Suki versus Azula
Now or Never
You have no choice, you've got to take the shot.
General information



PG-13 (violence)





Total word count




Original run

22 June 2014




Avatar: The Last Airbender


The Legend of Korra


Fanonbenders contest, round three

Now or Never is a one-shot written for round three of the fanonbenders contest.


The Kyoshi Warriors make their triumphant return to Kyoshi Island. Little do they know what had happened in their village in the months that had passed...


Now or Never

The Plan Hatched

"Power tends to corrupt..."

It was definitely a day for celebration on Kyoshi Island. With the autumn sun shining bright, clouds nowhere to be found, it fit the general atmosphere not just there but around the world. Two weeks had passed since the Hundred Year War finally reached its conclusion and peace finally had some breathing room. Sure, there were still things to work out, but no longer did the islanders themselves have to fear strikes. They only had a flash attack from the young man who was now Fire Lord, a man reformed since then. For the most part, they had things easy...

The most part.

The main division of the Kyoshi Warriors had left the island months prior to find any way to help in the war effort, a plan brought forth as the result of a visit by the Avatar and his friends. In the interim, a band of men had come together to provide a protection effort from a mountain village on the island. Unfortunately, this came at both a figurative and literal cost - they took advantage of a somewhat desperate mood around the island after Zuko's attack, deciding to name themselves the "Kyoshi Island Protection Force". They rolled in and struck a deal with Oyaji, with caused the citizenry to have to pay additional taxes to the gang. If they didn't, they risked destruction of their property. With no Kyoshi Warriors around, there was little protection to be had for the citizens themselves.

Finally, though, on this day, the warriors were coming home.

No longer would the citizenry have to submit to these awful men.

With cheers and marches to the town center, they welcomed back their true, much more compassionate protectors - and hey, they had a new girl in tow; a rather stunning pick in a Fire Nation girl who formerly affiliated herself with the vengeful princess of said nation, a girl by the name of Ty Lee. But they trusted the word of their beloved leader, Suki, especially after Ty Lee passed Kyoshi's Trial to officially join the legendary force.

"It is my pleasure to announce that Ty Lee has passed Kyoshi's Trial. With a sense of honesty and loyalty, I am proud to say that I welcome her into the Kyoshi Warriors, and I hope you will accept her into the team, as much as you have all of us!"

As the crowd chanted for a speech, Ty Lee looked around sheepishly, but Suki was mentally nudging her to get in and talk. Finally, she accepted and took the podium as the crowd quieted.

"Well," the new Kyoshi Warrior began, not comfortable with such a large public setting around her. "Uhhh...all I can really say is, thank you. Thank you, people of Kyoshi Island for being so warm to me and accepting me among your people. Thank you, to the rest of the warriors, for accepting me when we met in prison after my betrayal of Princess Azula, and thank you, Suki, for deeming me worthy..."

Further away, three men, tall and muscular, stood behind some houses as the celebration continued. They watched with looks of pure disgust and anger, not just because the Kyoshi Warriors were back, but because they had accepted a member of the Fire Nation into their ranks.

They were going to be disenfranchised by Mayor Oyaji for the band of girls once again, especially now one from the nation that waged war.

"They call themselves warriors," the leader bellowed to his associates. "After they got their butts whooped and did a disastrous job in protecting the nation."

"Not to mention," the second thug spoke, "They allowed for the fall of Ba Sing Se. I would certainly be damned if they were allowed to be entrusted with this island ever again."

"And we'll probably be jailed," the third added with an ominous tone. "We've committed atrocities, and I know we realize that."

"What shall we do, Bau Ping?" The second queried.

"There's only one thing we can do, Nan Fao," Bau Ping began, his look serious and tight as he stared at his associates, folding his hands behind his back. Taking a step forward, he continued, "Take out the Kyoshi Warriors."

Nan Fao raised his eyebrows. " do know that even if we were to remove this group, there are bands of Kyoshi Warriors on every village?"

"These are the most central and strongest of all those bands," Bau Ping replied. "If we remove them, we can easily seize the entire island, growing rich and powerful beyond our wildest dreams."

