Big Mac holds me tight like a mother hen looking after a chicken. “Don’t panic, Angus. Walk as though you’re on the ground.” His aura forces me to trust him although I don’t want to.
My feet ignore the warnings my head is giving them and I step off the balcony. At sixteen I need to have some dignity and I fight the desire to snuggle into him.
To my right, and it proves I must be dreaming, Soc walks through the air with arms outstretched. On his shoulder Gorse dances around, excited and chattering in Soc’s ear.
Up this high the cold air cuts through my coat and I shiver. I wish I had remembered to put my shoes on as my toes feel blue. Walking like this is tough on the calves – like walking through water but less wet. It’s dark and I can’t see the overgrown and untidy palace grounds but I’m aware we are above the lawns that run right down to the cliff and out to sea. My heart beats faster as we get closer to the edge. The thought of walking in the air over the sea is somehow more scary than being above the hard and lethal ground.
“Close your eyes and walk downstairs,” Big Mac whispers.
Our descent is slow. Like a princess in a long gown and her handsome prince, gliding down one of the staircases in the palace.
“We’ll be on the ground shortly.”
I’m trying to work out what is below us. Where are we?
Soc goes into a sophisticated dive and heads down into the dark until I can’t see him any more. I’m all alone with Big Mac. Whilst I want to talk, I don’t know how or what to say. My brain is still back in bed asleep with, I hope, my body.
My feet touch sand. There is no moon and whilst I can hear the sea I can’t see enough to locate myself.
“Well, young man, that was an impressive first perambulation.” Big Mac guides me over to a rock and he sits me down next to him. He squints out in the direction of the sea. “Socrates, where is my boy?”
“He said he would be here as soon as he could.” I can hear my brother but I can’t see him until he turns on a light. Only the light appears to be his hands.
“Where?” With my mind everywhere and nowhere I need information, because without it I feel ethereal.
“You’re going to my brother at the Order of the Sea.” Big Mac smacks me on the back and I nearly fall off the rock -- it hurt. “That was impressive work by the way.”
“What was?” I blink and look at his big dark face. “I...”
“The security to your room. It’s why Socrates and Nathaniel brought me in. Nobody else could get through it. I needed to use a mix of technology and magic to get in. It probably saved your life.”
Why it matters that he sounds proud of me I don’t know but I like it. I’m used to everyone hating me and that one act of kindness breaks through my personal firewalls and my chest heaves with dry sobs.
A night of blood, mayhem and magic thrust Prince Angus, the youngest son of the king, onto the throne of Covesea Island. He's never wanted to be king. Social media calls King Angus a clown. His subjects don't rate his ability to lead them in the trade negotiations with one of the planet's superpowers.