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Retroactive is a fanfiction story (actually, more along the lines of a novel) by Loopy777, a prolific author of Avatar: The Last Airbender fanfiction. The story starts as a kind of mystery, and eventually evolves into an Action/Adventure Psychological Thriller, all sprinkled lightly with implied Horror elements. The author considers the very premise of the story a spoiler, and recommends trying the first four relatively short chapters, and then deciding from there if the surprise and situation is worth further reading. What is given away is that the main story stars Suki and Azula, with Sokka, Ty Lee, and some original characters carrying subplots.

What's revealed in the first big twist is that the 'Suki' who has been the POV character up to that point is actually Princess Azula of the Fire Nation. She has no memory of how she wound up living someone else's life, and embarks on a long and hard journey to uncover the truth. Along the way, she becomes embroiled in an even wider conspiracy for control of the former Fire Nation colonies, perpetrated by a mysterious enemy referred to as the "Invisible Hand" by Sokka and the rest of the gAang.

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It can be found here on Fan Fiction.net,here on DeviantArt, and here on Archive of Our Own.

One fan created a three-page manga adaptation of the first half of the prologue, which can be found here.

Not related the the Def Leppard album of the same name.


Late-Arrival Spoiler Warning: Retroactive thrives on mystery and dramatic reveals, so to avoid most of the page being invisible until highlighted, all but the most elusive SPOILERS are discussed without warning below. Not reading these tropes is highly suggested for those who have not read the story and want to enjoy it as intended.


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Provides Examples Of:

  • Action Bomb: Azula uses something like this to fight the security forces in the factory in Yang City.
  • Actor Allusion: After Azula sees that there are more impersonators of her being made, she says, "Someone is mass-producing me?!" Long Feng's immediate reply (which reveals his role to the readers) is "Not someone. Me." That's the exact line uttered by Clancy Brown- Long Feng's voice actor in the original cartoon- as Lex Luthor for the Bizarro origin episode of Superman: The Animated Series, after Lois Lane discovers that "someone" is making clones of Superman. Word of God says it's deliberate.
  • A Day in the Limelight: One chapter is devoted entirely to Dong Min, detailing his career and how his work was taken over by the Dai Li. It's treated as a separate short story existing outside the main narrative, but it's actually included as a chapter right in the middle of the narrative. Word of God says this was inspired by how IDW uses the "Spotlight" comics to supplement the ongoing stories in their ongoing Transformers series.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Even the new Azula, despite her crimes, considers her pre-brainwashed to be horrifying. The first time she even takes action according to what "the real Azula" would do, she considers herself a monster.
  • And I Must Scream: Long Feng's brainwashing of Azula is portrayed symbolically, with Azula trapped in unending darkness for what feels like an eternity while an infinite army hammers away at the castle walls that represent her last mental defenses. It nearly breaks her completely, and does succeed in planting Long Feng's programming.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Sokka tries this when he finally meets up with Azula again. She doesn't accept it.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: The Invisible Hand's method for dealing with Dong Min and Mayor Morishita.
  • The Atoner: Azula and Meisai.
  • Ax-Crazy: SHINGYUNG. Although she puts on a facade of a seductive spiritualist, Shingyung was raised by the Fire Nation to be a violence-craving weapon. Her final fight with Azula, in which she crucifies the Firebender, shows just how far Shingyung takes this.
  • Battle Couple: Azula and Sokka, despite their relationship difficulties. But then, the fate of the world is up for grabs, here.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: Azula subjects herself to one in an attempt to clear out all the lingering problems from her brainwashings. Despite being fairly trippy, it works.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Bosco, after Azula is forced to assassinate the Earth King.
  • Beary Friendly: Bosco again, after Azula's apology and promise that she'll get the one truly responsible.
  • Bedlam House: Averted with "The Home" where Azula is committed. Considering the time periods that the Avatar world reflects, it's a fairly nice place with bright decorations that allows the patients to move around and engage in activities, but Sokka still finds it creepy despite the sympathy he feels for the patients.