The third gangster, Tiang, shook his head. "You know," he began, "what happened to our goals of mere protection? We got a taste of a few coins, and soon, when you realized we were alone, Bau Ping, you've since gone mad with power. You got a sample from the merchant and you took the whole fruit stand of power. Now we're talking about eliminating the Kyoshi Warriors?"

Bau Ping gritted his teeth and glared at his associate. "Money and power rule the day. If you don't have one or the other, you wallow around at the bottom of society's totem pole. You don't want to go back to those days, do you? Fighting for your own survival? Need I remind you we started at one of the poorest villages this island had to offer?" Glaring closer to him, he continued, "Tiang, if you know what's best for you, you will follow along."

Shaking a bit, Tiang tried to speak up. "B-b-but there must be a better way than this! We can't just crush the --"

A punch landed across the man's head, throwing him to the ground and leaving him without a word to speak, nor a bone to move.

"He was always the weakest and most doubtful," Nan Fao said, looking down on Tiang's unconscious form.

"Yes, and now that that's out of the way," the leader continued, "Here's how it works. The warriors will probably be preparing and whatnot in the morning, gathering their stuff, warming up. As they all get there, we stand by and wait. Once they are all there as a group, that is when we strike. Once they fall, they all go down. Soon, piece-by-piece, the island will be ours."

"It is only two of us versus about ten of them. You sure we will be fine?" The associate asked.

"Of course," the leader answered with a smirk. "Now that the weakest link won't remember a thing...we will be fine. Pure strength can overcome their fancy fan moves."

"I hope you know where you're going with this," Nan Fao warned him. "We're going to be the most hated people on Kyoshi Island when all is said and done."

"As I said," Bau Ping replied, still smirking, "power and money conquer all. We weren't here just to sample it and leave. I look forward to, as that weakling said, taking the whole fruit stand. Now come, let's prepare."

They left their former associate to lay, unconscious...and sadly, to not remember a thing...

Today, the Kyoshi Warriors would celebrate.

But tomorrow, they would need to be ready...

So Much for Peace...

Finally, as the sun again rose on a bright, though slightly chilly morning, the six Kyoshi Warriors were returning to the dojo for a training session months in the making. They hadn't had as much of a chance to do so, being on the road with various tasks, such as the security detail at Full Moon Bay, or the fact that they spent months in Fire Nation prisons after their crushing defeat at the hands of Princess Azula and her friends.

Ty Lee, of course, was on the winning side of that duel, but now she found herself with these warriors, ready to work with them officially for the first time. Not too long after Suki arrived and opened up the small building, there was the Fire Nation native, excited as she tended to be. Not that Suki minded, of course, she was glad to have someone so eager to help out; which Ty Lee had already done by giving some of her fellow warriors chi blocking lessons. Suki would be soon to follow in that respect.

For now, although the girls were indeed anxious to get back to work on Kyoshi Island, they were still a bit groggy from celebrating last night, and nothing would change the fact that it was early in the morning. Suki, of course, would have them do their regular warm-up exercises as soon as they got prepared to eliminate the morning rust and thus get their day going.

The warriors exchanged a few words as they made their way to the dressing and makeup rooms when they had the chance, getting clad in the warrior garb as they did every day once again since the end of their imprisonment. All seemed quiet as another day was getting on its way...that was, until one warrior, Mianna, thought she heard the sound of footsteps directly outside.

Suki noticed as Mianna turned curious and stared out the window. "Is everything all right?"

"I thought I heard something," Mianna admitted, turning back to her leader.

Suki and a couple warriors looked toward the window to the left of the door, while a couple others checked the one on the right, looking quickly for whatever their fellow ally may have caught on to. However, their search by eye turned up nothing.

Behind the dojo, however, there was a lot more to be had.

Bau Ping and Nan Fao knelt down; unbeknownst to them, lucky they were not seen after the catching of their footsteps within the facility. They were set to make their last-minute preparations for seizure of power.

"Sir," Nan Fao began. "Are you sure we have the brute strength to overcome them?"

"I have no doubts," Bau Ping answered with a boom in his voice. "We were able to control everyone in this village for months, that should be able to include the Kyoshi Warriors. They're just young ladies."

