slowly dragged onward, Zuko stopped at an open area along the way. It was a flat plain, with shriveled trees and no grass. The odd thing about the area, though, was that its lifelessness apparently hadn't been caused by a lack of water, as there was a lake nearby. The trees...looked more burnt, rather than cut or weakened. He pushed that thought aside though, since he was very tired and thirsty. He went to the lake, cupped his hands, and scooped himself some water, gulping it down. He somewhat used to this condition, since through most of the war he'd been considered "lucky to be born," unlike his sister who was "born lucky," Azula.
Azula... A question suddenly shot through his mind like an arrow. "Is Azula still in control?"
By 'control,' he really meant staying out of trouble. After all, Azula had gone crazy by the end of the war. But the strangest, simplest thing he still couldn't answer was: Why? Zuko himself couldn't see how such a well-organized nation that respected her could make her go mad. He'd dealt with the pressure of ruling for a year, and he came out fine. Fire Lord Ozai had ruled as well, and at least he knew what he was doing, twisted philosophy or not... Yet Azula, who he'd thought was least likely to buckle under the pressure, was only at it for a month or so before losing her mind... Something must have happened while she was still the Fire princess. It must've been horrible since it SOMEHOW made her go crazy, or at least marked the start of her deterioration...but that was then. This was now, and he couldn't dwell on the past. Right now, he had to find Celosia, otherwise good and bad wouldn't exist back home any longer.
Despite his determination and quenched thirst, however, his thoughts drifted off to Mai. His sweetheart. His beautiful cherry blossom, his Sakura. Again, he'd been unable to say it to her face and only left a letter behind. She had to live with a simple goodbye note more than once now, and he knew it made her very angry. To make matters worse, she'd told him to NOT break up with her again. His last departure pretty much implied a breakup, just like this one, but not officially. Sure, going off on a universal trip to save the world was important, but how would he explain all this to her? His common sense kept telling him that she wouldn't believe him, but then again, who would? Fighting dinosaur-like creatures? Becoming a trophy for a crocodile prince? Facing an opponent made of stone?! Who at home would believe that? If worst came to worst, they might've found him just as crazy as Azula.
"Mai...I'm sorry I just left you without telling you directly... You probably hate me now...but I promise I'll return...no matter how much worse my life may become." Zuko promised aloud. Of course, he knew she couldn't hear him.
All these questions went through his head, but it all just lead to the same direction... What happened all this time, while he was gone? That answer wouldn't ever be clear until this was all over. Also, he knew that this story wouldn't end for a while; even if he found the right path, he still had to wait on everyone else, which could take longer than necessary. Despite how many thoughts, questions, and worries crowded his mind, though, one simple tremor of a footstep suddenly cleared his mind. He looked around frantically, and standing right there behind him...was a giant.
The creature looked like a gigantic bird, but the stone markings, mask, and earthen skin displayed its identity as a colossi. It had large wings that appeared to be lit up with fire. Its body shape was slender like a bird's, with a long neck and sharp beak. It stood close to 60 feet tall. Its head was currently tilted towards its feet as it stared at the terrified little human who'd stepped foot on its turf.
"Whoa...this must be him," Zuko thought as the bird nearly sliced him with its claws. Zuko needed some distance, so he started running as fast as he could. The bird quickly gave chase, but it ran after Zuko instead of using its wings. He was getting the odd impression that the colossi couldn't actually fly, and that was indeed the case. Zuko tried to shoot the creature with some well-aimed fire balls, but to no avail. If anything, it seemed to make the colossi move faster as it began catching up to him.
"Gotta think. Fire won't work..." Zuko then remembered the lake. "...That's it."
Zuko quickly used a fire propelling act, trying to dodge the bird, but the added fire power made the bird-colossi even faster as it whacked him with its wings. Zuko tried again and again, but the bird isn't having any of it. At some point, Zuko was too exhausted to move, and the bird only took the chance to knock him into the lake without even allowing a peaceful fall. The blow knocked Zuko out cold when he landed. When the colossi saw that he wouldn't be getting up again, it flapped its wings oddly in some sort of joy as it started walking away.
Zuko was now laying on the shallow lake bed, still knocked out from his fall. He remained motionless at first...but suddenly his eyes snapped open, and he shot straight to the surface! The colossi turned around just seconds before being struck by a furious missile, which caused it to crash onto its back.
"There. We're even," Zuko said as he walked to the bird's head. The bird-colossi crowed sadly as Zuko aimed a fire dart at its eye...but he stopped when he noticed something. He looked into the Colossi's blue eye. He couldn't actually see the emotion, but Zuko could tell that this colossi was scared. And there was something else too...despair. Zuko knew despair when he saw it, as his own life had experienced so much of it during the war...
Zuko stepped back...and walked away. "Forget it. I'm not killing you, Celosia," Zuko said. The colossi looked at him funny as he continued walking. Zuko kept going until...a certain, brown-robed charm-giver appeared in front of him.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm leaving Celosia, Marage. I can't kill anyone anymore," Zuko said.
"Zuko. First of all, you're not truly killing these colossi. It's like removing a fire from a fireplace. It can be brought back to life again in time. And second, that phoenix colossi you were fighting isn't Celosia."
"What? Then who is?"
"I honestly don't know. I may have a lot of knowledge that the Spirit Council doesn't have...but I haven't heard of this Colossi's name... However, I have heard of one particular event that involved the unfortunate colossi."
"Unfortunate? What do you mean?"
"Listen. This colossi was made as one of Yveltal's colossi. But alas, since it had carried out its guarding duties poorly, it was the first and only colossi to be unused. Banished. Disowned."
Zuko looked at the bird as it sadly turned to walk away. Failed attempt...again.
"Does it have a name?"
"I don't think so. Yveltal didn't bother naming it since it couldn't defend anything," Marage replied.
"...Do I need anything from it?"
"I'm not sure...but if it was summoned in your presence, then it can be assumed that you do."
"Yeah, I guess... It's kinda sad, actually," Zuko thought. The bird looked back to him. Zuko could understand how it felt, but at least Zuko had a name... This creature didn't. Zuko thought about it for a minute.
"Hey...Adar Flam. I'm sorry for fighting you," Zuko said.
"Adar Flam?" asked Marage.
"That's the name I'm calling it from now on. It means 'the flame bird,' which I think suits it well... What do you think, Adar Flam?" Zuko asked, turning to the bird. It seemed like the creature was happy to finally get a true name, since it made a call for joy as it flapped its wings proudly. Marage understood what was happening and disappeared.
"That's great... Listen, Adar Flam. I need to find the chakra orb from Celosia. You know where he is?" Zuko asked. Adar Flam nodded 'yes,' but before doing anything else, he opened his beak and dropped something down to Zuko... A chakra orb! It quickly entered the firebender before he could react. It didn't hurt, but the impact revealed to him a vision of where Celosia's lair was located.
"Thank you..." Zuko said. Adar flam made a happy, eagle-like call to see him off as Zuko started running towards his destination...
All the while (as so many times before), the watcher saw everything. She gave a sigh of relief, knowing a colossi like Adar Flam was given a second chance...and a name. With that, she went off to observe the next fight.
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