  • Benevolent Boss: Long Feng may be a liar, a manipulator, and once even killed a subordinate who failed him, but he keeps his agreements and pays his debt to Toru and Meisai.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the apparent ending, Azula is dead, Ty Lee is too broken by events to stick around, and the gAang has failed to make the country that the former colonies are becoming into a fair, self-governing place. There are a few bright spots, but things look pretty bad until the Epilogue...
  • Blatant Item Placement: When the final battle beings, the first mook who Sokka takes down just so happens to be carrying a jian sword he can confiscate.
  • Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: The pro-Fire Nation colonists who Shingyung has organized.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Azula turns out to have been programmed to kill the Earth King, and succeeds. Also, all of the "Victims" are woman who have been brainwashed to think that they're Azula and do violent works in her name.
  • Broad Strokes: How Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise is referenced, due to the author's distaste for it.
  • The Bus Came Back: Meisai and Toru prove not to be the one-shot characters they seemed and return as pawns of Long Feng.
  • Bullying a Dragon: In Yang City, a drunk tries to break into a room in a flophouse where a bunch of defenseless women are staying... and Azula emerges to greet him. The narration describes what happens next as "the most professional beating he would ever likely receive."
    • In the epilogue, there is a brief scene in which a woman in Republic City is mugged. Unfortunately for the mugger, this woman had been given lessons in self-defense by Azula, and he winds up grateful for being arrested.
  • Butch Lesbian: Meisai has a shaved head and dresses like a man. Azula doesn't seem to know how to react when Meisai flirts with her.
  • Callback: Most of Azula's flashes of memory from before her brainwashing reference events and scenes from the original cartoon.
    • In the epilogue, there is a brief scene in which a woman in Republic City is mugged. The narration evokes the scene from the beginning of the story when Mianju is kidnapped by Long Feng's Dai Li, but this time, the woman uses self-defense techniques she learned from Azula, and her attacker winds up grateful for the police when they arrive.
  • Catch-Phrase: "Less than perfect is less than acceptable."
  • The Chessmaster: Long Feng turns out to be the "Invisible Hand" who has been causing trouble in the colonies, and is responsible for Azula's troubles.
  • Choke Holds: Azula's preferred method for stealthily dealing with enemies she doesn't wish to kill. The portrayal has them as universally successful, but notes that it does take time for the victim to pass out, and in some cases Azula has to do some work to get around armor in order to properly perform the hold.
  • Cliffhanger: The author loves ending chapters like this. You can always tell when someone is really dead, because their fate will be made clear just before the chapter ends.
  • Clone by Conversion: "The Victims" are all normal woman who have been given plastic surgery to look like Azula, and brainwashed to believe themselves to be her.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Azula and Sokka, both.
  • Conspiracy Thriller
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Near the end of their big confrontation, Shingyung crucifies Azula to a wooden beam with blades of ice, and then raises it up on a pillar of ice for all to see.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Azula versus the Kyoshi Warriors (helped by the fact that she had surprise on her side), and the final battle between Long Feng and Azula, although it turns out she was losing on purpose.
  • Dangerous Deserter: Meisai, and all the other Fire Nation deserters who eventually became rebels in the colonies. As Fire Lord, Zuko has put bounties on all of them and has his loyal forces actively hunting for them.
  • Dark Action Girl: Azula and Shingyung
  • Darkest Hour: Comes right after Azula assassinates the Earth King. She's in the thrall of Long Feng's brainwashing with her own hand try to kill her, she's trapped in the palace with the body of her unintended victim, every guard on the premises is descending on her position, and Bosco has just arrived looking for revenge. Things look pretty dire before Bosco decides to show mercy.
  • Death Faked for You: Meisai and Ty Lee fake Azula's death and smuggle her comatose body out of Yu Dao, then hold a fake funeral.
  • Determinator: Azula, big time! Brainwashing, betrayal, conspiracies, backstabbings, crucifixion, and rampaging bears all can't stop her.
  • Disposable Vagrant: Long Feng claims that once his supply of former Ju Dee's was used up, he started kidnapping young homeless women for use as Azula's impostors.
  • Distant Finale: The epilogue takes place decades later, around the same time as the flashback from The Legend of Korra with Aang and Yakone.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Shingyung against her original master, once she met the Invisible Hand.
  • The Dragon: Shingyung to the Invisible Hand.