"Young ladies, sure," Nan Fao replied, "but they have been entrusted with Kyoshi for a reason. Besides, hundreds of years ago, trained by Avatar Kyoshi herself, they were constantly able to reel in troublesome men. Plus, word is they know that unique chi blocking style now because of that Fire Nation girl. I think we'll need more than pure strength alone. Maybe raid their weapons storage."

"Fine," the head thug said sharply. "Do what you need to do to beat them. Whatever works to eliminate them, and make this island forever reliant on the Kyoshi Island Protection Force!"

Not wishing to stir the pot with his boiling leader any further, Nan Fao backed down and thought of his own way to accomplish their task. Any minute now, they would be set to strike.

"Check inside," Bau Ping ordered.

Quietly, on his tip-toes, Nan Fao reeled around the building, hoping he would not be sighted as he fulfilled his leader's demand. Any stray sight would result in a complete mess, he knew. Quietly approaching the front and nearing the window on the exterior to the door's right, he peaked in to see the Kyoshi Warriors still stirring, not all of them in the main hall. Only a few were in their full uniform at that point, indicating they were still readying.

The same warrior from earlier, Mianna, turned at that moment to see Nan Fao peeking in. The gangster tried to duck away, but it was too late.

"Someone's there!" The warrior shouted in fear.

"What?" Suki wondered, again turning to where her sister-in-arms looked. "Mianna, what do you see?"

"I thought I saw somebody looking in on us; he quickly ducked off," she answered. "I think somebody's watching us."

Suki again saw nothing out the window, but she certainly was not willing to take any chances after the second apparent catching of a strange figure. Briefly surveying the warriors who were ready for the day, she said, "Okay, let's find out what this is all about. "Ashaga, Tian, can you two take a look around the outside?"

"He went to the left, if that helps," Mianna added.

"We'll check around both sides, then," Ashaga suggested. "If we find anything, we'll let you know."

Pulling out their fans, the two warriors left to go check on the disturbance, Ashaga going to the right of the door, Tian the left. As they reached the sides, they each deployed their fans in full.

"Come out, whomever you may be!" Tian yelled.

Bau Ping and Nan Fao stirred at the back of the building; they were seemingly busted. But one could not say that they did not anticipate such a risk; if anything, it would take care of two warriors early.

"You take the one on the right, I will get the one on the left," Bau Ping whispered. "Take care of them swiftly. I want no delays."

Nan Fao nodded and ducked to his right, briefly crossing paths with the man in charge. They took a slight peak, each seeing a warrior with two drawn fans in their hands.

"Come out!" Ashaga yelled, getting a brief sight of Nan Fao, her weapons at the ready. "This is not a game!"

"You want me to come out?" Nan Fao mumbled. "Fine. I'll be glad to play along."

On the other side of the small establishment, Tian was set for whomever she may see. "We're not interested in games! Get out from behind there."

"Fair enough!" Bau Ping shouted.

Next thing Tian knew, the tall, fearsome figure was nearing her at a rapid speed. It was slightly intimidating, but she knew she had faced far worse during the war. She stood tall and began to swipe at him with her fans. Bau Ping dodged the swipes, and not a more than a heartbeat later, he swiped at the warrior's arm and knocked one of her fans out of her hand. Tian, however, was not phased, and simply decided to drop her other fan and resort to her new technique.

"I wouldn't rely on something you just learned!" Bau Ping said with a smug smile. "It may not end well!"

"Don't push your luck," the young warrior warned, getting her fists together and preparing for her chi blocking motion.

She tried a quick few jabs while jabbing some swipes from her opponent. Bau Ping then decided to throw a punch, but Tian blocked it, throwing his fist down for the moment. Still, the thug was able to turn and swipe her arm away before a blocking shot was taken.

What happened next quickly frightened the young girl.

Bau Ping seized her wrists and picked her up about a couple inches. He quickly threw her to the ground by said wrists, Tian sliding across the dirt. Just as she tried to get up, Bau Ping connected with a right hook, throwing her head back into the ground. He stood over her with a look that would inspire fear in even the strongest of foes, again smiling with pride and smugness in a quick victory. Still, she tried to get up and continue, not desiring to surrender.

