City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments 6) - Page 21

Listen Audio

Cold fingers against Simon’s temples woke him up. “Open your eyes, Daylighter,” said an impatient voice. “We do not have all day.”

Simon sat up with such alacrity that the person opposite him jerked back with a hiss. Simon stared. He was still surrounded by the bars of Maureen’s cage, still inside the rotting room in the Hotel Dumort. Across from him was Raphael. He wore a buttoned white shirt and jeans, the glint of gold visible at his throat. Still—Simon had only ever seen him look neat and pressed, as if he were going to a business meeting. Now his dark hair was mussed, his white shirt ripped and stained with dirt.

“Good morning, Daylighter,” Raphael said.

“What are you doing here?” Simon snapped. He felt filthy and sick and angry. And he was still wearing a puffy shirt. “Is it actually morning?”

“You were asleep, now you are awake—it’s morning.” Raphael seemed obscenely cheerful. “As for what I am doing here: I am here for you, of course.”

Simon leaned back against the bars of the cage. “What do you mean? And how did you get in here, anyway?”

Raphael looked at him pityingly. “The cage unlocks from the outside. It was easy enough for me to get in.”

“So is this just loneliness and a desire for bro-type companionship, or what?” Simon inquired. “The last time I saw you, you asked me to be your bodyguard, and when I said no, you strongly implied that if I ever lost the Mark of Cain, you would kill me.”

Raphael smiled at him.

“So is this the killing part?” Simon asked. “I have to say, it’s not that subtle. You’ll probably get caught.”

“Yes,” Raphael mused. “Maureen would be very unhappy at your demise. I once broached the mere topic of selling you to unscrupulous warlocks, and she was not amused. It was unfortunate. With its healing powers, Daylighter blood brings a high price.” He sighed. “It would have been quite an opportunity. Alas, Maureen is too foolish to see things from my point of view. She would rather keep you here dressed up like a doll. But then, she is insane.”

“Are you supposed to say that sort of thing about your vampire queen?”

“There was a time I wanted you dead, Daylighter,” Raphael replied conversationally, as if he were telling Simon that there had once been a time when he’d considered buying Simon a box of chocolates. “But I have a greater enemy. You and I, we are on the same side.”

The bars of the cage were pressing uncomfortably into Simon’s back. He shifted. “Maureen?” he guessed. “You always wanted to be the vampire leader, and now she’s taken your place.”

Raphael curled his lip in a snarl. “You think this is only a power play?” he said. “You do not understand. Before Maureen was Turned, she was terrified and tortured to the point of madness. When she rose, she clawed her way free of her coffin. There was no one to teach her. No one to give her first blood. Like I did for you.”

Simon stared. He remembered the graveyard suddenly, coming up out of the earth into the cold of the air and the dirt, and the hunger, tearing hunger, and Raphael tossing him a bag full of blood. He had never thought of it as a favor or a service, but he would have torn into any living creature he had encountered if he hadn’t had that first meal. He almost had torn into Clary. It was Raphael who had stopped that from happening.

It was Raphael who had carried Simon from the Dumort to the Institute; had laid him, bleeding, down on the front steps when they could go no farther; and had explained to Simon’s friends what had happened. Simon supposed Raphael could have tried to hide it, could have lied to the Nephilim, but he had confessed and taken the consequences.

Raphael had never been particularly nice to Simon, but in his own way he had a strange sort of honor.

“I made you,” Raphael said. “My blood, in your veins, made you a vampire.”

“You’ve always said I was a terrible vampire,” Simon pointed out.

“I do not expect your gratitude,” Raphael said. “You have never wanted to be what you are. Neither did Maureen, one can guess. She was made insane by her Turning, and she is still insane. She murders without a thought. She does not consider the dangers of exposing us to the human world by too careless a slaughter. She does not think that perhaps, if vampires killed without need or consideration, one day there would be no more food.”

“Humans,” corrected Simon. “There would be no more humans.”

“You are a terrible vampire,” Raphael said. “But in this we are aligned. You desire to protect humans. I desire to protect vampires. Our goal is one and the same.”

“So kill her,” said Simon. “Kill Maureen and take over the clan.”

“I cannot.” Raphael looked grim. “The other children of the clan love her. They do not see the long road, the darkness on the horizon. They see only having the freedom to kill and consume at will. Not to bend to the Accords, not to follow an outside Law. She has given them all the freedom in the world, and they will end themselves with it.” His tone was bitter.

“You actually care what happens to the clan,” Simon said, surprised. “You would make a pretty good leader.”

Raphael glared at him.

“Though I don’t know how you’d look in a bone tiara,” Simon added. “Look, I understand what you’re saying, but how can I help you? In case you didn’t notice, I’m trapped in a cage. If you free me, you’ll get caught. And if I leave, Maureen will find me.”

“Not in Alicante, she will not,” said Raphael.