  • Dreaming the Truth: 'Suki' starts the story talking about nightmares in which she's strapped down in a dark room and has her heart pulled out by an angry Azula, referencing the brainwashing she can't remember and the 'Azula' personality that's struggling to get out.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Part of Azula's plan to infiltrates the Earth King's palace. Also, the Dai Li in Yu Dao dress up as members of the White Lotus to get close to Azula.
  • Easily Forgiven: Azula forgives Toru for betraying her to Long Feng, but Justified Trope in that she's learned by that point what can drive people to do such things, and she also needs his help to get her true revenge on Long Feng. Subverted with Toru's daughter, Meisai, who takes longer to get over the fact that her father went behind her back and put her in danger by dealing with Long Feng.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • Easy Evangelism: Azula's recruitment speeches work a little too easily, although she did similar things in the original cartoon.
  • Enemy Mine: Azula teams up with the gAang who brainwashed her to defeat the Invisible Hand.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Not only is Azula a Princess, per the original cartoon, but the story plays up the "Princess of Fire" title, even including it in the spoken brainwashing.
  • Evil Hand: After Azula is forced to assassinate the Earth King by Long Feng's brainwashing, another set of programming kicks in that has her own right hand draw a knife and try to kill her. She can only keep it down with strong focus, and even that is only possible because of the 'help' she received from the portion of her mind that is still Suki.
  • Evil Mentor: Shingyung tries to fill this role for Azula as they journey to meet the Invisible Hand.
  • Fake Memories: Azula's life as 'Suki.'
  • Faking the Dead: Azula fakes her death with help from Meisai and Ty Lee, and goes on to live a nomadic life as a traveling hero.
  • Failed a Spot Check: The reason why Azula was able to infiltrate the Earth King's palace. Despite all the guards, they were unprepared for someone who had already infiltrated Ba Sing Se, observed the security routines, and loaded up on potential weapons for sale right there in the city. It's implied that this is a result of purging the Dai Li, who normally would have been spying on the populace and both detecting and diffusing those kinds of plots before they could even get to the palace. Of course, Long Feng especially would realize this, hence why he sends Azula to take advantage of that exact weakness.
  • Faux Death: Azula uses the meditation techniques that Iroh and Aang taught her to appear dead.
  • Fighting for a Homeland: The claimed motivation for most of the people involved in the conflict in the former Fire Nation colonies.
  • First-Episode Spoiler: Hoo ha. As described in the spoiler warning above, the character who the story calls "Suki" turns out to actually be Princess Azula, as revealed at the end of the third chapter. It's the first major twist and shock in the story, and the author has frequently lamented that preserving this twist means there's no way to discuss the story without spoiling.
  • Film Noir: Per Word of God, the mysterious nature of the first few acts is meant to evoke a Noir feeling.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: How Sokka fell in love with Azula. He came up with turning her into Suki as a way to save her life, and they wound up falling for each other. The questionable morality of the situation is not ignored.
  • Foil: Meisai and Shingyung to Azula. Per Word of God, both characters are meant to be extreme examples of how Azula is normally portrayed in fanfic- Meisai is a professional solider who truly thought that the Fire Nation's war was for the benefit of the world and has a complicated relationship with her father, while Shingyung is The Vamp and Ax-Crazy. (Both are lesbians.)
  • For Science!: How Dong Min got so involved with the Dai Li's brainwashing techniques. As his sense of guilt increased, he tried to assauge his bad feelings by saying, "The gain to science could not be ignored."
  • Foreshadowing: Quite a bit, since the author planned the whole story out before writing. Special notes go to the obscure symbolism in Azula's Battle in the Center of the Mind and the meditation abilities that allow her to fake her death.
  • From Bad to Worse: The whole plot. The author has even noted that the first three acts of the story could be grouped as one mega-arc titled "Azula makes increasingly bad decisions."
  • Gambit Pileup: What happens when Azula and the Invisible Hand try to outwit each other, especially once the story settles in the final major location, Yu Dao.
  • Gambit Roulette: Long Feng's plan to lure Azula to his secret base and turn her into his brainwashed assassin is one of these, and he even uses Lampshade Hanging to convince Azula the situation is far too unlikely to be by design! Justified Trope in that Long Feng had devoted considerable financial and human resources towards making sure things worked out.
