Chapter 11: ALL THE HOST OF HELL
“VALENTINE,” JACE BREATHED. HIS FACE WAS WHITE AS HE stared down at the city. Through the layers of smoke, Clary thought she could almost glimpse the narrow warren of city streets, choked with running figures, tiny black ants darting desperately to and fro—but she looked again and there was nothing, nothing but the thick clouds of black vapor and the stench of flame and smoke.
“You think Valentine did this?” The smoke was bitter in Clary’s throat. “It looks like a fire. Maybe it started on its own—”
“The North Gate is open. ” Jace pointed toward something Clary could barely make out, given the distance and the distorting smoke. “It’s never left open. And the demon towers have lost their light. The wards must be down. ” He drew a seraph blade from his belt, clutching it so tightly his knuckles turned the color of ivory. “I have to get over there. ”
A knot of dread tightened Clary’s throat. “Simon—”
“They’ll have evacuated him from the Gard. Don’t worry, Clary. He’s probably better off than most down there. The demons aren’t likely to bother him. They tend to leave Downworlders alone. ”
“I’m sorry,” Clary whispered. “The Lightwoods—Alec—Isabelle—”
“Jahoel,” Jace said, and the angel blade flared up, bright as daylight in his bandaged left hand. “Clary, I want you to stay here. I’ll come back for you. ” The anger that had been in his eyes since they’d left the manor had evaporated. He was all soldier now.
She shook her head. “No. I want to go with you. ”
“Clary—” He broke off, stiffening all over. A moment later Clary heard it too—a heavy, rhythmic pounding, and laid over that, a sound like the crackling of an enormous bonfire. It took Clary several long moments to deconstruct the sound in her mind, to break it down as one might break down a piece of music into its component notes. “It’s—”
“Werewolves. ” Jace was staring past her. Following his gaze, she saw them, streaming over the nearest hill like a spreading shadow, illuminated here and there with fierce bright eyes. A pack of wolves—more than a pack; there must have been hundreds of them, even a thousand. Their barking and baying had been the sound she’d thought was a fire, and it rose up into the night, brittle and harsh.
Clary’s stomach turned over. She knew werewolves. She had fought beside werewolves. But these were not Luke’s wolves, not wolves who’d been instructed to look after her and not to harm her. She thought of the terrible killing power of Luke’s pack when it was unleashed, and suddenly she was afraid.
Beside her Jace swore once, fiercely. There was no time to reach for another weapon; he pulled her tightly against him, his free arm wrapped around her, and with his other hand he raised Jahoel high over their heads. The light of the blade was blinding. Clary gritted her teeth—
And the wolves were on them. It was like a wave crashing—a sudden blast of deafening noise, and a rush of air as the first wolves in the pack broke forward and leaped. There were burning eyes and gaping jaws; Jace dug his fingers into Clary’s side—
And the wolves sailed by on either side of them, clearing the space where they stood by a good two feet. Clary whipped her head around in disbelief as two wolves—one sleek and brindled, the other huge and steely gray—hit the ground softly behind them, paused, and kept running, without even a backward glance. There were wolves all around them, and yet not a single wolf touched them. They raced past, a flood of shadows, their coats reflecting moonlight in flashes of silver so that they almost seemed to be a single, moving river of shapes thundering toward Jace and Clary—and then parting around them like water around a stone. The two Shadowhunters might as well have been statues for all the attention the lycanthropes paid them as they hurtled by, their jaws gaping, their eyes fixed on the road ahead of them.
And then they were gone. Jace turned to watch the last of the wolves pass by and race to catch up with its companions. There was silence again now, only the very faint sounds of the city in the distance.
Jace let go of Clary, lowering Jahoel as he did so. “Are you all right?”
“What happened?” she whispered. “Those werewolves—they just went right by us—”
“They’re going to the city. To Alicante. ” He took a second seraph blade from his belt and held it out to her. “You’ll need this. ”
“You’re not leaving me here, then?”
