“Very well, let’s try something else.” Dorothea put the cup down, and reached for the silk-wrapped tarot cards. She fanned the cards and held them out to Clary. “Slide your hand over these until you touch one that feels hot or cold, or seems to cling to your fingers. Then draw that one and show it to me.”
Obediently Clary ran her fingers over the cards. They felt cool to the touch, and slippery, but none seemed particularly warm or cold, and none stuck to her fingers. Finally she selected one at random, and held it up.
“The Ace of Cups,” Dorothea said, sounding bemused. “The love card.”
Clary turned it over and looked at it. The card was heavy in her hand, the image on the front thick with real paint. It showed a hand holding up a cup in front of a rayed sun painted with gilt. The cup was made of gold, engraved with a pattern of smaller suns and studded with rubies. The style of the artwork was as familiar to her as her own breath. “This is a good card, right?”
“Not necessarily. The most terrible things men do, they do in the name of love,” said Madame Dorothea, her eyes gleaming. “But it is a powerful card. What does it mean to you?”
“That my mother painted it,” said Clary, and dropped the card onto the table. “She did, didn’t she?”
Dorothea nodded, a look of pleased satisfaction on her face. “She painted the whole pack. A gift for me.”
“So you say.” Jace stood up, his eyes cold. “How well did you know Clary’s mother?”
Clary craned her head to look up at him. “Jace, you don’t have to—”
Dorothea sat back in her chair, the cards fanned out across her wide chest. “Jocelyn knew what I was, and I knew what she was. We didn’t talk about it much. Sometimes she did favors for me—like painting this pack of cards—and in return I’d tell her the occasional piece of Downworld gossip. There was a name she asked me to keep an ear out for, and I did.”
Jace’s expression was unreadable. “What name was that?”
Clary sat straight up in her chair. “But that’s—”
“And when you say you knew what Jocelyn was, what do you mean? What was she?” Jace asked.
“Jocelyn was what she was,” said Dorothea. “But in her past she’d been like you. A Shadowhunter. One of the Clave.”
“No,” Clary whispered.
Dorothea looked at her with sad, almost kindly eyes. “It’s true. She chose to live in this house precisely because—”
“Because this is a Sanctuary,” Jace said to Dorothea. “Isn’t it? Your mother was a Control. She made this space, hidden, protected—it’s a perfect spot for Downworlders on the run to hide out. That’s what you do, isn’t it? You hide criminals here.”
“You would call them that,” Dorothea said. “You’re familiar with the motto of the Covenant?”
“Sed lex dura lex,” said Jace automatically. “‘The Law is hard, but it is the Law.’”
“Sometimes the Law is too hard. I know the Clave would have taken me away from my mother if they could. You want me to let them do the same to others?”
“So you’re a philanthropist.” Jace’s lip curled. “I suppose you expect me to believe that Downworlders don’t pay you handsomely for the privilege of your Sanctuary?”
Dorothea grinned, wide enough to show a flash of gold molars. “We can’t all get by on our looks like you.”
Jace looked unmoved by the flattery. “I should tell the Clave about you—”
“You can’t!” Clary was on her feet now. “You promised.”
“I never promised anything.” Jace looked mutinous. He strode to the wall and tore aside one of the velvet hangings. “You want to tell me what this is?” he demanded.
“It’s a door, Jace,” said Clary. It was a door, set strangely in the wall between the two bay windows. Clearly it couldn’t be a door that led anywhere, or it would have been visible from the outside of the house. It looked as if it were made of some softly glowing metal, more buttery than brass but as heavy as iron. The knob had been cast in the shape of an eye.
“Shut up,” Jace said angrily. “It’s a Portal. Isn’t it?”
“It’s a five-dimensional door,” said Dorothea, laying the tarot cards back on the table. “Dimensions aren’t all straight lines, you know,” she added, in response to Clary’s blank look. “There are dips and folds and nooks and crannies all tucked away. It’s a bit hard to explain when you’ve never studied dimensional theory, but, in essence, that door can take you anywhere in this dimension that you want to go. It’s—”
“An escape hatch,” Jace said. “That’s why your mother wanted to live here. So she could always flee at a moment’s notice.”
