Pure, p.4
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       Pure, p.4

         Part #2 of Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
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Page 4

 

  “That would be a good guess. ” Clive shoved me into the stairwell. The pures were wealthy, and I mean, more money than anyone could comprehend. Yet there wasn’t a single elevator in the entire campus.

  “You think you can get away with anything, don’t you? You’re the dean’s niece, the Minister’s stepdaughter, and the next Apollyon. You’re just so damn special, aren’t you?”

  There was a very good chance I might hit him, but with my fist instead of an apple. I jerked my arm free. “Yeah, I’m that damn special. ”

  “Just remember you’re still a half-blood, Alex. ”

  “Just remember I am the dean’s niece, the Minister’s stepdaughter, and the next Apollyon. ”

  Clive stepped up, his nose almost touching mine. “Are you threatening me?”

  I refused to back down. “No. I’m just reminding you of how special I really am. ”

  He stared a moment, then gave a short, harsh laugh. “Maybe we’ll all get lucky and you’ll be a daimon snack on the way back to your dorm alone. Have a good night. ”

  I laughed as loud as I could and was rewarded with the door slamming shut. Hurrying down the stairs, I forgot about Clive. There was a daimon on campus and it’d already attacked one pure-blood, almost killing her. Who knew how long it would take before the daimon half needed its next fix? Mom had said a pure would keep a normal daimon going for days, but was it the same for a daimon half?

  She hadn’t said anything about that, but she’d talked a lot about their plans to overthrow the Council and the pures while I’d been captive in Gatlinburg. Mom and Eric, the only surviving daimon from Gatlinburg, had plotted to turn the halfs first, and then send them back to infiltrate the Covenants. Sounded like that was already well underway… or could it just be a random attack?

  Yeah, I doubted that.

  What I’d learned in Gatlinburg was the whole reason I’d be attending the November Council session, but my testimony seemed pointless now.

  I rounded the second floor level and came to an abrupt standstill. Apprehension trailed icy fingers down my spine, awakening the uncanny sense we half-bloods carried in our blood. I glanced over my shoulder, practically expecting a half-blood serial killer to be standing behind me… or at least Clive, about to push me down the steps.

  But there was nothing.

  Trained not to ignore the freaky sixth sense that alerted us to all kinds of messed-up things, I admitted that maybe I shouldn’t have pissed off Clive. After all, there was a daimon roaming around. I took the steps two at a time and flung open the door to the main level.

  Dread still trailed along with me, coiling around my fingers. It didn’t help that the

  long hallway was lit only by flickering overhead lights, adding to the creepy feeling. Where were all the Instructors and Guards? It was tomb-quiet.

  “Clive?” My eyes devoured every vacant inch of the hallway. “If you’re messing with me, I’m seriously going to break your nose. ”

  Silence was my answer.

  Tiny hairs on my body stood up in warning. Up ahead, the statues of the muses cast harsh shadows over the front lobby. Scanning every nook and cranny for a possible threat, I made my way down the hall. My footsteps echoed madly, almost as if the sound was laughing at me. I came to a sudden halt, mouth dropping open. There was a new addition to the Academy lobby, one that hadn’t been there when I’d been escorted to Marcus’s office.

  Three new marble statues had been erected in the center of the lobby. The angelic, beautiful women clustered close to one another, their arms folded close to their bodies and their wings arched high above their tilted heads.

  Oh, my gods.

  There were furies in the Covenant.

  Entombed for now, their arrival was a sign from some very unhappy gods. I walked around them slowly, as if they’d break free from their shells and rip me from limb to limb at any moment. I imagined they were waiting, sharpening the claws that would appear in their true form.

  Furies were ancient, horrific goddesses once used to capture those who had committed evil but had not been punished. Now they appeared whenever there was a threat to the pures as a whole… or to humankind in general.

  Something was about to go down, or already had.

  Tearing my eyes away from their serene expressions, I pushed open the heavy doors. A hand clamped down on my arm. My gasp of surprise came out as a shriek as I leaned back and brought my leg up to deliver a vicious kick. My eyes flicked up an instant before I made contact.

  “Crap!” I yelped.

  Aiden blocked my knee, brows raised. “Well, your reflexes are definitely getting better. ”

  Heart racing, I closed my eyes. “Oh, my gods, you scared the crap out of me. ”

  “I can tell. ” He dropped my arm, his eyes falling to my pants. “So it’s true. ”

  “So what’s true?” I still couldn’t get control over my heart. For crying out loud, I’d thought he was a daimon about to chomp down on what’s left of my arm.

  “You got into a fight with Lea Samos and broke her nose. ”

  “Oh. ” I straightened, pursing my lips. “She called me a daimon loving—”

  “Words, Alex, just words. ” Aiden tipped his head to the side. “Haven’t we had this conversation before?”

