I drum my fingers on the large, round mahogany table that sits in front of me as I slouch against the upholstered, high-back chair. I'm in a meeting with the elders and my father, Thomas, the previous Alpha of Red Moon Pack. The elders are made up of past Alpha's, Beta's, and warriors that have the knowledge and experience to provide feedback and advise the current Alpha. However, they are also very stuck in their narrow-minded ways. I've begun to tune them out as they bicker about what needs to be done to ensure an alliance with other packs. We have recently heard that the Blood Fang Pack is now in league with the Night Howler Pack and thanks to that our elders are worried about them trying to overthrow us. They've been talking about it nonstop for the past thirty minutes.
"Did you hear about Alpha Darren's son from the Prowler Pack up north?" the elder named Jacoby asks the others he is in conversation with.
"No. What about him?" Elder Maynard replies as he leans forward to hear better.
"He found his mate and you won't believe it!"
"You can't be serious!"
Suddenly the voice of Elder Rancis booms over the rest, "Well, at least that's one pack we won't have to worry about! No one will take them seriously with a human for a Luna!" Several of the other elders nod in agreement and I force myself to not roll my eyes at them. My gaze meets my mother's and she smirks at me as though she knows exactly what I'm thinking.
She gives me a wink before deciding to chime in, "I don't think you should judge so harshly. Obviously the Moon Goddess chose her for a reason. Just because she's human doesn't mean that she won't possess the attributes that a good Luna would have."
"Now Evelyn, you know pack life is not meant for humans. We are werewolves. Interspecies relationships are doomed to failure," Elder Rancis insists. "And furthermore, the Prowler Pack isn't why we are gathered today. We need to take action. The Blood Fang Pack and Night Howler Pack are two of the biggest packs in the north. If they decide to take up arms against us we are doomed!"
"There has not been any evidence that they plan on fighting any packs. Maybe they are simply making sure they have alliances to protect themselves. We may be worrying for nothing," my paternal grandmother, Claire states. Her and my mother are the only two females in the council. And quite frankly they are the only two that seem reasonable aside from my father.
"I think our best option is to secure an alliance through marriage with one of our fellow southern packs! Alpha Logan has yet to find his mate and with how renowned our pack is any alpha would be happy to marry one of their daughters off to him. Besides, a pack isn't safe without a Luna! Other packs will see it as a weakness!"
My fists and jaw both clench in anger. "So, I should throw away my chance of being with my soulmate because you're all scared?" I question in frustration as I glare at Elder Rancis before allowing my gaze to sweep across everyone seated at the table. Most of the elders at least have the decency to look ashamed, but not Rancis.
He meets my stare with a stubborn scowl on his red face. "With all due respect Alpha, it's about time you give up on the idea of having a mate. You should have found her by now. For all you know she's probably already dead," he argues and I instantly feel my wolf push its way to the surface as I let out a menacing growl and jump to my feet. The man finally shrinks back from me as his eyes widen. It's clear he thinks I'm about to pounce on him and though the thought is tempting, I just wanted him to shut the fuck up. Once I've reigned my wolf back in a smirk plays across my lips, enjoying the fear that I evoked in the arrogant oaf.
Next to me, my father clears his throat and stands up. "Well, ladies and gentlemen, he's heard your concerns and will take them all into consideration. Thank you all for your input," he states before all of the council members begin rising from their seats and heading for the exit. I move to the door as well before I hear his voice call out again, "Alpha, a word?"
My shoulders slump and I turn back around to face him. He gestures to the seat that I had just vacated and I let out a sigh before sitting back down. "I know that Rancis's suggestion upset you, but I think we should consider it."
"What?!" I ask in astonishment as my hands curl into tight fists.
My father quickly holds his hands up in surrender before continuing. "I'm not saying you have to do it, but he is right. It's been a year since you took over the Alpha position and you haven't found your mate yet. Most pack's won't even let an Alpha take over until he has a Luna and the ones that do expect him to have one in a matter of months. You have to consider the fact that you may not find your mate and the pack needs a Luna," he explains sympathetically. I scrub my hand through my hair before dropping it onto the table where I continue to stare at it, not wanting to meet my father's understanding gaze as my chest tightens within me.
