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Magic swirled around me as my bones changed and my flesh condensed into a fur-covered shape I immediately felt at home in, even if I rarely used it. Smells became sharper, the cold of the deck beneath my paws more acute. I sat back on my haunches and twitched my whiskers as I looked up at the captain.

–Min describing her shapeshifting ability while taking her true form, Dragon Pearl[2]

Kim Min (pronounced Geem Meen) is a thirteen year old Fox Spirit from the planet Jinju in the Thousand Worlds. She is the narrator and protagonist of the stand-alone novel Dragon Pearl written by Yoon Ha Lee and published by Rick Riordan Presents.

Rick Riordan Presents

History

Min was born and raised on the poverty strick planet of Jinju. She and her family have lived their lives in near hiding due to prejudice against fox spirits.

When she was seven her father, a technician and mechanic, died. She would use her father‘s tools to do repairs around the dome. However her mother would get saddened if she saw her using them.

At one point she asked her mother if she could use charm to fix a warn out blanket, but her mother was against it as they would have to redo the charm everyday and Min had no desire to do more chores let the conversation end.

Dragon Pearl

Min wakes up one morning to hear a stranger‘s voice coming from outside the room she shares with her cousins. She uses charm to disguise herself and sneaks out. She finds her mother talking with a Thousand Worlds investigator about her brother Jun, who went missing after supposedly deserted his post to search the Dragon Pearl. Min and her mother do not believe this and the investigator reveals that Jun left a coded message for Min and asks to speak with her. Her mother is reluctant until he temps her with her son’s last known recording and her mother calls her in. She makes it look like she came from her room and joins them. The Investor shows Min the message and she reads it, realizing it has a hidden meaning she lies and says it’s nothing and her mother backs her up. Her mother invites the investigator for a meal, he accepts, and asks Min to get the good table ready. She shapeshifts into it to ease drop and her mother and the investigator set the table. She senses her mother charming the Investigator. After he tells Seonmi the thinks Min his hiding something about the message he threatens an investigation into their family. Min turns to human form and the Investigator grabs her by the throat. Her mother begs him to release her but he threatens to report them. Min then knocks him out with a plate to the head. Min’s mother and aunts drag the investigator to the front of the house and decide what to do with him while Seonmi orders Min to clean. As she does she tries to ease drop on them until her cousins Bora and Manshik come in. Bora starts to annoy her and she throws a rag at her. Her mother comes in and scolds her. Her cousins leaving and she gets back to work. As she brings dishes to the kitchen she hears the adults suggesting they bribe an officer or send her away, Min goes to wash off. When she finishes Bora comes in and makes a bet to see if she can bring Jun home in a year with the loser doing the winner’s chores for six months and accepts. Min packs her bag with extra clothes, a mask and filters, a picture with her family before her dad died, and a few handfuls of jade, worth more then their planet’s currency. As she leaves Manshik spots her, but she tells him to tell the others she will be back and leaves.

Min takes her family‘s hoover scooter and heads to Hongok to get off work via the spaceport. She uses charm to make hers look two years older and alters her face slightly. She finds a fake identification card saying “Kim Bora”, her cousin. She makes her way past guards at the city‘s entrance and cuts through the market district, but bumps into Eunhee, a guard, and is surrounded by semi drunk guards. She bribes them for safe passage with a fake emerald ring and her stomach growls. They escort her to a fancy restaurant and sit out front. Min gets them to reveal that the Investigator revealed that his departure location and business on Jinju was classified, worrying her about her brother. They also reveal that the Space Forces have various ships around the Ghost Sector, a planet where the inhabitants were whiped out by disease spirits, that wer under the command of Captain Hwan. They also reveal they do not like supernaturals, such as fox spirits. Min claims she has to go to the bathroom and Eunhee escorts her. She trips her on the way and the security officer falls on a waiter. She goes into an empty dining room and takes the form of a chair, as Eunhee and the waiter talk to the manager she takes the form of a waiter and leaves, realizing a few blocks away she left her backpack.

