Zuko looked around the dark Fire nation colony. He wasn't sure which one it was but it was fairly populated with lots of houses and shops. All of which were closed due to the late hour. They had arrived at the port late because of a run in with the Avatar. They played cat-owl and mouse-gopher like they normally did and once again he managed to escape Zuko. The avatar always escaped and he was starting to get bored with it.
He would stay up, sometimes the entire night and wonder if it would just be easier to abandon his nation like so many other people did. Zuko knew it was a ridiculous thought. He was just frustrated he needed an outlet. Everything had its limits just like his patience and his temper. There was only so much he could meditate, yell or seethe. He needed something to change if only for a little while so he could break the monotony.
As if on cue he passed by the only lit street in the entire city. The lights on the street where not regular candle lights, they were red lantern lights. The entire block was bathed in the color. It was the only street with people on it this time of night. He immediately understood why when he passed a Brothel, a bordello, a burlesque house and a 'Stripping Parlor'. The women out front called to him but they weren't what he was looking for – he noticed several of the crewmen wandered into the seedy sex dens.
Zuko made a face thankful that Iroh had stayed behind on the ship. Zuko wasn't interested in that sort of thing and even if he was he feared all his pent up aggression might lead him to hurt someone relatively innocent. The men on the ship barely knew hand to hand combat. And shadow boxing had lost its appeal. He wanted a fight, not to constantly chase something and never get it. As Zuko looked around he soon spotted where he could find one.
The large muscular man standing outside a seemingly normal building noticed Zuko when he walked up. He looked Zuko up and down. "No bending." he said and then stepped to the side to let Zuko into the building. Inside was dimly lit except for the ring in the middle of the large room. There were people cheering and cursing at the two bloody men fighting in the center of the well lit ring. Zuko's hunch was right. He had found a fight club.
Zuko took a seat at the bar. He decided to scope out the competition before he placed a bet on himself to win. He saw a few people that looked like they knew what they were doing. He put his ear to the ground in an attempt to learn more about the fighters around him. It didn't really help all the men around him were just gambling they weren't fighters. He was about to just go in the ring and try his luck when he caught part of a conversation behind him.
"...you'll fight. I don't care if all of you ribs are broken. You will go into the ring and you'll fight and you'll win until your debt is repaid." The man's voice was barely above a whisper but it was a harsh tone. Zuko turned and spied on the conversation out of the corner on his good eye. The man was older than the boy he as talking to. His face had a few wrinkles and a nasty scar going across his forehead. The few hairs that clung to the back of his head were gray and matted. Despite his homely features he was wearing very expensive clothing. A finely pressed burgundy and gold shenyi.
"I can barely stand up straight. The pain is making my vision blur." The boy standing in front of him complained. Zuko couldn't see him without turning completely towards them. So he just listened.
"Stop complaining or I'll give you something really complain about."
"You mean beside my life with you." The boy said sarcastically and chuckled. Zuko smirked but it quickly turned into a grimace when the man backhanded to boy for his smart remark. The boy growled and Zuko heard a rustling like someone had grabbed him.
"Nice work boys, hold him still." The man said. "Watch it you little bastard. If it weren't for me you'd be out on the street. Be grateful I don't put your little ass to work in the brothel like I did your mother." The man hissed and then smacked him again. The boy gave a snort and struggled against who ever was holding him. "Don't even think about walking out on a fight tonight. Most of the people here don't know how good you are so they'll lose all their money when they bet against you."
YOU ARE READING
Zuko had been stripped of his title, his birth right. He would stay up, sometimes the entire night and wonder if it would just be easier to abandon his nation like so many other people did. He knew it was a ridiculous thought. He was just frustrated...