Pure, p.55
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       Pure, p.55

         Part #2 of Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
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Page 55

 

  A soft, tinkling laugh overcame the sounds of battle, halting every-one and everything in the hall. Transfixed, I watched the rest of the marble slip away like a snake shedding its skin. And there they were, the three of them hovering above the makeshift battlefield. And oh, my gods, they were savagely beautiful.

  The gods had unleashed the furies.

  Their diaphanous white gowns stood in sharp contrast to the surrounding blood and gore. Pale, blonde, and perfect, the three cast their all-white eyes toward the carnage before them. They moved through the still air on pale, transparent wings, delicate-looking and soundless. The furies were lesser goddesses, but their presence took over the hall.

  I’d never seen a god before, let alone three of them, but they appeared the way I’d imagined them: compelling, and beautiful. Frightening. I even took a step toward them, barely realizing that Seth had done so, too. Neither of us could help it. They were gods—freaking gods appearing before us. None of the other halfs or pures moved, seeming too stunned to do much of anything.

  Around the room, the daimons backed off from their opponents, all their attention fixed on the furies as they sniffed the air. Some started to whine, others growled. It was the aether flowing through the gods, I realized. If Seth and I were steak, then the furies had to be the most succulent cuts of filet mignon.

  One of the daimons, a half-blood, let out a low howl and charged forward.

  The furie in the middle lowered to the floor, sinking her bare feet into blood and glass. Thick blonde curls floated around her head as her noiseless wings fluttered around her. A pearly glow radiated from her skin as she tipped her head to the side and smiled. The daimon lunged at her, but she simply raised one hand and froze it mid-attack.

  Her smile was innocent, child-like, and yet held a barbed edge to it that was cruel. She reached back with her other arm and slammed her hand clean through the daimon’s chest. She shot straight up in the air, bringing the frantic daimon with her. Floating above us, she ripped the daimon in two.

  I gasped. “Holy…”

  “Shit,” Seth finished.

  In an instant the furies shifted, shedding their beautiful bodies. Their skin and wings turned gray and milky, their hair darkening and thinning into stringy black ropes that snapped at the air around them. Snakes, not ropes, I realized. Their hair was freaking snakes!

  The middle one screamed, bringing several pures to their knees. I backed up, knocking into Seth. He wrapped an arm around my waist, hauling me against him. One of the furies swooped, snatching up a daimon and launching it through the air. Another arced down, grabbed a Sentinel with her clawed feet, and sliced him apart as he screamed. The third landed near a crop of daimons, one strand of her snake hair zipping out and right through the eye of a Guard as she eviscerated a daimon pure.

  It didn’t matter who stood in their paths—the furies were destroying everyone.

  I caught sight of Leon ducking under a gray wing and pulling Aiden out of reach of one of the furies. An expression of awe and horror marked Aiden’s features as he swung a blade into a nearby daimon that wasn’t even paying attention to him.

  A furie swept the ceiling, her all-white eyes glowing much like Seth’s did when he was pissed. A second later, the furie swung toward us, shrieking shrilly. It stared straight at us, arms extended and claws sharpened into fine points.

  Seth grabbed my free hand. “Come on!”

  I let him pull me back. “But what about Aiden and Leon?”

  “They don’t have a furie gunning for their asses. Now, come on!”

  We rushed toward the reception hall. The Guards still held their ground at the doors, protecting the pures. Looking back, my heart dropped; the furie was coming after us.

  “Seth!”

  “I know, Alex, I—” Seth stopped as we rounded the corner.

  I slapped into his back. Peering over his shoulder, horror twisted my insides. The hall was choked with daimons. Half-blood servants littered the floor, necks broken or ripped open. As medicated as they were, they’d been utterly defenseless against the daimons. Guards struggled with the flood, trying to hold them back.

  The furie screamed, dipping down. Seth spun around, knocking me to the floor and throwing his body over mine. By the grace of gods, I didn’t accidentally stab him with the sickle. My heart thundered and fear stuck to my skin as the furie’s wings stirred the air around us. Seth tensed as the furie swooped again, but sensing a god chock full of aether in their presence, the daimons swarmed the furie.

  Jumping to his feet, Seth pulled me up and we started back down the hall. We rushed past rooms full of carnage and disaster. In the midst of the chaos, I saw Brown Eyes fighting back daimons along with the younger half he’d spoken with in the dining room this morning. He moved as gracefully as any Sentinel, taking down a daimon with a titanium candelabrum.

  Seth and I reached the ballroom just as a sudden burst of panicked and terrified screams whirled the Guards around. As they yanked the door open a stampede of pure-bloods trampled the Guards, pushing and clawing to get away. Then the herd of frightened pures descended on us, tearing my hand from Seth’s. The wave of red and white robes slammed into me from all sides. Trying to stay upright, I screamed, “Seth!”

  Bodies rocked into me from every direction, and I was knocked to the floor by one of the Ministers. Sharp pain exploded in my head. I tried getting up, but the hysterical crowd kept pushing me down. Dropping the blade, I curled into a ball and protected my head. Feet were everywhere, stamping down on me, kicking into me. This was how I was going to die—not in battle, not from the plot of some Council member hell-bent on destroying me, but trampled to death by a bunch of pure-bloods. Of all the ways to die.

