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and walked down the road to Makapu Village as Kaoru asked again, "Why are we going to Makapu Village?"
"I want to check up on my cousin to see if he's alright. Those guys who attacked me somehow knew where I lived so I want to make sure he's okay" Mayuri replied. The two continued down the steep road where the top of the volcano peaked over the hill.
"Your cousin lives at the base of a volcano? Who does that?" Kaoru exclaimed as they neared the entrance into the village.
"Well you go to school in a forest and you live in a a place called the Fire Nation," Mayuri retorted.
"It doesn't mean there's fire everywhere miss I can make the ground quake" Kaoru shot back.
"And what's that supposed to mean?" Mayuri questioned.
"What's it sound like?" Kaoru said.
"I'm saying that it made no sense at all you bonehead" Mayuri said. The two soon came upon the entrance to Makapu Village. Once they entered, Mayuri looked around for her cousin among the villagers. "There he is. Come on" Mayuri said. "Hey Tao" Mayuri called to her cousin. A brown-haired teen with a large basket in hand turned around at the sound of his name.
"Mayuri. What are you doing here" he asked walking up to meet her.
"What, you're cousin can't come for a surprise visit?" she said. Kaoru stood back as the two got caught up with each other. Kaoru noticed he was receiving mean and frightened looks.
"Sorry to interrupt but why is everyone giving me those looks?" Kaoru interjected.
"Oh I'm Kaoru by the way," he said.
"I'm," he said shaking Kaoru's hand. "Sorry about the stares. We've had random attacks on the village by bandits for awhile. Everyone's a little wary of newcomers" Tao answered.
"Has anyone been hurt?" Mayuri asked.
"No, they just come in and raid the stands and then leave" Tao replied walking ahead. He gathered more food and paid for it before turning to the two and asking, "So how long have you two been dating?"
You Said What
That comment caused a torrent of answers from the two like, "We're not dating"
"I would never date someone like her"
"He's too stupid and he's not even my type"
"Woah there, I am not stupid"
"You're stupid enough to jump into other people's business"
"Weren't you the one who accepted my help"
"HA HA HA" laughed Tao as Mayuri and Kaoru looked at him with confused looks.
"What're you laughing at?" Kaoru asked.
"You two. I was only kidding about the dating thing. I could tell from the moment you guys came through the village that you weren't a couple" Tao said.
"So why'd you ask us in the first place?" Mayuri questioned.
"For my amusement" Tao replied with a grin. "Come on. My house is this way". Back at Tao's house, Mayuri and Kaoru sat at the table as Tao soon joined them. "So why are you two traveling with each other If you aren't a couple?" Tao asked.
"Because your cousin is the Avatar... OWW" Kaoru exclaimed as Mayuri dug her elbow into his side.
"Did you say the Avatar?" Tao asked, a look of confusion on his face.
"Good job big mouth" Mayuri said giving Kaoru a stern look.
"I wasn't planning on telling you but blabber mouth here ruined it so I guess I have to tell you" Mayuri said turning back towards Tao. "Like the idiot over here said, I'm the Avatar so that naturally got me into trouble," she said. Mayuri explained what had happened in Ba Sing Se, the fight with her stalkers, and how she and Kaoru had become travelling companions.
"So these people just came out of nowhere and started attacking you?" Tao asked.
"Yep. And then Kaoru here butted in" Mayuri replied.
"So who were they?" Tao asked.
"I don't know. They'd been following me for over a week and they just decided to attack me out of nowhere" Mayuri replied.
"Ugh, I can't take seating down forever" Kaoru said standing up to stretch. Spotting something in the corner, Kaoru stooped to pick it up. "You're an archer?" Kaoru asked. Tao turned to see Kaoru holding his longbow.
"Somewhat" Tao answered.
"Are you any good?" he asked.
"You could say I am" Tao said. "So why do you think they were following you? Do you think they knew you were the Avatar?" Tao questioned as Kaoru looked the bow over.
"I don't know how they'd know. I didn't tell anyone" Mayuri replied.
"Hey Tao. Who are they?" Kaoru said from the window.
"What?" Tao said getting up to look out the window. "Great, it's those bandits again" he replied.
"Where's all the food at?" a bandit shouted before tipping over an empty cart.
"We're not giving you anymore food again," said one of the village vendors, a large armed man.
"You really want to deny us our monthly food supply?" said a skinny bandit.
