There was the other half of me that was pissed every time he left, because he was leaving yet again. We never really got to talk. There was no chatter over coffee or lunch. Nothing personal. I’d gotten a chance to ask him about Erin but not my mom. And you’d think Apollo would, oh, I don’t know, start the conversation off with news about my mother, because hello, she was my mother, but there was nothing.
Training had been flipped around today. Solos worked with me on the more physical stuff in the morning, which sucked, because I’d gotten used to not having my ass kicked first thing in the morning, and the day was ending outside with Seth.
And I wanted to throat punch him.
“Concentrate, Josie. That’s all you have to do.” He paced in front of me, obviously at his wits’ end with the whole thing. “That’s it.”
“If that was all that it was, don’t you think I’d have done that by now?” I fired back.
He shot me a look. “You’re not concentrating.”
“I am too!”
“That is one thing you definitely got from your father.” He stopped to my right, eyes flashing. “A bird flies by and you’re staring at it for the next minute, no matter what you’re doing. ADD must run in the family.”
My mouth dropped open. “That is not true.”
“Really?” Incredulity filled his expression. “Because a couple of minutes ago, when you were supposed to be concentrating on summoning the water element, you were staring at an eagle.”
“It was a bald eagle!” I argued, unsure if that was the kind of eagle I’d actually seen or not. “And it was perched on that statue.” I pointed at the gigantic marble thing. “Artemis’s statue! I mean, what a coincidence.”
His brows lowered. “You do realize she uses hawks, right? Not eagles.”
“Oh, whatever. It was still pretty cool.”
He rolled his eyes. “Okay. What about when we first started? The clouds?”
Frustrated, I threw up my arms. “It was like for five seconds and it was because the clouds looked like boobs. Giant boobs.”
Seth stared at me.
“I don’t like you.”
He stalked toward me. “You don’t have to like me right now, but you need to concentrate. You need to get better at this, because if you don’t, you’re never going to leave this campus. You understand that?”
Pressing my lips together, I refused to respond.
“Do you, Josie? Because if you can’t summon the elements and harness them, how will you ever be able to control akasha? The most powerful and deadliest of all the elements.” Seth got all up in my face. What he was saying was true. That also didn’t mean I had to like it. “And if you can’t harness akasha, you’ll never be able to face down the Titans.”
My hands curled into fists. “I know that.”
“I don’t think you do.” His voice was low, deadly calm. His gaze met mine. “I won’t let you leave here if I don’t think you can actually defend yourself.”
“Oh? What? You think you can stop me? Oh, my gods!” I shrieked.
I didn’t think. I spun around and threw my arm out toward the dummy, palm open. He wanted me to concentrate? Well, I wanted to throw the damn dummy through some walls and into next year. Maybe even throw him along with it. Energy coursed through me, and the wind picked up. I opened up my hand, and I felt it—the lick of power.
A gust of wind rattled the benches as it rushed out from my palm and struck the dummy. It lifted the stupid thing up in the air, tossing it several feet backward. The dummy landed just in front of the low marble wall surrounding the cemetery, arms and legs askew.
“There.” I turned to Seth, folding my arms. “Happy?”
His ultra-bright gaze roamed over me. “First off,” he said, shifting back a step, “you just used ‘gods’ for the first time ever. Secondly, I just need to get you angry and you can do it. No problem. And finally, your eyes are glowing, Josie.”
Seth nodded. “Glowing like Apollo’s do when he wants to punch me.” He walked over to where the dummy had landed, near the wall. He stood it up. “Now do it again.”
Do it again? Like I was some dog learning a new trick.
“You have to do it again,” he insisted, returning to his Instructor of Annoying Jerk-Face position. Legs spread wide. Arms across his chest. “You have to do it more than once, and not when you’re just pissed at me.”
My skin prickled with frustration, and anger was like lava in my blood. Screw wind, though. I was so damn sick of the dummy. Sick of not being able to do it correctly every time. Sick of my missing mom and my absentee dad. Sick of the nightmares. So over the responsibilities I never asked for.
Just sick of everything.
Like a flower blossoming for the rain, whatever existed deep inside me opened up. A chasm ripped open, like it had when I blasted Hyperion. Pure power rippled through me, and this time when I lifted my hand and opened my palm, I wasn’t summoning the element of air. I tapped into the power of the gods, the energy that gave life and ended it.
Seth made a sound of surprise.
Whitish light powered down my right arm, circling like a cyclone, and then the intense white bolt of light erupted out of my palm and slammed into the dummy, lifting it back into the air again. The dummy continued to climb, higher than the trees surrounding the campus.
Akasha covered the dummy, the intensity too much for the plastic and fake flesh. It exploded with a loud crack, shattering into a million little pieces that rained down several feet away.