Cantaly appeared as though she was staring at her breakfast plate but she was really lost in thought. What happened to her Aunt Belle and Uncle Zane had been bothering her more and more as time passed. It had been years and happened under her parents reign but she couldn’t get over how outrageous and ridiculous it was a male dragon could just challenge another and steal their mate if they couldn’t defend her. She could have lost her Aunt and how it went she could have lost a niece and nephew since the male that won reserved the right to kill the offspring of the previous male.
That practice was barbaric and needed to be stopped. The previous rulers had been afraid of trying to govern dragon practices but she just couldn’t stand idly by out of fear. She was a dragon, her family were dragons, they were friends with a High dragon so they even had atleast some of dragon kind on their side. She knew from what Irim and her assistant Claudius told her a majority of dragons didn’t agree with the old ways.
Her only true concern was over her people. The bastard dragons still doing those things wouldn’t abide by her simply making it against the law. Her subjects might suffer backlash from them and she worried over the loss of life. It was what all the rulers before her worried about which is why none until her even consider trying to tell the dragons what they could and couldn’t do. Claudius lived in the castle so was just watching her as she stared at her food. He could tell somthing was troubling her so he reached for her hand “Cantaly?” He said softly.
She didn’t answer so he tried again “Cantaly” She jerked into consciousness and took her hand away. It wounded Claudius she wouldn’t allow him to hold her hand but he was an expert at hiding it. “you were just staring at your plate, are you ok?” he asked. “I’m sorry, I’m just thinking about what happened to my Aunt and Uncle a few years back. When that dragon challenged Zane for Belle. That should be against the law and I cant allow it to happen any longer. I’m just afraid for my people. They’ll suffer if the dragons that want to keep living that way retaliate”
“There is always bound to be some sort of disagreement, especially among dragons.” He smiled warmly at her. “All stubborn and hot headed.”
“What’s that supposed to mean, do you find me stubborn and hot headed.”
“I never said that was a bad thing. Anyway, should you choose to have it written into law that male dragons are not allowed to over throw mates, you will need to speak with Irim. He has the biggest voice of all of us since he is a High Dragon. You know, they say not many can claim such an honor, that the High Dragons are the most powerful among their kind.”
“Where did you learn that?”
“Books and Barnum.”
“Mother gave me her bracelet, perhaps I should call Irim here.”
“After breakfast, queens should be completely energized before meetings.”
She giggled “always minding my health”
“someone has to. You’d work yourself to death if I didn’t make sure you ate properly and rested when needed. Dragons can over do themselves too Cantaly” She got up and hugged him “what would I do without you?”
“I just said so, starve yourself or work yourself into the grave” she laughed again, the sweet sound close to his ears. He held her a little tighter then she moved back to sit in her chair. “I still can’t get over the pressure I feel. I mean, grandpa was beloved by all the people and the best ruler this land has ever seen. Then my mother and father definily lived up to his legacy and now theres me. I don’t want to be the break in that chain. Not to mention the woman I’m named after.” Cantaly sighed then continued “I wish they had been dragons so I could know them. It would be an honor to meet them. It’s an honor just knowing I’m descended from them”
“I was born just after king Gabriels death as you know. I would have liked to know him too but don’t think you aren’t a magnificent queen. I am proud to be the one that aids you daily. You know the whole speech since I’ve given it before but I’ll repeat it if I have to. You are amazing and even your parents tell you that you are making them proud. Even now you’re planning to do somthing even they were afraid to tackle. I respect you for that Cantaly and the dragons will too. The assholes might not but who gives a damn. It is a horrible practice and I’m glad it’s going to be stopped.”
“Thank you” he smiled and they both finished off their breakfast. Afterwards they walked outside where Cantaly summoned her Uncle Irim, hoping he would bring her Aunt and their children along so she could see them. It had been quite awhile since they had a visit from them.
Cantaly was happy to see not only the large black dragon who was her uncle, but the pastel pink dragon that was her aunt and the two dusky orange dragons that were her twin cousins. When they landed and shifted Cantaly could see the infant in her aunt’s arms that was her youngest cousin little Amaranthi. All of her cousins had their father’s dark hair, but Ariel’s beautiful baby blue eyes that stood out even in dragon form. “I’m so glad you could all come.” She said with a warm smile.
