Shards of the Elements @kelseyalicia
A diamond in the rough

Diamond in the rough

It remained a gorgeous time in the Earth Kingdom. Everything astonishingly verdant, from one end of the enormous country to the other. The most spectacular property belonging to the distinguished affluent Beifongs. The Beifongs were a well-respected household—prominent members of Earth Kingdom aristocracies. However, the lower-class households described them as brainless, money-eyed braggarts.

That remained a rather precise observation. Centuries of living the high-life had resulted in the entire household being astonishingly loaded elitists. Yet, it also established how they raised their children. Given they're closed-minded, oblivious nature to fundamental truths.

This attribute happened quite unmistakable for Lao and Poppy Beifong. They're ludicrously overprotective of their only daughter, Toph, simply because she'd been born blind. They treated her as if she was some porcelain doll! Incompetent of taking care of herself!

They even went as far as to acquire a personal bodyguard from the legendary Kyoshi Warriors. Scratch that, they'd purchased her. For Suki hadn't desired to become an indentured servant. Nevertheless, they'd paid three chests of gold. Flat-out refusing to listen to what she wanted.

Consequently, Suki had been forcibly uprooted from her birthplace and her fellow warriors. Nowadays, forced to play bodyguard for a pre-teen who evidently didn't require one. Suppose you'd bothered to get to know the real Toph Beifong. Toph undeniably could take care of herself utilizing Earthbending to 'see." Furthermore, her combat techniques were unmatched again, if you'd bother to get to know her.

Yet, her parents persisted, ignorant of who their daughter was in reality. Moreover, what she genuinely required. Both ladies loathed how oblivious Lao and Poppy were. Each wished there was some way to knock some sense into them.

As it was? That remained futile. Currently, the girls were in the faraway part of the garden working on their fighting techniques. They'd to be vigilant not to expose Toph's genuine power, or her parents do something even more ludicrous.

The tough-minded, ravishing young ladies were engaged in a friendly spar. It helped release both their frustration having spars. They didn't have any other outlets for their pent-up ire and frustration. Every time they spared, each pushed the other past their limits. Aiming to surpassed their previous self. Toph genuinely desired to establish her declaration as to the world's greatest Earthbender.

Suki's desire remained to be the greatest Kyoshi Warrior who ever lived. She may've been forcefully separated from her warrior sisters, though she dreamed of the day she'd return home to them. Toph pressed on, striving to conjure up something brand-new. Continuing to get closer to tapping into a brand-new technique. Yet had no idea what it'd be.

Suddenly both stopped what they're doing, straightening up as they heard footsteps approach. Immediately looking 'normal' as a caretaker arrived to announce dinner. Toph grumbled some obscenities under her breath as they headed inside. Even Suki looked appalled, given both detested they're a force to dress up for mealtimes.

It wasn't who they were. Crossing the threshold, passing the massive family tree tapestry in the main hall. Everyone branch of the Beifong for at least seven generations was present. The current generation consisted of two small families—Toph's parents and aunt, uncle, and cousin. Toph's Aunt Rowena and Uncle Owen both were her parent's younger siblings. They'd a twelve-year-old Earthbender son named Brock.

They resided in the family estate in the Upper Ring of Ba Sing Sa, handling half the household's business organization. However, both girls were equally disgusted that Brock's parents exploited his unique Earthbending gift.

Brock, like Toph, had capabilities beyond the average Earthbender. He used her seismic sense in a way that he'd pinpoint precious metals and gemstones below ground. He could even craft them into eye-catching jewelry. However, Brock was more an artisan then a fighter.

Toph remained the fighter in the family. However, she did respect her cousin. Essentially they're in the same boat when it came to their parents—overprotective, disrespectful snoots. Neither allowed using their Earthbending the way they desired.

The two girls remained speechless throughout supper as Lao babied his daughter, whose scowl grew more self-evident. Suki nearly snapped at her 'employer' to stop babying his daughter.

Then a servant walked in with a sealed letter. Lao thanked them then precede to read the letter. His smile and eyes twinkled so brightly his spouse asked what it contained. "Poppy! They agreed! Oh, what a joyous day this is!"

"They're sincerely in agreement with our proposal?" she demanded anxiously. Her hubby nodded as she clapped with happiness. Evidently, they knew something the girls didn't.

"Yes, Poppy," Lao replied, rolling up the letter then tucking it away, "They've agreed to the arrangement. Rowena graciously consented to supply the dowry. Your brother's negotiation abilities are what sealed the deal!" as the adults kissed lovingly then Poppy urged, "So when do we leave to finalize the contract?"