"Big mistake," the thug said ominously.

He seized a woozy Tian by the neck and slammed her into the building, leaving her severely shaken and basically unable to continue. She tried to move her arms and legs and continue the fight, but Bau Ping wanted none of that. Rushing to grab one of Tian's lost fans, he picked up and slammed her across the face with it, leaving her unconscious, blood beginning to run from her head. He dropped the fan and said, "I hope I find more worthy opponents in your allies."

On the other side, Nan Fao decided to emerge and take on his foe in Ashaga. She proved more difficult for this thug though, dodging his attacks and even getting some near strikes with her fans. The battle remained tight for quite a while, no one able to gain an advantage, and as such, Nan Fao was trying to grab her fans and leave her weaponless.

As Ashaga continued to make her attempts to eliminate this unwelcome guest, she suddenly felt a large thwack from behind and fell to the ground. "What the -- !?"

"It's unfortunate that your fellow warrior was not so great after all," a booming voice said.

Ashaga turned to see that it was Bau Ping who now stood behind her, intimidation and all.

"Nicely done," Nan Fao said to his leader. "It's a shame though, this girl was a worthy foe."

The two stood on either side of the shocked warrior, who had become slightly dizzy after a direct headshot. Like her beaten ally, she too tried to stir, but this was met with a punch across the face from Nan Fao, causing her to loose a tooth and leaving her essentially paralyzed. To make sure she stayed down, Bau Ping picked her up for the slightest moment and slammed her into the side of the building.

The sound of the impacts and the slight rumbles as a result did not go unnoticed by the warriors inside. "That didn't sound good," Ty Lee observed.

"No kidding," Mianna said.

Outside, the two-man army was ready. "Now go! Inside now!" Bau Ping said to Nan Fao, and the two took off quickly, rushing to the building's interior. Bau Ping kicked the door down, quickly letting the sunlight into the building, light that was quickly blinded by the sight of the two thugs.

Suki, Ty Lee, and Mianna looked at these two men with glares, wondering what had brought them to their dojo and apparently causing them to strike their allies.

"Your time is over!" Bau Ping cried out.

"Who are you?!" Suki demanded to know, drawing her fans and shield.

"I am Bau Ping, and my associate is Nan Fao," the thug answered menacingly. "We are the Kyoshi Island Protection Force, and are the true protectors of this place."

"You?" Suki thought about what she had heard for a moment. "It's you who have been terrorizing this village?"

"Word apparently spreads quick," Nan Fao said with a grin.

"I thought there were three of you," the warriors' leader wondered. "That is the word we got."

"Let's just say our third was a bit too weak to be alongside us on this glorious day, you know, not willing to take part in the celebration," Bau Ping said, throwing a fist into his own hand. "We'll be disposing of you, effective now."

"I don't think so," Mianna jumped in and added. "You can't take down all of us."

"You just wait and see," Nan Fao answered.

The two men charged the remaining four Kyoshi Warriors, the readied ones with their weapons out, except for Ty Lee, who would try to rely on her hands, as she was always able to. First, seeing Suki was soon occupied, she quickly opened the door to the dressing room. "We have intruders! Forget getting ready and get weapons ready!"

The remaining warrior heard her ally's warning and quickly got out of the room, still lacking armor. She quickly rushed out of the dressing room and attempted to make her way to where the weapons were held.

"I think I'll be getting those," Nan Fao declared, dashing toward the weapon room with seized fans in hand from the "protection force"'s earlier victories. He clashed with the unarmed warrior and threw her aside with ease, breaking into the storage area and grabbing two katanas and shields, one for him, and one for his leader.

Meanwhile, Bau Ping took on Mianna and Ty Lee at the same time. Though he was tough, trying to go 2-on-1, especially with the latter, proved to be no easy task. Ty Lee dodged a good portion of his attacks, distracting him long enough for Mianna to slap him across the face with a fan. He rubbed his cheek before he heard his ally yell "Catch!", tossing a sheathed katana his way. He quickly drew the sword and took a step back, ready to take them both on.