“No point. It’s not safe anywhere. But—” He hesitated. “You’ll be careful?”
“I’ll be careful,” Clary said. “What do we do now?”
Jace looked down at Alicante, burning below them. “Now we run. ”
* * *
It was never easy to keep up with Jace, and now, when he was running nearly flat out, it was almost impossible. Clary sensed that he was in fact restraining himself, cutting back his speed to let her catch up, and that it cost him something to do it.
The road flattened out at the base of the hill and curved through a stand of high, thickly branched trees, creating the illusion of a tunnel. When Clary came out the other side, she found herself standing before the North Gate. Through the arch Clary could see a confusion of smoke and leaping flames. Jace stood in the gateway, waiting for her. He was holding Jahoel in one hand and another seraph blade in the other, but even their combined light was lost against the greater brightness of the burning city behind him.
“The guards,” she panted, racing up to him. “Why aren’t they here?”
“At least one of them is over in that stand of trees. ” Jace jerked his chin in the direction they’d come from. “In pieces. No, don’t look. ” He glanced down. “You’re holding your seraph blade wrong. Hold it like this. ” He showed her. “And you need to name it. Cassiel would be a good one. ”
“Cassiel,” Clary repeated, and the light of the blade flared up.
Jace looked at her soberly. “I wish I’d had time to train you for this. Of course, by all rights, no one with as little training as you should be able to use a seraph blade at all. It surprised me before, but now that we know what Valentine did—”
Clary very much did not want to talk about what Valentine had done. “Or maybe you were just worried that if you did train me properly, I’d turn out to be better than you,” she said.
The ghost of a smile touched the corner of his mouth. “Whatever happens, Clary,” he said, looking at her through Jahoel’s light, “stay with me. You understand?” He held her gaze, his eyes demanding a promise from her.
For some reason the memory of kissing him in the grass at the Wayland manor rose up in her mind. It seemed like a million years ago. Like something that had happened to someone else. “I’ll stay with you. ”
“Good. ” He looked away, releasing her. “Let’s go. ”
They moved slowly through the gate, side by side. As they entered the city, she became aware of the noise of battle as if for the first time—a wall of sound made up of human screams and nonhuman howls, the sounds of smashing glass and the crackle of fire. It made the blood sing in her ears.
The courtyard just past the gate was empty. There were huddled shapes scattered here and there on the cobblestones; Clary tried not to look at them too hard. She wondered how it was that you could tell someone was dead even from a distance, without looking too closely. Dead bodies didn’t resemble unconscious ones; it was as if you could sense that something had fled from them, that some essential spark was now missing.
Jace hurried them across the courtyard—Clary could tell he didn’t like the open, unprotected space much—and down one of the streets that led off it. There was more wreckage here. Shop windows had been smashed and their contents looted and strewn around the street. There was a smell in the air too—a rancid, thick, garbage smell. Clary knew that smell. It meant demons.
“This way,” Jace hissed. They ducked down another, narrower street. A fire was burning in an upper floor of one of the houses lining the road, though neither of the buildings on either side of it seemed to have been touched. Clary was oddly reminded of photos she’d seen of the Blitz in London, where destruction had rained down haphazardly from the sky.
Looking up, she saw that the fortress above the city was wreathed in a funnel of black smoke. “The Gard. ”
“I told you, they’ll have evacuated—” Jace broke off as they came out from the narrow street into a larger thoroughfare. There were bodies in the road here, several of them. Some were small bodies. Children. Jace ran forward, Clary following more hesitantly. There were three, she saw as they got closer—none of them, she thought with guilty relief, old enough to be Max. Beside them was the corpse of an older man, his arms still thrown wide as if he’d been protecting the children with his own body.
