Chapter One: Coronation
I fumbled with my paints to try and produce the soft orange that I needed to complete the sky of my oil painting. Soft morning light cut through the window and splayed onto the cream carpet. The lingering scent of oils and paint thinner was set heavy inside my bedroom.
I was named after the color blue. My mother, and her mother before her were both painters. Blue was my mother’s favorite color, and so Cyan was born. My parents had both left a long time ago; not out of lack of love for their daughter, but lack of love for their city.
There were people different than us, and they were stronger, sharper, and more equipped to lead. The political term for them was shape-shifter, but we all new the real name that was mentioned under our breath. They wanted territory, and the humans wanted protection. My parents, however, learned quickly about the strings that come along with such a peaceful agreement. Humans can be paired as mates with werewolves, which wasn’t revealed until it was too late. Both boys and girls were stripped from their homes as the years went on, and the unofficial segregation between the humans and werewolves began.
Most humans had moved outside the city. Most lived in isolation, with families sheltering their sons and daughters from being forced into a life they could never return from. The were-people were kind, but possessive. Knowing it would drive a wedge between the species’, the unofficial segregation began.
My parents had begged for me to come with them when they moved from the city to the countryside, but I was an artist. The galleries, as well as my inspiration, was in the heart of this mystical city by the west coast. I risked it and stayed.
I should have gone.
“The King humbly requests the presence of all females at his coronation ball on May 20th,” Alessia read over the old-timey scroll that had arrived on my front porch neatly in a bow a week prior. She ran her fingers over it.
“You can stop drooling on it,” I muttered.
“You have to go,” she rolled her eyes.
“And third wheel with you and Ace? No thanks,” I grumbled.
“Why are you so afraid of them? So afraid of us,” her voice faltered. I stopped the painted tree I was working so diligently on and turned to face her.
“You know I’m not afraid of you, Alessia. The Royal Court is a different breed of werewolf, no pun intended, and you know it. I’m safer behind these walls,” I trailed my fingers along the wood of the easel.
“You act like werewolves are aliens. You’ve known me since grade school.” The frown was eminent in her voice.
“I’m not going to his flimsy ball, end of discussion. Third wheeling with you and Ace in a room filled with hundreds of men looking to sink their teeth into someone is the most horrifying thing I can think of.” I turned back to the task at hand.
“Will you at least come with me to get my gown? The alterations are finished,” she pleaded.
That little, I could agree on. Alessia came from a werewolf family, I from a human one, and hers was high up in ranks. Her father was a Beta, so money was something that came easily to them. I told her she was wasting her money, but Alessia didn’t care. Her mate, Ace, was on the Royal Council. He was the King’s personal bodyguard, which left Alessia alone more often then not.
Luckily, she had me. I lived in my parent’s old home on the top of the hill furthest from town and furthest from the Royal House. We lived right on the coast, and the view was stunning. My parents had moved away from the werewolf scene as soon as they could get their hands on the new place. I stayed for Alessia.
Going downtown was always a weird experience. The humans stayed on the outskirts of town, and it wasn’t because we were outsiders. We were equals, but the were-people tend to have more drama than their human counterparts. Punching walls, fights in the streets, short tempers, high-testosterone related stuff. We just keep our distance for damage control. But down here with all the boutiques and shops makes you feel like you’re sucked into another world. Her boutique was, of course, the best in town, “L’Abito”
As soon as she came out with her stunning red dress on, I knew that Ace was a lucky man. The silk fabric draped in luxurious folds as it cascaded down her long legs. It had a tight sweetheart neckline that illuminated her collarbones, and it cinched into a smooth fabric from her waist up. There was no question that Ace had supplied the dress of her dreams. I had only seen him a few times, but only enough to recognize him in a crowd. I haven’t even seen the Royal Palace in person. I just knew that on his weeks off, he treated her like a princess.
“You look amazing, Alessia,” I was breathless.
“I could pass as the Queen, don’t you think?” She smirked, tossing her blonde curls over her shoulder as she admired her gown in the trifold mirror. “Lucinda, I think you should show Miss Sinclair your gift.”
I turned to the seamstress with my brow furrowed, who gestured to the dressing room beside Alessia’s.
“Yours was my favorite to make,” the woman smiled. I turned to Alessia with a frown.
“I’m not going. How did you even get my measurements?” She stepped away from the mirror and held my hands daintily in hers. As I looked down, I noticed I still had oil paint dappled along my fingers.
“I saw the way you were looking at that dress the other day. Your alterations from our senior prom were still on file. It’s on me, just please go try it on. It kills me to watch you sit behind that easel and miss out on life.”
In defeat, but also slightly out of curiosity, I went in to change, and the seamstress continued talking. “Enough human girls don’t attend these things, it’s no wonder His Majesty hasn’t found his Queen yet.”
“I’m not sure how His Majesty would react to having a weak human as a mate,” I mumbled, stepping into the dress.
“The Moon Goddess creates mates out of balance, a strong man like him needs a humble human woman,” she replied.
Once I had the dress slipped on, I stepped in front of the mirror.
“Wow,” I breathed.
The gold embellishments on the gown were stunning. The bodice gave me the dream hourglass figure. All I had to do was imagine myself with an up-do and a fresh coat of makeup and I looked like a...
“Queen!” Alessia squealed. “You can’t tell me you aren’t tempted to go now.”
I couldn’t help but twirl in the mirror in the midst of my princess moment. I turned to her, and sighed.
“I suppose I can’t sit behind that easel forever.”
Alessia, of course, had already planned ahead of time for this, and ordered an extra makeup artist and hair stylist to my home. Something tells me that whether not I agreed to go on my own, she would have dragged me by my hair. Those werewolf genes gave her some serious strength, I will admit. Having her around to open pickle jars is a small perk of our friendship.
“People will be calling you ‘Your Majesty’ in a matter of hours,” she smirked, content with the job her friends had done on me.
Another perk of your mate being in the Royal Court was that Ace had ordered a limousine to pick us up. Being on the outskirts of time, Alessia was ecstatic that we would be arriving fashionably late. She was bubbly the entire ride there, smoothing out the folds in her dress as I sucked on a complimentary mint to calm my nerves. It didn’t work. I felt my heart leaping out of my chest second after second. I knew we were there when her face was nearly pressed against the glass, and the Royal Palace pulled into view.
“Welcome to your first taste of royalty.”