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Azula the Sacrificed(Avatar the Last Airbender)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Akumakami64, Sep 25, 2020.

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  1. Blade4

    Blade4 Versed in the lewd.

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    Iroh not going on his journey will radically change things but we are totally off the rails now as is.

    Thing we're is trash that was named ozai run of to and what is his plan? He has to have some plan even if it is only madness in his head.
     
  2. Fencer

    Fencer Weaponized Randomness

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    This is heart wrenching, and Brilliant, and I need more.
     
    Venyr4434, Relyt33 and Prince Charon like this.
  3. R.A.G.

    R.A.G. Experienced.

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    Wonder if Zuko will be keeping the eye or not. If he loses it I hope he develops thermal vision, mostly because it's a pity we never saw the temperature equivalent of earth-sense in the show.
     
  4. Threadmarks: Chapter 4
    Akumakami64

    Akumakami64 Experienced.

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    "You're kidding," Zuko said with wide eyes. Well, eye, rather. The injured prince was decidedly confined to the hospital bed and not allowed to wander off again.

    "Nope," Ty Lee assured with a grin.

    "There's no way that happened," Zuko refuted skeptically.

    "It happened," Mai confirmed, smiling just a bit.

    "I actually picked up and hugged Azula like that?" Zuko asked, trying and failing to imagine himself doing that. Hugging his sister was one thing, but doing it like that without her breaking a few of his fingers?

    "Like she was your favorite stuffed toy," Mai elaborated, Ty Lee giggling.

    "And you called-" Ty Lee started, only for Mai to cover her mouth quickly.

    "She was going to say something stupid, ignore her," Mai instructed with a small blush.

    Zuko looked uncertain. "But what did I-"

    "Ignore her!" Mai insisted, giving Ty Lee a warning look, who just giggled behind the hand.

    Zuko wisely decided to change track. "Okay...how long ago was this?"

    "About a week ago. You've been, how would Azula put it? Very interesting when you had all that medicine in you," Ty Lee said with a devious, teasing smile.

    "My honor is shivering," Zuko said blandly.

    "...PFFFFT! Did you really just say that?!" Ty Lee questioned, holding her belly in mirth. Mai was keeping her composure, but just barely.

    "Shut up, I'm out of it from the medicine," Zuko complained weakly. He sighed, rubbing the wrapping over his head. "I'm just glad my eye wasn't destroyed."

    "Does that mean you'll be able to see out of it still?" Ty Lee asked in a hushed voice.

    "I have no idea, just that it means I might be able to," Zuko answered, not sure to be hopeful or pessimistic. "But I still have my other eye. And the inside of my left ear seems to be fine. So, you know, it's not all bad," Zuko said, trying not to worry them.

    The two girls nodded, falling silent. This was the first day they had talked to Zuko without his mind being too muddled by drugs. There were...sooooo many questions they wanted to ask, but it was hard to tell when it would feel less awkward to do so…or if it ever would.

    "So, you shaved everything but your topknot?" Mai asked with a raised eyebrow. "You look like one of those traditionalists after losing an Agni Kai."

    Zuko rolled his eye at that. "I figured it'd be easier this way. It'll grow back eventually," he waved off before cautiously looking over to where his sister lay in another bed, arms wrapped around herself in her sleep. "Has she really been staying the nights here?"

    "Yeah. I don't know what happened, and I probably don't want to," Mai started, glancing at the sleeping form of the princess in concern. "But your mom tried taking Azula back to her own room while she slept, once."

    "Did not try that again," Ty Lee remarked observantly.

    "So weird seeing her laying there. Usually by now she'd be train with D-" Zuko stopped with a wince, and not from biting his tongue. Both girls watched in concern as Zuko wiped a hand over his face. "It still hardly feels real. I don't know how many times I thought I was waking up from a nightmare, only to realize it was real."

    Mai glanced at Ty Lee, who was biting her lip in distress at not being able to find the words. "We have no idea what you're going through," Mai said bluntly, getting strange look from the other two. "I have no idea what it's like to have a father like Ozai. But we're here for you. Both of you," Mai assured, glancing to the princess as well.

