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   Chapter 1 Long Live the King

Hunted Princess By kari Characters: 37977

Updated: 2018-07-15 19:59


A/N: Hi there! I'm Kari and welcome to my world! This is the first original story that I have ever written and I'm super excited to be sharing it with you. If you love it, drop a vote! If you have some comments on it, don't be afraid to speak out! I'm always listening for feedback and can't wait to see where this story goes. Without further ado, welcome to the Kingdom of Malmore.

Donovan

The King growled at his head of security slamming the file he had in his hand on the desk, "Fifteen years, full funding, full resources, and this is all you have to show for?! Absolutely nothing?!"

The Panther lowered his head in submission, "I apologize, Sire, but we have looked everywhere for the cub and have found no trace of her anywhere, much less alive."

Donovan hissed through his teeth, "Then look harder. That little brat has to be out there somewhere, I don't care if you bring back a picture of a rotting corpse or a skeleton. I want results. Now leave and go do something productive and useful."

The Panther and the three other shifters with him bowed and exited the room quietly.

"My love, why fret over your brother's missing child? It's been fifteen years, she has to be dead by now." A voice off to the side purred.

He looked over to where his wife stood by the window overlooking the palace grounds. She slinked her way over to him and draped herself on his side.

He closed his eyes, annoyed at having to explain himself again, "We don't know that for sure. I need to know if she's dead. With the possibility of her still being alive, my claim to the throne is invalid. Then all of this would be lost, " He whirled around and grabbed his wife by the throat, "And the only way my claim would be solidified is if you give me an heir, BUT YOU HAVE FAILED TO GIVE ME EVEN THAT!" He tossed her aside, her body slamming up against the wall and crumbling to the floor.

"I-I-I'm sorry my love, I've tried-" She whimpered, curling in on herself and averting her eyes, voice small and thick with fear.

He roared at her, feeling his claws and teeth lengthening, "I am not your love. I am your Alpha you stupid bitch! You don't even deserve to be called bitch, because a true bitch breeds" He stalked over to her, pulling her up by her neck and snapping his teeth close to her face.

She struggled to breathe and croaked out, "I'm...I'm sorry Alpha."

He tightened his grip, his claws pricking her skin and drawing blood, "So should I find another bitch to carry my heir? One stronger than your pathetic existence, one that will spread her legs for me and breed my son, one that wont lose every single child I put in her?!"

He snarled and tightened his hand around her neck. He could feel his shift very close to taking over, being fueled by the thick waves of fear rolling off his wife. She was terrified of him, her eyes wide and her hands struggling to free her from his death grip. His snarl turned into a grin as he enjoyed how she struggled to get away, how fragile she felt under his claws, how with one flex of his hand he could kill her.

"Alpha...please..." She went limp, eyes submitting to him.

With a growl, he released his hold on her, watching with red eyes as she slumped down to the ground. She kept her eyes down but bared her throat, the ultimate sign of submission a wolf could give. He let out a low rumble, pleased by how easily she would submit to him. He ran a clawed hand along her throat, enjoying the slight tremble of fear she gave.

"I'm sorry sweetheart, I let my temper get the best of me. But you must understand, I need you to breed an heir, that's the only way we can continue to be King and Queen. The other Kingdoms keep asking questions about the death of my brother, about the legitimacy of my reign, they won't surrender to me. I have to take them by force, which spills so much precious shifter blood, if I had an heir, they would bow down to me without hesitation, and chant "Long live King Donovan, long live the Prince". Isn't that what you want, sweetheart? To be praised as the Queen that provided the next heir?" He purred, kneeling down to his wife, petting her hair and pulling her into his lap.

She curled into his touch, "I try my Alpha. I try to bear your heir...I will try harder for you, my King."

He cradled her like a baby, and stood up, easily lifting her with him, "You need your rest before we try again. I need my Queen to be fully rested and healthy to carry my son."

