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Silas sat in the passenger seat of the parked Jaguar limousine near the Temple Church. His hands felt damp on the keystone as he waited for Rémy to finish tying and gagging Teabing in back with the rope they had found in the trunk.
Finally, Rémy climbed out of the rear of the limo, walked around, and slid into the driver’s seat beside Silas.
«Secure?» Silas asked.
Rémy chuckled, shaking off the rain and glancing over his shoulder through the open partition at the crumpled form of Leigh Teabing, who was barely visible in the shadows in the rear. «He’s not going anywhere.»
Silas could hear Teabing’s muffled cries and realized Rémy had used some of the old duct tape to gag him.
« Ferme ta gueule! » Rémy shouted over his shoulder at Teabing. Reaching to a control panel on the elaborate dash, Rémy pressed a button. An opaque partition raised behind them, sealing off the back. Teabing disappeared, and his voice was silenced. Rémy glanced at Silas. «I’ve been listening to his miserable whimpering long enough.»
Minutes later, as the Jaguar stretch limo powered through the streets, Silas’s cell phone rang. The Teacher. He answered excitedly. «Hello?»
«Silas,» the Teacher’s familiar French accent said, «I am relieved to hear your voice. This means you are safe.»
Silas was equally comforted to hear the Teacher. It had been hours, and the operation had veered wildly off course. Now, at last, it seemed to be back on track. «I have the keystone.»
«This is superb news,» the Teacher told him. «Is Rémy with you?»
Silas was surprised to hear the Teacher use Rémy’s name. «Yes. Rémy freed me.» «As I ordered him to do. I am only sorry you had to endure captivity for so long.» «Physical discomfort has no meaning. The important thing is that the keystone is ours.» «Yes. I need it delivered to me at once. Time is of the essence.» Silas was eager to meet the Teacher face-to-face at last. «Yes, sir, I would be honored.» «Silas, I would like Rémy to bring it to me.» Rémy? Silas was crestfallen. After everything Silas had done for the Teacher, he had believed he would be the one to hand over the prize. The Teacher favors Rémy?
«I sense your disappointment,» the Teacher said,» which tells me you do not understand my meaning.» He lowered his voice to a whisper. «You must believe that I would much prefer to receive the keystone from you – a man of God rather than a criminal – but Rémy must be dealt with. He disobeyed my orders and made a grave mistake that has put our entire mission at risk.»
Silas felt a chill and glanced over at Rémy. Kidnapping Teabing had not been part of the plan, and deciding what to do with him posed a new problem.
«You and I are men of God,» the Teacher whispered. «We cannot be deterred from our goal.» There was an ominous pause on the line. «For this reason alone, I will ask Rémy to bring me the keystone. Do you understand?»
Silas sensed anger in the Teacher’s voice and was surprised the man was not more understanding. Showing his face could not be avoided , Silas thought. Rémy did what he had to do. He saved the keystone. « I understand,» Silas managed.
«Good. For your own safety, you need to get off the street immediately. The police will be looking for the limousine soon, and I do not want you caught. Opus Dei has a residence in London, no?» «Of course.»
«And you are welcome there?» «As a brother.» «Then go there and stay out of sight. I will call you the moment I am in possession of the keystone and have attended to my current problem.»
«You are in London?»
«Do as I say, and everything will be fine.» «Yes, sir.» The Teacher heaved a sigh, as if what he now had to do was profoundly regrettable. «It’s time I speak to Rémy.»
Silas handed Rémy the phone, sensing it might be the last call Rémy Legaludec ever took.
As Rémy took the phone, he knew this poor, twisted monk had no idea what fate awaited him now that he had served his purpose.
The Teacher used you , Silas. And your bishop is a pawn. Rémy still marveled at the Teacher’s powers of persuasion. Bishop Aringarosa had trusted everything. He had been blinded by his own desperation. Aringarosa was far too eager to believe. Although Rémy did not particularly like the Teacher, he felt pride at having gained the man’s trust and helped him so substantially. I have earned my payday.
«Listen carefully,» the Teacher said. «Take Silas to the Opus Dei residence hall and drop him off a few streets away. Then drive to St. James’s Park. It is adjacent to Parliament and Big Ben. You can park the limousine on Horse Guards Parade. We’ll talk there.»
With that, the connection went dead.