"I take it Damon reacted well, then," Diego guessed.
"It took a little bit of convincing and Nyx calling him an idiot, but yeah," Angelica replied.
Nyx grinned, and Diego chuckled.
"Then, does that mean you've accepted the position?" Jackal asked, his exhaustion bleeding into his voice.
"I- I guess, if no one else wants it," Angelica replied.
Why did this feel so awkward?
"Well, then," Maroon said, pushing herself to her feet to walk over.
She stopped a few feet away from Angelica and dropped into a very overdramatic kneel. Angelica's cheeks flushed, embarrassment rising in her chest.
"All hail queen Angelica," Maroon said.
Amber snorted. "I'm not doing that."
"I don't expect you to," Angelica said, "And please don't kneel. That's weird."
I enjoy it.
Leorueli chuckled. Finally growing a back bone, I see.
Listen, you might not be new to this, but I am.
You'll get used to it.
I hope not.
Maroon rose, winking at Angelica. "Anything to please you, Majesty."
"Do not call me Majesty," Angelica said.
"You're queen now. I should think it's appropriate," Maroon said.
"No," Angelica said. "I am not calling myself queen. I lead a total of maybe ten people. That is not quite enough for a nation."
"Except," Serafina pointed out, "Cazriel did say you had to be ready to rule a nation. So, really, you are Queen. Whether that means Queen of Averrok or someplace else, you're Queen."
"The decision of ten people is not enough to put me on a throne," Angelica argued, "I lead you, not a nation. And I will not lord over you like some dictator."
"Too late," Maroon said, "Whether you like it or not, you, ma'am are queen in our eyes. Whether we like it or not, you're queen in our eyes."
"And what is that supposed to mean?" Angelica questioned.
"It means the wolves in our heads know that you are our leader, whether we like it or not," Amber mumbled, very much disliking the fact.
And then she dropped into a kneel. Beside her, Diamond and Maroon followed. Domino eased to a knee, Jackal following. Serafina and Diego exchanged a glance before they, too, kneeled before the angelic demon.
I told you. You'd better get used to it. All of them kneel to you.
All of them.
It was not a comforting thought.
But the truth of it could not be denied. So she straightened her spine, took in a breath, and said, "On your feet. We can't very well get anything done like this."
Each of them rose and watched her, as if awaiting orders.
"Go get some rest," Angelica said, "We'll start patching together a court tomorrow."
"When tomorrow?" Maroon asked.
"After breakfast," Angelica replied, "I want all of you to meet me here. Unless Domino is still asleep. Let her rest."
Jackal nodded, lifting his pregnant wife into his arms.
"Now go," she said, "I need to put Nyx to bed."
They dispersed, Maroon sketching a bow as she went, a grin on her lips. Angelica snorted, and went to retrieve Nyx.
Lifting the girl into her arms, she carried her sister to their room and tucked her into bed. Curling up around Nyx, Angelica closed her eyes.
Sleep decided to evade her. Instead, a sense of shock at what had just happened set in.
She was queen now.
And she had no idea what to do next.
Damon, she decided. She'd talk to Damon about it.
Gods, this was a bad idea.
It's too late to go back now.
It didn't change the fact that this had been a bad idea.
Leorueli just snorted. Angelica could almost visualize the wolf rolling her eyes.
Rest, Angel. You'll be just fine.
She knew it was supposed to be comforting, but it somehow just made everything a little bit worse.
Eventually, sleep did find her.
And this night when she did not dream, it flared in her mind like a beacon.