“Then why didn’t she—” Clary began, and broke off, suddenly horrified. “Because of me,” she said. “She wouldn’t leave without me that night. So she stayed.”
Jace was shaking his head. “You can’t blame yourself.”
Feeling tears gather under her eyelids, Clary pushed past Jace to the door. “I want to see where she would have gone,” she said, reaching for the door. “I want to see where she was going to escape to—”
“Clary, no!” Jace reached for her, but her fingers had already closed around the knob. It spun rapidly under her hand, the door flying open as if she’d pushed it. Dorothea lumbered to her feet with a cry, but it was too late. Before she could even finish her sentence, Clary found herself flung forward and tumbling through empty space.
WEAPON OF CHOICE
SHE WAS TOO SURPRISED TO SCREAM. THE SENSATION OF falling was the worst part; her heart flew up into her throat and her stomach turned to water. She flung her hands out, trying to catch at something, anything, that might slow her descent.
Her hands closed on branches. Leaves tore off in her grip. She thumped to the ground, hard, her hip and shoulder striking packed earth. She rolled over, sucking the air back into her lungs. She was just beginning to sit up when someone landed on top of her.
She was knocked backward. A forehead banged against hers, her knees banging against someone else’s. Tangled up in arms and legs, Clary coughed hair—not her own—out of her mouth and tried to struggle out from under the weight that felt like it was crushing her flat.
“Ouch,” Jace said in her ear, his tone indignant. “You elbowed me.”
“Well, you landed on me.”
He levered himself up on his arms and looked down at her placidly. Clary could see blue sky above his head, a bit of tree branch, and the corner of a gray clapboard house. “Well, you didn’t leave me much choice, did you?” he asked. “Not after you decided to leap merrily through that Portal like you were jumping the F train. You’re just lucky it didn’t dump us out in the East River.”
“You didn’t have to come after me.”
“Yes, I did,” he said. “You’re far too inexperienced to protect yourself in a hostile situation without me.”
“That’s sweet. Maybe I’ll forgive you.”
“Forgive me? For what?”
“For telling me to shut up.”
His eyes narrowed. “I did not … Well, I did, but you were—”
“Never mind.” Her arm, pinned under her back, was beginning to cramp. Rolling to the side to free it, she saw the brown grass of a dead lawn, a chain-link fence, and more of the gray clapboard house, now distressingly familiar.
She froze. “I know where we are.”
Jace stopped spluttering. “What?”
“This is Luke’s house.” She sat up, pitching Jace to the side. He rolled gracefully to his feet and held out a hand to help her up. She ignored him and scrambled upright, shaking out her numb arm.
They stood in front of a small gray row house, nestled among the other row houses that lined the Williamsburg waterfront. A breeze blew off the East River, setting a small sign swinging over the brick front steps. Clary watched Jace as he read the block-lettered words aloud: “GARROWAY BOOKS. FINE USED, NEW, AND OUT OF PRINT. CLOSED SATURDAYS.” He glanced at the dark front door, its knob wound with a heavy padlock. A few days’ worth of mail lay on the doormat, untouched. He glanced at Clary. “He lives in a bookstore?”
“He lives behind the store.” Clary glanced up and down the empty street, which was bordered on one end by the arched span of the Williamsburg Bridge, and by a deserted sugar factory on the other. Across the sluggishly moving river the sun was setting behind the skyscrapers of lower Manhattan, outlining them in gold. “Jace, how did we get here?”
“Through the Portal,” Jace said, examining the padlock. “It takes you to whatever place you’re thinking of.”
“But I wasn’t thinking of here,” Clary objected. “I wasn’t thinking of anywhere.”
“You must have been.” He dropped the subject, seeming uninterested. “So, since we’re here anyway …”
“What do you want to do?”
