“Alpha Baden, please slow down,” Corey, clearly the most confident Guardian, tries to keep pace with him as I struggle to even keep up with everyone’s long strides. I jog to keep up with everyone’s fast walking through the Academy grounds, buy I am still left somewhat behind.
I am so tempted to shift to my wolf - but that was something I did alone and not around others. I always felt so out of place, when my brunette hair, turned to a silver shade of grey with splotches of white. It was ugly and not uniform. Not to mention my wolf was a pitiful size - but I liked to fancy that my teeth were always sharper than most. After all, small wolves had to make up small statures with not just big barks, but bad bites.
I can’t overhear what else Corey says to Baden, but it’s enough for the Alpha to literally start jogging while laughing loudly, “If she can’t keep up, she better learn to keep up! Hurry up, Omega!”
I gasp as Alpha Baden starts to run, as we head down a paved bridge, to the cobbled paths towards the south side of campus. This area was hilly, and very steep in places. I pant as I watch Baden effortlessly run far ahead.
“You have to keep up, Maia,” another Guardian slows down to keep pace with me, “You can’t fall behind or he’ll have even less respect for you. Keep up. Come on, that’s good - faster!” as the Guardian encourages me to sprint - in jeans and a freaking jacket - I try my best to catch up.
I manage to keep Baden in my sights, even as he jogs at a pace faster than my normal run.
“Good girl, good girl, keep it up, good girl -” the Guardian is trying to be supportive but I can’t help but shove into him with my elbow, my cheeks already red with the rush of blood.
“Not helping,” I hiss in a breath before I sprint faster. I watch Baden almost disappear through the crowd of freshmen wolves up ahead. The new kids crowd around the library entrance - the building was huge and formidable bluestone, four stories high, looming over a round courtyard.
I spot Baden’s signature hair, bobbing through a side entrance, instead of the main doors.
I’m confused about his direction, but as I push some new kids aside in my hurried steps, I eventually barge through the same door Baden just disappeared through.
The moment I’m through the door, my face is beetroot red and I’m panting considerably. I feel like throwing up as I watch fifty heads, all students - currently in a lecture held in the centre of the humongous library - turn to stare at my dramatic entry.
With my hands on my knees, I watch Alpha Baden casually ignore me as he walks down the aisle between make shift seats. He finds some friends, scurries around some girls who shuffle back to give him space... and he sits.
Not once does he look back at me.
It’s like I don’t exist.
But, now I’m standing like a fool, while the teacher at the front of the student’s chairs; Walker - shuffles his papers while peering at me over his spectacles.
“Just on time,” Walker speaks over the snickering and whispering students, “We have a new student, it seems... Maia... were you advised to join the senior classes?”
“A-ah,” I look to the six Guardians who line the back of the wall, and they all nod at me, “Yes, y-yes,” I stutter as I turn to see Walker shrug and slowly lower his papers.
“Interesting, with your string of B grades in Territory... interesting... take a seat, Ms. Royale, welcome to Territory Advanced - anywhere you wish,” Walker seems to be oblivious he just insulted me to the fifty other wolves.
So many people smirk with my humiliation... I clench my fists and my eyes scan for a free seat.
There are a few at the back, near the Omegas... but I didn’t want to associate with the students that had no back bone and who always avoided conflict.
I spot Alpha Baden’s brown hair, wavy and glorious as he sits next to some other boys and girls.
I decide I have to be bold.
I stalk my way down the aisle and I follow down the line of seats that Baden had just navigated. As I hop over legs that many wolves refuse to move, I stand right in front of Alpha Baden and stare him in the eyes.
I was determined to get my way. Either male sitting next to him, had to move - I knew where my place was.
After all, it was this, or my head.
I had to follow the judge’s decree.
While Walker murmurs to himself about how to start the lecture, the students are all silent as I stare... straight into Alpha Baden’s jet black gaze.
He watches me now, knees spread, arms crossed, eyes half hooded.
As I wait, he eventually accepts I will not move by the slight purse of his lips. He is slightly impressed by my strategy to boldly confront him in front of his peers.