  • Gender Reveal: Meisai purposefully dresses like a man and allows people to think she is one, and Azula was surprised by the eventual reveal. Meisai's reasonsing is that anyone looking for her for her desertion from the Fire Army and subsequent participation in rebel attacks won't look twice at someone of the opposite gender.
  • Genghis Gambit: Long Feng's ultimate plan for Azula and the former colonies.
  • Glamour Failure When Azula examines one of her impostors closely, she realizes they lack a family resemblance to Zuko and Ozai, proving their artificial nature.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The author uses these to imply horrific violence without going above a Teen rating. When Mianju the Victim is fatally burned, the narration just briefly mentions what's missing, including skin and both hands, but otherwise leaves the details of the injury out. Later, Sokka examines Mianju's body- specifically her Earthbending-shaped bones- but the scene takes place "off-screen" in another room, and the only clue the reader has to how horrible it was is Ty Lee's POV of Sokka's vomiting after the he emerges.
  • Heartbroken Badass: Implied to be part of the reason why 'Suki' is so fast to become Azula, after learning that Sokka has been lying to her about who she really is.
  • Heroic BSoD: During Azula's battle with Bosco, she basically decides to stop fighting after all the damage she's inadvertently caused.
  • Heroic Sacrifice
  • I Have Many Names: How Azula introduces herself to Shingyung when they first meet. Azula eventually picks an alias of 'Chijin,' the name of the Kyoshi Warrior she outsmarted during her escape from Kyoshi Island. Eventually, first impostor gives Azula the new name of 'Azure' as an expression of friendship.
  • Improvised Weapon: Azula breaks into the Earth King's palace using peppery Fire Nation spices, two chemical rags, and three glow-in-the-dark kitty cats.
  • Industrial Ghetto: Yang City, the "tarnished" reflection of Yu Dao where the Fire Nation had factories for its war machines.
  • The Infiltration: Azula in Ba Sing Se.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: The story is very complex, with small details turning out to be significant chapters later, and characters disappearing for chapters at a time. Combine with the increasing length of the chapters, and the story can be punishing for many readers.
  • Just Think of the Potential: Dong Min's early thoughts about "corrective behavior therapy" and how it could cure people of bad habits. Finding out that a more accurate term would be "brainwashing" cures him of his enthusiasm.
  • Kick the Dog: Shingyung with June and Nyla.
  • Kidnapped Scientist: Dong Min is not serving the Invisible Hand willingly. Even after Azula frees him, the very possibility of it happening again drives Dong Min to suicide.
  • Kudzu Plot: Every time Azula gets some answers, a whole new group of questions are brought up, and the cast just keeps growing as the story goes on.
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: Meisai
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The brainwashing science invented by Dong Min for the Dai Li, and used to turn Azula in Suki.
  • Lava Adds Awesome: The bombing mission in Yang City becomes this when the vats of molten metal are spilled.
  • Leaving You to Find Myself: Azula fakes her death so that she could become her own person with a new name.
  • Legendary Impostor: Azula no sooner arrives in the former Fire Nation colonies before she hears rumors how she's been burning the countryside and leading a rebellion. She eventually runs into one of her imposters.
  • Let the Past Burn: When she abandons the 'Suki' identity and escapes Kyoshi Island, Azula sets fire to the Warriors' dojo, the shrine to Avatar Kyoshi, and the statue in the center of town- leading to most of the town catching fire as well.
  • Loss of Identity: Extensively explored throughout the story. Azula's eventual conclusion is that the original is dead, and try as she might, she'll never be the same person.
  • Love Martyr: Sokka in the epilogue. It isn't explicitly stated, but the previous chapter predicted that he would be alone all his life, and when he believes that Azula is alive, he has no problem dropping everything and going to look for her.
  • Madness Mantra: "Her feelings of unease were not important. She had a mission. She had to focus on that."
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: How the imposters were made to look like Azula. It's literally magical, as it's explained that Earthbenders were used to strategically fracture the patients' facial bones and remold them so that they'd look like Azula. Even so, anyone who is very familiar with her or the features of the Royal Fire Family can tell the difference.
