Seth smiled. “You’d be by my side.”
Ignoring him, I wrapped my arms around my legs. “Telly can’t want to take me out just on some idea of a threat.” I thought of my father. I knew beyond a doubt he was behind that, too. “There has to be more to it than that.”
“Telly lives to serve the gods,” Lucian said. “If he feels they may be threatened, that is all the reason he needs.”
“Do you not live to serve the gods?” Leon asked.
Lucian barely looked in the direction of the pure-blood Sentinel. “I do, but I also live to serve the best interests of my people.”
Marcus rubbed his brow wearily. “Telly is not our only concern. There are also the gods themselves.”
“Yes.” Lucian nodded. “There is also the issue of the furies.”
I ran my hand over my forehead, forcing myself to concentrate on this conversation. It was a big deal that they were even including me in this. So I guessed I should pay attention and keep the snark to a minimum.
“The furies attack only when they perceive a threat to the pure-bloods and to the gods,” Marcus explained. “Their appearance at the Covenants before the daimon attack was solely a precautionary act from the gods. It was a warning that if we could not keep the daimon population under control, or if our existence was exposed to the mortals through the daimons’ actions, they’d respond. And when the daimons launched their attack on the Covenant, the furies were released. But they went after you, Alex. Even though there were daimons they could’ve fought, they perceived you as the biggest threat.”
The furies had ripped through daimon and innocent alike in those bloody moments after the daimon siege and had come after me. Not going to lie—I’d never been more terrified in my life.
“They will be back,” Leon added. “It is their nature. Maybe not immediately, but they will.”
My head was spinning. “I figured as much, but I haven’t done anything wrong.”
“You exist, my dear. That is all they need,” said Lucian. “And you are the weaker of the two.”
I was also the sleepier of the two.
Seth rocked back on his heels. “If they come back, I’ll destroy them.”
“Good luck with that.” I closed my eyes, giving them a break from the harsh light. “They’ll just burn up and come right back.”
“Not if I kill them.”
“With what?” asked Aiden. “They are gods. No weapon made by man or demigod will kill them.”
When I opened my eyes, Seth was smiling. “Akasha,” he said. “That would put them down permanently.”
“You don’t have that kind of power now,” Leon stated, jaw tensed.
Seth just continued to smile until Lucian cleared his throat and spoke. “I never did get to see the furies. It would have been… something to witness.”
“They were beautiful,” I said. Everyone turned to me. “At first, they were. Then they changed. I’d never seen anything like that. Anyway, one said that Thanatos wouldn’t be pleased with their return after… I got rid of them. She said something about the road the Powers had chosen and that I would be their tool. The oracle had said something like that too, before she poofed.”
“Who are ‘the Powers’?” Leon asked.
Aiden nodded. “That’s a good question.”
“That is not a concern. The furies are,” Lucian responded, dismissing the concept with a flick of his slender wrist. “Like Telly, they are operating on old fears. The furies are loyal to Thanatos. If the furies come again, I fear that Thanatos will not be far behind.”
Marcus dropped his hand to the top of the glossy mahogany desk. “I cannot have the gods attacking the school. I have hundreds of students I must keep safe. The furies show no discrimination in their kills.”
Not once had he mentioned keeping me safe. That kind of stung. We might be related, but it didn’t make us a real family. Marcus hadn’t even smiled at me—not once. I really didn’t have anyone left. That made getting to my father all the more important.
“I suggest we move Alex to a safe place,” Lucian offered.
“What?” My voice squeaked.
Lucian glanced at me. “The furies know to look for you here. We could move you some place safe.”
Seth sat on the arm of my chair, crossing his long legs at the ankle. He didn’t seem surprised by any of this.
I tapped his back, gaining his attention. “Did you know about this?” I whispered.
He didn’t answer.
The look I gave him promised trouble later and not the fun kind. Seth could’ve at least given me a heads-up about this.
Aiden frowned. “Where would you take her?”
My eyes went to him again. The muscles in my chest clenched when our gazes locked momentarily. At the moment, if I concentrated hard enough, I could still feel his arms around me. Not the best tactic when everyone was discussing my future like I wasn’t even sitting here.
“The fewer people who know, the better,” Lucian replied. “She would be well protected by my best Guards and Seth.”
Marcus appeared to consider this. “We wouldn’t have to worry about the furies attacking here.” He looked in my direction, his expression guarded. “But if she leaves the Covenant now, she will not graduate and become a Sentinel.”
My stomach turned over. “Then I can’t leave. I have to graduate.”
Lucian smiled, and I wanted to punch him. “Dear, you do not have to worry about becoming a Sentinel now. You will become an Apollyon.”
