City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments 6) - Page 47

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“Because I don’t trust the Clave,” said Emma in a small voice. “But I trust you.”

Clary swallowed visibly. “Emma . . .”

“When we got here, the Clave questioned all of us, especially Jules, and they used the Mortal Sword to make sure we weren’t lying. It hurts, but they didn’t care. They used it on Ty and Livvy. They used it on Dru.” Emma sounded outraged. “They would probably have used it on Tavvy if he could talk. And it hurts. The Mortal Sword hurts.”

“I know,” Clary said, quietly.

“We’ve been staying with the Penhallows,” Emma said. “Because of Aline and Helen, and because the Clave wants to keep an eye on us too. Because of what we saw. I was downstairs when they came back from the funeral, and I heard them talking, so—so I hid. A whole group of them, not just Patrick and Jia, but a lot of the other Institute heads too. They were talking about what they should do, what the Clave should do, whether they should turn over Jace and Clary to Sebastian, as if it was their choice. Their decision. But I thought it should be your decision. Some of them said it didn’t matter whether you wanted to go or not—”

Simon was on his feet. “But, Jace and Clary offered to go, practically begged to go—”

“We would have told them the truth.” Emma pushed her tangled hair out of her face. Her eyes were enormous, brown shot through with bits of gold and amber. “They didn’t have to use the Mortal Sword on us, we would have told the Council the truth, but they used it anyway. They used it on Jules until his hands—his hands were burned from it.” Her voice shook. “So, I thought you should know what they were saying. They don’t want you to know that it’s not your choice, because they know Clary can make Portals. They know she can get out of here, and if she escapes, they think they’ll have no way to bargain with Sebastian.”

The door opened, and Alec came back into the room, carrying a book bound in brown leather. He was holding it in such a way as to obscure the title, but his eyes met Jace’s, and he gave a slight nod, and then a glance toward Emma. Jace’s heartbeat sped up; Alec had found something. Something he didn’t like, judging from his grim expression, but something nonetheless.

“Did the Clave members you overheard give any sense of when they were going to decide what to do?” Jace asked Emma, partly to distract her, as Alec sat down on the bed, sliding the book behind him.

Emma shook her head. “They were still arguing when I left. I crawled out the top floor window. Jules told me not to, because I’d get killed, but I knew I wouldn’t. I’m a good climber,” she added with a tinge of pride. “And he worries too much.”

“It’s good to have people worry about you,” said Alec. “It means they care. It’s how you know they’re good friends.”

Emma’s gaze went from Alec to Jace, curious. “Do you worry about him?” she asked Alec, surprising a laugh out of him.

“All the time,” he said. “Jace could get himself killed putting his pants on in the morning. Being his parabatai is a full-time job.”

“I wish I had a parabatai,” Emma said. “It’s like someone who’s your family, but because they want to be, not because they have to be.” She flushed, suddenly self-conscious. “Anyway. I don’t think anyone should be punished for saving people.”

“Is that why you trust us?” Clary asked, touched. “You think we save people?”

Emma toed the carpet with her boots. Then she looked up. “I knew about you,” she said to Jace, blushing. “I mean, everyone knows about you. That you were Valentine’s son, but then you weren’t, you were Jonathan Herondale. And I don’t think that meant anything to most people—most of them call you Jace Lightwood—but it made a difference to my dad. I heard him say to my mom that he’d thought the Herondales were all gone, that the family was dead, but you were the last of them, and he voted in the Council meeting for the Clave to keep looking for you because, he said, ‘The Carstairs owe the Herondales.’?”

“Why?” Alec said. “What do they owe them for?”

“I don’t know,” Emma said. “But I came because my dad would have wanted me to, even if it was dangerous.”

Jace huffed a soft laugh. “Something tells me you don’t care if things are dangerous.” He crouched down, putting his eyes on a level with Emma’s. “Is there anything else you can tell us? Anything else they said?”

She shook her head. “They don’t know where Sebastian is. They don’t know about the Edom thing—I mentioned it when I was holding the Mortal Sword, but I think they just thought it was another word for ‘Hell.’ They never asked me if I thought it was a real place, so I didn’t say.”

“Thanks for telling us. It’s a help. A huge help. You should go,” he added, as gently as he could, “before they notice you’re gone. But from now on the Herondales owe the Carstairs. Okay? Remember that.”

Jace stood up as Emma turned to Clary, who nodded and led her over to the window where Jace had been sitting earlier. Clary bent down and hugged the younger girl before reaching over to unlatch the window. Emma clambered out with the agility of a monkey. She swung herself up until only her dangling boots were visible, and a moment later those were gone too. Jace heard a light scraping overhead as she darted across the roof tiles, and then silence.

“I like her,” Isabelle said finally. “She kind of reminds me of Jace when he was little, and stubborn, and acted like he was immortal.”

“Two of those things still apply,” said Clary, swinging the window shut. She sat down on the window seat. “I guess the big question is, do we tell Jia or anyone else on the Council what Emma told us?”

“That depends,” said Jace. “Jia has to bow to what the whole Clave wants; she said so herself. If they decide that what they want is to toss us into a cage until Sebastian comes for us—well, that pretty much squanders any upper hand this information might give us.”

“So it depends on if the information’s actually useful or not,” said Simon.

“Right,” said Jace. “Alec, what did you find out?”

Alec pulled the book out from behind him. It was an encyclopedia daemonica, the sort of book every Shadowhunter library would have. “I thought Edom might be a name for one of the demon realms—”

“Well, everyone’s been theorizing that Sebastian might be in a different dimension, since he’s untrackable,” said Isabelle. “But the demon dimensions—there are millions of them, and people can’t just go there.”

“Some are better known than others,” said Alec. “The Bible and the Enochian texts mention quite a few, disguised and subsumed, of course, into stories and myths. Edom is mentioned as a wasteland—” He read out loud, his voice measured. “And the streams of Edom shall be turned into pitch, and her soil into sulfur; her land shall become burning pitch. Night and day it shall not be quenched; its smoke shall go up forever. From generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it forever and ever.” He sighed. “And of course there’s the legends about Lilith and Edom, that she was banished there, that she rules the place with the demon Asmodeus. That’s probably why the Endarkened were talking about sacrificing Mark Blackthorn to her in Edom.”

“Lilith protects Sebastian,” said Clary. “If he was going to go to a demon realm, he’d go to hers.”

“?‘None shall pass through it forever and ever’ doesn’t sound very encouraging,” said Jace. “Besides, there’s no way to get to the demon realms. Traveling from place to place in this world is one thing—”

“Well, there is a way, I think,” said Alec. “A pathway that the Nephilim can’t close, because it lies outside the jurisdiction of our Laws. It’s old, older than Shadowhunters—old, wild magic.” He sighed. “It’s in the Seelie Court, and it is guarded by the Fair Folk. No human being has set foot on that pathway in more than a hundred years.”

Tags: Cassandra Clare The Mortal Instruments Young Adult