I had been too late.
“Get these people under control,” I ordered, stepping over the sprawled form of some guy who’d just gotten knocked out.
Alex whipped around. “What?”
I kept walking, slipping out the door and into the night. A handful of seconds had passed between when I’d seen the guy leave and when I stepped out, but the road in front of the bar was empty.
Frowning, I looked down the old cobblestone sidewalk. Left and right were vacant and… “Shit.”
Wispy mist slowly crept across the road, and tendrils licked up the curb and coiled around my ankles. There was nothing supernatural about the fog, but it sure as hell was creepy.
The door opened behind me and Deacon spilled out, plate of food still clutched to his chest. “I was sent to check on you—whoa, look at this fog.”
“It’s just fog, Deacon.” Frustrated, I tried to see through the damn mist, but apparently X-ray vision wasn’t a godly ability. Where in the hell had the guy gone?
“I don’t know.” Deacon wandered to the left as he picked up one of his fried fish filets. “This is spooky. Like, this is the kind of atmosphere perfect for a ghostly sighting if I’ve ever seen one. I bet the walker is around…”
Shaking my head, I let instinct guide me as I stepped off the curb while Deacon prattled on about some ghost that walked around and, I don’t know, screamed in people’s faces?
I crossed further into the mist, reaching a market of sorts that had been open when we entered the pub, but the large, square windows were now dark. I passed a bench and stopped at the corner of the alley. The weird-ass tingle was still dancing between my shoulder blades, but I still didn’t see shit as I crossed the alley. It was so damn quiet out here I was beginning to wonder if I’d hallucinated seeing the guy in the bar.
Shit. Maybe it was a ghost.
A ghost who walked into bars and stole drinks.
Sounded like a cooler ghost than the one who ran around screaming in people’s faces. I turned back to the pub. Maybe he went in the—
“Looking for me, mate?”
My back stiffened. Son of a bitch was right behind me, and I didn’t even hear him. I pivoted around, and there he was, standing near the bench I’d just passed.
The moment I saw him, I knew.
Even in the faint light, I knew he was Ares’s son. Even if what had happened in the pub hadn’t happened, I would’ve known the moment I saw him.
The guy looked like a younger version of Ares. Dark hair. Dark eyes. Cold face.
The damn Fates had their messed-up hands in this. I knew it. Only they would ensure that, out of all the demigods, it would be Ares’s son who survived.
He must’ve walked down the alley and waited, and he still had the mug of beer in his hand.
“Maybe,” I said, keeping my hands at my sides.
The guy took a drink of his beer. “Who are you?”
I said nothing. Staring at him and realizing who the hell his father was caused bitterness to mix with anger, but at the same time, I felt…nothing beyond that. Fucking nothing.
He sat the empty mug on the bench, but he didn’t take his eyes off me. “Or should I ask, what are you?”
Interesting. “That’s a strange question to ask.”
“Is it?” The guy stepped around the bench, but he didn’t come any further. “I don’t think so.”
So, we were going to play the evasive game? “What makes you think that?”
The guy tipped his chin up. “Well, ever since about March, any time I get around people, they end up trying to kill one another, but you and the group you were with? Didn’t seem to affect any of you.”
Ever since March? Something clicked into place then. Josie’s abilities had been unlocked about that time. Had her becoming a demigod triggered the abilities of the rest? That would make sense.
I was done with beating around the bush. “You didn’t affect us because we’re not mortal.”
If those words came at any surprise to the guy, he didn’t show it. Which could only mean…
“What is your name?” I demanded.
One side of his lips kicked up in a smirk that was so damn familiar I almost snapped forward and punched it off his face. “My name is Erik.”
“Where are your parents?”
“Do you know who your father is?” I demanded.
Erik didn’t answer.
“I know who your father is.”
Only then did I see a reaction from the guy. His nostrils flared. “What is your name?”
Recognition flickered across his face and then he exhaled heavily. “Bloody hell.”
I walked numbly behind Marcus, not feeling a single step. Not really feeling anything.
We were in the main building, inside the closed lobby, and every single pure-blood who’d taken part in the attack and was still alive was unmasked and on their knees, their hands secured behind their backs.
Colin had said there’d been around fifty of them that had attacked, and there were forty-two apprehended. Those forty-two had managed to kill nine half-bloods and two pure-blooded Guards. And the furies had killed…
I swallowed hard.
They had killed many.
“I want every single one of them questioned and then locked up,” Marcus ordered, his voice terse with barely restrained fury. “I will be contacting the families of every single one of you. Personally.”
One of the pures, a young man with dark hair, smirked, and Marcus’s response was immediate. He snapped forward, slamming his knee into the pure’s chin, knocking his head back.
The old Josie would’ve gasped and been surprised by Marcus’s reaction. Now? I wanted to do the same.
I wanted to kill all of them.
Marcus’s fist balled in the pure’s hair as he yanked his head back again. The smirk was gone from his now-bloody face. “Did that amuse you? Because you’re going to be far from amused by the end of this day, when we make use of the cells that are right underneath you.”
A girl at the end trembled as tears spilled down her cheeks. “I’m sorry. Please. I’m sorry—”
“Stop.” Marcus let go of the pure, and he slumped back, blood dripping onto the floor. Marcus straightened. “While I appreciate your outburst of remorse, I don’t care at the moment.”
Marcus pivoted, his movements stiff as he motioned to me to follow. Taking one last look at the pures, I followed Marcus over to where Alexander waited.
I couldn’t look at him.
Because when I did, I saw the dried blood on his hands and forearms. I stared at the floor.
“Make sure they go hard on the girl who was crying. She’ll be the first to break,” Marcus told Alexander. “None of them gets a pass. Do you understand?”
Glancing up, I saw Alexander nod. The man’s gaze met mine, and a thousand words were spoken in those eyes. Each one pierced my chest, proving that I was still feeling. I wasn’t numb at all. Pressing my lips together, I struggled to hold it together.
Marcus bowed his head as Alexander stalked off. “I have never hit a student before.”
I blinked. “He deserved it.”
“That is true,” he replied. “But I shouldn’t have done that.”
Surprised that he’d mention that to me, I glanced over at the pures. They were being made to stand. “I want to kill them all. I know I shouldn’t, but that’s not what I want.”
Marcus was quiet for a long moment. “And I do not think I’d stop you if you did.”
Neither of us spoke for a long moment.
“Have you heard from Seth or any one of them?” he asked.
I shook my head. They couldn’t take a cellphone with them. Whatever it was that Seth did when he traveled that way messed with cells, apparently making them unusable afterward.
“And our demigods? They’re safe?”
“Yes.” I’d gone to check on them after the attack. They were okay, but I…I’d had to tell them what happened.