A pure-blood who had children with other pures made happy, little pure babies. A pure-blood who got it on with a mortal created the ever-useful half-blood. But a pure-blood and a half-blood getting together—which was so forbidden, so taboo that I couldn’t think of one situation where a child was actually produced—made… what?
I jerked straight up, heart thundering. The first time Aiden had been in my dorm room and I’d looked at him—well, I’d been ogling him, but whatever—and wondered why relationships between halfs and pures had been forbidden for eons. It wasn’t the fear of a one-eyed Cyclops, but it kind of was.
A pure-blood and a half-blood made an Apollyon.
“Shit,” I said, staring at the letter.
But it had to be more than just that. There was typically only one Apollyon born every generation, with the exception of Solaris and the First, and Seth and I. Which would mean a half and a pure only produced a child a handful of times since the time the gods had walked this earth. There had to be more times when it happened. Or were those babies killed? I wouldn’t put it past the pures or the gods to do such a thing if they knew what could come from the joining of a pure and a half. But why had Seth and I been spared? Obviously they knew what my father was since they’ve kept him around for whatever reason. My heart clenched, as did my fists. I pushed the anger down to revisit later. I’d promised Aiden I wouldn’t do anything reckless, and my anger always led to something idiotic.
A shiver inched its way down my spine. A sound came from my door, much like a lock being turned. I glanced at the letter, chewing my bottom lip. Then I looked at the clock beside the bed. I was way late for training with Seth.
The door opened and shut. I grabbed the letter, quickly folding it. I knew the moment he stood in the doorway without looking up. A level of awareness danced over my skin and the air filled with electricity.
“What happened today?” he asked simply.
There was very little I could hide from Seth. He would’ve sensed my emotions from the moment I read the letter and everything that I had been feeling while I’d been with Aiden. He wouldn’t know exactly what was causing my feelings to be all over the place—thank the gods—but Seth wasn’t stupid. I was a little surprised that he’d waited this long to come find me.
I lifted my gaze. He looked like one of those marble statues that adorned the front of every building here, except his skin was a unique golden color—otherworldly perfection. Sometimes he looked cold, impassive. Especially when his shoulder-length blond hair was pulled back, but it hung loose now, softening the lines of his face. His full lips were usually curved in a smug smile, but now they were pressed together in a hard, tight line.
Aiden had suggested that I keep the letter and its contents to myself. Laadan had broken gods know how many rules by telling me about my father, but I trusted Seth. We were, after all, fated to be together. A couple of months ago I would’ve laughed if someone had said that we would be doing whatever it was that we were doing. It’d been a case of mutual dislike when we first met, and we still had some epic moments. It wasn’t too long ago that I’d threatened to stab him in the eye. And I’d seriously meant it.
Silently, I held out the letter.
Seth took it, quickly unfolding it with long, agile fingers. I tucked my legs underneath me, watching him. There was nothing in his expression that gave away what he was thinking. After what seemed like forever, he glanced up. “Oh, gods.”
Not exactly the response I was shooting for.
“You’re going to do something incredibly stupid in response to this.”
I threw up my hands. “Jeez, does everyone think I’m going to Sparta-charge the Catskills?”
Seth’s brows rose.
“Whatever,” I grumbled. “I’m not going to attack the Covenant. I have to do something, but it won’t be… reckless. Happy? Anyway, do you remember the half-blood we passed when we were watching the Council the first day there?”
“Yes. You were staring at him.”
“That’s him. I know it. That’s why he looked so familiar to me. His eyes.” I bit my lip, looking away. “My mom always talked about his eyes.”
He sat beside me. “What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to send a letter back to Laadan, a letter for my dad. From there, I don’t know.” I looked at him. Thick strands of hair shielded his face. “You know what this means, right? That he’s a half-blood. And this—” I gestured at us. “We’re the reason why relations of the fun kind are forbidden between halfs and pures. The gods know what’ll happen if a pure and half hook up.”
“It’s probably more than that. The gods like the idea of subjugating the halfs. What do you think they did to the mortals during their heyday? The gods subjugated the mortals until it went too far. They still treat the half-bloods like dirt worthy of only being walked upon.”
Man, was Seth on a god-hating kick or what? I stared down at my right palm, at the faint rune that only Seth and I could see. “It was him—my father—in the stairwell. I can’t explain it, but I know it was.”
Seth looked up then, his eyes a strange shade of yellow. “Who knows about this?”
I shook my head. “The Council has to know. Laadan knew because she was friends with my… my mom and dad. It wouldn’t surprise me if Lucian and Marcus knew, too.” I frowned. “Do you remember when we overheard Marcus and Telly talking?”
