The atmosphere in the room was high with tension. Indeed, one could distinctly perceive the anxiety emanating from the people present in the room by the worried glances they threw from left to right and the way their bodies could not remain still and - for those most anxious - from the beads of sweat that were beginning to appear on their foreheads.
But this was not without cause: it was the monthly strategy meeting, in more colloquial jargon, it was called RCAM. It brought together all the members of the royal circle, who were to report to the King on the work done and the progress of the missions entrusted. The meeting had started in relatively good humor, but it did not last. The more the members presented their reports, the more the mood of the King turned sour.
“To conclude, allow me to say that there has been an effective decline in the actions of anti-revolutionaries.” Hwang Minhyun, one of the generals said quietly. “The percentage of sabotage is clearly in decline. We can’t let this damage our plan further."
The King sniffed the air with a brief nod, then turned his attention to another of his subordinates, Na Jaemin, awaiting his report. He raised an eyebrow, unimpressed when he saw said subordinate shake slightly before stepping forward. The latter positioned himself in front of him, who was seated on a sort of large chair on a giant podium. It was majestic, silver in color, and adorned with green rubies which shone mainly thanks to the reflections of the rays of the sun which filtered through the large windows of the room.
The throne room, where the monthly meetings took place, was very closely similar to the other rooms of the mansion. Finely decorated, bright thanks to its large stained-glass windows but above all, very impersonal. Yeonjun cleared his throat finely and gave a brief wave with his hand - with two fingers - urging his subordinate to proceed. The latter glanced nervously behind him, vainly seeking support among his other subordinates who stood in even rows.
Coughing to regain his consistency, Jaemin straightened up, and lowered his head slightly, his eyes fixed on the ground, not daring to look at the King in the eye. After all, the only one who had the courage to do so was already buried six feet under.
“I first want to support Lord Hwang's words, sabotage is really on the decline. Regarding the area of Busan, the actions of the revolutionaries have been divided by three this month alone.” he frowned. “From an efficiency point of view, the number of medical errors also decreased in the same period. "
“And why this turnaround?”
“I’m waiting,” said Yeonjun, clearly bored out of his mind.
Jaemin ran the back of his hand over his forehead, wiping away the beads of sweat that had accumulated there, and swallowed hard. He waddled from one leg to the other, a sign of his anxiety, then stammered a few incomprehensible words before throwing himself at his master's feet in a deep bow, stammering out excuses to make up for his lack of response.
Yeonjun paid him no attention, glancing over the rest of his subordinates. He tilted his head slightly to the left, his lips forming a dangerous smirk.
"Well, neither of you can answer that question?” He looked around the room and rose regally from his seat - worthy of the ruler he was - and paced the room.
He passed through the ranks, walking slowly in front of his subordinates.
"Am I surrounded by incompetents?"
The King continued through the ranks then stopped in front of a fairly young man - in his twenties - and leaned towards him so that his mouth was close to his vassal's ear. "Lee Heeseung, what do you think? Am I surrounded by a bunch of incompetents?" He hissed.
Poor Heeseung didn't know what to answer to this question. This was only the second meeting he attended, being a recent member of the royal circle. He had just finished his studies as a research engineer. His father, being well placed in the circle, had succeeded in finding him the post of head of service in the lead languages: a service responsible for carrying out research and development on new technologies, mainly to improve equipment.
Heeseung yelped as the King suddenly grabbed him by the hair, tilting his head back harshly. Tears formed in the corners of his eyes and he blinked them out quickly while wincing in pain. His head was positioned so that he was facing the King, his eyes meeting those of the chosen Alpha.
He groaned miserably, not from the pain he felt at the tight, harsh grip of the King but rather from the frightening eyes that were staring straight at him.
A pair of amethyst-colored eyes adorned with narrow slit-like pupils: the eyes of the moon.
Heesung's mouth opened as if to utter a cry of fear, but no sound came out, his vocal cords seemed to have let go, and his shaky legs were about to follow soon. It was the first time he had met his master's gaze and he was surprised by the full control he had on every single one Alpha presented in the room. Those special eyes were a sign that he was the chosen one, the only Alpha to be bestowed by the power of the Moon to lead his people. To obtain them, it was necessary to perform a very perilous ritual that could repeal life. Very few leaders had tried the ritual for its consequence was rather horrifying. Indeed, if the Moon found them unworthy and rejected their offers, there was only one outcome: they would die burned to ash and the process would be slow and painful that most of them would rather choose to be staked than to receive such punishment.
