“I, Rosebud,” Carmichael said.
“I, Rosebud,” Rosebud repeated.
“Promise the Werewolf Realm my loyalty, service and any sacrifice that needs to be made.”
“Promise the Werewolf Realm my loyalty, service and any sacrifice that needs to be made.”
“I vow to serve the realm with all my heart, soul and mind. I shall prioritise
the best interests of the Kingdom and strive to make it better.”
Rosebud repeated after Carmichael.
“I promise to support my King and his decisions. I promise to obey him.”
Valdus stared at Princess Rosebud. Her eyes were slightly downwards as she said the words in her soft voice. There was no hesitation in her voice, just pure submission and servitude. Carmichael nodded towards Valdus, and he brought the crown to her head. It was encrusted with precious diamonds from all across the universe. The Queen was the highest authority in the realm, not only because she was considered to be a rendition of the Moon Goddess herself, but because of the power a female held over her mate. Valdus was completely putty in Rosebud’s palms.
But submission was necessary too. The King’s position was to be unbiased and ruthless, and a soft female like Rosebud had to be obedient. If Rosebud had her way, there wouldn’t be any capital punishment in the realm.
Rosebud peered at him through her eyelashes. She had been skittish since their marriage ceremony. Valdus knew it was because of the beast he had unleashed before her eyes. It had brought out another level of subservience in her. Valdus didn’t know how he felt about that.
“You are mine for the rest of eternity.”
Valdus felt extremely possessive tonight, he wanted her in his arms. The Wedding ceremony had brought the two of them closer. Rosebud placed her hand on his arm, accepting his support and protection.
“My sweet Queen,” Valdus whispered.
Rosebud looked the sweetest today. With her mango coloured gown, it was so distinct. The beautiful full skirt and the tight corset-like bodice. She was the light of the party. He was afraid how the unmated males would react to her enchanting presence. He took her hand in his and walked down the staircase where everyone waited with bated breath, for the new King and Queen. The hall was stuffed with leaders from all the realms and the Alphas from his own Kingdom. The event would be chronicled in all the major media outlets, letting the world and especially Evanora know that he was the King again and this time he was never letting it go.
The guests clapped, and a giant cake was rolled out in the centre of the hall. It was a six-tiered cake with chocolate dripping on the sides. It was decadent. Valdus made a mental note to send a plate of cake for them in his room, later in the night.
“Good evening everyone,” Valdus picked a microphone and brought to his lips, “thank you for joining my Mate and me in this very auspicious day of our lives. I had given this speech before, many years ago, when I was crowned the King.”
Valdus paused, looking at everyone with his commanding gaze.
“But this time is special,” he pulled Rosebud closer to him, “because I have a Queen by my side. My beautiful Mate. Rosebud Magnar, my wife and my life.”
A roar of applause tore through the hall. Valdus turned and looked down at Rosebud, she had a beautiful blush on her face. She looked like a little slice of heaven. So pious and forbidden. She sparkled and shone. The diamonds on her body enhanced every part of her. Valdus felt proud. Waiting all these years had been nothing but worthy. She was everything he desired and more. He loved her, every pore of his body lived for her. Valdus’ heart was full of adoration and affection, it ached and bled for her. He wanted to scoop her in his arms and never let her go.
“Together, we aim to reinstate the former glory of our realm and introduce schemes and programmes to put our
world at power with all the other realms in the universe. The past hundred years have pushed us back, and I want that to change. Modern technology, education and a more democratic approach. These are the kind of things my administration will bring into power. Better income, reducing poverty and bring all of us closer, these too are some of our priorities. The Queen will start her royal tour a week after tonight. She aims to cover as many packs as possible, closing the gap between a subject and his leader.”
“We want to work hard. We want to make this realm better and powerful, and now that I have my mate by my side, I can finally say that it will happen.”
Valdus turned to look at Rosebud. She had a soft smile on his face and looked at him with the same adoration. Her cheeks were rosy, and her eyes glittered like the pole star. So bright and alive. The hall reverberated with the hoots and applause. The surreal atmosphere, Valdus wanted to pinch himself. Was this all a dream? Since when did his life become so beautiful. He half expected to wake up in the cold caves of the forests that lay outside the Royal pack.
Valdus bent slowly. Kissing her lips, a small chaste kiss.
They walked to the cake, and Valdus brought the heavy knife to Rosebud. She placed her hand over his and cut the knife through the cake. Valdus brought a small piece to her lips, and she shook her head.
“I am fasting,” Rosebud whispered.
“My Queen,” Valdus gently admonished, “you know how I feel about you not eating.”
“I did it for the Goddess, I wanted everything to go smoothly and without any hindrance. I will break my fast at midnight.”
“Then I will eat with you.” Rosebud gave him a sweet smile.
“Come, I will show you around. There are so many people that I would like you to meet, the chief guest, for starters,” Valdus took Rosebud’ hands in his and lead her the sea of guests, “I wasn’t sure if he was even coming. I didn’t make an official announcement in the realm. But I got an RSVP last night.”
