City of Fallen Angels – Chapter 16: NEW YORK CITY ANGELS

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Chapter 16: NEW YORK CITY ANGELS

“Were here,” Maureen said to Simon.

She had stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and was looking up at a massive glass-and-stone building that rose above them. It was clearly designed to look like one of the luxury apartment complexes that had been built on Manhattans Upper East Side before the Second World War, but the modern touches gave it away-the high sheets of windows, the copper roof untouched by verdigris, the banner signs draping themselves down the front of the edifice, promising LUXURY CONDOS STARTING AT $750,000. Apparently the purchase of one would entitle you to the use of a roof garden, a fitness center, a heated pool, and twenty-four-hour doorman service, starting in December. At the moment the place was still under construction, and KEEP OUT: PRIVATE PROPERTY signs were tacked to the scaffolding that surrounded it.

Simon looked at Maureen. She seemed to be getting used to being a vampire pretty fast. They had run over the Queensboro Bridge and up Second Avenue to get here, and her white slippers were shredded. But she had never slowed, and had never seemed surprised not to have gotten tired. She was looking up at the building now with a beatific expression, her small face aglow with what Simon could only guess was anticipation.

“This place is closed,” he said, knowing he was stating the obvious. “Maureen-”

“Hush. ” She reached out a small hand to pull at a placard attached to a corner of the scaffolding. It came away with a sound of tearing plasterboard and ripped-out nails. Some of them rattled to the ground at Simons feet. Maureen tossed the square of plasterboard aside and grinned at the hole shed made.

An old man whod been passing by, walking a small plaid-jacketed poodle on a leash, stopped and stared. “You ought to get a coat on your little sister there,” he said to Simon. “Skinny thing like that, shell freeze in this weather. ”

Before Simon could reply, Maureen turned on the man with a ferocious grin, showing all her teeth, including her needle fangs. “I am not his sister,” she hissed.

The man blanched, picked up his dog, and hurried away.

Simon shook his head at Maureen. “You didnt need to do that. ”

Her fangs had pierced her lower lip, something that had happened to Simon often before hed gotten used to them. Thin trickles of blood ran down her chin. “Dont tell me what to do,” she said peevishly, but her fangs retracted. She wiped the back of her hand across her chin, a childish gesture, smearing the blood. Then she turned back to the hole shed made. “Come on. ”

She ducked through, and he followed her. They passed through an area where the construction crew had clearly dumped their junk. There were broken tools lying around, smashed bricks, old plastic bags, and Coke cans littering the ground. Maureen lifted her skirts and picked her way daintily through the wreckage, a look of disgust on her face. She hopped over a narrow trench, and up a row of cracked stone steps. Simon followed.

The steps led to a set of glass doors, propped open. Through the doors was an ornate marble lobby. A massive unlit chandelier hung from the ceiling, though there was no light to spark off its pendant crystals. It would have been too dark in the room for a human to see at all. There was a marble desk for a doorman to sit at, a green chaise longue beneath a gilt-edged mirror, and banks of elevators on either side of the room. Maureen hit the button for the elevator, and to Simons surprise, it lit.

“Where are we going?” he asked.

The elevator pinged, and Maureen stepped in, Simon behind her. The elevator was paneled in gold and red, with frosted glass mirrors on each of the walls. “Up. ” She hit the button for the roof and giggled. “Up to Heaven,” she said, and the doors closed.

“I cant find Simon. ”

Isabelle, who had been leaning against a pillar in the Ironworks and trying not to brood, looked up to see Jordan looming over her. He really was most unreasonably tall, she thought. He had to be at least six foot two. She had thought he was very attractive the first time shed seen him, with his tousled dark hair and greenish eyes, but now that she knew he was Maias ex, she had moved him firmly into the mental space she reserved for boys who were off-limits.

“Well, I havent seen him,” she said. “I thought you were supposed to be his keeper. ”

“He told me he was going to be right back. That was forty minutes ago. I figured he was going to the bathroom. ”

“What kind of guardian are you? Shouldnt you have gone to the bathroom with him?” Isabelle demanded.

