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“Reach into the pocket of your jacket,” she said. “Take out the object you’ve been carrying with you since you last left the Institute.”

Slowly, Jace did as she asked. As he drew his hand out of his pocket, Clary recognized the shimmering blue-gray object he held. The piece of the Portal mirror.

“Give it to me.” The Inquisitor snatched it out of his hand. He winced; the edge of the glass had cut him, and blood welled up along his palm. Maryse made a soft noise, but didn’t move. “I knew you’d return to the Institute for this,” said the Inquisitor, positively gloating now. “I knew your sentimentality wouldn’t allow you to leave it behind.”

“What is it?” Robert Lightwood sounded bewildered.

“A bit of a Portal in mirror form,” said the Inquisitor. “When the Portal was destroyed, the image of its last destination was preserved.” She turned the bit of glass over in her long, spidery fingers. “In this case, the Wayland country house.”

Jace’s eyes followed the movement of the mirror. In the bit of it Clary could see, there seemed to be a trapped piece of blue sky. She wondered if it ever rained in Idris.

With a sudden, violent motion at odds with her calm tone, the Inquisitor dashed the piece of mirror to the ground. It shattered instantly into powdery shards. Clary heard Jace suck his breath in, but he didn’t move.

The Inquisitor drew on a pair of gray gloves and knelt among the bits of mirror, sifting them through her fingers until she found what she was looking for—a single sheet of thin paper. She stood, holding it up for everyone in the room to see the thick rune written on it in black ink. “I marked this paper with a tracking rune and slipped it between the bit of mirror and its backing. Then I replaced it in the boy’s room. Don’t feel bad for not noticing it,” she said to Jace. “Older heads and wiser than yours have been fooled by the Clave.”

“You’ve been spying on me,” Jace said, and now his voice was colored with anger. “Is that what the Clave does, invade the privacy of its fellow Shadowhunters to—”

“Be careful what you say to me. You are not the only one who’s broken the Law.” The Inquisitor’s chilly gaze slid around the room. “In releasing you from the Silent City, in freeing you from the warlock’s control, your friends have done the same.”

“Jace isn’t our friend,” said Isabelle. “He’s our brother.”

“I’d be careful what you say, Isabelle Lightwood,” said the Inquisitor. “You could be considered complicit and get your Marks stripped.”

“Complicit?” To everyone’s surprise, it was Robert Lightwood who had spoken. “The girl was just trying to keep you from shattering our family. For God’s sake, Imogen, these are all just children—”

“Children?” The Inquisitor turned her icicle gaze on Robert. “Just as you were children when the Circle plotted the destruction of the Clave? Just as my son was a child when he—” She caught herself with a sort of gasp, as if gaining control of herself by main force.

“So this is about Stephen after all,” said Luke, with a sort of pity in his voice. “Imogen—”

The Inquisitor’s face contorted. “This is not about Stephen! This is about the Law!”

Maryse’s thin fingers twisted as her hands worked at each other. “And Jace,” she said. “What’s going to happen to him?”

“He will return to Idris with me tomorrow,” said the Inquisitor. “You’ve forfeited your right to know any more than that.”

“How can you take him back to that place?” Clary demanded. “When will he come back?”

“Clary, don’t,” Jace said. The words were a plea, but she battled on.

“Jace isn’t the problem here! Valentine is the problem!”

“Leave it alone, Clary!” Jace yelled. “For your own good, leave it alone!”

Clary couldn’t help herself, she flinched away from him—he’d never shouted at her like that, not even when she’d dragged him to their mother’s hospital room. She saw the look on his face as he registered her flinch and wished she could take it back somehow.

Before she could say anything else, Luke’s hand descended onto her shoulder. He spoke, sounding as grave as he had the night he’d told her the story of his life. “If the boy went to his father,” he said, “knowing the kind of father Valentine was, it is because we failed him, not because he has failed us.”

“Save your sophistry, Lucian,” said the Inquisitor. “You’ve gone as soft as a mundane.”

