#sff story during April. May Rose is the main character (🧑🏽 they/them pronouns).
The sun was up when May landed at Budding Manor. The chance to be in the only comfortable bed they had ever known with Jade one last time was gone. May decided the manor's back entrance would be best and snuck to the porch to enter through the kitchen. Piers was cleaning up, having already set up breakfast in the morning room.
"Did you get it?"
May pulled the reddish stone from the satchel.
"He surrendered it? I didn't think he would. Honestly, I expected you to show up with Quintilis Cave, asking me to find some way to save him too."
Warm water from the kitchen sink ran over May's hands, washing away more than just candle wax. "Quintilis would not have functioned well around people. Some of us grew up surviving."
"You grew up surviving."
May pinched Piers' cheek. "I did. And learned how to blend in with people more civilized than myself. My grandfather taught me well in that area." May's hand moved to the back of Piers' neck. "But my father taught me the lesson many of the overlords rule by. Which is why I'm here, stone in hand, and the last human born no longer lives."
Piers' gulped as May let go. "I took care of the pet problem. There's a large storage room for root vegetables. We put a cot down there. He'll have to be let out for bio breaks. That shouldn't be an issue if he uses the lavatory assigned to myself and the other staff."
After thanking him, May went to the washroom. May ducked into the sauna, stripped quickly, deposited wet clothing in the hamper, and hid the satchel. Moments later, robe on and two stones pocketed, May went to the dining room.
Jade lit up. May took a seat at the head of the table and snagged half a bagel from Jade's plate. Jade slid her hand along May's leg, reached into the robe's pocket, and slipped in the electronic device May used for nearly everything.
"Figured you might need this."
May took Jade's hand. "Need this more. But yes, you were right. Thank you."
Opal came from behind and slapped May's shoulders. "Jade said you had a busy morning. Looks like you were just having a steam."
"My schedule is not your concern."
Opal leaned in. "Nightingale's schedule is my concern. As it should be yours. And where is our overlord this fine morning?"
May pulled out the pocketed device, extremely glad Jade had thought to bring it. "I'm sure Nightingale will arrive soon after breakfast. Let me look." May tapped the screen. Then tapped it again.
"Problem?" Opal squeezed May's shoulders.
"I'll figure out the answer. Why don't you sit and eat? Graduation is a big day."
The double doors to the morning room burst open. So tall she had to duck to enter, a large-breasted form covered almost entirely in brown feathers, except for her slightly gray legs, entered the room. Squawks from her sharpened beak were quickly translated by a short man who limped behind her. "Graduation is a big day. Replacement day is too."
Opal pulled out a chair at the other head of the table. Nightingale fluttered to the seat. "Greetings, students. I am Nightingale," the translator motioned while speaking. "While you are all here on behalf of a council of overlords, Budding Manor is my territory. I am in charge of what goes on here."
May gripped Jade's hand under the table. Too bad the girl hadn't thought to bring a change of clothing. A robe did not make for a great getaway outfit. And the wet clothing left in the washroom had no doubt been taken to the laundry by now.
"There has been a revolt in your ranks. May is no longer an instructor."
May's mouth opened, intent on pleading. Nightingale threw an apple, hitting the open-mouth target, silencing May before a peep came out. "An instructor is not permitted to leave the grounds. Especially while students live here. And absolutely not while a guest is present. A fertile human male, here, in the manor, and no instructor to protect the virtue of the class?"
"Not fertile," Jade interrupted. May stomped on Jade's foot. It wasn't as good as winging an apple at her mouth, but it'd have to do.
"Failing to protect the secret of an overlord? Shared that tidbit with the student who flunked out? The one who shouldn't be at this table? Any additional offenses to add to the list?"
"You need me. The Y class has been selected. And someone needs to be here for the Z class," May rose while protesting.
"Opal has agreed to be your replacement. That will give just enough time to find a different mate or future for her."
Opal lifted a glass of juice, toasting to herself. She eyed the translator. "Overlord Nightingale also agreed to rename me."
The translator looked down. "Please, my implant could not convert your choice from the overlord's beautiful song-like words to the human sound. Might I hear it once from your lips?"
Opal cracked her neck. "Suppose I best get used to doing everything around here myself. Doña Marina. It is a name from the royal blood which runs through my veins."
Question: Had you heard of Doña Marina before?