Werewolves do exist. Humans believe it was just a myth. A way to scare the children or to keep the teens from going out at night.
But it is real. Werewolves are real.
I know this because I am one of them. A living proof of the myth.
I'm a She-Wolf.
But humans don't know about us. We live in a world made just for us.
"Ashira!" a cheery, sweet voice took my attention from dozing off.
My friend, Lucianna, came running in my direction. Like me, she wore a thin white satin dress just above the knee. Both of us wearing wood-made sandals.
If you're going to compare the way we were dressed, we'd look weird despite the age and year today.
We have no underwear inside the thin white dress. The wood sandals are even made by the elders of the pack.
But this is different from the way we usually dress. We just have to.
A sacred ceremony will be held, and we must dress like so.
It's a pack tradition.
Werewolves like us need to stick together.
We have our pack. My friend Lucy and I belong to the Regal pack under the reigning of Alpha David together with his Beta, Eric.
Eric, the Beta of Regal, was the one who took me in and acted as my guardian.
I was once a Rogue. A lone-wolf. I am still determining who my parents were and whether I ever belonged to another pack or not.
I have no memories of my childhood.
All I remember was walking in the middle of the forest and being found by Eric.
Eric's mate, Ophelia, accepted me as their orphan child. They also have a son named Cruz; he was a couple years older than me.
I get along well with Eric and his family. Cruz was even overprotective like I were a real sister to him. Overall, I settled in this pack even though I was practically an outsider.
"You looked excited, Luce," I told her when she stopped before me. We walked sideways towards the line where the other She-Wolf was. They wear the same kind of clothes.
"And you're not? We're talking about the Mapping here! Of course, I'll be hell-bent!"
Mapping is a pack tradition.
This tradition was held annually every last month of the year.
Mapping is a sacred ceremony and one of every pack's most meaningful events.
The continent has the East, West, South, and North. And every of this region has packs domineering it. I am from Regal Pack of the North.
It was not just our pack that held the Mapping. Every pack all over the continent does.
We'll be able to know from which pack our mate lives. This was the primary concern of the Mapping, to know which pack the females will be sent to.
Each wolf has their mates. If a wolf was not able to meet its mate, it won't have the chance to produce a pup.
Even if a male or female wolf had sex with every wolf, they would not be able to produce a child unless it was with their mate.
So finding a mate is a must, especially for the pack's Alpha, even for the Beta and third-in-command/Gamma.
They will need their mate to have a pup that will continue their legacy.
It takes work to pick a Beta or Gamma. Those high-rank positions are mostly inherited. Unless that bloodline betrays the Alpha, they will be banished from having any part in the high rank.
I just shrugged the thought of finally locating my mate.
I was not interested. Really.
"I'm just waiting for this moment since I was born." Lucy's eyes are even sparkling as she say that.
That reaction is widespread. Most of the She-Wolf are waiting for this moment of their life.
I don't have any butterflies flying in my stomach whenever the word mate was involved.
"How does this work again?" I asked. I knew most of the pack laws and its system, but I never dug deep into anything about Mapping or mates.
"You're so uninterested, Ashira. Aren't you excited to meet your mate?"
I shrugged only to answer her question. She rolled her eyes at me.
"Whatever. So here," Luce points to the house of the Enchantress. "There's a sacred knife inside, and you'll cut your palm with it. You'll let the blood drop on the map, and it will do its magic." she explained with excitement.
She lumped her shoulders and looked at me like I was unbelievably annoying.
"This thing is taught to the toddlers, and you don't know?" she scuffed.
I scowled at her.
"Whatever. So after the Enchantress is done with the chant, a part of the map where you're mate lives will glow." she said, having sparkles in her eyes once again.
"Technically, we still don't know who our mate is," I stated. That sounds like a job.
"Exactly! Isn't it exciting!" her voice almost made me cover my ear.
I scowled. "Exciting how?"
