City of Fallen Angels / Page 25

Page 25


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"Come along," Camille said, a touch of impatience creeping into her voice. "There is no need to dawdle."

Swallowing, Simon took a reluctant step forward, and then another. A servant stepped in front of him, blocking his way. He was holding out a knife to Simon, a wicked-looking thing with a needle blade. Simon took it, and raised it above his wrist. Then he lowered it. "You know," he said, "I really don't like pain very much. Or knives-"

"Do it," Camille growled.

"There has to be some other way."

Camille rose from her chair, and Simon saw that her fangs were fully extended. She was truly enraged. "If you do not stop wasting my time-"

There was a soft implosion, a sound like something enormous tearing down the middle. A great shimmering panel appeared against the opposite wall. Camille turned toward it, her lips parting in shock as she saw what it was. Simon knew she recognized it, just as he did. There was only one thing it could be.

A Portal. And through it were pouring at least a dozen Shadowhunters.

"Okay," said Isabelle, putting away the first aid kit with a brisk gesture. They were in one of the Institute's many spare rooms, meant to house visiting Clave members. Each was plainly furnished with a bed, a dresser and a wardrobe, and a small bathroom. And, of course, each one had a first aid kit, with bandages, poultices, and even spare steles included. "You're pretty well iratze'd up, but it's going to take a little while for some of those bruises to fade. And these"-she ran her hand over the burn marks on Clary's forearm where the demon blood had splashed her-"probably won't go away totally till tomorrow. If you rest, they'll heal faster, though."

"That's fine. Thanks, Isabelle." Clary looked down at her hands; there were bandages around the right one, and her shirt was still torn and bloodstained, though Izzy's runes had healed the cuts beneath. She supposed she could have done the iratzes herself, but it was nice to have someone take care of her, and Izzy, while not the warmest person Clary knew, could be capable and kind when she felt like it. "And thanks for showing up and, you know, saving my life from whatever that was-"

"A Hydra demon. I told you. They have a lot of heads, but they're pretty dumb. And you weren't doing such a bad job with it before I showed up. I like what you did with the athame. Good thinking under pressure. That's as much a part of being a Shadowhunter as learning how to punch holes in things." Isabelle flopped down onto the bed next to Clary and sighed. "I should probably go look up what I can find out about the Church of Talto before the Conclave gets back. Maybe it'll help us figure out what's going on. The hospital stuff, the babies-" She shuddered. "I don't like it."

Clary had told Isabelle as much as she could about why she'd been at the church, even about the demon baby at the hospital, though she'd pretended she was the one who'd been suspicious, and had kept her mother out of the story. Isabelle had looked sick when Clary had described the way the baby had looked exactly like a normal baby except for its open black eyes and the little claws it had instead of hands. "I think they were trying to make another baby like-like my brother. I think they experimented on some poor mundane woman," Clary said. "But she couldn't take it when the baby was born, and she lost her mind. It's just-who would do something like that? One of Valentine's followers? The ones who never got caught, maybe trying to carry on what he was doing?"

"Maybe. Or just some demon-worshipping cult. There are plenty of them. Although I can't imagine why anyone would want to make more creatures like Sebastian." Her voice gave a little jump of hatred when she said his name.

"His name's really Jonathan-"

"Jonathan is Jace's name," said Isabelle tightly. "I won't call that monster by the same name my brother has. He's always going to be Sebastian to me."

Clary had to admit Isabelle had a point. She had a hard time thinking of him as Jonathan too. She supposed it wasn't fair to the true Sebastian, but none of them had really known him. It was easier to slap a stranger's name onto Valentine's vicious son than call him something that made him feel closer to her family, closer to her life.

Isabelle spoke lightly, but Clary could tell that her mind was working, ticking over various possibilities: "Anyway, I'm glad you texted me when you did. I could tell from your message that something weird was going on, and frankly I was bored. Everyone's off doing some secret thing with the Conclave, and I didn't want to go, because Simon was going to be there, and I hate him now."

