“Leave him where he is.”
“This is all going to be very hard to explain to my mom,” Simon said, and the phone went dead. There was a click and then nothing. CALL DISCONNECTED flashed on the digital display.
“No. No!”” Clary hit the redial button, her fingers trembling.
Simon picked up immediately. “Sorry. Yossarian scratched me and I dropped the phone.”
Her throat burned with relief. “That’s fine, just as long as you’re still okay and—”
A noise like a tidal wave crashed through the phone, obliterating Simon’s voice. She yanked the phone away from her ear. The display still read CALL CONNECTED.
“Simon!” she screamed into the phone. “Simon, can you hear me?”
The crashing noise stopped. There was the sound of something shattering, and a high, unearthly yowl—Yossarian? Then the sound of something heavy striking the ground.
“Simon?” she whispered.
There was a click and then a drawling, amused voice spoke in her ear. “Clarissa,” it said. “I should have known you’d be on the other end of this phone line.”
She squeezed her eyes shut, her stomach falling out from under her as if she were on a roller coaster that had just made its first drop. “Valentine.”
“You mean ‘Father,’” he said, sounding genuinely annoyed. “I deplore this modern habit of calling one’s parents by their first names.”
“What I actually want to call you is a hell of a lot more unprintable than your name,” she snapped. “Where’s Simon?”
“You mean the vampire boy? Questionable company for a Shadowhunter girl of good family, don’t you think? From now on I’ll be expecting to have a say in your choice of friends.”
“What did you do to Simon?”
“Nothing,” said Valentine, amused. “Yet.”
By the time Alec came back into the training room, Jace was lying on the floor, envisioning lines of dancing girls in an effort to ignore the pain in his wrists. It wasn’t working.
“What are you doing?” Alec asked, kneeling down as close to the shimmering wall of the prison as he could get. Jace tried to remind himself that when Alec asked this sort of question, he really meant it, and that it was something he had once found endearing rather than annoying. He failed.
“I thought I’d lie on the floor and writhe in pain for a while,” he grunted. “It relaxes me.”
“It does? Oh—you’re being sarcastic. That’s a good sign, probably,” Alec said. “If you can sit up, you might want to. I’m going to try to slide something through the wall.”
Jace sat up so quickly that his head spun. “Alec, don’t—”
But Alec had already moved to push something toward him with both hands, as if he were rolling a ball to a child. A red sphere broke through the shimmering curtain and rolled to Jace, bumping gently against his knee.
“An apple.” He picked it up with some difficulty. “How appropriate.”
“I thought you might be hungry.”
“I am.” Jace took a bite of the apple; juice ran down his hands and sizzled in the blue flames that cuffed his wrists. “Did you text Clary?”
“No. Isabelle won’t let me into her room. She just throws things against the door and screams. She said if I came in she’d jump out the window. She’d do it too.”
“I get the feeling,” Alec said, and smiled, “she hasn’t forgiven me for betraying you, as she sees it.”
“Good girl,” said Jace with appreciation.
“I didn’t betray you, idiot.”
“It’s the thought that counts.”
“Good, because I brought you something else, too. I don’t know if it’ll work, but it’s worth a try.” He slid something small and metallic through the wall. It was a silvery disk about the size of a quarter. Jace set the apple aside and picked the disk up curiously. “What’s this?”
“I got it off the desk in the library. I’ve seen my parents use it before to take off restraints. I think it’s an Unlocking rune. It’s worth trying—”
He broke off as Jace touched the disk to his wrists, holding it awkwardly between two fingers. The moment it touched the line of blue flame, the cuff flickered and vanished.
“Thanks.” Jace rubbed his wrists, each one braceleted with a line of chafed, bleeding skin. He was starting to be able to feel his fingertips again. “It’s not a file hidden in a birthday cake, but it’ll keep my hands from falling off.”
