Chapter 8: ONE OF THE LIVING
SIMON WOKE TO SUNLIGHT GLINTING BRIGHTLY OFF AN OBJECT that had been shoved through the bars of his window. He got to his feet, his body aching with hunger, and saw that it was a metal flask, about the size of a lunchbox thermos. A rolled-up bit of notepaper had been tied around the neck. Plucking it down, Simon unrolled the paper and read:
Simon: This is cow blood, fresh from the butcher’s. Hope it’s all right. Jace told me what you said, and I want you to know I think it’s really brave. Just hang in there and we’ll figure out a way to get you out.
Simon smiled at the scribbled Xs and Os that ran along the bottom of the page. Good to know Isabelle’s flamboyant affection hadn’t suffered under the current circumstances. He unscrewed the flask’s top and had swallowed several mouthfuls before a sharp prickling sensation between his shoulder blades made him turn around.
Raphael stood calmly in the center of the room. He had his hands clasped behind his back, his slight shoulders set. He was wearing a sharply pressed white shirt and a dark jacket. A gold chain glittered at his throat.
Simon almost gagged on the blood he was drinking. He swallowed hard, still staring. “You—you can’t be here. ”
Raphael’s smile somehow managed to give the impression that his fangs were showing, even though they weren’t. “Don’t panic, Daylighter. ”
“I’m not panicking. ” This wasn’t strictly true. Simon felt as if he’d swallowed something sharp. He hadn’t seen Raphael since the night he’d clawed himself, bloody and bruised, out of a hastily dug grave in Queens. He still remembered Raphael throwing packets of animal blood at him, and the way he’d torn into them with his teeth as if he were an animal himself. It wasn’t something he liked to remember. He would have been happy never to see the vampire boy again. “The sun’s still up. How are you here?”
“I’m not. ” Raphael’s voice was smooth as butter. “I am a Projection. Look. ” He swung his hand, passing it through the stone wall beside him. “I am like smoke. I cannot hurt you. Of course, neither can you hurt me. ”
“I don’t want to hurt you. ” Simon set the flask down on the cot. “I do want to know what you’re doing here. ”
“You left New York very suddenly, Daylighter. You do realize that you’re supposed to inform the head vampire of your local area when you’re leaving the city, don’t you?”
“Head vampire? You mean you? I thought the head vampire was someone else—”
“Camille has not yet returned to us,” Raphael said, without any apparent emotion. “I lead in her stead. You’d know all this if you’d bothered to get acquainted with the laws of your kind. ”
“My leaving New York wasn’t exactly planned in advance. And no offense, but I don’t really think of you as my kind. ”
“Dios. ” Raphael lowered his eyes, as if hiding amusement. “You are stubborn. ”
“How can you say that?”
“It seems obvious, doesn’t it?”
“I mean—” Simon’s throat closed up. “That word. You can say it, and I can’t say—” God.
Raphael’s eyes flashed upward; he did look amused. “Age,” he said. “And practice. And faith, or its loss—they are in some ways the same thing. You will learn, over time, little fledgling. ”
“Don’t call me that. ”
“But it is what you are. You’re a Child of the Night. Isn’t that why Valentine captured you and took your blood? Because of what you are?”
“You seem pretty well informed,” Simon said. “Maybe you should tell me. ”
Raphael’s eyes narrowed. “I have also heard a rumor that you drank the blood of a Shadowhunter and that is what gave you your gift, your ability to walk in sunlight. Is it true?”
Simon’s hair prickled. “That’s ridiculous. If Shadowhunter blood could give vampires the ability to walk in daylight, everyone would know it by now. Nephilim blood would be at a premium. And there would never be peace between vampires and Shadowhunters after that. So it’s a good thing it isn’t true. ”
A faint smile turned up the edges of Raphael’s mouth. “True enough. Speaking of premiums, you do realize, don’t you, Daylighter, that you are a valuable commodity now? There isn’t a Downworlder on this earth who doesn’t want to get their hands on you. ”
“Does that include you?”
“Of course it does. ”
“And what would you do if you did get your hands on me?”
