Chapter 1

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"Age... Ag... Agela... Oh, would you just pronounce your name for me, please," I heard from the front of the classroom.

Just what I needed today, another annoying teacher who can't get my name right. Of course my parents decided that the one time they were going to be uncharacteristically original was when they were deciding my name. Why couldn't they just name me Rachel or Mary like a normal person?

"It's pronounced Ag-lia, ma'am," I replied.

"Well then, thank you, Aglaia, for joining our class today."

I had lived in Lizzardridge my entire life, yet people still didn't know who I was. My original sophomore math teacher had finally realised that I was too advanced for her class so she put in a request to move me up to a more advanced math class effectively placing me into a twelfth grade calculus class.

As I took my seat in the back of the classroom, I heard the dreaded intercom call that was occurring nearly every day now. "Mara Walters, pleases report to Principal Marlowe's room, Mara Walters!" the intercom seemed to scream. A quiet girl emerged from the front of the class and slowly made her way to the door and down to the office.

"There goes another one," the teacher mumbled beneath her breath. We were all silent as we heard the door close behind Mara. Each time the intercom buzzed nowadays, we all held our breath in anticipation to see if one of us would have to be one of the unlucky chosen ones. The kids called down would leave to the principal's office and would never be heard of again. Sometimes the teachers wouldn't even remember they had that kid in their class. My best friend was one of those people. We didn't know how this worked exactly.

At first, everyone was curious, but as time traveled along, we all grew to accept it as a crucial part of life. I dreaded the day that I would be called down to the office, but not for the reason you would think. I don't believe that the kids who were sent down were hurt. The only reason I was afraid was that whatever it was might turn out to be even more boring than school already is.

The teacher cleared her throat and continued to teach her lesson even though she knew none of us were concentrating. How could I concentrate when a girl was just chosen to either die or be sent somewhere amazing. The teacher however was trying to hide that fact and continued with her lesson about derivatives. I had already taught myself this in third grade when I was bored, so I sat back and thought about the select few who were called down and tried to find a pattern. I found Mara odd. Most of the people who were chosen were bad-ass biker people who skipped school, all-star athletes, or mechanics. Also they usually had done something to gain attention in a negative way. Mara was the first person to have been chosen to have done absolutely nothing wrong and was interested in something academic such as physics and doctoral science.

When the class ended, like always, Mara was nowhere to be found. Everybody went on like nothing had happened but I was excited. I too was interested in physics but unlike Mara, I was unusually athletic. Sometimes my mom would wonder if I had a set of superpowers. What I found odd was that when she did this she would get a faraway look and walk away mumbling to herself.

As we all headed to our next class I heard something that astounded me.

"Aglaia Winters, please report to Principal Marlowe's office, Aglaia Winters!" came over the intercom.

It was my time. I knew it! The one thing that surprised me was that they actually pronounced my name correctly. I scurried away dropping my books in the process.

****

As I entered the dimmed classroom, she was obviously the first person I saw. Her name was Principal or Professor Marlowe, but we all knew her as the Beast. Her animalistic temper plus her terrifyingly rugged yet prideful appearance caused her to look like a creature directly from the wild. The clawlike scar above her upper lip and ebony eyepatch only added to the image. Worst of all, however, would have to be her usual calm and quiet demeanor until she snapped.

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