Jordan looked horrified. “Dudes,” he said, “do not follow other dudes to the bathroom. ”

Isabelle sighed. “Latent homosexual panic will do you in every time,” she said. “Come on. Lets look for him. ”

They circled the party, moving in and out among the guests. Alec was sulking alone at a table, playing with an empty champagne glass. “No, I havent seen him,” he said in response to their question. “Though admittedly I havent been looking. ”

“Well, you can search along with us,” said Isabelle. “Itll give you something to do besides look miserable. ”

Alec shrugged and joined them. They decided to split up and fan out across the party. Alec headed upstairs to search the catwalks and the second level. Jordan went outside to check the terraces and the entryway. Isabelle took the party area. She was just wondering whether glancing under the tables would actually be ridiculous, when Maia came up behind her. “Everything all right?” she inquired. She glanced up toward Alec, and then in the direction Jordan had gone. “I know a searching formation when I see one. What are you guys looking for? Is there trouble?”

Isabelle filled her in on the Simon situation.

“I just talked to him about half an hour ago. ”

“So did Jordan, but hes gone now. And since people have been trying to kill him lately. . . ”

Maia set her glass down on the table. “Ill help you look. ”

“You dont have to. I know youre not feeling super-fond of Simon right now-”

“That doesnt mean I dont want to help out if hes in trouble,” Maia said, as if Isabelle were being ridiculous. “Wasnt Jordan supposed to be watching him?”

Isabelle threw up her hands. “Yeah, but apparently dudes dont follow other dudes to the bathroom or something. He wasnt making a lot of sense. ”

“Guys never do,” Maia said, and followed her. They glided in and out through the crowd, though Isabelle was already pretty sure they werent going to find Simon. She had a small cold spot in the middle of her stomach that was growing bigger and colder. By the time theyd all convened back at their original table, she felt as if shed swallowed a glass of ice water.

“He isnt here,” she said.

Jordan swore, then stared guiltily at Maia. “Sorry. ”

“Ive heard worse,” she said. “So whats the next step? Anyone tried calling him?”

“Straight to voice mail,” Jordan said.

“Any idea where he might have gone?” asked Alec.

“Best-case scenario, maybe back to the apartment,” said Jordan. “Worst, those people whove been after him finally got him. ”

“People who what?” Alec looked bewildered; while Isabelle had told Maia Simons story, she hadnt had a chance to fill her brother in yet.

“Im going to head back to the apartment and look for him,” said Jordan. “If hes there, great. If not, thats still where I should start. They know where he lives; theyve been sending us messages there. Maybe therell be a message. ” He didnt sound too hopeful.

Isabelle made a split-second decision. “Ill go with you. ”

“You dont have to-”

“Yes, I do. I told Simon he should come here tonight; Im responsible. Besides, Im having a crap time at this party anyway. ”

“Yeah,” Alec said, looking relieved at the prospect of getting out of there. “Me too. Maybe we should all go. Should we tell Clary?”

Isabelle shook her head. “Its her moms party. It wouldnt be fair. Lets see what we can do just the three of us. ”

“Three of you?” Maia asked, a tone of delicate annoyance shading her voice.

“Do you want to come with us, Maia?” It was Jordan. Isabelle froze; she wasnt sure how Maia would respond to having her ex-boyfriend speak to her directly. The other girls mouth tightened a little, and for just a moment she looked at Jordan-not as if she hated him, but thoughtfully.

“Its Simon,” she said finally, as if that decided everything. “Ill go get my coat. ”

The elevator doors opened onto a swirl of dark air and shadows. Maureen gave another high-pitched giggle and danced out into the darkness, leaving Simon to follow her with a sigh.

They stood in a large marble windowless room. There were no lights, but the wall to the left of the elevator was fitted with a towering set of double glass doors. Through them Simon could see the flat surface of the roof, and above it the black night sky overhead pinpointed with faintly glowing stars.

