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Previously on The Avatar Rhtyhm
|"In one week, Everburn Academy would be up and running, the only school in the Fire Nation that has no regular bending classes, and a great range of professors."|
|— From The Stranger|
|"All I wanted when I came here was to be a refugee, a loner. I never expected to live among the noble people, and be honored and sent around!!! Can't I just go to Everburn Academy and learn a thing or two?" And with that, Shirou stomped off in an uncontrollable fury."|
|— From The Fire Lord|
May 7, 2011
This is Chapter 3 in the The Avatar Rhythm Series.
It was finally the day that Shirou had been waiting for. As the sun rose over Royal Chaldera City, a smile grew upon his face. He had been planning it for months before his escape. When he would finally become a member of the Fire Nation.
This was the day that Everburn Academy was starting. It's the only school in the Fire Nation without regular bending classes.
Unlike the day before, it was sunny and warm, and Shirou woke up cheerfully. As he almost skipped down the stairs, wondrous ideas of a great future wafted around the house.
There were two letters in Shirou's mailbox that day. After he tore off the "Shipped from Omashu" seal from the parchment envelopes, the messages flopped down. It was the first mail he had gotten since he came here. For some reason, Shirou was afraid to read them.
Eventually, the waiting became tremendously frustrating, and he decided to open them anyway. The first letter read:
We are excited to know you will be enrolling in Everburn Academy today. It is a very strict, yet informative school. Absolutely no fooling around will be permitted. If you are not disciplined enough to come here, you will pay the price.
As a first-year, you will be attending the following classes:
Calligraphy and Applications
You will also choose one of the following electives when you enter the school this morning:
Policies and Business
We hope you have a fun time in your classes learning. You will be expected to bring scrolls and a quill every day.
Note: Absolutely no Firebending unless in Firebending class."
Shirou pondered at the note. Before he could think about it too much, something else caught his eye. The front of the second letter had an eye-gouging heading, that even he could barely stand looking at.
"An Important Note From the Water Tribe Chief"
Shirou decided not to read that one, and moved on out to school. The walk down to the Fire Nation Capital Plaza was very difficult, yet pleasing. It was his first long-distance journey that hadn't been a large animal's back with a Fire Nation nobleman. He really felt like he wanted to feel. The closer he got to the town center, the more he realized how big the Everburn Academy Chamelephant Stop was. As far as he could see, there was only one other person there from Royal Chaldera, and that was Hotaru. As he approached her, they locked eyes. "Hello Shirou," she said dully. "Now I remember you telling me that you are coming to school here, too." In a very shy form, she looked away.
They just stood next to each other in silence. Every once in a while they'd mutter something about school or ask a question, which was quieted almost immediately. The semi-awkward moment was luckily broken by the sound of large footsteps coming down the road.
Besides in some Water Tribe storybooks, Shirou had never seen a chamelephant before. And he had never imagined them to be so big. The one coming to bring them to Everburn Academy was large, gray, and had a big saddle on its back, that students were climbing up on.
"Let's go," said Hotaru, and Shirou followed her up the side of the large beast. Scaling rough animal skin was not the first thing he had in mind when he thought about a great start of school, but they managed.
From the top of the chamelephant, they could see almost all of the Fire Nation Capital Plaza. And after ten minutes or so of riding, one large building stood out from all the others in the distance. Shirou and Hotaru looked at each other. "Everburn Academy."
20 minutes later, everyone was jam-packed inside the halls of the school. Hotaru and Shirou stuck together in the large mass of Fire Nation teenagers, who were mostly gruff-looking boys and girls with untrusting smiles across their faces. Eventually, the Everburn Academy students formed a line to be lead to their classrooms. It was going pretty slowly, and the kids at the end were becoming agitated beyond belief.
As Shirou approached the teacher operating the line, she looked at him kind of funny. "Wait a second," she said. "You're the Water Tribe Chief's son, right?" He nodded. "Okay then," the teacher continued, "As a first-year, you will go to National History first." Shirou made an unimpressed sigh.
Hotaru was also going to that class first, but she seemed pretty excited. "My father has told me so much about the Fire Nation," she said. "I just can't wait to tell him about it!"
