City of Glass – Chapter 15: THINGS FALL APART

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21


LUKE HAD SPENT MOST OF THE NIGHT WATCHING THE MOON’S progress across the translucent roof of the Hall of Accords like a silver coin rolling across the clear surface of a glass table. When the moon was close to full, as it was right now, he felt a corresponding sharpening in his vision and sense of smell, even when he was in human form. Now, for instance, he could smell the sweat of doubt in the room, and the underlying sharp tang of fear. He could sense the restless worry of his pack of wolves out in Brocelind Forest as they paced the darkness beneath the trees and waited for news from him.

“Lucian. ” Amatis’s voice in his ear was low but piercing. “Lucian!”

Snapped out of his reverie, Luke fought to focus his exhausted eyes on the scene in front of him. It was a ragged little group, those who had agreed to at least listen to his plan. Fewer than he had hoped for. Many he knew from his old life in Idris—the Penhallows, the Lightwoods, the Ravenscars—and just as many he had just met, like the Monteverdes, who ran the Lisbon Institute and spoke in a mixture of Portuguese and English; or Nasreen Chaudhury, the stern-featured head of the Mumbai Institute. Her dark green sari was patterned in elaborate runes of such a bright silver that Luke instinctively flinched when she passed too close.

“Really, Lucian,” said Maryse Lightwood. Her small white face was pinched by exhaustion and grief. Luke hadn’t really expected either her or her husband to come, but they had agreed almost as soon as he’d mentioned it to them. He supposed he ought to be grateful they were here at all, even if grief did tend to make Maryse more sharp-tempered than usual. “You’re the one who wanted us all here; the least you can do is pay attention. ”

“He has been. ” Amatis sat with her legs drawn under her like a young girl, but her expression was firm. “It’s not Lucian’s fault that we’ve been going around in circles for the past hour. ”

“And we’ll keep going around and around until we figure out a solution,” said Patrick Penhallow, an edge to his voice.

“With all due respect, Patrick,” said Nasreen, in her clipped accent, “there may be no solution to this problem. The best we can hope for is a plan. ”

“A plan that doesn’t involve either mass slavery or—” began Jia, Patrick’s wife, and then she broke off, biting her lip. She was a pretty, slender woman who looked very like her daughter, Aline. Luke remembered when Patrick had run off to the Beijing Institute and married her. It had been something of a scandal, as he’d been supposed to marry a girl his parents had already picked out for him in Idris. But Patrick never had liked to do what he was told, a quality for which Luke was now grateful.

“Or allying ourselves with Downworlders?” said Luke. “I’m afraid there’s no way around that. ”

“That’s not the problem, and you know it,” said Maryse. “It’s the whole business about seats on the Council. The Clave will never agree to it. You know that. Four whole seats—”

“Not four,” Luke said. “One each for the Fair Folk, the Moon’s Children, and the children of Lilith. ”

“The warlocks, the fey, and the lycanthropes,” said soft-voiced Senhor Monteverde, his eyebrows arched. “And what of the vampires?”

“They haven’t promised me anything,” Luke admitted. “And I haven’t promised them anything either. They may not be eager to join the Council; they’re none too fond of my kind, and none too fond of meetings and rules. But the door is open to them should they change their minds. ”

“Malachi and his lot will never agree to it, and we may not have enough Council votes without them,” muttered Patrick. “Besides, without the vampires, what chance do we have?”

“A very good one,” snapped Amatis, who seemed to believe in Luke’s plan even more than he did. “There are many Downworlders who will fight with us, and they are powerful indeed. The warlocks alone—”

With a shake of her head Senhora Monteverde turned to her husband. “This plan is mad. It will never work. Downworlders cannot be trusted. ”

“It worked during the Uprising,” said Luke.

The Portuguese woman’s lips curled back. “Only because Valentine was fighting with fools for an army,” she said. “Not demons. And how are we to know his old Circle members will not go back to him the moment he calls them to his side?”

