Pure, p.56
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       Pure, p.56

         Part #2 of Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
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Page 56

 

  Rolling to my feet, I ran the sleeve of my sweater over my cheek. I turned around, seeing so many blue piles of dust and dead halfs that had been turned. Only one Guard remained in the reception hall—the pure-blooded one. Of all the people to survive, it had to be him. I should feel terrible about that thought, but I didn’t.

  Sighing, I slowly approached the Council Guard. He had a fresh bruise blooming across his jaw, but was otherwise unscathed. “That was insane. ”

  He flipped the dagger in his hand and turned toward the two remaining pures. Dawn huddled behind a statue of Themis, her arm cradled to her chest. Blood dripped onto her white robes. A male pure several decades older than her had his arm around her, whispering something to her. The chick looked freaked out. I couldn’t blame her. She’d been this close to meeting her end.

  I wiped my hand under my nose, not surprised to see my blood smeared across my skin.

  “Is she okay?” the Guard asked.

  The male lifted his head. A deep, angry-looking tag bled from where his shoulder and neck met. “Yeah, I think so. We need to get her checked out. ” He looked at me. “You were amazing. I’ve never seen anything like that. ”

  “I was, wasn’t I?” I murmured, wanting to feel great about winning the fight, but the furie’s words left a jolting echo in my mind. She had given me an additional part of the puzzle, finishing what the oracle had said. But it still made little sense. Who were “the Powers” and how would I become a tool?

  The pure had turned back to Dawn. “It’s over,” he soothed her, “all over now. ”

  It was, but I was still unwilling to put the sickle down—just in case. I kept having visions of horror movie monsters jumping out at me. I moved to the broken doors and peered out. Nothing moved, which I believed to be a good sign. But when would the furies be back? Five seconds from now? A day, a week, or a month?

  “Alexandria. ”

  I wheeled around. “What?”

  The Guard pressed his lips into a smile. “You did do really well. I saw you. You may be the first person in history to face down a furie and live. And you took out three of them? That… that was amazing. ”

  Reluctant warmth cascaded through me. That meant something coming from a pure-blood Council Guard, even if he’d been ordered to kill Hector. A smile spread across my face. “Thanks. ”

  He put his hand on my shoulder and squeezed. “I’m really sorry for this. ”

  My smile started to fade. “For what?”

  “The furies were right. There can’t be two of you. You are a risk. ”

  A shiver of warning went up my spine. I stepped back, but the Guard’s grip tightened on my shoulder, holding me in place. I looked up with wide eyes and met his. Only one word came out. “Please. ”

  There wasn’t an ounce of regret or doubt in the Guard’s eyes. “We must protect the future of our race. ”

  Then he swung his blade at my chest.

  CHAPTER 27

  HE’S GOING TO KILL ME.

  The words flashed through my mind, and I reacted out of instinct. In the back of my mind, I recognized the act of shoving the sickle into his chest was far different than shoving one into a daimon’s or even a furie’s. The blade felt heavier in my hand, the sucking noise the skin made when pierced by the sharpest metal seemed louder.

  And the thing that was the most different? Pure-blood Guards didn’t collapse into themselves and fade to nothing but a fine shimmer of blue dust. The Guard kept standing, a horrified look on his face. I think he’d actually believed he could outmaneuver me, that there wasn’t a blade stuck deep into his chest.

  I screamed, yanking the sharp end of the sickle out. Then he fell. First to his knees, then face first onto the marble floor. I lifted my head, the bloodied sickle clenched in my shaking hand. I didn’t even know the Guard’s name… and I’d killed him.

  The male pure must have risen to his feet at some point. He stared back at me, equally horrified. He opened his mouth, but nothing came out.

  “I had to do it,” I pleaded. “He was going to kill me. I had to do it. ”

  Dawn whimpered from behind the figure of Themis. The statue had been damaged during the battle. The scales had tipped—no longer equal.

  So many rules governed the half-bloods. I really couldn’t keep them all straight. But there were two I always remembered: never get involved with a pure-blood, and never kill a pure-blood. Self-defense didn’t matter. A pure’s life was and always would be valued higher than mine. Being an Apollyon didn’t make me above that law. Breaking one rule had seemed bad enough, but both of them?

  Well, I was so screwed.

  Footsteps thundered into the reception hall, the only sound that seemed greater than the pounding of my heart. Innately, I recognized the two. How had they known where I was? Of course, Seth would know—always know—where I was.

  Aiden was the first through the door. Both he and Seth halted a few feet away. I could only imagine what they saw—piles and piles of blue dust, the bodies, the broken doors, and two pures cowering under the statue.

  Then they saw me, standing with a bloodied sickle in-hand and a dead Council Guard lying at my feet.

  “Alex, are you okay?” Aiden crossed the room. “Alex?”

  He stepped around the fallen Guard and stood in front of me. A bruise shadowed under his right eye, and a scratch slashed across his left cheek. His shirt was torn, but the blade hooked to his pants didn’t have blood on it.

  “Alex, what happened?” He sounded desperate as his eyes searched mine.

