Angel woke before me the next morning. I yawned and rubbed my eyes. I smelled her perfume and looked up, smiling as I watched her. She was in a robe, her hair damp. She walked slowly as she dressed. When she saw me admiring her body, she blushed a little. Then I noticed how she winced a little as she bent to pick something up from the closet.
"What's wrong?" I asked, sitting up. "Why are you walking like that?"
"I'm just sore," she answered.
I jumped out of bed, pulling the sheets with me. "Do I need to call Dr. Amelia?"
She giggled and kissed me. "No, sweetheart. It's not from that. It's from...."
"Oh!" I blushed. "Sorry," I said sheepishly.
She just smiled and I went to bathe. When I was ready to change, an outfit waited for me on the end of the bed. I stared at it.
"What's this?" I asked, gazing at it.
Angel wrapped her arms around me from behind me, startling me.
"You're a prince now," she said simply and kissed in between my shoulder blades.
I laughed. "I almost forgot."
The pants were black velvet on the outside but silk on the inside, much like the suit I wore to our wedding. The shirt was green and fitted more than I was used to. I had to move my arms in circles to get used to it while Angel watched, giggling. Thankfully, the pants weren't as tight as the shirt was. I had been provided with new boots and I stared at myself in the mirror.
I didn't recognize myself. As foreign as it was, I enjoyed it.
"Don't move," Angel said and I obeyed. I heard a chair drag up behind me and she climbed on it. I wondered what she was doing. "Usually we have a ceremony for this, but I didn't think you'd want one. I know I don't."
"A ceremony for what?"
She placed a gold and green crown on my head and my jaw dropped. It sat perfectly. Unlike the king's, this one was simple; not elaborate. She smiled at me and wrapped her hands around my shoulders and ran them down so that they lingered above my stomach. She rested her head gently on my shoulder, taking me in.
"What a handsome husband I have," she whispered.
I turned carefully, gripping my can so I wouldn't fall. I kissed her and she smiled.
"And I have a beautiful wife," I whispered back.
"Come on," she said and I helped her off the chair. "There's something I want to show you."
She helped me tie the Sword onto my right hip. She frowned at it and I sighed, kissing her forehead.
"Sorry," she muttered, holding my hand as we walked down the hall. "I just don't like it."
"I know, my love. It is necessary, though."
She nodded, leaning into me a little as we walked. When we got to the throne room, Angel let me go in first.
"Wow," I said and the king and queen turned to smile at me.
A new throne had been added. Two large ones sat on the ends. In the middle was Angel's with its plush green upholstery. Right beside it was one with light blue upholstery. I limped over to it.
"Is that mine?" I asked quietly.
"Yes," Roland said. "This is your throne, Prince David."
I blinked a few times at the word prince.
"I'm feeling a little overwhelmed here," I admitted.
Angel held my hand as the four of us stood around the throne.
"I know," she said. "But we're here and we'll help you."
I was about to speak when my Sword began to vibrate. I looked at it then we heard shouting outside. We hurried out, me limping and gripping my cane tightly. What I saw, though, made me drop it. Angel quickly picked it up for me. I descended the castle stairs to the man forced on his knees in front of us. Three guards armed with spears were standing around him.
"Move back," I said and they did so hesitantly.
The man looked up at me. He looked different. His hair had grown down past his shoulders and was straggly and dirty. He was covered in dirt and blood. His clothes were torn to shreds and he looked as if he hadn't slept or eaten in weeks.
"I thought you were dead," I breathed as William struggled to his feet.
He fell back to his knees and I knew he was weak. I held my hand out for him to take.
"Your highness," a guard began but I shook my head.
William looked doubtful at my offered hand. Tiberius ran out and drew his blade.
"Put it back, Tiberius," I said quietly. William was now staring at my cane, a look of regret in his eyes. "Help him into the palace please."
"David," he said slowly, "are you certain?"
"Yes. To the tea room, please."
Tiberius pulled him to his feet rather roughly and I followed after them. Once again, it seemed as if William had done the impossible. The royal family gaped and followed me. On my hip, the Sword continued to hum. I placed my free hand on it and it stopped.
