JADE CITY x JASMINE THRONE
As the brown-skinned adoptive daughter of the Governor, Poppy Sutherland has always been an outcast, rejected by high society and alienated from the people her father colonized. When she discovers her fiancé intends to frame her to further his career, Poppy allies herself with the city’s most notorious gang leader, who promises her a place as heir to their colonized nation–in exchange for his captured brother.
Headmistress Thornhaven’s grey eyes bored into my brown ones from over her teacup. I lifted my own with great caution — it wouldn’t do to spill it — and took a sip myself. She watched me closely, tracking my movements like a falcon does a mouse, from the moment I bent my head to drink to the moment I returned the cup to its fragile saucer.
“Miss Sutherland,” she said. I tensed. Here comes the criticism. “I must confess that when you first arrived in my office seven years ago, I was not expecting much from you.”
I could hear everything she wasn’t saying: backwards, Virian, brown.
Colour me surprised, I thought dryly. I could still recall how her pale face had curdled in disdain when I’d washed up at her door, drained from my six weeks at sea. All of the clothes I’d packed had been made for the golden heat of Viryana, not the Welkish damp.
As I’d shivered in the Academy’s foyer, the headmistress had sneered, “I am not in the business of taming wild animals. However, I’ll give this my best effort. We wouldn’t want Governor Sutherland to have spent his funds in vain on a… thing… like you, would we?”
The memory of her cruelty swelled inside my throat, but I forced it down with another deep sip of tea, bringing myself back into the present.