Jace’s expression was hard. “Clary—turn around. Slowly. ”
Clary turned. Just behind her was a broken shop window. There had been cakes in the display at some point—a tower of them covered in bright icing. They were scattered on the ground now among the smashed glass, and there was blood on the cobblestones too, mixing with the icing in long pinkish streaks. But that wasn’t what had put the note of warning into Jace’s voice. Something was crawling out of the window—something formless and huge and slimy. Something equipped with a double row of teeth running the length of its oblong body, which was smeared with icing and dusted with broken glass like a layer of glittering sugar.
The demon flopped down out of the window onto the cobblestones and began to slither toward them. Something about its oozing, boneless motion made bile rise up in the back of Clary’s throat. She backed up, almost knocking into Jace.
“It’s a Behemoth demon,” he said, staring at the slithering thing in front of them. “They eat everything. ”
“Do they eat …?”
“People? Yes,” Jace said. “Get behind me. ”
She took a few steps back to stand behind him, her eyes on the Behemoth. There was something about it that repulsed her even more than the demons she’d encountered before. It looked like a blind slug with teeth, and the way it oozed … But at least it didn’t move fast. Jace shouldn’t have much trouble killing it.
As if spurred on by her thought, Jace darted forward, slashing down with his blazing seraph blade. It sank into the Behemoth’s back with a sound like overripe fruit being stepped on. The demon seemed to spasm, then shudder and re-form, suddenly several feet away from where it had been before.
Jace drew Jahoel back. “I was afraid of that,” he muttered. “It’s only semi-corporeal. Hard to kill. ”
“Then don’t. ” Clary tugged at his sleeve. “At least it doesn’t move fast. Let’s get out of here. ”
Jace let her pull him back reluctantly. They turned to run in the direction they’d come from—
And the demon was there again, in front of them, blocking the street. It seemed to have grown bigger, and a low noise was coming from it, a sort of angry insectile chittering.
“I don’t think it wants us to leave,” Jace said.
But he was already running at the thing, sweeping Jahoel down in a long arc meant to decapitate, but the thing just shuddered again and re-formed, this time behind him. It reared up, showing a ridged underside like a cockroach’s. Jace whirled and brought Jahoel down, slicing into the creature’s midsection. Green fluid, thick as mucus, spurted over the blade.
Jace stepped back, his face twisting in disgust. The Behemoth was still making the same chittering noise. More fluid was spurting from it, but it didn’t seem hurt. It was moving forward purposefully.
“Jace!” Clary called. “Your blade—”
He looked down. The Behemoth demon’s mucus had coated Jahoel’s blade, dulling its flame. As he stared, the seraph blade spluttered and went out like a fire doused by sand. He dropped the weapon with a curse before any of the demon’s slime could touch him.
The Behemoth reared back again, ready to strike. Jace ducked back—and then Clary was there, darting between him and the demon, her seraph blade swinging. She jabbed the creature just below its row of teeth, the blade sinking into its mass with a wet, ugly sound.
She jerked back, gasping, as the demon went into another spasm. It seemed to take the creature a certain amount of energy to re-form each time it was wounded. If they could just wound it enough times—
Something moved at the edge of Clary’s vision. A flicker of gray and brown, moving fast. They weren’t alone in the street. Jace turned, his eyes widening. “Clary!” he shouted. “Behind you!”
Clary whirled, Cassiel blazing in her grip, just as the wolf launched itself at her, its lips drawn back in a fierce snarl, its jaws gaping wide.
Jace shouted something; Clary didn’t know what, but she saw the wild look in his eyes, even as she threw herself sideways, out of the path of the wolf. It sailed by her, claws outstretched, body arced—and struck its target, the Behemoth, knocking it flat to the ground before tearing at it with bared teeth.
The demon screamed, or as close as it could come to screaming—a high-pitched whining sound, like air being let out of a balloon. The wolf was on top of it, pinning it, its muzzle buried deep in the demon’s slimy hide. The Behemoth shuddered and thrashed in a desperate effort to re-form and heal its injuries, but the wolf wasn’t giving it a chance. Its claws sunk deeply into demon flesh, the wolf tore chunks of jellylike flesh out of the Behemoth’s body with its teeth, ignoring the spurting green fluid that fountained around it. The Behemoth began a last, desperate series of convulsive spasms, its serrated jaws clacking together as it thrashed—and then it was gone, only a viscous puddle of green fluid steaming on the cobblestones where it had been.
