"Scrambled. I didn't know you could make eggs." She came down from the steps and over to the kitchen counter. Sun was streaming through the windows-despite the lack of clocks in the house, she guessed it was late morning-and the kitchen glittered in glass and chrome.
"Who can't make eggs?" Jace wondered aloud.
Clary raised her hand-and at the same time so did Sebastian. She couldn't help a little jerk of surprise, and put her arm down hastily, but not before Sebastian had seen and grinned. He was always grinning. She wished she could slap it off his face.
She looked away from him and busied herself putting together a breakfast plate from what was on the table-bread, fresh butter, jam, and sliced bacon-the chewy, round kind. There was juice, too, and tea. They ate pretty well here, she thought. Although, if Simon was anything to go by, teenage boys were always hungry. She glanced toward the window-and did a double take. The view was no longer of a canal but of a hill rising in the distance, topped by a castle.
"Where are we now?" she asked.
"Prague," said Sebastian. "Jace and I have an errand to do here." He glanced out the window. "We should probably get going soon, in fact."
She smiled sweetly at him. "Can I come with you?"
Sebastian shook his head. "No."
"Why not?" Clary crossed her arms over her chest. "Is this some manly bonding thing I can't be a part of? Are you getting matching haircuts?"
Jace handed her a plate with scrambled eggs on it, but he was looking at Sebastian. "Maybe she could come," he said. "I mean, this particular errand-it's not dangerous."
Sebastian's eyes were like the woods in the Frost poem, dark and deep. They gave nothing away. "Anything can turn dangerous."
"Well, it's your decision." Jace shrugged, reached for a strawberry, popped it into his mouth, and sucked the juice off his fingers. Now that, Clary thought, was a clear and absolute difference between this Jace and hers. Her Jace had a ferocious and all-consuming curiosity about everything. He would never shrug and go along with someone else's plan. He was like the ocean ceaselessly throwing itself against a rocky shore, and this Jace was... a calm river, shining in the sun.
Because he's happy?
Clary's hand tensed on her fork, her knuckles whitening. She hated that little voice in her head. Like the Seelie Queen, it planted doubts where there shouldn't be doubts, asked questions that had no answer.
"I'm going to get my stuff." After grabbing another berry off the plate, Jace popped it into his mouth and shot upstairs. Clary craned her head up. The clear glass steps seemed invisible, making it look like he was flying upward, not running.
"You're not eating your eggs." It was Sebastian. He had come around the counter-still noiselessly, dammit-and was looking at her, his eyebrows raised. He had the faintest accent, a mixture of the accent of the people who lived in Idris and something more British. She wondered if he'd been hiding it before or if she just hadn't noticed.
"I don't actually like eggs," she confessed.
"But you didn't want to tell Jace that, because he seemed so pleased to be making you breakfast."
Since this was accurate, Clary said nothing.
"Funny, isn't it?" said Sebastian. "The lies good people tell. He'll probably make you eggs every day for the rest of your life now, and you'll choke them down because you can't tell him you don't like them."
Clary thought of the Seelie Queen. "Love makes liars of us all?"
"Exactly. Quick study, aren't you?" He took a step toward her, and an anxious tingle seared her nerves. He was wearing the same cologne Jace wore. She recognized the citrusy black-pepper scent, but on him it smelled different. Wrong, somehow. "We have that in common," Sebastian said, and began to unbutton his shirt.
She stood up hastily. "What are you doing?"
"Easy there, little sis." He popped the last button, and his shirt hung open. He smiled lazily. "You're the magical rune girl, aren't you?"
Clary nodded slowly.
"I want a strength rune," he said. "And if you're the best, I want it from you. You wouldn't deny your big brother a rune, would you?" His dark eyes raked her. "Besides, you want me to give you a chance."
"And you want me to give you a chance," she said. "So I'll make you a deal. I'll give you a strength rune if you let me come with you on your errand."
He stripped the shirt the rest of the way off and dropped it onto the counter. "Deal."
