Title: The Secret Currency
Word count: TBD (80k estimation)
Genre: YA Magical Realism
The story in 1 line: Sometimes you must destroy something in order to save it.
Knowledge is power, and power is wealth.
Those are the words hammered into 17-year-old Xiao Fu’s head. Those are the words that govern the town of Xin Yulin, a secluded community where citizens give up their secrets to the local matriarch in exchange for magic and riches. Unfortunately, the matriarch also happens to be Xiao Fu’s strict and overbearing mentor—and Xiao Fu has secrets of her own that she plans on keeping.
Like how she plans on escaping Xin Yulin and starting a new life—her own life—outside of her mentor’s shadow. Something easier said than done. First, Xiao Fu must breach the enchanted barrier surrounding the town. Second, she needs to survive a multi-day journey through the monster-filled Outside in order to reach the closest city. And finally, she has to kill the shape-shifting bian-guǐ demon that’s been following her and trying to slip past the town’s protective ward. She might’ve failed to murder it twice before, but third time’s the charm, right?
Except the bian-gui turns out to be the least dangerous threat in Xin Yulin. When the town’s knowledge-fueled magic system starts breaking down, Xiao Fu quickly realizes the true monsters are oftentimes those lurking close to home. Unable to trust any of the secretive humans obsessed with hoarding knowledge to trade, Xiao Fu strikes a deal with the unnervingly empathetic bian-gui: In return for safe passage Outside, she will help sneak the demon into the heart of Xin Yulin, where they can shatter the town’s secret currency system together.
Because sometimes you must destroy something in order to save it.