Shards of the Elements @kelseyalicia
Let it glow

Let It Glow

The flames leap high, trailing sparks in the sky

The whole kingdom is alight

Now I've let this curse escape me

I can never put it right

I fought my whole life long to quench the fire inside

But I never could, however hard I tried

On the face of it, an inconspicuous vessel pulled into the seaport outside the settlement of Shu Jing. When the travelers disembarked, their characteristics were shrouded to conceal their identities. Several plainclothes sentries accompanied the family to their destination. No one in the Fire Nation had any knowledge the imperial household had escaped the palace for a spell.

The imperial family and Prince Zuko's lover had gone away to Shu Jing to visit their godmother's household. A direct result of Princess Azula's undetermined absence. Plus, the Fire Sages forewarning them of impending peril.

They assumed they'd be more protected dropping off the radar for the time being. Princess Ursa had been the one to propose the family get-together with her best friend. They'd traveled incognito to thwart undesired attention.

While Zuko and Akiko were jovial, they'd shortly reunited with their former swordmaster. Nevertheless, they're extremely concerned regarding the welfare of their other companions. To keep Zuko's buddies and their sweethearts protected? They'd all traveled in disguise as well. They'd sailed to the hamlet where Zuko's great aunt resided.

Coincidentally, Zuko's mates' grandparents likewise resided in the community. He prayed they'd remain out of harm's way. He dreaded the notion of what his cousin might do if she turned up in such a serene community. Azula unquestionably lived up to her title as the Demon Princess.

Nevertheless, the family looked forward to visiting Xiaoying's family. The couple had an eight-year-old daughter named Xiang. The vigorous young girl inherited her parent's innate aptitude for cooking, fashion, and swordsmanship. Kiyi and Xiang were quite close, given they're close in age. They both had a passion for dolls, art, and reading, among many other things. Thus they're best friends.

Don't feed the flames inside of you

Don't be the bad girl you fear you'll turn into

Just keep your cool, don't let it show

Well, now it shows

They're received by the family's major-domo, Fat. "It's an honor to have the imperial family within our residence. Please come in and get settled," as he ushered them inside. Before they'd traversed the threshold, Xiang broke free from her mother's grasp and dashed to welcome them. Everyone fell backward as the adorable little girl glomped at them.

"Xiang! Mind your manners! That isn't how you respectfully welcome visitors!" her mother reprimanded her daughter, who blushed.

"Sorry, Mom. I'll do it properly next time," she apologized to her mum. Suddenly she added some apologies to their guests. Xiang possessed her mother's trademark looks. Her hairstyle consisted of four odango buns covered with candy apple red fabric. In addition, she wore her preferred outfit, cadmium yellow, and red sundress, with coordinating accessories, including a white lotus tile as a choker.

"Apology accepted. Please strive harder to remember your manners next time," Xiaoying lectured her daughter before she turned to embrace the imperial household to her humble home brightly.

"Ursa! Sakiko! It's been far too long!" as the three friends clutched each other tightly.

"Yes, far too long," acknowledged Sakiko as she fixed the knot in her hair.

"Yes, far too long," Xiaoying smiled, then she shifted to her manservant. "Fat? Could you be a dear and help our guest settle in?"

'It is a pleasure, my Lady. Lunch is served a quarter past noon by the rock garden. The daily Pai Sho game starts promptly at three in the southern courtyard," he informed their guests.

"I believe we can manage to carry a few of our own bags," Kimana spoke up as Fat reached for her suitcase. "Despite popular belief, the royal family is supremely proficient in handling everyday tasks."

"Of course, Fire Lady Kimana. Suppose you follow me up to the guest rooms," as he carried a few bags. After they left the room, Xiang turned to her god cousin before asking," Kiyi, do you want to play with my new dolls? Mom made them from scraps of fabric from her latest fashion show. Their dresses are astonishing!"

"Yes! I love to play with you! But, Mommy, can I?" looking up into her mother's face with puppy dog eyes.

"As long as you two don't go overboard. No roughhousing. We shall see you at lunch." with that, the two little girls race-walked upstairs to play with their dolls.

