City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments 6) - Page 100

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“Don’t eavesdrop,” said Julian.

Emma glared at him. All right, so she could hear the raised voices through the thick wood of the Consul’s office door, now shut but for a crack. And maybe she had been leaning toward the door, tantalized by the fact that she could hear the voices, could nearly make them out, but not quite. So? Wasn’t it better to know things than to not know them?

She mouthed “So what?” at Julian, who raised his eyebrows at her. Julian didn’t exactly like rules, but he obeyed them. Emma thought rules were for breaking, or bending at the very least.

Plus, she was bored. They had been led to the door and left there by one of the Council members, at the end of the long corridor that stretched nearly the length of the Gard. Tapestries hung all around the office entrance, threadbare from the passing of years. Most of them showed passages from Shadowhunter history: the Angel rising from the lake with the Mortal Instruments, the Angel passing the Gray Book to Jonathan Shadowhunter, the First Accords, the Battle of Shanghai, the Council of Buenos Aires. There was another tapestry as well, this one looking newer and freshly hung, which showed the Angel rising out of the lake, this time without the Mortal Instruments. A blond man stood at the edge of the lake, and near him, almost invisible, was the figure of a slight girl with red hair, holding a stele. . . .

“There’ll be a tapestry about you someday,” said Jules.

Emma flicked her eyes over to him. “You have to do something really big to get a tapestry about you. Like win a war.”

“You could win a war,” he said confidently. Emma felt a little tightening around her heart. When Julian looked at her like that, like she was brilliant and amazing, it made the missing-her-parents ache in her heart a little less. There was something about having someone care about you like that that made you feel like you could never be totally alone.

Unless they decided to take her away from Jules, of course. Move her to Idris, or to one of the Institutes where she had distant relatives—in England, or China or Iran. Suddenly panicked, she took out her stele and carved an audio rune into her arm before pressing her ear to the wood of the door, ignoring Julian’s glare.

The voices immediately came clear. She recognized Jia’s first, and then the second after a beat: The Consul was talking to Luke Garroway.

“. . . Zachariah? He is no longer an active Shadowhunter,” Jia was saying. “He left today before the meeting, saying he had some loose ends to tie up, and then an urgent appointment in London in early January, something he couldn’t miss.”

Luke murmured an answer Emma didn’t hear; she hadn’t known Zachariah was leaving, and wished she could have thanked him for the help he’d given them the night of the battle. And asked him how he’d known her middle name was Cordelia.

She leaned in more closely to the door, and heard Luke, halfway through a sentence. “. . . should tell you first,” he was saying. “I’m planning to step down as representative. Maia Roberts will take my place.”

Jia made a surprised noise. “Isn’t she a little young?”

“She’s very capable,” said Luke. “She hardly needs my endorsement—”

“No,” Jia agreed. “Without her warning before Sebastian’s attack, we would have lost many more Shadowhunters than we did.”

“And as she’ll be leading the New York pack from now on, it makes more sense for her to be your representative than for me.” He sighed. “Besides, Jia. I’ve lost my sister. Jocelyn lost her son—again. And Clary’s still devastated over what happened with Simon. I’d like to be there for my daughter.”

Jia made an unhappy noise. “Maybe I shouldn’t have let her try to call him.”

“She had to know,” said Luke. “It’s a loss. She has to come to terms with it. She has to grieve. I’d like to be there to help her through it. I’d like to get married. I’d like to be there for my family. I need to step away.”

“Well, you have my blessing, of course,” she said. “Though I could have used your help in reopening the Academy. We have lost so many. It has been a long time since death undid so many Nephilim. We must reach out into the mundane world, find those who might Ascend, teach and train them. There will be a great deal to do.”

“And many to help you do it.” Luke’s tone was inflexible.

Jia sighed. “I’ll welcome Maia, no fear. Poor Magnus, surrounded by women.”

“I doubt he’ll mind or notice,” said Luke. “Though, I should say that you know he was right, Jia. Abandoning the search for Mark Blackthorn, sending Helen Blackthorn to Wrangel Island—that was unconscionable cruelty.”

There was a pause, and then, “I know,” said Jia in a low voice. “You think I don’t know what I did to my own daughter? But letting Helen stay—I saw the hate in the eyes of my own Shadowhunters, and I was afraid for Helen. Afraid for Mark, should we be able to find him.”

“Well, I saw the devastation in the eyes of the Blackthorn children,” said Luke.

“Children are resilient.”

“They’ve lost their brother and their father, and now you’re leaving them to be raised by an uncle they’ve seen only a few times—”

“They will come to know him; he is a good man. Diana Wrayburn has requested the position of their tutor as well, and I am inclined to give it to her. She was impressed by their bravery—”

“But she isn’t their mother. My mother left when I was a child,” Luke said. “She became an Iron Sister. Cleophas. I never saw her again. Amatis raised me. I don’t know what I would have done without her. She was—all I had.”

Emma glanced quickly over at Julian to see if he’d heard. She didn’t think he had; he wasn’t looking at her but was staring off into nothing, blue-green eyes as distant as the ocean they resembled. She wondered if he was remembering the past or fearing for the future; she wished she could rewind the clock, get her parents back, give Jules back his father and Helen and Mark, unbreak what was broken.

“I’m sorry about Amatis,” said Jia. “And I am worried about the Blackthorn children, believe me. But we have always had orphans; we’re Nephilim. You know that as well as I do. As for the Carstairs girl, she will be brought to Idris; I’m worried she might be a little headstrong—”

Emma shoved the door of the office open; it gave much more easily than she had anticipated, and she half-fell inside. She heard Jules give a startled yelp and then follow her, grabbing at the back of the belt on her jeans to pull her upright. “No!” she said.

Both Jia and Luke looked at her in surprise: Jia’s mouth partly open, Luke beginning to crack a smile. “A little?” he said.

“Emma Carstairs,” Jia began, rising to her feet, “how dare you—”

“How dare you.” And Emma was utterly surprised that it was Julian who had spoken, his verdigris eyes blazing. In five seconds he had turned from worried boy to furious young man, his brown hair standing out wildly as if it were angry too. “How dare you shout at Emma when you’re the one who promised. You promised the Clave would never abandon Mark while he was living—you promised!”

Jia had the grace to look ashamed. “He is one of the Wild Hunt now,” she said. “They are neither the dead nor the living.”

“So you knew,” said Julian. “You knew when you promised that it didn’t mean anything.”

“It meant saving Idris,” said Jia. “I am sorry. We needed the two of you, and I . . .” She sounded as if she were choking out the words. “I would have fulfilled the promise if I could. If there were any way—if it could be done—I would see it done.”

“Then you owe us,” Emma said, planting her feet firmly in front of the Consul’s desk. “You owe us a broken promise. So you have to do this now.”

“Do what?” Jia looked bewildered.

“I won’t be moved to Idris. I won’t. I belong in Los Angeles.”

Emma felt Jules freeze up behind her. “Of course they’re not moving you to Idris,” he said. “What are you talking about?”

Emma pointed an accusing finger at Jia. “She said it.”

“Absolutely not,” Julian said. “Emma lives in L.A.; it’s her home. She can stay at the Institute. That’s what Shadowhunters do. The Institute is supposed to be a refuge.”

“Your uncle will be running the Institute,” said Jia. “It’s up to him.”

“What did he say?” Julian demanded, and behind those four words were a wealth of feeling. When Julian loved people, he loved them forever; when he hated them, he hated them forever. Emma had the feeling the question of whether he was going to hate his uncle forever hung in the balance at exactly this moment.

Tags: Cassandra Clare The Mortal Instruments Young Adult