Roses and Fangs

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[TEN]

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Alpha King Valdus Maynard Magnar had come across many unruly and wild animals in the past. He had swiftly dealt with them. The one thing he hated in the world was tantrums. When his eyes rested on Princess Rosebud, he was immediately pained at the mere sight of her tears.

Then, of course, her shield. It had pained Valdus, both physically and emotionally. Why would you need a shield from your soulmate? Did Rosebud think he would hurt her?

The thought didn’t go down well.

“Princess remove the shield at once,” Valdus stated.

“No,” Rosebud screamed.

Valdus was taken aback by the tone she used. His wolf didn’t like it one bit, but Valdus pressed his alpha ego and didn’t react to her tone. He was just worried. The shield seemed to be a potent one. Valdus could force his ways into the buffer, but that would harm Rosebud. His eyes went to the shackles on her limbs, and Valdus felt his heart sinking. They were pure iron, meant to weaken a witch’s magic. Rosebud was using so much of her power, it was not good for her health.

“Princess, you are in shackles, they are weakening your magic. You shouldn’t be using your magic, please drop the shield,” Valdus requested.

His heart was hammering against his chest.

“I will not. This is my shield, and I will pull it down when I want to. I just want to be left alone!”

“Princess, please,” Valdus was all but pleading.

Beta Valerio and Carmichael entered the room. The witch stepped forward, immediately sensing the shield. His concerned eyes met Valdus’.

“Why does the Princess have a shield up?” Carmichael asked.

“I have no idea,” Valdus whispered.

What was bothering his sweet Princess?

“She needs to pull down the shield, Alpha King. The shackles are harming her powers, they will weaken the Princess further if she continues to use her magic,” Carmichael warned.

“But what will the King do?” Valerio asked.

An idea stuck Valdus.

He had power.

One he never felt like using on his sweet soulmate.

It was the command of an Alpha. Every Alpha was born to lead, the power to bend and make them submit. And as the King of Werewolves, the Alpha King, Valdus had an enormous amount of that power. His command could single-handedly make the entire realm fall to their knees.

Valdus had to use his command. He rarely used it, people around him generally were intimidated by his personality. He never felt the use for it. But clearly, his soulmate needed a firm hand. She was hurting herself. He had to use this power, even if it meant hurting the progress their relationship had made in the past few days. Rosebud would be upset, or she would go back to being the skittish little mouse.

Valdus didn’t want that.

But he didn’t want Rosebud hurting herself either.

“I know what I need to do.”

Valdus felt his wolf rise. He was simmering with anger, Rosebud’s temper pissed him off. The Beast was also concerned about its Mate. Rosebud’s wellbeing was a priority, and it didn’t matter to him how it could be achieved. A surge of energy filled his veins, Valdus could feel the hair rising on his back, his back stooped slightly, and he stared at Rosebud with barely restrained possessiveness. The Beast wanted Rosebud in his arms.

Besides Valdus, Valerio and Carmichael fell on their knees. The energy wafting off of him forced their submission. Valerio looked at his King in horror, he knew the usage of the command would backfire. Rosebud and Valdus’ relationship could possibly go a few steps back.

“Rosebud,” Valdus growled, “drop the shield, now.”

Valdus’ voice was low yet effective. It was full of sizzling power cutting through the shield and reaching Rosebud. The effect was instantaneous. The shield dropped, and Rosebud fell on her knees, baring her neck in sheer submission. Her body was quivering.

Valdus commanded his beast to recede. He stepped back. Valdus gulped and turned towards his subordinates.

“You may stand,” Valdus commanded.

Valerio and Carmichael stood up, their necks still bent but Valdus’ attention was on Rosebud.

This was the biggest mistake of his life. Using an Alpha’s Command on his sweet and pure soulmate.

“Leave us alone,” Valdus whispered, “I don’t want anyone seeing my Rosebud like this.”

Valerio and Carmichael left at once.

Valdus walked to her, his heartbreaking at the mere sight of Rosebud. He bent down at her level and placed his hands on her shoulders.

“Look at me,” Valdus whispered.

Rosebud’s teary eyes met his.

“My sweet girl,” Valdus cooed, and she fell in his arms.

Rosebud’s sobs wracked her little body. Valdus sat down on the ground, bringing her body on his lap. He ran his fingers through her hair, soothing the sweet witch. Rosebud’s emotions were plain and clear. She was sad, the melancholy in her system had to be purged out. Valdus wanted only smiled and carefree laughs from Rosebud. No other emotion should ever be experienced.

“What happened, Rosebud?” Valdus asked, “tell me.”

“I am so upset,” Rosebud whispered, “everything is going away.”

“What is going away?”

“Everything I have ever known. My life in the temple, my moments with other witches, my bond with Mother Evanora and my freedom.”

“Your freedom?” Valdus asked.

“I am at your mercy, aren’t I? I have to do what you ask me to do. I cannot make my own decisions,” Rosebud hiccupped.

Valdus’ eyes narrowed.

