Chapter 18: THE MORTAL CUP
JACE WAS LYING ON HIS BED PRETENDING TO BE ASLEEP—FOR his own benefit, not anyone else’s—when the banging on the door finally got to be too much for him. He hauled himself off the bed, wincing. Much as he’d pretended to be fine up in the greenhouse, his whole body still ached from the beating it had taken last night.
He knew who it was going to be before he opened the door. Maybe Simon had managed to get himself turned into a rat again. This time Simon could stay a goddamned rat forever, for all he, Jace Wayland, was prepared to do about it.
She was clutching her sketchpad, her bright hair escaping out of its braids. He leaned against the door frame, ignoring the kick of adrenaline the sight of her produced. He wondered why, not for the first time. Isabelle used her beauty like she used her whip, but Clary didn’t know she was beautiful at all. Maybe that was why.
He could think of only one reason for her to be there, though it made no sense after what he’d said to her. Words were weapons, his father had taught him that, and he’d wanted to hurt Clary more than he’d ever wanted to hurt any girl. In fact, he wasn’t sure he had ever wanted to hurt a girl before. Usually he just wanted them, and then wanted them to leave him alone.
“Don’t tell me,” he said, drawing his words out in that way he knew she hated. “Simon’s turned himself into an ocelot and you want me to do something about it before Isabelle makes him into a stole. Well, you’ll have to wait till tomorrow. I’m out of commission. ” He pointed at himself—he was wearing blue pajamas with a hole in the sleeve. “Look. Jammies. ”
Clary seemed barely to have heard him. He realized she was clutching something in her hands—her sketchpad. “Jace,” she said. “This is important. ”
“Don’t tell me,” he said. “You’ve got a drawing emergency. You need a nude model. Well, I’m not in the mood. You could ask Hodge,” he added, as an afterthought. “I hear he’ll do anything for a—”
“JACE!” she interrupted him, her voice rising to a scream. “JUST SHUT UP FOR A SECOND AND LISTEN, WILL YOU?”
She took a deep breath and looked up at him. Her eyes were full of uncertainty. An unfamiliar urge rose inside him: the urge to put his arms around her and tell her it was all right. He didn’t. In his experience, things were rarely all right. “Jace,” she said, so softly that he had to lean forward to catch her words, “I think I know where my mother hid the Mortal Cup. It’s inside a painting. ”
“What?” Jace was still staring at her as if she’d told him she’d found one of the Silent Brothers doing nude cartwheels in the hallway. “You mean she hid it behind a painting? All the paintings in your apartment were torn out of the frames. ”
“I know. ” Clary glanced past him into his bedroom. It didn’t look like there was anyone else in there, to her relief. “Look, can I come in? I want to show you something. ”
He slouched back from the door. “If you must. ”
She sat down on the bed, balancing her sketchpad on her knees. The clothes he’d been wearing earlier were flung across the covers, but the rest of the room was neat as a monk’s chamber. There were no pictures on the walls, no posters or photos of friends or family. The blankets were white and pulled tight and flat across the bed. Not exactly a typical teenage boy’s bedroom. “Here,” she said, flipping the pages until she found the coffee cup drawing. “Look at this. ”
Jace sat down next to her, shoving his discarded T-shirt out of the way. “It’s a coffee cup. ”
She could hear the irritation in her own voice. “I know it’s a coffee cup. ”
“I can’t wait till you draw something really complicated, like the Brooklyn Bridge or a lobster. You’ll probably send me a singing telegram. ”
She ignored him. “Look. This is what I wanted you to see. ” She passed her hand over the drawing; then, with a quick darting motion, reached into the paper. When she drew her hand back a moment later, there was the coffee cup, dangling from her fingers.
She had imagined Jace leaping from the bed in astonishment and gasping something like “Egad!” This didn’t happen—largely, she suspected, because Jace had seen much stranger things in his life, and also because nobody used the word “Egad!” anymore. His eyes widened, though. “You did that?”
“Just now, in my bedroom, after—after Simon left. ”
His glance sharpened, but he didn’t pursue it. “You used runes? Which ones?”
She shook her head, fingering the now blank page. “I don’t know. They came into my head and I drew them exactly how I saw them. ”
“Ones you saw earlier in the Gray Book?”
“I don’t know. ” She was still shaking her head. “I couldn’t tell you. ”
“And no one ever showed you how to do this? Your mother, for instance?”
“No. I told you before, my mother always told me there was no such thing as magic—”
“I bet she did teach you,” he interrupted. “And made you forget it afterward. Magnus did say your memories would come back slowly. ”
“Of course. ” Jace got to his feet and started to pace. “It’s probably against the Law to use runes like that unless you’ve been licensed. But that doesn’t matter right now. You think your mother put the Cup into a painting? Like you just did with that mug?”
