Pure, p.39
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       Pure, p.39

         Part #2 of Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Page 39


  “That doesn’t surprise me. ” I gave the room a brief glance. We were in another sitting room. How many of these things were there? “I’m a little surprised over how much Marcus dislikes Telly. ”

  Shrugging, Seth went to the door and peered out. “All clear. ” He paused, grinning over his shoulder. “Unless you want to stay here a little while. That couch looks comfy. ”

  I shoved past him. “Can’t you think of anything else?”

  He followed me out. “No. Not really. ”

  “Wow. You’re so multi-dimensional, Seth. ”

  Chuckling, he sidled up to my side and dropped his arm over my shoulders. “And you’re such a killjoy. ”


  OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS, SETH CONSUMED MOST OF MY time. I saw very little of Aiden and Marcus. Once, when Seth wasn’t attached to my hip, I hung out with Laadan while she got a mani and pedi for the ball. I opted out of the indulgence.

  People touching my feet creeped me out.

  Seth and I had snuck into one of the training classrooms between practices and sparred with some of the halfs the other day. I think we caused more mayhem than anything else, but I’d enjoyed fighting people other than Seth. Goofing off eased some of the pent-up frustration of being in this place, and the growing unease that occupied each day closer to my Council session.

  But time with Seth hadn’t been all fun and games. We’d spent most of our training sessions working on avoiding the use of elements in battle. Throwing balls of flame around really wasn’t an indoor sport, so we were forced outside.

  We also argued. A lot.

  He got pissy because he claimed I’d been watching Aiden when he’d shown up one day during our practice and worked out alongside us. Seth also claimed that I’d drooled on myself.

  Not true.

  Flushing with embarrassment and anger, I’d stormed off and left him standing in the middle of the field we’d practiced in. A short hour later, Seth reappeared with hamburgers and fries—my favorite—and I kind of forgave him. He’d had hamburgers; what else could I have done?

  I still had no recollection of how I’d ended up in the maze. Not knowing what’d happened—or why a pure would do that—nagged at me. So did the conversation we’d overheard between Marcus and Lucian. I couldn’t shake the feeling that those two events were connected.

  But that could just be my paranoia.

  Today’s practice had been cut short as Seth had something important to discuss with Lucian. When I’d asked what it was, he’d told me not to worry my pretty little butt over it and to go hang out with Laadan.

  I hate boys.

  And I couldn’t find Laadan anywhere.

  Even though it irked me that no one wanted me to roam around alone, I didn’t want to end up a pure’s compulsion toy again. Thinking about that filled me with enough anger I could have put my fist through the wall. After checking out a million sitting rooms, I gave up on my search for Laadan. Another long and boring evening staring at the white walls in my room awaited me.

  With barely restrained aggravation, I turned the corner and froze.

  Up ahead, a female servant trembled on her knees. She’d dropped a stack of dishes on the carpet. The man towering over her wore the unmistakable—and terrifying—garb of a Master. I’d only seen one once before, and that had been when Mom had brought me before the Council when I was seven.

  I’d never forget the blood red tunic or how they shaved their heads and all facial hair.

  The Master kicked one of the empty plates, shattering it. “You careless, stupid half-blood. Is carrying plates too complicated for you?”

  She cowered, lowering her head and clasping her knees. She didn’t speak, but I could hear her soft cries.

  “Get up. ” Disgust dripped from the Master’s voice. The girl didn’t move quickly enough for his liking. He reached down and grabbed a handful of her tangled hair, yanking her to her feet. Her gasp of surprise and pain brought forth a cruel laugh from the Master and something far worse. He lifted his free hand to hit her.

  I didn’t even think.

  Rage propelled me into action. I struck out, catching the Master’s fist before it landed a blow. The Master whirled around. Lack of eyebrows gave his startled expression an almost comical aspect. He recovered quickly and tried to pull his hand free.

  I held on. “Didn’t your mother ever teach you not to hit a lady?”

  Anger and contempt filled his eyes, sharpening them. “You dare to touch me and interfere in a situation that does not concern you? Do you have a desire for the elixir, half-blood?”

  I smiled, tightening my grip until I felt the bones in his hand rub together. His lips thinned in pain, filling me with sick satisfaction. “Oh, I’m not just a half-blood. ”

  “I know what you are. ” He wrenched his hand free, lips curling with disgust. “You think that will save you? If anything, that ensures that one day you will be under the Masters’ control… or worse. ”

  His words should’ve scared me, but they just pissed me off. “Go screw yourself, you eyebrowless freak. ”

  The Master laughed as he twisted back to the silent girl, but then he swung around so fast I hadn’t a chance to raise my hands in defense. The fist intended for the servant ended up smashing right into my jaw.

  Fierce pain exploded along my face as I stumbled back into the wall. My eyes immediately filled with tears; the throbbing sent darts of dizziness through me. I held my jaw, almost certain he had broken it. And then Seth was standing in front of me, a towering inferno of fury. I don’t even know where he’d come from or how he’d gotten there so quickly.

