"Why must we listen to the lies of a mad woman?" Peter asked to no one in particular. They had been running around the north forest for a few hours after Nicholas had been woken up before sunrise with an emergency meeting requested by the King.
Once in the throne room, he saw a woman with eyes wide with fear and frazzled hair yelling that the kingdom was being attacked. She was known as the village psycho as she was often found in the woods searching for bunnies to eat, saying their blood was exactly the same as humans.
Nicholas had tried it before and definitely did not see the appeal. As a result of the woman's crazy diet, she was labelled a insane and often had neurotic ramblings.
However, she was adamant that she had heard people talking and even smelt wolves when she was hunting her rabbits. The woman had yelled the same around the kingdom, screaming it to anybody who would listen and forcing it to anyone who wouldn't.
With the werewolves being a natural enemy of vampires since the beginning of time, it caused an uproar. Panic and chaos was created and it seemed many were furious about the lack of safety the King and Queen had given the kingdom. A revolution was already rumoured to have started, protesting against the lenience the royal family seemed to have against their enemies.
Recognising the opportunity to please his parents, Prince Nicholas volunteered to seek the intruders and dispose of them before pandemonium took the entire kingdom. Though of course, he was accompanied by two of his soldiers, much to their displeasure.
Already irritated enough from having to search for the wolves that may or may not exist, the annoyed tone in Peter's voice made Nicholas' eyes flashed in anger. "Don't question my orders!"
Clenching his jaw, the soldier reluctantly bowed his head in submission. "My apologies, my lord." He said through gritted teeth. In all the years they had known each other, it was obvious that Peter was someone who didn't like to follow orders and if it wasn't for his skills as a tracker, he would've been demoted for his attitude problem years ago.
Brinley's snicker at his friend's clear embarrassment didn't go unnoticed.
They ventured further into the forest at incredible speed until Nicholas' nose captured the faint stench of wolf. Because his senses were more powerful than any other vampire, excluding the King and Queen, he recognised the smell first and ran towards it, leaving his men to follow behind him in confusion for the sudden change in direction.
Quickly, the scent grew stronger and so did sound three heartbeats. He could faintly hear a woman's hysterical cries and a male trying to comfort her.
"They're coming." She wailed.
"I know they are, my love. I know they are." He said, equally as distressed as the woman, though he tried hard to hide it.
Nicholas turned to his men and ordered, "on my command, seize them for questioning but do not kill them."
"Yes, my lord." His men said in synchronisation.
His ears strained to listen for any information that would be of use but there were only the desperate words of the two people, the third still unheard. "Promise me you'll protect her, Albert."
"I'll protect you both. I promise." Albert replied with certainty.
Something in Nicholas' chest squeezed painfully, knowing that these two people were most likely mates. Being a vampire, it unfortunately meant that he wouldn't have a mate because he wasn't a living and breathing creature. Although, his parents had a love that could only be described as true so they had raised him to believe that everyone had a soul mate.
The prince had dreamed of finding his soul mate for centuries but alas, he was kept waiting by the soul mate he knew would one day be his.
"They'll be here any second, Lydia. We won't bow down to them. We won't bow down to you!" Nicholas nearly laughed at the mans attempt to disguise his fear as arrogance. They were foolish if they thought provoking him was a clever idea.
"Stop it. We need to keep her safe." The woman, Lydia, whispered and then a rustle of leaves were heard but before any plan or words could be formed, Peter ran into the clearing and approached the trespassers with Brinley behind him.
Nicholas gritted his teeth in irritation over the fact that they didn't wait for orders but for once, he decided to let it go and punish them for it later.
"By order of Prince Nicholas, you are under arrest!" Brinley hissed as they became face to face with the werewolves.
The scruffy haired man was the average built for a supernatural, while only clad in a pair of dirty trousers, and his partner had a similar unkempt appearance in a, what used to be, white dress. Nicholas didn't know whether these animals had lived in the woods for long or they had spent days running from something.
"We don't bow down to your kind! Especially this boy of a Prince!" Albert spat.
Unlike the rest of the red-eyed vampire population, Nicholas was blessed with the same honey golden eyes that each member of his royal family had. Despite the hypnotising effect they had, they would become the epitome of nightmares and completely pitch black whenever he elongated his fangs or used his powers.
So, it was only a natural reaction when the werewolves screamed in horror as he shifted from a charming Prince to the devil.
"W-w-what are y-you?" Albert asked, holding his partner with shaky hands.
In less than second, the Prince was standing in front of the frightened werewolves and slowly ordered, "bow." Immediately, their knees buckled, making them fall harshly on the rough ground with them wincing in pain. "I am heir to the Vampire throne and you will bow to me on the soil of my kingdom!" He growled out furiously.
A golden royal crest on the frazzled woman's dress caught the sun and his attention with it. His lips curled up in disgust at the familiar golden wolf embodiment represented the werewolf kingdom and clearly, his soldiers noticed the same thing as both flashed their elongated teeth with a hiss.
"You come from the Wolf King's palace!" Brinley stated, glaring at them with red eyes full of blood lust.
"I expected better from the old man than to send his servants as spies." Peter laughed mockingly.