William was put in probably the hardest chair in the room but I knew I was lucky to get Tiberius to do that much. He had been told about William when he became our bodyguard.
A servant came in with tea and William drank it so quickly I was afraid he'd spit it back up.
"Get him some food and water," I said to the servant.
She looked at me like I was insane but did as I ordered. We all waited until he had finished eating. Angel had me sit beside her, seeing my pale face. As if on cue, Dr. Amelia came in with our tonics.
"I didn't know where else to go," William said finally, his voice hoarse.
"We got a note saying you died," I said.
"Faked my death," he said. "They buried me. Dug myself out during the night. Ran to the only place I had...."
"A friend," I finished and he shifted uncomfortably.
"He is not a friend," the king snapped. "You tried to kidnap my daughter!"
William shrank back with a small whimper. Something had happened to him. He was no longer pompous, sure of himself, or prideful. He looked like a small child.
He looked like me.
"Why did you come here, William?" I asked. "Surely you can go elsewhere and start a new life."
"I heard about how you killed the alpha and beta," he said. He sighed. "David, you don't know what you've done."
I stared at him. "What are you talking about?"
He stared back. "David, you're my alpha now."
I laughed at his words. "Impossible. I'm not a werewolf and I never plan on being one."
"You killed the alpha and Alec," he reminded me. "By our laws, you are the alpha of the Northern Clan. Werewolf or not, we are at your command."
I sat back in my chair, frowning at the man in front of me. I didn't know what to think. Angel's grip on my hand was tight. Her face was pale as were Roland and Miranda's. None of us knew what to do or say.
"Then what does that mean?" I asked finally.
"It means that every werewolf of the Northern Clan is on their way to the palace as we speak," he said plainly and Miranda fell to the couch. "Not to attack, but to gain leadership from their new alpha."
I rubbed my eyes. "This can't be real," I mumbled, pinching the bridge of my nose. "This has to be some kind of fluke."
"So Alec lied to me," I muttered then looked to Roland. "And that's why the Sword has chosen me."
None of us spoke.
"What are you going to do, David?" Miranda asked.
I shook my head. "I have no idea." I looked to William. "First, you need to get cleaned up. Doctor," I said and Amelia approached nervously. "After he has bathed, can you check him for wounds?" She looked scared. "He will not hurt you. If he does, I'll kill him."
I locked eyes with him to make sure he knew I was serious and he nodded.
"I promise," I said to Amelia when she still hesitated.
"Yes, sir," she breathed and a guard escorted William to where he could bathe and get clean clothes.
I waited until they were all gone and Tiberius shut the door. I turned to them all.
"I would love some advice," I said.
"I don't think it's a good idea to let him wander around the castle," Tiberius said immediately. "I don't trust him."
"I don't, either," Roland said. "I know you want to give him a second chance, David, but you're putting everyone in danger."
I looked at Miranda.
"I agree with Roland for the most part. But, if it's true you're their new alpha, I don't think we're in as much danger as we were before."
Angel was staring straight into my eyes.
"I trust you," she said finally. "I always will. Ultimately, the decision is yours. Please be wise about this."
I nodded. "Tiberius, William will not be allowed to wander on his own but I'm not going to put him back in the dungeons. Everyone, don't forget he's the one who gave us the Sword and warned us." I sighed. "And I need him to tell me what this alpha business is about."
"If you really are the alpha," Roland began, "then that means we have a completely new problem."
"Once William has had time to rest, we'll have him meet us in the throne room," I said. "We will find out what it means to be the alpha." I looked at them all again. "I am very sorry."
Roland furrowed his eyebrows. "Why are you apologizing?"
"If I hadn't killed them-"
"Don't be ridiculous," Angel interrupted. "Whatever is going to happen, just promise me one thing." I nodded. "Make your decision with me. I am your wife now."
I kissed her gently and caressed her cheek. "I wouldn't dream of making choices without you. I would like you to be involved, as well," I said to Roland and Miranda.
Roland was smiling. "Spoken like a true prince and eventual king," he said proudly and I flushed.