"Oh look there is your new tutor," Lily said breaking the depressing atmosphere as her eyes fell on a woman.
Maddy felt all the fear in the world as she noticed the prim and proper lady. With hair twisted, pulled, drawn and cemented into a tight high bun that made her her think of a clenched fist. The giant black dress only made Maddy hate her more. She looked so traditional, so fancy and it sickened Maddy to the core.
She preferred Lily. The unconventional princess who wore the uniform of a guard and carried a sword at her side. She wore no make up or fancy jewelry and was as honest as they came. Maddy did not like her but she was better than the woman who was to be her new tutor.
The woman looked at Lily with a clear distaste for her sense of fashion. It was obvious that she believed the princess was better off in a restrictive dress.
Then the woman's eyes fell on Maddy. She looked at her as if she were far far worse than the dirtiest rat.
"Princess Lilth do stop dressing your slaves in your old dresses and wear them yourself. Honestly they don't deserve to even touch such finery. Rip it off the thing right now would you and let the slave take it to be burnt. It's truly unwearable now anyway."
Lily glared at the woman, seething with rage. Maddy could see she was restraining herself from running the woman through with a sword. Maddy however did not hesitate to slap the woman through the face.
"You think you can speak to a princess and a guard like such. I ought to have you punished. Besides she goes by Captain Lily," Maddy said, her arms crossed as she glared at the lady.
"How amusing. You actually let your slave think of you as a guard and speak to me without permission. She should be punished," the woman said raising a hand.
Lily immediately ran forward and took the hit for Maddy.
"Now defending the slave?"
"Lady Victoria this is the new Queen. I would gladly defend her with my life."
"I'm supposed to teach this pathetic little thing. I'd rather die."
"I can handle a little mockery from you but I won't stand for you trying to harm and belittle the King's Mate. You will tutor her or else."
"Me, tutor such a backwards creature. That's the dumbest amd most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. I refuse," she replied getting up and leaving the library.
Maddy stared at the books the woman had left behind. She had few interactions with supernatural despite living so close to them her entire life. Any of them would have enslaved her or killed her after all.
She had never been belittled so cruelly. Maybe it was that she was denied something she wanted, yet again. She had always wanted things but had been unable to get them just because she was a human. The moment the prospect of becoming accomplished, of getting a small sliver of an education, something no humans other than those who served as scribes had, it was yet again ripped away from her.
She knew being a Queen would change nothing. The entire economy of the kingdom, their lives, ran on slavery. Nothing could change.
She was just a human.
"It's okay Maddy, cheer up. There are more options. She was only the first option because she was my teacher and governess-"
"The rest will all be like her! You know as well as I do that I am only a human. The lowest of the low. No one will willingly teach me and if they do they will only discriminate against me. I don't want to be Queen. I really don't. Not when I have to face such people. I was far better off on my own. I wish I could run away, that I could leave but I can't. Not when it physically hurts to," Maddy said, trying her best not to cry.
"Come, I'll take you to Xavier."
"No! I can't let him see me like this. If I had a choice I would not have let him see me injured either. Please I can't let him see me weak and so pitiful."
"I know you are new to the idea of mates but that is the point of me bringing you to him. That's the beauty of having a mate. Being able to be weak around him. Letting him comfort you amd hold you. I promise you he won't judge you. If anything he wants it more than anything in the world to have you open up to him and be vulnerable around him."
"I don't want him to see me hurting. Besides I am fine. Its a little upsetting but I am totally fine."
"No you're not Maddy. I'm your guard. We might not get along too well but I can tell that her words were not just a little upsetting. You are not used to dealing with insults and people. You are a fighter in your own way. You never needed to deal with such things I am sure. It's normal for it to hurt."
"But I don't want to see him. I don't want him to see this fragile part of me. You saw him when I got bitten. He is overprotective."
"It is called caring. He only wants the best for you."
"I don't see it that way."
"Just let him care for you this once. Just see what it is like to have a mate tend to you. I promise you, he'll be very pleased. Not only that but you'll gain some of his trust. Trust means with time you may have more of your freedom back."
"Fine just take me to him then," Maddy sighed in defeat.
"There we go," Lily smiled taking her hand and leading her in the King's direction.
Maddy was curious as they stopped at a pair of large double doors with wolves, roses and thorns engraved in the wood.
"Captain," the guards addressed Lily letting them into the dimly lit study.
Maddy stared in awe at the books that went to the ceiling.
Her eyes fell on her mate sitting at his desk working hard.
She suddenly felt guilty.
"I'm interrupting his work. I-"
She turned to leave.
"No. Go. To. Him," Lily hissed in her ear.
"I see my little mate has come to visit me?" Xavier said.
"I-I'm going to go now," Maddy said.
She cursed the horrid stutter as soon as it left her lips. She sounded ridiculous. The stutter made her seem even more weak. It made it sound as if he affected her.
"Don't go yet. You came here for a reason didn't you? I will always have time for you and put you first. Understand?"
Maddy could not help but nod.
She felt shy and small, embarrassed. She had come to ask a lycan for comfort. She was her own woman.
Before she could step out the door, Lily was dragging her, very easily, to the King. All it took was a small and simple nudge from the female lycan for Maddy to go flying into Xavier's warm arms.
Maddy glared at the guard for her interference.
"Your Queen needs to be comforted cousin. Victoria was not as accepting as you had hoped she would be," Lily explained noticing that Maddy was never going to actually tell him her feelings or why she had even went to him in the first place.
"Is that true my little mate?" Xavier cooed, a hand beginning to run up and down her back.
He watched as a tear dripped down her cheek as she painfully reminisced the small encounter. He was conflicted. It hurt him to see her upset but it made him incredibly pleased to be the one comforting her.
His mate was intricate and complicated. She had been hardened to certain things by her years of pain. Luxury was something she was refusing to indulge in. He was still figuring out a way to secure her heart, a way of communicating his love to her but seeing her emotional side gave him hope and courage to try and figure her out.
He stroked her head as her hands gripped his shirt with trembling hands as all her pent up emotions built up to release. All her bottled up frustration, rage, sadness and whatever else poured out of her. Eighteen years' worth of grief.
At that moment Maddy had never felt so safe in her life. His arm held her, promising her that he would always be there. He was a support, a solid beam. He was her safe haven.
She let herself go.
She cried in his arms, her wailing mixing with his gently reassurances.
He let her cry until she exhausted herself and fell asleep in his arms.
He smiled over her as he resumed his work. Content with keeping her against him for the time being.