  I was so going to haunt every last one of them.

  My side throbbed, and I was pretty sure I had a broken rib. In the mad rush, daimons were running and killing right beside the pures, and I had no idea where those damn furies were. I squeezed my eyes shut, whimpering as each sandal-covered foot dug into me. Seconds after I didn’t think I could take anymore, the crowd thinned enough for me to lower my hands and grab the blade.

  Shaken and bruised, I climbed to my feet. Pures cluttered the hall, smelling of smoke, sweat, and fear. I didn’t see Seth anywhere. Stumbling toward the ballroom, I went against the tide of pures. Marcus had been in that room, along with Laadan and Lucian.

  Inside the once-grand ballroom, I staggered through the destruction, scanning the bodies littering the floor. Marcus and I didn’t get along for longer than five seconds, but he was the only person left in this world who shared the same blood as me. I didn’t want to see his body among the ones on the floor. I didn’t know what I’d do. I just didn’t.

  Several side doors of the reception hall had been busted in, and some daimons stalked the remaining pures like prey. I watched one pounce on a pure—a coppery-headed one, super tan and beautiful.

  Dawn Samos.

  It sank its teeth into her arm. Screaming, she tried to wretch her arm away, but the daimon had her in a death grip. She was lucky, though. He could’ve gone for her throat. A small voice in the back of my head whispered, let her go; she likes Aiden.

  But that was all kinds of wrong—super messed-up.

  Pulling on my remaining strength, I ignored the aches and rushed toward them. The only easy daimon to kill was a daimon tagging some hapless fool. Didn’t I know? My eyes met Dawn’s amethyst ones as I plunged the sharp edge of the blade into the daimon’s back. He exploded into blue dust all over her pretty white robes.

  Dawn scuttled back, face sharp with pain and terror. Dismissing her, I faced the carnage. The daimons, both half and pure, were giving in to all the aether, feeding on the fallen. I started toward them, but a raw shriek stopped my heart.

  I turned around.

  The three furies hovered in front of the door, their snake hair nipping at the space around them. An unfortunate Guard stood between me and t
he furies, but not for long. The ugliest of them, her gown stained with blood, snapped his neck with a twist of her wrist.

  Rage and fear swept through me, dulling the ache deep in my bones. Coiling, responsive power expanded in my stomach and spread through my limbs. A jolt of energy shot through my palm, lighting my hand on fire. It traveled up my arm, and then it twisted down to my core where it licked at a muscle never used. Maybe it was akasha, maybe it was something far stranger—far deadlier—because everything shone like a tawny jewel, as if someone had dipped a paintbrush in amber and spread it over the room.

  Stepping forward, my fingers spasmed over the center of the sickle blade. One of the furies laughed. The other two tittered and brushed past the really ugly one. Behind me, I could hear the Guards fighting the daimons, but I focused on the furies.

  The two glanced at one another and licked their lips. One of them spoke, “Pretty little Apollyon, siphoning off the First, are you? Or is he throwing his power to you? He better be careful doing that. ”

  “It won’t be enough,” the other said. “You can’t kill us. ”

  “I can try. ” I clenched the blade.

  The furie laughed. “Try and die. ”

  Then they flew toward me. I wheeled around and raced toward the wall. Launching myself up, I kicked off the wall and flipped over the two furies, bringing the blade down in a wide, arcing sweep.

  I landed in a crouch behind them, arms widespread. The two furies staggered backward, their bodies falling forward without their heads. Blue fire shot from their necks, swamping and consuming their bodies.

  The ugly furie cackled, and I whirled around, facing her. She drifted several feet off the floor, her hair wriggling. “You didn’t kill my sisters, but Thanatos will not be pleased upon their return. ”

  “Sorry to hear that. ”

  She smiled, slipping back into the form that was so beautiful it almost hurt to look at her. “You’re a threat, and we must deal with the threat. It’s nothing personal. ”

  “I didn’t threaten anyone. I’m not the problem. ”

  “Not yet, but you will. We know what you will do. ” She reached for the blade, striking unbelievably fast.

  I lashed out, kicking her arm back. “What will I do?”

  “Why fight me? You kill me and I will come back. ” She jumped out fast, catching the front of my shirt. I narrowly escaped her claws. “That is what we do. We will keep coming back, hunting you till the threat is eradicated. ”

  “Great. You’re like herpes. The gift that just keeps on giving. ”

  She blinked. “What?”

  I spun into a scissor kick, ignoring the sharp spike of pain as her claws caught my arm and pulled me forward. Using the momentum, I crashed into her. The furie was under me for a second, snarling as I gained the upper hand. I shoved my knee into her, delighting in the flicker of surprise.

  She stared up at me, a picture of beauty and innocence. “What a path, what a path the Powers have chosen. You will be their tool. That is why you’re a threat. ”

  I stilled. “The oracle said that—”

  The furie shifted again, her hair snapping at me. Coming up, I lopped the sickle across her neck and rolled off. Seconds later she went up in blue flames, but her laugh still lingered. For a moment I lay on my back, staring up at the ceiling. Did taking down each furie count triple? Surely they were enough that I blown Aiden and Leon out of the water.

 
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