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January 23, 2014
Chapter 10, Hana: Punctuality
"Thanks for joining us, Princess Hana," the war general said sarcastically, offering me the seat next to him. I was late again. I spent entirely too much time, playing with the new makeup that my dad had bought for me. I could finally use it now that my scar was gone, so I played dress up and spent a large portion of my time in my high rise in Republic City. I wondered if any of the other generals shared the same issue. I smiled at the thought as I sat down.
"Do you think tardiness is anyway for a member of the Fire Nation Cabinet to behave?" the general asked. He stood up, trying to act more important than me. "Hana, you are entirely too old to be doing this-"
I stood up. "I am the War Minister. Is this any way to speak to an honored War Minister? Or the Crown Princess? Do you think Myung Dae would accept this behavior? Would you speak to him like this?" I asked, feigning anger.
The general went pale. "My apologies, Princess. I mean, War Minister Hana."
"That's right, you're sorry. You better hope that I don't let my father find out about this," I threatened. "I have a feeling that-" I said flicking a tiny spark out of the finger I was pointing at him. He did a double take. "He wouldn't be too apt to execute this plan that you're hatching. So sit back down and tell me."
The general sat down slowly. I smiled. "Let's get this show on the road. And next time, when I've been invited to a meeting, you are not permitted to begin without my presence. Got it?" I asked, rhetorically.
"Yes, War Minister Hana," the general said bowing. The other generals snickered. I silenced them with one glance.
"So here's the plan: we are going to set off a small scale of explosions here in the city as a warning. Then we will bargain with the president. If the president doesn't stand down, we will take the city by force," a general said, looking quite pleased with himself.
"Why don't we ask the president first? We can give them a chance to hand over the city without too much violence," I suggested. The general's face fell.
"We thought about that," said an elderly general. "It wouldn't work. They'd have time to call in their own troops."
"What about just invading the city?" I asked.
"We don't have enough soldiers," the rude general answered.
"The Fire Lord is captured. That's a convenient coincidence. If we convince the citizens that this is a preventative measure, we can get more support. Do we have a deadline?" I asked.
"I'm not sure," the general admitted, shaking his head.
"There is no reason to be hasty, then," I said swiftly, in a low voice. "We have the resources. Let's use them. We have to be thorough if we want to take down Republic City. If it falls, the world falls. The Fire Nation would be unstoppable."
I was feeling morally wrong. I touched my face and felt only smooth skin. I don't know what I was expecting to happen. My scar wasn't going to reappear if I lied. It just felt wrong. I didn't feel right deceiving anymore. But I still had to.
But at what cost? I had asked myself this many times. Sure, I could lead the invasion. I could use scare tactics over these generals. But how far would it go? How long would it be before I was pitted against Chi-Ji, David, and Caleb? Or what about my mother? My new sister? When would I have to face Taylor? It was disconcerting. "Is that all there is to this elaborate plan, or can we leave?"
"Since the plan has changed, we are finished for now. Talk to Myung Dae, War Minister Hana," the rude general said, walking out of the room.
I bolted out the door after him. I stopped him in his tracks. He was at least six five, but he backed away as if I were a giant instead of an average sized woman. "You are not dismissed until I say so," I said, menacingly. The lights in the room flickered with my anger, even though I had not been able to produce any lightning of my own.
"You are a filthy child! You didn't even work for this position! Myung Dae just handed it to you! He doesn't want you around. He just needed you around because you are the most popular of the Royal Fire Family children. He said that you were a mediocre Firebender."
My heart stopped. I maintained my stance and composure, even though my world was melting around me. "You watch your mouth, General, or you will be just another peasant spit-shining my street shoes," I warned. The general's face fell. I hit a nerve, apparently. But my father said that I should be merciless toward disrespect.
"Wait until you are dismissed," I said walking away.
The general didn't move even an inch. He didn't even breathe. It took all of my control not to turn back and apologize. The expression on the general's face must have mirrored my own.
My crushed, broken expression.
Behind the Scenes!
- Hana is good at being scary.
- The rude general was next in line to be War Minister.
For the collective works of the author, go here.