It had been more than a week since Artemis’ wolf visited me. We were back in my private courtyard training. This time Dalton was with us. If Artemis held any grudge against what happened last time, she didn’t show it. Instead she was fully focused on her training. We weren’t making nearly as much progress but better than when we started.
Dalton however had no problem showing his displeasure for me. The very next day he had barged into my study growling and snarling about the whole thing. I admired the boy’s loyalty but by doing so he threatened Artemis’ safety, and that could not be allowed. His little outburst earned him a month of night watch and as such he wouldn’t be able to visit Artemis outside of training sessions which served as an extra beneficiary consequence.
None of it stopped him from showing his displeasure with me. Every chance he had, the boy would glare at me, and on more than one occasion I heard a negative comment mumbled under his breath. I knew better than to acknowledge any of it. To do so would just promote a continuation of the behavior.
When we were all finished I dismissed the pair with a single word and turned to leave. Dalton rushed at the chance to talk to Artemis. His desperation with her, annoyed me. I understood that they grew up together, but he was almost smothering her. I decided to intervene.
“Dalton don’t bother her. I’m sure she has to return to her duties in the laundry facilities.”
“Actually I don’t work in laundry anymore.” Truth. I couldn’t help but let my shock show on my face.
“What do you don’t work in laundry? What happened?!?” I couldn’t imagine anything Artemis would have done to get herself fired. I would have to talk to Mrs. Harris about reinstating her. She may have be strict, but she was always fair. That was the reason I had Artemis assigned to her.
“Yeah, uh... I got asked to be a Lady’s Maid..so I’m doing that.”
Dalton rushed to congratulate her.
“Wow Artie! A lady’s maid? That’s really-
“No.” My voice cut through his revelries. This wasn’t a good idea.
“What?” Artemis turned to me confused. “What do you mean, no?”
“Exactly what I said. No.” I could have gotten her a job as a Lady’s Maid. Even my own sister had been looking for one, but it would bring too much attention to her. Attention we were not ready for yet. Of course Dalton tried to defend her.
“Hey man come on. This is really great for her-” I silenced him with a glare. He was in no position to question me.
“Can I at least ask why?” Artemis questioned.
“You are not ready to take on the responsibilities or the attention that comes with being a Lady’s Maid.” Artemis tried to say something to respond but it just caused me to raise my voice louder to drown her out. “If and when you are ready, and I will determine if you are ready, we can then discuss finding a different position. Until then you will remain in the laundry facilities.”
I turned to walk away thinking the matter was settled but Artemis ran after me not happy with my answer.
“Now listen here Lord High and Mighty.” I turned to face her. The jab at me wasn’t something I expected of her. Her eyes had changed to their lavender color meaning her wolf was influencing her. “You have only known me for a few weeks and although I appreciate the you support you have given here, there is one thing you should know. ” She paused glaring at me allowing me to stare in to her lavender eyes. I could feel her wolf’s power pushing me and my wolf begged to submit but I couldn’t do that now.
“What is it I need to know?” I asked hoping she didn’t see the sweat staring to apear on my brow from fighting her. She glared back at me unknowing of the pressure she put forth.
“Do not underestimate me.” Her words hung in the air before she spoke more. “I may be small, I may not be as strong, but I am not without worth or merit. I do have skills. They may not be the ones you value but that doesn’t not mean I am incapable.” Before I could respond a footmen rushed over to me. He obviously looked uncomfortable with the scene he saw before him.
“Lord Edmon. The King requests your presence in his study.” I dismissed the footmen with a hand gesture and he scurried off. Artemis didn’t even look at the poor boy choosing instead to continue to glare at me. I didn’t have time to resolve this now.
“We aren’t finished with this conversation,” I said as I turned and walked away. I only made it a fewsteps.
“Yes we are, my lord.” I turned back to see Artemis standing strong with Dalton behind her. We might make a queen out of her yet.
I walked into my nephew’s study. He was hunched over his desk as he stared at some reports. He must of been deep in thought as he didn’t even look up when I entered.
“Your majesty.” I greeted him.
“Drop the formalities,
Uncle. I am not in the mood.” Oberon ran both his hands through his hair with a deep sigh before addressing me. “I got the initial reports back from our scouts in the north. They haven’t found any signs of the Ralacks.” He looked at me desperately. “I’m running out of time. If the counsel finds out, that’s it. I’m finished.”
I sat down next to his desk reaching for the report. I gave Oberon a questioning look asking to look at the report. Once he nodded I pulled it to me and scanned over it. It was as he said. There was no sign of any Ralack activity in the area. They had moved on. I didn’t exactly expect them to stick around once Artemis left but I didn’t think there would be nothing.
Oberon was right. The counsel would use this against him to force his hand into a marriage. It was obvious who they had in mind and the girl lusted for power more than the wellbeing of the kingdom. Her appointment as Luna would be our downfall.
“What do you need from me?” I assumed Oberon had a reason for calling me here.
“What I need from you is my Beta back.” His voice was slightly raised no doubt from the stress he was feeling. “I need you helping me, by my side. It’s been more than a month and you still haven’t returned to full duties. I need support from my family.” Orberon fist hit the table as he ranted on. I didn’t blame his for his frustration. He was used to me being so open with him and here I was constant lying to his face. It seemed to be all I was doing lately.
“Let me go investigate the Ralacks,” I tried to placate him. “I was the one who saw them. I am more familiar with the area. I’m sure I can find something to tell us where they went.”
“At least let me re-establish the pack bond before you go,” I was putting this off. Part of me wanted to return as Oberon’s Beta but that wasn’t a possibility now. It was best to just tell him that.
“The only reason I stayed on as Beta when you father died was to help you as you took over....Maybe it’s time for you to find your own Beta.” Oberon’s eye grew wide. He was obviously taking this as a rejection.
“Uncle did I do something wrong?”
“No, of course not”
“Then why are you abandoning me at a time like this!” I felt his Alpha power grow but unlike before, I did not feel the compulsion to submit to him. “I am at a critical time of my rule and the person who is suppose to be my biggest support is taking a back seat. What’s wrong?” He was practically yelling at me now. I struggled to find the words to explain it to him.
“As much I do and will support you, you are much younger than me and there will come a time where I will not be there the support you. You need to start establishing connections with others who can support you longer. It is through these connections that you will establish your rule in a way that not even the counsel will able to object to. It is always the young who bring about the next great change. You need to stop looking up to those who have gone before you and start to blaze your own trail.”
Oberon slumped in his chair looking at his desk. In a way I was abandoning him, but I knew he would rise to meet the challenge.
“Alright, Uncle,” he said still not looking at me. “I will heed your council. But I ask that you resume the Beta duties until I find one suitable for the position.”
“Of course.” I could give him that much at least.
“When will you be leaving?” he asked looking at me once more.
“Immediately. We need to find some sign of proof of the Ralacks before the counsel becomes aware of the situation."
“Very well.” Oberon was all business now. He stood up to address me in a more official manner. “I want a daily report on your activities and findings. You will also take another squad of warriors with you. I will not have a repeat of last time.” I hastily agreed to that. “Now if you’ll excuse me Uncle. I wish to visit my mother.” I lowered my head as Oberon walked purposefully out of the study. Why did I feel like I was letting him down?