The wolf made a noise—a sort of satisfied grunt—and turned to regard Jace and Clary with eyes turned silver by the moonlight. Jace pulled another blade from his belt and held it high, drawing a fiery line on the air between themselves and the werewolf.
The wolf snarled, the hair rising stiffly along its spine.
Clary caught at his arm. “No—don’t. ”
“It’s a werewolf, Clary—”
“It killed the demon for us! It’s on our side!” She broke away from Jace before he could hold her back, approaching the wolf slowly, her hands out, palms flat. She spoke in a low, calm voice. “I’m sorry. We’re sorry. We know you don’t want to hurt us. ” She paused, hands still outstretched, as the wolf regarded her with blank eyes. “Who—who are you?” she asked. She looked back over her shoulder at Jace and frowned. “Can you put that thing away?”
Jace looked as if he was about to tell her in no uncertain terms that you didn’t just put away a seraph blade that was blazing in the presence of danger, but before he could say anything, the wolf gave another low growl and began to rise. Its legs elongated, its spine straightening, its jaw retracting. In a few seconds a girl stood in front of them—a girl wearing a stained white shift dress, her curling hair tied back in multiple braids, a scar banding her throat.
“‘Who are you?’” the girl mimicked in disgust. “I can’t believe you didn’t recognize me. It’s not like all wolves look exactly alike. Humans. ”
Clary let out a breath of relief. “Maia!”
“It’s me. Saving your butts, as usual. ” She grinned. She was spattered with blood and ichor—it hadn’t been that visible against her wolf’s coat, but the black and red streaks stood out startlingly against her brown skin. She put her hand against her stomach. “And gross, by the way. I can’t believe I munched all that demon. I hope I’m not allergic. ”
“But what are you doing here?” Clary demanded. “I mean, not that we’re not glad to see you, but—”
“Don’t you know?” Maia looked from Jace to Clary in puzzlement. “Luke brought us here. ”
“Luke?” Clary stared. “Luke is … here?”
Maia nodded. “He got in touch with his pack, and a bunch of others, everyone he could think of, and told us all we had to come to Idris. We flew to the border and traveled from there. Some of the other packs, they Portaled into the forest and met us there. Luke said the Nephilim were going to need our help…. ” Her voice trailed off. “Did you not know about this?”
“No,” said Jace, “and I doubt the Clave did either. They’re not big on taking help from Downworlders. ”
Maia straightened up, her eyes sparking with anger. “If it hadn’t been for us, you all would have been slaughtered. There was no one protecting the city when we got here—”
“Don’t,” Clary said, shooting an angry look at Jace. “I’m really, really grateful to you for saving us, Maia, and Jace is too, even though he’s so stubborn that he’d rather jam a seraph blade through his eyeball than say so. And don’t say you hope he does,” she added hastily, seeing the look on the other girl’s face, “because that’s really not helpful. Right now we need to get to the Lightwoods’ house, and then I have to find Luke—”
“The Lightwoods? I think they’re in the Accords Hall. That’s where we’ve been bringing everyone. I saw Alec there, at least,” Maia said, “and that warlock, too, the one with the spiky hair. Magnus. ”
“If Alec is there, the others must be too. ” The look of relief on Jace’s face made Clary want to put her hand on his shoulder. She didn’t. “Clever to bring everyone to the Hall; it’s warded. ” He slid the glowing seraph blade into his belt. “Come on—let’s go. ”
* * *
Clary recognized the inside of the Hall of Accords the moment she entered it. It was the place she had dreamed about, where she had been dancing with Simon and then Jace.
