“All of them fought the Titans and were able to entomb them,” Seth said, his fingers flexing along my thigh.
I considered that. “I feel like I heard or read something else. Like, something way before…all of this began.”
“You probably did. A lot of the legends mortals know are based in some truth, but got exaggerated over the years.” He let out a yawn. A moment passed. “I forgot to tell you this, but Ares’s son? Erik? He started experiencing his abilities around the time yours were unlocked.”
“Really? That’s strange.” It really was since that’s not something Apollo had ever mentioned. He’d said it would take six demigods and they’d all have to be together, so how did my abilities affect the other demigods?
But Erik was really just getting the shitty end of the deal. His presence caused violence, but—
Something occurred to me.
“I just thought of something.”
Seth’s hand stilled on my thigh. “Does it involve doing what you just did? Because I’m going to need a few more moments to recover.”
“No.” Pushing against his chest, I ignored his groan as I sat up. Excitement thrummed through me as the idea took hold and spread. “It has nothing to do with the demigod. Not really, but more of what is happening here.”
He gave me a lazy look from under his lashes. “Okay.”
I took a deep breath. “If Ares’s son affects people and makes them violent, what if that’s what is happening here? At the Covenant? What if something like that is influencing the pures here and making them act this way?”
Josie dragged the huge-ass Myths and Legends textbook out from under the bed and plopped it down next to me.
“How did that book end up under the bed?” I asked, looking up at Josie. She’d fixed her robe, but she’d barely tied the sash at her waist, so the halves of the robe were gaping in very interesting, very distracting ways.
“I don’t know.” She crawled across the bed, sitting cross-legged beside me. “It fell off the bed one day and I was too lazy to pick it up.”
I grinned at her.
“What?” She ducked her chin as she started opening the book, flipping through the pages. “This book is heavy.”
I could’ve pointed out that she had the air element at her disposal, but I figured she’d be likely to knock me upside the head if I did.
I leaned back against the headboard. “What are you looking for?”
“I’m looking for…this!” Picking up the sides of the book, she dropped it on my stomach.
Grunting, I grabbed it before it slid back onto a very sensitive part of me. I looked down, scowling when I saw that it was open to several paragraphs about Ares. “Josie.” I looked over at her. “Ares’s son hasn’t been to the campus.”
“I know, but he’s not Ares’s only son. Okay. So, when Deacon was telling me about Alex and Aiden and, well, you, he told me what happened to Alex after she fought Ares the first time. That she’d been, I guess you could say, infected by two of his sons.” Leaning over, she scanned the page and then pointed at the section about Ares’s children. “Phobos and Deimos, right?”
Tension crept into my shoulders as I stared at their names. “A thousand years could pass, and I won’t forget those bastards.”
They’d done a number on Alex, preying on her fears and amplifying them. Worse yet, they’d made her think she was pregnant. It had been…fuck, it had been horrible. The fallout for both Alex and Aiden…
Josie pulled her hand back. “Apollo had summoned them out of her, right? He looked at Alex and knew she’d been infected.”
I nodded. “Artemis had seen something in Alex, but it was Apollo who saw them.”
“Do you think it’s possible that they are here, infecting someone and influencing others?”
Shaking my head, I looked back at the page. Ares had quite a few children, as did most of the gods. Being alive that long, you could accumulate quite a brood. “Anything is possible, but they only infected Alex. Not saying they couldn’t have a larger impact if they wanted to.”
“But it’s not impossible, right?” Josie’s eyes glimmered with excitement. “It could be any number of his kids. Phobos instills fear. Deimos can cause terror, which by the way seems like the same thing to me, but whatever. And then there’s Enyo, or however you pronounce her name. She was his sister and lover, and ew, but she can cause discord. Discord, Seth.”
I wanted to believe that Josie was on to something. That all we had to do was find this one person or entity and everything would magically be resolved.
But it rarely worked out that way.
She pulled the heavy book off my stomach and held it in her lap, curling her fingers around the edges. “And if we could get one of the gods to come here and do whatever summoning mumbo-jumbo they need to do, we could stop what’s been happening here and all these deaths. And Colin’s death wouldn’t be for nothing.”
I saw it then, what was shining in her eyes and why she was so desperate to believe that she had the answer to fix this. She wanted revenge for Colin’s death. She wanted his death to mean something in the end.
And she wanted to be the one to bring him justice.
I got that.
I really did.
Tugging the book from her grasp, I closed it and placed it aside. I shifted closer to her, leaning over and planting my weight on one arm.
“Why’d you do that?” she demanded.
My eyes met hers. “I know you want to find the people or person or god responsible for Colin’s death. I completely understand that.” Cupping her cheek, I then slid my hand to the back of her head, tangling my fingers in her hair. “I want to find those people too.”
She stiffened. “You didn’t even like Colin.”
That was true. “I still want to find the person responsible. I just don’t think you’re going to find the answer in that book, babe.”
Her shoulders slumped as she looked away, and I hated seeing the sadness creeping into her expression. “Why can’t it be one of them?” she asked after a moment.
“It could be, but…Josie, there has been a long history of violence and hatred toward the halfs. Centuries worth of bigotry and discrimination. Some of that was fueled by the gods. And some of it is because there are a lot of pures that are just fucking disgusting assholes. There’s no one causing them to be this way. They chose to be this way.”
Josie gave a little shake of her head. “How can anyone choose to be so full of hatred that they murder people?”
“I don’t know.” I kissed her cheek. “I mean, I guess I kind of do know.”
“What?” Josie pulled back, her eyes searching mine. “What do you mean by that?”
I lifted a shoulder. “I did terrible shit when I was with Ares. I killed people, Josie. I can blame Ares, but it wasn’t like I wasn’t in control of myself. I’d been swayed to believe certain things and I acted on them. Some of these pures have been swayed to believe in certain things. They can be taught differently. I was, but does learning and changing wash away my crimes?”
Josie opened her mouth, but I already knew what she was going to say.
“I know you believe that it does for me,” I said. “But I know I still have an extraordinarily long road ahead of me when it comes to making up for everything I’ve done.”
She didn’t say anything as she scooted her way toward me. Quietly, she clasped my cheeks and kissed me. And that soft sweep of her lips led to a much deeper one that also led to a hell of a lot more than a kiss.
Hours later, I ended up lying beside her while she slept. My mind was too all over the damn place to get any shut-eye, so I was awake when someone knocked on the door.
Easing my arm out from underneath her, I wasn’t all that surprised that all she did was snuggle down in the bed, wiggling those damn hips of hers in a way that made it so fucking hard to get out of the bed.
But I did.
Because I was mature like that.