Pure, p.37
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       Pure, p.37

         Part #2 of Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
 
Page 37

 

  CHAPTER 19

  “WHAT WAS SHE DOING OUT THERE?”

  “I don’t know. I find it hard to believe she somehow mistook it for summer! Why hasn’t she woken up yet?”

  The voices sounded familiar to me. My right palm burned. Everything burned actually—really freaking burned.

  Someone moved something warm and heavy over me. It made my skin scream.

  “She’ll be fine,” a woman said. “She just needs rest. ”

  “Needs rest?” That sounded like Seth, but he didn’t sound right to me. His musical voice was pitched wrong. “She was blue when Leon brought her in. ”

  Leon brought me in? From where? Why had I been blue? Blue didn’t sound good.

  “The girl is lucky. A few more minutes and she would have lost a finger or four, but she is fine,” the woman said again, irritation lacing her words. “There is nothing more to be done. ”

  Wait? What the hell? Lose fingers?

  I heard a door shut, and then the bed dipped beside me. Someone brushed my hair back off my face. Seth. I tried to open my eyes, but they felt annoyingly heavy.

  “Where did she say she was going when she left dinner?”

  My heart sped up, recognizing Aiden’s voice. Why couldn’t I open my eyes? And why was I so damn tired?

  “She said she was going to practice,” answered Seth.

  “And you let her go by herself?” That was my uncle speaking. Only he could sound so coldly displeased and yet cultured.

  “I’m not her babysitter,” snapped Seth. “She didn’t want me to go with her. ”

  “Alex shouldn’t be roaming around here alone. ” Aiden’s anger filled his voice. “Dammit, she knows better than this. ”

  Seth snorted.

  “Even though Alex is prone to idiotic behavior, I seriously doubt she’s responsible for this one,” said Aiden.

  Gee, thanks, I thought sleepily. I kind of wished they’d all shut up so I could go back to sleep. My skin didn’t burn when I slept.

  “She wouldn’t go skipping through a maze dressed like it’s summer and almost die from hypothermia,” Aiden continued. “Someone did this to her. ”

  “You’re suggesting a compulsion?” Seth’s voice lowered. “You know pures are forbidden from using compulsions on halfs who aren’t indentured. Would one dare?”

  “What do you think?” asked Aiden.

  “I think I’m going to kill someone,” Seth replied casually.

  Marcus sighed. “I’ll speak with Minister Telly first thing in the morning. He assured me there would be no trouble here. ”

  They continued on for a few moments, their voices drifting further away as I fell back into the blissful oblivion where my skin felt normal. I awoke a little while later, shivering uncontrollably. The room was quiet and dark when I opened my eyes.

  I wanted to get up and grab a thermal, but my muscles didn’t want to cooperate. Whimpering, I fell back to the hard mattress and willed a nice heavy blanket to appear out of the thin air. Too bad I didn’t have any powers like that.

  Suddenly, the bed shifted and a dark shadow leaned over me. If it weren’t for the bright yellow eyes, I would’ve screamed. “How are you feeling?”

  “I’m c-cold,” I gasped out.

  “They brought in extra blankets. You’re still cold?”

  “Uh-huh. ” My teeth chattered. I heard Seth sigh, and then I felt his hands sliding underneath me, rolling me onto my side. “W-what are you doing?”

  “Getting you warm, since we already have every blanket known to mankind on this craptastic bed. ” He pulled me back against his chest and wrapped his arms around me. “Wow, you are cold. Like a little popsicle. ”

  I squeezed my eyes shut. “I wasn’t s-suggesting this. ”

  He rested his chin against the top of my head. “Do you have any better suggestions?”

  “Yeah, g-go get more blankets?”

  “That wouldn’t be nearly as fun as this. ”

  I didn’t respond to that, because truthfully, Seth was really hot. Hot in a totally platonic, body-warming way. Then his leg slipped in between mine and my eyes snapped open. “S-Seth!”

  “Just making sure you are warming up. Is it working?” Seth shifted his arms under the blanket, one hand finding the curve of my hip.

  I bit down on my lip. Yes, I was warming up.

  “Alex?”

  “Yeah?” I wiggled uncomfortably and stopped when Seth’s hand tightened on my hip.

  “What were you doing in the maze tonight with half your clothes off?”

  “What?” I squeaked.

  “You… don’t remember?” Seth slipped his hand under the hem of my shirt. “Your stomach is ice cold. ”

  And his hand was really warm. I told myself that was the reason why I didn’t break his arm. “N-no, I don’t k-know what you’re talking about. ”

  “Okay. Do you remember talking to me after dinner?”

  What a stupid question. “Yes. ”

  “Did you go to the training rooms?”

  “Yeah. ”

  “What happened after that, Alex?”

  “I worked with the dummy for a little while and then…” I frowned. Then what? I remembered walking over the corner and putting on my hoodie. “The lights went out. ”

  “In the training room?”

