I scowled. “No one wants to kill you, but you’re the one who’ll have the potential to wipe out the entire Olympian Court. But everyone is like, ‘Let’s kill the one who isn’t doing anything!’ And you canjust skip off into the sunset while I’m dead.”
His lips twitched again. “I wouldn’t skip off if you were dead. I’d be sad.”
“You’d be sad because you wouldn’t be the God Killer.” I picked up my sub, turning it over slowly. “Olivia hates me.”
“What?” I looked up. “She does, because I let Caleb die.”
His eyes narrowed. “You didn’t let Caleb die, Alex.”
I sighed, suddenly wanting to cry. It was official: I was certifiably whacked out today. “I know. I miss her.”
“Have you tried talking to her?” His eyes widened at my look. He motioned at the sub. “Eat.”
Grudgingly, I took a huge, sloppy bite.
Seth arched a brow as he watched me. “Hungry?”
I swallowed. The food formed a heavy lump in my stomach. “No.”
We didn’t talk for a few minutes. Without wanting to, I turned over my left hand and looked at where the staple-shaped rune glowed softly. “Did… did you do this on purpose?”
“What? The rune?” He took my hand, holding it so my palm faced up. “No, I didn’t do it on purpose. I’ve already told you that.”
“I don’t know. You looked like you were concentrating really hard when it happened.”
“I was concentrating on your emotions.” Seth ran his thumb around the glyph, coming close to touching it. “You don’t like this, do you?”
“No,” I whispered. Another mark meant one more step toward becoming someone—something else.
“It’s natural, Alex.”
“It doesn’t feel natural.” My eyes flicked to his. “What does this one mean?”
“Strength of the gods,” he answered, surprising me. “The other one means courage of the soul.”
“Courage of the soul?” I laughed. “That doesn’t make sense.”
His hand slid to my wrist, resting his thumb over my pulse. “They are the first marks the Apollyons receive.”
My wrist seemed so small in his hand, fragile even. “Did yours come early?”
I sighed. “What happened… between us last night?”
A wicked grin played over his lips. “Well, most kids call it making out.”
“That’s not what I meant.” I pulled my hand free and rubbed my palm over the edge of the table. “I felt it—the energy or whatever you want to call it—leaving me and going into you.”
“Did it hurt you?”
I shook my head. “It kind of felt good.”
His nostrils flared as if he smelled something he liked. Then, without any warning, he leaned over the table between us, clasped my cheeks and brought his mouth to mine. The kiss was soft, teasing, and felt really weird. Kissing last night really hadn’t counted—or at least I’d convinced myself of that. So this was the first real kiss since the Catskills, and it was a totally public display. And I was still holding the sub in my right hand. So yeah, it felt bizarre.
Seth pulled back, smiling. “I think we should do that more often, then.”
My cheeks were burning, because I knew people were staring. “Kissing?”
He laughed. “I’m all about kissing more, but I meant what happened last night.”
Out of nowhere, anger crept over me. “Why? Did you feel anything?”
One brow arched. “Oh, I felt something.”
I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I meant when you were holding my hand and the mark appeared. Did you feel anything?”
“Nothing you apparently want me to talk about.”
“Gods.” I squeezed the sub. Globs of mayo splattered off the plastic plate. “I don’t even know why I’m talking to you.”
Seth slowly exhaled. “Are you PMSing or something? Because your mood swings are killing me.”
I stared a moment, thinking wow, did he really just go there? And then I cocked back my arm and launched the sub across the table. It hit his chest with a somewhat satisfying plop, but it was the look on his face as he jumped out of his seat that almost had me smiling. A cross between disbelief and horror marked his features as he knocked pieces of lettuce and ham off his shirt and pants.
There were only a handful of people in the common room, mostly younger pure-bloods. All of them stared, eyes wide.
Throwing a sub at the Apollyon probably wasn’t something that should be done in public. But I couldn’t help it; I laughed.
Seth’s head jerked up. His eyes were a heated, angry ocher. “Did that make you feel better?”
My eyes watered from laughing so hard. “Yeah, it kind of did.”
“You know, let’s cancel training after class for today.” His jaw flexed, cheeks flushed. “Get some rest.”
I rolled my eyes. “Whatever.”
Seth opened his mouth to say something else, but stopped. Brushing off the last of the ham and cheese, he pivoted around and left. I couldn’t believe I’d just thrown my lunch at Seth. That seemed a little extreme even for me.
But it was funny.
I giggled to myself.
“Are you going to clean that up?”
Jumping a little in my seat, I looked up. Linard stepped out from behind one of the columns, eyeing the mess on the floor. “Are you, like, watching me?”
He smiled tightly. “I’m here to make sure you are safe.”
