THE MORTAL CUP
JACE WAS LYING ON HIS BED PRETENDING TO BE ASLEEP—FOR his own benefit, not anyone else’s—when the banging on the door finally got to be too much for him. He hauled himself off the bed, wincing. Much as he’d pretended to be fine up in the greenhouse, his whole body still ached from the beating it had taken last night.
He knew who it was going to be before he opened the door. Maybe Simon had managed to get himself turned into a rat again. This time Simon could stay a goddamned rat forever, for all he, Jace Wayland, was prepared to do about it.
She was clutching her sketchpad, her bright hair escaping out of its braids. He leaned against the door frame, ignoring the kick of adrenaline the sight of her produced. He wondered why, not for the first time. Isabelle used her beauty like she used her whip, but Clary didn’t know she was beautiful at all. Maybe that was why.
He could think of only one reason for her to be there, though it made no sense after what he’d said to her. Words were weapons, his father had taught him that, and he’d wanted to hurt Clary more than he’d ever wanted to hurt any girl. In fact, he wasn’t sure he had ever wanted to hurt a girl before. Usually he just wanted them, and then wanted them to leave him alone.
“Don’t tell me,” he said, drawing his words out in that way he knew she hated. “Simon’s turned himself into an ocelot and you want me to do something about it before Isabelle makes him into a stole. Well, you’ll have to wait till tomorrow. I’m out of commission.” He pointed at himself—he was wearing blue pajamas with a hole in the sleeve. “Look. Jammies.”
Clary seemed barely to have heard him. He realized she was clutching something in her hands—her sketchpad. “Jace,” she said. “This is important.”
“Don’t tell me,” he said. “You’ve got a drawing emergency. You need a nude model. Well, I’m not in the mood. You could ask Hodge,” he added, as an afterthought. “I hear he’ll do anything for a—”
“JACE!” she interrupted him, her voice rising to a scream. “JUST SHUT UP FOR A SECOND AND LISTEN, WILL YOU?”
She took a deep breath and looked up at him. Her eyes were full of uncertainty. An unfamiliar urge rose inside him: the urge to put his arms around her and tell her it was all right. He didn’t. In his experience, things were rarely all right. “Jace,” she said, so softly that he had to lean forward to catch her words, “I think I know where my mother hid the Mortal Cup. It’s inside a painting.”
“What?” Jace was still staring at her as if she’d told him she’d found one of the Silent Brothers doing nude cartwheels in the hallway. “You mean she hid it behind a painting? All the paintings in your apartment were torn out of the frames.”
“I know.” Clary glanced past him into his bedroom. It didn’t look like there was anyone else in there, to her relief. “Look, can I come in? I want to show you something.”
He slouched back from the door. “If you must.”
She sat down on the bed, balancing her sketchpad on her knees. The clothes he’d been wearing earlier were flung across the covers, but the rest of the room was neat as a monk’s chamber. There were no pictures on the walls, no posters or photos of friends or family. The blankets were white and pulled tight and flat across the bed. Not exactly a typical teenage boy’s bedroom. “Here,” she said, flipping the pages until she found the coffee cup drawing. “Look at this.”
Jace sat down next to her, shoving his discarded T-shirt out of the way. “It’s a coffee cup.”
She could hear the irritation in her own voice. “I know it’s a coffee cup.”
“I can’t wait till you draw something really complicated, like the Brooklyn Bridge or a lobster. You’ll probably send me a singing telegram.”
She ignored him. “Look. This is what I wanted you to see.” She passed her hand over the drawing; then, with a quick darting motion, reached into the paper. When she drew her hand back a moment later, there was the coffee cup, dangling from her fingers.
She had imagined Jace leaping from the bed in astonishment and gasping something like “Egad!” This didn’t happen—largely, she suspected, because Jace had seen much stranger things in his life, and also because nobody used the word “Egad!” anymore. His eyes widened, though. “You did that?”
“Just now, in my bedroom, after—after Simon left.”