“What have I asked you to do, Rosebud? What threatened your freedom?” Valdus asked.

“You asked me about Mother Evanora’s location!”

“And you didn’t tell me, nor were you forced!”

“But look at the consequences!” Rosebud stared down at her shackled limbs.

“Your punishment is in accordance with the penal code of our realm, Rosebud. You cannot expect to commit treachery and live without consequences. And as it is, I promised I would remove the shackles upon our marriage!”

“I don’t want this,” Rosebud said, “I want my old life back,”

“Do you?” Valdus implored, “do you think I don’t know the desires swimming in your heart? You want to go back to a place that kept you isolated from reality? Compare Rosebud with Princess Rosebud. You are thriving here, this is your zone. You were made for this!”

“I am not! I am not as educated as the other queens; I am just some bumpkin the Gods forced upon you!”

“No! How can you say this? Have my affections not been obvious? And it doesn’t matter if you are not as educated as the other queens. We have eternity in front of us, I can start your tuitions tomorrow! Not that you need them. You are a critical thinker and capable of making excellent points. The tour that you are undertaking; no Queen has ever done that before! My sweet, you are perfection!”

“My Lord, you are sweet. Too good for me,” Rosebud whispered.

“It is the opposite, Princess. You bring out the light in me,”

Rosebud didn’t say anything. Valdus cupped her cheeks.

“What bothers you? Let it all out.”

“So many things,” Rosebud whispered, “I am scared, and I feel lonely. I feel so cut off from my previous life. It feels as if I have no control over my life.”

Valdus felt for his sweet mate. He had not been attentive to her feelings; her little heart was going through these emotions.

“You are the Queen, Rosebud. You are the highest authority in this realm, higher than me. You will have the final word. I will never stop you from anything unless it can be hazardous to your life. You have my word.”

Rosebud blinked her wet eyelashes at him. Her cheeks bloomed with colour.

“I am so sorry for pulling up the shield,” Rosebud mumbled, “I hurt you.”

“My silly little girl.” Valdus kissed her cheeks. “You had me worried.”

“It was not my intention.”

“I know, my sweet.”

Valdus picked her up and walked down to the cellar. He placed her on the bed and kissed her forehead.

“I will be back soon, just a few files I need to go through.”

Rosebud nodded.

***

“Did Rosebud look off when she was with seamstresses?” Valdus questioned Ramona.

“Not at all, she did seem slightly shy and closed off, but I expected that. The Princess is slight and timid.”

Valdus turned to Valerio and Carmichael.

“Do you think she is missing Evanora?” Valdus asked.

“Possible,” Carmichael said, “that woman was closest to our Princess. A child will feel homesick after a few hours of play, the same is happening to our Princess. She is craving her home; an intimacy of sorts and you need to provide her with it. She is also away from her own species. There is no magic and no contact with the Moon Goddess. Princess was heavily inclined toward spiritual activities and was miles away from materialism, politics and responsibilities. This is new, and it scares her. You need to be with her. Open up to her, tell her about yourself. She is not just your Queen but a soulmate too,” Carmichael said.

“I did take her out on a date,”

“And scared her by being visibly possessive,”

Valdus bristled, but Carmichael was absolutely right.

“I believe you promised her an ice-cream as well,” Valerio quipped.

Valdus glared at his Beta.

“I will take her for the ice-cream. I just need to take a look at her schedule, Ramona do you have it ready?”

“I do, Your Highness,” Ramona said.

Valdus motioned for her to start speaking.

“Your Highness, the tour will start exactly a week after the marriage. There are about two hundred and fifty packs in the realm, divided into fifty divisions. While I was leaning towards a tour that simply covered the fifty divisions.”

The two hundred fifty packs were organised under fifty divisions. The biggest pack and most potent Alpha headed each division.

“However, I am not really for this. I believe that our Queen must make sure that the Royal Pack can be accessed through the remotest of the packs. Which is why she will spend at least a day at each small pack and a few days with the big ones,” Ramona explained.

“Are you crazy?” Valerio shot up, “the tour will easily amount to three hundred days. We cannot have our Queen stay away from home for so long. She is so sweet and pure; the Alphas will chew her right up!”

“I think our Princess is stronger than that!” Ramona snarled, “she has strength, and I am sorry if you can’t see it!”

“You are foolish if you think that the Alphas will be all too welcoming, they are men! Strong men who don’t have the habit of bowing down in front of everyone. Our Queen will try to listen to their grievances, and they will sit and mock her existence!” Valdus ran his fingers through his hair. “The Princess is a pious individual. She deserves only respect which these men will not give her.”

“Calm down, Beta Valerio,” Carmichael said.

“How dare you?” Ramona snapped, “how dare you form this judgement of her? Have you ever seen her work? Have you seen the points she makes? She is intelligent, spirited and eloquent!”

“Have you seen her cry at the mere sight of a pup getting picked up by his neck? We have. Do you know our Princess decided to not go to Elder Waugh’s execution? How will she embark upon a tour almost a year-long, prying through the fingers of lusty and hard-headed Alphas? These men are savages. The previous regimen made them trap their beasts within themselves. They were not allowed to shift! They are angsty and hungry. What if they unleash these beasts on our sweet Princess? Who will save her from that?”

