City of lost souls, p.38
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       City of Lost Souls, p.38

         Part #5 of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
 
Page 38

 

  She scuffed her boots in the grass, which was wet with dew. She wasnt going to thank Sebastian. Not for anything. "Why are you dealing with demons?" she demanded. "I listened to them talking about you. I know what youre doing-"

  "No, you dont. " The grin was gone, the superior tone back. "First, those werent the demons I was dealing with. Those were their guards. Thats why they were in a separate room and why I wasnt there. Dahak demons arent that smart, though they are mean and tough and defensive. So its not like they were really informed about what was going on. They were just repeating gossip theyd heard from their masters. Greater Demons. That was who I was meeting with. "

  "And thats supposed to make me feel better?"

  He leaned toward her across the bench. "Im not trying to make you feel better. Im trying to tell you the truth. "

  "No wonder you look like youre having an allergy attack," she said, though it wasnt precisely true. Sebastian looked annoyingly tranquil, though the set of his jaw and the pulse in his temple told her he wasnt as calm as he pretended. "The Dahak said you were going to give this world to the demons. "

  "Now, does that sound like something Id do?"

  She just looked at him.

  "I thought you said you were going to give me a chance," he said. "Im not who I was when you met me in Alicante. " His gaze was clear. "Besides, Im not the only person youve ever met who believed in Valentine. He was my father. Our father. Its not easy to doubt the things youve grown up believing. "

  Clary crossed her arms over her chest; the air was fresh but cold, with a wintery snap in it. "Well, thats true. "

  "Valentine was wrong," he said. "He was so obsessed with the wrongs he believed the Clave had done to him that he could see nothing past proving himself right to them. He wanted the Angel to rise and tell them that he was Jonathan Shadowhunter returned, that he was their leader and his way was the right way. "

  "It didnt exactly happen like that. "

  "I know what happened. Lilith spoke to me of it. " He said this offhandedly, as if conversations with the mother of all warlocks were something everyone had every once in a while. "Do not fool yourself into thinking that what happened was because the Angel has great compassion, Clary. Angels are as cold as icicles. Raziel was angered because Valentine had forgotten the mission of all Shadowhunters. "

  "Which is?"

  "To kill demons. That is our mandate. Surely you must have heard that more and more demons have been spilling into our world in recent years? That we have no idea how to keep them out?"

  An echo of words came back to her, something Jace had said to her what seemed like a lifetime ago, the first time they had ever visited the Silent City. We might be able to block them from coming here, but nobodys even been able to figure out how to do that. In fact, more and more of them are coming through. There used to be only small demon invasions into this world, easily contained. But even in my lifetime more and more of them have spilled in through the wardings. The Clave is always having to dispatch Shadowhunters, and a lot of times they dont come back.

  "A great war with demons is coming, and the Clave is woefully unprepared," said Sebastian. "That much my father was correct about. They are too set in their ways to hear warnings or to change. I do not wish the destruction of Downworlders as Valentine did, but I worry that the Claves blindness will doom this world that Shadowhunters protect. "

  "You want me to believe you care if this world is destroyed?"

  "Well, I do live here," Sebastian said, more mildly than she would have expected. "And sometimes extreme situations call for extreme measures. To destroy the enemy it can be necessary to understand him, even to treat with him. If I can make those Greater Demons trust me, then I can lure them here, where they can be destroyed, and their followers as well. That ought to turn back the tide. Demons will know that this world is not as easy pickings as they imagined it. "

  Clary shook her head. "And youre going to do this with what, just you and Jace? Youre pretty impressive, dont get me wrong, but even the two of you-"

  Sebastian stood up. "You really dont imagine I could have thought this through, do you?" He looked down at her, the fall wind blowing his white hair across his face. "Come with me. I want to show you something. "

  She hesitated. "Jace-"

  "Is still asleep. Trust me, I know. " He held out his hand. "Come with me, Clary. If I cant make you believe I have a plan, maybe I can prove it to you. "

  She stared at him. Images tumbled through her mind like shaken confetti: the junk shop in Prague, her gold leaf-ring falling away into darkness, Jace holding her in the alcove in the club, the glass tanks of dead bodies. Sebastian with a seraph blade in his grip.

  Prove it to you.

