White dominated the landscape of the Northern Republic. The snow-covered slopes welcomed the incoming train from the central continent.
The information preserved in the archives made it possible to tell that the Northern Republic was established on top of ruined Russia. But all the traces of the former nation had been eroded by time.
The only thing the once large nation remained was its snowy white peaks.
“Here we are. I would like to apologize again for our misunderstanding. Kindly keep our encounter to yourself.”
The guard that led Aurora and company out of the train had a sheepish smile on his face.
But Aurora was not fooled by the soft surface emotions she saw in that mans eyes. There was something shrewd beneath that easy-going exterior.
It was that guards aura that screamed that his words were spoken in jest.
Thankfully, Alexander caught up on the real meaning of the guards words and stopped Rita before she could open her mouth and disagree.
“In that case, you all are free to roam around the northern republic for the next few days after you get yourself chipped.”
“Chipped? We are not some crimin..”
Aurora jabbed Rita softly to make her stop speaking. Their guard had a sour look on his face when he faced the trio.
“Im sorry, but rules are rules. It would be faster if you cooperate with us.”
Aurora tugged at Ritas pants. It was a signal for Rita to agree with that mans demand for the time being.
Rita had a conflicting aura around her but she did follow Auroras command in the end.
“Fine. Show us the way. Lets get this over with.”
Aurora breathed a sigh of relief as soon as the guard turned around to lead them out. This encounter had been far too close for Auroras comfort.
Aurora tried to glare at Rita to express her displeasure but the elder pointed to her wrist. Aurora heard a familiar ping and opened her system to check the notice.
/Is it alright for us to get chipped? Wont it affect our moment in the Northern Republic?/
Aurora was not surprised to see this question being asked. This was something Aurora had wondered about during her first visit to the Northern Republic.
/It wont be a problem. The system would make sure we are not being detected. But we need to keep up appearances for the time being./
Entering the Northern Republic was akin to entering a vipers pit. People had no loyalties here except for their benefits.
God Karan might be the ruling deity of this region but he never actually stayed here for long. People had no faith in him and had taken up the governance by electing leaders.
/Still. I cant help but feel like were being treated as criminals./
/Endure it for the time being./
Endure. This was all the advice Aurora could give Rita for now. Since the republic did not trust outsiders, it was impossible to refuse such a big rule being set by them.
Aurora found this whole interaction distasteful as well but she knew there was no going around this topic.
“Were here. You will need to go in one by one to get chipped. Dont worry, it wont hurt or make you sick.”
Aurora must have made a weird face for the guard to turn toward her and speak.
“So, who would like to go in first to get chipped? How about you, Miss representative? Would you like to go in first?”
Ritas aura screamed discomfort all around. She would not be the first one to step up and make her way inside.
And Aurora would also have preferred to be the one to head in first for getting chipped. Mainly to check the changes in the chipping process.
But Auroras current condition would make her move very suspicious.
“I will go first. Aurora can go next and Rita can go last. You wont have a problem with this arrangement, right?”
In the end, it was Alexander that decided the order. He walked in with a straight face and the other pair waited outside.
“Rita, make sure to switch off your system before going in. The Northern Republic is much more advanced than the central capital. We cant risk them detecting the system.”
It did not take long for Alexander to return. He looked to be alright so Aurora decided that the process must be safe for them to experience.
“Little one, come in now. It is your turn.”
Aurora entered without much delay. The chipping room was as dark and cold as she remembered it being.
Even the surgical devices that lined the wall of the hall were the same as in her previous life.
To say that the room resembled a torture chamber was more than accurate.
“Come here. Dont be afraid of these devices. Im not going to use them on you. Yes, come here. You are a brave girl.”
Aurora could not express how humiliated she felt at that moment.
To be treated like a child due to her current situation was one thing. But the person in charge of chipping her was treating Aurora like an invalid.
Not to mention, that fake and sickening tone was causing Aurora to develop a headache.
Aurora picked up her pace and quickly sat in front of the chipping person. She also held her arm out so that the process of chipping could not be delayed any further.
“Is this your first chipping experience? Dont worry. This chip will expire and be dissolved in your body within a week. It is magical so it wont harm you.”
Aurora wanted to say that she knew all this already. But staying quiet and letting the chip lady do her job was the best outcome for now.
Aurora didnt even flinch when the chipping machine touched her arm. A small sting could be felt at the place where the chipping matching her pierced Auroras body.
“And were done. See, it wasnt that bad, right?”
Aurora nodded before she stood up and left. She knew what was coming next and Aurora wanted to escape before she could be humiliated any further.
“Ah, where are you going? Dont you want candy in return for being a good patient? I know that children love candy.”
And there it was, the treatment children got from doctors and others when they behaved.
“No need. I am alright.”
Aurora just caught a flash of surprise in the nurses aura before she sprinted out. Aurora almost gagged at the exchange she had with the chipping nurse.
To be treated like a child was an uncomfortable feeling for Aurora. One she hoped not to feel again.
“Alright miss, you can go in now. Then you all are free to roman around.”
Rita passed Aurora a concerned look but she did not stand around for long. Aurora also gave her a relieved nod to continue moving.
“Whats wrong with the child? She isnt reacting to the chipping, right? It should not be possible. But then again, shes such a slight child.”
The guard that had accompanied the trio this far seemed concerned to see Auroras flushed face.
His concern just jabbed at the sore spot in Auroras mind.
“Shes alright. You know how kids are.”
Alexander was shouting death with his remarks. Aurora could see him squirming in front of her once her curse was broken.
That guy would regret making fun of Aurora like this.
“Are you sure? I have never seen someone go this red in the face because of the chipping process.”
The guard seemed to be getting far too involved in their case. It was time to divert his attention away at all costs.
Even if it meant humiliating herself further.
Thankfully, that distraction came in the form of Rita and her exit. She had a flare in her step that attracted peoples eyes.
“Finally, we are all done. So, are we free to go now?”
Ritas cold and biting words caused the guard to snap out of his daydream and snap to attention.
He quickly typed a few things on the screen and Aurora instantly saw three dots on it. They likely represented the chips the trio had been implanted with.
“Looks like everything is working as intended. You are free to roam the Northern Republic for the time being. We will send someone to collect you once we need you.”
The guard bowed and left without any instructions.
Ritas tension also flew out as soon as they were alone. The cold and aloof persona from Ritas previous life seemed to be seeping out of her.
“Thank god the guard is gone. But I cant understand why he wanted us to wait around and not invite us to the royal palace? The princess should be there, right?”
Aurora had found it odd as well. And she was sure that there was a reason behind this change in the treatment they had been experiencing.
“I agree. It almost feels like the republic is trying to stall us out.”
Alexanders words made far too much sense. But why and for what reason?
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