“We all wanted to see you sweetie, we missed you.” Ariel said as she hugged her niece and then Claudius.
The twins hugged her tightly, warming her heart. “And how have you two been?”
“Good.” They answered in unison and she hugged them tighter.
“How is Amaranthi?”
“Sleeping right now, but when she’s awake she’s wild like her father.”
“Is that a bad thing my love?” Irim asked.
“Of course not, it just means she’ll scare away any boy who tries to date her.”
“I thought that was our job.” Caleb said.
“Yeah, dad said we’re supposed to be terrifying. I thought we already were.” Landon added with a big smile.
Irim cleared his throat. “Boys why don’t you watch your sister while your mother and I talk to Cantaly and Claudius.”
“Yes sir.” They said as one and Caleb took his baby sister gently in his arms.
They entered the castle and went to what was now Cantalys office. This was the first time they had been in it since it was passed down to her. Ariel noted “You’ve changed things a little. It’s more homey in here”
“good? I was worried about changing it too much”
“Didn’t my sister tell you to make this your own? She only didn’t change anything because at the time she was still mourning her father.”
“Yeah, mom and dad loved my changes. The things I removed of grandpas are stored in our safe now.”
“I didn’t imagine you would have actually gotten rid of anything that belonged to Gabriel” Ariel sighed sadly in remembrance of him. “lets get on to business” They all sat down aside from Claudius who always insisted on standing beside Cantalys chair. Irim recognized it as an extremely protective stance and held down his knowing smile. That alone was enough to tell him the young dragon was in love with his niece. Normally a dragon only held himself in that way for a mate to warn off any possible danger. Even if there was no threat he found himself that way around his own mate.
Cantaly explained her concerns and hate for the practice and asked “I need your advice and help to change this uncle. I have much more hope if you back me”
“I have sworn loyalty to this family so anything you need help with I will be there for you.”
That made Cantaly feel much better and she relaxed a little. “I know you were there when that dragon tried to fight uncle Zane for Belle and I know that you do not follow the old ways though you are an ancient among us dragons.”
“I happen to despise the old ways, they are outdated and completely unnecessary.”
“That’s why I think we should outlaw them, make it to where male dragons can’t just beat up another male for his mate. I can only imagine how many women were taken from those they loved and forced into relationships with men who did not love them. I know it will be hard, but I am ready for the challenge. I know I can do it if I have you at my side.”
Irim smiled warmly at her. “You are truly worthy to be queen and I would be honored to stand next to you and help dragon kind crawl out of the dark ages.”
“And I shall be there with you as well.” Ariel said, smiling as well.
“As shall I.” Claudius added, placing a hand on her shoulder and giving it a reassuring squeeze. “As will the rest of your family.”
She let out a relieved breath “I guess I should get it in writing and sealed to get this started.” Irim stood “and I’ll gather a mass of dragons a little ways out of town to get it spread through dragon kind that this has happened. Would you like to come with me Claudius? I hardly think Cantaly will need you to do her paperwork and seal the documents. My wife and children are staying here so she’ll have someone if she needs them.” He glanced at Cantaly who nodded “alright I’m coming” he answered and walked out with Irim.
“Claudius seems to think just because he lives here he has to babysit me all the time” Ariel smiled “Its only my second time meeting him but he’s sweet on you. I don’t think it’s as much of a responsibility as it is him wanting to stay near you” Cantaly laughed so hard she sat all the way back in her chair. It surprised Ariel “what’s so funny?”
“as much as I care for Claudius he doesn’t feel the same. He may think of me as a sister but he couldn’t possibly have romantic feelings for me. His brother Wareine told me he’s gay and just hasn’t come out yet. I do my best to not show I love him so I don’t make things awkward. He’s such an amazing friend and more help than he could ever know when it comes to ruling but yeah, he’s gay. Theres no hope for our relationship to be what I want”
“Oh, I guess I was just imagining things. Why hasn’t he come out? He’s young for a dragon but still”
“I don’t know, his brother didn’t say. I try to encourage him by pointing out great mates for him but it just seems to make him uncomfortable”
“Maybe his parents wont approve”
‘His parents died a long time ago”
“yeah…I know you can sympathize. Maybe its in memory of them. Maybe his father didn’t approve and now that they are gone he cant bring himself to allow himself happiness. Regardless, it kills me. I love him and as much as it sucks I can’t be with him I want him to be happy. How can he be happy if he wont be honest about being gay?”