  “That will be the last thing you ever do,” Seth snarled. He threw back his hand. Not to hit to the pure, but to kill the pure.

  Many times in practice I had seen akasha start to build in his hand, but always as just a small ball of energy. When he’d taken down Kain, Aiden had blocked most of it, but now it was all that I could see. The blue energy shot from somewhere under the sleeve of his shirt, filling his hand, crackling and snapping blue fire.

  Pain forgotten, I pushed off the wall and grabbed Seth’s other arm. “No! No!”

  “Get back, Alex, now. ”

  I got in front of him, blocking the Master. The mark of the Apollyon stood out in contrast against his pale face. “You can’t do this, Seth! You need to calm down. ”

  “Do it,” urged the Master. “Seal your fate, Apollyon. As your bitch’s fate has been sealed. ”

  Seth’s eyes glowed, his lips pulled back in a snarl. Akasha spread, spitting flames.

  “Ignore him,” I balled my hands in the front of his shirt. “Please! You can’t do this!” This wasn’t working. He wasn’t listening to me. His arm went back, readying to release the most powerful element known to man. I twisted around. “Get out of here! Now!”

  The servant took off, but the Master stayed, daring Seth with his smile as if he had no sense of self-preservation. Then it struck me—he wanted Seth to do this, knowing that for a half to kill a pure in any situation meant death.

  Possibly even for the Apollyon.

  I turned back to Seth, hands trembling. I pressed against his chest as if I could somehow burrow my way into him and make him understand that the penalty for hitting me wasn’t capital punishment. I could taste the fear in the back of my throat; panic overshadowed the physical pain.

  Seth shuddered and then his arms swept around me. I almost cried out in relief. The Master’s cruel laugh echoed around us, seeming to hang in the air long after he left the hallway.

  He stared down at me, still furious. “I want to kill him. ”

  “I know,” I whispered, blinking back tears.

  “No, you don’t. I still do. ”

  “But you can’t. It was my fault. He was about to hit a servant and I stopped him. He—”

  “Your fault?” he said, eyes widening with disbelief now. He reached out and caught my chin,
turning my head to the side. “No. This wasn’t your fault. ”

  I swallowed, closing my eyes. Crisis adverted… for now. “Is it going to bruise?”

  “Most definitely. ”

  “I think… I’m going to be in trouble. ” I stepped back, staring at the floor. This Seth—this hard and lethal Seth—was frightening. “You’re going to be in trouble, too. ”

  “Yes. ” Seth sounded as if he didn’t give a crap about that.

  I touched the left side of my face and winced. “Oh, crap. ”

  Seth pulled my hand away from my face. “I think if we make it to dinner without anyone saying anything, then we’re in the clear. ”

  “You think so?”

  Seth smiled, but everything about him still seemed on the verge of destroying something. “Yes. ”

  We didn’t make it until dinner.

  About twenty minutes later, Marcus and crew stormed the sitting room Seth and I were kind of hiding in. Aiden was with them, his eyes immediately finding me. His gaze glided over my face, stopping on what I knew was a nasty-looking bruise. He came to a complete stop and inhaled sharply. Potent anger rolled off him in waves, nearly as overwhelming as what was still radiating from the one next to me.

  “What were you thinking, Alexandria?” demanded Marcus.

  I pulled my eyes from Aiden’s, but didn’t look at Marcus. I watched Seth instead. His face was still a picture of hard lines and chilling beauty. “I know I shouldn’t have stopped the Master, but he was going to beat a girl for dropping plates. I had to do—”

  The door swung open, revealing Minister Telly and a slew of Council Guards. I stiffened, but Seth stood. “What is this?” he demanded, hands balling into fists.

  “What is this?” Minister Telly repeated, striding across the room, tall and graceful, his green robes flowing. He stopped before Marcus and Lucian. “What is it that I hear about Alexandria attacking a Master this afternoon?”

  “Attacked?” I sputtered. “I didn’t attack anyone. I stopped—”

  “She did interfere with a Master, but she did not attack the man,” Marcus cut in, sending me a dangerous look. “However, he did strike Alexandria. ”

  Telly spared me a brief glance. “Half-bloods know to not interfere with a Master and their treatment of servants. To do so is a breach of the Breed Order!”

  My mouth dropped open. Had I expected to be in trouble? Yes. But not to be accused of breaking the Order.

  “Are you serious?” Seth stepped forward, eyes narrowing into thin slits.

  “Get your Apollyon under control this instant, Lucian,” Telly spat, “or my Guards will. ”

  Lucian swung toward Seth, but I knew there was nothing that he could say or do. I grabbed Seth’s arm and tugged hard. “Sit,” I whispered.

  He glanced over his shoulder at me, brows raised. “I’d rather stand. ”

  Gods, he so wasn’t helping matters. Not like it would stop him, but I held onto his arm.

  “Minister Telly, I understand that Alexandria should not have interfered, but accusing her of breaking the law?” Marcus shook his head. “I think that’s a bit extreme. ”

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