City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments 6) - Page 30

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She broke off as Alec suddenly clutched at his shoulder with a gasp. He slid to the floor. Isabelle ran to him and knelt down by his side. “Alec? Alec!” Her voice rose, tinged with panic.

Alec pushed aside his jacket, shoved down the collar of his shirt, and craned to see the mark on his shoulder. Simon recognized the outlines of the parabatai rune. Alec pressed his fingers to it; they came away smudged with something dark that looked like a smear of ash. “They’ve come back through the Portal,” he said. “And there’s something wrong with Jace.”

It was like returning to a dream, or a nightmare.

After the Mortal War, Angel Square had been full of bodies. Shadowhunter bodies, laid out in neat rows, each corpse with its eyes bound in the white silk of death.

There were bodies in the square again, but this time there was also chaos. The demon towers were shining down a brilliant light on the scene that greeted Simon when, having followed Isabelle and Alec through the winding streets of Alicante, he finally reached the Hall of Accords. The square was full of people. Nephilim in gear lay on the ground, some writhing in pain and calling out, some alarmingly still.

The Accords Hall itself was dark and shut tight. One of the larger stone buildings on the square was open and blazing with lights, double doors thrown wide. A stream of Shadowhunters was going in and out.

Isabelle had risen up on tiptoe and was scanning the crowd anxiously. Simon followed her gaze. He could make out a few familiar figures: the Consul moving anxiously among her people, Kadir from the New York Institute, Silent Brothers in their parchment robes directing people wordlessly toward the lighted building. “The Basilias is open,” Isabelle said to a haggard-looking Alec. “They might have taken Jace in there, if he was hurt—”

“He was hurt,” Alec said shortly.

“The Basilias?” Simon asked.

“The hospital,” Isabelle said, indicating the lighted building. Simon could feel her thrumming with nervous, panicked energy. “I should—we should—”

“I’ll go with you,” Simon said.

She shook her head. “Shadowhunters only.”

Alec said, “Isabelle. Come on.” He was holding the shoulder marked by his parabatai rune stiffly. Simon wanted to say something to him, wanted to say that his best friend had also gone into the battle and was also missing, wanted to say that he understood. But maybe you could only understand parabatai if you were a Shadowhunter. He doubted Alec would thank him for saying he understood. Rarely had Simon felt so keenly the divide between Nephilim and those who were not Nephilim.

Isabelle nodded and followed her brother without another word. Simon watched them go across the square, past the statue of the Angel, looking down on the aftermath of the battle with sad marble eyes. They went up the front steps of the Basilias and were lost to even his vampire sight.

“Do you think,” said a soft voice at his shoulder, “that they would mind much if we fed on their dead?”

It was Raphael. His curly hair was a mussed halo around his head, and he wore only a thin T-shirt and jeans. He looked like a child.

“The blood of the recently deceased is not my favorite vintage,” he went on, “but it is better than bottled blood, would you not agree?”

“You have an incredibly charming personality,” said Simon. “I hope someone’s told you that.”

Raphael snorted. “Sarcasm,” he said. “Tedious.”

Simon made an uncontrollable, exasperated noise. “You go ahead then. Feed on the Nephilim dead. I’m sure they’re really in the mood for that. They might let you live five, ten seconds even.”

Raphael chuckled. “It looks worse than it is,” he said. “There are not so many dead. Quite a lot injured. They were overmatched. They will not forget, now, what it means to fight the Endarkened.”

Simon narrowed his eyes. “What do you know about the Endarkened, Raphael?”

“Whispers and shadows,” said Raphael. “But I make it my business to know things.”

“Then if you know things, tell me where Jace and Clary are,” said Simon, without a lot of hope. Raphael was rarely helpful unless it was useful to him.

“Jace is in the Basilias,” said Raphael, to Simon’s surprise. “It appears the heavenly fire in his veins was finally too much for him. He nearly destroyed himself, and one of the Silent Brothers along with him.”

“What?” Simon’s anxiety sharpened from the general to the specific. “Is he going to live? Where’s Clary?”

Raphael cast him a look out of dark, long-lashed eyes; his smile was lopsided. “It does not do for vampires to fret overmuch for the lives of mortals.”

“I swear to God, Raphael, if you don’t start being more helpful—”

“Very well, then. Come with me.” Raphael moved farther into the shadows, keeping to the inside edge of the square. Simon hurried to catch up with him. He caught sight of a blond head and a dark head bent together—Aline and Helen, tending to one of the wounded—and thought for a moment of Alec and Jace.

“If you are wondering what would happen if you drank Jace’s blood now, the answer is that it would kill you,” said Raphael. “Vampires and heavenly fire do not mix. Yes, even you, Daylighter.”

