His Hybrid Queen

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Chapter 16

Claire

Though it was the best sleep that I had since I came to this place, I didn’t want to wake up. I was afraid if I opened my eyes, it would turn out to be just a dream. However, the feel of Victor’s warmth on my skin, the sound of his beating heart inside his chest told me it was reality. My cheeks heated with the memory of last night. He made me feel a pleasure I didn’t think was humanly possible. I couldn’t have imagined that. Not even my audacity at how I took the lead. I didn’t know make up sex could feel that good.

I skimmed my fingertips over the tattoos on his chest, wondering what it meant. Victor groaned in response and his arms tightened around me, letting me know he was awake. Engulfed in his musky and masculine scent, I was feeling content and sated. I didn’t want this moment to end, but reality was catching up. My mind has cleared from the lust and alcohol of last night, and I remembered why we fought and had to make up in the first place.

My mate pinched my chin gently and lifted my mouth to him. He greeted me with “Morning” before he brushed his lips against mine sweetly. The kiss ended quickly. Victor must have noticed that I was reluctant to return more than a peck. Mostly because of morning breath, but also of the inevitable confrontation that was coming.

“What’s wrong?” He asked when I started squirming in his hold.

“I don’t want you to take this the wrong way or misunderstand.” I said, and he narrowed his eyes at me.

I lifted myself a little and leaned on my elbow. I cleared my throat before I continued.

“I want you to know that it’s not just about me and you, and it has become a political matter. There are too many factors to take into consideration. Any wrong move and the other party would be offended and might start a war. I don’t want a redo of the fight with my uncle and put my pack in danger because of a diplomatic incident. The last thing I want is for innocent people to lose their lives. I…”

“Claire, spill it!” Victor interrupted my blabbering.

“You can’t stay.” I said, my voice barely above a whisper.

“Not this shit again!” He huffed and lifted the sheets abruptly.

“Would you listen to me and let me explain? Instead of yelling and blowing up like last time?”

I felt cold when he left the bed and pulled the covers to warm my naked body. Victor already had put his pants on and was holding his shirt when he whirled around to face me.

“Fine! I’m listening. Explain.” He said, crossing his arms over his taut chest.

It was difficult to think straight when he was standing there half naked and sexy, pinning me down with his penetrating gaze.

“For the record, I’m not breaking up with you. But we can’t be together for a little while.” I said, looking away. It pained me to stay away from him, but I couldn’t see how else I could keep him out of harm’s way.

“And why is that? May I ask?”

“It’s for your safety and everyone else’s.”

“Is that so?” Victor asked, rather sarcastically.

“Yes!?” I wasn’t sure what he insinuated.

“You mean it has nothing to do with your fear of commitment?”

“Of course not!”

“Do I need to remind you how many times you ran away from me? Literally and figuratively?”

“It may have been true in the past.” I admitted, looking back at my actions earlier in our relationship.” But, it’s not the case anymore. There is nothing I want in the world more than to be with you.”

“Apparently, there is.” Victor stated, and I cocked my head in question. “Power.” He answered simply.

“No, you’re wrong.” I shook my head vehemently.

His statement hurt me. Is that what he thought all this time? That I was power hungry? I rolled off the bed and wrapped my body in a robe.

“Haven’t you heard what happened at the coronation?” I asked him.

“Please enlighten me.” Despite the venom I caught in his tone, I walked closer to him.

“Some of the royals who were present that day claimed me as their mate. I rejected them, of course. However, one of them, Nikolai, wouldn’t take no for an answer. He even sent threat letters to force me to take him as consort.” I explained quickly for context.

“Should I be afraid of him or something?”

“You shouldn’t underestimate him. He’s a werebear prince for crying out loud!”

“Am I a lesser man because I’m not a prince or King?” Victor chuckled bitterly.

“I never said that! This is not about titles. He’s freakishly strong...”

“I’m strong enough! For both of us!” Victor yelled at me, visibly irritated. I was irritated, too. This conversation was going worse than I hoped for.

“He’s using dark magic. I found a lead for a protection spell, but I need more time…” I tried to reason with him, but he cut me off.

“You’re leaving me no choice!”

“Victor, please. I just need time. That’s all I’m asking for!” I pleaded, putting my hands on his chest.

“No! I’m done waiting.” He exclaimed, shrugging my hands off.

I braced myself for the excruciating pain. This is it. He’s going to reject me.

“I challenge you.” Victor declared.

“What?” I couldn’t comprehend what was going on.

“You heard me.” He said more calmly.

NO NO NO NO! I screamed in my head.

“You can’t.” My voice sounded strangled as tears started to prick me in the corner of my eyes. I couldn’t believe what was happening.

“I can and I will. Watch me.” He replied confidently before heading to the door.

“Victor! Wait!” I started after him, but he didn’t spare me a glance.

In a blink of an eye, he was in the hallway. As was everyone else. The triplets, Severin, Gardenia and other staff members along with the guards and some guests from last night.

Their eyes seemed to zoom on me, and I tightened the sash around my waist. I suddenly felt conscious of my nudity underneath the robe, as well as my bed hair. It was like the walk of shame, but I was only standing.

Victor turned slowly, looking at the gathered wolves one, by one.

