Pure, p.54
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       Pure, p.54

         Part #2 of Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
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Page 54


  “I don’t know. ” Leon shook his head. “But I got a bad feeling about this. ”

  I turned back to the glass, squinting. Further off, near the tree line, it looked like something moved—several things, actually. Guards and Sentinels, I thought.

  Marcus joined our little group. “Telly is keeping all the pures in the ballroom as a precaution. ” He paused, glancing down at me with a little frown as if he’d forgotten about me.

  “Hello. ” I wiggled my weaponless fingers.

  Marcus frowned. “Alex, you’re coming with me. ”

  I scowled. “I’m not hiding in a room with a bunch of freaked-out pures. ”

  Aiden turned to me, eyes thundercloud gray. “Don’t be ridiculous. ”

  I glared right back at him. “Can I be irrational instead?”

  Aiden looked like he wanted to shake me… or worse.

  “Alex, do not argue with us,” Marcus snapped. “You are going in that room. ”

  My temper snapped. “I can fight if one of you would give me one of those neat blades. ”

  Seth grabbed my arm. “All right, little Apollyon—who is not completely trained and is on the verge of becoming annoying—go with your uncle. ”

  Pulling my arm free, I whirled on Seth. “I can—”

  The lights outside shuddered off, casting the grounds in utter darkness. Temporarily forgotten, I turned back to the glass. Squinting to see through the reflection of the lighted interior, I saw the shadows of the Guards forming a line. But something looked off about the formation. It moved forward instead of away from the house.

  “Uh, guys…” I started to back up.

  Leon stepped forward. “Miss Andros, get into that room. Now. ”

  Someone grabbed my arm, pulling me backward. I glanced up, expecting Seth but finding Aiden. His eyes were trained on the glass wall. “Alex, for once in your life—”

  A loud crack drew our attention back to the glass. My mouth dropped open. Glass splintered and fissured under the impact of a body.

  I flinched back. “Holy crap!”

  The glass exploded, shooting large shards through the air as several bodies thudded onto the marble floor. The color of their uniforms made them unmistakable, although blood stained their white shirts and pants. The Council Guards hadn’t even drawn their weapons. All of their throats had been ripped open, revealing pink and jelly-like tissue. Some still twitched before their eyes glossed over.

  Aiden pushed me toward Marcus. “Go!”

  With a tight grip on my arm, Marcus rushed across the room as Sentinels entered, drawing weapons—weapons? I broke free and went in the opposite direction.

  “Alexandria! No!” shouted Marcus.

  “Give me a second!” I skidded over to one of the bodies, trying not to look too closely at it. Wincing, I unhooked a sickle and a dagger. There was no way I was going to be weaponless in a daimon siege.

  A shrill, heart-stopping cry broke through all the commotion, drowning out everything else. Shivers of dread dug deep into my muscles as the soulless howls hit an intense pitch. I wrapped my hands around the blades and jerked up. Shadows descended, like a wave of death moving incredibly fast.

  Daimons—buttloads of daimons.

  The sight of so many pale faces—black veins throbbing under papery-thin skin and empty holes where eyes should have been—freaked the holy hell out of me. My nightmares had come alive in vivid, startling detail. There were at least a dozen of them, screeching with mouths full of razor-like teeth. But scattered among them were faces that looked no different.

  Daimon halfs.

  The Sentinels—Aiden and Seth included—rushed them, disappearing into the mob. Blades clattered and fell to the floor, screams and shouts mingled with the ripping and tearing of clothing and flesh.

  “Alexandria!” Marcus shouted. “Let go of me! I have to get her!”

  I spun around. A Council Guard pulled Marcus toward the reception hall—toward the stronghold. Another Guard appeared, helping remove Marcus to safety. Taking off after them, I reached them just as they pushed Marcus into the hall and slammed the titanium-lined door shut. Marcus beat on the door, his words muffled by the thick metal separating us.

  “This door does not open again. ” The Guard looked me straight in the eye. He was the pure—the Guard who’d carried out Telly’s orders.

  “Thanks,” I said through clenched teeth. Then, taking a deep breath, I turned around and faced hell.

  It was a bloody mess, literally. In that instant I knew that all the smaller scale attacks on the Covenants over the last couple of months had been practice runs. They’d been testing how to infiltrate the Covenant, gearing up for a grand-scale attack on the Council. Mom had warned me, and I’d warned the pures—but they’d dismissed it.


  I caught sight of Seth as he engaged a half-blood daimon. He slammed the half in the chest with a booted foot, knocking it to the ground. In a stunning display of brutality and grace, he whipped the sickle blade through the air.

  Then there were Aiden and Leon, their backs against one another as four pure daimons circled them. They looked screwed.

  Fighting was in my blood, not running. This was where I was supposed to be and this definitely wasn’t my first time at the rodeo. I bolted across the room, dodging bodies of the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. The ones closing in on Leon and Aiden didn’t even see me coming. I shoved the dagger deep into the back of the daimon closest to Aiden.

  Leon knocked aside one of the daimons, going blow-to-blow with it. Aiden went after the other two, trying to keep them both focused on him. “Alex, behind you!”