“Who is he?”
“There are many myths that surround him. He has many names, each culture defines him differently, but he is all the same. You can call him Satan or Lucifer, you can call him Anubis or Pluto, but he prefers to stick with Thanatos. He is the Lord of the death, the soul collector. The Universe has given him many names, but I like to call him Thanatos.”
Rosebud stopped in her track and stared at Valdus with apprehension.
“Death?” Rosebud mumbled.
“He is the perfect gentleman.”
Rosebud didn’t feel assured. She bit her lip and followed Valdus.
They walked towards the balcony of the hall, a soft breeze floated through the air, and a chill ran down Rosebud’s back. Her throat felt dry. She squeezed her fingers around Valdus’ hand, but he only smiled. Why were they meeting the Lord of Death? And why was he not mingling with the other guests?
Valdus opened the doors of the balcony and pulled his skittish Queen after him. There was a dark aura, Rosebud could sense it. Everything around them felt decayed and destroyed. There was a sense of melancholy, and she didn’t like it. Her eyes moved to the balustrades where a man stood. He was lean but muscled well, there was a sharpness about him. He was stern and cold. Rosebud hid behind Valdus.
Valdus cleared his throat.
Thanatos turned around.
Rosebud’s breath hitched in her throat. He was so handsome with his beautiful moss green eyes. His sexy black hair and perfect features. There was something about Thanatos that did not sit down well with Rosebud. She was a Pure Witch, and her very nature abhorred the darkness. She didn’t feel comfortable around it.
Thanatos’ eyes met Rosebud’s, and she saw them soften. A mellow smile appeared on his face, and he walked to her. He took her hand in his and placed a soft kiss on it. Rosebud blushed and pulled her hand away and stepped behind Valdus, fearful of the Death God’s disposition.
“It is so good to have you here,” Valdus said, “I almost thought you wouldn’t come. Gods don’t attend the functions of the realms anymore.”
“I owed you, didn’t I?”
“I am not letting go of that debt so easily,” Valdus whispered.
Thanatos’ eyes glimmered, and he raised a brow.
“You are blessed by the Wolf and War Gods themselves, what would you need from me?”
“The prophecy. I want to know about theprophecy that was recorded at the time of my birth,” Valdus said.
Rosebud looked at Valdus and frowned. What prophecy was Valdus talking about? Her eyes widened upon realisation, and she shrivelled intoherself further. Mother Evanora’s words reached her ears, and they echoed in her mind. Why did Valdus need the prophecy? Should she even talk about the prophecy with Valdus?
Thanatos’ eyes went to Rosebud and then to Valdus. Valdus stiffened and turned around to Rosebud, his eyes softened.
“I will let you know, don’t worry,” Thanatos said, “enjoy your evening. This day will not come again.”
Thanatos clicked his fingers and vanished in thin air, leaving a black smoke behind. The sensation of death lifted, and the night was seemedpleasant and soft again. Rosebud’s mood too became cheerful, and she pulled Valdus inside.
“Can’t you be friends with other gods?” Rosebud asked.
“Goddess Selene!” Rosebud exclaimed, “or perhaps Hermes.”
“Hermes is a trickster, but I am pretty good with Dionysus.”
“You don’t have a good company,”
Valdus grinned and placed a small kiss on her forehead.
“Now, we cannot keep the guests waiting, can we?”
The entire night, Rosebud and Valdus mingled with a variety of guests. They never stopped to meet one guest more than twice. They were so in demand. Rosebud couldn’t even get to meet theAlphas. She was very apologetic, her gown and crown made it all the more difficult for her to move around. All the guests were nothing but a blur of faces. Ramona helped her walk to the main dining table, where she sat beside Valdus.
The feast had more than thirty-six dishes, Valdus had indeed made this a grand affair. The cutlery used was made of precious metals as well, and the wine glasses were made out of emerald. Valdus wanted the world to know that he was made the King today and that he had a lovely Queen by his side to rule the world.
Valdus wanted the message to reach Evanora.
Rosebud sighed as the fried fish hit her tongue. She moaned in delight. Since the morning she had been so involved with the preparations, food was the last thing on her mind. She quickly took another bite. A hand found itself on her thigh, and her eyes opened. She turned to Ramona.
“Queen Rosebud, please have smaller portions and don’t close your eyes and moan. It is not appropriate,”
Before Rosebud could say anything. Valdus butted in.
“Let her have what she desires, Ramona. My sweet mate has worked too hard, I think she deserves this,”
“I know it first-hand, your Majesty. I was by the Queen, and I want her to have a full meal. It’s just that the coronation function is an important one. All eyes are on her, appearances are important too.” Ramona was biting her lip, she indeed looked guilty of putting these stipulations upon Rosebud. “But, I will send a plate full of kinds of food to the Queen, right to her room when the function is concluded.”
Valdus wanted to argue, but Rosebud stopped him. She nodded at Ramona.
“Can I have something to drink at least?” Rosebud asked.
“Of course, you can,” Valdus quickly pushed a glass of orange juice in her hand, “it is not intoxicated. You can have it.”
