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~Meara

"Here."

Groaning, I dump my pack against a nearby tree, stretching my stiff back.

"Here?" I look around the clearing. Seems a lot less impressive than what I envisaged in my head.

My friend glances over her shoulder from where she is rifling in her bag.

"What did you expect?"

"Something more than a random clearing...A marker, maybe?" I kick at the dirt, expecting fairy dust or something of similar affect to float up from the ground.

See, when your friend tells you about an ancient curse keeping an Alpha entombed alive underground from centuries ago, you expect more magic.

Hazel herself has partial witch genetics, which is why I agreed to accompany her on this tiresome hike.

The story is compelling. The Alpha beneath our feet is encompassed in a unique spell. He was placed there during a war between two Pack's, considered too dangerous to continue living, but impossible to kill.

Well, that's if the story is true, anyway.

"It took years for my father to find it. He wants to keep as few people in the know as possible," she explains.

I wander back and forth aimlessly.

"I thought he could only be risen by his mate?"

Hazel loosens a large leather bound book from her back, dumping it onto the grass.

"That's the story," she mumbles.

"Do you believe any of it?"

I jump up and down, testing the earth. It's firm, having not been touched in centuries.

This Alpha, Sire, may not even exist.

Hazel has been insistent that truth becomes muddled over so many years, and that the Alpha of our Pack may have boasted about entrapping his enemy as a way to suggest strength.

I shiver. Still, something about the story sounds so intriguing.

"I've always believed my father has a weird thing with his magic. He senses something is here, and the lore suggests it's him," Hazel tells me, flipping her book open.

"So if his mate touches the dirt he rises from the dead?" I ask.

"The sources differ. Some legends state merely standing on the dirt will rise him, others believe one must lie on the spot under the full moon and chant a spell. Who knows," she explains with a shrug.

"Cool."

Something dark plays in her eyes. "It's not a game, Meara."

"He's dead. And considering how ancient he is, he's not finding his mate anytime soon," I assure her.

"And be thankful for that," she mutters under her breath.

She resumes her reading, although I note the tension in her shoulders. She's taking this far more seriously than I would have expected.

"Why?" I ask warily.

"He's dangerous. Some sources say if he is risen, it will unleash an ancient curse."

I shudder, looking up at the sky. Midnight draws near, a thrill dancing through me. I'm anticipating the moon reaching the centre of the sky, even though I'm aware of what unleashes the curse.

"What's more dangerous, the curse, or him?"

She laughs softly to herself, although there's an edge to it. "Depends how spiteful he is toward the Alpha and the Pack who spelled him in the ground in the first place."

Thumbing through the pages, she doesn't look up at me.

"The Pack we are part of, by the way," she adds.

"I'd be pissed."

The merciful thing would have been to kill him, although Hazel suggests it's almost impossible. Plus, Alpha's are spiteful, arrogant creatures.

This spell was probably Sire's punishment for daring to be an enemy.

I clap my hands together, the sound ringing through the trees. "So, shall we dig him up or something?"

Hazel gapes at me. "No, absolutely not. That's disturbing, first of all, and second, it's a spell, it's cannot be broken by a shovel."

I giggle. "So what, the ground is impenetrable?"

"Let's not find out," she grumbles, shaking her head hopelessly.

"What do you need for your research?"

"I'm hoping to harness the magic from this site tonight, under the full moon. With whatever residual magic lingers here from Sire's spell, I can boost my magic and enchant this..." she points down to what she is reading.

"A book?"

"I want to start writing my own spells. Whatever scraps of magic I have in me is enough for me to create, but I need other magical sources. I want it all written down, but inaccessible for anyone else," she explains to me.

I nod. That makes sense.

"Can I touch the dirt?" It's going to get under my nails, but I can't leave here without trying once.

Mary considers it, then shrugs. "I suppose."

Stooping down, I grab some in my hand, letting it sift through my fingers. There is nothing to indicate a body is buried below.

"Nothing," I sigh.

Hazel laughs a little. "You expected you're his mate?"

I give a half shrug. "No. Should I lie on it though?"

It would ruin my hair that I only just washed this morning, but to be able to say I did it makes it worth it.

It's not everyday someone can confirm whether they are mated to an ancient, cursed Alpha.

"It needs to be under the full moon, which isn't for another hour," Hazel tells me, looking up toward the sky.