"Suki, we got this guy," Ty Lee urged. "Try and get the other!"

The head warrior gave a nod and drew her fans, moving on to battle Nan Fao. She still being largely inexperienced in the ways of chi blocking, Suki continued to rely on her various weaponry. The gangster, however, was hard to defeat, even with his inexperience in the Kyoshi Warriors' tools. He decided to ditch the fan and focus solely on fighting with the small sword, hoping to get a slash in on her.

As Bau Ping continued to deal with his opponents, he looked across the way at the unarmed warrior and realized...

No shielding.

He quickly dashed away from Mianna and Ty Lee, making his way over toward the warrior who lacked her protective gear. She tried to swipe at him, but he was able to get sideswipes in with a fan of his own on her arms, knocking the weaponry away. The thug leader quickly kicked the shieldless girl in the stomach, sending her to the ground, visibly shaken. Just before he could try and knock her out, however, Mianna and Ty Lee returned to the scene, getting him tangled up again.

Soon, all the capable combatants merged, making it one final 3-on-2 for the duel. Fans and katanas alike clanged against each other or on shields, Ty Lee continued to use her agility to dodge attacks while getting her chi shots stopped, and no one was getting anywhere in any hurry. It was up to one of the five to make a definitive move that would allow someone to win the duel; there was no way either side would surrender.

That was when Bau Ping thought of something no one had yet to try.

Throughout the fight, everyone had just been going for shots at the mid or upper sections of the body; no one was aiming to take the legs out from under the other at any point. Bau Ping knew that to break the stalemate, he would have to try and go off the board, so to speak. While his sword was tied together with Mianna, he quickly whispered to Nan Fao, "Swing low."

Nan Fao nodded, and the thugs took a couple steps back.

"Backing up, huh?" Mianna declared. "Willing to admit now that you're cornered?" She pointed her sword directly at Bau Ping.

"Quite the contrary," Bau Ping answered, regaining his smirk. "You've just forgot about one tactical move we could make. Quite a significant goof from a supposed 'elite' force."

Mianna did not care about whatever he was thinking about, and just used her sword and tried to slash, but he was blocked by the gangster. It was at that moment that Nan Fao, contending with Suki, swung a fan low which the warrior could only jump up to dodge. At that moment, Bau Ping kicked, sending Mianna flying and eventually resulting in a hard landing on the ground. The gangsters needed to do nothing more; the warrior was out cold.

"Mianna!" Ty Lee gasped. "No!"

As her new friend rushed over to the fallen girl, Suki turned to see Bau Ping turning toward her with a fan raised - it was then that she realized what was about to happen. "Ty Lee, look out!"

The Fire Nation girl turned quickly, but by the time she did, the fan was basically at her face. The impact cut Ty Lee across her lips, blood coming from them in a hurry as she fell to the ground. The thug followed with a second shot to the head, putting Ty Lee in a state that was growing all-too-common for the force of warriors.

"And stay down, you Fire Nation scum," Nan Fao said to her, providing one more kick in her ribs.

Suki realized that she was left all alone, something her opponents would only be too happy to let her know.

"It's just you and us now, little lady," Bau Ping said.

"Give up, and we won't drive you to where your fellow girls lay," Nan Fao added, "as you realize who the true protectors of Kyoshi Island are."

One Last Chance

Stunned with tears pooling in her eyes at the second defeat of her entire group, Suki just stared at them, wondering why such brutal fates had to be delivered to them all. She didn't have much time to think as Nan Fao landed a punch on her, throwing her to the ground, and her weapons out of her hands. Laying on the ground, she saw the two "protectors" stand over her menacingly.

"You see," Bau Ping said, punching her again, breaking a cheekbone. "We are here to protect this island, which also means eliminating the weak. You have proven yourselves, time and time again, to be too weak to protect this place." He smacked Suki across the face with a fan. "Thus, your time is over. Our time is now." The gangster delivered another blow with the same fan she liked to use, causing blood to leak from her head and right cheek. Bau Ping then picked up a katana. "Now, one by one, we will eliminate you and your fellow warriors, taking our rightful place as the protectors of this island."

