The Ring Academy: The Trials of Imogene Sol
Publication date: August 1st 2023
Genres: New Adult, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Imogene Sol has had to work twice as hard for everything she has earned as a cadet at The Ring Academy on Serta. An orphan of notorious parents who killed hundreds of thousands of people in a bombing against the Federation, most people hate her by name alone, others have gone out of their way to make her life difficult. Though she’s managed to acquire a handful of trusted friends over her years at the academy, most of her peers loathe her. But she’s made her mark in the top ten of her cadet class and she’s ready to compete for what’s next.
As the Year Seven Final Trials begin—a series of tests to determine placement within the Federation—Imogene knows all her hopes are riding on her performance. But when she’s framed for an offense that could not only get her expelled from the academy but also incarcerated, Imogene must discover who’s behind the threat against her. When her greatest competition, Timaeus Kade, offers to help her solve the mystery to clear her name, Imogene must decide if she’s willing to trust him. The stakes are high. Only the mysterious saboteur strikes again, justifying she needs his help, proving the stakes aren’t just her future anymore but her life.
Imogene raced across the room to grab the bo staff leaning against the wall, her opponent just steps behind her. The zip of his staff buzzed the air near her head as she ducked, rolled across the mat, and grabbed the weapon she needed from the holder. She turned and crouched with her back to the wall, wielding her staff to block her attacker. The clack of his weapon against hers vibrated up her arm through her elbow, jarring her teeth, but she ignored the discomfort—she was used to it—and shot forward.
“That’s all you’ve got?” She smirked at her opponent.
Vempur growled, showing his sharp incisors. His stark, black hair curled against his umber-toned temple slick with sweat as he followed it up by stabbing the end of the staff toward her face. His eyes, usually green flecked with sparkles of gold, turned completely black as he swung.
She blocked and went for a jab.
Vempur parried, then swung the staff at her head, once more with a loud grunt and frustrated huff. “You’re too quick,” he snapped.
Imogene smiled at her best friend but subdued the laugh. She knew he wouldn’t take it well in the middle of a fight. Not with everyone watching. Their silent, judgmental gazes were enough of a deterrent to keep Vempur’s temper in check. Besides, she wouldn’t have appreciated his humor at the moment either. There was too much on the line.
“You’re stronger. Taller,” she grunted out as she ducked once more. It wasn’t to feed his ego. “Find my weakness.”
“What weakness?” he snapped, frustrated more with himself than her, it would seem. “You haven’t lost yet today.”
“Exactly. I’m tired.”
Vempur growled, surging forward.
But she couldn’t afford to lose and that was the difference.
She rocked back, arching as the staff narrowly missed her gut, then swung her stick out to catch Vempur’s feet. He jumped and brought his bow down to the mat barely missing her back as she rolled out from under his strike.
“Stars!” Halo Mins—their instructor—yelled across the sparring room. “It shouldn’t look like a dance. It should look like a fight!”
Several of the other Year Sevens in the room snickered, and she knew it was at their expense.
“Shit,” Imogene swore, resetting as she hopped away. “He’s going to knock me down.”
“He won’t. He can’t.” Vempur punched out, and Imogene blocked the weapon. They pushed against one another and locked, resting for a beat. “You’ve dominated everyone today.”
“Not everyone.” She pushed, using her momentum to twist and swing, the pole wide, catching Vempur’s ankles. His giant frame slammed against the mat, and she went in for the kill, feigning a stab into his throat.
Vempur opened his hands against his bow staff in supplication and frowned. “Everyone knows you belong on the leaderboard, Imogene.”
As a kid, CL Walters, world revolved around two things: stories and make believe. She’s built a real life around those two things: a teacher of stories and a writer of make believe.
With four books now published, she’s looking forward to her fifth release October 13, 2020, a YA Contemporary Romance called The Stories Stars Tell.
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