  I nodded, still concentrating. My memories floated just out of reach, like a word lost on the tip of my tongue. “I don’t know. ”

  Seth stiffened. “You don’t remember anything else?”

  There was a huge blank spot where nothing existed. I rolled onto my back, only making out his eyes in the darkness. “Can you fill me in on what happened?”

  “I was kind of hoping you’d be able to do that, Alex. We don’t know what happened. Leon found your shoes and sweater at the beginning of the labyrinth. Obviously, that concerned him greatly. He found you in there, half-frozen. ”

  “What? I didn’t do that. ” I reached down and placed a hand on his creeping one. It was moving a little too far north. “Well, I don’t remember doing that, and that sounds really stupid. ”

  Seth’s fingers curled beneath my ribs. “Do you remember talking to any pures?”

  “No. I don’t remember anything after the lights going out. ” I paused, feeling slightly nauseous as I picked up on Seth’s suspicions. “Do… do you think a pure used compulsion on me?”

  He didn’t answer immediately. “Yes. ”

  “But that doesn’t make any sense. Why would a pure compel me to walk the maze? Of all the things they could compel me to do and they…” I closed my mouth. I had no idea what the pure had compelled me to do. Walking through the maze could have been just one part of it. Anything could’ve happened. I had no idea and that made me sick. Compulsion was a violation, pure and simple. It stripped a person’s free will, and their ability to say no.

  It was straight out mind-rape.

  But why couldn’t I remember what’d happened? I’d only been compelled once, and that had been when Aiden made me sleep the night they’d found me in the warehouse. I remembered everything about that.

  “Alex?” Seth moved his hand out from underneath the blankets and cupped my face. My stomach kind of missed his hand. “Are you remembering something?”

  “Do you think I was compelled to forget the compulsion? Is that even possible?”

  “It is possible. A compulsion is limitless. ”

  I swallowed. “I had clothes on, right? Just my shoes and sweater were missing?”

  “Yes,” His voice sounded strained. “I think it’s best that you don’t go anywhere without someone being with you, Alex. I know you hate that idea—”

  “They sent me out to freeze to death,” I said, stunned by the realization. “I would’ve died if Leon hadn’t found me. ”

  “Like I said, I think it’s best that you don’t go anywhere without someone with you. ”

  I wanted to punch someone. I a
lso wanted to cry. I didn’t like this helpless feeling, this not knowing. I drew in a breath and let it out slowly. “I want to know who did this. ”

  “We’ll find out. Trust me on that. But you need to get some rest now. ”

  Sleep didn’t seem like an option, but Seth rolled onto his back, bringing me along for the ride. I was too caught up in my own thoughts to protest his possessiveness. My head rested against his chest as I stared into the darkness.

  Quiet as he was, I knew Seth didn’t sleep that night either.

  A few hours into light practice a day later, Council Guards arrived and stated that Minister Telly wanted to see me. Clearly only my presence had been requested, but Seth refused to leave my side.

  The Council session had paused for lunch, and we were led to an elaborate office inside the Council building. I’d never seen so many gold-plated things in my life. What was left of my family was present: Marcus and Lucian. They were seated on luxurious leather chairs. I decided to stand, which meant Seth stood directly behind me.

  Telly gazed out a circular window, a glass of dark wine in his hand. He turned around, his pale gaze flickering past me, narrowing on Seth. “Miss Andros, I apologize for interrupting your training, but I wanted to express my sincere relief to see that you were not permanently injured due to such a misfortunate event. ”

  He didn’t sound sincere. “Someone used a compulsion on me,” I said. “I wouldn’t consider that a misfortunate event. ”

  “I would have to agree,” Lucian said. “My stepdaughter is not given to flights of fancy. ”

  Telly pushed away from the window, his eyes settling on my stepfather. “I would hope not, but I can assure you there is no one here who would be so audacious to use a compulsion against a guest of mine. ”

  “Then what are you suggesting, Minister?” asked Marcus. Today he was dressed in a navy blue suit. I’d kill to see the man in jeans.

  “I am as curious as you to find out how Miss Andros ended up in that predicament,” Telly said. “I have my best Guards investigating the matter. Perhaps they will discover what truly happened. ”

  “You say it like I’m somehow responsible for what happened,” I said, which earned me a bland look from Telly.

  “I know we are rather lax around here in regards to drinking. ” Telly took a leisurely sip of his wine. “Did you have anything to drink with your dinner?”

  My mouth dropped open. “I wasn’t drunk!”

  “Alexandria,” Marcus’s head snapped in my direction. Turning back to the Minister, he smiled politely. “I can attest that Alexandria didn’t drink at dinner. ”

  “Hmm? What about afterwards?” asked Telly.

  “I spoke with her afterwards and she went straight to the training arena. ” Seth’s annoyance with the whole thing radiated from him.

  Telly’s brows rose. “You’d cover for her, would you not? Since she is yours and your fates are so intricately tied together?”

 
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