This was where I was trying to send myself when I went through the Portal, she thought, looking around at the pale white walls and the high ceiling with its enormous glass skylight through which she could see the night sky. The room, though very large, seemed somehow smaller and dingier than it had in her dream. The mermaid fountain was still there in the center of the room, spurting water, but it looked tarnished, and the steps that led up to it were crowded with people, many sporting bandages. The space was full of Shadowhunters, people hurrying here and there, sometimes stopping to peer into the faces of other passersby as if hoping to find a friend or a relative. The floor was filthy with dirt, tracked with smeared mud and blood.
What struck Clary more than anything else was the silence. If this had been the aftermath of some disaster in the mundane world, there would have been people shouting, screaming, calling out to one another. But the room was almost soundless. People sat quietly, some with their heads in their hands, some staring into space. Children huddled close to their parents, but none of them were crying.
She noticed something else, too, as she made her way into the room, Jace and Maia on either side of her. There was a group of scruffy-looking people standing by the fountain in a ragged circle. They stood somehow apart from the rest of the crowd, and when Maia caught sight of them and smiled, Clary realized why.
“My pack!” Maia exclaimed. She darted toward them, pausing only to glance back over her shoulder at Clary as she went. “I’m sure Luke’s around here somewhere,” she called, and vanished into the group, which closed around her. Clary wondered, for a moment, what would happen if she followed the werewolf girl into the circle. Would they welcome her as Luke’s friend, or just be suspicious of her as another Shadowhunter?
“Don’t,” Jace said, as if reading her mind. “It’s not a good—”
But Clary never found out what it wasn’t, because there was a cry of “Jace!” and Alec appeared, breathless from pushing his way through the crowd to get to them. His dark hair was a mess and there was blood on his clothes, but his eyes were bright with a mixture of relief and anger. He grabbed Jace by the front of his jacket. “What happened to you?”
Jace looked affronted. “What happened to me?”
Alec shook him, not lightly. “You said you were going for a walk! What kind of walk takes six hours?”
“A long one?” Jace suggested.
“I could kill you,” Alec said, releasing his grip on Jace’s clothes. “I’m seriously thinking about it. ”
“That would kind of defeat the point, though, wouldn’t it?” said Jace. He glanced around. “Where is everyone? Isabelle, and—”
“Isabelle and Max are back at the Penhallows’, with Sebastian,” said Alec. “Mom and Dad are on their way there to get them. And Aline’s here, with her parents, but she’s not talking much. She had a pretty bad time with a Rahab demon down by one of the canals. But Izzy saved her. ”
“And Simon?” Clary said anxiously. “Have you seen Simon? He should have come down with the others from the Gard. ”
Alec shook his head. “No, I haven’t—but I haven’t seen the Inquisitor, either, or the Consul. He’d probably be with one of them. Maybe they stopped somewhere else, or—” He broke off, as a murmur swept the room; Clary saw the group of lycanthropes look up, alert as a group of hunting dogs scenting game. She turned—
And saw Luke, tired and bloodstained, coming through the double doors of the Hall.
She ran toward him. Forgetting how upset she’d been when he’d left, and forgetting how angry he’d been with her for bringing them here, forgetting everything but how glad she was to see him. He looked surprised for a moment as she barreled toward him—then he smiled, and put his arms out, and picked her up as he hugged her, the way he’d done when she’d been very small. He smelled like blood and flannel and smoke, and for a moment she closed her eyes, thinking of the way Alec had grabbed onto Jace the moment he’d seen him in the Hall, because that was what you did with family when you’d been worried about them; you grabbed them and held on to them and told them how much they’d pissed you off, and it was okay, because no matter how angry you got, they still belonged to you. And what she had said to Valentine was true. Luke was her family.
He set her back down on her feet, wincing a little as he did so. “Careful,” he said. “A Croucher demon got me in the shoulder down by Merryweather Bridge. ” He put his hands on her shoulders, studying her face. “But you’re all right, aren’t you?”
“Well, this is a touching scene,” said a cold voice. “Isn’t it?”
