3: For King and Country

No sooner had the thought crossed Keion’s mind to speak to his father than his dad knocked on his door and walked in wearing sweat pants and house slippers.

“Dad,” he sighed, falling back against his pillows with relief.

“Good morning, son.”

I heard you calling me. Is everything okay?

“Good morning, Dad.”

I had the weirdest dream. My heart’s going crazy.

Setting his large frame on the bed next to his son, Msia Hamadi put his hand on the boy’s chest. What he had sensed from his own room came into high definition clarity as he connected with his child and the wolf that had seemed near giddy a few seconds ago.

No wonder his child was confused. Msia’s wolf responded to the near panic and assured the younger wolf, sharing his peace. Feeling Keion’s heartbeat slow, he looked into his handsome son’s face.

“Did you sleep well?” he asked with his hand still on his son’s chest.

“I think I slept alright, thanks.”

Your mom said you had an eventful night at the party.

I didn’t do anything!

You kissed 15 girls, young prince, and you let more kiss you.

 Keion winced, hearing his father’s droll response.

Are you disappointed in me? Nancy didn’t mean for it to get that ridiculous.

Msia laughed quietly. “Good to know your night out didn’t wear you out too much. We’ve got a full day.”

Is this feeling going to go away? I feel like I’m about to cry and laugh at the same time and I didn’t even want to wake up this morning. I wanted to stay in that place with that light. My wolf has never felt so...


Keion’s head jerked up as his eyes met his father’s.

Yes! Dad, what’s happening to me? Is this some teenage hormone thing no one ever told me about?

Hahaha, no, my boy. This is not some teenage hormone thing... I think you might have met your mate last night.

Keion’s wolf perked up at the mention of a mate.

Keeping the external dialogue going, Keion groaned, “Why can’t we just spend Christmas like a normal family that opens presents and sits around in our pj’s all day?”

“Because the crown on your head requires your presence elsewhere.”

Will I even manage a social event at this stage?

Thankfully, even wolves have some sense of decorum and presence of mind. But just in case it doesn’t, we can give you something to calm you down. Tell me about your dream.

Keion relayed the details of the dream and as he got to the end, his wolf literally leapt in the air at the memory of racing after the light and his heart jumped and started racing again.

Well, that is quite a Christmas present, isn’t it, my boy?

If this is what it feels like, I’m afraid I am going to go crazy. It might be years before I officially get to be with her.

I guess the consolation is that you didn’t actually see her and you will learn to rein in your animal instincts.

Running his fingers through his dark curly hair, Keion closed his eyes, as if having a conversation with the part of him that this discovery overwhelmed.

Before he could ask his father any more questions, his little sister Malaika barged into the room, jumping up and down.

“It’s Chriiissstmassss!” Then she put her hands up and smiled sweetly at her father. “And Kwanzaaa!”

Launching up onto the bed, forcing the two men to make space between them for her, she kissed her brother on the cheek. “Merry Christmas, lover boy. Sorry I forgot my mistletoe in my other coat.”

Eyes bugging out Keion asked, “How in the world do you know about that already?”

Rolling her eyes, his fourteen-year-old sister said, “Cicily’s older sister is in your class and she hasn’t stopped talking about you since she smooched you.”

Laughing again, Msia patted his son’s knee and got up.

Good luck trying to find her after that stunt!

Just great...

The Hamadi family left their home dressed for official business. Keion helped his two siblings into the second vehicle, carefully buckling his little brother’s seat belt in the back of the town car before telling the driver they were ready to go.

“Care package two ready to go,” the bodyguard said into his mouthpiece.

After a brief pause, Keion saw the car in front of them roll out after the larger vehicle at the front of the motorcade. Their car followed and they were on their way.

“Care package two on the move.”

These trips always amused him because on most days of the year he was just a normal kid with normal parents and siblings. But today was Christmas Day and the people expected to see a show. Being a prince, as his father had said, required him to be interested in the welfare of others and to avail himself for public appearances. Thankfully, he didn’t really mind.

Prince Keion was proud to be the son of a king like his father. Msia was the first supreme alpha to be established in over thirty years. There were many great alphas with obvious strength and wisdom and their wolf packs were very well taken care of, but natural selection and right timing did not reveal a supreme alpha. He was an alpha acknowledged to have divine capabilities to keep peace and protect the rights of all wolves, even beyond the pack that he was born into or that formed around him. It was the choice of every autonomous pack alpha and their elders to submit to a supreme and the fact that people had come from far and wide to cede their authority in alliance was a miracle. Those near them who had not ceded complete authority had voiced their wish to live in harmony, and this was the largest conglomerate of wolf packs living under the same leader that had existed in centuries.

What Keion loved about his dad was that even though leaders of packs had given him the supreme authority over their matters, he still let them run as they traditionally would. King Msia only intervened when his spirit was disturbed about the nature of leadership rising in that pack or the welfare of wolves and so far he’d experienced minimal problems rectifying any issues. The young prince often wondered about the weight of such a burden, being responsible for the welfare of hundreds of thousands. Keion knew he still had a lot to learn and he was glad he had such an outstanding example to follow. More than that, he was glad that he didn’t have to worry about taking over from his father as Alpha any time soon.

Looking at his little brother and sister, Keion felt warmth and pride fill his chest. Not only did he have a kingdom to protect, he also had siblings he would die for and he wanted to be a good example, so he would take Christmas social events as a chance to learn and show them how to be better leaders in the future. As a memory of his dream last night popped into his head, Keion decided he wanted to be good enough for his mate too... she deserved the best version of him he could be and he couldn’t wait to show her just how worthy his wolf could be.

A few years ago, a commission had been issued that allowed autonomous packs to decide how young wolves were governed once they knew who their mates were and the kingdom had taken a unique approach. Though most wolves shifted for the first time around sixteen, the discovery of mates was happening towards the end of high school and most people were grateful that the Moon Goddess had seen it fit to delay the hormonal overwhelm until after high school.

The guardian’s council had then proposed that the process of marking and mating be further held off until a couple was past their teens, to give them a chance to mature and go away for school if they wanted to. There were ways to mark a mate without fully imprinting and they thought that it ensured better rounded development of the citizens of the kingdom. It had been working and Keion thought it was a smart measure to respectfully monitor the population and also give wolves the chance to bond organically. But it also meant he would have to wait, too and after what he’d felt in his dream, he wasn’t sure that was going to be easy.

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