    "This feels...weird to ask, since you're the one with the burn," Ty Lee started cautiously. "But is she going to be alright?"

    "Ty Lee, I'm going to be honest here, I am still figuring up how many of my recent memories are imagined and how many are real," Zuko answered with a sigh. "But I know she can't be taking it well. Da- He was always the one praising her, building her up, teaching her things. I'm closer to our mother, but I can't even imagine how I'd feel if she wanted to...end me," Zuko admitted softly.

    There was a long moment before Ty Lee groaned, wiping both hands over her face. "I hate not knowing how to lighten the mood without sounding awful," she remarked moodily.

    Zuko scratched his head uncomfortably as he tried to find something else to talk about. "Well, we're a bit out of good news around here. The only silver lining was the message from Uncle saying he'd be home within two weeks if the seas are kind," Zuko remarked, lowering his eyes. "But that's still connected to the fact that the siege of Ba Sing Se failed and we even lost Lu Ten."

    Ty Lee gasped in remembrance as Mai shook her head. "You know, I didn't forget that happened, but it feels like it was so long ago after...everything else," Mai said delicately.

    "Trust me, I know," Zuko agreed in a small voice. "It's been a streak of bad luck for the Fire Nation."

    The Royal Family specifically, it went unsaid.

    "So, honest question? Did I imagine Ty Lee bringing a poodle-monkey to cheer us up?" Zuko asked curiously.

    "Yes, yes you did," Mai confirmed simply.

    "I can bring one if you want though!" Ty Lee assured. "I just need to find one...and figure out how to sneak it into the palace...and hope you're not allergic to it...maybe train it? This is more complicated than I thought."

    The amusing conversation did not go unnoticed by the other royal in the room.

    Azula was very much awake, simply refusing to move or give any sign that she had stopped slumbering. She wasn't sure she was ready to talk to Zuko now that he was mostly in his right state of mind, and she certainly didn't have the strength for it after a conversation from earlier...

    Flashback

    Azula should be terrified.

    "Are you sure you're okay with this, Azula?" Ursa asked, hand on her shoulder as they stood in the courtyard, seemingly empty.

    Besides them.

    And the guards at every entrance.

    And the old man standing by the pond.

    Azula just nodded with a resigned look about her face as she walked forward to the pond.

    She really should be terrified.

    "You summoned me, Firelord Azulon?" Azula greeted as she bowed to the man that had ordered her death.

    That fact should make her want to bolt and run, even knowing it had all been a ruse to test her father. It wasn't rationality or bravery that allowed her to come before him so calmly. She wasn't sure what it was, really. Numbness? Hopelessness? Worthlessness?

    "No."

    Azula slowly blinked as the word echoed in her head. She looked up to see her grandfather staring down at her with an ancient face, the lines appearing deepened by his weariness and regrets. "No?" Azula repeated uncertainly. Her mother couldn't have been mistaken, could she? No one would possibly mix up who the Firelord did or did not summon, right?

    "The Firelord did not summon you," he stated seriously, a small smile at the corner of his lips. "An old man asked to see his granddaughter."

    Azula stared, uncomprehending as the man, a living symbol of the Fire Nation's might and power to challenge the whole world, lowered himself to sit by her at the pond. They sat in silence, Azula somehow now more nervous than before. "I...I don't understand."

    "I've wronged you, Azula," Azulon stated with a frown, gazing up at the Sun, Agni's Gift to the world. "I don't expect you to understand or forgive me. But I am sorry for how I handled this."

    "..." Azula stared, her hands trembling at her lap. She didn't know what to say. She didn't know how to deal with this situation. "I'm...I'm sorry."

    "You have nothing to apologize for, Granddaughter," Azulon assured with remorse.

    Yes, yes she did. She was a monster, right? She probably had to apologize for even being born. But she didn't say that. "I...It's my fault that Zuko got hurt, that Father escaped," she said with her head bowed.

    "Hmm? How are you responsible for your brother?" Azulon questioned, not bothering to correct her about Ozai no longer being her father, legally.

