#sff story during April. May Rose is the main character (🧑🏽 they/them pronouns).
(🚨Slightly more PG-13 for this post. The equivalent of watching a character watching an adult show.)
"Opal, there's a container outside. Please bring it to the viewing room. We'll all gather there," May instructed while heading to Jade's side. The students all rushed off, speculating amongst themselves what the mates might be like.
May put an arm around Jade. "Breathe. Just breathe. No one will force you to select a mate."
It was worse than that. With Jade's current scores, no one would allow her a selection anyway. The coming guests, the mates and their overlords, would mark the end of Jade's time.
"We have to put on happy faces. Feign interest in a male the other girls haven't selected." May kissed the top of Jade's left ear between whispering instructions. "Just get through this part. I will make a plan."
Jade shredded a piece of toast on her plate. "Sorry I'm not my sister."
May lifted Jade's chin. "I'm glad you aren't."
Of course, either way, May would be about to lose this one. To a mate or to death. At least to a mate, there would be the comfort of knowing she lived and was cared for somewhere. May put the thoughts away and ushered Jade from the table.
"Is this the container?" Opal asked, carrying a white cylinder.
"Ah, yes," May said while taking a seat at the front of the viewing room and cracking it open. Smaller containers came out. "All right, students. These scarves have been knitted by the mates. You will have a chance to see their craftsmanship and to get a first whiff of the men. Some overlords believe that scent is the biggest factor in mate selection. Thus you will smell them before we see them on the screen. Let me know if you have any initial preferences. It isn't a commitment, just a first impression."
The containers with the knitted scarves were passed around. Ruby and Amber responded to two of the scarves, the men of overlords Eagle and Owl.
"We will meet those potential mates firsts. The viewing screen is set to only receive for now. A brief introduction may occur before the race if you continue to have the same preference. You should each take a handkerchief to wear against your skin as we watch the rounds. This container will be sent back before the race, and any preferred mates will be allowed to wear your handkerchief, your token, as they compete. Though it does not guarantee you will ultimately select them, knowing someone has a preference is very motivating." May passed out the handkerchiefs. Jade's eyes would have lit hers on fire if such an action were possible.
The viewing screen flicked on as May tapped a device. Eagle's man came on screen. He did various poses, showing his form. Then looked off-camera. "Shall I dance or display, My Overlord?"
May's device beeped. "Ruby? Would you like this potential mate to dance? Or to remove his remaining clothing and become erect?"
Ruby blushed as red as her name. "Umm, just dance, I guess."
May tapped the device. "As a reminder, they cannot see you. They know they are being evaluated. They have trained most of their lives for the opportunity to mate. It is the highest achievement, the greatest purpose, of these pets. Neither they nor the overlords view any of this as shameful or embarrassing. It's the preservation of your species."
Ruby nodded, but she had moved from her seat to a spot closer to the screen. May smiled.
"We shall hope Eagle's man continues to please you. But now Amber must have a chance to see Owl's offering."
The next came on screen. It was much the same as before. When asked, Amber opted for display. "You said not to worry about shyness, right? He'd consent?"
May tapped the device. The man on-screen grinned. "To answer the submitted question, I do consent, and do so with pride."
It took several minutes for May to calm the room down after the performance. Amber was panting and hugging the knitted scarf.
"Ram and Tortoise will show their offerings next. Please mention any preferences."
It went on like this. Overlords Caterpillar, Giraffe, Porcupine, and Goose presented mates. Then Dragon and Tardigrade, who was also called Shell, brought their men out.
Opal lept from her seat and reached for the screen. "Mercy beat the grass; that guy is stunning."
May pulled out the container holding Dragon's man's scarf. "The one in the red?"
Opal shook her head. "No. The other in the beige."
"Really?" May checked the container again. Then tapped the device furiously. "Overlord Tardigrade has never had a pet be selected. Knitting is not a skill of this one. No scarf was sent."
On the screen, the guy could be seen speaking to someone off-screen. The other, Dragon's man, had dropped to his knees, looking as if he was being scolded.
Jade walked over to May. "I cannot see him disciplined. Can I select him as my lie?"
It was the most dangerous overlord that would be disappointed when Jade backed out. But, of course, that would be who Jade would pick. May shook her head and tapped the device. A moment later, Dragon's man was back on his feet, doing a victory dance on-screen.
Some of the girls giggled. Opal tapped the screen. "Why isn't mine dancing?"
May read from the device. "As no scarf was offered, the overlord Tardigrade believes you should get the shell the man is wearing."
"That's an actual Miyoko Murex seashell he's wearing to cover his… his organ?" Opal bit her lip. "What would he wear if I accepted?"
"He would do the rest of the competition naked. I don't know that his scent would transfer with the shell, though."
"I accept." Opal cracked her fingers.
Question: Have you ever noticed a preference for the scent of someone you found attractive?