About the Author
Cassandra Clare is the #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of Lord of Shadows and Lady Midnight, as well as the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series and Infernal Devices trilogy. She is the coauthor of The Bane Chronicles with Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson and Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy with Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman, as well as The Shadowhunter’s Codex, which she cowrote with her husband, Joshua Lewis. Her books have more than 50 million copies in print worldwide and have been translated into more than thirty-five languages, a feature film, and a TV show, Shadowhunters, currently airing on Freeform. Cassandra lives in western Massachusetts. Visit her at CassandraClare.com. Learn more about the world of the Shadowhunters at Shadowhunters.com.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Lord of Shadows
1 STILL WATERS
Kit had only recently found out what a flail was, and now there was a rack of them hanging over his head, shiny and sharp and deadly.
He had never seen anything like the weapons room at the Los Angeles Institute before. The walls and floors were white-silver granite, and granite islands rose at intervals throughout the room, making the whole place look like the arms and armor exhibit at a museum. There were staves and maces, cleverly designed walking sticks, necklaces, boots and padded jackets that concealed slim, flat blades for stabbing and throwing. Morning stars covered in terrible spikes, and crossbows of all sizes and types.
The granite islands themselves were covered with stacks of gleaming instruments carved out of adamas, the quartz-like substance that Shadowhunters mined from the earth and that they alone knew how to turn into swords and blades and steles. Of more interest to Kit was the shelf that held daggers.
It wasn’t that he had any particular desire to learn how to use a dagger—nothing beyond the general interest he figured most teenagers had in deadly weapons, but even then, he’d rather be issued a machine gun or a flamethrower. But the daggers were works of art, their hilts inlaid with gold and silver and precious gems—blue sapphires, cabochon rubies, glimmering patterns of thorns etched in platinum and black diamonds.
He could think of at least three people at the Shadow Market who’d buy them off him for good money, no questions asked.
Kit stripped off the denim jacket he was wearing—he didn’t know which of the Blackthorns it had belonged to originally; he’d woken up the morning after he’d come to the Institute to find a freshly laundered pile of clothes at the foot of his bed—and shrugged on a padded jacket. He caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror at the far end of the room. Ragged blond hair, the last of fading bruises on his pale skin. He unzipped the inside pocket of the jacket and began to stuff it with sheathed daggers, picking the ones with the fanciest hilts.
The door to the weapons room swung open. Kit dropped the dagger he was holding back onto the shelf and turned around hastily. He thought he’d slipped out of his bedroom without being noticed, but if there was one thing he’d come to realize during his short time at the Institute, it was that Julian Blackthorn noticed everything, and his siblings weren’t far behind.
But it wasn’t Julian. It was a young man Kit hadn’t ever seen before, though something about him was familiar. He was tall, with tousled blond hair and a Shadowhunter’s build—broad shoulders, muscular arms, the black lines of the runic Marks they protected themselves with peeking out from the collar and cuffs of his shirt.
His eyes were an unusual dark gold color. He wore a heavy silver ring on one finger, as many of the Shadowhunters did. He raised an eyebrow at Kit.
“Like weapons, do you?” he said.
“They’re all right.” Kit backed up a little toward one of the tables, hoping the daggers in his inside pocket didn’t rattle.
The man went over to the shelf Kit had been rifling through and picked up the dagger he’d dropped. “You picked a good one here,” he said. “See the inscription on the handle?”
“It was made by one of the descendants of Wayland the Smith, who made Durendal and Cortana.” The man spun the dagger between his fingers before setting it back on its shelf. “Nothing as extraordinary as Cortana, but daggers like that will always return to your hand after you throw them. Convenient.”
Kit cleared his throat. “It must be worth a lot,” he said.
“I doubt the Blackthorns are looking to sell,” said the man dryly. “I’m Jace, by the way. Jace Herondale.”
He paused. He seemed to be waiting for a reaction, which Kit was determined not to give him. He knew the name Herondale, all right. It felt like it was the only word anyone had said to him in the past two weeks. But that didn’t mean he wanted to give the man—Jace—the satisfaction he was clearly looking for.
