City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments 6) - Page 28

“It was a message to Downworlders,” said Magnus. “I talked to Maia on the phone. She had me memorize it. Apparently he said, ‘Tell all the Downworlders that I am in pursuit of vengeance, and I will have it. I will deal this way with any who ally themselves with Shadowhunters. I have no argument with your kind, unless you follow the Nephilim into battle, in which case you will be food for my blade and the blades of my army, until the last of you is cut from the surface of this world.’?”


Jocelyn made a ragged sound. “He sounds just like his father, doesn’t he?”


Luke looked at Magnus. “Are you going to deliver that message at the Council?”


Magnus tapped at his chin with a glittery fingernail. “No,” he said. “But I’m not going to conceal it from the Downworlders, either. My loyalty is not to Shadowhunters over them.”


Not like yours. The words hung between them, unspoken.


“I have this,” Magnus said, taking a piece of paper from his pocket. Luke recognized it, since he had one of his own. “Will you be at the dinner tomorrow night?”


“I will. Faeries take invitations like that very seriously. Meliorn and the Court would be insulted if I didn’t go.”


“I plan to tell them then,” Magnus said.


“And if they panic?” said Luke. “If they abandon the Council and the Nephilim?”


“It’s not as if what happened at the Praetor can be concealed.”


“Sebastian’s message could,” said Jocelyn. “He’s trying to frighten the Downworlders, Magnus. He’s trying to make them stand back while he destroys the Nephilim.”


“It would be their right,” said Magnus.


“If they do, do you think that the Nephilim will ever forgive them?” said Jocelyn. “The Clave is not forgiving. They are more unforgiving than God himself.”


“Jocelyn,” said Luke. “It’s not Magnus’s fault.”


But Jocelyn was still looking at Magnus. “What,” she said, “would Tessa tell you to do?”


“Please, Jocelyn,” Magnus said. “You hardly know her. She would preach honesty; she usually does. Concealing the truth never works. When you live long enough, you can see that.”


Jocelyn looked down at her hands—her artist’s hands, that Luke had always loved, agile and careful and stained with ink. “I am not a Shadowhunter anymore,” she said. “I fled from them. I told you both that. But a world without Shadowhunters in it—I am afraid of that.”


“There was a world before the Nephilim,” said Magnus. “There will be one after.”


“A world we can survive in? My son—” Jocelyn began, and broke off as a hammering sound came from upstairs. Someone was pounding on the front door. “Clary?” she wondered aloud. “She might have forgotten her key again.”


“I’ll get it,” Luke said, and stood up. He exchanged a brief look with Jocelyn as he left the cellar, his mind whirling. Jordan dead, Maia grieving. Sebastian trying to pit Downworlders against Shadowhunters.


He drew the front door open, and a blast of cold night air came in. Standing on the doorstep was a young woman with pale curling blond hair, dressed in gear. Helen Blackthorn. Luke barely had time to register that the demon towers above them were glowing bloodred when she spoke.


“I’ve come with a message from the Gard,” she said. “It’s about Clary.”






“Maia.”


A soft voice out of the silence. Maia turned over, not wanting to open her eyes. There was something terrible waiting out there in the darkness, something that she could escape if she just slept and slept forever.


“Maia.” He was looking at her out of the shadows, pale eyes and dark skin. Her brother, Daniel. As she watched, he tore the wings from a butterfly and let its body fall, twitching, to the ground.


“Maia, please.” A light touch on her arm. She bolted upright, her whole body recoiling. Her back hit a wall and she gasped, peeling her eyes open. They were sticky, her eyelashes fringed with salt. She had been crying in her sleep.


She was in a half-lit room, a single window looking out onto a winding downtown street. She could see the leafless boughs of trees through the smeared glass and the edge of something metal—a fire escape, she guessed.


She glanced down—a narrow bed with an iron headboard and a thin blanket that she had kicked to the foot. Her back against a brick wall. A single chair by the bed, old and splintered. Bat sat in it, his eyes wide, slowly lowering his hand.


“I’m sorry,” he said.


“Don’t,” she ground out. “Don’t touch me.”


“You were screaming,” he said. “In your sleep.”