"I think it means more when you make the playthings yourself. Or at least, I feel more content to have stitched my daughter's dolls," Xiaoying comment with a small smile on her full lips.

"I'm sure it helps her considerably developing her dressmaking skills," Sakiko noted, which made her friend blush with pride.

"Yes, a gift means more when it comes from the heart. That's why I sewed Kiyi's doll," Ursa added brightly. The trio of friends chuckled merrily, overlooking other people still standing in the middle of the courtyard.

"Ursa, darling?" called her husband from the doorway. Looking up, she gazed into his loving eyes before asking, "Yes, Lu Ten? What is it?"

"I thought I let you know Father and I are going to go practice our firebending before lunch. So you don't worry where I've gone."

"Okay, don't work up too much sweat. We want to be clean and presentable when lunch is served," the Crown Prince and his wife shared a passionate kiss. Luckily Zuko was past the age where he'd find it gross his parents making out in public. Now they're the ones teasing him about it every time they caught him making out!

As Lu Ten and his father left to the training grounds, Xiaoying glanced apprehensively toward Lord Azulon and Lady Ilah. Then, clearing her throat, "Are you going to be alright, Lord Azulon? If you and Lady Ilah require anything..." Xiaoying started to articulate when Azulon silenced her.

"No, Lady Xiaoying. My wife and I can manage quite well on our own—we aren't invalids. However, we'd appreciate a spot of tea out in the gardens. It's not too much trouble?"

"I'd be thrilled to serve you, Lord Azulon. Unfortunately, my tea won't be as magnificent as your son's. However, I concoct the most desirable tea on the island." Master Piandao guaranteed the former Fire Lord, escorting him and his wife out to the veranda. Ursa suddenly turned towards her son and his girlfriend. "Are you two going to be okay? Do you want to rest? Or..."

"Mom, all Akiko and I desire is some alone time. Therefore if you don't mind, Mom, we're going to unearth a place for that."

"See you at lunch, Mom." Akiko hugged her mother as the lovebirds sought out a place to be alone.

No one had any idea that a phoenix had arrived. Agnimitra had been following her loved ones since they'd left the capital. She already heard from the additional spirits how Anto and his supporters collected three out of the four shards.

She wouldn't permit him to seize the Fire Shard. No one would hurt her family if she had any say in it. She zoomed into the nearby trees, quietly observing Zuko and Akiko.

Let it glow, let it glow.

I can't hold it back anymore.

Let it glow, let it glow.

Fan the flames and hear them roar

Forget the rules; I'll live life my way

Let the fire burn bright

The heat never bothered me anyway

Snuggling beneath a magnificent magnolia tree, the couple looked so joyful. "How do you feel, Zuky? Are you satisfied?" questioned Akiko as she fiddled with his hair.

"I'm never blue when I'm with you. You're the bright light in my life. You burn so brightly with hope and light," he replied amorously as he fiddled with her hair.

"Hmm, Mother constantly called me the light of hope. That I'm the reason, she came back to life. Because I shined so bright to lead her out of the darkness."

"Wait? Come back to life? What do you mean by that?" he asked, understandably confused by what she meant.

She frowned in puzzlement, "I didn't even tell you the tale of how I was born? I thought I had years ago."

"Not that I recall. I know your a summer solstice child. Those born on our most revered holidays tend to be quite extraordinary."

"Well, everything concerning my birth would be labeled extraordinary. Seeing how my mother perished giving birth to me. Yet by some unexplained miracle, she came back to life. For exactly three minutes, she died, then she returned to the land of the living. She asserted Alanna materialize before her. That she informed her it wasn't her time.

After Alanna told her that? My mother's soul was struck by lightning restarting her heart. It also cauterized her hemorrhaging. All the midwives couldn't explain it. Nor could the Fire Sages when they consulted them. Everyone simply accepted it was a miracle. You shouldn't strive to rationalize a miracle. Simply take it as it is and count your blessings.

"Wow, so you are a light of hope. If you played a part in this miracle."

"Honestly, neither of us know what or why it occurred. We're only grateful that it did happen."

