Pure, p.30
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       Pure, p.30

         Part #2 of Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Page 30


  Telly exhaled slowly. “Kelia Lothos, how do you plead?”

  The crowd of pures watched, excited and horrified, eager to see how Kelia would respond. But it was Hector who did.

  “She pleads not guilty. ”

  An elderly female Minister stood. The red robes swallowed her frail body. She reminded me of the Crypt Keeper I’d faced when I was seven. “Enough. Sentence the half to servitude and remove this pure from the session!”

  A clap of thunder inside the building sent me back from the railing into Seth. Above us, the air started to thicken and darken. As impossible as it seemed, dangerous-looking clouds began to form—and they were coming from Hector. He was using the element of earth, the electrical power creating an indoor thunderstorm.

  Hector met Telly’s stunned gaze. “I will not allow you to take her. ”

  Chaos broke loose on the floor below. Hector surged forward, and the cloud above us flashed with lightning, filling the air with an electrical charge. The ministers came to their feet, full of shock and anger.

  “Please! We can discuss this civilly!” cried Diana. “Can we not—”

  Another crash of thunder drowned out her words. I pressed my face into the gap between the slats for a better look at the what was happening below. Unsurprisingly, the Guards who’d held Kelia back didn’t look willing to attack a pure. We were trained from birth to never do so, not even in extreme cases like these. They moved back warily as Hector grabbed hold of Kelia, pulling her to his chest.

  “The half-blood is found guilty!” Telly shouted. “Seize the half and send her to the Masters! Remove the—”

  Hector thrust Kelia behind him as the cloud cracked, shooting streaks of lightning throughout the room. Pures shot from the benches, pushing at each other as they hurried out of the way. Worried for Aiden, I searched him out in the madness. He stood in the center beside Laadan, his expression a steely mask.

  “I will kill anyone who dares to take her. ” Hector’s voice was low and steady.

  “You would stand against your own kind—for a half-blood?” Telly’s face was pale with anger.

  Hector did not hesitate. “Yes. I would for the woman I love. ”

  Telly backed off. “You have sealed your fate. ”

  I didn’t understand those words. Pures were never punished for messing around with halfs. About the only thing they were ever punished for was using compulsion or other elemental powers against other pures, but…

  The cloud continued to darken, and Seth pulled on my arm, but I held onto the slats of the balcony railing.

  “Guards!” Telly ordered, and Guards from every corner descended in a flurry of white. All of them were halfs, except one.

  The pure-blood Guard had eyes the color of rich soil. He stared at Telly, his fingers wrapped around a Covenant dagger. The other Guards reached the two lovers,

  managing to break Kelia from Hector’s hold. She screamed and fought them, breaking loose once to only be tackled to the floor.

  Overhead, the cloud darkened even more. A bolt of lightning snapped from the cloud, striking the floor near Telly. “Take him down!” said Telly.

  “No!” screamed Kelia. “Stop this, Hector! Please!”

  The pure reached Hector before he could send another lightning bolt. A horrified scream rose in my throat, muffled by Seth’s hand. The pure-blood Guard—the only one out of all them who could strike down another pure—shoved the titanium blade into Hector’s back and twisted. A sucking sound shot through the building and the ominous cloud fizzled out.

  Seth jerked me from the railing. “You can’t scream, okay? I doubt they’re going to be thrilled if they find us here. Promise me you won’t scream. ” He eased off after I nodded. “We need to get out of here. ”

  I barely heard Seth. Horror and anger slammed through my heart and my fingers dug into his arm. Kelia’s screams filled the air until they were abruptly cut off. All of this was impossible, cruel, and horrifying.

  Seth gave a weary sigh “I guess it’s a good thing Aiden came to his senses. ”

  Ice drenched my veins, stealing the very air from my lungs. I twisted around, facing him. “You knew this was going to happen. You brought me here on purpose!”

  The tawny hue of his eyes glowed. “I didn’t know it would go this far. ”

  “I don’t believe you. ” I pushed against his chest, feeling sick. “You knew what they were going to do!”

  Seth looked away, the hollow of his cheeks flushed. “I only know what Aiden’s future would’ve held if you two had continued with that insanity. ”

  I pushed again, and this time, Seth let go.

  I spent the rest of my first day in New York holed up in the dingy room. I didn’t want to be here—or anywhere near here. Raw knots formed in my stomach, and I was furious with Seth.

  But I was also furious with myself.

  I plopped down on the edge of the hard mattress. I only know what Aiden’s future would’ve held if you two had continued with that insanity.

  As much as I hated to admit it, Seth had been right.

  Aiden was the kind of man who would’ve done exactly what Hector had done. If Aiden had loved me and I’d ended up in Kelia’s position, he would’ve fought an army of Guards and received a dagger in the back.

