Chapter 34:

Chapter 34

Prince of the Sun

Jace’s expression was likely dark and clouded as he stood in the emptying meeting room. He had quite a lot on his mind, almost to the point he didn’t notice his parents approaching him.

Both Queen Pearl and King Cassianus were intimidating in their regalia and their powerful stares. They were Jace’s parents but the familial connection was different and perhaps a little unconventional. While Jace was really close with his sister his parents were not able to forge such connections with him. They were strict and reliable positions of authority, their word held a lot of weight over Jace in ways he couldn’t quite put into words.

When Jace noticed them approaching he tried to not look alarmed. Usually time with his parents was scheduled and planned for yet here they were.

“Jace, may we speak for a moment?” his father asked.

“Of course,” Jace said quickly. Trying not to be fidgety he held his hands together.

The last of the members of the court drained out and the doors were closed. Trapping Jace inside with his parents.

The Queen looked at him directly, her gaze piercing him. He couldn’t move, couldn't breathe much less begin the conversation.

It was Pearl who began, “Jace we have noticed you have forged a romantic relationship with Momoka Fujimura.”

Jace tensed, not expecting them to draw attention to his relationships, they usually just brushed them off as nothing serious and ignored them entirely.

“You are not breaking any rules with this relationship, don't be worried about that, it’s perfectly acceptable,” the King said.

Jace didn’t relax one bit. His mind instantly went to Zebedaios and how unacceptable they might consider that relationship. He was inviting a demon to stay, they could never know.

Pearl continued their point, “We have two issues however we would like you to address. Firstly, You understand the importance of our alliance with the Fujimura clan, this is why they have been visiting for so long. We need to continue this alliance which means keeping good relations between future generations. I do not mean to discourage you from romantic pursuits but Jace the curse is seldom broken and playing with the heart of a future ally is unwise.”

Jace nodded. “I understand, I thought that perhaps the curse wouldn’t apply to Momoka as she is a werewolf.”

Cassianus frowned. “What gave you that impression? It is most untrue.”

Jace’s eyes trailed along the floor, in almost shame. “I don’t know. She seemed so ok with it when I explained the situation, it seemed like it was something she could easily set aside.”

“Jace, you should know better than that,” Cassianus scolded.

The criticism bit and stung like a whip. His father’s words weren’t even particularly harsh yet Jace couldn’t help but take them to heart.

“It seems very clear to me that the curse has taken hold of Momoka,” Pearl said, “I’m not telling you to break up with her yet I strongly suggest you find some way of quelling the curse. For the sake of your people Jace, you can’t end this in a bad way.”

“I understand and I’m trying to better our relationship,” Jace said softly.

“That brings us to our second point, we have noticed her behaviour toward Nikita has become unacceptably bitter,” said Cassianus.

“The curse truly has Momoka in its grip,” Jace said.

“Jace,” Pearl said a little impatient, catching Jace’s attention, “I know how much you struggle with Nikita and how much you dislike the fact of your fate. However Nikita is your future and as much as you may dislike it, your union with Nikita is your duty. You need to have respect for her and not allow anyone to treat her in such a way. She might be a challenge but Nikita is your biggest ally in this life of yours.”

The truth of his mothers words and wisdom shot Jace in the heart. He had no rebuttal against him. She held a lived experience of ruling alongside his father Cassianus. Sure their relationship was not the whirlwind romance that Jace craved yet they had the stability that had gotten the Phoenix through very difficult situations. Also held terrible power, which was only becoming increasingly important in these difficult times.

“You can not associate publicly with someone who glares at Nikita for the entirety of a meeting about an existential threat to both our and the pack's future. It’s unacceptable behaviour, I’m sure the Alpha's would be humiliated to know that was what Momoka was doing. She is embarrassing herself as well as everyone around her. We know this is not her normal behaviour and we know it is only because of the curse,” Cassianus explained.

Not able to keep the defeat out his voice Jace asked, “How can I fix it?”

“The curse can’t be broken Jace, if we knew that we would surely tell you. Once the jealousy sets in it’s so difficult for the relationship to improve as your situation and future will not ever change,” Cassianus said.

“We are merely asking you to smooth over the relationship. We have but a month left of the Fujimura’s visit. If you can get her into a place of acceptable behaviour, whether that be by letting her down gently or finding other ways to please her, that will make her forget her issues with Nikita. Once distance becomes a factor her disdain of Nikita is no longer such a public issue,” Pearl tried to offer Jace solutions.

Neither sounded completely possible. He hated the idea of breaking up with Momoka yet he could not think of anything he had left to try to distract her.