“That makes sense,” said Amatis. “You look like your mother, and your mother brought you up, but your brother—” She cocked her head to the side. “Does your brother look as much like Valentine as you look like Jocelyn?”
“No,” Clary said. “Jace just looks like himself.” A shiver went through her at the thought of Jace. “He’s here in Alicante,” she said, thinking out loud. “If I could see him—”
“No.” Amatis spoke with asperity. “You can’t leave the house. Not to see anyone. And definitely not to see your brother.”
“Not leave the house?” Clary was horrified. “You mean I’m stuck here? Like a prisoner?”
“It’s only for a day or two,” Amatis admonished her, “and besides, you’re not well. You need to recover. The lake water nearly killed you.”
“Is one of the Lightwoods. You can’t go over there. The moment they see you, they’ll tell the Clave you’re here. And then you won’t be the only one in trouble with the Law. Luke will be too.”
But the Lightwoods won’t betray me to the Clave. They wouldn’t do that—
The words died on her lips. There was no way she was going to be able to convince Amatis that the Lightwoods she’d known fifteen years ago no longer existed, that Robert and Maryse weren’t blindly loyal fanatics anymore. This woman might be Luke’s sister, but she was still a stranger to Clary. She was almost a stranger to Luke. He hadn’t seen her in fifteen years—had never even mentioned she existed. Clary leaned back against the pillows, feigning weariness. “You’re right,” she said. “I don’t feel well. I think I’d better sleep.”
“Good idea.” Amatis leaned over and plucked the empty mug out of her hand. “If you want to take a shower, the bathroom’s across the hall. And there’s a trunk of my old clothes at the foot of the bed. You look like you’re about the size I was when I was your age, so they might fit you. Unlike those pajamas,” she added, and smiled, a weak smile that Clary didn’t return. She was too busy fighting the urge to pound her fists against the mattress in frustration.
The moment the door closed behind Amatis, Clary scrambled out of bed and headed for the bathroom, hoping that standing in hot water would help clear her head. To her relief, for all their old-fashionedness, the Shadowhunters seemed to believe in modern plumbing and hot and cold running water. There was even sharply scented citrus soap to rinse the lingering smell of Lake Lyn out of her hair. By the time she emerged, wrapped in two towels, she was feeling much better.
In the bedroom she rummaged through Amatis’s trunk. Her clothes were packed away neatly between layers of crisp paper. There were what looked like school clothes—merino wool sweaters with an insignia that looked like four Cs back to back sewed over the breast pocket, pleated skirts, and button-down shirts with narrow cuffs. There was a white dress swathed in layers of tissue paper—a wedding dress, Clary thought, and laid it aside carefully. Below it was another dress, this one made of silvery silk, with slender bejeweled straps holding up its gossamer weight. Clary couldn’t imagine Amatis in it, but—This is the sort of thing my mother might have worn when she went dancing with Valentine, she couldn’t help thinking, and let the dress slide back into the trunk, its texture soft and cool against her fingers.
And then there was the Shadowhunter gear, packed away at the very bottom.
Clary drew out those clothes and spread them curiously across her lap. The first time she had seen Jace and Alec, they had been wearing their fighting gear: close-fitting tops and pants of tough, dark material. Up close she could see that the material was not stretchy but stiff, a thin leather pounded very flat until it became flexible. There was a jacket-type top that zipped up and pants that had complicated belt loops. Shadowhunter belts were big, sturdy things, meant for hanging weapons on.
She ought, of course, to put on one of the sweaters and maybe a skirt. That was what Amatis had probably meant her to do. But something about the fighting gear called to her; she had always been curious, always wondered what it would be like….
A few minutes later the towels were hanging over the bar at the foot of the bed and Clary was regarding herself in the mirror with surprise and not a little amusement. The gear fit—it was tight but not too tight, and hugged the curves of her legs and chest. In fact, it made her look as if she had curves, which was sort of novel. It couldn’t make her look formidable—she doubted anything could do that—but at least she looked taller, and her hair against the black material was extraordinarily bright. In fact—I look like my mother, Clary thought with a jolt.