  • Man on Fire: Mianju/The Victim is burned fatally when the "Flare Juice" bomb goes off in her hands, thanks to Azula's misaimed fireball.
  • Manchurian Agent: Of the classic Dai Li variety, and Azula turns out to have been turned into one when she was dropped into Ba Sing Se.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Both Azula and the Invisible Hand trying to avoid simply asking someone to do something for them, and when they have to you know that things are dire.
  • Meaningful Rename: Azula has several through the story:
    • She switches from Suki to Azula when she discovers the truth of her past, thus laying claim to it.
    • The Victim renames her "Azure" because of the friendship, and the similarities they share.
    • Not really a rename, but Azula chooses to keep her name even after her Battle in the Center of the Mind, because she'll need the reputation that comes with the name.
    • In the epilogue, Sokka asks Azula's name when they finally meet up again, and she gives him a name that he's never heard before, indicating that she's defined a new life for herself with no connection to her past. The narrative never gives the name, and Word of God says it's been left to readers to imagine.
  • Mind-Control Conspiracy: Dai Li techniques are in play, after all. And Long Feng himself is the one using them to take over the world.
  • Mind Screw: Azula's "dream" sequence, when she's trying to heal her mind. It gets pretty trippy.
  • The Mole: Mayor Morishita.
  • Mood Whiplash: In a tense and dramatic sequence, Azula escapes the burning factory in Yang City with a dying imposter on her back by using her Firebending to rocket up the factory wall and go leaping out of a window situated high above the ground- and then Azula gets outside and realizes she is indeed high above the ground and can't fly with her current level of Firebending power. Cue gravity making its presence known.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Professor Dong Min of Ba Sing Se University, 'inventor' of the science behind the Dai Li's brainwashing techniques.
  • Motifs: Expression of identity, and dreams. The legend of the "Agni Warrior" is also mentioned continuously.
  • The Mourning After: Sokka's reaction to Azula's apparent death.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Azula after Kyoshi Island and the Earth King's death. Dong Min for inventing the Dai Li's brainwashing science.
  • Name's the Same: Yang City and Gene Yang, author of Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise. Per Word of God, this was unintentional.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! Azula's opinion of the deal the gAang made to turn the former Fire Nation colonies into independent city states with no way of policing or controlling the lawless lands in between, never mind the lack of checks against corruption in the cities themselves.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Azula is able to assemble an army in short order because of all the terror groups Long Feng had already set up in service to her imposters.
  • Nitro Express: The "Flare Juice" that Shingyung's rebel team intends to turn into a bomb. This does not end well.
  • Noble Fugitive: Azula, Princess of Fire.
  • Nobody Thinks It Will Work: The gAang's response to Sokka's romance with 'Suki,' to the point where Sokka goes to pains to keep it secret.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: Averted, for The Victim/Mianju, and Long Feng.
  • Official Couple Ordeal Syndrome: Oh, Sokka and Azula.
  • Only Friend: Azula's eventual relationship with Meisai.
  • Ontological Mystery: Azula's arrival in Ba Sing Se. She has no idea how she got there, and can't remember how she precisely arrived at the conclusion that she needed to continue her investigations there.
  • Pair the Smart Ones: Sokka's thinking skills are played up, and of course Azula is at her analytical best.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: After she frees herself from their brainwashing, Azula sets out to specifically murder Long Feng and Shingyung, and has no problem killing any of their followers who won't defect to her side. When she's recruiting amongst the rebel groups in the colonies, she specifically has her soldiers *not* offer surrender to one group that had just completed a civilian slaughter.
  • Pet the Dog: Azula goes out of her way to treat her impersonators well and save their lives. Also, Toru with Nyla.
  • Psychological Horror: One day, the worst man in the world shows up in your house and proves that your entire life and all your memories are a lie. And you have no idea who's in on it, but it seems like everyone you ever loved has been lying to you.
  • Pygmalion Snap Back: Left ambiguous- did Suki snap back when she learned she was Azula, did she always have that capability within her in a desperate enough situation, or was she trying to act like her own conception of Azula?
