Heart of the Dragon General

General Iroh. Fire Nation hero. First born son of Fire Lord Azulan. The Dragon of the West. It was thought he would be the greatest warrior in the history of the Fire Nation. But all that changed when the war claimed his son's life. This changed him, and he turned his back on the war. This was a necessary event. Iroh had a role to play in bringing balance back to the world...but to play that role, he first had to be broken down, so that he could be rebuilt. This truth was self evident in the spirit realm. But one particular spirit felt this was unfair to Iroh. The wheels of fate are cruel to those caught in the gears, but this particular spirit felt that Iroh deserved kindness. And so this spirit sent Iroh one who would help him to rebuild himself. And so, shortly after his son's funeral, Iroh would find a creature sent by the spirits, the likes of which he never would have imagined...a pretty pink pony princess. Somepony to love...and be loved by.


51. Bendy Races

As the race began, Pakku took an early lead as gravity aided his liquid descent, allowing him to pull a good distance ahead of everyone else...until he saw what Bumi had done to the mail system for this event.  The channels no longer went straight down the mountain interconnecting and dividing as they went.  Instead, they now performed occasional loop-de-loops, crisscrossed all over the city, and only came together at the very bottom of the city where the finish line was.  They were as much a maze as a race track, and Bumi was the only one who knew the proper courses.

After that, it looked like Bumi would take the lead, but he wound up being spilled out of his own track as Aang and Zuko leapt tracks, quickly taking the lead as the spinning of their Bending rides allowed them to take the loops without slowing down...although it was somewhat amusing for Aang as he passed Zuko in a loop to hear him mumbling, "Don't look up, don't look up, don't look up..."

"Actually, that's down," Aang pointed out as he zipped by.

"Not helping!" Zuko snapped as he struggled to keep up.

Past the loops, the trio still in the race began to strike out at each other in order to gain more of a lead.  A major difference between Zuko's Fire Skates and Aang's Vacuum Sphere/Air Scooter quickly became apparent as they began the attempts at damaging each others' tracks.  While the Air Scooter required much less physical energy to use and maintain, it required a great deal more focus and balance.  Trying to lash out with Bending while riding could easily cause Aang to overbalance, resulting in spilling himself from the sphere.  While Zuko's Fire Skates were much more physically taxing as he had to constantly race forward, his arms were free to attack while he moved, making them more versatile.

Throughout the city, groups of spectators cheered for their preferred competitor, and excitement ran rampant as the three raced down the mountain, leaping from channel to channel to gain more momentum towards the finish line.

Up near the top, Bumi frowned as he got up from his crash.  "They think they can beat me in a race through my own city on a course I designed?  I'll show them!"  Leaping up, he set his mail trolley on its side and leapt onto it, rolling it forward with his feet and gathering more earth to it as it rolled down the mountainside.  "Na...na na nah na na nah!" he sang out for no apparent reason as an entire side of his city became rolled up in the giant ball of earth.

It wasn't long after that when Bumi crossed the finish line.  "I am victorious!" he proclaimed proudly, only to glance around.  "Where are the other competitors?  And the spectators?"

Swooping down, Momo started chittering at him angrily.

"Oh, there you are, Momo!" Bumi replied happily.  "Impressive victory, wasn't-what do you mean it's a draw?!"  Following Momo's angry gestures, he unrolled the ball of earth slowly, revealing where the vast majority of the competitors and spectators had been trapped - immobilized but otherwise unhurt - within the massive sphere.  "Oopsies?" Bumi offered apologetically.

"...are you sure he's not just mad?" Zuko grunted at Aang.

"...I used to be?" Aang offered worriedly.



After the race fiasco, it was decided that direct physical competitions were not a good idea for diplomatic events.  Instead, Bumi instituted an endless series of parties...and party games, which were arguably more strenuous than the race had been.

At one point, Zuko, Aang, Kuei, Pakku, and Cadence were all collapsed together between one game and the next, struggling to catch their breaths.  "I swear that maniac's going to work us to death," Pakku groaned as he struggled to breathe.

"I can't remember...the last time...I exerted myself so much!" Kuei gasped out.  "I'd feel so alive...if I didn't feel like I was about to die..."

"At this rate...nobody's going to have any energy...for the diplomacy when it comes up..." Aang managed between lungfuls of air.

"Then let's see...what we can cover...while we can still breathe..." Zuko suggested.  "What are...the big sticking points...to peace?"

"C...colonies..." Kuei managed as he took a drink of water Pakku offered him.  "Thanks.  The Colonies can't stay Fire Nation territory."

"Wouldn't be fair to the governors and colonists who've lived there for three or more generations to kick them out," Cadence pointed out as she fanned herself and the others with her wings.

"Then give them to Aang as new Air Nomad settlements," Pakku suggested facetiously.  "Nobody wins, but nobody loses."

"Maybe we should ask them before making arbitrary decisions about them?" Aang suggested.  "Before anyone starts revolting or something?"

"That works," Zuko grunted as he pushed himself to his feet.  "What else?"

"I...heard something about Sozin's dream?" Kuei asked nervously as he got to his feet.

"That's a long story," Zuko replied.  "Long story short, Fire Nation metalwork and technological advancement plus Earth Kingdom resources equals technological revolution improving the lives of everyone on the planet."

"...I can get behind that," Kuei agreed.

"No arguments here," Pakku added.

"I'd like to hear more," Aang confirmed.

"What are you all doing lazing about?" Bumi called out as he bounced over.  "The day's not even half over and you've yet to pin the crown on the king!"  He then laughed madly, snorted, and dashed off.

"...move to hogtie King Bumi so we can settle the rest of the Peace Conference in a relaxed setting?" Kuei brought up.

"Seconded," Pakku agreed rapidly.

"Make it unanimous?" Zuko asked Aang.

"Motion carried," Aang confirmed.



Bumi hung upside down from the top of his city, a mask completely covering his face with only just enough room to breathe, and his entire body wrapped up to the point that he couldn't move, let alone bend.  Oddly enough, he was happy about this, as it meant that the various leaders of this peace delegation had joined together as comrades to accomplish something, and that energy would be the driving force of settling the actual peace treaty since his other activities had already drained them of all other energy so that they were too pooped to fight over inconsequential matters.

Success! Bumi cackled happily to himself as he swung back and forth.  A thought then occurred to him.  "...I have to go to the bathroom..." he called out through the mask.

But nobody came.

"...I think I may have overlooked a couple of details..." he muttered to himself.

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