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The Hunt

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The lack of scent is disturbing. From the moment Rey presented as an omega, she relied heavily on that specific sense. It had saved her life on more than one occasion. Standing in the decorated hall, surrounded by her omega siblings but not being able to scent them—it’s not natural. The gods never wanted this for them, but she understands why the elders require it for the festival. 

 

She passes by her siblings—not by the womb, but by the blood of the coven. They are all wearing varying shades of white or red in honor of the celebration, just as the alphas arriving in a moment’s time are required to dress in black. 

 

Adjusting the gold mask on her face, she makes her way to the fountain dispensing the required punch, laced with suppressants made by the healer of their coven, Maz. She is about to make her way over to pour herself a glass for the toast, but one of her brothers beats her to it. 

 

“My witch,” he smiles as he presents her a goblet with a bow.

 

“Thank you, my warlock.” Bowing her head in respect, she takes the glass from him and cautiously takes a sip, fighting the urge to spit it out. “Fuck, this is awful!”

 

Finn laughs, already having made the mistake of ingesting the concoction earlier. “Maybe we should have listened to the elders when they told us we should wait until the toast to drink this stuff.”

 

Rey rolls her eyes. “Like we would listen to them after their ridiculous insistence on continuing this archaic tradition. We should have ended this tradition long ago when it helped prosecute our witches and warlocks during the Salem witch trials.”

 

“Yes Rey, we know exactly how you feel. But our coven has celebrated with the neighboring alpha coven for centuries. It keeps the peace between us, and the forest healthy.”

 

She is happy her mask covers her pinched expression of annoyance. “Your mask is crooked, and you spilled a spot of the juice on your white suit.”

 

Finn instantly looks down, ready to cast a minor spell to clean any stains, but doesn’t see any. He fights the urge to smile, staring at his sister with mock severity. “I guess that’s why you wore red, to cover how messy you are.”

 

She smooths out the satin of her dress. The fabric clings to her like a second skin, hugging her curves and shaping her small breasts into something more appealing to show the alphas. “You caught me.”

 

They continue to joke as they make their way to their siblings while they wait for the elder to start the ritual.

 

Snap is telling them a story where he snuck out one night to fly under the full moon to find his familiar, accidentally running into an angry flock of geese. Maz almost woke the whole infirmary laughing when he told her where he got his cuts from.

 

“Did you end up getting a familiar?” Jessika breaks in.

 

“Nope. Although, I did want to ask one of the geese if they were interested.”

 

The group laughs, helping everyone relax. Despite not being able to scent another, they are attuned to one another and they can all sense the underlying tension. Magic is still forbidden to display in the world, but once they presented, they were given the choice to join. For some—like Jessika and Snap—it was a tough decision to lie to their family, only going home during the typical holidays. For others like Rey and Finn, it was a chance to find a home, a family. 

 

A door slams open on the balcony above them, and in walks Amilyn Holdo, a tall and ethereal witch with lavender hair. They instantly surround their leader, patiently waiting for her to officially start this festival of lust, fertility, and mating—Lupercalia.

 

With a snap of her fingers, all the lights are extinguished. A breeze passes through the ballroom, lighting all the candles floating in the air, giving the illusion stars are looking down upon them, blessing the union.

 

“Welcome, my brothers and sisters. As you all know, I am the leader of this omega coven of witches and warlocks. Using my station and leadership, I invoke the moon to grant me her blessing on this holiest of days.”

 

With a flick of her wrist, the black velvet curtains reveals the full moon, shining her light upon the statue of Lupa surrounded by her human descendants. Already the witches and warlocks can feel their strength and power grow. 

 

“Mortals tell the legend of Romulus and Remus, known as demigods who helped create the country of Rome. They were not demigods, but warlocks born to a powerful witch. She was hunted down and destroyed, but not before she begged for protection for her children. Her familiar, Lupa, transformed into a wolf granting her wish. She fed her witch’s children from her breast, creating the first Alpha and Omega in our world. All of us are descendants from those warlocks. 

 

Although magic has dwindled in our bloodlines, there are some who still possess it. And those people are us. I invite my omega brothers and sisters, on this rare Blood Moon, to celebrate our designation, and the familiar Lupa, who created us,” she pauses, raising her goblet above her head, signaling for her coven to follow her lead. “Tonight we will mingle with our neighboring Alpha coven. You will meet one another and choose your hunted during The Matching. Remember to save your carnal desires for the forest. To Lupercalia, the festival of the wolves!” 