  She took his hand and let him pull her to her feet.

  It was decided, though not without a great deal of arguing, that in order for the summoning of Raziel to take place, Team Good would need to find a fairly secluded location. "We cant summon a sixty-foot angel in the middle of Central Park," Magnus observed dryly. "People might notice, even in New York. "

  "Raziels sixty feet tall?" Isabelle said. She was slumped down in an armchair she had pulled up to the table. There were rings under her dark eyes; she-like Alec, Magnus, and Simon-was exhausted. They had all been awake for hours, poring through books of Magnuss so old that their pages were as thin as onionskin. Both Isabelle and Alec could read Greek and Latin, and Alec had a better knowledge of demon languages than Izzy did, but there were still many only Magnus could understand. Maia and Jordan, realizing they could be more help elsewhere, had left for the police station to check on Luke. Meanwhile, Simon had tried to make himself useful in other ways-getting food and coffee, copying down symbols as Magnus instructed, fetching more paper and pencils, and even feeding Chairman Meow, who had thanked him by coughing up a hair ball on the floor of Magnuss kitchen.

  "Actually, hes only fifty-nine feet tall, but he likes to exaggerate," said Magnus. Tiredness was not improving his temper. His hair was sticking straight up, and there were smudges of glitter on the backs of his hands where he had rubbed his eyes. "Hes an angel, Isabelle. Havent you ever studied anything?"

  Isabelle clicked her tongue in annoyance. "Valentine raised an angel in his cellar. I dont see why you need all this space-"

  "Because Valentine is just WAY MORE AWESOME than me," snapped Magnus, dropping his pen. "Look-"

  "Dont shout at my sister," said Alec. He said it quietly, but with force behind the words. Magnus looked at him in surprise. Alec continued, "Isabelle, the size of angels, when they appear in the earthly dimension, varies depending on their power. The angel Valentine summoned was of a lower rank than Raziel. And if you were to summon an angel of an even higher rank, Michael, or Gabriel-"

  "I couldnt make a spell that would bind them, even momentarily," said Magnus in a subdued voice. "Were summoning Raziel in part because were hoping that as the creator of Shadowhunters, he will have a special compassion-or, really, any compassion-for your situation. Hes also of about the right rank. A less powerful angel might not be able to help us, but a more powerful angel. . . well, if something went wrong. . . "

  "It might not just be me who dies," said Simon.

  Magnus looked pained, and Alec glanced down at the papers strewn across the table. Isabelle put her hand on top of Simons. "I cant believe were actually sitting here talking about summoning an angel," she said. "My whole life weve sworn on the Angels name. We know our power comes from angels. But the idea of seeing one. . . I cant really imagine it. When I try to think about it, its too big an idea. "

  A silence fell across the table. There was a darkness in Magnuss eyes that made Simon wonder if he had ever seen an angel. He wondered whether he ought to ask, but was saved deciding by the buzzing of his cell phone.

  "One second," he muttered, and got to his feet. He flipped the phone open and leaned against one of the lofts pillars. It was a text-several-from Maia.

  GOOD NEW
S! LUKE IS AWAKE AND TALKING. IT LOOKS LIKE HES GOING TO BE OKAY.

  Relief poured over Simon in a wave. Finally, good news. He flipped the phone shut and reached for the ring on his hand. Clary?

  Nothing.

  He swallowed his nerves. She was probably asleep. He looked up to find all three of the people at the table staring at him.

  "Who called?" Isabelle asked.

  "It was Maia. She says Lukes up and talking. That hes going to be okay. " There was a chatter of relieved voices, but Simon was still staring down at the ring on his hand. "She gave me an idea. "

  Isabelle had been on her feet, heading toward him; at that, she paused, looking worried. Simon supposed he didnt blame her. His ideas had been downright suicidal of late. "What is it?" she said.

  "What do we need to summon Raziel? How much space?" Simon asked.

  Magnus paused over a book. "A mile around at least. Water would be good. Like Lake Lyn-"

  "Lukes farm," Simon said. "Upstate. An hour or two away. It should be shut up now, but I know how to get there. And theres a lake. Not as big as Lyn, but. . . "

  Magnus closed the book he was holding. "Thats not a bad idea, Seamus. "

  "A few hours?" Isabelle said, looking up at the clock. "We could be there by-"

  "Oh, no," said Magnus. He pushed the book away from him. "While your enthusiasm is boundless and impressive, Isabelle, Im too exhausted to properly cast the summoning spell at the moment. And this isnt something I want to take risks with. I think we can all agree. "

  "So when?" Alec asked.

