"I'm sorry," Diego said, "Did I hear that correctly?"
"You did," Cazriel said.
"Huh," Diego said, his mind working.
"Again," Maroon said, "Not it."
Amber snorted. "Of course it wouldn't be you. I hardly trust you to take care of Nyx, let alone an entire country."
Maroon snorted. "Rude."
"And it's not going to be me, either," Amber said. "I walked away from one crown. I'm not being shackled to another."
"Neither am I. And neither is my wife," Jackal said, "And count Damon out, too. Angel, too, by association."
Angelica couldn't help but agree. She would not shackle Damon to a crown, whether that be by putting him in charge directly or by a marriage to her, however far off that may be.
"Shouldn't you already know who it'll be?" Maroon said.
"Again. I can reveal nothing of the sort," Cazriel said.
"Then we've narrowed it down to Sera and Diego, as Jewel's too sick and Diamond's too young," Domino said, glancing to the couple.
"Absolutely not," Diego said, taking his wife's hand, "I am not being bound to anything. Not a crown, not a country, nothing but my wife and wherever she wants to travel at that moment."
"Then we're screwed," Maroon said.
"Oh, you'll come to a decision," Cazriel said.
He then shut his mouth and did not speak for a long while.
"Well," Diamond said, piping up, "Angel did find us a home. And she spared my brother."
"No," Angelica said.
"That, and we all pretty much already follow your orders," Diamond said.
"No," Angelica repeated.
"You led us here, you got us out of there, you took up the responsibility of taking watch, and we've essentially been following you this entire time," Diamond went on.
"Why not?" Maroon asked.
"Because I plan on marrying Damon, and I know he doesn't want a throne," Angelica said.
"Then don't make him king. Make him consort," Amber said.
"You, too?" Angelica questioned.
"I'm just saying, I wouldn't question you if you were leader," Amber replied.
"Thanks, but no," Angelica said.
"Do you know what a consort is?" Amber asked.
"I don't care what it is. I am not doing that to him," Angelica said, "I'm not doing that to me."
"What? You think you can't do it?" Maroon raised a brow.
"I do not handle stress well," Angelica said, "Diamond, Jackal, and Domino can all attest to it."
"You're nineteen. That gets better with time and experience," Jackal said.
Angelica frowned. "How many of you are against me?"
"We aren't against you," Serafina said, "We're just pointing out that you're the best for the job."
"Why do we even need a leader?" Angelica questioned.
Cazriel, finally breaking his silence, said, "You'll find that it's very, very hard to fight a war and gain allies when you have no leader."
"And why-," Angelica almost snapped, then cut off.
The Demons were after them.
Of course they were going to be at war. Of course they needed a leader. Or course they had to make this decision before the Demons arrived.
"You really think I'm the best for the job?" Angelica asked, her voice quiet.
She did not want to do this. She did not.
Collective nods came from around the table.
Angelica bit her lip. She took a moment just to decide what to do next.
"I'll talk to Damon about it," Angelica said.
"And that's all I can ask," Cazriel said, "Lighten up. Enjoy the meal."
As if she could enjoy that meal now.
Diamond, wonderful, sweet Diamond, somehow managed to bring her out of that bit.
"Oo! I have an idea!" Diamond exclaimed.
Every head turned to the girl.
"Do you have some extra paper and something to write with?" Diamond asked Cazriel.
He nodded, and stood to get up to retrieve the supplies. Gwendolyn, however, beat him to it. One of his hands shot out, wrapping around her wrist, stopping her.
"Gwen," he said.
"Caz," she replied.
"You've done enough work today," he said.
She smiled and pressed a kiss to his forehead. "I know. But I figured I'd be nice and get it for you."
"I'm making dinner tomorrow," Cazriel said, almost as if bargaining with his wife.
She seemed to accept it, and she left.
"So, what is this idea of yours?" Maroon asked, dragging the room's attention away from the couple.
"We're going to play a game," Diamond replied.
Maroon grinned. "Oh, I like the sound of that."