“Take a seat... little cousin,” Baden gives me a false blood relation to him as he reaches out a hand and literally shoves one of his friends off the seat next to him.
As the lanky young man stumbles to his feet, grabbing his books to him tightly, Baden also kicks the bag aside that’s in my way. He pats the plastic seat with a firm hand, then he let’s my gaze go like it’s no big deal.
I turn around and sit next to Baden, gritting my teeth as the lanky young man sulks off to find another seat. I was barely holding back a growl from my throat.
Baden was so conniving.
I decide not to debate the ‘cousin’ comment, I’d wait until after the lecture is over.
“Alright, boys... girls... wolves of this realm...” Walker finally starts his opening speech, “Today, in Territory Advanced, I’m going to teach you how to use knowledge to better pursue your place in the Pack. I will be referring to Fang Bearers,” they were territorial guards, “Guardians,” they were the protecters of Alphas, “Matriarchs,” they were female organisers - the biggest gossips, “Alpha’s and Betas,” mate-pairings, “and of course... Aides,” they were the followers, who had no specific job, but they had to follow orders and they often were happy to do so. Omegas weren’t mentioned, they were usually useless or simple rogues, werewolves who didn’t want a Pack... usually because they couldn’t fit into one.
I called myself an Aide - I was happy to be known as one. The other pack terms came with reputations to uphold, at least Aides didn’t have to do anything glorious and were often left alone.
Walker also didn’t mention Danes - they were labelled as Aides, but to be a Dane was a more informal term. It was reserved for wolves without the Alpha gene, who were still dominate and strong in their own right. They were often the right hand men and women of an Alpha - minus the Beta, if there was even a Beta to speak of.
As Walker drones on about his lecture, I look up past the book cases behind him, to the four levels above, each balcony full of even more bookshelves. The middle was open, and we were in the centre of the library; warm, cozy and a lovely place to get away from other gossiping wolves.
It was my preferred place of study.
Now, I can barely comprehend I ran across half the campus to sit with Alpha Baden because I was now his constant companion.
Luckily, I hadn’t sneezed since... while in his presence, the scent became normal to my senses.
I close my eyes while Walker drones on, trying to wish the time away. I was truly hoping for a moment alone with Alpha Baden. All I needed was a moment to sort out our differences - to come to a conclusion where we both were happy.
I just wasn’t sure how to do that with an Alpha.
Young ones, such as Baden, were even harder to convince. I already knew, he never listened to anyone. He acted like a spoilt child - he behaved like an entitled prick with no empathy.
I was pretty sure I loathed him already.
Yet he was my only chance at life... which, you know, wasn’t a morbid thought at all.
I just had to please him to live - no matter what.
I try to reason with myself, if Baden won’t communicate with me, let alone listen to me, if he already despised me... how would I get Alpha Baden to like me?
How, damn it?
I ask myself this for the rest of the lecture and I don’t find a solution.
Instead, the moment the lecture is done, I decide to just follow Baden until we have a moment’s break from everyone else.
After all, as Walker eventually finishes his speech, lunch time was now upon us.
I’d get my chance soon enough.
“Enjoy your lunch!” Walker calls out as all the werewolves stand as one.
“Baden -” I turn to him, but he is already slipping through the bodies near by. Cursing silently, I hop over a few seats to try and catch up with him.
None of the students seem to care that he was shoving through everyone without a care. Baden just smirks at anyone’s face that tries to even pass him a slightly dirty look.
At least Baden wasn’t just a prick to me - he was a prick to everyone.
That was a slightly comforting yet non-comforting thought.
I watch the Guardians follow Baden into the court yard as I struggle again to keep up.
This time as I watch them before I approach - Baden turns to his Guardians and seems to be mocking them before he takes off.
I hurry forward and push my way through Corey and another Guardian to face Alpha Baden.
“Oh look, she’s still here,” Baden speaks dryly as he looks me up and down, “...what’s your name again?”
I open my mouth, about to foolishly tell him again.
However - I snap my jaw back shut.
I don’t just glare at Alpha Baden.
I don’t just snarl from my throat.
I step forward and slap him as hard as I can; my fury was beyond words.
I could not contain myself.