She considers going back for it but decides against it as it would be to risky. She makes her way to the Spaceport and gets past the guard. She finds the directory with “Don’t play dice at Nari‘s” carved into it. She finds a cargo ship, the Red Azalea, leaving for an area near the ghost sector soon with the captain, Captain Hye, wiling to take on working passengers. It says the captain can be found at Nari’s and she reluctantly goes. Min finds a fox statue out front and, knowing people think of them as bad luck, wonders what it is doing there. A woman welcomes her to the tavern and both realize that other is a fox. The woman drags Min to the back office and smells her mother and aunts on her. The woman introduces herself as Nari, a relative of hers. She reveals that she and her mother opens the bar and were shunned by the family for it. She asks Min to work for her for a little while and Min, wanting to song Hye as soon as possible, reluctantly agrees until she can give her aunt the slip. She charms herself to a look like she was wearing a form blouse, pants, shoes, and gold jewelry and gets to work as Yong, a bouncer, keeps tabs on her. As she brings drink she learns that the wine is charmed to make people lose. Min is shocked by this and wonders if this is why her mother left. She slips into the high stakes room and learn that Hye is on a losing streak and tells her that if she accepts an employee on her ship then Nari will declare her debt free and the captain accepts. However soon after she sees Nye being dragged to Nari’s office and, fearing she will be exposed, charms herself to look like she was wearing a space suit and a flatter face. Yong runs into her and, due to her age, helps her get away and she makes her way to the Red Azalea.

She reaches the ship and tells the sole occupant, a man named Byung-Ho, that Hye lost the ship to Nari and tells him to let her on board as the captain owed her a ride. He agrees and, after telling the other crew to stay hidden, he takes Min to the cockpit and they take off. She tells him that she is escaping poverty when Byung-Ho asks about her. As they pass through a gate, she sees a vision of her father that morphs into a tiger. Byung-Ho snaps her out of it and gives her a tour of the ship. After he has her clean and she falls asleep. She dreams of Jun on the white planet, standing on the edge of a cliff. Byung-Ho wakes her and tells her the just jumped through the second gate, but are under attack by raiders. He mans the weapons while Min flies, which she has never done. As the fighting breaks out he has her go to the engine room to do repairs. She arrives and gets to work, fixing the shields and life support system. The fighting soon stops and she heads to the Cockpit. Byung-Ho congratulates her on the repairs but soon after the engine breaks down and they prep to get boarded. Byung-Ho gives her his blaster and a fire fight breaks out. They two are out numbered and Min is blinded by a flash grenade. She fires randomly and hits someone before blacking out.

Min wakes up in the medical bay of a ship slightly in pain. She sees a boy next to her who introduces himself as Bae Jang, a Space Forces cadet who died a hal hour previous from a battle would from saving her and Byung-Ho from the mercenaries. He reveals that they are on the Pale Lightning, Jun’s ship, and she is amazed. Min apologizes for his death but he brushes it off, saying he wishes he could have finished his training. Min offers to take his place and reveals herself as a fox. He is unphased by this and accepts the offer if she can find out more about the mercenaries that killed him. She swears on her ancestor’s bones, a serious oath, and accepts. The medic comes in and she turns into Jang and uses charm to trick the medic. Min asks about Byung-Ho and the medic says he is still in a stasis pod but will be fine. She leaves when the examination is done. Min wonders around the ship until she runs into a Dokkaebi named Sujin. They are soon joined by a dragon named Haneul. They great her as “Jang” and take “him” to Lieutenant Ju-Won. The lieutenant is happy to see that “Jang” survived and questions if “he” is okay. Min says she is and the lieutenant tells “Jang” to head to “his“ statio and points her in the right direction. Sujin and Haneul goe with Min and the dokkaebi gives her cookies and shrimp crackers to snack on. She decides to stay close to the two for the time being, since they know Jang well. After performing Jang’s duty’s, she misranks an officer and cleans the latrines as a result. She charms a cadet who comes into the latrines into giv her a layout off the Pale Lighting, she arrives late to the barracks and Ju-Won has “Jang” wake up two hours earlier f more latrine cleaning. When she finishes she heads to the mes to get food and meets up with Haneul and Sujin. They get in line to eat and she overs hears two human girls asking each other why the human “Jang” would hang out with supernaturals. After mess they head to Lieutenant Hyosu’s class on the ship’s weapons systems. During class they have a simulated dog fight and she is paired with Gyeong-Ja, one of the girls from the mess. Min takes the weapons while Gyeong-Ja acts as pilot. They to do well and after the simulation she asks about Jun. Gyeong-Ja calls him and the others who went with him deserters. After class she sets out to find Jang.

