Jace looked around desperately. His eyes came to rest on the rosewood screen. “Get behind that,” he said, pointing. “Now.”
Clary dropped the fractured photo on the desk and slipped behind the screen, pulling Simon after her. Jace was right behind them, his stele in his hand. He had barely concealed himself when Clary heard the door swing wide open, the sound of people walking into Luke’s office—then voices. Three men speaking. She looked nervously at Simon, who was very pale, and then at Jace, who had raised the stele in his hand and was moving the tip lightly, in a sort of square shape, across the back of the screen. As Clary stared, the square went clear, like a pane of glass. She heard Simon suck in his breath—a tiny sound, barely audible—and Jace shook his head at them both, mouthing words: They can’t see us through it, but we can see them.
Biting her lip, Clary moved to the edge of the square and peered through it, conscious of Simon breathing down her neck. She could see the room beyond perfectly: the bookshelves, the desk with the duffel bag thrown across it—and Luke, ragged-looking and slightly stooped, his glasses pushed up to the top of his head, standing near the door. It was frightening even though she knew he couldn’t see her, that the window Jace had made was like the glass in a police station interrogation room: strictly one-way.
Luke turned, looking back through the doorway. “Yes, feel free to look around,” he said, his tone heavily weighted with sarcasm. “Nice of you to show such an interest.”
A low chuckle sounded from the corner of the office. With an impatient flick of the wrist, Jace tapped the frame of his “window,” and it opened out wider, showing more of the room. There were two men there with Luke, both in long reddish robes, their hoods pushed back. One was thin, with an elegant gray mustache and pointed beard. When he smiled, he showed blindingly white teeth. The other was burly, thickset as a wrestler, with close-cropped reddish hair. His skin was dark purple and looked shiny over the cheekbones, as if it had been stretched too tight.
“Those are warlocks?” Clary whispered softly.
Jace didn’t answer. He had gone rigid all over, stiff as a bar of iron. He’s afraid I’ll make a run for it, try to get to Luke, Clary thought. She wished she could reassure him that she wouldn’t. There was something about those two men, in their thick cloaks the color of arterial blood, that was terrifying.
“Consider this a friendly follow-up, Graymark,” said the man with the gray mustache. His smile showed teeth so sharp they looked as if they’d been filed to cannibal points.
“There’s nothing friendly about you, Pangborn.” Luke sat down on the edge of his desk, angling his body so it blocked the men’s view of his duffel bag and its contents. Now that he was closer, Clary could see that his face and hands were badly bruised, his fingers scraped and bloody. A long cut along his neck disappeared down into his collar. What on earth happened to him?
“Blackwell, don’t touch that—it’s valuable,” Luke said sternly.
The big redheaded man, who had picked up the statue of Kali from the top of the bookcase, ran his beefy fingers over it consideringly. “Nice,” he said.
“Ah,” said Pangborn, taking the statue from his companion. “She who was created to battle a demon who could not be killed by any god or man. ‘Oh, Kali, my mother full of bliss! Enchantress of the almighty Shiva, in thy delirious joy thou dancest, clapping thy hands together. Thou art the Mover of all that moves, and we are but thy helpless toys.’”
“Very nice,” said Luke. “I didn’t know you were a student of the Indian myths.”
“All the myths are true,” said Pangborn, and Clary felt a small shiver go up her spine. “Or have you forgotten even that?”
“I forget nothing,” said Luke. Though he looked relaxed, Clary could see tension in the lines of his shoulders and mouth. “I suppose Valentine sent you?”
“He did,” said Pangborn. “He thought you might have changed your mind.”
“There’s nothing to change my mind about. I already told you I don’t know anything. Nice cloaks, by the way.”
“Thanks,” said Blackwell with a sly grin. “Skinned them off a couple of dead warlocks.”
“Those are official Accord robes, aren’t they?” Luke asked. “Are they from the Uprising?”
Pangborn chuckled softly. “Spoils of battle.”
“Aren’t you afraid someone might mistake you for the real thing?”
“Not,” said Blackwell, “once they got up close.”
