Chapter Five:

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Ruka (1)

We were out at sea for about two days now. All I really did was stay in my room and try not to run into Zuko. He had such a temper. But running into Iroh was always fun.

A knock was heard at my door and I ran over to it and opened it. Iroh held a smile, "hello Ruka. How are you feeling?"

"I'm feeling fine. Thank you." I said. "Anything I can do for you?"

"Yes there is." Iroh nodded. "Come join me for a game of pai sho."

"I'd love to but I don't know how to play." I shook my head. "I'm sure I won't be much of a challenge."

"I'll teach you. Please, it's quite boring up on deck." He said. I nodded, opening the door wider and letting me through.

"Thank you again General Iroh... without you, I'd probably be in a cell right now." I rubbed the back of my neck.

"You're welcome."

We walked up to the deck and he lead me to a table that held the pai sho board. We sat across from each other.

In the center of the the board is a diamond shape divided in to four quarters with white and red at opposite corners. There are four outer triangles that are red and the rest are yellow.

Iroh began to tell me the rules and I was slowly following.

We begin a practice game and I started to sweat because I grew nervous.

"Ease down Ruka." Iroh chuckled. "You look like you just took a dip in the water."

I laughed nervously.

"I'm surprised you haven't attacked our crew or my nephew." Iroh said bluntly.

"This ship is the only way I can get to Aang, my brother, and my sister." I said. "Don't really have much of a choice."

Iroh nodded.

"Uncle, where is-" Zuko came in but stopped from finishing his sentence when he saw me, "the girl."

"Is there something you need from Ruka?" Iroh asked, taking his turn on the board.

"That's your name?" Zuko raised a brow. I nodded, "the one and only."

Iroh raised his head to Zuko so he can answer his question.

"Uh... no. She wasn't in her room so I was just wondering." Zuko shrugged. "Why did you go to my room? Since you don't need me, you have no business being in there." I crossed my arms.

"This is my ship." Zuko said with frustration in his voice. "I can do whatever I choose."

"I suppose." I looked back down to the board and prepared my move. "What is that supposed to mean?" Zuko asked. When I didn't answer, he rolled his eyes. "I was checking to see if you were alive. I haven't seen you since the harbor."

"Maybe that's because I've been trying to avoid you." I said, still not facing him. I made my move and grinned, "aha!"

Iroh shook his head, making his move and totally striking my points out. I slumped my shoulders, "awe man."

"Avoiding me?! For what?!" Zuko raised his voice and I looked to him with a "really?" look. "Because of that." I pointed to him. "You lash out at everything. Excuse me for being a poor little prisoner who's scared of the temperamental Prince of the fire nation."

Zuko scoffed, "you're hardly a prisoner. You're out here on deck, tied free with water surrounding us, playing a game of pai sho with my uncle."

I put my chin on my hand. "You're turn General."

"Oh please Ruka, call me Iroh." Iroh said in amusement.

Zuko yelled in frustration then stomped away from Iroh and I.

>>>

I was at the edge of the boat, looking down at the water. It was already dark and I was the only one out here. Not for long, though.

"Where is the avatar?" Zuko asked from behind me. I jumped a little and turned around. "You're looking for him, you tell me."

"Where is he headed?" Zuko walked closer to me. "I know you know."

"Wrong." I shook my head. "I don't know where your new obsession is. But can we hurry it up? I'd really love to be with them now."

Zuko grumped, "I don't know why my uncle let's you roam free. You can attack us at any time so if it were up to me, I'd have you locked up."

I crossed my arms, "I have no urge to attack you or your crew."

"And why is that?" Zuko raised his brow.

"I'm going to sleep. Goodnight Prince Zuko." I walked passed him and he grabbed my arm, stopping me. "I asked you a question."

I yanked my arm away, "I don't have to answer to you." I continued to walk from him, but in a quicker pace.

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