The light filters through the heavy black drapes hanging over the full wall of windows. I hear the birds chirping, the gentle breeze blowing and all the other noises one might listen to on a beautiful spring morning.
However, for me, it was not another beautiful day. No, for me, it was another lonely day. My heart was as heavy and cold as the bluestones that made up this castle that I resided in.
Nearly a century had passed since I became the sole survivor of my race. Don’t get me wrong, every day I am surrounded by people, but they aren’t my people, not really. They are my subjects, people I have reigned over for far too long.
I pulled the heavy covers up over my head. Not today, I did not want to do this again, but alas, a sharp knock echoed around the room, followed immediately by the door being opened.
“Are you awake my Alpha Queen?” Karla asked, though she already knew I was awake.
“No go away, I am staying in bed today” I grunted back. She chuckled.
“As lovely as that sound, you know you cannot do that, Mali, you are needed.” She walked over to the heavy drapes and threw them open, flooding the room with light.
“Why must it always be me, Karla? I am tired of this life. I no longer wish to hold this heavy crown.” I heard her gasp, but she just did not understand the burden, no one did.
I was the only living Lycan still in existence and, therefore, it fell to me to become the ruler of this place. Yes, I was a member of the Royal Family, but that did not mean I wanted to rule.
Reigning over the Werewolf packs had become tiresome. I had no issues with the Werewolves, in and of themselves. Hell Karla, who was my Beta, was a werewolf, as were my other trusted leaders and staff.
The packs, however, had started to challenge my leadership and wanted to do things their own way instead of listening to my laws, which were set in place for their own benefit, not just for the sake of it.
“My Alpha Queen, please do not say that you know how much we need you. Perhaps you just need a break, you have not had any time off in… well, forever. Why not take a week off and travel to another Kingdom?” she said.
I sat up. My interest piqued at the idea. It had been far too long since I had been anywhere, outside of this kingdom.
“Who would run the Canidae Kingdom whilst I am gone?” I asked her, knowing full well she was more than capable of dealing with things for a few days.
“I think I could handle things for a few days and, of course, if anything urgent came up I could get in touch with you.” She stated, I noted the desperation in her tone.
She hated me being so down and the thought of me leaving permanently weighed heavily on her. “OK, I will go on a break, please make the necessary arrangements,” I said as I climbed out of bed.
“Of course, my Alpha Queen,” she said, smiling brightly. “Where would you like to go? I need to advise the leaders of the Kingdom that you are coming.”
I stopped mid-step towards the bathroom. I rubbed my chin, as I thought about where I wanted to go.
“The Felidae Kingdom, it has been many years since I have been there. Yes, I would like to go spend time among the many species of felines that live there.” I said, muttering mostly to myself.
“Um OK, if you are sure, then I shall reach out to the Werelion King who reigns over the Felidae Kingdom and make sure he is fine with you entering and spending time there,” Karla replied.
“I’m sure,” I said, and headed towards the bathroom. Karla leaves to make the arrangements and I go about my morning routine.
Once I am dressed in my signature outfit of this current generation, namely a pair of black bootleg jeans, a black long-sleeve button-up shirt and black eight-hole Doc Martins, I head to my office.
I called one of the wolves that worked in my castle and asked her to pack me a bag for a few days. I know I am lazy, right, but they were paid handsomely to work for me.
I sit at my desk and look at the pile of paperwork I should probably sort through before I leave. A knock sounded on my door; I could smell it was my Gamma.
“Come in” I stated, while starting to shuffle through the pile. Ward, entered. He was tall, solid and quite handsome and he was one of the very few males I allow in my castle, only because he was openly gay and had a mate.
Lycan females, especially those in power and who were unmated, gave off a pheromone that drove male werewolves, mostly unmated ones, absolutely bonkers.
Ward comes over and plonks down on the chair opposite me, it groans under his bulk. “So, when do we leave?” I look up at him and c**k my head in question.
He sighs “Do you honestly think that the only surviving Lycan, our Alpha Queen, would get away with leaving the castle without guards? Seriously Mali, you should know better.”
It was my turn to sigh heavily. I leaned my elbows on my desk and placed my face in my hands. What was the point of getting away if I was taking them with me?
“I know that look, we will not hinder you, we are there purely as backup, just in case,” Ward says. I scrubbed my face with my hands.
“Fine, but no more than four. They must be mated, and this will include you and your mate.” Ward did not look happy but nodded. He and his mate were our top two warriors.
I had offered Ward’s mate Ramon the position of Delta, but he refused. He said he did not want both him and his mate to be ranked.
That is what he says, but secretly I think it is because he enjoyed the freedom to just train warriors and indulge in his passion for baking in his spare time.
Ward leaves me with my paperwork and, not too long later, Karla knocks and walks straight in. I glanced up from my paperwork to see she had a notepad in her hand and was reading over something.
She sits down in the same seat Ward had not long vacated. I watched as she flipped pages and mumbled to herself before she finally looked up at me.
“Oh sorry, just checking I had everything organised. King Haidar said he would like to have you stay in the Palace where there is more security, which I think is a great idea.” She paused to judge my reaction.
I just shrugged. She breathed out in relief that I had not fought her about it, but the reality is I was a queen, and it did make sense to stay in the Palace.
“OK great, Ward has organised his guards and your bag has been packed, and a car has been organised. You just need to leave me a list of things I need to do or check on while you are gone.” She rambled.
I could tell she was nervous about the whole thing despite it having been her idea.
“Everything will be fine Kar; all I have left is to sort this paperwork into piles of what needs addressing straight away and what can wait until I return,” I said, shaking a pile of papers for her to see.
“Right OK, well I’ll let you get back to that and I’ll be in my office,” Karla said as she stood, she then left without another word.
It did not take me long to get the paperwork sorted. I signed anything that required my signature and left two piles on the desk with sticky notes on the top to say what they were.
I stood stretching my arms above my head, popping my back as I did. I wandered out of my office and down the hall to Karla’s. I waltzed through the open door.
“Well, I’m good to go. When was King Haidar expecting me?” I asked her. It was a full two-day drive to get to the Felidae Kingdom.
“I didn’t give him an exact time; I just told him you were leaving sometime today.” I nodded.
“OK, well, I guess I should be off then. Are you certain you can handle things until I return?” I asked.
“Yes, my Alpha Queen. Go have fun, relax and, hopefully, when you return you will be ready to serve for another few centuries,” she said with a smirk, though I could tell by her tone she was still concerned about me.
“Thank you, Karla, and do not worry about me, I will be fine. Now, how about you walk me out, Miss temporary Alpha Queen.” I smirked as her mouth hung open.
I linked my arm with hers and tugged her down towards the front of the castle and my waiting entourage.