Pangborn fondled the edge of his robe. “Do you remember the Uprising, Lucian?” he said softly. “That was a great and terrible day. Do you remember how we trained together for the battle?”
Luke’s face twisted. “The past is the past. I don’t know what to tell you gentlemen. I can’t help you now. I don’t know anything.”
“‘Anything’ is such a general word, so unspecific,” said Pangborn, sounding melancholy. “Surely someone who owns so many books must know something.”
“If you want to know where to find a jog-toed swallow in springtime, I could direct you to the correct reference title. But if you want to know where the Mortal Cup has disappeared to …”
“‘Disappeared’ might not be quite the correct word,” purred Pangborn. “Hidden, more like. Hidden by Jocelyn.”
“That may be,” said Luke. “So hasn’t she told you where it is yet?”
“She has not yet regained consciousness,” said Pangborn, carving the air with a long-fingered hand. “Valentine is disappointed. He was looking forward to their reunion.”
“I’m sure she didn’t reciprocate the sentiment,” muttered Luke.
Pangborn cackled. “Jealous, Graymark? Perhaps you no longer feel about her the way you used to.”
A trembling had started in Clary’s fingers, so pronounced that she knitted her hands together tightly to try to stop them from shaking. Jocelyn? Can they be talking about my mother?
“I never felt any way about her, particularly,” said Luke. “Two Shadowhunters, exiled from their own kind, you can see why we might have banded together. But I’m not going to try to interfere with Valentine’s plans for her, if that’s what he’s worried about.”
“I wouldn’t say he was worried,” said Pangborn. “More curious. We all wondered if you were still alive. Still recognizably human.”
Luke arched his eyebrows. “And?”
“You seem well enough,” said Pangborn grudgingly. He set the Kali statuette down on the shelf. “There was a child, wasn’t there? A girl.”
Luke looked taken aback. “What?”
“Don’t play dumb,” said Blackwell in his snarl of a voice. “We know the bitch had a daughter. They found photos of her in the apartment, a bedroom—”
“I thought you were asking about children of mine,” Luke interrupted smoothly. “Yes, Jocelyn had a daughter. Clarissa. I assume she’s run off. Did Valentine send you to find her?”
“Not us,” said Pangborn. “But he is looking.”
“We could search this place,” added Blackwell.
“I wouldn’t advise it,” said Luke, and slid off the desk. There was a certain cold menace to his look as he stared down at the two men, though his expression hadn’t changed. “What makes you think she’s still alive? I thought Valentine sent Raveners to scour the place. Enough Ravener poison, and most people will crumble away to ashes, leave no trace behind.”
“There was a dead Ravener,” said Pangborn. “It made Valentine suspicious.”
“Everything makes Valentine suspicious,” said Luke. “Maybe Jocelyn killed it. She was certainly capable.”
Blackwell grunted. “Maybe.”
Luke shrugged. “Look, I’ve got no idea where the girl is, but for what it’s worth, I’d guess she’s dead. She’d have turned up by now otherwise. Anyway, she’s not much of a danger. She’s fifteen years old, she’s never heard of Valentine, and she doesn’t believe in demons.”
Pangborn chuckled. “A fortunate child.”
“Not anymore,” said Luke.
Blackwell raised his eyebrows. “You sound angry, Lucian.”
“I’m not angry, I’m exasperated. I’m not planning on interfering with Valentine’s plans, do you understand that? I’m not a fool.”
“Really?” said Blackwell. “It’s nice to see that you’ve developed a healthy respect for your own skin over the years, Lucian. You weren’t always so pragmatic.”
“You do know,” said Pangborn, his tone conversational, “that we’d trade her, Jocelyn, for the Cup? Safely delivered, right to your door. That’s a promise from Valentine himself.”
“I know,” said Luke. “I’m not interested. I don’t know where your precious Cup is, and I don’t want to get involved in your politics. I hate Valentine,” he added, “but I respect him. I know he’ll mow down everyone in his path. I intend to be out of his way when it happens. He’s a monster—a killing machine.”
“Look who’s talking,” snarled Blackwell.
