Hatred without Reason
A/N: There is going to be some profanity in this chapter.
Danielle stared at her father’s figure, her eyes never leaving him for a second. She had long grown indifferent to his attitude towards her. She knew why he had stopped the ceremony, but after years of her good deeds being spoiled, she finally wanted to ask him why. Just how big a crime had she committed as a five-year-old for him to treat her like that?
“Daddy, mommy gave me new toys! Come pway with me!” Little Danielle held her doll and tottered into the room. At the mention of her mother, Jacob’s face snapped up and fire blazed in his eyes.
“Get out of my room, you little fucker!” He roared, pushing his Alpha’s Will on to his own daughter. “Who told you to enter an alpha’s room?!”
A scared Danielle ran out and back to her mother. Her mother, her unparalleled, beautiful mother who was her sunshine, was in her room, writing something in her notebook. Danielle walked up to her and pulled at her sleeve.
“Mommy,” she whispered, “what does fucker mean?”
“Who dared— ah, I see.” Ursula’s face fell with realisation. Gritting her teeth, she muttered, “It must have been that bast— your father.”
Danielle had a worried little frown on her face. She anxiously wanted to know what that word meant. Did it mean daddy now liked her? “Daddy said I was a wittle fucker.”
Ursula’s chest twinged with pain, looking at her hopeful daughter. “Let me tell you something, Dani.” She said gently. “That word is said by horrible people like your dad who don’t like seeing others happy. They are meanies.”
“But what does it mean?” Danielle stamped her foot, insisting on knowing.
“Oh, honey... It’s a bad word,” Ursula broke it to her finally. “Daddy was being very rude to you.”
Danielle’s face fell in disappointment. Habitually, she brought her thumb to her mouth. Her mouth turned into a sad curve and trembled at the corners. She was a good girl. She wouldn’t cry. And she didn’t like daddy anymore either.
“Daddy! Daddy!” Danielle screeched, hopping up and down. “I want mommy! Where is my mommy?!” It had been seven days since her mother had died but Danielle just wouldn’t believe it. Her round face was red with exertion and her arms were shivering with... fright or excitement.
“Brat, your mother’s gone to hell,” Jacob casually threw a remark, “and she is going to remain there. That’s what happens when a she-wolf doesn’t respect and obey her mate. Do you understand?”
There was a pause. Danielle froze. Her trembling became even more violent. “Mommy... mommy is in... hell?” she whispered.
“That’s right. She’s being boiled in a large cauldron and she is getting burnt alive.”
“No!” She snarled. “You’re lying!” A low growl came from her chest. Danielle felt as if a red hot pipe had been shoved down her throat. The next second, she felt as if she had been dunked in an ice bucket. The feelings made her want to scream but she was in so much pain, even a scream was out of the question.
Her hands and feet and teeth became more painful by the second. All of a sudden, her nails and her canines began to extend. Fur started growing on her little body rapidly. A crack was heard as her spine bent to transform into a wolf.
“Of course I’m not— oh my goddess. No, no, you... you abnormal creature! You can’t shift this early!” Jacob screamed shrilly, irrationally. “S-stop, I tell you! I forbid you from being as deviant as that mother of yours!”
Who could stop a change ordained by the goddess? Minutes later, an ash-grey pup kept tripping over its own feet, feeling more confused than ever. At a time that she needed a guiding figure, Jacob spat to the side and walked away.
That was the day she stopped regarding him as her father.
“So you’ve stopped crying for your mother, I see.” Jacob leaned against his chair, staring at his daughter who was a two-week-old wolf. She stood straight and stiffly. He winced at the thought. He stood up and walked around the desk. He reached out to place a hand on her head. “No, don’t flinch, I’m still your father, and I’m not going to hurt you. Now, listen to me,” he bent down to her height. “Your mother is dead and burnt to a crisp and all you have left is me. If you obey me quietly, we can live together quite well, see?”
“...” Jacob either didn’t recognise or didn’t care about the flames that raged in her eyes.
“I’m speaking to you, little bitch.” He casually threw the word in a dangerously soft tone.
“Yes, alpha.” The child said hoarsely. Mommy had told her that only if she was strong would she be able to do whatever she wanted. She would listen to mommy and become strong.
And become strong, she did. Five years later, she snuck out under her father’s very nose and ran away to the woods.
“Your Majesty,” Jacob addressed the king. “This woman who I’m ashamed to call my daughter has committed many irredeemable sins.” He paused, perhaps for dramatic effect. “She is responsible for slaying her own kin!”
“She killed a member of her family?”
“How ruthless of her!”
“Hey, hey, hey, he says and you believe?”
“That’s right, let’s wait and watch.”
The crowd instantly began its discussion.
