Nov 27, 2022 4:23 AM
the tyrant in Auradon
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The handful of students eating dinner look up at the villain kids when they come in, notice their patched and torn and dirty clothes, and look variously scared, angry, and incredibly uncomfortable. 

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Bern will sit down... at Tetley's table if she isn't giving off too many hostile signals, otherwise at an empty one of his own, and start eating like he has no intention of stopping.

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Alida will take her food, walk calmly over to Wei Wuxian's table (assuming nobody can eavesdrop if she does), sit down, and say, "You know, I think we agree on absolutely all aspects of the situation, except for which of us is insane."

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"I'm going to give you three minutes to be more interesting than Introduction to Organic Chemistry and then I'm going to ignore you."

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"We have two missions, and we need to complete one of them. Either we get enough power to break the dome and get everyone out, or we talk them into letting our gangs back home go. Agreed?"

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"With you so far."

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"Since we have exactly the same objectives, we should try to work together and share information so we can work towards our objectives better. We've got no actual conflicts; any advantage one of us gains is advantage towards the other's goals."

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"Unless you stab the fucking king. I'm supposed to stay alive, Yanli said."

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"You'll observe that my encounter with the so-called king ended with him submitting and 'apologizing.'"

She flashes Wei Wuxian a brief smile. "I have no intention of dying. Nor of going back to the island. I expect he'll want to do me favors, now, to 'make up for the harm he's done.'"

She'll sip her (probably non-alcoholic, alas) fruit juice. "Almost like a child, really."

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"I don't fucking buy that you read that situation that well that quickly off what little we know of King Ben. You were mad and you wanted to stab him. Which is fine, I'm gonna stab him if he insults Yanli whatever it does for the plan, but I'm not gonna work with you if I don't know what's gonna make you stab people. Which I don't, you never fucking stabbed people at home."

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"I wouldn't stab the king without an escape plan, Wei Wuxian! I thought if I put pressure on him I could force him into a position where he'd give me important information about what the hell is going on here, you have to have noticed there's plots we aren't following, and they matter if we're going to get our gangs off the rock. Instead I got him feeling guilty. Did the plan work the way I expected it would? No! Did it result in the king feeling that he owes me? Yes!"

(In spite of the exclamation points, she's keeping her voice down enough not to be overheard by neighboring tables.)

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"Well, if it keeps working out well for you maybe I'll help."

Yanli would be SO proud. 

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"Keep watching," she'll say with a smile, and then go get more food and, when she does, sit down with Bern and Tetley.

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Alida. Back. After talking to Wei Wuxian. Great.

... He is REALLY NOT SURE whether she can provide protection or not. The encounter with the king worked out well for her? He thinks? 

Honestly he mostly thinks she's a Person Who Makes Stuff Happen like Wei Wuxian and the thing to do with people like that is avoid them.

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Tetley quietly reads her book and ignores all subtext.

The book is good.

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"So. The king's decided he owes me. If anyone screws with either of you, let me know. I'll take care of it."

She looks at both of them. "We're going to get everyone off the island. That's all. Don't screw it up."

And then she'll get back to eating.

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Screwing it up would involve getting involved in politics, which is something Tetley has strived very hard never to do.

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Bern just wants to keep his head down.

"Right." And a nod.

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Then Alida will cast her eyes over the remaining students eating on their own, conclude they probably don't want to talk to her (and that she doesn't want to talk to them), and get started reading the student handbook! Are these actual rules, or is this propaganda? She'll find out.

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The first few pages are about the school's values. The school values Goodness and Nobility (the difference between these is not clear) and Academic Excellence and Well-Roundedness. 

Here are the various sorts of people Alida can contact for help with various problems. There are like two pages of them.

She will be taking five courses. She should expect a half-hour of homework per course per day in ninth and tenth grade and 45 minutes in eleventh and twelfth grade. She can change her schedule in the first week of classes. She will be tracked into appropriate classes depending on her past performance at school. Her grades (on a scale from A to F which inexplicably skips E) will be sent to her parents at the end of each semester. If her grades are poor, she will be put on academic probation, and if they don't improve after that she will be expelled. 

Alida must attend at least 20% of the classes for each course or she will fail the course. 

Breakfast is from 7:00 to 8:30am; lunch from 11:30am to 1pm; dinner from 5:30pm to 7:00pm. Classes run from 8am to 2:30pm, with a break for lunch and a study hall. Study hours are from 8:00 to 10:00pm every day which precedes a school day, and she is expected to be studying in her dorm room or in a common room during study hours. All students are required to be in their rooms by 10:30pm. Lights out is 11pm. There are no classes on weekends, but the meals schedule is the same. On Friday and Saturday night, you have to be in your dorm by 11:30pm and lights out is midnight. 

Meals are buffet-style. Good manners are required. Food, drink, and dishes may not be taken from the cafeteria. 