“Be careful what you say, Senhora,” rumbled Robert Lightwood. It was the first time he had spoken in more than an hour; he’d spent most of the evening motionless, immobilized by sorrow. There were lines in his face Luke could have sworn hadn’t been there three days ago. His torment was plain in his taut shoulders and clenched fists; Luke could hardly blame him. He had never much liked Robert, but there was something about the sight of such a big man made helpless by grief that was painful to witness. “If you think I would join with Valentine after Max’s death—he had my boy murdered—”

“Robert,” Maryse murmured. She put her hand on his arm.

“If we do not join with him,” said Senhor Monteverde, “all our children may die. ”

“If you think that, then why are you here?” Amatis rose to her feet. “I thought we had agreed—”

So did I. Luke’s head ached. It was always like this with them, he thought, two steps forward and a step back. They were as bad as warring Downworlders themselves, if only they could see it. Maybe they’d all be better off if they solved their problems with combat, the way the pack did—

A flash of movement at the doors of the Hall caught his eye. It was momentary, and if it had not been so close to the full moon, he might not have seen it, or recognized the figure who passed quickly before the doors. He wondered for a moment if he was imagining things. Sometimes, when he was very tired, he thought he saw Jocelyn—in the flicker of a shadow, in the play of light on a wall.

But this wasn’t Jocelyn. Luke rose to his feet. “I’m taking five minutes for some air. I’ll be back. ” He felt them watching him as he made his way to the front doors—all of them, even Amatis. Senhor Monteverde whispered something to his wife in Portuguese; Luke caught “lobo,” the word for “wolf,” in the stream of words. They probably think I’m going outside to run in circles and bark at the moon.

The air outside was fresh and cold, the sky a slate-steel gray. Dawn reddened the sky in the east and gave a pale pink cast to the white marble steps leading down from the Hall doors. Jace was waiting for him, halfway down the stairs. The white mourning clothes he wore hit Luke like a slap in the face, a reminder of all the death they’d just endured here, and were about to endure again.

Luke paused several steps above Jace. “What are you doing here, Jonathan?”

Jace said nothing, and Luke mentally cursed his forgetfulness—Jace didn’t like being called Jonathan and usually responded to the name with a sharp objection. This time, though, he didn’t seem to care. The face he raised to Luke was as grimly set as the faces of any of the adults in the Hall. Though Jace was still a year away from being an adult under Clave Law, he’d already seen worse things in his short life than most adults could even imagine.

“Were you looking for your parents?”

“You mean the Lightwoods?” Jace shook his head. “No. I don’t want to talk to them. I was looking for you. ”

“Is it about Clary?” Luke descended several steps until he stood just above Jace. “Is she all right?”

“She’s fine. ” The mention of Clary seemed to make Jace tense all over, which in turn sparked Luke’s nerves—but Jace would never say Clary was all right if she weren’t.

“Then what is it?”

Jace looked past him, toward the doors of the Hall. “How is it going in there? Any progress?”

“Not really,” Luke admitted. “As much as they don’t want to surrender to Valentine, they like the idea of Downworlders on the Council even less. And without the promise of seats on the Council, my people won’t fight. ”

Jace’s eyes sparked. “The Clave is going to hate that idea. ”

“They don’t have to love it. They only have to like it better than they like the idea of suicide. ”

“They’ll stall,” Jace advised him. “I’d give them a deadline if I were you. The Clave works better with deadlines. ”

Luke couldn’t help but smile. “All the Downworlders I can summon will be approaching the North Gate at twilight. If the Clave agrees to fight with them by then, they’ll enter the city. If not, they’ll turn around. I couldn’t leave it any later than that—it barely gives us enough time to get to Brocelind Plain by midnight as it is. ”

Jace whistled. “That’s theatrical. Hoping the sight of all those Downworlders will inspire the Clave, or scare them?”

