Chapter Two

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Chapter Two

Lian was sitting cross legged on the bow of Zuko's ship with her eyes closed, listening peacefully to the sounds of the waves below her. Despite being from the Fire Nation, Lian had always found comfort in sound of the ocean – it was one reason why she enjoyed her family trips to Ember Island so much.

Although her eyes were closed, Lian was easily able to recognise the footsteps that approached her.

"Father, are you finally going to explain why you asked me to join you on this quest. You know Uncle Ozai won't be happy when he finds out – I have work to do in the colonies."

"You've grown so much since I left the Fire Nation, lotus flower." I couldn't help but smile at my father's nickname for me, it was something he had called me for as long as I could remember. "You were only 16 when I left, a child."

"A lot has happened in the last two years father, I'm no longer a child. I'm a Princess of the Fire Nation, I know where my duty lies."

"Yes of course" responds her father "I just wish I was around to see you grow."

Lian turns gently to face her who was now sitting behind her with his head bent down. Taking her fathers hands in hers, she lent forward: "Father, I've never been angry with you for leaving with Zuko. I've been honoured to have such an amazing father to lead me on the right path, Zuko never had that. You're all he has."

"He has you too" replies Iroh, smiling slightly at the amount of pride and love his daughter felt for him.

"I'll always try to be there for my family but sometimes it will never be enough" she says sadly thinking about how she was powerless to stop the death of her older brother, Lu Ten or how she stood by and let her cousin enter an arena with his father. "Now, stop stalling old man. Why did you ask me to join you?"

"Always a clever one lotus flower" said her father with a chuckle before becoming serious. "While we were at the naval yard, I had an interesting conversation with Commander Zhao about you."

"Really?" responded Lian with a raised eyebrow. What could the Commander want to discuss with her father that she couldn't discuss with her directly?

"He asked for your hand in marriage."

Silence followed as Lian took in the news she had just received. She closed her eyes, listening to the sound of the waves before opening them and facing her father.

"Interesting" she said calmly "and what was your response?"

"I said no of course, I know that will always be your choice." Lian released the breath she was holding; glad her father was on her side. "However, I think you'll have to be careful around the Commander"

"Of course, thank you for letting me know father" she said with a slight bow. "Did you just bring me abroad your ship to tell me that?"

Scratching the back of her head sheepishly, her father looked at her with an amused smile. "You know me too well. There was one other thing. I would like you to stay aboard for a while to help Zuko."

"Father, as much as I would want to help, we both know Uncle Ozai would never allow it" argued Lian.

"Just for a few days, maybe for a few weeks. This is going to be a difficult time for the young Prince and if anyone can keep him calm and happy, it's you." Lian though about it carefully. This would give her an opportunity to spend more time with her father and cousin and it wasn't like Uncle Ozai would send out a search party – she could always deal with the consequences when she was back home.

"Okay, fine" she relented "but not for too long."

"Great" he said standing "you can come with me to tell Prince Zuko the bad news"

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