“So, I can see that you and the queen are not yet mates, but you are incredibly protective of her. Why haven’t you asked her to be your mate yet?” Irim asked as they stepped out of the castle.
“I’ve tried making her see that I like her, but she always withdraws and she keeps pointing out men to me. It’s so weird and when I turn them down she looks almost sad for me.”
“Pointing out men?”
“Yeah, it makes me feel uncomfortable.”
“Sounds like she thinks you’re gay.” Irim shifted shape and Claudius followed suit, wondering what he had meant by that. He had not done anything to make himself seem gay, he had not given even a hint that he liked men. It was incredibly confusing and once they had things settled with the dragons, he was going to get to the bottom of Cantaly’s assumptions. He followed Irim, leaving the castle and the city behind, only stopping when both were out of sight. They landed on top of a mountain and Irim shifted to his human form. As Claudius was shifting back he saw Irim take a bracelet out of one of his pockets. It was made of many different colored scales.
“Is that what I think it is?”
“Yes, it’s a bracelet connected to many different dragons, dragons who trust me with their lives.”
“I am very trustworthy.”
“so I’ve heard. If I can have Cantaly as my mate it will be an honor to be in the same family as you” he smiled “if you can have Cantaly as your mate you will forever be a happy man. I can’t describe to you the level of happiness her Aunt brings me. The whole family is amazing, even Ambrose, sort of” Claudius chuckled “yes, he kind of grows on you a bit. Took awhile but we’re okay now’ Irim called the dragon then looked at Claudius again “so you really have no idea why she’d think you were gay?’
“None, it makes no sense”
“I’ve never known my niece to make assumptions for no good reason so there has to be a reason”
“I plan on talking to her as soon as we get back”
“good, Claudius Valdemar right?’
“I looked into you since you were working so close to my niece. You are a good man, you’ll be a great mate for her.”
“That means a lot coming from you” Irim gave a small nod. Cantaly finished and sealed the documents then made secondary copies to be posted on bulletin boards. When she was finally done she decided to go see what everybody else was up to since Claudius and Irim still weren’t back.
“What are you looking so serious about?” Wareine asked as he dropped down from the castle rafters.
“You scared me you jerk and I’ve just put into law that dragon males are not allowed to fight and take mates.”
“That might be tough.”
“Irim and Claudius have gone to talk with some of the other dragons to spread the word among our kind.”
Wareine grinned. “Claudius huh?”
“Yeah, he still hasn’t come clean to me, I mean we’re supposed to be friends right.” Wareine gave a little laugh, then cleared his throat.
“Maybe um sorry…maybe he just needs a good hard push to open up.”
She waved her hand, dismissing the thought. “I’ve already tried, I’m afraid if I push him too hard he’ll get mad at me and I enjoy having him around, I…” she sighed.
“Nothing, it’s not important and it wouldn’t change anything. Anyway, how have you been?”
“Great, just missing you two so decided to drop by.”
“why have you been away so long?”
“Claudius didn’t tell you?’
“He doesn’t talk about you at all when you aren’t around.”
“Don’t cuss. There are children” she reprimanded and he apologized. “Eh, nowhere special I guess. i was looking for a mate”
“It is cute. Any luck?’
“I’d have a woman with me if I had found a mate now wouldn’t I?”
“No need to be irritable. A girl will come along” He sighed “well, thats why I gave up searching. She’ll show up somtime I guess. I mean, Claudius found who hes crazy over”
“and you didn’t tell me? Who” he smiled “One of your knights. Oh he talks about him all the time. Cant remember the name”
“what does he look like? Maybe i can show you the men and you can figure it out”
“I don’t feel like it”
“Now who’s the jerk?”
“Hey, he’s the one who wont admit he likes men. I’m not going to baby him”
“well i care if he’s happy and he’ll never be if he wont be honest”
“well then give him that push i was talking about.”
“I will if you tell me what man?’
“Fine, I’ll see if I can pick him out” She smiled and grabbed his hand “come on!” They gathered the knights and Wareine picked out one at random. Cantaly frowned “damn, you aren’t gay are you?’
