PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS
Jace was prowling the room like a cat. The others watched him, Simon with one eyebrow cocked. “There’s no other way to get there?” Jace asked. “We can’t try to Portal?”
“We’re not demons. We can Portal only within a dimension,” said Alec.
“I know that, but if Clary experimented with the Portal runes—”
“I won’t do it,” Clary interrupted, putting her hand protectively over the pocket where her stele rested. “I won’t put you all in danger. I Portaled myself and Luke to Idris and nearly got us killed. I’m not risking it.”
Jace was still prowling. It was what he did when he was thinking; Clary knew that but looked at him worriedly all the same. He was closing and unclosing his hands, and murmuring under his breath. Finally he stopped. “Clary,” he said. “You can make a Portal to the Seelie Court, right?”
“Yes,” she said. “That I could do—I’ve been there; I remember it. But would we be safe? We haven’t been invited, and the Fair Folk don’t like incursions into their territory—”
“There’s no ‘we,’?” Jace said. “None of you are coming. I’m going to do this alone.”
Alec sprang to his feet. “I knew it, I bloody knew it, and absolutely not. Not a chance.”
Jace cocked an eyebrow at him; he was outwardly calm, but Clary could see his tension in the set of his shoulders and the way he rocked forward slightly on the balls of his feet. “Since when do you say ‘bloody’?”
“Since the situation bloody warrants it.” Alec crossed his arms over his chest. “And I thought we were going to discuss telling the Clave?”
“We can’t do that,” Jace said. “Not if we’re going to get to the demon realms through the Seelie Court. It’s not like half the Clave can just pour into the Court; that would seem like an act of war against the Fair Folk.”
“Whereas if it’s just five of us we can sweet-talk them into letting us through?” Isabelle raised an eyebrow.
“We’ve parleyed with the Queen before,” Jace said. “You went to the Queen when I—when Sebastian had me.”
“And she tricked us into taking walkie-talkie rings she could listen in on,” Simon said. “I wouldn’t trust her further than I could throw a medium-sized elephant.”
“I didn’t say anything about trusting her. She’ll do whatever’s in her interest at the moment. We just have to make it her interest to let us have access to the road to Edom.”
“We’re still Shadowhunters,” said Alec, “still representatives of the Clave. Whatever we do in Faerie, they’ll answer for it.”
“So we’ll use tact and cleverness,” said Jace. “Look, I’d love to make the Clave deal with the Queen and her court for us. But we don’t have the time. They—Luke and Jocelyn and Magnus and Raphael—don’t have the time. Sebastian’s gearing up; he’s speeding up his plans, his bloodlust. You don’t know what he’s like when he gets like this, but I do. I do.” He caught his breath; there was a thin sheen of sweat across his cheekbones. “Which is why I want to do this alone. Brother Zachariah said it to me: I am the heavenly fire. It’s not like we can get another Glorious. We can’t exactly summon another angel; we played that card.”
“Fine,” Clary said, “but even if you’re the only source of heavenly fire, that doesn’t mean you need to do this alone.”
“She’s right,” Alec said. “We know that heavenly fire can hurt Sebastian. But we don’t know it’s the only thing that can hurt him.”
“And it definitely doesn’t meant you’re the only one who can kill however many Endarkened Sebastian has standing around him,” Clary pointed out. “Or that you can get yourself through the Seelie Court safely on your own or, after that, through some forsaken demon realm where you have to find Sebastian—”
“We can’t track him because we’re not in the same dimension,” Jace said. He held up his wrist where Sebastian’s silver bracelet glittered. “Once I’m in his world, I can track him. I’ve done it before—”
“We can track him,” Clary said. “Jace, there’s more to this than just finding him; this is huge, bigger than anything we’ve done. This isn’t just about killing Sebastian; this is about the prisoners. It’s a rescue mission. It’s their lives on the line as well as ours.” Her voice cracked.
Jace had paused his prowling; he looked from one of his friends to the other, almost pleading. “I just don’t want anything to happen to you.”
“Yeah, well, none of us want anything to happen to us either,” said Simon. “But think ahead; what happens if you go and we stay? Sebastian wants Clary, wants her more than he wants you, and he can find her here in Alicante. Nothing’s stopping him from coming again except a promise that he’ll wait two days, and what are his promises worth? He could come for any of us at any time; he proved that with the Downworld representatives. We’re sitting ducks here. Better to go where he isn’t expecting or looking for us.”
“I will not hang back here in Alicante while Magnus is in danger,” said Alec, in a surprisingly cold, adult voice. “Go without me, and you disrespect our parabatai oaths, you disrespect me as a Shadowhunter, and you disrespect the fact that this is my battle too.”
Jace looked shocked. “Alec, I would never disrespect our oaths. You’re one of the best Shadowhunters I know—”
“Which is why we come with you,” said Isabelle. “You need us. You need Alec and me to back you up the way we always have. You need Clary’s rune powers and Simon’s vampire strength. This isn’t just your fight. If you respect us as Shadowhunters and as your friends—all of us—then we go with you. It’s that simple.”
“I know,” Jace said, softly. “I know I need you.” He looked over at Clary, and she heard Isabelle’s voice saying you need Clary’s rune powers and remembered the first time she had ever seen him, Alec and Isabelle on either side of him, and how she had thought he looked dangerous.
It had never occurred to her that she was like him—that she was dangerous too.
“Thank you,” he said, and cleared his throat. “Okay. Everyone get into gear, and pack bags. Pack for overland travel: water, what food you can grab, extra steles, blankets. And you,” he added to Simon, “you might not need food, but if you have bottled blood, bring it. There might not be anything you can . . . eat where we’re going.”
“There’s always the four of you, “Simon said, but he smiled a little, and Clary knew it was because Jace had included him among their number without a moment’s hesitation. Finally Jace had accepted that where they went, Simon went too, whether he was a Shadowhunter or not.
“All right,” Alec said. “Everyone meet back here in ten minutes. Clary, get ready to create a Portal. And Jace?”
“You’d better have a strategy for what we’re going to do when we get to the Faerie Court. Because we’re going to need it.”