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|The Storm (Justiceforall17)|
Zuko was thirteen years old. He was now a teenager.
Azula was eleven years old. She was going to be in secondary school.
Naturally, now that their children were maturing, the King and Queen were becoming rather severe and very stern. As Prince and Princess, nothing less than the best was expected from their children. Hence, the punishments imposed upon Zuko and Azula resort to beatings. The war continued. Fire Lord Ozai was a very bad man. He was a horrible person. Indeed, Ozai was the evilest man on the planet. He was cruel, wicked, and bad-hearted, and yet, there was nothing more important to him than his wife and their children. He was nowhere near the monster we all know in the dimension of Avatar: The Last Airbender as "the worst father in the history of fathers".
His generals and admirals met with him in his war room over the years of his reign for their military plans. That day, his son and brother were present in his war room. Apparently, Zuko had wanted to learn as much as he could even if it meant going into the war chamber when the guards would not let him pass. Iroh had permitted Zuko to enter as long as Zuko did not say anything.
There, in the presence of his son and brother, Ozai listened to the reports, plans, and recommendations of his commanding officers.
General Bujing said, "The Earth Kingdom defenses are concentrated her. A dangerous battalion of their strongest earthbenders and fiercest warriors so, so I am recommending the 41st division.
His colleague asked him "But th e41st is entirely new recruits. How do you expect them to defeat a powerful Earth Kingdom battalion?"
Bujing smiled evilly, as he said, "I don't. They'll be used a s a distraction while we mount an attack from the rear. What better to use a a bait than fresh meat?"
Zuko shouted "You can't sacrifice an entire division like that! Those soldiers love and defend our nation! How can you betray them?"
Ozai bent the flames before his throne in his anger.
He shouted at Zuko, "Prince Zuko, your challenge of the general's plan is an act of complete disrespect. There is only one way to resolve this..an Agni Kai. The duel is at sunset."
Zuko turned to face Bujing.
"Your challenge is accepted. I am not afraid!"
Sunset arrived and with it, the Agni Kai.
When Zuko turned to face his opponent, he was surprised to see that it was not Bujing - it was Ozai.
This was the greatest duel in history: father vs. son – Ozai vs. Zuko. Zuko's love for Ozai withholds his wand and he falls to his knees. Zuko starts crying and at the same time, begins crawling. The thirteen-year-old boy was a baby deep down inside. Right now, he was crawling to Daddy, crying for him.
Ursa watches on in horror at the duel between her husband and son. Iroh is worried and scared also. Ozai engages Zuko in a fight. Zuko could not bring himself to fight his father. Ursa is scared for her son, but loves her husband too much to intervene..
Once again, Ozai was captured by the Mechanist for the same reasons and withheld while another Android designed in the Fire Lord's image, No. 12, impersonated him.
No. 12 was programmed with the negative side of Fire Lord Ozai's personality, just as No. 10 has been with Prince Ozai's. As soon as he realized that Zuko spoken out of turn against Bujing's plan and that No. 12 had challenged Zuko to an Agni Kai to resolve this, the Mechanist alerted Ozai to what he had uncovered from the tracking device in No. 12's memory systems.
Ozai angrily turned to the Mechanist.
Ozai said, "My son is going to fight your metal monster. If I ever break out of here and the android burns Zuko, this whole place is in a lot of trouble."
The Mechanist said, "That's precisely what I came to tell you."
He pressed the open button on the remote control he was holding.
Ozai is released from their computerized prison cells.
The Mechanist said, "Take my war balloon. You can get back to the Fire Nation, to save Zuko."
Ozai turned to the Mechanist.
He said, "Where is this war balloon?"
Minutes later, Fire Lord Ozai was settled in a war balloon designed with the Fire Nation insignia.
The Mechanist said, "I can't believe I'm saying this, but I am never ever going to try and capture you again. I will not risk innocent people, let alone women and children, being put in danger."
Ozai said, "Well, now. That's something you and I can agree on."
The war balloon took off into the air.
Zuko might have forgotten how to walk. He would have forgotten how to talk if he had not been exclaiming he only had the Fire Nation's best interests at heart and apologizing to No. 12 for speaking out of turn.
No. 12 engages Zuko in a fight.
No. 12 said, "You will fight for your honour."
Zuko could not bring himself to fight his father.
Zuko said, "I meant you no disrespect. I am your loyal son."
Ozai arrives at the Fire Royal Palace and hurries to his Agni Kai arena. There, he is livid that his impostor is dueling Zuko.
Zuko said, "Dad."
Ursa said, "Ozai."
Azula scowled with hate at No. 12.
"Another piece of Earth Kingdom trash."
Iroh said, "Two Ozais."
Zhao said, "What's going on here?"
Bujing and the other spectators said nothing.
Ozai jumped into the Agni Kai arena. He addressed Zuko.
"Take a break, son. Your Dad will take it from here."
He turned to No. 12.
"And as for you," said Ozai.
He drew out the shut-down remote. No. 12's evil and ruthless face which so resembled his human template was filled with horror at the sight of the remote control. Ozai pushed the circular button on the remote control. In reaction, No. 12 was switched off and fell into shut-down mode.
Ozai turned back to face Zuko.
Zuko rose and hugged Ozai. Ozai returned the embrace.
Zuko said, "I'll never fight you. I love you."
"Then don't ever speak out of turn again. Disrespecting your father is treason. You're right. Those soldiers can't be betrayed and sacrificed. I was never going to allow it."
He released Zuko. Ozai generated a blow of lightning and directed it at Bujing, killing him. Bujing was vaporized into ashes. He was gone.
Ozai turned back to Zuko.
"But, it was not your place to speak out. However, begging for mercy has saved you from dire consequences. You've redeemed yourself, my son."
Zuko hugged him again.
"I never want to hurt you."
Ozai asked, "Hurt me?"
He gave Zuko a noogie until Zuko's tears of regret became tears of pain.
Ozai said, "Zuko, it would take you a million years to hurt me."
Zuko said, "You're my dad. I'm your son. I'll never duel you. I love you. I'll challenge any man but you."
Ozai said, "Your choice. If it was me, I would give my father a duel if that was what he was asking for. Not many girls are attracted to boys who cry in the middle of a fight, even if their opponent is their father."
"Then, I'll die a single rather than fight you."
Ozai calmly said, "Okay. Good for you."
Three years passed and Ozai lived happily with his wife and their two children. Although no people had ever died during the years of Ozai's reign, the Fire Nation was nearing victory in the war and despite no lives being taken, this was not good news at all.
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