6:00 a.m. I awake in the dark, heart pounding. My raven black hair is damp with sweat. I was having the Visions again. I hoped for relief the night before the Big Teen Fighting Test, but it’s never that easy for a poor, bullied girl at Magic Private School. Luckily, I live upstairs from a café where the owner’s son is in love with me, so I get my usual cheese sandwich and try to calm my racing thoughts. Café Boy watches me while I eat it. His gentle face is especially ordinary today.

8:00 a.m. I head to school to meet up with my best friend, Givenchy Von Crystal. The Von Crystal’s are the most powerful family in the realm, but Givenchy is really nice, even though her whole family wants her dead. I don’t get why. She’s the only person who’s nice to me here (if I didn’t already mention it, I get mistreated by all the rich kids because I’m poor but powerful and have hypnotic ice-blue eyes). Givenchy’s biggest flaw is she isn’t very good at returning stuff when she borrows it. Also, I think she’s gay, but it’s not narratively clear.

10:30 a.m. Givenchy and I practice sword fighting when my enemy appears. His name is Jyaxson, he’s the son of the Headmaster here, and his high cheekbones disgust me. They disgust me so much that I have these recurring dreams where I kill him. Suddenly, I remember that in last night’s dream, instead of attacking each other, I let him give me a kiss. Ugh. No wonder I awoke tormented. I push my treacherous thoughts aside and shout, “What do you want?” Jyaxson’s rough voice intones, “Uhhhh,” and he pulls a crumpled paper out of his expensive silk jeans. The note says I’m needed in the Headmaster’s office. Uh-oh, he’s probably threatened by my magic powers. Again.

12:00 p.m. I sit in the Headmaster’s office, sweat beading down my face. The Big Teen Fighting Test starts soon, and if I miss it, my family back home will lose everything—even their tragic backstories. The Headmaster explains sadly that he’s passing me a message from the Shadow Government. I need to fail the test on purpose. I’m too powerful to be allowed to pass, despite being a beautiful sixteen-year-old girl (and from a poor family, no less). If I do what they ask, they will reward me with one million gold and partial student loan forbearance. What should I do? Pursue my dream of being special? Or let the evil government control me? This is going to be a hard one.

1:00 p.m. I sprint to the Big Teen Fighting Test and arrive just in time. The Shadow Government runs this test every year to determine who’s a main character and who should be killed off for plot reasons. I’m the only person who thinks the Teen Killing Quota is weird, but no one takes me seriously, except when I hypnotize them with my steely blue eyes, which I’ve been told look like ice. I strap on my hundreds of knives and consider my options.

2:00 p.m. I breeze through most of the test using my raw strength, natural agility, and unique ice powers. Givenchy is having trouble, so I permanently blind her opponent with ice crystals. One lands on Givenchy, and she gets instant frostbite. My bad. But maybe now she’ll take the hint and give me back my good blouse?

4:00 p.m. The last room of the test is single combat. If I’m going to fail my test on purpose, I should do it here. I scan the room for my opponent. My eyes alight on a walking pair of cheekbones. It’s Jyaxson. My heart stutters.

4:15 p.m. Jyaxson and I fight vigorously. My ice powers are barely useful due to his strong fire magic. We engage in hand-to-hand combat, so close I can smell his cologne. I can see the Headmaster watching from the watching area. Suddenly, Jyaxson lunges with a killing blow. I dodge and disarm him without thinking. I’m just that good. Now he stands naked before me (his clothes got cut off in the battle). Well, that certainly changes things. I raise six of my knives.

4:17 p.m. “Wait,” Jyaxson says, “I need to say something.” His shoulders glisten with narrative tension. “I’m sorry that I tormented you. I was jealous that you’re so strong even though you’re nobody and a girl.” He blushes. I’m so shocked I can’t speak. Instead, I step in and kiss him. His lips are like fire. I think about his dad watching us kiss. This is probably weird for him. Then I stab Jyaxson in the gut with three knives. He’ll be fine in a few chapters, but I don’t want Café Boy getting the wrong idea.

8:00 p.m. I’m crowned the winner of the Big Teen Fighting Test in a glitzy ceremony. Jyaxson is in the crowd; he smiles at me ruefully from his stretcher. I now understand he admires my strength. Café Boy is there too, looking normal, as usual. Givenchy is wearing an extravagant dress and holding hands with a girl ambiguously. As the Headmaster places a blood-red crown on my head, I sigh. I’ve disobeyed the Shadow Government again, and there will be a price to pay. But that’s for book two. Tonight, I just smile into the cameras and use my ice powers to turn the crown blue.