Surprisingly, they gave no reaction to the disrespect of their King and instead, Lydia bursted into a fit of sobs. "We haven't done anything! We're innocent! Don't let them take us Albert! Don't let them take us! Innocent, I tell you!"
Nicholas and everyone else, including her mate, cringed as she screamed loudly, tearing at the ground with unnaturally long nails. This woman is crazy!
"Shut that woman up!" Peter barked at Albert.
"Please," he laughed weakly, "we just want to go home. Werewolves and vampires can live in peace together."
Nicholas like to say he was fair and most of the time, he wouldn't judge people to harshly, especially the people of his kingdom. However, the trespassers were not from his kingdom and a feeling in the pit of his stomach told him they weren't to be trusted.
Nevertheless, he often mused on the idea of ending the bloodshed between the two supernatural creatures. His parents, especially his mother, had contemplated coexistence too but after word had spread of the revolution caused by the very thought of it, no alliance could be made in fear of being overthrown.
Some people were not as open-minded and it was evident that his soldiers were an example because as soon as the words left Albert's mouth, Peter's entire posture changed into one similar of a lion prepared to attack its prey.
"You really shouldn't have said that," he said with a wicked grin, showing his sharp fangs and crimson eyes full of blood lust. His two soldiers attacked the unsuspecting werewolves, adding to his foul mood at seeing their disobedience and recklessness. Clearly, both were angry enough to kill the trespassers instead of taking them as prisoners like they were ordered to.
Albert's strength was evident but surprisingly weak for someone who managed to sneak their way so close to the kingdom's centre. He had shifted into a large, though far from the largest he had seen, grey wolf and fought protectively in front of his mate but grew weaker with every hit he took from Peter.
With him being moved away slightly, Lydia become open for attack and seeing as she was too hysterical to even bother shifting, Brinley ripped her head off her shoulders instantly.
Nicholas knew he should've stopped the fight and he had all ability to do so with just one word but in the end, stayed back as he knew the werewolves would give no valuable information. There was no point in stopping the fate they'd inevitably have whether in the palace dungeons or not.
A large cry was ripped out of Albert, both from pain of losing his mate and from the fatal wound Peter had gave him. The Prince sighed in disappointment as the quick, uneventful fight, if he could even call it that.
Peter and Brinley finally looked at him, both with realisation of what they had done. "M-my lord-" the latter started nervously before he was interrupted.
"Three nights in the dungeons for disobeying my orders. Now, bury the bodies before they rot." Nicholas simply said, with a wave of his hand.
While they hurriedly collected the broken pieces of the corpses, he closed his eyes in contentment, feeling the Sun on his cold dead skin and the sound of birds singing their morning greetings accompanied by a baby's whimpers.
His eyes flew open.
Trying not to get the attention of his men, he masked his shock and confusion with a neutral expression but amplified his hearing and indeed, he wasn't mistaken.
"Bury them further away from the kingdom." Nicholas ordered to get rid of his soldiers. "Now!"
As soon as they left, he only had to speed a bit away to find the source of the soft cries. To his utter horror, a tiny pale baby wrapped in a soft pink blanket, was hidden in a small bush, vulnerable to danger.
Cooing, he wasted no time in cradling the baby in his arms with the slowest and gentlest of movements he never thought possible for a creature of speed. If he couldn't already sense she was a girl, he would've easily guessed from the long wispy eyelashes and pink heart-shaped lips that gave her the feminine features of an adorable baby girl. Being so young, she had only a hint of a werewolf scent mixed with her own coconut aroma, which he could only smell now being so close to her.
The barely one month old wolf stopped crying shortly after being in Nicholas' arms and began babbling it's words of nonsense, melting his un-beating heart. He tenderly patted the few strands of dark brown hair on the baby's head, hoping to give it warmth whilst hunching his back to shield the little bundle from the harsh wind.
Too focused in ensuring the baby's safety, he almost didn't notice the electricity traveling up and down his arms and the flutter in his chest. The protective instinct he felt was so overwhelming, he was positive he had never felt and never would feel anything stronger.
Maybe he should've felt disappointed or disgusted to know his long awaited soulmate was a tiny baby wolf but honestly, he was full of immense happiness as he watched his future Queen lift a chubby arm and smile a gummy smile at him.
Realisation hit him, knowing that one day, his mate would stare at him in hatred because he had been the reason her parents were killed. He had orphaned his mate and all he could do was pray that she wouldn't hate him in the future.
Prince Nicholas rubbed a finger against her rosey cheek, smiling softly back at her in complete adoration while she blinked her large blue eyes. He knew from that very moment, he was trapped in the grasp of her tiny chubby hands for he'd gladly lie down his life protecting her or spend eternity doing so.
Thank you for reading!
I hope you liked the prologue!! I spent so long trying to perfect it because this is basically the determining factor on whether or not you keep reading, right?
Also, I really hope it's clear that Nicholas isn't some creepy dude sexually in love with a baby. All he feels is protective and knows that she's his mate. So, do tell me if it's weird or creepy or anything because yeah... that'd be bad.
The eyes, which I tried editing myself, belong to Diego Barrueco. That's who I imagine playing Nicholas but of course, imagine who you wish.
WORD COUNT: 2184
Much love <3