4 Chapter 3: The Confrontation

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Having finished with the threats, Azula moves away from the mirror, leaving her chambers. The spirit remained silent, confirming the princess ' guess.

Emerging from her chambers in nothing but her dressing gown and slippers, the Princess made her way noiselessly through the vast corridors of the palace, deftly avoiding the patrolling guards that she did not want to be seen in such an inappropriate way. The demon remained silent, watching her every move. Azula understood a lot from a little conversation with the spirit. She had no intention of forgiving attempts to take over her body, and she wasn't even going to think about putting up with an outsider in her mind and body, no matter what he offered her. Since the unknown demon didn't have the strength to take over her body earlier, then she has time to find a way to get rid of it. The palace library held a wealth of knowledge, including various spirits and stories of people who met them. That's where she was headed. Fortunately, since childhood, as a child, she learned the time and routes of patrolling, so she did not meet the guards all the way.

There were a couple of yawning guards standing at the library's entrance, who snapped into proper shape as she approached. Without any problems, the princess entered the temple of knowledge hidden in the darkness, quietly closed the door behind her, and lit the lamps. Blue flames lit up numerous shelves full of books and scrolls. In them, she hoped to find a way, or at least a hint of it, to get rid of the extra voice in her head. The demon guessed the princess ' purpose and made itself felt again.

"Books, scrolls, parchments, and other lore... you've read all of them, or most of them. You won't find what you're looking for in this place. Here you will find only disappointment, a waste of time and effort, and the latter is very valuable."

Azula ignored the demon's voice as she strode through the library, searching for the right books and scrolls. Yes, she knew a lot, and had read most of the contents of the palace library. She even knew the location of some secret books and non-public scrolls. Perfectly oriented, the girl walked among the shelves of books, stopping in front of one unremarkable bookcase. He picks up one of the books, quickly flips through its pages, and puts it back.

"Read more slowly, I'm not in a hurry, but you should," the demon said after the first book, which Azula quickly flipped through, remembering its contents.

The demon's words were routinely ignored, and the princess reached for another book.

So time flew by. The princess, oblivious to all her needs, such as sleeping or eating, searched for any mention of spirits in the books, to the frequent snide comments of the demon, who was rarely silent for more than a minute. The books changed in the hands of the girl who, without paying attention to the time, continued to search for the necessary information.

However, everything she came across was not what she needed. Her knowledge of various spirits didn't help, since the other person didn't introduce himself, and she couldn't tell from his actions who he was or what particular type of spirit he belonged to. Azula didn't give up. From time to time, she came across something useful and new for herself, which she had previously taken for useless information.

Spirits are beings from the spirit world that exists parallel to the human world. Most of them live in their own world, but sometimes, for various reasons, some of them invade the human world. There are different kinds of spirits: animals, plants, people, or even abstract concepts. Some were hostile to people, some were not, it depends entirely on the spirit. Basically, spirits were divided into light and dark, but what are the differences between these types was not written, as well as any ways to resist them.

All this Azula learned in one of the very old scrolls, which she had not read before, considering the information useless. The same scroll also casually mentioned a variety of abilities found in spirits, some of which could be possessed by humans. The latter was what Azula was most interested in, except…

"How little you have gained by spending almost an entire night," ironically remarked the inner spirit that curiously followed all the actions of the princess, seeing through her eyes everything that she saw.

"People don't know anything about us, ah..." the demon feigned a mournful sigh: "What a pity that the Avatar is not there, he would have solved your problem without any problems. Probably he-he-he-he... " the demon added at last, laughing ominously at his own irony.

The parasite felt superior, but it wasn't for long, there were people in the capital who had knowledge at their disposal that wasn't even mentioned in the palace library. Azula did not despair at all, still sincerely believing that she could, if not make the spirit suffer, at least get rid of it without any problems. Without feeling the slightest bit tired, she headed back to her quarters. Looking in the window on the way to determine the time by the morning sun.

A blue sky, slowly creeping clouds and a light wind carrying a pleasant smell of the street and nature. The princess paid no attention to all this splendor, glancing briefly at the rising sun, and continued on her way.

"What a beautiful morning! You know, you're holding up well, but how long will you last? " The spirit remarked in a joyful voice, not feeling any fatigue.

She once again decided to ignore him, perhaps if she didn't pay attention to his words, he would at least shut up, or even leave her body altogether? However, it was too naive to think about it in this way, and the girl never suffered from naivety.

She was almost to her own quarters, still dodging the patrolling guards, when she saw Paul approaching.

