Roses and Fangs

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[THIRTEEN]

Chapters 1 to 29 have been sent to all the paying readers, the same has also been uploaded on Patreon.


Valdus watched Rosebud as she slept. Her eyelashes were fanned over her cheeks; the blanket was tucked around her, and she looked warm and snug. Rosebud was sleeping in the same position for a few hours, a testimony to the fatigue in her body. Rosebud’s schedule in the past few days had been nothing short of tight. There was hardly any opening for even a small nap. Valdus was conflicted. On the one hand, he was immensely proud of having a capable Queen by his side while on the other, he was worried that she might overwork herself.

Valdus placed a small kiss on her forehead and walked out of the palatial room. They had reached the Palace of Ponds late in the night, Rosebud had been hungry and sleepy. The question of consummation was out of the window, Valdus didn’t want to be a horn dogforcing himself on his new bride.

That had to wait.

Valdus walked into the arcaded corridor and looked at the shy sun peeking through the mountains. It was a beautiful sight; one he didn’t want Rosebud to miss. But her sleep was far more critical. He decided upon showing her the sunrise tomorrow.

Valdus was brought out of his reverie as he walked to the small balcony opening up in the corridor. He sat on a chair and pulled out his phone.

There were four missed calls.

All from Valerio.

Valdus called his Beta.

“Valerio,” Valdus answered curtly, being stern was his job description.

“Good Morning, Alpha King Magnar.”

A triumphant smile spread across his lips.

“Good Morning, Royal Beta,” Valerio grinned.

“Why the numerous missed calls?” Valdus asked.

“I wanted to ask, what did you and Thanatos talk about?”

“Thanatos said he would tell me about the prophecy,” Valdus’ eyes darkened, “he has to. He owes me this.”

“I will have to warn you. Never take God’s word literally. They like to use semantics passionately.”

“I know, but Thanatos isn’t a trickster.”

“I won’t put it past him though. Anyway, what was the Queen’s reaction upon meeting the God of Death?”

“Not good. She is a pure witch and feels more than anyone else. Emotions and feelings play a big part; Rosebud was thoroughly put off by his aura. She insisted that I must befriend Goddess Selene or Hermes.”

“The Queen is adorable,”

“I will not disagree. Our guests last night were particularly taken by her.”

“Yes, everyone was raving about Rosebud. I know we mustn’t use our Queen like that, but she definitely brought some good publicity to this realm after a very long time. Everyone was so taken by her, and our Queen was guileless. She didn’t even understand the profound effect she was having on everyone.”

“The Alphas too.”

“The Alphas too. This should make her tour slightly easier, although they might

have picked up on her exploitability too. I am afraid they might tease or try her, just for their sheer entertainment.”

“I knew it! There’s still time, Valerio. We can cancel the tour.”

“We cannot. We have already sent the official announcements to all the Packs. It will be catastrophic should we decide to go back on our word. Our aim is to tell them that we are the Kings again, some of them are still not completely on our side. We need to cement our positions here. This diplomatic tour is of paramount importance, Alpha. It cannot be cancelled, even though I suggested against it a couple of days ago.”

“I swear to god, Valerio. If anyone tries to hurt, I will personally hunt them down and rip each and every body part out and make an example out of his audacity. I don’t care if it is an Alpha or a commoner.”

“Fair enough.”

A silence fell on the line as Valdus struggled to bring his temper under control. His breathing turned into low growls.

“Calm down,” Valerio said. “I am trying,”

“You are there at the Palace of Ponds because you want to spend some time with Queen Rosebud and also do
the task. How are you going to manage if you are not in control of your temper?”

“I know that,” Valdus growled, “do not remind of that task, I know I have to execute it. We are to not speak of it lest it falls on the wrong ears.”

“What task?”

Valdus turned and found Rosebud standing. She was in her nightgown, rubbing her eyes yet staring at him intently. Her plush lips were pillowy, and Valdus felt his temper ebb away. He

extended his hand and motioned for her to come to him.