    "I overheard you and Father, your punishment for him. I...I went to Zuko's room. I told him. I just wanted to say goodbye," Azula said, her eyes watering as tears began to spill. "It...It was so stupid! If I hadn't said anything, Zuko wouldn't have gotten hurt! If...If I hadn't tried to attack Ozai, he wouldn't have gotten away!" she cried out, clutching her side, head bowing towards the ground.

    Azulon pulled her into an embrace, resting her head against his shoulder.

    "W-what?!" Azula exclaimed in disbelief. Azulon never hugged her, or anybody. Why was-?!

    "I told you, Azula. The Firelord didn't summon you," Azulon stated solemnly. "And granddaughters don't need to bow themselves so low before their grandfathers."

    Azula felt like she was crumbling into ashes in his embrace, her tears staining his royal robes. She could only utter a question. And she didn't even know what she was really asking anymore.

    "Why?"

    Azulon sagged, as if decades were trying to overtake him at once. "It's...complicated, Azula," he said, pulling her back gently. "I am an old man, child. Older than most ever hope to be. And knowing that Agni will call for my departure at any time leaves me with a desire to die with as few regrets as possible. But sometimes, avoiding one regret creates many more," he explained, staring into her broken eyes. "I wanted...I needed to know, Azula, if I was right about Ozai. I had to know if he had become the monster I thought he was."

    Azula's eyes dilated at that word.

    Azulon misread her reaction and continued. "If I was wrong, I would have known I had been blinded and biased against my youngest child. And that is a regret you will never want to bear, Azula, thinking the worst of your child yet knowing you might have been wrong, that your eyes had refused to see their true worth. But as I was right...I knew that Ozai would bring ruin to not only the Fire Nation, but our entire family if left alone. Yet I was a fool. I used you as bait for the very beast I sought to protect you from. You are not to blame for anything, child. You should have never been in a position where you thought your own family would kill you," Azulon apologized sincerely.

    "...I understand, Grandfather," Azula whispered with a shaky voice. And she did, she really did. You didn't put down a high pedigree Ostrich-Horse unless you were sure it was beyond saving. There was a big difference between rabies and a bad attitude.

    When did she start thinking like Uncle Iroh?

    "Thank you, Granddaughter," he said gratefully, loosening his grip on her and allowing the princess to leave and return to her mother.

    End Flashback


    Azula had returned to the medical room, crawled into her bed before Zuko had awakened or her friends arrived. She didn't want to talk to them, didn't want them to see her right now as she came to terms with what she had been told.

    She was a monster after all.

    Azulon had said it himself; Ozai was a monster, who had been ready to strike down his own daughter. And Ozai had raised her, cultivated her in his likeness. And she was all too eager to learn from him, to imitate him, to become like him. She idolized him, wished it had been him on the throne instead of her grandfather or uncle.

    She had smirked at the idea of her brother's death.

    She felt some part of her wail in her head. She had been happy that Zuko was going to die, that he was the one to be sacrificed. Because she thought he was a weakling, that she was special and he was not, that this was the natural order of things.

    Then it had been her instead. Her entire world shattered when her father accepted that.

    And Zuko actually tried to save her.

    She didn't deserve it, she wasn't worth it. She was a monster, raised by a monster, and had reveled in learning to be one herself.

    But she couldn't die.

    Death terrified her for multiple reasons now. Even worse than unknown was the known. That dream would become reality; locked in an urn of her own ashes until the end of time. If that was her fate, even as well-deserved as some part of her believed, then she wanted to savor life while she could. She selfishly wanted more memories that she didn't deserve to warm her soul for as long as she could cling to them against eternity.

    Even if she wasn't so terrified of the Penance of Ash, the guilt of considering it gnawed at her. Zuko was scarred for life, and if she died now, it would be for nothing. The idea of Zuko's sacrifice being even more pointless made her want to vomit.

    And...she had to know. She had to know why everyone kept lying to her. Why they said she wasn't a monster. Or, if they believed she wasn't, she had to know just what in her made them believe she was anything more than that.