“Probably a little of both. Many of the Clave members are associated with Institutes, like you; they’re a lot more used to the sight of Downworlders. It’s the native Idrisians I’m worried about. The sight of Downworlders at their gates might send them into a panic. On the other hand, it can’t hurt for them to be reminded how vulnerable they are. ”

As if on cue, Jace’s gaze flicked up to the ruins of the Gard, a black scar on the hillside over the city. “I’m not sure anyone needs more reminders of that. ” He glanced back at Luke, his clear eyes very serious. “I want to tell you something, and I want it to be in confidence. ”

Luke couldn’t hide his surprise. “Why tell me? Why not the Lightwoods?”

“Because you’re the one who’s in charge here, really. You know that. ”

Luke hesitated. Something about Jace’s white and tired face drew sympathy out of his own exhaustion—sympathy and a desire to show this boy, who had been so betrayed and badly used by the adults in his life, that not all adults were like that, that there were some he could rely on. “All right. ”

“And,” Jace said, “because I trust you to know how to explain it to Clary. ”

“Explain what to Clary?”

“Why I had to do it. ” Jace’s eyes were wide in the light of the rising sun; it made him look years younger. “I’m going after Sebastian, Luke. I know how to find him, and I’m going to follow him until he leads me to Valentine. ”

Luke let his breath out in surprise. “You know how to find him?”

“Magnus showed me how to use a tracking spell when I was staying with him in Brooklyn. We were trying to use my father’s ring to find him. It didn’t work, but—”

“You’re not a warlock. You shouldn’t be able to do a tracking spell. ”

“These are runes. Like the way the Inquisitor watched me when I went to see Valentine on the ship. All I needed to make it work was something of Sebastian’s. ”

“But we went over this with the Penhallows. He left nothing behind. His room was utterly cleared out, probably for exactly this reason. ”

“I found something,” said Jace. “A thread soaked in his blood. It’s not much, but it’s enough. I tried it, and it worked. ”

“You can’t go haring off after Valentine on your own, Jace. I won’t let you. ”

“You can’t stop me. Not really. Unless you want to fight me right here on these steps. You won’t win, either. You know that as well as I do. ” There was a strange note in Jace’s voice, a mixture of certainty and self-hatred.

“Look, however determined you may be to play the solitary hero—”

“I am not a hero,” Jace said. His voice was clear and toneless, as if he were stating the simplest of facts.

“Think of what this will do to the Lightwoods, even if nothing happens to you. Think of Clary—”

“You think I haven’t thought of Clary? You think I haven’t thought of my family? Why do you think I’m doing this?”

“Do you think I don’t remember what it’s like to be seventeen?” Luke answered. “To think you have the power to save the world—and not just the power but the responsibility—”

“Look at me,” said Jace. “Look at me and tell me I’m an ordinary seventeen-year-old. ”

Luke sighed. “There’s nothing ordinary about you. ”

“Now tell me it’s impossible. Tell me what I’m suggesting can’t be done. ” When Luke said nothing, Jace went on, “Look, your plan is fine, as far as that goes. Bring in Downworlders, fight Valentine all the way to the gates of Alicante. It’s better than just lying down and letting him walk over you. But he’ll expect it. You won’t be catching him by surprise. I—I could catch him by surprise. He may not know Sebastian’s being followed. It’s a chance at least, and we have to take whatever chances we can get. ”

“That may be true,” said Luke. “But this is too much to expect of any one person. Even you. ”

“But don’t you see—it can only be me,” Jace said, desperation creeping into his voice. “Even if Valentine senses I’m following him, he might let me get close enough—”

“Close enough to do what?”

“To kill him,” said Jace. “What else?”

Luke looked at the boy standing below him on the stairs. He wished in some way he could reach through and see Jocelyn in her son, the way he saw her in Clary, but Jace was only, and always, himself—contained, alone, and separate. “You could do that?” Luke said. “You could kill your own father?”

“Yes,” Jace said, his voice as distant as an echo. “Now is this where you tell me I can’t kill him because he is, after all, my father, and patricide is an unforgivable crime?”

