The ladies had her up and showered early. They seemed to be in a hurry to get to the event, and not just because they were drooling over each others’ brothers. Rebecca had gotten a call early in the morning, around one. It seemed that another pack had requested representation in the event, and it was turning into a multi-pack jamboree.
There were now a minimum of four packs involved and the girls could hardly wait to meet all of the eligible wolves that wouldn’t be going home with Mel. It was an unheard of event, to have so many packs meeting under a flag of truce to have a games day. They looked forward to a lot of fun, and a field full of partially clothed men.
A minivan arrived in front of the house and they all clambered in. A soft shriek of dismay rippled through them as the vehicle refused to start.
Mel smiled and said, “Pop the hood.” As the engine was exposed, she smiled and fished her gremlin out of the works. “C’mere you little bugger. We are just going down the road. I’ll be back soon.” She looked at him closely. “Where is your squirrel?”
The gremlin chortled and grabbed onto her hair. He wasn’t going anywhere. She climbed back into the van and the others looked at the beast with disgust. “What is it?”
“A gremlin. He thrives on stalling cars. Especially if I am in them.” It was one of the thousands of things that caused her friends to name her Jinx. She stroked him lightly and he nipped at her fingers in response.
“He follows me wherever I go, and so he will be coming with us today.” Her tone brooked no interference. Inside she was giggling madly. Getting away with bringing a violent pet with her broke any number of pack rules, and she couldn’t be more pleased.
The van started with no trouble this time and they were off in a few moments.
The ride took less than twenty minutes and the crowd that had already gathered was flattering to say the least. The excitement was palpable as they disembarked from their transport.
Mel reminded herself that they were there to take home an Archive, not her specifically. They wanted the power for their clans. She just came along with it.
* * * *
It had all the air of a festival or fair. Tents dotted the field and flags with clan markers flew from each.
It looked like they were staying for the long haul. This was going to be more than a one day event. She asked Rebecca, “How long is this going to take?”
“Well, if it had just been one clan, it would have been over and done with in a day. But, with the other four, it should be around three days in total.” She explained while she led Mel to a tent with five guards around it. Each represented one of the clans and was there to keep any from pressing an attraction, to their advantage.
“This is your tent; we will bring you here each day, and take you home every sundown. It will be a place for you to rest and relax. It will also provide a meeting space where you can speak with the various clan leaders.”
Oh, fantastic. She was going to be interviewed by them, probably to make sure that she was what they said she was. Mel was not looking forward to it. The alphas were notoriously arrogant and adhered to traditions that were beyond the bounds of normal behaviour.
“That is great. Can I get someone to bring me a Coke?” She sounded plaintive to her own ears, but she was facing something that she had tried to avoid her entire adult life. Dealing with werewolves.
“There is a cooler inside with a selection of beverages and meals will be brought to you.” Becs was polite and firm. She was giving the beta an order. Too bad that this beta was not going to follow orders.
“That’s great. Just so we are clear, I am not going to confine myself to a stuffy tent.” She faced the alpha directly. A clear challenge. “This event is being held because of me, and I am going to watch every bit of it.” There was a murmur of disapproval in the group, but no one spoke out against her statement. They were going to let her have her way.
As a concession she said, “You can send an honour guard with me, but I will have free reign here. I am not a prisoner, and I do not react well to being treated like one.”
Rebecca mulled this over for a moment and then moved off to speak with an older male who was watching their little group. He had the stamp of an alpha and she met his gaze as it connected with hers.
She fought her impulses and stared him down. She kept her arms at her sides, her shoulders relaxed and her mindset confidant. Apparently satisfied, he nodded and Becs looked relieved.
“Walther says that it is fine with him. He is our alpha and as host, he has the final say.” Becs was trying hard to impress the man’s importance, but Mel was having none of it.
“Actually, within reason, I have the final say. I am here to let the clans fight for my hand as it were. If I make a run for it, the Magus clans will be ready to snap me up. It is in my own best interest to stay with the wolves. At least I know that they won’t lock me up in a tower. They don’t have one.” She grinned impishly at the other women and they giggled.
It was true. The wolves in general liked open spaces and that preference spilled over into their homes. Spacious bungalows were the norm. The worst thing that the wolves would do would be to confine her to pack territory. Usually several square miles.
Becs led her over to her guards and explained the situation. They were to stay with her at all times, unless she was attending a call of nature.
“Alright guys, what are your names?”
“Mark, of the Silverfang clan.”
“William, Bill of the Yellowpaw.”
“Edgar, of the Daggerfang.”
“Timothy of the Goldeneye.”
“Alonso of the Fightinghart clan.”
Each executed a neat bow as the introduced themselves. She nodded in response to each and then let her feeble senses do their work. “All of you are married.” She smiled as they looked at her in surprise. “Just because I only have one talent, doesn’t mean that my nose doesn’t work.” They looked confused.
“My mother is a beta of the Yellowpaw clan. She had to leave when she wanted to have a family.” The disgusted looks washed over them in a wave, and were quickly controlled.
“Melissande, may we conduct you to the first event? They are gathering in that field over there.” Mark took the job of communicator and she agreed with a short nod.
The cadre of women that was following her were relieved to have their duty interrupted, until they realized that they would have to remain on the sidelines of the events, while Melissande was going to be front row. Then they were after her in a matter of moments.
