“Your mate is a phoenix?” Deacon again questioned him.
“Yes.” Ardyn lifted his jaw, upset by the indication that she was not worthy to stand by his side. “Is there a problem here?”
“It is unorthodox.” Martin, another advisor commented. "An alpha's mate should be that of the alpha."
“Yes, but so is my swearing-in. I am not the wolf I once was. I am something different entirely and yet you claim to accept me here today.” Ardyn turned his back on the elders to address the people who surrounded them. “Zaria has been by my side through thick and thin. She has fought against the darkness that is coming. She has taken a stance to defend our people when even our own coward in the face of the unknown. It was her ingenuity that saved the
lives of people some of which stand here today, including our current Alpha. She is the woman I choose to stand by my side, and I am honored that she has chosen to be here with me. If you reject her here today, you reject my decisioning, and you reject me as your next Alpha. I leave this to you. Your lives are the ones that are affected by this choice. I do not take it lightly and neither does Zaria.”
Ardyn held his hand out to the woman who’d still glowed with a soft shade of red from her phoenix. When she took his hand, his own aura came to life and the green of his magic lifted beyond the surface of his skin.
“The choice that needs to be made here today, is up to you, the people. Will you have us as your Alpha pair?” Ardyn’s eyes swept across the silent field and waited for a response. The first voice he heard was that of a friend.
“I will have you as my Alpha and I accept your Zaria as my Alpha’s mate.” Ryesen stepped forward and placed her fist over her heart.
“I will have you as my Alpha and I accept Zaria as Alpha’s mate.” Marcus was the first to echo Ryesen but not the last. Each of the Beta wolves pledged their oath before the crowd around them joined in.
Zaria tightened her hold on Ardyn’s hand before she lifted it into the air. As the colors of their auras blended together the crowd cheered. She smiled at him and placed her free hand in a fist over her heart. "I accept you as my Alpha, and I am proud to be your Alpha's mate."