“No. This is where I tell you that you have to be sure you’re capable of it,” said Luke, and realized, to his own surprise, that some part of him had already accepted that Jace was going to do exactly what he said he was going to do, and that he would let him. “You can’t do all this, cut your ties here and hunt Valentine down on your own, just to fail at the final hurdle. ”

“Oh,” said Jace, “I’m capable of it. ” He looked away from Luke, down the steps toward the square that until yesterday morning had been full of bodies. “My father made me what I am. And I hate him for it. I can kill him. He made sure of that. ”

Luke shook his head. “Whatever your upbringing, Jace, you’ve fought it. He didn’t corrupt you—”

“No,” Jace said. “He didn’t have to. ” He glanced up at the sky, striped with blue and gray; birds had begun their morning songs in the trees lining the square. “I’d better go. ”

“Is there something you wanted me to tell the Lightwoods?”

“No. No, don’t tell them anything. They’ll just blame you if they find out you knew what I was going to do and you let me go. I left notes,” he added. “They’ll figure it out. ”

“Then why—”

“Did I tell you all this? Because I want you to know. I want you to keep it in mind while you make your battle plans. That I’m out there, looking for Valentine. If I find him, I’ll send you a message. ” He smiled fleetingly. “Think of me as your backup plan. ”

Luke reached out and clasped the boy’s hand. “If your father weren’t who he is,” he said, “he’d be proud of you. ”

Jace looked surprised for a moment, and then just as quickly he flushed and drew his hand back. “If you knew—” he began, and bit his lip. “Never mind. Good luck to you, Lucian Graymark. Ave atque vale. ”

“Let us hope there will be no real farewell,” Luke said. The sun was rising fast now, and as Jace lifted his head, frowning at the sudden intensification of the light, there was something in his face that struck Luke—something in that mixture of vulnerability and stubborn pride. “You remind me of someone,” he said without thinking. “Someone I knew years ago. ”

“I know,” Jace said with a bitter twist to his mouth. “I remind you of Valentine. ”

“No,” said Luke, in a wondering voice; but as Jace turned away, the resemblance faded, banishing the ghosts of memory. “No—I wasn’t thinking of Valentine at all. ”

The moment Clary awoke, she knew Jace was gone, even before she opened her eyes. Her hand, still outstretched across the bed, was empty; no fingers returned the pressure of her own. She sat up slowly, her chest tight.

He must have drawn the curtains back before he left, because the windows were open and bright bars of sunlight striped the bed. Clary wondered why the light hadn’t woken her. From the position of the sun, it had to be afternoon. Her head felt heavy and thick, her eyes bleary. Maybe it was just that she hadn’t had nightmares last night, for the first time in so long, and her body was catching up on sleep.

It was only when she stood up that she noticed the folded piece of paper on the nightstand. She picked it up with a smile hovering around her lips—so Jace had left a note—and when something heavy slid from beneath the paper and rattled to the floor at her feet, she was so surprised that she jumped back, thinking it was alive.

It lay at her feet, a coil of bright metal. She knew what it was before she bent and picked it up. The chain and silver ring that Jace had worn around his neck. The family ring. She had rarely seen him without it. A sudden sensation of dread washed over her.

She opened the note and scanned the first lines: “Despite everything, I can’t bear the thought of this ring being lost forever, any more than I can bear the thought of leaving you forever. And though I have no choice about the one, at least I can choose about the other. ”

The rest of the letter seemed to wash together into a meaningless blur of letters; she had to read it over and over to make any sense of it. When she did finally understand, she stood staring down, watching the paper flutter as her hand shook. She understood now why Jace had told her everything he had, and why he had said one night didn’t matter. You could say anything you wanted to someone you thought you were never going to see again.

She had no recollection, later, of having decided what to do next, or of having hunted for something to wear, but somehow she was hurrying down the stairs, dressed in Shadowhunter gear, the letter in one hand and the chain with the ring clasped hastily around her throat.