Raphael shrugged his slight shoulders. “Perhaps I am alone in thinking that the ability to walk in the daylight might not be such a gift as other vampires believe. We are the Children of the Night for a reason. It is possible that I consider you as much of an abomination as humanity considers me. ”
“It’s possible. ” Raphael’s expression was neutral. “I think you’re a danger to us all. A danger to vampirekind, if you will. And you can’t stay in this cell forever, Daylighter. Eventually you’ll have to leave and face the world again. Face me again. But I can tell you one thing. I will swear to do you no harm, and not try to find you, if you in turn swear to hide yourself away once Aldertree releases you. If you swear to go so far away that no one will ever find you, and to never again contact anyone you knew in your mortal life. I can’t be more fair than that. ”
But Simon was already shaking his head. “I can’t leave my family. Or Clary. ”
Raphael made an irritable noise. “They are no longer part of who you are. You’re a vampire now. ”
“But I don’t want to be,” said Simon.
“Look at you, complaining,” said Raphael. “You will never get sick, never die, and be strong and young forever. You will never age. What have you got to complain about?”
Young forever, Simon thought. It sounded good, but did anyone really want to be sixteen forever? It would have been one thing to be frozen forever at twenty-five, but sixteen? To always be this gangly, to never really grow into himself, his face or his body? Not to mention that, looking like this, he’d never be able to go into a bar and order a drink. Ever. For eternity.
“And,” Raphael added, “you do not even have to give up the sun. ”
Simon had no desire to go down that road again. “I heard the others talking about you in the Dumort,” he said. “I know you put on a cross every Sunday and go to see your family. I bet they don’t even know you’re a vampire. So don’t tell me to leave everyone in my life behind. I won’t do it, and I won’t lie and say I will. ”
Raphael’s eyes glittered. “What my family believes doesn’t matter. It’s what I believe. What I know. A true vampire knows he is dead. He accepts his death. But you, you think you are still one of the living. It is that which makes you so dangerous. You cannot acknowledge that you are no longer alive. ”
It was twilight when Clary shut the door of Amatis’s house behind her and threw the bolts home. She leaned against the door for a long moment in the shadowy entryway, her eyes half-shut. Exhaustion weighed down every one of her limbs, and her legs ached painfully.
“Clary?” Amatis’s insistent voice cut through the silence. “Is that you?”
Clary stayed where she was, adrift in the calming darkness behind her closed eyes. She wanted so badly to be home, she could almost taste the metallic air of the Brooklyn streets. She could see her mother sitting in her chair by the window, dusty, pale yellow light streaming in through the open apartment windows, illuminating her canvas as she painted. Homesickness twisted in her gut like pain.
“Clary. ” The voice came from much closer this time. Clary’s eyes snapped open. Amatis was standing in front of her, her gray hair pulled severely back, her hands on her hips. “Your brother’s here to see you. He’s waiting in the kitchen. ”
“Jace is here?” Clary fought to keep her rage and astonishment off her face. There was no point showing how angry she was in front of Luke’s sister.
Amatis was looking at her curiously. “Should I not have let him in? I thought you’d want to see him. ”
“No, it’s fine,” Clary said, maintaining her even tone with some difficulty. “I’m just tired. ”
“Huh. ” Amatis looked as if she didn’t believe it. “Well, I’ll be upstairs if you want me. I need a nap. ”
Clary couldn’t imagine what she’d want Amatis for, but she nodded and limped down the corridor into the kitchen, which was awash with bright light. There was a bowl of fruit on the table—oranges, apples, and pears—and a loaf of thick bread along with butter and cheese, and a plate beside it of what looked like … cookies? Had Amatis actually made cookies?
At the table sat Jace. He was leaning forward on his elbows, his golden hair tousled, his shirt slightly open at the neck. She could see the thick banding of black Marks tracing his collarbone. He held a cookie in his bandaged hand. So Sebastian was right; he had hurt himself. Not that she cared.
“Good,” he said, “you’re back. I was beginning to think you’d fallen into a canal. ”
Clary just stared at him, wordless. She wondered if he could read the anger in her eyes. He leaned back in the chair, throwing one arm casually over the back of it. If it hadn’t been for the rapid pulse at the base of his throat, she might almost have believed his air of unconcern.
“You look exhausted,” he added. “Where have you been all day?”
“I was out with Sebastian. ”
“Sebastian?” His look of utter astonishment was momentarily gratifying.
“He walked me home last night,” Clary said, and in her mind the words I’ll just be your brother from now on, just your brother beat like the rhythm of a damaged heart. “And so far, he’s the only person in this city who’s been remotely nice to me. So yes, I was out with Sebastian. ”
“I see. ” Jace set his cookie back down on the plate, his face blank. “Clary, I came here to apologize. I shouldn’t have spoken to you the way I did. ”
“No,” Clary said. “You shouldn’t have. ”
“I also came to ask you if you’d reconsider going back to New York. ”
“God,” Clary said. “This again—”
“It’s not safe for you here. ”
“What are you worried about?” she asked tonelessly. “That they’ll throw me in prison like they did with Simon?”