The Kyoshi Warrior closed her eyes and feared she was meeting her last moment. Instead, she soon was flashing back to when she got some of her first tips from her unexpected ally...

"So, Ty Lee," Suki said to her former enemy. "The girls told me you taught them about this concept of 'chi blocking'."

Ty Lee smiled. "Yeah, they were definitely excited to learn it! It's too bad you weren't around for the lessons, but I'd definitely be willing to show you a little bit quickly."

"I'd be glad to see some basics at least," Suki replied. "Further lessons could probably wait until we get back to Kyoshi Island."

"Okay," the bubbly teenager answered, and she stood straight up in front of her new friend. "Well, there isn't too much to the technique itself. All you have to do," - she pointed up her fingers - "is jab at your opponent's pressure points, and it cut off their chi flow, rendering their muscles useless." She made a few quick jabbing motions to demonstrate this. "Just be quick, you never know when your opponent will fight back and stop your attack."

"That sounds easy enough," the Kyoshi Warrior replied, "but aren't there any risks or twists that I may need to know about? I mean, this seems so simple, but it took you quite a while to master it, I assume."

"Well, yeah," Ty Lee answered. "Just being here probably isn't significant enough to teach you all you need to know; as you said, I can show you more back on the island. What I will tell you now though is this - you'll need to know where the chi points are on the body, for one." She walked up to Suki and tried to show her what she could, pointing to said points. "There's points on the shoulders, in the lower stomach and back, and on the forehead, to name a few. Practicing with these will help you remember; I even have a figure of the human body which we can use later."

"Sounds just fine with me," the young leader said.

"Be warned, though," Ty Lee said, a more serious look overtaking her smile. "The effects are only temporary. Once you chi block someone, you'll have to apprehend them as soon as you can. If they have time to recover, they could be even more dangerous than before, as they become even more flexible."

"Understood," Suki replied with a nod.

Her eyes barely opening as the tip of the katana reached her neck, Suki thought to herself, I guess those other lessons will just have to wait...spirit of Avatar Kyoshi, please be with me...

"Thank you for your service," Bau Ping said, his smile growing all the more wicked. "We'll take it from here!"

Suki groaned in pain as she lifted up her arm as quick as she could. Just as Bau Ping pulled the sword back and shifted it into a swipe, the young warrior got her hand into a small fist and jabbed at his stomach.

"Aggh!" the thug grunted out, following to the floor and feeling the midsection of his body grow numb. "What on Earth was that!?" He dropped the sword, clasping both hands over his stomach. "Nan Fao, finish her!"

The associate picked up the katana upon his leader's request, raising it into the air, intent on slicing it right through the warrior's body.

No way would it end like that.

Suki reached her left hand up and grasped Nan Fao's wrist. With her free hand, mustering up whatever strength she could find, she jabbed it into his stomach as well, causing him to fall to the wood below him as well. Both men could feel nothing and were thus unable to gather what they needed to deliver a finishing blow on the beaten warrior.

Even though she could basically taste the warm, red liquid draining from her face, Suki mustered up her remaining energy and struck quick jabs to their shoulders one more time, further paralyzing her opponents. It was all she could do to make sure she could eliminate them as a threat before she lost consciousness or, with the amount of blood she was losing, something far more valuable...

The two men cringed as they felt the feeling in their bodies fade away to nothing, unable to move their muscles, left completely defenseless. Bau Ping glared sharply at the warrior. "What did you do to us!?"

Feeling herself slipping away, Suki glared back one last time. "Trust will find out at some time. For now...don't expect to be free men much longer." And with that, she slipped from the plane of consciousness, not knowing what she would see on the other side...hopefully, it would be help before those two men recovered...

The Light Dawns Again

A little twitch.

Another little twitch.

Finally, they shoot up.

Suki's eyes had opened, but her vision remained largely a blur as she tried to process where she was and what had just happened. The last she remembered, she had appeared to have chi block those two thugs of the "Kyoshi Island Protection Force" before blacking out. The warrior rubbed her forehead - she did not feel blood. Instead, it was a soft, white bandage that had been wrapped around the entirety of it; her headpiece was also removed.

