Toph prepared to enter the arena, slipping on her wrist shields. Sokka had been hovering since she got here, giving her pointers in a field he knew little about and she was a master. But Mai had swooped in a few minutes ago, swept Sokka and his protests away with a glare and clink of concealed knives, leaving Toph some peace in which to finish her preparations to fight.
It was her first one in a while, she had obligingly in a surprisingly mature manner and stuck by the rule of not competing in tournaments while teaching, for fear it would "corrupt" the desire of using her student's powers for the greater good. But enough was enough. Tonight she was entering that arena to do good old earthbending battle, just like the ones in her childhood. There was little doubt that she would come out on top, but still Toph felt the adrenaline rush for a filthy, bruising fight corse along her bones.
She reached out to retrieve her old headband, she was dressing as the original Blind Bandit and it was the only piece of the outfit that still fit. But before her hand had made it halfway, she felt a tug on her hair as it was expertly tugged, looped, and knotted.
"I thought I'd help," Mai droned, some of her affection for her younger friend sneaking into her voice.
"I was wondering why you were getting so close," Toph snarked back, a grin on her face. She tipped her head forward as she felt Mai move around her. On went the hair piece, a few pins slipping in to bind it to bun itself, the job expertly done.
Stepping back, Mai asked, "Are you ready?"
Toph blew a puff of air on her bangs. "Duh."
This caused a single chuckle from the other warrior. This brought to mind a question Toph had been wondering for a while. "Hey, you ever fight in a competition? Nothing at stake but glory and money?"
She felt she shifting that she had learned to translate as a shrug before Mai responded with, "No, unless you count Azula's idea of games."
Toph threw up her hands dramatically in response, her grin back, "We need to get you in the ring! Your creepy uncaring attitude is a perfect tactic to psych out your opponents."
"True..." Mai nodded, moving to watch the current fight from where Toph would make her entrance.
"Not just true, fact! After this, we are going straight out to find you some asses to kick," Toph proclaimed, rolling her shoulders as she felt one of the current contests be thrown from the ring.
"Good luck," was the only response Mai gave, and Toph punched her on the arm as she made her way past.
When Toph returned with her winnings, she found Mai still waiting, but saw the addition of many more knives. Cackling, she grabbed the other woman's elbow to lead her on an adventure, passing her money into Sokka's arms and telling him not to waste it all on questionable shopping choices.