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“Oliver, may I see you after class?”

Mr. Stewart was walking around the room, handing back everyone’s English essays. Stacy sulked when she saw her grade, while Cheryl breathed a sigh of relief. Oliver, on the other hand, was now embarrassed to be the centre of attention.

“Oh, I knew I should have wrote about something else,” he whispered to his friends, as Mr. Stewart walked away. The rest of the class was abuzz with anticipation, wanting to know what Oliver got in trouble for.

“Heh,” Lucas smirked to his Gamer Club buddies. “That loser probably wrote about some stupid kiddy thing like Pokémon.”

Ren attempted to stifle a nervous giggle, hoping Oliver didn’t notice. “Say, Lucas, how’d you do?”

“Do you even need to ask?”

“Ah, of course, another A+,” he chuckled. “I wish it was that easy for me.”

“Don’t worry about it. Your only competition is dunces, after all. This school is a joke.”

Mr. Stewart looked sternly at the chatty class. “I know you’re all dying to hear the latest gossip, but don’t you all have lunch to get to?”

The class, disappointed, began to pack up and leave.

“Good luck, Olly,” Stacy whispered back to him.

Lucas threw a smug glare at Oliver on his way out. “Enjoy detention, loser.”

Eventually, Oliver was left alone with Mr. Stewart

“So,” Mr. Stewart began. “You chose to write about Pokémon?”

“Um, yes sir,” Oliver replied

“Oh come on, why the long face?” Mr. Stewart said, suddenly beaming in excitement. “Aren’t you happy with your A?”

Oliver was shocked. “Wait, you liked it? Then why did you keep me here?”

Mr. Stewart smiled. “As you may be aware, the Cedar Grove Essay Competition is in a few weeks,” Mr. Stewart explained. “I thought it would be great if you could share your insight with the town.”

Oliver’s jaw dropped. “You serious?”

“Yes! It’s such a fascinating world you kids have become caught up in, this Pokémon. I’d love to learn more!”

Oliver was still unsure of the idea.

“Besides,” Mr. Stewart added. “It’s less expected a topic, and standing out from the crowd might be the deciding factor in the competition.”

Oliver smiled. “Yeah, it’d be cool to win by writing about video games.”

“Great! I look forward to seeing what you come up with in two weeks.”

—-

“Alright, class dismissed!” Ms. Rama called out.

The 11th grade Math class was grateful for the lunch bell as they hurriedly scattered out. Tori, who now sat beside Sofia in class, reached for her sketchbook as they walked out the door.

“Did you hear about the essay competition?” Sofia asked.

“Yeah,” Tori replied. “I’d love to enter, but I’m not sure what to write about.”

“Don’t waste your time!” a familiar voice yelled out from behind.

Tori recoiled. It was Abigail again.

“I mean, we all know what you’re going to write anyway,” she continued, in a mocking tone. “‘Hi! I’m Tori! I like to draw! Sure, my drawings are as worthless as everything else about me, but…I like to draw! Tee-hee!’”

Sofia walked in front of Tori to face Abigail. “And what’s your essay about?”

Abigail paused. “Um, well, it’s a secret.”

“Oh,” Sofia replied sarcastically to a nervous Abigail. “You sounded eager to share.”

She glared at Sofia. “Mind your own business!” she demanded.

She quickly turned around and walked away. Sofia could hear her muttering in frustration, “What does she see in that little air-brain anyway? What does anybody see in her?”

Tori looked at Sofia gratefully. “T-Thank you.”

Sofia sighed. “I really should have said something before. I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay,” Tori replied cheerfully. “I’m glad we’re friends now.”

She smiled. “Say, may I see your sketchbook?”

Tori reached into her bag and handed it over. With a curious expression, Sofia glanced over a drawing of the titular witch from Kiki’s Delivery Service, particularly impressed by Tori’s kanji signature.

“You did this all by hand?”

“Yeah.”

“Wouldn’t be easier to use a computer or tablet?”

“Maybe. It’s just not the same as pencil and paper, though.”

“I see. Wait, I never see you around art class. Who taught you?”

Tori paused nervously. “No one.”

Sofia gasped. “Really? You learned all by yourself?”

“Um…yeah.” Tori did her best to avoid Sofia’s eyes. “My mom would never let me take any classes, so I read whatever I could and practiced with manga drawings. I know it’s not very good, but…”

“Not good?” Sofia retorted incredulously. “You’re amazing! I mean, you even wrote you name in calligraphy!”

