Pink and white petals pirouetted with the brisk breeze, performing a final aerial ballet before autumn would arrive and decide their fate. The leaves on the tall southern live oaks maintained their jade hue, combating the change of seasons.
It was the time of year when Monty, royal advisor to the prince of his court, grew bored with his dreary life and wished that something new would cross his path.
“Slim chance of that,” he muttered to himself, his eyes glued to the cracked pavement that marked his path. His irises were the same shade as the curtains of Spanish moss that draped from the branches of surrounding trees, complementing his coal-black hair nicely.
It was also the time of year when his father would demand that he cut his hair; the elder man believed the teenager’s medium-length style was inefficient for training and combat. Monty might have agreed with his father if their court ever dealt with conflict.
And at this point, I’d seriously welcome some conflict, he admitted internally, his frustration rising.
Monty Alagona was seventeen years old. He was the only son to Matteo and Veronica. His only sibling was his identical twin sister, Mona. He had two older cousins and one younger, the latter of which was his favorite person after his best friend, Connor Montgomery. He was named for his grandfather, Montague Sr., who had passed away before he was born. He lived a normal, boring, predictable life.
As boring as a reincarnated angel on Earth could manage when they were a member of the third generation since the plague had wiped out the masses and devastated the planet.
Their celestial group had settled in Savannah, Georgia shortly after the fall of humanity. His grandfather bore witness to the founding of their local human colony, the very one still under their protection. That same man rose through the ranks and led their court for a decade.
It was previously customary that each prince led the angels for ten years; this rule was altered in the year 2129, when Prince Cameron, Connor’s uncle, refused to stand down after an extra two years on the throne. This brought on a new precedent: the sitting prince’s reign would instead last a mere five years unless he was recognized by their king as the reincarnation of their true prince.
Monty’s cousin Sal had been the first under this new rule; next came Frankie, the next oldest, as Connor was not yet at an acceptable age. Connor was, however, old enough to lead by Frankie’s side as the royal advisor.
The former princes had all produced more sons than they had expected, saturating the court with potential future leaders. Frankie was the one who currently sat on the throne. He bore no ill will against the young man, but Monty had always wondered why his cousin had chosen him over the Montgomery boy.
“Connor was supposed to be next,” he sighed, running his fingers through his dark hair. He was alone with no one to listen to his lamenting, but he continued nonetheless. “He was supposed to be the advisor. Then he was supposed to become prince, and then choose me to be his advisor. It’s all wrong…”
Eyes still lowered, a rock the size of a quarter came into view. The advisor kicked the piece of earth, satisfied by the sound it made as it clattered across the walkway. Clack, click-clack, clack, clack…
“It was Pops, wasn’t it? No–not just him. This reeks of the entire council.”
The Council of Elders was the ruling faction within the court; they were a culmination of all the princes past, those who had previously ruled and were still living. His father and uncle were on the council, along with the three infamous Montgomery brothers. The elder Alagonas had been searching for a way to tip the scales in their favor, and it appeared they had decided to use their children for that very purpose.
We’re not here to be their tools for power, the angel swore. His blood boiled at the thought that he was merely a pawn in his father’s political game. We’re here for a reason.
A familiar object eased within view–the same rock from before.
We have a mission–and none of them seem to care!
He pulled back his leg and punted the rock, exerting much more force behind the action than was necessary. The stone flew out of his line of sight, clattering across the ground–clack clack clack–until it abruptly hit something soft with a thump and clinked back onto the pavement.
The teenager narrowed his eyes and slid his hands into his pockets, readying his unique ability as he glared ahead at the person who had intruded on his self-imposed nightly rounds through the colonial park.
His glare faltered when he saw who his rock had hit, her radiant eyes wide with surprise.
To Be Continued
Updated every Thursday
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Mommy of two ☆ Witch without a coven ☆ Founder of the Sisters of the Shadows ☆ Professor of Charms & Incantations I & II and supervisor of The Arcane Citizen, a student-run newsletter for the Academy of Occult Arts ☆ My web series are now available at https://vocal.media/authors/natasha-penn ☆ https://linktr.ee/nattypenn for all social/support links
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