I couldn’t shake my mind off of the encounter. With a drumming heart and my anxious snow leopard, Pax, I headed home through the dark and frozen forest.
Although what baffled me the most was the presence of the Lycan King in Zaeris, unannounced and in that odd hour. There must have been something serious that had summoned him here.
I did her best to push his thoughts out of my mind. I didn’t want to be paired with him- the ruthless monster. He wasn’t even a werewolf, he was a lycan- the King of Lycans. They were known to be very violent and callous.
I’d rather live all the songs alone than with him. His image was already spoiled but the fact that he tried to hunt my leopard even after knowing that it belonged to me just spoiled his reputation even more.
I wouldn’t tolerate anyone who threatened my snow leopard- be it my mate or not.
“Where have you been?” My mother asked me as soon as I stepped into my wing through the back door. It was already very dark outside but I knew that was the least of her concern but I couldn’t help wonder why did she sound so urgent.
“I was out for a run, mother,” I replied, concealing my shock. Although a part of me was tempted to throw myself in her arms and wail like a small child and tell her everything. I shuffled on my feet anxiously, wondering how she’d react to it. I wanted to tell her everything right then.
“Anyway, there’s a Royal dinner tonight and you have to be present there with your father. Get ready quickly,” She told me while hurrying me to my room. It didn’t take me long to guess why this dinner was called so suddenly.
It was for the Lycan King. I didn’t feel like seeing him for the second time tonight. My chest bubbled with anxiety while my mother started rambling about things I didn’t care about. Meanwhile, she went through my closet to pick my dress to wear tonight.
“I swear if you show up to the dinner in old some trousers, I’d have to tell Arles to banish you from Zaeris,” She threatened while she laid out some beautiful dresses on the bed for me. A frown climbed on my face as I looked at the dresses.
They were really beautiful and colorful but none of them ever suited me. I felt ugly and out of place in them but my mother thought otherwise.
“Can I not attend the dinner tonight?” I asked my mother instead, slouching on the bed, “I don’t feel like going,”
“Why not?” She frowned. I opened my mouth to tell her about the Lycan King but nothing came out. Instead, I found myself shaking my head and lying to her, “I don’t feel well,”
She instantly asked me with concern, “What happened? Have you caught a cold? How many times I’d have to tell you to not be outside in the night for so long, it’s not good for you but you never listen to me. I am…” I groaned and slouched deeper in my bed as she launched into another ramble, “You never listen to me. You think you’re all grown up and a woman of your own but you’re only a hundred and seventeen years old, Celeste. You have so much to learn and…” I rolled my eyes as she continued and continued.
“Okay, fine. I’ll show up!” I snapped at her to stop her. She stopped for a moment and eyed me with her eyes in slits.
“I’ll be waiting,” she told me before walking away. I took a warm bath and found the dress she had chosen for me. It was a dreamy pastel blue dress with a greyish undertone to suit my platinum blond hair.
“That looks better,” She commented as soon as she saw me, “Let your hair down. It’s long and beautiful,” She spoke as she proceeded to undo my braids and comb my hair.
Meanwhile, Pax sat on my bed, looking at us curiously.
“You look so beautiful!” She fawned after she was done doing my hair, “I can’t wait until you find your mate,” she chirped, unknowingly giving a strong blow to my esteem.
I contemplated again if this should be the time when I’d tell her everything but I let the idea drop again. After bombarding me with a dozen more complements, we finally stepped out of my wing.
I let Pax stay in my bedroom because I didn’t trust Ezekyle or his men. I was sure he was after my leopard and he seemed like the person who wouldn’t stop until they got what they wanted.
I was anxious while walking to the Royal Dinner. I’d never felt this anxiety before. My mother noticed this and asked me several times if everything was okay. I lied to her every single time.
I found my childhood friends- Ares, Regulus, and Augustus just outside the huge ceremony hall where the dinner was supposed to take place. I sighed in relief knowing that they’d be there. They always kept me entertained and I felt safe around them.
The three of them were talking among themselves but they stopped when I walked up to them. They looked at me for a second longer. I grinned crookedly before the three of them roared with laugher.
My mother rolled her eyes at them before she disappeared to meet some of the witches who were also invited to the dinner.
“What’re you wearing?” Ares asked, choking on his own spit. I frowned, “Why? Don’t I look good?” I asked while the three of them recovered from their laughing hysteria.
“You do. You very look beautiful,” Regulus spoke up, “It’s just that we rarely see you like this,”
“Oh, thank you, Regulus for the compliment,” I smiled at him. He was the kindest and modest of the three. I turned to the other two and spoke, “and the two of you could go to hell,”
I slid my arm into Regulus’ and walked into the huge Ceremony Hall where the Royal Dinner was about to take place. The two of them followed us.
“Where’s Pax?” Augustus asked. They liked playing with my snow leopard too, in fact, Pax consisted majority of our childhood memories. I answered, “I’ve left him in my wing. I don’t trust the guests tonight,”
“This is so sudden. I wonder why he is here,” Ares spoke up, echoing our curiosity.
“I think he’s here to ask for more military cooperation. He’s expanding his kingdom more and more against the Dragons,” Augustus spoke and I couldn’t help but agree with his reasoning.
Ezekiel was known for his military powers and his notorious ways of expanding his kingdom. Some said that he was claiming back the land the Dragons had long occupied, some said he was just a mad King on a killing rampage.
I believed both.
“I feel like going to the mortal realm for some time. Anyone else interested?” Ares asked.
“Well, if you’re going then we’re bound to go with you,” Augustus spoke.
“For what?” I asked instead.
Ares shrugged before grabbing a drink, “I will be taking over the throne soon. There needs to be someone by my side,” Even though he spoke very casually, I didn’t miss the longing and grimness in his eyes.
He was a prince and very close to stepping up as the King of Zaeris. His urgency was justified and I knew we’d support it whatever decision he took or wherever he went to look for his mate. We’d have to go where we went.
Although I couldn’t help but wonder if Ezekiel felt the same urgency, the same desire to have a mate. he was a King, after all, a powerful one, leading one of the largest empires. There must be someone to help him. Although, I couldn’t imagine being that someone.
Thinking about him made my head snap towards the Royal balcony that overlooked the whole place.
It was still empty- the Royal Couple and the main guest hadn’t arrived yet. Although everyone else was already here, socializing.
“So how long are you planning to be gone?” I asked Ares next.
“I am not sure in the first place if I’d be allowed to go. I have a lot of duties here already and the King and the Queen wouldn’t be happy if I leave,” He answered.
“I think we should wait for a while,” I told him, “What if she stumbles into Zaeris? Or what if she is in Zaeris but she hasn’t been off age yet?” I offered but Ares shook his head in disagreement.
“I know she’s not here,” Was all he said. I wanted to ask him how he knew that but suddenly, a powerful howl pierced through the room, making all of us turn to the Royal balcony.
The Royal couple was finally there, with the guest. I clenched my jaw as I looked at him. I was sure that he couldn’t see me among so many people but I was proven wrong when his eyes locked with mine and a shiver ran down my spine.
double update :D