The wind was blowing hard again. He followed Maureen through the doors and out into the cold, gusting air, her dress fluttering around her like a moth beating its wings against a gale. The roof garden was as elegant as the signs had promised. Smooth hexagonal stone tiles made up the flooring; there were banks of flowers blooming under glass, and carefully clipped topiary hedges in the shapes of monsters and animals. The walkway they followed was lined with tiny gleaming lights. All around them rose high glass-and-steel apartment buildings, their windows aglow with electricity.

The path dead-ended at a row of raised, tiled steps, atop which was a wide square bordered on three sides by the high wall that encircled the garden. It was clearly intended to be an area where the buildings eventual residents would socialize. There was a big concrete block in the center of the square, which would probably someday hold a grill, Simon guessed, and the area was encircled by neatly clipped rosebushes that in June would bloom, just as the bare trellises adorning the walls would one day vanish under a covering of leaves. It would be an attractive space eventually, a luxury Upper East Side penthouse garden where you could relax on a lounge chair, with the East River glittering under the sunset, and the city stretched out before you, a mosaic of shimmering light.

Except. The tile floor had been defaced, splattered with some sort of black, sticky fluid that had been used to draw a rough circle, inside a larger circle. The space between the two circles was filled with scrawled runes. Though Simon wasnt a Shadowhunter, hed seen enough Nephilim runes to recognize what came from the Gray Book. These didnt. They looked menacing and wrong, like a curse scrawled in an unfamiliar language.

In the very center of the circle was the concrete block. On top of it a bulky rectangular object sat, draped with a dark cloth. The shape of it was not unlike that of a coffin. More runes were scribbled around the base of the block. If Simons blood had run, it would have run cold.

Maureen clapped her hands together. “Oh,” she said in her elfin little voice. “Its pretty. ”

“Pretty?” Simon looked quickly at the hunched shape on top of the concrete block. “Maureen, what the hell-”

“So you brought him. ” It was a womans voice that spoke, cultured, strong, and-familiar. Simon turned. Standing on the pathway behind him was a tall woman with short dark hair. She was very slender, wearing a long dark coat, belted around the middle like a femme fatale from a forties spy movie. “Maureen, thank you,” she went on. She had a hard, beautiful face, sharply planed, with high cheekbones and wide dark eyes. “Youve done very well. You may go now. ” She turned her gaze on Simon. “Simon Lewis,” she said. “Thank you for coming. ”

The moment she said his name he recognized her. The last time hed seen her shed been standing in pouring rain outside the Alto Bar. “You. I remember you. You gave me your card. The music promoter. Wow, you must really want to promote my band. I didnt even think we were that good. ”

“Dont be sarcastic,” the woman said. “Theres no point in it. ” She glanced sideways. “Maureen. You may go. ” Her voice was firm this time, and Maureen, who had been hovering like a little ghost, gave a tiny squeak and darted back the way theyd come. He watched as she vanished through the doors that led to the elevators, feeling almost sorry to see her go. Maureen wasnt much company, but without her he felt very alone. Whoever this strange woman was, she gave off a clear aura of dark power hed been too blood-drugged to notice before.

“You led me a dance, Simon,” she said, and now her voice was coming from another direction, several feet away. Simon spun, and saw that she was standing beside the concrete block, in the center of the circle. The clouds were blowing swiftly across the moon, casting a moving pattern of shadows across her face. Because he was at the foot of the steps, he had to crane his head back to look up at her. “I thought getting hold of you would be easy. Dealing with a simple vampire. A newly made one, at that. Even a Daylighter is nothing I havent encountered before, though there has not been one for a hundred years. Yes,” she added, with a smile at his glance, “I am older than I look. ”

“You look pretty old. ”