Clary nodded. “But not one of the paintings in the apartment. ”
“Where else? A gallery? It could be anywhere—”
“Not a painting at all,” Clary said. “In a card. ”
Jace paused, turning toward her. “A card?”
“You remember that tarot deck of Madame Dorothea’s? The one my mother painted for her?”
“And remember when I drew the Ace of Cups? Later when I saw the statue of the Angel, the Cup looked familiar to me. It was because I’d seen it before, on the Ace. My mother painted the Mortal Cup into Madame Dorothea’s tarot deck. ”
Jace was a step behind her. “Because she knew that it would be safe with a Control, and it was a way she could give it to Dorothea without actually telling her what it was or why she had to keep it hidden. ”
“Or even that she had to keep it hidden at all. Dorothea never goes out; she’d never give it away—”
“And your mother was ideally placed to keep an eye on both it and her. ” Jace sounded almost impressed. “Not a bad move. ”
“I guess so. ” Clary fought to control the waver in her voice. “I wish she hadn’t been so good at hiding it. ”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean if they’d found it, maybe they would have left her alone. If all they wanted was the Cup—”
“They would have killed her, Clary,” Jace said. She knew he was telling the truth. “These are the same men who killed my father. The only reason she may still be alive now is that they can’t find the Cup. Be glad she hid it so well. ”
“I don’t really see what any of this has to do with us,” Alec said, looking blearily through his hair. Jace had woken the rest of the Institute’s residents at the crack of dawn and dragged them to the library to, as he said, “devise battle strategies. ” Alec was still in his pajamas, Isabelle in a pink peignoir set. Hodge, in his usual sharp tweed suit, was drinking coffee out of a chipped blue ceramic mug. Only Jace, bright-eyed despite fading bruises, looked really awake. “I thought the search for the Cup was in the hands of the Clave now. ”
“It’s just better if we do this ourselves,” said Jace impatiently. “Hodge and I already discussed it and that’s what we decided. ”
“Well. ” Isabelle tucked a pink-ribboned braid behind her ear. “I’m game. ”
“I’m not,” Alec said. “There are operatives of the Clave in this city right now looking for the Cup. Pass the information on to them and let them get it. ”
“It’s not that simple,” said Jace.
“It is simple. ” Alec sat forward, frowning. “This has nothing to do with us and everything to do with your—your addiction to danger. ”
Jace shook his head, clearly exasperated. “I don’t understand why you’re fighting me on this. ”
Because he doesn’t want you to get hurt, Clary thought, and wondered at his total inability to see what was really going on with Alec. Then again, she’d missed the same thing in Simon. Who was she to talk? “Look, Dorothea—the owner of the Sanctuary—doesn’t trust the Clave. Hates them, in fact. She does trust us. ”
“She trusts me,” said Clary. “I don’t know about you. I’m not sure she likes you at all. ”
Jace ignored her. “Come on, Alec. It’ll be fun. And think of the glory if we bring the Mortal Cup back to Idris! Our names will never be forgotten. ”
“I don’t care about glory,” said Alec, his eyes never leaving Jace’s face. “I care about not doing anything stupid. ”
“In this case, however, Jace is right,” said Hodge. “If the Clave were to come to the Sanctuary, it would be a disaster. Dorothea would flee with the Cup and would probably never be found. No, Jocelyn clearly wanted only one person to be able to find the Cup, and that is Clary, and Clary alone. ”
“Then let her go alone,” said Alec.
Even Isabelle gave a little gasp at that. Jace, who had been leaning forward with his hands flat on the desk, stood up straight and looked at Alec coolly. Only Jace, Clary thought, could look cool in pajama bottoms and an old T-shirt, but he pulled it off, probably through sheer force of will. “If you’re afraid of a few Forsaken, by all means stay home,” he said softly.
Alec went white. “I’m not afraid,” he said.
“Good,” said Jace. “Then there’s no problem, is there?” He looked around the room. “We’re all in this together. ”
Alec mumbled an affirmative, while Isabelle shook her head in a vigorous nod. “Sure,” she said. “It sounds fun. ”
“I don’t know about fun,” said Clary. “But I’m in, of course. ”
“But, Clary,” Hodge said quickly. “If you are concerned about the danger, you don’t need to go. We can notify the Clave—”
“No,” Clary said, surprising herself. “My mom wanted me to find it. Not Valentine, and not them, either. ” It wasn’t the monsters she was hiding from, Magnus had said. “If she really spent her whole life trying to keep Valentine away from this thing, this is the least I can do. ”
Hodge smiled at her. “I think she knew you would say that,” he said.
