Something sparked inside the blade—a brief, dull gleam. Then it was gone. Julian stared at it. A seraph blade that could not be brought to life was barely more use than a plastic knife: dull-bladed, heavy, and short.
With a violent jerk of his arm, Julian cast the blade aside. It skidded across the grass. He raised his eyes. Emma could sense how tightly he was holding back. She felt it like a pressure in her own body that made it hard to breathe.
“So,” he said. “We’re going to have to journey across Faerie, a place where Shadowhunters aren’t welcome, using only the stars to navigate, and we can’t use runes, seraph blades, or witchlight. Is that the situation, roughly?”
“I would say it’s the situation exactly,” said Mark.
“Also, we’re heading for the Unseelie Court,” Emma added. “Which is supposed to be like one of those horror movies Dru likes, but less, you know, fun.”
“Then we will travel at night,” Cristina said. She pointed into the distance. “There are landmarks that I’ve seen on maps. Do you see those ridges in the distance, against the sky? I think that those are the Thorn Mountains. The Unseelie Lands lie in their shadow. It is not so far away.”
Emma could see Mark relax at the sound of Cristina’s sensible voice. It didn’t seem to be working on Julian, though. His jaw was clenched, his hands rigid fists at his sides.
It wasn’t that Julian didn’t get angry. It was that he didn’t let himself show it. People thought he was quiet, calm, but that was deceptive. Emma recalled something she had read once: that volcanoes had the lushest green slopes, the loveliest and quietest aspect, because the fire that pulsed through them kept their earth from ever freezing.
But when they erupted, they could rain down devastation for miles.
“Jules,” she said. He glanced over at her; fury gleamed behind his eyes. “We might not have witchlight, or runes, but we are still Shadowhunters. With everything that means. We can do this. We can.”
It felt like a clumsy speech to her, but she saw the fire die in his eyes. “You’re right,” he said. “Sorry.”
“And I’m sorry for bringing you all here,” said Mark. “If I had known—about the runes—but it must be something recent, very much so . . . .”
“You didn’t bring us here,” said Cristina. “We followed you. And we all came through not just for you but because of what the phouka told each of us; isn’t that true?”
One you have loved and lost. “It’s true for me,” said Emma. She glanced at the sky. “We should get going, though. Morning is probably in just a few hours. And if we don’t have Energy runes, we’ll have to get our energy the old-fashioned way.”
Mark looked puzzled. “Drugs?”
“Chocolate,” Emma said. “I brought chocolate. Mark, where do you even come up with these things?”
Mark smiled crookedly, shrugging one shoulder. “Faerie humor?”
“I thought faeries mostly made jokes at other people’s expense and played pranks on mundanes,” said Julian.
“Sometimes they tell very long, rhyming stories they think are hilarious,” said Mark. “But I have to admit I never really understood why.”
Julian sighed. “That actually sounds worse than anything else I’ve heard about the Unseelie Court.”
Mark shot Julian a grateful look, as if to say that he understood that his brother had mastered his temper in part for him, for all of them, so that they would be all right. So that they could continue on their way, and find Kieran, with Julian leading them as he always did. “Come,” Mark said, turning. “It is this way—we should begin walking; it may not be very many more hours until dawn.”