“We’ve arrived,” the guide said, breaking into her thoughts. “This is the east dormitory for girls.” Jing’s eyes followed the broad sweep of his arms as it took in the building before them. Tall shrubs lined the sides obscuring all but the upper floors from view and even those had windows framed by long, overgrown vines that stretched wildly in every direction. The sight renewed her feeling of awe; Jing was amazed at how much greenery there was here. It was so different from the hard gray concrete and cold steel that she was used to in the capitol; even the gardens in his mansion could not compare to this place.
She remembered the first time he brought her into his private sanctuary; Jing had been captivated by all of the brightly colored plants, the feeling of the grass on her bare feet, the softness of the flower petals under her fingertips. After those numberless days in that stark white room, the garden was a paradise. Jing had felt herself come alive, energized by the fresh air and cool breeze. It was there that she first experienced the connection to the gift he had given her, and eventually learned how to use it.