Jace’s expression didn’t change, but he rocked back in his chair, the front legs lifting off the floor, almost as if she had shoved him. “Simon—?”
“Sebastian told me what happened to him,” she went on in the same flat voice. “What you did. How you brought him here and then let him just get thrown in jail. Are you trying to get me to hate you?”
“And you trust Sebastian?” Jace asked. “You barely know him, Clary. ”
She stared at him. “Is it not true?”
He met her gaze, but his face had gone still, like Sebastian’s face when she’d pushed him away. “It’s true. ”
She seized a plate off the table and flung it at him. He ducked, sending the chair spinning, and the plate hit the wall above the sink and shattered in a starburst of broken porcelain. He leaped out of the chair as she picked up another plate and threw it, her aim going wild: This one bounced off the refrigerator and hit the floor at Jace’s feet where it cracked into two even pieces. “How could you? Simon trusted you. Where is he now? What are they going to do to him?”
“Nothing,” Jace said. “He’s all right. I saw him last night—”
“Before or after I saw you? Before or after you pretended everything was all right and you were just fine?”
“You came away from that thinking I was just fine?” Jace choked on something almost like a laugh. “I must be a better actor than I thought. ” There was a twisted smile on his face. It was a match to the tinder of Clary’s rage: How dare he laugh at her now? She scrabbled for the fruit bowl, but it suddenly didn’t seem like enough. She kicked the chair out of the way and flung herself at him, knowing it would be the last thing he’d expect her to do.
The force of her sudden assault caught him off guard. She slammed into him and he staggered backward, fetching up hard against the edge of the counter. She half-fell against him, heard him gasp, and drew back her arm blindly, not even knowing what she intended to do—
She had forgotten how fast he was. Her fist slammed not into his face, but into his upraised hand; he wrapped his fingers around hers, forcing her arm back down to her side. She was suddenly aware of how close they were standing; she was leaning against him, pressing him back against the counter with the slight weight of her body. “Let go of my hand. ”
“Are you really going to hit me if I do?” His voice was rough and soft, his eyes blazing.
“Don’t you think you deserve it?”
She felt the rise and fall of his chest against her as he laughed without amusement. “Do you think I planned all this? Do you really think I’d do that?”
“Well, you don’t like Simon, do you? Maybe you never have. ”
Jace made a harsh, incredulous sound and let go of her hand. When Clary stepped back, he held out his right arm, palm up. It took her a moment to realize what he was showing her: the ragged scar along his wrist. “This,” he said, his voice as taut as a wire, “is where I cut my wrist to let your vampire friend drink my blood. It nearly killed me. And now you think, what, that I just abandoned him without a thought?”
She stared at the scar on Jace’s wrist—one of so many all over his body, scars of all shapes and sizes. “Sebastian told me that you brought Simon here, and then Alec marched him up to the Gard. Let the Clave have him. You must have known—”
“I brought him here by accident. I asked him to come to the Institute so I could talk to him. About you, actually. I thought maybe he could convince you to drop the idea of coming to Idris. If it’s any consolation, he wouldn’t even consider it. While he was there, we were attacked by Forsaken. I had to drag him through the Portal with me. It was that or leave him there to die. ”
“But why bring him to the Clave? You must have known—”
“The reason we sent him there was because the only Portal in Idris is in the Gard. They told us they were sending him back to New York. ”
“And you believed them? After what happened with the Inquisitor?”
“Clary, the Inquisitor was an anomaly. That might have been your first experience with the Clave, but it wasn’t mine—the Clave is us. The Nephilim. They abide by the Law. ”
“Except they didn’t. ”
“No,” Jace said. “They didn’t. ” He sounded very tired. “And the worst part about all this,” he added, “is remembering Valentine ranting about the Clave, how it’s corrupt, how it needs to be cleansed. And by the Angel if I don’t agree with him. ”
Clary was silent, first because she could think of nothing to say, and then in startlement as Jace reached out—almost as if he wasn’t thinking about what he was doing—and drew her toward him. To her surprise, she let him. Through the white material of his shirt she could see the outlines of his Marks, black and curling, stroking across his skin like licks of flame. She wanted to lean her head against him, wanted to feel his arms around her the way she’d wanted air when she was drowning in Lake Lyn.
