For once, someone seems genuinely happy to see Azula. She waves and grins like one would at an old friend they trust and don't fear.
She nods slightly, ends up with her head slightly bowed and her voice quieter. "So are you doing okay?"
She grins at Azula. "That's good. I was a little worried for a minute there."
"I'm not going to leave this nation without an heir to the throne."
"Of course not."
Azula pauses for a moment before answering.
"You may have the honor of joining me for target practice tomorrow afternoon."
Zaia beams. "Honored is right, I'd love to. But, um, where? I haven't been here that long yet."
Azula gives directions.
And Zaia shows up happily to target practice.
Zaia can go first. They can start with a perfectly innocuous assault on some effigies of people from the Earth Kingdom. Smaller targets are more of a challenge, which might be why some of them are child-sized.
She frowns but doesn't hesitate, probably more in concentration than concern. Her aim isn't perfect but she never outright misses the targets.
"You're not used to throwing knives, are you. How do you prefer to fight?"
"Hand-to-hand. It makes more sense to me."
"Would you rather show me what you can do fighting hand-to-hand? Unarmed, no firebending?"
Her face flushes. "I'd be–absolutely honored to have the chance–"
"And if you're ever called on to serve and defend your nation, do you think the Earth Kingdom's soldiers will ask how you would prefer to fight them?"
"No! I can fight other ways, I'm just better at one than the others."
"I suppose we can't all be good at everything."
"There's only so much time to learn and practice."
"Quite true. Tell me, do you have hobbies?"
She shrugs. "I people-watch, I guess."
"Why not? Um, I like to see how people react to things. Who looks up if a baby starts crying. The faces they make when they realize they've forgotten something important. You know."
Azula nods. "Yes. That is entertaining. Of course, it's also nice to test what you think you know."