She ignored the insult. “I sent my best people after you, and only one returned, with some babbled tale about holy fire and the wrath of God. He was quite useless to me after that. I had to have him put down. It was most annoying. After that I decided I ought to deal with you myself. I followed you to your silly musical show, and afterward, when I came up to you, I saw it. Your Mark. As one who knew Cain personally, I am intimately familiar with its shape. ”

“Knew Cain personally?” Simon shook his head. “You cant expect me to believe that. ”

“Believe it or do not believe it,” she said. “It makes no difference to me. I am older than the dreams of your kind, little boy. I walked the paths of the Garden of Eden. I knew Adam before Eve did. I was his first wife, but I would not be obedient to him, so God cast me out and made for Adam a new wife, one fashioned of his own body that she might ever be subservient. ” She smiled faintly. “I have many names. But you may call me Lilith, first of all demons. ”

At that, Simon, who had not felt cold in months, finally shivered. He had heard the name Lilith before. He couldnt remember where exactly, but he knew it was a name associated with darkness, with evil and terrible things.

“Your Mark presented me with a conundrum,” said Lilith. “I need you, you see, Daylighter. Your life force-your blood. But I could not force you or harm you. ”

She said this as if needing his blood were the most natural thing in the world.

“You-drink blood?” Simon asked. He felt dazed, as if he were trapped in a strange dream. Surely this couldnt really be happening.

She laughed. “Blood is not the food of demons, silly child. What I want from you is not for myself. ” She held out a slender hand. “Come closer. ”

Simon shook his head. “Im not stepping inside that circle. ”

She shrugged. “Very well, then. I intended only to give you a better view. ” She moved her fingers slightly, almost negligently, the gesture of someone twitching a curtain aside. The black cloth covering the coffin-shaped object between them vanished.

Simon stared at what was revealed. He had not been wrong about the coffin shape. It was a big glass box, just long and wide enough for a person to lie down in. A glass coffin, he thought, like Snow Whites. But this was no fairy tale. Inside the coffin was a cloudy liquid, and floating in that liquid-naked from the waist up, his white-blond hair drifting around him like pale seaweed-was Sebastian.

There were no messages stuck to Jordans apartment door, nothing on or under the welcome mat, and nothing immediately obvious inside the apartment, either. While Alec stood guard downstairs and Maia and Jordan rummaged through Simons backpack in the living room, Isabelle, standing in the doorway of Simons bedroom, looked silently at the place hed been sleeping for the past few days. It was so empty-just four walls, naked of any decoration, a bare floor with a futon mattress on it and a white blanket folded at the foot, and a single window that looked out onto Avenue B.

She could hear the city-the city she had grown up in, whose noises had always surrounded her, since she was a baby. She had found the quiet of Idris terribly alien without the sounds of car alarms, people shouting, ambulance sirens, and music playing that never, in New York City, quite went away, even in the dead of night. But now, standing here looking at Simons small room, she thought about how lonely those noises sounded, how distant, and whether he had been lonely himself at night, lying here looking up at the ceiling, alone.

Then again, it wasnt as if shed ever seen his bedroom at home, which presumably was covered with band posters, sports trophies, boxes of those games he loved to play, musical instruments, books-all the flotsam and jetsam of a normal life. Shed never asked to come over, and hed never suggested it. Shed been gun-shy of meeting his mother, of doing anything that might bespeak a greater commitment than she was willing to make. But now, looking at this empty shell of a room, feeling the vast dark bustle of the city all around her, she felt a twinge of fear for Simon-mixed with an equal twinge of regret.

She turned back toward the rest of the apartment, but paused when she heard a low murmur of voices coming from the living room. She recognized Maias voice. She didnt sound angry, which was surprising in and of itself, considering how much she seemed to hate Jordan.

“Nothing,” she was saying. “Some keys, a bunch of papers with game stats scrawled on them. ” Isabelle leaned around the doorway. She could see Maia, standing on one side of the kitchen counter, her hand in the zip pocket of Simons backpack. Jordan, on the other side of the counter, was watching her. Watching her, Isabelle thought, not what she was doing-that way guys watched you when they were so into you they were fascinated by every move you made. “Ill check his wallet. ”

Jordan, who had changed out of his formal wear into jeans and a leather jacket, frowned. “Weird that he left it. Can I see?” He reached across the counter.