  I whirled around, gripping the dagger in my right hand. A female daimon dove at me, but I ducked out of her grasp. Swinging around, I caught her in the chest with my sneaker just as Seth had done. She went down on one knee, and I lurched forward, jabbing the blade into her stomach. Looking through the poof of blue dust, I grinned at Aiden. “That’s two. ”

  “Five for me,” he grunted, sinking his dagger into the throat of his daimon.

  I flipped the dagger. “Well, la-dee—”

  Hands grabbed my shoulders, throwing me backward. I hit the mess of glass and blood, skidding a few feet on my back and losing my grip on the dagger. Stunned, I stared up into the face of a daimon half.

  “Alex!” yelled Aiden, sounding truly panicked.

  It leaned over me and sniffed. “Apollyon…”

  I could easily remember what’d happened when I’d tried to fight the last half-blood daimon. It hadn’t gone well. Pushing those memories down, I scrambled across the floor. Glass dug into my palms, mixing my blood with the blood of the fallen. My hand brushed against something wet and soft. A thousand gruesome images flashed through my mind of what I’d possibly backed into.

  The daimon half—a trained female Sentinel—opened her mouth and howled. She jumped in the air, swinging a Covenant dagger right at my head. There was a popping noise and then she was a ball of flames crashing down on me. I rolled out of the way as she hit the floor, screaming and thrashing.

  I jerked toward Aiden. He nodded at me, then lowered his hand and swung at another daimon. Glancing back at the daimon on the floor, I winced. She slowly climbed to her feet, a charred, stinky mess of skin and cloth.

  “Good gods,” I muttered, wanting to yak. “Don’t even touch me. ”

  She opened her mouth, and then her head went in one direction and her body in the other. Leon stood behind her, sickle in hand. “Miss Andros,” he said politely. “I do believe you were supposed to go to safety?”

  “Yeah, that was the plan. ” I looked around the room. There were a lot of bodies on the floor—some of the halfs who’d been turned, while others were of our kind. Seth had two daimons cornered, fighting rather gleefully. I grinned, even though it was sort of twisted.

  Aiden followed my gaze. “Leon, that one there counts half for me. So that’s six an
d a half. ” Then he pivoted around, heading toward another daimon who had a Guard pinned on the floor.

  Leon shrugged. “That’s okay. I have ten, loser. ”

  A howling sound spun me around. Two daimon halfs charged, going right for Leon. It was as if I wasn’t even standing there. “It’s about to be twelve,” Leon said casually.

  “Eleven. ” I switched the sickle blade to my right hand.

  Leon glanced down at me. “Do try not to get yourself killed. ”

  With that, we met them halfway. The male, finally noticing me, made a grab for my arm, but I feinted to the right. He was much bigger than me, maybe the size of Aiden, and I knew I couldn’t let this one get me on the ground. I got a good kick in, but he barely moved.

  Not good.

  I blocked his punch, but it still knocked me back a few steps. I kept my balance, whipping the blade through the air. He dipped quickly, retaliating with a vicious swing aimed to take me down. I felt the wind of the blade whizzing past my head. I jumped to the side, but the daimon half moved so damn fast. His fist came around, slamming into my stomach. I staggered back, gasping for air.

  The daimon half laughed. “Ready to die?”

  “Not really. ” I straightened. “The pale and addicted look isn’t a good one. You look a little strung out. Need some aether?”

  He tilted his head to the side and smiled. “I’m going to rip you apart, you stupid—”

  Dipping down, I swept his legs out from underneath him. He went down—leaving only an instant to attack. Jumping up, I brought the sickle blade down on his throat. It met no resistance.

  Wide-eyed, I lifted the blade. “Damn, that is sharp. ” I turned around, about to point that out to Leon when the daimon pure was suddenly right in my face.

  It licked its lips. “Apollyon…”

  “Oh, come on, can you all really smell it?” I flipped the sickle over and shoved it into his stomach.

  “You smell like warmth and summer. ” Seth appeared at my side. “I told you, you smelled good. ”

  “Well, you smell like… like…”

  Seth waited, brows raised.

  My eyes widened. Over his shoulder, I saw at least five more daimon pures coming down the hallway. “Daimons. ”

  “I smell like a daimon?” He looked let down.

  “No, you idiot, there’re more daimons coming. ”

  Seth glanced over his shoulder. “Oh. Well, damn. They must’ve broken through the entrances. ”

  “That’s not good. ”

  Another cracking sound shattered through the hall, different from the breaking glass. It reminded me of an artist chipping away at marble. Seth and I turned at the same time, but I don’t know who noticed it first. Both of us took a step back.

  A network of fractures split the white marble encasing the furies. Chunks of stone broke off, dropping to the floor. Pink, luminous flesh appeared through the larger gaps in the marble. A fine current of electricity shot through my body.

  “Oh, my gods,” I whispered.

  Seth’s arm shot out, slamming his dagger into the chest of a daimon pure without even taking his eyes off the crumbling statues. “Indeed. ”

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