"How are you doing kid? Does it hurt anymore?"
A middle-aged, tan-skinned woman with dark hair asked with a polite smile. Her body remained covered in thick blue hide-cloth while a thick hoodie covered the top of her head.
With both of her hands extended towards Nik's abdomen, she expertly controlled a blob of water that glowed over Nik's wounds before he was healed at a visible rate.
"You must not be a local tribe member, right?"
Inherently, Nik wasn't too 'white' or 'pale'. In fact, his skin held a healthy glow that leaned towards a darker shade, making him fit perfectly along with the description of an average Waterbender.
"No. My mother fled to the Earth Kingdom and settled after meeting my father. They both..."
Nik shook his head and sighed deeply. The lady, too, in response to Nik's words simply sighed.
"I am sorry, child. The world has always been harsh. I genuinely hope that you can find happiness even after what you have suffered."
Though her logic was a bit twisted, in Nik's eyes, her words kind of made sense, if only he wasn't lying.
Taking a deep breath, the lady slowly moved her hand and removed the blob of water from above his stomach before placing a thick blanket on his body.
"You still need to rest, child. After a few hours, I will return and take you to see the Chieftain alongside our sister tribe."
Nik nodded once again before he slowly fell into a deep slumber under the comfort of a warm blanket and the normal-sized Pavka wrapped around him like a huggy-bear.
Once again, the two Fire Nation Envoys found themselves in the presence of the Chieftain accompanied by the four beast masters. Even though the Northern Water Tribe practiced a uniform waterbending technique, the Chieftain and the four beast lords slowly developed their techniques beyond the scope of human abilities by mimicking specific beasts: Polar Ape, Cat Seal, Tusk Shark, Whale-Horse.
Meanwhile, the current Chieftain hailed from the Polar Ape methods.
Despite the heavy pressure, almost solidifying, the two envoys stood straight. They had faced such situations too many times, this was in fact, especially true for Zuko's envoy.
His senior, the envoy from Princess' side slowly mulled over his words before speaking, finally initiating the conversation.
"Lords, we hope that our sincerity was... appreciated."
His words remained less, yet the emotion of reciprocation and a tinge of threat remained evident.
Not minding such slights, Bhiman, the current Polar Ape master slowly scratched his chin before nodding.
"To deliver our Sister Tribe without any harm, the exiled warrior has my thanks."
Shaking his head, the old envoy calmly retorted.
"It's a gift from the Fire Nation, my lord. Exiled Zuko played a prominent role, but even he takes pride in the unity of that our Nation proclaims."
"Is that why the fire nation is so eager to unify the whole world?"
A muscular, Amazonian woman with rippling muscles grunted.
She was Marnie, the current head of the Cat-Seal users.
"It's all industrialization, lord. But let's not rail off the tracks. We were sent to engage in a peaceful discussion over the period of our stay."
"And that being?"
Nik groaned in relief as he slowly entered into a blueish overcoat made from the hides of the beasts present near the tribe before stretching his arms and yawned in complete satisfaction. Then, he leisurely observed his own surroundings.
A warm mattress, probably self-made or traded through various channels placed in the middle of the snow-white sheet. A hemi-spherical structure covered the sleeping area and an opaque ice door had also been constructed to cover the entrance, making the interior quite warm.
Putting on the warm gloves placed near the mattress, Nik looked at the sleeping Pavka before placing the blanket back on her. Even though she didn't need it even a single bit, Nik simply felt that she should at least cover her n.a.k.e.d body, even if she is invisible.
At this moment, the ice door was pushed open as the previous middle-aged woman entered once again. Her eyebrows rose in surprise as she looked at the healthy glow on Nik's face before she smiled reassuringly.
"It looks like you are all patched up!"
She walked around Nik before tapping on his shoulder and the middle of his back before voicing out.
"It doesn't hurt now, does it?"
Shaking his head, Nik replied with a smile.
"No, in fact, I have never felt better. Thank you..."
The middle-aged woman smiled before patting his back encouragingly.
"My name is Karna, one of the healers of the tribe. And you are?"
Turning back, Nik looked at Karna and bowed politely.
"Nice to make your acquaintance, Miss Karna. I am Nik."
Tilting her head, Karna's eyes looked at his face seriously before she nodded with a shrug.
"I think your father named you. Either way, I am tasked with bringing you to the sister tribe before taking you guys to meet with the Chieftain.
By the way, you should keep it in the wraps that you were tortured by the fire nation."
Karna suddenly spoke with a sad smile.
"I know it isn't fair, but the Chieftain wanted me to personally tell you that the Fire Nation delegates are still in the tribe and he requests that you should keep your story with the fire nation to yourself.
Right now, the tribe is in a period of brief negotiation and we really can't afford to mess this up."
Nik's eyes did turn a bit strange at the news as he felt that even such a simple news spoke volumes about the current Chieftain.
Taking a deep breath, Nik looked at Karna solemnly, making her blush all of a sudden before nodding.
"Please, miss Karna healed me so I think, I can accede to your request."
Smiling, Karna nodded gratefully before turning back for a moment and grinning in an uncharacteristically youthful manner.
"Just call me aunt Karna from now on."