City of lost souls, p.52
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       City of Lost Souls, p.52
 

         Part #5 of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
Page 52

 

  Sebastian yanked the Cup back, but it had done its work. Amatis made an awful hacking sound, her body jerking upright. Her eyes bulged, turning as dark as Sebastians. She slapped her hands over her face, a wail escaping her, and Clary saw in astonishment that the Voyance rune was fading from her hand-fading to pallor-and then it was gone.

  Amatis dropped her hands. Her expression had smoothed and her eyes were blue again. They fastened on Sebastian.

  "Release her," Clarys brother said to Cartwright, his gaze on Amatis. "Let her come to me. "

  Cartwright snapped the chain binding him to Amatis and stepped back, a curious mixture of apprehension and fascination on his face.

  Amatis remained still a moment, her hands lolling at her sides. Then she stood and walked over to Sebastian. She knelt before him, her hair brushing the dirt. "Master," she said. "How may I serve you?"

  "Rise," Sebastian said, and Amatis rose from the ground gracefully. She seemed to have a new way of moving, all of a sudden. All Shadowhunters were adroit, but she moved now with a silent grace that Clary found oddly chilling. She stood straight in front of Sebastian. For the first time Clary saw that what she had taken for a long white dress was a nightgown, as if she had been awakened and spirited out of bed. What a nightmare, to wake up here, among these hooded figures, in this bitter, abandoned place. "Come here to me," Sebastian beckoned, and Amatis stepped toward him. She was a head shorter than him at least, and she craned her head up as he whispered to her. A cold smile split her face.

  Sebastian raised his hand. "Would you like to fight Cartwright?"

  Cartwright dropped the chain he had been holding, his hand going to his weapons belt through the gap in his cloak. He was a young man, with fairish hair, and a wide, square-jawed face. "But I-"

  "Surely some demonstration of her power is in order," said Sebastian. "Come, Cartwright, she is a woman, and older than you are. Are you afraid?"

  Cartwright looked bewildered, but he drew a long dagger from his belt. "Jonathan-"

  Sebastians eyes flashed. "Fight him, Amatis. "

  Her lips curved. "I would be delighted to," she said, and sprang. Her speed was astonishing. She leaped into the air and swung her foot forward, knocking the dagger from his grip. Clary watched in astonishment as she darted up his body, driving her knee into his stomach. He staggered back, and she slammed her head into his, spinning around his body to jerk him hard by the back of his robes, yanking him to the ground. He landed at her feet with a sickening crack, and groaned in pain.

  "And thats for dragging me out of my bed in the middle of the night," Amatis said, and wiped the back of her hand across her lip, which was bleeding slightly. A faint murmur of strained laughter went around the crowd.

  "And there you see it," said Sebastian. "Even a Shadowhunter of no particular skill or strength-your pardon, Amatis-can become stronger, swifter, than their seraphically allied counterparts. " He slammed one fist into the opposite palm. "Power. Real power. Who is ready for it?"

  There was a moment of hesitation, and then Cartwright stumbled to his feet, one hand curved protectively over his stomach. "I am," he said, shooting a venomous look at Amatis, who only smiled.

  Sebastian held up the Infernal Cup. "Then, come forward. "

  Cartwright moved toward Sebastian, and as he did, the other Shadowhunters broke formation, surging toward the place where Sebastian stood, forming a ragged line. Amatis stood serenely to the side, her hands folded. Clary stared at her, willing the older woman to look at her. It was Lukes sister. If things had gone as planned, she would have been Clarys step-aunt now.

  Amatis. Clary thought of her small canal house in Idris, the way she had been so kind, the way she had loved Jaces father so much. Please look at me, she thought. Please show me youre still yourself. As if Amatis had heard her silent prayer, she raised her head and looked directly at Clary.

  And smiled. Not a kind smile or a reassuring smile. Her smile was dark and cold and quietly amused. It was the smile of someone who would watch you drown, Clary thought, and not lift a finger to help. It was not Amatiss smile. It was not Amatis at all. Amatis was gone.

  Jace had taken his hand from her mouth, but she felt no desire to scream. No one here would help her, and the person standing with his arms around her, prisoning her with his body, wasnt Jace. The way that clothes retained the shape of their owner even if they had not been worn for years, or a pillow kept the outline of the head of the person who had once slept there even if they were long dead, that was all he was. An empty shell she had filled with her wishes and love and dreams.

