Zoya peeked from under her lashes and saw the smiling faces of the Council. She knew that their consent sealed her fate. She made a move to go towards the Black Hawk pack side of the hall but her movements were impeded when Arman pressed his hand into her back with more force than was required. She hissed in pain as her shirt stuck to her freshly opened wounds making her flesh burn. She was sure that he felt the wetness of her blood on his palm.
Aditya’s eyes were glued to Zoya from the moment of her arrival. He noticed the way she trembled in fear before her Alpha and the terrified look in her eyes when she knew that she was to be mated to him. He watched as she took a step towards his direction, his wolf anticipating her proximity. His eyes hardened when he saw Arman placing his hand on her back and heard her pained hiss. His wolf expressed its anger at the way Arman was handling its future mate. A growl escaped from deep within his chest as his eyes turned pitch black. Arman removed his hand from her back and stepped away.
Zoya heard a threatening growl come from across the room as she felt the intense need to bow low on the ground and bare her neck in submission. She looked up and saw the Alpha of the Black Hawk Pack, her future mate, intimidating everyone with his presence. His eyes were pitch black indicating his wolf was in command. She felt Arman’s hand slip away from her as he stepped back. As she was presented to the Alpha of the Black Hawk Pack in the decree, Arman officially had no right over her. A small part of her rejoiced in this realization. She was finally free from his clutches. The remaining part of her was dreading over her future. It was an unknown territory to her, literally and figuratively. She could only hope that the Moon Goddess would show her some mercy. She did not think that she could undergo the humiliation, struggle and torture all over again.
Arman acknowledged the fact that he now had no control over Zoya by removing himself from her proximity. His Beta was astonished about his decision to give Zoya to Aditya. Arman drove pleasure from the knowledge that Zoya’s life was going to get much worse than what it would have been if she had become a rogue. He was going to make sure that he saw her destruction before returning to his pack. He cleared his throat to gather attention and inclined his body so that he could face the Council as well as Aditya at the same time. “How can we know that Alpha Aditya would honor the decree and not kill Zoya the minute he is on his pack territory? After all Zoya is from his enemy pack.” He practically spat the words ‘Alpha Aditya’ in a condescending tone.
“Do you doubt our allegiance to the Council Alpha Arman? Why, your offered she- wolf could be an assassin sent to kill the Alpha of your enemy pack. Is it not too convenient that you already had your offering ready the moment the decree was announced?” asked Vansh in a calm voice. He knew that Aditya was a ticking time bomb waiting to go off so he decided to take the matters in his own hands to avoid further arguments. The norms dictated him to be respectful towards other Alphas but that did not mean he had to be nice. He openly expressed his displeasure at Arman’s tone by reciprocating his gesture. Arman glared at him and Vansh shrugged with an air of indifference which further angered the Alpha.
Zoya watched in astonishment as the Beta of the Black Hawk Pack reduced her former pack’s Alpha to an unimportant person by a mere shrug. She could feel the waves of anger radiating from Arman as he tried to exert his dominance the way Alpha Aditya had done moments ago but was interrupted by one of the Council members.
An old lady stood from her chair which gave a resounding screech and took the support of the table to steady herself before speaking in a loud voice, impressive despite of her struggle to stand on her own two feet. “Alpha Arman, your concerns are genuine.” She raised her hand to silence the protests coming from the members of the Black Hawk Pack. “However, you do not have the right to question other pack’s loyalty without proof.” She gave a pointed look to Alpha Arman and continued when he looked reprimanded. “Now, as for the assurance of the safety of offered she- wolf, we have decided that the Marking Ceremony will take place right now. That way, the two wolves will not be able to harm each other and it would ease the process of bonding.”
Shocked silence enveloped the room. Zoya stood rooted with eyes wide as her brain tried to process the meaning behind the old lady’s words. The realization made a brutal impact as it nearly knocked her off her feet. She gasped in an attempt to draw in breath in her oxygen deprived lungs. She had unknowingly held her breath with had resulted in this burn in her lungs. The silence was followed by a chaos that gave the Council a déjà vu. The old lady acted quickly before the matter could escalate. She growled and let her wolf show dominance as everyone in the hall quietened. After reigning in her wolf, she gave a sweet smile and addressed the crowd. “This matter does not concern anyone but the Alpha and the Omega. Protests from anyone else will be considered as your opposition to the decision of the Council.” Everyone held in their tongues because the penalty to oppose the decision of the Council was banishment from the pack.
