Just sent chapters 1 to 14 to the paid readers and uploaded on Patreon as well. I hope you guys enjoy them.
“Isabella, one final question. Let’s say the realm is on fire and you come across an old woman and an infant. You are capable of saving only one. Who will you save and why?” King Valdus asked.
Rosebud looked at Isabella with a worried expression. The Alpha King was absolutely ruthless with his questioning. He kept shooting one question after the other. He had no compassion whatsoever for the poor interviewee, but at the same time, Rosebud was grateful too. This grilling was required to find the right candidate. Her advisor and assistant needed to be ready at all times, armed with ideas and ways to get out of any situation. The Advisor’s primary job was to make the Queen’s office look better. Rosebud only realised how stressful the job was. Why did she think it was all only hair and makeup for the rest of her life?
“I would undoubtedly choose the infant. The question answers itself, Your Highness. The woman is old and will not be of much use to the state, whereas the infant has a future that can be of value to us.”
“Thank you for your answer,” Valdus nodded.
Isabella left the room. Rosebud turned to her mate. She brought her trembling hand to his bicep, initiating intimacy was still new to her. Valdus was a natural at it. She just hoped he didn’t mind her hand on his bicep.
Valdus seemed to like it because he placed his own on hers.
“My King, may I say something?” Rosebud asked.
Valdus was very intimidating and menacing. His mere presence was tyrannizing. Rosebud found it hard to do anything without his permission. Hiding Evanora’s location was getting even more difficult day by day. Her Mother’s true face seemed to reveal itself with each passing day.
“Speak freely, Rosebud,”
“How did you find, Isabella?”
Valdus looked up from the papers and turned to Rosebud.
“The important question is, how did you find Isabella?”
“I am revisiting my earlier judgement of her. She seems to lack compassion, My Lord.”
“You are absolutely right, Rosebud.” Valdus placed a kiss on her forehead. “I think we can call in Ramona and pray she is the one.”
“The Moon Goddess will grant you that wish, My Lord.”
Rosebud’s sweet answer earned her another kiss, but she craved for more. She craved one on her cheek and then on her nose and one on her… lips. Her own thoughts warmed her cheeks and swiftly reached for the glass of water.
Ramona entered the room with a natural sway to her lips. She belonged to the siren species, and her sensuality came to her naturally. Her blonde hair was tied professionally, and she held a neutral expression on her face. Valdus asked her the same question.
“Your Royal Highness, I will do my level best to save both of them. The older woman has contributed to this society, and it will be unfair to leave her to fight the fire. On the other hand, the infant cannot be left alone either. It is an innocent life that is yet to see the world. I will save them both even if it means endangering my own,” Ramona said, “as a representative of your esteemed institute it is my duty to serve the people.”
“You can save them both if you want, Ramona. But whom will you save first and why?”
“Because it has absolutely no idea on how to defend itself against this natural calamity. The older woman, while disadvantaged too, might be able to sustain herself for a longer time.”
“Thank you, Ramona. You may leave.”
Ramona left without question.
“I think you finally have an Advisor,” Valdus said
“I liked her answer. Although this question doesn’t have the right answer, I liked that she showed compassion. I want someone who serves the people. We are after all their servants,”
“You are absolutely right, Princess,”
Rosebud’s and Valdus’ meeting concluded after that, but there was a part of Rosebud that wanted to spend more time with her mate. She craved to spend time with him. Rosebud didn’t realise what overcame her, she held Valdus’ finger when he tried leaving her office.
“Don’t go,” Rosebud whispered.
If Valdus was shocked, he didn’t show it. This was very out-of-character for Rosebud. She was never needy. Valdus wrapped his arms around her waist and led her back to her chair. She delicately sniffed and looked up at him.
“I have a very busy day ahead, Princess. But I promise I will take you out somewhere nice for a hearty meal and then you can have your fill of me. Does that sound good?”
Rosebud nodded reluctantly.
“Where will we be going?”
“Have you ever been to the realm of human beings?”
Rosebud gasped and clapped her hands in delight.
“Will we be going to Earth?”
“We will, Princess,”
“I am so excited, my Lord, I have always wanted to visit the realm of human beings. It is all so fascinating. I have heard that they don’t even know that species like ours exist? Is that true, Lord?” Rosebud prattled.
“It is true, my sweet. And you will see that tonight,”
“And what should I wear to gel with them?”
“I am sure your new assistant will assist you with that.” Valdus patiently caressed her cheeks and answered her questions. Rosebud realised she was prolonging him from attending his meeting and gave him an apologetic smile.
“I think you must go for your meeting, my King,” Rosebud whispered, “we will continue our conversations in the realm of the humans. I am so excited.”
Valdus placed a small kiss on her forehead and walked out of the room. A few moments later, Ramona entered.
“Ramona, please have a seat,” Rosebud graciously welcomed her new Advisor.
Ramona took her seat and stared at Rosebud with gratitude shining in her hand.
