"I just don't see why I even need to know algebra. It's not like I'll have any trouble finding myself a well off husband that wants good family ties." The alluded to algebra book slammed shut, and the light haired teenager rested her arms in a pout.

"Gwendolyn, that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard." The older sister opened the book back up, flipping through the pages briskly to find where they had left off. "You don't want to be some dumb blonde stereotype, do you? Or some trophy wife."

Gwen shrugged. "Better than being a smart ass."

Her older sister's jaw dropped indignantly. "Watch your mouth. I'm not a smart ass - I just know how fractions work."

"Fractions are for people who care about math. And I don't." She huffed. "Besides, Juliette, you should be spending less time on math and more time on figuring out how to keep a man for longer than a month."

Juliette's skin prickled with anger. "You know what? I'm gonna -"

"Children! Hush. The Report is on." Their mother scolded, saving the two squabbling sisters from continuing their fighting. "Your father said there was important news tonight. You both sit and listen." The two girls sat obediently on the couch beside her, each one sure to sit on opposite sides of their mother.

"And now folks, an exciting announcement for us all!" Gavril Fadaye gave the camera an award winning smile. The camera cut to Princess Kerrtu, who was as dazzling as she always is. She smiled, "Yes, Gavril. I do have quite exciting news. As you may know, I am coming of the age to start taking on responsibilities of the crown and our beautiful country. It pains me to say this, but I will be passing on this right to my brother, Adonis."

"And tell the viewers why that is, Princess." Gavril prompted.

"I am engaged." Her cheeks flushed a soft pink, and her smile was almost contagious. "I will be joining my fiance Déwei Chakri in New Asia to be by his side."

Gavril clapped his hands excitedly along with the live crowd's applause. Gwendolyn scoffed, "Guess that was our trade to keep the peace, huh? Isn't marrying off your royalty kinda lame?"

Her mother shushed her just as Kerrtu continued speaking. "Thank you all. I will miss my country dearly, but I am very excited for the opportunity that has been presented to me."

"And we will miss you, Princess." Gavril turned from her to address the camera. "But that's not all, citizens of Illéa. We have another exciting message!"

Kerrtu nodded. "My younger brother Adonis has decided, as is tradition, to host a Selection to find our next Queen."

The crowd cheered to the news and Juliette's hand shot to her mouth. Gwendolyn laughed. "Awww, man! I'm just a year off. I bet Queens don't have to know about common denominators."

Juliette didn't speak for a moment. Her head was reeling. Though her fifteen year old sister may be too young to enter, Juliette was at the ripe age of 19. The same age as the prince, even.

"Gwendolyn, go finish your homework, dear." Gwen groaned but followed her mother's instructions, heading back to the dining table where her book still sat. Juliette felt her mother's eyes turn to her. "Your father wanted to make sure you knew that a Selection was happening." she said, a genuine curiosity in her eyes. "He said he would speak to you when he gets home about entering. Heaven knows that he'd have a fit, but I'm sure it would bring us a lot of buzz. That'd be good for the next election, I'm sure."

Her mother's musings went through one ear and out the other. Juliette swallowed. "I'm going to head to bed, okay?"

Her mother simply nodded, powering off the TV as Gavril was signing off. Juliette rushed to her room, and her stomach turned vigorously. Once she had gotten to her room, she threw herself onto the bed.

All there was to do was to wait for her father to get home so she could know what tricks he had up his sleeve.

The Wrights had always been a powerful family. As the mayor of Angeles, her father strove to paint their family as the epitome of class, wealth, and status. Coming from a long line of Twos before the caste system was eliminated, Franklin Wright always couldn't ignore the issues he saw the lower castes were forced into. He married a woman that would've been a Five - enraptured with her from the moment he had met her as she played with piano for his father's retirement party. When he decided to follow his own father's footsteps and jump into politics, he won the hearts of the people by promising to help the unfortunate and help eliminate the leftover discrimination the castes had created.

Juliette knew that her mother was the reason that her father felt so strongly about the struggles that the monarchy and class hierarchy caused. She knew her mother was proud of the progress that the country had been making. She knew something that even her mother hadn't caught wind of - that her dad was secretly a leader of the rebels that the monarchy was trying to eliminate.

