City of lost souls, p.40
Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font       Night Mode Off   Night Mode

       City of Lost Souls, p.40

         Part #5 of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
 
Page 40

 

  She found herself in a large, airy light space. The walls were white, as were the curtains. Through one window she could see the street beyond, lined with restaurants and boutiques. Cars whizzed by, but the sound of them didnt seem to penetrate inside the apartment. The floor was polished wood, the furniture white-painted wood or upholstered couches with colorful throw pillows. A section of the apartment was set up as a sort of studio. Light poured down from a skylight onto a long wooden table. There were easels, cloths tossed over them to obscure their contents. A paint-stained smock hung from a hook on the wall.

  Standing by the table was a woman. Clary would have guessed her age at about Jocelyns, if there had not been several factors obscuring her age. She wore a shapeless black smock that hid her body; only her white hands and her face and throat were visible. On each of her cheeks was carved a thick black rune, running from the outside corner of her eye to her lips. Clary had not seen the runes before, but she could sense their meaning-power, skill, workmanship. The woman had thick long auburn hair, falling in waves to her waist, and her eyes, when she raised them, were a peculiar flat orange color, like a dying flame.

  The woman clasped her hands in front of her smock loosely. In a nervous, melodic voice, she said, "Tu dois etre Jonathan Morgenstern. Et elle, cest ta sœur? Je pensais que-"

  "I am Jonathan Morgenstern," Sebastian said. "And this is my sister, yes. Clarissa. Please speak English in front of her. She doesnt understand French. "

  The woman cleared her throat. "My English is rusty. It has been years since I used it. "

  "It seems good enough to me. Clarissa, this is Sister Magdalena. Of the Iron Sisters. "

  Clary was startled into speech. "But I thought the Iron Sisters never left their fortress-"

  "They dont," said Sebastian. "Unless they are disgraced by having their part in the Uprising discovered. Who do you think armed the Circle?" He smiled at Magdalena mirthlessly. "The Iron Sisters are Makers, not fighters. But Magdalena fled the Fortress before her part in the Uprising could be discovered. "

  "I had not seen another Nephilim in fifteen years until your brother contacted me," said Magdalena. It was hard to tell who she was looking at while she spoke; her featureless eyes seemed to wander, but she was clearly not blind. "Is it true? Do you have the. . . material?"

  Sebastian reached into a pouch hanging from his weapons belt and took from it a chunk of what looked like quartz. He set it down on the long table, and a stray shaft of sunlight, passing across the skylight, lit it seemingly from within. Clary caught her breath. It was the adamas from the junk shop in Prague.

  Magdalena drew in a hissing breath.

  "Pure adamas," said Sebastian. "No rune has ever touched it. "

  The Iron Sister came around the table and laid her hands upon the adamas. Her hands, also scarred with multiple runes, trembled. "Adamas pur," she whispered. "It has been years since I touched the holy material. "

  "It is all yours to craft with," said Sebastian. "When you are done, I shall pay you in more of it. That is, if you believe you can create what I asked for. "

  Magdalena drew herself up. "Am I not an Iron Sister? Did I not take the vows? Do my hands not shape the stuff of Heaven? I can deliver what I promised, Valentines son. Never doubt it. "

  "Good to hear. " There was a trace of humor in Sebastians voice. "I will return tonight, then. You know how to summon me if you need to. "

  Magdalena shook her head. All her attention was back on the glassine substance, the adamas. She stroked it with her fingers. "Yes. You may go. "

  Sebastian nodded and took a step back. Clary hesitated. She wanted to seize the woman, ask her what Sebastian had demanded she do, ask her why she would ever have broken Covenant Law to work beside Valentine. Magdalena, as if sensing her hesitation, looked up and smiled thinly.

  "The two of you," she said, and for a moment Clary thought she was going to say that she did not understand why they were together, that she had heard that they hated each other, that Jocelyns daughter was a Shadowhunter while Valentines son was a criminal. But she only shook her head. "Mon Dieu," she said, "but you look just like your parents. "

  Chapter 16: Brothers and Sisters

  When Clary and Sebastian returned to the apartment, the living room was empty, but there were dishes in the sink where there hadnt been before.

  "I thought you said Jace was asleep," she said to Sebastian, a note of accusation in her voice.