Tori gave a weak smile. “Thank you!” she replied. “I always liked cursive writing backed in third grade, and hoped we could do more of it.”

Sofia stared at her in disbelief. “You’re the first person I’ve met who actually liked cursive writing class. I hated it.”

“I know we don’t use it much, but it would be a shame if everyone forgot how to do it. It’s such a nice writing style. So elegant and pretty.”

The girls suddenly stared at each other, surprised by the other’s expression, as if a burst of inspiration shined on their faces.

“Hey, were you thinking about making that your essay topic?” Sofia suggested.

Tori thought about it, beaming. “I’d love to!”

—-

The Grade 12 students gathered later that day for biology class. Cheryl was finishing up her run on the microscope as Stacy stood by, waiting eagerly for her turn. Nearby, Oliver was savouring his chance to look at plant cells while Ren dutifully took notes. Lucas was not happy with his best friend ditching him, and he simply sat cross-armed and frowning while Eric, another member of the Gamer Club, fiddled with trying to get the microscope focused.

“All right, you’re up,” Cheryl said, removing the slides.

“Finally,” Stacy grinned, placing some fresh samples on the stand. “Thanks for covering the bugs for us.”

“Sure thing. Why are you so scared of them, anyway? You’re bigger than them.”

“I’m not scared. They just look so, ugly, and wrong.”

Cheryl half-frowned. “They’re not ugly. Once you get used to them, they’re fascinating!”

Stacy shrugged while chasing a floating cell with her eyes. “Sure, I guess. I suppose you’re going to spend your essay arguing about how important they are to the ecosystem, right?”

“Actually,” Cheryl grinned. “I’m doing mine on Steve Irwin, my childhood hero.”

Stacy beamed. “Wow, he’s mine too!”

“I love how he made even the most dangerous animals look cute.” Cheryl looked outside the window dreamily. “Imagine, spending every day outdoors, getting to meet all sorts of creatures for science! Someday, I’d like to follow in his footsteps.”

“Yeah, that would be an awesome career,” Stacy concurred.

“Say, what’s your essay about?” Cheryl asked.

Stacy paused, looking up from the microscope. “I’m not doing one. I suck at English.”

Oliver overhead her. “Really, Stace? You’ve spent hours ranting about Yu Yevon.”

“I know,” Stacy replied. “But all that stuff we read in class is a lot more confusing than Final Fantasy.”

Ren suppressed a giggle. “That’s saying something.”

Cheryl looked at Stacy in confusion. “You got a B today. That’s not bad.”

“Not bad?” Stacy exclaimed. “How am I going to compete with the city students with a B in English, or even Cedar Valley Secondary?”

The other three gazed at Stacy disapprovingly. She had A’s in all her other subjects throughout secondary school, while the rest of them were grateful for a B in English. Oliver said nothing, having already become accustomed to her melodrama, while Ren slowly looked away and went back to his notes, not wanting to get involved.

“Hey, English isn’t my strong suit either,” Cheryl replied. “I’m probably not going to win this. But I’m still entering just for fun.”

“Yeah, who can’t have fun writing about a guy who wrestles crocs for a living?” Oliver added. “C’mon Stace, there’s gotta be something you want to write about.”

Stacy drew a blank. “But what?”

“Oh, anything,” Cheryl answered. “Maybe one of your childhood heroes? Or you could think about your heritage. Just some suggestions.”

Stacy lit up at the last idea. “Hmm…,” she pondered.

Meanwhile, Lucas was bored with the experiment, so he looked towards Stacy and company for entertainment. “Well, lookie here, Fake Geek Girl’s thinking about entering the essay competition,” he told his partner.

“Imagine what she’d come up with,” Eric replied in a mockingly high pitched voice. “’Oh, look at me, I’m a girl, and I play video games! Don’t underestimate me, silly boys!’”

“Heh, imagine if she had to read that in front of the entire class,” Lucas chuckled.

Eric laughed, nearly toppling over the samples.

“Careful, you idiot,” Lucas snapped.

“Sorry, Luke. Say, how’s your essay coming along?”

“Oh, I’m already done,” Lucas bragged. “All 60 pages of it.”

“Wow, that’s amazing,” Eric said, jealous of his president’s work ethic.

“I know,” Lucas said, smugly basking in his partner’s admiration.

Suddenly, Eric got confused. “Wait, isn’t the essay supposed to be 5 pages long?”

