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City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments 3) Cassandra Clare 2022/8/5 16:59:54

“I do wonder now if that was why I suddenly found the focus and the ability to go on, and to help Luke thwart the Uprising. It would be ironic if that was the case, considering why Valentine did it in the first place. But what he didn’t know was that while he was doing this, I was pregnant with you. So while it may have affected me slightly, it affected you much more. I believe that’s why you can do what you can with runes.”

“And maybe,” Clary said, “why you can do things like trap the image of the Mortal Cup in a tarot card. And why Valentine can do things like take the curse off Hodge—”

“Valentine has had years of experimenting on himself in a myriad of ways,” said Jocelyn. “He’s as close now as a human being, a Shadowhunter, can get to a warlock. But nothing he can do to himself would have the kind of profound effect on him it would have on you or Jonathan, because you were so young. I’m not sure anyone’s ever before done what Valentine did, not to a baby before it was born.”

“So Jace—Jonathan—and I really were both experiments.”

“You were an unintentional one. With Jonathan, Valentine wanted to create some kind of superwarrior, stronger and faster and better than other Shadowhunters. At Renwick’s, Valentine told me that Jonathan really was all those things. But that he was also cruel and amoral and strangely empty. Jonathan was loyal enough to Valentine, but I suppose Valentine realized that somewhere along the way, in trying to create a child who was superior to others, he’d created a son who could never really love him.”

Clary thought of Jace, of the way he’d looked at Renwick’s, the way he’d clutched that piece of the broken Portal so hard that blood had run down his fingers. “No,” she said. “No and no. Jace is not like that. He does love Valentine. He shouldn’t, but he does. And he isn’t empty. He’s the opposite of everything you’re saying.”

Jocelyn’s hands twisted in her lap. They were laced all over with fine white scars—the fine white scars all Shadowhunters bore, the memory of vanished Marks. But Clary had never really seen her mother’s scars before. Magnus’s magic had always made her forget them. There was one, on the inside of her mother’s wrist, that was very like the shape of a star….

Her mother spoke then, and all thoughts of anything else fled from Clary’s mind.

“I am not,” Jocelyn said, “talking about Jace.”

“But …” Clary said. Everything seemed to be happening very slowly, as if she were dreaming. Maybe I am dreaming, she thought. Maybe my mother never woke up at all, and all of this is a dream. “Jace is Valentine’s son. I mean, who else could he be?”

Jocelyn looked straight into her daughter’s eyes. “The night Céline Herondale died, she was eight months pregnant. Valentine had been giving her potions, powders—he was trying on her what he’d tried on himself, with Ithuriel’s blood, hoping that Stephen’s child would be as strong and powerful as he suspected Jonathan would be, but without Jonathan’s worse qualities. He couldn’t bear that his experiment would go to waste, so with Hodge’s help he cut the baby out of Céline’s stomach. She’d only been dead a short time—”

Clary made a gagging noise. “That isn’t possible.”

Jocelyn went on as if Clary hadn’t spoken. “Valentine took that baby and had Hodge bring it to his own childhood home, in a valley not far from Lake Lyn. It was why he was gone all that night. Hodge took care of the baby until the Uprising. After that, because Valentine was pretending to be Michael Wayland, he moved the child to the Wayland manor and raised him as Michael Wayland’s son.”

“So Jace,” Clary whispered. “Jace is not my brother?”

She felt her mother squeeze her hand—a sympathetic squeeze. “No, Clary. He’s not.”

Clary’s vision darkened. She could feel her heart pounding in separate, distinct beats. My mom feels sorry for me, she thought distantly. She thinks this is bad news. Her hands were shaking. “Then whose bones were those in the fire? Luke said there were a child’s bones—”

Jocelyn shook her head. “Those were Michael Wayland’s bones, and his son’s bones. Valentine killed them both and burned their bodies. He wanted the Clave to believe that both he and his son were dead.”