In a brief moment of lucidity, Heeseung wondered why this information had not been made public, because it would undoubtedly reduce the actions of the anti-revolutionaries for the King was the only Alpha legitimized by the Moon. He was practically the ruler of the world if he were to wish for it.
"When I ask a question, I expect an answer," barked Yeonjun when he was answered with silence.
“I — um,” Heesung stammered pathetically. “My King, pardon my—”
“My question was simple, am I surrounded by incapable people?” Yeonjun cut him off coldly. His grip on his hair tightened as he arched an eyebrow.
“I —Y-Yes my King, we are incapable. Please f-forgive us.” He croaked out, blinking quickly, letting his tears flow freely down his cheeks. His cheeks turned red from embarrassment, feeling mortified of himself as he stared down at the ground in shame.
The King finally released his grip and stepped back slightly, crossed his hands behind his back, and continued to pace the room. He paid no attention to Heeseung, whose legs had finally given up under him, and he crumpled to the floor without any grace, whimpering miserably.
Yeonjun stopped in front of Kim Wooseok, Heesung’s father, and his lips lifted slightly in a mocking sneer. "Do you agree with him, General Kim? Would you also be incapable?”
Wooseok glared at the ground and clenched his jaw. He was almost vibrating with anger, he was so frustrated at his helplessness. The Alpha had no choice but to follow his son’s footsteps and said what the King wanted to hear: yes, he was incapable, and that pissed him off.
However, the anger was soon replaced by sudden cold when he felt the freezing end of a pistol land on his temple. And not just any weapon, a semi-auto revolver, which had a fine gold gilding, lined with a custom-made barrel by the Japanese as an anchor gift. The murderous elegance and unheard-of precision of this weapon ranked it among the King's favorites, so much that he had dubbed it as “death’s door” for anyone who met this pistol would meet his end in a matter of second.
“Yes — yes, I am incapable.” Wooseok stammered when he heard the trigger lock moving slightly. All his anger was gone now and he was shaking like a leaf, which could only be hilarious, considering his size and height.
“That's what I was telling myself,” Yeonjun stated icily before putting his gun away. He walked back to his throne while raising a hand in the air, over his shoulder, dismissing them. "The members of my inner circle remain, I would like to talk to you."
He walked to the back of the podium, towards a door, which opened into a study room less imposing than the throne room. In the middle of it was a large table, surrounded by chairs, one of which stood out with serpents carving on its handle. Yeonjun settled in gracefully, crossing his legs and resting his chin on his palm.
“I don't think I need to tell you to take better care of your troops.” He said once his inner circle was established. "San, Heeseung was pretty pathetic earlier. His father’s influence must be clouding his mind so I trust you to take care of that."
San bowed his head formally, thinking about different scenarios that would allow him to carry out this order. Yeonjun nodded at him and returned to his inner circle.
“Some of you already know this, but I recently acquired an Omega.” A rare, soft smile appeared on his face. “A gift from my beloved brother. My thanks, Soobin, he is exquisite. "
Soobin tilted his head slightly to the left, his lips showing a brief smile. Then his eyes moved to the blond-haired Alpha beside him.
“Minhee, have you found a solution concerning these anti-revolutionaries?” asked the King to his second-hand in command. “Of course, the sabotage has decreased, but I want more than that, I want them to be eradicated, them and their leader.”
Yeonjun's eyes gleamed dangerously as he looked at the picture pinned on the table.
"I want Kang Taehyun to be gone."
Every single Alpha in the room, including Soobin, let out a small shudder at the raw and unadulterated hatred he embedded inside those words. It must be a terrifying experience to be at the end of that hatred, for sure. It was still a mystery how the formel high General could excape Choi Yeonjun's wrath without a single scratch.
“Fret not, we have a lead regarding their HQ, my lord.” The blond-haired Alpha said. "An attack strategy is about to be put in place. We're more than ready to start the first strike."
The King nodded in appreciation. He leaned back to the throne as he relaxed comfortably against the headrest. “Very good, but know one thing: I want results. And I want it fast.”
