Chapter 3: A Decision To Make

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I sat quietly as Uncle, Zuko, and I ate our breakfast. I was to busy replaying the nightmare I had a couple of days ago over again in my head. It was the day I found out about the whole 'Dragon' thing. 

Aang, Zuko, Uncle, the girl from the water tribe, her brother, and three other people I've never seen before stared at me in horror. "W-What are you?" Aang asked. I looked at him confused, I looked to the side of me and caught my reflection in some crystal type thing. But, it wasn't me. I lifted my arms and stared, my hands were claws with scales leading up to my elbow. I looked back up and tried to speak, but my voice sounded demonic and horse. Zuko took a step forward, concern was etched upon his face, "Kaida...It's okay, just calm down." He spoke softly, like someone would to an animal. I whimpered and started to calm down, "She's an abomination!" I heard the water-tribe boy yell. "Sokka!" "Look at her! She's not human! She has claws Katara!" I looked around at everyone, before looking down at my hands again. "Kaida.." Someone touched my shoulder, I got scared and firebended at them. I heard a yell of pain, I saw Aang clutching his arm. "I-I..." I ran away further into the cave we were standing in. I heard Zuko yell my name, but I just kept running and running and runni-

"Kaida?" I jumped and ended up knocking over the tea pot that was on the table. "I'm sorry!" I exclaimed before standing up and running out of the room. I made it to my room and shut my door, I held up my hands to see flames flickering around them. I breathed out slowly, calming myself down until the flames were extinguished. I heard someone knock on my door, I opened it to see Zuko standing there. "Are you alright?" He asked. I nodded giving him a fake smile, but he glared at me and pushed open the door. I sighed and shut it again when he was inside my room. "Well, if it isn't Prince Ponytail." I rolled my eyes as the small dragon, who's name is Mushu I found out, stood up from his spot on my pillow. "Kaida, you know you can tell me anything right?" "I know." "Then, what's wrong? You've been zoning out, knocking things over, you're not eating, Kaida I'm worried about you. This is like you." I sat down on my bed and sighed, "I know. It's just ever since the whole finding the avatar thing, I haven't been sleeping well and my firebending is getting harder and harder to control. I-I'm scared Zuko, I don't know what's wrong with me, a-and I'm not sure I even want to go back to the fire nation any more." He sat next to me, "What do you mean? The fire nation is our home." "I know, but if you really think about it, would it be a good idea to capture the avatar and give him to Ozai." "It's the only way to restore our honor. It's the only way our Father, will welcome us back home." I stood up angrily, "But, is it the right thing to do!" "Of course it is! The avatar and anyone affiliated with him is a enemy and threat to the fire nation!" "So does that make me a threat then?" Zuko realized what he said, his glare softened and he reached out to hug me."Kaida, I didn't mea-" I moved away from him, "But, you said it." "Kaida-" "Just go." "Ka-" "I SAID LEAVE!" I yelled as fire erupted from my hands. He silently walked out of my room and closed the door behind him. "Well, that went well." "Don't you have some rats to fry or something?" I asked Mushu as I flopped onto my bed and turned to face the wall. "Good night to you too, Miss Anger Issues." I fell asleep a couple minutes later.