Jace looked unmoved by Kit’s silence. “And you’re Christopher Herondale.”
“How do you know that?” Kit said, keeping his voice flat and unenthusiastic. He hated the name Herondale. He hated the word.
“Family resemblance,” said Jace. “We look alike. In fact, you look like drawings of a lot of Herondales I’ve seen.” He paused. “Also, Emma sent me a cell phone picture of you.”
Emma. Emma Carstairs had saved Kit’s life. They hadn’t spoken much since, though—in the wake of the death of Malcolm Fade, the High Warlock of Los Angeles, everything had been in chaos. He hadn’t been anyone’s first priority, and besides, he had a feeling she thought of him as a little kid. “Fine. I’m Kit Herondale. People keep telling me that, but it doesn’t mean anything to me.” Kit set his jaw. “I’m a Rook. Kit Rook.”
“I know what your father told you. But you’re a Herondale. And that does mean something.”
“What? What does it mean?” Kit demanded.
Jace leaned back against the wall of the weapons room, just under a display of heavy claymores. Kit hoped one would fall on his head. “I know you’re aware of Shadowhunters,” he said. “A lot of people are, especially Downworlders and mundanes with the Sight. Which is what you thought you were, correct?”
“I never thought I was a mundane,” said Kit. Didn’t Shadowhunters understand how it sounded when they used that word?
Jace ignored him, though. “Shadowhunter society and history—those aren’t things most people who aren’t Nephilim know about. The Shadowhunter world is made up of families, each of which has a name that they cherish. Each family has a history we pass on to each successive generation. We bear the glories and the burdens of our names, the good and the bad our ancestors have done, through all our lives. We try to live up to our names, so that those who come after us will bear lighter burdens.” He crossed his arms over his chest. His wrists were covered in Marks; there was one that looked like an open eye on the back of his left hand. Kit had noticed all Shadowhunters seemed to have that one. “Among Shadowhunters, your last name is deeply meaningful. The Herondales have been a family who have shaped the destinies of Shadowhunters for generations. There aren’t many of us left—in fact, everyone thought I was the last. Only Jem and Tessa had faith you existed. They looked for you for a long time.”
Jem and Tessa. Along with Emma, they had helped Kit escape the demons who had murdered his father. And they had told him a story: the story of a Herondale who had betrayed his friends and fled, starting a new life away from other Nephilim. A new life and a new family line.
“I heard about Tobias Herondale,” he said. “So I’m the descendant of a big coward.”
“People are flawed,” said Jace. “Not every member of your family is going to be awesome. But when you see Tessa again, and you will, she can tell you about Will Herondale. And James Herondale. And me, of course,” he added, modestly. “As far as Shadowhunters go, I’m a pretty big deal. Not to intimidate you.”
“I don’t feel intimidated,” said Kit, wondering if this guy was for real. There was a gleam in Jace’s eye as he spoke that indicated that he might not take what he was saying all that seriously, but it was hard to be sure. “I feel like I want to be left alone.”
“I know it’s a lot to digest,” Jace said. He reached out to clap Kit on the back. “But Clary and I will be here for as long as you need us to—”
The clap on the back dislodged one of the daggers in Kit’s pocket. It clattered to the ground between them, winking up from the granite floor like an accusing eye.
“Right,” Jace said into the ensuing silence. “So you’re stealing weapons.”
Kit, who knew the pointlessness of an obvious denial, said nothing.
“Okay, look, I know your dad was a crook, but you’re a Shadowhunter now and—wait, what else is in that jacket?” Jace demanded. He did something complicated with his left boot that kicked the dagger up into the air. He caught it neatly, the rubies in the hilt scattering light. “Take it off.”
Silently, Kit shucked off his jacket and threw it down on the table. Jace flipped it over and opened the inside pocket. They both gazed silently at the gleam of blades and precious stones.
“So,” Jace said. “You were planning on running away, I take it?”