Lucy rolled her eyes at me. "We'll go to them and will be surprised, duh! First, we'll be able to visit another pack--."
"Only if the mate is not from our pack." I cut her and shrugged.
"Whatever, Ash!" she rolled her eyes. "Oh! Then, we'll be accommodated by the other pack. That's like having a free vacation with a place to stay and food to eat!" she screamed the last word.
"You sound like they don't feed you here." I cut again, having fun annoying my friend more.
Luce pretended she did not hear me this time.
"Third, we'll finally have the chance to attend the annual mapping party!"
Every year, every pack celebrates the annual mapping party. On the exact dates that the Alpha's agreed on.
This year, the Mapping Ball will be held the night before Christmas. So that the She-Wolves will have time to travel to the packs where the Mapping leads them. And to prepare themselves or something.
She-Wolves from other packs come here at every annual mapping party. And they will meet their mates at the party.
The same will happen to us soon.
Every year, the Regal pack loses its She-Wolves. And every year, new She-Wolves from other packs were added.
It's like exchanging the women of packs. But for a reason.The men cannot leave the pack. Only females can. Male wolves can't transfer to another pack. That's every pack's law.
The loyalty of the male wolf is essential.
Also, it is a pack law, so even if the male asks to switch packs, they can't. Well, unless they go rogue. But only few accepts Rogue as one of them. Rogues tend to have a traitor's blood. That's how packs see them.
"Any worst-case scenario?" I asked Lucy again. The long line is now a few. I guess the process of Mapping was easy. We're almost next.
Many girls came out of the Enchantress's house with wide-ear smiles. Knowing where their mate resides was causing a rampage on their system. Ugh, I can't relate.
Lucy tilted her head while thinking of an answer to my question.
"Hmm, as far as I heard, there's a wolf before that lost her consciousness. Maybe from blood loss. She cut way too deep on her palm. But that's the worst I know."
Okay. I don't think I'll be stupid enough to cut myself deep, and I think I heal fast.
"Oh, my God! I'm next!" Lucy scream.
I just smiled and gave her a light push, not feeling any excitement.
Lucy went inside, and I was next in line. I looked around and noticed that there was only one girl left behind me.
I took note of her excitement gushing through her aura. She looked like she’d pass out any second, from being thrilled to knowing her mate.
"You wanna go first?" I asked. I knew she’d love to.
The girl's eyes widened and sparkled with hope. "I can?!" she screamed, making my ears ring for a bit.
I smiled and gave way for her to make a curtsies.
"Thank you! Thank you!" she jumped-walk past me.
A few minutes and Lucy came out of the house. There was a red cloth wrapped in her left hand, just like the others before her.Maybe it helped to stop the bleeding, but that was weird since we could heal fast.
Lucy was grinning like crazy. She sure was in high spirits.
"Ashiraaaaa!" she jumped on me and hugged me tightly. The girl I made a favor already ran inside the Enchantress. "My god! I know where my mate is!" Lucy screamed once again, which made a whizzing noise in my ears.
"I'm happy for you. Yay." I said, trying to sound cheerful while I rubbed my ears without her seeing.
"Won't you ask me more?" I was confused at first. Hell, this girl just wanted to be even more thrilled.
I just laughed as I saw her eyes glittering and her lips pouting. "Okay. Where!?"
"Shadow pack!" she screamed again. Damn, my friend!
"Wow!" I exclaimed.
Shadow pack was the second strongest wolf pack in the North. Most wolves in that pack were fighters. They also outrun the other packs in numbers.
Our pack, the Regal, was fourth in line in the strongest pack. We also had a lot of wolves which made us earn fourth place.
We are mostly women, but we made that as an advantage. Our She-Wolves are also fighters. Some even were the best.
I was about to talk more and congratulate her when I saw the girl left the house. Her eyes mirror the same sparkle every girl did.
"I guess I'm next," I said to Lucy. She nodded nonstop with excitement; I just sighed.