"Simon is with the Conclave?" Clary was astonished. She had noticed that the Institute had seemed even more empty than usual when they'd arrived. Jace, of course, wasn't there, but she hadn't expected him to be-though she hadn't known why. "I talked to him this morning and he didn't say anything about doing something for them," Clary added.

Isabelle shrugged. "It has something to do with vampire politics. That's all I know."

"Do you think he's all right?"

Isabelle sounded exasperated. "He doesn't need you to protect him anymore, Clary. He has the Mark of Cain. He could get blown up, shot at, drowned, and stabbed and he'd be just fine." She looked at Clary hard. "I notice you didn't ask me why I hate Simon," she said. "I assume you knew about the two-timing thing?"

"I knew," Clary admitted. "I'm sorry."

Isabelle waved her confession away. "You're his best friend. It would have been weird if you didn't know."

"I should have told you," Clary said. "It's just-I never got the sense you were that serious about Simon, you know?"

Isabelle scowled. "I wasn't. It's just-I thought he would take it seriously, at least. Since I was so out of his league and everything. I guess I expected better from him than I do from other guys."

"Maybe," Clary said quietly, "Simon shouldn't be dating someone who thinks they're out of his league." Isabelle looked at her, and Clary felt herself flush. "Sorry. Your relationship is really none of my business."

Isabelle was twisting her dark hair up into a knot, something she did when she felt tense. "No, it isn't. I mean, I could ask you why you texted me to come to the church and meet you, and not Jace, but I haven't. I'm not stupid. I know something's wrong between you two, passionate alley make-out sessions notwithstanding." She looked keenly at Clary. "Have the two of you slept together yet?"

Clary felt the blood rush into her face. "What-I mean, no, we haven't, but I don't see what that has to do with anything."

"It doesn't," said Isabelle, patting her knotted hair into place. "That was just prurient curiosity. What's holding you back?"

"Isabelle-" Clary pulled up her legs, wrapped her arms around her knees, and sighed. "Nothing. We were just taking our time. I've never-you know."

"Jace has," said Isabelle. "I mean, I assume he has. I don't know for sure. But if you ever need anything..." She let the sentence hang in the air.

"Need anything?"

"Protection. You know. So you can be careful," Isabelle said. She sounded as practical as if she were talking about extra buttons. "You'd think the Angel would have been foresighted enough to give us a birth-control rune, but no dice."

"Of course I'd be careful," Clary spluttered, feeling her cheeks turn red. "Enough. This is awkward."

"This is girl talk," said Isabelle. "You just think it's awkward because you've spent your whole life with Simon as your only friend. And you can't talk to him about Jace. That would be awkward."

"And Jace really hasn't said anything to you? About what's bothering him?" Clary said, in a small voice. "You promise?"

"He didn't have to," Isabelle said. "The way you've been acting, and with Jace going around looking like someone just died, it's not like I wouldn't notice something was wrong. You should have come to talk to me sooner."

"Is he at least all right?" Clary asked very quietly.

Isabelle stood up from the bed and looked down at her. "No," she said. "He is very much not all right. Are you?"

Clary shook her head.

"I didn't think so," Isabelle said.

To Simon's surprise, Camille, upon seeing the Shadowhunters, didn't even try to stand her ground. She screamed and ran for the door, only to freeze when she realized that it was daylight outside, and that exiting the bank would quickly incinerate her. She gasped and cowered back against a wall, her fangs bared, a low hiss coming from her throat.

Simon stepped back as the Shadowhunters of the Conclave swarmed around him, all in black like a murder of crows; he saw Jace, his face pale and set like white marble, slide a broadsword blade through one of the human servants as he passed him, as casually as a pedestrian might swat a fly. Maryse stalked ahead, her flying black hair reminding Simon of Isabelle. She dispatched the second cowering minion with a whipsaw movement of her seraph blade, and advanced on Camille, her shining blade outstretched. Jace was beside her, and another Shadowhunter-a tall man with black runes twining his forearms like vines-was on her other side.

The rest of the Shadowhunters had spread out and were canvassing the bank, sweeping it with those odd things they used-Sensors-checking every corner for demon activity. They ignored the bodies of Camille's human servants, lying motionless in their pools of drying blood. They ignored Simon as well. He might as well have been another pillar, for all the attention they paid him.

