The Struggle

The Struggle

Page 36

“Oh.” I was surprised.

“They’d already left for the island when I went to the Covenant. When I learned you’d been taken, I kept looking for you. The whole god-thing allows me to . . . to sense out people. It’s how the gods can pop in and out, but you were blocked from me, just like the demigods had been blocked.”

Seth could now appear and disappear at will? Why didn’t I get a cool ability like that?

“It wasn’t until yesterday, when I was trying to sense you out and I felt you. Gods.” A muscle flexed in his cheek. “I found you in these woods. Perses—I don’t know if you know who that is.”

“I know him,” I murmured, hitching the blanket up further.

Seth closed his eyes. “I’d helped free Perses, along with Alex and Aiden. I guess once he realized who you were to me, he thought to repay me and freed you.”

“He did?”

His gaze drifted to mine. “You don’t remember that?”

“I remember . . .” I remembered being taken to Cronus again, and he looked younger than he had the last time. He no longer appeared ancient. Skin smoother, black hair sprouting through the silvery white, and muscles replacing frail bones and tissues. I remembered being held down and him feeding—pulling and pulling from me until my vision turned black and there was nothing. There was more—fragments. “I remember Perses coming to me, but I . . . I think I passed out before we left the room.”

Seth was staring at me and he looked like he wanted to ask me something, but changed his mind. “Well, he brought you out, and that’s how I found you.”

Holding the blanket close, I shivered as I recalled him being the one to hold me down. “I guess that was nice of him, but I won’t be thanking him anytime soon.”

“Thanking him will never be necessary.” Seth’s voice was sharp. “He’s dead.”

My chin jerked up. “What?”

“I killed him for what he took part in.”

I gaped at Seth. There wasn’t an ounce of remorse in his tone or expression, but I . . . I didn’t care that there wasn’t, because I wanted to kill Perses. I wanted to kill all of them for what they’d done to me—to Lauren, and would continue to do to Mitchell.

“I’m glad,” I said, meaning it. Seth exhaled heavily, and we sat there for a couple of moments. “Okay. Wow. So, you’re a god now that apparently can take out Titans easily. That’s pretty amazing.”

“It is.” A half-grin appeared. “I mean, I’ve always thought I was god-like, so it’s not that big of a change.”

“Ha.” I raised a brow. “Wait. If you’re a god, then that means the other gods can’t tell you what to do now, right?” Hope sparked deep in my chest, spreading through me like a wildfire. “If you’re a god, then they can’t kill you and you won’t be spending your afterlife working for Hades.”

He nodded, his eyes lighting to a tawny gold. “No, they can’t control me any longer and Hades is going to have to find a new toy to play with.”

“That’s so good. Oh my God, that’s such great news.” It was so amazing I almost started to cry like an overly emotional toddler. “Seth, I’m so happy to hear that.”

His entire expression softened. “It’s possibly the best part about all of this. Well, next to the ability to will myself from location to location,” he teased, and then those thick lashes lifted once more. “I . . . I have a future, Josie.”

My mouth dried. A future. Something Seth had never planned on having. Something that I’d hoped to overcome, but never knew how. Now Seth had a tomorrow, a next month, and so on. There was nothing stopping us from—

I cut those thoughts off, because it was all . . . everything was too much. I thought about my mom and . . . and I just didn’t want to think.

Seth and I stared at one another, and the silence stretched out. The air practically hummed by the time he looked away, swallowing.

“I need to use the bathroom,” I whispered, and then flushed, because Jesus, was there a better mood killer than that?

Nodding, he rose from the bed and gave me space to gather up the robe under the blanket and make sure I wasn’t flashing him as I scooted out of the bed.

Wholly aware of his gaze on me, I slowly made my way to the opulent bathroom, closing the door behind me. After using the bathroom, I washed my face, wincing at how the bruised and raw skin stung. By the time I was done, I was exhausted again, and my reflection showed it.

I looked like I’d been riding on the hot-mess express all night.

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