I watch as the crown is removed from the prince’s head. His mother’s delicate fingers wrap around the base as she pulls the precious metal away from his windswept hair, which flops to the side without the heavy headpiece holding them down.
“Today, on his twentieth birthday my son, Prince Kaine is stripped of his title.” The gathered subjects in the center of town cheered as the queen placed a crown of thorns on his head with a vacant expression. “He will no longer be referred to as his royal highness Prince Kaine Nathaniel Lockhart of Slethia, henceforth he shall only be known as Alpha Kaine, leader of the people,” the king bellows to the eager crowd of people.
Kaine stands, bowing to his father and holding out his hand carefully, wiggling his fingers gently. The king presents his dagger and with one swift cut, slices his sons hand in the center of his palm.
“A blood vow of loyalty,” the queen narrates, bringing forth a small vial from the table beside the thrones. The new Alpha’s hand shifts and he clenches it tightly, thick drops of silvery purple blood ooze from his cut into the vial without a second thought.
“Should you break your vow to this kingdom, you shall die.” King Slethius plucks the vial delicately from his wife’s hands and gestured her back to her throne atop the stage. At this moment they were not family. They were performing a very sacred ceremony and it was taken with the utmost seriousness. “Do you understand?” Kaine nods, stiffly, holding his clenched fist over his heart, bowing with a deep respect for his king.
“I understand. I pledge my loyalty to you and only you, King Slethius of Slethia.” King Slethius nods, satisfied and holds the vial to the crowd. The cheering only intensifies as the blood glows with promise.
“Do you have a few words for the people?” Slethius whispers to his son, holding a cloth out to him.
Kaine nods, wrapping his hand tightly with a cloth offered to him by a guard. He takes a few very large steps forward until his toes dangling off the stage. The Royals were taught since birth to stand tall and talk loud so even those in the back who were poor of hearing could listen to their precious announcements. Although Kaine was not technically a royal anymore, he was still expected to hold up the same ideals.
“As your Alpha, I pledge my allegiance not only to my king but to you, my loyal subjects. Your years under my guidance will be full of happiness and light. There will be no more war.” He bows to the people as they jump, screaming his name in praise. A few of the front row members leap forward to try and kiss his feet but they were quickly contained by guards.
No one is meant to touch the Alpha.
My hands tremble as I watch him wave goodbye, departing from his family into a car that would take him to his new home where he would be closer to the pack. He had no bags, nothing other than the clothes on his back. As an Alpha, Kaine was starting anew. He had to work his way back up to his high ranking status.
“Anita,” my mother says softly, a pout playing on her lips. “You aren’t watching any more of that garbage are you?” I shake my head, quickly turning off the television and launching myself at her leg.
“I want to be a princess too!” I plead with her, throwing my head back as I look into her eyes. “Mummy please!” She laughs and hands me a wooden spoon, steering my shoulder’s to the kitchen.
“Well, little princess, come and help me make your birthday cake for this weekend.” I smile and kiss her hand, eager to taste the cake batter to give her my stamp of approval.
“Alpha Kaine’s youngest brother is going to be eight soon, just like me.” I smile as she hoists me into a barstool and pushes the bowl in front of me. Although humans in Slethia were a dying breed and the Shifters despised us, we were just as interested in them as any other celebrity.
“Don’t watch that stuff anymore, okay baby?” I frown at her and begin stirring the batter. Everyone watches the royals except me and mummy. It would be almost unheard of for me not to watch the royals every move.
“Okay,” I tell her, catching a glimpse of Alpha Kaine’s car racing past the kitchen window. “I won’t watch it anymore.”