Minhee gave him an arrogant smirk as he bowed. “Trust me, my lord, you'll get some. And it would be sooner than you imagine."
Yeonjun smirked back, “I knew I can count on you, my friend.”
The private meeting continued on the same note, with the King giving orders and directions as the members of the inner circle reported on their progress on the assignments given to them.
“Well, let's leave it there for today.” Yeonjun stood up, getting ready to head for the door, then stopped. "By the way, Soobin, organize a press conference for me in two weeks for I will announce my anchoring. And tell Beomgyu to start preparations for a gala, I'll give him the date later.”
Soobin nodded. “Very well, my lord."
Beomgyu knocked on the door three times and walked in quickly, shutting the door behind him when he heard the Alpha's baritone voice allowing entry into the room. He stood at the entrance to the bedroom and looked up at Yeonjun with gloomy eyes.
Seeing him like that, Yeonjun sighed and waved his hand over to him. The Kralj did not need to be asked twice and quickly climbed on the bed, settling down next to the Alpha who put the book he was reading and his pair of glasses on the bedside table.
“You didn’t join the meeting again today, Beomgyu.”
“I wasn’t in the mood, brother. Please forgive me.”
Yeonjun frowned at the coarse answer. “Did you fight with Soobin again? Is that it?”
It wasn't the first time Beomgyu had gone to take refuge in Yeonjun's arms when he had an argument with Soobin, thus posing as the victim in the eyes of the Alpha.
"I'm sorry to bother you, brother." Beomgyu said a few times later.
“You don't bother me at all.” he sighed. “What’s wrong? You know you can tell me anything.”
Beomgyu bit his lower lip before he said: “Don’t you find it pathetic that I could never seem to move on from Taeyeon? Soobin seems to think so. I look pretty pathetic, don’t I?"
Yeonjun turned his chest towards him, put his hand on the Kralj's chin, lifting his head so that their eyes met. He looked at him and raised an eyebrow when he saw a strange glint in Beomgyu's raven eyes.
“You always asked me the same question.” He said and narrowed his eyes when Beomgyu looked away. "Tell me, what did he say to you?”
"Nothing at all," the Kralj refuted too quickly, making the Alpha even more suspicious.
"You know I could order you to tell me the truth," Yeonjun said, releasing young Alpha's chin and gently stroking his cheek.
Beomgyu smiled. “But I know you won't.”
“No, I will not, because our family nest is not a dictatorship.” he smiled back. “Do know, however, that one day or another I would end up having the end of this story.”
Beomgyu didn't comment, and lay down next to his brother, his back to him. Yeonjun turned off the bedside lamp and lay down after him. He put an arm around the Kralj, pulling him closer to him and resting his hand around his waist just like when they were kids. Beomgyu sighed contentedly and closed his eyes.
The Kralj closed his eyes tightly, so tight that the creases in his eyelids were apparent. But that didn't stop the tears from slowly escaping his eyes: he sobbed silently. Yeonjun could say anything, but that simple action made all his efforts to reassure the young Alpha in vain.
He cried all the tears from his body, remaining as silent as possible so as not to wake Yeonjun who was by his side. It was all so unfair! Why?! Why couldn't Soobin treat and love him the same? Is it because of his late mother? Because of their blood status? All he wanted was to be loved and appreciated by his own brother. Beomgyu wanted all his attentions, his laughter, his sweetness which was hidden behind twenty tons of coldness. But it seemed that all of them were reserved only for one person and he hated that.
Soobin, and even Yeonjun, they would never look at him like they looked at him.
Huening Kai was born an Omega, he had a special favor that Beomgyu would and could never have and it frustrated him. He moved even closer to Yeonjun, who instinctively tightened his embrace around the Kralj. With a calming breath, Beomgyu resolved in his heart to do everything to protect his place. It was his and his alone, no one could take it away from him, especially a worthless Omega like him.
After all, if Beomgyu couldn't have his brothers’ love, then he would make sure no one else had either.
Choi Soobin's life was quite complex.
Unlike his big brother, he had to be charismatic and tough on his duties to be respected, not feared. Fear was one of the factors that facilitated the betrayal. If his subordinates stayed with him just out of fear of reprisal, they would jump at any opportunity to shoot him in the back. Conversely, if his subordinates felt respected, appreciated, they would follow him with their eyes closed and would even die for him without a second thought, and that was what he needed, especially right now.
