Tessa watched as the two boys flanked Camille like soldiers—which, she supposed, was what they were—and followed her from the room. Last through the door, the vampire paused and looked back over her shoulder. Her pale blond curls brushed her cheeks as she smiled; she was so beautiful that Tessa felt a sort of pang, looking at her, overriding her instinctive feeling of aversion.
“If you do this,” said Camille, “and you succeed—whether or not you find your brother—I can promise you, little shape-shifter, that you won’t regret it.”
Tessa frowned, but Camille was already gone. She moved so fast that it was as though she had vanished between one breath and the next. Tessa turned toward Charlotte. “What do you think she meant by that? That I won’t regret it?”
Charlotte shook her head. “I don’t know.” She sighed. “I’d like to think that she meant that the knowledge of a good deed done would console you, but it’s Camille, so …”
“Are all vampires like that?” Tessa asked. “Cold like that?”
“Many of them have been alive a long time,” Charlotte said diplomatically. “They don’t see things the way we do.”
Tessa put her fingers to her aching temples. “Indeed, they don’t.”
Of all the things that bothered Will about vampires—the way they moved soundlessly, the low and inhuman timbre of their voices—it was the way they smelled that bothered him most. Or rather, the way they didn’t smell. All human beings smelled like something—sweat, soap, perfume—but vampires had no scent, like wax mannequins.
Ahead of him, Jem was holding the last of the doors that led from the Sanctuary to the outer foyer of the Institute. All these spaces had been deconsecrated so that vampires and others of their ilk could use them, but Camille could never come any farther into the Institute than that. Escorting her out was more than a courtesy. They were making sure she didn’t accidentally wander onto consecrated ground, which would be dangerous for everyone involved.
Camille brushed by Jem, hardly looking at him, and Will followed, pausing only long enough to mutter “She doesn’t smell like anything” to Jem under his breath.
Jem looked alarmed. “You’ve been smelling her?”
Camille, who was waiting by the next doorway for them, turned her head at this and smiled. “I can hear everything you say, you know,” she said. “It is true, vampires have no scent. It makes us better predators.”
“That, and excellent hearing,” Jem said, and let the door swing shut behind Will. They were standing in the small square entryway with Camille now, her hand on the knob of the front door as if she meant to hurry out, but there was nothing hurried in her expression as she looked them over.
“Look at you both,” she said, “all black and silver. You could be a vampire,” she said to Jem, “with your pallor, and your looks. And you,” she said to Will, “well, I don’t think anyone at de Quincey’s will doubt that you could be my human subjugate.”
Jem was looking at Camille, with that look that Will always thought could cut glass. He said:
“Why are you doing this, Lady Belcourt? This plan of yours, de Quincey, all of it—why?”
Camille smiled. She was beautiful, Will had to admit—but then, a lot of vampires were beautiful. Their beauty had always seemed to him like the beauty of pressed flowers—lovely, but dead. “Because the knowledge of what he was doing weighed on my conscience.”
Jem shook his head. “Perhaps you are the sort who would sacrifice yourself on the altar of principle, but I doubt it. Most of us do things for reasons that are more purely personal. For love, or for hate.”
“Or for revenge,” Will said. “After all, you’ve known about what was going on for a year now, and you only just came to us.”
“That was because of Miss Gray.”
“Yes, but that’s not all it is, is it?” Jem said. “Tessa is your opportunity, but your reason, your motive, is something else.” He cocked his head to the side. “Why do you hate de Quincey so much?”
“I don’t see what business it is of yours, little silver Shadowhunter,” Camille said, and her lips had drawn back from her teeth, leaving her fangs visible, like bits of ivory against the red of her lips. Will knew that vampires could show their fangs at will, but it was still unnerving. “Why does it matter what my motives are?”
Will filled in the answer for Jem, already knowing what the other boy had been thinking. “Because otherwise we can’t trust you. Perhaps you’re sending us into a trap. Charlotte wouldn’t want to believe it, but that doesn’t make it not possible.”
“Lead you into a trap?” Camille’s tone was mocking. “And incur the terrifying wrath of the Clave? Hardly likely!”
“Lady Belcourt,” said Jem, “whatever Charlotte might have promised you, if you want our help, you will answer the question.”
“Very well,” she said. “I can see you will not be satisfied unless I give you an explanation. You,” she said, nodding toward Will, “are correct. And you seem to know a curious amount about love and revenge for one so young; we must discuss them someday, together.” She smiled again, but the smile did not reach her eyes. “I had a lover, you see,” she said. “He was a shape-changer, a lycanthrope. It is forbidden for the Night Children to love or to lie with the Moon’s Children. We were careful, but de Quincey found us out. Found us out and murdered him, in much the way he will be murdering some poor mundane prisoner at his next party.” Her eyes shone like green lamps as she looked at them both. “I loved him, and de Quincey murdered him, and the others of my kind helped and abetted him. I will not forgive them for it. Kill them all.”
The Accords, now ten years old, marked a historic moment for both Nephilim and Downworlders. No longer would the two groups strive to destroy each other. They would be united against a common foe, the demon. There were fifty men at the signing of the Accords in Idris: ten of the Night Children; ten of Lilith’s Children, known as warlocks; ten of the Fair Folk; ten of the Moon’s Children; and ten of Raziel’s blood—
Tessa jerked awake at the sound of a knock on her door; she had been half-drowsing on the pillow, her finger still keeping a place in The Shadowhunter’s Codex. After setting the book down, she barely had time to sit up and draw the covers about herself before the door opened.