A/N Hello readers! Although I planned on updating this story weekly on Mondays, I was so excited that I decided to update sooner. For anyone interested, I've created a Pinterest Board with an assortment of this things related to this story. I'd love to see interaction on here since I plan on the viewers helping to decide the eliminations - I want you to see more of the girls you like and less of the girls you don't. Don't forget to review - all feedback is welcome 3


Juliette bit her lip gingerly, rearranging her blouse to better cling to her body. Her reflection in the window looked back at her, only making Juliette more worried as she ran a hand through her curls one more time.

"Just relax, dear. You look stunning." Her eyes moved look at her mother in the reflection. Her smile was a gentle reassurance. The young girl let out her breath slowly, trying to ignore the low hum of the crowd in line around her. She wasn't sure why she was so nervous - it didn't matter how good or bad her picture came out. Her father had assured her that she would be chosen regardless. But seeing all of the hopeful girls in line - some of them wearing literal rags but beaming at the possibility of having a life as a royal - broke her heart. It was a not so subtle reminder of why she was going to do this. To help make sure that nobody would worry about where their next meal was coming from or whether or not they could afford to wash their clothes that week.

"Thank you, mom." Juliette managed a small smile.

The line didn't take long to move forward, and, much to Juliette's dismay, it soon became her turn. She was given a small card with a couple questions that she filled out quickly.

Name: Juliette Wright

Age: 19

Province: Angeles

Family: Daughter of Franklin and Joann Wright. Eldest of two.

Occupation: Assistant to Politician

Interests: Reading, public speaking, politics

Part of her thought that she should actually fill out this paper as someone who wanted to win this Selection. She sounded as bland as white bread. There was no way this would make her stand out to the prince. Hell, did she even want to stand out? How far could she make it just by blending in? If she didn't give him a reason to eliminate her, maybe she could get away with not even speaking to the guy.

How do you look a man in the eye that you're helping conspire to kill?

Juliette pushed the thoughts out of her head and finished her application, writing a couple more uninteresting but inoffensive interests before setting the pen back on the table.

She handed the paper to a woman before being ushered to the small area set up to take her photograph. As she sat on the stool, she smiled for the camera, hoping that her nerves weren't as apparent as they felt. The sound of a printer caught her attention, but Juuliette didn't even snag a peek at the picture before it was folded with her application and stuffed into an envelope.

Almost as quickly as she was in, she and her mother exited the city hall and started back home. A twinge of guilt pricked at her as she took one last look at all of the women still in line to apply. What if Prince Adonis' true love was in that line? What if she was taking away her chance at love? These questions were the least of her worries, but they still lingered in the back of her mind.

"How exciting!" her mother gushed, breaking Juliette's train of thought. "Wouldn't it truly be so exciting to be chosen?"

"I don't know if I'm really the princess type." Juliette responded, keeping her eyes on the sidewalk in front of them.

"I remember when your father and I married." a day dreamy look softened the older woman's features. "I didn't think I belonged in a family of Twos either. I was so worried that his family would disown us both."

Juliette couldn't keep the surprise from her face. Sometimes she forgot that her mother was born in such a low caste - it was a hard guess when you just looked at her mother's regal presence and well-spokenness. Maybe that's what this would be to her mother: a love story similar to her own. History's way of repeating itself.

"Love always finds a way." Her mother asserted, taking her daughter's hand in her own and squeezing it reassuringly. "I have a good feeling about it."

Juliette almost laughed. If only she knew.

The Report that week was practically a celebrity event for Angeles. The City Hall had been revamped into a makeshift theatre, with a giant screen that was also being broadcasted in the city's biggest garden square. All of the wealthier families were invited in the hall, but the Wrights were known for how they typically refused such invitations.

The Wrights, instead, were seated on a small blanket in their gardens. Gwen was bustling around, making conversations with seemingly every family there so far. Juliette never knew how her sister seemed to be friends with everyone in town - perhaps her father's charisma had been saved to be passed on to the younger sibling.

The projected screen flashed a couple times as Gavril's voice blared through the speakers. The Report played against the wall of an abandoned building and the sound didn't quite sync with the faded picture. Nobody seemed to mind, though, and the excitement buzzed through the crowd quietly as the initial updates were sped through.

Gwendolyn plopped next to her sister about half way through the usual news and she smiled broadly. "Want my ratings on the Selected girls? I'm thinking about starting a bracket."

Their father laughed. "Gambling already? You must be taking lessons from Uncle Godfrey."

"Don't worry. My gut never would never steer me wrong," Gwen puffed her chest out proudly. Juliette forced a smile to her face. How her father could sit here and joke when he knew the importance of this moment was beyond her.

"Now, ladies and gentlemen - the moment I know you've all been awaiting!" Gavril always loved to play up the camera, and everyone knew that Selections were his favorite part of the job too. "Welcome our Prince and King to be - Prince Adonis!"

The entire crowd came to a hush when the Prince's face showed up on screen. He stood in front of a bin full of folded papers. Thirty five papers. Thirty five lives about to change.

Juliette realized she had never really taken the time to look at the young man. He was smiling brightly, but there was almost a hint of his nerves in his bright blue eyes. His hair was shaggy and dark, but brushed and styled perfectly.

"Thank you Gavril. People of Illéa, I won't make you wait a moment longer than necessary. Here are the women of the Selection."

He dug through the envelopes, pulling out the first one and reading it aloud. "Cyan Hatten of Clarmont." The woman's picture flashed to the side of him on the screen. Juliette didn't even look. Her stomach was in knots.

"Harmony Fry of Allens."

Each of these girls were going to be her enemies. Each one having their chance at royalty ripped away.