Clary turned, Luke’s hand still on her shoulder. Behind her stood a tall man in a blue cloak that swirled around his feet as he moved toward them. His face under the hood of his cloak was the face of a carved statue: high-cheekboned with eagle-sharp features and heavy-lidded eyes. “Lucian,” he said, without looking at Clary. “I might have expected you’d be the one behind this—this invasion. ”
“Invasion?” Luke echoed, and suddenly, there was his pack of lycanthropes, standing behind him. They had moved into place so quickly and silently it was as if they’d appeared from out of nowhere. “We’re not the ones who invaded your city, Consul. That was Valentine. We’re just trying to help. ”
“The Clave doesn’t need help,” the Consul snapped. “Not from the likes of you. You’re breaking the Law just by entering the Glass City, wards or no wards. You must know that. ”
“I think it’s fairly clear that the Clave does need help. If we hadn’t come when we did, many more of you would now be dead. ” Luke glanced around the room; several groups of Shadowhunters had moved toward them, drawn to see what was going on. Some of them met Luke’s gaze head-on; others dropped their eyes, as if ashamed. But none of them, Clary thought with a sudden surge of surprise, looked angry. “I did it to prove a point, Malachi. ”
Malachi’s voice was cold. “And what point might that be?”
“That you need us,” Luke said. “To defeat Valentine, you need our help. Not just the help of lycanthropes, but of all Downworlders. ”
“What can Downworlders do against Valentine?” Malachi asked scornfully. “Lucian, you know better than that. You were one of us once. We have always stood alone against all perils and guarded the world from evil. We will meet Valentine’s power now with a power of our own. The Downworlders would do well to stay out of our way. We are Nephilim; we fight our own battles. ”
“That’s not precisely true, is it?” said a velvety voice. It was Magnus Bane, wearing a long and glittering coat, multiple hoops in his ears, and a roguish expression. Clary had no idea where he’d come from. “You lot have used the help of warlocks on more than one occasion in the past, and paid handsomely for it too. ”
Malachi scowled. “I don’t remember the Clave inviting you into the Glass City, Magnus Bane. ”
“They didn’t,” Magnus said. “Your wards are down. ”
“Really?” The Consul’s voice dripped sarcasm. “I hadn’t noticed. ”
Magnus looked concerned. “That’s terrible. Someone should have told you. ” He glanced at Luke. “Tell him the wards are down. ”
Luke looked exasperated. “Malachi, for God’s sake, the Downworlders are strong; we have numbers. I told you, we can help. ”
The Consul’s voice rose. “And I told you, we don’t need or want your help!”
“Magnus,” Clary slipped silently to his side and whispered. A small crowd had gathered, watching Luke and the Consul fight; she was fairly sure no one was paying attention to her. “Come talk to me. While they’re all too busy squabbling to notice. ”
Magnus gave her a quick questioning look, nodded, and drew her away, cutting through the crowd like a can opener. None of the assembled Shadowhunters or werewolves seemed to want to stand in the way of a six-foot-tall warlock with cat eyes and a manic grin. He hustled her into a quieter corner. “What is it?”
“I got the book. ” Clary drew it from the pocket of her bedraggled coat, leaving smeared fingerprints on the ivory cover. “I went to Valentine’s manor. It was in the library like you said. And—” She broke off, thinking of the imprisoned angel. “Never mind. ” She offered him the Book of the White. “Here. Take it. ”
Magnus plucked the book from her grasp with a long-fingered hand. He flipped through the pages, his eyes widening. “This is even better than I’d heard it was,” he announced gleefully. “I can’t wait to get started on these spells. ”
“Magnus!” Clary’s sharp voice brought him back down to earth. “My mom first. You promised. ”
“And I abide by my promises. ” The warlock nodded gravely.
