I've been summoned to the palace.
In the weeks since the great battle, the world has drastically changed for humans and beasts alike. I can only give thanks that the king saw halfbreeds as a part of the beast society more so than the humans. And I will forever be grateful to Anna for that.
I make my way through the palace, the servants bowing to me as I walk by. The palace is a terrifying place to be. The king is cold and cruel.
I make it to the doors of the King's study, pausing when I hear the screams from inside. A woman's screams.
"Dimitri?" I tense when I hear the sound of Felix's voice drifting towards me. I slowly turn to face my master, making sure to bow as he approaches. He has a look of confusion on his face as he takes me in.
"What are you doing here?" he asks. I look up at him and back to the doors.
"I...I was summoned," I say. Felix's gaze slightly narrows but he steps past me to the doors. Just as he's about to push them open the doors are pulled open and a woman comes running out. She's holding what's left of her clothes in her hands, her eyes streaming with tears.
I thought when the king claimed victory and revenge for his father he would be different.... content. I thought he would forget about the anger he harbored for Anna's escape. But he hasn't. I don't know what it is about his feelings for humans that keeps him so hooked on her. He hates humans more than anything in the world. Yet he won't forget about her. Maybe it's his inner beast that sees it as a challenge. Even his womanizing has become worse.
I fear the reason he has called us here today. Namely me. I am only just becoming accepted by this society. The king never deals with anyone of my status.
Felix walks into the now open doors and I follow with my head down. We enter to find the king standing behind his desk, drinking from his glass. He eyes us as we approach, and we both bow.
Felix and the king used to be best friends. But even now, Felix avoids him if he can. He's changed so much since his father's death. He is a formidable king. Even though he avoids him, I know Felix worries about his friend. He's let that be known on several occasions. But I fear this is how the king is now. And Felix needs to understand that as well. I hear the sound of him pouring another glass, and he makes his way to Felix handing him the glass.
Felix takes it, walking towards the king's desk.
"I wanted to congratulate you, captain. On a job well done. You've managed to rid the world of my enemies," the king smiles. Felix nods his head.
"Thank you," he says. The king's gaze slips past Felix to mine.
"Now that the world has been cleared of hazards, I think it's time to reclaim what is mine," he says. He gestures for me to come and I slowly make my way towards where they stand. I follow the direction of Felix's gaze to the map that sits on the desk.
The king takes a sip of his drink as he watches me.
"Felix brags about your wit and strength. I think it's time I put you to good use," he says. I slowly raise my gaze to meet his.
"Annalise stole a map from me. A very valuable map. A map that shows all the safe havens for humans." The king steps around me pointing to specific areas on the map. I know these places. They were once hunter camps and safe houses.
"These are the places she could have made it to safely according to that map. Though I doubt she's hidden in this kingdom."
I let out a soft gasp as he points to the port. I know Annalise. And we always spoke of leaving this place across the sea. And the king knows that as well.
"I know you and she shared a bond. I know you'll know best how to track her down." The king moves around the table coming to stand next to me. My heart is pounding in my chest at the direction of his words, the choice that is about to be handed to me. One that we both know I can't refuse.
I feel Felix's gaze on me, daring me to refuse. If Felix prides himself on anything, it's his way of beating loyalty to the beast empire into me. And today is the day that loyalty is going to be tested. The king chuckles lightly, handing me a glass of wine.
I take it from him with shaky hands.
"I know you'll bring her back to me, Dimitri."
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