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|By The Bos||Genre||Rating||Reviews||Updates|
|More from The Bos||Action/Adventure||PG||Very Positive||None|
|Roads and Pathways|
July 2, 2010
Roads and Pathways is the thirty third chapter of Avatar: Guardian. It deals with the multiple journeys undertaken by the characters.
"What are you going to do now mom?" Zuko asks as he picks up Ursa's belongings from her room.
"Well, Your uncle still has some pull with the Fire Nation Navy and he's got a ship coming to take me home. I need to see Azula, no matter how "insane" you say she is." Ursa replies.
"Mom, I'm not sure if that's safe." Zuko tells her.
"Zuko. I am going to see her. There's nothing you can do to stop me." Ursa replies, this time with a stern tone in her voice.
"Fine. I hope you can help." Zuko says, finally giving in.
Aang arrives into the room with a stern look on his face. "Zuko, some of Bumi's scouts have just spotted the Dai Li fleeing Omashu. We need to go now."
Zuko bows his head before replying, "You're right Aang. Mom, I need to go." He gives his mom a hug and leaves the room with Aang.
"This better be worth it..." Zuko mutters to himself as he runs down the hall towards Appa, already holding Sokka, Katara, and Toph. The duo leap onto Appa and the bison lifts off into the air.
Ursa arrives out in the hall just in time to see Appa fly into the horizon. She catches a slight glimpse of Zuko and waves, tearing up in the process. Zuko manages to see her as well, and has a similar reaction.
Iroh appears next to her, waving good bye to his nephew. "He has matured so much. You should be proud Iroh," Ursa says to him.
"He had an excellent start. He will be an excellent ruler for many years to come."
The King's Request
Cheng walks towards Bumi's throne room. Bumi summoned him on a day where he was supposed to practice his Earthbending on his own, something out of the ordinary. He knocks on the door, and Bumi himself answers it. "You called for me, master?" Cheng says while bowing.
"Yes I did. And you came. Very perceptive," Bumi notes while turning around and walking back to his throne. "Now, I bet you're wondering why I called you in here." After Cheng says nothing, Bumi adds "So you're not wondering?"
"I am wondering!" Cheng quickly exclaims. "Why did you call me here?"
"Oh, funny... I was just about to tell you. Anyway... When I first met you in the tea shop, I saw something in you. You had a thirst to learn, and when you couldn't get knowledge on your own, you turned to people much wiser than yourself. When the Dai Li attacked the city, you took them head on. That showed that you have immense courage. When you couldn't break down the walls, you kept trying and eventually you could easily deflect attacks from an Earthbending master. This shows your vast determination to better yourself. These are the qualities of a great leader: qualities that you possess."
"What does all of this mean?" Cheng asks, stunned.
"Hold on, I'm getting there. Now, where was I?" the king wonders for a brief second. "Aha! I got it. Your upbringing is also crucial. You are overly humble, not the type to allow something to go to your head. This would also help you to make big decisions. I want you to rule Omashu after me." After a prolonged pause in which Cheng is shocked speechless, Bumi asks him "Are you going to keep me waiting?"
"Why me? What could you possibly see in me? There are probably hundreds of people in this city better suited for ruling a city than me!"
"That's exactly why I picked you!" Bumi replies. "You have qualities that all of those overseers lack. Qualities that make you perfect to take command of a city. In a crisis, they would stick to the book; do what they have been taught to do. You have the ability to have a flexible response in a chaotic situation. When Omashu was attacked, I could have counterattacked like my Captains and Generals suggested. I knew that would cost many lives of the city's defenders. So I surrendered, and I knew that there would be a better moment to gain the upper hand. If I had played it by the book, we would have lost many lives and might have still lost the city. It's simple; adjust your thinking to be best suited for the situation. You can do that."
"Really? You want to pick me? This is just too amazing..." Cheng starts as his voice starts to fade.
"So, do you want to be King or not?" Bumi asks again, as he still hadn't received an answer.
"Yes! I'll try not to let you down. Thank you" Cheng exclaims quickly.
"Are you ready to leave ma'am?" the guard says to Ursa as she comes down the stairs.
"Yes I am. Thank you" Ursa says, getting ready to get into the carriage.
"Let me help you with that!" a voice calls from inside the building. Iroh comes running out of the hallway, carrying a large box.
"Iroh, you've done so much for me already, I can't ask you to come with me." Ursa says, thinking of all he went through to reunite her with her son.
"I don't mind. Really, managing a tea shop is very stressful. I need a vacation to see the wonderful landscapes of the Earth Kingdom. Preferably without walking this time." Iroh says with a chuckle.
Ursa laughs at Iroh's comment as well. "All right, but I hope you brought Jasmine tea. It's my favorite."
"I certainly did. I like that very much myself." Iroh replies. "Now we must be going, we shouldn't keep these nice soldiers waiting. I think that the King is paying them by the hour."
