Of Shadows and Fire: Chapter Four




Kurami’s eyes widened for a fraction of a second before the prince flipped her over, switching their positions, with him hovering over her. Her dagger, which he had grabbed in the process, was thrown aside. Zuko’s good eye widened when he realized his would-be assassin was a girl.

She took advantage of his surprise and landed a kick on his well-toned and muscular (not that she was paying attention or anything) torso and managed to push him off. Rolling to her feet, she drew her other dagger and turned to face him, quickly getting her hood out of the way of her eyes.

Zuko blasted fire at her. Years of Black Spirit training kicked in as Kurami dodged all of them easily. Knowing she had one chance with this, she threw the knife at him, straight at his heart.

Apparently, he had fast reflexes as well. He slid out of the path of the knife which embedded itself into the wall behind him. Cursing under her breath, Kurami analyzed the situation. One dagger is behind him. Unreachable; that would be suicide. The other is a few meters to my left, but if I went for it, it would leave me vulnerable, armor or not.

Only one option left then.

As he sent more fire at her, Kurami threw up a wall in front of her. It blocked the blast, but dissipated on contact. She swung a punch at him. The prince ducked under her fist, slipping behind her and catching her upper arms in a strong grip. She drove her elbow into his side, simultaneously swinging her right leg around, knocking him to the floor.

Kurami was getting nervous. She never had to fight her targets before, just any guards that might be in the way. Then again, her targets were never the banished Fire Prince. Outside the room, she could hear movement; some guards must have heard the disturbance. She cursed again, just as the prince landed a well-placed punch to her stomach.

Rule Three: Never let your guard down. That was one of the seven most vital rules taught to her by her mother. She berated herself for forgetting as she landed against the wall. The shadowbender struggled to her feet, breathing hard. Her hair was nearly out of its braid, messy strands falling around her face. Her wrist and arms would definitely have bruises later.

Prince Zuko looked a little worse for wear too. He was breathing hard too, his shirtless chest covered in sweat. She was slightly pleased to note large, purple bruises forming from her kick earlier.

“Ready to give up?” he asked. Kurami shook her head.

Rule six: Never, ever give up during a mission, she thought. She ran at the prince, grim determination in her eyes.


Zuko watched the assassin run at him, half amused and half irritated. He had heard her land on the floor of his cabin, wondering how she got in without breaking the glass. That was, until he had seen her throw up a wall of shadows during their battle.

He knew about the Shadowbenders; it was one of his favorite stories Uncle had told him when he was younger. He was told they were mostly forgotten, but had existed near the time when other benders came into existence. Zuko had thought they were just myths, until he saw the girl.

The assassin’s hair was a mess, black armor slightly askew from the impact of smacking into the wall. Her eyes, an intriguing shade of violet mixed with blue, shone with determination. She was a good fighter; his ribs still hurt from where she elbowed him earlier, and he knew there was a large bruise from her boot.

She swung her fist at him again. He blocked the punch with his left hand, and twisted her arm behind her back. He caught her other arm as it tried to land a blow on him. The assassin struggled, but Zuko tightened his grip, making her wince.

Putting his lips close to her ear, he whispered, “Nice try,” and jabbed two fingers into the side of her neck. She went limp in his arms, unconscious. It was an old trick Ty Lee had taught him as a child, when she was first learning her dim mak techniques. Zuko staggered slightly because of the weight of her armor, but managed to lift her into his arms.

Easing his way out of the room, he made his way to a spare cabin, not far from his. He managed to get her armor off, and laid her on the small bed. She wouldn’t be able to escape; she would be unconscious for hours, and the punch to her stomach had stopped her bending, at least for a short while. The tired prince walked away from the door, locking it, and then told two guards to keep watch and alert him if anything happened. Zuko walked back to his room, flopping himself down on his pallet.

He would tell his uncle about their new guest in the morning. After he got some sleep.


I’m not very good at writing fight scenes, but I hope you can imagine it anyway.

Just a tidbit about why Zuko was gentle with Kurami: She may have tried (and failed) to kill him, but he still has enough chivalry in him to be gentle with women (Azula not included). Also, he was too tired to go down to the dungeons with a knocked-out Kurami, weighed down by armor.

I have it in my head that Ty Lee and Zuko were somewhat close as kids, as long as Azula wasn’t around. Hence, the little pressure points lesson.


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