“He might be right that things need fixing,” she said finally. “But he’s not right about the way they should be fixed. You can see that, can’t you?”
He half-closed his eyes. There were crescents of gray shadow under them, she saw, the remnants of sleepless nights. “I’m not sure I can see anything. You’re right to be angry, Clary. I shouldn’t have trusted the Clave. I wanted so badly to think that the Inquisitor was an abnormality, that she was acting without their authority, that there was still some part of being a Shadowhunter I could trust. ”
“Jace,” she whispered.
He opened his eyes and looked down at her. She and Jace were pressed so close together even their knees were touching, and she could feel his heartbeat. Move away from him, she told herself, but her legs wouldn’t obey.
“What is it?” he said, his voice very soft.
“I want to see Simon,” she said. “Can you take me to see him?”
As abruptly as he had caught hold of her, he let her go. “No. You’re not even supposed to be in Idris. You can’t go waltzing into the Gard. ”
“But he’ll think everyone’s abandoned him. He’ll think—”
“I went to see him,” Jace said. “I was going to let him out. I was going to tear the bars out of the window with my hands. ” His voice was matter-of-fact. “But he wouldn’t let me. ”
“He wouldn’t let you? He wanted to stay in jail?”
“He said the Inquisitor was sniffing around after my family, after me. Aldertree wants to blame what happened in New York on us. He can’t grab one of us and torture it out of us—the Clave would frown on that—but he’s trying to get Simon to tell him some story where we’re all in cahoots with Valentine. Simon said if I break him out, then the Inquisitor will know I did it, and it’ll be even worse for the Lightwoods. ”
“That’s very noble of him and all, but what’s his long-range plan? To stay in jail forever?”
Jace shrugged. “We hadn’t exactly worked that out. ”
Clary blew out an exasperated breath. “Boys,” she said. “All right, look. What you need is an alibi. We’ll make sure you’re somewhere everyone can see you, and the Lightwoods are too, and then we’ll get Magnus to break Simon out of prison and get him back to New York. ”
“I hate to tell you this, Clary, but there’s no way Magnus would do that. I don’t care how cute he thinks Alec is, he’s not going to go directly against the Clave as a favor to us. ”
“He might,” Clary said, “for the Book of the White. ”
Jace blinked. “The what?”
Quickly Clary told him about Ragnor Fell’s death, about Magnus showing up in Fell’s place, and about the spell book. Jace listened with stunned attentiveness until she finished.
“Demons?” he said. “Magnus said Fell was killed by demons?”
Clary cast her mind back. “No—he said the place stank of something demonic in origin. And that Fell was killed by Valentine’s servants. That’s all he said. ”
“Some dark magic leaves an aura that reeks like demons,” Jace said. “If Magnus wasn’t specific, it’s probably because he’s none too pleased that there’s a warlock out there practicing dark magic, breaking the Law. But it’s hardly the first time Valentine’s gotten one of Lilith’s children to do his nasty bidding. Remember the warlock kid he killed in New York?”
“Valentine used his blood for the Ritual. I remember. ” Clary shuddered. “Jace, does Valentine want the book for the same reason I do? To wake my mother up?”
“He might. Or if it’s what Magnus says it is, Valentine might just want it for the power he could gain from it. Either way, we’d better get it before he does. ”
“Do you think there’s any chance it’s in the Wayland manor?”
“I know it’s there,” he said, to her surprise. “That cookbook? Recipes for Housewives or whatever? I’ve seen it before. In the manor’s library. It was the only cookbook in there. ”
Clary felt dizzy. She almost hadn’t let herself believe it could be true. “Jace—if you take me to the manor, and we get the book, I’ll go home with Simon. Do this for me and I’ll go to New York, and I won’t come back, I swear. ”
“Magnus was right—there are misdirection wards on the manor,” he said slowly. “I’ll take you there, but it’s not close. Walking, it might take us five hours. ”
Clary reached out and drew his stele out of its loop on his belt. She held it up between them, where it glowed with a faint white light not unlike the light of the glass towers. “Who said anything about walking?”