The living room was empty, the fire in the grate burned down to gray ash, but noise and light emanated from the kitchen: a chatter of voices, and the smell of something cooking. Pancakes? Clary thought in surprise. She wouldn’t have thought Amatis knew how to make them.

And she was right. Stepping into the kitchen, Clary felt her eyes widen—Isabelle, her glossy dark hair swept up in a knot at the back of her neck, stood at the stove, an apron around her waist and a metal spoon in her hand. Simon was sitting on the table behind her, his feet up on a chair, and Amatis, far from telling him to get off the furniture, was leaning against the counter, looking highly entertained.

Isabelle waved her spoon at Clary. “Good morning,” she said. “Would you like breakfast? Although, I guess it’s more like lunchtime. ”

Speechless, Clary looked at Amatis, who shrugged. “They just showed up and wanted to make breakfast,” she said, “and I have to admit, I’m not that good a cook. ”

Clary thought of Isabelle’s awful soup back at the Institute and suppressed a shudder. “Where’s Luke?”

“In Brocelind, with his pack,” said Amatis. “Is everything all right, Clary? You look a little …”

“Wild-eyed,” Simon finished for her. “Is everything all right?”

For a moment Clary couldn’t think of a reply. They just showed up, Amatis had said. Which meant Simon had spent the entire night at Isabelle’s. She stared at him. He didn’t look any different.

“I’m fine,” she said. Now was hardly the time to be worrying about Simon’s love life. “I need to talk to Isabelle. ”

“So talk,” Isabelle said, poking at a misshapen object in the bottom of the frying pan that was, Clary feared, a pancake. “I’m listening. ”

“Alone,” said Clary.

Isabelle frowned. “Can’t it wait? I’m almost done—”

“No,” Clary said, and there was something in her tone that made Simon, at least, sit up straight. “It can’t. ”

Simon slid off the table. “Fine. We’ll give you two some privacy,” he said. He turned to Amatis. “Maybe you could show me those baby pictures of Luke you were talking about. ”

Amatis shot a worried glance at Clary but followed Simon out of the room. “I suppose I could…. ”

Isabelle shook her head as the door closed behind them. Something glinted at the back of her neck: A bright, delicately thin knife was thrust through the coil of her hair, holding it in place. Despite the tableau of domesticity, she was still a Shadowhunter. “Look,” she said. “If this is about Simon—”

“It’s not about Simon. It’s about Jace. ” She thrust the note at Isabelle. “Read this. ”

With a sigh Isabelle turned off the stove, took the note, and sat down to read it. Clary took an apple out of the basket on the table and sat down as Isabelle, across from her at the table, scanned the note silently. Clary picked at the apple peel in silence—she couldn’t imagine actually eating the apple, or, in fact, eating anything at all, ever again.

Isabelle looked up from the note, her eyebrows arched. “This seems kind of—personal. Are you sure I should be reading it?”

Probably not. Clary could barely even remember the words in the letter now; in any other situation, she would never have showed it to Isabelle, but her panic about Jace overrode every other concern. “Just read to the end. ”

Isabelle turned back to the note. When she was done, she set the paper down on the table. “I thought he might do something like this. ”

“You see what I mean,” Clary said, her words stumbling over themselves, “but he can’t have left that long ago, or gotten that far. We have to go after him and—” She broke off, her brain finally processing what Isabelle had said and catching up with her mouth. “What do you mean, you thought he might do something like this?”

“Just what I said. ” Isabelle pushed a dangling lock of hair behind her ears. “Ever since Sebastian disappeared, everyone’s been talking about how to find him. I tore his room at the Penhallows’ apart looking for anything we could use to track him—but there was nothing. I might have known that if Jace found anything that would allow him to track Sebastian, he’d be off like a shot. ” She bit her lip. “I just would have hoped that he’d have taken Alec with him. Alec won’t be happy. ”

“So you think Alec will want to go after him, then?” Clary asked, with renewed hope.

“Clary. ” Isabelle sounded faintly exasperated. “How are we supposed to go after him? How are we supposed to have the slightest idea where he’s gone?”

