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Mated to the Lycan King

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To him, she was his destiny, the one he'd spent centuries waiting for. To her, he was a fated mistake, an inconvenience to her once peaceful life. Both were worlds apart, one destined to live a life of servitude and the other a Lycan King. _____________ The moment the Lycan Kings and Queens had entered into the great Human-Lycan war, it was over for humankind. As punishment for losing the war the humans were sentenced to years of servitude, lasting centuries and creating a great divide between human and lycan kind alike. However, the moment King Nicholas and Ariya meet, fate decides to intervene to attempt to right the wrongs of the past and join the two divided sides. After all, weddings bring everyone together… or so they say.

Chapter 1: Mate

The very first time I met King Nicholas, I was covered from head-to-toe in dirt, food and red stains of blood−not just mine, but his fiancé’s as well… but I’m getting ahead of myself. Instead, I’ll start right at the beginning, with the damp scent of rain hanging in the cool air and the warmth of an old porcelain cup in my hands.

 “Don’t forget to send my regards to your brother,” Ophelia said from across the table. She was late for work… again. But it didn’t stop her from completing her morning ritual of drinking a cup of coffee with me. She paused for a moment; her brown eyes suddenly filling with that familiar look of sadness it always seemed to carry whenever she mentioned my brother. “And please, tell him that I miss him.”

“I seriously don’t think it will make a difference to him. But I’ll tell him,” And then a little softer I mumbled, “…if I remember.”

Ophelia frowned, shook her head and then said sternly, “And for the sake of Zeus, stay out of trouble today, Ariya.”

Although Ophelia carried the self-proclaimed superiority of the lycans in her blood, she’d become the closest thing my brother and I had to family for a while now and so, it was not uncommon for her to worry about me− especially since my natural inclination to find trouble and general human status made me a walking target to those of her kind that were less compassionate than she was.

“Oh, don’t worry, I’ll be on my best behaviour!” I said with a wide, cheeky grin. She cocked a thick, violet tinted brow, unconvinced and then left our home in haste. It was not too long after that I too had left for my journey to see my brother. He’d left the house bitterly a few months ago seeking independence and ‘freedom’. According to the last phone call I’d had with him, he’d found his independence somewhere in Zestonia, a warm and tropical sub-region right in the centre of the region of Iris. Iris was further divided into another three sub-regions according to their temperate climate: Kryonne, cold and snowy; Anemodis, windy and dry and then finally, the sub-region I resided in, Vrocher which was characterised by its wet and rainy climate.

I had underestimated the distance between Vrocher and Zestonia and ended up spending most of the day on the road. It was about nearly midday when I finally reached the golden gates in the centre of the giant golden wall that served to create a large, almost mockingly extravagant border between Zestonia and the rest of the other three sub-regions. Beyond the golden wall, almost making it appear as though Zestonia truly was an entirely new world, stretched an abundance of blue skies. I’d heard of how the weather changed as one travelled throughout Iris, but to see it up close and so prominently, was something else entirely. I paused for a moment and stared in awe at how the grey clouds completely stopped, hovering just above the golden wall, almost afraid to touch and taint the brilliant blue skies beyond it.

The wall was lined with security guards who patrolled the border, all of which were human. One of them neared my stationary car, and as she did, I rolled down my window before greeting the tall, unfriendly woman who peered into my vehicle.

She demanded to see my identification papers without so much as an acknowledgement to my greeting. Once I’d handed them to her and she’d returned them back to me she asked a few questions regarding my visit. As soon as she was satisfied, she held a thumbs up to the rest of the guards. Suddenly, the golden gates began to open, revealing the beauty within them. Zestonia was the heart and soul of Iris and was the source of most of Iris’ economic activity. The richest and most powerful of Iris’ lycans stayed here and as such, the place had a certain air of superiority. I noticed as I drove through the streets that the paint still looked new and fresh, the grass on the pavements was cut neatly and not a single piece of litter was in sight. It was quite different to the dullness and dreariness of Vrocher. There, the paint on the streets had faded with the rain and the pavements were always muddy and the grass and plantation always seemed to wash away with the frequent flooding. Even the houses there looked sad, old and worn down by the harshness of the constant rain. Despite its shortcomings, I liked staying in Vrocher with Ophelia. It was safe, familiar and comforting.