  I lowered my head to my hands and drew in a strangled breath. My heart yearned for Aiden like he was the very air I needed to breathe, but at the same time I understood—really understood—that, even if Aiden had loved me in return, we could never be together.

  What had he said to me that day in the gym? That if he loved me he’d take everything from me. What I’d seen proved that I’d also take everything from him—even his life.

  A soft knock drew me out of my troubled thoughts. I crossed the two feet to the door and opened it.

  Seth stood there, arms folded across his chest. “Alex—”

  I shut the door and locked it. Seth may’ve been right, but I still didn’t want to see him. If I had to deal with his gloating face, I’d really punch him. I sat back on the bed and scowled at the door.

  A minute passed, and then the knob turned, first left then right. Squinting, I leaned forward. There was the unmistakable sound of the door unlocking.

  “What the hell?” I sprang to my feet.

  The door swung open. Seth stepped into the little room. “I fried your lock. ”

  My mouth dropped open. “You arrogant son of—”

  “Shush. ” He shut the door behind him and surveyed the room with another disgusted look. “I still can’t believe they stuck you in this craphole. I’m going to have to talk to Lucian about this. ”

  “Why would Lucian care?”

  He strode past me and bent at the waist, pressing his open palm into the mattress. “Lucian cares more about you than you realize. ” He straightened and smiled. “You should come to my room. You’d like it. ”

  I rolled my eyes. “Not going to happen. ”

  Seth looked disappointed, and then his eyes fell on my skeevy bathroom. “I have a Jacuzzi tub in my bathroom. ”


  “Yep. ”

  The idea of a nice long bath teased me. I shook my head, dispelling the dream. “Seth, I really don’t want to talk to you right now. ”

  He dropped down on the bed and winced. “Well, we need to talk. ”

  I tipped my head back, groaning. “Does what I want ever matter to you?”

  “What you want always matters to me. ” His face was serious. “By the way, I liked the other jammies you wore that one night. The thermal and flannel shirt aren’t very alluring, but those little shorts were nice. ”

  My gaze narrowed on him. “It’s freezing in this room and this,” I marched over to the bed and tugged on the itchy blanket, “is not touching me. It probably has fleas. ” I turned back to him. “What do you want, Seth?”

  He cast his eyes down. “I’m sorry you had to see that today.

  That wasn’t what I expected.

  “But you needed to see it,” he continued, his gaze flicking up, meeting mine. “I know you… love him. Don’t deny it, Alex, I know you do. And I know that no matter what Aiden says to you, he still cares for you more than he should. ”

  I opened my mouth to deny that, because Aiden had told me in many different ways that he didn’t, but I stopped. Did it matter if Aiden really did care for me? I whirled around and sat beside Seth, staring at the frayed carpet.

  “I think you know that, Alex,” he said softly. “I’ve said it before. Eventually you two would’ve gotten caught. No one—not even me—would’ve been able to stop the Council. You know what Aiden would have done. ”

  “I know. ” I rubbed my palm over my thigh. “He would have done exactly what Hector did. I just didn’t think they’d do that to their own kind. ”

  “This place is a different world. I’ve been here a couple of times. It’s straight Old School. It doesn’t take much to insult Minister Telly and he’s no fan of half-bloods… even the Apollyon. ”

  I lifted my head, looking at him. “What do you mean?”

  Seth’s lips thinned. “It’s nothing that I’ve been told, it’s just a feeling I get. ”

  “Is he going to be the one questioning me during my testimony?”

  “I don’t know. ” Seth smiled then. “He’s nothing to worry about. ”

  I really didn’t believe him, but I was too tired to poke further. “I hate this place. ”

  He leaned over, brushing my hair back off my neck, exposing my scars. “You’ve only been here a day, Alex. ”

  “I don’t need more than a day to know. ” I turned my head, startled to find our faces mere inches apart. “Do… you like it here?”

  Seth’s eyelids lowered, fanning his cheeks with long lashes. “It’s not the worst place. ” He was quiet for a few moments and then his eyes flicked to mine. “You really have realized that Aiden is sort of a lost cause, haven’t you?”

  I blinked tightly and turned away. I suddenly wanted to cry, because it was true. “I guess that fills you with some sick sense of satisfaction, doesn’t it?”

  “I’m not a terrible person, Alex. ”

  His sharp tone brought me back to him. “I didn’t say you were a terrible person. ”

  Seth smiled tightly. “Then why would you think I’d like to see you hurt? And I know you’re hurting. ”

  Now I felt guilty. “Look, I’m sorry. I’m just out of it. ”

  He relaxed. “That’s the second time you’ve apologized to me. Wow. ”

  “It’ll be the last. ”

  “Maybe. ” He scooted back, lying down on his side. He patted the tiny spot left. “This bed really sucks. You sure you don’t want an upgrade?”

  I sighed. “Seth, you can’t stay here. ”

  He shrugged. “I don’t see why not. ”

  “My uncle is right next door. ”

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