  Sebastian shrugged. "He was when I said it. " There was light mockery in his voice but no serious unkindness. They had walked back from Magdalenas together mostly in silence, but not a bad sort of silence. Clary had let her mind wander, only jerked back to reality on occasion by the realization that it was Sebastian she was walking beside. "Im pretty sure I know where he is. "

  "In his room?" Clary started for the stairs.

  "No. " He moved in front of her. "Come on. Ill show you. "

  He headed up the stairs at a rapid pace and into the master bedroom, Clary on his heels. As she watched in puzzlement, he tapped the side of the wardrobe. It slid away, revealing a set of stairs behind it. Sebastian cast a smirk over his shoulder at her as she came up behind him. "Youre kidding," she said. "Secret stairs?"

  "Dont tell me thats the strangest thing youve seen today. " He took the stairs two at a time, and Clary, though bone-weary, followed him. The stairs curved around and opened out into a wide room with a polished wooden floor and high walls. All manner of weapons hung from the walls, just as they did in the training room in the Institute-kindjals and chakhrams, maces and swords and daggers, crossbows and brass knuckles, throwing stars and axes and samurai swords.

  Training circles were neatly painted on the floor. In the center of them stood Jace, his back to the door. He was shirtless and barefoot, in black warm-up pants, a knife in each of his hands. An image flashed in her head: Sebastians bare back, scarred with unmistakeable whip stripes. Jaces was smooth, pale gold skin over muscle, marked only with the typical scars of a Shadowhunter-and the scratches her own nails had made last night. She felt herself flush, but her mind was still on the question: why would Valentine have whipped one boy but not the other?

  "Jace," she said.

  He turned. He was clean. The silvery fluid was gone, and his gold hair was almost bronze-dark, pasted damply to his head. His skin glistened with sweat. The expression on his face was guarded. "Where were you?"

  Sebastian went to the wall and began to examine the weapons there, running his bare hand along the blades. "I thought Clary might want to see Paris. "

  "You could have left me a note," said Jace. "It isnt as if our situation is the safest, Jonathan. Id rather not have to worry about Clary-"

  "I followed him," Clary said.

  Jace turned and looked at her, and for a moment she caught a glimpse, in his eyes, of the boy in Idris who had shouted at her for spoiling all his careful plans to keep her safe. But this Jace was different. His hands didnt shake when he looked at her, and the pulse in his throat stayed steady. "You did what?"

  "I followed Sebastian," she said. "I was awake and I wanted to see where he was going. " She put her hands into her jeans pockets and looked at him defiantly. His eyes took her in, from her wind-mussed hair to her boots, and she felt the blood rise up in her face. Sweat shone along his collarbones, and the ridges of his stomach muscles. His workout pants were folded over at the waist, showing the V of his hip bones. She remembered what it had felt like to have his arms around her, to be pressed close enough against him that she could feel every detail of his bones and muscles against her body-

  She felt a wave of embarrassment so acute, it was dizzying. What made it worse was that Jace didnt seem in the least bit awkward, or as if the previous night had affected him as much as it had her. He seemed only. . . annoyed. Annoyed, and sweaty, and hot.

  "Yeah, well," he said, "the next time you decide to sneak out of our magically warded apartment through a door that shou
ldnt really exist, leave a note. "

  She raised her eyebrows. "Are you being sarcastic?"

  He threw one of his knives into the air and caught it. "Possibly. "

  "I took Clary to see Magdalena," Sebastian said. He had taken a throwing star down from the wall and was examining it. "We brought the adamas. "

  Jace had tossed the second knife into the air; he missed catching it this time, and it stuck point-down into the floor. "You did?"

  "I did," Sebastian said. "And I told Clary the plan. I told her that we were planning to lure Greater Demons here so we could destroy them. "

  "But not how you planned to accomplish that," Clary said. "You never told me that part. "

  "I thought it would be better to tell you with Jace here," said Sebastian. He snapped his wrist forward suddenly, and the throwing star flew toward Jace, who blocked it with a swift flick of his knife. It clattered to the ground. Sebastian whistled. "Fast," he commented.

  Clary whirled on her brother. "You could have hurt him-"

  "Anything that injures him injures me," said Sebastian. "I was showing you how much I trust him. Now I want you to trust us. " His black eyes bored into her. "Adamas," he said. "The stuff I brought to the Iron Sister today. Do you know whats made out of it?"

