“A Teuthida demon?” Julian said into the phone, his eyebrows crinkling. “That’s basically a squid, right?”
The reply was inaudible: Emma could recognize Ty’s voice, but not the words.
“Yeah, we’re at the pier,” Julian went on. “We haven’t seen anything yet, but we just arrived. Too bad they don’t have designated parking spots for Shadowhunters here. . . .”
Her mind only half on Julian’s voice, Emma glanced around. The sun had just gone down. She’d always loved the Santa Monica Pier, since she was a little girl and her parents had taken her there to play air hockey and ride the old-fashioned merry-go-round. She loved the junk food—burgers and milk shakes, fried clams and giant swirled lollipops—and Pacific Park, the run-down amusement park at the very end of the pier, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
The mundanes had poured millions of dollars into revamping the pier into a tourist attraction over the years. Pacific Park was full of new, shiny rides; the old churro carts were gone, replaced by artisanal ice cream and lobster platters. But the boards under Emma’s feet were still warped and weathered by years of sun and salt. The air still smelled like sugar and seaweed. The merry-go-round still spilled its mechanical music into the air. There were still coin-toss games where you could win a giant stuffed panda. And there were still dark spaces under the pier, where aimless mundanes gathered and sometimes, more sinister things.
That was the thing about being a Shadowhunter, Emma thought, glancing toward the massive Ferris wheel decorated with gleaming LED lights. A line of mundanes eager to get on stretched down the pier; past the railings, she could glimpse the dark blue sea tipped with white where the waves broke. Shadowhunters saw the beauty in the things mundanes created—the lights of the Ferris wheel reflecting off the ocean so brightly that it looked as if someone were setting off fireworks underwater: red, blue, green, purple, and gold—but they saw the darkness, too, the danger and the rot.
“What’s wrong?” Julian asked. He’d slid his phone into the pocket of his gear jacket. The wind—there was always wind on the pier, the wind that blew ceaselessly off the ocean, smelling of salt and faraway places—lifted the soft waves of his brown hair, made them kiss his cheeks and temples.
Dark thoughts, Emma wanted to say. She couldn’t, though. Once Julian had been the person she could tell everything. Now he was the one person she couldn’t tell anything.
Instead she avoided his gaze. “Where are Mark and Cristina?”
“Over there.” He pointed. “By the ring toss.”
Emma followed his gaze to the brightly painted stand where people competed to see who could toss a plastic ring and land it around the neck of one of a dozen lined-up bottles. She tried not to feel superior that this was apparently something mundanes found difficult.
Julian’s half brother, Mark, held three plastic rings in his hand. Cristina, her dark hair caught up in a neat bun, stood beside him, eating caramel corn and laughing. Mark threw the rings: all three at once. Each spiraled out in a different direction and landed around the neck of a bottle.
Julian sighed. “So much for being inconspicuous.”
A mixture of cheers and noises of disbelief went up from the mundanes at the ring toss. Fortunately, there weren’t many of them, and Mark was able to collect his prize—something in a plastic bag—and escape with a minimum of fuss.
He headed back toward them with Cristina at his side. The tips of his pointed ears peeked through the loops of his light hair, but he was glamoured so that mundanes wouldn’t see them. Mark was half-faerie, and his Downworlder blood showed itself in the delicacy of his features, the tips of his ears, and the angularity of his eyes and cheekbones.
“So it’s a squid demon?” Emma said, mostly just to have something to say to fill the silence between her and Julian. There were a lot of silences between her and Julian these days. It had only been two weeks since everything had changed, but she felt the difference profoundly, in her bones. She felt his distance, though he had never been anything but scrupulously polite and kind ever since she had told him about her and Mark.
“Apparently,” Julian said. Mark and Cristina had come into earshot; Cristina was finishing her caramel corn and looking sadly into the bag as if hoping more would appear. Emma could relate. Mark, meanwhile, was gazing down at his prize. “It climbs up the side of the pier and snatches people—mostly kids, anyone leaning over the side taking a picture at night. It’s been getting braver, though. Apparently someone spotted it inside the game area near the table hockey—is that a goldfish?”
Mark held up his plastic bag. Inside it, a small orange fish swam around in a circle. “This is the best patrol we’ve ever done,” he said. “I have never been awarded a fish before.”
Emma sighed inwardly. Mark had spent the past few years of his life with the Wild Hunt, the most anarchic and feral of all faeries. They rode across the sky on all manner of enchanted beings—motorcycles, horses, deer, massive snarling dogs—and scavenged battlefields, taking valuables from the bodies of the dead and giving them in tribute to the Faerie Courts.
He was adjusting well to being back among his Shadowhunter family, but there were still times when ordinary life seemed to take him by surprise. He noticed now that everyone was looking at him with raised eyebrows. He looked alarmed and placed a tentative arm around Emma’s shoulders, holding out the bag in the other hand.
“I have won for you a fish, my fair one,” he said, and kissed her on the cheek.
It was a sweet kiss, gentle and soft, and Mark smelled like he always did: like cold outside air and green growing things. And it made absolute sense, Emma thought, for Mark to assume that everyone was startled because they were waiting for him to give her his prize. She was, after all, his girlfriend.
She exchanged a worried glance with Cristina, whose dark eyes had gotten very large. Julian looked as if he were about to throw up blood. It was only a brief look before he schooled his features back into indifference, but Emma drew away from Mark, smiling at him apologetically.
“I couldn’t keep a fish alive,” she said. “I kill plants just by looking at them.”
“I suspect I would have the same problem,” Mark said, eyeing the fish. “It is too bad—I was going to name it Magnus, because it has sparkly scales.”
At that, Cristina giggled. Magnus Bane was the High Warlock of Brooklyn, and he had a penchant for glitter.
“I suppose I had better let him go free,” Mark said. Before anyone could say anything, he made his way to the railing of the pier and emptied the bag, fish and all, into the sea.
“Does anyone want to tell him that goldfish are freshwater fish and can’t survive in the ocean?” said Julian quietly.
“Not really,” said Cristina.
“Did he just kill Magnus?” Emma asked, but before Julian could answer, Mark whirled around.
All humor had gone from his expression. “I just saw something scuttle up one of the pilings below the pier. Something very much not human.”
Emma felt a faint shiver pass over her skin. The demons who made the ocean their habitation were rarely seen on land. Sometimes she had nightmares where the ocean turned itself inside out and vomited its contents onto the beach: spiny, tentacled, slimy, blackened things half-crushed by the weight of water.
Within seconds, each of the Shadowhunters had a weapon in hand—Emma was clutching her sword, Cortana, a golden blade given to her by her parents. Julian held a seraph blade, and Cristina her butterfly knife.
“Which way did it go?” Julian asked.
“Toward the end of the pier,” said Mark; he alone had not reached for a weapon, but Emma knew how fast he was. His nickname in the Wild Hunt had been elf-shot, for he was swift and accurate with a bow and arrow or a thrown blade. “Toward the amusement park.”
“I’ll go that way,” Emma said. “Try to drive it off the edge of the pier—Mark, Cristina, you go down under, catch it if it tries to crawl back into the water.”
They barely had time to nod, and Emma was off and running. The wind tugged at her braided hair as she wove through the crowd toward the lighted park at the pier’s end. Cortana felt warm and solid in her hand, and her feet flew over the sea-warped wooden slats. She felt free, her worries cast aside, everything in her mind and body focused on the task at hand.
