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The following story is indubitably fanon and should not be considered actual canon.
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Out in the courtyard of the Fire Lord's Palace, a huge crowd waited, cheering on two Firebenders who were competing in a friendly duel for sport. Normally, the Fire Lord did not attend these games and stayed hooked on his more official duties, so it was up to the Princess to start them off. Honora eagerly awaited these annual Agni-Kai duels...they weren't to the death like they used to be, but merely a friendly wage of fire in a competition for entertainment."Let the games begin!" Honora called, punching a huge wad of fire into the sky, lighting a torch of gold as a loud gong rang throughout the arena. The thousands of cheering spectators were in an uproar as the fire started flying all over the place and the tournament had begun. Honora took her seat near the small torch held only by the Royal Spectator, and she watched the games with the only member of the family who actually enjoyed these sorts of things...Azula.
"Go for his head you pathetic meat sack!" she screamed down at them.
"Aunt Azula," Honora eased, "This is a friendly competition---key word here: friendly."
"Pft!" she scoffed, "In my day these battles were a little more exciting."
"Yeah, well I'm still on probation for sneaking out with Bumi---This is about as exciting as it gets for me."
"You are a nineteen year old woman and you're still letting your Daddy tell you what to do!?" Azula snickered, "How pathetic..."
Honora gave her a look and then huffed back, "Until I become the Fire Lord, I have no choice but to obey my father's wishes---sit there calmly---be bored the rest of my life! Aunt Azula, why is my father such a stick in the mud?"
"Zuzu has been that way since we were children," she replied, "But he wasn't always so uptight. You know we battled in Agni-Kai on the day of Sozin's Comet---ah, it was spectacular!"
"You lost..." Honora smirked smugly.
Azula growled back, "Well, fine then I won't tell you the big family secret then..."
"No, no..." Honora pleaded, "I'm sorry...please Aunt Azula, do continue...""Humph! Fine then...You ever hear of the Blue Spirit?" she smiled.
"Of course?" Honora shrugged. Oh yes....Honora knew much of this mysterious fighter. Hidden deep in one of the palace hallways, was a large mosaic of the Blue Spirit, and often nobody would venture that far into the Fire Lord's home, so it was the perfect place for Honora to practice her bending and swordplay uninterrupted. The Blue Spirit was one of her childhood idols growing up; he was one of the reasons she enjoyed sword fighting---you could say the Blue Spirit was her inspiration.
"That used to be Zuko---if you think about it, this all makes sense," she laughed, "To this day, my brother has never told a soul about it."
"Then how do you know?" Honora gruffed.
"I figured it out!" Azula snapped, "Ugh! Aren't you late for your big Firebending test or something?"
"Holy Dragon Spit!" she exclaimed...running off in an instant which caused Azula to laugh before going back to enjoying the show.
"Honora!" Ursa scolded, "You're late!"
"Forgive me Grandmother," she panted tiredly, bowing quickly before catching her breath.
"This is your last Firebending test Princess Honora, and you forgot all about it!" her trainer complained.
"Sorry, Sifu Hotman," she snickered, "Someone had to declare the Agni-Kai Tournament open!"
"Ursa!" the trainer groaned, "Did she even study for this, is she even ready!?"
"Please Sifu," Honora waved, "I was born ready...I've been a master since I was twelve years old---you know, if you would ever let me out of school!"
"Honora...Just because the Turtle-duck hatches from its egg, does not mean it is ready to fly..." Ursa urged, "You are too anxious. Now prepare yourself and get ready for your final test."
She rolled her eyes and got into fighting stance.
"No knives!" Ursa stressed, patting her granddaughter down and taking nearly a three-foot pile of sharp objects out of Honora's clothes.... "Just fire!"
"Fine, fine..." Honora laughed, "Let's get this over with!"
"Alright," Ursa snickered, "Bring out the opponents!"Ten Firebenders came into the range and at once started Firebending at Honora. She jumped and flipped, dodging their multiple attacks and then kicked a slice of fire back down---taking out three of them before she punched two more out of commission. After that she redirected one man's fire back at himself, she even shot around behind her and struck one man off guard with a lightning blast, before kicking at another's heels as he tried to jump her from behind. Honora ran and shot her ninth opponent away in a swarm of on-coming fire before sending one final kick back at her last target. Soon, all of her subjects were defeated and Honora took in a few heavy breaths as she stood, re-adjusting her hair with a satisfied smile.
"Is that all you got, Sifu!?" Honora chuckled, looking up to the stage where her trainer and her Grandmother waited with unamused frowns.
"I'm afraid not!" a man called from behind her.
