Chapter Eleven: Chatting with the Queen of Wolves
For the two days I was a ball of energy. I floated around the castle, fiddling with things I most likely wasn’t supposed to touch. I helped the maids clean, much to their surprise. I couldn’t keep still, not with the thought of my sister and her army coming.
Every sound I heard was like a bomb exploding. I was constantly looking out of the windows, expecting to see hundreds of wolves coming towards the palace. Earlier on in the morning, there had been a scare on the grounds.
A lonely rogue wolf had stumbled onto the territory and there had been bells and sirens all throughout the castle. About fifty wolves went after the threat. Seb had rushed through the castle to find me and we were ushered into a safe room with the King, Queen and Cal. I thought it was ridiculous seeing as it was only one wolf, but it seemed to be procedure.
As we sat in the small room I wondered what it would be like when my sister arrived with her army, if they sent out fifty guards for one wolf, how many would be deployed for an entire army?
Now, I was fluffing the pillows on the couch for the second time that afternoon. I kept my eyes focused on the large bay window, watching the woods. Seb had been rather absent the last two days, he was often arguing with his father about royal things.
Cal too, seemed distracted. Something was going on with them, but I wasn’t sure what it was. I moved to the table and started to straighten the cutlery and rearrange the bouquet of flowers on the middle of the table.
“Miss Serena?” a maid called tentatively. I turned around and smiled, two flowers in each hand.
“Ma’am, you don’t have to do that. We are supposed to tidy the palace, not you.”
I smiled, “I know, I just have a lot of energy and nothing to do with it. Seb hasn’t been around lately, so I thought I would...” I stopped when I saw the concerned look on the maid’s face.
“Are you sure everything is alright, Miss Serena?”
I let my smile drop, “Nothing is alright.”
“Perhaps you should share your worries with Prince Sebastian?” the maid suggested. She had a kind smile on her face, and I felt compelled to trust her.
I grimaced, “I’m afraid to, I don’t know what he will say.”
The maid nodded, “He is your mate is he not, Ma’am?”
I nodded, “He is.”
“Than he will understand, trust me. He just wants to protect you,” the maid said.
I sighed and took a seat at the table. I placed the flowers down and put my head in my hands, “That’s what I am afraid of. You see—”
“Serena?” the voice was cold—detached. I sat up straight and was surprised to see Queen Winchester strutting towards me.
“Yes, Mrs. Winchester?” I asked.
She looked towards the maid and said, “Mindy, would you mind fixing that bouquet? It looks awful.” I felt a pang of hurt but brushed it aside as she said, “Serena? Come with me.” The Queen turned and began walking back the way she came, her high heels clacking on the marble floor.
Mindy—the maid—sent me a look and I smiled at her before following the Queen. She lead me to a small study that I assumed was hers and made me sit on a large, white couch. The Queen offered me some cookies but I politely refused.
“I want to apologize, Serena,” the Queen said quietly.
I raised my eyebrows, “For what?”
“For not being more involved with you, you are my daughter in bond.”
I nodded slowly, “That’s alright, you’ve been busy.”
“I shouldn’t be too busy to speak with the future queen. You see Serena, my husband and I have been ruling for a long, long time. And it’s finally time to stop, we’re tired you see. But the King is a stubborn man, he wants the best on the throne. And now that Calvin is back...”
“No! Seb has been working so hard to get the position,” I argued. I felt terrible for Seb, maybe this was what he and his father had been fighting about.
The Queen frowned, “I know, my Sebastian has been working relentlessly ever since Morgan passed. Calvin gave up, he left, but he is infinitely more wise since he left and my husband can sense that. Seb would be a wonderful leader, no doubt, but it’s questioned whether or not he can handle the responsibility. His mind is still heavily weighed down by the death of his sister, Morgan.”
“Seb would be a great leader, he’s eager to lead, he wants to make the werewolf society stronger, better. I’ve heard him speak of it,” I said.
“Calvin was destined for the throne, the only problem is he is mateless,” the Queen said.
I sighed, “Sebastian may not of been destined to rule, but he has worked hard to get it. I mean, I love Cal, he is amazing. But he left when things got hard, Sebastian was the one who stayed and fought through everything.”
The Queen nodded, “All of this is being taken into consideration, my dear. The King, Calvin and Sebastian have been arguing over it as you might have heard. Calvin does not want the throne, but he does not wish it upon his brother either. He thinks the throne and crown will ruin Sebastian. And he will do anything to stop that from happening, even if he has to ruin himself. It’s a burden I do not want either of my boys to have.”
“I would help Seb carry that burden, you can’t rip this away from him,” I pleaded.
The Queen sighed, “In the end, it is not my decision. The King will make the final decision. But keep in mind, Serena, he looks at the relationship between you and Seb. He sees the struggles and noticed Sebastian’s lack of control over you. The King is having doubts, but only time will tell how things play out. We will have to wait. But I did not bring you here to speak about the throne, I’m here to talk about you and Sebastian.”
I felt suddenly nervous, “Oh... what about Seb and I?”
The Queen smiled and sat forward on her seat, seemingly excited. “When can we expect pups?” I felt my eyes widen and nearly choked over my next words.
The Queen nodded, “Yes! Yes! Pups. I want grandchildren, Serena. And Seb has always wanted a big family! When are you two going to get started making the next line of royals?”