"Lillianna Chen of Likely."

"Ooooh, she's pretty. Definitely gonna be in my top ten." Gwen whispered. Juliette nudged her in the side to keep her quiet.

"Tahlia Cross of Carolina."

One by one, he read off the names. For a moment, Juliette almost thought her name wouldn't be called. That this whole mess would blow over and some other sap from her province would be chosen and make this decision for her.

By some sick stroke of fate, her province was the last to be called. Prince Adonis unfolded the paper, and it almost seemed to go in slow motion. Juliette's mouth went dry and she raised her gaze to look at the screen right as her picture flared for everyone to see.

"Juliette Wright of Angeles."

There were mixed reactions from the crowd. Many cheered, the families sitting closest to her own reaching over to congratulate her father and Gwen's friends squealing as they ran over eagerly. Some girls cried and Juliette could see them hugging their mothers or brothers or friends. Everything seemed to go dead silent, even with the fever all around.

Juliette simply stared blankly at her face on the screen. Even when it faded away and Gavril took over to sign off. It was exactly what she expected to happen, but her heart still sank into her stomach.

Her head turned slowly to look over at her father. He beamed as he shook hands, accepted slaps on the back, and laughed boisterously. When his eyes turned to meet hers, they hold a different twinkle that she's sure nobody else would even notice. They make their message clear without him needing to say a word.

We did it.

The next couple of days flew by like autumn leaves on a breeze. Many officials were in and out of her home, explaining all of the rules and things to her family. Juliette was allowed a small bag to pack - knowing full well that it would be searched on their way to the palace anyway.

The officials had let her know that she really didn't need to bring anything - most commodities would be provided to her at the expense of the Royal family. Just anything persona that would help ease her any homesickness or make her more comfortable.

In the end, she had packed a fairly meager suitcase. A couple pictures of her family, a quilt that her mother had made for her when she was a baby, and a small notebook that she could use as a diary of sorts. A diary to track any and all information about the castle or the prince to pass on to her father.

Her father also had been in and out, telling Juliette a list of rules of his own. How often to write, what things to say and how to say them.

More was going on in a single week than had happened in her whole life, and Juliette was more than exhausted. The night before she left, her mother cooked her favorite meal as a goodbye.

"Oh, this is so incredibly exciting for you, Juliette." The same smile had been plastered on her mother's face since the Selection's girls had been chosen. Juliette poked at her potatoes and shot a smile back at her mother. "We're going to miss you… Do be sure to write."

"Of course, every week." Juliette promised. She wasn't particularly hungry, but she scooped another spoonful of mashed potatoes and brought it to her mouth anyway. Juliette didn't want her mother to worry.

"You better do good, because you're going to be pretty high on my bracket. If you lose, I'm gonna have to charge you." Gwen reached over to grab another roll from the basket.

Juliette rolled her eyes. "Yes, I'll miss you too, dear sister."

"I'm just being honest with you. Don't come back soon. In fact, don't come back at all. I'd love to live in a castle."

"Gwendolyn, be nice." Their mother said, exasperated with their bickering. "Your fighting is one thing I definitely won't miss."

Juliette let out a genuine laugh. "It will be a lot quieter."

"Can't argue with that one." Gwen agreed.

"Well, I think that's enough for me." Juliette stood from the table, picking up her plate to set in the sink. "It was wonderful, mom. Thank you. I'm sure the castle's cooking won't compare."

"Now, I doubt that." She smiled at her daughter. "Goodnight dear. Your father should be home shortly. I'm sure he'll want to tell you goodbye too."

Juliette stifled a sigh. "I'm sure he will."

"This is a dangerous job, Juliette. Our cause is depending on you."

The young blonde kept her eyes focused on her father, wringing her hands nervously. "I know."

"You need to make it to the Elite - to the Convicting."

"I know."

"I will write to you weekly with updates on our attack. If you write back, be very careful of the wording you use. If you're caught and don't have deniability… "

"Dad, I know. " Juliette cut in. Hearing him say it would be too much. She saw the fear in his eyes and she lowered her gaze. She does know. If she is caught, she will die. Her family would be publicly shamed. Her father would have to step down from his position. The rebellion would be back at square one.

The mayor cleared his throat before continuing, "We want him dead."

Juliette looked back up to him with a start. "Wait, dead? I thought I was just supposed to get information out of him about the Council and -"

"It's already been decided. It's out of my hands. The others have decided the only way to truly eliminate the monarchy is for the last of the line to be killed." His voice was surprisingly even.

"You want me to assassinate the prince?" Juliette asked, dumbfounded.

"Yes. We have a plan. We will attack and end the monarchy. Getting close to the Royals would be too difficult. But if there was someone that he trusted... you would get past the guards easily. They wouldn't suspect a thing until it was too late."

Her mouth was dry. She always knew that she would have to give up a lot to her father's rebellion. But she never thought she would have to become a murderer. She wasn't sure if she even could kill a person.

"I know it'll be hard, sugar." Her father rose from the table to pat her on the shoulders reassuringly. Most fathers would do this for a girl worried about a speech in class. Not for a girl wanting to kill the most powerful people in the country. "Don't worry too much. The first step is simple. You just need to last through the Selection. You need to be the one that steals his heart."

"Gotcha, stealing then killing." Juliette muttered sarcastically. The grip on her shoulders tightened.

"Juliette, this is not a joke." The harshness in his voice was frightening. Her father rarely got angry - being cool and collected was important for a politician. "This is exactly what we needed to win this fight. To right the wrongs of Illéa."

"I understand, dad."

His grip loosened. "You can do this Juliette. Your country needs you to."