His wife was curled against his chest, tears flowing freely down her cheeks. Donovan rumbled low in his throat and carried her out of his study to the hallway. Servants saw him and quickly averted their eyes and bowed to him as he made his way to his room. A fox maid he had never seen before opened the door for him, head bowed and stance submissive. He placed his wife on their bed, tucking the blankets around her and placing a brief kiss on her forehead.

"I expect my Queen to be well rested when I return. I will be back after dinner, you are to ask the servants for your food and stay here at all times, understood?" Donovan raised an eyebrow, trying to read her expression if she was going to continue to be submissive, or if she was going to have to be put back in her place again.

She continued to look down at the comforter, "Yes, Alpha."

He exited the room and locked the door behind him, "Make sure she doesn't leave this room, bring her lunch and dinner and use the servant's entrance for fuck's sake. I will be back late, make sure my dinner is brought here instead of the dining hall, " He commanded the young fox standing next to his door.

The fox nodded and bowed her head, "I understand, Alpha. Is there anything else you would like me to do?"

Donovan touched the young girl's cheek and forced her to lift her head and meet his eyes, "Such a pretty and submissive young thing. You're new here aren't you? What do I call you?"

Her expression paled and heartbeat quickened, "Vixen, your majesty. I just arrived yesterday...to replace the other maid that fell."

Donovan smiled, remembering the memory vividly, "Ah yes, such a shame that the human fell. They're so breakable...but you my sweet Vixen. You aren't so breakable are you?, " He hummed and continued to stroke her cheek, seemingly in a trance by how soft her skin was, "No...if only you were the right species to breed my heir...but I can't have a Halfling ruling my kingdom...no matter, I can still have my fun with you." He grabbed her chin roughly, eliciting a gasp from her and the sweet smell of fear to taint the air.

"Donovan! Let the poor girl go, we barely have enough help as it is. I don't want you scaring off another one." A voice called out to him from the stairs.

He let out a low growl before letting go of the maid, "Jameson, why don't you ever let me have my fun?"

Jameson walked up to him with a smile plastered on his face, "Because it is my job to make sure your...appetite doesn't get you in trouble." The Spark was dressed professionally, a black suit with a small pendant signifying his status as the King's Spark. "Run along little one. Do as you're told before the big, bad wolf eats you up."

The fox bowed and quickly disappeared down the hallway. Donovan's gaze followed her until Jameson cleared his throat.

"Yes, Jameson?" He bit out, annoyed at his adviser.

"Deadlines my King, deadlines. Lots to do in so little time, you will have more time later to harass your servants but for now, if you may follow me we have a guest in the downstairs study." With a snap of his fingers, a large booklet appeared in his hands. He opened it and began rambling off the meetings and press coverage they would have to do that day.

The words droned out to background noise as he studied the portraits along the hallway. All the past Kings and Queens looked down on him, their eyes staring blankly back at the pair as they made their way to the study. Donovan paused as he reached his brother's portrait, steely brown eyes holding him in place. His brother was dressed in his uniform, making his tanned skin appear darker as the dark blue jacket and slacks blended with his skin. Marcus' medals were pinned on his chest, his rank and shifting form on his arm, a dark furred cape draped on one shoulder, and his crown shining brightly on his head. His brother was standing with a hand resting on his wife's shoulder. A fair skinned woman with pale hazel eyes, her long dark hair pulled back, revealing her heart shaped face and slender neck. She was dressed in a lavish gown made of royal blue cloth to match her husband's uniform. Her crown laid delicately on her head, and a soft smile on her lips.

Donovan hated both of them.

"King Marcus and Queen Mae, a tragedy they were lost so soon into their reign, so young and full of life. Shame they didn't have a child, but then I would be advising a child...no matter, I don't like children anyway. And can you imagine having all of the Kingdoms united under a child's rule? Headache after headache, and the crown would have either been rich or bled dry." Jameson never lifted his eyes from the agenda in his hands, merely rambling his thoughts to avoid complete silence.