  "We need a few hours sleep at least," Magnus said. "I say we leave early afternoon. Sherlock-sorry, Simon-call and see if you can borrow Jordans truck in the meantime. And now. . . " He pushed his papers to the side. "Im going to sleep. Isabelle, Simon, youre more than welcome to use the spare room again if you like. "

  "Different spare rooms would be better," Alec muttered.

  Isabelle looked at Simon with questioning dark eyes, but he was already reaching into his pocket for his phone. "Okay," he said. "Ill be back by noon, but for now theres something important I have to do. "

  In the daylight Paris was a city of narrow, curving streets that opened out into wide avenues, mellow golden buildings with slate-colored roofs, and a glittering river that sliced across it like a dueling scar. Sebastian, despite his claim that he was going to prove to Clary that he had a plan, didnt say much as they made their way up a street lined with art galleries and stores selling dusty old books, to reach the Quai des Grands Augustins by the rivers edge.

  There was a cool wind coming off the Seine, and she shivered. Sebastian unwound the scarf from around his neck and handed it to her. It was a heathery black and white tweed, still warm from being wrapped around his neck.

  "Dont be stupid," he said. "Youre cold. Put it on. "

  Clary wound it around her neck. "Thanks," she said reflexively, and winced.

  There. She had thanked Sebastian. She waited for a bolt of lightning to shoot out of the clouds and strike her dead. But nothing happened.

  He gave her an odd look. "You all right? You look like youre going to sneeze. "

  "Im fine. " The scarf smelled like citrusy cologne and boy. She wasnt sure what shed thought it would smell like. They started to walk again. This time Sebastian slowed his pace, walking alongside her, pausing to explain that neighborhoods in Paris were numbered, and they were crossing from the sixth into the fifth, the Latin Quarter, and that the bridge they could see spanning the river in the distance was the Pont Saint-Michel. There were a lot of young people walking past them, Clary noticed; girls her age or older, impossibly stylish in tight-fitting pants and sky-high heels, long hair blowing in the wind off the Seine. Quite a few of them stopped to give Sebastian appreciative glances, which he didnt seem to notice.

  Jace, she thought, would have noticed. Sebastian was striking, with his icy white hair and black eyes. She had thought he was handsome the first time shed met him, and hed had his hair dyed black then; it hadnt suited him, really. He looked better like this. The pallor of his hair gave his skin some color, drew your eyes to the flush along his high cheekbones, the graceful shape of his face. His eyelashes were incredibly long, a shade darker than his hair, and curled slightly, just like Jocelyns-so unfair. Why hadnt she gotten the curling lashes in the family? And why didnt he have a single freckle? "So," she said abruptly, cutting him off in the middle of a sentence, "what are we?"

  He gave her a sidelong look. "What do you mean, What are we?"

  "You said were the last of the Morgensterns. Morgenstern is a German name," said Clary. "So, what are we, German? Whats the story? Why arent there any more but us?"

  "You dont know anything about Valentines family?" Incredulity tinged Sebastians voice. He had stopped next to the wall that ran along the Seine, beside the pavement. "Didnt your mother ever tell you anything?"

  "Shes your mother too, and no, she didnt. Valentines not her favorite topic. "

  "Shadowhunter names are compounded," said Sebastian slowly, and he climbed up on top of the wall. He reached a hand down, and after a moment she let him take hers and pull her up onto the wall beside him. The Seine ran gray-green below them, fly-speck tourist boats chugging by at a leisurely pace. "Fairchild, Light-wood, White-law. Morgenstern means morning star. Its a German name, but the family was Swiss. "

  "Was?"

  "Valentine was an only child," Sebastian said. "His father-our grandfather-was killed by Downworlders, and our great-uncle died in a battle. He didnt have any children. This"-he reached out and touched her hair-"is from the Fairchild side. Theres English blood there. I look more like the Swiss side. Like Valentine. "

 

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