1. The Chosen

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"Are you ready?"

It's ironic to think that even after several years of preparation, I really didn't feel ready.

To say the least, I was shit scared.

I shook my head, slouching into the chair. My mother, Danielle's emerald eyes filled with pity as she rubbed my shoulders.

"You'll be fine. If I can do it, you can too." She reassured me, picking up a lilac pin, pinning it to my dress.

But, it was different for my mother. She knew what she was getting herself into.

I didn't.

"Okay, okay, we don't want to keep everyone waiting." My older sister excitedly reminded.

I shot my eyes to the mirror in front of me. I gazed at my reflection, my caramel skin glistening in the sunlight and my brown eyes filled with unwelcomed tears.

Every year a female wolf is chosen at random to mate with the Alpha. Last year my sister, Sierra was selected to stand before Alpha Damian, Alpha of Pack Luminous. That day, I remember her excitement and confidence. She was a beautiful wolf, tall and strong.

To her dismay, he didn't choose her. Alpha Damian chose Elle Boltman, Sierra's best friend.

This obviously angered Sierra. And if anyone knew Sierra like I did, it was obvious that she spent several days in her room, refusing to speak or eat.

I never understood why she was so devastated. Sierra had gotten the attention of several males in the pack, many have fallen for her but instead, she chose to obsess over mating with an Alpha.

And after all, being twenty-five and still unmated, she was anxious to be selected this year.

The Mating Ceremony was a time at which unmated males and occasionally, unmated Alphas would travel to various Packs, in search for a mate. Once a mate is selected, they will be bonded by blood. The pair would be bonded even further after the copulation has been completed.

Recently turning twenty-one, I had come of age to be selected to partake in this patriarchal ritual.

My father, Joshua whom I got my bronze complexion and dark features from was the Beta in the MoonCrest Pack. His position entailed that his two daughters were mated as soon as possible to strengthen our bloodline.

I hated the fact that Alphas were able to 'choose' any female they liked, based solely on their appearance.

This defied the True meaning of mates.

Mates were created by the Moon Goddess for the purpose of a soulmate, a lifelong partner. Instead, these Alphas ruined this sacred tradition centuries ago for their ultimate gain.

History retells the horrific story of an Alpha King that rejected his True Mate, believing that she was too weak to rule beside him. As a result, the unmated female lived in exile, dying a slow and lonely death. This angered the Moon Goddess and as a result, True Mates were taken away, allowing everyone the choice of their own mate.

Although this was better in a sense, some part of me wanted there to be True mates; A person created just for you. Instead, True Mates were very rare in the werewolf society.

* * *

"I'm so excited! I heard this Alpha is the hottest of them all." Sierra squealed as we walked into the ceremony hall. The hall was decorated to fit a king. There were bright lights directed at the stage, where Alpha Lochlan and Luna Jasmine would be seated.

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