Sentinel, p.45
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       Sentinel, p.45

         Part #5 of Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout
 
Page 45

 

  Strength.

  A tremble rocked Seth, and another jolt skittered up my right arm, faster than the one before. The warmth turned to heat, and it spread across my shoulder blades. My body hummed. A thousand little pulses hit my muscles, tearing them down and rebuilding them. I felt like I imagined Aiden did—he was the healthiest person I knew, since he lived off of granola, chicken, and working out.

  I pulled up his shirt and placed his hand over the mark on his flat, hard stomach and whispered, “απ?λυτη εξουσ?α. ” Absolute power.

  Seth gasped, and his eyes flew open. Their amber hue glowed vibrantly, locked onto mine like laser beams. The rush of pure power almost knocked me back against the wall. Every cell in my body fired up, and the marks on my skin burned.

  “One more,” Seth said in a low, hoarse voice.

  My entire body trembled as I reached up, cupping the back of his neck. “α?ττητο. ” Invincibility.

  The air expelled from my lungs at the same moment it did from Seth’s, and then it happened. Static charged the room as the amber cord appeared around Seth’s upper arm. It spiraled down, entwining over his skin, reaching mine. The blue cord crackled, brighter and more intense than his. The two cords spun, overlapping, buzzing and spitting licks of blue and amber into the air. My hand fell from his neck, but otherwise I couldn’t move. Neither could he.

  Inside of me, at the base of the cord, something shifted and pulsed. Behind my eyes, a blinding light burst into an array of vibrant colors, receding quickly.

  Under my feet, the floor moved. My lungs seized as Seth’s head kicked back, the veins in his throat protruding. Afire lit me up from the inside, rushing through my veins at dizzying speeds. It burned sweetly, cool and hot at the same time. Power poured into my chest, causing my heart to sputter and then speed up.

  Shadows danced over the walls as the cords flared, twisting and becoming one, turning into a brilliant, intense white. My other hand slipped away from him, and my arms rose at my sides as the marks on my skin seeped away and reappeared. The now-white cord pulsed once more and then snapped back toward me. Seth lowered his chin, his amber eyes shiny as he met my gaze, and then his gaze dropped.

  My feet weren’t on the floor.

  Nope.

  I was floating again.

  There was at least four feet between my shoes and the floor, and well, I felt damn good.

  “Wow,” I said, grinning.

  Seth’s throat worked. “Wow, indeed. ”

  Moving my hands in front of me, I watched the glyphs slide over my skin. The color seemed sharper.

  You gonna come down from there? He reached up, catching my hand.

  Strangely, the cord inside me didn’t jump. I willed myself down. How do you feel?

  He cocked his head to the side. Okay. I don’t feel different, really.

  Which meant he was probably still craving akasha, but at least he wasn’t hurt. For a moment there, it hadn’t looked fun for him.

  How about you?

  It was hard to describe—the power. I wanted to run straight into a wall because I was pretty sure I could take it on, but I didn’t feel uncontrollable since I wasn’t running into that wall. I feel…great. I feel…

  There was no fear in my heart, at least not the paralyzing kind. The strength made my muscles twitchy, and I felt ready in a way I hadn’t before. Hours ago, I’d known I had to take on the God Killer power. I’d known I had to face Ares and destroy him, but had I really been ready? No. It had been something I knew I had to do—a duty.

  Now I was truly ready.

  I smiled up at Seth, my fingers curling into fists. “Let’s do this. ”

  CHAPTER 25

  Each step I took was filled with purpose and steely determination. My hands itched for a fight, but my blood sang for the release of the akasha brimming in my veins.

  Ares was so about to get knocked down a peg or five.

  In the back of my mind, I realized this was how Seth must’ve felt most of the time—the cockiness, the knowledge that nothing in this realm was more powerful than the First.

  Until now.

  I stopped in front of the closed ballroom doors and raised my hands, summoning akasha. Releasing it took nothing. Energy pulsed out from me. I blew the titanium doors right off their hinges, throwing them clear across the ballroom.

  “Gods,” Seth muttered.

  Ares and Perses whipped around. Several feet separated them. The Titan’s eyes widened. One of the doors hit the floor and slid, tearing up the marble. The other slammed into Ares, throwing him back against the wall.

  My lips curled into a wide smile as I stepped into the room. “Whoops. Didn’t see you standing there. ”

  Perses chuckled as he tipped his head back. “And here is the God Killer. ”

  With a battle roar, Ares threw the door off him. It winged through the air, catching Perses in the back and smashing him into the opposite wall. The marble cracked, and half of the wall came down, burying the Titan.

  I wasn’t worried. Perses was a big boy. He’d get back up. Eventually.

  Ares wiped his hand over his mouth and scowled, but I could sense the unease in him in that fraction of a second. Perses’ presence had done what we needed—knocking him off his game. “Well, look. The girl is the God Killer. ” His all-white eyes spit electricity. “I always knew you were whipped, Seth. ”

  Seth flipped him off.

  The god laughed as he moved his head to the side, cracking the bone. “Oh, I’m going to enjoy killing you, pretty boy. ”

  “The feeling is mutual. ” Seth stepped forward so that he stood side by side with me.

