If you’re new to the story, you can read the prologue here.
Thirty-one years later.
Jing closed her eyes, letting the cool sea breeze wash over her as she stepped off the boat. It was an outmoded form of transportation to be sure, but it served as a testament to The Academy’s firm belief in preserving tradition. After all, there was something poetic about welcoming young gifted students the same way that generations before them had been brought to the island. For most, it was a thrilling adventure, a break from the humdrum familiarity of hovercrafts and travel pods, that marked their initiation into a long, illustrious history, into futures replete with opportunities.
But for Jing this welcome was different. She was not surrounded by a throng of fellow students, whispering excitedly, leaning over the rails for their first glimpse of the place that had shaped the lives of their parents and relatives. She was arriving at The Academy alone. This was to be expected of course, given the way they’d found her; an unconventional entrance exam to say the least. Flashes of that night came back to her as she followed the guide across the dock and up the steep stone steps.
Her body radiating electricity, lighting up the darkness. In that grimy, trash-laden alleyway, she had waited for them to come, heart-pumping, near breathless. She let herself go, allowing the crackle of energy on her skin to grow, ignite into blue flames, just like he had told her she should. “Relinquish control. Let them see who you are are… They will be amazed at your power.”
Jing held on to his words, letting them echo in her head as she reached the top of the hill. She would need the confidence they inspired now more than ever. That night was just the first act- the real performance begins today.