Lucas gasped, quickly looking away so that Eric couldn’t see his nervous face. “Uh, I’m…doing revision right now. Yeah, um, I just wanted to get all my ideas down first.”

“Well, good luck with that,” said Eric, none the wiser. “Though I’m sure you won’t need it.”

“Yeah, whatever,” he replied, unamused by his flattery.

—-

The Games for Everyone club met up in their usual place a few days later. Oliver and Tori were frantically looking over their respective essays, trying to find any imperfections, while Cheryl was more relaxed, having fun watching videos of crocodiles hunting. Stacy too was staring intently at her computer, deep in thought.

“They say long ago, his body had decayed. Yet, within these halls lie his vital remains,” she mumbled. “If you would sate your curiosity, find the secret to immortality.”

“What’s up, Stace?” Oliver asked, as both Cheryl and Tori also gathered around the computer.

“Ugh, this riddle,” she replied. “Searched everywhere, thought about it for hours, still nothing.”

“Did the game give you another hint?”

“Well, the hooded lady asked me, ‘How does one preserve their memory long after death?’ Thought it would be a portrait, or a precious keepsake, but nope. No ghost, nothing.”

“Hmm…” Oliver pondered. “Have you tried….”

“A diary?” Tori softly interjected.

“I was going to say that,” Oliver grumbled.

Tori opened her mouth to apologize, but stopped when she remembered she was trying to break that habit. Stacy, ready to try anything, looked in the library and moved her cursor across the books. Her cursor changed midway, letting her read the book’s contents.

“Well, what do you know,” Stacy said. “Don’t know how you figured that out, but thanks a lot.”

“You’re welcome,” Tori replied. “I guess…”

“It reminded me of Voldemort and his soul diary,” Oliver interrupted, shrugging.

Tori stared at him briefly, annoyed by him not letting her finish.

“Anyway, how’s everyone’s essays coming along?” Stacy asked.

“Still working on it,” Cheryl replied. “I’ve been getting some inspiration in the meantime.”

“By watching online videos?” Stacy asked, puzzled. “Well, if it works, maybe I should try that too. How about you, Oliver? Tori?”

“We sent each other our essays a while ago,” Oliver said.

“Yeah,” Tori added.

She wondered what she should say. She tried helping as much as she could, but then she remembered, there was only one prize. “Oliver, your essay is…um…it’s very interesting. But…couldn’t you use, um, bigger words, er, to express your feelings better?”

Oliver grimaced. He spent hours checking the grade level of his writing, and he thought it was good enough. “I’ll look into it. But Tori, regarding your essay, uh, don’t you think you have too many ideas in it? It’s a bit…unfocused.”

Tori was flustered. She looked over her writing so many times, trying to organize it neatly, and did not look forward to doing it again. “Maybe. I’ll see.”

Seeing Oliver and Tori look and talk to each other so awkwardly, Cheryl was perplexed. “Does that sound like critique to you?” she asked Stacy.

Stacy shrugged. “Dunno.”

—-

Lucas and Ren were walking out of the Gamer Club room. Flushed with confidence, Lucas asked, “So, ready to see me become $100 richer next week?”

Ren looked back at Lucas anxiously. “Um, sure.”

Lucas stared at his friend. “What do you mean, sure?”

Just then, Mr. Stewart approached the boys.

“Lucas,” he said, putting on a falsely cheerful disposition. “We need to talk.”

“About what?” Lucas asked impatiently.

“Oh, I don’t know. Something just sounded familiar about your essay. Like that part about never living for the sake of another man.”

Ren gasped, but Lucas was looking bored.

His expression turned stern. “Look, this contest is supposed to be a chance to show off your talents, your passions. To show the town who you are. But how can you do that with someone else’s words?”

Ren’s expression sunk. “Is it true?” he asked desperately. “Did you really just copy your essay?”

Lucas was looking annoyed. “Yes.”

Ren was worried. “But…why?”

“Because I never wanted to write some stupid touchy-feely essay,” Lucas snapped. “I only wrote something because Father wanted to show off to the other Cedar Valley families.”

He turned to a disapproving Mr. Stewart with a defiant expression in his face. “So, aren’t you going to disqualify me?”

Mr. Stewart paused. “No. That would be too easy. Instead, you’re going to have to come in every lunch hour until you do the job properly. And I’ll be watching so you don’t do anything else funny.”

Lucas grimaced, upset that he couldn’t escape his obligation. Unwilling to say anything more, he stormed off while Ren looked at him, concerned.

