iv. the business card

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He leaned forward and asked me, a kindly glow in his eyes -"Are you Scarlett Watson?"

"Yeah" I replied. What did he want with me? "How do you know my name?" I asked distrustfully.

He smiled. "I know a great many things about you. How, for instance, you exhibited a rather unusual tendency to travel without any sort of physical means - A form of travel seen only in science fiction books- something called- maybe, teleportation?"

"You mean the beach"


"How did you know? Who are you?"

He thrust his hand deep into the recesses of his dark grey coat and pulled out a small white card, which he placed in front of me. I glanced at it- Prof. Charles Wilson, principal of the Exemplar Academy.

Unimpressed, I asked him- "What's this supposed to mean?"

He cleared his throat and began : "as mentioned in the card, I am the principal of the Exemplar Academy, an institution for children like you. For children, with special and unusual abilities much like the one you showcased earlier."

"There are others like me?" I asked, my eyes widening in wonder.

"Yes, of course. Paladins, we are called. I am one myself" he sat back, and with his index finger, pointed at the window, he somewhat drew a circle in the air. A fiery yellow circle appeared. Taking a pen, he threw it at the circle. It vanished through. Seeing my expression, he laughed.

"Wh-where did it go?" I asked him, a tingle of excitement passing through my spine.

"To my office at the Academy. So, Miss Watson, are you interested?"

"I -I - I don't know."

"Don't worry, you can have some time to think about it" he replied, smiling in a reassuring manner that made me feel calm and safe all at once. All the distrust I had slowly evaporated away. But a small nagging doubt remained- "why are you so concerned about me?" I asked him.

"Well, less than 1% of the population are Paladins. And the Normies (that's what we call the normal ones) don't take very kindly towards people like us, despite the fact that we can make or break the world if we wanted to. We need a safe place, all of us. I studied in the Academy as a boy - and now I head it." He explained.

Well, what did I have to lose? I didn't care what happened to me anymore, and if a man randomly turns up, somehow possessed of my name, and situations even I haven't identified yet, who wouldn't go with them?
However, this man did bring a promise of another world, where I could hopefully belong.

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