"They're expecting us at the family estate in two weeks. We must make certain we're perfect for when we introduce Toph."

Toph's head shot up at the mention of her name. She hadn't any idea what her parents were jabbering on about. Though from their tone, she didn't like it. She looked in Suki's direction, who nodded.

"Lord Beifong, might I ask what the good news is?" she inquired civilly, and the well-to-do imbecile smiled, "The Earth King has agreed to the marriage contract between his son Prince Daichi and Toph.

What wonderful news this is! Toph will be provided for when we're gone. Furthermore, shall immortalize the Befiong name! Oh, we are so fortunate!" failing to notice both girl's jaws had dropped to the floor.

Suki quickly excused them both as they retreated to their joint bedroom. Once there, Toph began to rant, leaving Suki to keep her calm enough that she didn't bring down the house, literally.

"It's not enough. I'm treated like a doll! Now I'm being treated like I'm property and then turned into some baby machine! I don't want to be forced to be even more of a stuck-up snot!

I rather die then get hitched with some stuck-up prince! I'm tired of being only seen, not heard!" slamming her first into the wall. As Suki attempted to calm her down, her golden fan flew out of her hand before slamming deep into the wall.

"What the?! Toph did you do that?!" the Kyoshi warrior asked in excitement. Toph seemed bewildered before she pulled back her fist, and the fan returned to Suki's hand.

For two minutes, there was silence before Toph's emotional arousal turned to sheer rapture! "I'm the world's greatest Earthbender! I'm the original metalbender!"

"Yes, that is sincerely delightful. Congratulations, Toph!" Suki praised her before wincing, then adding, "Except you ought to fix the damage before your parents come in." Growling, Toph immediately restored her dormitory to normal.

The girls collapsed onto Toph's extravagant piece of furniture then subsequently peacefully talk things over. "I understand your outrage, Toph, I do. I loathe being a force to marry someone I didn't love or even know.

I'm incensed sufficiently regarding being enslaved by your parents. When I resolved to become a Kyoshi Warrior, I craved to make a difference in the world. I aspired to help people by honoring Avatar Kyoshi and all she stood for. This isn't at all how I imagined how my life plays out," she acknowledged depressingly.

Toph blew a stray hair out of her face, scowling, "I'm thinking more every day of running away. Living my own life. Of course, you'd come along too. In fact, I'm ready to run away tonight!"

The short-haired stunner wanted nothing more than to run away too. Yet, they couldn't do it without proper preparation first. This wasn't something to do spontaneously. "Toph, as much as we both wish to run away, it's not possible. Not tonight. It'd take meticulous preparation to pull off flawlessly. So, it will have to wait a few days, at least.

We should have it figured out when we're done in Ba Sing Sa. Yet, I stress again. We require a plan first. Thus, Toph, please wait a little longer," Suki urged her only friend.

Toph crossed her arms, fuming. However, she quickly realized her best friend was correct. After all, you need a place to run too, not just from. Consequently, Toph agreed to stomach it out a little longer.

Two weeks later, the small household arrived in style in Ba Sing Sa. Toph wanted to barf the entire time. Not necessarily because they'd to travel by watercraft, rather she detested they behaved as if they're royalty themselves.

In time they'd arrived at the luxurious estate of her cousin. She could 'see' the colossal mansion. Specific details were lost to her. Either way, the trio agreed. The mansion remained the family way of showboating. Again being snobs!

Rowena and her hubby were dressed to the nines. From head to toe decked out in the most extravagant up-to-the-minute fashion trends. Again the children simply wish to vomit. They quickly left the loonies escaping to the gardens. Once outside, Toph inquired, "Hi, cuz, how batty are they driving you these days?" listening to his heart rate told her he was pissed off.

Her first cousin was similar in height and features. He preferred to spike his hair to aggravate his parents rather then having it plastered flat. "Same old same old cuz," came the short reply.

"Why is it both our parents are absolute nincompoops?" snarled Toph kicking a rock. Her cousin shrugged and answered, "I've no clue, cuz. No clue whatsoever! God, I despise this life and this blasted capital! I crave the freedom to explore. Furthermore, allowed to be me. I'm an artist! I'm sick to death. My parents use me as their personal bank. Ugh."

"I agree both of you are grossly mistreated. I believe we should all run away. Still, we need to think of a way to escape all this oppression," Suki pointed out.

"Yeah, we know, Suki. Once we're done here, we escape, and we'll be standing by to get you, Brock. A life of freedom is what we all deserve!"