“Princess Rosebud, I have to thank you for this opportunity. I am indeed grateful for this position, the prestige and responsibility that comes with this appointment is unmatched. Thank you for identifying me as a worthy enough candidate.”
“The King will only choose the best for me, Ramona. It is he you must thank,”
“I will do that whenever I meet him next. Princess, I would like to start with my duties at this moment, what can I do for you?”
Rosebud lowered her eyes and giggled.
“Well,” Rosebud trailed, “the King is taking me out for a visitation of a kind to the realm of the Humans, and as you c-can see I am not appropriately dressed. I was hoping if you could help me out.”
“Of course, Princess. What is the nature of this visitation?”
“The King is taking me out for a hearty meal,”
“Well, he is taking you out for a date, and I have just the outfit for that. Do not worry, Princess. I will dress you up appropriately,”
The conversation between Ramona and Rosebud moved to Ramona’s tasks. Owing to the nature of Valdus’ takeover, there was a lot of work that fell in Rosebud’s lap.
“The subjects are vary of the way King Magnar has taken over the Kingdom. They are used to a different style of ruling, they were governed by a ruler who was very religious and imposed strict restrictions upon his people. The Werewolves were not allowed to engage with their true selves,”
“What do you mean?”
“Princess, every Werewolf must shift on the full moon night. It is something that their bodies cannot ignore. The pain is excruciating, and their emotions are heightened. Over the past hundred years, the werewolves were suppressing their true nature by tying themselves with shackles to avoid the shift. They would rather take the pain instead of shifting.”
“But why? I was not aware of this at all?!” Rosebud asked.
“It is not my place to say, but over the past hundred years, the Werewolf Realm increasingly turned into an autocratic state. The realm became very backwards. The University of Supernatural has been very critical of the theocratic and backward governance of the realm. Many intellectuals have written extensive papers, all pertaining to it.”
Rosebud was shell shocked.
“Werewolf Realm, once upon a time, was extremely progressive. King Valdus’ forefathers encouraged their subjects to embrace their innermost selves, the wolves. No one suppressed their wolves, Princess. And mating was done for love. Only upon identifying your soulmate can you marry them but that changed too. King Edward’s government collected a roster of eligible candidates and matched them with their prospective candidates.”
“But, surely, the people must have a say?”
“No, Princess. To go against the roster was akin to signing your death wish. I am stunned that you are so unaware of the horrible practices going on in your realm.”
Rosebud lowered her eyes. Mother Evanora had purposely kept her away from the realm.
“What must I do to rectify?” Rosebud whispered.
“Create a relationship between the state and the people. The Monarchy must not be inapproachable. People should respect the King and not fear him. I suggest a royal tour as soon as you are crowned. A tour would send you around the realm where you will go to various packs and meet their members. As Queen, it is important for you to forge strong relationships with the other Alphas of the state.”
“That tour would take months,”
“It is necessary, Princess. You must also form a committee for an inquiry into all the malpractices going on under King Edward.”
“We will do this,” Rosebud said, “please make an appointment with the King. Tomorrow morning, we shall work on our proposal for this committee. Also, Ramona, I need you to send me those papers written about our realm.”
“I will do that, Princess.”
Rosebud stared at her outfit. It was so different from what she really wore. She wore a camisole top tucked in with a mid-length leather skirt that hugged all of her curves. Ramona brought her a coat and placed it on her shoulder. Her hair was open and reached till the end of her skirt. King Valdus liked Rosebud’s hair open and requested it to be styled in the same manner.
Rosebud picked her purse and slipped her feet in a pair of heels. Her shackles had been removed for the night, and it was an immense relief to her wrists and feet like an added weight had been taken off her.
“You look breath-taking, Princess,” Beta Valerio complimented her.
“Thank you, Beta Valerio,” Rosebud whispered.
Valerio made small conversation with Rosebud as he escorted her to the Palace garage. Tiger too trailed them, yelping whenever he felt ignored. Rosebud realised that Valerio, in fact, was once the Alpha of a pack before he was chosen as the Royal Beta. The position of the pack Alpha had then gone to his younger brother.
“My brother is dead,” Valerio informed, “he was one of the first few that revolted against Mother Evanora’s dangerous plans for the kingdom.”
“I am sorry,” Rosebud whispered.
“It is not your fault, Princess.”
“No, it is, Beta Valerio. I am sorry for supporting someone who clearly didn’t have the best intentions for this realm. It is very difficult for me to even digest that Mother Evanora preached such a distorted variant of Moon Goddess’ teachings.”
“And yet you hide her location,”
“I am sorry, Princess. I shouldn’t have said that,”
“You are right, Beta Valerio. But it is very difficult for me to change my loyalties. I have looked up to that woman my whole life, allow me some time to rectify my mistakes,” Rosebud defended herself.
“I understand, Princess.”
Beta Valerio led her through a door, it acted as a direct entrance into the garage through the palace. Rosebud stepped in through the door and walked towards the tall SUV. Around thirty soldiers stood by it along with her Soulmate, Alpha King Valdus Maynard Magnar. He wore a pair of jeans and a red button-down shirt. He looked very dashing.