Maia jerked back so fast she dropped the wallet, her hand flying out.

“I wasnt. . . ” Jordan drew his hand back slowly. “Im sorry. ”

Maia took a deep breath. “Look,” she said, “I talked to Simon. I know you never meant to Turn me. I know you didnt know what was happening to you. I remember what that was like. I remember being terrified. ”

Jordan put his hands down slowly, carefully, on the countertop. It was odd, Isabelle thought, watching someone so tall try to make himself look harmless and small. “I should have been there for you. ”

“But the Praetor wouldnt let you be,” Maia said. “And lets face it, you didnt know anything about being a werewolf; we would have been like two blindfolded people stumbling around in a circle. Maybe its better you werent there. It made me run away to where I could get help. From the Pack. ”

“At first I hoped the Praetor Lupus would bring you in,” he whispered. “So I could see you again. Then I realized that was selfish and I should be wishing that I didnt pass on the disease to you. I knew it was fifty-fifty. I thought you might be one of the lucky ones. ”

“Well, I wasnt,” she said, matter-of-factly. “And over the years I built you up in my head to be this sort of monster. I thought you knew what you were doing when you did this to me. I thought it was revenge on me for kissing that boy. So I hated you. And hating you made everything easier. Having someone to blame. ”

“You should blame me,” he said. “It is my fault. ”

She ran her finger along the countertop, avoiding his eyes. “I do blame you. But . . . not the way I did before. ”

Jordan reached up and grabbed his own hair with his fists, tugging on it hard. “There isnt a day goes by I dont think about what I did to you. I bit you. I Turned you. I made you what you are. I raised my hand to you. I hurt you. The one person I loved more than anything else in the world. ”

Maias eyes were shining with tears. “Dont say that. That doesnt help. You think that helps?”

Isabelle cleared her throat loudly, stepping into the living room. “So. Have you found anything?”

Maia looked away, blinking rapidly. Jordan, lowering his hands, said, “Not really. We were just about to go through his wallet. ” He picked it up from where Maia had dropped it. “Here. ” He tossed it to Isabelle.

She caught it and flicked it open. School pass, New York state nondrivers ID, a guitar pick tucked into the space that was supposed to hold credit cards. A ten-dollar bill and a receipt for dice. Something else caught her eye-a business card, shoved carelessly behind a photo of Simon and Clary, the kind of picture you might take in a cheap drugstore photo booth. They were both smiling.

Isabelle took out the card and stared at it. It had a swirling, almost abstract design of a floating guitar against clouds. Below that was a name.

Satrina Kendall. Band Promoter. Below that was a telephone number, and an Upper East Side address. Isabelle frowned. Something, a memory, tugged at the back of her mind.

Isabelle held the card up toward Jordan and Maia, who were busy not looking at each other. “What do you think of this?”

Before they could respond the apartment door opened, and Alec strode in. He was scowling. “Have you found anything? Ive been standing down there for thirty minutes, and nothing even remotely threatening has come by. Unless you count the NYU student who threw up on the front steps. ”

“Here,” Isabelle said, handing the card over to her brother. “Look at this. Does anything strike you as odd?”

“You mean besides the fact that no band promoter could possibly be interested in Lewiss sucky band?” Alec inquired, taking the card between two long fingers. Lines appeared between his eyes. “Satrina?”

“Does that name mean something to you?” Maia asked. Her eyes were still red, but her voice was steady.

“Satrina is one of the seventeen names of Lilith, the mother of all demons. She is why warlocks are called Liliths children,” said Alec. “Because she mothered demons, and they in turn brought forth the race of warlocks. ”

“And you have all seventeen names committed to memory?” Jordan sounded dubious.

Alec gave him a cold look. “Who are you again?”

