Pure, p.32
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       Pure, p.32

         Part #2 of Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Page 32


  “One of my Instructors at the Covenant has a tattoo of it on his arm. ”

  His lips pursed. “Minister Telly has one on his arm, too. ”

  “How in the world do you know that?” We cut across the frost- covered lawn to one of the covered walkways connecting smaller buildings to the main one. “Have you been sneaking into his room and cuddling with him, too?”

  “Don’t be jealous. You’re my only cuddle bunny. But to answer your question, when I got here with Lucian, Telly was waving his arm around as he yelled at some servants. The sleeve of his robe slipped back and I saw the tattoo. ”

  “I wonder if they belong to some secret society or something. ”

  “A secret society of douchebags, maybe. ”

  I snickered. “Sounds about right. ”

  We passed two halfs walking to class and they came to an abrupt standstill. Eyes wide, they gawked at us. One boy elbowed the other. “That’s him! And that has to be her—the other one. ”

  The other boy’s mouth dropped open. “Then it’s true! There really are two Apollyons. ”

  “By the gods,” his companion ran a hand over his chest, “this is so cool. ”

  Seth bowed at them. “Way cool. ”

  Rolling my eyes, I pushed him to the side. The whole sensing Seth thing was getting annoying. “Where are we going?”

  “Since it’s freezing up here in the mornings, I figured we’d do our first session in a training room. Then move outside. ”

  My shoulders slumped. “I have to practice with you all day?”

  Seth spun around in front of me, the perpetual, cocksure grin on his face. “You have to spend all day with me. Every day. For as long as we are here. ”

  I stared at him.

  He clapped his hands together, letting out a rather high-pitched squeal before grabbing my hand. “Oh, we are going to have so much fun! Aren’t we? Fun, Alex—we will have fun. ”

  We weren’t having fun.

  I spun around, blocking first his kick then his jab. Sweat poured off me and my muscles ached from the never-ending onslaught that was Seth.

  Then again, I preferred these morning sessions over the afternoon ones. Over the past three days, I’d come to dread the outside training sessions. The weather didn’t warm up very much by then, and the frozen ground was unforgiving, even with the magically green grass springing up from it.

  Seth tossed me a bottle of water. “Five minutes. ”

  I retreated to the edge of the mats and took a long swallow. Seth, who never seemed thirsty, decided to entertain the ever-growing crowd of gawkers. In between class changes, half students had started gathering at the doors. Seth left them open since this kind of thing stroked his ego. All the halfs were pretty cool, though, and they didn’t treat me like people did at my Covenant. Somehow—and I totally blame Seth—they’d found out I’d already made some kills, which upped my cool factor into uncharted territory. We had students and Instructors watching us try to tear each other’s heads off.

  This, in a way, was what we really wanted to do.

  It seemed the only time we didn’t fight was when we slept. There hadn’t been another repeat of the night I’d used Seth as a pillow, and I think that ticked him off.

  I strolled across the mats, catching that tail end of what Seth was saying to the pretty little half with eons of red hair and a chest that made me feel like I wore a training bra.

  “Maybe after practice I’ll show you my balls of—”

  I chucked the water bottle at the back of Seth’s head. He spun around and caught it before it connected. Gasping, the girl stepped back and stared at me. I had a feeling that if I were anyone else, she’d pull my hair out.

  “Not nice. ” Seth threw the bottle to the floor.

  “Five minutes are up. ” I bounced back a few steps, grinning.

  Cross, a half-blood who’d become a regular at the door, elbowed his friend. “Hundred dollars they end up in a fight to the death by week’s end. ”

  “Who’d you think would win?” Will, another now familiar face, grinned.

  “I’d put my bets on that one. ” Cross jerked his head at me.

  I tossed my head back, smiling at Seth. “Me,” I mouthed.

  Seth looked bored.

  Boobs stopped twirling her hair for five seconds. “Oh no, I’d say the First would come out on top. ”

  My smile faded, and I decided to ignore them. I turned to Seth. “Ready, sweetheart?”

  He moved to stand in front of me, his back to his—our—groupies. “I’m always ready for you, cuddle bunny. ”

  My hand slipped past his block, slamming hard into his solar plexus. He staggered backward, grunting. “Moving a little slow there, Apollyon?”

  Not to be outdone with the growing fan base by the door to witness, he tapped into the elements. Jerk-face, I thought. The first gust of wind missed me only by an inch, but the second was so far off that I stopped to laugh. The third punched me square in the chest. I hit the mats hard but rolled to my feet before he could pin me down. We went at it until we broke for lunch. Seth liked eating with the students. It provided more chances for his head to grow bigger.

  Cross and Will invited us to a party they were throwing Saturday night. “It’d be awesome if you guys could come,” said Cross. “The pures will be doing their own thing, so no one will be checking on us. ”

  The pures had been doing their own thing every night. Even five floors up, I could hear their raucous laughter in the wee hours of the morning. Thinking about that soured my mood. I wondered if he was one of the pures partying it up.