    She gritted her teeth, forcing herself not to make a sound. She felt like she was burning inside, like her own inner flame was trying to eat her alive. Maybe it would. Burn away everything Ozai had given her and leave something behind that was worth salvaging.

    Maybe she could burn away her own monster and make her own soul a jar for it.

    Meanwhile

    Ursa stared mournfully at the room, a shattered wreck as great as any wild Komodo-Rhino could create in a tea shop.

    Honestly, she had expected to walk into this. She just thought it would be her own room that she had shared with Ozai. That she would be the one wreaking this destruction. But she had done more screaming than destroying.

    More importantly, this wasn't her room.

    It was Azula's.

    Ursa wasn't sure what to feel about this. Azula had a habit of burning things sometimes. It was common among firebending prodigies. It wasn't so much the burning that fascinated them as being able to control the flame and the burning. The tendencies usually faded away with time, the power becoming "normal" to them.

    But this wasn't just burning anymore. Azula had been systematic destroying everything she could in the span of about three hours. Taking drawers apart, tearing out pillows and bedsheets, crushing and ripping anything she was able to. And then she would set it on fire, one bit at a time…never enough to lose control over, but enough to reduce it to ash in a timely manner.

    That was the concerning part. This wasn't an outburst of rage or sorrow, this was deliberate and thought-out. Azula was trying to destroy everything she had.

    Ursa wanted to curse Ozai, pray that whatever terrible creatures spawned Koh the Face-Stealer would seek out her former husband and visit upon him a fate worse than mortals could comprehend. But she didn't. Not this time.

    Because this felt like that something more was wrong with her baby than what was already obvious.

    "Can you teach me how to not be a monster?"

    Ursa leaned on the wall for support as those words echoed hauntingly in her ear. Ozai was many things, but before this? He had spoiled Azula, praised her from one end of the Fire Nation to the other. Unless she missed Ozai jokingly refer to Azula as a monster in terms of being a gifted prodigy, she was positive that Ozai had never tried to call Azula anything other than his favored child.

    So, if not Ozai, then where? Where had her daughter gotten this horrible idea that she was anything but a child? A clever, too-bright, very gifted child, but a child none the less.

    She could see Zuko calling her that in a moment of spite, but that didn't seem enough to make Azula actually believe it. And she would have remembered Azula complaining about something like that. Could it have been Lu Ten? No, that boy had been far too sweet to her children, Iroh had raised him well. Iroh himself was out. Azulon didn't see his grandchildren often before all of this. Her tutors adored the chance to teach her. Her friends, maybe? But Azula wouldn't hesitate to mention such an insult to Ozai, and despite never being a loving couple, they did talk day to day, especially about the children.

    Ursa froze, her eyes going wide. If one eliminates everything else, what remained must be the truth.

    There weren't a lot of people in Azula's life. If she ruled out everyone she knew, or at least believed wouldn't or couldn't cause this, that only left one person.

    "Can YOU teach me how to not be a monster?"

    Herself.

    Ursa almost felt sick. That couldn't be correct, could it? There was no way that she had somehow given Azula that impression, was there?

    A crunching sound brought her numbly back to reality. Looking down, she saw a picture; A small family portrait, one of a set of four that Iroh had commissioned for them. It was back during the summer before the Siege began, when she believed herself to be pregnant again, only to find out it was a false alarm.

    She lowly, gingerly picked up the portrait and examined its remains. Ozai had been torn out. Not burned, torn. But the picture was burned on one side. Burned just enough to burn Azula halfway off of the image, leaving just the likeness of Urza and Zuko.

    Fresh tears dripped onto the charred remains of the portrait, unable to believe what her heart was telling her.

    And all she could wonder was...

    "Azula, my baby...what have I done to you?"

    Meanwhile

    From second in line to the throne to the most wanted man in the Fire Nation.

    The irony was not lost on Ozai.

    Getting out of the palace was easy. He had used a secret corridor and collected supplied he had stashed for such an occasion: money, fake papers, a sword, a knife, a plain change of clothes. And then...he waited.

