Author's Note: First off, thanks to Disciple of Darkness and Karebear77 for your kind reviews. Secondly, this was originally going to be a shorter story, but I've thought of some more things, so bear with me. We might be here a while. Also, I think I need to add Humor to the genre for this story, because I can't seem to stop typing jokes in here, even when I'm trying to be serious.
"Oh for goodness sakes, Clay, would you just hit me already? I want to get out of this dress!"
"This is one of the weirdest things I have ever seen," Kimiko put a hand to her forehead, "and I've fought a sentient bean."
A little girl had been the one speaking to Clay. At least, that's what she seemed to be at first appearance. A small little girl with blonde curls pinned up in pink ribbons. She had on a bright blue dress with a sash around her waist that matched the ribbons. But she wasn't what she seemed.
"Dojo, you are most adorable in this form!" Omi said with a thumbs up. The little girl, actually Dojo in disguise, growled at him before spitting some soot in the youngest monk's direction.
"Clay," Raimundo crossed his arms, "Would you just hit Dojo already?"
"He's dressed like a little girl! Hitting girls is wrong, especially cute little ones! He don't look like he could hurt nothing."
"Dude's never seen a horror movie," Raimundo rolled his eyes. "Look, sometimes the bad guys don't look like bad guys. You have to hit girls sometimes. Evil went all equal opportunity years ago. Plus you know that's just Dojo in a dress. Just hit him so we can move on to something else. We've been waiting on you for an hour."
Clay closed his eyes before punching Dojo hard enough to send the dragon flying. He changed back to his true, smaller form in midair.
"There you go, Clay! Way to …hit a little girl," Omi paused. "This does not seem like something to be cheered."
"Good, Clay. We'll work on it some more later," Raimundo promised. "Now, for the group training-"
"Seriously?" Kimiko placed a hand on her hip.
"Yeah, Partner, are we planning on just ignoring the elephant in the room?" Clay added.
"We are not in a room," Omi looked around, "And I see no elephants."
"What's wrong now?" Raimundo asked, even though he knew what was coming. He had been avoiding it for a while. It was only a matter of time before Clay and Kimiko called him out on it.
"Omi," Kimiko picked the smallest monk up by the back of his robes and thrust him into Raimundo's arms. "You've been doing individual training with Clay and I for two weeks now, but nothing with Omi."
"Clearly this is because my superior martial art skills are far above Raimundo's own," Omi said smugly. "Though if he wishes for me to teach him a few moves, I shall be glad to attempt to do so."
"Fine," Raimundo slung Omi over his back. "You and I are going away from the temple. Kimiko, Clay, practice with your Wudai weapons. No breaks until we get back."
"You heard the man," Dojo clapped at the Dragons of Earth and Fire, "Get back to work!"
"Dojo, help Clay some more." Raimundo ordered before exiting the grounds.
"Great. I get to dress up as a little girl and it's not even for a tea party," Dojo muttered.
"Why are we going so far from the temple?" Omi asked. He had hopped down from Raimundo's grasp and was now following the Shoku Warrior through the forest.
"Because you and I need to talk, and because this is where we'll do your training." He surveyed the forest for a while, then selected an area where there was a break in the trees. The sky was clear overhead, though the sun was starting to go down.
"So, what kind of training do you have in mind for me?"
"No comments about how much better you are than me?" Raimundo looked suspicious. "How do I know you're not Hannibal Bean using the Moby Morpher?"
"Because I would not be using mirrors and fog to deceive you!"
"…That's smoke and mirrors. Yep, it's you. Look. It's not about you being better. I took you out here because…I know you really wanted to be the leader, and I don't know how you feel about me getting it. We never talked about it. I kind of want to say I'm sorry, but I'd be lying. I wanted this, Omi, really badly."
"And you deserved it," Omi bowed his head. "The best fighter does not always make the best general."
"Still think you're a better fighter?"
"Of course. It is only natural, given that I have trained longer. But one day, perhaps, you will catch up," Omi smirked and gave Raimundo what was meant to be a playful punch in the arm. Raimundo rubbed the spot where he'd been hit – Omi still didn't really know how to hold back. "Raimundo, I did not understand at first. Not as much why you were chosen, but rather why I was not. I was simply not ready for the challenge. It did hurt, but I have grown. But you grew and you did so faster than me. We have all accepted that you are leader, and we are happy for you. So why do you still doubt yourself?"
Raimundo let out a small chuckle. "Just when I think I have you all figured out, little dude, you surprise me. Thanks. But now, onto your training…"
"Your overconfidence is your weakness," Raimundo explained, but Kimiko interrupted.
"Your faith in your friends is yours!"
Clay chuckled, but Raimundo rolled his eyes. "Let's focus here!"
Omi stood on a long bamboo pole in the center of a pit, completely blindfolded. "Kimiko," Raimundo nodded at the girl. She nodded back.
"Wudai Mars Fire!" Flames erupted from her hands, filling the pit below Omi.
"I am not sure that touch was completely necessary…It is getting most hot," Omi complained. "Is that not overcoming a line?"
"That's 'crossing a line'. But it sets a time limit," Raimundo explained. "Absolutely no assisting, Omi. We're going to get you out of there. You have to trust us to do that."
"By yourselves? But I am certain my assistance would be most invaluable!"
"If you use any kung fu, you fail," Raimundo reprimanded him. "Now…Clay. You first."
"Clay! You should use your earth power to –" Omi started to suggest, but Raimundo shushed him.
"You also can't tell people what to do. Just trust that your friends will save you."
Clay studied the pit for a moment, then pulled out his lasso. He threw it over the Chinese monk and pulled him from the bamboo pole. Omi went flying through the air, and Clay yanked hard on the lasso to bring Omi into his arms. "I got you, little buddy!" Omi took off his blind fold and gave the cowboy the thumbs up symbol.
"Very good, Clay, but you could have also-" This time Omi stopped himself. "No, my friend, it was an excellent rescue."
"Other than your robes being on fire," Kimiko said.
"Yes, other than my robes being on…YAAAAAAAAHHHHH!" Omi screamed and swatted at the flames on his robes. "Do we have to do that again?"
"Yep. Until you can let us get you out of there without trying to help," Raimundo insisted. "I'll go get a new bamboo pole. That one doesn't look sturdy anymore."
Omi dropped onto the ground and stared up at the sky. The stars were just starting to come out. "It is going to be a most long night…"