“There must be some way—”

“We can try to track him. Jace is smart, though. He’ll have figured out some way to block the tracking, just like Sebastian did. ”

A cold anger stirred in Clary’s chest. “Do you even want to find him? Do you even care that he’s gone off on what’s practically a suicide mission? He can’t face down Valentine all by himself. ”

“Probably not,” said Isabelle. “But I trust that Jace has his reasons for—”

“For what? For wanting to die?”

“Clary. ” Isabelle’s eyes blazed up with a sudden light of anger. “Do you think the rest of us are safe? We’re all waiting to die or be enslaved. Can you really see Jace doing that, just sitting around waiting for something awful to happen? Can you really see—”

“All I see is that Jace is your brother just like Max was,” said Clary, “and you cared what happened to him. ”

She regretted it the moment she said it; Isabelle’s face went white, as if Clary’s words had bleached the color out of the other girl’s skin. “Max,” Isabelle said with a tightly controlled fury, “was a little boy, not a fighter—he was nine years old. Jace is a Shadowhunter, a warrior. If we fight Valentine, do you think Alec won’t be in the battle? Do you think we’re not all of us, at all times, prepared to die if we have to, if the cause is great enough? Valentine is Jace’s father; Jace probably has the best chance of all of us of getting close to him to do what he has to do—”

“Valentine will kill Jace if he has to,” Clary said. “He won’t spare him. ”

“I know. ”

“But all that matters is if he goes out in glory? Won’t you even miss him?”

“I will miss him every day,” Isabelle said, “for the rest of my life, which, let’s face it, if Jace fails, will probably be about a week long. ” She shook her head. “You don’t get it, Clary. You don’t understand what it’s like to live always at war, to grow up with battle and sacrifice. I guess it’s not your fault. It’s just how you were brought up—”

Clary held her hands up. “I do get it. I know you don’t like me, Isabelle. Because I’m a mundane to you. ”

“You think that’s why—” Isabelle broke off, her eyes bright; not just with anger, Clary saw with surprise, but with tears. “God, you don’t understand anything, do you? You’ve known Jace what, a month? I’ve known him for seven years. And all the time I’ve known him, I’ve never seen him fall in love, never seen him even like anyone. He’d hook up with girls, sure. Girls always fell in love with him, but he never cared. I think that’s why Alec thought—” Isabelle stopped for a moment, holding herself very still. She’s trying not to cry, Clary thought in wonder—Isabelle, who seemed like she never cried. “It always worried me, and my mom, too—I mean, what kind of teenage boy never even gets a crush on anyone? It was like he was always half-awake where other people were concerned. I thought maybe what had happened with his father had done some sort of permanent damage to him, like maybe he never really could love anyone. If I’d only known what had really happened with his father—but then I probably would have thought the same thing, wouldn’t I? I mean, who wouldn’t have been damaged by that?

“And then we met you, and it was like he woke up. You couldn’t see it, because you’d never known him any different. But I saw it. Hodge saw it. Alec saw it—why do you think he hated you so much? It was like that from the second we met you. You thought it was amazing that you could see us, and it was, but what was amazing to me was that Jace could see you, too. He kept talking about you all the way back to the Institute; he made Hodge send him out to get you; and once he brought you back, he didn’t want you to leave again. Wherever you were in the room, he watched you…. He was even jealous of Simon. I’m not sure he realized it himself, but he was. I could tell. Jealous of a mundane. And then after what happened to Simon at the party, he was willing to go with you to the Dumort, to break Clave Law, just to save a mundane he didn’t even like. He did it for you. Because if anything had happened to Simon, you would have been hurt. You were the first person outside our family whose happiness I’d ever seen him take into consideration. Because he loved you. ”

Clary made a noise in the back of her throat. “But that was before—”