“I will talk to you later,” Valdus said. Rosebud placed her hand in his.

“I will get another chair for myself,” Rosebud tucked a strand behind her ear.

“Why get a chair when you have the entire throne to yourself.” Valdus patted his thigh, Rosebud blushed. “Don’t distance me from your affections, my sweet. I crave them.”

Rosebud shyly moved and sat over his knee. Her legs hanging between his thighs.

“Rosebud, sweetheart, I won’t bite,” Valdus pulled her closer to him, “unless you want me to.”

Valdus’ little bride smiled shyly and buried her face in his neck, gently nuzzling him.

“My kitten,” Valdus wrapped his strong arms around her, “I am the happiest. You are finally, completely mine. The things I have done to see the blush on your face. Countless nights, a perennial

ache in my heart and my beast’s descent into madness.”

“Madness?” Rosebud gasped.

“Yes, my Queen. My beast is wild, he lost every shred of his control a long time ago. But since you’ve come into our lives, he has, I think, mellowed down. However, only in front of you.”

“You are very intense, my King.”

“And you are not? Tell me, my soul. Didn’t you ever crave someone? Didn’t you desire to belong to someone? Did you never have dreams?”

Rosebud lowered her eyes.

“Tell me, Rosebud,”

Valdus observed her expression. There was something she was hiding. Something that was stuck deep within her bosom, it craved to escape her lips. The tears in her eyes were a testimony.

“Rosebud,” Valdus pressed.

“My Lord,” Rosebud blinked her tears away, “I am sorry.”

Valdus cupped her cheek.
“You are worrying me, Rosebud.”

“I am so grateful to be spending my life with you. My heart and my soul, they agree with our union, and even though I am not expressing, I am the happiest.” Rosebud placed her trembling hand onhis, the one that cupped her cheek. “I know I am not expressive of my affections, but I truly love you. I know the conflicts between us, but they pale in front of my feelings for you....”

Valdus’ heart sighed at her admission, but it was still unsettled. She had left her sentence incomplete.

“I am loyal to you, my King. I am yours, and please believe me when I say that I

didn’t have any control in this situation.”

“Say it, Rosebud,”

“I think I may have been betrothed to someone before you,” the words fell out of Rosebud’s lips.

It was like the time had stopped. The Beast in Valdus’ mind opened his eyes, the red in them seeped through his sclera. A familiar ache started to build in his gums, and he felt his fangs elongate. The hand that lay on Rosebud’s cheeknow had long sharp claws. The muscles on his back bulked up, and the spine started to curve. His little bride’s eyes

widened, and a crippling fear crept into them. She bounced off his lap and stepped away from him.

The simple move egged Valdus’ beast. His own anger mixed with the animal inside him.

Why is our soulmate stepping away from us? Does she not know whom she belongs to? Does her heart crave the man she was betrothed to?

A loud roar left his chest, the palace shook to its foundations, and some of the glasses developed cracks. Rosebud started to sob, and she ran out of the balcony and back into the arcaded

corridor, her little feet were fast and frantic, and she entered their bedroom, swiftly closing it behind her.

“Rosebud,” Valdus roared again.

Valdus ran behind Rosebud, pounding away at the door. He was entirely shifted, entirely in his beast form. The servants in the corridor fled too, saving themselves from the wrath of the great Alpha King.

Inside, Rosebud had found refuge under the bed. Her little form trembled, and desperate prayers left her lips. Her heart pounded. What would Valdus do to her?

“Ramona,” the name appeared on Rosebud’s lips.

Rosebud ran from under the bed and towards her small satchel, which lay on a table by window. She pulled out the new phone which Ramona had given to her with her number saved. Rosebud dialled it and brought it to her ears, looking over her shoulders.

The bell went off once and then twice before it was picked up.

“Hello, Ramona,” Rosebud sputtered.