“Don’t worry, anyway,” Isabelle said. “You’ll be fine. We can handle a couple of Forsaken. They’re crazy, but they’re not very smart. ”
“And a lot easier to deal with than demons,” said Jace. “Not so tricksy. Oh, and we’re going to need a car,” he added. “Preferably a big one. ”
“Why?” said Isabelle. “We’ve never needed a car before. ”
“We’ve never had to worry about having an immeasurably precious object with us before. I don’t want to haul it on the L train,” Jace explained.
“There’s taxis,” said Isabelle. “And rental vans. ”
Jace shook his head. “I want an environment we control. I don’t want to deal with taxi drivers or mundane rental companies when we’re doing something this important. ”
“Don’t you have a driver’s license or a car?” Alec asked Clary, looking at her with veiled loathing. “I thought all mundanes had those. ”
“Not when they’re fifteen,” Clary said crossly. “I was supposed to get one this year, but not yet. ”
“Fat lot of use you are. ”
“At least my friends can drive,” she shot back. “Simon’s got a license. ”
She instantly regretted saying it.
“Does he?” said Jace, in an aggravatingly thoughtful tone.
“But he hasn’t got a car,” she added quickly.
“So does he drive his parents’ car?” Jace asked.
Clary sighed, settling back against the desk. “No. Usually he drives Eric’s van. Like, to gigs and stuff. Sometimes Eric lets him borrow it for other stuff. Like if he has a date. ”
Jace snorted. “He picks up his dates in a van? No wonder he’s such a hit with the ladies. ”
“It’s a car,” Clary said. “You’re just mad Simon has something you haven’t got. ”
“He has many things I haven’t got,” said Jace. “Like nearsightedness, bad posture, and an appalling lack of coordination. ”
“You know,” Clary said, “most psychologists agree that hostility is really just sublimated sexual attraction. ”
“Ah,” said Jace blithely, “that might explain why I so often run into people who seem to dislike me. ”
“I don’t dislike you,” said Alec quickly.
“That is because we share a brotherly affection,” said Jace, striding over to the desk. He took the black telephone and held it out to Clary. “Call him. ”
“Call who?” Clary said, stalling for time. “Eric? He’d never lend me his car. ”
“Simon,” said Jace. “Call Simon and ask him if he’ll drive us to your house. ”
Clary made a last effort. “Don’t you know any Shadowhunters who have cars?”
“In New York?” Jace’s grin faded. “Look, everyone’s in Idris for the Accords; and anyway, they’d insist on coming with us. It’s this or nothing. ”
She met his eyes for a moment. There was a challenge in them, and something more, as if he were daring her to explain her reluctance. With a scowl she stalked over to the desk and snatched the telephone out of his hand.
She didn’t have to think before dialing. Simon’s number was as familiar to her as her own. She braced herself to deal with his mother or his sister, but he picked up on the second ring. “Hello?”
Jace was looking at her. Clary squeezed her eyes shut, trying to pretend he wasn’t there. “It’s me,” she said. “Clary. ”
“I know who it is. ” He sounded irritated. “I was asleep, you know. ”
“I know. It’s early. I’m sorry. ” She twirled the phone cord around her finger. “I need to ask you for a favor. ”
There was another silence before he laughed bleakly. “You’re kidding. ”
“I’m not kidding,” she said. “We know where the Mortal Cup is, and we’re prepared to go get it. The only thing is, we need a car. ”
He laughed again. “Sorry, are you telling me that your demon-slaying buddies need to be driven to their next assignation with the forces of darkness by my mom?”
“Actually, I thought you could ask Eric if you could borrow the van. ”
“Clary, if you think that I—”
“If we get the Mortal Cup, I’ll have a way to get my mom back. It’s the only reason Valentine hasn’t killed her or let her go. ”
Simon let out a long, whistling breath. “You think it’s going to be that easy to make a trade? Clary, I don’t know. ”
“I don’t know either. I just know it’s a chance. ”
“This thing is powerful, right? In D&D it’s usually better not to mess with powerful objects until you know what they do. ”
“I’m not going to mess with it. I’m just going to use it to get my mom back. ”
“That doesn’t make any sense, Clary. ”
“This isn’t D&D, Simon!” she half-screamed. “It’s not a funny game where the worst thing that happens is you get a bad dice roll. This is my mom we’re talking about, and Valentine could be torturing her. He could kill her. I have to do anything I can to get her back—just like I did for you. ”
Pause. “Maybe you’re right. I don’t know, this isn’t really my world. Look, where are we driving to, exactly? So I can tell Eric. ”
“Don’t bring him,” she said quickly.
