An outcast from the southern water tribe named Kuruk arrives in Ba Sing Se with hopes of returning to society. Soon after setting foot into the city, he finds work with the BeiFong family. Mai, the head butler of the BeiFong family, hires Kuruk as a bodyguard for BeiLin.
The main group parts ways in the morning after awakening from the frightful dream. BeiLin and Lakoda make their way to Ba Sing Se University in hopes of discovering more information about the spirit world and dreams. Zero decides to stay behind for some individual practice, but is interrupted by an abrupt visit from a tournament official. A man by the name of Hong Fire informs Zero that a scuffle erupted the day before, resulting in the serious injury of two benders. Zero admits to injuring the two benders but adds that it was only in self-defense. Much to Zero’s surprise, Hong then has him arrested on charges of assault. When asked who brought the charges, Hong tells him that one of the bender’s father, Fong Xiao-shi. Zero is then escorted to a temporary jail built in the training camp.
While Zero was being arrested, BeiLin left the university and went back to his house to get the keys to his father’s office. Mai greets him at the door and introduces him to the newest addition to his staff, a young man named Kuruk. The two exchange brief pleasantries. Main then hands the key and a letter to BeiLin, telling him to be sure to read it before the dinner tonight with his parents. BeiLin heads to his father’s office for a bit of research before finally heading back to the dorm where Lakoda informs him that Zero has been arrested.
The two friends rush to the jail where they meet Hong. Hong tells them that there is nothing they can do until the trial which is in one month. This turns out to be a bit of a problem for the group as the tournament starts in just under three weeks. BeiLin asks to speak with Zero, and Hong obliges. After listening to Zero’s story, BeiLin cautiously accepts his story and promises to get him out. As Lakoda and BeiLin leave, they run into a slightly drunken Anzu. The two tell him about Zero’s arrest and the charges by Fong. Anzu reminds them about the waiver they signed in the beginning before heading off to meet with friends. Armed with that knowledge, they left to seek the head official of the tournament to free their friend. Much to their surprise, the head official turned out to be none other than Hong Fire. Hong puts up no fight and hands BeiLin a writ of release for Zero. Before the two leave, Hong warns BeiLin that Zero may have made a very dangerous enemy in Fong Xiao-shi and that not even the law can save him.
With the group together and no imminent danger on the horizon, BeiLin opens the letter he received from Mai and learns that his group of friends had been invited to the dinner as well. BeiLin introduces Lakoda and Zero to his personal tailor and gives them the BeiLin discount. Mayu meets up with the group having purchase her own clothing and the four set out to the BeiFong residence.
BeiLin’s father Bao wastes no time in introducing BeiLin to his possible future father- and mother-in-law, Ginko and Tama Ishigami. BeiLin recognizes the Ishigami family as one of the top twelve influential families of the Earth Kingdom. While BeiLin is taking in the situation, Ginko introduces his daughter Yuu to the group. Zero instantly recognizes her as the Fuu-lookalike and street performer he met on the first day at Ba Sing Se. Yuu appears to recognize him as well. According to Ginko, Yuu spends her days reading and reciting poetry, and he promises that she is delicate as a lotus as she rarely goes outside. Zero, knowing this to be a lie, shoots her an awkward glance. Ginko continues to speak highly of his daughter as the flower of the Ishigami family, and Mayu begins downing the wine set in front of her as quickly as Mai can serve it. The dinner continues on for an hour. After desert, both sets of parents excuse themselves as they leave to talk business, leaving Yuu and BeiLin to get to know each other.
A little wary of his new soon-to-possibly-be-wife, BeiLin asks Yuu to recite some poetry. Yuu recites part of Sheng Suun’s “A Tale of Seasons.” BeiLin asks Yuu if she has a copy of that poetry. Yuu notes that she does, and that she would love to give him a copy if he attends a festival with her five days from now on Saturday. He agrees and the two of them spend the rest of the time talking.
The group leaves just before midnight with Mayu completely trashed from the wine and Kuruk sneaking behind them. Along the way, the group meets two masked figures blocking their way down a narrow alley. One of them requests that Zero come with them, as their employer would like to have a chat. The group refuses and a fight breaks out. The group defeats all but one masked bandit who manages to escape.
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