“She’s right.” Alec was sitting on the edge of the sofa, his arms crossed and his jaw set. “Jace lied to us. There’s no excuse for that.”

Jace’s jaw dropped. He’d been sure of Alec’s loyalty, at least, and Clary didn’t blame him. Even Isabelle was staring at her brother in horror. “Alec, how can you say that?”

“The Law is the Law, Izzy,” said Alec, not looking at his sister. “There’s no way around that.”

At that, Isabelle gave a little gasping cry of rage and astonishment and bolted out the front door, letting it swing open behind her. Maryse made a move as if to follow her, but Robert drew his wife back, saying something in a low voice.

Magnus got to his feet. “I do believe that’s my cue to leave as well,” he said. Clary noticed he was avoiding looking at Alec. “I’d say it’s been nice meeting you all, but, in fact, it hasn’t. It’s been quite awkward, and frankly, the next time I see a single one of you will be far too soon.”

Alec stared at the ground as Magnus stalked out of the living room and through the front door. This time it shut behind him with a bang.

“Two down,” said Jace, with ghastly amusement. “Who’s next?”

“That’s enough from you,” said the Inquisitor. “Give me your hands.”

Jace held his hands out as the Inquisitor produced a stele from some hidden pocket and proceeded to trace a Mark around the circumference of his wrists. When she took her hands away, Jace’s wrists were crossed, one over the other, bound together with what looked like a circlet of burning flames.

Clary cried out. “What are you doing? You’ll hurt him—”

“I’m fine, little sister.” Jace spoke calmly enough, but she noticed that he couldn’t seem to look at her. “The flames won’t burn me unless I try to get my hands free.”

“And as for you,” the Inquisitor added, and turned on Clary, much to Clary’s surprise. Up until now the Inquisitor had barely seemed to notice she was alive. “You were lucky enough to be raised by Jocelyn and escape your father’s taint. Nevertheless, I’ll be keeping an eye on you.”

Luke’s grip tightened on Clary’s shoulder. “Is that a threat?”

“The Clave does not make threats, Lucian Graymark. The Clave makes promises and keeps them.” The Inquisitor sounded almost cheerful. She was the only one in the room who could be described that way; everyone else looked shell-shocked, except for Jace. His teeth were bared in a snarl Clary doubted he was even aware of. He looked like a lion in a trap.

“Come, Jonathan,” the Inquisitor said. “Walk in front of me. If you make a single move to flee, I’ll put a blade between your shoulders.”

Jace had to struggle to turn the front doorknob with his bound hands. Clary set her teeth to keep from screaming, and then the door was open and Jace was gone and so was the Inquisitor. The Lightwoods followed in a line, Alec still staring at the ground. The door shut behind them and Clary and Luke were alone in the living room, silent in shared disbelief.

15

THE SERPENT’S TOOTH

“LUKE,” CLARY BEGAN, THE MOMENT THE DOOR HAD SHUT behind the Lightwoods. “What are we going to do—”

Luke had his hands pressed to either side of his head as if he were keeping it from splitting in half. “Coffee,” he declared. “I need coffee.”

“I brought you coffee.”

He dropped his hands and sighed. “I need more.”

Clary followed him into the kitchen, where he helped himself to yet more coffee before sitting down at the kitchen table and running his hands distractedly through his hair. “This is bad,” he said. “Very bad.”

“You think?” Clary couldn’t imagine drinking coffee right now. Her nerves already felt like they were stretched out as thin as wires. “What happens if they take him to Idris?”

“Trial before the Clave. They’ll probably find him guilty. Then punishment. He’s young, so they might just strip his Marks, not curse him.”

“What does that mean?”

Luke didn’t meet her eyes. “It means they’ll take his Marks away, unmake him as a Shadowhunter, and throw him out of the Clave. He’ll be a mundane.”

“But that would kill him. It really would. He’d rather die.”

“Don’t you think I know that?” Luke had finished his coffee and stared morosely at the mug before setting it back down. “But that won’t make any difference to the Clave. They can’t get their hands on Valentine, so they’ll punish his son instead.”