“And that is kind of creepy.” I pushed out of my seat, grabbing a napkin off my plate. I picked up what I could, but the mayo was stuck to the carpet. “Is this Lucian’s idea?”
“No.” He folded his hands behind his back. “It was Dean Andros’ request.”
I stilled. “For real?”
“For real,” he replied. “You should get going. Your next class will begin soon.”
I nodded absently, tossed my trash, and grabbed my bag. Marcus’ order surprised me. I expected Lucian to sic his Guards on me. He wouldn’t want anything to happen to his precious Apollyon. Maybe Marcus didn’t find me as distasteful as I thought he did.
Linard followed me out of the common room, keeping a discreet distance. It reminded me of the day I’d bought the spirit boats that Caleb and I had released into the sea. The memory tugged at my heart and worsened my foul mood. I was like a zombie in the rest of my classes. After a quick change into my training clothes, I walked into Gutter Fighting. Instructor Romvi looked absurdly pleased with my appearance.
I dropped my bag and leaned against the wall, pretending that I wasn’t bothered by the fact that I had no one to talk to. The last time I’d even been in this class, Caleb had still been alive.
Pressing my lips together, I let my gaze roam over the wall where the weapons were kept. I’d grown so used to this room during my practices with Aiden that it was like home to me. Standing near the wall of things meant to kill daimons with, Jackson grinned at something another half-blood said. Then he looked straight at me and smirked.
Once upon a time I’d found him hot, but somewhere between my daimon mom murdering his girlfriend’s parents—if he was actually still with Lea—and the last time I squared off with him, I’d stopped thinking so highly of him.
I held his stare until he looked away. Then I continued my perusal. Olivia stood next to Luke, tying her curly hair into a ponytail. Bruises marked the caramel-colored skin of her neck. I glanced down at my hands. I’d done that.
Gods, what had I been thinking? Guilt and shame tore through me. When I looked up, Luke was watching me. His stare wasn’t hostile or anything just… sad.
I looked away, chewing on my lip. I did miss my friends. And I really missed Caleb.
Class quickly began, and even though I was tired, I threw myself into it. I got paired with Elena for a series of cinch work and holds. Going through the various techniques, my brain was finally able to shut down. Here, in training, I didn’t think of anything. There was no sorrow or loss, no fate to deal with or father to save. I imagined this was what being a Sentinel would be like. When I’d eventually go out hunting, I wouldn’t have to think about anything other than locating daimons and killing them. Maybe that was the real reason behind wanting to be a Sentinel, because then I could go through life… and do what? Kill. Kill. And kill some more.
That wasn’t what I really wanted, deep down inside. I was just realizing that now?
Even slow on my feet, I was a bit faster than Elena. When we moved into take-downs and reversals, which consisted of getting thrown down and trying to get out of it, I was able to keep her pinned, but I was slowing down, growing weary.
She broke my hold and tipped her hips, rolling me onto my back. Staring down at me, she frowned. “Are… are you feeling okay? You look really pale.”
I really needed to Google how long the lingering effects of a cold lasted, because this was seriously getting annoying. All I wanted was a bed. Before I could respond to Elena’s question, Instructor Romvi appeared behind us. I bit back a groan.
“If you’re able to talk, perhaps you are not training hard enough.” Romvi’s pale eyes were like glaciers. He loved to terrorize me in class; I’m sure he’d missed me. “Elena, off the mats.”
She stood and slinked off, leaving me with the Instructor. Around us, students were sparring. I rolled to my feet and shifted my weight restlessly, preparing myself mentally for whatever he was going to throw at me. I turned away, placing my hands on my hips.
His hand smacked down on my shoulder. “One should never turn their back in war.”
Shrugging his grip off, I faced him. “I didn’t realize we were at war.”
Something gleamed in his eyes. “We are always at war, especially in my class.” He looked down his hawkish nose at me, which was a common practice since he was a pure-blood who’d once been a Sentinel. “Speaking of which, it is nice of you to finally join us, Alexandria. I was beginning to believe you thought training was no longer necessary.”
Several responses rolled to the tip of my tongue, but I knew better than to let them out.
He looked disappointed. “I heard that you fought during the daimon siege.”
Knowing fewer words usually ended with less of my butt being kicked, I nodded while I pictured a pegasus landing on his head and biting him in the neck.
“You also fought the furies and survived. Only warriors could claim such a feat.”
My gaze slid past him to where Olivia and Luke now stood watching me from the edge of the mats. How many times had we been in this position? But this was different, because Caleb used to be among them.
I focused on him, mentally cringing. I should never take my eyes off Romvi when he was talking. “I did fight the furies.”
Interest sparked in his eyes. “Show me what you did.”
Caught off-guard, I took a step back. “What do you mean?”