Ursa agrees, and the two get into an official looking carriage and are driven out of Omashu. Almost an hour after they left, the two are sitting in the cart, enjoying some of Iroh's Jasmine Dragon tea and reminiscing about old times.
"I had never seen Omashu. I was under the naive impression that all major Earth Kingdom cities resembled Ba Sing Se. It was very interesting." Iroh replies to Ursa's question about his opinion of Omashu. "How did you feel about Omashu?"
"It was nice, I got dizzy from the altitude at first, but eventually it turned out to be a wonderful stay. That one boy, he was very nice," Ursa says, remembering her encounter with a nice boy who crashed through her room as she was relaxing.
"I liked Omashu a lot. I got a break from managing, and got to take in the view. It was very satisfying." Iroh adds, taking another sip of his tea.
At that moment, a loud crash rocks the carriage. Ursa spills her tea, while Iroh keeps his cup level. "What happened out there?" Ursa asks.
"Never mind ma'am. We just went over a rock. Nothing to worry abo-- Ahhhhh!" an outside guard screams as his voice vanishes.
"Stay in here," Iroh says sternly to Ursa. "Please hold this for me." he adds, handing her his tea cup. He slowly opens the door to find many Earth Kingdom soldiers surrounding the carriage, facing him and appearing ready to attack. "What seems to be the problem?" Iroh asks the soldiers, who don't budge. What seems to be their leader steps forward.
"Listen, not just anyone can afford a giant coach like that. We're on our way home, and we could use some extra money to help feed us," the leader says in a sly, dark tone.
"I'm terribly sorry, boy. I don't have any money with me. I didn't think that I would need to bring any." Iroh replies, shaking his head.
"There's no way someone as rich looking as you doesn't have any money with you," the leader states, with his face growing ever darker. "We will get your money: we need it more than you do!"
"If I had any money to give to you, I tell you that I would!" Iroh says, his voice raising slightly. "Please just let us continue, if you stay near here, I will be sure to give you something on the way back."
"That seems like a nice offer doesn't it, men?" the leader begins, looking to his left and right. "We've heard it dozens of times, no one has ever come back for us. Now, we'll get what we want one way or another." The leader strikes the ground and hovers a boulder over Iroh's head. "Now, I'm going to only ask this once, where is your money?"
"Son, you really don't want to be getting yourself into this. You're acting like a squirrel-monkey. You don't know when you have bitten off too much until it's too late. I would put the rock back into the earth where you found it if I was you." Iroh begins, his voice cold and stern.
"I warned you!" the soldier says, letting the boulder fall. Iroh jumps out of the way and sends large fire blasts towards the leader. The leader is knocked over and crawls backwards, away from the fire.
Iroh walks over to the leader and helps him up. "What's your name son?"
"Shey. And I know who you are; you're the Dragon of the West! My brother died fighting your army away from Ba Sing Se! I Hate you!" Shey screams, as he begins sending large boulders up from the ground at Iroh.
Appa is soaring around the plains outside of Omashu into a sunset. "Where did they go?" Sokka asks rhetorically, before slumping back into his seat.
"If we knew, we wouldn't be flying around aimlessly." Toph adds.
"What did Bumi's agents say about them again?" Zuko asks Aang, who hops into the saddle.
"They said that they were heading East. Some reports say that they were tunneling underground, but others say that they are going above ground. I don't know which."
"Well, that's helpful..." Sokka adds.
"Wait! There they are!" Toph screams, turning over Appa's saddle and looking down to the ground. The entire group turns to look where Toph is looking. After seeing nothing, they look at her. "You guys never learn..."
Before anyone can say anything, Appa groans loudly. "I guess it's time for us to land. We'll start our search again tomorrow." Aang says as Appa begins descending.
The Dragon's Fury
The group of renegade soldiers attacks Iroh, who dodges their attacks. One lifts a large boulder and throws it at Iroh, who simply splits the boulder in half with a powerful fire whip. Iroh begins breathing fire at the soldiers, who slightly fall back in fear. "Please! You don't have to do this!" Iroh screams at the leader.
"Yes I do!" Shey replies, as he raises two large piles of earth and throws them at Iroh. Iroh propels himself out of the way and sends a fire blast at the soldier's feet. He stumbles back as Iroh moves on to the other soldiers. One lifts a rock and sends it to Iroh, but Iroh catches the rock and throws it aside. He then knocks the soldier down with a kick. When Shey woke up, Iroh had incapacitated all of his soldiers.
He looks around, and finds a note between one of his soldier's hand and his body.
Shey, I'm sorry that your brother passed during my invasion of Ba Sing Se. I can honestly tell you that it is my single greatest regret in my life. I can only hope to spend the rest of my life trying to make up for that. If you and your soldiers wait here, I will be sure to return with both money and supplies for you. I didn't have any with me, and I had a passenger who has a ship to catch.
- Ursa will be back.
For the collective works of the author, go here.