  “You look lovely,” Ares remarked, turning back to me. “All juiced up, but oh, your face and body look like a road map. Sexy. ”

  Seth stiffened beside me, but I laughed. “Sticks and stones, Ares. I thought you were more mature than that. And more clever. It’s kind of disappointing. ”

  “Disappointing?” Ares gave me a wide smile, but it wasn’t as confident as it had been that day in the dean’s office. “Oh, little girl, God Killer or not, you can’t defeat me. This world will be mine. ”

  “Really?’ I took a step forward, skin tingling. “Is there anything else you want to say? Because I know how you like to give long, boring, and clichéd evil-villain speeches. Can we skip it this time and just get to killing you?”

  He snarled and threw out his hand. White light pulsed from his palm, arcing straight for me. I spun, moving quicker than I ever had, avoiding the god bolt. He sent another at Seth, but he too was quick on his feet.

  So over the smack talk, my muscles tensed and I charged the god. He averted my attack at the last minute, but Seth was on him, too. He deflected Seth’s blow, pushing him back as I sprang up behind the god, shoving my foot into the center of his back with all my strength. That kind of kick would’ve taken out a demigod or a mortal, but with Ares, he merely stumbled forward and turned.

  The look on his face said bitch, please.

  He swung out and I dipped, but I was an instant too late. His fist caught my jaw, snapping my head to the side. Fiery pain shot across my face. Damn. He could hit. I hadn’t forgotten that, but still.

  “Ouch,” I said. “Hitting girls isn’t nice. ”

  “But Ares wouldn’t know that, would he?” Seth spun, catching Ares in the leg with a brutal kick. The god stumbled. “After all, I’m pretty sure he’s only gotten lucky with Aphrodite, and everyone gets lucky with her. ”

  Ares threw his arms out. He didn’t touch either of us, but I was suddenly off my feet and flying backwards. I caught sight of Seth’s shocked expression a second before I slammed into the wall.

  I hit the floor on my knees, the air knocked out of my lungs. Before I could recover, Ares’ knee collided with my chin, knocking me flat on my back. My head spun as I rolled onto my side.

  “Not so badass now, are you? Why don’t—?” He stopped,
intercepting Seth’s attack.

  Lightning erupted from Ares’ palm, and my heart spasmed with the first bite of fear since becoming the God Killer. Ares could kill Seth, just like Apollo could kill me. A cry froze in my throat as Seth drew up short, recognition flaring in his amber eyes. He darted to the side at the last second, and the bolt hit him in the shoulder, flinging him backward.

  My relief was short-lived. Ares grabbed hold of the front of my shirt and hauled me off the ground. He snarled in my face, his features contorting inhumanly. “I will have Olympus and I will rule this realm. There is—”

  Ares dropped me with a grunt and I hit the floor on my butt, too stunned at first to realize what had happened. Then, I saw it.

  Perses had recovered and tackled the god like a linebacker. They slid along the floor, tearing up chunks of marble like it was paper. The Titan’s fists rained down, catching Ares over and over again. His punches were faster than the eye could track.

  Rock ‘em, sock ‘em Titan.

  As I staggered to my feet, Ares slammed his palms into the center of the Titan’s chest and yelled. The air snapped with power, and a moment later Perses was several feet away, lying in a bloody, twitching heap.

  While he was down, I started toward Ares, knowing I needed one clean shot—one blast of pure akasha when he was at his weakest to end this. I was halfway toward him when my senses fired up.

  Seth shouted as he struggled to his feet.

  Out of nowhere, a freaking daimon came out at me, ragged teeth exposed and veins like tiny black snakes. I so did not have time for this. Engaging the sickle blade, I arced my arm up, catching the daimon at the neck.

  That was all she wrote.

  Seth rushed forward, hitting Ares at the waist as he fired off a god bolt at me. Knocked off-balance, his aim wasn’t spectacular. The bolt caught me in the leg, and pain exploded in a rush of wet warmth.

  Holy Hades, that hurt…

  I staggered back and then fell as the pain ricocheted down my leg. He threw Seth off him like a Frisbee and sprang up fluidly.

  On his feet, Ares was a hundred percent focused on me as he stalked forward. I kept my gaze trained on him as I picked myself up, spitting out a mouthful of blood. Red streaked his bare chest, and I felt a surge of satisfaction.

  “All I need is you,” he taunted. “And you will submit to my will. ”

  And all I needed was for him to keep his creepy god eyes on me, so he could keep talking his smack all he wanted. “Is that so? I think we know where I stand on the whole submission thing. ”

  “We also know how the last time ended when you refused. ” Ares spared a quick glance at Perses’ still-prone body. He laughed. “This time I know how to get what I want from you. ”

  “Do tell. ” I took a measured step back, drawing on akasha once more. It whipped through my veins like white lightning, boiling my blood and burning my body from the inside. The urge to unleash it was almost too hard to deny, but it wasn’t time.

  Ares’ lips curled into a sneer. “You will do anything to protect those you care for. I could go for that pure-blood of yours. Or how about your father? Both of them are outside, right?”

  My fingers straightened. Behind him, Seth was on his feet, a Covenant dagger clutched in his right hand. “If you were going to use them, you’d have pulled that card by now, which tells me you don’t quite know where my father is. And you haven’t gotten to Aiden. ”

 
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