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Very Well-Bred Monsters

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[To the Admissions Committee of the Royal Fire Academy for Girls
From Hu Yong, private tutor

For the past three years I have had the task unique honor of tutoring Princess Azula, honored daughter of The Esteemed Prince Ozai. While I am sure that you have already accepted her into the Academy
that her lineage speaks for itself
that you hardly need my recommendation to realize that she is the eldest daughter of the second Prince of the realm

The princess has always turned in exemplary schoolwork when she cared about a subject when given sufficient motivation

The princess has incredible knowledge of military strategy and is always willing to engage with her lessons in hands-on ways. She has a true skill at uncovering the weaknesses nuances of the people around her

She is very good with people.]

 

[To the Admissions Committee of the Royal Fire Academy for Girls
From Hu Yong, private tutor

 For the past three years I have had the unique honor of tutoring Princess Azula, honored daughter of The Esteemed Prince Ozai. While I am sure that Princess Azula’s academic and extracurricular record speaks for itself, it is this humble servant’s privilege to highly recommend her for admission to the Royal Fire Academy for Girls. Princess Azula is single-minded, thorough, dedicated, and independent, and has an incredible knowledge of military history and strategy. The princess consistently seizes every opportunity to practice her skills in rhetoric and persuasion. It is hard to overstate the meaningful contributions that the princess has made to the efficiency of her household. She is a natural leader and a truly remarkable individual who is sure to leave an impression on everyone she meets. I am sure that she will continue to shine and thrive wherever she goes.]

 


 

[ATTENDANCE LIST

Cheung Wěi
Fan Chenguang
Huang Lei
Lee Ling
Lee Zing
Wàn Mai
Wong Ching Bo
Tse Meilin
Tuen Ping
Ty Lee ——————————————————— fences, likes pink, hard time sitting still. Bakes sculpts plays drums CANNOT PICK A HOBBY acrobat
Ty Lin ———————————————————  plays flute, always wears sparkly things, never seat in direct sunlight
Ty Lat ———————————————————  swims. Generally dripping or has towel over shoulders
Ty Lao ———————————————————  dances. Hair usually elaborately braided. Hums a lot. Likes orange.
Ty Liu ——————————————————— plays harp. Really short hair. Usually draped around Lee Ling.
Ty Lum ———————————————————  origami. Wears spectacles (doesn’t actually need them). If in doubt will be the one ripping pages out of textbooks and notebooks.
Ty Woo ———————————————————  mean. Really mean.
Yeung Song
Zhang Yanyu]

 


 

 

[— and of course, once the weasel bats were contained, we were easily able to drive them out and restore the classroom.

Regarding the Princess, as you asked me to keep an eye on her: while she’s naturally very popular, the teachers have indicated that she’s become particularly close to Wàn Mai and Ty Lin Ty Lee — one of the septuplets. I’m not sure how the acquaintance was started; Mistress Lao said something about a fight, but she wasn’t in the room at the time, so it wasn’t clear. They all seem like nice, polite, well-behaved girls, so I don’t foresee trouble there.

Miss Kwan
Assistant Headmistress]

From the desk of Si Maa Ju, Headmistress, Royal Fire Academy for Girls

Mai and Lee? Could be good for them. Might give Lee more of a spine. Anyway I’ve never seen a girl as quiet as that Mai, it can't be healthy. No idea how Michi and Ukano’s daughter turned out like that, spirits know he can't get enough of the sound of his own voice.

 


 

 

[CLASSROOM RULES

    • Speak respectfully to all your classmates. They are ladies of good breeding and the relationships you develop here will last the rest of your life.
    • Raise your hand and wait until called upon before speaking. A lady must know when silence is more useful than speech.
    • All students must be on time for class, and homework must be done neatly and turned in promptly. Tardiness is unbecoming and will be punished accordingly.
    • Always have your pencils, books, and other supplies ready at the beginning of class. Preparation is the soul of success.
    • Keep your desk and belongings tidy and gather them up neatly upon exiting the classroom, showing consideration for the next students to use the classroom. Always exit like the ladies that you are.

