"Mara, which one do you prefer?"
Inside the boutique in the high-end mall, Mara sat on the sofa lazily. Watching her friend's excited expression, she couldn't help rolling her eyes.
Until now she couldn't understand her friend Sophia's excitement. Although it was said to be a blind date for single werewolf, it was actually a large hunting party for male werewolves, regarded as prey.
If women don't want to be caught, they can only try to escape the pursuit of men, such as hiding their smell. Otherwise, they will face the situation of being forced to mate, or bluntly, being raped. Even if they’re mate, sex that disregards one's wish can still be defined as rape.
Mara felt cold all over once thinking about it. Even though she's holding a mocha with ice in her hand, she's sure it's not caused by the lattet.
"Mara! Hurry up, I need your opinion!" Seeing Mara's contemptuous expression, Sophia pretended to be angry.
Mara felt that she needed something to calm down her anger. She drunk the latte in her hand, and finally felt the weight on her neck lightened a little. She shifted her gaze to the two dresses Sophia was holding.
A hung black off-shoulder mini dress and one white one with long sleeves with its abdomen cut out but the back fully intact.
"Do you want an honest opinion or do you prefer the cheat card response?" Mara curled her lips and said。
"Cheat card," Sofia sighed as she shook her head. "This one," she said as she opened the curtain to place the black dress in front of her, "say’s ‘please to meet you, I would like a tall drink for the night, and I know you can satisfy me.’"
Moving the other dress away to replace it with the white one, "while this one," Sofia started. "Makes me feel like I needed to do another hour of exercise in the gym, but fully compliments my figure and wholeheartedly makes me happy that I could finally show off my smooth belly. Remember, I’ve been doing belly dancing?"
Mara nodded, a slight quirk on her brow, "yeah, I remember. You asked me to join, and I did. So far, it’s done wonders for my embarrassment."
"Mara!" Sofia breathed in heavily, raising her voice. She needs to make her friends realize the importance of the banquet. Moreover, she doesn't want to leave a bad impression on mate because of her casual dress when she meets her mate. She needs to make him fall in love at first sight.
Sofia continued to persuade, "don't refuse this banquet like that. You know the importance of mates to werewolves. Although this method is indeed a bit cruel and boring, finding a mate must be amazing, do you think so?"
The moment Sofia said the word Hunt, Mara felt her right cheek twitch and her mouth purse into a line. Visibly disgusted by the mention of one of the least events of their kind said out loud felt like a taboo physically torturing her cheeks.
She felt her neck was heavier than she thought it was before.
Inside Mara’s thoughts would have been an offense to her friend Sofia’s delicate gumption, not for the morbid details that ran a second when she heard the word, Hunt. Rather it was how she cursed the very idea of the Hunt.
Here is the tea, served fresh from her cold, latte-ladled heart. She, and her friend Sofia, are wolf-kind built from the blessing of the moon goddess. The highest blessing of the moon to humankind is the gift of the wolf. To prosper in strength and charisma built on the shoulders of the lone creature that served the goddess in righteous dignity and respect of their ever mother.
That is what the wolf-kind is, humans born from the womb of the moon, and following the symbol of their mother, the wolf, their race is bound by an unbroken belief in instinct above all. They follow their birth from the moon, shaped like the wolf.
And, by the law of nature, they don’t need to live by the wolf but they have to nurture their race by the way of the wolf. Annually, the moon has a certain shine that envelopes the sky brighter than the sun without only the warmth felt through the skin of wolf-kind. This light gives a heightened life to the wolf-kind, sensitive enough to strengthen our instincts.
This instinct includes the desire to copulate with the intent of producing heirs for their kind. Further down the line, they’ve adjusted this thinking and added considerably modern elements following through the world’s modern views.
These days, they consider this tradition as "blind dates". Out of all the out-of-context terms though "blind date" is the least accurate to call the Hunt.