Soobin had taken a long time behind his brothers’ back to retain his own set of loyal subordinates, and today he was satisfied with the result. The Alpha knew that betrayal, if it were to happen, would not come from his court. What had happened with Kim Namjoon should not happen again.
Choi Yeonjun maybe crowned King, but it was Soobin who was responsible for the fall of Namjoon's reign. He had joined the inner circle of the former King at a very young age, and over the years had risen through the ranks to become his right hand. And when the opportunity presented itself, he had overthrown his reign to install his own brother without any scruples. His plan had been well thought out and executed, riddled with manipulation, assassination, and bribery. But it had finally paid off, the Chois were no longer a branch aristocratic family anyone can step on and now they were at the top of the pedestal, reigning the country with an iron fist.
Crossing several hallways, the only sound that could be heard was that of chirping birds knocking at the trees and maids chattering away in the background. When he got to his quarters, the Alpha laid gently on his massive bed which could easily hold four people and allowed himself to relax.
Within these four walls, he was simply Soobin. Not the country's second in command, not a part of the Chois, and that suited him perfectly.
Soobin resented the Chois deeply. He had not known his mother for she had died in childbirth, and his older sister had died soon after when he was only four years old. He wasn’t close with eihter Yeonjun or Beomgyu because their mother hated him to the bone for he was an illegitimate child born out wedlock and his father didn't care enough about him to even ask for his name. And as a result, Soobin had lived exiled with his grandfather Choi Sunyoung, who helped him become the man he is today.
It was his grandfather who had taught him the value of a family nest. Indeed, the destined Omega of his grandfather, Hera, had died of a very rare disease and no doctor had been able to find a cure to cure her. Sunyoung had moved heaven and earth, paid the best specialists to try to find a diagnosis, but nothing had helped. Hera's departure had left his grandfather devastated. The loss of an anchor could cause a strong depression and the weakest simply stopped living in order to reach their loved one more quickly.
But his grandfather had fought, first for his children and then for his grandsons. He had educated him harshly while showing him love in his own way. And it was this education that Soobin wanted to pass on to his descendants if he were allowed to do so.
The Alpha narrowed his eyes, analyzing the report he had in front of him more carefully. Sunoo, one of his ambassadors in Russia, indicated that something was going on up north, something very big, and he clenched his jaw when he saw the numbers. Their military might had quadrupled.
The Russians seemed to be preparing for war. But a war against whom?
Soobin stood up, picked up his phone, and walked into his office room, not wanting to alert anyone near the facility. A single bell rings before the other party responds with a very cordial greeting.
"Spare me these courtesies," Soobin said immediately, cutting him off. “I just saw your report, I'll give you two weeks to investigate and give me a more complete report. "
"It might be complicated, if I ask too many questions I might be suspected of something."
"I trust you can handle it. I’ll be waiting for your report.” He hung up, not allowing another excuse.
Soobin pinched the bridge of his nose, then found himself comfortably seated on his sofa, a glass of scotch in hand. The Russian situation was delicate and Sunoo would have to act with finesse in his investigation. But Soobin didn't worry about him, he knew his agent was more than capable of this mission.
A small smile slowly formed on his face when he smelled the scent of his beloved Omega behind the door, but was quickly replaced by a frown.
The Alpha could feel him standing outside the door, but he didn't dare to knock to make his presence known. All he did was just circling aimlessly around Soobin's quarters. And more, he could smell the anxiety that was strongly present in his every move, making the Omega’s usually sweet scent turned sour and bitter.
Soobin absentmindedly took a sip of his liquor, wondering what could keep Kai from entering. Could it be his indifference? It wasn’t like he was being cold on purpose. He just didn’t want anyone to be suspicious of his unusual attraction to the young Omega. Besides, the said Omega had been holed up in his quarters without leaving for a whole week, pretending to be ill, but Soobin had immediately noticed the deception. However, he hadn't wanted to confront him, not wanting to corner Kai against the wall. It was also for this reason that he had remained silent despite noticing the continued restlessness and nervous tick he had been carrying for the past weeks.
"Come in Kai, don't stay behind the door." He said, knowing full well that the Omega could hear him.
