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Chapter 3



One of the benefits of being in this perfect society is that our connection is always flawless. Everything loads at supersonic speed, and never once has Mata-Time glitched on me.

I shake my phone, somehow trying to get it to tell me what was wrong. The screen stays blank.

I throw it across the room frustratedly, trying to get it to crack, literally.

This has never happened before.

I reflect back to what we were talking about. Maybe that was what had triggered the glitch?

Or maybe it wasn't a glitch?

Ha! No, I was just saying, uh, you have super high expectations, right? Well, I want you to settle down with someone! I'd love for my best friend to get a significant other. It just sucks that it isn't Lucas. Ha, right? Ha. Ha. Ha!"

"You know, I think no one on the court is good enough for me."

"Even me?"

"Awww, of course! Let's go get married!"


Of course.

We were teasing each other, of course, but the hikos, the people who controlled and supervised the electronics didn't really have a sense of humor.

As I expected, a new message shows up.

Would you like to open your new message?


Opening message.

Dear Miss Aurelia Rose Summers,

You are being reprimanded for talking about forbidden relationships in our community. Please report to the Hiko Center if you believe this is a mistake. If not, you get a warning. Please do remember, four warnings are you could be eliminated.

Thanks, The Hiko Department

I gape for a few seconds before slamming my phone down.

How dare they give me a warning for a joke!

I fume silently before shaking my phone again. This time, it lights up. I have many unopened messages, all from Audrey.

I jump up, storming out of my silent, dark house.

The Hiko Center was only a few blocks away and if I hurried, maybe I could fix this before it got out of hand. I took the right turn into the center and was immediately stopped by security.

"Identification," The siguri told me, hand outstretched.

I silently curse. I left my necklace at home, like the idiot I was. Deciding there was nothing better to do, I choose to bluff my way out.

"How dare you? I am an esteemed member of the tiatis! I will not stand for such disrespect!" I say, cringing as I talk in a slight British accent. I try not to sound angry, but more like I was in a hurry. I walk past the guards and breathe a sigh of relief. So far so good.

The guards obviously didn't want to get reprimanded for showing disrespect, which was pretty negative, so they bowed and let me pass.

"Aurelia? Aurelia Orchid Summers?" I walk up to the desk to see a familiar face.

"Hey, Aunt Asteria!" It had slipped my mind that my mother's sister worked as a hiko. Maybe she could fix this mess.

"It's been so long that I barely recognized you!" Her face lights up.

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