The Next Day

I stood next to Zuko and Uncle as the ship pulled into the port to stop for supplies and fix the ship. I followed them down the ramp and off the ship as people started to repair it. I looked around as I noticed the huge fire nation ships, I also noticed our ship was the smallest. "Wow these ships are..." "Intimidating? Awe-inspiring?" Mushu asked as he peaked out of my bag and looked at the ships in front of us. "Mushu! What are you doing in there?!" I whispered/yelled. "I've been stuck in that room since I woke up. I need to feel the sun on my scales. I'm not the kind of animal that can be caged." I glared, "Fine. Just don't get caught and don't get me in trouble." I told him as I went to catch up with Zuko and Uncle. I walked up to them as they started talking, " Uncle, I want the repairs made as quickly as possible. I don't want to stay too long and risk losing his trail." "You mean the Avatar?" Uncle asked not realizing that somebody could hear him, I did a face palm as I heard Mushu say "He doesn't really think sometimes does he?" "Yep." I saw Zuko turn angrily towards Uncle as he said "Don't mention his name on these docks! Once word gets out that he's alive, every firebender will be out looking for him and I don't want anyone getting in the way." That's when I heard a voice that made me freeze where I stood. "Getting in the way of what, Prince Zuko?" Zhao I thought  as I turned around to see him standing with his hands behind his back. I glared at him while Zuko and Uncle just looked surprised. "Who's he?" I heard Mushu whisper I just shushed him, if I know Zhao and I do, I know if he finds out I have a dragon, even a small one, he'll kill him. " Captain Zhao." Zuko said with distaste, I mean could you blame him. " It's Commander now. And General Iroh," he bows to Uncle "Great hero of our nation." "Retired general." Uncle says. "The Fire Lord's brother, son and daughter are welcome guests any time. What brings you to my harbor?" He says as he looks over at me I just glare at him as I say "Our ship is being repaired." As I gesture towards our ship, "That's quite a bit of damage." "Yes... you wouldn't believe what happened." Zuko says as he gives Uncle a sideways glance. "Uncle! Tell Commander Zhao what happened." I mentally face-palm, I love him to death but sometimes he can be such an idiot. I see Uncle's eyes widen as Zhao turns toward him. "Yes, I will do that. It was incredible." He leans over and whispers to Zuko. "What... did we crash or something?" Zuko uncomfortable says "Uh, yes! Right into an Earth Kingdom ship." "Really? You must regale me with all the thrilling details." He smiles and puts his face right up to Zuko's , challenging him. This will not end well I thought as he continued "Join me for a drink?" "Sorry, but we have to go." I try to hide my smile as I follow zuko as he turns to leave, but Uncle places a hand on his shoulder and stops him." Prince Zuko, Princess Kaida, show Commander Zhao your respect." He turns to Zhao. "We would be honored to join you. Do you have any ginseng tea? It's my favorite." Zuko growls in frustration and releases fire from his fists angrily as he turns to follow Zhao and Uncle down the dock. I follow beside zuko silently talking to mushu. " Who was that, and whats with him?" He said pointing over to zuko from behind my hood. "That's Commander Zhao.  He and Zuko.....they don't really get along. Not to mention, if there is anyone that would love to see Zuko fail it's Zhao." I told him. We walked to a wooden stockade, there were many Fire Nation tents behind it. One was larger than the rest with a prominent Fire Nation symbol on it. Two guards stood by two large firepots, in front of the tent. We walk inside and I stood beside Zuko as he sat down in a chair. I zoned out as Zhao started talking about the earth kingdom. "And by year's end, the Earth Kingdom capital will be under our rule." He said turning back towards zuko and I, Ugh how can He think people will bow down to the fire nation willingly. I thought as I listened to rest of their conversation. "The Fire Lord will finally claim victory in this war." He said walking over to the small table "If my father thinks the rest of the world will follow him willingly, then he is a fool." I just smiled knowing I was right, but I kept my face hidden. Zhao sits in the chair next to Zuko. "Two years at sea have done little to temper your tongue." He says as I shoot my head up and glare at him off course he ignores me. "So, how is your search for the Avatar going?" Why afraid we'll find him?  I think to myself at first but then realize that we did find the avatar along with finding out I'm supposedly the new Dragon. There's a loud crash and I look over to see Uncle had tipped over the stand of weapons he was examining. Zuko and Zhao fall silent as Uncle cringes at the mess he just made. "My fault entirely." He says embarrassed, I just mentally face-palm. "We haven't found him yet." Zuko says trying to lie "Did you really expect to? The Avatar died a hundred years ago along with the rest of the airbenders." Zuko averts his eyes guiltily. "Unless you found some evidence that the Avatar is alive." "No. Nothing." Zuko says still looking away. Zhao rises from his chair "Prince Zuko, the Avatar is the only one who can stop the Fire Nation from winning this war." I gulp as I shift uncomfortably. Obviously no one besides Uncle, Zuko, and I know about the whole Dragon thing. "If you have an ounce" He says as he leans his face into Zuko's, "of loyalty left, you'll tell me what you've found."  "We haven't found anything. It's like you said. The Avatar probably died a long time ago. Come on, Uncle, Kaida, we're going." Zuko says defiantly. He gets up and tries to exit, but he is blocked by the guards as they cross their spears in front of him. Another guard approaches Zhao to deliver his report. Oh no. They know. I think as I hear the guard tell Zhao "Commander Zhao, we interrogated the crew as you instructed. They confirmed Prince Zuko had the Avatar in custody, but let him escape." "Now, remind me..." He begins as Zuko is still blocked by the guards. Zhao comes up behind him, "... how exactly was your ship damaged?" Zuko looks down defeated, as I look away from the sceen. Zhao crosses in front of a seated and clearly unhappy Zuko and I. A pair of guards stand behind us. "So, a twelve-year-old boy bested you and your firebenders?" He says I turn to Uncle who is also seated nearby. "You're more pathetic than I thought." He says as a growl escapes the back of my throat, "Psst, calm down." I hear a voice whisper, I stop growling as I look at Mushu out of the corner of my eye. "Your eyes." Confused I ask, "What are you talking about my eyes are  fin-" I look at my reflection in my tea that I'm holding. My pupils are narrower than they were before along with having a certain red tint to them. I breathe out slowly as my eyes go back to normal. "I underestimated him once, but it will not happen again." I look up as Zuko talks. "No, it will not, because you won't have a second chance." " Commander Zhao, I've been hunting the Avatar for two years and I..." Zuko says alarmed, Zhao turns on him angrily, flames erupting from his hand as he sweeps it in an arc from left to right. "And you failed!" He yells as my hands start creating small flames from the loudness of his voice. Zuko looks at me concerned, but turns back to Zhao as I nod, telling him I'm alright. "Capturing the Avatar is too important to leave in a teenager's hands. He's mine now." Oh great , just what we need. Zhao hunting down Aang also. I think as Zuko launches himself at Zhao in frustration and anger, but he is restrained by the two guards standing behind his chair. " Keep them here." He says to the guards as he turns to leave. Zuko in a further act of frustration kicks over a small table that had been sitting near Uncle and I. It breaks into pieces, while Uncle watches the scene calmly. I get up and try to calm Zuko down, I put my hand on his shoulder. "Calm down Zuko." "More tea please?" I hear uncle ask one of the guards. I roll my eyes as Zuko and I groan in irritation. We each give Uncle a look, "What?" He asked confused. After a few minutes the two guards standing ready at the entrance draw their spears back, as Zhao enters. "My search party is ready." Uncle, Zuko and I, are sitting in chairs facing each other. "Once I'm out to sea, my guards will escort you back to your ship and you'll be free to go." "Why? Are you worried we're going to try and stop you?" I ask with a glare. Zhao starts laughing as he says "You? Stop me? Impossible. " Zuko stands in defiance. "Don't underestimate me, Zhao. I will capture the Avatar before you." "Prince Zuko, that's enough!" Uncle says standing up too, "You can't compete with me. I have hundreds of warships under my command, and you... you're just a banished prince. No home. No allies. Your own father doesn't even want you." Okay that is it, I stand up to hit Zhao but Uncle stops me by grabbing my shoulders "You're wrong. Once I deliver the Avatar to my father he will welcome me home with honor and restore my rightful place on the throne." "If your father really wanted you home, he'd have let you return by now, Avatar or no Avatar, but in his eyes you are a failure and a disgrace to the Fire Nation." "You're a disgrace to the Fire Nation, Zhao!" I yell getting his attention to turns toward me, "Says the princess that helped the Avatar escape." I stare at him. "You think I didn't know? I have my sources Princess. You're more pathetic than your brother. Both of you are failures." Zhao smirks he turns back towards zuko. "You even have the scar to prove it." He says smugly. With a cry of indignation, Zuko launches himself to his feet, bringing his face within inches of Zhao's. "Maybe you'd like one to match!" I swear if Uncle wasn't holding me back, I would have shown Zhao exactly what a pathetic princess can do.. "Is that a challenge?" the next words I hear make me freeze in my spot "An agni kai. At sunset." My eyes widen as Zuko replied. "Very well. It's a shame your father won't be here to watch me humiliate you. I guess your uncle and sister will do." Zhao turns and walks back out of the tent. "Prince Zuko, have you forgotten what happened last time you dueled a master?" Uncle says letting go of me. I look at zuko with a sad expression. "I will never forget." He says. He glances at me, "Kaida. Whatever happens. Do not interfere." "Zuk-" "Zhao doesn't need to find out about you also. He seems to have forgotten what happened before. Don't remind him by interfering, do I make myself clear?" I open my mouth to reply, but I just close my mouth and nod.

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