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The Royal Den

The Royal Den

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The Royal Den is known only in legends as powerful, ruthless, and the home to mysterious power. Nobody knows why it suddenly disappeared without a word a millenia ago. When it suddenly reappears after an invitation from the feared Tempest pack, the continent is thrown into chaos. Beings once believed to be extinct make their appearance known and the wolf dominated society begins to fear what the power shift could mean for their reign. ~ Aurelia is known at the Shifter Academy - aptly and ironically named so- as worthless, beast less, and mute. Rejected by her mate the day he discovers her without so much as an attempt to know her or speak to her, she simply doesn't care. She isn't beast less but he doesn't need to know that. She is the beast in a pretty human package.

Chapter 1

It's the first day of my third year at Shifter Academy and I am already done with it. I woke up at the ass crack of dawn to go for a run in peace without any of the ignorant whispers and loud as fuck jeering at how worthless I am. I refuse to speak to any of these prejudiced ignoramuses. I know it just keeps the rumor going that I'm mute but I have nothing to prove to them.

I am the Alpha of the Royal Den and as the alpha, I have no need nor desire to defend myself against worthless words. It's not like they'd even believe me since the Royal Den is nothing but a legend now in their eyes since it disappeared from existence 1026 years ago. Truthfully, it was only gone for 1019 years ago. I reversed the spell that kept us in another dimension seven years back when I took the title but kept the illusion ward intact so nobody could bother my people while we adjusted back into this world.

In the other dimension, we were the only beings so none of us interacted with anyone outside the den. It was a peaceful place with lots of fertile land, untouched rivers, and livestock thrice the size of this dimension. However, even after a millennium, our magic and divinity never adapted to that world's wellspring. Though we didn't know that until I broke the spell.

I still remember the day I discovered the runes in the dungeon of the main den. When I was 10, I was just playing with my friends when we wandered down. I ended up tripping on a pile of scrolls and landed on the main rune circle. My magic reacted to the circle so strongly it startled me and I accidentally released a fireball into the air. Under the light of the fire, my friends found the scrolls that had caused me to fall.

We spent all night reading the scrolls only to discover the complex runes were a dimensional spell to trap a large area. I was so confused. Why were we trapped? Was everything we had been taught about the world and our existence a lie? We continued to read through scrolls where we learned about our original world with various beings and many groupings. We spent almost every night for months pouring over the artifacts of another world. We learned about wars, plagues, and famines. We read tales of heroics, diaries with stories of love, and yet we never learned about why we had been trapped.

On my thirteenth birthday, I approached our alpha who had always been cruel and mistreated den members and told him of what we had learned. He slapped me and called me a liar. He demanded that I be tied up and flogged for questioning the history of the den. A history, I presume, his family had fabricated for power. That was the day when a teenaged welp challenged the alpha and won. It was also the first time I killed a person. I gave him multiple times to submit but the fox refused and continued to attack despite being injured. I had no choice but to end him.

Still bloody and breathing hard, I announced to the den what my friends and I had found. I opened the dungeon and invited everyone to read the texts. I asked them what they wanted to do. Do we return or not? The people asked for time and that's what I gave them. For three months, the den deliberated and read. I had discovered countless journals in the alpha office. In them, I discovered how long we had been trapped. But never why. Each entry in the journals was simply an overview of what happened that year, places discovered, policies made, and punishments dealt.

The journals became increasingly difficult to read as time went on. They began to detail malicious acts, torture plans, and even body disposal sites. They were no longer just once a year entries; they were almost daily. Rapes, murders, torture sessions, and more were detailed in what appeared to be prideful tones. The contents twisted me on the inside and I felt ill. When I reached the journals of the last Alpha, I couldn't read anymore.

It was during those three months that I became exceedingly protective of my den. I took the time to try to get to know every person, every face, every race, every single one. After three months, the den gathered together with their answer: Return. I pulled at my divinity to summon a sword. With a single hard slash against the rune, the spell broke, magic dispersing into the air.

That was seven years ago. I discovered another rune on the land when we appeared here but it was just the illusionary ward. I decided it best not to break that one until we had adjusted and knew what our original world was really like. We are still adjusting. Trying to catch up on over a 1000 years worth of goings-on in seven years is impossible.