Azula manages to put her hands out and not flatten out right down the hall, bruising her nose. It wasn't until she was on the floor that she realized that she had suddenly stumbled on her feet! This had never happened to her before! She quickly recalled the strange sensation in her leg before collapsing on the floor in one of the palace's corridors.

"Oops ... I inadvertently, heh-heh-heh-heh," this time, the demon's drawling voice unwittingly sent shivers down the princess ' spine.

The realization that she couldn't fully control her body made Azula truly terrified. Crumbs of fear began to fill the princess's heart, as well as the possible consequences of such an escapade of the spirit. Training sparring, real combat, routine workdays, eating food, and that's only if the demon doesn't gain even more influence over her... and if it does. The princess's heart felt true fear for the first time in its life.

It was only after performing a breathing exercise that Azula was able to pull herself together and quickly reach her chambers. By focusing your entire mind on controlling your own body.

"You" she glared at her own reflection, her lips pressed tight, her brows drawn together in a menacing frown, her eyes glittering gold that flashed like lightning, and she was ready to kill and burn, but the enemy was out of reach.

"yeah. I did it. Did you think you could just threaten a spirit and it wouldn't do anything in return? How much has the tone of your voice changed, I think you've already realized how much power I have over you? Let me voice your thoughts: an accidental misfire in a training battle that will last a lifetime, like your brother's scar, or a small bone that accidentally went down the wrong throat, or maybe indecent behavior in a very serious society? You know the consequences of the latter perfectly well from the example of your own brother."

"I'll get rid of you!" Azula replies with real hatred, squeezing the mirror frame until it cracks, threatening to break it.

"Maybe, but you know, a person can go a little over ten days without sleep. As soon as you fall asleep, I'll take control of your body. A princess who jumped off the roof of a palace and was left crippled, it will be fun."

«You're lying! You won't dare harm your future body!» she instantly saw through the demon's latest lie, feeling a tiny bit of her own superiority.

"Yes, that would be a bit silly of me," the spirit admitted easily in response to her statement, before continuing just as easily.

"Instead, I can run around the palace naked, or seduce several guards at once, oh! Thought of it! I will publicly insult your father! I'll destroy your reputation! I'll make you an outcast like..."

"Shut up!" Don't you dare compare me…

"...to your brother, whom you despise so much. It would be very funny and would not harm my plans in the least, in some places it would even play into my hands. Of course, a scar on your face doesn't make a lady look beautiful, but I don't care about your appearance."

"I-I'll destroy you!" The princess promised, her lips twitching, her whole body twitching. No, it wasn't convulsions, but a barely contained rage that made her body shake. The desire to burn had never burned so brightly in Azul.

"Breathe, breathe, calm down. Need…

"Stop talking out loud, it will be considered even more insane. I think I heard the guard... " the demon added. This time, she listened to the demon's words, continuing to breathe in silence until she regained control of her emotions. Calming down, the girl looked at herself in the mirror, wanting to clean up, she habitually took off her robe, taking a quick look at the mirror.

"The shape is not bad, thank you for the performance, show off in front of the mirror one more time, I didn't see everything," the demon's words habitually added fuel to the princess's hatred that she had to stop at the closet and resume breathing techniques. This time, genius played a bad role, allowing Azula to realize how many times an unknown demon might have watched her naked in front of a mirror during that week.

The interlocutor perfectly exasperated, forcing his victim to feel his weakness, spend energy on controlling emotions, and get helplessly angry... She understood his purpose almost immediately. Weaken her, do everything possible to make her start making mistakes. There was nothing Azula could do about it, all she could do was breathe and imagine what she would do to the thing if it were human. Would you have killed him personally? No, too merciful. She would have made him an invalid, deprived him of two legs and one arm, and sent him to prison. No. Personally tortured him, enjoying every second of the creature's pain! I would build a prison for one prisoner!

While thinking about her retribution, Azula performed a breathing technique to regain control of her emotions. Mental images of the other person's torture helped. The spirit tried to talk, telling her more and more ways to destroy the princess ' usual life. She tried to ignore it, holding images of torture in her mind, physical, psychological, long and painful.

"Did I mention that you have beautiful breasts? It's so soft and feels good in the palm of your hand, it was nice to touch it," the princess's hand by itself, without her will, crawled under the robe, massaging the mentioned breast.

"no!" hitting the hand that tried to open the newly worn robe against her will, regains control of the body.

Azula cursed everything and knew that he was right. Summoning all her strength, strained beyond endurance, she went to the staff of her maids.