She could hear footsteps beside her. She didn’t need to look to know it was Jules. His footsteps had been beside hers for all the years she had been a fighting Shadowhunter. His blood had been spilled when hers was. He had saved her life and she had saved his. He was part of her warrior self.
“There,” she heard him say, but she’d already seen it: a dark, humped shape clambering up the support structure of the Ferris wheel. The carriages continued to rotate around it, the passengers shrieking in delight, unaware.
Emma hit the line for the wheel and started shoving her way through it. She and Julian had put glamour runes on before they’d gotten to the pier, and they were invisible to mundane eyes. That didn’t mean they couldn’t make their presence felt, though. Mundanes in line swore and yelled as she stomped on feet and elbowed her way to the front.
A carriage was just swinging down, a couple—a girl eating purple cotton candy and her black-clad, lanky boyfriend—about to climb in. Glancing up, Emma saw a flicker as the Teuthida demon slithered around the top of the wheel support. Swearing, Emma pushed past the couple, nearly knocking them aside, and leaped into the carriage. It was octagonal, a bench running around the inside, with plenty of room to stand. She heard yells of surprise as the carriage rose, lifting her away from the scene of chaos she’d created below, the couple who’d been about to board the wheel yelling at the ticket taker, and the people in line behind them yelling at each other.
The carriage rocked under her feet as Julian landed beside her, setting it to swinging. He craned his head up. “Do you see it?”
Emma squinted. She had seen the demon, she was sure of that, but it seemed to have vanished. From this angle, the Ferris wheel was a mess of bright lights, spinning spokes, and white-painted iron bars. The two carriages below her and Julian were empty of people; the line must still be sorting itself out.
Good, Emma thought. The fewer people who got on the wheel, the better.
“Stop.” She felt Julian’s hand on her arm, turning her around. Her whole body tensed. “Runes,” he said shortly, and she realized he was holding his stele in his free hand.
Their carriage was still rising. Emma could see the beach below, the dark water spilling up onto the sand, the hills of Palisades Park rising vertically above the highway, crowned with a fringe of trees and greenery.
The stars were dim but visible beyond the bright lights of the pier. Julian held her arm neither roughly nor gently, but with a sort of clinical distance. He turned it over, his stele describing quick motions over her wrist, inking runes of protection there, runes of speed and agility and enhanced hearing.
This was the closest Emma had been to Jules in two weeks. She felt dizzy from it, a little drunk. His head was bent, his eyes fixed on the task at hand, and she took the opportunity to absorb the sight of him.
The lights of the wheel had turned amber and yellow; they powdered his tanned skin with gold. His hair fell in loose, fine waves over his forehead. She knew the way the skin by the corners of his mouth was soft, and the way his shoulders felt under her hands, strong and hard and vibrant. His lashes were long and thick, so dark that they seemed to have been charcoaled; she half expected them to leave a dusting of black powder on the tops of his cheekbones when he blinked.
He was beautiful. He had always been beautiful, but she had noticed it too late. And now she stood with her hands at her sides and her body aching because she couldn’t touch him. She could never touch him again.
He finished what he was doing and spun the stele around so the handle was toward her. She took it without a word as he pulled aside the collar of his shirt, under his gear jacket. The skin there was a shade paler than the tanned skin on his face and hands, scored over and over with the faint white Marks of runes that had been used up and faded away.
She had to move a step nearer to Mark him. The runes bloomed under the tip of the stele: agility, night vision. Her head reached just to the level of his chin. She was staring directly at his throat, and saw him swallow.
“Just tell me,” he said. “Just tell me that he makes you happy. That Mark makes you happy.”
She jerked her head up. She had finished the runes; he reached to take the stele from her motionless hand. For the first time in what felt like forever, he was looking directly at her, his eyes turned dark blue by the colors of the night sky and the sea, spreading out all around them as they neared the top of the wheel.
“I’m happy, Jules,” she said. What was one lie among so many others? She had never been someone who lied easily, but she was finding her way. When the safety of people she loved depended on it, she’d found, she could lie. “This is—this is smarter, safer for both of us.”
The line of his gentle mouth hardened. “That’s not—”
She gasped. A writhing shape rose up behind him—it was the color of an oil slick, its fringed tentacles clinging to a spoke of the wheel. Its mouth was wide open, a perfect circle ringed with teeth.
“Jules!” she shouted, and flung herself from the carriage, catching onto one of the thin iron bars that ran between the spokes. Dangling by one hand, she slashed out with Cortana, catching the Teuthida as it reared back. It yowled, and ichor sprayed; Emma cried out as it splashed her neck, burning her skin.
A knife punched into the demon’s round, ribbed body. Pulling herself up onto a spoke, Emma glanced down to see Julian poised on the edge of the carriage, another knife already in hand. He sighted down along his arm, let the second knife fly—
It clanged off the bottom of an empty carriage. The Teuthida, incredibly fast, had whipped its way out of sight. Emma could hear it scrabbling downward, along the tangle of metal bars that made up the inside of the wheel.
Emma sheathed Cortana and began to crawl along the length of her spoke, heading toward the bottom of the wheel. LED lights exploded around her in purple and gold.
There was ichor and blood on her hands, making the descent slippery. Incongruously, the view from the wheel was beautiful, the sea and the sand opening in front of her in all directions, as if she were dangling off the edge of the world.
She could taste blood in her mouth, and salt. Below her, she could see Julian, out of the carriage, clambering along a lower spoke. He glanced up at her and pointed; she followed the line of his hand and saw the Teuthida nearly at the wheel’s center.
Its tentacles were whipping around its body, slamming at the heart of the wheel. Emma could feel the reverberations through her bones. She craned her neck to see what it was doing and went cold—the center of the ride was a massive bolt, holding the wheel onto its structural supports. The Teuthida was yanking at the bolt, trying to rip it free. If the demon succeeded in disengaging it, the whole structure would pull away from its moorings and roll off the pier, like a disconnected bicycle wheel.
Emma had no illusions that anyone on the wheel, or near it, would survive. The wheel would crumple in on itself, crushing anyone underneath. Demons thrived on destruction, on the energy of death. It would feast.
The Ferris wheel rocked. The Teuthida had its tentacles fastened firmly to the iron bolt at the wheel’s heart and was twisting it. Emma redoubled her crawling speed, but she was too far above the wheel’s middle. Julian was closer, but she knew the weapons he was carrying: two knives, which he’d already thrown, and seraph blades, which weren’t long enough for him to reach the demon.
He looked up at her as he stretched his body out along the iron bar, wrapped his left arm around it to anchor himself, and held the other arm out, his hand outstretched.
She knew, immediately, without having to wonder, what he was thinking. She breathed in deep and let go of the spoke.
She fell, down toward Julian, stretching out her own hand to reach for his. They caught and clasped, and she heard him gasp as he took her weight. She swung forward and down, her left hand locked around his right, and with her other hand she whipped Cortana from its sheath. The weight of her fall carried her forward, swinging her toward the middle of the wheel.
The Teuthida demon raised its head as she sailed toward it, and for the first time, she saw its eyes—they were oval, glossed with a protective mirrorlike coating. They almost seemed to widen like human eyes as she whipped Cortana forward, driving it down through the top of the demon’s head and into its brain.
Its tentacles flailed—a last, dying spasm as its body pulled free of the blade and skittered, rolling along one of the downward-slanted spokes of the wheel. It reached the end and tumbled off.
