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Copyright © 2013 by Xiwei Lu. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission in writing from the publisher, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, 345 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014.
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Published simultaneously in Canada.
Map illustration by Peter Bollinger.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Lu, Marie, 1984–
Prodigy : a Legend novel / Marie Lu.
Summary: June and Day make their way to Las Vegas, where they join the rebel Patriot group and become involved in an assassination plot against the Elector in hopes of saving the Republic.
[1. Fugitives from justice—Fiction. 2. Criminals—Fiction. 3. Soldiers—Fiction. 4. War—Fiction. 5. Government, Resistance to—Fiction. 6. Assassination—Fiction. 7. Science fiction.] I. Title.
PZ7.L96768Pro 2012 [Fic]—dc23 2012003773
To Primo Gallanosa, for being my light
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
REPUBLIC OF AMERICA
J AN. 4. 1932 H OURS.
O CEAN S TANDARD T IME.
T HIRTY-FIVE DAYS AFTER M ETIAS’S DEATH.
D AY JOLTS AWAKE BESIDE ME. H IS BROW IS COVERED with sweat, and his cheeks are wet with tears. He’s breathing heavily.
I lean over him and brush a wet strand of hair out of his face. The scrape on my shoulder has scabbed over already, but my movement makes it throb again. Day sits up, rubs a hand wearily across his eyes, and glances around our swaying railcar as if searching for something. He looks first at the stacks of crates in one dark corner, then at the burlap lining the floor and the little sack of food and water sitting between us. It takes him a minute to reorient himself, to remember that we’re hitching a ride on a train bound for Vegas. A few seconds pass before he releases his rigid posture and lets himself sag back against the wall.
I gently tap his hand. “Are you okay?” That’s become my constant question.
Day shrugs. “Yeah,” he mutters. “Nightmare.”
Nine days have passed since we broke out of Batalla Hall and escaped Los Angeles. Since then, Day has had nightmares every time he’s closed his eyes. When we first got away and were able to catch a few hours of rest in an abandoned train yard, Day bolted awake screaming. We were lucky no soldiers or street police heard him. After that, I developed the habit of stroking his hair right after he falls asleep, of kissing his cheeks and forehead and eyelids. He still wakes up gasping with tears, his eyes hunting frantically for all the things he’s lost. But at least he does this silently.
Sometimes, when Day is quiet like this, I wonder how well he’s hanging on to his sanity. The thought scares me. I can’t afford to lose him. I keep telling myself it’s for practical reasons: we’d have little chance of surviving alone at this point, and his skills complement mine. Besides . . . I have no one left to protect. I’ve had my share of tears too, although I always wait until he’s asleep
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