"We can and we will" the man said with a powerful voice.
"Fine then. Kuo you know what to do," he said. In a flash the man behind the skinny bandit darted towards the young woman standing beside the vendor and placed a knife to her throat.
"I see you got your daughter working with you this time. It'd be a shame if something happened to her wouldn't it?" he asked with a chuckle.
"Let her go you bastards," he said stepping forward. The bandit placed the knife tip closer to her neck stopping the vendor.
"Now then about our food for today," said another bandit as walked towards the fruit stand. Reaching for an apple, he was suddenly tossed into the air. The earth rose from the ground and encased the bandits arm holding the knife allowing the girl to run.
"What the-" the skinny bandit said.
"Picking on villagers really isn't a nice thing to do" Mayuri said from behind the vegetable stand.
"Little girl wants to fight uh? Fine by me" the bandit said flinging the knife at her. An arrow blocked the knife as a sword placed itself against his neck.
"Throwing knives at people isn't a nice thing either" Kaoru said. "Nice shot Tao" he called back to Tao who was perched on top of a roof.
"You three are in for a world of hurt" the skinny guy said before whistling a shrill tune. The remaining bandits rushed Kaoru and Mayuri as Tao nocked two arrows at once and fired.
"I've been itching for a fight" Kaoru said shoving the skinny bandit out of the way and sheathing his sword. Minutes later, Tao stood over the skinny bandit with an arrow pointed directly in his face. "Now will we you be bothering the village anymore?" he asked.
"No, we won't," he said keeping his eyes on the arrow.
"Good. Now get going before I accidentally let go" Tao said to him with a cruel smile. The bandit crawled back before stumbling up and headed towards the entrance, his group following him.
"I had no idea you were that good of a shot Tao" Mayuri exclaimed.
"Or that you had a cruel sense of humor" Kaoru replied.
"It's only on certain occasions" Tao said putting the arrow back in the quiver.
"I'd say that was a good first fight as Avatar and Company" Kaoru exclaimed.
"Avatar and Company? That's a terrible name" Mayuri retorted.
"You got anything better?" he asked as the vendors began whispering among themselves.
"Did he say the Avatar?"
"The Avatars here?" said the vendors. A rock suddenly struck Kaoru in the forehead, causing him to yelp in pain.
"What was that for?" he questioned rubbing his forehead.
"You just told the people the Avatar was here. Now word'll get out" Mayuri said.
"And?" Kaoru exclaimed. Another rock hit Kaoru in the head knocking him on the floor.
"If word gets out we were here, those people from before will most likely come looking for us here" Mayuri explained.
"So where are we going next then?" Tao asked.
"Well I was thinking we could... Wait what do you mean we?" Mayuri asked.
"So you're coming with us then? That's awesome" Kaoru exclaimed walking out the door with his arms raised in the air.
"Thank you" Mayuri said.
"For what?" Tao asked handing Mayuri her own bag of supplies.
"For coming along. We were driving each other crazy" she laughed. Tao cracked a smile as the two walked out the house.
"Almost forgot" Tao said sitting back down. "Letter for mom and dad," he said writing out what he was doing. Once outside Tao handed Kaoru his bag of supplies and the three headed for the exit.
"Wait won't your parents get upset with you for leaving off for who knows where?" Kaoru asked.
"I'm hoping they won't. I kind of lied and told them I was going to visit Mayuri for a while" Tao said.
"I just told my parents I was going to train to learn the other elements" Mayuri said.
"At least that's true, right?" Tao asked.
"Yea, of course it it" Mayuri said. A far off screech in the distance seemed to stop them.
"It's a Messenger Hawk" Mayuri said as the hawk flew down towards them before settling on Kaoru's shoulder. Kaoru pulled the letter from the hawk's back, opened it and read it before letting out a surprised gasp.
"What is it? What happened?" Mayuri questioned.
"I knew I forgot something. I forgot to write back to my father once I made my errand for him" Kaoru said as he finished reading the rest of the letter. He suddenly began trembling as he reached the end of the letter. "Oh crap," he said still trembling.
"What now?" Tao asked.
"I forgot to write to my girlfriend and tell her where I was," he said dramatically falling to the ground, a look of fear on his face.
"She's going to kill me" Kaoru mumbled out. Mayuri and Tao burst out laughing at Kaoru as he scrambled around through the pack for something to write on and write with.
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