“And Jace doesn’t have demon blood in him? He’s not—cursed?”

“Cursed?” Jocelyn looked surprised. “No, he doesn’t have demon blood. Clary, Valentine experimented on Jace when he was a baby with the same blood he used on me, on you. Angel blood. Jace isn’t cursed. The opposite, if anything. All Shadowhunters have some of the Angel’s blood in them—you two just have a bit more.”

Clary’s mind whirled. She tried to imagine Valentine raising two children at the same time, one part demon, one part angel. One shadow boy, and one light. Loving them both, perhaps, as much as Valentine could love anything. Jace had never known about Jonathan, but what had the other boy known about him? His complementary part, his opposite? Had he hated the thought of him? Yearned to meet him? Been indifferent? They had both been so alone. And one of them was her brother—her real, full-blooded brother. “Do you think he’s still the same? Jonathan, I mean? Do you think he could have gotten … better?”

“I don’t think so,” Jocelyn said gently.

“But what makes you so sure?” Clary spun to look at her mother, suddenly eager. “I mean, maybe he’s changed. It’s been years. Maybe—”

“Valentine told me he had spent years teaching Jonathan how to appear pleasant, even charming. He wanted him to be a spy, and you can’t be a spy if you terrify everyone you meet. Jonathan even learned a certain ability to cast slight glamours, to convince people he was likable and trustworthy.” Jocelyn sighed. “I’m telling you this so you won’t feel bad that you were taken in. Clary, you’ve met Jonathan. He just never told you his real name, because he was posing as someone else. Sebastian Verlac.”

Clary stared at her mother. But he’s the Penhallows’ cousin, part of her mind insisted, but of course Sebastian had never been who he’d claimed he was; everything he’d said had been a lie. She thought of the way she’d felt the first time she’d seen him, as if she were recognizing someone she’d known all her life, someone as intimately familiar to her as her own self. She had never felt that way about Jace. “Sebastian’s my brother?”

Jocelyn’s fine-boned face was drawn, her hands laced together. Her fingertips were white, as if she was pressing them too hard against one another. “I spoke to Luke for a long time today about everything that’s happened in Alicante since you arrived. He told me about the demon towers, and his suspicion that Sebastian had destroyed the wards, though he had no idea how. I realized then who Sebastian really was.”

“You mean because he lied about being Sebastian Verlac? And because he’s a spy for Valentine?”

“Those two things, yes,” said Jocelyn, “but it actually wasn’t until Luke said that you’d told him Sebastian dyed his hair that I guessed. And I could be wrong, but a boy just a little older than you, fair-haired and dark-eyed, with no apparent parents, utterly loyal to Valentine—I couldn’t help but think he must be Jonathan. And there’s more than that. Valentine was always trying to find a way to bring the wards down, always determined that there was a way to do it. Experimenting on Jonathan with demon blood—he said it was to make him stronger, a better fighter, but there was more to it than that—”

Clary stared. “What do you mean, more to it?”

“It was his way of bringing down the wards,” Jocelyn said. “You can’t bring a demon into Alicante, but you need demons’ blood to take down the wards. Jonathan has demon blood; it’s in his veins. And his being a Shadowhunter means he’s granted automatic entrance to the city whenever he wants to get in, no matter what. He used his own blood to take the wards down, I’m sure of it.”

Clary thought of Sebastian standing across from her in the grass near the ruins of the Fairchild manor. The way his dark hair had blown across his face. The way he’d held her wrists, his nails digging into her skin. The way he’d said it was impossible that Valentine had ever loved Jace. She’d thought it was because he hated Valentine. But it wasn’t, she realized. He’d been … jealous.

She thought of the dark prince of her drawings, the one who had looked so much like Sebastian. She had dismissed the resemblance as coincidence, a trick of imagination, but now she wondered if it was the tie of their shared blood that had driven her to give the unhappy hero of her story her brother’s face. She tried to visualize the prince again, but the image seemed to shatter and dissolve before her eyes, like ash blown away on the wind. She could only see Sebastian now, the red light of the burning city reflected in his eyes.