“Why should I stay?” Kit exploded. He knew he shouldn’t, but he couldn’t help it—it was too much: the loss of his father, his hatred of the Institute, the smugness of the Nephilim, their demands that he accept a last name he didn’t care about and didn’t want to care about. “I don’t belong here. You can tell me all this stuff about my name, but it doesn’t mean anything to me. I’m Johnny Rook’s son. I’ve been training my whole life to be like my dad, not to be like you. I don’t need you. I don’t need any of you. All I need is some start-up money, and I can set up my own booth at the Shadow Market.”
Jace’s gold eyes narrowed, and for the first time Kit saw, under the arrogant, joking facade, the gleam of a sharp intelligence. “And sell what? Your dad sold information. It took him years, and a lot of bad magic, to build up those connections. You want to sell your soul like that, so you can scratch out a living on the edges of Downworld? And what about what killed your dad? You saw him die, didn’t you?”
“Yeah, but somebody sent them. The Guardian might be dead, but that doesn’t mean no one’s looking for you. You’re fifteen years old. You might think you want to die, but trust me—you don’t.”
Kit swallowed. He tried to picture himself standing behind the counter of a booth at the Shadow Market, the way he had for the past few days. But the truth was he’d always been safe at the Market because of his dad. Because people were afraid of Johnny Rook. What would happen to him there without his dad’s protection?
“But I’m not a Shadowhunter,” Kit said. He glanced around the room, at the millions of weapons, the piles of adamas, the gear and body armor and weapon belts. It was ridiculous. He wasn’t a ninja. “I wouldn’t even know how to start to be one.”
“Give it another week,” Jace said. “Another week here at the Institute. Give yourself a chance. Emma told me how you fought off those demons who killed your dad. Only a Shadowhunter could have done that.”
Kit barely remembered battling the demons in his father’s house, but he knew he’d done it. His body had taken over, and he’d fought, and he’d even, in a small, strange, hidden way, enjoyed it.
“This is what you are,” said Jace. “You’re a Shadowhunter. You’re part angel. You have the blood of angels in your veins. You’re a Herondale. Which, by the way, means that not only are you part of a stunningly good-looking family, but you’re also part of a family that owns a lot of valuable property, including a London town house and a manor in Idris, which you’re probably entitled to part of. You know, if you were interested.”
Kit looked at the ring on Jace’s left hand. It was silver, heavy, and looked old. And valuable. “I’m listening.”
“All I am saying is give it a week. After all”—Jace grinned—“Herondales can’t resist a challenge.”
* * *
“A Teuthida demon?” Julian said into the phone, his eyebrows crinkling. “That’s basically a squid, right?”
The reply was inaudible: Emma could recognize Ty’s voice, but not the words.
“Yeah, we’re at the pier,” Julian went on. “We haven’t seen anything yet, but we just arrived. Too bad they don’t have designated parking spots for Shadowhunters here . . . .”
Her mind only half on Julian’s voice, Emma glanced around. The sun had just gone down. She’d always loved the Santa Monica Pier, since she was a little girl and her parents had taken her there to play air hockey and ride the old-fashioned merry-go-round. She loved the junk food—burgers and milk shakes, fried clams and giant swirled lollipops—and Pacific Park, the run-down amusement park at the very end of the pier, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
The mundanes had poured millions of dollars into revamping the pier into a tourist attraction over the years. Pacific Park was full of new, shiny rides; the old churro carts were gone, replaced by artisanal ice cream and lobster platters. But the boards under Emma’s feet were still warped and weathered by years of sun and salt. The air still smelled like sugar and seaweed. The merry-go-round still spilled its mechanical music into the air. There were still coin-toss games where you could win a giant stuffed panda. And there were still dark spaces under the pier, where aimless mundanes gathered and sometimes, more sinister things.
That was the thing about being a Shadowhunter, Emma thought, glancing toward the massive Ferris wheel decorated with gleaming LED lights. A line of mundanes eager to get on stretched down the pier; past the railings, she could glimpse the dark blue sea tipped with white where the waves broke. Shadowhunters saw the beauty in the things mundanes created—the lights of the Ferris wheel reflecting off the ocean so brightly that it looked as if someone were setting off fireworks underwater: red, blue, green, purple, and gold—but they saw the darkness, too, the danger and the rot.