And she did. Jocelyn had always had a steely core of toughness under her doll-like looks. Clary had often wondered what had happened in her mother’s past to make her the way she was—strong and unbending, stubborn and unafraid. Does your brother look as much like Valentine as you look like Jocelyn? Amatis had asked, and Clary had wanted to reply that she didn’t look at all like her mother, that her mother was beautiful and she wasn’t. But the Jocelyn that Amatis had known was the girl who’d plotted to bring down Valentine, who’d secretly forged an alliance of Nephilim and Downworlders that had broken the Circle and saved the Accords. That Jocelyn would never have agreed to stay quietly inside this house and wait while everything in her world fell apart.
Without pausing to think, Clary crossed the room and shot home the bolt on the door, locking it. Then she went to the window and pushed it open. The trellis was there, clinging to the side of the stone wall like—Like a ladder, Clary told herself. Just like a ladder—and ladders are perfectly safe.
Taking a deep breath, she crawled out onto the window ledge.
The guards came back for Simon the next morning, shaking him awake out of an already fitful sleep plagued with strange dreams. This time they didn’t blindfold him as they led him back upstairs, and he snuck a quick glance through the barred door of the cell next to his. If he’d hoped to get a look at the owner of the hoarse voice that had spoken to him the night before, he was disappointed. The only thing visible through the bars was what looked like a pile of discarded rags.
The guards hurried Simon along a series of gray corridors, quick to shake him if he looked too long in any direction. Finally they came to a halt in a richly wallpapered room. There were portraits on the walls of different men and women in Shadowhunter gear, the frames decorated with patterns of runes. Below one of the largest portraits was a red couch on which the Inquisitor was seated, holding what looked like a silver cup in his hand. He held it out to Simon. “Blood?” he inquired. “You must be hungry by now.”
He tipped the cup toward Simon, and the view of the red liquid inside it hit him just as the smell did. His veins strained toward the blood, like strings under the control of a master puppeteer. The feeling was unpleasant, almost painful. “Is it … human?”
Aldertree chuckled. “My boy! Don’t be ridiculous. It’s deer blood. Perfectly fresh.”
Simon said nothing. His lower lip stung where his fangs had slid from their sheaths, and he tasted his own blood in his mouth. It filled him with nausea.
Aldertree’s face screwed up like a dried plum. “Oh, dear.” He turned to the guards. “Leave us now, gentlemen,” he said, and they turned to go. Only the Consul paused at the door, glancing back at Simon with a look of unmistakable disgust.
“No, thank you,” Simon said through the thickness in his mouth. “I don’t want the blood.”
“Your fangs say otherwise, young Simon,” Aldertree replied genially. “Here. Take it.” He held out the cup, and the smell of blood seemed to waft through the room like the scent of roses through a garden.
Simon’s incisors stabbed downward, fully extended now, slicing into his lip. The pain was like a slap; he moved forward, almost without volition, and grabbed the cup out of the Inquisitor’s hand. He drained it in three swallows, then, realizing what he had done, set it down on the arm of the couch. His hand was shaking. Inquisitor one, he thought. Me zero.
“I trust your night in the cells wasn’t too unpleasant? They’re not meant to be torture chambers, my boy, more along the lines of a space for enforced reflection. I find reflection absolutely centers the mind, don’t you? Essential to clear thinking. I do hope you got some thinking in. You seem like a thoughtful young man.” The Inquisitor cocked his head to the side. “I brought that blanket down for you with my own hands, you know. I wouldn’t have wanted you to be cold.”
“I’m a vampire,” Simon said. “We don’t get cold.”
“Oh.” The Inquisitor looked disappointed.
“I appreciated the Stars of David and the Seal of Solomon,” Simon added dryly. “It’s always nice to see someone taking an interest in my religion.”
“Oh, yes, of course, of course!” Aldertree brightened. “Wonderful, aren’t they, the carvings? Absolutely charming, and of course foolproof. I’d imagine any attempt to touch the cell door would melt the skin right off your hand!” He chuckled, clearly amused by the thought. “In any case. Could you take a step backward for me, my man? Just as a favor, a pure favor, you understand.”
