This is a tale set in a world inspired by the turbulent history of China in the twentieth century, blending elements of history, military strategy, and magic.
When Rin passed the Keju—an Empire-wide test to find talented youth for the Academies—everyone was shocked. Test officials couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating. Rin’s guardians, hoping to marry her off and advance their criminal plans, were also surprised. For Rin herself, this achievement meant freedom from a life of servitude and despair. Her acceptance into Sinegard, the most elite military school in Nikan, was even more unexpected.
However, not all surprises bring joy.
Being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south at Sinegard is challenging. Rin faces discrimination from classmates due to her color, poverty, and gender. She discovers a powerful ability—shamanism, a nearly-mythical art. With the guidance of an eccentric teacher and the use of unusual substances, Rin explores her gift. She learns that gods believed to be long gone are still alive, and mastering her powers could mean more than just surviving school.
While the Nikara Empire enjoys peace, the Federation of Mugen remains a threat across the sea. The Federation, having occupied Nikan after the First Poppy War, barely lost the continent in the Second. Despite people going about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War could be imminent.
Rin’s shamanic powers might be the key to saving her people. However, as she delves deeper into her abilities and the god that has chosen her—the vengeful Phoenix—she fears that victory in the war could come at the cost of her humanity, and she worries it might already be too late.