'What is this feeling?'
A troublesome thought swirled within Yue's mind as a groaned escaped her lips in tandem, feeling the somewhat firm pillow on the back of her head that kept on nourishing her spirit with a gentle warmth, Yue couldn't help but nudge her head and snuggle with some effort.
"Now, I think... he continued along with this twirling pattern as he moved the tendrils across his body in a rotation and struck out."
A calm voice entered her ears, yet, failed to get registered by her consciousness, she was too busy getting the right feeling of what's beneath her head.
"Yeah, yeah! Will you stop nagging already?!"
A rough, yet mature voice, probably belonging to a woman spread across her surroundings as Yue's eyes shot open instantly.
Nik looked down at Yue and smiled gently, her face right beneath his as his laps remained occupied by Yue's head.
Troubled to even utter a single word, a thin trail of blood leaked through Yue's right nostril as her wide, pale-blue eyes remained glued to Nik's smiling face. By now, even she knew that she was fortunate enough to experience the laps of a cute guy.
"She is awake? Finally!"
The previous voice emerged with shock barely contained within, causing Yue to finally tear her vision off of Nik's face as she looked at the slightly sweaty figure, her beautiful, voluptuous body covered in hide-robe that was fastened up to provide better mobility.
"What's with the blood?"
Karna asked with a concerned expression as she could see Yue's nostril bleeding further.
"Maybe... she has some sort of condition?"
Nik shrugged and used the edges of his robe to rub her nose before he used his left thumb to clean her slightly bloodied lips.
Yue muttered, finally.
"Don't anyone dare pinch me... let me dream further..."
She continued while enjoying Nik's laps, recalling the feeling of his thumb on her lips and simply looked towards the sky with a dazed expression.
Frowning, Karna looked at Nik with a blaming expression.
"Don't look at me!" Nik shrugged once again, how could he have known that the calm princess was this quirky? "And I won't be the one to pinch her."
He immediately spoke up while Karna's expression only grew darker. The tendrils of water around her quickly turned into ice, depicting her thunderous rage.
Yue nodded politely while taking a piece of cloth from Karna to once again wipe the blood leaking from her nose. A tiny ripple of disappointment did flash in the deepest recesses of her heart for Nik not using his hands to tend to her lips, but spirits forbid if she said something so demeaning.
"So, as I said, we both just thought that it might be fun to hang out with you."
Nik smiled and explained while Karna kept a calm expression on her face. Looking at the red mark on Yue's left cheek, Karna couldn't help but feel bitter. In the end, she was the one who pinched her and actually felt a mind-numbing pressure on her body, finally making her realise that this quirky princess might be extremely strong.
Due to a cloth over her mouth, Yue's voice remained muffled, but even then, she was able to express her confusion.
Nik muttered with a frown and then looked at the two spirits swimming in the pool.
"I... we thought that you could use some company. And honestly, I don't wish for others to know that I am teaching Karna water bending."
Yue nodded before Nik continued.
"And, I thought that I might as well teach you bending, too."
Karna and Yue exclaimed simultaneously as Nik smiled.
"I can water bend because of that blackfish, right? So, if I have heard correctly, you also gained the favour of that silverfish.
I am sure that you can bend, too..."
Nik smiled... a strange smile, though, his misleading words remained incomprehensible by the duo women, Yue still frowned before her eyes brightened slightly.
"I don't care about that stuff." She opened up and whispered while looking at Karna with a smile, a mischievous one.
"But if you want me to keep this a secret, I want something in return."
Hearing her words, the duo frowned. If the compensation of teaching her waterbending wasn't enough, then they didn't know what might she ask.
With an extremely light blush, Yue hardened her heart and raised her index finger.
"1 hour... on his laps."
Pillar of fire rushed to the sky only to get a thin trail of lightning to pierce it before a deafening blast shook the destroyer, gathering the attention of other lieutenants on the battlesh.i.p.s.
"So? Is that it?"
Unlike what Zuko had expected, Azula's face neither showed her previous derision, nor did she reflect any mocking expression. Her tone seemed to be asking sincerely while her eyes had already lost their contempt for him.
Even Iroh felt a bit unnerved when he saw Azula's current state.
A figure dashed across the region and immediately supported the limping Zuko, it was Mai.
Seeing her supporting Zuko in such an affectionate manner, Azula finally frowned. Even though Nik had made certain things clear to her and even managed to help her counter her psychological and emotional trauma, her nature couldn't be so easily changed, not unless, Nik tampered with her mind, which he was unwilling to commit.
"What do you think you are doing, Mai?"
Looking up, Mai gazed at Azula with defiance clear in her eyes.
"Oh? That's a nice look... better than the one when you were watching me and"
Mai immediately shouted out in panic. Her grip around Zuko's shoulder grew tighter while she gritted her teeth in frustration.
"Then, answer me, why are you helping the shame of our nation?
Father might have allowed him to finally enter the capital due to his contributions... but he is neither the Fire Citizen nor the prince.
He is still a trash."
Azula stepped forward, continuing her walk towards Zuko with a cold looked on her face while lightning crackled around her hands, yet, as Iroh was prepared to defend for, no attacks came.
She simply held Mai's hands tightly and let her support over Zuko removed, making him fall on the ground.
Growing closer, Azula simply leaned forward with a slightly devious smile and whispered something into her eyes before Mai visibly paled and then looked at Zuko, and then at Azula with an aggrieved expression.
She then finally bowed her head and left the area while Azula snorted and paced up, following Mai.
"That really felt... stupid."
Brian muttered, standing right behind Iroh, who also nodded in agreement and then sighed, walking up to the defeated prince.
"Elder Iroh... I wish to ask something."
Brian suddenly spoke as Zuko and Iroh looked at him. Of course, a faint smell of charred flesh did escape from Zuko's body, but that wasn't enough to deter Brian.
"I wish to enter the tribe and meet up with Nik... he has some answers and I wish to get them."
Iroh immediately snapped a reply while Zuko scowled in tandem.
"It's not only that, but I don't have enough trust in one of the Princess' men to actually have our own wellbeing in his thoughts...
Unlike how elder Iroh described Princess, she came across as quite the opposite, and it leaves nothing but worry in my heart."
Hearing his explanation, Iroh couldn't help but fall silent.
Azula's change was quite noticeable. While Iroh felt quite gratified by the change, he still worried for his nephew and how this change may end up affecting him.
"Let me think..."
Iroh responded after a thought and then, the duo supported Zuko to his own chambers.