*Enric*

We were an hour into a council session when in he walked, bold as day, my new mate.

"Um...Gladrial, you're not allowed to be here."

"I invited him," Kryton spoke up from the head of the table. The council began to grumble. "He's just sitting in. Getting to know how a pack works. Enric, continue."

"Ah..." I think Kryton had just cut off councilman Dubman with Gladrial's entrance. Maybe he was getting better at this politics thing than I thought. I wrapped up the subject at hand quickly and moved onto the next topic on our agenda.

"Taxes. The Midwestern Pack Alliance representatives have managed to get the progressive tax annulled from packs. For those of you who weren't paying attention last week, we were being taxed under the same highest progressive tax bracket as the wealthiest one percent of US citizens. Pack representatives had to go to the state senate to prove this was unfair as this is the income of collective groups serving hundreds or even thousands of people in each group rather than an individual's income."

"In English, Enric." Kryton grumbled from his chair.

"We aren't wealthy, we had to prove it so we don't get taxed at the same rate the wealthy do."

"Why the hell couldn't you just say that."

I gritted my teeth and continued.

"The next issue I would like to address has to do with that income. Our pack brings in almost nothing, no money what-so-ever, from outside the pack. This is a problem considering that we need to pay taxes to a government outside of our pack. Now I have a few proposal plans. I think the best would be to invite human tourists in. They could get their little thrill at-"

"No!" Kryton cut me off.

"But, we need-"

"No! We are not inviting strangers onto pack lands! And that is final!"

"Our only other options are setting up factories that would poison the land! We need something Kryton!"

"Then I will find something, but we are NOT inviting strangers here, nor are we poisoning pack lands!"

"But-"

He was on me in a flash. I wasn't sure if he went around the table or over it, but all the sudden he had me by the neck, pressed up against the table. My mate, now standing close, instinctively knowing better than to interfere, had his hands clenched tightly.

"I said no, Enric."

I bowed my head, becoming lack beneath his hands.

Normally he'd have let me go at the show of submission. I wasn't sure if he wanted to test my mate or make a point. But, this time, instead of releasing me immediately, he bent down to bite the back of my neck first, eyes never leaving my new mate.

My knees always gave out when he did that. Slowly, ever so slowly, Kryton let me slide down his body, into my seat. Which he then kicked so that it skidded closer to our large, sit-in guest.

"This session will adjourn for now. Unless there is anything pressing we need to discuss, we will conclude this tomorrow at the same time."

The council bowed their heads submissively until he left the room.

"What was that," Gladriel asked, resting his hand on my shoulder.

"I'm not sure," I answered back uncertainly. I knew I needed to have the talk with Kryton; let him know I understood, if not exactly forgiven him. I just hadn't worked myself up to it yet. I was still pissed, but it would be my fault if I let more like this happen again because I couldn't get over this and start talking to my brother again. Like it or not, I didn't have the luxury of throwing a pity party, Rixy wouldn't be going down without a fight.

"Is that typically how a council meeting goes," Gladriel asked, helping me to my feet.

"No," I took his hand. "Usually it's just a bunch of paper pushing and whining. Kryton almost sleeps through most of the meetings and skips out at the very first opportunity."

"Strange then," Gladriel hummed.

I nodded.

"So what's next? Well, I have phone calls to make and emails to draft, and you have warriors to help train. I will meet you at the training fields by the time you guys finish warmups and sparing."

"How long will your office things take," he asked.

"Depends on who's available to speak with me today. Usually I end up scheduling a phone call or meeting with a secretary for another time. Every once in a while I get lucky and someone actually has twenty minutes or so to talk with me."

"I will wait."

I guess his guys did know how to do warmups without him; Gladriel wasn't actually in charge of the warriors either, he was more of an assistant. But it was still surprising he'd decided to skip morning training altogether. - Even knowing he'd probably already arranged it with Cynrick, since council meetings generally took much longer than this.

"Alright," I shrugged skeptically and lead the way back to my office.


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