Sure enough, Kai walked in, quietly closing the door behind him. He faced the Alpha, and looked him straight in the eye without blinking unlike their first meeting, however, the constant beating of his heart betrayed his real state of anxiety.
"I'm… I wanted to talk with you, if it’s okay." he said quietly.
On the other hand, Soobin was stunned by the appearance of the Omega. His once wild curls had been cut into a sophisticated hairstyle that showcased his fine, aristocratic features typical of Huenings. His lips were almost blood red in color, his cheeks bloomed like rose in winter. He was wearing a mindnight-colored gown around his body, the dark color contrasted nicely with his snow white skin.
Kai looked… ethereal.
“Of course.” The Alpha said after a few seconds of silence. “Is there something I could help you with?”
“Y-Yes, I wanted…. to apologize.”
Soobin tilted his head, confused. “For what?”
“I…..” Kai bit down his lower lip as he fiddled with his fingers. “I w-wanted to apologize for not listening to your advice regarding Beomgyu. I feel... I feel like I’ve made you upset with my reckless choice. I-Is that why you’ve been ignoring my presence?”
Soobin watched him, silently thinking about his own apology as well. He placed his glass noisily on the coffee table then leaned more comfortably against the back of the sofa.
"Come here, little Omega." He beckoned softly with a smile.
As soon as Kai reached him, Soobin grabbed him by the waist and dragged him on his lap. Kai yelped in shock but he was quick to wrap his veiny arms around his waist, leaving tge Omega no time to change the intimate position. Soobin nestled his head in Kai’s slender neck, near his scent gland, planting sweet kisses on the surface but not biting down. The Alpha nibbled on the skin lightly as if to tell him that he accepted his apology before placing one last kiss there.
Kai closed his eyes and sighed contentedly. The scent gland was a very erogenous zone, and the slightest stimuli from an Alpha could arouse the Omega to the point of delirium but strangely he didn’t feel any of that. All he could feel was warmth and protection and it confused him slightly.
They were silent for a while, still with Soobin marking his neck and strong arms around his waist, refusing to let go.
"You've lost a bit of weight," whispered Soobin. The Alpha's breath against his skin sent a tremor across his body.
“I-I didn’t notice.” Kai said weakly.
Soobin sniffed the air, his breath tickling the Omega's neck, who gave a small giggle as he squirmed. Amused, the Alpha ran a hand through the now short and permed hair, then gently pulled his head back so he could peer into his glowing blue eyes. Inside his Alpha's eyes was a look so intense that sent his heart into overdrive. Before Kai could move on from the sudden spike in his heartbeat, Soobin brought his face closer, twisting it slightly to be at a good angle, then gently connected their lips together.
Kai gasped quietly against Soobin's lips. It was their first kiss as far as he knew, and it was tender, but short, and Kai's head followed Soobin's as he pulled it back, hoping to prolong this moment.
Truthfully, Kai didn't know what made him so attached. It had been the first time Soobin had given him such attention, and he found himself not wanting to part with it anytime soon. Kai deepened the kiss, timidly licking the Alpha's lower lip, which immediately opened to grant him access. A frenzied battle ensued, the two lovers trying to get the upper hand over the other, but of which Soobin was the only winner and he thus led the kiss as he pleased.
Kai slowly pulled his head back, ending the kiss, and licked his bruised lips. The Omega wrapped his arms around Soobin then rested his head on his chest, near his beating heart, closing his eyes in bliss. He breathed in the smell of musk and pine as he let himself being enveloped by his Alpha’s strong pheromone. Kai hated himself for becoming so weak, but he couldn’t deny that it felt really good to be doted on by his Alpha, to have his attention focused on him, and only him.
Soobin absently stroked Kai's silk-like hair, the cogs of his brain spinning at a million thoughts per second, analyzing the particularly submissive behavior of his Omega tonight. His eyes and lips, slightly pursed, were the only visible signs of his frustration.
Something must have happened, and that something had to involve his ill-tempered little brother.
The Alpha looked down to look at Kai's sleepy face. He seemed so calm and content with all the attention Soobin had been giving him and the mere sight was enough to bring up a gentle smile on his lips.
After a while, the Soobin stood up, carrying his sleeping Omega in his arms while being careful to not wake him. He laid him down in his bed and settled in after him. However, the Alpha stayed awake most of the night, watching Kai’s ethereal form being bathed in the moonlight.