 

  • Remain upright in your seats during class. A handstand is not upright, no matter how excellent your form is.
  • It is rude and unbecoming to force younger students to tidy up after you, even if they are weak-willed and easily subordinated. A lady must know how to wield her will in subtler ways.
  • Even if you are making an excellent point about the strength and glory of the Fire Nation, please wait to be called on before speaking.]

 


 

[She staged a coup during History in the middle of the section on Fire Lord Sozin’s first few years in power and led a live reenactment of the overthrow of the Air Nomads, using stacked classroom furniture as the Air Temples. Ty Lee spent the entire lesson hanging upside down from the ceiling. The only person who refused to participate was Mai, who said she found it boring. One of the “monks” broke an arm and another broke a wrist when they were dragged from the top of a pile of chairs. There are two broken tables and and most of the classroom decorations were ripped off the walls, but on the bright side, Miss Taishi says she’s never seen the class so invested in a lesson.

Miss Kwan
Assistant Headmistress]

 


 

Dear students,

Here is your daily message from your headmistress: On days when you are feeling gloomy, consider memorializing the defeat of your enemies in song, tapestry, or painting. Remember, it's not gloating if it's art.

And now for today’s announcements.

The dance team will be holding tryouts this afternoon after the last bell in the auditorium.

For those interested, Miss Lee will be giving a lecture on the art of calligraphy in her classroom during lunch hour.

The restrooms located on the third floor of the Eastern Wing are out of service for the next two weeks, or until such time as the wall can be reconstructed.

These have been today’s announcements.

 


 

 

[From the desk of Si Maa Ju, Headmistress, Royal Fire Academy for Girls

Really, Kwan, if you’re so scared of writing to the palace, I’ll do it. But this sort of squeamishness hardly suits a molder of young minds. Remember what I always say: A candle may be a light in the darkness, but it won’t be as good as a piston-based flamethrower.]

 


 

Dear Headmistress Si Maa Ju,

Thank you for your message regarding the structural damage to the East Wing of the Royal Fire Academy for Girls. The Esteemed Prince Ozai appreciates your full report of the incident, your assurance that all the students remain unharmed, and your generous understanding of the accidents that can occur when a young firebender is still developing her abilities.

As a token of the Prince’s respect for you and your venerable institution, this letter is accompanied by a modest donation of gold (see attached). It is his fondest wish for this donation to go to the full reconstruction of the East Wing. Additionally, please find enclosed a list of builders and contractors whose innovative work with flame-resistant materials comes highly recommended.

Should future accidents of this nature occur, please feel free to write to me directly, care of the Imperial Palace.

Regards,

Cāng Min
Assistant Domestic Under-Secretary
Household of Prince Ozai
Imperial Palace

 


 

Internal memo
To: All teachers, Royal Fire Academy for Girls
From: Si Maa Ju, Headmistress, Royal Fire Academy for Girls

Immediately remove all references to General Iroh as our Exalted Crown Prince from the curriculum. General Iroh may be referred to as General or as the Dragon of the West. You may mention his defeat at Ba Sing Se, but do not use it as justification for the removal of his title. All respect must still be due to General Iroh as a member of the royal family and general who has claimed many victories for our nation. However, when Fire Lord Azulon was ready to take his journey out of the mortal world, he knew that the true destined leader of the Fire Nation must be Prince Ozai, now Fire Lord Ozai. It was his dying wish that Fire Lord Ozai continue to lead the Fire Nation to greatness, with General Iroh as his strong right hand.

The Royal Fire Academy for Girls is honored to have Fire Lord Ozai’s daughter, Princess Azula, attending our school, and I know that every teacher here will continue to treat her with the respect and honor that she deserves.

History teachers — see me for more details.

 


 

  

[She set a girl’s hair on fire. I don't know how it happened, and the girl insists it was an honor to be so singled out by the princess, but there are witnesses. Mistress Lao set her to writing lines but she said that she had bending practice, and wasn’t practice more likely than writing lines to keep such terrible accidents from happening again?

Miss Kwan
Assistant Headmistress]

[From the desk of Si Maa Ju, Headmistress, Royal Fire Academy for Girls

Ha! Does a girl good to figure out how to get out of punishments. In my day, I never served a single detention — and not for lack of trying on my teachers' part, you know.]

Yes, headmistress.

