Pure, p.40
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       Pure, p.40

         Part #2 of Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
 
Page 40

 

  “That half-blood is extreme,” Telly responded. “Neither of you have any control over her. She’s threatening Masters now? What will she do as an Apollyon? Massacre them in their sleep?”

  I laughed. Everyone looked at me. “I’m sorry, but this is ridiculous. All I did was stop him from hitting a girl. That’s it! I didn’t hit him, but he did hit me. ” I pointed at my jaw. “And I wouldn’t massacre people in their sleep. ”

  Telly turned, facing me fully. “You, little girl, have shown no regard for the law or for rules from the moment you could breathe. Oh yes, I’ve seen your files. ”

  Had everyone seen my files? Gah. I felt exposed.

  “You are uncontrollable and a constant problem for the Council,” Telly continued, turning back to Lucian. “She belongs here, where the Council can control her, since neither of you have been able to ingrain a sense of respect in the girl. ”

  Fear stopped me dead in my tracks. “What?”

  “That will not happen,” Seth said so low that I wasn’t sure anyone else heard him. But then everyone in the room froze.

  “Are you threatening me, Apollyon? Threatening the Council?” Telly demanded. I’d swear he sounded happy about this, but that would be crazy, because Seth would kill him.

  Seth would wipe the ground with Telly’s face.

  I tore my gaze from the Head Minister and saw the marks of the Apollyon swirling across Seth’s face. And then I realized Aiden had moved, standing on the other side of me. I thanked the gods that everyone was focused on Seth, fearing he was about to lose it. The look on Aiden’s face said he was about to rip through everyone in this room.

  My heart sank as I looked between the two guys. This wasn’t going to end well at all. I stood, my knees shaking. “I’m sorry. ”

  “Don’t apologize. You did nothing wrong,” Seth hissed.

  “But I did. I shouldn’t have interfered. ” I met Telly’s eyes and swallowed my pride at the same time. “I forgot… I forgot my place. ”

  Seth whirled on me so quickly I thought he might actually zap me. I met his furious stare, willing him to just sit down and shut up.

  “Minister, as you can see, Alexandria sees her error. ” Lucian moved in front of Seth, his hands clasped together. “She is strong-willed, stubborn even, but she broke no law today. As you know, if she had attacked the Master, I doubt he’d be well enough to spread such atrocious exaggerations. ”

  “She thinks without acting sometimes,” Marcus joined in. “She is reckless, but she never has ill intentions. As for controlling her, I can promise you that she won’t even speak out of turn for her stay here. ”

  I opened my mouth, but shut it.

  Telly drew another breath before turning to Lucian. “This kind of behavior she has repeatedly displayed is concerning not only to me, but the Council. But that is something you are already aware of, Lucian. ” He paused, scanning the room. His gaze, full of condemnation, fell on me. “I will not forget this. ” With that, he turned and stalked from the room. The Guards followed him, stiff and silent.

  I collapsed on the couch, exhausted. I’d barely escaped the noose with that one. I felt Seth sit back down, but I didn’t look at him.

  “Alexandria, what have I told you time and time again?” asked Marcus.

  “Enough,” Lucian said. “It is in the past now. It is done. ”

  “It just happened,” Marcus retorted, “and this one here threatened the Master with akasha, for crying out loud! He is lucky that the Master didn’t report him. ”

  “What did you expect?” Lucian countered wearily. “He will defend what is his. ”

  I sent my stepfather a death glare. “I am not his. Would you please stop referring to me as a possession instead of a person?”

  Lucian smiled. “Either way, Seth cannot be blamed for defending her. Or would you rather he’d allowed the Master to continue to beat Alexandria?”

  “That is preposterous, Lucian!” Marcus’s hands balled into fists.

  They went back and forth for a little while. Eventually my head ached as badly as my jaw did. On the positive side, Seth began to relax and no longer looked like he wanted to wipe out an entire village of pures. Once I’d gathered I wasn’t in that much trouble, I slipped out the double doors and breathed in the brisk air.

  I didn’t roam off too far, staying just around the corner from the sitting room. I kept thinking about what the Master had said. My fate had already been sealed? Had the Master known something or had he just been taunting Seth?

  “Alex?”

  I turned to the sound of Aiden’s voice. His eyes were a flinty silver. “Hey,” I murmured. “I know I messed up again and—”

  “I’m not here to yell at you, Alex. I just wanted to make sure you are okay. ”

  “Oh. Sorry. I’m just used to everyone yelling at me. ”

  He tipped his head to the side, eyes a dark gray. “I understand why you did what you did. Honestly, I wouldn’t have expected you to do anything differently. ”

  “Really?” I looked around skeptically. “Are you on drugs?”

  Aiden smiled, but then his eyes flickered to my jaw. The smile faded. “Does it hurt?”

  “No,” I lied.

  He looked like he knew better. Before I knew what he was doing, he reached out and brushed his fingers around the edge of the bruise. “It’s swelling. Have you put ice on it?”

