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Aurelia's POV

I wake up to a feather tickling my nose.

I hear a soft chuckle.

Then I sneeze.

"ASHER!" I yelp, bolting up and punching wildly in the air.

"That was freaking gold," Asher replies, snickering. "I bet the air really felt that punch."

I smile sweetly at him before slogging him in his arm.

"By the way, you have only a few minutes to get ready," Asher conversationally adds.

I yelp again, fumbling around for the mini bag I had packed. I flip Asher off before running to the bathrooms of the tiati court.

I stumble out, throwing my bag down the stairs to the jail.

Madison reproachfully looks at me. "The meeting has started, Ms. Summers. Do refrain from being tardy."

I nod once, trying not to look around at the court.

The court that killed Bianca and so many others.

The court that would kill someone else today, and another tomorrow, and so on.

I fight back a wave of nausea. "Who's leading?"

Madison icily stares at me. "Ms. Taylor, please continue."

Audrey glances quickly at me before clearing her throat. "Emma Orchid Montgomery. You have been charged with swearing at your peers, and beating the same classmate up."

Emma, to her credit, didn't look scared.

She was downright furious.

"Firstly, no one fucking cares if I swear, alright?" Emma clenches her jaw.

I already like this girl.

"Secondly, that classmate? He nearly killed my sister by drunk driving, on purpose," Emma heatedly continues.

I don't know why I feel shocked, but I do.

So this was our perfect society.

"Mr. Richards has been interviewed, and he denies all of these accusations," Madison smoothly cuts in.

"No shit, Sherlock!" Emma throws her hands in the air. "Then he'll get eliminated, too! How blind are you?"

Lucas's jaw twitches. "Ms. Montgomery, do mind your profanity. This could be more evidence towards your case. Additionally, Mr. Richards is telling the truth, and you do not need to concern yourself with that."

I'm talking before I can stop myself. "Keep swearing honey, they'll condemn you either way."

Emma, obviously not expecting this, gapes.

"Ms. Summers!" Madison admonishes, her fist clenched. "This is a honorable court, and we will not have you get in the way of justice!"

"Yeah, yeah, I need to use the bathroom anyways," I snarkily reply, jumping up and heading to the bathrooms. "Call me when this trial is over, yeah?"

I catch a glimpse of Lucas' half-enraged, half-amused face before I disappear into the bathroom.

I thought I could do this.

I thought, after that first day back into that damned court, then maybe I could function properly, or at least fake it.

But I couldn't.

It holds so much pain, so much guilt, so much death. I can nearly see the hundred's of victims screaming in their last moments of living, even though the actual murder doesn't take place in the court.

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