“Theoretically, how much?” asked Ty with interest.
Hale looked grim. “Not as good a price as I could get for Emma Carstairs—even more for just her head.”
Ty blanched. Kit felt it, Ty’s recollection that the Market was, in fact, truly dangerous. That it was all truly dangerous.
Kit felt the situation was getting away from him. “No heads. Look, my father didn’t trust anyone, Mr. Hale. You know that. He hid his most precious items all over Los Angeles, buried in places he thought no one would ever find them.”
“I’m listening,” said Hale.
Kit knew this was the risky part. “One is right here in the Shadow Market. A ruby-encrusted copy of the Red Scrolls of Magic.”
The phouka whistled, long and low.
“Not only will I give it to you, I’ll give it to you for free,” said Kit. “All you have to do is let us back into the Shadow Market. Free trade.”
Hale shook his head in regret. “Now I really wish I had a cigar, so I could celebrate,” he said. “I already found that, you stupid brat. We dug up your dad’s stall after the Mantids killed him.” He turned away, then paused, glancing back over his shoulder. The moonlight seemed to bounce off his white, scaled skin. “You’re out of your depth, kids. Get out of Downworld before someone kills you. That person could even be me.”
A forked tongue shot from between his teeth and licked his lips. Kit started back, revolted, as Hale melted into the Market and was swallowed up by the crowds.
Kit couldn’t look at Ty. He felt as if the air had been knocked out of him, shock and shame warring for an equal chance to turn his stomach. “I . . . ,” he began.
“You should have just given the password,” said the phouka.
Out of patience, Kit slowly raised his middle finger. “Here’s the password.”
Ty muffled a laugh and grabbed Kit’s sleeve. “Come on,” he said. “Let’s get out of here.”
* * *
“I am proud to announce,” said Horace Dearborn, “that the proposed Downworld Registry is ready to become a reality.”
The sound that went through the rows of Nephilim seated in the Council Hall was hard to decipher. To Diana it sounded like the roar of an animal driving another hungry beast away from its prey.
Horace stood with his hands folded behind his back, a toneless smirk on his face. At his left stood Zara, in full Centurion regalia, her hair braided in a crown around her head. At his right was Manuel, his expression carefully blank, his eyes dancing with malice. They looked like a horrible mockery of a family portrait.
“All Institutes will have a short amount of time to register their local Downworlders,” said Horace. “The heads of Institutes must meet a quota of registrations, based on our knowledge of local Downworld populations, in the first weeks this Law takes effect.”
Diana sat, letting the words wash over her in waves of horror. She couldn’t help but look at Jia, who occupied a tall wooden seat at the edge of the dais. Her face was a strained mask. Diana couldn’t help but wonder if this was more extreme even than what Jia had feared Horace might propose.
“And if Downworlders refuse?” called someone from the audience.
“Then they will have their protections under the Accords stripped from them,” Zara said, and Diana went cold all over. No Accords protection meant a Shadowhunter could kill a Downworlder in the street for no reason, and there would be no consequences. “We understand this will be a great burden of work on Institutes, but it is important that everyone cooperate, for the good of all Shadowhunters.”
“Each Downworlder registered will be given a number,” said Horace. “If a Downworlder is stopped by a Shadowhunter for any reason, anywhere, they can be asked for this number.”
The noise in the room was decidedly more worried now.