Frowning, I looked over at him. “I have no idea how that’s not just a coincidence.” I paused. “Unless even the rabbits and crickets recognize how much of a badass I am.” I joked, but a flicker of unease shot through me. The forest’s abnormal quietness couldn’t have anything to do with me. That wouldn’t make sense.
“I just thought it was an interesting observation. Anyway, there’s the problem between the pures and halfs,” Solos continued, rocking back on the heels of his boots. “In every community, there’ve been issues. Just as bad as they are here.”
“Not entirely surprising.” My jaw worked. “By the way, did you ever hear who the pure was that went after Josie and that Colin guy?”
Solos shook his head. “No.” There was a pause and I could feel his gaze on me. “By the way, Josie didn’t come back to training after she left looking for you.”
I said nothing.
“Luke went looking for her. Knocked on her door, but she didn’t answer,” he continued. “He was sure she was in there, but she wouldn’t let him in. That’s weird, right? They’re close.”
“Yeah,” I murmured. My jaw began to ache as I shifted my stance. I didn’t like the idea of her being alone and I sure as hell didn’t like the idea of her shutting out Luke. “They’re close.”
“Yeah, that’s what I thought.”
A muscle began to throb in my temple as I looked over at him. “Remember what I told you. She really needs to work on the more brutal stuff. She’s not ready to really take someone down, to make the choice to use lethal force. We’ve—you’ve got to get her to that point.”
“I know. I didn’t forget. I know where her weaknesses are.” He was blissfully quiet for all of five seconds. “I don’t know why you stopped training her, but—”
“It isn’t any of your damn business, Solos. I’m not talking about that with you. That’s the last warning you’re going to get.”
“Look, all I’m saying is—”
I spun on Solos, dipping low and catching him at the knees with the swipe of my leg. He hit the cement, flat on his back. Before he could move, I brought my booted foot down on his throat, slow enough to allow him to catch it with his hands, but I pressed down with just enough pressure to let him know I was so fucking done with this.
Off in the distance, I could see two Guards staring in our direction. They didn’t come close as I stared down at Solos.
“I’m not sure what part of ‘this is none of your business’ you don’t understand, but let me explain something to you.” I summoned the air element when he moved his leg toward mine, pinning him down with ease. “We are not friends. We aren’t going to get personal and exchange war stories. You’re not going to question me, especially when it comes to her.”
“Damn,” Solos grunted out. “Here I thought we were buddies.”
“Not even close.” I tilted my head. “Do you feel me?”
Solos smirked. “I feel you, bro.”
“That’s smart.” His gaze met mine. “Don’t ever forget what I am, Solos.”
His gaze was unwavering. “I know exactly what you are, Seth.”
“Not really,” I replied.
He smiled this time. Like he didn’t have a boot pressing down on his throat. “I do. Whether you want to believe it or not, I do.”
I glared at him. Did he realize how easy it would be for me to end his existence? Halfs were hard to kill, but not impossible. Doubted he’d survive a fall from this wall. I would. And I sure as hell knew he wouldn’t take another breath ever again if I came down on his throat.
I pressed down, and his eyes widened. “You don’t know what I’m capable of. It would be extremely wise to remember that.”
“Duly noted,” he gasped.
I held him down for a moment longer. Total dick move on my part, but wanted him to get the message. He did, and then I lifted my foot. Stepping back, I let up on the air element. He sprung to his feet, rising fluidly as he eyed me warily. “Good thing we’re now on the same page.”
“It’s a good thing I sort of like you,” he returned.
Pivoting around and facing the side, I lifted my hand and flipped him off. Then I leapt off the twenty-foot wall. Using the element of air, I slowed the descent. Hitting the ground in a crouch, inside the campus, I landed right next to two Sentinels about to walk out the gate.
“Gods.” One of them jumped into the other.
I smirked as I rose and then started off toward the buildings. It was early, and I was restless. Normally I’d have my hands—
Cutting that thought off, I closed my hands into fists. Even thinking about her made me want to go face-punch the statue of Hades, who would thoroughly enjoy that display.
What I’d done to her made me sick to my stomach. It couldn’t be forgiven, and I should be as far away from here as possible, but I wasn’t. Nope. There were obstacles preventing that. Namely, I was Apollo’s bitch, and until he told me to go somewhere, I was here. Then there was the whole Titan problem and the . . .
Who was I fooling? If I really wanted to get the hell out of here, I’d leave. Fuck Apollo and any consequences. Yeah, he was the puppeteer to my Pinocchio, but that hadn’t stopped me from roaming off before. If I really wanted to, I could leave right now and head for the Cyclades. I was still here because of Josie. I couldn’t be with her, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t protect her.