“Oh, shut up, Alec,” Isabelle said, in the tone she only ever took with her brother. “Look, not all of us have your memory for boring facts. I dont suppose you recall the other names of Lilith?”

With a superior look Alec rattled them off, “Satrina, Lilith, Ita, Kali, Batna, Talto-”

“Talto!” Isabelle yelped. “Thats it. I knew I was remembering something. I knew there was a connection!” Quickly she told them about the Church of Talto, what Clary had found there, and how it connected to the dead half-demon baby at Beth Israel.

“I wish youd told me about this before,” Alec said. “Yes, Talto is another name for Lilith. And Lilith has always been associated with babies. She was Adams first wife, but she fled from the Garden of Eden because she didnt want to obey Adam or God. God cursed her for her disobedience, though-any child she bore would die. The legend says she tried over and over to have a child, but they were all born dead. Eventually she swore she would have vengeance against God by weakening and murdering infant humans. You might say shes the demon goddess of dead children. ”

“But you said she was the mother of demons,” said Maia.

“She was able to create demons by scattering drops of her blood on the earth in a place called Edom,” said Alec. “Because they were born out of her hatred for God and mankind, they became demons. ” Aware that they were all staring at him, he shrugged. “Its just a story. ”

“All stories are true,” said Isabelle. This had been a tenet of her beliefs since she was a child. All Shadowhunters believed it. There was no one religion, no one truth-and no myth lacked meaning. “You know that, Alec. ”

“I know something else, too,” Alec said, handing her back the card. “That telephone number and that address are crap. No way theyre real. ”

“Maybe,” Isabelle said, tucking the card into her pocket. “But we dont have anywhere else to start looking. So were going to start there. ”

Simon could only stare. The body floating inside the coffin-Sebastians-didnt appear to be alive; at least, he wasnt breathing. But he clearly wasnt exactly dead, either. It had been two months. If he were dead, Simon was fairly sure, hed look like he was in a lot worse shape than he did. His body was very white, like marble; one hand was a bandaged stump, but he was otherwise unmarked. He appeared to be asleep, his eyes shut, his arms loose at his sides. Only the fact that his chest wasnt rising or falling indicated that something was very wrong.

“But,” Simon said, knowing he sounded ridiculous, “hes dead. Jace killed him. ”

Lilith placed a pale hand on the glass surface of the coffin. “Jonathan,” she said, and Simon remembered that that was, infact, his name. Her voice had an odd soft quality when she said it, as if she were crooning to a child. “Hes beautiful, isnt he?”

“Um,” said Simon, looking with loathing at the creature inside the coffin-the boy who had murdered nine-year-old Max Lightwood. The creature who had killed Hodge. Had tried to kill them all. “Not my type, really. ”

“Jonathan is unique,” she said. “He is the only Shadowhunter I have ever known of who is part Greater Demon. This makes him very powerful. ”

“Hes dead,” Simon said. He felt that, somehow, it was important to keep making this point, though Lilith didnt seem to quite grasp it.

Lilith, gazing down at Sebastian, frowned. “Its true. Jace Lightwood slipped up behind him and stabbed him in the back, through to the heart. ”

“How do you-”

“I was in Idris,” said Lilith. “When Valentine opened the doorway to the demon worlds, I came through. Not to fight in his stupid battle. Out of curiosity more than anything else. That Valentine should have such hubris-” She broke off, shrugging. “Heaven smote him down for it, of course. I saw the sacrifice he made; I saw the Angel rise and turn on him. I saw what was brought back. I am the oldest of demons; I know the Old Laws. A life for a life. I raced to Jonathan. It was almost too late. That which was human about him died instantly-his heart had ceased to beat, his lungs to inflate. The Old Laws were not enough. I tried to bring him back then. He was too far gone. All I could do was this. Preserve him for this moment. ”

Simon wondered briefly what would happen if he made a run for it-dashed past this insane demon and threw himself off the roof of the building. He couldnt be harmed by another living creature; that was the result of the Mark, but he doubted its power extended to protecting him against the ground. Still, he was a vampire. If he fell forty stories and smashed every bone in his body, would he heal from that? He swallowed hard and found Lilith looking at him with amusement.