“I take it these are your preparations for removing yourself from Valentine’s path?” said Pangborn, pointing a long finger at the half-concealed duffel bag on the desk. “Getting out of town, Lucian?”
Luke nodded slowly. “Going to the country. I plan to lie low for a while.”
“We could stop you,” said Blackwell. “Make you stay.”
Luke smiled. It transformed his face. Suddenly he was no longer the kind, scholarly man who’d pushed Clary on the swings at the park and taught her how to ride a tricycle. Suddenly there was something feral behind his eyes, something vicious and cold. “You could try.”
Pangborn glanced at Blackwell, who shook his head once, slowly. Pangborn turned back to Luke. “You’ll notify us if you experience any sudden memory resurgence?”
Luke was still smiling. “You’ll be first on my list to call.”
Pangborn nodded shortly. “I suppose we’ll take our leave. The Angel guard you, Lucian.”
“The Angel does not guard those like me,” said Luke. He picked the duffel bag up off the desk and knotted the top. “On your way, gentlemen?”
Lifting their hoods to cover their faces again, the two men left the room, followed a moment later by Luke. He paused at the door, glancing around as if he wondered if he’d forgotten something. Then he shut it carefully behind him.
Clary stayed where she was, frozen, hearing the front door swing shut and the distant jingle of chain and keys as Luke refastened the padlock. She kept seeing the look on Luke’s face, over and over, as he said he wasn’t interested in what happened to her mother.
She felt a hand on her shoulder. “Clary?” It was Simon, his voice hesitant, almost gentle. “Are you okay?”
She shook her head, mutely. She felt far from okay. In fact, she felt like she’d never be okay again.
“Of course she isn’t.” It was Jace, his voice sharp and cold as ice shards. He took hold of the screen and moved it aside sharply. “At least now we know who would send a demon after your mother. Those men think she has the Mortal Cup.”
Clary felt her lips thin into a straight line. “That’s totally ridiculous and impossible.”
“Maybe,” said Jace, leaning against Luke’s desk. He fixed her with eyes as opaque as smoked glass. “Have you ever seen those men before?”
“No.” She shook her head. “Never.”
“Lucian seemed to know them. To be friendly with them.”
“I wouldn’t say friendly,” said Simon. “I’d say they were suppressing their hostility.”
“They didn’t kill him outright,” said Jace. “They think he knows more than he’s telling.”
“Maybe,” said Clary, “or maybe they’re just reluctant to kill another Shadowhunter.”
Jace laughed, a harsh, almost vicious noise that raised the hairs up on Clary’s arms. “I doubt that.”
She looked at him hard. “What makes you so sure? Do you know them?”
The laughter had gone from his voice entirely when he replied. “Do I know them?” he echoed. “You might say that. Those are the men who murdered my father.”
THE CIRCLE AND THE BROTHERHOOD
CLARY STEPPED FORWARD TO TOUCH JACE’S ARM, SAY something, anything—what did you say to someone who’d just seen his father’s killers? Her hesitation turned out not to matter; Jace shrugged her touch off as if it stung. “We should go,” he said, stalking out of the office and into the living room. Clary and Simon hurried after him. “We don’t know when Luke might come back.”
They left through the back entrance, Jace using his stele to lock up behind them, and made their way out onto the silent street. The moon hung like a locket over the city, casting pearly reflections on the water of the East River. The distant hum of cars going by over the Williamsburg Bridge filled the humid air with a sound like beating wings. Simon said, “Does anyone want to tell me where we’re going?”
“To the L train,” said Jace calmly.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Simon said, blinking. “Demon slayers take the subway?”
“It’s faster than driving.”
“I thought it’d be something cooler, like a van with DEATH TO DEMONS painted on the outside, or …”
Jace didn’t even bother to interrupt. Clary shot Jace a sideways look. Sometimes, when Jocelyn was really angry about something or was in one of her upset moods, she would get what Clary called “scary-calm.” It was a calm that made Clary think of the deceptive hard sheen of ice just before it cracked under your weight. Jace was scary-calm. His face was expressionless, but something burned at the backs of his tawny eyes.