The corridor flew by unnoticed. The maids were already waiting for her outside their quarters. Deciding not to break out of her usual behavior, Azula went to the hot springs. Where she once again provoked the demon to make vulgar comments. Ignoring the spirit's repeated words, which would have gotten a man pointedly killed in a duel at best, she quickly finished her business. When he returns to the maids, he lets them start tidying her up. Doing her best to make sure that the demon couldn't take control of any part of her body, even the smallest, even for a moment. Azula was so focused on what she was doing that she gave up her favorite dessert, pitted cherries.

"You're holding up quite well, but your condition has already been suspected, and you promised a couple of guards a sparring match today, won't you keep your word? Little liar, heh-heh-heh-heh, " the spirit reminded her of another problem, but there was still time before the meeting with the guilty guards, and she was going to spend it usefully. And the day was just beginning…

Clad in armor and kept in perfect condition by her maids, the princess skipped her training this morning. Instead, she decided to visit a place that contained far more knowledge than the palace library. There was a fire sage who needed to be questioned. The one who performed the ritual that she still has to put up with. Fortunately, the sage lived in the capital, so getting to him was not a problem. Everything would have been perfect if only one voice hadn't commented on everything Azula saw.

"A palanquin? Are you afraid to get your boots dirty on the rabble? Or do you dislike the sight of your subjects? It's a pity, I would like to see the capital of your country. On the very slaves who are forced to endure the wretched rule of your cowardly father" - another insult to the spirit went unanswered. Only the gnashing of teeth showed how much effort it had cost Azula.

The princess climbed into her vehicle, going to one of the temples located in the capital. She hadn't liked this method of transportation before, but it was the only one that was her status. As she focused on controlling her body now, she expected any trick or foul play from the spirit, ignoring everything it said. Fortunately for her, the journey to the Fire Sage Temple didn't cause any problems.

"A beautiful building, you can immediately see the style, I wonder how it was built? Maybe you know the answer? Oh right, how do you know him..."

There was no time or desire to admire the grand architecture of the building. After ordering the servants to wait outside, she entered the temple. It wasn't difficult to find the elder she needed, and it didn't take long.

"Your Highness," with that, the old man displayed a perfect bow that befitted his status. Azula met him in one of the corridors of the temple.

"What brings you to the Temple of the Fire Sages?"

"Another waste of time. Never mind, I'll wait for you to realize, I'm in no hurry. Watching your despair will be an unforgettable experience, " said the spirit that was habitually ignored.

"I recently read a book about spirits. However, the information contained in the book did not satisfy my curiosity. You might be able to fix it," the princess lied without batting an eye. On the way to this temple, she thought through several stories, despite the constant nagging of the spirit that tried to stop her.

"Of course. The fire sages know a lot about various spirits, and our temple has a lot of knowledge about them. Can I tell you something specific or provide you with a list of necessary literature?" The Sage replied calmly.

"Most of all, I was interested in spirits that can take over people. Do you know anything about it?" Azula asks, not showing too much interest, as if her life doesn't depend on this information.

"Hmm? May I ask..." the old man was confused that he did not expect such a question. But before he could finish his sentence, he was quickly put in place by the princess ' stern voice.

"I asked you a question, sage," the oppressive look perfectly demonstrated what was wanted of him. The old man could only lower his gaze and bow his head.

"Yes, Princess. I know something about it. Some spirits can actually enter people's bodies. Their victims are called possessed. Sometimes the spirits absorb the real personality of the body, turning the person into a real monster" the old man continued in a somewhat guilty tone, not understanding what was being asked of him.

"A monster?"

"Yes. This is due to the presence of two souls. Two souls cannot fit in one body, so even the slightest presence of an extra spirit in the body will inevitably change it, making it a monster at best, and at worst it will simply kill it, distorting the body beyond recognition. Even if the spirit is weak and harmless, the effects of possession will be visible on the person's body."

"I want to know as much as I can about this," Azula says, showing an outward calm, even though a hell of feelings were raging inside her.

"My memory is not so perfect, and sages rarely deal with spirits. Let me give you a list of the necessary books and scrolls? I can also send hawks with your orders to search for similar information to other temples, but that will take time."

"Yes, do that. However, I wish to review all available information as soon as possible. I have too much to do in the palace for me to devote my time to it. I hope it doesn't take too long."

"No, no, Your Highness. Should I accompany you to the temple library, or should I bring the necessary scrolls to the palace?"..

Feeling the advantage over the hostile spirit, Azula's mood began to improve. Confirming her hunch, the spirit was pointedly silent. Soon she would be rid of the demon and live the normal life of a princess in the best country in the world.

When she went to the temple library with the sage, she was sure that she would soon defeat the unknown demon…

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