 

Amilyn raises her glass, taking a sip, signaling her coven to do the same. They can feel the effects of the suppressant work instantly. The omegas do not need their sense of smell to know this is what a beta feels like.

 

“I can hear them coming,” Jessika whispers.

 

Excitement courses through the group, and even Rey succumbs to it. Her blood is racing at the thought of meeting her potential Alpha tonight. It’s rare to meet ‘The One’ at this holy festival, but it has happened before. 

 

“You nervous?” Finn mutters, standing closer to her as they hear footsteps make their way closer.

 

Instead of answering, she entwines her hand with his and squeezes.

 

The doors open and the whole room takes a collective breath—instinct taking over common sense as the two designations attempt to scent one another. Although they can’t smell one another, they can feel their magic burgeoning in reaction to their close proximity. 

 

The omega coven lines up one by one, inspecting the group of alphas who walk in. Their gold masks and red or white outfits contrasted beautifully with the silver masks and black outfits of the alphas.

 

“By the blood of the moon, we are the omegas who hail from the coven of the east,” Amilyn proclaims from her spot above the rest.

 

“In the name of Lupa, we are the alphas who hail from the coven of the west,” the Alpha leader answers. “Do you have the authority to speak for your coven in accordance with our ancient rites?”

 

“I am Amyliyn Holdo, and I confirm I am in accordance. Do you have the authority to speak for your coven in accordance with our ancient rites?”

 

“I am Leia Skywalker-Solo, and I confirm I am in accordance.”

 

An older gentleman with a roguish smile walks through the alpha crowd with ease, making his way to the center of the room. While he clears his throat, he makes sure he has the attention of every omega and alpha in this room.

 

“Alphas, take your place!” he demands. 

 

Rey and her siblings part as chairs magically appear surrounding the statue of Lupa. They watch as the masked alphas all find a chair facing away from the statue.

 

“Omegas, now is your time to display what a pleasant dancer you are.” He claps his hands, and ribbons of red, black, and white cascade down from the top of the statue. 

 

Rey takes a deep breath, knowing this is the moment she has practiced months for. The dance was part of the ritual, to display not only their lithe forms and the nimble way they can move, but how well they can take direction and make decisions based on their environment. This is the moment to display just how good of omegas they are.

 

She walks forward to grab a black ribbon, with Finn on her left reaching for a red one. Together they admire the alpha in between them. She is wearing a black dress, with her dark hair slicked back in a ponytail. The need to please thrums in her veins, and the alpha smiles confidently at them both. 

 

“In accordance with our ancient ritual, the omegas will display their beauty, strength, and grace as they dance around the sitting alphas. When the music stops, take a seat on the alpha closest to you, and that will be your partner for the hunt tonight when the moon reaches its zenith,” the older gentleman intones.

 

The moment he stops talking, music starts, and Rey can feel her body anticipating the moment the cello introduction is over, switching to the violins. An omega must always be aware of their surroundings if they are around unfamiliar alphas—reacting to a change in sound displays that gift. 

 

The violin enters, and as one motion, her omega brethren walk slowly counter-clockwise with the ribbons above their heads, allowing the alphas to observe their proud gait and beautiful figures. 

 

Just as she is halfway past the alphas, the tempo speeds up, and her muscles take over as they all lower their bodies and slowly stand back up. In and out the ribbons and the dancers weave, tangling the ribbons in an intricate pattern. Their moves are fluid and smooth—like the ocean the moon controls. 

 

The tempo speeds up and so do their bodies. They begin to interweave between one another, forcing the alphas to keep track of their forms like a hunter stalking their prey. The room is spinning in intricate colors, and Rey is forced to close her eyes, letting the music flow through her body, leading her through the ritul. 

 

As she dances inward to the statue in the center of the room, she can feel a thick finger lightly graze her leg. She fights a gasp at the knowledge someone already wants to mark her, risking punishment for touching an omega before the hunt. It is impossible for that alpha to scent her, but the feeling of their hot digit sears her skin. 

 

Rey opens her eyes, trying to glimpse the face of the person who is enthralled by her, but she is already lost. The faces swim by, her breathing is labored, and she knows this dance cannot last much longer, but she also knows it is up to the elders when to end it. 

 

Her breathing grows heavier, as she ducks and twists around the chairs and people, and then—

 

Silence.

 

The standing omegas drop their ribbons and rush to the closest Alpha, settling themselves on their lap as they make their claim. 

 

Rey’s legs stopped, but her head keeps swimming. When she centers herself a moment later, she is not surprised to see the alphas closest to her have been claimed. There is no jealousy or hurt in her heart. Her siblings did what needed to be done. Who was she to stand in their way? She was just a lost little witch, trying to survive one of their most sacred festivals.

