“Artemis are there any other appointments today.” She looked at me hopefully.
“No ma’am. I made sure to keep your evening clear since I knew today would be long.” She would have suffered through something if need be, but I didn’t see a reason to do so. In my short time being her Lady’s Maid I had become very protective of the woman.
“In that case I am going to take a rest. Please don’t let anyone disturb me.” I just nodded as a response.
She had slipped off her shoes and was headed toward her bedroom, her body relieved she was going to lay down, but only made a part way before the knock sounded. I was instantly annoyed. Seriously! She just got here.
I rushed to the door a scowl on my face mustering up my energy to reprimand whoever was on the other side. I whipped the door open with more force than usual ready to give a verbal lashing but all the air rushed out of me upon see the visitor.
The king was standing in the hallway looking right at me with a shy smile on his face. My wolf chuckled in my mind upon seeing the man. She thought it was funny how quickly my inner confidence shriveled and died in his presence. I realized I was downright gawking at him and lowered my eyes before addressing him.
“I’m sorry your majesty. The queen is resting.” I didn’t want to disappoint him but she needed rest. His body immediately sagged at my comment.
“It’s alright Artemis.” the queen called. “He can come in.” I looked at her with concern. She really should rest and her son would more than likely understand that. Did he really need to see her now?
“It’s alright,” she assured me. “He won’t be long.” Reluctantly I opened the door and stepped sideways to let him in. I stared at the floor all the while feeling his eyes stare at me as he walked past. It sent a shiver down my spine. I shut the door behind me and then stood awkwardly playing with the fabric of my dress. The man made me nervous.
The king and queen both talked for a minute before I was called on again.
“Artemis could you tell the kitchen to get me a glass of warm milk?” Yes! Escape! I left the room as quickly as possible. Once out of the sitting room I let out a sigh. The nearby guards eyed my distress curiously but otherwise left me alone.
I ran to the kitchens and quickly filled the queens order. I could of had a kitchen maid bring it up but I wanted to take the opportunity to avoid the king. I was even able to find some ibuprofen for good measure.
On my way back down the queen’s hallway holding the tray I heard a small commotion. I arrived at the queen’s door where a guard was talking with another woman.
The woman was gorgeous. Her long blonde hair was artfully curled and flowing. She wore an elegant knee length tailored dress and simple pearls. Her aggressive stance was in direct contrast to her appearance as she was all but yelling at the poor guard who stood between her and the door.
“I demand you announce me this instant.” Her voice was calm but held authority. I could tell she was used to getting her own way.
“I’m sorry my lady but the queen isn’t accepting guests.” The poor guard was doing his best to stop her, but it was obvious she wasn’t taking no for an answer.
“Nonsense, I just saw his majesty go in, so you will let me in also.” The woman made a pass to walk around the guard. Before she could get to the door I stepped in front of her.
“What’s going on?” I asked trying to not let my lack of patience seep into my tone. The blonde woman scowled at my interruption. She gave me a once over before turning her ire towards me.
“Who are you?” She demanded. Rude.
“My name is Artemis. I am the Wueen’s lady’s maid, I’m sorry but-
“Good!” The dreadful woman snapped at me. “Announce to your lady that I have come to visit her.” The woman pointed to the door with her gaze waiting for me to comply. I took a silent breath to calm my wolf who was now growling in my head.
“As I was trying to explain,” I started, “the queen is not accepting visitors right now. If you would like, I could tell her you called, but for now you must leave.” The woman narrowed her eyes at me while her jaw clenched.
“Fine.” Her voice was now low and laced with held back anger. “I will come back later. Please tell the queen of my visit.”
“I will be sure to do that. Will you please tell me who you are so I can inform her?” The woman mouth curled to one side. She stunningly glared at me before speaking.
“I’m Lady Crescent Ingrival. The future Luna of the royal pack.”
LIES!! My wolf snarled at the statement and without thinking my hand whipped out to grab her wrist. Lady Crescent tried to shout back but froze when she met my eyes. Whatever she saw in them scared her. A hallway guard stepped up to assist Lady Crescent but stopped when I turned my glare at him.
We stood there for a moment before I felt Lady Crescent’s other hand pull at my wrist trying to free herself. It was then I realized what I was doing. In shock I released my hand stepping backward and grabbed the tray with both hands to prevent myself from touching anyone else.
We both stood there staring at each other. The guard eyed me warily, ready to react if I lashed out again. I was ashamed. I can’t believe I did that. Before anyone could recover I decided the best thing to do was run. Holding the tray I stumbled to open the queen’s door. Neither Lady Crescent or the guards tried to stop me. Looking at their shocked faces I called out nervously one more time.
