Chapter Sixteen: The Battle for the Crown
We all gathered around the courtyard at noon. I laced my fingers in between Seb’s as I stood by his side. He had been tense all morning and hadn’t said two words to anyone. I watched as Rayne floated in by herself with her head held high.
Cal walked in behind her, looking more serious than I had ever seen him be before. He walked to the middle of the courtyard and stared at Rayne. She nodded slightly and a small smile graced his lips.
The King walked into the courtyard next with the Queen trailing behind him. She looked at her sons sadly and hung her head. The King looked furious as he walked up and stood face to face with his eldest son.
“Calvin,” he greeted.
“Father,” Cal shot back, equally as cold. “I am here to challenge you today, for the throne. I, Calvin Winchester, have every right to challenge for the throne that I am the direct heir to. Do you accept my challenge or will you forfeit?”
The King puffed up his chest, “I accept your challenge.”
“I request that we fight in our other forms. The first one to pin the other or knocks the other out wins. I do not wish to fight to the death. Do you accept these terms?”
The King cackled, “To afraid to fight me to death, boy? Not brave enough? Not manly enough?”
“Do you accept?” Cal growled.
“I accept,” the King said.
Cal nodded, “Very well. I have asked, Sebastian Winchester the second to be the judge of our battle. Do you accept?”
The King nodded, “I accept.” I squeezed Seb’s hand tighter.
“Very well,” Cal said, “Sebastian, call it when you are ready.” Seb cleared his throat and looked down at me.
“Shift,” he called. At once, both men shifted into their wolf forms. Cal stood strong and tall, golden and pure. While the King was menacing and dark, a cold threat.
The two wolves immediately started to growl at each other. I noticed that both the King and Cal had let go of themselves and had let their wolves take over their bodies. Apparently, they both thought their wolves were better suited for the occasion.
The wolves danced around each other, snapping and snarling. They would dart at each other, testing on another for weakness. Both of their tails were low, so were their heads. Cal snapped at his dad, his tongue darting out of his mouth.
Rayne walked around the two wolves slowly and came to stand beside me. She reached down and took my hand silently. I could feel how tense she was. She was afraid for Cal.
“Take your sides,” Seb called. Slowly, each wolf back up to opposite sides of the courtyard. The whole time they moved, their eyes did not stray from their opponent.
“Begin,” Seb yelled. Instantly, the two wolves were moving. They moved so fast they were nothing but blurs. Snarls and snaps echoed throughout the yard. A high pitched whine from Cal rang through our ears and Rayne’s hand tightened on mine.
“It’s alright,” I whispered to her. She stared straight ahead. For a moment, both wolves stopped moving and surveyed each other. Now that they had a chance to really test each other out they were going to go for the kill now.
“Come on Cal,” Seb whispered. “Come on.”
Cal stepped forward and the King danced back. As quick as lightning, the King lunged forward and bit into Cal’s right leg. Cal’s leg folded so that it was resting on his knee and he whimpered.
“Cal!” Rayne shouted. I held her tighter, warning her not to move. I looked up at her to see a frantic expression on her face.
“It’s alright,” I assured her, “It’s just until one of them is pinned.”
Cal stood up straight again and ran forward, charging right into his Dad and knocking him onto his back. The King twisted and was back on his feet in seconds, not allowing Cal to pin him.
Cal didn’t let his Dad breathe and went after him again, jumping over him and then nipping at the back’s of his legs. The fight continued with each of them getting at each other. I noticed that as the fight went on the King gradually got slower and slower.
“He’s going to outlast him,” I whispered to Seb.
He nodded in agreement, “My dad won’t be able to last much longer.”
“Come on, Cal,” Rayne chanted. “Come on you can do it.” Cal charged and sunk his teeth into his Dad’s shoulder before quickly dancing back. He then struck at his Dad’s front leg and slammed his body into his Dad’s. He was like a cobra that struck fast and hard before darting backwards.
The King made one last attempt to charge but was stopped short when Cal slammed his right shoulder into his Dad’s shoulder. The King flopped backwards and landed on his back. Cal wasted no time in pinning him to the ground. The King wriggled around but in the end, he was unable to get back up.
I thought seeing the King defeated would bring happiness to me. But watching the King’s eyes slowly fade from black to their regular colour made me feel saddened. The King breathed out a long sigh and flopped down to the ground, no longer struggling.
Cal got up and stretched up on his back legs before letting out a long, loud howl of victory. A new King had been dubbed. The old King looked lost as his wife hurried to him and assessed his injuries.
When she had made sure he was alright, she stood and took of her crown. She walked silently over to my sister and handed her the crown she had once worn. My sister reached out and took it with shaking hands.
“Calvin, I hope you know what you have done. I hope you know what this will mean for your future,” the old Queen said to Cal. Cal nodded and allowed his mother to run a hand along his golden fur.
“Good luck, Rayne Hope,” the old Queen said.
My sister nodded, “Thanks.”
“Bring them some clothes,” Seb ordered a maid. She scampered off and grabbed two sets of clothes that someone had prepared. Both the King and Cal shifted back and pulled on their clothes.
As soon as Cal was Cal again he ran over to Rayne and picked her up in his arms before swinging her around. She laughed briefly before pushing him off of her. He grinned at me and hugged me as well.
“King Cal,” I addressed with a wink.