I walked through the door of the house of the Enchantress. Once inside, I was welcomed by the dark, and only the dimmed lights from the candles were lighting the place.
A circled wooden table is in the middle of the living room. There's a massive map on the table, a box on the side, and five candles formed into circles shaped like a Star.
Behind the table is where the Enchantress is seated. I can barely see her because of the dark.
When my eyes adjusted, I saw her face more clearly. The Enchantress is almost in her fifties.
"Come closer, Wolf." the Enchantress said, almost in a whisper.
I'm not nervous or afraid, but my feelings are uncanny.
This place feels so heavy, and I wonder why. Should I feel this way? I feel so different from the way the other females reacted.
The ambiance of the place gave me a light fear. Not enough to make my knees tremble, though.
It's like my Wolf was saying something. Somehow telling me of danger. At least, that's how I felt.
"You know what to do." the Enchantress said. She sounded tired and bored. She has been doing this thing all her life, and she was just not into it.
I looked at the table in front of me. I looked at the box beside the map. Inside, I saw the sacred knife lying flat, almost waiting for me to take it.
Two wolves are hugging each other, carved as the knife's handle.
I picked it up and put its edge on my palm. I inhaled deeply as I started cutting through my palm, and I realized that the metal used in the knife was silver. Silver makes our healing slow, and the blood loss has made sense.
It stings a bit. My forehead was in a knot as I let my blood drop on the map.
Once my blood dropped on the map, it was quickly absorbed by the piece of paper. That explains why there's no blood stain on the map after all those girls before me.
I placed the knife down inside the box carefully. I growled when the Enchantress took my hand hastily. Damn! That scared me.
Her move was fast; it also made me think she was weird. She wrapped my hand with a red cloth like others, and I felt that the wound in my palm healed faster.
After, she looked at the map, waiting for the result, and I did the same.
Frowning, I continued looking at the map. There's no light from it yet. Lucy said it would glow or something.
A few seconds and a little round glow was visible in a part of the map, and I gasped. Wow. It sure is magical. I looked up at the woman in front, and she quickly broke my growing enthusiasm.
The Enchantress's eyes looked even more bored than it already was.
"Prime pack." she announced; no emotion could be detected in her voice.
Okay, I'm done here, huh?
Once informed of where my mate lives, I turned around, ready to step away from the table since everything seemed done.
I was about to take a step when another light showed on the map. What the hell? There were two--And then another glowed, too, and another.
Almost every part of the map is glowing!
The map took my full attention. I was not sure what was happening, and confusion is displayed on my face.
"What—" I was about to ask, but I stopped before I could.
I don't understand any of it; I was scared to speak!
The map and its glowing lights are too distracting. My wolf bombarded me with a lot of questions in my head!
Confusion and fear slowly crawled on me.
The Enchantress's expression didn't help at all. She looked more shocked than I was! And if I was not mistaken, there was fear in her face. The heck?!
"W-What's happening..." I managed to ask. Is this supposed to happen? Maybe I should be glad after knowing the results of the Mapping? Oh, hell, why am I trying to blame myself?
"You're a stealer!" The Enchantress exclaimed.
Her voice sounds hysterical, and I know there's something wrong with the sound of her voice and her expression.
Stealer? I'm not a freakin' theft!
But what does it mean?
I slowly walked backward, away from the table, away from the map, away from the Enchantress.
'Ashira. Go home. Now!'
That was Eric talking to me through our mind link. I was trembling with an unknown fear, but I didn't think twice when I heard him. I ran fast, heading outside of the house.
Lucy was about to come near me, but I immediately shape-shifted into my white wolf.
My wolf and I are so confused. I can hear my wolf whining. And somehow, she sounded angry. I can hear Lucy call my name, but I do not look back.
I ran towards home. All I want now is a talk with Eric.
He must know something about this stealer thing or else. I'll go insane!