In the distance, Emma thought she heard a splash. But there was no time to wonder. Julian’s hand had tightened on hers, and he was pulling her up. She slammed Cortana back into its sheath as he hauled her up, up, onto the spoke where he was lying so that she collapsed awkwardly, half on top of him.
He was still clasping her hand, breathing hard. His eyes met hers, just for a second. Around them, the wheel spun, lowering them back down toward the ground. Emma could see crowds of mundanes on the beach, the shimmer of water along the shoreline, even a dark head and a light one that could be Mark and Cristina. . . .
“Good teamwork,” Julian said finally.
“I know,” Emma said, and she did. That was the worst thing: that he was right, that they still worked so perfectly together as parabatai. As warrior partners. As a matched pair of soldiers who could never, ever be parted.
Mark and Cristina were waiting for them under the pier. Mark had kicked off his shoes and was partway into the ocean water. Cristina was folding away her butterfly knife. At her feet was a patch of slimy, drying sand.
“Did you see the squid thingie fall off the Ferris wheel?” Emma asked as she and Julian drew near.
Cristina nodded. “It fell into the shallows. It wasn’t quite dead, so Mark dragged it up onto the beach and we finished it off.” She kicked at the sand in front of her. “It was very disgusting, and Mark got slime on him.”
“I’ve got ichor on me,” Emma said, looking down at her stained gear. “That was one messy demon.”
“You are still very beautiful,” Mark said with a gallant smile.
Emma smiled back at him, as much as she could. She was unbelievably grateful to Mark, who was playing his part in all this without a word of complaint, though he must have found it strange. In Cristina’s opinion, Mark was getting something out of the pretense, but Emma couldn’t imagine what. It wasn’t as if Mark liked lying—he’d spent so many years among faeries, who were incapable of untruths, that he found it unnatural.
Julian had stepped away from them and was on the phone again, speaking in a low voice. Mark splashed up out of the water and jammed his wet feet into his boots. Neither he nor Cristina was fully glamoured, and Emma noticed the stares of mundane passersby as he came toward her—because he was tall, and beautiful, and because he had eyes that shone brighter than the lights of the Ferris wheel. And because one of his eyes was blue, and the other one was gold.
And because there was something about him, something indefinably strange, a trace of the wildness of Faerie that never failed to make Emma think of untrammeled, wide-open spaces, of freedom and lawlessness. I am a lost boy, his eyes seemed to say. Find me.
Reaching Emma, he lifted his hand to push back a lock of her hair. A wave of feeling went through her—sadness and exhilaration, a longing for something, though she didn’t know what.
“That was Diana,” Julian said, and even without looking at him, Emma could picture his face as he spoke—gravity, thoughtfulness, a careful consideration of whatever the situation was. “Jace and Clary have arrived with a message from the Consul. They’re holding a meeting at the Institute, and they want us there now.”
The four of them went straight through the Institute to the library, without pausing to change their gear. Only when they’d burst into the room and Emma realized she, Mark, Cristina, and Julian had all tracked in sticky demon ichor did she pause to wonder if perhaps they should have stopped to shower.
The roof of the library had been damaged two weeks before and hastily repaired, the stained-glass skylight replaced with plain, warded glass, the intricately decorated ceiling now covered over with a layer of rune-carved rowan wood.
The wood of rowan trees was protective: It kept out dark magic. It also had an effect on faeries—Emma saw Mark wince and look up sideways as they entered the room. He’d told her proximity to too much rowan made him feel as if his skin were powdered with tiny sparks of fire. She wondered what effect it would have on a full-blood faerie.
“Glad to see you made it,” said Diana. She was sitting at the head of one of the long library tables, her hair pulled back into a sleek bun. A thick gold chain necklace glittered against her dark skin. Her black-and-white dress was, as always, pristinely spotless and wrinkle free.
Beside her was Diego Rocio Rosales, notable to the Clave for being a highly trained Centurion and to the Blackthorns for having the nickname Perfect Diego. He was irritatingly perfect—ridiculously handsome, a spectacular fighter, smart, and unfailingly polite. He’d also broken Cristina’s heart before she had left Mexico, which meant that normally Emma would be plotting his death, but she couldn’t because he and Cristina had gotten back together two weeks ago.
He cast a smile at Cristina now, his even white teeth flashing. His Centurion pin glittered at his shoulder, the words Primi Ordines visible against the silver. He wasn’t just a Centurion; he was one of the First Company, the very best of the graduating class from the Scholomance. Because, of course, he was perfect.
Across from Diana and Diego sat two figures who were very familiar to Emma: Jace Herondale and Clary Fairchild, the heads of the New York Institute, though when Emma had met them, they’d been teenagers the age she was now. Jace was all tousled gold handsomeness, looks he’d grown into gracefully over the years. Clary was red hair, stubborn green eyes, and a deceptively delicate face. She had a will like iron, as Emma had good cause to know.
Clary jumped to her feet now, her face lighting up, as Jace leaned back in his chair with a smile. “You’re back!” she cried, rushing toward Emma. She wore jeans and a threadbare MADE IN BROOKLYN T-shirt that had probably once belonged to her best friend, Simon. It looked worn and soft, exactly like the sort of shirt Emma had often filched from Julian and refused to give back. “How did it go with the squid demon?”
Emma was prevented from answering by Clary’s enveloping hug.
“Great,” said Mark. “Really great. They’re so full of liquid, squids.”
He actually seemed pleased about it.
Clary let Emma go and frowned down at the ichor, seawater, and unidentifiable slime that had transferred themselves to her shirt. “I see what you mean.”
“I’m just going to welcome you all from over here,” said Jace, waving. “There’s a disturbing smell of calamari wafting from your general direction.”
There was a giggle, quickly stifled. Emma glanced up and saw legs dangling between the railings of the upstairs gallery. With amusement, she recognized Ty’s long limbs and Livvy’s patterned stockings. There were nooks up on the gallery level that were perfect for eavesdropping—she couldn’t count how many of Andrew Blackthorn’s meetings she and Julian had spied on as kids, drinking up the knowledge and sense of importance that being present at a Conclave meeting brought.
She glanced sideways at Julian, seeing him note Ty and Livvy’s presence, knowing the moment he decided, as she had, not to say anything about it. His whole thought process was visible to her in the quirk of his smile—odd how transparent he was to her in his unguarded moments, and how little she could tell what he was thinking when he chose to hide it.
Cristina went over to Diego, bumping her hand gently against his shoulder. He kissed her wrist. Emma saw Mark glance at them, his expression unreadable. Mark had talked to her about many things in the past two weeks, but not Cristina. Not ever Cristina.
“So how many sea demons does that make it?” asked Diana. “In total?” She gestured for everyone to take seats around the table. They sat down, squelching slightly, Emma next to Mark but across from Julian. He answered Diana as calmly as if he wasn’t dripping ichor onto the polished floor.
“A few smaller ones this past week,” said Julian, “but that’s normal when it storms. They wash up on the beach. We ran some patrols; the Ashdowns ran some farther south. I think we got them all.”
“This was the first really big one,” said Emma. “I mean, I’ve only seen a few that big before. They don’t usually come up out of the ocean.”
Jace and Clary exchanged a look.
“Is there something we should know about?” Emma said. “Are you collecting really big sea demons to decorate the Institute or something?”
Jace leaned forward, his elbows on the table. He had a calm, catlike face and unreadable amber eyes. Clary had once said that the first time she’d ever seen him, she’d thought he looked like a lion. Emma could see it: Lions seemed so calm and almost lazy until they exploded into action. “Maybe we should talk about why we’re here,” he said.