Far away on another continent, an incredibly good-looking woman stood in front of the couch, sucking on a packet of blood. On the couch sat another gorgeous man. Both their attention was on the television set. Although they couldn’t hear what Jacob was saying, they could more or less figure out through his lips.
The man’s eyes narrowed. “You think she’ll be able to deal with it?”
The woman scoffed. “He’s a small fry. She could have dealt with him ages ago. But she is sentimental."
The man looked at her, puzzled. “Why are you so sure?”
The woman smiled softly. “Because she’s just like her mother.”
At that time, there was a knock on the door. “Night Empress, there’s someone here to see you.” The Night Empress turned to the door and smiled beautifully.
“Come in,” she said, her mere voice titillating all the listener’s senses. “A fabulous day, isn’t it?”
The king’s roar reverberated across the make-shift stadium. Thousands of people shrank back at the unwitting display of power.
The king’s eyes were now gold and Lycan was clawing from the inside to get out and end this man. “You better have a good enough reason to accuse and insult my mate!"
Jacob’s knees gave out and he collapsed on the ground, kneeling unconsciously. “My l-liege,” he drew up his courage and began speaking again. In his mind, he realised that he had underestimated the position his daughter had in the king’s heart. “What I speak is the truth. I have with me a detailed report of that and many other incidents.”
Danielle began to smile slowly, although there was no mirth in her eyes. It looked like her dear father had come fully prepared. She wouldn’t have expected any less of him.
Seeing her odd smile, Alex began to feel restless. How was she so relaxed? Did she have a counterattack? Did she have a proper defence? He began to rapidly ask these questions to her mentally. He only received two words in response.
Sensing him being fidgety, Warlock Everett said in a low tone, “She’ll be fine, believe me. Believe her."
Alex felt a twinge of annoyance. ′Do you know my mate better than I do?′ Apparently, he did. The king settled down his agitated self and turned to look at Jacob. The latter took out a few files and sheets from his bag and walked to the king, but he was stopped ten metres away. One of the guards took them from him and gave it to the king.
Alex started to read the report.
“Brutally murdered her step-uncle in cold blood... body mauled beyond recognition... feel grief for the passing of my brother-in-law by my own daughter... ran out of guilty conscience... subsequently killed all those sent to bring her back... murdered a count of three hundred and forty-seven werewolves... must contemplate whether she is suitable for the throne... ideally, she should be nurturing and motherly to the werewolves, but this kind of... personality will only bring ruin to the kingdom.”
Alex had killed before. In fact, his number was much higher than his mate’s. He knew Danielle was the serious type, who valued and even cherished responsibilities. He also knew she had the strength to actually carry out all that she had been accused of. But he just couldn’t reconcile between the Danielle he had come to know and this hard-hearted, cruel and vicious Danielle.
Of course, he had to take Jacob’s report with a pinch of salt. It seemed like his beloved had not been treated very well when under this alpha’s ‘care’.
He opened his mouth and was about to speak when someone beat him to it. Andrew approached and mind-linked him. ”Brother, Alpha Reece has asked for permission to come forth with the queen’s... half-siblings."
Alex was now curious. What was this twisted family dynamic? And where did Alpha Reece come from? He nodded. ”Permission granted."
Andrew called out loudly. “Alpha Reece Landon of the Opal Pack and alpha heir-apparent of the Jade Pack, Brandon Ward are permitted to approach the king.”
The sight that Alex was presented with was quite comical. That eighty-year-old alpha, Alpha Reece was being urged by the young Brandon to hurry up. Alex spoke in Reece’s mind. ”Getting on in your years, eh, Landon? Arthritis getting to you? Need a teenage boy to help you walk faster?"
Startled, Reece shot the king a glance and began walking with Brandon quickly. Something that Alex found even more curious was Brandon dragging his sister with him. In a second, they were in front of the king, bowing.
Jacob walked to his son quickly, saying, “Brandon, what are you doing here? This is a serious matter, not child’s play!” When he was five metres away from him, Reece, Andrew and the guards stopped him.
“Since he has volunteered to be a part of this... trial, Alpha Jacob,” Andrew emphasised, “he and his sister are now under royal protection.”
Embarrassed and furious, Jacob went back to where he stood. He occasionally shot furious glances at both his eldest son and daughter, but he didn’t know that Danielle herself was surprised by this. She didn’t want them anywhere near this mess.
“Alpha-heir Brandon, what do you have to say?” The king demanded.
Brandon took a look at his sister who narrowed her eyes at him. Chin up, she had told him. So, he drew himself up straight and spoke. “Your Majesty, my sister is blameless! I am not concerned about the death of our uncle, because he was a pervert, who didn’t even let go of his own niece, my sister, Naomi!”
“Nonsense!” Jacob nearly popped a vein. “Gerald was every bit an upright and honourable man! How dare you slander the dead?”
