Chapter 1 of Half-Blood (Aiden's POV)

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The first body we’d found at the bus station in Atlanta had at least a 100 of his 208 bones broken in his body. The kid couldn’t have been much older than my brother, and that made me sick. Another life wasted, and for what? Mortals had no aether. It was just the joy—the thrill of the kill.
Kneeling beside the street kid’s body, I glanced up at the hulking form cast in silvery moonlight. The dude was built like a steam roller. “Find any more bodies, Leon?”

The pure-blood Sentinel shook his head, eyes narrowing. “No.”

Leon was a man of few words, but I was used to it. Turning back to the body, I knew what I had to do. I hated it with every fiber of my being, but this was a mess. Sentinels just didn’t hunt daimons.

We cleaned up after them.

Off in the distant, lightning struck and the last of the late Spring storm rolled out.Jaw clenched, I missed my hand on the kid’s arm and let one of the most powerful elements wash away what had been the horrific last moments of his life. Sparks flew from my fingertip, fueled by the very gods themselves, and traveled up the lifeless arm. Within seconds, the unnatural fire consumed the body. Nothing but ashes remained. It was like the boy never existed. And I couldn’t help but wonder if he had parents out there to notify, that even cared.

And I thought of Deacon again.

“Hey, Aiden, look what I found,” Kain called out, excited.

Standing, I wiped off my hands and turned. Kain was grinning. Gods, Kain was always grinning. He could be facing down a horde of daimons and be smiling.

“What?” Leon demanded, arms folded across his chest.

Kain waved a slip of paper. “One bus ticket to Nashville plus there’s money everywhere back here.”

Leon made an exasperated sound in the back of his throat. “This is a bus station, Kain. There will be tickets scattered around.”

“Yeah, thanks for point out that.” Kain rolled his eyes. “This ticket was from Miami to Nashville, with a stop in Atlanta.”

“She’s been here,” said Leon in a low, grave voice.

A ticket. Loose Money. Dead mortals and daimons. She had most definitely been here.

“Crap.” Kain pocketed the ticket and dropped the money for someone else to find. “You guys should’ve listened to me in Florida. We should’ve been watching the bus stations and not the airports.”

“That’s not really helping right now.” I stalked down the alley, scanning for something—anything to put us in the right direction. I needed to get back to the Covenant. Gods only know what the Deacon was doing.

“All I’m saying, is that—”

“Shut up, Kain,” warned Leon. It was amazing that he hated killed Kain yet.

Kain quieted.

With a grim smile I moved to the edge of the alley. There was a field and woods separating the truck stop from an industrial park. I felt Leon moved up behind me and I turned slightly. “Do you think we’re too late?” I asked.

He stared straight ahead, eyes distant. “I don’t think so. She made it this far after…”

After what we’d seen and learned in Miami, the girl would’ve had to been resourceful to keep going. But there were daimons here. They’d killed. It didn’t look good. She may be only a half-blood—a very well connected half-blood—but the idea of her dying out here alone sliced through me. The injustice of it all wasn’t right.

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