“There’s something else, too,” she added, thinking of Simon. “Before you go—”
“Clary!” A voice spoke, breathless, at her shoulder. She turned in surprise to see Sebastian standing beside her. He was wearing gear, and it looked right on him somehow, she thought, as if he were born to wear it. Where everyone else looked bloodstained and disheveled, he was unmarked—except for a double line of scratches that ran the length of his left cheek, as if something had clawed at him with a taloned hand. “I was worried about you. I went by Amatis’s house on the way here, but you weren’t there, and she said she hadn’t seen you—”
“Well, I’m fine. ” Clary glanced from Sebastian to Magnus, who was holding the Book of the White against his chest. Sebastian’s angular eyebrows were raised. “Are you? Your face—” She reached up to touch his injuries. The scratches were still oozing a trace amount of blood.
Sebastian shrugged, brushing her hand away gently. “A she-demon got me near the Penhallows’. I’m fine, though. What’s going on?”
“Nothing. I was just talking to Ma—Ragnor,” Clary said hastily, realizing with a sudden horror that Sebastian had no idea who Magnus actually was.
“Maragnor?” Sebastian arched his eyebrows. “Okay, then. ” He glanced curiously at the Book of the White. Clary wished Magnus would put it away—the way he was holding it, its gilded lettering was clearly visible. “What’s that?”
Magnus studied him for a moment, his cat eyes considering. “A spell book,” he said finally. “Nothing that would be of interest to a Shadowhunter. ”
“Actually, my aunt collects spell books. Can I see?” Sebastian held his hand out, but before Magnus could refuse, Clary heard someone call her name, and Jace and Alec descended on them, clearly none too pleased to see Sebastian.
“I thought I told you to stay with Max and Isabelle!” Alec snapped at him. “Did you leave them alone?”
Slowly Sebastian’s eyes moved from Magnus to Alec. “Your parents came home, just like you said they would. ” His voice was cold. “They sent me ahead to tell you they are all right, and so are Izzy and Max. They’re on their way. ”
“Well,” said Jace, his voice heavy with sarcasm, “thanks for passing on that news the second you got here. ”
“I didn’t see you the second I got here,” said Sebastian. “I saw Clary. ”
“Because you were looking for her. ”
“Because I needed to talk to her. Alone. ” He caught Clary’s eyes again, and the intensity in them gave her pause. She wanted to tell him not to look at her like that when Jace was there, but that would sound unreasonable and crazy; and besides, maybe he actually had something important to tell her. “Clary?”
She nodded. “All right. Just for a second,” she said, and saw Jace’s expression change: He didn’t scowl, but his face went very still. “I’ll be right back,” she added, but Jace didn’t look at her. He was looking at Sebastian.
Sebastian took her by the wrist and drew her away from the others, pulling her toward the thickest part of the crowd. She glanced back over her shoulder. They were all watching her, even Magnus. She saw him shake his head once, very slightly.
She dug her heels in. “Sebastian. Stop. What is it? What do you have to tell me?”
He turned to face her, still holding her wrist. “I thought we could go outside,” he said. “Talk in private—”
“No. I want to stay here,” she said, and heard her own voice waver slightly, as if she weren’t sure. But she was sure. She yanked her wrist back, pulling it out of his grasp. “What is going on with you?”
“That book,” he said. “That Fell was holding—the Book of the White—do you know where he got it?”
“That’s what you wanted to talk to me about?”
“It’s an extraordinarily powerful spell book,” explained Sebastian. “And one that—well, that a lot of people have been looking for for a long time. ”
She blew out an exasperated breath. “All right, Sebastian, look,” she said. “That’s not Ragnor Fell. That’s Magnus Bane. ”
“That’s Magnus Bane?” Sebastian spun around and stared before turning back to Clary with an accusatory look in his eyes. “And you knew all along, right? You know Bane. ”
“Yes, and I’m sorry. But he didn’t want me to tell you. And he was the only one who could help me save my mother. That’s why I gave him the Book of the White. There’s a spell in there that might help her. ”
Something flashed behind Sebastian’s eyes, and Clary had the same feeling she’d had after he’d kissed her: a sudden wrench of wrongness, as if she’d taken a step forward expecting to find solid ground under her feet and instead plunged into empty space. His hand shot out and grabbed her wrist. “You gave the book—the Book of the White—to a warlock? A filthy Downworlder?”