“I know,” he replied with exaggerated patience. “I’m not stupid. ”
“We’re driving to my house. It’s in my house. ”
There was a short silence—bewilderment this time. “In your house? I thought your house was full of zombies. ”
“Forsaken warriors. They’re not zombies. Anyway, Jace and the others can take care of them while I get the Cup. ”
“Why do you have to get the Cup?” He sounded alarmed.
“Because I’m the only one who can,” she said. “Pick us up at the corner as soon as you can. ”
He muttered something nearly inaudible, then: “Fine. ”
She opened her eyes. The world swam before her in a blur of tears. “Thanks, Simon,” she said. “You’re a—”
But he had hung up.
“It occurs to me,” said Hodge, “that the dilemmas of power are always the same. ”
Clary glanced at him sideways. “What do you mean?”
She sat on the window seat in the library, Hodge in his chair with Hugo on the armrest. The remains of breakfast—sticky jam, toast crumbs, and smears of butter—clung to a stack of plates on the low table that no one had seemed inclined to clear away. After breakfast they had scattered to prepare themselves, and Clary had been the first one back. This was hardly surprising, considering that all she had to do was pull on jeans and a shirt and run a brush through her hair, while everyone else had to arm themselves heavily. Having lost Jace’s dagger in the hotel, the only remotely supernatural object she had on her was the witchlight stone in her pocket.
“I was thinking of your Simon,” Hodge said, “and of Alec and Jace, among others. ”
She glanced out the window. It was raining, thick fat drops spattering against the panes. The sky was an impenetrable gray. “What do they have to do with each other?”
“Where there is feeling that is not requited,” said Hodge, “there is an imbalance of power. It is an imbalance that is easy to exploit, but it is not a wise course. Where there is love, there is often also hate. They can exist side by side. ”
“Simon doesn’t hate me. ”
“He might grow to, over time, if he felt you were using him. ” Hodge held up a hand. “I know you do not intend to, and in some cases necessity trumps nicety of feeling. But the situation has put me in mind of another. Do you still have that photograph I gave you?”
Clary shook her head. “Not on me. It’s back in my room. I could go get it—”
“No. ” Hodge stroked Hugo’s ebony feathers. “When your mother was young, she had a best friend, just as you have Simon. They were as close as siblings. In fact, they were often mistaken for brother and sister. As they grew older, it became clear to everyone around them that he was in love with her, but she never saw it. She always called him a ‘friend. ’”
Clary stared at Hodge. “Do you mean Luke?”
“Yes,” said Hodge. “Lucian always thought he and Jocelyn would be together. When she met and loved Valentine, he could not bear it. After they were married, he left the Circle, disappeared—and let us all think that he was dead. ”
“He never said—never even hinted at anything like that,” Clary said. “All these years, he could have asked her—”
“He knew what the answer would be,” said Hodge, looking past her toward the rain-spattered skylight. “Lucian was never the sort of man who would have deluded himself. No, he contented himself with being near her—assuming, perhaps, that over time her feelings might change. ”
“But if he loved her, why did he tell those men he didn’t care what happened to her? Why did he refuse to let them tell him where she was?”
“As I said before, where there is love, there is also hatred,” said Hodge. “She hurt him badly all those years ago. She turned her back on him. And yet he has played her faithful lapdog ever since, never remonstrating, never accusing, never confronting her with his feelings. Perhaps he saw an opportunity to turn the tables. To hurt her as he’d been hurt. ”
“Luke wouldn’t do that. ” But Clary was remembering his icy tone as he told her not to ask him for favors. She saw the hard look in his eyes as he faced Valentine’s men. That wasn’t the Luke she’d known, the Luke she’d grown up with. That Luke would never have wanted to punish her mother for not loving him enough or in the right way. “But she did love him,” Clary said, speaking aloud without realizing it. “It just wasn’t the same way he loved her. Isn’t that enough?”
“Perhaps he didn’t think so. ”
“What will happen after we get the Cup?” she said. “How will we reach Valentine to let him know we have it?”
“Hugo will find him. ”
The rain smashed against the windows. Clary shivered. “I’m going to get a jacket,” she said, slipping off the window seat.
She found her green and pink hoodie stuffed down at the bottom of her backpack. When she pulled it out, she heard something crinkle. It was the photograph of the Circle, her mother and Valentine. She looked at it for a long moment before slipping it back into the bag.
