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She’s the seer’s daughter?

Does she have the sight?

She is more beautiful than her mother was.

Do you think her court will allow her to mate?

I ignore them all, bolstering my confidence. They do not, nor will they ever have to know, that I have no intention of following in my mother’s footsteps. After all, how can I when I don’t have the sight like she did?

It’s yet another thing my court is angry about.

They expected great things from the daughter of their most powerful seer, but instead they got me. I am powerful but without sight, just another of the masses. Nothing special.

It will, however, allow me to have a normal life within court, which is what my mother always wanted.

I do not let them see my own disappointment. Instead, I allow my excitement to fill me, and my steps quicken slightly. I want to reach the end, meet the great king they serve, and do my duty for my court and find my place.

The pure joy at what awaits me makes my dead heart beat once, twice, before it stills again.

My fangs lengthen with my emotions, and my power rises slightly. I know they feel it because heads turn unnaturally to see me. Some bare their fangs, hungry for my power, and I realise then how truly vulnerable I am without a claim, a court, or a mate.

I am so unused to this world, but I try not to let it show.

I finally breach the masses and reach the end of my walk, and my mouth drops at the sight, even as I try not to show a reaction.

I know the rules, so I do not look directly at the king. He sits on a raised podium, with candelabras surrounding his golden throne, dripping with blood to show his power. His hands lazily stroke the arms of his chair as if in boredom, and my eyes dart higher for a moment, seeing a chiselled chin before I drop my head and curtsy.

I wait to be released, but when time continues to pass, a cold sweat breaks out and I begin to worry.

Did I do something wrong?

This isn’t the ritual.

A ripple goes through the crowd, and I lift my head, seeing the king leaning forward in his throne. His hands hang between his parted thighs, thick with muscle and veins, leading up to a black doublet hugging his arms and chest. My gaze moves along his form to his strong chin and jaw, where huge fangs hang over bloodied lips that scream of silken nights and pleasure.

I dared not look higher before, but now my eyes roam across high cheekbones, pierced ears, wavy black hair, and arched brows to settle on his bright purple eyes.

Eyes that strike me to my core.

I stumble forward as my body jolts.

My power rises to meet the king’s.

My mate.

I feel it to my very core. No one ever told us what it feels like, but I can only compare it to my death, when my heart stopped. It’s just like that moment between death and wakefulness where I floated in pure bliss, mixed with a surge of power as I stagger closer to him.

The beautiful king sits back with shock covering his face.

The whispers of the court fade, as do my lessons in propriety and honour as I face the man destined to be mine. He’s beautiful, stunning actually, and so powerful I feel it in every aching bone as it sweeps through me.

“My king,” I whisper, my voice filled with the awe I feel. “My mate.”

There are roars, and chaos erupts, but I continue to face him, unsure what to do.

I was never prepared to meet the one I am to spend my life with, never mind a king.

It is unheard of, and both of us are shocked into silence. We stare at one another, the years we have stretching between us. I smile. I can’t help it. For so long, I have been alone, and now I have him, a king, to show me the way, to fight and serve alongside me, and to love and grow with.

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