I just wanna say, if you've stuck with this since Exist, thank you so much! That being said, if you just happened to stumble across this, you're going to want to go read Exist and Endure before you start this or you might be confused. All right, buckle your seatbelts because we're about to go off book!
It was still an hour before sunset but the sheer height of the buildings brought the darkness down early. Not that it was every truly dark in New York, just less naturally lit. And maybe I was imagining the world darker than it actually was.
Every step I took caused my pack to tap my back, sending waves of cold even through the layers of fabric separating my skin from the cold steel. I was on my way to see Magnus with the Mortal Sword. Isabelle was the only other one who knew what I was up to. We'd discussed what to do about the sword the day I'd woken up in the Infirmary. Originally, our plan was to inform Maryse and let the Clave handle it but then we decided, after reading City of Glass, that it would be best to let the Clave prepare for imminent war against Valentine and a massive army of demons while figuring out how to use the sword to our advantage.
Obviously, our first step had to be undoing the corruption to the blade. So, under the pretense of going to take magic lessons, I was smuggling the stupid thing to Magnus. Not for the first time, I was annoyed with myself for taking my painstakingly applied glamour off the sword.
Though Magnus said I could, I hadn't taken Alec's key so I had to wait for the warlock to let me in. As soon as he opened the door, his catlike eyes were on my pack and he was frowning.
"And I thought this might be a social call," he complained, stepping aside to let me in.
Chairman Meow made a break for the temporarily open door but Magnus easily caught him with his foot.
"It's partially a social call," I lied.
"I doubt that," he said with a smirk, "my dimension-traveling-Shadow-Mage."
I gingerly took off my pack and held it out to him. "Should we really be advertising the 'dimension-traveling' part of that?"
Magnus frowned but took the wrapped up sword from me. "I don't think we should be advertising the 'Mage' part either but you haven't exactly kept yourself hidden."
I blinked. "Why should we try to keep the Mage thing a secret? Also, what do you mean I haven't kept myself hidden?"
"Oh, it's not your fault, darling," he said as he swept out of the room with the sword – I followed. "Light magic gives off a trace that's easily noted. Shadowhunters always leave a slight Light magic trace but you leave behind a strobe light." He'd gone into a room that appeared to be some sort of strange office and plopped the sword down on a worktable.
I helped him untie the bindings from the sword. "Well, let's hope my 'strobe light' slows down all the epileptic demons."
"I never know if seizure jokes are considered tasteful or not. Fetch me that dark green book from the shelf."
"When did you start caring about whether or not your jokes were tasteful?" I glanced at the shelf. There were at least four books that could be considered dark green, not counting the two or three that might've originally been some other color but had turned green as they aged. "What's the title of that book?"
"You won't be able to read it. It's in a demon language."
I grabbed the first of the books I saw that I wasn't able to read the title of and brought it to him. Apparently my guess had been right.
"Isn't that the book that has the Ritual of Infernal Conversion in it?"
"Yes," Magnus answered, not looking up from searching through the pages.
"Do you really expect it says how to reverse the ritual? That doesn't seem like it would belong in this book…" I shivered as I skimmed the words on the pages he was flipping through. Now that I was attuned to Light magic, demons and Dark magic were that much more unsettling to me.
He shook his head. "No, I'm just hoping I'm able to create a counterspell from the original ritual."
I sighed and threw myself down in a nearby armchair. "That sounds complicated."
"And expensive," he agreed. His green eyes flicked to me. "Which reminds me, how do you intend to pay for this? Is the Clave sponsoring this project?"
Very deliberately, I sat up demurely and crossed my ankles. "That's a point I'd like to address… The Clave knows nothing about this. They think Valentine still has Maellertach."
His eyebrows decided to vacation in the fringes of his spikey hair.
"Put your eyebrows down," I added. "I have my reasons, but I will pay you for converting the sword back."
Magnus moved to sit opposite me. "You don't have the resources of the Clave or the Seelie Court. Jaci, you can't afford me."
"But," I pointed out, "you would't've let me get this far if you didn't plan on helping me."
"Back when I thought you were here as representative of the Clave."
"Magnus," I said in a mildly parental tone.
The warlock flashed a smile. "There is something… You Shadowhunters are going to Idris soon, right?"
"In a few days," I confirmed.
Magnus steepled his fingers and gazed at me over the peaks. "Now, in that book – The Glass City or whatever – Clary went to Idris to find Ragnor Fell and find how to save Jocelyn."
I nodded and waited patiently for him to continue.
"Of course, we already know that Fell will be dead by the time Clary finds him if she starts asking about him. Fortunately, we also know that Fell is a middleman we can skip when it comes to saving Jocelyn. Obviously, you know that, too. And knowing what I do of you, you are going to keep Clary in New York so that she's safe."
I nodded again, all of what he was saying made sense.
"So, Jaci darling," he grinned, "I want you to bring me the Book of the White in exchange for the sword's being restored. Do we have a deal?"
"You have to cure Jocelyn, too."
He rolled his eyes. "Of course. Shall I draw up a contract?"
"I trust you, Magnus."