His glance sharpened, but he didn’t pursue it. “You used runes? Which ones?”
She shook her head, fingering the now blank page. “I don’t know. They came into my head and I drew them exactly how I saw them.”
“Ones you saw earlier in the Gray Book?”
“I don’t know.” She was still shaking her head. “I couldn’t tell you.”
“And no one ever showed you how to do this? Your mother, for instance?”
“No. I told you before, my mother always told me there was no such thing as magic—”
“I bet she did teach you,” he interrupted. “And made you forget it afterward. Magnus did say your memories would come back slowly.”
“Of course.” Jace got to his feet and started to pace. “It’s probably against the Law to use runes like that unless you’ve been licensed. But that doesn’t matter right now. You think your mother put the Cup into a painting? Like you just did with that mug?”
Clary nodded. “But not one of the paintings in the apartment.”
“Where else? A gallery? It could be anywhere—”
“Not a painting at all,” Clary said. “In a card.”
Jace paused, turning toward her. “A card?”
“You remember that tarot deck of Madame Dorothea’s? The one my mother painted for her?”
“And remember when I drew the Ace of Cups? Later when I saw the statue of the Angel, the Cup looked familiar to me. It was because I’d seen it before, on the Ace. My mother painted the Mortal Cup into Madame Dorothea’s tarot deck.”
Jace was a step behind her. “Because she knew that it would be safe with a Control, and it was a way she could give it to Dorothea without actually telling her what it was or why she had to keep it hidden.”
“Or even that she had to keep it hidden at all. Dorothea never goes out; she’d never give it away—”
“And your mother was ideally placed to keep an eye on both it and her.” Jace sounded almost impressed. “Not a bad move.”
“I guess so.” Clary fought to control the waver in her voice. “I wish she hadn’t been so good at hiding it.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean if they’d found it, maybe they would have left her alone. If all they wanted was the Cup—”
“They would have killed her, Clary,” Jace said. She knew he was telling the truth. “These are the same men who killed my father. The only reason she may still be alive now is that they can’t find the Cup. Be glad she hid it so well.”
“I don’t really see what any of this has to do with us,” Alec said, looking blearily through his hair. Jace had woken the rest of the Institute’s residents at the crack of dawn and dragged them to the library to, as he said, “devise battle strategies.” Alec was still in his pajamas, Isabelle in a pink peignoir set. Hodge, in his usual sharp tweed suit, was drinking coffee out of a chipped blue ceramic mug. Only Jace, bright-eyed despite fading bruises, looked really awake. “I thought the search for the Cup was in the hands of the Clave now.”
“It’s just better if we do this ourselves,” said Jace impatiently. “Hodge and I already discussed it and that’s what we decided.”
“Well.” Isabelle tucked a pink-ribboned braid behind her ear. “I’m game.”
“I’m not,” Alec said. “There are operatives of the Clave in this city right now looking for the Cup. Pass the information on to them and let them get it.”
“It’s not that simple,” said Jace.
“It is simple.” Alec sat forward, frowning. “This has nothing to do with us and everything to do with your—your addiction to danger.”
Jace shook his head, clearly exasperated. “I don’t understand why you’re fighting me on this.”
Because he doesn’t want you to get hurt, Clary thought, and wondered at his total inability to see what was really going on with Alec. Then again, she’d missed the same thing in Simon. Who was she to talk? “Look, Dorothea—the owner of the Sanctuary—doesn’t trust the Clave. Hates them, in fact. She does trust us.”
“She trusts me,” said Clary. “I don’t know about you. I’m not sure she likes you at all.”
Jace ignored her. “Come on, Alec. It’ll be fun. And think of the glory if we bring the Mortal Cup back to Idris! Our names will never be forgotten.”
“I don’t care about glory,” said Alec, his eyes never leaving Jace’s face. “I care about not doing anything stupid.”
