I woke up feeling safe, rested. I have woken up this way innumerable times over the past few months, but refused to open my eyes not wanting to break the spell of security I felt. I caught the swirls of scents that floated around and comforted me. If I could stay here in my own little moment of bliss I would.
A large body shifted next to me as a large arm pulled me forward. The movement cause my eyes to flicker open. A large man with a short dark beard slept soundly while holding me. Upon seeing him the spell was broken. I shouldn’t be here...again.
Inwardly sighing I looked around the now familiar surroundings of the room. I tried to mentally scowl at my wolf for pulling this stunt, again. Every night I go to bed in my own chamber and yet every morning I wake up lying next to the King. Prince! I have to remember he is technically a prince now.
I had tried everything to keep this from happening. My wolf tore the door down when I locked it. I lost more than one armoire to her tirade when it was pushed to block the door. Prince Oberon even tried keeping my wolf out by not opening the door to her. For some reason she wouldn't tear his door down. Every night she ended up pacing and whining while he miserably listened on the other side. We both suffered with no sleep for three days until he finally gave up.
After weeks of trial with no success, we settled into an unspoken agreement. Every night I laid down in my own bed, in my own room, and every morning I would inevitably wake up in his and would immediately sneak out of the room to return to to mine before anyone was the wiser. Of course people knew, but no one brought it up and Prince Oberon and I never spoke of it. The important part is we were getting sleep.
I spent the next hour getting ready for the day. Showering and dressing in another fine dress that the Dowager Queen had chosen, finishing just in time for the hair dresser and make up artist to artfully twist my hair up and paint my face.
Polished and shined I entered into the joint sitting room I now shared with Prince Oberon. A breakfast spread had been neatly placed on the long tables at one side of the room. Lord Edmon already sat at a table drinking his tea and looking over some papers.
“Good morning, Lord Edmon,” I greeted him. He looked up at me. Upon recognizing me he set down his tea and promptly stood before giving a short bow.
“Good morning, Your Majesty,” he responded warmly. I inwardly cringed at the title as I walked over to the breakfast spread to make myself a plate.
“Please, I prefer just Artemis,” I grumbled as I scooped some eggs out for me.
“I know,” he responded simply. Which meant he was still going to use the royal title. He knew it annoyed me but would never address me as anything else. Without speaking I walked to join him at the table. He sat only after I had settled in my seat, returning to his papers.
The first couple weeks after I became Queen I refused to talk to Lord Edmon outside of official business. He had broken my trust by keeping my identity from me and it took a while for the hurt to heal. I was just now starting to open back up to him. It was kind of hard to shut him out when we was still my Beta. Don’t know why my wolf chose him, but there ya go.
“Good morning, Artemis, Uncle.” I recognized the deep masculine voice and tried to ignore it. My wolf on the other hand couldn’t focus on anything else as Prince Oberon entered the room. It took a great bit of will power not to let her blatantly gawk at the man. Even though he was technically no longer the King he still radiated power. In some ways, he almost seemed relieved to have stepped down.
Prince Oberon filled his plate with food before walking over to the table and settling in the seat next to me. Underneath the table I felt a hand land on my knee and give a short squeeze before it was removed, the contact causing my cheeks to flame. I paused only for only a fraction but it was enough for the ever observant Lord Edmon. He paused with his tea cup raised to his lips to shift his eyes at the two of us. I pretended to not notice, hoping he would drop it.
“You smell like each other,” he calmly spoke. I dropped the hand holding a fork a little harder than I intended, causing the fork to clatter against the plate. I didn’t care, instead I gave my Beta a pointed glare.
“Really?!?” I didn’t bother to hide my annoyance. Lord Edmon gave no hint of emotion as he took a sip of his tea before lowering it.
“Just making an observation,” he commented with a shrug. He just wouldn’t let it go. Lord Edmon had approached me several times about Prince Oberon being my mate. He all but demanded that I let him mark me. I knew the reasons behind it. He wanted me to have more support, but part of me was still miffed at the idea that I needed a man to help me rule. Don’t’ get me wrong, I don’t want the job, but just because I don’t want it doesn’t mean I can’t do it. Lord Edmon still never stopped finding little ways to remind me I had a mate.
“Please Lord Edmon, not now.” I sighed returning to me food.
“You don’t have to act upon it now. Just let me make a small announcement that you're mates and then you-“
“Uncle.” Oberon’s voice was calm but firm. I shivered as he let his dominance press into the room. Turning to glance at his face he looked almost bored, but I knew he was sending his uncle a silent message, Drop it! Lord Edmon stared back at his nephew with a raised eyebrow before taking a frustrated sigh.