    The palace was swarming with guards, and so he waited in the deepest, oldest of the hidden chambers. He waited until he could feel the sun falling on the horizon. By then, they'd no longer suspect him in the palace.

    A more short-sighted man would have tried to get some petty revenge. On whom, he didn't know; his foolish father, his weak wife, his pathetic son or perhaps his treacherous daughter? But it would not matter. He was disgraced, that would have spread through Caldera by now. Killing the entire family would just leave it to Iroh.

    And end in Ozai's own death.

    No, he'd take his time and wait patiently for his own vengeance. Besides, perhaps his spawns would one day be of use to him even now.

    Sneaking out of Caldera was almost impossible thanks to it being within a dormant volcano. The natural walls were incredibly hard to scale by hand. There were, however, ways out of Caldera that few knew of, such as secret passages only big enough for one person at a time. They were commissioned by nobles in the past, long before the reign of Sozin some said, for those wanting a quick escape route…from enemies within rather than without no doubt.

    He had been...fortunate enough to pilfer the location of one from a noble, begging him not to expose his son as a coward that fled from the navy with a tale of being taken prisoner by raiders from the Southern Water Tribe. Ozai considered the information quite worth it, seeing as the boy was sent out a week later. After all, survivors make for great soldiers no?

    He was honestly grateful that luck was in his favor in one aspect: it was the night of the new moon. Caldera had a modest patrol outside its perimeters, along the top of the mountain. It would have been most unfortunate, for him and them, if he had to kill some foolish guards and risk drawing the others to him.

    It would be a waste of lives and, more importantly, his time.

    He managed to flee to a village three days away. He bitterly realized that his fake papers would be of no help securing passage out of the Fire Nation. It would take a week for the news to properly spread to the masses, but by three days? Every military base and major city between Caldera and Iroh himself would have heard the news by then.

    But news traveled slowly to smaller villages. It allowed him to safely spin a sob story about a dying wife to get passage down the southern Inlet of Quhou from a local fisherman. A small payment incentive got the man to take him immediately instead of waiting for morning.

    The darkness of night made it rather easy to dispose of the body and recollect the coins, even if he had to rely on a knife and his muscles instead of his firebending.

    He had allies he could reach out to, but few he was positive wouldn't sell him out. He'd sell himself out in their position. The reward for his head could be everything up to being considered a minor noble.

    Honestly, Ozai privately admitted that if anyone besides his brother and father managed to kill him, they had probably earned that at least.

    There was one man he believed he could rely on. One man who would profit more from Ozai's slim chance of taking the throne than by the paltry honor of slaying a nameless, wanted man like Ozai.

    Which was why he was sitting in some dilapidated inn, out in the middle of nowhere along the forested coast far south of Caldera. It would be noisy, the lowlifes enjoying their vulgar selves.

    Or they would be if they weren't all dead, burnt husks…even the barmaid who flirted with him.

    It made it easier to have a secret meeting with no witnesses.

    Tracing a coin as he waited, he made a mental note not to make a habit of paying people he was about to kill. Getting the coins back off a corpse could be tedious and messy.

    He looked to the door as it opened, smirking at the man who entered. He took no surprise or displeasure in the carnage, almost amused with the smirk on his face. "You look like you've seen better days," he remarked, catching himself before addressing Ozai by name. They never knew who might be listening.

    Despite his mood, Ozai shared the smirk. "Glad you could join me, Zhao."

    End of Chapter

    Well, lot of little things happening, along with that ominous ending. You all knew I couldn't just kill off Ozai. But, in better news, Ursa is beginning to understand the issue with Azula and Azulon is...trying, obbviously. And Zuko is recovering! So, you know, at least one of the royal is doing better. But Azula is kind of just drowning in her own misery.

    Not much else to say. Hope you all enjoyed this.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2021
  5. Gaemnomut

    Gaemnomut Experienced.

