Bound by Duty

By The Crimson Quill All Rights Reserved ©

Fantasy / Drama

I Do, But Only If

Suddenly, werewolves all over the continent shifted into their wolf forms and came out of their dwellings, howling into their air. Millions of howls filled the air, as the wolf-kind celebrated getting a Wolf Queen, their luna regina. It was their instinct to call out to her and show their respect and in that moment, all wolves bowed their heads in submission, showing their respect for her.

A hushed silence then fell over the room. All those present realised that they were seeing a historic occasion, McCall brought the man responsible for documenting the king’s life and made him take a photograph. This was one for the ages. Their king and their new queen were oblivious to anything happening around. The rest spoke in reverent whispers, hushed tones.

Sean felt his heart settle back into his chest. He also felt strangely unsettled. His best friend was now the Wolf Queen. He thought about the implications of this incident. He thought about what she would be responsible for. And slowly, he seemed to understand why she could be as nurturing by calming people down as frightening when she beat him up nine times. He was sure that was not the extent of her frightening demeanour.

The people who had knelt had not risen. McCall coughed once next to the couple. Alexander broke away from their trance. She, too, stepped to the side. Alexander smiled at those kneeling. “Rise,” He commanded. Everyone rose to their feet and continued to look at them in awe. Alex turned to Sean with a wide smile on his face. He put one hand around his shoulders. “I’m not afraid to spill the beans, Alpha Grant. There was no bloody royal inspection. Mate hunting, that’s what I was doing.”

Sean both sighed in relief and stiffened at his king’s touch at the same time, although how that was possible only he knew. “Congratulations, Your Majesty.” He wished his king. At this, there was a chorus of ’Congratulations, Your Majesty’s all around. Everyone was eager to be a part of their king’s life.

People made space around Danielle, not daring to touch her now that she was the queen. She accepted their congratulations uncomfortably. She usually disliked attention on her, but she managed.

As she smiled queasily at some of them, a hand slipped around her waist. She jumped, startled. He smiled comfortingly at her. “Ladies, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll have to steal her away from you.”

Amidst the gushing, he pulled her away from the crowds and mind-linked Sean to take them to his office. Grace followed them into the office. She asked, can I get you something, Your Majesty? Something to drink perhaps? Juice... or maybe champagne?”

Alex raised his brows in surprise. “That’s a great idea. Bring out some champagne, we might pop a few bottles.” He grinned cheekily, “I’m in the mood for it.”

Grace turned to get the bottles herself, but Sean stopped her. “Don’t walk around unnecessarily. Tell one of the others to get it.” Grace rolled her eyes and mind-linked Cole to bring the bottles. And some glasses too.

They got themselves seated. Alex pulled Danielle with him into the love seat in the room. She acquiesced to most of his demands mainly because she too wanted the same things. Only one thing was running on her mind. She was mated to the king. She was mated to the king. She was mated to the king.

Didn’t this mean that he himself would put her on trial? And with all the false, incriminating evidence the other side was sure to produce, wasn’t he going to personally prosecute her? Then wouldn’t he punish her accordingly? Wouldn’t he become a laughingstock — the queen of his choice was actually a criminal. She was not. She was not. But they would make her out to be.

Although she was only twenty-one, she would rather run her entire life than bring him shame.

She didn’t know much about him, the person. She did know a lot about him, the king. She knew that he was wise and just but terrifying when he wanted to be. She had heard legends about him while she was growing up. He seemed to have grasped the perfect balance between being feared and loved.

He seemed perfect. She didn’t want to be the one to taint him. So some complications had to arise in that case.

She sat quietly, thinking about her prospects from now on. Strangely enough, she had accepted quickly that she was queen and she was ready, looking forward to, even, the responsibilities that came with it. She had a feeling that she was enough and more for the role.

This wasn’t her being arrogant, but her instincts demanding this confidence of her. Certainly, she was contradicting herself with the anxiety and nervousness that came with mating the king. Her main concern was, would he be nice? As naive as the wish sounded. But it was a young girl’s hope. For her mate to love her as she would love him.

Shaking her head, she returned to the present, looking at the two men staring at her amusedly. “Something wrong, love?” Alex asked with an entertained expression on his face. She didn’t blink at being made fun of.

“Shall we get to business, then?” She said briskly. The two were taken aback but Alex approved of this calmness.

“Of course. I’ll call McCall in.” Before his sentence was finished there was a knock on the door. It was Magical McCall who could understand his king’s every need. Well, most needs. McCall bowed to his king and queen who he had swiftly accepted. It wasn’t his place to accept or not accept anyway.

He asked her, taking out a tablet, “Your full name, please, ma’am.”

Alex frowned. “McCall, you will address her as Her Majesty.”

“It’s alright,” Danielle murmured, placing a hand on his thigh. He turned to look at her.

“No, it’s not.” There was anger at the slight shown to his mate.

McCall began delicately, “Your Majesty, the queen cannot be called so until the coronation. It’s protocol.”

Alex gave him a hard glare. “Who makes the protocol, McCall?”

“You, sire,” He submitted quickly. “Your Majesty,” he addressed his queen. “May I have your full name, please?”

“Danielle Fiona Arabella Ward.” Click, click, click, click.

"Found it," McCall muttered. “Danielle Ward, daughter to Jacob Ward and Ursula Ward. Has royal blood in her ancestry from both sides.” McCall yelped at this news. Sean’s eyes widened. Only the couple remained calm. Alex had already known she would have some royal blood in her. “Mother died when she was four years old from a rogue attack. She shifted when she was five years old. She left the pack when she turned twelve and it is unknown where she went. She returned when she turned eighteen to the pack. She is now twenty-one years old and was alpha heir-apparent to the Jade Pack. That was until nine months ago her pack and the Agate Pack declared her exiled. Since then, her location is unknown.”

Alex was feeling frustrated. His mate had experienced so many hardships, gone through so much. And he had been enjoying his comforts in the palace, the whole time. He turned to her and nuzzled his face in her neck, both seeking and providing comfort.

“Before we go into this,” Danielle hesitated, glancing at her mate. He looked up at her with concern.

“Speak your mind,” He urged.

“Before I agree to come back with you to the palace,” Alex tensed considerably. “I have one condition.”

Alex’s grip on her increased. With pursed lips, he said, “Name it.”

“If I don’t want to talk about a past matter, it will not be spoken about, at all.”

Alex narrowed his eyes. “And if I insist?”

“Then I won’t be joining you to the palace, Your Majesty. I know the terms are slightly unfair, but some things are best kept to myself.” Danielle stated simply. Her hands were in fists and her face was white as a sheet. Alex winced as she addressed him by his title.

There was a terrible silence for a few minutes.

“I agree to your condition,” he said finally.

Sean, McCall and Grace couldn’t believe what they were hearing. Was the king actually compromising? And to that absurd condition on top of that? Was he that smitten by now?

In fact, Alex’s heart had dropped to his stomach already. When she mentioned the condition, his immediate reaction was fury. It was his right to know all he could about her, not all he should. But seeing her unperturbed look, he realised two things. First, that she would not budge from this decision and even if he took her forcibly, it would not be a good start to the mating. Second, any woman who could stand his anger unflinchingly and face it head-on was either his mother or the woman made for him.

He understood this fact well. And so came the compromise.

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