“Alright, as you wish,” he responded in a bitter tone. He would most definitely bring it up again later, but at least for now I had peace.
“So Uncle, what pressing matters do we have today?” It didn’t take anymore prompting for Lord Edmon to turn into business Beta mode.
“Well we have a few missives from more packs asking about the current state of affairs. We have received a few answers from those who have been invited to join the Queens council...” Lord Edmon became quickly distracted with briefing us on the day’s agenda. As he droned on about our daily work I dared to look at Prince Oberon. I found him looking back at me softly with his side eye. I mumbled a silent “thank you” to which he responded with a small smile.
“Good morning, my dears.” The Dowager Queen came strolling in looking ever as radiant in her knee length dress and pinned up hair. “And how is everyone doing this morning?” She asked as she walked over the join us.
“Your brother is being an ass.” Prince Oberon grumbled. Queen Sarina’s face immediately turned to ice as she glared at her brother. Without warning she hit the back of Lord Edmon’s head before sitting down in the empty chair next to him.
“Ow!” Lord Edmon barked. He reached up to rub the back of his head while giving the Queen a shocked angry stare. “You don’t even know what I did!”
“I know you deserved it,” she retorted.
We all sat and ate while having a comfortable conversation. Once everyone was finished we would go over the events and items for the day.
"Artemis," Queen Sarina called. "You will start with me this morning. We need to start figuring out what your affinity is." Since I was a wolf from an ancient bloodline the Moon Goddess supposedly bestowed upon me a gift of some sort. Lord Edmon had the gift of honesty. He could tell if the words someone said was a lie. Queen Sarina was given the gift of empathy. She could feel and in some ways manipulate other's emotions. Prince Oberon had the gift of strength. Not just physical strength but mentally. It allowed him to use the pack link over long distances along with a few other perks. I had no idea what mine was.
"Rina that can wait. The Queen has a lot of matters and missives to address today." I sighed in defeat. I hated paperwork. I wasn't bad at it, in fact I did quite well with it, but you can only stare at text on paper for so many hours before it became a form of torture.
"Well then it's a good she has such a capable Beta to help her with it." Queen Sarina gave her brother a look that dared him to challenged her. Lord Edmon rolled his eyes before returning to his paper.
"You can take the morning with her, but we will need the afternoon to prepare. We all leave in a few days.” I inwardly groaned. Lord Edmon had planned for our small group to travel in order for me to be introduced to some of the bigger packs as the new Queen. It was suppose to look like an act of goodwill trying to get to know the packs. Really we were looking for allies. Lord Edmon wanted me to impress some of the Alphas so that they would support me in my rule. I had no idea how I was going to do just that. I hated meeting new people and often came off as awkward.
It was only a few moments later when there was a knock at the door before it opened and a royal guard came in to announce a visitor.
"Dalton West, Ma'am" Dalton?
I almost forgot. After several weeks of recovery, Dalton was cleared to return to duties today. Hearing him announced I jumped from my seat rushing over to him. Dalton entered the room with a giant smile on his face and I couldn't help but jump and embrace the man who was basically my brother. Dalton was surprised at first, but only hesitated a moment before hugging me back. I held onto him until I heard someone clear their throat loudly, obviously to catch our attention.
Looking back I saw Lord Edmon giving a disapproving stare. To his side stood Prince Oberon looking defeated and sad. That was almost worst. I pulled back from Dalton and fiddled with my fingers nervously. Dalton rubbed the back of his neck while looking at walls.
“How are you feeling?” I asked hesitantly. That brought Dalton’s attention back to me.
“A little sore, but not bad,” he responded. “I’m just glad to be out and about. There is only so much to do when stuck in a hospital room.” I felt bad for Dalton. He was recovering for weeks and I was only able to visit him a few times with how busy I was kept. Of course he understood, but I knew he felt he was missing out and that bothered him.
“Have you heard from your father recently?” Alpha Langston raised me since I can remember. I needed to write to him more.
“Yeah, the pack is doing fine. They are excited about the idea of us possibly visiting.”
I was about to say something else when I was interrupted by Lord Edmon.
Your Majesty, perhaps this conversation could be saved for anther time?" I gave a great sigh. Couldn’t I have just a few moment with my friend. Queen Sarina stood giving Lord Edmon an irritated look before speaking
"Come on dear. We can get started in the gardens." She walked over the link her arms with mine before pulling me out of the room.