“I thought you were here about Kit,” Julian said. “What with him being a Herondale and all.”
There was a rustle from upstairs and a faint muttering. Ty had been sleeping in front of Kit’s door for the past nights, an odd behavior no one had remarked on. Emma assumed Ty found Kit unusual and interesting in the manner that he sometimes found bees and lizards unusual and interesting.
“Partly,” said Jace. “We just returned from a Council meeting in Idris. That’s why it took us so long to get here, though I wanted to come as fast as possible when I heard about Kit.” He sat back and threw an arm over the back of his chair. “You won’t be surprised to know there was a great deal of discussion about the Malcolm situation.”
“You mean the situation where the High Warlock of Los Angeles turned out to be a spree killer and a necromancer?” Julian said. There were layers of implication clear in his voice: The Clave hadn’t suspected Malcolm, had approved of his appointment to the post of High Warlock, had done nothing to stop the murders he committed. It had been the Blackthorns who had done that.
There was another giggle from above. Diana coughed to hide a smile. “Sorry,” she said to Jace and Clary. “I think we have mice.”
“I didn’t hear anything,” Jace said.
“We’re just surprised the Council meeting ended so quickly,” Emma said. “We thought we might have to give testimony. About Malcolm, and everything that happened.”
Emma and the Blackthorns had given testimony in front of the Council before. Years before, after the Dark War. It wasn’t an experience Emma was excited to repeat, but it would have been a chance to tell their side of what had happened. To explain why they had worked in cooperation with faeries, in direct contradiction of the Laws of the Cold Peace. Why they had investigated the High Warlock of Los Angeles, Malcolm Fade, without telling the Clave they were doing it; what they had done when they had found him guilty of heinous crimes.
Why Emma had killed him.
“You already told Robert—the Inquisitor,” said Clary. “He believed you. He testified on your behalf.”
Julian raised an eyebrow. Robert Lightwood, the Inquisitor of the Clave, was not a warm and friendly sort of man. They’d told him what had happened because they’d been forced to, but he wasn’t the kind of person you could imagine doing you favors.
“Robert’s not so bad,” Jace said. “Really. He’s mellowed since becoming a grandfather. And the fact is, the Clave was actually less interested in you than they were in the Black Volume.”
“Apparently nobody realized it was ever in the library here,” said Clary. “The Cornwall Institute is famous for having a considerably large selection of books on dark magic—the original Malleus Maleficarum, the Daemonatia. Everyone thought it was there, properly locked up.”
“The Blackthorns used to run the Cornwall Institute,” said Julian. “Maybe my father brought it with him when he got the appointment to run the Institute here.” He looked troubled. “Though I don’t know why he would have wanted it.”
“Maybe Arthur brought it,” suggested Cristina. “He’s always been fascinated with ancient books.”
Emma shook her head. “Can’t have. The book had to have been here when Sebastian attacked the Institute—before Arthur came.”
“How much of the fact that they didn’t want us there to testify had to do with them discussing whether I ought to be allowed to stay?” said Mark.
“Some,” Clary said, meeting his gaze levelly. “But, Mark, we never would have let them make you return to the Hunt. Everyone would have risen up.”
Diego nodded. “The Clave has deliberated, and they’re fine with Mark remaining here with his family. The original order only forbid Shadowhunters from looking for him, but he came to you, so the order hasn’t been contravened.”
Mark nodded stiffly. He had never seemed to like Perfect Diego.
“And believe me,” Clary added, “they were very happy to use that loophole. I think even the most faerie-hating of them feel for what Mark went through.”
“But not for what Helen has gone through?” said Julian. “Any word on her return?”
“Nothing,” said Jace. “I’m sorry. They wouldn’t hear of it.”
Mark’s expression tensed. In that moment, Emma could see the warrior in him, the dark shadow of the battlefields the Wild Hunt stalked, the walker among the bodies of the dead.
“We’ll keep at them,” said Diana. “Having you back is a victory, Mark, and we’ll press that victory. But right now—”
“What’s happening right now?” Mark demanded. “Isn’t the crisis over?”
“We’re Shadowhunters,” Jace said. “You’ll find that the crisis is never over.”
“Right now,” Diana went on, “the Council just finished discussing the fact that large sea demons have been spotted all up and down the coast of California. In record numbers. There have been more seen in the past week than in the past decade. That Teuthida you fought wasn’t an outlier.”
“We think it’s because Malcolm’s body and the Black Volume are still out there in the ocean,” said Clary. “And we think it may be because of the spells Malcolm cast during his life.”
“But a warlock’s spells disappear when they die,” protested Emma. She thought of Kit. The wards Malcolm had placed around the Rooks’ house had vanished when he died. Demons had attacked within hours. “We went up to his house after he died, to look for evidence of what he’d been doing. The whole thing had disintegrated into a slag heap.”
Jace had disappeared under the table. He appeared a moment later, holding Church, the Institute’s part-time cat. Church had his paws stuck straight out and a look of satisfaction on his face. “We thought the same thing,” said Jace, settling the cat on his lap. “But apparently, according to Magnus, there are spells that can be constructed to be activated by a warlock’s death.”
Emma glared at Church. She knew the cat had once lived in the New York Institute, but it seemed rude to show preference so blatantly. The cat was lying on his back on Jace’s lap, purring and ignoring her.
“Like an alarm,” Julian said, “that goes off when you open a door?”
“Yes, but in this case, death is the open door,” said Diana.
“So what’s the solution?” asked Emma.
“We probably need his body to turn the spell off, so to speak,” said Jace. “And a clue as to how he did it would be nice.”
“The ruins of the convergence have been picked over pretty thoroughly,” Clary said. “But we’ll check out Malcolm’s house tomorrow, just to be sure.”
“It’s rubble,” Julian warned.
“Rubble that will have to be cleared away soon, before mundanes notice it,” said Diana. “There’s a glamour on it, but it’s temporary. That means the site will only be undisturbed for another few days.”
“And there’s no harm taking a last look,” said Jace. “Especially as Magnus has given us some idea what to look for.” He rubbed Church’s ear but didn’t elaborate.
“The Black Volume is a powerful necromantic object,” said Perfect Diego. “It could be causing disturbances we cannot even imagine. Driving the deepest-dwelling of sea demons to crawl up onto our shores means mundanes are in danger—a few have already disappeared from the Pier.”
“So,” said Jace. “A team of Centurions is going to arrive here tomorrow—”
“Centurions?” Panic flashed in Julian’s eyes, a look of fear and vulnerability that Emma guessed was visible only to her. It was gone almost instantly. “Why?”
Centurions. Elite Shadowhunters, they trained at the Scholomance, a school carved into the rock walls of the Carpathian Mountains, surrounded by an icy lake. They studied esoteric lore and were experts in faeries and the Cold Peace.
And also, apparently, sea demons.
“This is excellent news,” said Perfect Diego. He would say that, Emma thought. Smugly, he touched the pin at his shoulder. “They will be able to find the body and the book.”
“Hopefully,” Clary said.
“But you’re already here, Clary,” said Julian, his voice deceptively mild. “You and Jace—if you brought in Simon and Isabelle and Alec and Magnus, I bet you could find the body right away.”
He doesn’t want strangers here, Emma thought. People who would pry into the Institute’s business, demand to talk to Uncle Arthur. He had managed to preserve the Institute’s secrets even through everything that had happened with Malcolm. And now they were threatened again by random Centurions.
