[P] the rise of a queen
#1
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RO with Charlotte and Vigilante. Set late in the evening of today, 10-25. 500+ words.

There was an awful noise, a constant scratching sound coming from behind the wall next to the bed. Scritch, scritch. Dark ears twitched in silent response, a fruitless gesture of annoyance, but the King was growing more and more irritated with the sound with every passing second. Scritch, scratch. He tried to ignore the sound, burying his face beneath his pas on the bed, ebony nails scratching down the dark mask of his face as he fought to keep the dreadful sound out.

Scriiitch. With a growl, he shoved off the bed. He needed to leave this room, this house. He needed to get away from that sound. Something needed to change, and the tired King knew what that meant. His body ached as he dropped heavily to the floor, muscled legs stiff with lack of use. The yawn that sent a shake throughout his entire body could not be helped. There was little that he did anymore, but his body was growing as tired as his mind had grown long ago.

Without a direction in mind, the caramel-hued dog mutt stepped out of the house he had shared with his family so happily and into the dark night. The sun had set only hours before, but a chill had settled, the air so damp that the King felt it in his deepest bones. It was quiet, with only the sounds of the ocean in the distance. For a moment, his paws took him in the direction of the sound, the smell of the sea salt already thick in the air. He hesitated, instead moving to the iron gate of the hotel.

Touching his black nose to the cold metal, his closed his eyes, inhaling and exhaling slowly. He heard another’s approach, his eyes snapping open immediately. Ayita stood before him—no, Charlotte. She looked so much like her mother that in the dark, the color difference was less noticeable. She looked at him sadly, her fingers reaching out to him, and he went to her, allowing her to hug him close to her, allowing her to bury her face in the thick fur of his ruff.

“Daddy, what’s wrong?” she spoke softly, her voice filled with the sadness she felt for her father’s pain. The dog King only shook his head in response. There was nothing wrong—nothing new, anyway. The only thing that he could bring himself to say was a short, strained, “I am done, Little Lotte.” There was no need for an explanation; Charlotte knew what her father meant by those words. It had been coming for quite some time now, she knew, those the words had never been spoken directly. Even her siblings had known it was coming, and she was sure they must resent her for it.

That did not matter to her, however, and she leaned back, stroking her father’s muzzle affectionately. “I can handle it, Daddy,” she assured him. He looked to her gratefully, and suddenly, in his sad eyes, Lotte could see that he was speaking about more than leadership, and it frightened her so.

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