  I had actually, but I’d grown bored holding the ice bag Seth had rifled together. Staring at Aiden now, though? I completely forgot what he’d just asked me. His fingers were still against my cheek and that was the only thing in this world that mattered.

  “You still show so much strength. ” A small smile appeared on his lips. Then he dropped his hand, the heady connection brief. “No other half-blood would have done what you did. ”

  “I don’t know why you keep saying that. ” I leaned against the smooth wall as if it could somehow ground me back into reality.

  “It’s the truth, Alex. And I’m not even talking about what you did for the half-blood. It’s what you just did in there. I know damn well what it took for you to apologize and say what you did. That took strength. ”

  “It wasn’t strength. I was scared out of my mind, actually. Maybe a little irrational, you know?”

  Aiden glanced away, toward the labyrinth. From here, all I could see were the tips of the vine-covered statues. “I was wrong. ”

  My breath caught in my throat. “Wrong about what?”

  He turned back to me, eyes silvery. “About a lot of things, but I always thought your irrational nature was a flaw. It’s not. It’s what makes you so strong. ”

  I stared at him, my heart doing all kinds of crazy things in my chest. “Thank… you. ”

  “Don’t thank—”

  “I know. ” I smiled even though it made my jaw hurt. “Don’t thank you for that, but I did. ”

  Aiden nodded. “I better get back in there. Don’t wander off too far, okay?”

  I nodded and watched him turn around. He got to the French doors and stopped. Turning around, the expression on his face was unreadable, but his words were precise.

  “Part of me wishes Seth had killed that Master for touching you. ”

  Dinner was served early on the night of the ball and the mad bustle of servants drove me up to my room. My nerves were stretched tight from my impending Court session, my run-in with a Master’s fist, Seth’s psycho akasha killing power, and Aiden’s parting words.

  Part of me wishes Seth had killed that Master for touching you.

  Two days later and I still couldn’t forget what he’d said.

  That had been a serious statement, but what could it mean? Did it matter? No, I told myself. Even if Aiden loved me as much as I loved cake, it didn’t matter. There was no future there, only death and despair.

  A soft knock on the door pulled me out of my thoughts. Since Seth never knocked, I knew it couldn’t be him. I scoo
ted off the bed and went to the door.

  Laadan stood in the hallway, dressed in a beautiful deep green dress that clung to her hips before billowing out around her in soft, wispy material. Her hair was done up in an intricate twist, adorned by several fresh rose blossoms.

  I glanced down at my sweats and shirt. Gods, I never felt more boring and ugly in my entire life. And here I thought Lea was the only one who could evoke such feelings.

  Laadan smiled faintly. “If you’re not busy, which I can tell you’re not, I want to show you something. ”

  I glanced back at my bed and shrugged. It wasn’t like I had anything to do. We passed several servants on the way to her room on the floor above, and Laadan smiled at each of them graciously.

  Once inside her room, she circled one arm around my shoulders and steered me to an overstuffed chair by her closet. I sat down and pulled my legs up to my chest. “You… wanted to show me your closet door?”

  Laadan’s laugh was throaty and infectious. I found myself smiling at her. “You’re so much like your mother. ” She shook her head as she leaned against the doors. “The things you say—it’s like hearing Rachelle speak. ”

  My smile faded a bit and I wrapped my arms around my knees. “My mom never said half of the stupid stuff that comes out of my mouth. ”

  “You’d be surprised. ” She paused as a soulful look crept across her features. “Do you know what your mother loved most about the Council sessions?”

  “No. ”

  Laadan spun around and threw open her closet doors. She stepped back and spread her arms in a sweeping gesture. “All the dancing and beautiful dresses. ”

  Curious, I leaned forward to get a look inside the closet and nearly fell out of the chair. “Wow. That’s a lot of clothes. ”

  She gave a saucy grin over her shoulder. “A girl can never have too many clothes. Come on. Take a look. ”

  I pulled myself from the chair. The gowns caught my eye. Like being under a compulsion that’d turned me into a girlie girl in under two seconds flat, I stepped forward and ran a hand over the soft material.

  “You like them?” She tugged on a deep purple dress in crushed velvet.

  My fingers lingered on a red silk dress. I couldn’t see the cut of it, but the color was divine. “These are the kinds of dresses you’d give up your firstborn child for. ”

  She laughed, dropping the purple dress and gently unhooking the red one. She held it up between us. “Why are you so dead set against going to the ball?”

  I shrugged, eyeing the sleeveless dress. It had scalloped edging around the bodice, a high waist, and a skirt cut to cling to the legs. “I don’t even know why I’d be invited since halfs aren’t. ”

  “But you are different. ” She hung the dress on the closet door and smoothed out the silk. “Being an Apollyon sets you apart from the rest of your kind, Alex. Once you Awaken, I’ve been told that both you and Seth will even be able to attend Council sessions. ”

 
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