My palm leaves a very light pink stain on his left cheek as Baden slowly raises a hand to feel the damage.
“Little shewolf?” Baden asks, barely fazed, “I certainly didn’t expect that.”
“I didn’t expect you to be such a bastard,” I snap back, “You’re a horrible Alpha, Baden, you’re filth... you’re worse than the rock stuck in my paw or the pups pulling at my tail... you’re a bully and a fiend. My life is in your hands and you do not care.”
“Aw, look... how about I be honest with you then, little wolf,” Baden speaks to me like I’m a child as his eyes sparkle with amusement, “Yeah, I’ll give it to you, you’re kind of cute, Maia... but you stink, like a rotting perfume - too ripe and too gross - all offence freely given,” Alpha Baden has the audacity to wink at me.
“I don’t care what you say because you stink too!” I yell, not caring if anyone overhears, ”Do you ever shower?"
“I bathe twice a day,” Baden snarls back, no longer amused, “You stupid b-” he is about to throw in a major insult, but he halts when he catches the eye of someone behind me.
He pauses, looking suddenly reserved. When I look over my shoulder, I see Baden’s six Guardians move off.
They have stepped aside for twelve new Guardians. The Prime Alpha is walking through... he looks furious with Baden and curious about me.
“You’ll be quiet,” the Prime Alpha speaks to Baden with a hand raised, while his silver eyes, the same colour as his greying hair - meet my gaze, “Maia Royale... a pleasure to meet you.”
“You too,” I whisper, bowing my head respectfully.
“No need, pup,” the Prime Alpha chuckles and I glance up to see him staring at his son, “Baden is about to get a wake up call - something he won’t appreciate but it’s a blessing, never the less.”
“What is?” I ask, I’m too curious to know.
“The judge Ivory speaks of a certain impairment of the senses that you two share,” the Prime Alpha stares at Baden as Baden stares back - he certainly doesn’t look like he loves his father, in fact, he looks like he despises him. I didn’t expect this dynamic - yet here I was witnessing the full-bodied glare from Baden’s young passionate gaze.
“Tell me what it is?” Baden growls.
“You will not speak to me with that tone,” the Prime Alpha growls low, his eyes furious as he glares at his only son, ”Know your place.”
Baden is silent, but I am still waiting.
“Prime Alpha, what is it?” I ask far more gently than Baden and without the attitude.
“It’s a very rare affiliation... but a strong sense of odour shared by two wolves is a resounding and true pointer towards a mate-ship bond,” the Prime Alpha winks at me kindly, “You, Maia... of the Crescent Pack... will soon be a part of the Moon Pack. My son’s mate.”
“I think there’s been some confusion, a mistake,” I dismiss it instantly - it is not true, it can’t be true.
“There is no mistake,” the Prime Alpha answers for me, while I look at Baden, who is now gazing at me in a new light, “You are both mates - and you will act like it.”
I watch Baden cringe.
I just forget how to breathe, while Baden blinks - turns... and walks away.
“Give him time,” Corey suggests loudly, “Young love can be tough...”
“I thought young love was meant to be strong... but there is no love... not a hint of it,” I answer, my eyes glazing over with the rejection.
“The decree that you spend 6 months by my son’s side is still in place, Maia,” the Prime Alpha speaks quietly to me, “Go to him... don’t delay... and good luck.”
The Prime Alpha doesn’t have to ask me twice...
So I suck up my pride and I walk.
And it hurts.
Walking after a mate who rejected me is one of the hardest things I have to do - even if it’s the only way to save my own life.
Half-Moon Academy series Terminology:
Alpha - Leader
Beta - Alpha’s mate
Matriarch - Carer/Organiser/Healer
Guardian - Protectors
Fang Bearer - Guards/Fighters
Aide - Follower
Dane - Second in Command
Omega - Rogue and/or submissive
Cave City; mostly vampires
Noble Metropolis; mix of mortals and supernatural beings
Half-Moon Academy; wolf college
Cave Academy; vampire college
Fort-knots Academy; mortals and mages college
Other main locations:
Catacombs of Doom; haunted ruins under Cave City
Forest Fun; main locale for college parties
Sacred Lake; where mages worship water for their magic