“What’s wrong?” Julian asked. He’d slid his phone into the pocket of his gear jacket. The wind—there was always wind on the pier, the wind that blew ceaselessly off the ocean, smelling of salt and faraway places—lifted the soft waves of his brown hair, made them kiss his cheeks and temples.
Dark thoughts, Emma wanted to say. She couldn’t, though. Once Julian had been the person she could tell everything. Now he was the one person she couldn’t tell anything.
Instead she avoided his gaze. “Where are Mark and Cristina?”
“Over there.” He pointed. “By the ring toss.”
Emma followed his gaze to the brightly painted stand where people competed to see who could toss a plastic ring and land it around the neck of one of a dozen lined-up bottles. She tried not to feel superior that this was apparently something mundanes found difficult.
Julian’s half brother, Mark, held three plastic rings in his hand. Cristina, her dark hair caught up in a neat bun, stood beside him, eating caramel corn and laughing. Mark threw the rings: all three at once. Each spiraled out in a different direction and landed around the neck of a bottle.
Julian sighed. “So much for being inconspicuous.”
A mixture of cheers and noises of disbelief went up from the mundanes at the ring toss. Fortunately, there weren’t many of them, and Mark was able to collect his prize—something in a plastic bag—and escape with a minimum of fuss.
He headed back toward them with Cristina at his side. The tips of his pointed ears peeked through the loops of his light hair, but he was glamoured so that mundanes wouldn’t see them. Mark was half-faerie, and his Downworlder blood showed itself in the delicacy of his features, the tips of his ears, and the angularity of his eyes and cheekbones.
“So it’s a squid demon?” Emma said, mostly just to have something to say to fill the silence between her and Julian. There were a lot of silences between her and Julian these days. It had only been two weeks since everything had changed, but she felt the difference profoundly, in her bones. She felt his distance, though he had never been anything but scrupulously polite and kind ever since she had told him about her and Mark.
“Apparently,” Julian said. Mark and Cristina had come into earshot; Cristina was finishing her caramel corn and looking sadly into the bag as if hoping more would appear. Emma could relate. Mark, meanwhile, was gazing down at his prize. “It climbs up the side of the pier and snatches people—mostly kids, anyone leaning over the side taking a picture at night. It’s been getting braver, though. Apparently someone spotted it inside the game area near the table hockey—is that a goldfish?”
Mark held up his plastic bag. Inside it, a small orange fish swam around in a circle. “This is the best patrol we’ve ever done,” he said. “I have never been awarded a fish before.”
Emma sighed inwardly. Mark had spent the past few years of his life with the Wild Hunt, the most anarchic and feral of all faeries. They rode across the sky on all manner of enchanted beings—motorcycles, horses, deer, massive snarling dogs—and scavenged battlefields, taking valuables from the bodies of the dead and giving them in tribute to the Faerie Courts.
He was adjusting well to being back among his Shadowhunter family, but there were still times when ordinary life seemed to take him by surprise. He noticed now that everyone was looking at him with raised eyebrows. He looked alarmed and placed a tentative arm around Emma’s shoulders, holding out the bag in the other hand.
“I have won for you a fish, my fair one,” he said, and kissed her on the cheek.
It was a sweet kiss, gentle and soft, and Mark smelled like he always did: like cold outside air and green growing things. And it made absolute sense, Emma thought, for Mark to assume that everyone was startled because they were waiting for him to give her his prize. She was, after all, his girlfriend.
She exchanged a worried glance with Cristina, whose dark eyes had gotten very large. Julian looked as if he were about to throw up blood. It was only a brief look before he schooled his features back into indifference, but Emma drew away from Mark, smiling at him apologetically.
“I couldn’t keep a fish alive,” she said. “I kill plants just by looking at them.”
“I suspect I would have the same problem,” Mark said, eyeing the fish. “It is too bad—I was going to name it Magnus, because it has sparkly scales.”