“Alicante?” Simon stared. “You mean—capital of Idris, Alicante?”

“You are not very smart,” Raphael said. “Yes, that is the Alicante I mean.” At Simon’s stunned expression he smiled thinly. “There is a vampire representative to the Council. Anselm Nightshade. A retiring sort, the leader of the Los Angeles clan, but a man who knows certain . . . friends of mine. Warlocks.”

“Magnus?” said Simon in surprise. Raphael and Magnus were both immortals, both residents of New York and fairly high-ranking representatives of their Downworlder branches. And yet he had never really considered how they might know each other, or how well.

Raphael ignored Simon’s question. “Nightshade has agreed to send me as the representative in his place, though Maureen does not know it. So I shall go to Alicante, and sit on the Council for their great meeting, but I require you to come with me.”


“They do not trust me, the Shadowhunters,” said Raphael simply. “But they trust you. Especially the New York Nephilim. Look at you. You wear Isabelle Lightwood’s necklace. They know you are more like another Shadowhunter than you are like the Night’s Children. They will believe what you say if you tell them that Maureen has broken the Accords and must be stopped.”

“Right,” Simon said. “They trust me.” Raphael looked at him with wide, guileless eyes. “And this has nothing to do with your not wanting the clan to find out you turned Maureen in, because they like her, and then they’d turn on you like weasels.”

“You know the children of the Inquisitor,” he said. “You can testify directly to him.”

“Sure,” Simon said. “No one in the clan will care that I ratted on their queen and got her killed. I’m sure my life will be fantastic when I get back.”

Raphael shrugged. “I do have supporters here,” he said. “Someone had to let me into this room. Once Maureen is taken care of, it is likely we can return to New York with few negative consequences.”

“Few negative consequences.” Simon snorted. “You’re a comfort.”

“You are in danger anyway, here,” said Raphael. “If you did not have your werewolf protector, or your Shadowhunters, you would have met eternal death many times over. If you do not wish to come with me to Alicante, I will be happy to leave you here in this cage, and you may be Maureen’s plaything. Or you can join your friends in the Glass City. Catarina Loss is waiting downstairs to make a Portal for us. It is your choice.”

Raphael was leaning back, one leg bent, his hand dangling loosely over his knee as if he were relaxing in the park. Behind him, through the bars of the cage, Simon could see the outline of another vampire standing by the door, a dark-haired girl, her features in shadow. The one who had let Raphael in, he guessed. He thought of Jordan. Your werewolf protector. But this, this clash of clans and loyalties, and above all Maureen’s murderous desire for blood and death, was too much to lay at Jordan’s door.

“Not much of a choice, is it?” Simon said.

Raphael smiled. “No, Daylighter. Not much at all.”

The last time Clary had been in the Hall of Accords, it had been nearly destroyed—its crystal roof shattered, its marble floor cracked, its central fountain dry.

She had to admit the Shadowhunters had done an impressive job of patching it up since then. The roof was back in one piece, the marble floor clean and smooth and veined with gold. The arches soared overhead, the light that shone down through the roof illuminating the runes carved into them. The central fountain with its mermaid statue glimmered under the late afternoon sunlight, which turned the water to bronze.

“When you get your first real weapon, it’s traditional to come here and bless the blade in the fountain waters,” said Jace. “Shadowhunters have been doing it for generations.” He moved forward, under the dull gold light, to the fountain’s edge. Clary remembered dreaming of dancing with him here. He looked back over his shoulder and gestured for her to join him. “Come here.”

Clary moved up to stand beside him. The central statue in the fountain, the mermaid, had scales made of overlapping bronze and copper gone green with verdigris. The mermaid held a pitcher, from which water poured, and her face was set in a warrior’s grin.

“Put the blade in the fountain and repeat after me,” said Jace. “Let the waters of this fountain wash this blade clean. Consecrate it to my use alone. Let me use it only in the aid of just causes. Let me wield it in righteousness. Let it guide me to be a worthy warrior of Idris. And let it protect me that I may return to this fountain to bless its metal anew. In Raziel’s name.”

Clary slipped the blade into the water and repeated the words after him. The water rippled and shimmered around the sword, and she was reminded of another fountain, in another place, and Sebastian sitting behind her, looking at the distorted image of her own face. You have a dark heart in you, Valentine’s daughter.

“Good,” Jace said. She felt his hand on her wrist; the water of the fountain splashed up, making his skin cool and wet where it touched hers. He drew back her hand with the sword in it, and released her so that she could lift the blade up. The sun was even farther down now, but there was enough of it to strike sparks off the obsidian stars along the central ridge. “Now give the sword its name.”

“Heosphoros,” she said, sliding it back into its scabbard and tucking the scabbard into her belt. “The dawn-bringer.”

He huffed out a laugh, and bent to feather a kiss against the corner of her mouth. “I should get you home—” He straightened up.

Tags: Cassandra Clare The Mortal Instruments Young Adult