“Clary and I are only stopping by,” Jace said. “We can’t stay and search, though we’d like to. We’re on assignment from the Council.”
“What kind of assignment?” Emma said. What mission could be more important than retrieving the Black Volume, clearing up the mess Malcolm had made once and for all?
But she could tell from the look that Jace and Clary exchanged that there was a world of more important things out there, ones she couldn’t imagine. Emma couldn’t help a small explosion of bitterness inside, the wish that she were just a bit older, that she could be equal to Jace and Clary, know their secrets and the Council’s secrets.
“I’m so sorry,” Clary said. “We can’t say.”
“So you’re not even going to be here?” Emma demanded. “While all this is going on, and our Institute is invaded—”
“Emma,” Jace said. “We know that you’re used to being alone and untroubled here. To having only Arthur to answer to.”
If only he knew. But that was impossible.
He went on, “But the purpose of an Institute is not just to centralize Clave activity, but to house Shadowhunters who must be accommodated in a city they don’t live in. There are fifty rooms here that no one is using. So unless there’s a pressing reason they can’t come . . .”
The words hung in the air. Diego looked down at his hands. He didn’t know the full truth about Arthur, but Emma guessed that he suspected.
“You can tell us,” Clary said. “We’ll keep it in the strictest confidence.”
But it wasn’t Emma’s secret to tell. She held herself back from looking at Mark or Cristina, Diana or Julian, the only others at the table who knew the truth about who really ran the Institute. A truth that would need to be hidden from the Centurions, who would be duty-bound to report it to the Council.
“Uncle Arthur hasn’t been well, as I assume you know,” Julian said, gesturing toward the empty chair where the Institute’s head would normally have sat. “I was concerned the Centurions might worsen his condition, but considering the importance of their mission, we’ll make them as comfortable as possible.”
“Since the Dark War, Arthur has been prone to flare-ups of headaches and pain in his old wounds,” added Diana. “I’ll run interference between him and the Centurions until he’s feeling better.”
“There’s really nothing to worry about,” said Diego. “They’re Centurions—disciplined, orderly soldiers. They won’t be throwing wild parties or making unreasonable demands.” He put an arm around Cristina. “I’ll be glad to have you meet some of my friends.”
Cristina smiled back at him. Emma couldn’t help but glance toward Mark to see if he was looking at Cristina and Diego the way he often did—a way that made her wonder how Julian could miss it. One day he would notice, and there would be awkward questions to answer.
But that day wouldn’t be today, because sometime in the past few minutes Mark had slipped soundlessly out of the library. He was gone.
Mark associated different rooms in the Institute with different feelings, most of them new since his return. The rowaned library made him tense. The entryway, where he had faced down Sebastian Morgenstern so many years ago, made his skin prickle, his blood heat.
In his own room he felt lonely. In the twins’ rooms, and Dru’s or Tavvy’s, he could lose himself in being their older brother. In Emma’s room he felt safe. Cristina’s room was barred to him. In Julian’s room, he felt guilty. And in the training room, he felt like a Shadowhunter.
He had made unconsciously for the training room the moment he’d left the library. It was still too much for Mark, the way that Shadowhunters hid their emotions. How could they bear a world where Helen was exiled? He could hardly bear it; he yearned for his sister every day. And yet they all would have looked at him in surprise if he had cried out in grief or fallen to his knees. Jules, he knew, didn’t want the Centurions there—but his expression had hardly changed. Faeries could riddle and cheat and scheme, but they did not hide their honest pain.
It was enough to send him to the weapons rack, his hands feeling for whatever would let him lose himself in practice. Diana had owned a weapons shop in Idris once, and there was always an impeccable array of beautiful weapons laid out for them to train with: Greek machaera, with their single cutting edges. There were Viking spatha, two-handed claymores and zweihänder, and Japanese wooden bokken, used only for training.
He thought of the weapons of faerie. The sword he had carried in the Wild Hunt. The fey used nothing made of iron, for weapons and tools of iron made them sick. The sword he had borne in the Hunt had been made of horn, and it had been light in his hand. Light like the elf-bolts he had shot from his bow. Light like the wind under the feet of his horse, like the air around him when he rode.
He lifted a claymore from the rack and turned it experimentally in his hand. He could feel that it was made of steel—not quite iron, but an iron alloy—though he didn’t have the reaction to iron that full-blooded faeries did.
It did feel heavy in his hand. But so much had been feeling heavy since he had returned home. The weight of expectation was heavy. The weight of how much he loved his family was heavy.
Even the weight of what he was involved in with Emma was heavy. He trusted Emma. He didn’t question that she was doing the right thing; if she believed it, he believed in her.
But lies didn’t come to him easily, and he hated lying to his family most of all.
“Mark?” It was Clary, followed by Jace. The meeting in the library must be over. They had both changed into gear; Clary’s red hair was very bright, like a splash of blood against her dark clothes.
“I’m here,” Mark said, placing the sword he’d been holding back in the rack. The full moon was high, and white light filtered through the windows. The moon traced a path like a road across the sea from where it kissed the horizon to the edge of the beach.
Jace hadn’t said anything yet; he was watching Mark with hooded golden eyes, like a hawk’s. Mark couldn’t help but remember Clary and Jace as they had been when he’d met them just after the Hunt had taken him. He’d been hiding in the tunnels near the Seelie Court when they’d come walking toward him, and his heart had ached and broken to see them. Shadowhunters, striding through the dangers of Faerie, heads held high. They were not lost; they were not running. They were not afraid.
He had wondered if he would have that pride again, that lack of fear. Even as Jace had pressed a witchlight into his hand, even as he had said, Show them what a Shadowhunter is made of, show them that you aren’t afraid, Mark had been sick with fear.
Not for himself. For his family. How would they fare in a world at war, without him to protect them?
Surprisingly well, had been the answer. They hadn’t needed him after all. They’d had Jules.
Jace seated himself on a windowsill. He was bigger than he had been the first time Mark had met him, of course. Taller, broader shouldered, though still graceful. Rumor had it that even the Seelie Queen had been impressed by his looks and manner, and faerie gentry were rarely impressed by humans. Even Shadowhunters.
Though sometimes they were. Mark supposed his own existence was proof of that. His mother, the Lady Nerissa of the Seelie Court, had loved his Shadowhunter father.
“Julian doesn’t want the Centurions here,” said Jace. “Does he?”
Mark looked at them both with suspicion. “I wouldn’t know.”
“Mark won’t tell us his brother’s secrets, Jace,” said Clary. “Would you tell Alec’s?”
The window behind Jace rose high and clear, so clear Mark sometimes imagined he could fly out of it. “Maybe if it was for his own good,” Jace said.
Clary made an inelegant doubtful noise. “Mark,” she said. “We need your help. We have some questions about Faerie and the Courts—their actual physical layout—and there don’t seem to be any answers—not from the Spiral Labyrinth, not from the Scholomance.”
“And honestly,” Jace said, “we don’t want to look too much like we’re investigating, because this mission is secret.”
“Your mission is to Faerie?” Mark guessed.
They both nodded.
Mark was astonished. Shadowhunters had never been comfortable in the actual Lands of Faerie, and since the Cold Peace they’d avoided them like poison. “Why?” He turned quickly from the claymore. “Is this some kind of revenge mission? Because Iarlath and some of the others cooperated with Malcolm? Or—because of what happened to Emma?”