“You let him off easy,” he remarked.

“Well, I wanted this to be a learning experience for him,” his dad replied, smiling. “To show him the joys of writing.”

Ren was unconvinced. “Is that it?”

“Well, that, and I’d rather not deal with his parents’ endless complaints. You know how Rob and Mary are.”

—-

Lucas dejectedly walked into the detention room the next morning. He was unsure how he’d ever get this essay done with no ideas in his head. He imagined staring at his computer for an entire hour doing nothing while being glared at by Mr. Stewart’s watchful eyes. Stewart himself said nothing, other than gesturing him towards his desk. Meanwhile, two girls were also present, having a conversation.

“Sure am glad to have some peace for once,” said a black haired girl with glasses. “Maybe now I can finally get this thing done.”

“I know,” replied a larger girl in a striped shirt. “Oliver and Tori had been sniping at each other for the whole week.”

Lucas stared at the pair in disbelief. “What are you doing here?” he demanded.

“Oh, just getting some essay help,” Stacy answered nonchalantly. “And you?”

“None of your business,” Lucas retorted.

Stacy shrugged. “Whatever you say.”

Lucas glared at Stacy, and Cheryl breathed a sigh of relief as he walked away towards Ren, who was in the middle of a conversation with his sister.

“I think it’s good,” he remarked. “You really put your heart into this.”

“If you say so,” Abigail told him, sighing. “You know, I don’t expect to win this. It’s probably going to be Lucas. He’s the brilliant one, after all. But, I can’t but wonder if I did. Mother and Father might be happy with me for once.”

“Hey,” Ren reassured her. “If anything, I should be the one worried about my chances against you.”

“Oh, you,” Abigail giggled. “Your essay is cute. I’m surprised you could be so open about your dolls.”

Ren blushed. “Well, if Oliver can write about Pokémon…”

Lucas was surprised. He never knew her sister felt that way. Feeling guilty, he left out a soft, “Abby?”

“Oh hi, big bro,” Abigail greeted him. “So, got in trouble, didn’t ya?”

“Whatever,” he said. “Just gotta get this thing done, is all.”

He sat down and turned on his laptop, while Ren and Abby observed his frustrated expression from the other side of the table. He stared at a blank document, but whenever he reached for the keys, he stopped. After a few minutes, Abby chimed in.

“Are you having trouble?” she asked.

“No,” Lucas said. “I’ll be done in no time. Just got to think of something, that’s all.”

Ren and Abby smiled. Lucas was being stubborn as usual. “You know,” Abby suggested. “If you hate essays so much, why don’t you just make that your topic?”

Lucas grinned. “Yeah, you’re right! I’ll write about how essays are stupid! That’ll show Mr. Stewart. Thanks, sis!”

Now with renewed inspiration, Lucas started frantically typing. Ren caught a glance at his dad, who smiled at them and looked as if he gave a wink in Abigail’s direction. Suddenly, he heard footsteps.

“Can’t you think of someone other than yourself?”

“What, I’m being selfish? While you’re obsessed about your manga publishing fantasies, I’m trying to save as much as I can.”

“Oh, so because you need money, I can’t think of my dreams?”

“Stop putting words in my mouth. I’m just saying, there are plenty of other contests. Stop worrying so much.”

“Why don’t you stop then?”

The rest of the students overheard Tori and Oliver arguing outside. Stacy sighed.

“Just what this place needed,” Lucas remarked. “More losers.”

Mr. Stewart ran to the door. “Both of you, what’s the problem?”

“Well, I just wanted to come for some help, because Oliver keeps trying to sabotage my work,” Tori replied, crying tears of frustration.

“Oh, there she goes again, playing all innocent. She started it!” Oliver snapped.

“Guys,” Mr. Stewart said, exasperated. “Look at yourselves.”

Oliver and Tori stared at each other, wondering where he was going with that remark.

“Is it really worth ruining each other’s essays over an award?”

“No,” they both replied.

“But only one us can win it,” Oliver protested.

“And how does fighting with each other help?”

Tori thought about it. “It doesn’t,” she answered.

“Exactly. I know you’re both concerned about your futures, but really, what you write reveals a lot more about you than some title. Years from now, what do you think you’d remember more, your essay or the award?”