“I’m not slandering anyone, I’m telling the truth!” Brandon said furiously. “If you want to, ask Naomi. Your Majesty!” He turned to address the king. “Please allow Naomi to share her memory with you. She is the victim here.” He pleaded.
As if Alex would say no to that. He gestured for her to approach him. Naomi hesitantly walked towards the king. She scurried to him like a mouse and looked at Danielle.
Danielle, who hadn’t spoken the entire time, finally spoke up, “Mimi, you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to.”
Naomi hesitated and looked at Brandon, who nodded. Feeling a rush of courage from that nod, Naomi’s expression became firm. Her eyes looked determined and for the first time in her life, she was decisive about something. She held out her hand and Alex grasped her forearm. She stiffened but relaxed slowly.
“Just think about the incident, any and every detail. What happened before, during and after. I need to know everything to help your sister.”
Naomi nodded mutely and closed her eyes, following his instructions and recalling everything that happened on that fateful day. Alex closed his eyes, probing her mind. It was a skill that all werewolf monarchs possessed. Slowly, the memories flowed into his mind. He saw the man’s lecherous looks, he saw him pawing this innocent girl, he saw Danielle rushing towards them, shifting midway in fury and finally, he saw through the girl’s terror-filled eyes, the way Danielle ripped the pervert apart.
Alex approved. He felt a sense of pride about having her as his mate.
Once he read the memories, he released her hand and gestured her to go back.
He looked at the crowd who were waiting with bated breath. “As far as the murder of kin is concerned, my mate was justified, and I declare it a non-issue.”
How could Jacob have not known about his brother-in-law’s womanising ways? He knew that once Naomi showed her memories, it would all be over. So he latched on to the next issue. “It is regrettable that I didn’t know of my brother-in-law’s character. He had us all deceived.” Jacob lamented. “But Your Majesty, it doesn’t erase the fact that she is a mass murderer! Three hundred and forty-seven kills is not a small number!”
Alex felt a headache coming. He looked at Danielle tiredly. ”Sweetheart, I don’t think your coronation is going to happen anytime soon." He spoke in her mind.
“It’s okay,” she replied, ”as long as you haven’t changed what you think of me."
Andrew once again approached him and whispered with a bewildered look on his face. “The alphas of the Aquamarine, Turquoise, Sapphire, Amethyst and Topaz packs request your audience.”
“Granted,” the king said. He frowned, wondering what this was all about.
Danielle frowned, “What’s going on?” She mind-spoke to her mate. He shook his head, indicating that he didn’t know.
Soon, the smaller arena around the king was filled with alphas. “Yes, alphas. What is it that I can do for you?” He inquired.
The alphas bowed first. Alpha Wilson first stepped forward. He looked at Danielle and she nodded. “Grandfather, you didn’t have to come.” She murmured. Henry Wilson smiled, shaking his head. “You’re as independent as ever.” Turning to the king, he said, “My king, maybe my request is invalid because she is my blood-related granddaughter, but I wish to be her guarantor.”
There was a hushed silence. Guarantor? That was something no one would dare to do. If you were a person’s guarantor, you were essentially declaring that you believed in that person’s character; in that case, she would be acquitted of her crime for that one time. In addition, you would be completely responsible for any crimes committed by him or her in the future. So if Danielle committed any crime henceforth, Alpha Wilson would bear the consequences.
The other alphas stepped forward. “We would like to be her guarantors too, Your Majesty.”
“No. No!” Danielle objected sharply. “Grandfather, what are you doing? And you four, what is wrong with you? Do you realise what you have undertaken? How much of a liability I am? Besides, I killed them all in self-defence! I don’t need guarantors!”
Everyone ignored her. Alex looked at the alphas intensely, feeling green steam coming out of his ears.
He was jealous. There, he admitted it.
He hadn’t known that she had so many alphas at her beck and call. He didn’t know what kind of a relationship she had with the other alphas. In that one second, all kinds of scary thoughts passed his head. "Don’t be a fool,” Lycan sneered. "She’s yours and no others’."
He collected himself and nodded. “Alright, you five will be noted down as guarantors for Danielle Ward.” He looked towards a frustrated Jacob Ward and announced, “Danielle Ward is acquitted of all crimes that she was accused of. I have to remind some of you present that she is a member of the royal family. And any slight to her would be a slight to the crown.”
As Jacob was returning to his seat, Alex mind-linked him, in a warning tone. "I don’t know what you have against my mate, and I don’t care either. If you dare pull a stunt like that again, you wouldn’t want to face the consequences." Jacob’s face paled, losing all colour. He hurried back to his seat in the VIP lounge.
By this time, the crowds had calmed down, the issue had been sorted out. Everyone was ready and impatient for the main event to start. They all knew what was coming next.
“It’s time for the ceremonies to continue. Don’t you agree?” Andrew said, smiling.
The coronation was back on. Who knew what else it would bring?