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CHAPTER 88

Langdon felt utterly spent as he and Sophie hurdled a turnstile at the Temple tube station and dashed deep into the grimy labyrinth of tunnels and platforms. The guilt ripped through him.

I involved Leigh, and now he’s in enormous danger.

Rémy’s involvement had been a shock, and yet it made sense. Whoever was pursuing the Grail had recruited someone on the inside. They went to Teabing’s for the same reason I did.Throughout history, those who held knowledge of the Grail had always been magnets for thieves and scholars alike. The fact that Teabing had been a target all along should have made Langdon feel less guilty about involving him. It did not. We need to find Leigh and help him.Immediately.

Langdon followed Sophie to the westbound District and Circle Line platform, where she hurried to a pay phone to call the police, despite Rémy’s warning to the contrary. Langdon sat on a grungy bench nearby, feeling remorseful.

«The best way to help Leigh,» Sophie reiterated as she dialed,» is to involve the London authorities immediately. Trust me.»

Langdon had not initially agreed with this idea, but as they had hatched their plan, Sophie’s logic began to make sense. Teabing was safe at the moment. Even if Rémy and the others knew where the knight’s tomb was located, they still might need Teabing’s help deciphering the orb reference. What worried Langdon was what would happen after the Grail map had been found. Leigh willbecome a huge liability.

If Langdon were to have any chance of helping Leigh, or of ever seeing the keystone again, it was essential that he find the tomb first. Unfortunately, Rémy has a big head start.

Slowing Rémy down had become Sophie’s task. Finding the right tomb had become Langdon’s. Sophie would make Rémy and Silas fugitives of the London police, forcing them into hiding or, better yet, catching them. Langdon’s plan was less certain – to take the tube to nearby King’s College, which was renowned for its electronic theological database. The ultimate research tool, Langdon had heard. Instant answers to any religious historical question.He wondered what the database would have to say about» a knight a Pope interred.»

He stood up and paced, wishing the train would hurry.

At the pay phone, Sophie’s call finally connected to the London police. «Snow Hill Division,» the dispatcher said. «How may I direct your call?» «I’m reporting a kidnapping.» Sophie knew to be concise.» Name please?»

Sophie paused. «Agent Sophie Neveu with the French Judicial Police.»

The title had the desired effect. «Right away, ma’am. Let me get a detective on the line for you.»

As the call went through, Sophie began wondering if the police would even believe her description of Teabing’s captors. A man in a tuxedo.How much easier to identify could a suspect be? Even if Rémy changed clothes, he was partnered with an albino monk. Impossible to miss.Moreover, they had a hostage and could not take public transportation. She wondered how many Jaguar stretch limos there could be in London.

Sophie’s connection to the detective seemed to be taking forever. Come on! She could hear the line clicking and buzzing, as if she was being transferred.

Fifteen seconds passed.

Finally a man came on the line. «Agent Neveu?»

Stunned, Sophie registered the gruff tone immediately.

«Agent Neveu,» Bezu Fache demanded. «Where the hell are you?»

Sophie was speechless. Captain Fache had apparently requested the London police dispatcher alert him if Sophie called in.

«Listen,» Fache said, speaking to her in terse French. «I made a terrible mistake tonight. Robert Langdon is innocent. All charges against him have been dropped. Even so, both of you are in danger. You need to come in.»

Sophie’s jaw fell slack. She had no idea how to respond. Fache was not a man who apologized for anything.

«You did not tell me,» Fache continued,» that Jacques Saunière was your grandfather. I fully intend to overlook your insubordination last night on account of the emotional stress you must be under. At the moment, however, you and Langdon need to go to the nearest London police headquarters for refuge.»

He knows I ’ m in London ? What else does Fache know? Sophie heard what sounded like drilling or machinery in the background. She also heard an odd clicking on the line. «Are you tracing this call, Captain?»

Fache’s voice was firm now. «You and I need to cooperate, Agent Neveu. We both have a lot to lose here. This is damage control. I made errors in judgment last night, and if those errors result in the deaths of an American professor and a DCPJ cryptologist, my career will be over. I’ve been trying to pull you back into safety for the last several hours.»

A warm wind was now pushing through the station as a train approached with a low rumble. Sophie had every intention of being on it. Langdon apparently had the same idea; he was gathering himself together and moving toward her now.

«The man you want is Rémy Legaludec,» Sophie said. «He is Teabing’s servant. He just kidnapped Teabing inside the Temple Church and –»

«Agent Neveu!» Fache bellowed as the train thundered into the station. «This is not something to discuss on an open line. You and Langdon will come in now. For your own well-being! That is a direct order!»

Sophie hung up and dashed with Langdon onto the train.

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