Students are encouraged to take advantage of any of the many sports offered by Auradon Prep! Here is a long list. They are also encouraged to take advantage of the drama and music programs. The school organizes many volunteer opportunities, such as visiting the elderly and tutoring students in local schools and a service vacation to Morgandammerung where they build schools. 

Students must wear clean, tasteful clothes which fully cover "body parts" (this is not elaborated upon) and are not see-through.

When using the Internet, students must not subvert network security, or distribute copyrighted material, or share confidential personal material about others, or access inappropriate content (the definition of "inappropriate" is also not elaborated upon), or send harassing, discriminatory, or offensive messages. All use during study hours and the school day must be academic. Students may only use smartphones for academic purposes during study hours and the school day, and smartphones are forbidden in the library or the dining hall. 

No student is allowed in another student's room unless that student is present. Students are not permitted to replace the furniture, or have pets, or use furnishings for unintended purposes, or make modifications to their dorm rooms that can't be fixed, or place school furnishings on balconies, or enclose the balconies with fabric, or keep anything with a heating element in their dorm room, or enter each other's rooms through the balconies. Students are not allowed to have the door closed when a member of the opposite sex is in the room. 

The school can search the room if there is reason to believe that there are illegal, dangerous, prohibited, or stolen items. 

Visitors must check in, and need special permission to stay overnight. 

If a student is concerned that someone else has a medical, mental health, or behavioral problem that they haven't told the school about, then they can tell the administration! They won't get in trouble for breaking the rules if they confess breaking the rules as part of telling the administration. The administration might talk to the student who's in trouble, tell their parents, ask the student to sign a behavioral contract agreeing to certain behavior, give the student medical or mental health care, or put the student on a medical leave of absence. Remember that the school is here to help you!

Students are NOT allowed to have any of this long list of medications in their room. They will have to get them from the school nurse. 

Parents have complete access to everything about their children's medical records. 

Here are various rules about the appropriate use of cars, motorcycles, bicycles, rollerskates, etc etc.

Here are various rules about getting permission to go off campus. 

Here are some rules about fire safety.

Here are some rules about what to do in the event of an emergency. (This, of course, covers magical attack.)

The usual consequence for minor breaking of a rule (late to class, not studying during study hours, out of room after curfew) is an hourlong detention. If you break a major rule (unexcused absence from class, being in someone else's dorm room without them present, driving violations), you'll have a two-hour work period and be confined to campus for one Saturday. Severe rule-breaking includes leaving campus without permission, possessing a weapon, using alcohol or drugs, stealing, plagiarizing, cheating in class, hazing, harassing, threatening of physical harm, or assaulting others. In general, the school will do a disciplinary hearing about this and decide on an appropriate remedy, which may include probation or expulsion. 

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Hmm.

So. They value Goodness ("being on their side") and Nobility ("being rich and well-off"), fair enough. "Academic excellence" means "doing well in school," sure. "Well-roundedness"... she has no idea what that means. Being fat? Seems plausible, given some of the people in the cafeteria. Well, she's behind on that one; not like anyone but villains can be fat, on the isle.

There are two pages of people students can contact. Can she? Probably not.

She needs to take classes. Fine. 

They want her to do everything very precisely by the clock; presumably this is for coordination? Well, Alida's done enough trying to coordinate people to understand that impulse...

Meals are... blah blah blah... "good manners" you need to fucking define this stuff, book-writer, state your requirements

... Is this actual rules, or is this just a set of aspirations they want everyone to pretend to follow? 

Many sports... drama and music programs??? What are those? Do they try to teach people proper dance-off skills or something?

Students must wear clean, [undefined] clothes which cover parts of your body and are not see-through. (She looks at her shirt. Clean enough, she'll want to wash it in a couple days, she supposes.)

She doesn't understand the internet well enough to disobey these rules, let alone follow them!

Students are not allowed to mess up the school's rooms, it's the school's rooms and they're just letting you live there. Students aren't allowed in each other's rooms without the other present... no straight sex... (could just be no straight non-kinky sex but, really, Alida has some idea what these people are like)... school can search your rooms if they feel like it, no privacy... no visitors without permission... school wants people to narc on each other... students aren't allowed drugs... parents own you... no leaving... punishment for breaking rules is what? An hour-long beating, maybe? Huh, these people are pretty hardcore. And then two hours of hard labor for slightly more major ones and if you "possess a weapon" you might get expelled... well, she didn't bring her spear, and a knife is really basically for cutting meat, so she's fine.

... She's really not sure if she's supposed to follow these rules, these people are pretty alien. Eh, she'll do her best.

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"Anything interesting?" Tetley asks.

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"They want you to do everything exactly on time or they'll punish you with 'detention', whatever that is. And no weapons or moonshine allowed."

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"I've never had to do things on time before."

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Well, this is going to suck. "Great."

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