Being the son of the Darker King and Darkest Queen wasn’t easy. Especially since he’d been born powerless and had only returned to the Black Palace weeks ago as a Shaded Darkling. He knew that the only thing keeping him in the Royal palace at the moment was his Darkling power- not the love of his parents or the right to heritage to the throne; his younger brother Sean had already claimed that while he was gone.
He took a deep breath and thrust open the great doors to the throne room. There sat his father, the very man who exiled him, on a shiny marble throne; beside him was his wife the Queen, glaring her red eyes down at their son.
He crossed the white carpet and knelt down on one knee.
“Father,” he said. “Mother.”
“Quiet!” howled the King. “To you, we are his majesty the Darker King and her highness the Darkest Queen. You are nothing more than a soldier to us. Remember that.”
“Yes, your majesty,” he bowed his head, biting his lip.
“And what of the girl?” sniffed the Queen.
He hesitated. “She- has denied your offer, your highness.”
“She has what?” His father leapt to his feet (Darklings were agile no matter the age), his burning red Kyren eyes very, very angry.
“Foolish girl,” muttered the Queen. “Disrespectful little Era Darkling- their kind was never the smartest.”
He bit back a reply. She was a brilliant human, one who had never failed to surprise him from the day they met in her house to now. Even her answer to his offer had been unaccounted for.
The King settled back into his throne. “Then we’ll keep her in the cell for a few more days; have the prison wear down on her. I will not be denied!”
The Queen’s gaze settled on her son’s bowed head.
“Boy, I have a favor to ask of you.” Her son, the Shaded Darkling, froze.
“Stay away from that girl. She is nothing but trouble, you should focus on establishing control over the Changing House. That is an order….” Then, to her son’s great bewilderment, she added, “from your mother.”
He looked up into her bright red eyes- was that a flash of concern in her pupils? He quickly looked away.
“As you wish….”He paused and, very quietly as if he dared not say it, whispered, “Mother.”