Chapter Twenty-Four:

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Ruka (1)

"That's gold! So what happened after that?"

I ended up befriending the guard that walked into my room while I was yelling about Prince Hot Head. We were on the deck and he was telling me a funny story.

"I pushed him into the river thinking that would teach him a lesson about messing with my little sister. But little did I know that he couldn't swim." Hiko shook his head with a smile. "So I had to go in after him."

I laughed, "I'm sure you weren't happy about that."

"Not at all."

"Where's your sister now?"

"She's back at home with my nephew."

Before I could respond, the ship went to a halt then Iroh and Zuko walked onto the deck.

"Ready Ruka?" Iroh asked me. I nodded. Before I was going to walk over to the uncle and nephew, I said bye to Hiko. "Thanks for chatting with me."

I turned around and walked down the ship into the merchants.

"Alright Uncle, find your stupid lotus tile so we can leave." Zuko grumped.

"This store looks promising." Iroh smiled, walking toward a small store himself. Zuko and I stayed behind.

"Should we help him?" I looked up to Zuko. He shook his head slowly, "He'll come out if he needs us. Besides, he has the guards."

Zuko walked away to a bench and I shortly followed him.

"You care for him deeply, don't you?"

Zuko cocked a brow and looked to me from the corner of his eye.

"Your uncle, I mean."

Zuko sighed, nodding. "He's taught me everything I know."

"Even your temper?"

Zuko huffed and I nudged him, "Kidding hot head."

I brought my hands down to my lap. "If your the prince, why aren't you in the big palace sitting beside your father? The Fire Lord."

"Long story." Zuko looked down shamefully.

"You were banished, am I right?" I moved my head slightly under his so he could see me.

"If you know, why ask?"

"I didn't want to jump into conclusions or anything." I shrugged. "So I'm right?"

Zuko sighed once again, "Unfortunately."

"Hm." I looked down to my hands that were still on my lap. "What?" Zuko asked lowly.

"Oh well... I don't know."

"Just say it. I'm getting irritated."

Of course you are.

"Apart of me feels sorry for you." I shrugged. "Oh." Zuko nodded. "Me too."

"Why? What did you do that your own father had to banish his own son?" I furrowed my brows.

"I spoke out of turn. I disrespected and embarrassed him. There's no one to blame, but me."

I shook my head, "That's not true, Zuko. At the end of the day, you're still his son. He should love you no matter what."

"My father doesn't see it that way." Zuko said barely above a whisper.

Zuko closed his eyes and I slightly frowned.

"Your scar - how'd it happen?"

Zuko looked away from me. I grabbed his face and turned him back to face me. "I asked you a question."

He yanked his face away, "That doesn't mean I have to answer."

I rolled my eyes. Line stealer.

"You're right." I crossed my arms. "Curiosity killed the penguin. Got it."

"...You'll judge."

"You're probably right." I nodded. "I'll tell you something about me if you tell me how it happened."

Zuko rolled his eyes but did a small nod.

"I'm jealous of my little sister because she's carries the only piece left of my mother."

Side note: Ruka doesn't know yet that Katara 'lost' their mother's necklace back at the earth bender prison. You'll know soon to why Ruka thinks she still has it even though it's currently not around Katara's neck.

Zuko didn't say anything and I raised my brows. "Okay. You're turn."

Zuko sighed yet again. "I was supposed to have an Agni Kai with the General I insulted. Except, the day of the Agni Kai, my father showed up and told me I had to fight against him. I refused and the way he taught me a lesson was by giving me a permanent marking on my face."

I shook my head slowly. "That's awful. I'm - I'm sorry."

"To regain my honor, I have to capture the Avatar."

I scoffed. "Why would you want to go back to that? Don't get me wrong, I absolutely hate that you keep trying to kill or take Aang, but the reason for it is totally ludicrous."

"It's none of your business."

"You're right." I stood up from the bench. "I just thought the Fire Nation's crowned prince would be smarter than that."

I turned around and went into the store Iroh was still in.

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