Home > Son of the Dawn (Ghosts of the Shadow Market #1)(4)

Son of the Dawn (Ghosts of the Shadow Market #1)(4)
Author: Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan

“Hello,” said Alec. “It’s, um, very nice to meet you.”

The vampire boy gave him a thousand-yard stare that suggested a thousand yards was too close up and the vampire wished he were enjoying blissful solitude in the far reaches of space. “Hello.”

“I’m Alexander Lightwood,” said Alec.

Grimacing as if the introduction were vital information being tortured out of him, the vampire said: “I am Raphael.”

When he made that face, Isabelle did see the fangs. They were not as cool as she had hoped.

“I’m basically twelve,” continued Alec, who was totally eleven. “You don’t look a lot older than me. But I know it’s different with vampires. I guess you kind of stay the same age you stop at, though, right? Like you’re fifteen, but you’ve been fifteen for a hundred years. How long have you been fifteen?”

Raphael said flatly, “I’m sixty-three.”

“Oh,” said Alec. “Oh. Oh, that’s cool.”

He advanced several steps toward the vampire. Raphael did not take a step back, but he looked like he wanted to.

“Also,” Alec added shyly, “your jacket is cool.”

“Why are you talking to my children?” Mom asked sharply.

She was already up from her chair opposite the Silent Brother, and as she spoke she seized hold of Alec and Isabelle. Her fingers pinched; she was holding them so hard, and fear seemed to travel to Isabelle through her mother’s touch, even though she had not been afraid before.

The vampire had not been looking at them as if he thought they would be delicious at all. Maybe that was how he lured you in, though, Isabelle considered. Maybe Alec was just ensorcelled by vampire wiles. It would be nice to be able to blame the Downworlder for making Isabelle worry.

The Silent Brother rose from his chair and glided to join them. Isabelle heard the vampire whisper to the Silent Brother, and she was pretty sure he said: “This is my nightmare.”

Isabelle stuck her tongue out at him. Raphael’s lip curled the tiniest fraction farther from his fangs. Alec did glance at Isabelle then, to make sure she was not scared. Isabelle wasn’t scared of much, but Alec was always fussing.

Raphael came here out of concern for a Shadowhunter child, said the Silent Brother.

“No, I didn’t,” Raphael sneered. “Better watch your children. I once killed a whole gang of boys not much older than your boy here. Shall I take this as a refusal to help with the shipment? I am deeply shocked. Well, we tried. Time to go, Brother Zachariah.”

“Wait,” said Robert. “Of course we will help. I will meet you at the drop-off point in New Jersey.”

Naturally her dad would help, Isabelle thought indignantly. This vampire was an idiot. Whatever mistakes they might have made when they were really young, her parents ran this whole Institute and had killed lots and lots of evil demons. Anyone sensible would know you could always count on her dad.

“You can consult with us on other Shadowhunter matters at any time,” her mom added, but she did not let go of Alec and Isabelle until the vampire and Brother Zachariah had left the Institute.

Isabelle had thought the visit would be exciting, but she had ended up feeling terrible. She wished that Jonathan Wayland was not coming.

Guests were terrible, and Isabelle never wanted any more.

The plan was to stow away aboard ship undetected, apprehend the smugglers, and dispose of the yin fen. The child would never have to know about any of it.

It was almost nice to be in one of the sleek Shadowhunter boats again. Brother Zachariah had been in the multi-hulled trimarans as a child on lakes in Idris, and once his parabatai had stolen one and they had rowed it down the Thames. Now he, an edgy Robert Lightwood, and two vampires had used one to navigate the black nighttime waters of the Delaware River, coming down from the port of Camden. Lily kept complaining that they were practically in Philadelphia, until the boat drew close to the tall cargo ship. Dawn Trader was painted in dark blue letters against its gray side. They waited for their moment, then Robert threw a grappling hook.

Brother Zachariah, Raphael, Lily, and Robert Lightwood made it onto the boat and into a deserted cabin. This journey, short and stealthy though it was, left them with the impression that there was no mundane crew onboard at all. Hiding there, they counted the voices of the smugglers and realized there were far more than had been reported.

“Oh no, Brother Hop-in-the-sack-ariah,” Lily whispered. “I think we’re going to have to fight them.”

She looked very cheerful about the prospect. As she spoke, she winked and pulled her feathered flapper’s headband from her yellow-streaked hair.

“It’s actually from the 1920s, so I don’t want to damage it,” she explained, and nodded to Raphael. “I’ve had it longer than I’ve had him. He’s from the 1950s. Jazz baby and greaser teen take on the world.”

Raphael rolled his eyes. “Desist with the nicknames. They are getting worse.”

Lily laughed. “I will not. Once you go Zachariah, you never go backariah.”

Raphael and Robert Lightwood both looked appalled, but Zachariah did not mind the nicknames. He did not hear laughter often.

What worried him was the child.

We cannot allow Jonathan to be scared or hurt, he said.

Robert was nodding, and the vampires looking supremely unconcerned, when a boy’s voice came from outside the door.

“I’m not frightened of anything,” he said.

Jonathan Wayland, Zachariah presumed.

“Then why are you asking about the Lightwoods?” asked a woman’s voice. She sounded irritated. “They’re taking you in. They won’t be unkind to you.”

“I was only curious,” said Jonathan.

He was clearly doing his best to sound airy and aloof, and his best was not bad. His voice almost swaggered. Brother Zachariah thought it would have convinced most people.

“Robert Lightwood’s got some influence in the Clave,” remarked the woman. “Solid man. I’m sure he’s ready to be a father to you.”

“I had a father,” said Jonathan, cold as the night wind.

The woman was silent. Across the cabin, Robert Lightwood’s head was bowed.

“But the mother,” said Jonathan, a touch tentative. “What’s Mrs. Lightwood like?”

“Maryse? I barely know her,” the woman replied. “She’s already got three kids. Four’s a lot to handle.”

“I’m not a kid,” said Jonathan. “I won’t bother her.” He paused and observed, “There are a lot of werewolves aboard this ship.”

“Ugh, kids raised in Idris are exhausting,” said the woman. “Werewolves are a fact of life, unfortunately. Creatures are everywhere. Go to bed, Jonathan.”

They listened as another cabin door shut, and a lock was shot home.

“Now,” said Robert Lightwood. “Vampires, starboard. Brother Zachariah and I, port. Contain the werewolves by any means necessary, then locate the yin fen.”

They spilled out onto the deck. It was a rough night, the wind pulling Zachariah’s hood down farther, the deck jerking beneath their feet. Zachariah could not open his lips to taste the salt in the air.

New York was a glimmer on the horizon, shining like the lights of the Shadow Market in the dark. They could not allow the yin fen to hit the city.

There were a couple of werewolves on the deck. One was in wolf form, and Zachariah could see a tinge of silver in his fur. The other had lost color in his fingertips. Zachariah wondered if they knew that they were dying. He remembered, too vividly, how it had felt when the yin fen was killing him.

Sometimes it was good to be without feeling. Sometimes being human hurt too much, and Zachariah could not afford pity now.

Brother Zachariah slammed his staff against one of their heads, and when he turned, Robert Lightwood had already dealt with the other. They stood braced, listening to the howl of the wind and the surge of the sea, waiting for the others to come from belowdecks. Then Zachariah heard the sounds from the other side of the ship.

Stay where you are, he told Robert. I will go to the vampires.

Brother Zachariah had to fight his way to them. There were even more werewolves than he had guessed. Across their heads, he could see Raphael and Lily, leaping as if they were insubstantial as shadows, teeth shining in the moonlight.

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