"Camille Belcourt," said Maryse, her voice echoing off the marble walls. "You have broken the Law and are subject to the Law's punishments. Will you surrender and come with us, or will you fight?"

Camille was crying, making no attempt to cover her tears, which were tinged with blood. They streaked her white face with red lines as she choked, "Walker-and my Archer-"

Maryse looked baffled. She turned to the man on her left. "What is she saying, Kadir?"

"Her human servants," he replied. "I believe she is mourning their deaths."

Maryse flipped her hand dismissively. "It is against the Law to make servants of human beings."

"I made them before Downworlders were subject to your accursed laws, you bitch. They have been with me two hundred years. They were like children to me."

Maryse's hand tightened on the hilt of her blade. "What would you know of children?" she whispered. "What does your kind know of anything but destroying?"

Camille's tear-streaked face flashed for a moment with triumph. "I knew it," she said. "Whatever else you might say, whatever lies you tell, you hate our kind. Don't you?"

Maryse's face tightened. "Take her," she said. "Bring her to the Sanctuary."

Jace moved swiftly to one side of Camille and took hold of her; Kadir seized her other arm. Together, they pinioned her between them.

"Camille Belcourt, you stand accused of the murder of humans," Maryse intoned. "And of the murder of Shadowhunters. You will be taken to the Sanctuary, where you will be questioned. The sentence for the murder of Shadowhunters is death, but it is possible that if you cooperate with us, your life will be spared. Do you understand?" asked Maryse.

Camille tossed her head defiantly. "There is only one man I will answer to," she said. "If you do not bring him to me, I will tell you nothing. You can kill me, but I will tell you nothing."

"Very well," said Maryse. "What man is that?"

Camille bared her teeth. "Magnus Bane."

"Magnus Bane?" Maryse looked flabbergasted. "The High Warlock of Brooklyn? Why do you want to talk to him?"

"I will answer to him," Camille said again. "Or I will answer to no one."

And that was that. She said not another word. As she was dragged away by Shadowhunters, Simon watched her go. He did not feel, as he had thought he would, triumphant. He felt hollow, and strangely sick to his stomach. He looked down at the bodies of the slain servants; he hadn't liked them much either, but they hadn't asked to be what they were, not really. In a way, maybe neither had Camille. But she was a monster to Nephilim anyway. And maybe not just because she had killed Shadowhunters; maybe there was no way, really, for them to think of her as anything else.

Camille had been pushed through the Portal; Jace stood on the other side of it, gesturing impatiently for Simon to follow. "Are you coming or not?" he called.

Whatever else you might say, whatever lies you tell, you hate our kind.

"Coming," Simon said, and moved reluctantly forward.

Chapter 12

SANCTUARY

"What do you think Camille wants to see Magnus for?" Simon asked.

He and Jace were standing against the back wall of the Sanctuary, which was a massive room attached to the main body of the Institute through a narrow passageway. It wasn't part of the Institute per se; it had been left deliberately unconsecrated in order that it might be used as a holding place for demons and vampires. Sanctuaries, Jace had informed Simon, had gone out of fashion somewhat since Projecting had been invented, but every once in a while they found a use for theirs. Apparently, this was one of those times.

It was a big room, stone-bound and pillared, with an equally stone-bound entryway beyond a wide set of double doors; the entryway led to the corridor connecting the room to the Institute. Huge gouges in the stone floor indicated that whatever had been caged here over the years had been pretty nasty-and big. Simon couldn't help wondering how many enormous rooms full of pillars he was going to have to spend time in. Camille was standing against one of the pillars, her arms behind her, guarded on either side by Shadowhunter warriors. Maryse was pacing back and forth, occasionally conferring with Kadir, clearly trying to sort out some kind of plan. There were no windows in the room, for obvious reasons, but witchlight torches burned everywhere, giving the whole scene a peculiar whitish cast.

"I don't know," Jace said. "Maybe she wants fashion tips."


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