Cal grinned, “Yeah, I’m King Cal now.” The old King stumbled forward, his old crown in his hands. Cal turned to face him stiffly with a cold expression on his face. Slowly, the old King placed his crown on his son’s head.
“All hail King Calvin Winchester!” someone shouted. All at once everyone bowed to Cal. I noticed that Seb was still standing and shot him a look.
“Seb, you’re supposed to bow,” I whispered to him. Cal smiled at everyone but his smile dropped when he noticed that Seb never bowed to him.
“Sebby, you know I hate formalities but you are supposed to bow to me to show your respect and to pledge your allegiance.”
Seb nodded and looked down, “I know that’s what I’m supposed to do, Cal.”
“I, Sebastian Winchester the second, challenge King Calvin Winchester for the throne. I request that we fight in our other forms and that—”
“Wait what?” Cal hissed, “Are you seriously doing this right now?”
Seb nodded, “I’m sorry, Cal, but I know you don’t want this. It’s always been my dream.”
Cal shook his head, the crown gleaming on his head. “I am doing this for you, don’t mess it up, Sebby.”
“I, Sebastian Winchester the second—”
“You really want the throne?” Cal questioned.
Seb nodded, “I am willing to fight you for it, brother.” I could not believe Seb was doing this. I had thought I was off the hook for the whole ruling thing and now Seb was challenging his brother. He had never even mentioned this to me.
“Are you sure?” Cal asked Seb lowly.
Seb nodded, his jaw tensing. “I have been preparing since you left. For years I have wanted nothing else. I know I can do a good job and I want to prove it to everyone. I want this.”
Cal nodded, “Very well,” he said, “It’s yours.” Seb was frozen, and so was everyone else. Cal reached up and took the crown he had just won off of his head. He placed it on his brothers and smiled.
“As King Calvin Winchester I herby dub, Sebastian Winchester the second the official King of the werewolves of North America.” He leaned in closer and whispered, “I hope you’re right about this.”
Rayne took the crown off of her head and laughed, “Thank the Goddess this thing is off of my head. It’s freaking heavy.” She turned to me and grinned, “Congrats, little sis.”
She placed the crown on my head and I was unable to speak, “I—I—uh—”
“All hail King Sebastian Winchester the Second!” the same person from before yelled. Everyone bowed and Sebastian reached down to take my hand in his. I slowly pulled my hand away from his and looked down. He had planned this behind my back with no regard as to how I felt about it.
“You just don’t get it do you?” I whispered harshly. I turned around and stalked out of the courtyard and into the castle. I reached up and yanked the crown off of my head. I stomped up to my room and threw to the side before flopping down on the bed. There was a quiet knock at the door and a maid popped her head in.
I groaned, “Please don’t call me that.”
The maid blushed, “I just wanted to tell you that King Sebastian is on his way up. If you don’t want to see him I can tell him not to come.”
I placed my hands on my eyes and shook my head, “No, it’s okay, he can come.”
The maid bowed her head, “Very well.” Five minutes later the door opened again and Seb walked in silently. I hadn’t moved and was still covering my eyes with my hands.
“Serena, what’s wrong?”
I sat up and shook my head, “What’s wrong is the fact that you challenged your brother for the throne without telling me beforehand. You just went and did what you wanted without talking to me first. Why do you constantly do this to me? You just take all of my power away from me.”
Seb frowned, “I thought you wanted me to be King?”
“I do—I did. I don’t know. When I heard that Cal was going to challenge your dad it felt like a weight was lifted from my chest. And then when Rayne put that crown on my head it felt as though it weighed a million pounds.”
Seb looked down, “I’ve been waiting for this my whole life—”
“And I’m happy that you had this planned for yourself, Seb. Really, I’m truly happy. But—I didn’t plan this or want this. I mean, when I was fighting for you to be King, I somehow forget that I would be Queen. It’s—it’s just a lot or responsibility. I’m still a teenager, Seb.”
Seb looked down, “I know—I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to go behind your back I just though that this was what you wanted.”
I looked down at my hands, “I’m not sure what I want. I mean, you can’t have forgotten about the prophecy right? The big dark cloud that has been hanging over my head since I got here?”
Seb sighed, “No, I haven’t forgotten. But you don’t have to do that now, you’re Queen so you can do whatever you want.”
“We both know prophecies always come true, Seb.”
“But the Black Luna hasn’t rebelled yet! Maybe it won’t be for years, the Goddess didn’t exactly put a time stamp on it.”
I licked my lips, “Seb, I think I need some time to be on my own. I haven’t gotten any breathing space from you since I got here. I need—I need some time to think.”
“You’re leaving me?” Seb asked, sounding hollow.
I looked up at him, “I love you, Seb. You know I do. But I can’t stay here, my thoughts are clouded and I need to sort out what I want before I can move on. Do you understand?”
Seb nodded, “I get it. You don’t want this life. You don’t want to spend it with me.”
I pinched the bridge of my nose, “You are blowing it out of proportion now. I just said that I need some time. I need to go back to my pack, see them, be with them. They’re the people I spent seventeen years of my life with, Seb. I miss them all.”
Seb put his hands on his hips, “Is this really what you want?”
I nodded and folded my hands together, “It’s what I need Seb.”
Seb refused to look me in the eye. “Then go.”