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The Princess and the Peasant - Book One: Bonds

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The sun shimmered over the lakeside while a regal woman sat with her legs folded beneath her gazing out across the distant waters.

The young woman was staring over the sunlit lake with cold golden eyes.

She was none other than Princess Azula.

The Day of the Black Sun was nearly upon them…it was just two days away.

Soon the rebels would discover just how deadly she could be…even without her bending.

Her eyes narrowed upon the horizon while picking up a small stone before tossing it across the waterside.

Her thoughts drifted to the Fire Nation boy that had spurned just the other day.

Azula's face entrenched into a furious scowl as she glared out across the once relaxing waters.

"How dare he think that he is too good for Princess Azula!" The Princess hissed while throwing a flaming pebble across the lake.

It landed in the waters before plunging down below with her blue flames vanishing in an instant.

As she sat there brooding that was when she heard the faintest snapping of a twig that quickly gained her attentions.

"Whose there!?" Azula barked while spinning around with her piercing gaze scanning foliage with evident annoyance in her eyes.

She specifically instructed that she was not to be disturbed!

Her palms lit afire as she turned to face the direction of the approaching footsteps.

"If you think that you can spy on me then…think again!" The Princess called out while speedily lunging for the bushes.

She leaped at the foliage while swiping at the leaves with meticulous precision.

Any thoughts of being pursued by an assassin or a spy vanished from her mind when a girlish cry echoed into the air.

Azula found herself looming over a young girl that had clumsily fallen upon her backside just narrowly avoiding her strike.

She glared down at the evident peasant with ruthless eyes while she briefly scanned her dainty form.

Only for her golden eyes to widen ever so slightly when she noticed that the peasant girl had blonde hair.

In all her life she has never before seen anyone with blonde hair!

Her long blonde hair flowed down over her shoulders and just above her developing chest.

The girl had golden eyes…that were pitifully widening in fear.

She was short…laughably so.

The small blonde was wearing a long-sleeved white shirt and a little blue skirt with scrapes on her bare knees from her sudden fall.

She was fair skinned and what most would consider a lovely girl.

And lastly slung over her back was a backpack.

"How dare you try to spy on me peasant!" Azula snapped in an icy voice while glowering down at the much shorter girl.

"I-I wasn't spying! I r-really wasn't Princess!" Elle exclaimed while peering up at the tall young woman's breathtaking form.

"Is that so? Then why were you creeping about in the brush?" The Princess demanded while bending over the girl with her palms clasped behind her back.

She came out here not to be disturbed and lo and behold!

She finds a dirty peasant girl snooping on her in the bushes.

Although she did mentally note that the girl didn't appear as dirty as other peasants that she has seen.

"O-okay. I admit that I followed you. But it wasn't to spy I swear it! I-I just wanted to give you something." The blonde-haired girl blurted out while laying on her back as her heart began to race under the controlling girl's hardened stare.

"Give me something?" Azula questioned while quirking a brow elegantly as she peered down at the timid girl.

"Y-you see I…" Elle stuttered nervously while the older girl stared down at her rolling her eyes impatiently.

"Explain yourself girl! Quit stuttering!" The Princess hissed while pondering why she was even speaking to this peasant.

"S-sorry! It's a habit of mine! I…wanted to give you…" The blonde-haired girl mumbled as she sat up while fishing in the grass beside her for an unknown item.

Azula's eyes followed her movements in a hawk like manner only for her stern countenance to transform into one of surprise when the petite girl held out her hand.

In her scraped palm was a carefully protected fire lily.

The Princess gazed down at the crimson flower with her eyebrows furrowing in shock.

Before she knew it, she was already clutching the flower in her right hand while she studied it with taken aback golden eyes.

"You…followed me to give me a fire lily?" Azula asked in a noticeably calmer voice than before while glancing down at the now blushing girl.

"T-that's so. I…just wanted to tell you…that I think y-you're b-beautiful Princess." Elle confessed while fiddling her fingers as she nervously averted her eyes from the older girl's stare.

Despite the Princess's best efforts, she found that the girl's innocent declaration hit her in a place she did not expect.

Her golden eyes were widened ever so marginally as her palm fell to her side with the flower clutched to her hip.

"You wasted your time girl. I already know that. Now get lost…dirty peasant." The Princess remarked coldly as she studied the now saddened girl's crestfallen expression.

"Y-yes Princess. I…apologize." The blonde-haired girl murmured as she shakily pushed herself up with the taller girl eying her harshly.

She expected a response like that…but it still stung.

The Conqueror of Ba Sing Se made no further comment as she watched the sorrowful girl stagger off into the brush with her brows furrowing in confusion.

It was a strange feeling really.

But as she gazed down at the small crimson flower, she couldn't help but feel a faint twinge of remorse.

This…was the first time that anyone has ever taken the time to give her a flower.

She soon pushed the thoughts to the back of her mind musing that the peasant girl wasn't worth any further thought.

Despite those cruel thoughts.

As Azula walked the opposite way she found herself inexplicably clutching the fire lily within her folded palm.

For reasons that escaped her…

She chose to keep the fire lily.