To live and let live. It was a saying that Mai had heard many times, from various people in various places.
"But what about to live or let live?" She asked her mother when she was younger.
Her mother looked at her. "You shouldn't say things like that. Everyone deserves to live."
Mai hesitated for a moment, but then nodded as her mother had dragged her along on their morning errands.
To live or let live. Mai had to make the aggravating choice, thanks to a certain princess.
"Prince Zuko," An army officer said, reading from a scroll.
"Yes?" Zuko got up, and walked towards the officer, leaving his thoughts behind him.
"You are hereby under arrest for, er, doing things against the Fire Lord."
"What's going on? What things?"
"Hire any assassins lately? What about visiting any relatives? Restricted rooms, maybe?" Azula smirked, walking into the room.
She walked across he narrow hallway, her robes swishing behind her. He was sitting on the cold floor, back against the bars.
"Zuko," She said, her voice barely above a whisper.
He turned his head, his dark face lighting up at the sight of her. "Mai!" He croaked.
She bowed her head, forcing a smile upon her face.
"What are you doing here? Where's Azula?" Zuko asked anxiously.
"Don't worry, Azula's out somewhere with Ty Lee." Mai answered, her voice still hushed.
"But why did you come here?"
Mai pulled something long and silver our of her sleeve. Zuko thought it was a stiletto at first, but soon saw that it was a key.
"Y-you have the k-key?!"
She nodded, and put it back, her face turning a deep shade of red.
"Mai. . . Please," He pleaded, looking up at her with longing eyes.
"I can't, Zuko. I've already tried to get down here once before- but Azula caught me. She thinks I'm having tea with me mother right now. If you were found missing, she'd know it was me."
His face fell. "I'm going to die, depending on what my fath- the Fire Lord says."
To live or let live. Mai had made the choice, much to Zuko's dismay.
"To live is to love, and to love is to live," Mai's mother once told her. She didn't understand it at time- seeing as she had only been eight years of age- nor did she understand it now, being fifteen years of age.
"Ty Lee, Mai, we must go now." Azula said, smiling. It had been approximately one month since Mai had gone to see Zuko down in the prison cells, and his father- well, the Fire Lord- had decided.
Mai got up, but did not fallow Ty Lee and Azula out the door and to the staged area. She vowed when she was twelve to never go back there.
Zuko had been to the staged area once before, as well. The area was used for Agni Kais, hangings, and other similar things.
She saw from the small window people pouring into the seats, anxiously awaiting for the so called prince to appear.
A sleek stiletto slid out from Mai's right sleeve, and she grasped it tightly in her hand.
Zuko walked out onto the staged arena, hands tied behind his back, noose awaiting him. People shouted and jeered as he walked, some even throwing things rocks and rotten foods.
An officer began reading from a scroll as Zuko stood there looking grimmer than ever. Mai paid no attention to what was being said, but instead watched intently from the small window.
The officer finished talking, and Zuko was then brought over to the rope- already looking limp, but with his chin held high.
She moved the stiletto that was in her hand slightly, holding onto the dull end, its sharp point hanging freely, just waiting to pierce something.
His head then weaved through the rope, the executioner looking excited as he tied it around Zuko's neck.
Mai sucked in the air around her, looking back down at Zuko.
The citizens who had showed up were on the edges of there seats, all looking up at the executioner to see if he was ready.
Zuko closed his eyes.
The rope was pulled and Zuko was then left hanging, his feet dangling.
The stiletto ripped through Mai's robe, piercing her skin.
Her mother had been wrong. To love was not to live, but to die.
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