Nodding in approval, the old lady turned her head and gave the Alpha her undivided attention. “Does the Alpha of the Black Hawk Pack have problems with the Council’s decision?” she questioned in a calm tone. After receiving an answer in the form of a silent shake of head, she looked at the meek girl. “Does the Omega of the Blood Moon Pack have problems with the Council’s decision?” she asked in the same tone. After Zoya declined, the old lady gave a victorious smile. “Excellent! Now that the matter has been settled, the Alpha and the Omega, make your way towards the dais. The Council will oversee your marking ceremony.” She demanded with happiness evident in her voice.
Zoya and Aditya reached the platform on which the table was placed, at the same time. The Council members all had serene expressions on their faces which unnerved Aditya but gave assurance to Zoya. They all stood and motioned the Alpha and the Omega to come towards the center of the dais and stand facing each other. The Council formed a semi- circle around the two young wolves and started to chant their prayers to the Moon Goddess. They raised their hands with their palms outstretched towards the sky and their heads tipped back in the direction of their hands, eyes closed. After few minutes, they regained their normal posture and opened their now sparkling golden eyes, the eyes of Council wolves. The old lady stepped forward and moved Zoya’s hairs to her right shoulder meanwhile pulling the left sleeves of her shirt to reveal the fading mark of her dead mate. She then proceeded to unbutton Aditya’s shirt and reveal his left shoulder which was unblemished.
Aditya’s mate Pooja’s mark was long gone. There was no physical reminder of him ever having a mate apart from the emptiness that had embedded deep into his soul since the last three years. He had always had a very difficult relationship with Pooja. She had Alpha blood and that made her unreasonable and stubborn at times. They would argue often and there were only a handful of happy memories that Aditya could recall from their time together. He had cared for her deeply and her loss had left him feeling empty and aloof. His pack had suffered greatly, firstly due to the constant fights between their leaders and secondly due to the loss of their Luna. He just hoped that his mate, Zoya, would bring tranquility for his pack and maybe him. His chain of thoughts is broken when he hears the old lady instructing them.
“As we chant the hymn of marking, the ceremony will begin. Get ready.” Aditya and Zoya look at each other as the Council starts to chant the hymn. Aditya gets a glance of her hazel eyes before she closes them. He allows partial control to his excited wolf and feels his fangs extend. Zoya opens her eyes and is met by the pitch black eyes of her mate. His eye color depicting his Alpha status as if the power radiating off him was not enough!
Aditya is momentarily stunned as he gazes at the sapphire blue eyes of her Omega wolf, her beautiful eyes shining in the sunlight. He steps forward and angles her head to right, exposing her left shoulder, by gently entwining his hands in her thick light brown hairs. He places his other hand on her shoulder to steady her shaking form. Zoya does not even realize that she is shaking until she feels the big warm hand of her mate on her shoulder. She stands on her tiptoes and balances herself by placing both her hands on his shoulders. He bends down and places his fangs on the delicate area of her skin right over her fading mark. She feels a shiver run down her spine when she feels his fangs touch the sensitive skin. She places her own fangs on his shoulder. As the hymns were ending, the Council began to chant more rigorously, Aditya and Zoya each applied pressure until the fangs pierced skin, marking each other.
Aditya felt some of his emptiness dissipating as Zoya’s essence took its place in his soul. He could feel her calmness seep into his soul providing the peace that had been eluding him since the last three years. Zoya could feel any remains of Yash vanish from her blood and in place a powerful aura filled her soul with confidence. She realized that it had come from her mate. They extracted their fangs from each other as the hymn came to an end. Zoya tucked her shirt sleeve in place and let her hairs cascade down her back. Aditya pulled on his shirt and for the first time properly looked at her. She was beautiful with light brown hairs, soft hazel eyes and smooth skin. She reached his shoulder with boots on which meant that she was tall compared to normal she- wolf. His wolf howled his approval at its mate.
Zoya studied Aditya like he was a difficult math question. He was well built and at least six feet in height. He had a two day’s worth of stubble on his face which only added to his intimidating persona. His eyes were a dark brown but devoid of any light and his jaw was set in a grim manner. Her wolf expressed its pleasure at being mated to a powerful wolf. It kept on assuring Zoya that her days of struggle and pain had ended. Zoya was relived and her shoulders dropped as if a heavy weight had been lifted off them. Aditya noticed her relived expression and gestured her to go towards the Black Hawk Pack.
The council dismissed the meeting and everyone began to disperse, eager to get back to the pack and weave their own version of the events. Zoya felt someone stare at her from the side and turned to see Arman giving her a devilish smirk before he joined his pack members. She quietly walked towards the Black Hawk Pack and saw everyone looking wearily at her. She understood their need to doubt her as she was from enemy pack but that did not mean it didn’t hurt. The fear of her future took hold of her for a few moments but then she willed herself to relax and vowed to win their hearts and make her place in her new home.
Hope you all like this chapter. Please do let me know!