Mine by Royal Decree

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Hunting Her Down

I went back to my chambers and announced that my bride was not feeling well, and we’d not be consummating the wedding until the early hours.

There were frowns and resounding groans in objections, from those that had hoped for a show.

One I wasn’t particularly inclined to provide to begin with.

I sent them a quick scowl. Wondering if they’d merely hoped to get a look at my lovely bride, scantily clad.

That was a thought that had me seething with possessive rage.


It took what felt like forever to get them all chased out of my personal chambers and to casually bid them farewell. Patiently allowing them to take their time as I waited for them all to leave.

As if merely sending off my friends, after an eve of revelry.

But in reality, I was eager for them to leave so I could begin the hunt for my new wife.

She’s not going to get far. I vowed.

But each minute that ticked by had my ire mounting. Tension wound through me in coursing waves.

I should be asleep next to her now. Fully sated and blissful with her tight to me.

Not feigning that she hadn’t bolted from me, to salvage my pride to my guests.

Already, some of them were speculating that she was perhaps feigning illness to stave off the consummation rituals.

Avoiding me.

They were laughing already.

And they don’t even know the full extent.

“Quiet genius really.” One woman murmured.

Yes, it would’ve been…Were that all it was.

But no. She had the gal to flee me.

Again.

I swore to myself there’d not be a third time.

Once they were gone, my manservant, arrived. Asking if I wanted him to help me from my remaining evening wear.

“No. Bring me my riding coat and boots.”

He gave me a questioning look. Confused that I’d want more clothes rather than less.

“Do it.” I grated out.

He left.

I walked to the window and tossed open the shutters to allow the moonlight to spill in onto my chamber floor. I used the movements of the ancients, taking a few precise steps backward and then sliding sideways as I moved my hands in the methodical way that would command the moon’s glow to whisper the secrets it saw to me.

Soon that silver shine on the floor, began to splinter and streamers emanated from it. Becoming whiter as they crawled over the floor. Creeping across the room and rising as they moved, until they could reach my hands.

I moved them now in a circular motion. Collecting the energy of the moon into a bright orb hovering between my palms. Once I had it, I blew a warm breath on it that conveyed my need.

Tell me, Dear Moon.

Then I pictured the ruby cross she wore.

The one I gave her.

Though I’d intended to control her.

I’d planned for her defiant spirit, anyway.

Immediately, images began dancing across the orb I had. Revealing what only the moon could know.


People laughing and the thunk of mugs on wooden tables revealed what type of establishment I’d need to seek.

Taverns.

Hearty shouts and the tinkling of women’s laughter. The crackle of a lively fire nearby.

From the view I had of the room, I was facing the fireplace and saw it consumed the entirety of one jutting wall. A mantle arching over it which hung with tiny wooden ornaments depicting legendary fey events.

I knew that mantle.

Which meant I knew that tavern.

“My, my…” I murmured. Letting my hand fall, and the moon’s shine fall back to the floor as though it’d never been disturbed.

“She does travel fast.” I couldn’t pretend I wasn’t impressed. Despite that it meant she’d planned her getaway before we’d even had the ceremony.

She never intended for it to be consummated.

But of all the places a well-bred fey lady could travel, why was this one lurking in a tavern miles away.

Rather than some friendly household?

I could guess at a few things. Most would know that anyone hiding her from me would chance my wrath.

And a stint in my dungeons.

Fey dungeons were nothing to scoff at, as they were well-versed in the talents of pain. Recognizing so little of it, themselves.

Still, who does she know that might hide her?

For there was zero possibility that she could remain innocuous in such a place.

Not as fine as she is.


Less than an hour later I was in my billowing black cloak, my white hair blowing in the breeze behind me. Tyrant, my great dark stallion with the distinctive white emblazon, was sure-footed with yellow eyes which allowed him to seek a path even in the darkest depths.

I whispered to him to take me to the Den of Immortals, and he found his way so gracefully that it was as if nothing else around us moved.

He moved so fast, that he made the world around us seem nearly still.

I was grateful at least, that she hadn’t made it out of the Eternus Realm and into the DogLands. I was sure the predatory beasts that owned the darker country would leave perilously little for me to take home. They’d rip her apart.

But I had noticed one thing.

Though I’d had no real conversations with my new bride, I’d learned from her behavior that despite her impulsivity, she was a dangerously clever girl.

One I intend to learn far more about.

The midnight darkness brightened as I moved past a pond, my reflection beaming in golden light. Blooming through the forest. My white hair a streamer of moonlight behind the shimmer.

Tyrant’s hoofbeats were almost soundless. As if he floated more than ran.

It didn’t take long to weave through the sparse trunks of WickerWay Wood.

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