"The child would have been of age by now, you wouldn't be advising a child but a ruler of a united kingdom to wage a war against the rebels. Jameson, are you trying to anger me?" Donovan turned his gaze from the portrait to the Spark standing next to him.

Jameson flicked his eyes up to the King, snapping the booklet shut and tucking it under his arm, "Not intentionally, but you could have at least clued me into your grand plan to murder your brother and his supposedly dead wife so that I could create a nice front for you. Instead, you acted on your own and now here we are, meeting with the Tacoma Princess to beg her to unite with us to go up against the Greenland King and continue your rampage across the land until you are King of everything. This could have been much easier with much less bloodshed and much less headaches on my part, Donovan."

He growled, "Watch your tone with me, Spark. I am still your King."

Jameson rolled his eyes, "You don't scare me, Donovan. And you would be dead without me. Need I remind you, I was the one who helped you poison your father, locate your brother, and keep your mother locked in a tower? I'm the only reason why your pretty little head is still on your shoulders with a crown on it. Without me, you would have been over thrown three times and killed about a hundred more times, twenty-five of those by your own mother. Go ahead, kill me, and see how long you will survive."

Donovan swallowed hard, without the clever Spark, he would be killed in an instant. He owed much of his success and power to his advisor, and while everyone else was replaceable, Jameson wasn't. "Why are we meeting with the Tacoma brat instead of the King?"

His advisor sighed, clearly annoyed that everything he said had no effect on the power hungry king, "King Ryder and Queen Ann are busy dealing with matters in their own kingdom. They sent Amelia so that she may gain experience to take over when her parents step down. Amelia is a Halfling, half fox and half human and you are not to comment. She may seem young and impressionable, but she has her mother's wit and her father's sharp tongue. If we want Tacoma, we have to be civil, Donny."

He growled and continued down the hallway, his cape fluttering out behind him, "And after we meet with the Halfling?"

Jameson caught up quickly, opening the agenda again, "Let's see, after Amelia we have to plan your birthday tournament at the King's Arena, I have a list of fighters for you to choose from, and they are a really great bunch if I do say so myself. Then we break for lunch, have an interview about the anniversary of the death of your brother, and a meeting with the council about the treaties with the other kingdoms. After the meeting you are free to do as you wish, but please do keep away from the young girl."

The King rolled his eyes, he hated having to put up his front of a heart broken little brother and cry false tears for Marcus. But having to deal with fake emotions and with the dusty, old, Council of Elders, Donovan wished he could kill them all with a swipe of his claws. "Having to deal with all of the treaties falling through, I haven't been able to keep up with the askar fights like I normally do. And you know how much I love my askars, make sure you clear that week of the tournament Jameson. I want to be completely dedicated to the fights, not distracted by any of this mess with the kingdoms. Bring the folder of the fighters to the Dining Hall, I'll look them over while I enjoy my meal. Cut the amount of time I have to spend in the interview and I will meet with the Council as they wish."

His Spark quickly noted the changes and called over a servant that was standing off to the side. "Take this to the reporter in the throne room, and tell the chefs in the kitchen to have lunch served in the Hall."

Once they were alone, they continued in silence down until they came up to the closed door of one of the various studies located in the palace. Donovan hesitated, not wanting to go in and beg the Halfling just yet. He took a deep breath and calmed his inner wolf, silencing all the rumbling growls in the back of his mind. He could feel Jameson's eyes observing him, hand on the doorknob, waiting to see the fa?ade King appear.

He nodded once at Jameson, signaling him he was ready. Jameson opened the door and held it open for Donovan to walk through. He saw the Halfling princess laughing and speaking to the guards about a recent scandal dealing with a prince from the Rantock Islands. He focused his gaze on the guards and cleared his throat, catching the attention of the room.

"Princess Amelia, are these guards bothering you?" Donovan's voice chilled the air in the room.