“You get some strange visitors, Daylighter,” Samuel said. “First Jonathan Morgenstern, and now the head vampire of New York City. I’m impressed. ”
Jonathan Morgenstern? It took Simon a moment to realize that this was, of course, Jace. He was sitting on the floor in the center of the room, turning the empty flask in his hands over and over idly. “I guess I’m more important than I realized. ”
“And Isabelle Lightwood bringing you blood,” Samuel said. “That’s quite a delivery service. ”
Simon’s head went up. “How do you know Isabelle brought it? I didn’t say anything—”
“I saw her through the window. She looks just like her mother,” said Samuel, “at least, the way her mother did years ago. ” There was an awkward pause. “You know the blood is only a stopgap,” he added. “Pretty soon the Inquisitor will start wondering if you’ve starved to death yet. If he finds you perfectly healthy, he’ll figure out something’s up and kill you anyway. ”
Simon looked up at the ceiling. The runes carved into the stone overlapped one another like shingled sand on a beach. “I guess I’ll just have to believe Jace when he says they’ll find a way to get me out,” he said. When Samuel said nothing in return, he added, “I’ll ask him to get you out too, I promise. I won’t leave you down here. ”
Samuel made a choked noise, like a laugh that couldn’t quite make it out of his throat. “Oh, I don’t think Jace Morgenstern is going to want to rescue me,” he said. “Besides, starving down here is the least of your problems, Daylighter. Soon enough Valentine will attack the city, and then we’ll likely all be killed. ”
Simon blinked. “How can you be so sure?”
“I was close to him at one point. I knew his plans. His goals. He intends to destroy Alicante’s wards and strike at the Clave from the heart of their power. ”
“But I thought no demons could get past the wards. I thought they were impenetrable. ”
“So it’s said. It requires demon blood to take the wards down, you see, and it can only be done from inside Alicante. But because no demon can get through the wards—well, it’s a perfect paradox, or should be. But Valentine claimed he’d found a way to get around that, a way to break through. And I believe him. He will find a way to take the wards down, and he will come into the city with his demon army, and he will kill us all. ”
The flat certainty in Samuel’s voice sent a chill up Simon’s spine. “You sound awfully resigned. Shouldn’t you do something? Warn the Clave?”
“I did warn them. When they interrogated me. I told them over and over again that Valentine meant to destroy the wards, but they dismissed me. The Clave thinks the wards will stand forever because they’ve stood for a thousand years. But so did Rome, till the barbarians came. Everything falls someday. ” He chuckled: a bitter, angry sound. “Consider it a race to see who kills you first, Daylighter—Valentine, the other Downworlders, or the Clave. ”
Somewhere between here and there Clary’s hand was torn out of Jace’s. When the hurricane spit her out and she hit the floor, she hit it alone, hard, and rolled gasping to a stop.
She sat up slowly and looked around. She was lying in the center of a Persian rug thrown over the floor of a large stone-walled room. There were items of furniture here and there; the white sheets thrown over them turned them into humped, unwieldy ghosts. Velvet curtains sagged across huge glass windows; the velvet was gray-white with dust, and motes of dust danced in the moonlight.
“Clary?” Jace emerged from behind a massive white-sheeted shape; it might have been a grand piano. “Are you all right?”
“Fine. ” She stood up, wincing a little. Her elbow ached. “Aside from the fact that Amatis will probably kill me when we get back. Considering that I smashed all her plates and opened up a Portal in her kitchen. ”
He reached his hand down to her. “For whatever it’s worth,” he said, helping her to her feet, “I was very impressed. ”
“Thanks. ” Clary glanced around. “So this is where you grew up? It’s like something out of a fairy tale. ”
“I was thinking a horror movie,” Jace said. “God, it’s been years since I’ve seen this place. It didn’t use to be so—”
“So cold?” Clary shivered a little. She buttoned her coat, but the cold in the manor was more than physical cold: The place felt cold, as if there had never been warmth or light or laughter inside it.
“No,” said Jace. “It was always cold. I was going to say dusty. ” He took a witchlight stone out of his pocket, and it flared to life between his fingers. Its white glow lit his face from beneath, picking out the shadows under his cheekbones, the hollows at his temples. “This is the study, and we need the library. Come on. ”
He led her from the room and down a long corridor lined with dozens of mirrors that gave back their own reflections. Clary hadn’t realized quite how disheveled she looked: her coat streaked with dust, her hair snarled from the wind. She tried to smooth it down discreetly and caught Jace’s grin in the next mirror. For some reason, due doubtless to a mysterious Shadowhunter magic she didn’t have a hope of understanding, his hair looked perfect.