“In this case, however, Jace is right,” said Hodge. “If the Clave were to come to the Sanctuary, it would be a disaster. Dorothea would flee with the Cup and would probably never be found. No, Jocelyn clearly wanted only one person to be able to find the Cup, and that is Clary, and Clary alone.”
“Then let her go alone,” said Alec.
Even Isabelle gave a little gasp at that. Jace, who had been leaning forward with his hands flat on the desk, stood up straight and looked at Alec coolly. Only Jace, Clary thought, could look cool in pajama bottoms and an old T-shirt, but he pulled it off, probably through sheer force of will. “If you’re afraid of a few Forsaken, by all means stay home,” he said softly.
Alec went white. “I’m not afraid,” he said.
“Good,” said Jace. “Then there’s no problem, is there?” He looked around the room. “We’re all in this together.”
Alec mumbled an affirmative, while Isabelle shook her head in a vigorous nod. “Sure,” she said. “It sounds fun.”
“I don’t know about fun,” said Clary. “But I’m in, of course.”
“But, Clary,” Hodge said quickly. “If you are concerned about the danger, you don’t need to go. We can notify the Clave—”
“No,” Clary said, surprising herself. “My mom wanted me to find it. Not Valentine, and not them, either.” It wasn’t the monsters she was hiding from, Magnus had said. “If she really spent her whole life trying to keep Valentine away from this thing, this is the least I can do.”
Hodge smiled at her. “I think she knew you would say that,” he said.
“Don’t worry, anyway,” Isabelle said. “You’ll be fine. We can handle a couple of Forsaken. They’re crazy, but they’re not very smart.”
“And a lot easier to deal with than demons,” said Jace. “Not so tricksy. Oh, and we’re going to need a car,” he added. “Preferably a big one.”
“Why?” said Isabelle. “We’ve never needed a car before.”
“We’ve never had to worry about having an immeasurably precious object with us before. I don’t want to haul it on the L train,” Jace explained.
“There’s taxis,” said Isabelle. “And rental vans.”
Jace shook his head. “I want an environment we control. I don’t want to deal with taxi drivers or mundane rental companies when we’re doing something this important.”
“Don’t you have a driver’s license or a car?” Alec asked Clary, looking at her with veiled loathing. “I thought all mundanes had those.”
“Not when they’re fifteen,” Clary said crossly. “I was supposed to get one this year, but not yet.”
“Fat lot of use you are.”
“At least my friends can drive,” she shot back. “Simon’s got a license.”
She instantly regretted saying it.
“Does he?” said Jace, in an aggravatingly thoughtful tone.
“But he hasn’t got a car,” she added quickly.
“So does he drive his parents’ car?” Jace asked.
Clary sighed, settling back against the desk. “No. Usually he drives Eric’s van. Like, to gigs and stuff. Sometimes Eric lets him borrow it for other stuff. Like if he has a date.”
Jace snorted. “He picks up his dates in a van? No wonder he’s such a hit with the ladies.”
“It’s a car,” Clary said. “You’re just mad Simon has something you haven’t got.”
“He has many things I haven’t got,” said Jace. “Like nearsightedness, bad posture, and an appalling lack of coordination.”
“You know,” Clary said, “most psychologists agree that hostility is really just sublimated sexual attraction.”
“Ah,” said Jace blithely, “that might explain why I so often run into people who seem to dislike me.”
“I don’t dislike you,” said Alec quickly.
“That is because we share a brotherly affection,” said Jace, striding over to the desk. He took the black telephone and held it out to Clary. “Call him.”
“Call who?” Clary said, stalling for time. “Eric? He’d never lend me his car.”
“Simon,” said Jace. “Call Simon and ask him if he’ll drive us to your house.”
Clary made a last effort. “Don’t you know any Shadowhunters who have cars?”
“In New York?” Jace’s grin faded. “Look, everyone’s in Idris for the Accords; and anyway, they’d insist on coming with us. It’s this or nothing.”
***P/S: Copyright -->Novel12__Com