Emma still sometimes needed help with the last of her bandages. Every time Mark looked at the red lines crossing her skin, he felt guilt and sickness. They were like a web of bloody threads that kept him bound to the deception they were both perpetrating.
Clary’s eyes were kind. “We’re not planning to hurt anyone,” she said. “There’s no revenge going on here. This is strictly about information.”
“You think I’m worried about Kieran,” realized Mark. The name lodged in his throat like a piece of snapped-off bone. He had loved Kieran, and Kieran had betrayed him and gone back to the Hunt, and whenever Mark thought about him, it felt as if he were bleeding from someplace inside. “I am not,” he said, “worried about Kieran.”
“Then you wouldn’t mind if we talked to him,” said Jace.
“I wouldn’t be worried about him,” said Mark. “I might be worried about you.”
Clary laughed softly. “Thank you, Mark.”
“He’s the son of the Unseelie Court’s King,” said Mark. “The King has fifty sons. All of them vie for the throne. The King is tired of them. He owed Gwyn a favor, so he gave him Kieran in repayment. Like the gift of a sword or a dog.”
“As I understand it,” said Jace, “Kieran came to you, and offered to help you, against the wishes of the fey. He put himself in grave danger to assist you.”
Mark supposed he shouldn’t be surprised that Jace knew that. Emma often confided in Clary. “He owed me. It was thanks to him that those I love were badly hurt.”
“Still,” said Jace, “there is some chance he might prove amenable to our questions. Especially if we could tell him they were endorsed by you.”
Mark said nothing. Clary kissed Jace on the cheek and murmured something in his ear before she headed out of the room. Jace watched her go, his expression momentarily soft. Mark felt a sharp stab of envy. He wondered if he would ever be like that with someone: the way they seemed to match, Clary’s kind playfulness and Jace’s sarcasm and strength. He wondered if he had ever matched with Kieran. If he would have matched with Cristina, had things been different.
“What is it you mean to ask Kieran?” he said.
“Some questions about the Queen, and about the King,” said Jace. Noting Mark’s impatient movement, he said, “I’ll tell you a little, and remember I should be telling you nothing. The Clave would have my head for this.” He sighed. “Sebastian Morgenstern left a weapon with one of the Courts of Faerie,” he said. “A weapon that could destroy us all, destroy all Nephilim.”
“What does the weapon do?” Mark asked.
“I don’t know. That’s part of what we need to find out. But we know it’s deadly.”
Mark nodded. “I think Kieran will help you,” he said. “And I can give you a list of names of those in Faerie to look for who might be friendly to your cause, because it will not be a popular one. I do not think you know how much they hate you. If they have a weapon, I hope you find it, because they will not hesitate to use it, and they will have no mercy on you.”
Jace looked up through golden lashes that were very like Kit’s. His gaze was watchful and still. “Mercy on us?” he said. “You’re one of us.”
“That seems to depend on who you ask,” Mark said. “Do you have a pen and paper? I’ll start with the names. . . .”
It had been too long since Uncle Arthur had left the attic room where he slept, ate, and did his work. Julian wrinkled his nose as he and Diana climbed the narrow stairs—the air was staler than usual, rancid with old food and sweat. The shadows were thick. Arthur was a shadow himself, hunched over his desk, a witchlight burning in a dish on the windowsill above. He didn’t react to Julian and Diana’s presence.
“Arthur,” Diana said, “we need to speak with you.”
Arthur turned slowly in his chair. Julian felt his gaze skate over Diana, and then over himself. “Miss Wrayburn,” he said, finally. “What can I do for you?”
Diana had accompanied Julian on trips to the attic before, but rarely. Now that the truth of their situation was known by Mark and Emma, Julian had been able to acknowledge to Diana what they had always both known but never spoken about.
For years, since he was twelve years old, Julian had borne alone the knowledge that his uncle Arthur was mad, his mind shattered during his imprisonment in the Seelie Court. He had periods of lucidity, helped by the medicine Malcolm Fade had provided, but they never lasted long.
If the Clave knew the truth, they would have ripped Arthur away from his position as Institute head in moments. It was quite likely he would end up locked in the Basilias, forbidden from leaving or having visitors. In his absence, with no Blackthorn adult to run the Institute, the children would be split up, sent to the Academy in Idris, scattered around the world. Julian’s determination to never let that happen had led to five years of secret keeping, five years of hiding Arthur from the world and the world from Arthur.
Sometimes he wondered if he was doing the right thing for his uncle. But did it matter? Either way, he would protect his brothers and sisters. He would sacrifice Arthur for them if he had to, and if the moral consequences woke him up in the middle of the night sometimes, panicked and gasping, then he’d live with that.
He remembered Kieran’s sharp faerie eyes on him: You have a ruthless heart.
Maybe it was true. Right now Julian’s heart felt dead in his chest, a swollen, beatless lump. Everything seemed to be happening at a slight distance—he even felt as if he were moving more slowly through the world, as if he were pushing his way through water.
Still, it was a relief to have Diana with him. Arthur often mistook Julian for his dead father or grandfather, but Diana was no part of his past, and he seemed to have no choice but to recognize her.
“The medication that Malcolm made for you,” said Diana. “Did he ever speak to you about it? What was in it?”
Arthur shook his head slightly. “The boy doesn’t know?”
Julian knew that meant him. “No,” he said. “Malcolm never spoke of it to me.”
Arthur frowned. “Are there dregs, leftovers, that could be analyzed?”
“I used every drop I could find two weeks ago.” Julian had drugged his uncle with a powerful cocktail of Malcolm’s medicine the last time Jace, Clary, and the Inquisitor had been at the Institute. He hadn’t dared take the chance that Arthur would be anything but steady on his feet and as clearheaded as possible.
Julian was fairly sure Jace and Clary would cover up Arthur’s condition if they knew it. But it was an unfair burden to ask them to bear, and besides—he didn’t trust the Inquisitor, Robert Lightwood. He hadn’t trusted him since the time five years ago when Robert had forced him to endure a brutal trial by Mortal Sword because he hadn’t believed Julian wouldn’t lie.
“You haven’t kept any of it, Arthur?” Diana asked. “Hidden some away?”
Arthur shook his head again. In the dim witchlight, he looked old—much older than he was, his hair salted with gray, his eyes washed out like the ocean in the early morning. His body under his straggling gray robe was skinny, the point of his shoulder bone visible through the material. “I didn’t know Malcolm would turn out to be what he was,” he said. A murderer, a killer, a traitor. “Besides, I depended on the boy.” He cleared his throat. “Julian.”
“I didn’t know about Malcolm either,” Julian said. “The thing is, we’re going to have guests. Centurions.”
“Kentarchs,” murmured Arthur, opening one of his desk drawers as if he meant to search for something inside. “That is what they were called in the Byzantine army. But a centurion was always the pillar of the army. He commanded a hundred men. A centurion could mete out punishment to a Roman citizen that the law usually protected them from. Centurions supersede the law.”
Julian wasn’t sure how much the original Roman centurions and the Centurions of the Scholomance had in common. But he suspected he got his uncle’s point anyway. “Right, so that means we’re going to have to be especially careful. With how you have to be around them. How you’re going to have to act.”
Arthur put his fingers to his temples. “I’m just so tired,” he murmured. “Can we not . . . If we could ask Malcolm for a bit more medicine . . .”
“Malcolm’s dead,” Julian said. His uncle had been told, but it didn’t seem to have quite sunk in. And it was exactly the sort of mistake he couldn’t make around strangers.