She hugged her arms around herself. She was wearing jeans and a tank top. The sweater she had been wearing on Long Island was missing, and the skin on her arms prickled with gooseflesh. “Where are my clothes?” she said. “My jacket, my sweater—”


Bat cleared his throat. “They were covered in blood, Maia.”


“Right,” she said. Her heart was drumming in her chest.


“You remember what happened?” he asked.


She closed her eyes. She remembered it all: the drive, the truck, the burning building, the beach covered in bodies. Jordan collapsing against her, his blood running down on and around her like water, mixing with the sand. Your boyfriend’s dead.


“Jordan,” she said, though she already knew.


Bat’s face was grave; there was a greenish cast to his brown eyes that made them shine in the half-light. It was a face she knew well. He was one of the first werewolves she’d ever met. They’d dated until she’d told him she thought she was too new to the city, too jittery, too much not over Jordan for a relationship. He’d broken up with her the next day; surprisingly they had stayed friends. “He’s dead,” he said. “Along with almost all the Praetor Lupus. Praetor Scott, the students—a few survived. Maia, why were you there? What were you doing at the Praetor?”


Maia told him about Simon’s disappearance, the phone call to Jordan from the Praetor, their frantic drive to Long Island, the discovery of the Praetor in ruins.


Bat cleared his throat. “I do have some of Jordan’s things. His keys, his Praetor pendant—”


Maia felt as if she couldn’t catch her breath. “No, I don’t want—I don’t want his things,” she said. “He would have wanted Simon to have the pendant. When we find Simon, he should have it.”


Bat didn’t push the issue. “I do have some good news,” he said. “We heard from Idris: your friend Simon’s all right. He’s there, actually, with the Shadowhunters.”


“Oh.” Maia felt the tight knot around her heart loosen slightly with relief.


“I should have told you right away,” he apologized. “It’s just—I was worried about you. You were in bad shape when we brought you back to headquarters. You’ve been sleeping since then.”


I wanted to sleep forever.


“I know you already told Magnus,” added Bat, his face strained. “But explain it to me again, why Sebastian Morgenstern would target lycanthropes.”


“He said it was a message.” Maia heard the flatness in her own voice as if from a distance. “He wanted us to know that it was because werewolves are allies with the Shadowhunters, and that this was what he planned to do to all the Nephilim’s allies.”


“I’ll never pause again, never stand still, till either death hath closed these eyes of mine, or fortune given me measure of revenge.”


“New York is empty of Shadowhunters now, and Luke is in Idris with them. They’re putting up extra wards. Soon we’ll barely be able to get messages in and out.” Bat shifted in his chair; Maia sensed there was something he wasn’t telling her.


“What is it?” she said.


His eyes darted away.


“Bat . . .”


“Do you know Rufus Hastings?”


Rufus. Maia remembered the first time she’d been to the Praetor Lupus, a scarred face, an angry man exiting Prateor Scott’s office in a rage. “Not really.”


“He survived the massacre. He’s here in the station, with us. He’s been filling us in,” said Bat. “And he’s been talking to the others about Luke. Saying that he’s more of a Shadowhunter than a lycanthrope, that he doesn’t have pack loyalty, that the pack needs a new leader now.”


“You’re the leader,” she said. “You’re second in command.”


“Yeah, and I was put in that position by Luke. That means I can’t be trusted either.”


Maia slid to the edge of the bed. Her whole body ached; she felt it as she put her bare feet on the cold stone floor. “No one’s listening to him, are they?”


Bat shrugged.


“That’s ridiculous. After what’s happened, we need to be unified, not to have someone trying to split us up. Shadowhunters are our allies—”


“Which is why Sebastian targeted us.”


“He’d target us anyway. He’s no friend to Downworlders. He’s Valentine Morgenstern’s son.” Her eyes burned. “He might be trying to get us to abandon the Nephilim temporarily, so he can go after them, but if he managed to wipe them off the earth, all he’d do is come for us next.”


Bat clasped and unclasped his hands, then seemed to come to a decision. “I know you’re right,” he said, and went over to a table in the corner of the room. He returned with a jacket for her, socks and boots. He handed them over. “Just—do me a favor and don’t say anything like that this afternoon. Emotions are going to be running pretty high as it is.”


She shrugged the jacket on. “This afternoon? What’s this afternoon?”


He sighed. “The funeral,” he said.


Tags: Cassandra Clare The Mortal Instruments Young Adult
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