It didn’t take long for me to find a large sign baring the name of the restaurant I was to meet Kiyan at. I sighed in relief and parked as close to the entrance as they allowed humans to. The restaurant was divided into two levels. The top was reserved for lycans and their human servants, and the bottom for humans who had come without their masters and mistresses. The place was much fancier than I’d imagined with tables dressed in gold patterned tablecloths and beautiful flower vases placed on top of them. Abstract paintings and intricate sculptures were placed neatly on the walls as well.

The moment I reached the door, the pleasant warmth inside engulfed my body, and I was greeted politely by a waitress who stood by the door. Her name was Lilac, according to her nametag.

“Table for one?” she asked as she grabbed a menu from one of the stacks on a nearby table.

“Oh, no, I’m actually here to meet my brother.” My brown eyes took a quick glance towards the people seated as I searched for a familiar head of short, dark hair. “There he is!” I yelled and pointed towards my brother once I’d finally located him.

Lilac smiled and then politely stepped aside, allowing me to enter the restaurant. Once I’d made it to my brother’s table, I froze, and he did too. We hadn’t parted on the best of terms and the sour words he’d left both Ophelia and I with before he left, still hung in the air between us. And so, we were both temporarily overcome by an awkward sense of caution. But the moment I had decided to take a few more steps towards him− a sign of good faith on my part− caution was thrown to the wind. Kiyan almost immediately let out a sigh of relief, smiled, got up from his chair and wrapped his arms tightly around me. I responded by hugging him back as tightly as I could. He smelled different and unfamiliar, almost mimicking the bright, rich, opulence of Zestonia. It was as though the place had engulfed him in its scent, claiming him as one of its residents. I also noticed that his skin, which used to be roughly the same golden brown as mine, had changed to a more intense shade of darker brown, no doubt the result of his enjoyment of the warm and sunny weather here instead of the dull and dreary weather back in Vrocher. He’d even gotten significantly more muscular, and his shoulders were much broader and sturdier than I remembered them being. I was relieved, to say the least. During these last few months, I'd been so worried about my brother. I was worried that he’d have trouble adjusting and I was worried that he’d find it difficult to fend for himself. But I could see now that the opposite was true. Here, he was thriving and fuller of life than I’d ever seen him before.

“It’s so great to see you!” he said with a bright, beaming smile as he pulled away from me.

I returned his smile and said, “Likewise, and happy birthday!”

As I said this, I reached into my bag and pulled from it a small box before handing it to him. Kiyan gave out a surprised gasp, took it from my hands and began to open it up as he sat down. I joined him, watching his dark eyes brighten as he pulled out a golden chain from it.

“It’s perfect… but I said no gifts!”

I shrugged and insisted that he take it.

“Speaking of… I got you something too!” With that, he reached into his bag and then held out a beautiful, dark purple, knitted scarf.

“I-it’s nothing much. But I just thought that I’d get you something too, to say sorry.”

I took the scarf from him, wrapped it loosely around my neck and smiled brightly. I then snatched at his menu and asked if he’d ordered.

“Uh huh, and I got you a steak.”

“Great, now tell me, how’s life in Zestonia been treating you? What have you been doing with yourself all these months?”

I could see his shoulders tense up for a moment before he relaxed them and forced a smile.

“Oh, you know… this and that,” he said before scratching at his neck nervously. His vagueness brought about an intense curiosity in me. I set it aside, knowing that my curiosity and his newfound secretive nature would only clash and bring the two of us to another argument. I was far too happy to see him and refused to let anything ruin this visit, especially when I did not know how long it would be until the next.

The food arrived soon and by then, Kiyan and I had found ourselves deep in conversation as he spoke of how much he adored Zestonia. I hung onto his every word, delighted in all of the experiences he’d had thus far- bathing in the sun, making new friends, tasting the delicious delicacies which Zestonia had to offer. But the shininess and purity of this joyful moment we shared was shattered as soon as our eyes landed on something rather odd on the staircase next to our table. Coming down from the stairs was a young, beautiful woman, and trailing behind her, led by a firm leash which was attached to his tight collar, was her worn-down servant.