He beamed at me. "That's wonderful! Now remember, the book is in the library in the Wayland manor house hidden inside Simple Recipes for Housewives. You'll need Jace to help you get it, which I'm positive he'll object to." He winked. "How is that obnoxious Shadowhunter anyway?"
I shrugged stiffly. "He's currently trying to figure out if he wants to spend time with his ill grandmother or not."
Magnus sucked in a breath and leaned back in his chair. "I suppose that would be a complicated situation."
"I mean, she did lock him up and threaten to have him killed," I admitted. "But then she threw herself in front of a demon to save him. If those aren't mixed signals, I don't know what are."
"To think, just a few days ago Imogen thought all of her family was dead."
"Jace used to think all of his family was dead, too," I pointed out. "Back when he believed he was a Wayland."
The warlock's eyes flashed. "What about you? Do you think all of your family is dead?"
I was very quiet for a moment as I considered Magnus's question. What with my parentage being completely unknown, I hadn't ever really thought much about my biological family. There hadn't really been a lot of time for me to even think about my real family since finding out I was adopted what with training to be a Shadowhunter, learning to speak runes, and having to fight Valentine. "I… I don't know."
"I would suggest you convince yourself they're dead. That way, if you're wrong, it won't be as traumatic."
"Thanks," I said flatly.
"You're welcome," he said cheerily. "Now, I take it you'll want the sword before you go to Idris?"
"That would be fantastic."
He nodded. "Not to kick you out, but I'm kicking you out." Blue sparks shot from his fingertips. "I have work to do."
"You're not letting me go?!" Clary demanded. When she got angry, her face started to match her hair.
"Luke doesn't think it's a good idea either," I responded. "Right, Luke."
I could tell he didn't appreciate being pulled into the conversation like that. He glanced across the table to Clary and then at me.
"I don't like the thought of either of you going to Idris," he admitted. "But I don't have a say over Jaci."
While I was pleased by that, I was also confused. "Why not?"
"Faeries become adults when they turn sixteen," he explained.
"But I'm not a faerie."
He shrugged and grabbed another slice of pizza. "I've heard the Queen considers you a full-fledged member of the Seelie Court. Besides, you're the first of your kind and with the situation with Valentine not improving, I can't imagine the Clave not involving you."
"But I'm a Shadowhunter too!" Clary argued. "If they're calling all the Shadowhunters back to Idris-"
"No, Clary," I said with finality. "Mom left me in charge of you before all this started. Besides, you're only sixteen and you're not trained. I get it, you want to see Idris and I promise we'll go sometime. But right now they're preparing for war-"
"I play a big role!" Clary snapped.
Luke shot me a confused glance.
I stared at Clary, trying to get a message to her without speaking. Luke knew nothing about the books and I intended to keep it that way.
"Mom went through a lot of trouble to get you out of Idris," I pointed out. "Don't throw that in her face."
"She brought you out of Idris, too! And you aren't even her kid!"
"But I'm old enough to make my own choices. Plus, the Clave's invited me." That was a bit of a low blow since she hadn't been invited by the Clave.
Clary shoved her chair back ferociously, placed her plate in the sink with a clatter, and stormed out of the kitchen.
Luke sighed heavily and continued eating his pizza.
"I'm never going to have children," I announced. "I can't handle teenagers."
That earned me a chuckle from Luke. "I think you'd do just fine raising teenagers."
"Thanks, I think. Luke," I said, recalling Magnus's words from earlier, "do you know who my parents are?"
He sighed again and shook his head. "Jocelyn never told me. I would ask and she'd just say that she was your mother now. I'm sorry, Jaci."
"You have to know something," I insisted. "Who was pregnant seventeen years ago?"
"I was turned before that," he explained carefully. "I wasn't around Shadowhunters much after that."
"Except for Jocelyn," I pointed out. "You knew I wasn't her kid, so why didn't you share that earlier in my life?"
"I'm not your mother. It wasn't my decision to make."
In my pocket, my phone buzzed with a new text message. "It's from Jace," I explained.
"Do you need to head back to the Institute?"
I read the text again. "No, he's just asking when I'll be back. Isabelle probably made him do it."
"Are you and Jace fighting?"
I shook my head and stowed my phone away. "We're not fighting, we had a fight."
"Do you, want to talk about it?"
"Nah," I smiled, "we're okay. We talked through it, things are just a bit more cautious now."
Luke laughed. "More cautious? I don't know if I've ever seen a young Shadowhunter couple as cautious as the two of you."
"Well his sister is my parabatai so things need to work or else they'll get crazy awkward."
My phone went off again.
"Go," Luke said, making a half-hearted shoeing motion with his hands. "It sounds like you're needed.
"Thanks for dinner," I said, getting to my feet. "Will you tell Clary I'm sorry but I'm not going to change my mind about Idris?"
"Oh I think she knows," he commented, "but yes, I'll tell her."
He looked tired all the time now. A bit more grey had made its way into his hair and he looked like he hadn't been sleeping the best but then again, it'd only been a few days since he'd battled a demon hoard with a handful of Shadowhunters. He had every right to look tired.
I hugged him briefly on my way out the door. Hopefully, if Clary didn't go to Idris, Luke wouldn't either. He needed the rest.