“What about me? I’m his daughter.”

“But you’re not of their world. Jace is. Not that I don’t suggest you lie low for a while yourself. I wish we could head up to the farmhouse—”

“We can’t just leave Jace with them!” Clary was appalled. “I’m not going anywhere.”

“Of course you aren’t.” Luke waved away her protest. “I said I wish we could, not that I thought we should. There’s the question of what Imogen will do now that she knows where Valentine is, of course. We could find ourselves in the middle of a war.”

“I don’t care if she wants to kill Valentine. She’s welcome to Valentine. I just want to get Jace back.”

“That may not be so easy,” said Luke, “considering that in this case, he actually did what he’s accused of doing.”

Clary was outraged. “What, you think he killed the Silent Brothers? You think—”

“No. I don’t think he killed the Silent Brothers. I think he did exactly what Imogen saw him do: He went to see his father.”

Remembering something, Clary asked: “What did you mean when you said we’d failed him, not the other way around? You mean you don’t blame him?”

“I do and I don’t.” Luke looked weary. “It was a stupid thing to do. Valentine isn’t to be trusted. But when the Lightwoods turned their backs on him, what did they expect him to do? He’s still just a child, he still needs parents. If they won’t have him, he’ll go looking for someone who will.”

“I thought maybe,” said Clary, “maybe he was looking to you for that.”

Luke looked unutterably sad. “I thought so too, Clary. I thought so too.”

Very faintly, Maia could hear the sound of voices coming from the kitchen. They were done with all their shouting in the living room. Time to get out. She folded up the note she’d scribbled hastily, left it on Luke’s bed, and crossed the room to the window she’d spent the past twenty minutes forcing open. Cool air spilled through it—it was one of those early fall days when the sky seemed impossibly blue and distant and the air was faintly tinged with the smell of smoke.

She scooted onto the windowsill and looked down. It would have been a worrying jump for her before she’d been Changed; now she spared only a moment’s thought for her injured shoulder before leaping. She landed in a crouch on the cracked concrete of Luke’s backyard. Straightening up, she glanced back at the house, but no one threw a door open or called out to her to come back.

She fought down an errant stab of disappointment. It wasn’t as if they’d paid that much attention to her when she was in the house, she thought, scrambling up the high chain-link fence that separated Luke’s backyard from the alley, so why would they notice that she’d left it? She was clearly an afterthought, just as she’d always been. The only one of them who’d treated her as if she were of any importance was Simon.

The thought of Simon made her wince as she dropped down onto the other side of the fence and jogged up the alley to Kent Avenue. She’d said to Clary that she didn’t remember the previous night, but it wasn’t true. She remembered the look on his face when she’d recoiled from him—as if it were imprinted on the backs of her eyelids. The strangest thing was that in that moment he had still looked human to her, more human than almost anyone she’d ever known.

She crossed the street to avoid passing right in front of Luke’s house. The street was nearly deserted, Brooklyners sleeping their late Sunday-morning sleep. She headed toward the Bedford Avenue subway, her mind still on Simon. There was a hollow place in the pit of her stomach that ached when she thought of him. He was the first person she’d wanted to trust in years, and he’d made trusting him impossible.

Of course, if trusting him is impossible, then why are you on your way to see him right now? came the whisper in the back of her mind that always spoke to her in Daniel’s voice. Shut up, she told it firmly. Even if we can’t be friends, I owe him an apology at least.

Someone laughed. The sound echoed off the high factory walls on her left. Her heart contracting with sudden fear, Maia whirled around, but the street behind her was empty. There was an old woman walking her dogs along the riverside, but Maia doubted she was within shouting distance.

She sped up her pace anyway. She could outwalk most humans, she reminded herself, not to mention outrun them. Even in her present state, with her arm aching like someone had slammed a sledgehammer into her shoulder, it wasn’t as if she had anything to fear from a mugger or rapist. Two teenage boys armed with knives had tried to grab her while she was walking through Central Park one night after she’d first come to the city, and only Bat had kept her from killing them both.

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