“I don’t care! Being an Apollyon isn’t my whole life! I need to become a Sentinel. That’s what I’ve always wanted.” Those last words sat oddly on my chest. What I always wanted was to have choices. Becoming a Sentinel was the lesser of two evils in reality.
“Your safety is more important than what you desire.” Lucian’s voice was hard, throwing me back to when I’d been the little girl who’d ventured into a room I wasn’t supposed to be in or dared to speak out of turn. That was the real Lucian and it snuck through his facade.
No one else noticed.
I squeezed my thighs until they ached. “No. I need to become a Sentinel.” I looked at Seth for help, but he was suddenly interested in the tips of his boots. “None of you understand. Daimons took my mom from me and turned her into a monster. Look at what they did to me! No.” I struggled for breath, knowing I was two seconds from losing it. “Besides, no matter where you take me, the furies will find me. They’re gods! It’s not like I can hide forever.”
Lucian faced me fully. “It would give us time.”
Anger rushed through me. I almost came out of the chair. “Time for me to Awaken? Then what? You don’t care what happens to me?”
“Nonsense,” Lucian said. “Not only will you have power, Seth will be able to protect both of you.”
“I don’t need Seth to protect me!”
Seth glanced over his shoulder at me. “You know how to make a guy feel useful.”
“Shut up,” I hissed. “You know what I mean. I can fight. I’ve killed daimons and I fought the furies and lived. I don’t need Seth to be my babysitter.”
Leon snorted. “You do need a babysitter, but I doubt he’s qualified for the job.”
Aiden coughed, but it sounded an awful lot like a choked laugh.
“Do you think you can do a better job?” Seth’s voice was casual, but I felt him tense. I also knew he wasn’t talking to Leon. “Because you’re more than welcome to try,” he added.
Aiden’s eyes went from gray to silver. His full lips tilted into a smirk as he met Seth’s stare. “I think we both know the answer to that.”
My jaw hit the floor.
Straightening, Seth squared his shoulders. Before he could say something, which I felt sure would be very bad, I jumped from the seat. “I can’t leave the—” Bright dots danced before my eyes, making everything a blur as my stomach tilted dangerously. “Whoa…”
Seth was at my side in an instant, an arm around my waist. “Are you okay?” He lowered me back into the chair. “Alex?”
“Yeah,” I breathed, slowly lifting my head. Everyone was staring at me. Aiden had stepped forward, eyes wide. My cheeks burst with heat. “I’m fine. Seriously. I’m just a little tired.”
Seth knelt beside me, taking my hand. He squeezed gently as he glanced over his shoulder. “She’s had a cold all week.”
“She’s had a cold?” Lucian curled his lip. “How… very mortal.”
I shot him a hateful look.
“But we… halfs do not get sick,” Marcus said, eyes narrowing on me.
“Well, you can tell that to the box of Kleenex I’ve been living with.” I dragged my fingers through my hair. “Seriously, I’m fine now.”
Marcus suddenly stood. “I think we are done for the evening. We all can agree that nothing needs to be decided at this moment.”
Lucian, who had grown quiet and docile, nodded.
The discussion ended and I got a momentary reprieve. I wouldn’t be leaving the Covenant now, but I couldn’t shake the dread gnawing at my stomach that, eventually, the decision wouldn’t be mine to make.
I OVERSLEPT THE FOLLOWING MORNING AND MISSED my first two classes. It kind of worked out, since I didn’t have to face Olivia after trying to choke her the day before, but the exhaustion from the previous night continued to drag at me. I spent the break before my afternoon classes arguing with Seth.
“What is your deal?” He pushed his chair back.
“I’ve already told you.” I glanced around the sparsely populated common room. It was better than eating in the cafeteria where everyone stared at us. “I know you knew about Lucian’s plan to put me in the Apollyon Relocation Program.”
Seth groaned. “Okay. Fine. He may have mentioned it. So what? It’s a smart idea.”
“It’s not a smart idea, Seth. I need to graduate, not go into hiding.” I looked down at my barely touched cold-cut sub. My stomach turned over. “I’m not going to run.”
He leaned back in the chair, lacing his hands behind his head. “Lucian does have your best interests in mind.”
“Oh, gods. Do not start with the Lucian crap. You don’t know him like I do.”
“People change, Alex. He may have been a giant douche before, but he’s changed.”
I leveled a look at him, and suddenly, I didn’t even know why I was arguing. My shoulders slumped. “What is the point, anyway?”
Seth frowned. “What do you mean?”
“Nothing.” I toyed with my straw.
He leaned forward, nudging my plate. “You should eat more.”
“Thanks, Dad,” I snapped.
He held up his hands, sitting back. “Simmer down, cuddle-bunny.”
“All of this is your fault, anyway.”
Seth snorted. “How is this my fault?”