  Seth thought the party sounded like a great idea. So did Boobs. I wasn’t so sure, because the secondhand hot flashes I’d caught from Seth had been bad enough from a distance. I really didn’t want to experience them in the same room. At the end of our afternoon practice outdoors, Seth caught my hand before I could make off without him.

  “What?” I desperately wanted a long, hot shower.

  Uncaring of the cold mud covering every square inch of my clothes, he pulled me toward him. “You have to come to the party with me. ”

  I arched a brow at him. “I didn’t say I wasn’t going. ”

  “You didn’t say you were, and you’ve been grumpy all afternoon. ”

  “That’s because I’m stuck with you, day and night. ”

  “I don’t believe that. ” Seth’s gaze flicked up and behind me, and then he inched me closer. I braced myself by putting my hand on his shoulder, but he smiled down at me—a different kind of smile, one he usually reserved for girls like Boobs and Elena. Sudden wariness shifted through me, ratcheted up to the tenth degree when he reached out with his free hand and cupped my chin.

  My pulse skyrocketed. “What are you—?”

  Seth smoothed his thumb over my lower lip, sending a weird mix of shivers through me. His stare locked onto mine, and the yellow of his eyes flared. “You have mud on your lip. ”

  “Oh. ” I wiped my hand over my mouth, twisting out of his embrace. “I have—”

  Aiden stood under a statue of Apollo, appearing just as unmoving and fierce as the god. It took quite of a lot for me not to turn and sock Seth in the face.

  “Hey there. ” Seth stepped around me. “Checking out our training sessions, are you? Don’t fret; I’ve been taking really good care of her. ”

  I decided right then and there: the first thing I was going to do once I Awakened was zap Seth.

  “I’m sure you have. ” Aiden’s voice was cold.

  Seth moved past Aiden, clapping him on the shoulder as he did so. “How are the Council sessions going? Changing the world?”

  Aiden’s gaze settled on Seth’s hand and then slowly lifted to his face. Whatever Seth saw in his eyes must’ve told him to remove his hand as quickly as possible. Chuckling as if it amused him, Seth glanced back at me. “See you later, cuddle bunny. ”

  What came out of my mouth made Aiden
s eyes widen, but only made Seth laugh harder as he strolled back toward the campus.

  “Hey,” I said, grateful that mud did cover half of my flaming face.

  Aiden shoved his hands into his white trousers. “I can see training with him is going as expected. ”

  “I hate him, really I do. ”

  “‘Hate’ is such a strong word. ”

  My chin jerked up. “You’d understand if you had to spend five seconds with him. ”

  His gray eyes settled on my face, then my lips—lips that he’d seen Seth touch. “I guess so. ”

  “So why are you here?” I sounded harsh, but I was bristling at the coldness in his eyes and still licking the emotional wounds Aiden had sliced open.

  “I haven’t seen you in a few days, so I was actually checking in on you. ”

  I felt warm despite the brisk air and hated myself for it. “Why?”

  He shrugged. “I’m not allowed to?”

  Secretly, my heart was jumping around happily at the idea of Aiden searching me out. My brain, on the other hand, brutally ordered me to walk away. I stayed. “I guess so. ”

  “Walk you back?”

  “Is that okay—I mean, no one will care that a pure is walking with a half? I don’t see many of them doing so here. ” I paused, frowning. “Actually, I never see any pures talk to halfs here. ”

  “Minister Telly is a bit archaic in the way the Council and the Covenant are run here. He wants things to be as if centuries of change has not occurred—a complete separation of breeds and races. ”

  We started back toward the main house, together. “So that’s why I haven’t seen any mortals here. ”

  Aiden nodded. “I think Minister Telly would go completely back to the old ways, to a time when our kind devoted every aspect of our lives to the gods. He doesn’t even believe we should have any contact with mortals, not even through compulsion. ”

  “Well, how does he expect to build up his half-blood army of daimon killers?” He gave me a straight look. It hit me. “He doesn’t think there should be any half-bloods, does he?”

  “He thinks that pures should be able to refrain from the carnal activities that lead to little half-bloods being made, and that we should be able to defend ourselves against the daimons. ”

  I knocked back a mud-encased strand of hair. “Then what would you all do for servants? Actually take care of yourselves?”

  He stared at the cloudy sky. “There are enough half-bloods in the world now to carry the pures through several generations. After that, I don’t know what Telly would do. ”

  “So he wants to see all half-bloods enslaved? Nice. I knew there was a reason why I thought he was a giant douchebag. My judgment wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. ”

  Aiden glanced down at me, a curious expression on his striking face. “Why would you think your judgment is off?”

  I looked at him pointedly.

  He pursed his lips and nodded stiffly. “Got it. ”

  We continued on in silence for a few minutes. “So… how do you like it here?”

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