When she returned to the library, the others were all gathered there: Hodge sitting watchfully on the desk with Hugo on his shoulder, Jace all in black, Isabelle with her demon-stomping boots and gold whip, and Alec with a quiver of arrows strapped across his shoulder and a leather bracer sheathing his right arm from wrist to elbow. Everyone but Hodge was covered in freshly applied Marks, every inch of bare skin inked with swirling patterns. Jace had his left sleeve pulled up, chin on his shoulder, and was frowning as he scrawled an octagonal Mark on the skin of his upper arm.
Alec looked over at him. “You’re messing it up,” he said. “Let me do that. ”
“I’m left-handed,” Jace pointed out, but he spoke mildly and held his stele out. Alec looked relieved as he took it, as if he hadn’t been sure until now that he was forgiven for his earlier behavior. “It’s a basic iratze,” Jace said as Alec bent his dark head over Jace’s arm, carefully tracing the lines of the healing rune. Jace winced as the stele slid over his skin, his eyes half-closing and his fist tightening until the muscles of his left arm stood out like cords. “By the Angel, Alec—”
“I’m trying to be careful,” said Alec. He let go of Jace’s arm and stepped back to admire his handiwork. “There. ”
Jace unclenched his fist, lowering his arm. “Thanks. ” He seemed to sense Clary’s presence then, glancing over at her, his gold eyes narrowing. “Clary. ”
“You look ready,” she said as Alec, suddenly flushed, moved away from Jace and busied himself with his arrows.
“We are,” Jace said. “Do you still have that dagger I gave you?”
“No. I lost it in the Dumort, remember?”
“That’s right. ” Jace looked at her, pleased. “Nearly killed a werewolf with it. I remember. ”
Isabelle, who had been standing by the window, rolled her eyes. “I forgot that’s what gets you all hot and bothered, Jace. Girls killing things. ”
“I like anyone killing things,” he said equably. “Especially me. ”
Clary glanced anxiously toward the clock on the desk. “We should go downstairs. Simon will be here any minute. ”
Hodge stood up from his chair. He looked very tired, Clary thought, as if he hadn’t slept in days.
“May the Angel watch over you all,” he said, and Hugo rose up from his shoulder into the air cawing loudly, just as the noon bells began to ring.
It was still drizzling when Simon pulled the van up at the corner and honked twice. Clary’s heart leaped—some part of her had been worried that he wasn’t going to show up.
Jace squinted through the dripping rain. The four of them had taken shelter under a carved stone cornice. “That’s the van? It looks like a rotting banana. ”
This was undeniable—Eric had painted the van a neon shade of yellow, and it was blotched with dings and rust like splotches of decay. Simon honked again. Clary could see him, a blurred shape through the wet windows. She sighed and pulled her hood up to cover her hair. “Let’s go. ”
They splashed through the filthy puddles that had collected on the pavement, Isabelle’s enormous boots making a satisfying noise every time she put her feet down. Simon, leaving the motor idling, crawled into the back to pull the door aside, revealing seats whose upholstery had half-rotted through. Dangerous-looking springs poked through the gaps. Isabelle wrinkled her nose. “Is it safe to sit?”
“Safer than being strapped to the roof,” said Simon pleasantly, “which is your other option. ” He nodded a greeting to Jace and Alec, ignoring Clary completely. “Hey. ”
“Hey indeed,” said Jace, and lifted the rattling canvas duffel bag that held their weapons. “Where can we put these?”
Simon directed him to the back, where the boys usually kept their musical instruments, while Alec and Isabelle crawled into the van’s interior and perched on the seats. “Shotgun!” announced Clary as Jace came back around the side of the van.
Alec grabbed for his bow, strapped across his back. “Where?”
“She means she wants the front seat,” said Jace, pushing wet hair out of his eyes.
“That’s a nice bow,” said Simon, with a nod toward Alec.
Alec blinked, rain running off his eyelashes. “Do you know much about archery?” he asked, in a tone that suggested that he doubted it.
“I did archery at camp,” said Simon. “Six years running. ”
The response to this was three blank stares and a supportive smile from Clary, which Simon ignored. He glanced up at the lowering sky. “We should go before it starts pouring again. ”
The front seat of the car was covered in Doritos wrappers and Pop-Tart crumbs. Clary brushed away what she could. Simon started the car before she’d finished, flinging her back against the seat. “Ouch,” she said reprovingly.
“Sorry. ” He didn’t look at her.
Clary could hear the others talking softly in the back among themselves—probably discussing battle strategies and the best way to behead a demon without getting ichor on your new leather boots. Though there was nothing separating the front seat from the rest of the van, Clary felt the awkward silence between her and Simon as if they were alone.
