The Fiery Trial (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy #8)(14) by Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson

“Doesn’t that drive people insane?” he said, not bothering to disguise his anger in any way.

Jem sat calmly, his hands resting on his knees. Simon could see his age now, not in his face but behind his eyes. They were dark mirrors that reflected the passage of uncounted years.

“Had something gone wrong, you would have been with the Silent Brothers within the hour. I may not be a Silent Brother anymore, but I have previously treated those who have consumed the waters. Magnus prepared the tea because he has worked with both of your minds. Catarina, of course, is a nurse. You were always safe. I am sorry. None of us wanted to deceive you. This was done for your benefit.”

“Not an explanation,” Simon said. “I want to see Clary. I want to know what’s going on.”

“She’s fine,” Catarina said. “I’ll go check on how she’s doing. Don’t worry.”

She left, and Jem leaned forward in his chair.

“Before Clary comes in, I need to know: What did you see?”

“When you drugged me?”

“Simon, this is important. What did you see?”

“I was in New York. I . . . thought I was in New York. Did we go to New York? Did you open a Portal?”

Jem shook his head.

“You were in this room the entire time. Please. Tell me.”

“Clary and I were in Central Park, by the Bethesda Fountain. The angel in the fountain flew away and the fountain flooded, and Clary disappeared. Then some boat came and I was on a ‘tunnel of love’ ride with Jace, and he kept telling me to remember where we met, even though I didn’t see him.”

“Stop a moment,” Jem said. “What does that mean to you?”

“I have no idea. I just know he was saying that I had to remember.”

“Do you remember?”

“No,” Simon snapped. “I barely remember anything. I know I was probably with Clary. Clary could see him.”

“Go on,” Jem said. “What happened then?”

“I saw Maia, he said. “And I saw Jordan. He was covered in blood. Then this ride dumped me out on the East River, and some kid named Maureen said she died because of me and jumped in. Clary was floating on the water and I . . .”

He shuddered again, and Jem immediately stood and produced a blanket, wrapping it around his shoulders.

“Move closer to the fire,” Jem said, guiding him up and to a chair. When Simon had settled a bit and warmed, Jem encouraged him to continue.

“Maureen told me I had to decide which one of them to save. Jace showed up again and gave me some lecture about how all the choices were hard. I jumped in.”

“Who did you decide to save?” Jem asked.

“I hadn’t . . . decided . . . anything. I knew I had to jump. And I guess I knew Maureen was dead. She said she was dead. But Clary wasn’t. I just had to get to Clary. I got all of this energy all of a sudden and I could swim to her. And when I swam to her, I looked up and she was swimming to me.”

Jem sat back and tented his fingers together for a moment.

“I want to see Clary,” Simon said through chattering teeth. His body was warm—it had probably never been cold, really—but the river water still felt so real.

Catarina reappeared a moment later with Clary, who was also wrapped in a blanket. Jem immediately got up and offered her his chair. Clary’s eyes were wide and shining, and she looked to Simon in relief.

“Did it happen to you, too?” she said. “Whatever that was.”

“I think we both got it,” he replied. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. I’m just . . . really cold. I thought I was in the river.”

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