“No, in fact I’ve been trying to woo the flower shop girl” she sighed “Poor Claudius” Wareine laughed and she punched his arm “maybe your brother would talk to you more if you werent such a jerk all the time”
“Hey i can be nice. I told you he was gay so you could help him out”
Claudius had never seen so many amazing dragons, all of their colors next to each other were incredibly dazzling. There was one who had scales that looked like beautiful crystals. The ground shook as they landed and shifted into their human forms. “Irim, why have you called us here?” A beautiful woman with dark thigh length dreadlocks asked. Her dark eyes, like obsidian stared at them.
“Queen Cantaly has asked me to come here on her behalf in hopes that you will listen to a proposal. She has written into law that the males of dragon kind may no longer fight for the right to mate, that the women of our kind can no longer be stolen away from the men they love. She asks and I ask that you help spread the word and enforce this law.”
“What brought this on?” It was a man with white hair and dark skin, the crystal dragon.
“A youngling attacked Zane Koopman and tried to steal his mate Belle, I had to interfere and force the little snot away. This practice is outdated.” Irim looked into the eyes of a man who had been a green dragon. “Wasn’t your sister the victim of one such incident? Was she not raped by this man, did she not bear his children? If she had dared to speak up, no one would have listened because it’s not against our rules. And you Desdi, did you not have to fight tooth and nail after a male dragon severely wounded your husband?” He said this to the first female who had spoken.
“I had to kill the dragon who tried to take me, I didn’t want his hands on me.”
“this needs to stop. We as dragon kind should be ashamed it took a queen being brave and putting her foot down for us to end this. Bare in mind queen Cantaly is my niece. Warn that they will face my own wrath if she is harmed because they don’t like this change. My family and I will be staying at the castle and nobody is to dare attack her for this” None of Irims friends held any protest, even welcomed it with open arms but Irim would never be friends with such low lifes that would want such a thing to still go on.
With everyone in agreement to spread the news and add Irims warning he left for the castle with Claudius. When they arrived Wareine wore that telling grin that he had mischief at play but Claudius wouldn’t worry about it right now. He had to figure out if his love thought he was gay and ask her why on earth she thought that if Irim was correct. “Cantaly, may I talk to you alone please?”
“Yeah, we’ll talk in my office.” she hugged her uncle and told Wareine to behave as she went in with Claudius. When her office door was shut Claudius wasted no time asking. “do you think I’m gay Cantaly?” She half frowned and took his hand “Claudius, theres no need to be ashamed. I’ve bene trying to encourage you to come out to me byt pointing out hot men but you”
“I’m not gay” he interrupted sternly. “But Wareine said you were. Why on earth would he lie like that? He’s your brother” he scoffed “My relationship with him isn’t what your family has with eachother. That fucking asshole”
“I’m sure he didn’t mean much harm. Don’t be so angry”
“He did! he knows I love you!” he said angrily then instantly became shocked at himself he told her. Cantaly was in shock “You..you love me too?” his anger subsided “you’ve loved me aswell Cantaly?”
“yes, it hurt so much when I thought you were gay but I wanted you to be happy. It was the only reason I tried getting you to be honest with yourself…I can’t believe Wareine would do that”
“I do, he’s always doing this shit. I should have known”
“Please stop cussing. There are children in the castle”
“Then I’ll take it outside.” He started to walk out then turned back and gave her a brief kiss. “Just give me a minute.”
She was so shocked it took her a moment to realize what had happened. She hurriedly followed him. “Claudius, it’s okay.”
“It’s even close.”
“Do I need to kiss you again?”
She turned bright red. “N…no.”
“Then just let me deal with my idiot brother, you’re welcome to reprimand me afterwards, but this is a matter of pride.” He saw his brother talking to one of the twins and grabbed him by the back of his shirt. “Outside, now.”
“What did I do?”
“Don’t you dare play dumb.” He shoved the front door open and tossed him out into the courtyard so he hit the ground with a thud. He squatted down over him and grabbed the front of his shirt. “I let you get away with everything, hell I even laugh at some of the idiotic crap you pull, but when you start messing with Cantaly’s and my feelings that’s where I draw the line. You made Cantaly sad and that is unforgivable.”
“Now, now it was just a joke.”
“If you want a joke then put blue food coloring in someone’s shampoo.”
“Good idea.” He just smiled. “Besides, what right do you have to be mad at me, you finally told her right?”
“If you weren’t my brother, I’d throttle you.”