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The final battle in Yu Dao. Most of Azula's army has been slaughtered, much of the city has been burned down and has to be rebuilt, and because the gAang failed to turn Azula over for Earth Kingdom justice, the leadership there will use it as an excuse to not allow the new United Republic to govern itself, instead assembling the council we saw in The Legend of Korra made up foreign appointees.
  • Quest for Identity: The whole plot.
  • Rays from Heaven: When Azula is being brainwashed by Long Feng, she experiences the process as a visual metaphor based on shadow and darkness. When the 'Suki' personality steps in to preserve the last shreds of Azula's willpower, she appears as rays of sunlight breaking through the dark.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The Earth King. Specifically, the 53rd Earth King, after Kuei is assassinated.
  • Reluctant Mad Scientist: Dong Min comes to regret his role in creating the Dai Li's brainwashing techniques, and he's obviously not fully on board with the Invisible Hand's agenda.
  • Remembered I Could Fly: Inverted. Azula escapes the burning Yang City factory through an upper story window with rocket-like Firebending, and then realizes that her Firebending power does not give her the ability to fly.
  • Replacement Goldfish: The new Earth King gives up his name and is simply known as the 53rd Earth King, per the established lore of the Earth Kingdom. Averted for 'Suki,' as it turns out there was never any such woman, and the identity was invented wholesale for Azula, making this story an AU to the cartoon.
  • Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: Iroh says this is what happened with Azula's childhood under Ozai.
  • Send in the Clones: The Victims.
  • Sexy Walk: Shingyung, per Azula's observations. She walks with grace and swaying hips, and Word of God says that this is a deliberate affection that's part of Shingyung's seductive facade.
  • Shadow Archetype: Shingyung to Azula.
  • Shame If Something Happened: How Long Feng basically subverts Mayor Morishita to his cause- having proven that the entire plot of Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise and Kori's role in it were all caused by him.
  • Shout-Out: To The Magnificent Seven and A Fistful of Dollars in the epilogue.
  • Spanner in the Works: The reason why Azula specifically wanted Ty Lee to stay by her side when going to attend her trial in Yu Dao, because she figured Long Feng wouldn't have anticipated the hippy acrobat's talents and way of looking at the world.
  • Spy Speak: The 'smoke signals' conversations between former Fire Nation soldiers in the Earth Kingdom and the colonies.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Sokka and Azula. The author even used John Williams' "Across the Stars" as an inspiration for their scenes together.
  • Surgical Impersonation: How Azula's impersonators are created, and even though it's not perfect, it's good enough to fool most of the world.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Meisai and all the other former Fire Nation soldiers. The sections from their POV reveal that they bought into the Fire Nation's propaganda of fighting to bring civilization to the world, and they resent Zuko for claiming that they lack honor. Azula makes use of this for her own ends.
  • Taking You with Me: How Azula gets Shingyung to heal her with Waterbending at the end of their big fight.
  • Tell Me About My Father: Azula to Meisai, unique in that Meisai never actually met Ozai, but she can offer a soldier's perspective on his leadership as Fire Lord.
  • Title Drop: "What you did... it killed Azula. It wiped out who she was. All those memories are gone forever. That history might as well not have happened. The changes you made to her were retroactive; you didn’t just cover up a history, your work crept into the past to destroy it."
  • Tomato in the Mirror: 'Suki' realizes that she's actually Azula, someone she had assumed was a completely separate person, and that her entire life is an artificial construct.
  • Trap Is the Only Option: Azula going into the convocation building in Yu Dao; she has already figured out that it's where Long Feng will make his next move against her, but she underestimates the extent of the trap and winds up having to scramble to keep up with her opponent.
  • Traumatic Haircut: As part of her plan to escape Kyoshi Island, Azula knocks out Ty Lee, cuts off her hair, and uses it to make a crude disguise for herself, so that a quick glance won't reveal to the other Kyoshi Warriors that Azula is leading them on a wild goose chase. Throughout the rest of the story, Ty Lee runs her hands through her shorter hair whenever she gets nervous.
  • Trigger Phrase: Long Feng programs Azula with a whole list of names and phrases likely to come up in her conversation with the Earth King. It's specifically "Dong Min" and "Dai Li" that activate the assassination programming.