  And in doing so she had done the real Jace a terrible wrong. In her quest to save him, she had almost forgotten who she was saving. And she remembered what he had said to her during those few moments when he had been himself. I hate the thought of him being with you. Him. That other me. Jace had known they were two different people-that himself with the soul scraped out wasnt himself at all.

  He had tried to turn himself over to the Clave, and she hadnt let him. She hadnt listened to what hed wanted. She had made the choice for him-in a moment of flight and panic, but she had made it-not realizing that her Jace would rather die than be like this, and that shed been not so much saving his life as damning him to an existence he would despise.

  She sagged against him, and Jace, taking her sudden shift as an indicator that she wasnt fighting him anymore, loosened his grip on her. The last of the Shadowhunters was in front of Sebastian, reaching eagerly for the Infernal Cup as he held it out. "Clary-," Jace began.

  She never found out what he would have said. There was a cry, and the Shadowhunter reaching for the Cup staggered back, an arrow in his throat. In disbelief Clary whipped her head around and saw, standing on top of the stone dolmen, Alec, in gear, holding his bow. He grinned in satisfaction and reached back over his shoulder for another arrow.

  And then, coming from behind him, the rest of them poured out onto the plain. A pack of wolves, running low to the ground, their brindled fur shining in the variegated light. Maia and Jordan were among them, she guessed. Behind them walked familiar Shadowhunters in an unbroken line: Isabelle and Maryse Lightwood, Helen Blackthorn and Aline Penhallow, and Jocelyn, her red hair visible even at a distance. With them was Simon, the hilt of a silver sword protruding over the curve of his shoulder, and Magnus, hands crackling with blue fire.

  Her heart leaped in her chest. "Im here!" she called out to them. "Im here!"

  "Can you see her?" Jocelyn demanded. "Is she there?"

  Simon tried to focus on the milling darkness ahead of him, his vampire senses sharpening at the distinct scent of blood. Different kinds of blood, mixing together-Shadowhunter blood, demon blood, and the bitterness of Sebastians blood. "I see her," he said. "Jace has hold of her. Hes pulling her behind that line of Shadowhunters there. "

  "If theyre loyal to Jonathan like the Circle was to Valentine, theyll make a wall of bodies to protect him, and Clary and Jace along with him. " Jocelyn was all cold maternal fury, her green eyes burning. "Were going to have to break through it to get to them. "

  "What we need to get to is Sebastian," said Isabelle. "Simon, well hack a path for you. You get to Sebastian and run him through with Glorious. Once he falls-"

  "The others will probably scatter," said Magnus. "Or, depending on how tied they are to Sebastian, they might die or collapse along with him. We can hope, at least. " He craned his head back. "Speaking of hope, did you see that shot Alec got off with his bow? Thats my boyfriend. " He beamed and wiggled his fingers; blue sparks shot from them. He shone all over. Only Magnus, Simon thought resignedly, would have access to sequined battle armor.

  Isabelle uncurled her whip from around her wrist. It shot out in front of her, a lick of golden fire. "Okay, Simon," she said. "Are you ready?"

  Simons shoulders tightened. They were still some distance from the line of the opposing army-he didnt know how else to think of them-who were holding their l
ine in their red robes and gear, their hands bristling with weapons. Some of them were exclaiming out loud in confusion. He couldnt hold back a grin.

  "Name of the Angel, Simon," said Izzy. "Whats there to smile about?"

  "Their seraph blades dont work anymore," said Simon. "Theyre trying to figure out why. Sebastian just shouted at them to use other weapons. " A cry came up from the line as another arrow swooped down from the tomb and buried itself in the back of a burly red-robed Shadowhunter, who collapsed forward. The line jerked and opened slightly, like a fracture in a wall. Simon, seeing his chance, dashed forward, and the others rushed with him.

  It was like diving into a black ocean at night, an ocean filled with sharks and viciously toothed sea creatures colliding against one another. It was not the first battle Simon had ever been in, but during the Mortal War he had been newly Marked with the Mark of Cain. It hadnt quite begun working yet, though many demons had reeled back upon seeing it. He had never thought he would miss it, but he missed it now, as he tried to shove forward through the tightly packed Shadowhunters, who hacked at him with blades. Isabelle was on one side of him, Magnus on the other, protecting him-protecting Glorious. Isabelles whip sang out strong and sure, and Magnuss hands spat fire, red and green and blue. Lashes of colored fire struck the dark Nephilim, burning them where they stood. Other Shadowhunters screamed as Lukes wolves slunk among them, nipping and biting, leaping for their throats.