Alec looked at him. The wavering lines of the rain-curtain made his face look elongated, worried—or maybe he was worried. “You know, something occurred to me when I was talking to Isabelle earlier. I told her she couldn’t jump out the window—and not to try or she’d get herself killed.”
Jace nodded. “Sound big-brotherly advice.”
“But then I started wondering if that was true in your case—I mean, I’ve seen you do things that were practically flying. I’ve seen you fall three stories and land like a cat, jump from the ground to a roof—”
“Hearing my achievements recited is certainly gratifying, but I’m not sure what your point is, Alec.”
“My point is that there are four walls to this prison, not five.”
Jace stared at him. “So Hodge wasn’t lying when he said we’d actually use geometry in our daily lives. You’re right, Alec. There are four walls to this cage. Now if the Inquisitor had gone with two, I might—”
“JACE,” Alec said, losing patience. “I mean, there’s no top to the cage. Nothing between you and the ceiling.”
Jace craned his head back. The rafters seemed to sway dizzily high above him, lost in shadow. “You’re crazy.”
“Maybe,” Alec said. “Maybe I just know what you can do.” He shrugged. “You could try, at least.”
Jace looked at Alec—at his open, honest face and steady blue eyes. He is crazy, Jace thought. It was true, in the heat of fighting, he’d done some amazing things, but so had they all. Shadowhunter blood, years of training … but he couldn’t jump thirty feet straight up into the air.
How do you know you can’t, said a soft voice in his head, if you’ve never tried it?
Clary’s voice. He thought of her and her runes, of the Silent City and the handcuff popping off his wrist as if it had cracked under some enormous pressure. He and Clary shared the same blood. If Clary could do things that shouldn’t be possible…
He got to his feet, almost reluctantly, and looked around, taking slow stock of the room. He could still see the floor-length mirrors and the multitude of weapons hanging on the walls, their blades glinting dully, through the curtain of silver fire that surrounded him. He bent and retrieved the half-eaten apple off the floor, looked at it for a thoughtful moment—then cocked his arm back and threw it as hard as he could. The apple sailed through the air, hit a shimmering silver wall, and burst into a corona of molten blue flame.
Jace heard Alec gasp. So the Inquisitor hadn’t been exaggerating. If he hit one of the prison walls too hard, he’d die.
Alec was on his feet, suddenly wavering. “Jace, I don’t know—”
“Shut up, Alec. And don’t watch me. It’s not helping.”
Whatever Alec said in response, Jace didn’t hear it. He was doing a slow pivot in place, his eyes focused on the rafters. The runes that gave him excellent long sight kicked in, the rafters coming into better focus: He could see their chipped edges, their whorls and knots, the black stains of age. But they were solid. They’d held up the Institute roof for hundreds of years. They could hold a teenage boy. He flexed his fingers, taking deep, slow, controlled breaths, just as his father had taught him. In his mind’s eye he saw himself leaping, soaring, catching hold of a rafter with ease and swinging himself up onto it. He was light, he told himself, light as an arrow, winging its way easily through the air, swift and unstoppable. It would be easy, he told himself. Easy.
“I am Valentine’s arrow,” Jace whispered. “Whether he knows it or not.”
CLARY HIT THE BUTTON TO CALL SIMON BACK, BUT THE PHONE went straight to voice mail. Hot tears splashed down her cheeks and she threw her own phone at the dashboard. “Damn it, damn it—”
“We’re almost there,” Luke said. They’d gotten off the expressway and she hadn’t even noticed. They pulled up in front of Simon’s house, a wooden one-family whose front was painted a cheerful red. Clary was out of the car and running up the front walk before Luke had even yanked on the security brake. She could hear him yelling her name as she dashed up the steps and pounded frantically on the front door.
“Simon!” she shouted. “Simon!”