At that, Cristina giggled. Magnus Bane was the High Warlock of Brooklyn, and he had a penchant for glitter.
“I suppose I had better let him go free,” Mark said. Before anyone could say anything, he made his way to the railing of the pier and emptied the bag, fish and all, into the sea.
“Does anyone want to tell him that goldfish are freshwater fish and can’t survive in the ocean?” said Julian quietly.
“Not really,” said Cristina.
“Did he just kill Magnus?” Emma asked, but before Julian could answer, Mark whirled around.
All humor had gone from his expression. “I just saw something scuttle up one of the pilings below the pier. Something very much not human.”
Emma felt a faint shiver pass over her skin. The demons who made the ocean their habitation were rarely seen on land. Sometimes she had nightmares where the ocean turned itself inside out and vomited its contents onto the beach: spiny, tentacled, slimy, blackened things half-crushed by the weight of water.
Within seconds, each of the Shadowhunters had a weapon in hand—Emma was clutching her sword, Cortana, a golden blade given to her by her parents. Julian held a seraph blade, and Cristina her butterfly knife.
“Which way did it go?” Julian asked.
“Toward the end of the pier,” said Mark; he alone had not reached for a weapon, but Emma knew how fast he was. His nickname in the Wild Hunt had been elf-shot, for he was swift and accurate with a bow and arrow or a thrown blade. “Toward the amusement park.”
“I’ll go that way,” Emma said. “Try to drive it off the edge of the pier—Mark, Cristina, you go down under, catch it if it tries to crawl back into the water.”
They barely had time to nod, and Emma was off and running. The wind tugged at her braided hair as she wove through the crowd toward the lighted park at the pier’s end. Cortana felt warm and solid in her hand, and her feet flew over the sea-warped wooden slats. She felt free, her worries cast aside, everything in her mind and body focused on the task at hand.
She could hear footsteps beside her. She didn’t need to look to know it was Jules. His footsteps had been beside hers for all the years she had been a fighting Shadowhunter. His blood had been spilled when hers was. He had saved her life and she had saved his. He was part of her warrior self.
“There,” she heard him say, but she’d already seen it: a dark, humped shape clambering up the support structure of the Ferris wheel. The carriages continued to rotate around it, the passengers shrieking in delight, unaware.
Emma hit the line for the wheel and started shoving her way through it. She and Julian had put glamour runes on before they’d gotten to the pier, and they were invisible to mundane eyes. That didn’t mean they couldn’t make their presence felt, though. Mundanes in line swore and yelled as she stomped on feet and elbowed her way to the front.
A carriage was just swinging down, a couple—a girl eating purple cotton candy and her black-clad, lanky boyfriend—about to climb in. Glancing up, Emma saw a flicker as the Teuthida demon slithered around the top of the wheel support. Swearing, Emma pushed past the couple, nearly knocking them aside, and leaped into the carriage. It was octagonal, a bench running around the inside, with plenty of room to stand. She heard yells of surprise as the carriage rose, lifting her away from the scene of chaos she’d created below, the couple who’d been about to board the wheel yelling at the ticket taker, and the people in line behind them yelling at each other.
The carriage rocked under her feet as Julian landed beside her, setting it to swinging. He craned his head up. “Do you see it?”
Emma squinted. She had seen the demon, she was sure of that, but it seemed to have vanished. From this angle, the Ferris wheel was a mess of bright lights, spinning spokes, and white-painted iron bars. The two carriages below her and Julian were empty of people; the line must still be sorting itself out.
Good, Emma thought. The fewer people who got on the wheel, the better.
“Stop.” She felt Julian’s hand on her arm, turning her around. Her whole body tensed. “Runes,” he said shortly, and she realized he was holding his stele in his free hand.
Their carriage was still rising. Emma could see the beach below, the dark water spilling up onto the sand, the hills of Palisades Park rising vertically above the highway, crowned with a fringe of trees and greenery.
The stars were dim but visible beyond the bright lights of the pier. Julian held her arm neither roughly nor gently, but with a sort of clinical distance. He turned it over, his stele describing quick motions over her wrist, inking runes of protection there, runes of speed and agility and enhanced hearing.