The corridor was lined with doors, some open; through them Clary could glimpse other rooms, as dusty and unused-looking as the study had been. Michael Wayland had had no relatives, Valentine had said, so she supposed no one had inherited this place after his “death”—she had assumed Valentine had carried on living here, but that seemed clearly not to be the case. Everything breathed sorrow and disuse. At Renwick’s, Valentine had called this place home, had showed it to Jace in the Portal mirror, a gilt-edged memory of green fields and mellow stone, but that, Clary thought, had been a lie too. It was clear Valentine hadn’t really lived here in years—perhaps he had just left it here to rot, or he had come here only occasionally, to walk the dim corridors like a ghost.
They reached a door at the end of the hallway and Jace shouldered it open, standing back to let Clary pass into the room before him. She had been picturing the library at the Institute, and this room was not entirely unlike it: the same walls filled with row upon row of books, the same ladders on rolling casters so the high shelves could be reached. The ceiling was flat and beamed, though, not conical, and there was no desk. Green velvet curtains, their folds iced with white dust, hung over windows that alternated panes of green and blue glass. In the moonlight they sparkled like colored frost. Beyond the glass, all was black.
“This is the library?” she said to Jace in a whisper, though she wasn’t sure why she was whispering. There was something so profoundly still about the big, empty house.
He was looking past her, his eyes dark with memory. “I used to sit in that window seat and read whatever my father had assigned me that day. Different languages on different days—French on Saturday, English on Sunday—but I can’t remember now what day Latin was, if it was Monday or Tuesday…. ”
Clary had a sudden flashing image of Jace as a little boy, book balanced on his knees as he sat in the window embrasure, looking out over—over what? Were there gardens? A view? A high wall of thorns like the wall around Sleeping Beauty’s castle? She saw him as he read, the light that came in through the window casting squares of blue and green over his fair hair and the small face more serious than any ten-year-old’s should be.
“I can’t remember,” he said again, staring into the dark.
She touched his shoulder. “It doesn’t matter, Jace. ”
“I suppose not. ” He shook himself, as if waking out of a dream, and moved across the room, the witchlight lighting his way. He knelt down to inspect a row of books and straightened up with one of them in his hand. “Simple Recipes for Housewives,” he said. “Here it is. ”
She hurried across the room and took it from him. It was a plain-looking book with a blue binding, and dusty, like everything in the house. When she opened it, dust swarmed up from its pages like a gathering of moths.
A large, square hole had been cut out of the center of the book. Fitted into the hole like a jewel in a bezel was a smaller volume, about the size of a small chapbook, bound in white leather with the title printed in gilded Latin letters. Clary recognized the words for “white” and “book,” but when she lifted it out and opened it, to her surprise the pages were covered with thin, spidery handwriting in a language she couldn’t understand.
“Greek,” Jace said, looking over her shoulder. “Of the ancient variety. ”
“Can you read it?”
“Not easily,” he admitted. “It’s been years. But Magnus will be able to, I imagine. ” He closed the book and slipped it into the pocket of her green coat before turning back to the bookshelves, skimming his fingers along the rows of books, his fingertips tracing their spines.
“Are there any of these you want to take with you?” she asked gently. “If you’d like—”
Jace laughed and dropped his hand. “I was only allowed to read what I was assigned,” he said. “Some of the shelves had books on them I wasn’t even allowed to touch. ” He indicated a row of books, higher up, bound in matching brown leather. “I read one of them once, when I was about six, just to see what the fuss was about. It turned out to be a journal my father was keeping. About me. Notes about ‘my son, Jonathan Christopher. ’ He whipped me with a belt when he found out I’d read it. Actually, it was the first time I even knew I had a middle name. ”
A sudden ache of hatred for her father went through Clary. “Well, Valentine’s not here now. ”
“Clary …” Jace began, a warning note in his voice, but she’d already reached up and yanked one of the books out from the forbidden shelf, knocking it to the ground. It made a satisfying thump. “Clary!”
“Oh, come on. ” She did it again, knocking another book down, and then another. Dust puffed up from their pages as they hit the floor. “You try. ”
Jace looked at her for a moment, and then a half smile teased the corner of his mouth. Reaching up, he swept his arm along the shelf, knocking the rest of the books to the ground with a loud crash. He laughed—and then broke off, lifting his head, like a cat pricking up its ears at a distant sound. “Do you hear that?”
Hear what? Clary was about to ask, and stopped herself. There was a sound, getting louder now—a high-pitched whirring and grinding, like the sound of machinery coming to life. The sound seemed to be coming from inside the wall. She took an involuntary step back just as the stones in front of them slid back with a groaning, rusty scream. An opening gaped behind the stones—a sort of doorway, roughly hacked out of the wall.
Beyond the doorway was a set of stairs, leading down into darkness.