Chapter 5 - The King's Tainted Mate

"She did not strike me as someone who would do something of the sort for the fun of it.”

“I do not care!” I growled at Rakon and that was the truth. I did not care about anything that had to do with my ex mate. Not her life or where she had ended up after I banished her and definitely not the reasons that had made her betray our bond.

I did not care for my best friend’s opinion on the matter either. No matter how much he pleaded for me to see reason over how harshly I had treated her. She deserved everything she got and more, which I would be lavishing on her very soon.

I had not cared much about anything else the past month since I rejected her, except for my stash of wine that had faithfully helped drown my sorrows. And my bed that had received my intoxicated head at the end of each day of my lonesome drinking parties.


“And unless you wish me to pick another best friend to be by my side today, I suggest you don’t mention that traitor to me ever again.” I lifted my chin so the seamstress could access the top buttons of my royal wedding gown.

The wedding was today, which explained my very foul mood. For starters, I was forced to remain sober to keep from shaming my father, the crown or tainting my own rule before it even began.

As the head of my guard, Rakon had enforced that wine ban, only allowing hot beverages to cross the doors to my bedroom. I had protested, but I also knew how futile the attempt was. Not even my threats to dismember him were going to make him change his mind. Until I became king, when it came to the crown only my father's wishes mattered. And the king of Xatis had charged him with ensuring I behaved which he was bent on doing despite my protests.

Secondly, with the wine cleared out of my head, I was slapped with all the memories I had sought to drown with it. My mate’s beauty had haunted me and I had been forced to face that dreaded fact that I meant nothing to her. I meant nothing.

That truth had spurred me on to dutifully abide by my father’s wishes without so much as a complaint.

The engagement had taken place just as the king of Xatis had demanded. The people had celebrated the news, but the entire thing had gone by like a blur for me. So had the month set before the royal wedding. And apart from me, Rakon and my chosen mate’s family, no one knew of my ex mate. I had preffered it that way. Less questions, especially from my mother. Not that I had given her an opportunity for anything of the sort after announcing my engagement. I spent my days holed up in my room most of the time with instructions to not be disturbed by anyone. And when outside, I had stuck by my father’s side, learning all there was to learn about being a great king. That had delighted the king to no end, he did not even stop to consider why I was suddenly interested in such affairs.

“I just think it’s odd that her entire family would easily abandon her like t–”

“Just proves how much of a traitor she is.” I spat. “Even her own blood could never stand her.” I grabbed the mug closest to me, but hurled it across the room at the feel of its warm contents. I needed my wine!

I was about to demand that a whole barrel of it be brought to my room, when someone outside of my bedroom announced the arrival of my mother, forcing me to change my mind.

“Your Majesty.” I heard Rakon acknowledge my mother in his serious guard tone.

“Don’t you look dashing today?”

“Not as beautiful as my queen though. I swear every man in Xatis will wish they were his Majesty today”

“I see your charm has kept flourishing." As Rakon drew my mother into more happy chatter, I worked to tame my temper as I was sure was my best friend's intent. And when I was certain that I was calm enough to face her, I did.

"Mother? What are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be at father's side?" I agreed with Rakon’s sentiments. My mother was beautiful and seeing her all dressed up to see me wed a chosen mate brought a bitter taste in my mouth.

"Not when my baby needs me." I stiffened, but quickly forced myself to relax my features when she arched a brow. I knew why she was here and if I wished to convince her that I was fine, being worked up would only achieve the opposite. "Walk with me." She flashed me her beautiful smile that banished some of the gloom in my soul.

I descended from the pedestal the seamstress had me standing on and took the hand my mother had offered. She started for the balcony and I followed.

"Such a beautiful day today," she sighed in contentment when we stepped out in the sun.

I merely nodded. I did not share her sentiments. The day may have been bright and beautiful, perfect for a royal wedding, but that beauty eluded me.

“Elian…” Her pitiful look only reminded me of my misfortune. That was not a look I ever wished to inspire in my mother’s eyes. Not on any day and especially not on the day I wed.

“I know this is not something you wished for, but you could atleast smile for your mother.”

I did. Well, as much as my broken heart would allow and my mother, as always, saw right through it. She cupped my cheeks and I leaned into her touch as though I was still her little prince.

“A chosen mate does not spell doom and gloom, my son.” As my mother spoke, her pitiful look was replaced by a more familiar one. The warmth in her eyes radiated all the way to my troubled heart. Even after so many years, I had never quite understood how she did that. How she comforted me without even trying. It reminded me of why I had been desperate to find my mate. There was just something magical about bonds forged by the most natural means. Like a mother’s bond with her child. It was a thing of beauty. So pure and enchanting. I wished to find something as pure as that with my own mate. Beyond birthing strong heirs, beyond the pull, the attraction and everything that came with the mate bond, I longed for that beauty.

And she took it away from me…all of it. I felt something in me snap and let loose that temper I had worked to tame. Thinking of what I had lost and what could have been enraged me and it renewed my desire to inflict the worst pain. After today, it would be all she’d know.

“Just give it a chance, okay?” My mother pleaded and I smiled. I would give it more than a chance. My chosen mate would spell doom and gloom, except, not for me.

“I already have mother.” I squeezed back at her hands that had been working on my clenched ones. “Do not worry yourself as I happen to be grateful to the moon goddess for gifting Myrna to me. I could never wish for another.” My mate’s beautiful form flashed before my eyes, but I easily swatted away the intruding thought. It was time for me to be wed.