He was tired and pale, and his shoulders slumped forward as he followed behind the woman. Large, blue bruises coloured his pale skin and old scars were etched into it. The practise of leashing servants had become extremely uncommon over time and was only used within the cruellest lycan families. And so, the entire room fell into a horrified and stunned sense of silence as the pair reached the bottom of the staircase. The feeling of nausea and rage lurched through me. My hands clenched into fists before almost immediately unclenching. I promised Ophelia that I wouldn’t get into trouble, and I refused to cause a scene on my brother’s birthday. But I soon realised that I was not the one who would be getting into trouble today. Kiyan stood up abruptly, setting everyone’s attention on him, including mine. The moment my eyes met his, I was instantly taken back to the day he had decided to leave home. He wore that exact same look. His eyes were filled with an intense look of hatred which bordered on absolute disgust.

I reached out in an attempt to snap him out of whatever had taken a hold of him but was hardly fast enough because in the next moment, he broke into a run, snatching the leash right out of the woman’s hand. And in that moment, a different type of fear and a sense of panic crept into me as I gazed at the look on her face. There was no mistaking the murderous intent behind it. Immediately I got up from my chair and rushed over to my brother, but as I reached him, the woman’s hand collided forcefully with his cheek, sending him falling to the floor. But she was far from finished. So, as she neared him with a clawed hand and fangs baring, I raced towards her, tackling her body with mine. We crashed painfully to the ground. She let out a growl and cussed before grabbing me with her clawed fingers. They dug into my arms, spilling blood, the same colour as her hair. I yelped loudly in pain and anger and attempted to free myself from her grasp. If I was going to die today, I’d at least go out fighting. I only managed to get one of my arms free from her strong grip, but it was enough for me to start swinging my fist to her face. I was not as strong as her, but I was strong enough to draw blood when my fist hit at her cheek.

I was about to launch another punch into her face when she caught my fist in her hand. She growled and bared her fangs at me, sending blood dripping from her teeth and onto my clothes. She then grabbed me even tighter before effortlessly flinging me away from her. My body went flying into one of the tables, knocking the plates off and dirtying my clothing further. It took me a moment to get my bearings before I noticed that I had landed next to my brother. He clutched at the arm he’d fallen onto, and I noticed a bruise forming on the side of it. I was relieved to find that other than the injury on his arm, he was fine. But my relief was short-lived when I saw how determined and rage-filled he seemed.

Kiyan slowly stood up and faltered on his feet. The murderous woman laughed and then asked threateningly, “What? You want some more?”

He nodded and a wicked smile appeared on his face. The woman gracefully got to her feet and soon, the two began to near each other. Almost driven by some sort of protective instinct, I scrambled to my knees, grabbed onto Kiyan’s ankle and then sent him falling to the ground as I tugged on it as hard as I could. But that didn’t seem to bother the lycan at all. Instead, it made her quicken her pace towards us. And so, I threw my body on top of my brother’s, clutching onto him for dear life while he tried to fling me off. All I could do was hold on as tightly as possible and wait for the next blow.

But it never came. Instead, the only thing that could be heard were the angry shrieks of my brother, and then silence. It was a short-lived silence, lasting for only a brief moment before it was shattered by a single word, uttered by an unfamiliar voice.

“Mate…”

Chapter 2: Threat

When Kiyan and I were much younger and more naïve than we now were, my grandmother would sit us down in front of the fireplace every night and tell us a story. It never changed and always began with the same person- Lycaon. He was said to be the first of the lycans, cursed to shapeshift into a wolf by Zeus. The reason? He tried to serve the great and powerful Zeus human flesh. Furious with Lycaon’s trickery, Zeus cursed him. From there the lycan curse spread. Lycans would bite humans, cursing them to the same fate. Eventually, word had spread about these strange shape-shifting creatures. And so, a war broke out between the humans and lycans, both believing that the world had no place for the other. It was a long, brutal war which almost seemed unending until one faithful day. The day the Lycan Kings and Queens were chosen. Each had a unique ability: Queen Aura was blessed with the ability to manipulate fire and could even command the magma within the Earth’s surface by Hephaestus; Q

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