“Dont you want to know,” she said in her cold, seductive voice, “what moment I mean?” Before he could answer, she leaned forward, her elbows on the coffin. “I suppose you know the story of the way the Nephilim came to be? How the Angel Raziel mixed his blood with the blood of men, and gave it to a man to drink, and that man became the first of the Nephilim?”

“Ive heard it. ”

“In effect the Angel created a new race of creature. And now, with Jonathan, a new race has been born again. As Jonathan Shadowhunter led the first Nephilim, so shall this Jonathan lead the new race that I intend to create. ”

“The new race you intend-” Simon held up his hands. “You know what, you want to lead a new race starting off with one dead guy, you go right ahead. I dont see what this has to do with me. ”

“He is dead now. He need not remain so. ” Liliths voice was cool, unemotional. “There is, of course, one kind of Downworlder whose blood offers the possibility of, shall we say, resurrection. ”

“Vampires,” said Simon. “You want me to turn Sebastian into a vampire?”

“His name is Jonathan. ” Her tone was sharp. “And yes, in a sense. I want you to bite him, to drink his blood, and to give him your blood in exchange-”

“I wont do it. ”

“Are you so sure of that?”

“A world without Sebastian”-Simon used the name deliberately-“in it is a better world than one with him in it. I wont do it. ” Anger was rising in Simon, a swift tide. “Anyway, I couldnt if I wanted to. Hes dead. Vampires cant bring back the dead. You ought to know that, if you know so much. Once the soul is gone from the body, nothing can bring someone back. Thankfully. ”

Lilith bent her gaze on him. “You really dont know, do you?” she said. “Clary never told you. ”

Simon was getting fed up. “Never told me what?”

She chuckled. “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life. To prevent chaos there must be order. If a life is given to the Light, a life is owed to the Dark as well. ”

“I have,” Simon said slowly and deliberately, “literally no idea what youre talking about. And I dont care. You villains and your creepy eugenics programs are starting to bore me. So Im going to leave now. Youre welcome to try to stop me by threatening or hurting me. I encourage you to go ahead and try. ”

She looked at him and chuckled. “Cain rose up,” she said. “You are a bit like him whose Mark you bear. He was stubborn, as you are. Foolhardy, too. ”

“He went up against-” Simon choked on the word. God. “Im just dealing with you. ” He turned to leave.

“I would not turn your back on me, Daylighter,” said Lilith, and there was something in her voice that made him look back at her, where she leaned on Sebastians coffin. “You think you cannot be hurt,” she said with a sneer. “And indeed I cannot lift a hand against you. I am not a fool; I have seen the holy fire of the divine. I have no wish to see it turned against me. I am not Valentine, to bargain with what I cannot understand. I am a demon, but a very old one. I know humanity better than you might think. I understand the weaknesses of pride, of lust for power, of desire of the flesh, of greed and vanity and love. ”

“Love isnt a weakness. ”

“Oh, isnt it?” she said, and glanced past him, with a look as cold and pointed as an icicle.

He turned, not wanting to, knowing he must, and looked behind him.

There on the brick walkway was Jace. He wore a dark suit and a white shirt. Standing in front of him was Clary, still in the pretty gold-colored dress she had worn to the Ironworks party. Her long, wavy red hair had come out of its knot and hung down around her shoulders. She stood very still in the circle of Jaces arms. It would almost have looked like a romantic picture if it were not for the fact that in one of his hands, Jace was holding a long and glittering bone-handled knife, and the edge of it was pressed against Clarys throat.

Simon stared at Jace in total and absolute shock. There was no emotion on Jaces face, no light in his eyes. He seemed utterly blank.

Very slightly he inclined his head.

“I brought her, Lady Lilith,” he said. “Just as you asked. ”

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