Unfortunately, their smiles slowly faded when they met their new National History teacher. She was a tall elderely woman, with scraggy gray hair tied up in a perfect topknot. "Sit down!" She yelled, pointing her finger at Hotaru and Shirou. They took seats at random desks, hoping she'd be nicer while teaching.
"Okay everyone," she harshly announced, "I am Mrs. Endo, and I'll be your first-year national history teacher. As this is a very disciplined school, there are a couple rules I will enforce you on in this classroom.
Number One. No talking at all, unless you are instructed to.
Number Two. If any work is missing or late, you will receive twice as much work to complete the next day.
Number Three. Every time you come into this room, you will bow.
Basically, just do what you're told. Nothing much."
Mrs. Endo smiled, but it wasn't like any smile Shirou had ever seen. It was a smirk, and if anything, it was evil. "This year," she continued, "You will learn all about the Fire Nation's past. And I mean all about it. From the very first day Fire Lord Sozin was born, to Taro's coronation. That covers about 300 years of history. To acquire all that information, you will listen to every word I say. If not, you can pay the consequences." Hotaru could tell that this was not the history class she expected.
"Whoa, she's pretty strict," said Shirou as him and Hotaru headed down the halls. "But in the meantime, I should be going to Calligraphy and Applications. How about you?"
"Firebending." She replied. "You must think it's kind of ironic that I came to the only school where Firebending isn't a required class to learn the art. But, the thing is, the program they have is apparently amazing, and I have to get good. The Fire Days Festival is coming to the Royal Plaza next week, and my father signed me up to perform. I tried telling him I was only a novice Firebender, but he told me to do it for him. I'll catch you later, need to go!" They parted halls, and Shirou headed off to the next class.
Calligraphy and Applications seemed even worse than National History to Shirou. Their teacher, Mr. Ageda, wasn't strict like Mrs. Endo, but he was really into his subject. Every mark on the classroom chalkboard was in perfect strokes of calligraphy. "Settle down class," he said, as the students were picking desks and checking schedules. "In this class, we will learn to write and to apply it to everyday life. For the first half of the year, we will learn every single calligraphy character and practice it until we can't anymore. Don't worry, we'll add some fun things to that part." The class made a sigh of relief. Mr. Ageda continued, "The next half of the year will be practicing writing essays, learning the history of our writing system, and a bit of arithmetic." The students stared at him with blank faces. Mr. Ageda obviously did not acknowledge them and excitedly proclaimed, "So whose ready to get their quills?"
No one moved.
Shirou was the first student in his Avatar Studies class. He did not want to miss a thing, it was why he came. Except, it was a bit awkward. The teacher, Miss Miyamoto, was kept looking up at him. "You're here a bit early," she stated. Shirou answered in a short, "Yes." His teacher was not pleased. "Just yes? Wouldn't it be proper to say, Yes, I am a bit early Miss Miyamoto. And being the most noble student here, I'd expect something a bit more respectful."
"Yes, I am a bit early Miss Miyamoto." Shirou stated, regretting it a moment afterwards.
"I see you like to repeat what I say. I'll make you a deal. When everyone else leaves school today, you can come here and say "Yes, I am a bit early Miss Miyamoto" until your repetitive vocal chords get tired." She smiled, and he knew that her and Mrs. Endo would be great friends.
Shirou was pleased to see Hotaru come into the room with the next batch of students. She sat behind him, and listened to what happened as Miss Miyamoto read off the year's agenda.
Shirou and Hotaru walked into the Technology classroom with a well wanted and deserved sigh of relief. It wasn't like the other organized classrooms. There were just three scratched up tables, with scraps of metal, wood, and ash littering the floors. It was more of a workshop than a classroom. But their teacher, Mr. Kaneko, was even better. "Hey guys," he said, scratching the word "Technology" in cheerful not-perfect-like-Mr. Ageda style of writing. "Our history of technology is amazing. Though they were not things we should be proud about making, the Fire Nation's machines during The War outclassed the others by far. Since then, we have advanced greatly in buildings, physics, and stability of our machines. In this class, you will apply your knowledge of those advancements to real inventions, or make your own. And like I always do, lets start the year with a great project. Due next week, you will have to make a model vehicle that can move on it's own. Whether it be moving on water, land, or in the air, it must be 2-4 inches long. That's my only instructions. You can pick partners, then get to work."
Shirou looked at Hotaru. He was sure that his time at Everburn Academy was going to be just great.
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