Pure, p.46
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       Pure, p.46

         Part #2 of Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
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Page 46

 

  Telly stiffened. “That is absurd, Alexandria. ”

  “It’s what she said. ”

  “Really?” His brows rose. “I thought she never told you why she pulled you from the Covenant?”

  Dammit. I could imagine the look on Aiden’s and Marcus’s faces. “She never told me why before she was. . . before she changed. ”

  “But she told you after she chose to become a daimon?” asked a male Minister.

  “My mother didn’t choose to become a daimon!” I gripped the arms of the chair again, drawing in several deep breaths. “She was forced to become one. And yes, she told me that I wouldn’t have lived if I’d stayed at the Covenant. ”

  “What else did she tell you about why she left?” asked Telly.

  “That was it. ”

  “Why did you never report her during the three years you were missing?”

  “She was my mom. I was afraid she would be punished. ”

  “Rightfully so,” said the elder Minister. “What she did was unforgiveable. From the moment she was told of your true nature, it was her duty to tell the Council. ”

  “That is true, Minister Mola. ” Telly paused, placing a hand on the back of my chair. “How is that you did not know your mother had turned?”

  Air couldn’t fill my lungs quick enough. “I found her and I thought she was dead. I killed the daimon that… was hurting her. ”

  “Then what happened?” Telly asked so softly I felt sure no one else could hear him.

  My throat burned. “There was another daimon, and I… I ran. ”

  “You ran?” repeated Telly, loud enough for the entire Council to hear.

  “I thought she was dead. ” I swallowed, my gaze falling to the floor. “I was trying to get back to the Covenant. ”

  “So it took the perceived death of your mother for you to remember your duty to the Covenant?” Telly didn’t wait for me to answer, which was a good thing. I had no answer for that. “You were found in Atlanta? With four daimons, is that not correct?”

  What did any of this have to do with what’d happened in Gatlin-burg? “They were following me. It wasn’t like I was hanging out with them. ”

  “Your tone is one of disrespect,” snapped the elder Minister. “It would do you well to remember your position, half-blood. ”

  I bit down on my lip until I tasted blood.

  Telly drifted to the right of me. “Where you aware of your mother’s whereabouts after you returned to the Covenant, Alexandria?”

  A fine trickle of sweat traced down my spine. “No. ”

  “But you left the Covenant in August to find her, did you not? After she took part in the Lake Lure massacre? And you did find her?” Telly’s full lips twisted cruelly.

  Telly had tripped me up again. I closed my eyes and inhaled. “I didn’t know where she was. I didn’t even know she was alive until Lucian told me. ”

  “Ah, yes. ” He glanced behind me at Lucian. “What did you do once you found out she was alive?”

  Punched and kissed a pure-blood, but I doubted he wanted to know that. Actually, he’d love to know that; he’d use it to send me to the Masters within the hour. “Nothing. ”

  Telly clucked his tongue. “But—”

  Anger pulsed through me, pounding in my temples. “What do these questions have to do with what my mother told me the daimons were planning? They want to overtake the Council. Turn halfs and send them back to the Covenants to kill. Isn’t that more important?”

  Surprisingly, Telly handled my temporary loss of sanity well. “It has everything to do with it, Alexandria. What provoked you to leave the Covenant in search for your mother?”

  The need to lie was almost too great. “When I realized she’d killed at Lake Lure, I left. I figured she’d find me and she did. I felt like… she was my responsibility, my problem. ”

  “Interesting. ” Telly roamed to the edge of the dais. Looking out over the audience he spoke louder. “Is it true you did not fight Rachelle when you saw her in Bald Head?”

  I glared at the back of Telly’s head. “Yes. ”

  He cocked his head to the side. “Why?”

  “I froze. She was my mother. ”

  “Half-bloods see through the elemental magic. We cannot. How could you see past the monster she’d become?” He pivoted around, smiling at me. “This is what we do not understand, Alexandria. You left Florida, claiming that you believed she was dead. You came back to the Covenant, and your mother followed you, leaving behind a trail of slaughtered pure-bloods and Guards. ”

  “What? There was only the attack at Lake Lure. She didn’t—”

  “You’ve been sadly misled. ” His smile grew wider, truer. “She was responsible for over twenty attacks across the southeastern coast. We were able to track her progress right to the doorsteps of the North Carolina Covenant. She sent a daimon half-blood back to the Covenant. Was that to draw you out?”

  Twenty attacks? No one had told me that. Not Aiden, Marcus, nor even Seth. They had to have known. Why wouldn’t they’ve told me that?

  “Alexandria?”

  I lifted my eyes. “Yes… I guess she wanted to draw me out. ”

  “It worked. You left the day after Kain Poros had returned and murdered several pure-bloods. ” Telly strode across the dais. “Tell me Alexandria, a half-blood named Caleb Nicolo was also with you in Gatlinburg?”