"Let's just get through the luncheon with the King and his son first, cuz. Once we get through that? Then we can hatch our plan to live in total freedom. Though we still have to get through lunch first."

"Okay, Brock, we'll play nice a little longer."

Two hours later, escorted the family into the Earth Kingdom Palace, where they're led to the massive dining hall. Again, forced to follow customary etiquette and all that crap. They waited twenty minutes before the Earth King entered. Surprisingly, the Earth King's heir wasn't with him. Instead, there was a gentleman that gave off powerful creep vibes.

Next to the creepy-crawly dude was a pre-teen girl. Her ebony hair in some elaborate updo littered with gold and jewels. Her garment was constructed from chartreuse fabric embellished with extravagant birds and blossoms. She wore a haughty expression as if there was dung under her stuck-up nose. The Earth King made introductions. The creep's name was Long Feng. He happened to be the Grand Secretary of Ba Sing Se. The young girl was his niece, Setsuna.

Again the adults were clueless of who wasn't to be trusted. The trio immediately knew that Long Feng and his niece were bad news. It was plain as the nose on your face! However, adults are useless! The adults started discussing whatever nonsense made them happy. Setsuna kept her eyes on the kids, watching them like a hawk. The others did the same. Each trying to gauge the other.

After half an hour, they served lunch. The prince had yet to join them. Toph's parents made respectful inquires about the young prince's whereabouts. The King simply said his son needed a lot of time to look presentable. He should be joining them shortly. Indeed, fifteen minutes later, the servants announced the arrival of Prince Daichi.

Everyone gazed with eager anticipation at the doorway. Well, Toph watched with her feet. She wanted to get some gauge on who she was being hitched to. When the door open everyone let out a small gasp. Toph herself, from her unique point of view, seemed surprised.

She expected to feel the prince standing tall with extra swag to his steps. She didn't feel any of that. In fact, what she felt didn't feel like he was touching the ground with his own feet. Yet, she could still hear his breathing while scarcely picking up his heart rate. Something was different about this boy. That was quite apparent to the adults.

Prince Daichi sat in a lavish wheelchair, he was rather thin, and his muscles looked quite underdeveloped. He had jerky motions sometimes, which seemed to be the reason he was belted into his chair.

His copper-colored eyes seemed rather dull, as did his matching hair. He wasn't even decked out in finery. His clothes were extremely lightweight and not a single piece of finery than a small circlet on his head. The servants wheeled him over to the table and began to help him with his food. He noticeably had trouble with coordination and holding the utensils.

None of this was what that the Beifongs expected when they arranged their daughter's marriage. Toph was confident they break the contract given the prince wasn't what they anticipated.

"I apologize for my son's appearance," the Earth King replied to the Beifongs. Taking a deep breath, he revealed, "My wife went into preterm labor, and unfortunately, she perished giving birth to Daichi.

It appears his early birth has had some rather unfortunate complications. Its why the kingdom does not see him. I'd hope with us agreeing to marry my son to your daughter. They'd be able to take care of each other.

I've previously arranged that Lady Setsuna would take over for her uncle when Daichi comes of age. Consequently, he'd have the help and support needed to run the kingdom. I hope you won't object to the union because of my son's ailment. We've loads of attendants to help him as well as your daughter. Again, the layout is for Lady Setsuna to take over for Long Feng when the time comes to help with the significant decisions. I've planned long-term for all of this."

It looked like the Beifongs would instantly say the marriage couldn't possibly occur between two disabled children. Then Lao Beifong surprised them. "I see now why you understood our anxieties regarding our daughter. Seeing your son is as tiny and frail as our daughter. I'm reassured due to we think alike when it comes to our children.

I'm pleased to know both will be suitably cared for. The fact they'll have the assistance of Lady Setsuna? I know neither will be in any danger. There is no safer place then Ba Sing Sa. Wise to know our children will be protected. It certainly puts me at ease.

So, yes, the marriage can still happen. We'll finalize their long-term care later. For now? Suki, would you escort Toph and the Prince around the gardens so they can get to know each other?"

"Of course, Master Beifong. Toph come along. Brock, please join us as well," knowing he wanted to escape as well.

The four children disappeared immediately though the coffee-colored eyes of Setsuna scrutinized them closely. She glanced at her uncle, who nodded. "May I be excused? I'd love to join the others in the garden if you don't mind."

"Of course, niece. More the merrier," her uncle said with a subtle smirk.

"Of course, honorable Uncle," as she gracefully exited the room. As soon as she was out of earshot, she mutter, "Bumbling fool! The king is such a child! At least it should be rather effortless to dispose of little miss blind girl!" smirking, she sped after them.

