City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments 6) - Page 94

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Emma pulled Cortana free of the body of the dead faerie warrior, heedless of the blood that slicked her hands. Her only thought was to get to Julian—she had seen the terrible look on his face as he’d slid to the ground, and if Julian was broken, then the whole world was broken and nothing would be right again.

The crowd was spinning around her; she barely saw them as she pushed through the melee toward the Blackthorns. Dru was huddled against the pillar beside Jules, her body curled protectively around Tavvy; Livia was still holding Ty by the wrist, but now she was staring past him, her mouth open. And Jules—Jules was still slumped against the pillar, but he had begun to raise his head, and as Emma realized that he was staring, she turned to see what he was looking at.

All around the room the Endarkened had begun to crumple. They fell like toppling chess pieces, silent and without crying out. They fell locked in battle with Nephilim, and their faerie brethren turned to stare as one by one the Endarkened warriors’ bodies dropped to the floor.

A harsh shout of victory rose from a few Shadowhunter throats, but Emma barely heard it. She stumbled toward Julian and went down on her knees beside him; he looked at her, his blue-green eyes wretched. “Em,” he said hoarsely. “I thought that faerie was going to kill you. I thought—”

“I’m fine,” she whispered. “Are you?”

He shook his head. “I killed him,” he said. “I killed my father.”

“That wasn’t your father.” Her throat was too dry to speak anymore; instead she reached out and drew on the back of his hand. Not a word, but a sigil: the rune for bravery, and after it, a lopsided heart.

He shook his head as if to say, No, no, I don’t deserve that, but she drew it again, and then leaned into him, even covered in blood as she was, and put her head on his shoulder.

The faeries were fleeing the Hall, abandoning their weapons as they went. More and more Nephilim were flooding into the Hall from the square outside. Emma saw Helen heading toward them, Aline beside her, and for the first time since they had left the Penhallows’, Emma let herself believe that they might survive.

“They’re dead,” Clary said, looking around the room in wonder at the remains of Sebastian’s army. “They’re all dead.”

Jonathan gave a half-choking laugh. “‘Some good I mean to do, despite of my own nature,’” he murmured, and Clary recognized the quote from English class. King Lear. The most tragic of all the tragedies. “That was something. The Dark Ones are gone.”

Clary leaned over him, urgency in her voice. “Jonathan,” she said. “Please. Tell us how to open the border. How to go home. There must be some way.”

“There’s—there’s no way,” Jonathan whispered. “I shattered the gateway. The path to the Seelie Court is closed; all paths are. It’s—it’s impossible.” His chest heaved. “I’m sorry.”

Clary said nothing. She could taste only bitterness in her mouth. She had risked herself, had saved the world, but everyone she loved would die. For a moment her heart swelled with hatred.

“Good,” Jonathan said, his eyes on her face. “Hate me. Rejoice when I die. The last thing I would want now would be to bring you more grief.”

Clary looked at her mother; Jocelyn was still and upright, her tears falling silently. Clary took a deep breath. She remembered a square in Paris, facing Sebastian across a small table, him saying: Do you think you can forgive me? I mean, do you think forgiveness is possible for someone like me? What would have happened if Valentine had brought you up along with me? Would you have loved me?

“I don’t hate you,” she said finally. “I hate Sebastian. I don’t know you.”

Jonathan’s eyes fluttered closed. “I dreamed of a green place once,” he whispered. “A manor house and a little girl with red hair, and preparations for a wedding. If there are other worlds, then maybe there is one where I was a good brother and a good son.”

Maybe, Clary thought, and ached for that world for a moment, for her mother, and for herself. She was aware of Luke standing by the dais, watching them; aware that there were tears on Luke’s face. Jace, the Lightwoods, and Magnus were standing well back, and Alec had his hand in Isabelle’s. All around them lay the dead bodies of Endarkened warriors.

“I didn’t think you could dream,” said Clary, and she took a deep breath. “Valentine filled your veins with poison, and then he raised you to hate; you never had a choice. But the sword burned away all that. Maybe this is who you really are.”

He took a ragged, impossible breath. “That would be a beautiful lie to believe,” he said, and, incredibly, the ghost of a smile, bitter and sweet, passed over his face. “The fire of Glorious burned away the demon’s blood. All my life it has scorched my veins and cut at my heart like blades, and weighed me down like lead—all my life, and I never knew it. I never knew the difference. I’ve never felt so . . . light,” he said softly, and then he smiled, and closed his eyes, and died.

Clary rose slowly to her feet. She looked down. Her mother was kneeling, holding Jonathan’s body sprawled across her lap.

“Mom,” Clary whispered, but Jocelyn didn’t look up. A moment later someone brushed by Clary: It was Luke. He gave her hand a squeeze, and then knelt down by Jocelyn, his hand gentle on her shoulder.

Clary turned away; she couldn’t bear it anymore. The sadness felt like a crushing weight. She heard Jonathan’s voice in her head as she descended the stairs: I’ve never felt so light.

She moved forward through the corpses and ichor on the floor, numb and heavy with the knowledge of her failure. After everything she had done, there was still no way to save them. They were waiting for her: Jace and Simon and Isabelle, and Alec and Magnus. Magnus looked ill and pale and very, very tired.

“Sebastian’s dead,” she said, and they all looked at her, with their tired, dirty faces, as if they were too exhausted and drained to feel anything at the news, even relief. Jace stepped forward and took her hands, lifted them and kissed them quickly; she closed her eyes, feeling as if just a fraction of warmth and light had been returned to her.

“Warrior hands,” he said quietly, and let her go. She stared down at her fingers, trying to see what he saw. Her hands were just her hands, small and callused, stained with dirt and blood.

“Jace was telling us,” said Simon. “What you did, with the Morgenstern sword. That you were faking Sebastian out the whole time.”

“Not there at the end,” she said. “Not when he turned back into Jonathan.”

“I wish you’d told us,” Isabelle said. “About your plan.”

“I’m sorry,” Clary whispered. “I was afraid it wouldn’t work. That you’d just be disappointed. I thought it was better—not to hope too much.”

“Hope is all that keeps us going sometimes, biscuit,” said Magnus, though he didn’t sound resentful.

“I needed him to believe it,” Clary said. “So I needed you to believe it too. He had to see your reactions and think he’d won.”

“Jace knew,” Alec said, looking up at her; he didn’t sound angry either, just dazed.

“And I never looked at her from the time she got up onto the throne to the time she stabbed that bastard in the heart,” Jace said. “I couldn’t. Handing over that bracelet to him, I—” He broke off. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have called him a bastard. Sebastian was, but Jonathan isn’t, wasn’t, the same person—and your mother—”

“It is like she lost a child twice,” said Magnus. “I can think of few worse things.”

“How about being trapped in a demon realm with no way to get out?” Isabelle said. “Clary, we need to get back to Idris. I hate to ask, but did Seb—did Jonathan say anything about how to unseal the borders?”

Clary swallowed. “He said it wasn’t possible. That they’re closed forever.”

“So we’re trapped here,” Isabelle said, her dark eyes shocked. “Forever? That can’t be. There must be a spell—Magnus—”

“He wasn’t lying,” Magnus said. “There’s no way for us to reopen the paths from here to Idris.”

There was an awful silence. Then Alec, whose gaze had been resting on Magnus, said, “No way for us?”

“That’s what I said,” Magnus replied. “There’s no way to open the borders.”

Tags: Cassandra Clare The Mortal Instruments Young Adult