The guards stiffened, immediately bowing and returning to their positions near the doors and windows. He flicked his attention to the princess, seeing her once warm smile harden into what Donovan called "the royal smile". The Halfling was fair skinned, with her red hair was in soft curls, framing her face and making her green eyes appear colder. She smoothed out the folds of her dress, but her eyes never leaving Donovan's. She was going to be a challenge.

"King Donovan, no these guards were not bothering me at all. They were merely keeping me company while I waited. I assume you did not expect to find me here?" She addressed him, her smile never wavering, and becoming more and more confident that she had caught the King off guard.

Donovan strode to the desk and sat down in his seat, gesturing for Amelia to take the chair in front of his. "Oh no, I was well aware of your presence here rather than your parents. Jameson could sense you the minute you walked in the door; it's rather handy having a Spark as an assistant. Please, sit. We have lots to discuss, with so little time."

He noticed her confidence slip a little as she sat in front of him, her hands clasped in her lap. "My father mentioned a treaty that you were proposing. A temporary treaty, giving you full use of my army so that you may overthrow King Bishop from Greenland?"

Donovan smiled coldly, "Yes that is correct, but it is not yet your army, Miss Amelia. You are not yet Queen." He enjoyed the game the little Halfling started.

Her eyes hardened, "I do believe they are still just as much my army as they are my parent's army. It's why they were comfortable with sending me, rather than postponing this meeting, Your Highness. Now, I do believe the use of my army is only beneficial to one side, and that is yours. Why should my kingdom help yours if this is your war, not mine."

He leaned back in his chair, "I merely wish to unite the kingdoms as my brother had wanted. This land was never meant to stand alone, not with the increase of attacks of the Roanoke clan. Together we stand a chance to finally eliminate our common enemy. With them gone, all of the exports and imports will no longer be harassed or stolen by those thieves. Plus your forests will be safe to begin the lumber industry again. That can't be accomplished without Tacoma's help. Besides, do you really want Sir Bishop to continue the weapons trade between his armory and the Roanokes?"

She nodded once, "You bring up valid points, but do you have proof that Greenland is supplying the Roanokes? My father heard that it was you funneling them weapons."

He raised an eyebrow, "And where did that rumor come from?" He glanced at Jameson who was standing off to the side, watching the encounter closely. Jameson caught his glance and nodded, opening the drawer in which the swords he planted on a Roanoke were stored.

Amelia noticed the movement and focused her attention on Jameson, "We heard the servants talking one night. It appears one of yours transferred with one of mine. We thought nothing of it at first, but it doesn't harm anyone to be safe."

Jameson placed the weapons on the desk in between them. "These were confiscated two days ago from the port, three of them tried to hijack a ship headed to the Islands. Notice the markings on the pommel? Traditional Roanoke markings, nothing different, it was the markings on the blade itself that we found interesting. Normally, blacksmiths leave their own mark when making the blade, and when they are stolen, the blades are reheated and the mark hammered out. These had the Greenland court blacksmith symbol still stamped on to them, and when we questioned the hijackers, all they said was that "Bishop sent his greetings" and refused to speak."

Donovan waved Jameson away after his explanation, "So you see Miss Amelia, it is not I who supplies the Roanokes, but Bishop. If he continues with this, it won't be long before he declares war and allies with the Roanokes. And I will not stand down to a King who works with thieves."

Amelia nodded again, "I'm sorry King Donovan, I didn't mean to offend you, but you do have very valid points. If you wish to have access to my army, you must understand that my kingdom will not unite with you. I will not surrender my crown to you. You may use my army but that is all. And you will only be using half of my army, I do not see why you would need full use of mine if you have yours and the Terra's army under your command."

Donovan was fuming internally, he needed Tacoma weak and vulnerable in order for his plan to work, "While you are correct that I have Terra under my command, they are still not too fond of having a new leader. Terra and Greenland worked closely with one another for centuries, I am afraid loyalties will be tested, and I will lose that battle. It is easier for me to command an army that has orders given by their leader to temporarily follow me, rather than force another army to listen."

