Pure, p.29
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       Pure, p.29

         Part #2 of Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
 
Page 29

 

  “We’re going to miss it. ”

  With surprising effort, I refocused on Seth’s back and started up the stairs again. The line of Seth’s shoulders seemed unnaturally tense. At the landing to the fourth floor, I spared a second to look over my shoulder.

  The half-blood servant stood below, staring up at us. Our eyes met for a second, and the half stepped back, hands balling into fists. Then he spun around, disappearing down the stairwell.

  “That was strange,” I murmured.

  “Huh?”

  Hadn’t he noticed how alert that servant had been? Seth stared at me like I’d just made out with a daimon. Guess not. “Nothing. ”

  Seth inched open a door. “You ready?”

  “I guess. ” I was still thinking about that servant.

  “We have to keep back, but we should be able to see everything from here. ” He motioned me through.

  I stepped onto what turned out to be a balcony overlooking the Council below. I started forward, but Seth pulled me back.

  “No. ” His breath stirred the hair around my ear. “We have to stay back against the wall. ”

  “Sorry. ” I wiggled free. “Can I sit?”

  He smiled gamely. “Of course. ”

  I slid down the wall and stretched out my aching legs. Seth did the same, managing to be as close as possible. I elbowed him, but he only grinned. “So what’s the big deal?”

  “Aren’t you at all interested in the Council hearing?”

  I faced the Council below, fiddling with the string on my hoodie. “Interested” wasn’t the word that came to mind; “terrified” seemed more accurate. These pures could make or break a half-blood. Leaning forward, I scanned the crowds through the slats of the balcony railing.

  A sea of red, blue, green, and white moved around the floor, taking seats with others who wore the same colored robes. I looked at the white robes and saw a coppery redhead moving with the grace of a ballerina through the throng of pures.

  “Dawn Samos,” I whispered. She made white sheets look good.

  Seth leaned forward. “You know her?”

  “Lea is her sister. Do you think she’s come with Dawn?” I paused, remembering how Lea had fought beside me. “I… I’d like to talk to her. ”

  “She didn’t come, but she did stop by your room after… everything. ”

  “She did?” Surprised, I watched the throng of pures. “That’s surprising. Did… she look okay?”

  “Her arm was broken and she was a little bruised up, but she’ll be okay. ”

  I nodded, watching Dawn sit down and smooth the robe out around her. She kept looking around—looking for someone. Before I could really study any more of the Council pures, I realized that non-Council members were also in attendance. Toward the back sat Marcus and a raven-haired beauty I’d only seen once.

  “Laadan—the woman with Marcus is Laadan. She was the pure who pretty much came up with the deal to give me a chance to stay at the Covenant. ” I tucked my hair back. “I forgot she was here. ”

  Seth nudged my leg with his. “I’ve heard of her. She doesn’t seem too bad. ”

  A familiar dark head slid into the seat beside Laadan. Aiden had changed into white slacks and a white buttoned-down shirt rolled up to the elbows, showing off his powerful forearms. The edges of his hair curled around the collar, giving him sort of an untamed look. I watched as he turned to Laadan and said something. She smiled and patted his arm while Marcus shook his head.

  Something struck me. Marcus was dressed like he normally was—dark slacks, a suit jacket—looking more like a Wall Street stock trader than a demigod. Laadan wore a deep red dress made out of crushed velvet. I scanned the back crowd, noticing that some wore the colors that matched the robes. “Why is Aiden wearing white?”

  “He’s owed a Council seat. ”

  I looked at Seth sharply. “What does that mean?”

  Seth arched a brow. “Since his father’s seat is still open and will remain so, he’s owed a seat on the Council. ”

  “So? He doesn’t want that seat. ”

  “That doesn’t matter. Aiden still has to show his respect to the current Council members. That’s why he’s wearing all white. The other people dressed like that? They’re either next in line or ones who will campaign for seats when others open up. ”

  I turned back to Aiden. He’d leaned back, one arm thrown over the empty seat beside him. “He never told me that. ”

  “Shouldn’t you have known that?”

  “I really don’t pay attention in civics class. ”

  Seth snickered. “He’ll probably take his seat one day, when he settles down. All the pures do. ”

  I wrapped my arms around my waist. “What do you mean by settles down?”

  Seth’s heavy stare settled on me. “I didn’t mean anything. ”

  But he did. His unspoken words hung between us. Most pures thought hunting and killing daimons were below their station, but the female pures found it dangerous and thrilling—sexy. My insides twisted into raw knots. The idea of him with someone else made me want to dropkick something—or someone.

  A sudden silence descended on the crowd as the Ministers from all four Covenants entered. I recognized Lucian and Minister Nadia Callao, a tall female who I’d only seen a few times in Carolina. They took their seats together, as did the rest of the Ministers. One—a man with dark hair graying at the temples, a full face and piercing blue eyes—stepped to the center of the raised dais, his green robes heavily adorned with gold thread. A golden laurel wreath sat atop his head.