That's why I enrolled into this damned academy. This place boasted about being welcoming and helpful with a plethora of wonderful students who are equally welcoming and helpful. What a load of bullshit. For a place that doesn't pay attention to rank and roles, it sure does pay extra special attention to the future alphas and betas while ignoring the little people. United in harmony, my ass.

But I was supposed to be learning about the world and the hierarchy of power. Maybe forge some friendships that could prove useful to the den. As if that could happen with how one little word from some alpha-born girl immediately made me an outcast. Like it wasn't bad enough, I made the decision to enroll without my den's name which created the assumption I was pack-less; she just had to say loudly to the entire dining hall that I smelled like nothing which meant I had no beast. When I didn't retort or try to defend myself in an academy full of shifters, she slapped on the mute label. Gods, I wished I had a mute button for her that day.

Thankfully, the run was peaceful this morning. I had enjoyed the quiet as the sunrise glowed behind me. Until now.

I step into the dining hall for breakfast hoping it's fairly empty so I don't have to deal with anyone's bullshit. Maybe it's because the full moon that's coming tonight but I'm cranky and extra hungry. All I want is a pound of ham, a couple slices of bacon, and eggs overy easy with a side of toast. A large mug of black coffee wouldn't be bad.

Much to my dismay, the dining hall is packed with people. They all seem excited about some new person who is attending this year but it isn't any of my business. Thankfully, nobody notices me so I decide to stealthily make my way towards my intended destination. I press myself against the wall and begin the long trek to the buffet. Shimmying along and channeling my inner wall flower, I make it 3/4 of the way to the buffet when it hits me.

The smell. It isn't anything I wanted to have for breakfast but Gods I'll be damned, do I suddenly crave it. The enticing aroma of chocolate and strawberries dances around my head. I snake my tongue out to taste it and it tastes glorious. I take a few more licks at the air before I notice the room has gotten quiet.

My eyes widen as I take stock of everyone's attention on me. I realize I'm pressed against the wall like some fucking freak and had just been licking the air. I pray to the Gods that nobody noticed my tongue. I swallow harshly and give a far to big smile to the crowd- topping it off with an awkward wiggle of my fingers. Yep. I still don't know how to socialize with these people.

I consider dashing to the buffet when a deep baritone voice catches my attention. "Who is she?" it asks curiously and I can feel my core tighten.

Yep. These panties are useless now. Lust fills my body just from a voice.

I shift my gaze to the owner of the voice and instantly my magic springs to life sending sparks through my entire body. My heart pounds roughly against my chest as I take in his appearance. He's tall and that's saying something. I'm six foot myself. He has to be at least six foot five or more. He is built like a line backer. I'm sure he has muscles on top of his muscles. His hair is jet black and rugged- just the way I like it. I could run my fingers through it for hours and tug it to pull him closer during a kiss. His eyes are like glistening rubies and by the Gods, would I treasure them.

I have never felt such an instant attraction. Everything in my body wants to become his filthy little sex doll- right here, right now. The pure lust filling my body makes it so nobody else is in the room but him and me. Images of just the two of us doing the forbidden tango flash through the forefront of my mind.

It clicks in the moment. He's one of my mates. He's perfect. He's just like one of the northern dukes in smut romance novels. I would love to act out a few scenes from those books with him. I can only imagine how devilishly delicious his mouth would be on me. I squirm slightly to rub my thighs together.

I open my mouth to answer him when the alpha-born bitch steps up and slaps his bicep. My mouth slams close. "Oh, brother. This is the beast-less one I've been telling you about. Aurelia Draconis," she informs him and I feel my magic wrap around me like ice to numb me. She flashes a cruel smile at me.

She is alpha-born and my mate is her brother. That means he is a future alpha. That also means he has heard that I am a worthless, beast-less mute. Well, I may as well see how he handles this. Mate or not, if he blinds himself with rumors and prejudice, I will not accept him easily. I won't reject him because that would be cruel and weaken him but he will have to learn. If he doesn't, then it looks like I'm getting laid tonight.

"Is that so, Sophia?" His voice is like the softest woven silk. He tilts his head at me and gives me an ugly smirk. An overwhelming feeling of dread fills me to the brim and I fidget with the hem of my shirt. I refuse to lower my gaze as his cruel eyes assess me.

Oh Gods, tell me he isn't this stupid. He is not going to reject me. He doesn't know what or who I am. If he rejects me, it'll weaken him worse than he can imagine. He could die if I don't accept the rejection. Even after I accept it, he would be infinitely less powerful than he is now. No mate bond isn't to be taken lightly, especially mine.