Amelia stood, "I suggest you bring Terra's army here then and begin training. The terms of our treaty are as follows; King Donovan of Malmore will be allowed the use of half of the Tacoma army for the duration of his war against Greenland. He is not allowed to replace any of my commanding officers with his, but is allowed to have them train with his men and trade tactics. King Ryder and Queen Ann will not fund, but merely supply the war with men. Once the war is over and should King Donovan succeed, he is allowed first pick of the best lumber provided by the Tacoma lands, so long as we are not taxed for using his ports to export our product."

Donovan curled his hands into fists, but kept his voice and smile in place, standing so that he towered over the Halfling, "Seeing as I have no place to argue, I accept the terms of your treaty, on one condition. I take 10 percent of your income from your exports. Treat it as an apology for thinking I was the one who funneled weapons to the Roanoke clan."

The Princess flashed her dull orange eyes, extended her claw and sliced across her hand, "Fair enough, do we have an agreement?"

He mirrored her actions, flashing his red eyes to show his dominance, "Jameson, bring the document. We have an agreement."

Jameson brought over the document to the table, muttering a few words and causing the document to glow. The scent of magic wrapped around Donovan and Amelia, causing their eyes to glow bright and the shadows of their other forms to reveal themselves. Behind Donovan stood the outline of a large black wolf, red eyes glowing fierce and a snarl etched into his muzzle. Behind Amelia was an outline of orange, signifying she was a Halfling fox. The two royals each placed their cut palm on the document; the magic pulled the blood down to their names and burned into the contract. A chill ran through Donovan, his wolf howling at the flow of magic through his veins.

A loud snap startled the wolf out of his trance, turning and growling at the Spark standing beside him. The Spark eyed Donovan before snapping his fingers again, sealing the magic and ending the spell. The wolf retreated back to its resting place, rumbling at the back of Donovan's mind. The Halfling's eyes returned to their emerald color, a hint of fear tinged her scent, making Donovan's mouth water.

"Is something bothering you, Princess? You seem frightened. Have you not done a blood treaty before?" He grinned, taking his seat once again as Jameson stepped away from the desk.

She sat down slowly, her eyes fixated on Donovan, "I had heard stories, King Donovan, of your...massive wolf."

His eyes flashed red again, enjoying her inability to regain her composure, "Ah yes, I hope it lived to expectations. I would be more than happy to show you exactly what I look like in my wolf form, would you like to see?"

Amelia's eyes widened in fear, she opened her mouth to speak before Donovan interrupted, "No? Well then, perhaps another time. I'm afraid, Miss Amelia, that I have other prior engagements that need attending. The work of a King is never finished. Please feel free to explore the grounds, or to ask my chef to make you a meal, I'm sure the guards are more than eager to escort you. Pleasure meeting you Princess, I hope we do meet again."

He stood and strode out of the room, leaving the Halfling sitting stunned in the room. Jameson followed him out, closing the door behind him and walking fast to keep up with the King.

"Well you handled that fairly well, besides scaring the Princess half to death! Dammit Donovan we talked about this!" Jameson scolded him, brow furrowing as he stepped in front of him to try and stop him in his path.

Donovan growled at Jameson, pushing past him, "You called up the spell Jameson. You know that kind of magic forces us to show our other forms. And the Halfling doesn't have any other form; all she is used to seeing is the weak, pathetic fox form of her father. She doesn't know what a real Alpha looks like, and now she does. That isn't my fault, that is on you!"

"Yes, it always seems to be my fault doesn't it. My apologies my king, it won't happen again." His voice dripped with sarcasm as he followed the king down the hallway to the stairs that lead to the Dining hall.

"Attitude Jameson. I understand I may have crossed the line, but she needed to understand whom she was dealing with. The little Halfling brat, she thought she was in the position to push me around and make the treaty. Now she will know better than to test the wolf." Donovan continued down the stairs, lecturing Jameson who followed closely behind.