“Clary, enough.” Luke caught up to her on the front porch. “The neighbors—”
“Screw the neighbors.” She fumbled for the key ring on her belt, found the right key, and slid it into the lock. She swung the door open and stepped warily into the hallway, Luke just behind her. They peered through the first door on the left into the kitchen. Everything looked exactly as it always had, from the meticulously clean counter to the fridge magnets. There was the sink where she’d kissed Simon just a few days ago. Sunshine streamed in through the windows, filling the room with pale yellow light. Light that was capable of charring Simon away to ashes.
Simon’s room was the last one at the end of the hall. The door stood slightly open, though Clary could see nothing but darkness through the crack.
She slid her stele out of her pocket and gripped it tightly. She knew it wasn’t really a weapon, but the feel of it in her hand was calming. Inside, the room was dark, black curtains drawn across the windows, the only light coming from the digital clock on the bedside table. Luke was reaching across her to flip on the light when something—something that hissed and spit and snarled like a demon—launched itself at him out of the darkness.
Clary screamed as Luke seized her shoulders and pushed her roughly aside. She stumbled and nearly fell; when she righted herself, she turned to see an astonished-looking Luke holding a yowling, struggling white cat, its fur sticking out all over. It looked like a ball of cotton with claws.
“Yossarian!” Clary exclaimed.
Luke dropped the cat. Yossarian immediately shot between his legs and disappeared down the hall.
“Stupid cat,” Clary said.
“It’s not his fault. Cats don’t like me.” Luke reached for the light switch and flipped it on. Clary gasped. The room was completely in order, nothing at all out of place, not even the rug askew. Even the coverlet was folded neatly on the bed.
“Probably not. Probably just magic.” Luke moved into the center of the room, looking around him thoughtfully. As he moved to pull one of the curtains aside, Clary saw something gleam in the carpet at his feet.
“Luke, wait.” She went to where he was standing and knelt to retrieve the object. It was Simon’s silver cell phone, badly bent out of shape, the antenna snapped off. Heart pounding, she flipped the phone open. Despite the crack that ran the length of the display screen, a single text message was still visible: NOW I HAVE THEM ALL.
Clary sank down on the bed in a daze. Distantly, she felt Luke pluck the phone out of her hand. She heard him suck in his breath as he read the message.
“What does that mean? ‘Now I have them all’?” asked Clary.
Luke set Simon’s phone down on the desk and passed a hand over his face. “I’m afraid it means that now he has Simon and, we might as well face it, Maia, too. It means he has everything he needs for the Ritual of Conversion.”
Clary stared at him. “You mean this isn’t just about getting at me—and you?”
“I’m sure Valentine regards that as a pleasant side effect. But it’s not his main goal. His main goal is to reverse the characteristics of the Soul-Sword. And for that he needs—”
“The blood of Downworlder children. But Maia and Simon aren’t children. They’re teenagers.”
“When that spell was created, the spell to turn the Soul-Sword to darkness, the word ‘teenager’ hadn’t even been invented. In Shadowhunter society, you’re an adult when you’re eighteen. Before that, you’re a child. For Valentine’s purposes, Maia and Simon are children. He has the blood of a faerie child already, and the blood of a warlock child. All he needed was a werewolf and a vampire.”
Clary felt as if the air had been punched out of her. “Then why didn’t we do something? Why didn’t we think of protecting them somehow?”
“So far Valentine has done what’s convenient. None of his victims were chosen for any other reason than that they were there and available. The warlock was easy to find; all Valentine had to do was hire him under the pretense of wanting a demon raised. It’s simple enough to spot faeries in the park if you know where to look. And the Hunter’s Moon is exactly where you’d go if you wanted to find a werewolf. Putting himself to this extra danger and trouble just to strike out at us when nothing’s changed—”
“What do you mean, Jace? What about him?”
“I think it’s Jace he’s trying to get back at. Jace must have done something last night on the boat, something that really pissed Valentine off. Pissed him off enough to abandon whatever plan he had before and make a new one.”
Luke looked baffled. “What makes you think that Valentine’s change of plans had anything to do with your brother?”