Zuko's firebending training

Zuko didn't fill all of my expectations

Expectations, Among Other Things
Chapter information

The Forgotten Warrior





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The rest of my trip to Whale Tail Island was not what I expected. I was no further disrespected, yes. But being shunned by the crew was not what I had envisioned.

I was never addressed by the crew unless it was an order from the Captain. My voice had become raspy from disuse. I scared myself every time I spoke. On the third day I took up the past time of talking to myself. It kept my voice in use and gave me someone to talk to. It was ridiculous, I know, but I decided I had the right to act a little ridiculous every once and a while.

On the morning of the sixth day we reached Whale Tail Island. I gathered my things and thanked the Captain for his services.

I could tell no one on Whale Tail Island had taken me seriously, they spoke exaggeratedly slow, all the while trying unsuccessfully to conceal a smile. When I had finally found the Control Rooms I was about to burst with frustration. I didn't know when I had accepted this mission, being repeatedly taunted because of my age, gender, and size.

I had agitatedly asked the main officer the location of Prince Zuko's ship. The main officer smiled once, obviously at my frustration, and immediately treated me as an equal.

He said that he had been expecting me, and that there was a fresh eelhound ready to transport me to Zuko's ship. Which was seen on its way to a southern Earth Kingdom harbor for repairs. He showed me on a map where about Zuko would be from where he was last seen.

I thanked him and asked for directions to my awaiting eelhound.

Every time I looked at my feet I felt my cheeks blush. My feet didn't even reach the water. No one was around, but I hated being constantly reminded that I was vertically challenged.

I looked up from my short legs and back to the horizon, a small dot that was made more noticeable by a pillar of smoke that was ejected by the injured ship. I smiled; soon it would be time to meet Zuko. I had never heard the real story of Zuko's banishment, only the exaggerated versions I heard in the marketplace. I was excited and intrigued to see him. I had heard that his own father had given him a scar on his left eye in an Agni Kai. I wanted to know what would give a reason for Fire Lord Ozai, who seemed nice enough, to scar his own son like that.

The ship was looming closer, but the ship was almost indistinguishable from a crunched piece of parchment. The sides were dented, bent, torn, loose, and some were just hanging from the bolts of the ship.

The ship was not as big as the ship I had traveled on the past six days, but it's size was still considerable. I strapped my belongings to my back, I looked up the metal wall towering above me. The eelhound paddled in place, also unsure of how to continue.

A rope ladder was dropped into the salty water in front of me. I looked up to see if there was a friendly face, but none could be seen. I grabbed the ladder, and left the warm leather saddle. Strangely, it struck me to somehow thank the eelhound for its faithful service the past few hours. But when I turned around the lizard had already retreated for home.

I felt kind of guilty, but glad that I was saved from the awkward moment of talking to the reptile. I turned back to the ladder, and concentrated on climbing the weaved rungs.

Upon reaching the top I was immediately surrounded by several of Zuko's guards. My first instinct was to fight for some space, I felt claustrophobic. But I knew I had to stay composed for Zuko so he would hear me out.

One of the guards stepped forward and said, "Hand over your weapons and you will not be harmed."

"I rather not," I said curtly with a tight smile. "I would like to have an audience with Prince Zuko."

"What is your business?" he asked ignoring my request.

"I have orders from Fire Lord Ozai, to speak with his son, Prince Zuko."

"Who are you?!?!" a new voice joined the scene, Zuko.

"I am Kyza, your father sent me to help you capture the Avatar."

"I don't need your help, you are free to leave."

I couldn't believe this he refused my help, solely because I'm a girl. Anger swelled within me, "I guess I didn't make myself clear, I am here to help you, whether you want me here or not."

"Oh, believe me I don't need any help from a girl younger than me."

I scowled at this arrogant prat. "No? Maybe this will help you see clearly."

I threw my small bag of belongings at Zuko and immediately turned to the guards, they were clumsy from months of no serious threats to their ship. I kicked and jabbed at the guards weak spots, puncturing nerve points. This didn't paralyze them, but made them back away with pain greater than any wound.

Quickly I disarmed the guards and turned my attention to the Prince. Fury was plain on his face. He sent a volley of fireballs and I several back handsprings to evade them.