Simon took a step back.
Nothing happened, but the Inquisitor’s eyes widened, the puffy skin around them looking stretched and shiny. “I see,” he breathed.
“You see what?”
“Look where you are, young Simon. Look all about you.”
Simon glanced around—nothing had changed about the room, and it took a moment for him to realize what Aldertree meant. He was standing in a bright patch of sun that angled through a window high overhead.
Aldertree was almost squirming with excitement. “You’re standing in direct sunlight, and it’s having no effect on you at all. I almost wouldn’t have believed it—I mean, I was told, of course, but I’ve never seen anything like it before.”
Simon said nothing. There seemed to be nothing to say.
“The question for you, of course,” Aldertree went on, “is whether you know why you’re like this.”
“Maybe I’m just nicer than the other vampires.” Simon was immediately sorry he’d spoken. Aldertree’s eyes narrowed, and a vein bulged at his temple like a fat worm. Clearly, he didn’t like jokes unless he was the one making them.
“Very amusing, very amusing,” he said. “Let me ask you this: Have you been a Daylighter since the moment you rose from the grave?”
“No.” Simon spoke with care. “No. At first the sun burned me. Even just a patch of sunlight would scorch my skin.”
“Indeed.” Aldertree gave a vigorous nod, as if to say that that was the way things ought to be. “So when was it you first noticed that you could walk in the daylight without pain?”
“It was the morning after the big battle on Valentine’s ship—”
“During which Valentine captured you, is that correct? He had captured you and kept you prisoner on his ship, meaning to use your blood to complete the Ritual of Infernal Conversion.”
“I guess you know everything already,” Simon said. “You hardly need me.”
“Oh, no, not at all!” Aldertree cried, throwing up his hands. He had very small hands, Simon noticed, so small that they looked a little out of place at the ends of his plump arms. “You have so much to contribute, my dear boy! For instance, I can’t help wondering if there was something that happened on the ship, something that changed you. Is there anything you can think of?”
I drank Jace’s blood, Simon thought, half-inclined to repeat this to the Inquisitor just to be nasty—and then, with a jolt, realized, I drank Jace’s blood. Could that have been what changed him? Was it possible? And whether it was possible or not, could he tell the Inquisitor what Jace had done? Protecting Clary was one thing; protecting Jace was another. He didn’t owe Jace anything.
Except that wasn’t strictly true. Jace had offered him his blood to drink, had saved his life with it. Would another Shadowhunter have done that, for a vampire? And even if he’d only done it for Clary’s sake, did it matter? He thought of himself saying, I could have killed you. And Jace: I would have let you. There was no telling what kind of trouble Jace would get into if the Clave knew he had saved Simon’s life, and how.
“I don’t remember anything from the boat,” Simon said. “I think Valentine must have drugged me or something.”
Aldertree’s face fell. “That’s terrible news. Terrible. I’m so sorry to hear it.”
“I’m sorry too,” Simon said, although he wasn’t.
“So there isn’t a single thing you remember? Not one colorful detail?”
“I just remember passing out when Valentine attacked me, and then I woke up later on … on Luke’s truck, headed home. I don’t remember anything else.”
“Oh dear, oh dear.” Aldertree drew his cloak around him. “I see the Lightwoods seem to have become rather fond of you, but the other members of the Clave are not so … understanding. You were captured by Valentine, you emerged from this confrontation with a peculiar new power you hadn’t had before, and now you’ve found your way to the heart of Idris. You do see how it looks?”
If Simon’s heart had still been able to beat, it would have been racing. “You think I’m a spy for Valentine.”
Aldertree looked shocked. “My boy, my boy—I trust you, of course. I trust you implicitly! But the Clave, oh, the Clave, I’m afraid they can be very suspicious. We had so hoped you’d be able to help us. You see—and I shouldn’t be telling you this, but I feel I can confide in you, dear boy—the Clave is in dreadful trouble.”