"I don't have a stele." She didn't want to look at him, but it was hard not to. He seemed to be deliberately invading her personal space. His body was much like Jace's-hard, without any extra ounce of flesh anywhere, the muscles showing clearly under the skin. He was scarred like Jace too, though he was so pale that the white marks stood out less than they did against Jace's golden skin. On her brother they were like silver pen on white paper.
He drew a stele from his belt and handed it to her. "Use mine."
"All right," she said. "Turn around."
He did. And she swallowed back a gasp. His bare back was striped with ragged scars, one after the other, too even to be random accident.
"Who did this to you?" she said.
"Who do you think? Our father," he said. "He used a whip made of demon metal, so no iratze could heal them. They're meant to remind me."
"Remind you of what?"
"Of the perils of obedience."
She touched one. It felt hot under her fingertips, as if newly made, and rough, where the skin around it was smooth. "Don't you mean 'disobedience'?"
"I mean what I said."
"Do they hurt?"
"All the time." Impatiently he glanced back over his shoulder. "What are you waiting for?"
"Nothing." She set the tip of the stele to his shoulder blade, trying to keep her hand steady. Part of her mind raced, thinking how easy it would be to Mark him with something that would damage him, sicken him, twist his insides-but what would happen to Jace if she did? Shaking her hair out of her face, she carefully drew the Fortis rune at the juncture of shoulder blade and back, just where, if he were an angel, he would have wings.
When she was done, he turned and took the stele from her, then shrugged his shirt back on. She didn't expect a thank-you-and didn't get one. He rolled his shoulders back as he buttoned the shirt, and grinned. "You are good," he said, but that was all.
A moment later the steps rattled, and Jace returned, shrugging on a suede jacket. He had clipped on his weapons belt too, and wore fingerless dark gloves.
Clary smiled at him with a warmth she didn't feel. "Sebastian says I can come with you."
Jace raised his eyebrows. "Matching haircuts for everyone?"
"I hope not," said Sebastian. "I look terrible with curls."
Clary glanced down at herself. "Do I need to change into gear?"
"Not really. This isn't the sort of errand where we're expecting to have to fight. But it's good to be prepared. I'll get you something from the weapons room," said Sebastian, and vanished upstairs. Clary cursed herself silently for not having found the weapons room while she was searching. Surely it had something inside that could provide some sort of clue as to what they were planning-
Jace touched the side of her face, and she jumped. She'd nearly forgotten he was there. "You sure you want to do this?"
"Absolutely. I'm going stir-crazy in the house. Besides, you taught me to fight. I figure you'd want me to use it."
His lips quirked into a devilish grin; he brushed her hair back and murmured something into her ear about using what she'd learned from him. He leaned away as Sebastian joined them, his own jacket on and a weapons belt in his hand. There was a dagger thrust through it, and a seraph blade. He reached out to draw Clary close to him and pulled the belt around her waist, double-looping it and settling it low on her hips. She was too surprised to push him away and he was done before she had the chance; turning away, he moved toward the wall, where the outline of a doorway had appeared, shimmering like a doorway in a dream.
They stepped through it.
A soft knock on the library door made Maryse raise her head. It was a cloudy day, dim outside the library windows, and the green-shaded lamps cast small pools of light in the circular room. She couldn't say how long she'd been sitting behind the desk. Empty coffee mugs littered the surface in front of her.
She rose to her feet. "Come in."
There was a soft click as the door opened, but no sound of footsteps. A moment later a parchment-robed figure glided into the room, his hood raised, shadowing his face. You called on us, Maryse Lightwood?
Maryse rolled her shoulders back. She felt cramped and tired and old. "Brother Zachariah. I was expecting-Well. It doesn't matter."
Brother Enoch? He is senior to me, but I thought perhaps that your call might have something to do with the disappearance of your adoptive son. I have a particular interest in his well-being.
She looked at him curiously. Most Silent Brothers didn't editorialize, or speak of their personal feelings, if they had any. Smoothing her tangled hair back, she stepped out from behind the desk. "Very well. I want to show you something."