She was sixteen when she found out. It wasn't any big scene when she finally confronted him. It was simply little things her father failed to hide from the eyes of a nosy teenager. The letters that he burned in the fireplace when he thought everyone was asleep, the long political trips that he took, the anger that burned in his eyes when any mention of the adoration of Queen Eadlyn and her efforts for equality.

Since then, Juliette had fallen down the rebellion's rabbit hole. Her father told her about all of the atrocities the monarchy created. The castes, the game they made of people's lives for entertainment in their Selections, and the way they ignored the blatant war that was waging in their own lands disgusted her as much as they did her father.

Unease sat like a rock in her stomach. So why did he need to talk to her about the Selection? It was probably the thing that her father hated the most violently, openly speaking about it even with family and friends. Her mother's words echoed in her head. A daughter of a politician being chosen probably would be good for the family. Getting their name recognized on ballots was always good. Surely her father wouldn't force her to apply, though. Right?

Almost as if on cue, her door creaked open and her father slid through. He closed in gently behind him. Juliette didn't move. "Juliette? Are you still awake dear?"

She took a deep breath and sat herself up to face him. A few loose curls draped around her face as she looked long and hard at him. She cut right to the chase. "Prince Adonis is having a Selection."

"I'm aware." her father pulled up a chair closer to her bed, sitting nonchalantly. "And I believe you should participate."

Juliette flared indignantly. "Participate? You've got to be kidding. Dad, I don't know why you would even suggest that. Your approval ratings are fine! You'll almost surely win next year's election. I'm not just some pawn in your-"

"Juliette, lower your voice." He interrupted, only frustrating the blonde further. Her cheeks burned, but she obeyed. "This isn't what you think. The rebellion needs you."

Her anger fizzled out quickly into confusion. What does the rebellion have to do with the prince having a Selection? Her entering the stupid competition would only serve to distract her from helping the rebel cause. "And how would entering into the Selection help the rebellion?" she fired back, keeping her voice low.

"You're going to enter the Selection and win the prince's heart." Her father's eyes shot to the door, and Juliette almost wouldn't said he seemed nervous. He paused for a couple seconds before finishing his thought. "And we are going to kill him."

Juliette's jaw dropped. She stared at him incredulously. "You're delusional." The blonde pushed her hair out of her face, flustered. "I mean - how exactly do you expect me to do that? I don't even know if I'll be picked for Angeles, and I'm sure they wouldn't let me in with a loaded gun. This is ridiculous."

Franklin shook his head. "I have already spoken with our confidante in the palace - we can be sure that you are the representative of our province. As for how we'll kill him… Well, we've planned to attack during the Convicting ceremony. With all of the commotion, we will have our best chance. We've got eyes everywhere, Juliette. Even the castle has our allies. But none of them have access to the information we need to destroy the monarchy. If you have the prince's trust… there's nothing we can't get out of him. This is the chance we've been waiting for. All you need to do is make it to the Elite"

Juliette opened her mouth to speak, but her thoughts swirled in her head too wildly to assemble them into words. Her father had wanted to overthrow the monarchy for years now, but finding a way was always difficult. The reach of the king and queen was powerful and their resources plentiful. Her voice was small. "If I get caught, I'll be killed."

His eyes flashed. "You won't get caught. You're smart. All you need to do is win his heart, and I will see to the rest." His voice softened when he continued, "I wouldn't have suggested you if I didn't think you were capable. You told me that you wanted to fight for our cause, didn't you?"

Juliette's lip trembled and she looked down at her hands in her lap. She did want to fight for the cause. She wanted an end to all of the suffering she saw in Illéa. Her life could be lost, but the possibility of success could mean a victory for her cause. Seeing her distress, the father placed his hand on her shoulder. "Will you do it?"

She looked back up to meet his gaze. His eyes have a myriad of emotions; concern, hope, fear. It was a huge risk for both of them. It was simultaneously the closest chance that their rebellion had to advance. With a deep breath, she answered the question that would forever change her life.

"I will."