The Suung family of lower Ba-Sing-Se owned a small medicinal shop, a shop that had been in the family for three generations, the family unable to escape their lower ranking. As of now, the only hope of class advancement belongs to the Suung family's only daughter Li-Fen Suung.

Li-Fen Suung is the only girl in a house of six. Li-Fen has never been one for the beauty of things her world has been harsh and cold for as long as she can remember, street fights outside of the store in the day, and even more violent things happening at night. As an earth bender, she has to use every ounce of her knowledge to fight off the hooligans that seem ever-present in the streets on the lookout for someone with money. Thankfully, the most money she's ever had to herself was a single silver piece, which she handed off to some merchant for a turkey duck, that her family roasted and ate for days before returning to the thin cabbage soup that her family had grown used to. Her father tells her of the day, she'll marry a middle ring boy, and how she can help him run a better shop and save her family, the only reason she nods and smiles at her father's enthusiasm is because she knows little of love, but she knows plenty about hurt and misery and it's all she can to provide for her family.

This is the day; her father has arranged a meeting with the suitor. How he plans on having the higher class boy fall for her is over her head. Her father goes all out that day, sweeping the dirt of the scuffed wooden floor, dusting off every vial of herbs, and making her dress in the best clothing they have, which is a dress of her mothers, the heavy brown fabric ugly and itchy, the dress itself is almost two sizes too big for her and it was made for a slightly taller woman. Her grandfather combs up her hair in an odd sort of bun, two small earth carved sticks poking out from either side of the dark unruly mass of hair.

Then the moment comes, the middle class boy and his father enter the store, dressed down enough to not rouse suspicion among their neighbors, and to keep themselves safe. Her father ushers them in with a smile and allows them to sit in the dusty house, that's older than anyone there. The cabbage soup is thicker that day, the family unable to afford much better. Li-Fen doesn't bother to eat it and when no one is looking she scoops it out and gives some to each of her brothers.

The middle ring boy is named Guang, he is the only son of a tailor who wants nothing of his father's trade and is searching for a wife that will work as a tailor for him. That is the only reason his father is allowing him to search for a lower class bride. Li-Fen has to her father's delight been on the eye of Gu-ang, because of her work ethic as well as her ability earth bend, he believes she will settle down and obey him as a wife is believed to act. Li-Fen looks at Guang with disgust, the boy is a pig at least three sizes too big and he's gone back for more food at least four times and complains about the taste of the soup, not only is this an undesirable quality in the lad, but he is weak and lazy making Li-Fen hate him for all she's worth.

When their father's shoo the two of them away, Li-Fen finds herself sick at the thought of marrying the young man before her.

"You haven't said anything all night commoner, are you a mute?" The boy looks down at her, a disgusted emotion clear and evident on her face. He looks her over like a piece meat, and she wants nothing more than to get away from him and his gaze.

"No." She replies curt and angry, this boy has abused his power he has proven himself to be the worst kind of person, at least to her. "I don't feel like speaking to," Her bare foot slides in the dirt the ground below Guang moving slightly. "People who abuse their power" He falls backwards landing on his back with a sickening thud. "I may be on your list of marriage candidates, but I will not let you treat my family like dirt, in exchange for an even worse life with the likes of you." She hisses, her face drawn and scrunched as though in pain.

Gu-ang stares at her for a moment, before he pulls himself up and slaps her. The back of his hand making a sound as it connects with her face. Li-Fen doesn't flinch at the pain after all she's been in much worse than this. He stares down at her, his hands wrapping painfully tight around her shoulders. "You are a common peasant, a foolish woman with a pretty enough face, and the skill to earth bend, my family could find ten of you within the hour. You should be groveling at my feet, begging me to marry you. Instead my father and I make our way into these slums, and visit your home, and you have the nerve to speak to me in such a manner. I could get your shop burned to the ground if I so desired."

"Why go to all that trouble for a foolish peasant woman? Why do that unless you need me, unless no one else has even bothered with your family. I'm sorry to say that your family isn't in the best social standing, and honestly you're not that much of a looker sweet-heart." Li-Fen reaches up and pats his cheek before spitting in his face. "You're in the lower ring, to get respect you earn it. Not demand it." She stalks off not really caring about how the boy will react, nor how her family will act, all she wants is to hole herself up and hide away from the world, and most of all hide from the menacing eyes of Gu-ang hide from the fact that she may have to marry this man for whom she holds much contempt.

A/N: Hey, first story post in a while. I hope you guys enjoy it. I'm trying to get the characters right at the moment, so bare with me as I look for a thing to make the story move and shift. Just in case anyone is worrying about the time period it takes place sometime during the war, but just a little bit after Aang is found in the ice, so no one in Ba-Sing-Se knows about the war or the avatar yet. My good friend BlazedWinter made me write this down, so check her out if you want to as well. Thank you for every single view, favorite, alert and review, each of which makes my day a little bit better. Have a good day all.