Pure, p.5
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       Pure, p.5

         Part #2 of Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
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Page 5

 

  The trouble sleeping had started about a week after returning from Gatlinburg. I’d fall asleep for an hour or so before a nightmare crept into my dreams. Mom was usually in those nightmares. Sometimes I relived fighting her in the woods; sometimes I didn’t kill her, and other times it was just me and Daniel, the daimon with the too-friendly hands.

  Then there were the dreams where I wanted to be turned into a daimon.

  I’d flipped onto my stomach and shoved my face into the pillow when I felt a strange tingling in the pit of my stomach—like the butterflies right before a first kiss, only much, much stronger.

  I pushed up and squinted at the clock. Past one in the morning, and I felt wide awake. And hot—really hot. Thinking the temperature controls may’ve gone all wacky again, I got up and opened the window by the bed. Cool, damp air rolled in from the ocean, providing some relief. I didn’t feel like I’d crawl out of my skin at any moment, but I still burned—like all over. I ran my hands over my face, aching in a way that reminded me of the time I’d spent with Aiden. Not our training sessions, oh no—but the night before I’d found Kain, the night I’d lain naked in Aiden’s bed.

  But I remembered more than the physical stuff. Words I’d never ever forget in a trillion years—you got inside me, became a part of me. No one had ever said anything like that to me—no one.

  I glanced at the clock again, sighing. Fifteen minutes went by, then twenty minutes, then half an hour. Finally, I stopped paying attention to the time. My heart pounded until I squeezed my eyes shut. I could almost see Aiden now, feel the soft

  brush of fingertips and hear those words again. Then, without any warning, the itchy feeling vanished. The cool air coming in from the window suddenly felt brutal.

  “What the hell?” I flopped onto my back. “Hot flashes? Really?”

  It was a long, long time before I fell asleep.

  CHAPTER 3

  EVERYTHING DID CHANGE THE NEXT DAY.

  Olivia and I shared a trig textbook in class, trying to figure out the difference between a sine and cosine. Considering we’d be spending the bulk of our adult lives hunting and killing daimons, learning trigonometry seemed pretty pointless, so we really didn’t apply ourselves.

  I drew a pair of humongous boobs on the free space above the formula and labeled them “Olivia. ” She immediately scratched her name out and scribbled “Alex. ”

  I snorted, looking up just in time to see Mrs. Kateris, a pure-blood with enough degrees to be teaching at Yale, twist around and frown at us.

  “Great,” Olivia muttered from behind her hand. “If she picks up this textbook and asks what we’re doing again, I’m going to die. Seriously. ”

  I yawned loudly. “Whatever. ”

  Mrs. Kateris placed the chalk down and clapped her hands. “Miss Andros and Miss Panagopoulos. ” She paused long enough for the entire front of the class to twist around in their seats and look at us. “Would you like to share—?”

  “I like how she says your last name,” I murmured to Olivia at the exact moment our classroom door swung open and a small fleet of Guards entered the room.

  “What the hell?” Olivia sat up straighter.

  Mrs. Kateris stepped back, smoothing her hands over the front of her skirt.

  The Guards bowed in her direction, the custom when addressing pures of status, which in our world was pretty much every pure. “We apologize for interrupting your class, Mrs. Kateris,” said the first Guard. I almost didn’t recognize him. He was the Guard from the bridge, the one who’d followed me around the island—Crede Linard. Well, he must’ve been promoted.

  Mrs. Kateris gave him an uneasy smiled. “No need to apologize. How can we help you?”

  “Dean Andros wishes the presence of the half-bloods. We are here to escort them. ”

  The halfs in the class glanced around the room, confusion and wariness on our faces. Had there been another attack?

  Stepping back, Mrs. Kateris clasped her hands. Guard Linard faced the class, expression impressively blank. “Please follow us. ”

  Olivia snapped the textbook closed as her face lost its color. “What’s going on?”

  I grabbed my backpack off the floor, thinking of the furies. Everyone had been talking about them this morning, thinking they looked pretty cool. No one seemed to get what a big deal they were. “I don’t know. ”

  Several halfs started asking questions as we filed out of the class-room, but Guard Linard frowned at them. “No talking. ”

  The same thing was happening in the other classes. Doors opened as Guards led halfs in a single file down the corridor. Upstairs, the sound of herded footsteps followed our group. I glanced behind us, spotting Caleb and Luke.

  Turning back around, I drew in a shallow breath. This was something serious, and we all recognized it. Tension rippled through the air, itching at our skin as we continued to the first floor. Getting down the stairwell took a ridiculous amount of time. Once again, I felt the desire to mention the fact we needed elevators.

  We ended up being ushered through the lobby of the school, past the administrative offices, then into the middle of the Covenant—to the indoor coliseum. It was the only place big enough to hold all of us.

  Once inside the room we students referred to simply as the “gymnasium,” we were ordered to take our seats and to stay with our classes. Olivia and I ended up in the third row. Caleb and Luke were at least in the eleventh, which sucked. I’d rather be sitting near Caleb when they dropped whatever bomb they were about to drop on us, and I knew Olivia felt that way, too.