  • Tsundere: Azula for Sokka. She still feels love for him, but knows intellectually she can't and shouldn't trust him, given his role in the whole 'Suki' conspiracy, so she keeps him at arm's length through word and action.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: More like "Two Lines, Some Wating." Azula's story is the main plot, but between each Act is an interlude catching the reader up on Sokka and Ty Lee's progress in their subplot.
  • Tyke Bomb: Azula and Shingyung's history.
  • The Unfettered: Discussed as being the key to the original Azula's successes, thanks to her upbringing.
  • Unfriendly Fire: Azula's Firebending ignites the 'Flare Juice' in the bombs intended for the factory in Yang City, and the resulting explosion ends up fatally injuring Mianju/The Victim.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The whole story is written in tight 3rd-person POV, so that each character's voice and views color the narration. This can be especially creepy after Azula is brainwashed by Long Feng and she's unknowingly doing his bidding, completely unaware of the madness mantra that keeps repeating in her head to keep her from questioning the situation.
  • The Un Reveal: Azula's new name, in the epilogue.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Long Feng's plans for Azula in Ba Sing Se, and Azula's plan to win the day in Yu Dao.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Azula herself becomes one to Long Feng, not having realized that she was brainwashed and dropped off in Ba Sing Se to assassinate the Earth King. Azula thinks she's still investigating how she wound up as Suki, and assumes that the blank spots in her memory are a side-effect of that process.
  • Villain Episode: Dong Min's sidestory, detailing his career and how he came to be involved with the Dai Li, and later Azula.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: The guiding strategy for Long Feng's entire plan. He knows he'll never be accepted or forgiven by those who knew him in Ba Sing Se, but he plans to create a new reputation as the Hero who defeated Azula in order to ride a wave of public approval into a powerful position in the colonies.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Long Feng suffers a small one when he learns that Azula survived Ba Sing Se, and then again when he learns that Azula killed Shingyung. Both times, he manages to bounce back and come up with contingency plans that are dangerously effective.
  • Walking Spoiler: Azula herself. The initial summaries for the story refer to Suki as the main character, and she is in a way, but only because the 'Suki' who starts the story is really Azula. Not spoiling the first few chapters would leave this entire page covered in spoiler tags! Long Feng also qualifies.
  • Walking the Earth: Azula in the epilogue.
  • Wall Run: How Azula escapes from the burning Yang City factory, with the assistance of some Firebending.
  • War Refugees: The rebellions and lawlessness in the colonies has created a new stream of refugees to Earth Kingdom settlements ranging from Ba Sing Se to Kyoshi Island.
  • Was It All a Lie?: What Azula thinks her love with Sokka was, but his memories in the Interlude chapters reveal it was actually real, although grounded in misconceptions.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The people in the former Fire Nation colonies, divided along not just Fire/Earth lines, but also regional differences, class warfare, and even individual opinions. Deliberately engineered by Long Feng so that he can present himself as the best compromise for leadership.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Azula with Sokka and the rest of the gAang.
  • Welcome Back, Traitor: Azula accepts Toru's help even after she realizes that he betrayed her to Long Feng because he helped her escape Ba Sing Se, and she needs his resources to defeat Long Feng himself. Likewise, the gAang accepts her back to help take down Long Feng, putting off seeking any justice for her crimes until the immediate threat is dealt with.
  • Wild Goose Chase: As part of Azula's plan to escape from Kyoshi Island, she disguises herself as Ty Lee, leads the Kyoshi Warriors on a chase into the woods, and then doubles back to the docks.
  • Wham Line: "Your name is Azula, Princess of Fire." The author loves going for these:
    • "Not someone," Long Feng said with a smirk. "Me."
    • "Earth King Kuei. Long Feng sends his greetings. You should have known that no one in the world is beyond his reach."
    • "SUKI, NO!!" when Sokka finally catches up with Azula, after she just executed Shingyung.
    • Finally, giving in to painful sobs, he admitted to himself that Princess Azula- his love and his victim- was dead.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Azula's reaction to Sokka and Ty Lee, when they first meet up, about that whole 'brainwashed to become Suki' thing.
  • You Have Failed Me: Long Feng does this to Mayor Morishita in a fit of rage when he learns that Azula has once again survived their attempts to kill her.
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