After class she cleans a maintenance shaft and speaks quickly with Jang. He says to check the hand book and to find who killed him. She later skims through it and discovers that if she is found to be faking being Jang, she will be court marshaled and either imprisoned or executed. Haneul and Sujin soon arrive and mess around with “Jang”. She later looks through Jang’s trunk and the ghost looks at the objects with sorrow. The following day she and Sujin are scrubbing the latrine again. When she asks the about Jun, Captain Hwan appears and they stand at ease. Hwan asks “Jang” if he is alright and “he” says yes. Jang instructs her to be calm. Hwan starts to talk about the Dragon Pearl and she asks about Jun, the captain says he went awol. After Hwan leaves the two finish up and get to Hyosu’s lesson. The two sit with Haunel as the lieutenant talks about the ships meridians, lines in the body that contain one’s life force, The conversation quickly turns to the Dragon Pearl and Hyosu tells the Cadets that just as the pearl can create life, it can dest it just as easily and they must keep it from falling into the wrong hands.

As she lays in Jang’s bunk, Sujin and Haneul arrive for their regular game of baduk, similar to chess or checkers. Min winces that she might be discovered but goes with them to a game area of the Pale Lighting. ”Jang” and Haneul play and she allows “Jang” a handicap of an extra peace. During the game she uses charm and asks about Jun. The others say he probably left to find the dragon pearl. They comment that, despite not knowing him well, Jun was a loyal soilder and was surprised he deserted. They say Jun’s bunkmates were interrogated heavily and she decides to ask them if she can. They don’t think he was the master mind behind it as another of the deserters was a lieutenant. They also find it strange as it would be easy for the Pale Lighting to find him. Haneul wins and she heads back to the barracks. She find Jang, angry that she is doing nothing to find out what happened to him. She apologizes, saying she would do it and he leaves.

The next morning at breakfast ”he” asks Sujin and Hanuel about the pirate attack, they say none of them survived and that they might have thought the Red Azalea was another mercenary ship and attacked it thinking it ha the dragon pearl. After breakfast and before KP duty, she tells Jang that all the pirates died in the attack. He is disappointed but accepts this and leaves. During Hyosu’s lesson on the engine‘s she pulls “Jang” aside and complements him on his work. Early the next morning she wakes up and checks out Jun’s bunk but does not find his scent. When a sergeant finds her ”Jang” says “he” woke up early and decided to go for a walk. For this “Jang” is stuck with hydroponics, growing plants in liquid rather then soil, along with Haneul and Sujin. She is helped in looking for rot by a human ensign name Woo-Jin who she recognized from Jun’s barracks. She charmed him to get information on her brother, but he said he told Hwan everything he knew. A warrant officer told them to help Haneul and she goes. The dragon tells her the ship’s meridian on the third level is giving off bad luck and, after faking a stomachache to get out of a fencing match, she checks it out. She charms both guards standing at each end of the hall and goes in. She twisted her ankle and has a stomach pain due to the negative gi, life energy, and hides in a closet when she hears Captain Kwan and Lieutenant Commander Ju-Eun. As they talk Kwan says he thinks their is a ghost on board, worrying Min. Ji-Eun suggests it might be pirates but Kwan brushes it off. They suggest that it might be a prank before talking about the deserters and that they, if found, will be court marshaled. Ju-Eun heads back to the bridg and Kwan calls “Jang” out of the closet. ”He” says “he” was curious and wanted to se the meridian for “himself” and distracted a guard and hid. He quizzes “Jang” on “his” backgr before “he” says he feared for his life in the pirate attack. He says “Jang” will get used to it in time and dismisses the “cadet”. When the captain is out of sight Jang appears and she tells him that Hwan at least sent him in knowing it was to dangerous. She asks him if he would curse the ship, he denies it after a pause and vanishes.

She and Sujin head up to the bridge to learn the layout and functions of it. The two are told to go to an ensign in charge of navigation. The ensign quizzes them on what not to do while traveling through a gate. Min then realizes that her brother and the other deserters would have had to leave the ship via escape pod, something deadly while in a gate, and realizes their is someone she must ask to make sense of it.