“Before he found out you were his sister. I know. And I don’t blame you for that. You couldn’t have known. And I guess you couldn’t have helped that you just went right on ahead and dated Simon afterward like you didn’t even care. I thought once Jace knew you were his sister, he’d give up and get over it, but he didn’t, and he couldn’t. I don’t know what Valentine did to him when he was a child. I don’t know if that’s why he is the way he is, or if it’s just the way he’s made, but he won’t get over you, Clary. He can’t. I started to hate seeing you. I hated for Jace to see you. It’s like an injury you get from demon poison—you have to leave it alone and let it heal. Every time you rip the bandages off, you just open the wound up again. Every time he sees you, it’s like tearing off the bandages. ”

“I know,” Clary whispered. “How do you think it is for me?”

“I don’t know. I can’t tell what you’re feeling. You’re not my sister. I don’t hate you, Clary. I even like you. If it were possible, there isn’t anyone I’d rather Jace be with. But I hope you can understand when I say that if by some miracle we all get through this, I hope my family moves itself somewhere so far away that we never see you again. ”

Tears stung the backs of Clary’s eyes. It was strange, she and Isabelle sitting here at this table, crying over Jace for reasons that were both very different and strangely the same. “Why are you telling me all this now?”

“Because you’re accusing me of not wanting to protect Jace. But I do want to protect him. Why do you think I was so upset when you suddenly showed up at the Penhallows’? You act as if you’re not a part of all this, of our world; you stand on the sidelines; but you are a part of it. You’re central to it. You can’t just pretend to be a bit player forever, Clary, not when you’re Valentine’s daughter. Not when Jace is doing what he’s doing partly because of you. ”

“Because of me?”

“Why do you think he’s so willing to risk himself? Why do you think he doesn’t care if he dies?” Isabelle’s words drove into Clary’s ears like sharp needles. I know why, she thought. It’s because he thinks he’s a demon, thinks he isn’t really human, that’s why—but I can’t tell you that, can’t tell you the one thing that would make you understand. “He’s always thought there was something wrong with him, and now, because of you, he thinks he’s cursed forever. I heard him say so to Alec. Why not risk your life, if you don’t want to live anyway? Why not risk your life if you’ll never be happy no matter what you do?”

“Isabelle, that’s enough. ” The door opened, almost silently, and Simon stood in the doorway. Clary had nearly forgotten how much better his hearing was now. “It’s not Clary’s fault. ”

Color rose in Isabelle’s face. “Stay out of this, Simon. You don’t know what’s going on. ”

Simon stepped into the kitchen, shutting the door behind him. “I heard most of what you’ve been saying,” he told them matter-of-factly. “Even through the wall. You said you don’t know what Clary’s feeling because you haven’t known her long enough. Well, I have. If you think Jace is the only one who’s suffered, you’re wrong there. ”

There was a silence; the fierceness in Isabelle’s expression was fading slightly. In the distance, Clary thought she heard the sound of someone knocking on the front door: Luke, probably, or Maia bringing more blood for Simon.

“It’s not because of me that he left,” Clary said, and her heart began to pound. Can I tell them Jace’s secret, now that he’s gone? Can I tell them the real reason he left, the real reason he doesn’t care if he dies? Words started to pour out of her, almost against her will. “When Jace and I went to the Wayland manor—when we went to find the Book of the White—”

She broke off as the kitchen door swung open. Amatis stood there, the strangest expression on her face. For a moment Clary thought she was frightened, and her heart skipped a beat. But it wasn’t fright on Amatis’s face, not really. She looked as she had when Clary and Luke had suddenly showed up at her front door. She looked as if she’d seen a ghost. “Clary,” she said slowly. “There’s someone here to see you—”

Before she could finish, that someone pushed past her into the kitchen. Amatis stood back, and Clary got her first good look at the intruder—a slender woman, dressed in black. At first all Clary saw was the Shadowhunter gear and she almost didn’t recognize her, not until her eyes reached the woman’s face and she felt her stomach drop out of her body the way it had when Jace had driven their motorcycle off the edge of the Dumort roof, a ten-story fall.

It was her mother.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21