Beginning the day after the test, Lin Songmei began going to the nearby nature-themed library everyday. Being the first in the whole orphanage to finish her self-reflection forms, Songmei basked in the freedom of her break, no school, no responsibilities, just books and free time.
Though pangs of loneliness would hit her at random times…
With that though, a week passed in a flash, the aptitude tests finished, and it was then legal for the media to begin reporting and gossiping about the famous, highly anticipated test takers and how they did. Only if the results of their targets were shared to the media of course.
Scrolling through an article with an unimpressed look, one speculating about a child of a larger clan, Songmei wondered how they were extrapolating a range of potential results just from the persons downtrodden look as they walked out of the testing area.
What if they just like… had an upset stomach from the food they had eaten…
Closing the article and looking up from her terminal, Songmei crossed the street, continuing to make her way back to the orphanage, still a little sad that the library had closed early. Why have a cleaning today? It was just the beginning of the break!
Feeling the vehicles on the road fly by her—the vehicles ranging from poorer single person cars, to the sleek public shuttles, to luxurious single person cars—Songmei pulled her coat back closer around her, running her hand through her hair, trying to make it blow less in the air.
”I wish the sidewalks were just a bit bigger… ”
A sigh escaping her lips as she had returned to the familiar orphanage lobby, the ancient automatic sliding doors closing behind her, Songmei began to climb the stairs back up to her room, looking out the windows to see the afternoon sun hanging high in the sky. What was she supposed to do now? Learn wrist yoga? She only planned to come back to the orphanage around dinner time…
Closing the door behind her with a click, Songmei plopped onto the bed, sinking into its familiarity. Sure it was bad and cheap, but so was everything she had, so what was the difference?
Yet, just as she pulled her one stuffed animal into her chest, patting it while trying to find an article about wrist stretches, she heard a knock on the door. ”Lin Songmei? Are you here? ”
”Y-Yes! ” Songmei stammered, leaping up from bed, setting down everything she was holding, ”Whats up? ”
Opening the door a crack, Songmei flinched, as the only thing she could see was a single eye, staring through the doorway,
”You have a guest here to see you. Actually… quite a few, but they
e all from the same place. Therefore, please make your way down to the head ladys office as soon as you can. ”
A tossed blanket, rushed scrambling, a quick brush of the hair, and the hasty footsteps of an anxious person.
Songmei took deep breaths, controlling herself to not break out into a run, did she do something wrong? What sort of people were here to see her… Mingqing? No, the assistant did say multiple people.
Cracking the door to the head ladys office open, Songmei poked her head in, seeing the sight that most in the ”Government Funded Public Home For Those Without Homes ” wouldn want to, the head ladys office.
The office was nice though, with a clean but not pompous carpet, a neat desk with some stacked paperwork, and a few pictures of group trips everyone had done. Songmei didn know what she expected, the head lady, although strict, was practically the embodiment of fairness so nothing wouldve changed, she loved keeping things the same if she could.
Though… maybe fairness wasn the best word…
”Come in. ”
The head ladys words cutting through Songmeis random thinking like a volcano-temperature knife through butter, Songmei made her way into the room, shifting on her feet. ”Head lady, did… Did you call for me? ”
Her hands beginning to shake a little again, her stomach churning, Songmei waited for the head lady to look up from her papers. A moment later, as the pen was set down with a small clack, the head lady began to explain.
”Youve had a group of guests here since… Id say around lunch time. I was going to call you back from the library, but they insisted that theyd just wait for you. They
e all in the first conference room down the hall, so… go meet them. ”
With the head lady waving her out of her office, Songmei gripped the hem of her shirt as she walked down the hall. A feeling of foreignness overtook her, maybe it was because she was nervous? Maybe it was because she hadn been in this type of area ever, even though she had lived in the orphanage buildings all her life.
Songmei froze. Poking her head into the conference room, each of the 5 people in the room fell dead silent and turned to look at her. ”S-Sorry… I was told to come here and meet with you all. ”
Laughing, the man in the center waved her in, the pressure on Songmei lifting in an instant, ”I apologize, we didn mean to put that much pressure on you. Come in, come in! Its great to meet you! ”
Songmei made her way in, taking a seat at the long table. The table was clean, a few empty plates in front of some people, some food in the center. It was clear that the five of them had been eating an… extended lunch.
It was already 2:30 pm-ish though… and some plates still had food…
”So… who are you all? ” Asked Songmei, a little confused by the exquisite, well-manicured outfits each person was wearing. The man who had talked to her earlier was wearing a button up shirt and a pair of black dress pants, his well-toned body filling out the clothes quite well. Moreover, with his well-maintained hair that seemed to sway a little as he talked, Songmei was sure that he was an ABSOLUTE bomb among the ladies and men who swung that way.
She wasn into men though, so it didn matter too much to her in the end…
As for the others with the original man who had spoken to her—two men and two women—they were all genial, they seemed quite nice. However, they stayed silent and let the man lead the conversation. It seemed like… no, without almost absolute certainty, Songmei felt that the man was the leader of those here. He wasn even the oldest either, probably second or third oldest.
Leaning back into his chair though, the man stretched a little before sitting up and putting his hands on his knees, a mysterious but warm smile on his face,
”Im Tu Weiping, leader of Starlight Lake Sect, number one sect in this continent, and we
e here to scout you. ”
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