Its nature still relies on manhandling its possible partner through forceful means, such as hounding their scent in the air and fighting for the juiciest meat in the stock. Mara could compare this age-old tradition to actual wolves in the wild, their moon cousins.
Without any regard for their thought, hearts, and preference, the Hunt indulges and encourages their participants to pursue their possible partners in a blood rush. Not to any head above, but bellow the belt, between the legs.
They let the males, specifically, believe their groins first in deciding their "one true love," more than their hearts and minds. What can Mara even call that?
Fortunately, they have an age limit for when to participate. Unlucky for those like Mara who avoid the Hunt like the plague, the pack organizing the Hunt this season is none other than the Exalta, the Alpha of Black River pack, the largest pack in North America
The name itself meant killing, as no one wanted to fight against him, especially a small pack like them. To defy Exalta meant to tell him that they hated keeping their heads on their necks for too long. He has always won territory by killing, but after he took over those clans, none stood up to speak ill of him. They even thought he was the best alpha they had ever seen. Mara disagree with this because she thinks that a ruler who is so keen on hunting games must not respect women. Although this is a tradition that werewolves have, he can break it, but he doesn't.
Few people have seen Luc, plus, he is only 25 years old, for the werewolf world where strength means everything, female werewolves have already firmly believed that Luc must be very handsome. Even, they’re eager t draw his face upon their fancy, imagining he’s their mate.
Yes, Luc hasn't found his mate yet.
One unmated, unclaimed, and deliciously available king. Just thinking about him is enough to make any female werewolf pinch her legs and rub the softest part between them.
"Ahk—" coughed Mara when the loud curtain irons clinked like a whirring wind to her ears.
"This doesn’t work," Sofia whined as she threw five dresses on the silver bar on the wall beside the changing area. "I chose the right color, they’re flattering for a woman as tall and filled as I. But it doesn’t look right."
Eyeing the dresses Sofia discarded, then back at her friend, Mara wondered why it didn't look alright for her. Standing to look at the choices, five out of the twenty were given for Sofia to wear.
"How many are you going to try on???" Picking one dress, a nice dark grey ensemble with shimmer at the end of the skirt. Skimpy length but conservative at the right places. "You don’t look good in this?"
"Yes and no, I don't think that dress flatters my waist enough," Sofia said walking to the closet area of the room but paused to look at the chair Mara previously sat on. "Did you not try any of those dresses I picked for you???"
Looking back at the chair Mara left, she casually eyed the dresses she had just sat on and shrugged. "I did, I just didn’t feel any of them. Like… well, like you, you know."
Approaching the sofa chair and picking up one of the dresses, Sofia noticed that though wrinkled did not look frumpled enough to have been tried on. She glared at Mara, "you didn’t. God, if I weren’t a good friend of yours I’d say you were being a prude."
"No prude woman would wear short shorts in a crowd of a thousand." Mara rebutted as she felt Sofia pull her towards the changing area.
Handing her one of the dresses, she forced Mara inside and closed the curtain. "Wear that, go on, I want you to see yourself in the mirror. That isn't sarcastic, magical, or presumptively lies that they're on a vacation and want none of your vanity."
Judging by the way Sofia worded her quip, Mara felt that she was in the crossfire of her frustration. Saying nothing would save her time and following her friend’s advice might appease her. So, she wore the dress.
Snug on her body, with a tight cinch on the waist, the white dress Sofia gave her flowed wavy at the ends and tucked neatly onto her waist. The top covered her chest but breathed room on the sides and in the middle with a v-cut cloth that led to the back of her nape in a secure knot.
Her shoulders were bare, almost showing the upper part of her back, but covered her bottom and thighs like a draped silky cloth.
Her strengths are fully displayed. Because of years of training, her shoulders, neck and arms are perfect, and her calf muscles are just right. Sophia bet that if Mara takes off her previous T-shirt and shorts, she will become the favorite of all werewolves in college.
"Just this one! Come on! Mara! Let's charm all the men at the banquet!" Sophia said excitedly, holding her face. "Of course, not with your fists, but with your beauty!"