This time, when Clary rang the bell, instead of finding themselves in the dark corridor before the Queen’s chamber, she and Simon landed in a dank, mildew-smelling cave, the walls trickling with cold water, the ground muddy and brown beneath their feet. Several passages led off what seemed to be the main chamber. As she turned, Clary’s boots slipped on the wet stone, and she caught Simon’s arm to steady herself.
He was glancing up, looking around at the walls of the cave, his dark eyes curious. He put a hand to the stone and took it away, showing her the way his palm was shining. “Look,” he said. “Phosphorescent moss.”`
“Faeries used to use it to make torches,” Clary said, remembering her Codex. “That, and trapped will-o-the-wisps in glass.”
“Come on.” Simon tugged her gently forward toward one of the darkened passages that tunneled into the wall.
“Do you know where you’re going?”
“When in doubt, head upward,” he said. “I learned that in Boy Scouts. Besides, I can see perfectly well in the dark.”
“So can I, if I make a night vision rune — oh!” Clary gasped, and they both came to a halt as Meliorn appeared before them, his white armor shining like witchlight in the dimness. There was an unpleasant expression in his pale eyes.
“So you have returned to our lands, human and liar,” he said to Clary. “You are either very brave or very stupid to desire to come before the Queen after the trick you attempted to play on her.”
“I wouldn’t say it was an attempt,” said Clary. “Last time I looked, it worked.”
“Yeah,” said Simon. Clary glanced sideways at him, and he shrugged. “Just backing you up.”
“What prevents me killing you here and taking the prize from you?” Meliorn inquired, emotionlessly.
“Two things,” Clary said, ticking them off on her fingers. “One, I don’t have it on me. He does.” She indicated Simon. “Good luck trying to kill him. Two, if you do, the Queen will never find out what I wanted, and you know she’s curious. If she wasn’t, she would have taken the whistle away from me, not let me keep it.”
Meliorn sighed. “You are the worst kind of stupid. The kind that thinks it is clever. Very well, little human Nephilim. Follow me. Perhaps, if you are lucky, the Queen will let you live.” He turned and stalked off down the passage.
“Remember when we thought faeries were little creatures who lived in toadstools and wore buttercup hats?” Clary looked over at Simon as they both began to follow the faerie knight. “Wasn’t that awesome?”
Simon grinned, a flash in the darkness, and squeezed her hand.
City of Lost Souls will be released on May 8th.
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