Min decides to sneak into Hwan’s quarters to find answers She decides to use litmus film to copy Hwan’s fingerprints. However soon after the ship exits a gate and comes under attack by ten mercenary ships. “Jang” and Sujin head to the engine room and she helps the chief engineer with a broken meridian, but takes over Sujin‘s panal position when they are injured. “Jang” alines her gi with the ship but is soon injured and blacks out. She wakes up in the medical bay and, despite her body hurting, made her way to Hwan’s quarters. She uses the litmus film to fake Hwan‘s fingerprint and to get the code to his office. She is successful and enters. She finds Jun’s scent on a sword in the backround and looks through his desk. She finds old fashioned paper logbooks and reads through the most recent one. She reads that Hwan knows where the dragon pearl is and sent Jun and others on a mission to the Fourth Colony to retrieve it. He also wrote that he knows Jun is a fox spirit and selected him for it, as he felt he had the best chance to complete the mission and plans to use the pearl to destroy worlds. Min decides to go to the Fourth Colony to find her brother. She finds a map in the book and memorizes it before putting it away. She heads back to the medical bay and falls asleep.

When she wakes up she finds that the battle has lasted seventeen hours, Sujin is recovering, and Byung-Ho is out of his healing pod and in the medical bay, asking about “Bora”. After the medic says he was the only survivor they saves, she uses charm and tells him “Bora” survived, he tells “Jang” to tell “Bora” she was a good mechanic and to peruse it. Hwan appears over the loud speakers and announces the battle is over and they have taken prisoners. She goes to the brig and is joined by Jang. They get the access code from a pair of soldiers and make it to the brig to find Pox Spirits. As the two spy on the interrogation the learn that the mercenaries were hired by Councilor Chae-Won of the Jeweled Worlds to ensure a monopoly on terraforming. When the interrogation ends they sneak out and “Jang” is assigned a desk job by Ju-Won. She meets up with Haneul and Sujin for dinner. She learns that in two days the Pale Lightning will stop on Abalone Spire for two weeks to repair damage from the battle. She decides to desert to find Jun and asks Jang to help her free the mercenaries, he agrees.

Min sneaks into the damaged meridian after charmi the guards. She uses a blaster to destroy some wires before going to the brig. She disguises herself as Hwan before telling the guards present to release the prisoners and leave. The three prisoners, a male scholar, a light faced man, and a woman with scared hands exit and she reveals herself as a fox spirit. She offers to hel them escape if they take them to the Ghost Sector. They agree and the four make their way to the mercenaries‘ ship. She charms everyone they see to avoid unnecessary conversations. They reach the ship and the mercenaries inspect it before takeoff. Hwan‘s voice comes over the speakers, telling them to come back to the Pale Lightning or die. They blast a hole in the airlock and escape. She imatates Hwan’s voice to cause momentary confusion among the crew. As the Pale Lightning fires a missile, they maneuver it to hit the Space Forces ship. The mercenaries open a gate and escape. The scholar, Chul, suggests they get the dragon pearl and use it for themselves. After exiting the gate she reverts to her own human form for the first time in weeks. They learn they only have two jumps left. They open a gate to the Fourth Colony and it is white rather then the normal purple. She sees visions of a tiger and dragon fighting and they successfully reach the Fourth Colony.

However the Pale Lighting beat them there and the ship is taken out by an eletromagnetic pulse. With life support off the four put on space suits to make oxygen last longer and set up false traps to tri the Space Forces. They are soon boarded by Sujin and Haneul. Kwan tells them to surrender or he will execute the two cadets for treason. Min surrenders to save them. Her former comrades say nothing to her and Jang leaves. She is brought before Hwan and she tells him her name when he asks. When he says he heard of her from her brother she demands to know Jun’s fate. He has her put in solitary where the guards are ordered to shoo if she shapeshifts. Later Hwan shows up and she turns into a fox, her true form, at his request. He offers her a deal to get her freedom and her brother if she Han charm her way past the ghosts of the Fourth Colony. He says Jun is hiden away and he can reunite them if she cooperates. She declines and Kwan leaves her. Later Sujin, who snick in while Hwan was talking with her, frees her. They have her turn into Hyosu and lead her to the escape pods where Haneul is standing guard. The three get in and head to the Fourth Colony, however they pod short serkets and they drift somewhat. Min tells them Jang died saving the Red Azalea and he gave her permission to use his form. She manages to fix it and hopes to arriv on the planet safely. The pod heats up as they head to the planet’s surface, albeit crashing into a forrest where the trees break their fall. They take a survey pad, survival kit, and medical kit, and check to see if the air is breathable. She gets out after Haneul and gets poked by thorns in the way down. They are soon haunted by ghosts. When Sujin lands they have a quick snack and head in the direction the ghosts do not want them going.