She was also now in a small cot within the dojo's medical ward. Glancing around at all the various cots laid out, she could also see her fellow warriors all resting and being tended to by an elderly nurse. Also standing at the entrance to the ward was Oyaji, watching with some nerves, hoping the warriors would be all right. Seeing her stir, the mayor made his way over. "Suki, thank the spirits you are all right."

Rubbing her forehead again and trying to process things, she asked weakly, "What happened?"

"You are all very fortunate, that is what happened," he explained. "There were a few people hiking by who heard some commotion, and soon saw the scene inside the facility. They rushed over to the hospital and informed the on-duty staff that you all had been hurt, so Nurse Shanli ran over here and tended to you all."

Suki nodded. "Wow...I should really be thanking them. Are they still around?"

"They're currently explaining to another division of warriors what they saw," Oyaji answered. "And as for those 'Kyoshi Island Protection Force' thugs, they have been arrested by some of those warriors who came over. They hopefully won't be bothering us again."

The lead warrior was able to crack a smile. "Thank the did those men even get on this island in the first place? I heard from citizens that they were terrorizing the village."

Oyaji sighed and shook his head. "After you left the island to help in the war effort, we were left defenseless. They came from a nearby village and offered their services in exchange for a small rise in taxes. But they got far out of hand near war's end. We were planning to disenfranchise them, and especially so once you all returned. Strangely enough, there were three, but only two were detained."

Suki recalled what Bau Ping had said. "The guy who I guess was in charge said something about the third guy being too weak. I guess maybe they got rid of him."

"Spirits only knows what that could entail," the mayor said.

Meanwhile, hearing Suki talk and finishing her tending to the other warriors, Shanli visited her bed. "Suki, you're awake! It's great to hear from you, young lady."

Casting a weak smile, the warrior said to the nurse, "Thank you for taking care of us. We are definitely in your debt."

Shanli shook her head while smiling. "Oh gosh, don't worry about that. We're just doing our job. I'm just glad we got the word about what happened before it was too late. Try and keep your head down and just relax. You'll need some time to recover."

Complying with Shanli's advice, Suki rested her head back on the pillow. Next thing she knew, she felt a poke on the shoulder from the cot next to her. Suki adjusted her eye sight to see that it was Ty Lee, who was struggling to open her eyes, but also had a weak smile as she titled ever so slightly to her sister-in-arms. She was also bandaged across her forehead. "Suki..." her quiet voice emitted.

"Hey, Ty Lee," Suki said just as quietly.

"You got them?" The Fire Nation girl wished to know.

Suki had a quick flashback to those last moments before she blacked out, remembering those two standing over her, but also her quick actions with the chi blocking technique. "I did, Ty Lee."

Ty Lee smiled even wider and reached out, grasping Suki's hand. "You saved us..."

"I guess I did," the head warrior replied. "But...I couldn't have done it without you, Ty Lee. I used chi blocking. So I should really be thanking you...without that technique, I wouldn't have been able to do that."

Squeezing her fellow warrior's had, Ty Lee said, "Not bad for your first time, then," with a light laugh, but her look quickly resoftened. "You're welcome...and thank you, again, for saving all of us..."

"There's a lot more we have to thank," Suki answered. "But for now, let's just keep resting up."

Ty Lee gave a soft nod and released her grip, folding her hands over her stomach and working to close her eyes again.

Suki did the very same, hoping to rest up and get back to normal in due time.

For now, she had been beaten and hurt.

But she was alive.

So were the rest of the warriors.

They were injured, but they were safe.

And that is easy to close one's eyes on.

Author's notes

  • The thugs' actions of taking over and "protecting" the main village of Kyoshi Island is a combination of the actions of Gow's men in plains village and the Triple Threat Triad in Republic City.
  • The early parts of the story, such as the mention of Kyoshi's Trial and Suki's speech, is continuous from The Trial of Ty Lee.
    • Between Suki's announcement and the KIPF's initial discussion, most of the text is taken directly from TToTL.
  • As the number of Kyoshi Warriors seen in the series was relatively inconsistent, a force of six was chosen because that is what was seen in "Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang", inclusive of Ty Lee.

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