“Jace,” she said. “Someone has to tell him. Has to tell him the truth.” Her thoughts tumbled over themselves, helter-skelter; if Jace had known, known he didn’t have demon blood, maybe he wouldn’t have gone after Valentine. If he’d known he wasn’t Clary’s brother after all …

“But I thought,” said Jocelyn, with a mixture of sympathy and puzzlement, “that nobody knew where he was …?”

Before Clary could answer, the double doors of the Hall swung open, spilling light out over the pillared arcade and the steps below it. The dull roar of voices, no longer muffled, rose as Luke came through the doors. He looked exhausted, but there was a lightness about him that hadn’t been there before. He seemed almost relieved.

Jocelyn rose to her feet. “Luke. What is it?”

He took a few steps toward them, then paused between the doorway and the stairs. “Jocelyn,” he said, “I’m sorry to interrupt you.”

“That’s all right, Luke.” Even through her daze Clary thought, Why do they keep saying each other’s names like that? There was a sort of awkwardness between them now, an awkwardness that hadn’t been there before. “Is something wrong?”

He shook his head. “No. For a change, something’s right.” He smiled at Clary, and there was nothing awkward about it: He looked pleased with her, and even proud. “You did it, Clary,” he said. “The Clave’s agreed to let you Mark them. There will be no surrender after all.”

THE VALLEY WAS MORE BEAUTIFUL IN REALITY THAN IT HAD been in Jace’s vision. Maybe it was the bright moonlight silvering the river that cut across the green valley floor. White birch and aspen dotted the valley’s sides, shivering their leaves in the cool breeze—it was chilly up on the ridge, with no protection from the wind.

This was without a doubt the valley where he’d last seen Sebastian. Finally he was catching up. After securing Wayfarer to a tree, Jace took the bloody thread from his pocket and repeated the tracking ritual, just to be sure.

He closed his eyes, expecting to see Sebastian, hopefully somewhere very close by—maybe even still in the valley—

Instead he saw only darkness.

His heart began to pound.

He tried again, moving the thread to his left fist and awkwardly carving the tracking rune onto the back of it with his right, less agile, hand. He took a deep breath before closing his eyes this time.

Nothing, again. Just a wavering, shadowy blackness. He stood there for a full minute, his teeth gritted, the wind slicing through his jacket, making goose bumps rise on his skin. Eventually, cursing, he opened his eyes—and then, in a fit of desperate anger, his fist; the wind picked up the thread and carried it away, so fast that even if he’d regretted it immediately he couldn’t have caught it back.

His mind raced. Clearly the tracking rune was no longer working. Perhaps Sebastian had realized he was being followed and done something to break the charm—but what could you do to stop a tracking? Maybe he’d found a large body of water. Water disrupted magic.

Not that that helped Jace much. It wasn’t as if he could go to every lake in the country and see if Sebastian was floating around in the middle of it. He’d been so close, too—so close. He’d seen this valley, seen Sebastian in it. And there the house was, just barely visible, nestled against a copse of trees on the valley floor. At least it would be worth going down to look around the house to see if there was anything that might point toward Sebastian’s, or Valentine’s, location.

With a feeling of resignation, Jace used the stele to Mark himself with a number of fast-acting, fast-disappearing battle Marks: one to give him silence, and one swiftness, and another for sure-footed walking. When he was done—and feeling the familiar, stinging pain hot against his skin—he slid the stele into his pocket, gave Wayfarer a brisk pat on the neck, and headed down into the valley.

The sides of the valley were deceptively steep, and treacherous with loose scree. Jace alternated picking his way down it carefully and sliding on the scree, which was fast but dangerous. By the time he reached the valley floor, his hands were bloody where he’d fallen onto the loose gravel more than once. He washed them in the clear, fast-flowing stream; its water was numbingly cold.