As they march on they get caught in the rain. Min has a vision of ghosts telling her to find shelter. Sujin and Haneul snap her out of it and are soon approached by a familiar figure. They realize it is Jun and, much to her dismay, he is a ghost. She is saddened by this and Haneul comforts her. Jin leads them to his ship where they meet other ghosts. When they tell that Hwan recruited them to find the dragon pearl, Min and the other living beings realize the ghosts are using them as bait to lure Hwan to them. After realizing this she is alarmed when Sujin has warned him not to come to them. The ghosts then come at them. She fakes having to use the bathroom, using charm for good measure, and has Haneul a company her while Sujin wears their invisibility hat. The three flee and make camp by a bolder and some dead saplings for cover. Hanuel takes first watch as she and Sujin rest. Sujin tells her they were lying about contacting Hwan, but knows the tiger will comedown regardless. They both fall asleep and Haneul wakes her. As she keeps watch Jun arrives and tells her he was going to help them escape later and he knows where the dragon pearl is. She wakes her friends and explains the plan to them and they four set out.

They four encounter a hoard of ghosts of both civilians and Space Force personnel, the hoard points out that Hwan is landing and leaps at them. Min knows where the dragon pearl is and, leaving her friends, goes to retrieve it. She turns into a hawk as Jun shields her from the ghosts. She gets the dragon pearl but sees Hwan pointing a blaster at her. She dives a Hwan and the tiger shoots at her shoulder and she falls to the ground and reverts to human form. Hwan demands the dragon pearl and a ghost, Eui, shows them a vision of Hae, the Shaman who brought the dragon pearl to the Fourth Colony. They say the shaman was selfish in her desires but Min promises to give them all a proper funeral. She orders Hwan to let her friends go, but she realize the two were working with Hwan the entire time. She is hurt but understanding, saying Jang gave her permission to take his form, Jane then materializes to confirm what she is saying. She then starts the process. Hwan tries to grab the dragon pearl from her but stops when Eui mentions his long dead comrade. Eue has the four living beings swear on the bones of a dead loved one, Jun for her, and the Fourth colony springs to life. Before Jang leaves he asks that he get a military funeral, she and the others promis to give him that. When they finish the ghosts that die with trying to get the drag pearl the first time attack Hwan and drag him into a forrest. Jun stays, saying he still wants to see the Thousand Worlds, Min agrees to this.

A lieutenant that came with Hwan asks for the dragon pearl, Min denies this but agrees to go with them. The three are disinfected and examined by medics and shamans back on the Pale Lightning. As Heneul and Sujin are brought to the medical bay, Min is brought to Lieutenant Commander Ju-Eun, serving as acting captain until a replacement is found, tells Min she will be sent to Black Locust Station and put on a transport back to Jinju. She also learns that she has disqualified herself from enlisting in the Space Forces for real and escorts her to a guest cabin and has her meals brought to her. Soon after Haneul and Sujin bring her a meal. The two choose to play baduk with her and Jun before saying goodbye.

The Pale Lightning drops her off at the Black Locust Station and is put up in a luxury hotel. Two days later, she is greeted by Security Officer Seok of the Thousand Worlds Domestic Security Ministry, the same man who informed her family of Jun’s desertion two months prior. He tries to take the dragon pearl, saying it is property of the Dragon Council, but it fire a beam at him and singes his hair before Min snatches it back. Min states that she wants to use the dragon pearl to terraform worlds at a reasonable price. He then states her crimes and her heroism and offers her a position in the Thousand Worlds Domestic Security Ministry, as it can Shield her from the Dragon Council and the Space Forces. She agrees if Jun can be her partner, Seok agrees after getting over the initial shock of seeing a ghost.

