“I know what you’re doing,” said Anzer the moment Rose was out of sight. “It is not your right to imprint the child.”
“As opposed to you?” Drake slammed his palm on the table, glaring at his father. “You know how I feel about her and yet you wish to claim what should be mine?”
“Do not presume what you do not know! Changelings and Vampires live in separate worlds with separate rules. Imprinting on a child not of your blood is certain death!”
The intensity of his father’s slap echoed more than just the physical act itself. How hypocritical of him to say that when he, a Noble laid claim on him and his brothers as though they were his own?
Pressing a hand on his cheek, Drake turned and ran out of the dining hall. He had come here, without hesitation on his father’s request and now there were rules? Drake wasn’t planning on playing by them. He had come for Rose and he would stay for her. Damn whoever who’d dare stop him!
Wiping the scowl off his face, Drake put on the usual cheeriness that Rose was familiar with. He had sensed a deep sadness within the human and his heart had ached for her. There would be no need for his feelings to impose itself on hers.
“I hope Anzer didn’t nag too much,” said Rose when he caught up. “Must be hard for him being so far away from you five.”
Drake simply smiled. He hadn’t thought about it that way to be honest. But today was not about him.
“So, tell me, how’s the rebuilding going? Do you need help?”
Rose smiled, angling her head towards him. “Are you planning to stay for long?”
“As long as you want sweetheart,” he replied, curling an arm around her shoulder possessively; ignoring the curious look Miria was throwing his way.
Rose however didn’t seem to mind the contact for she kept on walking, drawing his attention to the city walls as they approached the perimeter.
“We have a group of red wolf Changelings currently helping us with the reconstruction.” She winked at him. “I’m sorry squab, but they’re much better seamen. Thanks to them, we’ve had some excellent minerals and rocks from the sea.”
“Well, at least I look better – you know, less hairy and all.” He winked back, before making a face at a passing red wolf.
“Drake, you better keep your smart ass mouth to yourself. Or I’ll feed you to those damn wolves,” warned Miria; fingers twisting his ears in warning.
Yelping, Drake dissolved into a shimmer of light before landing on Rose’s shoulder in his Changeling form. When Miria tried to catch him, he merely pecked at her fingers revengefully.
“Now, now children. Behave!” laughed Rose as they continued walking towards a makeshift tent where a group of red wolves and humans had congregated.
“My Lady, what brings you here today?” One of the burly red wolves greeted her; his eye darting at Drake suspiciously.
“Merkel. I’m glad to see you’re well. Have there been enough supplies for the workers?”
“Miria has brought enough… supplies, to build another village.” The wolf coughed slightly before looking away.
Why that cheeky little…
Hopping off Rose’s shoulder, Drake landed on Miria’s head, tapping her scalp with his beak. Her reaction was a second too slow but Miria eventually managed to grab him by the neck before stuffing him in her bag.
That was a mistake of course for he started squawking at the top of his lungs to be released from his cloth prison.
“Miria… give him to me.” He heard the order from Rose. A second later, her scent was close to the bag as she hissed. “Drake, this is why Anzer keeps needing to have a talk with you. I’m feeding you to Merkel if you don’t behave!”
“I don’t eat seagulls. They taste disgusting,” said the red wolf with a laugh. “But, Titus over there might fancy some meat. He’s been complaining that fish and kelp aren’t his thing.”
“I’m so sorry about him. He’s just a baby,” said Miria apologetically as she handed Drake over to Rose. “Umm… have you had lunch?”
Drake only wished he didn’t have to witness such a revolting scene before him. Miria, warrior princess was currently swooning over the heap of muscles like some love sick puppy. What was it about those damn wolves that Pureblood women always found so alluring? Tsk!
“Perhaps you could come with us,” suggested Rose. “I was planning to take Drake here to have soft-shelled crabs down by the pier.”
If he could roll his eyes, Drake probably would for the red wolf –if it was even possible –had gone an even brighter shade of red.
“Of course my Lady. It would be my honour. Let me see if the Princess would like to join us.”
When he was gone, Drake jumped off Rose’s shoulder and took back his human form.
“That was painful Miria. Please… I need a stick to poke my eyes out.”
Both women glared at him but only one smacked him on the head –Miria was obviously guilty.
“Now Drake, Eulalie is the Princess of the East. I know you can’t hold your tongue around me and I love you for that… but, please, try not to get yourself eaten around her.”
Drake was about to tell Rose that was highly impossible when he spotted her.
Hair so blonde they appeared almost white, the Princess walked – no, floated as her dress flowed like water behind her.
Drake had found his match and damn she looked much better in feathers than him.