“Queen Rosebud, it’s me, Valerio. Ramona is unavailable at the moment. If there is any message....”

“Beta Valerio,” Rosebud cried, effectively cutting off his sentence as Valdus pounded away, “please help me.”

“Queen Rosebud, what is the matter?” Valerio asked, he seemed to be moving too, she heard a jingle of the keys, “what is happening?”

“The King, he s-shifted into his Beast. He will kill me, please help,” Rosebud pleaded.

“Shit, I am coming. Queen Rosebud, whatever happens, do not flee or run away when he approaches you. It will excite the Beast further. Stay still. He will do less damage.”

Rosebud covered her mouth and rushed under the bed. Valerio was about to keep the phone when Rosebud asked him another question.

“Beta Valerio, will he hurt me?” “I don’t know, Queen,”
The line went dead.

“Who are you talking to?” Valdus roared.

Rosebud covered her mouth and sobbed quietly. She rummaged her mind for ideas, maybe she could build a shield. She closed her eyes and tried to use her magic, but the constant pounding on the door and her scattered brain stopped her from accessing her magic. She couldn’t get her mind to centre and truly focus. It had been so long since she sat down and practised her magic.

It was all coming back to bite her.

The door fell on the ground with a loud thud. Rosebud’s whimpers grew louder.

Valdus stepped inside, Rosebud could only see his feet. His usual saunter was replaced with a more measured walk, like a predator stalking his prey.

“Rosebud,”

Valdus’ voice too wasn’t the baritone she was used to. It was gruff and almost like a growl, but still raspy and she could hear the rumblings from his chest. It was so feral and animalistic.

“I can hear you,” Valdus growled, “and I can smell you.”

Valdus’ feet stopped in front of the bed, and he crouched down. His face looked like that of a wolf, his eyes were hooded, and nose elongated into a snout. The eyes were red and wild, they met hers, and he brought his hand to her body.

Despite Valerio’s warning of staying still, a panicked Rosebud shrieked loudly and leapt out of the other side of the bed and ran away from him. Valdus’ head whipped towards her and his eyes narrowed.

“Why are you running away?” Valdus roared, “come to me!”

Rosebud shook her head, she wasn’t going closer to him. Her eyes went to the bathroom, maybe she could run over there and quickly close the door after her.

“No,” Valdus growled, “you are not going there. Come to me, soulmate.”

Busted.

Valdus took a step towards her and then another. Rosebud’s heart began to beat faster and faster. A thin sheen of sweat appeared on her forehead.

“You belong to me. Only me.”

“Please don’t come near me, I am scared.”

“You dare deny me?” The Beast grew even more murderous.

Rosebud fell on her knees, sobs escaping her lips. She joined her hands, a pleading stance.

“Please, my King, you are scaring me.”

When Valdus took another step towards her, Rosebud tried to flee. She had indeed never encountered a threat like this before. Panic flooded her veins, and she was acting on a primary fight or flight instinct. Valdus pounced upon

her, his claws piercing her skin, she tried to escape his fangs, but they painfully scratched her arms, leaving deep gashes on her supple skin. Rosebud cried loudly; the pain unbearable. She started to feel faint and nauseous. The pain was unbearable, the claws had gone in too deep. Her eyes began to droop, and soon she slipped into profound oblivion.

***

Valerio burst into the Palace of Ponds. His feet were quick, heart hammering against his chest he took two steps time and ran towards their room. He could sense the epicentre of Alpha Magnar’senergy, it had helped him narrow down their exact location within the palace.

His Alpha’s anger was lethal. He could only hope for the Queen’s safety.

The Queen.

Valerio was absolutely terrified for the Queen. How would she be holding up? Rosebud sounded scared on the phone. She was only a little girl thrust into a world of testosterone-fuelled Alphas, she had been sheltered her entire life, away from politics and the greed of the world.