“I remember dropping you on your butt.”
“Yeah, you did because you were staring at Boobs.”
His eyes widened and he let out a shocked laugh. “Boobs? What?”
“You know—that girl who was all over you in the Catskills.” When his brows rose, I rolled my eyes. So like Seth that he’d have trouble remembering which girl. “I’m talking about the one who had, well, huge boobs.”
He stared off into the distance for a moment and then laughed again. “Oh. Yeah, that one—wait a second. You named her Boobs?”
“Yeah, and I bet you don’t even remember her name.”
“Glad we’re on the same page now. Anyway, Remember how Telly said that they already had one there? That they could keep them together? Do you think he was talking about my father and me?” If Marcus and Lucian knew, I wanted to bash their heads together, but confronting them would place Laadan in danger.
Seth glanced down at the letter. “That would make sense. Especially considering how badly Telly wanted you to be placed into servitude.”
Minister Telly was the Head Minister of all the Councils and he’d had it out for me from the get-go. My testimony about the events in Gatlinburg had been a complete ruse to get me in front of the entire Council so they could vote me into servitude. And I truly believed that Telly was behind the compulsion that’d been used on me the night I almost turned into a human popsicle. If Leon hadn’t found me, I’d have frozen to death. Then there was the night the equivalent of an Olympian roofie had been given to me in a coarse attempt to catch me in a compromising position with a pure. It would’ve worked if it hadn’t been for Seth and Aiden spotting me with the drink.
My cheeks burned as I remembered that night. I’d pretty much molested Seth—not that he’d complained. Seth had known I was under the influence of the brew and he’d tried to control himself, but the bond between us had spewed my revved-up lust all through him. I would’ve lost my virginity if I hadn’t ended the night by puking up my guts. I know the whole situation bothered Seth. He felt guilty for giving in. And Aiden’s fist had done a number on Seth’s eye after discovering me on the bathroom floor… in Seth’s clothing. Aiden couldn’t understand how I’d forgiven Seth… and sometimes I couldn’t, either. Maybe it was the bond, because what linked us together was strong. Maybe it was something more.
Then there was the pure-blood Guard who’d tried to kill me, saying he needed to “protect his kind.” I suspected Minister Telly had been behind that, also.
“Who else knows about this?” Seth dragged me from my musings.
“Laadan asked Aiden to give me this letter, but Leon did instead. Leon claims he didn’t look at the letter, and I believe him. It was sealed. See.” I pointed out the broken stamp. “Aiden didn’t know what was in it, either.”
Seth’s jaw flexed. “You went to Aiden?”
I knew I needed to proceed with caution. Seth and I weren’t together or anything, but I also knew he wasn’t messing around with anyone else now. The hot flashes I’d picked up on since returning from the Catskills had only been when he was around me, mostly during our hands-on training sessions. Seth was foremost a guy. It happened… a lot.
“I thought maybe he knew, since Laadan entrusted him with the letter, but he didn’t,” I said finally.
“But you told him?”
There was really no point in lying. “Yes. He knew I was upset. Obviously, he’s trustworthy. He’s not going to say anything.”
Seth was silent for a heartbeat. “Why didn’t you come to me?”
Oh, no. I focused on the floor, then my hands, and finally the wall. “I didn’t know where you were. And Leon told me where Aiden was.”
“Did you even attempt to find me? It’s an island. It wouldn’t have been hard to do.” He placed the letter on the bed, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw his feet point to me.
I bit my lip. I didn’t owe him anything, or did I? Either way, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. Seth might act like he had none, but I knew differently. “I just wasn’t thinking. It’s not a big deal.”
“Okay.” He leaned over and his breath warmed my cheek. “I felt your emotions this afternoon.”
I swallowed. “Then why didn’t you come looking for me?”
“I was busy.”
“Then what’s the big deal about me not looking for you? You were busy.”
Seth brushed the thick hair off my neck, tossing it over my shoulder. My muscles locked up. “Why were you so upset?”
I turned my head. Our gazes locked. “I just found out that my dad’s alive, and that he’s a servant. That’s kind of emotional.”
His eyes deepened to a warm amber. “That’s a good point.”
There wasn’t much space between our mouths. A sudden nervousness took over. Seth and I hadn’t kissed since the day in the labyrinth. I think my cold had grossed him out, and it wasn’t like I’d been pushing it, but I hadn’t sneezed or sniffled since early this morning. “You know what?”
He smiled slightly. “What?”
“You don’t seem very surprised about my father. You didn’t know, did you?” I held my breath, because if he did, I didn’t even know what I’d do. But it wouldn’t be pretty.
“Why would you even think that?” His eyes narrowed. “You don’t trust me?”