She had never really gotten used to the Silent Brothers, to the soundless way they moved, as if their feet didn't touch the ground. Zachariah seemed to hover beside her as she led him across the library to a map of the world tacked to the north wall. It was a Shadowhunter map. It showed Idris in the center of Europe and the ward around it as a border of gold.
On a shelf below the map were two objects. One was a shard of glass crusted with dried blood. The other was a worn leather cuff bracelet, decorated with the rune for angelic power.
Jace Herondale's cuff and Jonathan Morgenstern's blood. I understood attempts to track them were unsuccessful?
"It isn't tracking precisely." Maryse straightened her shoulders. "When I was in the Circle, there was a mechanism Valentine used by which he could locate us all. Unless we were in certain protected places, he knew where we were at all times. I thought there was a chance he might have done the same to Jace when he was a child. He never seemed to have trouble finding him."
What kind of mechanism do you speak of?
"A mark. Not one from the Gray Book. We all had it. I had nearly forgotten about it; after all, there was no way to get rid of it."
If Jace had it, would he not know of it, and take steps to prevent you using it to find him?
Maryse shook her head. "It could be as small as a tiny, almost invisible white mark under his hair, as mine is. He would not have known he had it-Valentine wouldn't have wanted to tell him."
Brother Zachariah moved apart from her, examining the map. And what has been the result of your experiment?
"Jace has it," Maryse said, but she did not sound pleased or triumphant. "I've seen him on the map. When he appears, the map flares, like a spark of light, in the location where he is; and his cuff flares at the same time. So I know it is him, and not Jonathan Morgenstern. Jonathan never appears on the map."
And where is he? Where is Jace?
"I've seen him appear, just for a few seconds each time, in London, Rome, and Shanghai. Just a little while ago he flickered into existence in Venice, and then vanished again."
How is he traveling so quickly between cities?
"By Portal?" She shrugged. "I don't know. I just know that every time the map flickers, I know he's alive... for now. And it's like I can breathe again, just for a little while." She shut her mouth decidedly, lest the other words come pouring out-how she missed Alec and Isabelle but could not bear to call them back to the Institute, where Alec at least would be expected to take responsibility in the manhunt for his own brother. How she still thought of Max every day and it was like someone had emptied her lungs of air, and she would catch at her heart, afraid she was dying. She could not lose Jace, too.
I can understand that. Brother Zachariah folded his hands in front of him. His hands looked young, not gnarled or bent, his fingers slender. Maryse often wondered how the Brothers aged and how long they lived, but that information was secret to their order. There is little more powerful than the love of family. But what I do not know is why you chose to show this to me.
Maryse took a shuddering breath. "I know I should show it to the Clave," she said. "But the Clave knows of his bond with Jonathan now. They are hunting them both. They will kill Jace if they find him. And yet to keep it to myself is surely treason." She hung her head. "I decided that telling you, the Brothers, was something I could bear. Then it is your choice whether to show it to the Clave. I-I can't stand that it be mine."
Zachariah was silent a long moment. Then his voice, gentle in her head, said, Your map tells you that your son is still alive. If you give it to the Clave, I do not think it will help them much, besides telling them that he is traveling fast and is impossible to track. They know that already. You keep the map. I will not speak of it for now.
Maryse looked at him in astonishment. "But... you are a servant of the Clave..."
I was once a Shadowhunter like you. I lived like you do. And like you, there were those I loved enough to put their welfare before anything else-any oath, any debt.
"Did you..." Maryse hesitated. "Did you ever have children?"
No. No children.
Do not be. And try not to let fear for Jace devour you. He is a Herondale, and they are survivors-
Something snapped inside Maryse. "He is not a Herondale. He is a Lightwood. Jace Lightwood. He's my son."
There was a long pause. Then, I did not mean to imply otherwise, said Brother Zachariah. He unclasped his thin hands and stepped back. There is one thing you must be aware of. If Jace appears on the map for more than a few seconds at a time, you will have to tell the Clave. You should brace yourself for the possibility.
***P/S: Copyright -->Novel12__Com