“There are mundane drugs,” said Diana, after a moment’s hesitation.
“But the Clave,” Julian said. “The punishment for seeking out mundane medical treatment is—”
“I know what it is,” Diana said, surprisingly sharply. “But we’re desperate.”
“But we’d have no idea about what dosage or what pills. We have no idea how mundanes treat sicknesses like this.”
“I am not ill.” Arthur slammed the drawer of the desk shut. “The faeries shattered my mind. I felt it break. No mundane could understand or treat such a thing.”
Diana exchanged a worried look with Julian. “Well, there are several paths we could go down. We’ll leave you alone, Arthur, and discuss them. We know how important your work is.”
“Yes,” Julian’s uncle murmured. “My work . . .” And he bent again over his papers, Diana and Julian instantly forgotten. As Julian followed Diana out of the room, he couldn’t help but wonder what solace it was that his uncle found in old stories of gods and heroes, of an earlier time of the world, one where plugging your ears and refusing to listen to the sound of the music of sirens could keep you from madness.
At the foot of the stairs, Diana turned to Julian and spoke softly. “You’ll have to go to the Shadow Market tonight.”
“What?” Julian was thrown. The Shadow Market was off-limits to Nephilim unless they were on a mission, and always off-limits to underage Shadowhunters. “With you?”
Diana shook her head. “I can’t go there.”
Julian didn’t ask. It was an unspoken fact between them that Diana had secrets and that Julian could not press her about them.
“But there’ll be warlocks,” she said. “Ones we don’t know, ones who’ll keep silent for a price. Ones who won’t know your face. And faeries. This is a faerie-caused madness after all, not a natural state. Perhaps they would know how to reverse it.” She was silent a moment, thinking. “Bring Kit with you,” she said. “He knows the Shadow Market better than anyone else we could ask, and Downworlders there trust him.”
“He’s just a kid,” Julian objected. “And he hasn’t been out of the Institute since his father died.” Was killed, actually. Ripped to pieces in front of his eyes. “It could be hard on him.”
“He’ll have to get used to things being hard on him,” said Diana, her expression flinty. “He’s a Shadowhunter now.”
Where Dwell the Ghouls
Vicious traffic meant it took Julian and Kit an hour to get from Malibu to Old Pasadena. By the time they found parking, Julian had a pounding headache, not helped by the fact that Kit had barely said a word to him since they’d left the Institute.
Even so long after sunset, the sky in the west was touched with feather-strokes of crimson and black. The wind was blowing from the east, which meant that even in the middle of the city you could breathe in desert: sand and grit, cactus and coyotes, the burning scent of sage.
Kit leaped out of the car the minute Julian turned the engine off, as if he couldn’t stand spending another minute next to him. When they’d passed the freeway exit that went to the Rooks’ old house, Kit had asked if he could swing by to pick up some of his clothes. Julian had said no, it wasn’t safe, especially at night. Kit had looked at him as if Julian had driven a knife into his back.
Julian was used to pleading and sulks and protestations that someone hated you. He had four younger siblings. But there was a special artistry to Kit’s glaring. He really meant it.
Now, as Julian locked the car behind them, Kit made a snorting sound. “You look like a Shadowhunter.”
Julian glanced down at himself. Jeans, boots, a vintage blazer that had been a gift from Emma. Since glamour runes weren’t much use at the Market, he’d had to fall back on pulling down his sleeve to cover his Voyance rune and flipping up his collar to conceal the very edges of Marks that would otherwise have peeked out from his shirt.
“What?” he said. “You can’t see any Marks.”
“You don’t need to,” said Kit, in a bored voice. “You look like a cop. All of you always look like cops.”
Julian’s headache intensified. “And your suggestion?”
“Let me go in alone,” Kit said. “They know me, they trust me. They’ll answer my questions and sell me whatever I want.” He held out a hand. “I’ll need some money, of course.”
Julian looked at him in disbelief. “You didn’t really think that would work, did you?”
Kit shrugged and retracted his hand. “It could’ve worked.”
Julian started walking toward the alley that led to the entrance to the Shadow Market. He’d only been there once, years ago, but he remembered it well. Shadow Markets had sprung up in the aftermath of the Cold Peace, a way for Downworlders to do business away from the spotlight of the new Laws. “So, let me guess. Your plan was to take some money from me, pretend you were going to the Shadow Market, and hop a bus out of town?”
“Actually, my plan was to take some money from you, pretend I was going to the Shadow Market, and hop on the Metrolink,” said Kit. “They have trains that leave this city now. Major development, I know. You should try to keep track of these things.”
Julian wondered briefly what Jace would do if he strangled Kit. He considered voicing the thought aloud, but they’d reached the end of the alley, where a slight shimmer in the air was visible. He grabbed Kit by the arm, propelling them both through it at the same time.
They emerged on the other side into the heart of the Market. Light flared all around them, blotting out the stars overhead. Even the moon seemed a pale shell.
Julian was still gripping Kit’s arm, but Kit was making no move to run. He was looking around with a wistfulness that made him look young—sometimes it was hard for Julian to remember that Kit was the same age as Ty. His blue eyes—clear and sky-colored, without the green tinge that characterized the Blackthorns’ eyes—moved around the Market, taking it in.
Rows of booths were lit with torches whose fires blazed gold, blue, and poison green. Trellises of flowers richer and sweeter-smelling than white oleander or jacaranda blossoms cascaded down the sides of stalls. Beautiful faerie girls and boys danced to the music of reeds and pipes. Everywhere were voices clamoring for them to come buy, come buy. Weapons were on display, and jewelry, and vials of potions and powders.
“This way,” said Kit, pulling his arm out of Julian’s grip.
Julian followed. He could feel eyes on them, wondered if it was because Kit had been right: He looked like a cop, or the supernatural version, anyway. He was a Shadowhunter, had always been a Shadowhunter. You couldn’t shed your nature.
They had reached one of the Market’s edges, where the light was dimmer, and it was possible to see the white lines painted on the asphalt under them that revealed this place’s daytime job as a parking lot.
Kit moved toward the closest booth, where a faerie woman sat in front of a sign that advertised fortune-telling and love potions. She looked up with a beaming smile as he approached.
“Kit!” she exclaimed. She wore a scrap of a white dress that set off her pale blue skin, and her pointed ears poked through lavender hair. Thin chains of gold and silver dangled around her neck and dripped from her wrists. She glared at Julian. “What is he doing here?”
“The Nephilim is all right, Hyacinth,” Kit said. “I’ll vouch for him. He just wants to buy something.”
“Doesn’t everyone,” she murmured. She cast Julian a sly look. “You’re a pretty one,” she said. “Your eyes are almost the same color as me.”
Julian moved closer to the booth. It was at times like this he wished he was any good at flirting. He wasn’t. He had never in his life felt a flicker of desire for any girl who wasn’t Emma, so it was something he’d never learned to do.
“I’m seeking a potion to cure madness in a Shadowhunter,” he said. “Or at least to stop the symptoms for a while.”
“What kind of madness?”
“He was tormented in the Courts,” Julian said bluntly. “His mind was broken by the hallucinations and potions they forced on him.”
“A Shadowhunter with faerie-caused madness? Oh my,” she said, and there was skepticism in her tone. Julian began to explain about Uncle Arthur, without using his name: his situation and his condition. The fact that his lucid periods came and went. The fact that sometimes his moods made him bleak and cruel. That he recognized his family only part of the time. He described the potion Malcolm had made for Arthur, back when they trusted Malcolm and thought he was their friend.