"All I will say is, be careful Donovan. We have enough royals and councils questioning us as it is. We don't need any more questions." He said as they reached the bottom level of the palace.

"I am careful. Now do you have that potion, Jameson? The last one still resulted in a miscarriage, that's four miscarriages since we started with the fertility potion. I need an heir before more questions are asked about my legitimacy, especially if our little problem is still out there." Donovan entered the Hall, watching the servants scurry away as they finished setting the table.

Jameson sat down next to him, pulling out a vial from his pocket, "Yes, this is as powerful as they come, but you have to wait a week. That's the only way it will work, if you give it to her now and fuck her senseless, the spell will self destruct and kill her. It needs time to be absorbed into her body and adapt itself to her. By the time the full moon rolls around, she should be fine for breeding."

He took the vial and studied the purple liquid inside, "Pity, I wanted to fuck her senseless after dinner tonight. Must I wait a week? If she dies, I could just find another girl willing to spread her legs for me, it wouldn't be hard."

Jameson began serving himself pieces of the ham that was sliced for them, "You can do whatever you want before you give her that potion, but I do not want to deal with another cover up. And besides, you would legally have to wait one year before taking another wife remember? If you sire any heirs before that one year, they are bastard children who can't take the thrown."

He frowned and placed the vial in his pocket before serving himself, "Ah, right. That pesky little tradition, dusty old council still refuses to revoke it, but they were all for Halfling rights. Stupid old shifters, most of them aren't even coherent enough to wipe themselves." He cut up the ham, savoring the flavor that covered his tongue. He remembered when caught the boar on a hunt, the feeling of his teeth sinking into the boar's neck, and blood spilling into his muzzle. His wolf rumbled in delight, eager for another hunt.

"Donovan, here are the profiles for the Askars for your tournament. Plenty from our own kingdom, and quite a few from the surrounding kingdoms, including one I find that would be interesting to have present at the tournament. But it is your birthday after all, so the final decision is up to you." He slid the folders over to Donovan, before continuing on with his meal.

He wiped his hands and picked up the folders, thumbing through every shifter before reaching a wolf. "Who is she?"

Jameson looked over and swallowed before answering, "She's the one that I found interesting to have at the tournament. They call her the Wolf Queen, or the Moon-Kissed Wolf, I've even heard the She-Wolf from Hell as ridiculous as it is. Her name is Siberia, she's a wolf from Albany, not too far from here actually. Her Trainer is August, a Spark of old magic. He's very fair to all of his Askars, and trains them hard, never had one this incredible for a while though. He's very "new age" unfortunately, one of the first Trainers to start the campaign for Askar rights."

Donovan raised an eyebrow, "How do you know all of this?" He continued to study the Askar's fighting history and breeding history. She was born into the Askar life, and has been fighting since she was a young cub. A purebred with a white wolf as full shift, she had gone up against fighters with twice the amount of experience and came out victorious in the arenas.

A sigh left the Spark's lips as he took a sip of wine, "August is family to me. He and his sister Rainbow, cousins of mine, my Aunt was very...traditional when it came to naming her children. For being the odd one of the family, he is fairly successful with his Askar's, he knows how to spot talent and harness it."

He chewed on is food thoughtfully, something about this wolf's features made him want to recognize her, "Interesting...I'm curious to see how she fairs in the tournament, I want her." He set aside her folder then continued looking at the rest, his eyes landing on the thick folder of a bear, "And this one, kills in four fights, lost only two, a Bear from Terra, putting her against him as an opening match would be just thrilling."

Jameson took the folder from Donovan's hands, "I would say this is more of an ending match than an opening my King. But it is your birthday, you may do whatever you wish."

He skimmed through the rest of them, "Perhaps you are right, but I do want to see them in the Arena together, make them the third match. Put her up against the Lion from the Isles, and the Bear against a Snake from the Icecaps for the opening match. The rest we will match as they go. I want all of these except for the Tiger from Greenland, the Fox from Monal, and the two Wolves from Rossen. They are too weak for my taste, and no Greenland fighter will be allowed into my arena. No Greenland representatives, understood?"