Valerio had the urge to smack Valdus on his temple, but even the mere thought made him flinch at its repercussions. Over the past century, Valdus’ wolf had

lost all semblance of control. How wrong was he to think that the Beast was returning to normal?

It wasn’t unheard of.

Wolves harming their own soulmates. It was done in fits of rages, but never intentionally and followed by profound guilt.

But even these cases were scattered in history.

Valdus’ father would send Queen Yael away to the Moon Temple every full moon to save her from the wrath of his beast.

Not many wolves did that either, they thought their mates were most protected with them.

Valdus was one of them. But right now, he was the biggest threat to the Queen. The sweet and soft Queen who could never harm even the weakest creature in the universe, the Queen who was so hardworking and altruistic. Valdus had really hit the Mate lottery, Valerio wouldn’t also hesitate to say that she was way out of his league. Queen Rosebud was perfection personified.

And Valerio adored her endlessly.

Valerio walked into the corridor and stopped for a moment. The strong scent of blood hit his nose, and his heart sank.

Was it too late?

Valerio all but ran into Valdus and Rosebud’s room. The sight in front of him made him stop.

Valdus was kneeling beside Rosebud. Valerio stepped further towards them. Rosebud lay on the ground, her arms bleeding profusely. There were slight tremors in her body, Valerio crouched beside her, taking in the deep gashes on her delicate shoulders and arms. Tears

blurred his vision, and he blinked them away. His gaze moved to the King.

Valdus seemed to be reeling. The shock and horror on his face seemed to bring some sanity to Valerio. He couldn’t let his emotions get the best of him, they needed expert healers. The poison inValdus’ fangs could potentially damage Rosebud’s body, and he didn’t want that.

A maid stood by the doorway and Valerio walked to her.

“Contact the healers at the Capitol and warm up a tub of water and get as many wash clothes as possible. Also, ask the

local pharmacist to come with the best herbs and medicines from his apothecary. Do not delay!” Valerio relayed the orders.

The maid nodded and ran off to complete the tasks.

Valerio pulled his phone out and called up Carmichael.

“You need to be here, right now,” Valerio said to the dark witch before hanging
up.

This task was far more critical than anything Carmichael was doing.

Valerio walked to Valdus.

“Alpha,” Valerio whispered.

“Look what I did to her,” Valdus stared down at his bloodied hands, “I never thought I would have my own mate’s blood on my hand.”

“Valdus, you cannot...”

“There is no excuse for what I have done. I should’ve controlled my temper; I should’ve controlled the beast in me!”

“What you have done cannot be reversed.”

But Valdus didn’t listen to Valerio. He cupped his hands around Rosebud’s sweet face and placed a small kiss on her forehead. For the first time in Valerio’s life, he saw Valdus’ hands tremble. Tears streamed down the Alpha’s face like an endless fear. His shoulders were drooped, and the heavyweight of the guilt of his actions sat on his neck.

Carmichael appeared in front of them. He took the scene in, his deep-set eyes getting saddened. He sat beside Rosebud and then looked at Valerio.

Carmichael was a ruthless and cunning man, but even this dark witch had taken a liking towards the angelic Queen. Carmichael pressed his palm over her

forehead and whispered his spells. They were soft and in an ancient language. Rosebud’s body stopped trembling.

“At least she is free of the pain, we will have to wait for the healers to arrive. My knowledge in medicine is limited, but I will try to clean her up and do as much as I can,”

The maids rushed in with the hot water and towels.

“Close the windows and the doors. We don’t want anything infections resting on the Queen’s wounds. Alpha King Magnar and Beta Valerio, I will have to ask you to leave. I will be purifying the

room we don’t want any strong auras disturbing the Queen.”

Valerio brought the reluctant Valdus outside the room. They stood by the arches.

“I promise,” Valdus whispered. Valerio turned to Valdus.

“I promise to not go near her. I promise to limit my interaction with Rosebud. I promise to save her from myself and my beast.”

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