  I blinked, but I kept seeing the look on the Guard’s face.

  Seth surveyed the mess with a cold, almost feral look to him. “Alex. Tell us what happened. ”

  It all came out in a nervous rush. “I was fighting the furies and he told me I did a good job, Aiden. Then he apologized. I had to do it. He said there couldn’t be two of us and that he had to protect his race. He was going to kill me. I—I had to do it. I don’t even know his name and I killed him. ”

  Pain and panic flared in Aiden’s eyes, and then they took on a hard, steely edge. Resolve burned from them while a red-hot fury built behind him. Seth dipped down and rolled the Guard over.

  “Okay. ” Aiden reached out to pry my fingers from the dagger. “Let me have the blade, Alex. ”

  “No. ” I shook my head. “It has my prints on it. It’s mine. ”

  “You have to let me have it, Alex. ”

  I shook my head, holding the sickle tighter. “I had to do it. ”

  Aiden gently pried the blade loose. “I know, Alex. I know. ” He glanced over his shoulder before turning back to me. “Do not speak a word of this to anyone. Do you understand?”

  “But—”

  “Alex. ” His voice rose sharply. “Do not speak about this to anyone. Ever. Do you understand me?”

  “Yes. ” My breath was coming out in sharp, little gasps.

  He spun toward Seth. “Get her out of here. Take Lucian’s jet to North Carolina. Use compulsion if you have to to get them to leave without him; I don’t care. If anyone stops you or asks why you’re leaving now, tell them the daimons had plans to take the second Apollyon. That the risk was too great for her to remain here. ”

  Seth nodded, his eyes glowing. “What about them?”

  Aiden glanced back at the pures. “I’ll deal with them. ” His voice was low. “What happened in here will never leave this room. You can trust that. ”

  “Are you sure?” Seth frowned. “If you change your mind, it’s all over for Alex. We could just take care—”

  “We will not kill them,” Aiden hissed. “I know what I’m doing!”

  Seth’s eyes widened. “You’re insane—as insane as Alex. If anyone finds out what you’re about to do, you’re—”

  “I know. Go—go now. Before anyone else comes. I’ll take care of this. ”

  Would Aiden use compulsion on another pure? That alone was another forbidden
act, another rule to be broken. How else would he get them to keep this secret? Especially Dawn? She was a Council member, obligated to report what’d really happened.

  Aiden would compel the pures. Everything else would fall into place. The halfs who’d been turned had all used daggers. People would find the Guard and believe a daimon half had ended his life.

  But if anyone ever found out the truth, Aiden would be deemed a traitor.

  He would be killed for it.

  I shot forward. “No. You can’t do this. I won’t allow it. You won’t die—”

  Aiden spun around and grasped my shoulders. “I will do this and you will allow this. Please, for once, don’t fight with me. Just do as I say. ” His eyes met mine and when he spoke again, he did so barely above a whisper. “Please. ”

  I closed my eyes against the sudden rush of tears. “Don’t do this. ”

  “I have to. I told you before I’d never let anything happen to you. I meant it. ” Aiden turned toward Seth. “Leave now. ”

  Seth took my hand in a firm grip. There was so much I wanted to say to Aiden, but there wasn’t time, not with Seth dragging me past the bodies and the shell-shocked pures. I did get one last glance, though.

  Aiden was already setting his plan into motion. He crouched in front of Dawn, speaking low and quick—the same way he’d spoken to me that night in the warehouse.

  A compulsion—he was really using a compulsion on another pure.

  Seth pulled my hand. “We have to hurry. ”

  The two of us raced through the hallways, avoiding the more heavily populated areas. We passed rooms where soft cries filled the space between our footfalls, corridors where bodies of half-bloods covered the floor. As Seth swiped a set of keys from a dead Guard, I looked into a dark chamber. Half-blood servants littered the floor, all of them dead or dying, and no one seemed to even care. No one tended to them. There were only moans and pleas for mercy. Pleas for help—help that would never come. I started toward them.

  “We don’t have time. I’m sorry, Angel. We just don’t have time. We have to go. ” Seth wrenched me away from the room.

  Numb—I was numb inside. So numb that I really didn’t feel the bruises the hits had left behind, the ache that each step jarred out of me. Finding a Hummer wasn’t hard, but ignoring the sounds of fighting all around us was difficult. Instinct demanded that I throw myself back into the fray, but I doubted Seth would appreciate that.

  I scanned the dark grounds, relieved to see that Guards still held a line around the school. The daimons hadn’t broken through. At least the students were safe.

  But what about the servants?

  On the way to the airport, Seth carried out Aiden’s plan. After several unsuccessful tries, he was able to reach Marcus. I stared out the window, still numb with shock.

  Seth said exactly what Aiden had instructed, telling Marcus that the daimons had tried to take me. “—and get her out of here in Lucian’s plane tonight. ”

  It sounded as though Marcus agreed with the idea of getting me out of New York. “Lucian is among the survivors. I’ll pass on the information. ”

 
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