Although the city continues to grow, it has never faced a darker year.
The city's current ruling noble family, The Capulets, had taken power when they personally led a revolt on the old ruling family, The Montagues.
Only with the help of his guardian, young Romeo de Montague, barely old enough to speak, fled his family estate, and survived what was called the Montague Massacre.
Without an eligible heir, The Montagues lost their place as Neo Verona's ruling family to The Capulets.
And ever since, Neo Verona has been plagued with misfortune.
It has been 15 years since the Montague Massacre.
Romeo edged his hat further down, making his face invisible in its shadow.
The streets of Neo Verona reeked with sorrow and poverty.
With humbled steps, Romeo marched through the rotten suburb.
His mind was not on his destination, the old two story cottage his guardians and himself took shelter in.
Instead, his mind had left the poor cobblestone walkway, and was back on the ramparts of Capulet castle courtyard.
Such heart in one so beautiful!
Romeo's heart had melted the moment their blades clashed, in that moment of fiery passion.
But... She was a Capulet.
He had made vows all his life that he would have his revenge upon the entire family for the horrors they inflicted.
Night after night, memories from his infant years plagued his dreams!
Romeo would hear his mother's screams for his father, as men in blood red apparel beat her to death, every night.
Now this angelic white lamb, the holder of his heart, was really born a wolf in blood red clothing?
Romeo's heart felt like it would tear itself apart, torn between love and hatred!
'Why would God ever do this?' A question that ran through his mind as sulked through the slums of the suburb.
Arriving much sooner than anticipating, Romeo realized his feet had navigated him to the door to the old cottage, his wretched royal estate.
Entering quietly, Romeo knew his stealth had failed him upon seeing the candlelight on the entryway table.
"So the prodigal Son of Montague returns to grace us with his royal presence..." A mocking voice replied to Romeo's groan.
Benvolio, his protector and teacher, stood with a graying beard and shaven head resting on the doorless kitchen doorway.
His glare felt so strong, Romeo flinched.
"You drew attention to yourself again! But no, this time it had to be at the Capulet's Son Hunt, no less!"
Romeo kept his eyes to the ground, avoiding the Benvolio's overpowering stare.
"I did what i had to do... Lord Capulet wont stop killing innocent people my age until he's sure i've stopped drawing air."
The old man crossed the distance from the kitchen doorway to Romeo faster than a man his age possibly could.
With strength that deceived his looks, Benvolio grabbed Romeo by his royal blue overcoat, and lifted him off his feet, gazing down the prince.
"Boy! When will you see your life is greater than the few peasants around you. You're Verona's last chance at a future! Damn it, Look at me what I speak!"
"I'd let the lad down, Ben, before ya harm our future king."
From the Kitchen, two men entered the cottage entryway.
One as old as Benvolio, sporting a gray ponytail and rapier, and the second man was in his young thirties, wearing clothing worthy of upperclass.
The older of the two spoke again.
"The Blue Legacy reminds tha people of tha Montague hope, and puts Lord Capulet-" The old man spit on the cottage floor, the bile sliding through the floorboards,
"-in ah rightful state ah fear,"
Benvolio lowered Romeo, but never tore his eyes of him and his blue fedora.
"Lancelot, it has been my duty to keep Romeo alive since he was in infant. He has not a better friend than I."
The second man standing beside Lancelot scoffed.
"Friend? I'll be sure to remember that for my book. You, good sir, are a model 'Friend'."
It was Romeo that spoke this time,
"Is that you, William? You old poet..."
The one called William stepped past the candlelit table in the entryway and pulled Benvolio back behind him.
"Why, young master Montague, you look absolutely astonishing! Such a rebel color, you should be in my next performance..."
Romeo chuckled lightly, taking off his royal blue fedora.
"And what might that be, Sir William?"
Will smiled broadly, taking a poetic posture.
His head looked up, as if the rotting wooden ceiling was a starry night, and he was on a stage instead of in a cramped hall.
"A masterpiece performance, capturing the essence of Free Love of two trapped souls, bound by fate to be apart!"
Deep in Romeo's heart, his feelings for the Juliet, confusing as they were, felt ironically relatable.
Romeo folded his arms, unsatisfied with Will's idea for a play.
"They live happily in the end of your story, your 'Free Love' and two forbidden lovers?"
Sir William Shakespeare's proud grin turned into a fickle sneer.
"That, my dear prince, is yet to be decided..."
To Be Continued in Part 4