"So, what are you suggesting?" I ask with a sigh as my eyes finally rise to meet his.
He leans back in his chair as he heaves out a sigh of his own. "I think we should host a mating ball." I cock an eyebrow at him before he continues. "They used to do them all the time when I was younger. We'll invite all of the packs and their unmated males and females. With any luck, you'll find your mate. If not, then you can pick whichever female you think would make the best Luna, someone you think you might be able to one day love. At the end of the night we can announce who you have chosen."
"And you think the elders will let me pick anyone I want?" I question, my tone giving away that I don't believe they will. They'll want me to pick someone of a high birth like an Alpha's or Beta's daughter, someone who will bring the alliance of their pack.
My dad grimaces, clearly thinking the same thing that I am. "We can discuss it with them during the next meeting. I'll look at our calendar and decide when we want to host the ball. Your mother can take care of all of the arrangements from there and I'll just reach out to all of the packs to let them know. You don't have to do anything except show up."
I slouch back feeling defeated, wishing that I could just find my mate. Werewolves gain the ability to recognize their mate after their first shift which typically happens between the ages of twelve and fifteen. The stronger the werewolf then the earlier their first shift takes place. Most find their mate within a matter of a couple years after that. I've been searching for mine for over a decade. My wolf and I haven't lost hope though. We can feel she's out there somewhere. I just pray I can find her before it's too late.
Shaking the thoughts from my head, I turn my attention back to my father. "Fine. We can do the ball, but I can't promise you that I'll pick someone to be my Luna."
"Just consider it Logan. You know the elders won't back off until they know the future of the pack has been secured."
My dad pats my knee before getting up and heading out of the conference room. Shortly after he leaves, my Beta, Cole comes strolling in with a big shit-eating grin on his face. I look up at him with a scowl, "Where the hell were you? You missed the elders meeting. AGAIN."
"Darn! Was that today?!" Cole replies blatantly faking disappointment, gesturing as though he's saying 'Aw shucks.' I roll my eyes at him. Typical Cole. He swats my shoulder before taking the seat across from me that my father had just vacated. "So, what'd I miss? No no! Don't tell me! More bickering! And Elder Rancis thinking he knows best!"
I glare at him. Sadly, he hit the nail on the head. He smiles and shrugs before leaning back in his chair and linking his fingers behind his head as he kicks his feet onto the table. "That and the fact that they expect me to pick a Luna that will secure an alliance with one of our neighboring packs."
Cole's mouth quickly forms an 'o' shape as his eyes widen. "Oh shit. Did you end up killing anyone?"
I scowl at him again. "Elder Rancis was certainly asking for it, but no."
"Damn... I would have loved to see you tackle that old goat," he remarks with a dreamy look on his face as though he's picturing it. He lets out a contented sigh before turning his attention back to me. "I'm assuming you told them to shove their suggestion up their wrinkly asses and take a hike?"
I rub my eyes as I groan. I don't want that image in my head. "Goddess Cole."
"What?! That's what you said, right?! I mean, you've never even considered giving up on finding your mate."
"And I don't want to..."
"But I also need to think of this pack. And a pack needs a Luna. My parents are going to put together a mating ball. Hopefully, I'll find my mate.... If not... well, I may be fucked."
Cole cringes. "Quite literally too."
"Ugh!" I grumble and shove him in the shoulder as he busts out laughing.
"Anyway, maybe it won't be so bad. Maybe you actually will find your mate."
"I certainly hope it works in my favor."
"Even if it doesn't you don't have to choose someone. If you don't have any luck at the ball maybe we can go on a trip or something. We can scour the lands for your mate before you throw in the towel. That way you don't spend your life wondering if she'll show up after it's too late."
"Goddess... what if she does?" I hadn't even thought about that!
Cole's eyes widen as he realizes that he just put another worry in my head. He quickly brings his feet back to the ground and leans forward to clasp my shoulder and give me a shake. "It will all work out man. The Moon Goddess made someone for you. I'm sure she knew what she was doing. You just have to have faith."
"That's easier said than done."
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