She gasped and Honora turned around to see a man standing near the other side of the court...he was concealed by a robe, but he had two broadswords strapped to his back and one katana hanging from his hip. The man removed his cloak and took a step forward saying... "I will be your final test, Honora..."
"Father!?" she gasped, before looking to her grandmother for an explanation... "You can't be serious, I can't fight my father?"
"You can," Zuko chuckled, "And if you want to be master, you will."
"I refuse! I could seriously hurt you, Dad!" she complained.
"See, that's why I have these swords, and you don't..." he replied, before drawing them out and readying himself for battle.
"Whoa....whoa!" Honora exclaimed, getting into fighting stance as Zuko shot a blast of fire at her from the edge of his sword. She blocked it with her arms and tossed the flames to the floor, again and again as her father attacked. He roared and shot blast after blast at her until she was back against the court. Honora was baffled, she had never seen this sort of action from her father...he was always so----professional?
Meanwhile, this brought back a horrible memory for Zuko, but to teach his daughter a lesson, he continued fighting. Ursa explained to him that during her lessons, Honora had perfect discipline, fine restraint, and the fury of a Firebending champion, but she was unable to deal with situations that were out of her comfort zone---she could not overcome fears. Yes, she could fight Azula with ease, she could even find her nerve to battle Ursa when training demanded it, but to fight the person she loved most in the world, her father---this was the hardest lesson Honora could ever overcome. To become a Fire Lord that could handle anything the world throws at her...she just had to beat her father.
As the blows kept coming, Zuko swung his sword at Honora and she ducked quickly before rolling out of the way in terror, a few stray hairs on her bangs being sliced off right in front of her nose. She dodged her father again and again, but with a sudden growl, Honora shot up and roared, "ENOUGH!" Then she shot out two fists of fire followed by two kicks as Zuko cut them away with his blades. Honora continued firing until he was consumed in hot flames. She was able to sneak in and steal the sword at her father's hip, then she tripped him and jumped out of the way, looking to her grandmother with the katana for approval."THIS ISN'T A KNIFE!?" Honora huffed in an honoree glance.
Ursa nodded and Honora smirked back towards her father, who jumped back to his feet and grinned at her with his swords ready. Zuko charged and in an instant their steel clashed, sending sparks onto the courtyard. They blocked each of the other's attacks and strikes---fire burning the edge of their steel as the mixture of their sword and fire-based attacks clashed together in an epic fury of war. It was like this until the early evening, then Honora grunted with effort as she shoved Zuko away, growling, "What kind of lesson is this again?"
Zuko laughed and wiped sweat out of his eyes, saying, "My mother doesn't believe you can overcome difficult challenges in your comfort zone---" he continued explaining with a backwards block of the sword... "---From what I can see, you are perfectly capable of doing whatever is necessary to stay alive."
She lowered the blade and sighed, "Does this mean we can stop now?"
"Are you kidding," Zuko laughed eagerly, "I haven't had this much fun since I was teenager! No...shoot some lighting at me---keep it coming---show no mercy!"
"Grandmother!" Honora shouted, "I think you created a monster!"
Zuko's sword clashed again and the two started laughing before battling it out a little more and eventually Honora had her sword pointed right at the tip of her father's throat and she smiled a victorious, defiant grin until Zuko held his hands high in defeat.
"Honora, I never knew you were such a skilled swordsman?" her father chuckled proudly.
"You never approved of my fighting father...I didn't think you ever wanted me to be this way?"
He stopped attacking and Honora tiredly set down her weapon...Zuko tossed his into the dirt and approached his daughter slowly, before wrapping her in a hug, sternly stating, "Honora...I love you just the way you are---I am so proud of you whether you decide to be my little princess or a strong warrior...I know, if your mother were here, she would be so proud of you too...she would have wanted you to know how to fight---I'm so sorry if I ever made you feel like you should be someone you're not!" Honora smiled back at him and he wiped a tear from her eye, adding, "Times were different when I was growing up...there was a war going on, my father was a cruel dictator, and my soul purpose depended on training to defeat the Avatar. Even your mother trained with Azula and Ty Lee for violent warfare at her fancy school...that---that was never the life I wanted for you..."
"But, that was the life I wanted," Honora replied... "I'm too much like my father, not to become a great fighter!" They hugged tighter, and Honora whispered, "What can you expect from the daughter of the Blue Spirit?"
Zuko shot back and he stuttered, "H-how did you---Uncle told you?"
"No...Azula figured it out---then I saw the way you were fighting with those swords and I figured it out---you told Uncle, NO WAY!"
"Princess!" Honora's teacher interrupted... "You overcame your greatest fear...you are now a Firebending master, congratulations!"