“Leave, I guess,” Clary said bitterly. “Luke told me not to come here.”
Jace shook his head. “And you just accept that?”
Clary hugged her arms around herself. Despite the fading heat of the day, she felt cold. “Do I have a choice?”
“We always have choices,” Jace said. “If I were you, I’d be pretty curious about Luke right now. Do you have keys to the house?”
Clary shook her head. “No, but sometimes he leaves the back door unlocked.” She pointed to the narrow alley between Luke’s row house and the next. Plastic trash cans were propped in a neat row beside stacks of folded newspapers and a plastic tub of empty soda bottles. At least Luke was still a responsible recycler.
“You sure he isn’t home?” Jace asked.
She glanced at the empty curb. “Well, his truck’s gone, the store’s closed, and all the lights are off. I’d say probably not.”
“Then lead the way.”
The narrow aisle between the row houses ended in a high chain-link fence. It surrounded Luke’s small back garden, where the only plants flourishing seemed to be the weeds that had sprung up through the paving stones, cracking them into powdery shards.
“Up and over,” Jace said, jamming the toe of a boot into a gap in the fence. He began to climb. The fence rattled so loudly that Clary glanced around nervously, but there were no lights on in the neighbors’ house. Jace cleared the top of the fence and sprang down the other side, landing in the bushes to the accompaniment of an earsplitting yowl.
For a moment Clary thought he must have landed on a stray cat. She heard Jace shout in surprise as he fell backward. A dark shadow—much too big to be feline—exploded out of the shrubbery and streaked across the yard, keeping low. Rolling to his feet, Jace darted after it, looking murderous.
Clary started to climb. As she threw her leg over the top of the fence, Isabelle’s jeans caught on a twist of wire and tore up the side. She dropped to the ground, shoes scuffing the soft dirt, just as Jace cried out in triumph. “Got him!” Clary turned to see Jace sitting on top of the prone intruder, whose arms were up over his head. Jace grabbed for his wrist. “Come on, let’s see your face—”
“Get the hell off me, you pretentious asshole,” the intruder snarled, shoving at Jace. He struggled halfway into a sitting position, his battered glasses knocked askew.
Clary stopped dead in her tracks. “Simon?”
“Oh, God,” said Jace, sounding resigned. “And here I’d actually hoped I’d got hold of something interesting.”
“But what were you doing hiding in Luke’s bushes?” Clary asked, brushing leaves out of Simon’s hair. He suffered her ministrations with glaring bad grace. Somehow when she’d pictured her reunion with Simon, when all this was over, he’d been in a better mood. “That’s the part I don’t get.”
“All right, that’s enough. I can fix my own hair, Fray,” Simon said, jerking away from her touch. They were sitting on the steps of Luke’s back porch. Jace had propped himself on the porch railing and was assiduously pretending to ignore them, while using the stele to file the edges of his fingernails. Clary wondered if the Clave would approve.
“I mean, did Luke know you were there?” she asked.
“Of course he didn’t know I was there,” Simon said irritably. “I’ve never asked him, but I’m sure he has a fairly stringent policy about random teenagers lurking in his shrubbery.”
“You’re not random; he knows you.” She wanted to reach out and touch his cheek, still bleeding slightly where a branch had scratched it. “The main thing is that you’re all right.”
“That I’m all right?” Simon laughed, a sharp, unhappy sound. “Clary, do you have any idea what I’ve been through this past couple of days? The last time I saw you, you were running out of Java Jones like a bat out of hell, and then you just … disappeared. You never picked up your cell—then your home phone was disconnected—then Luke told me you were off staying with some relatives upstate when I know you don’t have any other relatives. I thought I’d done something to piss you off.”
“What could you possibly have done?” Clary reached for his hand, but he pulled it back without looking at her.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Something.”
Jace, still occupied with the stele, chuckled low under his breath.
“You’re my best friend,” Clary said. “I wasn’t mad at you.”
***P/S: Copyright -->Novel12__Com