Emma had been halfway up the stairs on the way to Cristina’s room when she had seen Mark, leaning against the wall on the landing and looking dejected. “Dru won’t let me in to talk to her,” he said. “I am worried. It is like a faerie to grieve alone, but not, I understand, like a Shadowhunter.”
Emma hesitated. She was about to say that it wasn’t unlike Dru to lock herself in her room alone, but Dru had looked more than a little upset when she’d left the kitchen. “Keep trying,” she advised. “Sometimes you have to knock for twenty minutes or so. Or you could offer to watch a horror movie with her.”
Mark looked glum. “I do not think I would enjoy a horror movie.”
“You never know,” Emma said.
He turned to head back up the stairs, and hesitated. “I am worried about you and Jules as well,” he said, more quietly. “I do not like the Inquisitor, or the idea of you being questioned by him. He reminds me of the King of Unseelie.”
Emma was startled. “He does?”
“They give me the same feeling,” Mark said. “I cannot explain it, but —“
A door opened on the landing overhead: it was Cristina’s. She stepped out, glancing down. “Emma? I wondered if you were —“
She stopped when she saw Mark, and she and Mark stared at each other in a way that made Emma feel as if she had disappeared completely.
“I didn’t mean to interrupt,” Cristina said, but she was still looking at Mark, and he was looking back as if their gazes were hopelessly tied together.
Mark had shaken himself, as if he were casting off cobwebs or dreams. “It is all right — I must go speak with Drusilla.” He had bounded up the stairs and out of sight, disappearing around the bend in the corridor.
Cristina had snapped out of it and invited Emma in, and now it was as if the moment with Mark had never happened, though Emma was itching to ask about it. “Mark will need you,” she said again, and Cristina twisted her hands in her lap.
“Mark,” she said, and paused. “I don’t know what Mark is thinking. If he is angry at me.”
“Why would he be angry at you?”
“Because of Kieran,” she said. “They did not end things well, and now Kieran is at the Scholomance, and far away, which was my doing.”
“You didn’t break him up with Kieran,” Emma protested. “If anything, you helped keep them together longer. Remember — hot faerie threesome.”
Cristina dropped her face into her hands. “Mrfuffhfhsh,” she said.
“I said,” Cristina repeated, lifting her face, “that Kieran sent me a note.”
“He did? How? When?”
“This morning. In an acorn.” Cristina passed a small piece of paper to Emma. “It isn’t very illuminating.”
Lady of Roses,
Though the Scholomance is cold, and Diego is boring, I am still grateful that you found enough value in my life to save it. You are as kind as you are beautiful. My thoughts are with you.
“Why did he send you this?” Emma handed the note back to Cristina, shaking her head. “It’s weird. He’s so weird!”
“I think he just wanted to thank me for the escape plan,” Cristina protested. “That’s all.”
“Faeries don’t like thanking people,” said Emma. “This is a romantic note.”
Cristina blushed. “It’s just the way faeries talk. It doesn’t mean anything.”
“When it comes to faeries,” Emma said darkly, “everything means something.