"Yes!" she cheered proudly under her breath, a fist clenched close to her in success.
Then a blast of colorful fire skid against the Fire Lord's feet before he could congratulate her---and Ursa stepped onto the field. Zuko and Honora looked over at her and he wondered, "Mother? M-Mother what are you doing?"
"What? Is the Fire Lord too good to battle his mother?" she teased.
"Yeah Dad..." Honora mocked before Ursa shot at her as well.
"You too child," she chuckled, "A royal battle for the ages!"
"I don't know about this Mother?" Zuko eased, "It's getting pretty late and I---"
"Don't be such a stick in the mud Zuzu," Azula scoffed in the distance; she made her way over to them and gave everyone a look of defiance before snatching away Honora's sword... "You really weren't about to battle without me, were you?"
"All that's missing now, is Uncle?" Zuko frowned sarcastically in defeat...
"Oh, no, I came to see my little Lotus become a master," Iroh laughed from the top of the stands, "I might be old, but I believe a little Dragon of the West is still left within me.""Please Daddy!?" Honora begged eagerly, as everyone looked to Zuko.
The Fire Lord sighed and immediately got into fighting stance, laughing heartily as he ordered, "Sifu Hotman, get back to the palace and put the games on halt---the Fire Nation is going to judge our Agni-Kai Tournament for a little while!"
"Yes my lord," he bowed respectfully, "You know that isn't really my name though, rig---"
"Hurry, what are you still doing here, go, go!" Zuko laughed.
The man ran off and alerted the crowd back at the palace. At once all of the battles were put to a pause and the crowd watched with uncontained excitement as the Royal Family battled it out it the friendly Agni-Kai Tournament. It was truly a battle for the ages and the most spectacular sight of skill any of the Fire Nation spectators had ever seen! The fight lasted long into the night until finally it came to an undecided draw---and, exhausted, the royal family agreed to continue this fight another day.
On top of that, Honora finally found a way to bond with her father in a manner that was more than just sipping tea by the pond---and for years to come, Zuko and his daughter would have a few training sessions of their own out in the courtyard, battling it out with swords and Firebending. Eventually, Zuko even let Honora and Bumi see each other again and even allowed the two of them to travel the world. Zuko realized that it was unfair to keep her inside the palace, when she wanted so desperately to explore the world where he had already been---and at a younger age and more dangerous time. Honora was no longer his little princess...she was all grown up, a mighty warrior and a Firebending Master, still...she was Zuko's daughter and as soon as Bumi arrived, he threatened him with the sharp blades of the Blue Spirit, and told the both of them to behave or Honora could kiss being Fire Lord Goodbye! They accepted the terms and Honora gave her father a quick kiss on the cheek before leaving with Bumi to travel to places unknown.
"Call me when you get to a town!" Zuko called out at them, "And keep warm, put jacket on if you get cold---keep your ears covered in the North Pole! Be sure to eat----keep your sword sharpened! Oh---and stay hydrated!!!""They'll be fine nephew..." Iroh comforted as he patted Zuko's back... "It's only for the summer..."
"Bumi's a good kid, son," Ursa eased proudly, "And Honora can handle herself---she always could."
"Oh, I bet they're already making out!" Azula snickered.
Zuko's face turned about five different shades of red as some odd source of electricity circled around his crown and all to suddenly, fire poured from his mouth as the Fire Lord thundered, "One of you get me on the line to Air Temple Island!" he then turned and roared to another servant... "AND YOU THERE, READY MY WAR BALLOON! Aang's son is going down!"
- This is the first time anyone has mentioned the Blue Spirit during the Fanon.
- Note: The simple tile wall picturing the Blue Spirit was enough to motivate Honora to become a great warrior---and you could say that she became a fangirl of the mysterious swordfighter.
- Even though Honora is the most skilled fighter of her generation, her family still treats her like a fragile princess and a pupil who still needs molding.
- Sifu Hotman's real name is never fully revealed. He has been Princess Honora's Firebending Instructor for over fourteen years.
- This is the first time we've seen Zuko fighting with his Dao Blades during the Fanon.
- A similar battle between Father and Heir occurred in Zuko's childhood...his Agni Kai duel with his father, Ozai...however, Zuko does not intend to hurt his daughter, as his father so eagerly did to him.
- Zuko has always been very overprotective of his daughter...even though he was partly aware that she could handle herself. Ursa believes their battle will teach both of them a thing or two about one another.
- Note: In case you haven't noticed, Ursa is a Firebender, who bends a pink-ish colored flame.
- Note: Even though Zuko trusts Honora and Bumi on their travels...he is still overprotective---and unlike Sokka, his "Oogies" lead him to war instead of mere discomfort.
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