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Ty Lee was not an ordinary girl. She boasted agility far in excess of even her closest relatives. She was easily the most agile person in the Fire Nation, perhaps even the world if not for Aang. For months in the year of Sozin's Comet, she fought on the wrong side, serving Azula out of fear of her wrath. Those magnificent blue flames inspired pure terror in her heart, even when she was on Azula's side. All fire was terrifying. Fire was destructive and oppressive. She wanted to be free. Free like a leaf in the wind. Free like air! Little did she know that her wish was about to be fulfilled.
The night air was cool, fresh and peaceful. It remained undisturbed until a panicked cry woke a row of sleeping girls. "Kyoshi Warriors! Help! There are too many of them!" It was Zuko's unmistakable shout. It had only been a year since Sozin's Comet and after the lightning strike, Zuko was in no condition to fight. The sleeping girls jumped from their beds. They were still dressed in silken robes and all with untied hair, but they had no time to dress. They grabbed what they needed from an open cupboard - swords, metal fans and a few other bits and pieces. Ty Lee did not need any weapons, as she would soon demonstrate.
While the other women rushed to the door and up the stairs, Ty Lee leant out the window and scaled the wall. She jumped in through the open window and came to Zuko's aid. With a series of quick jabs, she brought down a large opponent. In the dark room, her vision was not optimal, and she failed to react in time to prevent a large brute from slamming her into the wall. The timber beams of the wall splintered under the pressure, and Ty Lee collapsed. The brute placed his foot on her chest and took a deep breath. He then punched, acting like a human flame-thrower. He finally halted his stream, running out of the necessary energy to maintain it. Miraculously, her face was unscathed. The fires had extinguished before they came close enough to burn her. But how? Ty Lee's lips were pursed together, and she blew hard, hitting her assailant in the head and knocking him over. She jumped to her feet. She threw punches with her palms out. In the dark, it was impossible to know what was happening, only that Ty Lee was slamming a man into the wall without laying a finger on him.
The next morning, Ty Lee sat by the turtle duck pond with Zuko. The cold night had lifted into a warm and pleasant morning. The injuries of last night had faded altogether.
"Were you airbending last night?" Zuko stared into his lap as he asked the question.
Ty Lee nodded. "I think so."
"Why didn't you tell us you were an airbender? Aang would have loved to have known!"
"I suppressed it so much as a child, I forgot how to do it."
Zuko opened his mouth in shock. "You knew?"
Ty Lee nodded rather solemnly. "My grandmother was a monk who escaped the war. She hid her bending and got married to a firebender. When my parents found me airbending, they were shocked and concerned. They told me not to airbend, because it was dangerous, and I could get killed."
Zuko chuckled. "I suppose being friends with my sister wouldn't have made things any better."
Ty Lee shook her head. "No, not at all. It was terrifying. Every time I saw her firebend, I felt like I was burning. I always hated being a part of her team. I couldn't be myself around her."
Zuko placed his hand on the upset girl's shoulder and spoke softly, "Why did you join Azula in the first place?"
"Well, she bullied me into it."
Zuko nodded. "Yup, that's my sister."
Ty Lee blushed. "I also thought she was pretty."
Zuko nodded. "Yep. Wait, what did you say?"
"Um, nothing." Ty Lee cartwheeled away.
Sokka entered the scene, chomping on a meat kebab. Zuko stood up. "Oh, hey Sokka. You'll never guess what Ty Lee just told me."
Sokka picked his teeth absent-mindedly. "Ty Lee likes your sister?"
Zuko clenched his fists and shouted, "No, not that!"
Sokka waved his hand. "Lighten up, I'm just teasing."
Zuko sat down and folded his legs. "No, the other news... Ty Lee is a-"
"An airbender?" Sokka interrupted Zuko.
Zuko was shocked. "Um, yes, who told you."
"Just a wild stab in the dark. She has Aang's face, how couldn't you see that? Wait, Ty Lee is actually an airbender?"
Zuko nodded solemnly. "It appears some people survived and had kids. Maybe some people are a 16th Air Nomad. Maybe there are more airbenders out there, waiting to be discovered."
"Man," Sokka said, "wait until Aang finds out."
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