This was the closest Emma had been to Jules in two weeks. She felt dizzy from it, a little drunk. His head was bent, his eyes fixed on the task at hand, and she took the opportunity to absorb the sight of him.
The lights of the wheel had turned amber and yellow; they powdered his tanned skin with gold. His hair fell in loose, fine waves over his forehead. She knew the way the skin by the corners of his mouth was soft, and the way his shoulders felt under her hands, strong and hard and vibrant. His lashes were long and thick, so dark that they seemed to have been charcoaled; she half expected them to leave a dusting of black powder on the tops of his cheekbones when he blinked.
He was beautiful. He had always been beautiful, but she had noticed it too late. And now she stood with her hands at her sides and her body aching because she couldn’t touch him. She could never touch him again.
He finished what he was doing and spun the stele around so the handle was toward her. She took it without a word as he pulled aside the collar of his shirt, under his gear jacket. The skin there was a shade paler than the tanned skin on his face and hands, scored over and over with the faint white Marks of runes that had been used up and faded away.
She had to move a step nearer to Mark him. The runes bloomed under the tip of the stele: agility, night vision. Her head reached just to the level of his chin. She was staring directly at his throat, and saw him swallow.
“Just tell me,” he said. “Just tell me that he makes you happy. That Mark makes you happy.”
She jerked her head up. She had finished the runes; he reached to take the stele from her motionless hand. For the first time in what felt like forever, he was looking directly at her, his eyes turned dark blue by the colors of the night sky and the sea, spreading out all around them as they neared the top of the wheel.
“I’m happy, Jules,” she said. What was one lie among so many others? She had never been someone who lied easily, but she was finding her way. When the safety of people she loved depended on it, she’d found, she could lie. “This is—this is smarter, safer for both of us.”
The line of his gentle mouth hardened. “That’s not—”
She gasped. A writhing shape rose up behind him—it was the color of an oil slick, its fringed tentacles clinging to a spoke of the wheel. Its mouth was wide open, a perfect circle ringed with teeth.
“Jules!” she shouted, and flung herself from the carriage, catching onto one of the thin iron bars that ran between the spokes. Dangling by one hand, she slashed out with Cortana, catching the Teuthida as it reared back. It yowled, and ichor sprayed; Emma cried out as it splashed her neck, burning her skin.
A knife punched into the demon’s round, ribbed body. Pulling herself up onto a spoke, Emma glanced down to see Julian poised on the edge of the carriage, another knife already in hand. He sighted down along his arm, let the second knife fly—
It clanged off the bottom of an empty carriage. The Teuthida, incredibly fast, had whipped its way out of sight. Emma could hear it scrabbling downward, along the tangle of metal bars that made up the inside of the wheel.
Emma sheathed Cortana and began to crawl along the length of her spoke, heading toward the bottom of the wheel. LED lights exploded around her in purple and gold.
There was ichor and blood on her hands, making the descent slippery. Incongruously, the view from the wheel was beautiful, the sea and the sand opening in front of her in all directions, as if she were dangling off the edge of the world.
She could taste blood in her mouth, and salt. Below her, she could see Julian, out of the carriage, clambering along a lower spoke. He glanced up at her and pointed; she followed the line of his hand and saw the Teuthida nearly at the wheel’s center.
Its tentacles were whipping around its body, slamming at the heart of the wheel. Emma could feel the reverberations through her bones. She craned her neck to see what it was doing and went cold—the center of the ride was a massive bolt, holding the wheel onto its structural supports. The Teuthida was yanking at the bolt, trying to rip it free. If the demon succeeded in disengaging it, the whole structure would pull away from its moorings and roll off the pier, like a disconnected bicycle wheel.
Emma had no illusions that anyone on the wheel, or near it, would survive. The wheel would crumple in on itself, crushing anyone underneath. Demons thrived on destruction, on the energy of death. It would feast.