“Everyone will laugh, knowing that I am having orange juice in a wine glass,” Rosebud pouted.
“You tell me the names of those who laugh at you. I will punch their faces.” Valdus’ expressions were absolutely serious, and Rosebud didn’t doubt him for one second. He was way too protective of her, a quality she secretly found endearing.
Rosebud was brought out of her thoughts, the sound of a glass clinking reached her ears, and she looked in the directions. Beta Valerio was standing at his table, his glass raised and a jolly smile resting on his face.
“A toast,” Valerio declared.
Everyone raised their glasses.
“A toast to my King and best friend.”
A smile appeared on Valdus’ face.
“And to our Queen, the beautiful Rosebud Magnar,”
“I am going to get the crown of being the happiest when His Highness found our Queen. Decades and decades of search, all leading to nothing but then finding her in the lap of Moon Goddess. He has truly been patient. I am so happy for him. I know that together these two will lead our realm to new heights.”
Rosebud clapped, and everyone joined her. There was a broad smile on her face.
“And I am grateful to be appointed as the head of the Queen’s security. I promise to protect her with all my heart,”
“Here, here,” Valdus announced.
“I wish the two of you, an eternity of love and joy!”
The hall trembled with the intensity of the claps and multiple howls joined the applause. The entire realm seemed to vibrate with positivity. Rosebud loved the energy, and she brimmed with love and happiness. Her body was glowing.
“You are glowing, Rosebud,” Valdus whispered.
“I am just so happy,” Rosebud gushed, “I was scared before, but now I am just happy.”
Valdus grinned. Rosebud bit her lip and raised her hand in the air. Valdus’ eyes followed. She moved her fingers gently and closed her eyes. Her magic, all charged and ready to be released, ran through her veins and out of her fingertips. The chatter in the room stopped, and soon a cool breeze enveloped everyone. Beautiful harps began to play, and little fairies entered the hall through balconies. They were tiny, and their wings fluttered behind them. They flew around the hall, squealing and singing.
Everyone stared at them in awe.
“That is beautiful magic, my soulmate,” Valdus whispered.
Rosebud giggled. The fairies enamoured everyone with a small dance performance. One of the mischievous ones even plucked a hair from an Alpha’s beard. She had to be shooed off. Everyone had a good laugh about that one.
“The fairies are my friends,” Rosebud admitted, “I would often call them when I was living at the temple. They would always entertain me. I love them.”
“I will make sure that our diplomatic relations with the realm of the fairies are proper and cordial. No one will harm them under my watch,”
Rosebud smiled gratefully.
The evening turned into a jubilant night as all the guests returned to the dance floor. Valdus twirled her around, and Rosebud giggled with sheer glee. Her face was bright. Valdus didn’t really know how to dance, but he could definitely waltz. It was surprising to see his moves so measured and well- performed despite his size and bulk. But Rosebud wasn’t complaining.
After a while, Valdus pulled her out of the sea of bodies and into a deserted lobby.
“What are we doing here?” “Running away,”
“From a party that was planned for us,” Rosebud gasped.
“But what about the guests? They came all the way from their realms just to join us in our happiness,”
“They will understand, besides I only have a week with you before you leave for that tour.” Valdus almost made puppy eyes. Rosebud bit her lip.
“Okay, I will come with you,” Rosebud replied with hesitance, “but where are we going?”
“Palace of Ponds,”
“Palace of Ponds?”
“Yes, my father built it for my mother. She was a freshwater mermaid. When they got married, he gifted that palace to her. It is gorgeous, nestled between the mountains, a few miles away from the Capitol. I know you will enjoy it,” Valdus said, “we don’t have the time to go to another realm.”
“This is perfect,” Rosebud clapped her hands.
Valdus took her hand in his, and they walked towards the sleek motor vehicle waiting for them. He helped her inside the car, and himself sat in the driver’s seat.
“Will you be driving?” Rosebud asked. “I will be,”
“What about security?”
“I am more than capable of protecting you and myself, but to rest your mind we do have a few warriors who will be following us,”
Valdus started the car and drove out of the grounds. Rosebud rolled down the window and sighed as the breeze hit her face. She felt the fatigue of the past few days engulf her, she sat back into her seat and stared outside. The Capitol looked so beautiful, glittering under the moonlight. The cute shops where customers flocked and the tall structures where high-level meetings took place, Rosebud was indeed lucky to be a part of the realm.
She was sure that under Valdus’ rule, the kingdom would flourish even more. He had such great ideas.
Rosebud looked down at her finger, the big rock glimmered. A wave of sadness hit her.
Mother Evanora wasn’t present to give her blessings, and her friends weren’t present either. Elder Waugh was dead too. She blinked her tears away. She didn’t want Valdus questioning her; he hated Evanora with a passion.
Even Rosebud had started to have conflicting opinions about Evanora. And she hated that; her loyalty was shaking and shifting. Rosebud’s own principles were betraying her. She just hoped that in the end, it would all work out for the best.