“I’m sorry, you will have to just come back another time.” I shut the door quickly before anyone could respond.
I walked into the room a few steps before Looking up and seeing both the Queen and King standing near the door looking worried at me. Oh no, did they hear what was happing? The pair just stared not making any sign of what they were thinking. Silence was killing me.
“Is everything ok ma’am?” I hoped they couldn’t hear the terror in my voice. The queen looked at the door before returning her gaze to me.
“Is everything alright dear?” Her voiced said in concern. I wanted to come clean at the moment and tell her everything but the king was still there, staring at me. I was embarrassed enough already.
“Nothing that needs attention now,” I responded. I promised myself I would tell her later. I was able to put the tray on the long table before being dismissed. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Maybe Lord Edmond was right and I wasn’t ready for this.
I had the next morning off. My feelings were still in turmoil from everything that happened the day before. I felt lost.
I decided that I couldn’t let myself stew in it and sought out the one person I felt close with here. Dalton.
After quickly getting dressed I rushed to the royal barracks to find him. Usually Dalton visited me rather than the other way around as it was an unwritten rule for non-soldiers to be there, but I was desperate enough right now to break it.
I followed the different signs to the mess hall and once arriving there stood at the door peaking in to see all the soldiers gathering for breakfast. Most of the men were huge. Even the few woman among them had muscles that rolled in peaks and valleys along their bodies. This was a bad idea.
Just as I was about to turn and run away again I heard Dalton’s voice from behind me.
“You know, if you just go in there, I’m sure a few of them wouldn’t mind talking to you rather than just having you gawk at them from out here.” I whipped myself around to look at Dalton. He was dressed in a t-shirt and some black sweat pants. Seeing him had me overcome with emotions. I felt the tears start to well up in my eyes and I knew there was no way to stop them. I slammed into him with a hug hoping he wouldn’t see the unshed tears. Dalton squeezed me back.
“Hey,” he sighed rubbing my back. “What going on? Everything ok?”
Dalton walked me away from the barracks to a nearby garden and sat us on a garden wall. It took him a while to get me to open up, but once I did I couldn’t help but tell him about everything that happened with Lady Crescent. He seemed way less worried about it than I was.
“Really? That’s what you were so worried about?” he teased me.
“This is serious Dalton. I might have gotten the queen into a lot of trouble.” Dalton scoffed at my concern.
“It sounds to me like Lady What’s-her-face was overstepping her bounds and you reminded her of it.” How could he be so blasé about it?
“You didn’t see her face. She was so angry-“
“Why? Because she didn’t get her way?”
“Well yes, but because I also disrespected her. She’s the future Luna and I-“
“She the future what?” Dalton sat up at that comment a frown on his face.
“The future Luna?” I answered less confidently now.
“The royal pack doesn’t have a future Luna. Not yet anyway. Whoever told you that was lying.” His voice was firm. Now I was confused.
“Why would she say that?”
“To make you listen.” I took a deep sigh. This was getting all to much. Dalton continued with his train of thought. “Look, the way I see it, you have nothing to worry about. Since the King hasn’t found his mate yet, the Dowager Queen is still technically the leading female in the pack. She has a lot of pull and authority. If need be she could even overrule the king or the counsel. If the queen didn’t want to see anyone, than that woman should have listened. You were doing your duty to the queen by keeping her from barging in.”
What he said made sense. Lady Crescent was being pushy and wouldn’t listen to reason. Even after both the guards and I told her no, the woman still pushed. Maybe Dalton was right and I’m reading into this too much.
“Still don’t like how I went about it,” I countered. “ I shouldn’t have grabbed her like that.” Dalton narrowed his eyes at me in concentration.
“When was the last time you went for a run?” He asked. I still wasn’t comfortable shifting into my wolf. I had only done it a few times when practicing with Lord Edmon. I hated the fuzzy feeling it gave my thoughts.
Dalton could tell by my non answer that it had been a while.
“Alright that’s it,” he said sliding off the garden wall. “We’re going for a run right now.” I looked up at him in alarm.
“Are you sure that’s ok? Lord Edmon said I shouldn’t shift without him until I gain control of my wolf.”
“Well lord fancy pants isn’t here and it’s not good to keep your wolf locked up for too long. It makes them become more aggressive and they push that aggressiveness onto their human side. If you wait too long they can even force you to shift. It’s better to shift on your own terms than to a shift forced on you in front of a whole bunch of people. Plus I’ll be with you. I’m make sure your wolf doesn’t get into any trouble.”
Dalton started to walk away and I slipped off the wall to follow. I hope this was a good idea