Walking to the glass wall that overlooked the ocean, I pushed down the blossoming panic that screamed what if I never found her? I focused. “Apollo and Hercules couldn’t sense out the other missing demigods. Obviously wherever they are holding them is where they must have Josie.”
“Okay. Then there has to be something,” Aiden repeated, silver eyes flashing. “Alex and I have been tossing this back and forth on the way over here.”
“It was quite the trip,” she said dryly, and I knew there was a story there, but I didn’t care enough to ask them to elaborate. “So we had a lot of time to think about this.”
More time than I had, since I’d been busy drinking myself stupid and then finally learning about what I’d become. Shame was my middle name.
“The Titans need aether to regain their strength, correct?” Aiden stated. “Having two demigods and even Josie can’t be enough for six Titans—seven, up until you eradicated Atlas. That can’t be enough. So the next best thing would be pure-bloods.”
Following where he was going with this, I swung around. “If we can find a cluster of missing pures, then we’d be closer to where the Titans are.”
Alex nodded. “Unless they’ve been grabbing pures from multiple locations, then we’re back at the starting line, but we can hope they aren’t smart enough or they’ve grabbed more than the normal losses from one location.”
“I’ve already made a few calls to some of the Guards I know who protect pure communities,” Aiden said. “I hope to hear something soon.”
I should’ve been relieved that at least we’d have something to go off of, but every muscle in my body was tense, because what if . . . what if we were too late?
What if I was too late?
Night had fallen. I had no idea where Alex and Aiden were. The last I’d seen, they’d been transfixed by the priests and priestesses that they’d seen out by the temple after dinner. Now the house was quiet, as was the ocean. All I had were my thoughts, and they were full of Josie.
I’d tried sensing her out like I’d been doing all day, over and over. It had only been a day since I’d realized Josie had been taken, but it felt like a damn eternity of not knowing what was happening to her, what she was going through.
Smoothing a hand over my face, I squeezed my eyes shut. If we didn’t hear back from the Guards Aiden had contacted . . .
Lowering my hand, I turned. Alex stepped out onto the balcony. She’d changed in to jeans and a loose T-shirt. For a minute, she looked like any normal mortal out there.
“It’s beautiful here,” she said, her gaze bouncing from me to the dark ocean. “And you actually grew up in this?”
I didn’t respond as she walked to the railing and turned her face up, closing her eyes to the sweetly scented breeze.
“How are you hanging in there?” she asked.
Smiling wryly, I leaned back against the warm sandstone wall. “I want to blow shit up.”
She gave a soft laugh. “Understandable.” There was a pause and then she lowered her chin and opened her eyes. “You’re a god, Seth—and don’t say something stupid—but you’re an actual god.”
Her eyes widened. “Really freaking bizarre. We were talking to, um, Basil—is that his name? Yeah. Basil. He seems really nice.”
“He’s all right.”
Glancing over her shoulder to the open archway, only a moment passed before she found my gaze again. “Can I just point out something to you?”
“If I tell you no, is that going to make a difference?”
A quick grin flashed across her face, and for a moment, I saw our past stretched out—I saw all the good and all the bad. I had been there for Alex when Caleb died, but I’d also tricked her many times. I’d used her to power up before she’d awakened. Yeah, my head had been a bit brainwashed, but that wasn’t an excuse. In the end, I’d come through for Alex—for Alex and Aiden, but that didn’t wash my hands clean.
Sometimes I had a hard time believing that Alex was actually standing in front of me and not trying to throat-punch me.
Alex’s gaze met mine. “You said you want to blow stuff up, but you’re not.”
“I took out a tree earlier.”
Her brows rose. “But the Seth I knew would be all over the place, blowing up more than a tree,” she said. “You look the same, but you’re a hell of a lot calmer.”
I didn’t feel calm.
“Being a god must have a weird . . . zen effect on you.” She paused. “So I’m going to ask you another question. Why did you leave?”
My shoulders tensed.
“I have to ask.” She reached up, twisting her hair into a rope, reminding me so much of what Josie did when she was nervous that I had to look away for a moment. “I mean, obviously, you’re not out of control. You’re not running around, doing evil deeds.” Her nose wrinkled. “Like I’ve said, you’re actually calmer than I’ve ever seen you.”
My jaw locked down.
“And when you left, you didn’t hurt anyone. Yeah, you knocked out Gable and Luke, but you and I both know you could’ve done worse. We expected you to do worse.”
“Thanks for the vote of confidence.”
She ignored that. “But you left after you saw Josie. That right there is a sign that you’re okay. Well . . .” Her lips pursed. “Okay by your standards.”
I shot her a droll look.
“And I’m going to be honest. We had sent Herc to get Apollo to find a way to keep you caged. Josie was all about finding you and being there for you, and she fought for you. I mean—”
“You don’t understand, Alex.” I pushed off the wall. “Or maybe if you think about it, you would understand. You of all people should understand.”
She flinched. “Seth—”
“When I came to, knowing that something was vastly different in me, feeling what I was feeling, I didn’t know what I was capable of. I left because I wanted to keep her safe, because I couldn’t live with myself if I hurt her.”
She tipped her head back, meeting my glare. “But now? Once you get her back, what are you going to do then?”
I stared at her a moment and then shook my head. I turned back to the ocean. “It’s late, Alex, and I suddenly find myself with a case of shut the fuck up.”
“I really would like to punch you right now.”
“Get in line,” I muttered.
She was quiet for all of five seconds. “I’m sorry. I really am. What you’re going through? I can’t even imagine it.”
Pressing my lips together, I said nothing, which worked out perfectly because when I looked over my shoulder, I saw Aiden standing in the archway.
“Hey.” He walked up to Alex, wrapping an arm around her shoulders. He drew her to his side. “Why don’t you head to bed? I’ll join you in a little bit.”
Alex hesitated, because she rarely ever did what was asked or even suggested. So I nearly fell over when she said, “Okay.”
Obviously I wasn’t the only one calmer now.
After a quick kiss, Alex waved goodbye and slipped back into the archway. I saw that Basil was waiting in the wings and stepped out, immediately joining her. He was probably loving the fact that there were guests in the house.
“We picked the bedroom on the third floor, the one that faces the ocean,” Aiden said, coming to join me by the railing. “Is that okay?”
“Fine with me. There are only a thousand unused bedrooms in this place.”
“This is the home you grew up in?”
I nodded. “Until I was sent to the Covenant in England.”
“You have a temple in the backyard then?”
My lips kicked up on one side. “No. That appears to be a more recent addition.”
He crossed his arms on the railing and leaned against it. “This is a nice place though.”
Raising a brow, I wondered what the hell Aiden was doing out here. Things had changed between all of us. Yeah, I gave up my afterlife so he could have immortality. I obviously wasn’t gunning for Alex. We’d worked together a few times, but we did not like each other, and I knew that, deep down, Aiden hadn’t forgiven me for a lot of things. Couldn’t blame him for that. “Alex told me that you two wanted to keep me caged after what went down with Atlas.”