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    Nice, I like all the details you added in. The little bits about Agni, the stuff about young firebenders burning stuff, ... Makes it feel more real. Also, imo a trail of bodies would be far more noticeable than if Ozai had simply tried to pass without issue. I wonder if his fall made him more unhinged or if he was always like that and his position of power simply gave him other ways to deal with people.

    Also, caught a typo:
    And a minor quibble I thought I'd mention. Since Zuko seems to call Ozai "dad" wouldn't he call Ursa, who he was closer to, "mom"? Instead, here he calls her "our mother". It's fine either way, I just thought I'd mention it.
     
  6. Shador

    Shador I trust you know where the happy button is?

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    I'd say that Azula needs professional help. Unfortunately for her, the Fire Nation is based of Imperial Japan and that country always has had problems with that sort of thing.

    Literally who?
     
  7. Akumakami64

    Akumakami64 Experienced.

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    Zhao, corrected it. Swore that was the right spelling.
     
  8. Felius

    Felius Versed in the lewd.

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    On the plus side, if Iroh doesn't go "total blind moron" when it comes to Azula like he frequently does he in many fics (frequently alongside the author too), he is the closest the setting has to a therapist, so he might be able to help?
     
  9. Akuma-Heika

    Akuma-Heika The Devil Exists Within

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    Big Bad from Avatar Book 1.
     
  10. R.A.G.

    R.A.G. Experienced.

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    I could see him killing the fisherman, surprised he killed everyone in that bar though, way too noticeable unless he also burns the place down once he leaves.
     
  11. Akumakami64

    Akumakami64 Experienced.

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    Remember, its a backwater place, far enough out of the way that it could be days or weeks before word gets to anyone important.

    Though, him burning it down isn't unlikely.
     
  12. Lothren

    Lothren Getting some practice in, huh?

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    Maybe I'm the only one hoping this, but personally I'm hoping for Zucest.

    With something like this knocking the antagonism Out of the relationship Zuko and Azula have, I could easily see Azula devoting herself purely to Zuko, and Zuko never turning her away because he loves his Zula.

    *Shrugs* probably won't happen as there's been no comments I could see about it, but a guy can dream.

    Then again, this is just the creative writing forum threads soooo. *Laughs*
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2021
  13. CmirDarthanna

    CmirDarthanna Experienced.

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    And she's also the granddaughter of the previous Avatar. I doubt he wouldn't have taught his family a thing or two.
     
  14. GiftofLove

    GiftofLove A Gift From The Heart

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    I am too, but that's just because I'm a degenerate.

    Honestly, I thought this story was going that route. It never occurred to me that it was some kind of . . . wholesome story of redemption instead. D:
     
    shinighoul6 and Lothren like this.
  15. Lothren

    Lothren Getting some practice in, huh?

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    I meaaaaan it could still be wholesome WITH Zucest.

    But I mean... That's like... My opinion man.
     
    shinighoul6 and GiftofLove like this.
  16. l---erddad---l

    l---erddad---l Wait, google can see this?

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    Holy fucking shit, this story is good. WOW, I was not expecting it to be this good. Watched, and immediately raved about to a friend.
     
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  17. Joker123

    Joker123 Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    Watched
     
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  18. Icecoldfunk

    Icecoldfunk All the world's a stage but the audience has fruit

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    Zhao?!!?

    Ozai thinks Zhao of all people would be personally loyal to a exile?!?!

    Ok. If this is a plot point because you need Ozai to have allies then have at it, you have a narrative to tell and that needs characters to make it work.

    That's fanfiction.

    Omelettes and eggs.

    But canonical Zhao would sell Ozai out in less than a heartbeat, if he thought that was the path to boost his own glory and prestige.

    Though....

    Zhao is high risk/high reward guy, but the reward is going to have to be.....ah.....how should I say this, "more than Ozai thinks it will be".
     
  19. Prince Chrom

    Prince Chrom I trust you know where the happy button is?

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2018
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    Or it could be that Ozai is meant to be wrong, given that he only knows Zhao from a position of power where he did have Zhao's loyalty and hasn't realised that it was for the chance for Zhao to gain glory rather than any personal loyalty to Ozai.
     
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