  “You don’t know Lea. You don’t know how she is. ”

  “Does it matter how she is? You can’t fight everyone who says something negative about you. If I approached people the way you do, I’d be fighting all the time. ”

  I rolled my eyes. “People don’t talk bad about you, Aiden. Everyone respects you. You’re perfect. They don’t think you’re a daimon. Anyway, there’s a new happy family entombed in the lobby back there. ”

  He frowned.

  “There’re furies in the lobby—statues of them. ”

  Aiden dragged a hand over his head, sighing. “We were afraid that might happen. ”

  “Why are they here?”

  “The Covenant has been breached, which is something the Council assured would never happen. It was part of their agreement with the gods ages ago, when the first Covenant was established. The gods see this breach as the Council not able to handle the daimon problem. ”

  My stomach flopped. “And what does that mean, exactly?”

  He grimaced. “It means, if the gods believe the pure-bloods have lost control, they will release the furies. It’s not something anyone wants. The furies will go after anything they perceive as a threat—daimon, half-blood, or…”

  “Apollyon?” I whispered. Aiden didn’t respond, which confirmed I was correct. I groaned. “Awesome. Well, hopefully that doesn’t happen. ”

  “Agreed. ”

  I shifted uncomfortably, my brain unable to really process the new threat. “What are you doing over here, anyway?”

  Aiden pinned me with a dark look. “I was going to see Marcus. What are you doing roaming around by yourself?”

  “Clive was supposed to escort me back to the dorm, but that kind of fell through. ”

  His eyes narrowed and then he sighed. Tipping his head toward the dorms, he shoved his hands into the pockets of his dark cargos. “Come on, I’ll walk you back. You shouldn’t be out here alone. ”

  I pushed away from the doors. “Cuz there’s a daimon still on campus? And furies ready to attack?”

  He glanced down at me, frowning. “I know your flippant attitude is an act. It’s probably what made you turn an apple into a deadly weapon. You of all people know how serious this is. ”

  My cheeks flushed at his reprimand. Guilt twisted my stomach into raw knots. I stared down at the markings on the pathway. “I’m sorry. ”

  “I’m not the person you should be apologizing to. ”

  “Well, I’m sure as hell not apologizing to Lea. So you can forget that. ”

  Aiden shook his head. “I know what Lea said upset you. I can even… understand your reaction, but you have to be careful. People
are—”

  “Yeah, I know. People are watching me, blah and blah some more. ” I squinted at the shadows of the patrolling Guards. It was the time between dusk and nightfall, but the lamps hadn’t kicked on yet. The largest buildings—the ones housing the school, training facilities, and dorms—slipped dark shadows over the pathway. “Anyway, do you guys have any idea where the daimon could be?”

  “No. We’ve searched everywhere and are still searching. Right now we’re focused on keeping the students safe. ”

  We stopped at the bottom of the steps outside my dorm. The porch was empty, a sign of everyone’s unease. Girls usually hung out here, hoping to get some guy time in. “Did Melissa see the daimon? Was she able to give some sort of description?”

  Aiden ran a hand over his forehead. “She barely remembers anything from the attack right now. The doctors… well, they think it’s the trauma. A way of protecting herself, I guess. ”

  I looked away, grateful it was dark outside. Why couldn’t I forget what’d happened in Gatlinburg? “It’s probably more than just that. She’s a pure. Where one of us would be trained to pay attention to details, to gain as much information as possible, she wasn’t. She’s just like a… normal girl. And if the attack happened at night, she probably thought it was a nightmare. Waking up to something like that? I couldn’t even imagine. ” I stopped. He was staring at me strangely. “What?”

  “It’s just that you’re thinking along the right lines. ”

  I couldn’t keep the goofy grin off my face. “I’m that awesome. I know. ”

  His lips twitched as if he wished to smile. “So, how much trouble are you in?”

  “Grounded basically, but I guess I got off light. ” I was still smiling like an idiot.

  “Yeah, you did. ” He looked relieved. “Try to stay out of trouble and please don’t sneak around the grounds. I doubt the daimon is still here, but you never know. ”

  Drawing in a deep breath, I folded my arms over my chest. “Aiden?”

  “Hmm?”

  I stared at Aiden’s boots. They were shiny, never scuffed. “It’s starting, isn’t it?”

  “You’re talking about what your mother told you, aren’t you?”

  “She said this is what they would do. And Eric’s still out there. What if he’s behind this and—?”

  “Alex. ” He leaned toward me. We were close, but not as close as we’d been in the gym. “It doesn’t matter if it’s Eric or not. We’ll make sure this doesn’t happen again. You have nothing to worry about. ”

  “I’m not scared. ”

  Aiden reached out, brushing his fingers over mine. It was a brief touch, but my body tingled nonetheless. “I didn’t say you were scared. If anything, you’re too brave. ”

  Our gazes met. “Everything is changing. ”

  “Everything already has. ”

  Later that night, I tossed and turned. My mind wouldn’t shut down. The daimon attack, the apple assault, bitchy furies, the impending Council session, and everything else kept cycling in one giant, endless cluster. Each time I flipped over, I grew more irritated at the prospect of another sleepless night.

 
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