“I, Victor Rinaldi, former Alpha of the Millennial Pack,” He started with a loud and clear voice. “Challenge the Queen Alexandra Kaiser,” he said my name through gritted teeth and pointed at me, “for the position of Alpha of the Royal Pack.”

Everyone present was stunned into silence. I could hear nothing but my heart beating in my ears. Victor sauntered away after declaring the challenge, and the crowd dispersed soon after with hushed tones. Whatever the reason of their presence, they got more than what they bargained for. The Beta family remained, as well as the guards on duty.

The brothers’ expression matched my own, but I couldn’t say the same for their parents.

“Aren’t you going to say something?” I turned to my so-called counselor.

“Like what? Your Majesty?”

“Is there anything we can do to stop the challenge from happening?”

“No, any Alpha could be challenged for his position. And the challenge should be performed before the next full moon, which is tonight.” Severin said coldly.

“Can’t you just be in my side for once?” I asked, frustration rising within me.

“I’m afraid not. It’s a werewolf law. I can not change it.”

“You’re fired!” I said, barely holding back from spurting profanities.

I returned to my room, and slapped the door violently behind me. I wanted to scream. I wanted to yell. I wanted to cry at how fucked up my life was. I was going from one nightmare to another. But I didn’t have the luxury to wallow in my misery. I had a challenge to prepare for.

***

The weight of my responsibilities kept me away from training properly since I became Alpha. So it would have been foolish to go without preparation, no matter how confident I was about my abilities. I had a sparring session with Ollie, since I trained with him before. He hinted at my openings and weaknesses, but he held back his punches, so I didn’t exhaust myself.

It was time too soon for my taste. To warm up, I ran toward the training arena where the duel was to be held within the palace grounds. Victor public declaration made it impossible to keep things private or talk him out of it. It also meant that there will be many people watching. Too many to count. It was a lifetime event, after all, to witness a high stake challenge like this one.

I stood in the middle of the arena dressed in a tight sports gear. Victor was twenty feet away from me, wearing a T-shirt and sweatpants, unbothered by the cold or the wind. Local werewolves and visitors surrounded us from a safe distance. They all came to see the show of how my life was falling in shambles.

The head fighter reminded us of the rules: we should fight until one of us submit or dies, no weapons were allowed. Other than that, everything else was permitted, low blows and moves that were otherwise prohibited in sports.

No matter how this fight was going to end, I was going to lose either my mate or my crown. I swallowed at the realization. Not in my wildest imagination would I have thought that will come a day we’ll have to spill each other blood. I hoped that it won’t get that far, at least, and finish this fight before it could even start.

The head fighter, announced the start of the duel before he retreated quickly.

“Submit!” I voiced an Alpha command, loud and clear.

Victor twisted and cracked his neck, then chuckled.

“That trick won’t work twice, sweetheart.”

I would be losing my mind if I didn’t notice the crowd exposing their neck in response to the command. I didn’t have time to think what his resistance could mean, because Victor started marching with heavy steps. If he wants a fight, that’s what he’ll get. He started this, but I’ll be the one to finish it.

I propelled myself forward and we collided.

Victor countered my punches and kicks without breaking a sweat. I wouldn’t say that he taught me everything I knew, but he knew most of my moves. I needed to change tactics. I unveiled my scent and aura, so I could focus all my energy on that power I had deep down inside me.

My senses were heightened, multiplied even. I could notice the slightest movement and the ripples it made in the air. I forgot all about the wrestling techniques and switched to a mixed style. Though I could predict Victor’s movement better, he seemed to match my moves with ease and speed.

I went for a roundhouse kick. As expected, my opponent caught my leg. I pushed on my other foot and used the momentum to land my elbow on his neck. It did nothing to him. It was like I hit a rock. He only smirked in reaction, mocking me, as if I had tickled him or something. A second later, he grabbed my arm and swung me around as if I was a rag doll.

He sent my flying after he threw me unceremoniously. I rolled to lessen my fall and landed on all four. I took a crouching position, preparing for my next move. I knew my mate was strong and had remarkable martial skills. It was one of the reasons I admired him. But I didn’t know he was this strong.

I never lost a fight before, and I had no intention of starting now. Even before I was a werewolf or an Alpha, I didn’t back down once from a challenge. No matter how hard it might be.

If I couldn’t beat him in human form, I had no other resort but to shift to my wolf. That’s how I defeated the previous Alpha King. After reassuring her that I won’t hurt our mate lethally, Athena came to the surface. I still had control as my body grew in size, my bones snapped in place and white fur sprouted and covered my skin.

A few agonizing moments passed before Victor started shifting. I wished if our wolves could’ve met under better circumstances, but this is what things have come to. My eyes widened at the shifting process of my mate. It wasn’t like my own or any of the others I have witnessed. The final form wasn’t like anything I’ve seen either. My wolf and I planted our feet to the ground, resisting the weight of the beast’s heavy aura.

If it wasn’t for the books in the restricted section, I wouldn’t have known what I was looking at. The tall furry beast stood on two feet, perfectly balanced like a man. He was a mountain of toned muscles and had long limbs. Coarse black fur covered his body and was sparse around his chest, revealing a hard, leather-like skin.

The realization hit me like a fret train. My mate was a Lycan.

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