"Of course, I will send out the list immediately. We have more preparation to do for your birthday tournament, but now that the Askar's are chosen, the rest I can do on my own. What will the starting bets be? And the theme for the opening ball and Askar reveal?" Jameson pulled out a pen, blew on the tip, causing a ripple of oak to fill the air and placed the pen on the paper. The pen began to flow over the paper; writing down what Jameson directed it to write through the spell.

He sat back, pushing away his plate and snapping his fingers, a signal to his servants that he was done, "Make it interesting, something to do with bloodlines, or showing their form through attire. Trainers must wear formal clothing as always. And starting bets...50, I'm sure they can afford that."

The pen scribbled away, "Anything else come to mind? Otherwise its time for your interview."

He shook his head and stood, "Let's get this ridiculous thing over with, cry over my dead brother, deal with incompetent council, and fuck my wife before I give her this potion. Am I missing anything, Jameson?"

Jameson stood, grabbing the pen and folders from the table, "Harass the young fox?"

"Ah yes, my new play thing, send her to the guest room next to mine at midnight. After all, I have to wait a week before breeding my wife and a King has needs. I wonder what her fox looks like, perhaps small and dainty, or a fully mature Vixen as her name states." His words began to turn to growls the more he thought about what he wanted to do to the young girl.

"Donovan, your stench is killing my nose. Quit thinking of how you're going to claim the girl and put your mask back on, the reporters are waiting in the thrown room. And where the hell is your crown?" Jameson looked around before spotting a maid trying to sneak away back into the kitchen, "You! Maid! Go get the King his crown, it's in the upstairs study, here, follow this tracker, it will lead you to it. Hurry!" A ball of blue light flew out of the palm of his hand, the smell of oak once again returning to the air. The light sped out of the room, causing the maid to shift into her Tiger form and bound after it on all fours.

"Was that really necessary? I don't need that awful thing to cry about my brother." He rolled his eyes before stiffening at the scent that entered the room.

"It's the only thing that reminds them you're their King. An awful thing is what is wearing the crown, not the crown itself. You are no true heir to the throne, your father felt sorry for you, but I knew from the moment you were born there was darkness in your wolf that your brother did not have. You were never meant to be King. It should be Marcus' heir ruling the kingdom, not my second son." A low, growling voice came from behind.

Donovan faced the Wolf that entered the room, the Tiger that had gone to fetch the crown was cowering next to her back in her human form, "Mother, always a pleasure to see you. What are you doing out of your room?"

"This Tiger tripped the iron circle you laid at my door when she ran past it to find the crown. I thought now with my newfound freedom, I could see what else you have done to ruin the family name. Or perhaps you have finally decided to kill me? That would be pleasant, I could haunt your pathetic ass from the grave." His mother tossed the crown at his feet.

Jameson flicked his wrist, his magic catching the crown before it landed at Donovan's feet, "Marilyn, I believe it is time for you to return to your room. You are feeling exhausted, why don't you allow this maid to escort you back?" The sharp scent of moss filled the air as Jameson's voice was layered thick with his magic.

Marilyn growled and bared her sharpened teeth at the Spark, "Don't use your mind magic on me, Spark. I will rip your throat out with my teeth. I know your tricks, and I know what you have been feeding me to weaken me. Is this really what you have dwindled down to, Donovan? Using your Spark to keep me complacent? If you were a real wolf you would have killed me yourself. But no, you poisoned your father to kill him slowly, caused your brother to take his Mate and cub into hiding, ambushed your brother and killed him with your guards, and kept me locked away in a room because without me, no one would trust you. You're a pathetic excuse of a son, not even a wolf, I should have killed you at birth."