“We—um—we haven’t really talked about any of that...”
The Queen’s smile dropped a fraction of an inch, “What? Haven’t you two been sleeping in the same bed?”
I felt a rush of heat rise to my cheeks, “Yes, but that’s it—just sleeping. With a wall of pillows between us.” The Queen sniffed the air and nodded.
“Of course, your scent hasn’t changed. You’re still just marked.”
I nodded, “That’s how I want to stay, for a long time.”
The Queen’s eyes hardened, “Think about this Serena, maybe if you two seal the deal it will help Sebastian solidify his place on the throne.”
I felt my stomach drop, “But I—I’m not ready.”
The Queen chuckled, “My dear, Serena. You sound like a human! We have mates for a reason darling, we have our offspring young. Granted, the King and I had our children later in life, but that was because we didn’t find each other until later on.”
I felt my stomach flip, “What about the Black Luna?” I blurted out.
The Queen’s eyes narrowed, “Yes, of course. The prophecy, how could I forget? Your future and destiny must still be fulfilled, dear. “
How could I have deluded myself to believe that I wouldn’t have to go up against the Black Luna because Seb and I didn’t fight any more? How could I forget about the prophecy and my ultimate death?
“I’m going to die if I go up against her,” I said through unmoving lips. My insides felt cold. Between the threat of my sister’s army and the Black Luna, I felt numb.
The Queen sighed, “The Goddess has a plan for you, Serena. As she does for all of us.”
“This is honestly such bullshit. You want me, an un-shifted wolf, to go up against the Black Luna? How do you think that is going to work out? Hmm? What about the White Wolves? Why can’t they take her down?”
“We have just lost the leader of the White Wolves, Tate Peters is dead. One of the anti-wolf organizations killed him.” I froze, the White Wolves were the ultimate fighters among our race, almost legendary. To hear that one of them was dead was mind blowing. Most wolves thought them to be invincible.
“I can’t,” I said.
“You will,” The Queen argued, “According to the Goddess, you are the only one who can. We can try to prepare you, but we don’t know what the Black Luna can really do. The only one who knows is Daryn Reynolds and he knows how to make himself disappear. We are trying to track him. But the Black Luna has not risen to power yet.”
I felt as though I had just been punched. “Daryn Reynolds,” I repeated, my voice empty. My eyes glazed over as memories surface. “Daryn Reynolds murdered my Dad. And kept a paw as a trophy.”
The Queen’s face paled, “He has been murdering for a long time, and we have been trying to track him. It’s nearly impossible.”
“I won’t,” I said again.
“It’s not up for debate. Now, about the pups. Obviously you’ll have to have them soon—”
“I’m not having pups, I’m not fighting the Black Luna, and I’m not your god damned puppet!” I screamed and ran out of the room. I felt overwhelmed and out of my mind.
“Sebastian!” I screamed as I ran down the hall. I had no idea where he was but I needed him. “Seb! Seb!”
“Serena?” I turned to see Cal walking out of the bathroom.
“Where’s Seb?” I asked wildly.
Cal’s eyes widened, “Are you alright?”
“Sebastian!” I screamed, “Where is he?”
“In his room, I think,” Cal answered, “But wait Serena—” I didn’t stick around for him to finish, I just kept running. This time though, I had a destination.
I banged on Seb’s doors, yelling his name. Of course, he wasn’t there. I took a deep breath and ran my fingers through my hair. I realised then that my hands were shaking. I leaned against the doors and slid to the ground.
I wasn’t sure if I was crying or not, my mind was fixated on thoughts of the Black Luna, Daryn Reynolds and my sister’s army. I got up and sprinted down the stairs, still set on finding Sebastian.
I ran into a maid and knocked over the tray of empty glasses she had been carrying. They smashed to the ground and I cut my palms on the shattered glass. I got up and looked to the maid.
“I’m so sorry, but have you seen Seb?”
“The Prince?” She said as she started to clean up the mess I had made. I felt guilty about that but had to push away those feelings. “He was outside when I saw him last.”
“Thanks!” I yelled and turned on my heel. I ran to the backyard and happened to run right into Seb. He looked startled as I collided with him.
“I need to talk to you!” I all but yelled. I then noticed the collection of flowers in his hand. He saw me notice them and smiled crookedly.
“For you,” he offered, holding them out to me.
I ignored the flowers and watched as both his hand and smile dropped. “Serena?” he questioned.
“I haven’t been honest with you,” I started, “I’ve been lying to your face for three days.”
Sebastian tensed, “Go on,” he said stiffly.
“I never talked to my sister on the phone,” I told him.
He frowned, “Why not?”
“Because she wasn’t there.”
Seb looked confused, “Than where was she?”
“She was on her way here.”
Seb seemed even more confused, “On her way here...? What are you talking about?”
“That day when Cal let me use the phone without you knowing, I told her where the Palace is.” Seb closed his eyes and shook his head. The flowers nearly fell from his grasp.
“No, no, Serena, no. Don’t tell me this,” he pleaded.
“I told here where to find me, and when I called yesterday, she was on her way here.”
“No one is supposed to know where the castle is, Serena!” He already sounded angry and I hadn’t delivered the worst yet.
I sucked in a deep breath and said, “It’s not just her, she’s bringing a whole army too.”