He stalks towards me like a wolf to a rabbit. I don't dare move myself, not in fear of him but worry of his next move. He gently palms my cheek and tilts my head up so I can look into his eyes. I almost get lost in those beautiful orbs holding my gaze hostage. He shakes him head and scoffs.

"It really does seem true," he whispers to me, "you don't have a beast. How can I be mated with a weakling who has no beast?"

My heart slows. I know what he is going to say next. In a moment, the bond that just sparked to life will disappear. I won't care about him. He will just be nothing. I feel nothing but pity towards him. What a pitiful man to assume. What a pitiful man to believe malice and rumors. What a pitiful man. Part of me wants to plead with him not to do it, not to willingly weaken himself. However, this is his choice and it will be his responsibility to handle the backlash of destroying part of your soul.

He takes a step back and loudly declares, "I, Christopher Mooncrest, reject you, Aurelia Draconis, as my mate, now and forever."

I just stare at him dumbfounded. Why did he use all those words? How cliché. He could've just said 'I don't want you' or 'I reject you' or 'Go fuck yourself.' I seriously though people only said that in trash wolf novels. You know the ones where the protagonist is a presumably weak female and the story line has two options: she gets stronger and he regrets it and repents or she gets stronger and finds a better stronger mate. My life has just become a terribly written shifter romance.

The dining hall bursts in loud laughter and jeers towards me and I just sigh heavily, rolling my eyes. I side step him and head towards the buffet. I grab my plate with extra ham and head towards the table.

Suddenly, there a loud anguished cry, a startling crash, and screaming. The bond broke on his end and just disintegrated on mine. "Idiot," I murmur to myself. He just signed his own death certificate. I dip my toast into the yolk of my eggs. Taking a bite, I send the acceptance through my magic, "Very well." Hopefully, he doesn't die. I don't need anyone questioning me. Fuck, I forgot my coffee.

The alpha-born bitch slams down on my table and yells in my face, "What did you do to him, you worthless nobody? Why is my brother on the floor?"

My eyes flick up towards her in absolute disdain. She's pretty. Sophia? Was that her name? Her jet black hair falls in straight pleats on her shoulders and her ruby eyes burn with a fire that doesn't die. I tease out a touch of my divinity- separating it from my magic. A single tendril caresses her magic then pushes towards her spirit. A small smile comes unbidden to my face.

This girl- if she wasn't such a bitch- would be a valuable ally. I can feel the healing power in her. It has strength. Too bad she is a bitch. So I just tilt my head, unwilling to speak to someone who has so little respect and clearly not an ounce of brains. It's clear what happened. He rejected me and now he's paying the price.

"Speak, you fucking mute! What did you?"

I smirk at her and pull a sheet of paper from my pocket. I wrote a single line.

I forgot my coffee.

I slide the paper towards her and watch as her eyes widen and her cheeks redden in anger. "Fuck your coffee! What did you do?"

I tilt my head the other way and give her a confused look. I grab the paper again.

Nothing but accept.

"Accept?" She screeches in my face. "Accept?! You are rejected. You put a curse on him didn't you?"


I get up and go grab my coffee then come back to the table to see all my food flipped on the ground. Great. Now I will have to wait till lunch. What a bitch. It's not my fault he rejected me. It's not my fault he didn't try to get to know me first. Don't these wolves know that if you reject your true mate, it weakens you and could kill you? That isn't my fault. I'd never be cruel enough to reject someone. They simply have no class.

Chapter 2

It's been nine months since the rejection of Christopher Whatshisface. The first week after that was a bit rough. His sister, Sophia, kept yelling at me, asking what I did to her brother. She tried to push me down the stairs multiple times because "you should be in coma right now, freak. Not my brother! I don't know what you did but once I find out, you're dead." That was almost as amusing when she had her best friend's mate follow me and isolate me while I was out for a run.

Let's just say that if anybody were to ever attack me, it's best not to bring a knife. The look on that poor pup's face was priceless when the knife broke against my skin and when I subsequently- accidentally- threw him into the lake along the trail. Good times. Good times. How was I supposed to know he couldn't swim? He didn't die since he had his friends close by thankfully.

Her attempts to maim me stopped when her brother woke up and started


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