The first competition was a shape shifting obstacle course. The competitors went off in sets of four, ran a quarter mile, shifted to wolf shape, ran through a dog course, picked up a banner, dropped it in a bucket, shifted back to human and lifted a log series, then climbed a fence and dropped back onto the ground in half-transformed shape to do heavy lifting, then back to human for the finish line.
The best part was that they ran nude.
The first group of contenders stood nearby, completely at ease with their nudity. A messenger was sent to inform them that she had arrived. As one, their heads turned.
With all of those naked were men looking at her, she should have felt self-conscious. She didn’t.
Her gaze challenged each and every man there to try and win her. Surprise showed in more than one face. The daughter of a beta was not supposed to be that forward, or that confident. The erections that began at her direct attention were impressive, and flattering.
She strode to the edge of the field and simply sat on the grass waiting for the games to begin. She did not have to wait long.
At a signal from one of the alphas the men took their marks. A few restless moments and a sharp clapping of hands broke the silence and the invisible ties that held the men in check. The race was on.
* * * *
The initial leg of the race was a simple footrace to a bridge; the leaders quickly separated themselves from the rest of the pack. A warm thrill ran through her as she noticed Sirnel in one of the lead positions. His arms and legs moved smoothly, muscles bunching and relaxing in the gleaming light of the day. It was a beautiful sight.
Every ideal of Greek mythology was depicted in those men, grace, beauty and strength, and they were competing for her. It was enough to cause a gush of moisture between her thighs. The women sitting near her smiled slightly at the change in her scent, even her nose could detect the same change in them. It was obvious that the specimens of masculinity that were running were of interest to more than just herself, and several of the losers were going to be well consoled.
Her pulse was rapid and she watched amazed as the second leg of the race began with a shape shift and a run through a slalom course in their wolf shapes. It was the same style of agility course that dogs trained on and competed in, and apparently the wolves enjoyed them for the same reason. They were both fun and challenging.
One by one, the men shifted, shook themselves into their fur and began the course. All that was missing was a fly ball, and the course would have been complete. Mel grinned at the image that formed in her mind of the ranks of werewolves running to the springboard to catch a tennis ball. It almost made her laugh out loud, but did help her to get her arousal out of control.
They completed a seesaw, then had to shift back into human form for the last leg of the race. It was at this point that the weaker of the competitors became obvious. They couldn’t shift back from wolf to human, or managed it and collapsed in a heap.
Sirnel staggered slightly as he shifted back to human form but ran the final leg of the race to the finish line in first place. A blonde was hot on his heels and on of the girls murmured, “That’s Geoffrey. He is a member of the Yellowpaw clan.”
As the men finished or dropped out, their placement was dutifully recorded by a panel of judges. They had also been judged on speed and the ease of their transition between forms.
Rebecca clapped in delight as Sirnel was declared one of the finalists that would compete the next day. “I knew he would do it!”
“Well, I suspected that he would do it. You had depicted him as a god-like form. No one would dare to displace him.” She laughed at Becs and kept snickering as a flush stained her face.
Ten finalists in total were declared and the women with her leapt up to console a few of the losers that cast longing glances toward the feminine huddle. They may have lost the Archive battle, but they would not be spending the night alone.
As a few of the finalists turned toward her, her honour guard stepped between them. Apparently, fraternizing was not to be allowed. Especially considering that the men were still nude, and interested.
“Miss Simpson? If you would come with me, the pack alphas would like to meet you.” A messenger appeared next to her and she squinted into the sun, noting his silhouette and having a flickering thought about the dream she had enjoyed after the day at the pond.
It wasn’t the same man. She didn’t know who had been in her dream, but it wasn’t this man. “Fine, lead the way.” With a little effort she rose from the grass and brushed the remnants off her jeans. Her bottom was a little damp, but nothing that wouldn’t dry in the afternoon sun.
A sharp tug on her leg let her know that her gremlin had reappeared. He scampered up and climbed onto her shoulders, his face buried in her hair.
She looked about to see what had scared him and laughed at the sight of a group of wolves snarling at him from twelve feet away. Her guards were all that stood between her gremlin and the hungry jaws.
“This is my gremlin, please don’t eat him.” She addressed the shifted wers and was gratified to see them turn away from her with a swish of tails and a few glances at her hair.
The messenger was waiting for her, bemused.
“Lead on.” She squared her shoulders and followed the back of the messenger, with her guards flanking her on all sides.
Her tent beckoned, and within were the bosses of the clans that were after her. A deep breath and she was ready for the inquisition.
The dim confines of the tent almost blinded her for a moment so she came to a complete halt inside the flap. Five shadows sat around a table that had been erected for this purpose. The table was round and she suspected that it was only that which kept the alphas from fighting to be the head of the table.
She immediately took charge. “Welcome to my tent, gentlemen. What can I do for you?”
They looked confused, finally one spoke. “We wish to know a little more about your talent.”
“What about it?”
“Well, we know that you owe your allegiance to Alfred and the Yellowpaw clan, but what benefit would be given by having you linked to one of our clans?”
She sat and glanced over at the man who shared her hair color, then dismissed him with a flick of her lids. “I owe my allegiance to no clan. Least of all my mother’s. She was disowned by her family when she left, and they never acknowledged me. I owe them nothing.”
The scowl that ran over what had to be her grandfather’s face made the tiny neglected girl deep within her cheer in glee. Served the old bastard right. Her mother had tried several times during her childhood to engage her father in her family. It had never worked, and her mother had been devastated.
He could rot. So could his clan.