Oliver and Tori paused, thinking it over. Oliver’s eyes idly gazed around the room, watching Stacy and Cheryl do their best to ignore their dispute and help each other. He remembered how Cheryl claimed she probably wouldn’t win, and that Stacy had trouble coming up with an essay topic at all. Tori was also looking in their direction, seeing how, despite being competitors, they supported each other. She was so caught up in winning, that she forgot just how much that meant to her. The two looked at each other awkwardly.

“I’m sorry,” she told Oliver. “I guess the contest brought out the worst in me.”

“Me too,” he replied. “I can’t believe how much I let that prize go to my head.”

“I know. But, I don’t want to win, if it means you have to miss out.”

“Hey, it wouldn’t be much of a contest if you went easy on me. Let’s just both do our best, okay? Whoever wins, wins.”

Tori nodded. “Okay. But, let’s help each other out for real this time. That way, both our essays will be even better than if we just worked alone.”

Oliver smiled. “Sounds like a plan to me!”

“Finally,” Stacy muttered while Cheryl nodded.

“Whatever,” Lucas remarked. “Even with two heads, you’re still going to lose.”

“If so, fine by me,” Oliver retorted. “We’re all trying to beat Cedar Valley, right?”

Everyone except for Cheryl and Mr. Stewart instinctively nodded at the remark. Cheryl was unaware of why the rivalry was such a big deal, while Mr. Stewart was simply embarrassed by it.

“That’s the spirit, I guess,” he remarked.

—-

For the awards ceremony, the students gathered in the grand, spacious Cedar Valley Secondary auditorium, eagerly reading through their compilation books.

“I didn’t know there were so many women soldiers in World War II,” Oliver told Stacy.

“Well, now you do,” Stacy replied contently. “Lyudmila Pavlichenko was my idol growing up. I mean, she’s our own Joan of Arc!”

Cheryl smiled. “Aren’t you glad you entered something after all?”

“Indeed.”

“Hey, weren’t you supposed to be bad at English?” Ian asked Stacy.

“Yeah, you’re making us feel inadequate,” Nick joked.

“Well, why didn’t you guys submit something, then?” Stacy playfully sneered to her cousins.

“And cut into our game time?” Nick protested. “No way. We’re very busy.”

Aunt Zhao smiled sarcastically. “Next time, I’ll lessen the burden for you boys.”

“Aw…” Nick and Ian groaned.

“Still, thanks for giving Pollock less competition,” Stacy said.

“No problem,” Ian replied while Uncle Zhao stared at the three disapprovingly.

Meanwhile, both Cheryl’s and Oliver’s mothers were flipping through the pages in amusement.

“Guess television was good for you after all,” Ms. Jackson laughed.

Ms. Palmiero joined in. “Yeah, it’s like Olly here learned a whole new language. If only he was that dedicated to math….”

Oliver blushed. “Aww, Mom….”

Tori gazed longingly at her friends’ parents. She felt she should be happy, or at least nervous. Sofia was the first to pick up on her sad expression.

“What’s wrong, Tori?” she asked.

Everyone suddenly stopped talking and looked towards her. They looked concerned at how depressed she was at a moment like this.

“I wish my mother was here right now,” she said quietly.

Oliver’s mom gave her a reassuring smile. “I’m sure she’s proud of you.”

Tori said nothing. How could she explain the truth? She didn’t even dare show her essay, because she knew how furious her mother would be to see her still writing about art. Suddenly, she looked at her open copy of the compendium. Weirdly enough, the one who wrote the essay seemed to be expressing her own feelings right now. She looked up, towards the Smiths and Stewarts.

“That was a great idea, Dad,” Ren said.

“You all worked hard on your writing,” his dad replied. “So why not preserve them?”

“Really, Colin?” Mr. Smith jeered. “Giving participation trophies, are you?”

“Hey,” Mr. Stewart argued. “They did a good job.”

Mr. Smith brushed him off. “You’re spoiling them. Kids need to learn not everyone is entitled to a prize.”

Abigail felt upset. Sure, her father was always saying that to her, yet she couldn’t help but feel it was unfair that Lucas kept getting them anyway. Her eyes wandering, she noticed Tori walking towards her. Abby was shocked.

“What do you want?” she demanded.

“Um…” Tori began. “I read your essay, and I just wanted to say, thank you.”

Abby was stunned. That whiny little brat was complimenting her?

“I know you don’t like me,” Tori continued, undeterred. “But, I understand how it feels, wanting to make people proud. You were very brave to share that with everyone.”

