Chapter 1: The Party

1719 Words
-Ronan- “Ronan! You came!” Colum placed his hand on my shoulder and smiled. He knew better than to try to hug me, even if we were friends. He did try sometimes, just to annoy me, but tonight nothing should ruin his night. Tonight, we were celebrating because we were welcoming a new alpha into this world. He had just had a son with his mate Cira and had invited every alpha and every luna in the country to come meet him. This was a big day. It always was whenever a vampire or werewolf was born. We were all a dying race, no longer ruling this earth as we all had. Now the humans did, and those who knew of our existence certainly loved to make trouble for us or remind us of the power we didn’t have anymore. I was often the one who had to meet up with them. We did a lot of business with the humans. We had to find a way to coexist with them, so, of course, we did. However, they were so very annoying. They had no true feeling of loyalty. It could be quite frustrating. Sometimes I did have to remind them, we might not have the same power anymore, but I was still the king. I was still the last hybrid, and I did not treat those kindly who thought they could somehow control me or trick me. “I couldn’t miss a night like this,” I replied. And I really meant that, but not because we were friends, but because it was required of me to be here. It always was when a highborn was born. Status meant a lot, as it always had, and it had always been required of the king to be there when a child of status was brought into the world. “Funny. We both know you don’t want to be here,” Colum remarked. At least, he knew this. He saw right through my words, but we both played our parts, and he brought me over to where his mate was, surrounded by people, some there to protect her and others interested in seeing the little pup in her arms, only a few months old. Cira and I knew each other well. She smiled when she saw me but knew better than to act all overly excited like she did with the rest. We couldn’t forget many of us here had a part to play. Life was one big theater. At least that was how I saw it. “My King,” Cira greeted. I had known Colum much longer than Cira, and while he could call me by my name, it did not mean she could. She knew that, and she knew we weren’t as close as Colum and me. “Congratulations,” I said, as we stopped in front of Cira. The little group around her had quickly made room for both Colum and me. Cira smiled back thankfully, but we all knew I didn’t want to be here. Every party like this reminded me of the horrible day where I had lost my mate and my own son. If I could, I would have locked myself away, but sadly, the world couldn’t accept the last breathing hybrid alive locking himself up and withered away. I was the one who had to lead. I had to stay strong. Even after I hunted all of those down who had been part of Adrianna’s death, I still had to continue living. “If you will excuse me.” There was no one who stopped me, as I quickly disappeared from the big group, and went to the nearest exit to get some air. Why did every party feel so suffocating? I thought as I came outside, stopping on top of a small staircase that led down to a garden, that was covered in darkness. “Here.” I looked to my left, seeing Enzo holding out a glass filled with what I hoped was scotch. I grabbed it without saying anything and emptied what was inside. Yup, that was exactly what I needed. “Just say the word and we will leave,” Enzo offered. Many things had changed over the many years I had been alive, but some things stayed the same. Enzo had never left my side. We had known each other for many, many years. We met when we were both young men, and he had been a lord’s son, who wished to fight as one of my warriors. The king had always handpicked his own warriors. People he knew he could trust. I always knew I could trust Enzo. There had never been a doubt in my mind. He was a strong vampire, and one hell of a fighter. However, the best part was that he hated these parties as much as me. “I can’t,” I replied. “You’re the king,” he reminded me. “You can.” “Not when it is Colum’s party. I promised I would be here,” I explained. Enzo didn’t seem to really think it mattered what I had promised to Colum, but maybe that was because Enzo had been there the night that I lost her. Colum hadn’t. Enzo knew how much this truly pained me, even if I had grown quite numb after losing her. “You came,” he said. “Now we can leave.” I shook my head and met those dark eyes that all vampires had. My own were red as blood, showing the potency of my bloodline—a silent warning to keep a distance. “No,” I told him. Enzo sighed and looked at the dark garden again. “Just say the word,” he reminded me. I looked over my shoulder, seeing all the people inside having a great time. I couldn’t remember the last time I had actually felt joy or simply had a great time. I had lost the ability to when I lost Adrianna. She had been the love of my life, and she and I were going to raise a family together, but then that dream had been taken from me, and I knew I would never get anything even similar back. There were no more hybrid females out there, and while there were plenty of women to choose between, who all wanted to be the next queen, I couldn’t. Some of the more powerful families were really pushing me to choose because they hoped it meant their daughter would be the next queen and would inherit my power. As a hybrid, whoever I claimed would be connected to my life force, which meant also my powers, but I didn’t want to share such a deep bond ever again. I had tried it... and it was the worst thing to ever happen to me. “We just need more to drink,” I pointed out. “Perhaps then we can actually enjoy ourselves.” Enzo looked at me again and smiled a little. “We have tried that.” That we had. At too many parties, but it took too much alcohol to get us truly drunk. It would take all night for us to really succeed. “We could try again,” I suggested. Enzo nodded once before he took the glass from my hand and then disappeared into the crowd. He knew I didn’t want to go inside again, so I was glad he did. I stood there waiting for him, when suddenly, someone approached me. “My King.” I looked over my shoulder, seeing an older alpha coming closer to me. I recognized him from The Werewolf Council. Both vampires and werewolves had their own councils where they took care of different kinds of things related to their communities. I was often invited to those meetings since it sometimes required my voice too. “I hope I am not interrupting you,” he began, his tone indicating a sense of caution. Everyone knew I cherished my solitude, but I couldn’t afford to be rude. “No,” I replied, gesturing for him to continue. “I wanted to talk to you about something,” he said, closing the distance between us. His demeanor was unusually tense, as if he were bursting with something to share but reluctant to divulge it outright. It irked me. I preferred straightforwardness. “About?” I prompted, raising an eyebrow. “Not here,” he insisted, casting a wary glance around. I regarded him with confusion. “Come to our next council meeting. It seems like they might have been keeping some secrets from you,” he revealed cryptically. His words left me intrigued and somewhat incensed. Secrets? What secrets? I mused internally. “Only people with a death wish keep secrets from me,” I asserted, a hint of menace creeping into my tone. There was something unsettling about him—too gleeful about the knowledge he possessed. I was tempted to pry it from him. “Just come to the next meeting. I think there is something you should know,” he urged, his expression unreadable. “Why don’t you just tell me?” I demanded, stepping closer, my patience wearing thin. He smiled almost cruelly and shook his head. “It would be best to wait,” he insisted. “Why?” I pressed, my frustration mounting. “Because not everyone thinks you should know yet,” he replied. “Know what?” I growled, taking another step forward, ready to confront him, when Enzo suddenly materialized beside me. “What is going on here?” Enzo interjected, his presence commanding attention. The man in front of me, though an alpha, appeared visibly unsettled by Enzo’s arrival, revealing his lack of true alpha power. “Just come to the next meeting,” he said hastily, sensing his disadvantage. “I am not invited,” I reminded him. “You’re king. You don’t need an invitation,” he reminded me before hastily making his exit. “What was that about?” Enzo inquired, handing me my drink. “I don’t know, but I think I will find out soon enough,” I replied, the mystery of the encounter lingering in my thoughts.
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