A roar vibrated Donovan's entire being. His claws lengthened, teeth bared, and eyes burning bright red. His skin was tingling as he tried to hold back his full shift, "How dare you speak to your king that way! I spared your life! You should be thanking me. All those years you favored Marcus over me, all those years you cooed over him because of his wolf and his heart and his plan for the kingdom. All of those years and you never once wanted me, you should've been the first one I killed."

The older woman growled, shoving the Tiger and Spark out of her way effortlessly, standing toe to toe with her son, "Here I am, kill me. Do it. I dare you to. I favored your brother because he was my son. He stood up for you, protected you, cared for you, and you had him killed because you were jealous. He was my pride and joy and you murdered him. If you're going to kill me, do it now. At least I will be with my family."

Rumbling growls rolled through Donovan, he clenched his fists, but didn't move to strike his mother. He couldn't bring himself to do it. As much as he wanted to, everything he did, he did it for her approval, to show how much of a wolf he was compared to his brother. "Get out."

His mother searched his eyes, claws and fangs receding, "I knew it. You are no son of mine. Tiger! Take me back to my room, the King is too much of a pup to deal with his mother."

The tigress bowed and followed the Queen Regent out of the room, shutting the door silently. The room was tense, the only sounds were the continued rumblings coming from Donovan's chest.

Jameson eyed the King warily, seeing how close he was to losing control, "My King..." He was answered with a growl, and immediately clicked his jaw shut.

Donovan was seeing red, his wolf was growling, skin crawling. He wanted nothing more than to give into the shift and run through the palace grounds and sink his teeth into whatever crossed his path, be it shifter, human, or animal. "Cancel everything, tell them I'm ill. I'm going to hunt, I'm going to fuck my wife, and I'm going to kill my mother."

The Spark spoke quietly, "Is that really such a good idea, Donovan? People will ask questions...more kingdoms will resist."

Another roar ripped through his throat, "Let them ask. Let them resist. I will show them who I really am. I will show them the Alpha that my brother never was. I will show them at the tournament, I will challenge the winner, and I will slaughter them in front of all of the kingdoms. Do you understand me?!"

"Yes, my King, as you wish. But I must insist that you calm yourself before you make any other decisions, you aren't thinking clearly and are going to ruin everything we have done so far." Jameson began layering magic onto his voice.

In a flash, Donovan had his hand curled around Jameson's throat, "Are you using magic on me? Are you trying to influence your King?!"

Jameson snapped his fingers, sending a spell swirling around Donovan.

He let go of him, coughing and growling as the sharp smell of moss suffocated him. He roared and let his control go, his bones morphing and skin sprouting fur. A large black wolf dropped to all four in front of Jameson, the head of the wolf reaching midchest to the Spark. Donovan was snarling at his advisor, furious that he caused him to fully shift inside the palace.

Jameson straightened his suit as he addressed the snarling wolf in front of him, "I apologize your Highness, force of habit. But there, go up and soil your wife the way you really want to, go and hunt the cute little bunnies hiding by the forest, kill your mother if you want. Do what you wish and I will handle the rest, I will tell the council and the reporters that you have fallen ill. You will thank me later."

Donovan growled, to furious to say anything else. He went over to his clothes and nosed the vial out of his pocket, he picked it up gingerly before prowling out of the room. He snarled at anyone that crossed his path, ears flat on his head, tail flicking and fur bristled. His claws clicked on the floor as he made his way up the stairs and to his room. The young fox maid's eyes widened as she saw his hulking form make his towards her. The sweet scent of fear tinted the air again, he rumbled, pleased by his affect on her.

Open the door young one. He projected his thoughts out to her.

She bowed her head and opened the door, heart beat slightly rising, and the fear become stronger as he passed her, making sure he curled his tail around her leg.

His wife was still fast asleep, curled under the blankets. He placed the vial on the night-stand next to her and nudged at her sleeping figure with his nose. She let out a sigh but curled tighter, not waking from her slumber. He let out a wolfish grin and padded out to the hallway. Come my sweet Vixen, show me your fox form, and let me get to know you better.

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