“So what’s with that ‘hey’ thing?” she asked as Simon maneuvered the car onto the FDR parkway, the highway that ran alongside the East River.
“What ‘hey’ thing?” he replied, cutting off a black SUV whose occupant, a suited man with a cell phone in his hand, made an obscene gesture at them through the tinted windows.
“The ‘hey’ thing that guys always do. Like when you saw Jace and Alec, you said ‘hey,’ and they said ‘hey’ back. What’s wrong with ‘hello’?”
She thought she saw a muscle twitch in his cheek. “‘Hello’ is girly,” he informed her. “Real men are terse. Laconic. ”
“So the more manly you are, the less you say?”
“Right. ” Simon nodded. Past him she could see the humid fog lowering over the East River, shrouding the waterfront in feathery gray mist. The water itself was the color of lead, churned to a whipped cream consistency by the steady wind. “That’s why when major badasses greet each other in movies, they don’t say anything, they just nod. The nod means, ‘I am a badass, and I recognize that you, too, are a badass,’ but they don’t say anything because they’re Wolverine and Magneto and it would mess up their vibe to explain. ”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” said Jace, from the backseat.
“Good,” Clary said, and was rewarded by the smallest of smiles from Simon as he turned the van onto the Manhattan Bridge, heading toward Brooklyn and home.
By the time they reached Clary’s house, it had finally stopped raining. Threaded beams of sunlight were burning away the remnants of mist, and the puddles on the sidewalk were drying. Jace, Alec, and Isabelle made Simon and Clary wait by the van while they went to check, as Jace said, the “demonic activity levels. ”
Simon watched as the three Shadowhunters headed up the rose-lined walkway to the house. “Demonic activity levels? Do they have a device that measures whether the demons inside the house are doing power yoga?”
“No,” Clary said, pushing her damp hood back so she could enjoy the feel of the sunlight on her draggled hair. “The Sensor tells them how powerful the demons are—if there are any demons. ”
Simon looked impressed. “That is useful. ”
She turned to him. “Simon, about last night—”
He held up a hand. “We don’t have to talk about it. In fact, I’d rather not. ”
“Just let me say one thing. ” She spoke quickly. “I know that when you said you loved me, what I said back wasn’t what you wanted to hear. ”
“True. I’d always hoped that when I finally said ‘I love you’ to a girl, she’d say ‘I know’ back, like Leia did to Han in Return of the Jedi. ”
“That is so geeky,” Clary said, unable to help herself.
He glared at her.
“Sorry,” she said. “Look, Simon, I—”
“No,” he said. “You look, Clary. Look at me, and really see me. Can you do that?”
She looked at him. Looked at the dark eyes, flecked with lighter color toward the outside edge of the iris, at the familiar, slightly uneven eyebrows, the long lashes, the dark hair and hesitating smile and graceful musical hands that were all part of Simon, who was part of her. If she had to tell the truth, would she really say that she’d never known that he loved her? Or just that she’d never known what she would do about it if he did?
She sighed. “Seeing through glamour is easy. It’s people that are hard. ”
“We all see what we want to see,” he said quietly.
“Not Jace,” she said, unable to help herself, thinking of those clear, impassive eyes.
“Him more than anyone. ”
She frowned. “What do you—”
“All right,” came Jace’s voice, interrupting them. Clary turned hastily. “We’ve checked all four corners of the house—nothing. Low activity. Probably just the Forsaken, and they might not even bother us unless we try getting into the upstairs apartment. ”
“And if they do,” said Isabelle, her grin as glittering as her whip, “we’ll be ready for them. ”
Alec dragged the heavy canvas bag out of the back of the van, dropping it on the sidewalk. “Ready to go,” he announced. “Let’s kick some demon butt!”
Jace looked at him a little oddly. “You all right?”
“Fine. ” Not looking at him, Alec discarded his bow and arrow in favor of a polished wooden featherstaff, with two glittering blades that appeared at a light touch from his fingers. “This is better. ”
Isabelle looked at her brother with concern. “But the bow …”
Alec cut her off. “I know what I’m doing, Isabelle. ”
The bow lay across the backseat, gleaming in the sunlight. Simon reached for it, then drew his hand back as a laughing group of young women pushing strollers headed up the street in the direction of the park. They took no notice of the three heavily armed teenagers crouched by the yellow van. “How come I can see you guys?” Simon asked. “What happened to that invisibility magic of yours?”
“You can see us,” said Jace, “because now you know the truth of what you’re looking at. ”
“Yeah,” said Simon. “I guess I do. ”
He protested a little when they asked him to stay by the van, but Jace impressed upon him the importance of having a getaway vehicle idling by the curb. “Sunlight’s fatal to demons, but it won’t hurt the Forsaken. What if they chase us? What if the car gets towed?”
