Chapter 5

"Her name? Bonnie Shepard. B-O-N-N-I-E, S-H-E-P-A-R-D." "Please hold, sir. Let me check the records." A minute later, the voice came through, stammering this time. "Y—you’ve made a mistake. Bon—" she coughed, "Bonnie Shepard hasn’t broken any law or escaped from the police. "If you make a false report again, we'll charge you!" With that, she hung up. Gresham was stupefied. Vera was beside him and had heard everything the police officer said. "Are you done? I'll go upstairs then." Bonnie left. Vera felt a sense of pity as she watched her walk away. After all, Bonnie might be a loser, but she was still her daughter. "I’m sorry, Bonnie. We were wrong about you." Saddened, Bonnie stopped and looked over her shoulder at Vera. That woman hardly ever apologized to her and was never so gentle to her. Gresham sighed. "I was just worried about you. Anyway, I apologize." Bonnie frowned. "It's okay." The living room fell silent, and Bonnie spoke first. "I'm hitting the sack." "Wait!" Vera stopped Bonnie. "What on earth happened the other day? Why did you get taken away?" "I told you, it's classified. I'll tell you when the time is right." Bonnie told her the truth. Vera was losing her patience and felt disappointed and angry. She didn’t want to hear any more lies, so she changed the subject. "The school called. They said they might kick you out if you skip classes again." "I'll handle it." Bonnie wasn't worried about getting kicked out of school because she could easily get someone to take care of that. But Vera exploded. "You'll handle it? How? Do you think you're the principal or something? You're 20 years old, Bonnie! You could have graduated long ago if you hadn't skipped school so often. Hell, you even took one whole year off before! "Trina was born on the same day as you, but she's already a sophomore at Pyralis University! “If you keep fooling around like this, you’ll never get into college! “And even if you do, it'll probably be some third-rate college!" Bonnie had told Vera why she had to take a break from school back then. But her parents didn't believe her and had scolded her for lying. Bonnie didn't bother trying to explain herself again. "Don't worry, I'm not going to some third-rate college. I'll be going to Pyralis University." "Pyralis University?" Vera could hardly believe her ears. "Yup." Bonnie nodded. "That's the best university in Pyralis! Only the cream of the crop gets in there! “Trina got in because she studied hard day and night. “You’ve repeated grades for two years. What makes you think you can get in?" "I'll have no problem getting in if I become the top scorer in the entrance test." Bonnie was confident. Vera was truly exasperated. By the time she regained her composure, Bonnie had returned to her bedroom. She had worked on her research for two days straight, and she was exhausted. Just as she was getting ready to shower, she received a video call from one of her best friends. She answered it, and a handsome man showed up on screen. "Hey, the Knight wants to have a game with you." Bonnie was intrigued. "Are you sure it's him?" "100%!" "Okay, I'm in." "That's terrific!" Heath Rice sounded excited. "The Shepherd and the Knight are the titans of the chess world. This will be the game of the century! I'm really looking forward to it. I'll reply to him right away!" "Sure." After hanging up, Bonnie took a hot shower and lay down in bed to sleep. *** At 6:00 a.m. the next day, Bonnie left her house in a tank top and a pair of leggings. She hadn’t done any kickboxing training in a long time, so she decided to work out in the park. Bonnie saw an old man shadow boxing while his peers looked on. "Way to go, Orson!" "No one can take a punch like that!" The elderly onlookers showered the man with their compliments. Bonnie frowned and muttered to herself, "Your footwork is poor, and your strikes are sloppy." She had learned kickboxing from a young age, so she couldn't help pointing out his mistakes. The elderly men heard her and looked over. They looked at the young woman skeptically. "Hey, young lady, what do you know about kickboxing?" "Don't talk about what you don't know, okay?" "Yeah, Orson has studied kickboxing for over a decade. I'm sure he knows what he's doing." But Bonnie was undaunted. "I was just telling the truth. He wasn’t doing it right." "Watch your mouth, young lady!" Scott had a bad temper. He was a huge fan of Orson Steele, and couldn't accept anyone criticizing him. "Get lost, or I'm going to—" "Leave her alone, Scott. She's just a kid." Smiling amicably, Orson walked up to Bonnie. "So you know some kickboxing, huh?" "Yup." Bonnie nodded. Orson studied her face and was surprised to find that she didn't look like she was lying. "How long have you been doing it?" Bonnie tried to remember. "Since I was three." "You guys hear that? Kickboxing at three years old? "I've lived many years, but I've never met anyone so full of shit!' Scott and others laughed so hard that they doubled over. Bonnie remained impassive. Touching his beard, Orson narrowed his eyes and said, "You said I didn't do it right. Why don't you show me the right way?" Bonnie checked the time. As she only needed to get to school at 7:30 a.m., she had time. "I'll have to go to school later, so I'll only show this once. Pay close attention, okay?" "What a show-off! If she can pull this off, I'll shave my head and do a headstand—" Before Scott could finish, his jaw dropped.