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Chapter 7

Aurelia's POV

Unfortunately, there is a case today, so I can't stay in with Bianca, throwing cucumbers at each other.

I notice the other tiatis staring at me as I walk hurriedly towards the center. I'm already a bit late.

"So, who's the lead?" I ask to no one in particular.

Bianca grins at me. "You are!"

I see Madison grit her teeth, but she covers it up quickly. "Yes."

"Oh," I say weakly. "Yay."

Jason looks at me. "I'm glad you are showing enthusiasm, Ms. Summers, especially after that show you put on day before yesterday."

"Er," I have nothing to say to him. What would I say?

Thankfully, Bianca quickly steps in. "We're already late, Jason. Why don't we start?"

I quickly review the case files once more before calling him in.

"Asher Coleus Everett, enter."

The boy, about my age, maybe older, walks in jauntily, like he couldn't care the least bit about what was going to happen to him.

"Well, let's get this over with," he sighs, sitting carelessly on the chair.

There was something about this guy. He didn't seem quite right. It was as if he saw this coming. What was he, some fortune teller? Either way, I didn't like the way his eyes flitted from side to side repeatedly.

"Uh, well, you have been charged with - " I pause for a second. "Beating up someone!?"

My voice cracks in the middle. I'm honestly really surprised; we usually get easier cases.

The boy smiles darkly as if he isn't even bothered. "Yeah, so?"

I swallow my fear down. "Um, well, do you admit to this?"

He rolls his eyes. "No, it's not like I confessed two seconds ago."

I blush a dark red. Madison rises. "Mr. Everett, we cannot have you disrespect members of the court like this."

"Well, last I checked, your 'court' isn't even fair," He scoffs, turning his head to the side.

Madison is too shocked to reply to this. Jason glares at him. But Bianca is the only one who speaks. "Mr. Everett, we really don't want to prolong this, uh, would you explain?"

"Alright," his eyes catch mine for a second before he continues. "I beat up a kid."

Have mercy on me, what did I do to deserve such a hard case?

"Care to elaborate on why?" Audrey asks tentatively.

"Nope." The boy examined his fingernails.

"Mr. Everett, we demand that you elaborate," I try to command him.

"And I demand that you act civilly towards me and not raise your voice," he smirks.

"We are under no such promise to do such a thing," William shoots back.

"Well, neither am I, great talk," The boy looks bored of this, as if his life isn't on the line. But then again, he doesn't know that.

I lose my professional tone, and I lean towards him. "You know what? This can be either hard or easy for you. Elaborate. Now."

"Remember that kid? Zach?" He looks straight at me this time, as if he knew.

My face loses a little color. What could he possibly know? "What of him, Mr. Everett?"

"He had a family. A terrible one, nonetheless," Asher laughs bitterly at the memory.

Madison looks at him, her sickly sweet smile coming back. "Mr. Everett! This is of no importance to the case."

"It is if I hurt his older brother," Asher changes his gaze towards Madison.

I gasp slightly. "Why the f - ah, sh - I mean, why would you do that?"

"He deserved it," Asher's voice seems slightly more intense. "You know why the kid was stealing? It was for his little sister."

"That still is of no relevance," Noah says firmly.

Asher put up his hand. "Patience is a virtue. Zach's older brother beat up his little sister, I believe for not serving dinner on time. The little sister is only six, mind you."

"Jesus," I look down at my papers. My stomach churns in disgust at the evil older brother. It had nothing about that scenario.

Asher's eyes sparkle with dark mirth. "Would you look at that. A tiati with a soul."

Madison cuts in again. "And why should we believe you? I'll have you know, the family that boy comes from is highly respected an -"

"And mine isn't?" Asher remarks, calmly, to my surprise.

There's a silence upon the court, heavier than the guilt everyone was feeling.

"His little sister, naturally was crying," Asher continues. "Zach decided to be a good older brother, and get her some toys. But wait! She doesn't have any toys. So Zach, risking his li - risking himself being arrested, goes and steals a toy. Then someone catches him. Then he comes here and he di - he gets eliminated. End. Of. Story." He looks up at us, smirking. "Would you like me to take a bow?"

I scoff at him.

Asher shrugs. "If you insist." He gets up slowly, and exaggerates a bow, keeping his eyes locked on me the entire time. The siguri shift uneasily. 

"But you admit to the crime?" Jason asks with finality.

Asher looks down, and then up again. "Let me ask my lawyer. Oh, wait, we don't get those."

I'm slightly in awe of the show that Asher is putting on. "We have a fair system, you don't need one," I argue, knowing how weak that sounds.

"Fair?" For the first time, he sounds relatively angry. "You call the system that kil - "

He breaks off abruptly, not bothering to cover his mistakes.

I seem to be the only one who's noticing all his slip-ups.

He knows.

"Do you admit, Asher?" I ask, softly. "This will be easier if you do."

"You mean my elimination will be easier?" He really did know.

"Do you admit?" I repeat, sounding like a broken doll.

"What happens if I don't?" Asher asks, looking genuinely curious.

I falter for a second. What would happen if he didn't confess? Everyone - everyone - always confessed.

"We have sufficient proof to call it in," says Lucas, saving me from my own silence.

I raise my hand, signaling at everyone to stop. "Mr. Everett, I would like me and my fellow tiatis to take a quick break to discuss our rules. Please busy yourself."

Everyone stares at me, shocked. I was breaking tiati rules. Usually, it was simple; formal introduction, get them to confess, and then the verdict. Nothing more, nothing less.

I'm already breaking all the rules.

Why not add another one?

"A break, please."

I watch as Madison slowly turns purple.

I'm dead.

Oh, well. 

More introduction to Asher! 

Word Of The Day: bellicose - inclined or eager to fight; aggressively hostile; belligerent; pugnacious

Hope you enjoyed! 

- Angelica and Eliza 

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