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Chapter 2

Aurelia's POV

Madison Rose Grey had most things in her life set out for her. She was a third generation tiati, and at 22, had managed to become a superior. She was engaged to Jason Rose Palmer, son of rich businessmen, much like my own father, but wealthier. It was common gossip that Jason was only a tiati because of the Greys' connections, but he was splendid at getting admissions of guilt. Of course, gossip technically wasn't allowed, as it was usually negative, but then again, I would think that killing people every day would amount to negativity.

Bianca and William, the two newest, and the youngest, coincidentally, looked up to the two superiors and for good reason: they resonated power. Look up power couple on your dictionary right now and you'll see a photo of them, Madison in her signature blue suit with matching heels and Jason in his dark suit that brings out his pepper-black eyes.

I cross the street to my house - or, well, mansion. I spent months cultivating enough cash to get the house.

Actually, it should've taken years, but I was well-paid. There were reasons to become a tiati.

You get to condemn people to their death everyday!

You'll live with a guilty conscience for your whole tiati career!

As a tiati, you needed to be a role model, so if you frown you'll get reprimanded

So yeah - 4) There were no perks, except 5) You get a lot of money - a lot of it.

It was more or less a castle, with over-arching windows and rounded doors. Basically every little girl's dream house. As I walk on the sidewalk, I bump shoulders with a boy. I look up at him and smile, expecting to meet warm, sugary eyes that match mine, but instead I am met with bleak, bitter, shadowed eyes. He has an intense look that seems to say stay out of my way. The hoodie he wears is tattered and his pockets are full of something, something I can't see. His face looks grim and angry. What surprises me the most was the emotion he shows. Did he not see my necklace? My face must have betrayed me for he looked almost sorry when he saw my expression. He walks faster while I stand in shock, not quite internalizing what had just happened. I hurry into my house and lock the door tight.

I wouldn't report anyone for something so small, but it still frightened me.

This entire society frightens me.

I have no power in this world.

They tell me I do.

But I know better.

That boy was fated to die as soon as he stepped into the court.

And I couldn't stop it.

I stare at the huge empty house. My footsteps echo through the halls, and I think again about how depressingly lonely it is.

"Honey, I'm home!" I call out into the gloom. It makes me smile for a few seconds, until I remember what Zach was going through right now.

Unless he was already dead by now.

No one else besides the tiatis and the special guard, the siguri, know what elimination actually means. Most assume they are sent off somewhere else. Veteran tiatis, otherwise known as matua tiatis are wiped of the memories of what actually goes on during the proceedings. The eight of us, and the four guards, are the only ones who know of the... murder.

My phone rings suddenly and I take it out to discover my parents are mata-timing, a video call.

Oh. Great.

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