The last Clary saw of Simon as she turned to wave from the front porch was his long legs propped up on the dashboard as he sorted through Eric’s CD collection. She breathed a sigh of relief. At least Simon was safe.
The smell hit her the moment they walked through the front door. It was almost indescribable, like spoiled eggs and maggoty meat and seaweed rotting on a hot beach. Isabelle wrinkled her nose and Alec turned greenish, but Jace looked as if he were inhaling rare perfume. “Demons have been here,” he announced, with cold delight. “Recently, too. ”
Clary looked at him anxiously. “But they’re not still—”
“No. ” He shook his head. “We would have sensed it. Still. ” He jerked his chin at Dorothea’s door, tightly shut without a wisp of light peeking from underneath. “She might have some questions to answer if the Clave hears she’s been entertaining demons. ”
“I doubt the Clave will be too pleased about any of this,” said Isabelle. “On balance, she’ll probably come out of it better than we do. ”
“They won’t care as long as we get the Cup in the end. ” Alec was glancing around, blue eyes taking in the sizeable foyer, the curved staircase leading upstairs, the stains on the walls. “Especially if we slaughter a few Forsaken while we do it. ”
Jace shook his head. “They’re in the upstairs apartment. My guess is that they won’t bother us unless we try to get in. ”
Isabelle blew a sticky strand of hair out of her face and frowned at Clary. “What are you waiting for?”
Clary glanced involuntarily at Jace, who gave her a sideways smile. Go ahead, said his eyes.
She moved across the foyer toward Dorothea’s door, stepping carefully. With the skylight blackened with dirt and the entryway lightbulb still out, the only illumination came from Jace’s witchlight. The air was hot and close, and the shadows seemed to rise up before her like magically fast-growing plants in a nightmare forest. She reached up to knock on Dorothea’s door, once lightly and then again with more force.
It swung open, spilling a great wash of golden light into the foyer. Dorothea stood there, massive and imposing in swaths of green and orange. Today her turban was neon yellow, adorned with a stuffed canary and rickrack trim. Chandelier earrings bobbed against her hair, and her big feet were bare. Clary was surprised—she’d never seen Dorothea barefoot before, or wearing anything other than her faded carpet slippers.
Her toenails were a pale, and very tasteful, shell pink.
“Clary!” she exclaimed, and swept Clary into an overwhelming embrace. For a moment Clary struggled, embroiled in a sea of perfumed flesh, swaths of velvet, and the tasseled ends of Dorothea’s shawl. “Good Lord, girl,” said the witch, shaking her head until her earrings swung like wind chimes in a storm. “The last time I saw you, you were disappearing through my Portal. Where’d you end up?”
“Williamsburg,” said Clary, catching her breath.
Dorothea’s eyebrows shot skyward. “And they say there’s no convenient public transportation in Brooklyn. ” She swung the door open and gestured for them to come in.
The place looked unchanged from the last time Clary had seen it: There were the same tarot cards and crystal ball scattered on the table. Her fingers itched for the cards, itched to snatch them up and see what might lie hidden inside their slickly painted surfaces.
Dorothea sank gratefully into an armchair and regarded the Shadowhunters with a stare as beady as the eyes of the stuffed canary on her hat. Scented candles burned in dishes on either side of the table, which did little to dispel the thick stench pervading every inch of the house. “I take it you haven’t located your mother?” she asked Clary.
Clary shook her head. “No. But I know who took her. ”
Dorothea’s eyes darted past Clary to Alec and Isabelle, who were examining the Hand of Fate on the wall. Jace, looking supremely unconcerned in his role of bodyguard, lounged against a chair arm. Satisfied that none of her belongings were being destroyed, Dorothea returned her gaze to Clary. “Was it—”
“Valentine,” Clary confirmed. “Yes. ”
Dorothea sighed. “I feared as much. ” She settled back against the cushions. “Do you know what he wants with her?”
“I know she was married to him—”
The witch grunted. “Love gone wrong. The worst. ”
Jace made a soft, almost inaudible noise at that—a chuckle. Dorothea’s ears pricked like a cat’s. “What’s so funny, boy?”
“What would you know about it?” he said. “Love, I mean. ”
Dorothea folded her soft white hands in her lap. “More than you might think,” she said. “Didn’t I read your tea leaves, Shadowhunter? Have you fallen in love with the wrong person yet?”