  "Of course. Seraph blades. The demon towers of Alicante. Steles. . . "

  "And the Mortal Cup. "

  Clary shook her head. "The Mortal Cup is gold. Ive seen it. "

  "Adamas dipped in gold. The Mortal Sword, too, has a hilt of the stuff. They say its the material the palaces of Heaven are built from. And it isnt easy to get hold of. Only the Iron Sisters can work the stuff, and only theyre supposed to have access to it. "

  "So why did you give some to Magdalena?"

  "So she could make a second Cup," said Jace.

  "A second Mortal Cup?" Clary looked from one of them to the other, incredulous. "But you cant just do that. Just make another Mortal Cup. If you could, the Clave wouldnt have panicked so much when the original Mortal Cup went missing. Valentine wouldnt have needed it so badly-"

  "Its a cup," said Jace. "However crafted, it will always be a cup until the Angel voluntarily pours his blood into it. Thats what makes it what it is. "

  "And you think you can get Raziel to voluntarily pour his blood into a second cup for you?" Clary couldnt keep the razor edge of disbelief from her voice. "Good luck. "

  "Its a trick, Clary," said Sebastian. "You know how everything has an alliance? Seraphic or demonic? What the demons believe is that we want the demonic equivalent of Raziel. A demon great in power who will mix his blood with ours and create a new race of Shadowhunters. Ones not bound by the Law, or the Covenant, or the rules of the Clave. "

  "You told them you want to make. . . backward Shadowhunters?"

  "Something like that. " Sebastian laughed, raking fingers through his fair hair. "Jace, do you want to help me explain?"

  "Valentine was a zealot," said Jace. "He was wrong about a lot of things. He was wrong to consider killing Shadowhunters. He was wrong about Downworlders. But he wasnt wrong about the Clave or the Council. Every Inquisitor weve had has been corrupt. The Laws handed down by the Angel are arbitrary and nonsensical, and their punishments are worse. The Law is hard, but it is the Law. How many times have you heard that? How many times have we had to duck and avoid the Clave and its Laws even when we were trying to save them? Who put me in prison?-the Inquisitor. Who put Simon in prison? The Clave. Who would have let him burn?"

  Clarys heart had started to pound. Jaces voice, so familiar, saying these words, made her bones feel weak. He was right and also wrong. As Valentine had been. But she wanted to believe him in a way she hadnt wanted to believe Valentine.

  "Fine," she said. "I understand the Clave is corrupt. But I dont see what that has to do with making deals with demons. "

  "Our mandate is to destroy demons," said Sebastian. "But the Clave has been pouring all its energy into other tasks. The wards have been weakening, and more and more demons have been spilling into earth, but the Clave turns a blind eye. We have opened a gate in the far north, on Wrangel Island, and we will lure demons through it with the promise of this Cup. Only, when they pour their blood into it, they will be destroyed. I have made deals like this with several Greater Demons. When Jace and I have killed them, the Clave will see we are a power to be reckoned with. They will have to listen to us. "

  Clary stared. "Killing Greater Demons isnt that easy. "

  "I did it earlier today," said Sebastian. "Which is incidentally why neither of us is going to get in trouble for killing all those bodyguard demons. I killed their master. "

  Clary looked from Jace to Sebastian and back again. Jaces eyes were cool, interested; Sebastians gaze was more intense. It was as if he were trying to see into her head. "Well," she said slowly. "Thats a lot to take in. And I dont like the idea of you putting yourselves in that kind of danger. But Im glad you trusted me enough to tell me. "

  "I told you," Jace said. "I told you shed understand. "

  "I never said she wouldnt. " Sebastian didnt take his eyes off Clarys face.

  She swallowed hard. "I didnt sleep much last night," she said. "I need to rest. "

  "Too bad," said Sebastian. "I was going to ask if you wanted to climb the Eiffel Tower. " His eyes were dark, unreadable; she couldnt tell if he was joking or not. Before she could say anything in reply, Jaces hand slid into hers.

  "Ill go with you," he said. "I didnt sleep that well myself. " He nodded at Sebastian. "See you for dinner. "

 

Turn Navi Off
Turn Navi On
Scroll Up
Scroll
Add comment

Add comment