The Bronze Key (Magisterium #3)(10)


by Holly Black, Cassandra Clare

Tamara scowled. “You didn’t tell us that.”

“Callum,” Master North said, his voice stern enough to make everyone else go quiet. “Let’s go through what happened today again, very slowly. And this time you’re not going to leave anything out. Do you understand me? This is too important.”

“Okay,” Call said, chastened. “It was just that I —”

“No excuses,” Master North said. “Begin.”

“I was looking for Alastair when Jennifer Matsui gave me a note and said it was from a … uh, pretty blond girl,” Call said, wishing that he knew enough magic to make himself invisible or turn into a mist that could slither through the floorboards.

Celia beamed at him. “Really?”

Jasper started snickering. At Master Rufus’s scowl, he tried to stop, but didn’t seem likely to be successful.

“You’re the only blond girl he knows,” snapped Tamara, clearly far less amused. Nearly being crushed by ten tons of glass and crystal probably made her less interested in embarrassing Call.

Master North reached out his hand for the note and Celia gave it to him. He peered at it for a long moment, then looked at her. “And you didn’t write this? You’re sure?”

Celia shook her head. “I didn’t. I mean —” She looked at Call unhappily. “I feel really bad someone used my name to try to hurt you.”

“It was no problem,” Call said, trying to seem as if he didn’t mind one way or the other. Then he realized that saying that nearly being crushed by a chandelier was no problem was kind of bizarre. He looked helplessly at his dad. Alastair shrugged.

“Where is Jennifer Matsui now?” Master Rufus asked, clearly impatient with Call’s dithering. “The person who gave her the note is likely to be the person responsible for tampering with the chandelier. Unless she did it herself.”

“Jennifer?” Tamara said. “Why would she do that?”

Aaron frowned. “Why would anyone want to kill Call?”

“Well, he’s a Makar,” said Master Rufus. “Just like you.”

Aaron, Tamara, and Call exchanged quick looks. It was true that Call was a Makar, but in Aaron’s question, Call had heard the second question that everyone who knew his secret probably had. The question they couldn’t ask or share. Because while everyone else was thinking that the person trying to kill Call had been targeting one of the Makaris, there was another possibility: that the person who had been targeting Call was trying to kill him because he knew what Call really was.

Maybe if the truth comes out, Call thought, whoever tried to drop a chandelier on me will get an award, too.

“Yeah, with his winning personality, it’s hard to imagine who’d want to kill Call,” said Jasper.

“Jasper!” said Tamara, but Call, for once, didn’t mind it. Jasper being a jerk to him was normal, and right now, normal was all he wanted.

But that wasn’t going to happen. A scream split the room — and then another, and another. Someone in the Collegium was shrieking in terror.

Tamara bolted to her feet. Aaron’s energy bar went flying. Alastair looked horrified. “What’s going on?” demanded Mrs. Rajavi, whirling to look toward the Masters.

Call was on his feet, too, running toward the door. His leg ached but he pushed past the pain — even so, he wasn’t as fast as the others. He could hear voices, yells and cries, all echoing from one end of the Collegium. He followed the others as they ran back through the long corridor and down another hall, back into the War Room.

The room was full of people. The person who’d been screaming was still screaming. It was Kimiya. One of her hands was clutching the front of her dress, the other hand pointing up.

Outside the clear glass Call could see the water all around the Collegium, glowing a murky greenish blue. The schools of fish had vanished. There was only the water, and floating in the water was a body. A girl, barefoot in a dress that was partly wrapped around her, like seaweed. Her dark hair drifted in the current.

Tamara ran toward her sister, but Alex had already put his arms around Kimiya. There was an expression of horror on his face. “Jen,” wept Kimiya, into his shirt. “Jen …”

Call felt as if his blood was fizzing with ice. The body in the water drifted and turned, and Call saw two things: First, that there was a long iron dagger plunged into the dead girl’s chest. Second, that her face was familiar.

It was Jennifer Matsui, and someone had murdered her.

THERE WAS A loud explosion. “Everybody out!” barked Master Graves, who had climbed onto the War Room table. One of his hands was raised, and fire glimmered in his palm. “Now!”

Master Rufus’s face was lined and haggard in the blue light. Call wondered if he’d known Jen Matsui, what it was like for him to see a student die. He’d been Constantine Madden’s teacher — he’d seen many students die. Call wondered if you got used to it. From Master Rufus’s expression, he guessed not.

Rufus raised his palm. Light shone from his fingers, illuminating a pathway to the doors. “Move,” he said in a voice that brooked no argument. The other Masters and several of the Assembly members surged forward, helping to herd the panicking, weeping, and shouting guests out of the War Room.

People poured into the hallway and then into the great hall. Anastasia Tarquin was there with several Masters, including Master Taisuke. They began directing people toward the stairs that led out of the Collegium. Call saw Celia disappearing up the steps with her moms and wondered if she was okay. Alastair, who had a hand on Call’s shoulder, pushed him in that direction, gesturing for Aaron to follow.

Looking back, Call saw Tamara in some kind of intense conversation with her parents and the deWinters. Mrs. deWinter didn’t seem happy and neither did the Rajavis. Mr. deWinter’s expression was strange, though, like he was pleased and didn’t want to show it. The crowd parted around them as it moved toward the exit. Assembly members apparently didn’t have to follow orders.

“We didn’t even get to say good-bye to Tamara,” Call told his father.

“Not now,” his father said, pushing with more force. “We need to get out of here before —”

“Alastair,” said Master Rufus. “Wait.”

Alastair paused. Call could sense him tensing with anger. He turned slowly, and so did Call and Aaron. The floating ropes had risen around them, cordoning off Aaron, Call, and Alastair.