The Ferris wheel rocked. The Teuthida had its tentacles fastened firmly to the iron bolt at the wheel’s heart and was twisting it. Emma redoubled her crawling speed, but she was too far above the wheel’s middle. Julian was closer, but she knew the weapons he was carrying: two knives, which he’d already thrown, and seraph blades, which weren’t long enough for him to reach the demon.
He looked up at her as he stretched his body out along the iron bar, wrapped his left arm around it to anchor himself, and held the other arm out, his hand outstretched.
She knew, immediately, without having to wonder, what he was thinking. She breathed in deep and let go of the spoke.
She fell, down toward Julian, stretching out her own hand to reach for his. They caught and clasped, and she heard him gasp as he took her weight. She swung forward and down, her left hand locked around his right, and with her other hand she whipped Cortana from its sheath. The weight of her fall carried her forward, swinging her toward the middle of the wheel.
The Teuthida demon raised its head as she sailed toward it, and for the first time, she saw its eyes—they were oval, glossed with a protective mirrorlike coating. They almost seemed to widen like human eyes as she whipped Cortana forward, driving it down through the top of the demon’s head and into its brain.
Its tentacles flailed—a last, dying spasm as its body pulled free of the blade and skittered, rolling along one of the downward-slanted spokes of the wheel. It reached the end and tumbled off.
In the distance, Emma thought she heard a splash. But there was no time to wonder. Julian’s hand had tightened on hers, and he was pulling her up. She slammed Cortana back into its sheath as he hauled her up, up, onto the spoke where he was lying so that she collapsed awkwardly, half on top of him.
He was still clasping her hand, breathing hard. His eyes met hers, just for a second. Around them, the wheel spun, lowering them back down toward the ground. Emma could see crowds of mundanes on the beach, the shimmer of water along the shoreline, even a dark head and a light one that could be Mark and Cristina . . . .
“Good teamwork,” Julian said finally.
“I know,” Emma said, and she did. That was the worst thing: that he was right, that they still worked so perfectly together as parabatai. As warrior partners. As a matched pair of soldiers who could never, ever be parted.
* * *
Mark and Cristina were waiting for them under the pier. Mark had kicked off his shoes and was partway into the ocean water. Cristina was folding away her butterfly knife. At her feet was a patch of slimy, drying sand.
“Did you see the squid thingie fall off the Ferris wheel?” Emma asked as she and Julian drew near.
Cristina nodded. “It fell into the shallows. It wasn’t quite dead, so Mark dragged it up onto the beach and we finished it off.” She kicked at the sand in front of her. “It was very disgusting, and Mark got slime on him.”
“I’ve got ichor on me,” Emma said, looking down at her stained gear. “That was one messy demon.”
“You are still very beautiful,” Mark said with a gallant smile.
Emma smiled back at him, as much as she could. She was unbelievably grateful to Mark, who was playing his part in all this without a word of complaint, though he must have found it strange. In Cristina’s opinion, Mark was getting something out of the pretense, but Emma couldn’t imagine what. It wasn’t as if Mark liked lying—he’d spent so many years among faeries, who were incapable of untruths, that he found it unnatural.
Julian had stepped away from them and was on the phone again, speaking in a low voice. Mark splashed up out of the water and jammed his wet feet into his boots. Neither he nor Cristina was fully glamoured, and Emma noticed the stares of mundane passersby as he came toward her—because he was tall, and beautiful, and because he had eyes that shone brighter than the lights of the Ferris wheel. And because one of his eyes was blue, and the other one was gold.
And because there was something about him, something indefinably strange, a trace of the wildness of Faerie that never failed to make Emma think of untrammeled, wide-open spaces, of freedom and lawlessness. I am a lost boy, his eyes seemed to say. Find me.
Reaching Emma, he lifted his hand to push back a lock of her hair. A wave of feeling went through her—sadness and exhilaration, a longing for something, though she didn’t know what.
“That was Diana,” Julian said, and even without looking at him, Emma could picture his face as he spoke—gravity, thoughtfulness, a careful consideration of whatever the situation was. “Jace and Clary have arrived with a message from the Consul. They’re holding a meeting at the Institute, and they want us there now.”