Abigail frantically looked around, embarrassed. She felt strangely touched by Tori’s words, and almost wanted to return her compliment. Then she remembered how much she hated her.

“What, you expect me to say something nice about your essay?” she retorted, suddenly frowning.

“Um…no,” Tori replied, surprised at her rebuke.

“Forget it,” Abby told her. “You’re still a talentless loser, and always will be.”

Tori expected this reaction, and bowed out, briskly walked back to her seat. Yet, when she looked back at Abby, she noticed a conflicted, but tiny smile on her face.

“You’ve got some guts, girl,” Sofia told her.

“I just wanted to be nice,” Tori replied. “It was a good essay, after all.”

Sofia patted her back. “That’s very kind of you. But don’t listen to her. Your essay was awesome.”

Everyone else nodded in agreement, while Tori smiled, comforted that she at least had friends to share her writing with.

“And now, it’s finally time to announce our winner!” announced the spokesperson from the Cedar Grove Chamber of Commerce. “Drum roll, please!”

The room fell silent as the participants eagerly awaited their name.

“This year’s winner of the Cedar Grove Essay competition is…Tori…”

Tori gasped. She really won?

“…Prince, from Cedar Valley Secondary.”

Many of the Pollock Secondary students groaned under their breath.

“Congratulations, Tory, for your essay, ‘I’m a Privileged Boy, and I’m Not Sorry.’”

A pale skinned boy with finely combed brown hair, wearing a fancy black suit, walked up to the stage, accompanied by his equally well dressed parents. Everyone applauded upon Tory receiving the award, though some, like the Pollock students, did so half-heartedly. The Smiths didn’t even clap at all. Tory smiled, flashing his brilliant white teeth, while sneering in Lucas’s direction.

“What?!” Lucas yelled.

“This is outrageous!” Mr. Smith exclaimed.

“How could they choose him?” Mrs. Smith screamed.

Mr. Stewart shrugged. “I wasn’t judging,” he remarked. “To say the least, I would have chosen differently.”

The Smiths weren’t the only ones upset by this upset.

“Are you kidding me?” Stacy yelled to her friends. “That essay won? This is ridiculous! The judges are so biased!”

The others were shocked to see Stacy all fired up, considering she didn’t even want to enter at first. They then looked towards Lucas, who was gritting his teeth at Tory, and then towards each other.

“Well,” Oliver said sheepishly. “It’s nice to finally see those two be so passionate.”

“Yeah,” Cheryl concurred. “Surprised to see them actually agree on something for once.”

—-

“Dear Lydia,

Hope university life is treating you well. All of us have been working hard on essays for a local competition. We had a few fights here and there, but everything worked out in the end. Well, except for some asshole winning by bragging about his privilege. I’ll let you judge for yourself who really deserved to win.

By the way, thanks for letting me try out your game. I’ve made it to the lunar festival so far, and for this run, I’ve went with the archaeologist family. Mona’s a downer, but her dad is fun. Your riddles are tough, though! I’m just glad the next puzzle is a cipher, since that’s more up my alley.

Speaking of which, do you have any tips for English class? I’m can never understand all those feeling questions.

Yours truly,

Stacy”

It had been a while since Lydia last replied, but Stacy didn’t mind. Right now, she was dodging lightning bolts in Final Fantasy X. Suddenly, she received a new email notification, causing her to miss the timing.

“Drat,” she said. There goes her streak.

She was annoyed at whoever interrupted her, but her frustration quickly subsided when she found out who the message was from.

“Hi Stacy,

Thanks for sharing your essay compendium with me. I’m impressed at how diverse your school’s writing is. In particular, Oliver’s essay brings back good memories. It reminds me of when I defended video games for IB English, and it even convinced my teacher to try them for herself.”

“Wow, that’s awesome,” Stacy remarked.

“I’m pleased that you’re enjoying the game and look forward to hearing more about your experiences. I’m not sure what specific advice you’d like regarding English, but reading comprehension is more similar to math than you might think. In algebra, for instance, you’re using logic to find the missing variables from the given equation. You can decode character motivations and the author’s message in the same way, by looking around in the text for clues.

Does that help? Maybe you can send me part of the assignments you are having problems with. I’ll do what I can.

Love,

Lydia Li

李雪芬”

“Heh, looking for clues, of course she’d make it sound like an adventure game,” Stacy remarked. Tired of dodging lightning for now, she scanned over her current reading assignment, and sighed, wondering how effective her advice would be.

(next)

(table of contents)

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