Pure, p.47
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       Pure, p.47

         Part #2 of Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
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Page 47

 

  My brain clicked off at that point. What Daniel had said to me before he’d tagged me filled my mind. It was like Telly thought the same thing. That I wanted to be tagged, that I enjoyed it. I stood. “You’re telling me I’m out of line?”

  “No one gave you leave. ” Telly drew himself up to his full height.

  “Oh, I’m not leaving. ” All eyes were on me. I reached down and pulled my sweater up and over my head. There was a moment when no one seemed to breathe. I met the open mouthed stares; I’d think I didn’t have a camisole on underneath the sweater by the looks on their faces.

  “What in the world are you doing, Alexandria?” demanded Lucian.

  Ignoring him, I stepped away from the chair and held my arms out in front of me. “Does this look like something I wanted to go along with? That I asked for this?”

  Against their will, dozens and dozens of eyes fastened on my arms. Most gasped and shuddered, looking away quickly. Others didn’t. As if they couldn’t tear their eyes from the patchy red skin and its unnatural shine. My gaze flitted across the floor as Telly looked like he was having a heart attack beside me. I saw the proud tilt to Laadan’s chin. A few rows in front of her I saw Dawn’s horrified gaze. Further back, behind the Council members, Marcus paled. It kind of hit me that he’d never seen my scars, only caught glimpses of the ones on my neck. I don’t think he’d known how bad they were. I felt a hot flush crawl up my neck, but the stunned look of pride on Aiden’s face gave me the confidence to face the Ministers.

  I wondered what Seth’s expression looked like. He was probably smiling. He loved it when I was irrational, and this was really irrational.

  Twisting around, I showed them my arms. “They look like they hurt, don’t they? They did. It’s the worst kind of pain you can imagine. ”

  “Alexandria, sit down. We get your point. ” Telly reached for me, but I stepped aside.

  A Guard moved in, picking up my sweater. He held it, his eyes nervously bouncing between Telly and me.

  I glanced at the other Guards, hoping they weren’t planning on body slamming me to the ground. All but one were half-bloods and none of them seemed willing to stop me. Tipping my head at the Ministers, I tried to keep the smile off my face. “So do you really think I went along with my mother? That I wanted this?”

  Diana paled and looked away, shaking her head sadly. The remaining Ministers reacted much like the audience had. Either way, I’m pretty sure I’d gotten my point across.

  A furious shade of red covered Telly’s cheeks. “Are you done, Alexandria?”

  I met his scowl with my own. Leisurely, I went back to my chair and sat down. “I guess so. ”

  Telly ripped the sweater out of the Guard’s hand. I could tell he wanted to throw it at me, but with amazing self-control, he handed it over. I didn’t put it back on. “Now where were we?”

  “We were at the point where you were accusing me of wanting to become a daimon. ”

  Several Ministers inhaled sharply. Telly looked seconds away from exploding. Leaning down so that our faces were inches apart, he spoke low and quick. “You are an unnatural thing, do you understand me? A harbinger of death to our kind and to our gods. The both of you. ”

  I shrunk back, wide-eyed. “Harbinger of death” sounded extreme and crazy.

  “Head Minister,” called Lucian. “We could not hear your question. Would you care to speak again?”

  Telly straightened. “I asked her if there was anything more she would like to add. ”

  My jaw hit the floor.

  He smiled evenly. “There are areas besides the event in Gatlinburg that concern me greatly, Alexandria. Your behavior before you left the Covenant and the fighting you have taken part in upon your return have served you a great disadvantage, I’m afraid. And how is it that the night the Covenant was breached in North Carolina, you were outside your dorm after the curfew implemented for half-bloods?”

  I so knew where this was going, so I cut to the chase. “I didn’t let the daimons in, if that is what you’re suggesting. ”

  Telly’s smile turned sour. “So it appears. Then there is your behavior since you arrived here. You accused a pure-blood of using a compulsion against you, did you not?”

  “She did what?” screeched the old female Minister. “To accuse a pure-blood of such an act is shocking. Was there any proof, Minister Telly?”

  “My Guards could not find anything to support the claim. ” Telly paused dramatically. “And then you attacked a Master who was disciplining a servant. ”

  Several Ministers lost it then. Telly preened as they demanded to know exactly what occurred. I pictured rushing across the dais and kicking Telly in the groin over and over again.

  When it calmed down a bit, Telly addressed the Council. His voice rang loud through the coliseum. “I fear that we have a greater concern than daimons pulling together and attacking us in droves. What you see sitting before us may look like an ordinary half-blood, but we all know that is not the case. In a matter of a few months, she will become the second Apollyon. If she is even half as uncontrollable as she is now, what do you think will occur when she Awakens?”

  My heart stuttered, missing a beat.

  “As the Head Minister, it pains me deeply to suggest this, but I fear we have no other choice. We must protect the future of our true Masters. I petition that we remove Alexandria Andros from the Covenant and place her under the supervision of the Masters. ”

  I jerked forward blindly. I couldn’t even move as the rush of fear coated my mouth and churned my stomach into raw knots. This was what Telly wanted—the whole reason for me being here. It had nothing to do with what the daimons planned.