“I wasn’t wondering that.” Simon scowled. “I was wondering what happened at the battle.”

“Sebastian attacked the Adamant Citadel,” said Raphael, moving around a tight knot of Shadowhunters. “Where the weapons of the Shadowhunters are forged. The place of the Iron Sisters. He tricked the Clave into believing he had a force of only twenty with him, when in fact he had more. He would have killed them all and taken the Citadel most likely, if not for your Jace—”

“He isn’t my Jace.”

“And Clary,” said Raphael, as if Simon hadn’t spoken. “Though I do not know the details. Only what I have overheard, and there seems much confusion among the Nephilim themselves as to what happened.”

“How did Sebastian manage to trick them into thinking he had fewer warriors than he did?”

Raphael shrugged a thin shoulder. “Shadowhunters forget sometimes that not all magic is theirs. The Citadel is built on ley lines. There is old magic, wild magic, that existed before Jonathan Shadowhunter, and will exist again—”

He broke off, and Simon followed his gaze. For a moment Simon saw only a sheet of blue light. Then it subsided and he saw Clary lying on the ground. He heard a roaring sound in his ears, like rushing blood. She was white and still, her fingers and mouth tinged a dark bluish purple. Her hair hung in lank straggles around her face, and her eyes were circled with shadows. She wore torn and bloody gear, and by her hand lay a Morgenstern sword, its blade stamped with stars.

Magnus was leaning over her, his hand on her cheek, the tips of his fingers glowing blue. Jocelyn and Luke knelt on the other side of Clary. Jocelyn looked up and saw Simon. Her lips shaped his name. He couldn’t hear anything over the roaring in his ears. Was Clary dead? She looked dead, or nearly.

He started forward, but Luke was already on his feet, reaching for Simon. He caught at Simon’s arms, pulled him back from where Clary lay on the ground.

Simon’s vampire nature gave him unnatural strength, strength he’d barely learned how to use yet, but Luke was just as strong. His fingers dug into Simon’s upper arms. “What happened?” Simon said, his voice rising. “Raphael—?” He whipped around to look for the vampire, but Raphael was gone; he had melted into the shadows. “Please,” Simon said to Luke, looking from his familiar face to Clary. “Let me—”

“Simon, no,” Magnus barked. He was tracing his fingertips over Clary’s face, leaving blue sparks in their wake. She didn’t move or react. “This is delicate—her energy is extremely low.”

“Shouldn’t she be in the Basilias?” Simon demanded, looking over at the hospital building. Light was still pouring from it, and to his surprise he saw Alec standing on the steps. He was staring at Magnus. Before Simon could move or signal to him, Alec turned abruptly and went back inside the building.

“Magnus—” Simon began.

“Simon, shut up,” Magnus said through gritted teeth. Simon twisted out of Luke’s grasp only to trip and fetch up against the side of a stone wall.

“But Clary—” he started.

Luke looked haggard, but his expression was firm. “Clary exhausted herself making a healing rune. But she’s not wounded, her body’s whole, and Magnus can help her better than the Silent Brothers can. The best thing you can do is stay out of the way.”

“Jace,” Simon said. “Alec felt something happen to him through the parabatai bond. Something to do with the heavenly fire. And Raphael was babbling about ley lines—”

“Look, the battle was bloodier than the Nephilim expected. Sebastian wounded Jace, but the heavenly fire rebounded on him, somehow. It nearly destroyed Jace as well. Clary saved Jace’s life, but there’s still work for the Brothers to do, healing him.” Luke looked at Simon with tired blue eyes. “And why were you with Isabelle and Alec? I thought you were going to stay behind in New York. Did you come because of Jordan?”

The name brought Simon up short. “Jordan? What does he have to do with anything?”

For the first time Luke seemed truly taken aback. “You don’t know?”

“Know what?”

Luke hesitated a long moment. Then he said, “I have something for you. Magnus brought it from New York.” He reached into his pocket and drew out a medallion on a chain. The medallion was gold, stamped with a wolf’s paw and the Latin inscription Beati Bellicosi.

Blessed are the warriors.

Simon knew it instantly. Jordan’s Praetor Lupus pendant. It was flaked and stained with blood. Dark red like rust, it clung to the chain and the medallion’s face. But if anyone knew what was rust and what was blood, it was a vampire. “I don’t understand,” Simon said. The roaring was back in his ears again. “Why do you have this? Why are you giving it to me?”

“Because Jordan wanted you to have it,” said Luke.

“Wanted?” Simon’s voice rose. “Don’t you mean ‘wants’?”

Luke took a deep breath. “I’m sorry, Simon. Jordan’s dead.”

Tags: Cassandra Clare The Mortal Instruments Young Adult