The group had found a place to relax next to an alabaster fountain. However, the aesthetic arrangement wasn't too Brock's taste. He loved all forms of creative activity. Just as he'd a knack for finding underground valuables, he was superbly talented in landscape artistry. Turning to the prince, he politely requested, "Would it be inappropriate if I did some minor rearrangement in the garden?"

Daichi seemed to be thinking extremely carefully before replying slowly, "I...don't...mind. I'd see... your work," though he slightly slurred his speech.

"Well, without further ado, let's make some magic!" as the young Earthbender's skills were virtually magical. Not wanting to be outdone by her cousin, Toph started to use her recently discovered metalbending talents to assist with everything. Daichi observed in wonder at all that was going on.

Suki kept an eye out for anyone approaching. For now, she didn't detect anyone. Yet, she remained on high alert. Threats could be anywhere. Furthermore, she didn't trust Long Feng and his niece. Consequently, she remained extra vigilant for them. Even Toph remained on high alert. Plus, she'd advantages no one else had. Therefore between her and Suki, they'd be extremely secure. After they finished their little art project, the kids sat down and got to know each other.

Daichi was quite a surprise. Not simply because of his disability either. He was quite inquisitive, sensitive moreover a good listener. He wasn't judgmental or domineering in the least bit. Pretty down-to-earth, humble, and sympathetic. Not your typical prince at all. Quite the contrary, given how he could relate to all of them. If they're not in the palace and without the crown, you'd never guess he was a prince.

"So, Daichi? I noticed your dad's overprotective. Plus, everyone treats you like you're useless." Toph noted, to which the prince nodded in agreement.

"My like...yours. He does not...let me...try to...overcome my limits. I know I...can do so much...more if...given a chance."

"You're as much a prisoner as the rest of us," Brock regarded. Daichi nodded again, "I want to see...the world. Live a I hate being...the prince. I rather am...a normal kid."

"Don't we all wish we could run away? Allowed to be ourselves? Have a real life?" Toph spoke wistfully.

"I wish...I could run away...too. I know how to...get out of the city...unseen. But I can't on my...own. I'd need help... to get out of here."

If Toph weren't blind, her eyes would of sparkled. "Well, seeing how we're all in agreement that we wished to run away, let us all escape and have a real life. "

"You mean...that...Toph?"

"Sure as shooting! We need to plan it all thoroughly. However hell or high water, we all are escaping!"

As the kids started devising their escape, none realized that Lady Setsuna heard every word they said. She growled because their escaping wouldn't work in her and her uncle's favor. This had to be stopped, but how? Unaware of the dangers lurking, all the four kids could think of was their freedom and how they'd escape from these lives of oppression at last.

Brock- Ben Schwartz- Dewey- DuckTales 2017

Owen Beifong- Eddie Redmayne- Newt Scamander Fantastic Beast and where to find them

Rowena Beifong- Alison Sudol- Queenie Goldstein- Fantastic Beast and where to find them

Prince Daichi- (Earth King's son and Toph's intended) Richard Ian Cox- Inuyasha

Setsuna- Kira Buckland- Character of the same name in Inuyasha sequel.

Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of permanent movement disorders. that appear in early childhood.

Signs and symptoms vary among people and over time. Often, symptoms include poor coordination, stiff and weak muscles, and tremors.

There may be problems with sensation, vision, hearing, swallowing, and speaking. Other symptoms included seizures and problems with thinking and reasoning, resulting in one-third of people with CP.

Cerebral palsy is caused by abnormal development or damage to the parts of the brain that control movement, balance, and posture. The problems often occur during pregnancy; however, they may also occur during childbirth or shortly after birth.

Often, the cause is unknown. Risk factors include preterm birth, being a twin, certain infections during pregnancy, a difficult delivery, and head trauma during the first few years of life.

There are several sub-types classified based on the specific problems present. You can read more about CP online.

Do what you love in the one life you've got!

As cliché as this may sound, you can do what you love. Doing what you love is a choice and a commitment to yourself, with no excuses permitted.

Spend time losing yourself in what you enjoy. If you want to paint, paint. If you want to write, write. If you enjoy losing yourself in a novel, then read the book. If you want to walk barefoot in the grass, do that.

Schedule it in if you must; set aside a few minutes daily or one day a week-whatever you can.

Just don't allow a lifetime to pass before you commit to doing the things you truly enjoy.

All the small moments add up and become the life you live. So, don't trudge through the moments, but turn them into the steps in the magnificent dance that is your life!

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