“I’m sorry to intrude,” she said softly, “but Marcus and Alexander are looking for you and Seth.”
Figuring it had to do with what had happened yesterday, I pushed my daddy issues aside. “Seth is with Alex and Aiden and, um, Erik.” I didn’t know if she knew who Erik was. “What’s going on?”
“I don’t know how to tell you this, but Marcus thought it was best for you to hear this before it gets out like almost everything inevitably does.”
I started to frown. I had no idea where she was going with this.
Laadan clasped her hands together. “Colin…Colin’s body is missing.”
I don’t remember the walk back to the main Covenant building, but I knew the minute Alexander had found Seth, because he suddenly appeared beside me in the stairwell, frightening Laadan so badly she would’ve fallen down the stairs if Seth hadn’t caught her arm.
“Sorry,” he said, steadying her before turning to me. “I just heard.”
All I could do was shake my head. I had no idea what to say. How in the world did Colin’s body disappear? We were heading to Marcus’s office and I was hoping he could shine some light on what happened.
“Do you think someone took it?” I winced as Laadan walked ahead. “I mean, took his body?”
“Someone had to.” He placed his hand on my lower back. His features were drawn. “Why, I have no idea.”
We were silent as we walked the rest of the way. Marcus was on the phone when we entered his office, his head bowed and his fingers pinching at the skin between his brows. Shortly after we arrived, Alex and Aiden joined us while Laadan lingered near Marcus’s desk, her expression tight with concern.
“Where’s Erik?” Seth asked as I stood next to him.
“Luke is with him,” Alex answered, sitting in one of the chairs. “And Deacon is with Cora and Gable, getting them breakfast and sorted for the day.” She paused, glancing at Marcus and then me. “We need to talk about Erik after this.”
“Understatement of the year,” Seth muttered, and I turned to him, wondering what the hell I had missed after I left the room to have my mini-breakdown.
Marcus hung up on the phone. He looked at Laadan. “Thank you.” Sitting down, he drew in a deep breath. “That was our campus security. They’re revealing the tapes for us to see who had access to the morgue area.”
I shivered. Morgue. Ugh. “Why would someone do this?” I asked, not expecting an answer. “I mean, God. Why would anyone take a body?”
Aiden shifted his weight as he eyed Marcus. “I hate to even think this, but based on what’s been happening here, I can’t imagine this is going to end remotely well.”
Understanding flickered through me as I stared at him. He meant that one of the pures who were against the halfs might’ve taken Colin’s body? Horror and anger beat at me as I turned to Marcus. What could those pures possibly want with Colin’s body? A hundred gruesome ideas sprung to life.
“If they do something to his body,” I started, my voice barely recognizable to my own ears. “I swear to the gods, I will lose it.”
“We don’t know anything yet for sure,” he reasoned, his tone calming. “Right now, we have all the pures who were involved in the attack yesterday in custody. I know that doesn’t mean we have all of them who have been taking part.”
“Are you sure he was dead?” Alex asked suddenly.
I wasn’t the only one to turn and look at her.
“What?” She threw up her hands. “Bodies just don’t get up and walk away! And, you know, stealing a body is pretty extreme.”
“Thank you for clarifying that for us,” Marcus said dryly.
“Yes,” I said, folding my arms across my stomach. “He was dead. Your father saw him. There was no way…” I gave a shake of my head as Seth dropped his arm around my shoulders. “He was dead.”
Seth pulled me in to his side, and I felt his lips brush my temple.
“Then we need his body,” Alex stated. “And I’m not trying to be Captain Obvious, here. If we don’t…”
“We will find his body,” Laadan assured us. “We have to.”
“Wait.” I turned to where Alex sat. “Besides the obvious of not being able to bury him, what will happen if we don’t find his body?”
She stared at me a moment. “You don’t know?”
“I’m guessing not.”
It was Seth who answered. “Remember when we buried Solos?” When I nodded, his gaze then searched mine. “We have traditions that must be followed for our fallen to pass over.”
My heart lurched into my throat as I remembered them placing coins over Solos’s eyes to ensure he’d have a warrior’s welcome. “What will happen to him if we don’t do that?”
Aiden turned away.
Seth’s shoulders tensed. “He will be stuck at the River Styx, unable to cross. He will be in a form of purgatory for eternity.”
Marcus assured us that he’d let us know as soon as he heard back from security, once they finished reviewing the tapes. I didn’t think we needed to wait to know what happened.
One of those fucking pures had taken his body to do gods knew what with it. After everything that Josie had been through, this was the last thing that needed to prey on her mind.
I wanted to pull Josie aside and get her to talk to me, to open up about how she was feeling, but we had another issue to deal with now.
The four of us sat in one of the smaller common rooms in the dorm. Josie sat on one side of the couch, her legs pulled up to her chest.
“What’s going on with Erik?” she asked, and I could tell that her mind was still back in Marcus’s office.
I stood across from her. “Besides the fact he’s arrogant, unpredictable, really doesn’t want to be here, and has the ability to piss off everyone…” I trailed off, realizing everyone, including Josie, was staring at me expectantly. “What?”
Josie grinned a little as she clasped her hands together in front of her knees. “You’re pretty much describing yourself.”
Alex snorted from where she had plopped down next to Josie. “Yeah, you are.”
I opened my mouth and then rolled my eyes. “Whatever. My point is he’s really a wild card right now and there’s something about him I don’t trust.”
“And that has nothing to do with him answering the door almost naked?” Alex piped up, grinning.
I tilted my head as I stared back at her.
“Look, it’s a rare day when I agree with anything Seth has to say, but I do,” Aiden chimed in. “There is something off about him.”
“And that also has nothing to do with him answering the door in a towel?” That was Josie who nearly parroted Alex’s statement.
Aiden shot her a deadpan look.
“We’re confident in our sexiness. Thanks,” I shot back, smiling tightly. “Anyway, as I was saying before I was unnecessarily interrupted, I don’t trust this guy.”
“He relented way too quickly once Apollo showed,” Aiden added. “And I don’t think it has anything to do with the fact that Apollo is a god. He agreed, packed up his stuff, and then came here. But he has no interest in learning anything.”
“Well, maybe he’s just overwhelmed,” Josie suggested, lifting a shoulder. “It’s a lot to handle, even if you know you’re a demigod.”
“To be honest, it almost like he already knows about the Titans and what’s expected from him,” I said, and when I glanced at Aiden, he nodded. “Hardly anything seems like a surprise to him.”
Josie frowned as she let go of her knees, letting her legs cross. “What do you mean, he already knows?”
“It’s just a feeling. Like nothing we say to him comes as any real surprise.” He gestured at Alex. “You’ve had to be thinking the same.”
Alex reached for her hair. “Yeah, I hate to be a part of the paranoia crew, but I’ve got that feeling too.”