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Chapter 1

My pendant is distinctively warmer than usual. The warmness resting upon my chest is a feeling unfamiliar to me. I look down, unable to see the pendant. I wish I could take it off. To hold it in my hand. Its attached to me, its part of me.

A familiar voice enters my ears, calling me for dinner. I look up, for a moment, unaware where I am. I gaze in confusion for seconds. As if a cold gush of wind hit me, I spring back into reality and reluctantly follow the descending stairs. My mother gives me her usual smile, but this smile was different. Her smile was warning but her eyes were caring. They distinct emotions tied into my mom were a surprised to me. After you found your partner, you learn to feel less. To overcome anger or desperation. The exact qualities Supremacy rejects.

My father quietly sets the table. I sit down to the closet seat, my mom brushes my hair as she strolls to her seat. I bow my head for grace, but my mom begins to speak. I look up, surprised. We never speak before grace.

“Anne, you received something in the mail today. A video message; the box was labeled as urgent. I suggest you watch it on the monitor. Your father and I need to speak.” She speaks smoothly, her words calm and gentle as they escape her lips. I get up without hesitation, any sign of unwillingness will show disrespect towards them, and walk over to the clear monitor in the hallway. I dare glance at my parents. My mom carries a scared expression, while my dad shows nothing. I look back to the monitor and speak “Anne Morphis.” The screen lights up, a definite display of colors spreads the monitor.

“Video Messages.” I speak quietly but firmly. For the first time in what seems like forever, I am nervous, worried as to what lies behind the buffering black screen.

A face appears, a man. He appears stern, emotion-less, and speaks confidently.

“Anne Morphis. We are here to alert you that your match results are inconclusive. We have detected two young men that have passed your personality tests. This meaning you will have to choose the man you would like to stay with. The unlucky boy will be sent to the Residue Quarters, labeled as ‘Detached’. You will be sent to the Caravansary, along with four other young ladies who are under the same circumstances as you, and be given extra time and leisure activities with both of these two men. We have left instructions for your parents. Based on your choice, you may not be able to see them after the Ritual. Choose wisely.”

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