The confrontation at Tu Zin was a fight between Team Avatar, Zuko and Iroh, and Princess Azula of the Fire Nation. The latter attempted to capture or kill Avatar Aang after she and her friends, Mai and Ty Lee, successfully deprived the team of sleep. The confrontation occurred at the abandoned Earth Kingdom town of Tu Zin. It started off as a three-way battle between Azula, Aang, and Zuko, but Aang and Zuko soon found themselves aided by their friends and family respectively. The duel ended in a stalemate with the cornered Azula wounding Iroh with a sudden fire blast before escaping without a trace.
Azula was tasked by her father, Fire Lord Ozai, to apprehend the exiled nationals Iroh and Prince Zuko after Iroh's treachery and Zuko's failure at the North Pole. Azula found the two and pretended that she was to escort them home so that Ozai could be surrounded by family, the only ones he could really trust. However, Iroh suspected the lie and he and Zuko escaped from Azula when one of Azula's guards let slip that they were prisoners. Not willing to alert them of her presence or be slowed down by the Royal Procession, Azula recruited Ty Lee and Mai to help her hunt down Zuko and Iroh. However, at the captured city of Omashu, where Mai's family had moved to supervise the occupation, Azula's group encountered Team Avatar as they attempted to rescue King Bumi. It was here that Azula first encountered the Avatar and, although Aang and his friends managed to evade her, Azula was relentless and continued to track them down. After their escape, Team Avatar found Toph Beifong to teach Aang earthbending.
Meanwhile, after a quarrel, Zuko and Iroh went their separate ways. Zuko took refuge at a small Earth Kingdom village, befriending a young boy named Lee and staying with his family for a short period of time. However, when the villagers discovered his true identity, he was forced to leave. While these events transpired, Iroh resolved that instead of listening to Zuko and leaving him alone, he would covertly track him.
Azula and her group followed Team Avatar in a tank train by following the trail of Appa's shed hair. Team Avatar noticed the train and attempted to lose them, but Azula's group tailed them into the night, catching up before any real rest could be had and leaving Team Avatar sleep-deprived by the time morning arrived.
Team Avatar was grouchy and on edge due to their lack of sleep and constant flight from an unknown enemy, whom they later found out to be Princess Azula and her two friends. Tensions ran high and, following multiple overnight arguments with Katara, Toph abandoned the group. She soon encountered Iroh, who was also traveling alone. The two shared a cup of tea and a conversation, neither realizing the identity of the person with whom they were talking. After washing Appa to rid him of his loose hair, the three remaining members of Team Avatar split up in hopes of dividing their pursuers and leading them off course. Katara and Sokka flew on Appa in one direction while Aang used his glider to fly in the other with a bag of Appa's hair, using it to lay a fake trail. While he succeeded in drawing Azula's attention, she realized his plan and sent Mai and Ty Lee to follow Katara and Sokka.
While Katara and Sokka attempted to find Toph, Mai and Ty Lee caught up with them. Ty Lee dodged Katara's waterbending strikes while the waterbender dodged the acrobat's chi blocking moves. However, Katara ended up pinned to a tree by Mai's daggers, unable to waterbend. Ty Lee had better luck with Sokka, having virtually paralyzed him. The fight ended when Appa air-slammed Mai and Ty Lee into the Nan Shan River with his tail, allowing Katara and Sokka to escape safely.
Having exhausted his supply of Appa's fur, Aang decided to wait for his pursuer to catch up in the abandoned village of Tu Zin. As Azula arrived and challenged Aang, Zuko intervened, diverting Azula's attention from the Avatar. The three began a lengthy fight, although Zuko and Aang spent most of the conflict fighting Azula, only occasionally sparring with each other when she was momentarily disabled. Azula managed to knock Zuko unconscious and trap Aang under the debris of a collapsed roof.
Just before she could deliver the final blow, Katara and Sokka arrived. They succeeded in driving Azula back and the Fire Nation Princess became completely outnumbered when the reunited Toph also joined the fight. Zuko woke up to see Iroh standing above him, and all six ganged up on Azula and cornered her. After pretending to surrender, Iroh was momentarily distracted when he found out that his newfound friend Toph was part of Team Avatar. Azula took advantage of his momentary lapse in his defense and wounded him with a fire blast to the chest. As Iroh fell to the ground, all four remaining benders cornering Azula struck back with an attack comprised of all four elements, creating a huge explosion. Under cover of the smoke, dust, and steam, Azula mysteriously escaped. A distraught Zuko rushed toward his wounded uncle and forced Team Avatar to leave, not allowing them to help Iroh.
Eventually, Team Avatar found a location to sleep safely as Zuko took care of Iroh. Sometime after, Aang prepared to learn earthbending, while a partially healed Iroh taught Zuko how to redirect lightning in case he ever faced Azula again.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Book Two: Earth (土)
- 208. "The Chase"
- The beginning of this battle is considered a Mexican Standoff, in which three independent parties all face off against each other. It often takes a while to begin such a battle, because each party fears to make the first move, leaving themselves vulnerable to the third party's attack.
- This is the first time all four elements were seen being bent at the same time and the order of the four benders also follows the order of the Avatar Cycle.