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screams. Her heart was slamming against her chest; she felt her hair tumble down, hitting her shoulders with a sagain, the shock of what was happening too great for her to hold on to the Change. Nate was still screaming—thgrip. Will had begun to run, just as the creature, staring at Tessa, reared up with a roar—and Will struck her, knoccovering her with his body as the automaton blew apart like an exploding star.The cacaphony of bursting, clattering metal was incredible. Tessa tried to cover her ears, but Will’s body was pelbows dug into the floor on either side of her head. She felt his breath on the back of her neck, the pounding of heard her brother cry out, a terrible gurgling cry. She turned her head, pressing her face into Will’s shoulder as hfloor shuddered beneath them—And it was over. Slowly Tessa opened her eyes. The air was cloudy with plaster dust and floating splinters and tchunks of metal lay scattered haphazardly about the floor, and several of the windows had burst open, letting indarted about the room. She saw Henry, cradling Charlotte, kissing her pale face as she gazed up at him; Jem, strand plaster dust coating his clothes and hair—and Nate.At first she thought he was leaning against one of the pillars. Then she saw the spreading red stain across his sof metal had gone through him like a spear, pinning him upright to the pillar. His head was down, his hands claw“Nate!”she screamed. Will rolled sideways, freeing her, and she was on her feet in seconds, racing across the rowere shaking with horror and revulsion, but she managed to close them around the metal spear in his chest andbarely succeeded in catching him as he slumped forward, his sudden dead weight bearing her to the ground. Somground, Nate’s limp body stretched awkwardly across her lap.A memory rose in her mind—her crouching on the floor at de Quincey’s town house, holding Nate in her arms. him. Now, as she held him and his blood soaked into her shirt and trousers, she felt as if she were watching actoout grief.“Nate,” she whispered.His eyes fluttered open. A pang of shock went through her. She had thought he was already dead.“Tessie . . .” His voice sounded thick, as if it were coming through layers of water. His eyes roamed her face, ththen, finally, came to rest on his own chest, where blood pumped steadily through a massive rent in his shirt. Tesit up, and pressed it hard against the wound, praying it would be enough to make the blood stop.It wasn’t. The jacket was soaked through instantly, thin wet streams of blood running down Nate’s sides. “Oh, Gher voice. “Will—”
“Don’t.” Nate’s hand seized her wrist, his nails digging in.“But, Nate—”“I’m dying. I know.” He coughed, a loose, wet, rattling sound. “Don’t you understand? I’ve failed the Magister. Hit slow.” He made a hoarse, impatient noise. “Leave it, Tessie. I’m not being noble. You know I’m not that.”She took a ragged breath. “I should leave you here to die alone in your own blood. That’s what you’d do if it we“Tessie—” A stream of blood spilled from the corner of his mouth. “The Magister was never going to hurt you.”