I note the dark, looming clouds that are approaching. "It's going to start raining soon."

"Then help me get all this ready."

An hour passes and the rain manages to hold off. I'm not looking forward to the trek to our camping spot for the night, although I am excited to see my friend using her magic.

It is incredible, after all...

"It's kind of sad, you know," I mumble, scuffing my feet through the dirt as I pace back and forth.

"What is?"

"Sire. Being locked away just because he's was too powerful of an Alpha." The story is so tragic it seems just that. A story. Pure fiction bred from the mind of some poor, bored soul.

Hazel frowns a little. "He had magic."

"You have magic..."

Something dark shifts in Hazel. "He's not like me, Meara. His blood is as pure as it comes. More so than that anyone that walks this earth. He's one of the original Alpha's, and his power could crush this entire Pack and then some."

A chill crawls over my skin, but I shrug it off.

"That doesn't mean he deserved to be cursed like this. You told me he is likely still conscious, at times, right? That's horrifying." The thought makes my stomach turn.

"Maybe, but it cannot be undone. There is no point mourning a man who has the power to be a monster," she warns me coldly.

I stare at the ground. I'm not mourning him. Not when there is a chance this is all just folklore and myth.

"The whole mate thing is torturous and romantic," I sigh wistfully.

Hazel looks up, book in hand. "The full moon has crested. Everything is in place-"

"Come on, we both have to do it, at least once," I encourage. It's the main reason I came up here, to sate my curiosity.

Hazel looks up warily. "We don't have much time."

"I know you're curious," I nudge her side with my elbow. She anxious about this spell, but I'm sure confirming that she isn't mated to an ancient Alpha would make her enjoy this experience some more.

She rolls her eyes. "Fine."

I watch with a gleeful smile on my face as she gets down, laying across the ground.

Nothing happens.

"Now I just have dirt in my hair," she grumbles, scrambling back up again, ruffling her hair about.

"Weren't you meant to chant a spell?" I question. I'm not sure what a couple words will do to change a spell that has been in place for centuries, but it fits the ridiculousness of this entire thing.

"Who knows. Lie down then, we don't have time for this," Mary insists hurriedly, motioning to the ground.

I oblige her, quickly lying amongst the dirt.

"I don't know what words I'm meant to-"

All of a sudden, a strange rumbling sound lurches up from the earth, the ground starting to shake beneath me.

My panicked shriek echoes through the air as I try to sit up, but the dirt quickly smothers my limbs as I sink lower. I'm pinned down by some invisible force that drags me mercifully into the ground.

"Ah!" I scream, looking toward my friend, who has discarded her book, rifling through the dirt to try dig my arms out.

"Meara!" she exclaims with equal franticness before muttering what must be a spell under her breath.

Dirt ripples up around my body as I'm dragged downward, snagging at my clothing, splaying out across my skin. "Get me out of here, quick."

"It's too strong." She pulls at my hand, but sure enough, it's no use.

"I'm going to suffocate!" I yelp as dirt starts to cover my eyes, falling into my mouth and down my throat.

Soon, Hazel's screams are muffled as the entirety of my body is smothered.

Squeezing my eyes shut, I clamp my mouth closed and hold my breath as I'm dragged lower and lower.

I'm a sacrifice. The earth is offering me to this cursed Alpha.

The burning sensation in my lungs hardly compares to the pressure on my entire body as I'm mercilessly pulled toward the centre of the earth. There is nothing I can do but accept my imminent death.

And then, I'm falling.

The earth gives away and I'm suspended in the air for a few seconds before my back slams against something solid. Any air left in my lungs is knocked out of me, leaving me gasping for precious air.

Rolling onto my side, I spit a dirt and salvia onto a grimy tile floor as soil from above rains down upon me.

That hurt.

Once I've scraped together enough air to feel comfortable, I raise my head, only to see a sight that is more horrifying than death.

I'm in a tomb, with a mossy stone casket set right in the centre.

And I know exactly who's in it.

🖤••🖤

Hey guys! Thank you so much for reading (: I hope you all enjoy this story, and if you want to read ten chapters ahead you can on Radish!

Hey guys! Thank you so much for reading (: I hope you all enjoy this story, and if you want to read ten chapters ahead you can on Radish!

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Thanks for reading (:

~Midika 💜🐼

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