Valdus opened the door for her and helped her inside. He sat beside her.
“My Princess, you look so beautiful, all the Earthly beings will fall on the ground. They will be awestruck by your beauty,” Valdus gently cooed in her ear.
“Stop it,” Rosebud giggled.
Rosebud was absolutely floored, Valdus had a way of making her feel so good about herself. He knew how to shower his affections and Rosebud was grateful for that.
“Oh, but I cannot. I have been given such a beautiful Soulmate. All my prayers and sacrifices to Lupus Magus now feel worth the hard work.”
Rosebud stilled at that moment, and Evanora’s words returned to her. The prophecy echoed in her brain. Valdus’ expression became worried, and he cupped her cheeks gently.
“What is it?” Valdus asked.
“Mother Evanora revealed a prophecy to me, on the day you captured the Moon Goddess’ temple. She said the prophecy was meant for you and that you were blessed by Lupus Magus himself upon your birth,”
Valdus didn’t say anything.
“What did this prophecy state?”
“When the Evil threatens the realm of wolves and lycanthropes. A soul-mate to the Evil will be born. She would be a bane for his anger and his violence. She will be pure as the lilies and sweet as its nectar. Her beauty will be the subject of many poems. Her heart will be big and made of gold. She would be dewy-eyed, guileless and unworldly. She would turn the Evil into good. But it will be a journey of pain and violence. Every Rose has Thorns, and every Wolf has Fangs. The Innocent will be blessed by the Moon herself, and the Evil will be blessed by the powers of the devil, the Lupus Magus.”
Valdus fell into deep thought.
“If this prophecy is true, then why did Evanora keep it to herself for all these years. She could’ve easily killed me, after all, I am the evil.” Valdus pinched his nose. “I will have to check the validity of this prophecy. This might just be a part of her grand scheme.”
“I just don’t understand the reason behind creating an elaborate scheme. What did Mother Evanora want to achieve?” Rosebud whispered.
Their conversation steered in a different direction after that. The car stopped in front of a thick forest, and Valdus helped her out of the car. Rosebud stared at the dark trees with apprehension and Valdus had to keep his arm on her shoulder to maintain her stead. It was natural to be scared. Travelling across realms wasn’t an easy task.
“My Soul, there are three ways by which one can travel between realms. First is a portal like the one in front of us. This one connects us to the Earth. Similarly, there are many portals connecting different realms. All portals are accounted for at the Supernatural Headquarters. These portals were created by the Gods and Goddesses when they were creating the Universe. It takes a lot of energy to create your own portal, it is an exhausting process and almost unheard of.”
“What are the other two?”
“The second is mirrors, although it is a very risky medium because mirrors are also used by evil spirits, and you may get trapped inside if you don’t know your way with it. I never travel the realms with a mirror, it is too risky. The third is exclusive only to witches. It is called the apparition.”
“Mother Evanora was an expert at apparition.”
“But apparition can only help if you have the permission to be in that realm. Most realms have strict barriers while some like the realm of the humans don’t have any barriers at all. You must know these things when you are travelling through any of the mediums, Princess Rosebud.”
“So, should we go through the portal?” Rosebud asked.
“There is one other thing that you must know about portals?”
“What is that?”
“There is a payment that needs to be given when you are travelling through portals.”
“Payment? To whom?”
“The Gate Deities. They guard the portals. You must give them a fee of some sort to travel through the portals.”
This was all completely new to Rosebud. She felt like a newborn baby, experiencing the world for the first time. Valdus held her hand in his and walked her into the forest. Rosebud didn’t know how to act, she didn’t want to be scared. She kept giving herself some strong mental pep talk. Her heeled feet stepped on the forest floor, the leaves crunched, and the twigs snapped beneath her feet. She walked extremely close to Valdus.
The crickets chirped, and the absolute silence seemed to bother her.
“Don’t worry, nothing is going to happen to you,” Valdus assured her.
The thirty-odd soldiers followed them, and they reached a particular tree. It looked rather old and worn. Its branches almost touched the ground and created a curtain of sorts.
“We would like to cross to the other side,” Valdus said in a loud and clear voice.
A face appeared on the tree trunk, and Rosebud all but hid behind Valdus.
“Fee, please,” a loud and gravelly voice spoke.
Valdus pulled out a small pouch and placed it at the feet of the tree.
“Thirty gold coins,” Valdus said.
“Don’t get greedy,” Valdus snarled in a low voice.
Rosebud gasped, Valdus just scolded a gate deity.
“Of course, my Lord,” the tree whispered and lifted its branches.
Rosebud saw the tree lift its branches. She saw a ring of fire hovering a few inches above the ground, only the flames were blue and leapt dangerously. Valdus motioned for one of the soldiers to go ahead of them. He stepped into the ring of fire and disappeared.
“Our turn,” Valdus whispered.
He held her hand and walked through the ring of fire.