I shot two fireballs at Zuko's feet. He stumbled back a few steps, I then smoothly pulled an arrow out my quiver, and pinned Zuko's unbalanced foot to the deck.

Zuko was roughly jerked to the ground I drew another arrow and aimed it at the fallen Prince.

I smirked at Zuko, foolish prince, one would think after three years of banishment, he would learn some manners. Obviously not.

Suddenly, my knees gave out from underneath me, I dropped my bow along with my arrow. A firm hand pushed me over and kicked my feet out from underneath me. I turned to see my attacker. Iroh.

"What are you doing?" His voice was full of accusations.

I leap to my feet, calmly, I brushed myself off and stuck my hand out toward the suspicious uncle, "my apologizes, I am Kyza, I was sent by your brother to help Prince Zuko capture the Avatar. He refused my help, so I was simply showing him why I would be a valuable ally."

Iroh cautiously took my outstretched hand, "And why would you be a good ally?"

"I have trained for years with Master Regis, and Yu Yan Archer Rhea. I have become a lethal combination of Archery and Firebending."

Iroh nodded, "My nephew has a narrow mind sometimes, please excuse him."

Zuko yanked my arrow out of the ground, well, he tried to pull my arrow out. He gave it a couple of hard pulls, but my arrow stuck true. So he just sat there, unable to move, looking like a complete idiot.

I nodded my thanks, "Thank you, Iroh."

Zuko glared at me, "ahem!"

My gaze wandered over to Zuko, "Oh! Did you want up?"

His glare intensified.

I snickered and walked over to him, gave the arrow one hard yank, and the arrow came out of the metal deck with ease.

I offered Zuko a hand to get up, but he just looked at it with disgust. I shrugged, I didn't need his approval anymore. I had Iroh's. Zuko knew that it was two to one, and anymore objections would make him look childish.

Zuko rose to his feet and stood as manly as possible.

Iroh's voice started me, "your cheek. It's bleeding."

My hand went up to my cheek and came back with bloody fingertips. My scratch had re-opened. Suddenly, I was acutely aware of every protest my burn made, "Oh, I better clean this up."

"Zuko will show you to your room."

I picked up my bag, bow, and retrieved my fallen arrow. Zuko led me to my room with a scowl on his face. He simply nodded to my room and grudged a few more doors down to his quarters.

I laughed softly; I had never seen a boy of sixteen act like this before. I entered my room, there was a simple bed with red sheets, and a Fire Nation emblem tapestry hanging from the wall next to it.

There was a desk with parchment, ink, and several candles. On the third wall a smaller door intrigued me. I walked over and turned the hatch, it opened to a modest bathroom, one mirror, a small tub, a bowl for water, and other items.

I filled the bowl with water, and washed my cheek clean. I took a black towel from the rack and dried it. Before I dared look at my burn, I wanted to ask Iroh or Zuko for some ointment for it.

When I left the deck the Sun was nearing the horizon, if I wanted to get my Firebreathing in before dinner I was going to have to hurry.

I tried to retrace my steps back to the deck, but ended up on the highest deck of the ship. I shrugged to myself; at least I would not be disturbed.

I sat on the cool metal with my legs crossed. I closed my eyes and took deep breaths. Almost nothing entered my vision. The water acted as a wall to the life in the seas, and the metal guarded the crew members in its protection. I sighed; I would have to deal with what I got. I continued breathing for what seemed like ages with nothing, but the occasional bird in my solar vision.

I began to doze off and jerk back to life. This cycle continued until the sun had almost dipped under the horizon. An explosion of life jerked me awake, I opened my eyes to see Zuko pacing the deck angrily. I closed my eyed, yes, Zuko appeared as a huge mass of solar energy. Similar to the volcano that Regis had showed me once, only Zuko was still contained threatening to burst at any moment.

Zuko began executing basic Firebending maneuvers to release his fury. I saw the energy lessen slightly as this went on, but his solar energy was still extremely higher than any other bender I had seen before.

I heard one of the crew members call Zuko for dinner. I slowly stood and turned to leave. Zuko was a bomb waiting to go off. I would have to keep him in check, I didn't want to be around when he finally lost it. And I didn't know when that was going to be.

Zuko didn't fill all of my expectations, but he had definitely surprised me.

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