Immediately the two commenced reciting the well-known balcony scene from "Promise of the Fire Lily," their favorite story. But, for the most glorious miracle of all is true love.

"My dearest Kazuo, by the first fires of the dragons! I feared you wouldn't make it tonight! Not with my father increasing the guards after he almost spotted you the night before last!

Why must our love be deemed forbidden to our families? When true love blazes more glorious than the flame that is the sun? That true love is, in fact, the eternal sun, a torch of fire that never burns out?"

"I don't distinguish their concepts they viewed as honor or dishonor. Nor what they deem as right or wrong mixed with tradition. It's all utterly warped by hate within their minds, my beloved, Aiko.

I only comprehend they don't recognize what we have is more powerful than even the endowments of the Avatar himself. A thousand shirshu couldn't track our love. Nor could they break it with a thousand swords!

I understand that for all the talk of honor, tradition, right and wrong? That whose disgusting blood flows in our veins? They're ultimately wrong while we're right. For what is beating in our chest right now cannot be wrong. For how is the heart ever wrong when love is never sin and the most right and most sinless characteristic in all world?"

"I acknowledge the words we speak are the truth. Except if I'm in peril or something should befall us? How do I know you'll come for me? How do I know we shall always be together when so many strive to rip us apart? Even try to bond us to another? How do I know when I fear even if they force the Fire Lord to break us apart? How do I know nothing will break us apart?"

"Listen to my words and the song my heart sings to you, and know from this I vow and know I mean they're true beloved."

"I hear the wind call your name. It is the sound that leads me home. It sparks up the fire within me. The flame of true love burns, and I know its too. I will always return.

No matter how long the road is, I'll always come home. Because wherever you are in my home. For wherever you stay, I'll find my way to you. I follow the rivers, and I'll chase the sun soaring like the Phoenix until I'm back where I belong.

I can't stand the distance, and I'll never dream alone! I can't wait to see you when I finally come home! Know this is true, for the only road home always leads me to you! In my hour of darkness, your light will lead me back to you! Pass the rivers of gold and past the very sun itself soaring higher than even Phoenix ever flew!

You are the one! For every sunset and all the lessons that ever learned, the most important I've learned is that I will always return to you!" as the lovers became enveloped in an intense kiss.

By the light of an inferno

Nothing looks the same

And a power that once smoldered

Has burst forth into flame

From her hiding spot, Agnimitra wept tears of pure gold. She, too, relished the tale "Promise of the Fire Lily." As her own story in "Phoenix Heaven," the "Promise of the Fire Lily" events were genuine.

They'd occurred throughout her tenure as Fire Lady. Consequently, she'd been the one to christen the flower of their love, Fire Lily. Honestly, it brought back memories of more joyful times. But, unfortunately, Agnimitra becomes so lost in the world of her memories. She didn't sense the danger until it was too late.

A bolt of lightning shot out of the cloudless azure heavens. Hitting the mansion dead on. Immediately the building started burning. Everything slipped into chaos instantly. Zuko and Akiko hurried to rescue their loved ones when they stopped dead in their tracks. Standing before them, Anto himself. Death stood calmly next to the Demon Princess, who smirked at the devastation she wrought.

"Hello, Zu-Zu. Long time no see, cousin. I hope I'm not trespassing by dropping in unannounced."

"Azula!" he thundered furiously

"What?" she demanded in an insulting tone.

"You bitch! You don't even consider that's your own family!" Akiko snarled in revulsion.

"Do you want to dance around the topic? Or do you desire to fight? Or would you rather save those feeble weaklings?" Suddenly a fire blast knocked Azula off her feet as she brought Anto down with her. The duo looked up in disgust as they observed Lu Ten and Iroh speeding towards them. "Zuko!" called his father as he reached him. "I'm fine, Dad! Are you positive you can handle them?"

"You and Akiko concentrate on helping the others. After that, we'll deal with Azula and Anto. Go!" Lu Ten ordered his son, who nodded. "Yes, Dad! Akiko, come on!" as they galloped towards the blazing structure.

"You'll pay for that, Lu Ten!" snarled Azula, her hands full of deadly blue fire.