  My chest clenched. “Yes. ”

  Telly nodded. “Did he try to stop you in Bald Head?”

  “Yes. ”

  “Is this the same half-blood who died a few weeks ago?” asked a female Minister. “In a daimon attack while he was with this one?”

  “I believe so,” Telly answered.

  “How convenient,” the Minister murmured, but it sounded like he had screamed those words. “While you were in Gatlinburg with Rachelle, what did she tell you the daimons planned to do?”

  Somewhat sick to my stomach, I told the Council what Mom had planned. Remembering my instructions, I didn’t tell them it was actually Eric who elaborated on the whole thing. Nothing crossed Telly’s face as he watched me. Honestly, I don’t even think he cared about what I was saying.

  “They plan to attack the Council and bring us down?” The old Minister snorted. “This is ridiculous. All of this. ”

  Telly chuckled then. “It is to think that a bunch of addicts could form a cohesive plan. ”

  “Addicts? Yes, they’re addicted to aether, but they are the most dangerous kind of addict,” said Minister Diana Elders, speaking for the first time. “We cannot dismiss what they are capable of. Knowing they can turn half-bloods changes things. And obviously the gods are questioning our ability to rein the daimons back in. ”

  This started a battle of wills for the next several minutes. A few Ministers didn’t like the idea of ignoring the daimons’ plans, while the others simply didn’t take the threat seriously. Suggestions were thrown around, like increasing the number of Sentinels and sending them out to target large infestations of daimons, but the majority of Ministers didn’t see any reason to do so. The talks kept coming back to me.

  My stomach filled with dread as understanding dawned. Telly and much of the Council outright dismissed the daimons’ plans. Suddenly I knew what my mother had told me was not the whole reason why I’d been ordered to attend this session. Marcus had been sadly misled. Or maybe he’d known all along. Distracted by the other Ministers, I was able to look out over the crowd without Telly bitching me out.

  Aiden whispered to Marcus, his hands tight and white-knuckled on the back of the bench in front of him. I looked up at the balcony. I could only imagine what Seth thought of all of this.

  Telly finally returned his attention to me. “Rachelle planned on turning you into a daimon?”

  I wanted to say no shit, but I decided against it. “Yes. ”

  Telly turned his hawkish nose into the air. “Why?”

  I rubbed my hand over my forehead.
“She wanted me to become the Apollyon as a daimon. She thought she’d be able to control me then. ”

  “So she wanted to use you?” asked Telly. “To do what?”

  “She wanted to make sure I didn’t come after her, I guess. ”

  “What would you do for her?”

  I met Telly’s stare. Somehow, I think he already knew this part. “She

  wanted me to take out the other Apollyon… and she wanted me to help the daimons with their plans. ”

  “Oh yes, their plans to take out the Council and enslave the pure-bloods?” Telly shook his head, smiling. “How many times were you tagged, Alexandria?”

  My entire body tensed. “I don’t know. A lot. ”

  He appeared to consider this. “Enough to be turned, you think?”

  Nightmares of those hours locked away with Daniel and Eric haunted me still. I remember that last tag—the one I’d felt sure would finally darken my soul, shatter it into nothing. One more tag and I would’ve crossed over to the dark side. A fine sheen of cold sweat broke out across my forehead.

  “Alexandria?”

  I blinked, bringing his face back into focus. “Almost enough. ”

  “Did you try to stop them? Trained or not, you had already killed two daimons by then. ”

  Disbelief coated the back of my throat.

  “Tagging is very painful,” Telly continued, stopping beside me for what felt like the hundredth time. His face seemed fuller when he stood close. “How could you allow that to happen repeatedly? It seems that a half-blood would do everything and anything to prevent from being tagged. ”

  “I couldn’t fight them. ”

  His dark brows rose in incredulity. “You couldn’t or wouldn’t?”

  I closed my eyes, struggling with patience. “I promised her I wouldn’t if she didn’t kill Caleb. I had no other choice. ”

  “There are always choices, Alexandria. ” He paused, disgust curling his lip as he stared down at me. “To allow something so revolting seems suspicious. Perhaps you wanted to be turned. ”

  “Head Minister,” Lucian spoke up then. “I understand that some of these questions are necessary, but Alexandria did not submit to those atrocities willingly. To even suggest something like that seems unnatural and cruel. ”

  “Is that so?” Telly sneered at me.

  “Wait a second,” I said, his words finally sinking in. “Are you suggesting that I wanted to be turned into something that evil? That I asked for it?”

  Telly raised his hands haughtily. “How do you think we’d interpret it?”

  I looked at the audience then, briefly catching a pained look on Marcus’s face. “Do you know that sounds like a rapist’s motto? She wore a short skirt, therefore she wanted it?”

  Several gasps could be heard from the audience. It seemed the word “rapist” was unseemly. The smug look slowly slipped from Telly’s face. “Alexandria, you are out of line. ”

 
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