  “Who is that?” I asked.

  “Minister Gavril Telly. The house you’re staying in is his. The woman in green is Diana Elders—the other Minister of New York—but Telly is the head of the Ministers. He’s the one in charge. ”

  Telly started the opening session with a prayer in ancient Greek. I had no clue what he was saying. The language was beautiful, almost musical, but went on for so long I leaned back and yawned.

  Seth grinned. “Don’t go falling asleep on me. ”

  “No guarantees. ”

  I didn’t fall asleep though. Minister Telly eventually started to address the crowd in heavily accented English. I couldn’t place where he was from, but his voice carried the same lilt Seth’s did, just with a hell of a lot more authority.

  “We have several urgent issues that must be addressed during this Council Session. ” Telly’s voice rang through the building. “Most importantly, we are here today to discuss the… unsavory situation that has arisen over this past summer. ”

  “They’re going to talk about Kain, aren’t they?” I perked up, eager to see how the pures would handle this.

  Seth shrugged. “There are a lot of things they could talk about. ”

  Telly paced the length of the dais, the long green robes trailing behind him. Raising one arm, he signaled to the section of the theater underneath us. I strained forward, but Seth got a handful of my sweater and held me still. Two Guards eventually came into view, escorting a woman dressed in nothing but a gray tunic that ended above the knees. She didn’t even wear shoes. They brought her to stand below the center of the dais, and then forced her to her knees.

  Apprehension blossomed in the pit of my stomach. The dark-skinned woman wasn’t a daimon from what I could tell. She looked like a normal half-blood—perhaps a Guard or a Sentinel. Her legs were toned enough for someone who’d spent years training and fighting.

  She lifted her head defiantly, and a hushed murmur carried through the crowd of pures.

  “Kelia Lothos. ” Telly’s upper lip curled. “You have been accused of breaking the Breed Order by having inappropriate contact with a pure-blood. ”

  My eyes widened. Caleb had told me about her—and her pure-blood boyfriend, Hector. I twisted back to Seth. “Seriously? Their most pressing issue is a half having sex with a pure?”

  Seth’s amber gaze met mine. “So it seems. ”
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  Shaking my head in disbelief, I turned back to the drama unfolding on the floor below. “Damn Hematoi. ”

  “How do you plead?” Telly demanded.

  Kelia started to stand, but the Guards forced her to stay down. “Does it matter how I plead? You have already found me guilty. ”

  “You have the right to tell your side. ” Minster Diana Elders rose, slowly approaching the center of the dais. An open kindness marked her expression, softening the set of her lips. “If you feel that you are not—”

  “It is not her fault!” A voice cried out from deep within the audience as a pure in green robes came to his feet. His complexion was swarthy, much like Jackson’s. “She has done nothing wrong. If anyone is to blame, then it is me. ”

  “And so it begins,” muttered Seth.

  I ignored him, transfixed by this pure-blood coming to Kelia’s defense. This was better than watching daytime soaps.

  Telly drifted to the left of the dais. “Hector, no one here holds you at fault. Halfs can be just as beautiful as pures… and as manipulative as any daimon. ”

  Hector—Kelia’s pure-blood lover—pushed down the aisle. “Yes, she is beautiful, but manipulative? Never. I love her, Minister Telly. That is of no fault of hers. ”

  Telly scoffed as he came to the edge of the dais. “A half-blood and a pure-blood cannot fall in love with each other. The idea is as absurd as it is disgusting. She has broken the law. Perhaps she should have thought of that before she acted as a common whore. ”

  “Do not speak of her like that!” Hector’s face flushed with anger.

  “How dare you speak to me that way. ” Telly drew himself up. “Proceed carefully, or your next action might be mistaken for treason. ”

  Kelia twisted around. Concern and fear filled her eyes—and so did love. My heart twisted for her—for them. “Hector, please don’t. Just leave. ”

  Hector’s dark eyes fell on Kelia, mirroring the same emotions displayed across her face. “No. I can’t let this happen. You’ve done no wrong. I should have never—”

  “Hector, please leave,” Kelia begged. “I don’t want you to… see me like this. Please!”

  “I’m not leaving,” Hector said. “You’re not guilty of anything!”

  “I’m guilty of loving you!” She pulled her arms free of the Guards. They seemed too stunned by the explicit outpouring of emotion to do anything. “Don’t do this! You promised me you wouldn’t do this!”

  Promised what? What Hector was doing was heroic, romantic, and swoon-worthy. How could she not want the man she loved to stand up against the entire Council for her?

  Hector rushed down the main walkway, and the Guards finally snapped out of it. They positioned themselves between the half and pure.

  Hector halted, his hands clenching at his sides. “Stand down. ”

  “Are you going to allow this to continue, Minister?” asked Lucian, speaking for the first time since the session began.

 
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