The angels in attendance broke out in shouts and gasps and curses, shocked by this revelation. “I thought the Plutonians never joined the mission!” Sam pointed out.
“The journals say they joined us later on,” Frankie sighed. “But the council hasn’t let us read anything after the Great Spirit War, so we assumed they went underground after that.”
“Again, how the hell did you not feel him enter our territory?” demanded Connor, his face red with rage. “A demon? Here?!”
“I think I have an idea how he did it,” Monty called out, quieting the crowd. “When I met him, Clint’s soul was altered. I could only see his age and species, but his group and rank were hidden from me. I think Clint hid his soul, and maybe even found a way to hide Lizzie’s, so that the two of them could sneak in. It would be impossible for a human to slip past our scouts while carrying a sleeping teenager, but a demon could do it easily.”
“If his group and rank were hidden, then how do you know he’s a Plutonian?” asked Cassie.
Monty shrugged. “He said something about knowing who I was in my first life and that our groups were enemies. I put two and two together and called him out on it. He didn’t deny it.”
“So you’re just guessing that he’s a Plutonian,” Ricky concluded.
“Look, my gut says that he is,” the advisor insisted. “And besides, he and Aunt Desi both hinted that Lizzie is more than just a human.”
“ ‘More’ how?” asked Sal.
“You guys know how my animals only listen to me?” Once he saw that several of his friends nodded, Monty revealed: “Well, they listen to her, too. I’ve never met anyone who could do that.”
Chris and Alexa shared wide-eyed glances. Cienna, Natalie, and Cassidy began whispering amongst themselves.
“So, what?” Connor called the group’s attention back to him. “Is she meant to be an angel? Does her soul show potential?”
Monty shook his head. “No. Her soul looks like a normal human soul to me… But maybe she’s meant to be recruited by the Plutonian chief, or another group.”
Frankie shifted his weight from one leg to the other. “That would explain why her brother chose to leave her here with us instead of any other stronghold. If she’s meant to awaken as a Plutonian, she could spy on us and feed intel back to her tribe.”
“She’s not meant to be a Plutonian,” Monty declared.
The prince cocked an eyebrow. “Oh yeah? Your gut tell you that?”
He met his leader’s scowl dead-on. “Yeah, it did. It’s also telling me we shouldn’t treat her like an enemy. This kid’s been through hell, and we could give her a chance at a normal human life.”
The other angels all exchanged bewildered glances. “Monty, you’re talking about stifling the potential of a spirit–something that has never been done. We’ve never tried to keep a vessel human before–”
“And we shouldn’t,” Natalie argued, glaring at Monty from beneath bright red bangs. “Why would you even suggest that? If that girl is meant to awaken and join our mission–regardless of who she’s meant to follow–then why would you prevent her from her destiny? She could be a warrior, or a teleporter, or even a leader–”
“I promised her that I wouldn’t let anything happen to her,” the lieutenant’s voice rose. “Her brother just asked me to keep her safe–”
“The same guy who dumped her in a park and lured you into a trap?” Sal scoffed.
“Keeping her safe doesn’t mean you have to keep her sheltered,” reasoned Natalie. “We could train her, teach her our history, and when fate brings her leader to our door–”
“I’m not going to groom her to be a part of this godforsaken mission!” Monty yelled. He had had enough with all of it–his court, their mission, and the weight of everyone’s expectations. “This mission is a fucking bust! The Plutonians are in the game and there have been no true leaders recognized, or alliances, or anything that could lead us to the lost duo. So why? Why should we dedicate this life to a lost cause when we can live our lives to the fullest? Let’s travel the world, expand our horizons, love like our hearts are about to burst–”
He was cut off by the sound of humorless laughter. Monty took a second to catch his breath and stare questioningly at Connor, who had just burst out into a series of chortles. When his friend noticed the look on his face, he turned to their prince and gestured to Monty.
“This is your pick for prince. A guy who doesn’t even want to lead us on the mission.”
“Is that what this is about?” Monty demanded. He was getting sick of Connor’s attitude. “You know damn well that he would’ve picked you if it weren’t for the council, Con. Quit blaming me for everything.”
Then he turned to Chris. “Take everyone home, man. I’m fuckin’ tired.”
“Aw, man, you guys hear that?” Connor called out. “Monty’s tired, so we all just have to stop what we’re doing. The day can’t keep going ‘cause Monty has to run home to his bandit girlfri–”
There were perks to being a spirit. For one, all the spirit youth were homeschooled by a couple of the elders, so they never had to deal with the drama that came with typical high school life. No bullies, no cliques… And no getting into unnecessary fights. Even so, they had all been in rigorous training from the time they could walk, and with their superhuman speed, agility, and strength, any one of them could easily overpower a few humans.
Monty wasn’t thinking about that as he spun around, grabbed onto the collar of Connor’s t-shirt, and smashed his fist into his best friend’s face. He paid no attention to the slew of gasps and startled exclamations from their group as he let go, allowing Connor’s then unconscious body to crumple onto the asphalt in a lanky teen heap. He ignored the screams from Cassidy, and the chastising from Sal.
He simply looked over at Chris and whispered, “Get me the hell out of here.”
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