Not that he mentioned Malcolm by name.
The faerie woman shook her head when he was done. “You should ask a warlock,” she said. “They will deal with Shadowhunters. I will not. I have no desire to run afoul of the Courts or the Clave.”
“No one needs to know about it,” said Julian. “I’ll pay you well.”
“Child.” There was an edge of pity in her voice. “You think you can keep secrets from all of Downworld? You think the Market hasn’t been buzzing with the news of the fall of the Guardian and the death of Johnny Rook? The fact that we now no longer have a High Warlock? The disappearance of Anselm Nightshade—though he was a terrible man—” She shook her head. “You should never have come here,” she said. “It’s not safe for either of you.”
Kit looked bewildered. “You mean him,” he said, indicating Julian with a tilt of his head. “It’s not safe for him.”
“Not for you, either, baby boy,” said a gravelly voice behind them.
They both turned. A short man stood in front of them. He was pale, with a flat, sickly cast to his skin. He wore a three-piece gray wool suit, which must have been boiling in the warm weather. His hair and beard were dark and neatly clipped.
“Barnabas,” said Kit, blinking. Julian noticed Hyacinth shrinking slightly in her booth. A small crowd had gathered behind Barnabas.
The short man stepped forward. “Barnabas Hale,” he said, holding out a hand. The moment his fingers closed around Julian’s, Julian felt his muscles tighten. Only Ty’s affinity for lizards and snakes, and the fact that Julian had had to carry them out of the Institute and dump them back in the grass more than once, kept him from pulling his hand away.
Barnabas’s skin wasn’t pale: It was a mesh of overlapping whitish scales. His eyes were yellow, and they looked with amusement on Julian, as if expecting him to jerk his hand away. The scales against Julian’s skin were like smooth, cold pebbles; they weren’t slimy, but they felt as if they ought to be. Julian held the grip for several long moments before lowering his arm.
“You’re a warlock,” he said.
“Never claimed anything different,” said Barnabas. “And you’re a Shadowhunter.”
Julian sighed and pulled his sleeve back into place. “I suppose there wasn’t much point in trying to disguise it.”
“None at all,” said Barnabas. “Most of us can recognize a Nephilim on sight, and besides, young Mr. Rook has been the talk of the town.” He turned his slit-pupilled eyes on Kit. “Sorry to hear about your father.”
Kit acknowledged this with a slight nod. “Barnabas owns the Shadow Market. At least, he owns the land the Market’s on, and he collects the rent for the stalls.”
“That’s true,” said Barnabas. “So you’ll understand I’m serious when I ask you both to leave.”
“We’re not causing any trouble,” said Julian. “We came here to do business.”
“Nephilim don’t ‘do business’ at Shadow Markets,” said Barnabas.
“I think you’ll find they do,” said Julian. “A friend of mine bought some arrows here not that long ago. They turned out to be poisoned. Any ideas about that?”
Barnabas jabbed a squat finger at him. “That’s what I mean,” he said. “You can’t turn it off, even if you want to, this thinking you get to ask the questions and make the rules.”
“They do make the rules,” said Kit.
“Kit,” said Julian out of the side of his mouth. “Not helping.”
“A friend of mine disappeared the other day,” said Barnabas. “Malcolm Fade. Any ideas about that?”
There was a low buzz in the crowd behind him. Julian opened and closed his hands at his sides. If he’d been here alone, he wouldn’t have been worried—he could have gotten himself out of the crowd easily enough, and back to the car. But with Kit to protect, it would be harder.
“See?” Barnabas demanded. “For every secret you think you know, we know another. I know what happened to Malcolm.”
“Do you know what he did?” Julian asked, carefully controlling his voice. Malcolm had been a murderer, a mass murderer. He’d killed Downworlders as well as mundanes. Surely the Blackthorns couldn’t be blamed for his death. “Do you know why it happened?”
“I see only another Downworlder, dead at the hands of Nephilim. And Anselm Nightshade, too, imprisoned for a bit of simple magic. What next?” He spat on the ground at his feet. “There might have been a time I tolerated Shadowhunters in the Market. Was willing to take their money. But that time is over.” The warlock’s gaze skittered to Kit. “Go,” he said. “And take your Nephilim friend with you.”
“He’s not my friend,” said Kit. “And I’m not like them, I’m like you—”
Barnabas was shaking his head. Hyacinth watched, her blue hands steepled under her chin, her eyes wide.
“A dark time is coming for Shadowhunters,” said Barnabas. “A terrible time. Their power will be crushed, their might thrown down into the dirt, and their blood will run like water through the riverbeds of the world.”
“That’s enough,” Julian said sharply. “Stop trying to frighten him.”
“You will pay for the Cold Peace,” said the warlock. “The darkness is coming, and you would be well advised, Christopher Herondale, to stay far away from Institutes and Shadowhunters. Hide as your father did, and his father before him. Only then can you be safe.”
“How do you know who I am?” Kit demanded. “How do you know my real name?”
It was the first time Julian had heard him admit that Herondale was his real name.
“Everyone knows,” said Barnabas. “It’s all the Market has been buzzing about for days. Didn’t you see everyone staring at you when you came in?”
So they hadn’t been looking at Julian. Or at least not just at Julian. It wasn’t much comfort, though, Jules thought, not when Kit had that expression on his face.
“I thought I could come back here,” Kit said. “Take over my father’s stall. Work in the Market.”
A forked tongue flickered out between Barnabas’s lips. “Born a Shadowhunter, always a Shadowhunter,” he said. “You cannot wash the taint from your blood. I’m telling you for the last time, boy—leave the Market. And don’t come back.”
Kit backed up, looking around him—seeing, as if for the first time, the faces turned toward him, most blank and unfriendly, many avidly curious.
“Kit—” Julian began, reaching out a hand.
But Kit had bolted.
It took Julian only a few moments to catch up with Kit—the boy hadn’t really been trying to run; he’d just been pushing blindly through the crowds, with no destination. He’d fetched up in front of a massive stall that seemed to be in the middle of being torn apart.
It was just a bare latticework of boards now. It looked as if someone had ripped it to pieces with their hands. Jagged bits of wood lay scattered around on the blacktop. A sign dangled crookedly from the top of the stall, printed with the words PART SUPERNATURAL? YOU’RE NOT ALONE. THE FOLLOWERS OF THE GUARDIAN WANT YOU TO SIGN UP FOR THE LOTTERY OF FAVOR! LET LUCK INTO YOUR LIFE!
“The Guardian,” Kit said. “That was Malcolm Fade?”
“He was the one who got my father involved in all that stuff with the Followers and the Midnight Theater,” said Kit, his tone almost thoughtful. “It’s Malcolm’s fault he died.”
Julian didn’t say anything. Johnny Rook hadn’t been much of a prize, but he was Kit’s father. You only got one father. And Kit wasn’t wrong.
Kit moved then, slamming his fist as hard as he could into the sign. It clattered to the ground. In the moment before Kit pulled his hand back, wincing, Julian saw a flash of the Shadowhunter in him. If the warlock wasn’t already dead, Julian believed sincerely that Kit would have killed Malcolm.
A small crowd had followed from Hyacinth’s stall, staring. Julian put a hand on Kit’s back, and Kit didn’t move to shake him off.
“Let’s go,” Julian said.