Jace said, “Unfortunately, Lady of the Haven, my one true love remains myself. ”
Dorothea roared at that. “At least,” she said, “you don’t have to worry about rejection, Jace Wayland. ”
“Not necessarily. I turn myself down occasionally, just to keep it interesting. ”
Dorothea roared again. Clary interrupted her. “You must be wondering why we’re here, Madame Dorothea. ”
Dorothea subsided, wiping at her eyes. “Please,” she said, “feel free to give me my proper title, as the boy did. You may call me Lady. And I assumed,” she added, “that you came for the pleasure of my company. Was I wrong?”
“I don’t have time for the pleasure of anyone’s company. I have to help my mother, and to do that there’s something I need. ”
“And what’s that?”
“It’s something called the Mortal Cup,” Clary said, “and Valentine thought my mother had it. That’s why he took her. ”
Dorothea looked well and truly astonished. “The Cup of the Angel?” she said, disbelief coloring her voice. “Raziel’s Cup, in which he mixed the blood of angels and the blood of men and gave of this mixture to a man to drink, and created the first Shadowhunter?”
“That would be the one,” said Jace, a little dryness in his tone.
“Why on earth would he think she had it?” Dorothea demanded. “Jocelyn, of all people?” Realization dawned on her face before Clary could speak. “Because she wasn’t Jocelyn Fray at all, of course,” she said. “She was Jocelyn Fairchild, his wife. The one everyone thought had died. She took the Cup and fled, didn’t she?”
Something flickered in the back of the witch’s eyes then, but she lowered her lids so quickly that Clary thought she might have imagined it. “So,” Dorothea said, “do you know what you’re going to do now? Wherever she’s hidden it, it can’t be easy to find—if you even want it found. Valentine could do terrible things with his hands on that Cup. ”
“I want it found,” said Clary. “We want to—”
Jace cut her off smoothly. “We know where it is,” he said. “It’s only a matter of retrieving it. ”
Dorothea’s eyes widened. “Well, where is it?”
“Here,” said Jace, in a tone so smug that Isabelle and Alec wandered over from their perusal of the bookcase to see what was going on.
“Here? You mean you have it with you?”
“Not exactly, dear Lady,” said Jace, who was, Clary felt, enjoying himself in a truly appalling manner. “I meant that you have it. ”
Dorothea’s mouth snapped shut. “That’s not funny,” she said, so sharply that Clary became worried that this was all going terribly wrong. Why did Jace always have to antagonize everyone?
“You do have it,” Clary interrupted hurriedly, “but not—”
Dorothea rose from the armchair to her full, magnificent height, and glowered down at them. “You are mistaken,” she said coldly. “Both in imagining that I have the Cup, and in daring to come here and call me a liar. ”
Alec’s hand went to his featherstaff. “Oh, boy,” he said under his breath.
Baffled, Clary shook her head. “No,” she said quickly, “I’m not calling you a liar, I promise. I’m saying the Cup is here, but you never knew it. ”
Madame Dorothea stared at her. Her eyes, nearly hidden in the folds of her face, were hard as marbles. “Explain yourself,” she said.
“I’m saying my mother hid it here,” said Clary. “Years ago. She never told you because she didn’t want to involve you. ”
“So she gave it to you disguised,” Jace explained, “in the form of a gift. ”
Dorothea looked at him blankly.
Doesn’t she remember? Clary thought, puzzled. “The tarot deck,” she said. “The cards she painted for you. ”
The witch’s gaze went to the cards, lying in their silk wrappings on the table. “The cards?” As her gaze widened, Clary stepped to the table and picked up the deck. They were warm to the touch, almost slippery. Now, as she had not been able to before, she felt the power from the runes painted on their backs pulsing through the tips of her fingers. She found the Ace of Cups by touch and pulled it out, setting the rest of the cards back down on the table.
“Here it is,” she said.
They were all looking at her, expectant, perfectly still. Slowly she turned the card over and looked again at her mother’s artwork: the slim painted hand, its fingers wrapped around the gold stem of the Mortal Cup.
“Jace,” she said. “Give me your stele. ”
He pressed it, warm and alive-feeling, into her palm. She turned the card over and traced over the runes painted on its back—a twist here and a line there and they meant something entirely different. When she turned the card back over, the picture had subtly changed: The fingers had released their grip on the Cup’s stem, and the hand seemed almost to be offering the Cup to her as if to say, Here, take it.
She slid the stele into her pocket. Then, though the painted square was no bigger than her hand, she reached into it as if through a wide gap. Her hand wrapped around the base of the Cup—her fingers closed on it—and as she drew her hand back, the Cup gripped firmly in it, she thought she heard the smallest of sighs before the card, now blank and empty, turned to ash that sifted away between her fingers to the carpeted floor.