“You will,”

Beta Valerio’s head turned towards Valdus, his face blanching.

“Are you scared, Beta?” Valdus whispered.

Valerio’s features hardened.

“Leave us alone,” Valdus motioned Ramona and Carmichael.

The door closed and Valerio continued staring at Valdus.

“I may be your Beta, but I am your best friend too. What I say next is addressed to my friend and not to the King,” Valerio whispered.

“Speak,”

“Valdus, I will go wherever you take me. I went with you all those years ago, without saying anything. I never protested against any decision of yours. I left my Pack to my younger brother so that I could give the office of the royal beta more time. You have been my first priority. But this decision, I am not with it, I am against this decision!”

“Why?”

“Rosebud has come into your life after a lot of finding and waiting. You were certain she would never come into your life. The Gods and Goddesses created Rosebud, especially for you, and you are hellbent on sending her to this tour! Does she not mean anything to you?”

“Don’t say that,” Valdus snarled, “she is far more important than anything else in my life. Do you think I haven’t stopped her? Do you think I want her going? I want her here with me, under my watchful eye. Hell, I would’ve accompanied her, but you know I cannot!”

Valerio shook his head and picked up the schedule and itinerary. His mood soured further.

“The trip starts with the Blue Mountain Division. Are you looking at this? Those assholes are so fucking cold! They will not warm up to your sweet mate, Valdus. Rosebud’s spirit will get crushed!”

“Rosebud is adamant. She is excited about this tour, Valerio. I cannot break her heart. I have taken her away from everything she knows. And Valerio, this trip is important. A tour is necessary to truly assess the damage. I want her to see what Evanora has done. I want her to realise that she is wrong in supporting her! It will be a hard lesson, but it will be a lesson, nonetheless.”

“I cannot believe this.”

“I understand your worry and concern. Think about me, my Wolf and soul are going crazy at the mere thought of sending her away. I am just pacifying myself, at least The Lone Wolf Division and The Black Moon Division will welcome her with an open heart.”

The Lone Wolf Division was headed by Alpha Valerio Kingston before he decided to take up the appointment of the Royal Beta, it was one of the few divisions along with The Black Moon Division that created the cracks in the realm to let Alpha King Valdus Magnar come and conquer. They were one of the sharpest divisions and closest to the Royal Pack. Many generations ago, Valdus and Valerio’s forefathers happened to be real brothers.

“They are only two out of fifty. I am worried, Valdus.”

“Which is why I am sending you, Valerio. I know you will guard her. Rosebud is passionate about this tour.”

“I will guard her with my life, don’t you worry. What all powers will the Princess have?”

“I will be providing her with a fairly large purse, she might want to make donations or launch small-scale programmes. I am also giving her the liberty of coming up with developmental programmes and roping in Alphas. I want them to feel involved. I hope you will be able to assist her. Ramona will, of course, be there too.”

“I think Rosebud will do an excellent job.”

They stood quiet for a few moments when a small smile appeared on Valdus’ face.

“I cannot believe I got a sweet angel for a mate,” Valdus whispered, “who knew she would turn out to be like this?”

“My thoughts exactly. For a few seconds, I was horrified by the thought of a Pure Witch becoming your Mate, but then I was reminded of Queen Yael and King Maximus. They were such a contradiction; your mother was an innocent mermaid.”

“I knew it would work out between us because it worked out so well between my parents. I just needed some patience. I am willing to do anything to keep her happy,”

“Careful, your Father did the same. He let Mother Evanora’s influence increase to keep Queen Yael happy. Don’t be blind with your affections, Valdus.”

“I just used an Alpha’s Command on Rosebud, Valerio. Do you think I will not be stern with her?”

“That was an asshole move,”

“I know. I feel guilty. However, Rosebud didn’t mind. She didn’t even realise what I did to her. God, she is gullible.”

“Which is why I am worried for her,” Valerio muttered, “I will make sure she is guarded at all moments. But I want you to go through the schedule, we need to shorten it.”

“I will try to join her for as many engagements as possible, I have so much work to do. And I am not even exaggerating,”

“I understand. How are the preparations for the wedding and coronation coming along? Who will be the chief guest for the coronation?”

“The preparations are in full swing, we have the Capitol’s largest hall ready to host the guests coming from all the realms. I want it to be grand, I want my coronations to imprint upon the minds of our guest.” Valdus ran his fingers through his hair. “I have invited the Lord of the Underworld as my chief guest. Hopefully, he comes.”

“Amen. But what about the shifting? You think Rosebud is ready to see you shift into a full-blown wolf on the day of your wedding.”

“I have left it upon Lupus Magus and the Moon Goddess. Their combined blessings will make our union a successful one. It is going to be an experience for her, and I keep telling my beast to not go berserk on her. Cannot have her running away.”

Valerio grinned.

“It will be good, I can feel it.”

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