"Save it! Let's duel!" came the short reply. He wasn't going to indulge her by drawing this out.

"Hmm, I think we can handle the both of you," Anto smirked as he sized up his two victims. He didn't anticipate being ambushed from behind. However, Piandao succeeded in getting a hit on the demon.

The swordmaster flanked his companion and his son, ready to duel to the death. Quite literally, given they're dueling Anto! The fur went flying as the three of them took on Death and the Demon Princess.

Now I'll forget what could have been

This is my kingdom. I'm the queen

There's no use hiding now they know

Here I go

Akiko and Zuko were risking everything to rescue their families. Zuko screamed at his sister to jump, promising he'd catch her. But, instead, the five-year-old trusted her brother with her life.

Hence when he said, jump, she jumped. Followed closely behind by Xiang, whom Akiko caught. Miraculously Azulon had been able to restrain the inferno long enough for the family to flee the smoking home.

"Are you okay?!" cried the adolescent prince frantically as he checked out his sister for wounds. Thankfully Kiyi looked more terrified then wounded. He hugged her tightly to calm her down.

"We're all fine, Zuko. Other then some minor smoke inhalation, Your great-grandfather quick-thinking protected us from significant injures and burns." his mother immediately reassured him. He promptly handed her Kiyi, who clung to her mother weeping tears of terror. Next, Akiko returned Xiaoying, her daughter, who couldn't stop sobbing, clinging to her mother for dear life.

"Mom, are you okay?!" demanded Akiko to her own mother. "I'm fine, sweetheart. I applied my own bending to support Lord Azulon in keeping the flames at bay."

"Grandson? Where your grandfather and father?" Kimana anxiously questioned her grandson. After escaping a burning building, the first thing on her mind was her husband and child. She couldn't lose either of them!

"They're dueling Azula and Anto himself! I'm going to go back them up!" as he took off running despite everyone telling him to stay put. Akiko followed suit and ran after Zuko. If he were going into battle, she would follow him! "Zuko! Wait for me!"

"No, you go back and protect the others!" he yelled at her. "I'm not leaving you to face that Demon on your own!" she protested, and he knew it was futile to bicker with her. Quick as lightning. They went to do battle to take down Azula and Anto. Or at least that was the plan.

Let it glow, let it glow.

Like a furnace burning strong

Let it glow, let it glow

I don't live for right or wrong

I don't care if I've gone astray

Let the fire burn bright

To anyone who didn't know Master Piandao personally? You'd think he was damn fortunate he could hold his own against Anto in a sword fight. People who did know him? They'd be confident he could whoop Anto's ass without breaking a sweat.

Azula, on the other hand? Some declared her a prodigy. However, her family affirmed she was only a prodigy in certain aspects. Her overconfidence and narcissism were her most prominent vulnerabilities.

Her fire burned blue because of her animalistic nature—a reflection of her lust for power. Yet any master will tell you this fact. Those who bend azure flames walk a spider thread line between humanity and savagery. It's that thin.

Zuko rejoined his father and grandfather, dueling Azula. Akiko concentrated her attention on Anto. Seizing her family's sword as she backed her former master dueling. Anto's golden orbs were immediately blood red. He hadn't this much annoyance with those other wretched guardians of the shards. He'd defeated both humans and spirits alike quite easily, a piece of cake, honestly.

Therefore why was this family giving him and his champion so much frustration? He cracked his whip, striving to injury the jade-eyed beauty, though he only yearned to incapacitate her.

"Don't even think about it!" Akiko bellowed as her dragon sword sliced up the whip efficiently. The demon blew his top that a mortal sliced up his whip! Every human who kicked the bucket's skin fashioned that whip!

Enraged, he summoned black flames, intending to scar that pretty boy's face to punish this bitch for her sin. Only the second those flames left his hand. A dazzling fire plunged from the heavens.

When the extreme illumination cleared, everyone's jaw dropped. Agnimitra stood blazing in front of her precious descendant. She looked extremely pissed off. How dare Anto attempt to scar Zuko!