The three take a civilian transport to Jinju and Seok drives a hover car to her dome. She goes to greet her mother and Jun’s spirit appears. The siblings go inside to tell their mother everything.

Personality

Yoon Ha Lee describes Min as an anti-hero in a fair description. She’s clever and determined, but her main solution to trouble is to lie or trick her way out of it. [3]

Appearance

Min's true form is of a red fox with a single tail.[4]

In her human form she has shoulder length black hair and brown eyes.

Abilities

As a Fox Spirit, Min is able to shapeshift and can use an ability known as Charm for a variety of purposes, including hiding her presence and affecting others.

  • Mechanic Skills: Min is the most skilled in her family when it comes to mechanics.
  • Shapeshifting: As a Fox spirit, Min can shapeshift into anyone and anything.
  • Charm: As a fox spirit, Min can creat illusions around herself.
  • Magic Sensing: As a fox spirit, Min can sense when other fox spirits are using magic. Later on she learns to sense other forms of magic.

Items

  • Dragon Pearl: After successfully terraforming the Fourth Colony, the dragon pearl chooses Min as it’s new handler and would attack anyone else who tried to take it from her. On her way home she made a leath harness for the drag pearl around her chest and embroiled a fox on one of the straps. She plans to embroil a dragon, tiger and Dokkaebi on it as well.

Relationships

Family

Min loves her mother greatly but is annoyed by her constant lectures. Two months after she left Jinju to find Jun, the mother and daughter embrace each other.

Min respects her late father and misses him greatly.

Out of all her relatives, Min has the best relationship with her elder brother. When she learned of his supposed desertion she set out to find him, breaking numerous laws in her journey. When she found his ghost she was devastated but after Jun decided to stick around to see the Thousand Worlds she is happy.

Min has a bad relationship with her elder cousin.

Min and Areum have the worst relationship out of all the fox spirit’s aunts.

Min has a neutral relationship with her younger cousin.

Friends

Min first sees Jang’s ghost when she wakes up on the Pale Lightning and agrees to help find out what happened to him if she can impersonate him. During that time he instructs her about the basics of the Space Forces and he helps her as she, Hwan, Haneul and Sujin terraform the Fourth Colony by keeping the ghosts at bay and thanks her when heading to the afterlife.

While disguised as Jang, Min grew close to the dragon spirit. When Hwan threatened to kill her and Sujin she surrendered and later went with the two, not realizing it was a trick to find the Dragon Pearl. After the pearl if found the two rekindle and turn the fake friendship real.

While disguised as Jang, Min grew close to the Dokkaebi. When she was exposed as a fake she could not look them in the eye and was understandin when they and Haneul double crossed her. After the dragon pearl is retrieved the two grow close.

Enemies

Captain Hwan

Min detests the tiger spirit for sending her brother on a suicide mission. When he was dragged away by the ghosts of his subordinates he left for dead, she did nothing to stop them.

Others

Min respects Byung-Ho as a responsible authority figure and pilot. She feels bad that he thinks she died in the pirate raid, but reassures him she is in fact alive.

Min is distrustful of Seok. When he came to their dome he tried to report them but she knocked him out before he could do so. Two months later she agrees to join the Domestic Security Ministry but still distrusts him.

Trivia

  • Min is the first non-human point of view protagonist of an entire book in both the main literary universe and Rick Riordan Presents.
  • Min is the first point of view protagonist of an entire book to not be born on Earth or a Earth-attached dimension like Olympus or Alfheim, instead having been born on the planet Jinju.
  • Min does not trust modern medicine.

References

Dragon Pearl
Book: Dragon Pearl
Main Characters: Bae Jang | Captain Hwan | Haneul | Kim Jun | Kim Min | Sujin
Secondary Characters: Areum | Bora | Captain Hye | Lieutenant Hyosu | Lieutenant Ju-Won | Manshik | Nari | Security Officer Seok | Kim Seonmi
Minor Characters: Byung-Ho | Chul | Eui | Eunhee | Gyeong-Ja | Hae | Lieutenant Commander Ju-Eun | Lieutenant Seo-Hyeon | Woo-Jin | Yong
Supernatural Species: Fox Spirit | Dragon | Tiger Spirit | Dokkaebi | Shaman | Ghost
Related Content: Yoon Ha Lee | Rick Riordan Presents
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