 


 

Dear students,

Here is your daily message from your headmistress: A lady is poised, elegant, decisive, and unobtrusive when necessary. So is an assassin.

And now for today’s announcements.

Miss Lee will be holding a hands-on lesson in flower arranging in her classroom during lunch hour.

To the student who has been leaving knife holes in the hallways, we ask you to please confine your excellent aim and enthusiasm for sport to the appropriate venues.

In light of recent events, there will be no further rounds of Flaming Dodge Ball in physical education, at least until the gym has been fully reconstructed.

These have been today's announcements.

 


 

Interview with Lee Ling on the subject of the graffiti inside the calligraphy rooms, page 3:

“— oh yeah, and we knew we couldn't use the gym because of how it’s still closed and everything. Did you know Mai could do that? I didn't know Mai could do that. I mean, we all knew Princess Azula could do that, because Princess Azula can do anything, but Mai doesn't even have any powers or anything! That was flaming awesome. Completely wow. I heard Mistress Zhu offered pretty much anything to get Mai to join any of the school teams and Mai just yawned.

"So we couldn't use the gym, anyway, and then we thought, you know, there's always ink in the calligraphy rooms and maybe it would just be like practicing our handwriting except really really big —”

 


 

Her entire year is deeply invested in some sort of feud. Three students have broken down in tears, several personal items have been sabotaged, and the most appalling rumors are being spread.

Miss Kwan
Assistant Headmistress

 

[From the desk of Si Maa Ju, Headmistress, Royal Fire Academy for Girls

And you think that just because she and her friends are the only completely neutral ones, that they're the ones responsible?]

[There is no proof of who might be responsible, Headmistress, and none of the students can say where they heard the start of the rumors.

Miss Kwan
Assistant Headmistress] 

From the desk of Si Maa Ju, Headmistress, Royal Fire Academy for Girls

Good girl. She's really learning a lot here, you know.

 


 

Dear Headmistress Si Maa Ju,

Enclosed with Princess Azula’s tuition for the year, please find an additional modest donation (the enclosed five keys will open the chests). It is His Glorious Majesty The Fire Lord Ozai’s fondest wish that you use these funds to update and refurbish the campus in whatever way seems appropriate to you. If we may offer a humble suggestion, you may wish to consider lightning-proofing the campus, particularly the walls at head and heart height. Lightning can often come from very unexpected directions, given the correct circumstances.

With sincere regards,

Cāng Min
Chief Domestic Under-Secretary
Household of Fire Lord Ozai
Imperial Palace

 


 

 

[From the desk of Si Maa Ju, Headmistress, Royal Fire Academy for Girls

Kwan —

Of course I understand why you might want to leave administrative work and return to the glory of heading up a classroom, but why in this world would you want a transfer out to the back of beyond to teach dull, weak-minded little peasant children when you could be molding the minds of tomorrow’s leaders? There's no excitement in the provinces like there is here in the capital. For flame’s sake, half the curriculum is an outright lie.

Your transfer is accepted, but really, if you get bored of the peace and tranquility out East, there may not be a place here anymore.]


[We, the undersigned teachers of the Royal Fire Academy for Girls, strongly request recommend the Princess Azula Her Esteemed Highness The Princess Azula for honorable and early graduation. The Princess has received top marks in all her studies We have nothing left to teach the Princess Princess Azula’s scholastic work has been completed diligently and promptly, and when she has an interest in a subject she will thoroughly pursue it in independent study. It is therefore that we recommend that Princess Azula be sent back to her family with our gratitude congratulations. She is, by far, the most impressive graduate we’ve ever had.]

 

[We, the undersigned teachers of the Royal Fire Academy for Girls, strongly recommend the Princess Azula for honorable and early graduation. Princess Azula’s scholastic work has been exceptional, particularly her grasp of history, tactics, mathematics, and social manipulation. She has far outstripped the other firebending students, likely due to her natural talent and extensive private study of the art, and her skill in hand-to-hand combat, riding, and tracking are exemplary. Her independent spirit will serve her well should she choose to continue her studies after graduation. It is therefore that we recommend that Princess Azula be victoriously sent into the world with our congratulations. We fully expect her to be one of the Royal Fire Academy’s most successful alumnae.]