An engaging story, right from the start

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Ning lives with the guilt of being responsible for her mother's death and her sister's illness, both from drinking poisoned tea that Ning had prepared. Now she seeks to change things by entering a competition to find the next shennong-shi to serve at court. If she wins, Ning hopes to claim the favor granted the winner to save her sister's life.

I'm enthralled by the idea of tea as magic. I want to know more about the magic, the universe in which the story is set, and of course, whether Ning is successful in her quest!