  A dagger shot out with astonishing speed and sliced at Simons side. He cried out but kept going, knowing the wound would knit itself together in seconds. He pushed forward-

  And froze. A familiar face was before him. Lukes sister, Amatis. As her eyes settled on him, he saw the recognition in them. What was she doing here? Had she come to fight alongside them? But-

  She lunged at him, a darkly gleaming dagger in her hand. She was fast-but not so fast that his vampire reflexes couldnt have saved him, if he hadnt been too astonished to move. Amatis was Lukes sister; he knew her; and that moment of disbelief might have been the end of him if Magnus hadnt jumped in front of him, shoving him backward. Blue fire shot from Magnuss hand, but Amatis was faster than the warlock, too. She spun away from the blaze and under Magnuss arm, and Simon caught the flash of moonlight off the blade of her knife. Magnuss eyes widened in shock as her midnight-colored blade drove downward, slicing through his armor. She jerked it back, the blade now slick with reflective blood; Isabelle screamed as Magnus collapsed to his knees. Simon tried to turn toward him, but the surge and pressure of the fighting crowd was carrying him away. He cried out Magnuss name as Amatis bent over the fallen warlock and raised the dagger a second time, aiming for his heart.

  "Let go of me!" Clary shouted, writhing and kicking as she did her best to wrench herself out of Jaces grip. She could see almost nothing above the surging crowd of red-clad Shadowhunters that stood in front of her, Jace, and Sebastian, blocking her family and friends. The three of them were a few feet behind the line of battle; Jace was holding her tightly as she struggled, and Sebastian, to the side of them, was watching events unfold with a look of dark fury on his face. His lips were moving. She couldnt tell if he was swearing, praying, or chanting the words of a spell. "Let go of me, you-"

  Sebastian turned, a frightening expression on his face, somewhere between a grin and a snarl. "Shut her up, Jace. "

  Jace, still gripping Clary, said, "Are we just going to stand back here and let them protect us?" He jerked his chin toward the line of Shadowhunters.

  "Yes," Sebastian said. "We are too important to risk getting hurt, you and I. "

  Jace shook his head. "I dont like it. There are too many on the other side. " He craned his neck to look out over the crowd. "What about Lilith? Can you summon her back, have her help us?"

  "What, right here?" There was contempt in Sebastians tone. "No. Besides, shes too weak now to be of much help. Once she could have smote down an army, but that piece of scum Downworlder with his Mark of Cain scattered her essence through the voids between the worlds. It was all she could do to appear and give us her blood. "

  "Coward," Clary spat at him. "You turned all these people into your slaves and you wont even fight to protect them-"

  Sebastian raised his hand as if he meant to backhand her across the face. Clary wished he would, wished Jace could be there to see it happen when he did, but a smirk flashed across Sebastians mouth instead. He lowered his hand. "And if Jace let you go, I suppose youd fight?"

  "Of course I would-"

  "On what side?" Sebastian took a quick step toward her, raising the Infernal Cup. She could see what was inside it. Though many had drunk from it, the blood had remained at the same level. "Lift her head up, Jace. "

  "No!" She redoubled her efforts to get away. Jaces hand slipped beneath her chin, but she thought she felt hesitation in his touch.

  "Sebastian," he said. "Not-"

  "Now," Sebastian said. "Theres no need for us to remain here. We are the important ones, not these cannon fodder. Weve proved the Infernal Cup works. Thats what matters. " He seized the front of Clarys dress. "But it will be much easier to escape," he said, "without this one kicking and screaming and punching every step of the way. "

  "We can make her drink later-"

  "No," Sebastian snarled. "Hold her still. " And he raised the Cup and jammed it against Clarys lips, trying to pry open her mouth. She fought him, gritting her teeth. "Drink," Sebastian said in a vicious whisper, so low she doubted Jace could hear it. "I told you by the end of this night you would do whatever I wanted. Drink. " His black eyes darkened, and he dug the Cup in, slicing her bottom lip.

 
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