“but you have your mate. You make me want to throw up somtimes with how you talk about her”
“says the man that was just searching for one”
“Touche, for now on Cantaly is off limits for my humor. Does that make us cool?”
“I can settle with that.” Claudius let Wareine stand up and Wareine gave him a punch on the shoulder, his way of saying I love you. “Love you too. Try and act your age”
“but we dragons never grow old. I’m still a teenager. That is when my body stopped aging”
“alright, go back in with Cantaly. She’s finally yours” Wareine bowed as a joke. “what the hell?”
“the queen is your mate, doesn’t that make you king?” a slight blush tinted his cheek “I’d have to marry her the human way and we’ve only just started dating”
“hm, I’ll put gold on you two getting married before the year is up” Claudius shook his head and walked inside without another word. Cantaly looked adorably worried. “I didn’t hurt him. Just put him in his place” Claudius said as he wrapped her in a hug. When he pulled back he lifted Cantalys chin and gave her a slow kiss, savoring her like he had so long waited to do. He loved the star struck look in her eyes when he opened his.
“I haven’t seen Ariel, Irim or my cousins in awhile. Lets spend time with them”
“ok” irim was at ease since the word would take awhile to travel. Atleast today his family could enjoy eachother without fear of an attack. When Rapunzel and Casimer joined them Cantaly excitedly told her parents she was with Claudius now which didn’t seem to surprise them atall. They each hugged them then started talking to Ariel and irim.
Rapunzel held Amaranthi, her eyes full of adoration as she kissed the little girl’s nose. Casimer smiled lovingly at her, knowing they would be talking about having another baby soon. Cantaly loved seeing her mother light up and couldn’t wait until she was able to feel the joys of motherhood. Her parents always talked about how rewarding it was. “So, do you think the law will take?” Casimer asked.
“There will always be those who refuse to cooperate, but I think for the most part things will go well and if any youngling wishes to do battle with this family then he will have to come through me.” Irim answered with a smile.
“Do you plan on stopping them before they even get to us?”
“Of course, I have sworn to protect this family no matter what. If I even feel the vibrations of flight, I will fill the sky with fire and sending your enemies running with their tails tucked between their legs.” His smile widened. “I shall forever be your faithful brother and guardian.”
“You are truly the greatest dragon there is uncle Irim.” Cantaly said, admiration clear in her voice.
He shrugged. “Love makes you great.”
Claudius took Cantalys hand with a warm smile. That night Ckaudius walked with Cantaly to her room then asked before she went in “when you can’t sleep you always let me lay in bed with you and talk until you can. That was always so rare but I enjoyed it immensely. Can I do that everynight? Just lay with you until you fall asleep? I promise to leave” She smiled and grabbed his left cheek to pull him into a kiss. When their lips stopped moving against eachothers she said “I’d really like that and you don’t have to leave. You’ve been living here with me almost as long as I’ve been queen and I’ve been in love with you most of that time. I wouldn’t think it’s too fast to make my room your room. I mean, unless you’d like to leave when I’m sleeping”
Claudius hugged her excitedly. He was well past over joyed “just let me get a clothes for tomorrow” He ran off and Cantaly bent over laughing when she saw him carrying his whole dresser. When he set it down by hers he had to move them both a bit to make them look nice. It was then he took her in his arms again “What? I get to stay in here every night right?”
“I just didn’t expect your whole dresser already. I was expecting one change of clothes. Lets change and get in bed you adorable man”
“I sleep in my boxers”
“Now that is somthing I’d love to see. You have an amazing body. Its why somtimes I want to go swimming so much” he chuckled into her hair since he had just been running his nose up her neck to the top of her head. If it didn’t concern him he’d get the boot he would have offered to take his boxers off too but he just stripped down while Cantaly put on pajama pants and a tank top.
He was waiting in bed blissfully when she came out and crawled in. He didn’t give her a second before he had taken her in his arms. “day one down” she whispered “if anybody comes we have Irim and your whole family. You also have me and nothing will ever happen to you when your by my side Cantaly” The words flowed directly to her heart “and I completely believe that Claudius” she whispered, already sleepy.
She soon faded and after a kiss Claudius smiled feeling like the luckiest dragon in the world. Irim and a few other males may beg to differ but he had seen Cantaly as the perfect mate since the day he met her and that would never change.
~ The End ~