My power cloaks the hillside in a smoky haze

While tongues of fire lick the trees

And set them all ablaze

And then one thought ignites the embers of my heart

I'm never turning back; today is just the start

Agnimitra stayed literally on fire from the rage she felt. Her wrath actually prompted Azula and Anto to back away a few feet. "How dare you!" she shrieked at the twosome. "Anto, I know you lust for mass murder, which is why you selected that holy terror to be your champion. Yet you've got the audacity to seek to scar my descendant?!

I didn't even deem you'd be that ludicrous! After you seduced Alanna? Breaking her poor heart? You sincerely expect her to forgive you? How can she pardon you for introducing murder and suicide to her children?!

It doesn't take a genius to recognize you're still obsessed with her! However, you're thoroughly conscious your lack of shame is why she discarded you! Consequently, how can you even think there an opportunity for you two to get back together?

You've not demonstrated any regret! You took glee in senseless death! Moreover, you still believe she'll become your wife?! You're entirely bonkers to presume that! Not to mention? Incredibly ignorant to risk harming my family! Alanna has already been burned by you! Consequently, now I'm going to burn you for threatening to harm my family!"

Needless to say, everyone present was shell-shocked to hear the imperial household were descended from Agnimitra herself! So now, the free-for-all took quite a blood-soaked turn. The Phoenix looked ready to kill for her family. Azula stood stumped by her actions. She's a member of the royal family too! Hence why did her ancestor seeking to kill her?

The pandemonium grew more out of control. It looked for one moment that they might be able to defeat them there and now. Then, Azula elected to take advantage of her ancestor's weakness. She discharged a lightning bolt at Zuko, nearly annihilating him. Producing the most consequential electrical tempest ever seen. With just a flick of her wrist, she could exterminate them.

"Don't even think about it," Azula threatened, looming over the spirit, enjoying the panic in her eyes. The terror in her sun-colored orbs stayed all too self-evident. Azula smirked, "You grasp there only one way to spare them? Hand it over! Or I will annihilate your cherished household. Starting with Zuko!"

Unable to see her loved ones exterminated, she proceeded over to Zuko, "I apologize," she whispered as she lifted the headpiece. She held it out, and Azula snatched it. Then, smiling evilly, she flung it onto the cobblestone courtyard obliterating the priceless heirloom.

A single shard of red jasper shone brilliantly from the remains of the heirloom. Red Jasper enhances emotional stamina, self-confidence, self-trust, emotional protection, courage, balance, calm, and relaxation.

Red Jasper can likewise be utilized for increasing memory of dreams moreover also increasing sexual vibrancy. In addition, Jasper is a suitable crystal tool for re-energizing the physical body and may be used for long periods of time. "Excellent. We only require one more thing before we leave," Azula spoke as she turned over the shard in her hand.

"What?! You said you wouldn't harm them if I gave you the shard!" Angimirta demanded in shock. No one liked the look Azula gave her as she calmly replied. "I always lie. Didn't Zuko tell you that? So now all we require is her," pointing to Akiko.

"What?! You desire me?! Like hell I'll go with you!" she declared defiantly.

"It's either come with us, or we mess up Zuko's pretty face. You two make such a gorgeous couple. It'd be horrifying if he squandered his good looks, wouldn't it?"

Akiko thought about her favorite story again how the characters were ready to do anything for true love. Finally, she nodded, and despite protest, she allowed them to take her.

Once they'd gone through the gateway, the danger dissolved. Agnimitra fell to her knees, sobbing while Zuko went to console her. He wanted to cry as badly, but he needed to be strong for both his ancestor and Akiko. Therefore they might rescue her.

Let it glow, let it glow.

Let the world be bright and warm

Let it glow, let it glow

I'm embracing my true form

Now I've come, I'm here to stay

Let the fire burn bright!

The heat never bothered me anyway.

Allow yourself to hope and dream.

No matter how broken the world may seem, allow yourself to continue to dream of a better way. You are strong, and your spirit will rise to every mountaintop as long as you allow it to.

Keep believing in what is possible even if you can't quite visualize it yet. Without your hope and dreams, what else is there to look forward to?

The energy and intentions behind your hopes and dreams carry magic. Allow it to occur and be open to our dreams coming true.

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