 

She walks clockwise, looking for the alpha with an empty seat for her. She doesn’t have to walk far before she finds him. With one look she can easily see why her siblings avoided him. With his thick thighs and broad shoulders, there is no doubt he is an alpha. The biggest and strongest she has ever encountered—albeit she has not encountered many.

 

No, the reason her siblings did not choose him is due to his aura. The energy that surrounds him is dark and powerful, and Rey’s inner omega is fighting between running away and wanting to bare her neck to him, allowing him to dominate her.

 

Her heels echo against the marble floor and everyone watches as she approaches him, her alpha

 

“Is this seat taken?” Rey asks, as she forces his knees open to stand between them, looking down at him. This is a display of power, and she is struck with the thought he is allowing this to occur, and he seems to be enjoying it by the slight curl to his pink lips.

 

“Only by you, my omega,” he whispers, his hot breath fanning over her breasts. Rey can feel her nipples harden and slick slowly dampen her lace underwear. For the first and only time that night, she is thankful for the suppressant potion they were forced to drink. She isn’t certain if she would be more of a mess if she was allowed to smell him.

 

Blushing at his sweet endearment, she settles herself on his strong lap, and he adjusts, staring at her eyes through their masks as he tries to find a position comfortable to them both.

 

His brown eyes rake over her body with no sense of shame, lingering on her mouth and her exposed freckles. His arms wrap around her waist, interlacing, and she gets the distinct impression he is preventing himself from touching her where his eyes cannot. 

 

As he takes her in, Rey allows herself the same pleasure. His hair is thick and lustrous, as black as the fur on her cat familiar, and the thought comforts her. Moles scatter his pale face, and she is reminded of the constellations in the sky. His nose is prominent, aquiline. Theoretically, paired together he should not be attractive. Yet he is. She can feel his muscles rippling underneath his suit, and she is sure underneath that mask his facial features come together to create the most beautiful man she is sure to ever have seen. 

 

“Now that your partners have been chosen, you are allowed to take one another’s mask off and look upon your intended partner for the night. The zenith will occur in an hour’s time. Once introductions have been made, the two covens must separate in order to prepare for the hunt,” the older gentleman speaks, drawing Rey’s attention back to their covens.

 

Her eyes dart around, looking for Finn, trying to make sure her closest brother is with someone he wants. When her hazel eyes land upon his, she is happy to see a flirtatious smile on his exposed face, and a breath she does not realize she is holding is released.

 

“Looking for someone?”

 

The alpha’s voice draws her attention back to the man she is sitting on. At first, it sounds as if he is jealous of her wayward gaze, but his eyes are impassive and unrevealing.

 

“My brother. I wanted to ensure he was happy with his match.”

 

“And what would you have done if he wasn’t?”

 

Rey blinks, knowing she could not do anything. To do so would be to insult her elders, the neighboring coven, as well as the moon goddess and Lupa. 

 

“You know very well I cannot do a thing, but that doesn’t mean I can’t think of something.”

 

“Oh, really?”

 

“Oh, very much so,” she hums, hands snaking through his luscious hair. “You see, I am quite clever,” Rey leans in and whispers in his ear. She is rewarded with a hitch in his breath, and his arms tightening around her.

 

“How lucky am I then—to have such a clever omega.” His voice deepens, the rich baritone washes over her and it soothes her inner omega. 

 

She nuzzles against his ear, distracting him until her task is complete. His warm chest is pressed against her small breasts, and his legs are tensing, almost as if he is afraid to move.  Submitting to her carnal urges, she grinds her ass into his lap and he bites his lip to prevent himself from groaning. It seems, despite his dark energy, they are quite compatible. 

 

With a satisfied smile, she leans back, his mask dangling on her fingertips. 

 

“You’re very lucky indeed.” 

 

His eyes pop open at their loss of contact, and his gaze narrows in on his mask. His lips curl into a small smile, but his eyes betray his true emotions. He is proud of her.

 

“It seems so,” he says, hands raising to untie her mask. 

 

The gold mask falls easily away, landing on their laps. 

 

They stare at one another, not bothering to hide the fact they are openly checking the other out.

 

“I’m Rey.”

 

“Ben.”

 

“You are extremely handsome, Ben.”

 

His cheeks turn a lovely shade of pink, and Rey purrs at the sight of it. 

 

“Now tell me alpha,” she leans in, her lips trailing the words against his scent gland on his neck, “are you ready to be hunted?”