Bound by Duty

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A Royal Pain in the Ass

One Sean was completely worn out, he raised his hand to stop the continuous spars. Panting and gasping for air, he saw that Danielle was fit as a fiddle. He nearly collapsed seeing that. The woman was a monster! He turned around to see that Cole was standing in one corner of the room, smirking as he was in the office the other day. His two days’ leave was considered granted. Sean sighed. He would have more work today without his right-hand man.

The people crowded around Danielle and she got down from the ring, interacting with all the wolves there. She had become quite the celebrity in the pack. Smiling at the fact that she seemed relaxed and content, Sean turned and left the room. As he neared his office, Grace mind-linked him. ”Sean, you have the king’s secretary on the line," she said.

Sean was perplexed. He raced towards his office. Werewolves had a great heritage of royalty. It was said that the royal family was ordained by the moon goddess. There were many signs with spiritual and magical evidence for this. The royal family had more or less treated the wolves right aside from anomalies here and there. The wolves, therefore, maintained strict respect and protocols when it came to their kings and queens. Sean certainly couldn’t keep his king waiting, so he reached quickly and picked up the phone. “This is Sean Grant,” he breathed.

“Alpha Grant, this is McCall speaking.”

“Yes, McCall, what can I do for you?”

“You must know that His Majesty the King has been conducting a royal inspection across the major packs,” McCall paused.

“Yes, I’m aware of that,” Sean replied steadily.

“As a part of his tour, His Majesty the King will be visiting the Amethyst Pack tomorrow. Please prepare your pack well — every wolf must be present when His Majesty arrives.”

“Thank you, McCall,” Sean told the king’s secretary. “We await His Majesty.” Cutting the call, Sean immediately summoned his beta, gamma and his mate. Preparations had to be made and protocols had to be followed. There was a lot to be done.

In the middle of all this, poor Cole’s leave was forgotten.

Sometimes, Danielle wished her hearing wasn’t more sensitive than all other wolves’. She would hear all the things she never wanted to hear. It was not long before unsavoury words were being strewn about carelessly among the pack members.

“Do you think the alpha’s going to make her the luna?”

“I sure hope so, she would make a great luna for the pack.”

“I’m not saying Luna Grace is bad per se...”

“I know exactly what you mean.”

“Hey, where’s your loyalty? Don’t you think she’s such a home-wrecker to come between our alpha and luna like that?”

“What if... what if she came with that intention in mind? To break up the pack and take over?”

“I think, honestly, we’re better off without her.”

“How can you say that?” Kit said agitatedly. “After all that she has done for us, how can you treat her like this?”

“Kit, have you wondered what her next move is? What her intentions are? Why she was expelled from the Jade Pack? You can’t be naive enough to believe anyone and everyone, Kit!”

Danielle had heard enough. There was no indignation in her expression. She continued to have a slight smile on her face. But within, their words stung slightly. She knew that the time had come. She had to start over elsewhere and it was time to leave the Amethyst Pack. Staying any longer would hurt her relationship with Sean and Sean’s relationship with his mate and his pack. She would be hurting both of them — Sean and Grace, with whom she had managed to become good friends. She loathed to part with them, but it was time to change venues and start running.

One more day, she said to herself, one more day and I’m off.

She returned to her room and packed all of her meagre belongings. Having her luggage set, she walked around the pack grounds trying to detach herself from the place that she had called home for six weeks, that had sheltered her when she needed it most.

As she walked towards the borders, she found it odd that more wolves were returning to the main pack house. But she shrugged it off as some new routine Sean was trying. He had probably got his inspiration from their fight that day.

When she returned to the pack house, all the important wolves of the pack had assembled in the main hall. Sean was addressing all of them as their alpha, as their leader.

“It is an important time of the decade,” he began. “It is that time when it is decided where we rank amongst all the packs in the kingdom. It is that time when the king decides whether we continue to deserve the money we’re getting from the coffers. This time determines the rise or fall of our pack. It is now that I need you,” he paused, looking at every wolf in the crowd, “every one of you to participate wholeheartedly and make the event to go on smoothly.

“As many of you have guessed already, the Amethyst Pack is going to be subject to the royal inspection tomorrow, and we, as a pack, need to maintain the utmost decorum, discipline and respect in welcoming His Majesty and making him feel comfortable. Do I have your agreement on this?” Sean asked, spreading his arms widely.

“Yes, alpha!” The crowd chorused.

Sean nodded. “That’s the way it’s going to be. Now, the king’s entourage will be taken care of by the beta, gamma, your luna and me. Maintaining and displaying the pack warriors will be up to their respective captains of each team. The kitchens, please receive your menu for tomorrow from Grace and me by this evening. And as for the...”

He went on, distributing and delegating duties. Danielle stood at the entrance, stricken. “Yeah,” She told Lupa. “I really have to leave tomorrow.”

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