Clary went very still. “I can’t believe you just said that. ” She looked down at the place where Sebastian’s hand encircled her wrist. “Magnus is my friend. ”
Sebastian loosened his grip on her wrist, just a fraction. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I shouldn’t have said that. It’s just—how well do you know Magnus Bane?”
“Better than I know you,” Clary said coldly. She glanced back toward the place she’d left Magnus standing with Jace and Alec—and a shock of surprise went through her. Magnus was gone. Jace and Alec stood by themselves, watching her and Sebastian. She could sense the heat of Jace’s disapproval like an open oven.
Sebastian followed her gaze, his eyes darkening. “Well enough to know where he went with your book?”
“It’s not my book. I gave it to him,” Clary snapped. “And I don’t see what business it is of yours, either. Look, I appreciate that you offered to help me find Ragnor Fell yesterday, but you’re really freaking me out now. I’m going back to my friends. ”
She started to turn away, but he moved to block her. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said what I did. It’s just—there’s more to all this than you know. ”
“So tell me. ”
“Come outside with me. I’ll tell you everything. ” His tone was anxious, worried. “Clary, please. ”
She shook her head. “I have to stay here. I have to wait for Simon. ” It was partly true, and partly an excuse. “Alec told me they’d be bringing the prisoners here—”
Sebastian was shaking his head. “Clary, didn’t anyone tell you? They left the prisoners behind. I heard Malachi say so. The city was attacked, and they evacuated the Gard, but they didn’t get the prisoners out. Malachi said they were both in league with Valentine anyway. That there was no way letting them out wouldn’t be too much of a risk. ”
Clary’s head seemed to be full of fog; she felt dizzy, and a little sick. “That can’t be true. ”
“It is true,” Sebastian said. “I swear it is. ” His grip on Clary’s wrist tightened again, and she swayed on her feet. “I can take you up there. Up to the Gard. I can help you get him out. But you have to promise me that you’ll—”
“She doesn’t have to promise you anything,” Jace said. “Let her go, Sebastian. ”
Sebastian, startled, loosened his grip on Clary’s wrist. She pulled it free, turning to see Jace and Alec, both scowling. Jace’s hand was resting lightly on the hilt of the seraph blade at his waist.
“Clary can do what she wants,” Sebastian said. He wasn’t scowling, but there was an odd, fixed look about his face that was somehow worse. “And right now she wants to come with me to save her friend. The friend you got thrown in prison. ”
Alec blanched at that, but Jace only shook his head. “I don’t like you,” he said thoughtfully. “I know everyone else likes you, Sebastian, but I don’t. Maybe it’s that you work so hard to make people like you. Maybe I’m just a contrary bastard. But I don’t like you, and I don’t like the way you were grabbing at my sister. If she wants to go up to the Gard and look for Simon, fine. She’ll go with us. Not you. ”
Sebastian’s fixed expression didn’t change. “I think that should be her choice,” he said. “Don’t you?”
They both looked at Clary. She looked past them, toward Luke, still arguing with Malachi.
“I want to go with my brother,” she said.
Something flickered behind Sebastian’s eyes—something that was there and gone too quickly for Clary to identify it, though she felt a chill at the base of her neck, as if a cold hand had touched her there. “Of course you do,” he said, and stepped aside.
It was Alec who moved first, pushing Jace ahead of him, making him walk. They were partway to the doors when she realized that her wrist was hurting—stinging as if it had been burned. Looking down, she expected to see a mark on her wrist, where Sebastian had gripped her, but there was nothing there. Just a smear of blood on her sleeve where she had touched the cut on his face. Frowning, with her wrist still stinging, she drew her sleeve down and hurried to catch up with the others.