  From above, I felt a tempest building. It drifted over my skin, raising the tiny hairs on my body. Seth was a storm about to explode.

  “Minister Telly, my stepdaughter has committed no crime that warrants servitude,” Lucian objected. “She has to be found guilty before you can expel her from the Covenant and place her into servitude. ”

  “As the Head Minister—”

  “You have a lot of power as the Head Minister. You can expel her from the Covenant, but you cannot sentence her to servitude without due cause or by vote of the Council,” Lucian said. “Those are the rules. ”

  I looked up, my eyes meeting Aiden’s. This was one of those rare moments in my life that I knew exactly what Aiden was thinking.

  I twisted around in the chair. Telly glared at Lucian, but I saw that Lucian was right. Telly could expel me, but he couldn’t send me into servitude on a whim. He would need the Council to do so, and I had a feeling if the Council agreed it would be the last thing they ever did.

  “Then I call for a vote. ” Telly’s voice was like ice.

  I calculated the distance from where I sat and the door to my right. My muscles tensed as I let go of the chair and twisted sideways. My sweater fell from my lap. I didn’t want to hurt the half-blood Guards, but I was going to get past them.

  Then what?

  Run like hell.

  “How do you vote?” asked Telly.

  The first “yes” sent a shiver through me; the second caused the air to ripple with electricity. The audience shifted as the third “yes” skyrocketed the tension. I wanted to look at Aiden one last time, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the door. It would be my only chance.

  Three of the Ministers said “no,” and Telly stalked toward the end of the dais. The next said “yes,” and my stomach dropped. I wanted to cry out, but fear clamped my throat shut. Facing down daimons was one thing, but a lifetime of servitude was my worst fear.

  “Head Minister Elders, you are the last vote. ” I could hear the smile in Telly’s voice.

  Silence filled the room, holding the pures transfixed and stretching my nerves into taut lines. This was it… This was it… I closed my eyes, drawing in a deep breath.

  “She has proven to be… a problem,” Diana said, her voice as
clear as Telly’s. “There are many areas which concern me greatly, but I have to vote ‘no. ’ She has to break the Breed Order to be placed in servitude, and she has not, Minister Telly. Everything that has been provided has been circumstantial. ”

  Sagging against the chair, the air expelled from my lungs. Violent energy pulled back, slithering from my skin as it made its way back to its host.

  Telly didn’t take that well, but there was nothing he could do. He returned to my side, glaring. I wanted nothing more than to karate chop him in the neck.

  “Then Miss Andros, you shall continue as you are, for now. ” Telly smiled tightly. “One more mistake, Alexandria, one more time and that will be it. You will be placed into servitude. ”

  CHAPTER 23

  AFTER COUNCIL, MARCUS ESCORTED ME TO MY ROOM WITH explicit instructions. “Do not leave this room unless someone is with you. ”

  Had he seen this room? Spending the rest of however long it took for Seth to show up or Laadan to take pity on me felt like punishment. I hadn’t done anything wrong. It wasn’t my fault Telly was a lunatic, hell-bent on sending me into servitude.

  But I spent the rest of the day and the better part of the evening in my room, picturing the look on Telly’s face after I Awakened and lit him up with enough Apollyon juice to obliterate him into nothing. And all those pures who’d looked at my scars with such disgust? I’d give them something to freak out about. Okay. Maybe I was overreacting a tad bit. But Telly’s antagonistic attitude chafed at me. I needed to get out, needed to do something.

  What I really needed was to hit something.

  Just when I was about to go crazy, there was a soft knock on my door. Rushing toward it, I threw it open. Laadan stood in the doorway, two crystal glasses in her hands. Her cheeks were flushed, eyes bright.

  Please be here to let me out of this room.

  Her eyes weren’t really focused on me as she smiled. “I figured you could stretch your legs. ” She stepped back. “Coming?”

  Thank you, gods. I followed her graceful form down the hall and the steps. Downstairs, the pures were in full celebratory mode. From the sounds coming out of the ballroom and reception hall, they sounded trashed already. No one would be paying attention to me. They were too busy partying it up. Their blasé attitude toward everything was infuriating and frustrating.

  “I thought you could use the company,” she said slowly, speaking for the first time since she’d appeared outside my door.

  We stopped outside the crowded reception hall. Laadan stood beneath a painting of the Goddess Hera. The resemblance between the two was striking. She offered me a glass of the luminous red liquid. “Here, you deserve this after the day you had. ”

  The glass felt warm in my hand. “What is it?”

  She smiled as her gaze drifted away. “It’s something special for a special girl. You’ll love it. ”

  “Are you buzzing?” I giggled.

  Laadan sighed dreamily. “It’s a beautiful night, Alex. How is your drink?”

  I lifted the glass and took a cautious sniff. It smelled magnificent—like wild orchids, and a hint of honey and sesame. Looking up, I saw Laadan float into the entrance of the reception hall. I trailed behind her, my gaze gliding across the crowd as I brought the glass to my lips. I saw Marcus and Diana standing super close. Once again, the smile on Marcus’s face confused me. He never smiled like that, especially not when I was around.

 
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