  I bounced my knee, scowling. The seats in here had been made out of some kind of sandstone, and they were the most uncomfortable things to sit on.

  Olivia squirmed. “Do you—”

  From the gymnasium floor below us, Guard Linard whipped around. “No talking. ”

  Olivia’s brows flew up, and I wondered if Linard would stroke out if I asked who was guarding the bridge. I exhaled loudly as I scanned the sea of half-bloods in green training clothes. A bunch of blue-uniformed Guards stood watch. But I didn’t see many people in the black uniforms of the Sentinels, the hunters of daimons.

  Then my gaze settled on a tall blond leaning against the wall, and I recognized the well-muscled arms and narrow hips. He had one long leg bent at the knee, his booted foot planted on a mosaic of a seminude Zeus.

  Seth.

  His hair was pulled back in a leather tie, but like always, shorter strands slipped free and curled around his chin. He had this golden complexion uniquely his own and a face perfectly pieced together, with those odd amber eyes holding an exotic curve. Sometimes I wondered if the gods had specially crafted those cheekbones and smug-looking lips, if they’d put the faint cleft in his chin and carved his jaw out of granite. No one else quite looked like him.

  He was, after all, the First Apollyon of our generation. According to my stepfather, Seth and I were fated to be together in some weird, energy transfer way. According to me, Seth was a pain in my—

  Seth inclined his head in my direction and winked. I leaned back and focused on the Guards below. Seth and I weren’t getting along at the moment. In our last training session, he’d “accidentally” hit me with a blast of pure energy and I’d “accidentally” thrown a rock at his head.

  Perhaps I did have a problem with throwing things.

  After what seemed like forever, Marcus entered the gymnasium, and the entire student assembly shifted forward. Around two hundred of us sat together, ranging from seven to eighteen years old. The wee ones sat on the floor, knee to knee. They probably had no clue what was going on.

  Marcus wasn’t alone. Council Guards dressed in all white followed behind him. The Council resembled the Olympian Court, eight pures and two Ministers—one male and one female. Only the Covenant locations held a Council—here in North Carolina, upstate New York, South Dakota, and the wilds of Tennessee. The Council acted as our ruling government, estab
lishing laws and carrying out punishments. The Ministers were the only ones who communicated with the gods, but if what Lucian had said during the summer was true, the gods hadn’t spoken to the Ministers in ages.

  This was a lot of pomp for just one Minister. It wasn’t like the entire Council was swarming the gymnasium—just Lucian and his awesome hair. Jet black, it flowed to his waist, pin straight. Complimenting his hair was the only really good thing I could say about my stepfather. Well, that and he sent me lots of money.

  The Guards bowed, straightening slowly. I noted that Seth hadn’t moved an inch. Lucian stepped forward, clasping his hands together. He wore an all white, tunic-type dress. I thought he looked ridiculous.

  “A daimon attack occurred within the grounds of the Covenant yesterday. ” Lucian’s clear voice rang through the silent room. “Such an attack is unprecedented and must be dealt with swiftly. At this time, we believe there will be no further… breaches of security. ”

  Yeah, he must’ve seen the furies. I bet he hoped there wouldn’t be any more breaches.

  “But,” he continued, “we must move forward and focus on prevention. ”

  Like a violent tide rolling in from the ocean, apprehension swept through us. I held my breath.

  “The Council and the Covenant have agreed that measures must be taken to ensure another attack does not occur. ”

  Marcus stepped forward then, smiling in a way that sent shivers down my arms. “Several things are going to happen over the course of the next week. New rules are being put into place and these rules will be unconditional and effective immediately. ”

  And here it starts, I thought angrily. One half-blood turned bad, so all half-bloods will be punished. I recognized the severity of the issue, but it didn’t make it any easier to swallow.

  Marcus scanned the crowd, meeting the gazes of the halfs. His steady eyes held mine a moment, then glided past. “A curfew of seven p. m. will begin tonight for all half-bloods—” Gasps could be heard echoing through the room. My jaw hit the floor. “—unless the half-blood is accompanied by a Guard and is participating in an activity related to schoolwork. There will be no other exceptions. At no time will half-bloods be allowed into the rooms of pure-bloods unless accompanied by an Instructor or Guard. No half-blood will be able to leave the Covenant-controlled island without permission, and then must be accompanied by a Guard or Sentinel. ”

  “Oh, my gods,” Olivia murmured, rubbing the palms of her hands over her thighs. “Can they do this?”

  I didn’t respond. The pures could do whatever they wanted. I had a feeling it was about to get a lot worse.

  “Sentinels will be posted outside the dorms, along with the Covenant Guards. In addition to these measures, all half-bloods will be required to submit to a physical exam. These—” His cut a strong look toward the upper level, where several muffled curses sounded. “—these exams will be mandatory. After every half-blood has been examined, then the exams will continue based on need. ”

  Ice rushed through my veins, settling in the pit of my stomach. Of course there would be physical exams. How else could they tell if any halfs had been turned? Their bodies, much like mine, would show the evidence of multiple daimon tags. It was the only sign of a half being turned.

 
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