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"Because, my dear, you are the reason the Priory failed to release the documents. Your grandfather's love for you prevented him from challenging the Church. His fear of reprisal against his only remaining family crippled him. He never had a chance to explain the truth because you rejected him, tying his hands, making him wait. Now you owe the world the truth. You owe it to the memory of your grandfather."

Robert Langdon had given up trying to get his bearings. Despite the torrent of questions running through his mind, he knew only one thing mattered now - getting Sophie out of here alive. All the guilt Langdon had mistakenly felt earlier for involving Teabing had now been transferred to Sophie.

I took her to Chateau Villette. I am responsible.

Langdon could not fathom that Leigh Teabing would be capable of killing them in cold blood herein the Chapter House, and yet Teabing certainly had been involved in killing others during his misguided quest. Langdon had the uneasy feeling that gunshots in this secluded, thick-walled chamber would go unheard, especially in this rain. And Leigh just admitted his guilt to us.

Langdon glanced at Sophie, who looked shaken. The Church murdered Sophie's family to silence the Priory? Langdon felt certain the modern Church did not murder people. There had to be some other explanation." Let Sophie leave," Langdon declared, staring at Leigh. "You and I should discuss this alone." Teabing gave an unnatural laugh. "I'm afraid that is one show of faith I cannot afford. I can, however, offer you this." He propped himself fully on his crutches, gracelessly keeping the gunaimed at Sophie, and removed the keystone from his pocket. He swayed a bit as he held it out for Langdon. "A token of trust, Robert."

Robert felt wary and didn't move. Leigh is giving the keystone back to us?

"Take it," Teabing said, thrusting it awkwardly toward Langdon.

Langdon could imagine only one reason Teabing would give it back. "You opened it already. You removed the map."

Teabing was shaking his head. "Robert, if I had solved the keystone, I would have disappeared to find the Grail myself and kept you uninvolved. No, I do not know the answer. And I can admit that freely. A true knight learns humility in the face of the Grail. He learns to obey the signs placed before him. When I saw you enter the abbey, I understood. You were here for a reason. To help. I am not looking for singular glory here. I serve a far greater master than my own pride. The Truth. Mankind deserves to know that truth. The Grail found us all, and now she is begging to be revealed. We must work together."

Despite Teabing's pleas for cooperation and trust, his gun remained trained on Sophie as Langdon stepped forward and accepted the cold marble cylinder. The vinegar inside gurgled as Langdon grasped it and stepped backward. The dials were still in random order, and the cryptex remained locked.

Langdon eyed Teabing. "How do you know I won't smash it right now?"

Teabing's laugh was an eerie chortle. "I should have realized your threat to break it in the Temple Church was an empty one. Robert Langdon would never break the keystone. You are an historian, Robert. You are holding the key to two thousand years of history - the lost key to the Sangreal. You can feel the souls of all the knights burned at the stake to protect her secret. Would you have them die in vain? No, you will vindicate them. You will join the ranks of the great men you admire - Da Vinci, Botticelli, Newton - each of whom would have been honored to be in your shoes right now. The contents of the keystone are crying out to us. Longing to be set free. The time has come. Destiny has led us to this moment."

"I cannot help you, Leigh. I have no idea how to open this. I only saw Newton's tomb for a moment. And even if I knew the password..." Langdon paused, realizing he had said too much.

"You would not tell me?" Teabing sighed. "I am disappointed and surprised, Robert, that you do not appreciate the extent to which you are in my debt. My task would have been far simpler had Remy and I eliminated you both when you walked into Chateau Villette. Instead I risked everything to take the nobler course."

"This is noble?" Langdon demanded, eyeing the gun.

"Sauniere's fault," Teabing said. "He and his senechaux lied to Silas. Otherwise, I would have obtained the keystone without complication. How was I to imagine the Grand Master would go to such ends to deceive me and bequeath the keystone to an estranged granddaughter?" Teabing looked at Sophie with disdain. "Someone so unqualified to hold this knowledge that she required a symbologist baby-sitter." Teabing glanced back at Langdon. "Fortunately, Robert, your involvement turned out to be my saving grace. Rather than the keystone remaining locked in the depository bank forever, you extracted it and walked into my home."

Where else would I run? Langdon thought. The community of Grail historians is small, and Teabing and I have a history together.

Teabing now looked smug. "When I learned Sauniere left you a dying message, I had a pretty good idea you were holding valuable Priory information. Whether it was the keystone itself, or information on where to find it, I was not sure. But with the police on your heels, I had a sneaking suspicion you might arrive on my doorstep." Langdon glared. "And if we had not?" "I was formulating a plan to extend you a helping hand. One way or another, the keystone was coming to Chateau Villette. The fact that you delivered it into my waiting hands only serves as proof that my cause is just."

"What!" Langdon was appalled.

"Silas was supposed to break in and steal the keystone from you in Chateau Villette - thus removing you from the equation without hurting you, and exonerating me from any suspicion of complicity. However, when I saw the intricacy of Sauniere's codes, I decided to include you both in my quest a bit longer. I could have Silas steal the keystone later, once I knew enough to carry on alone."

"The Temple Church," Sophie said, her tone awash with betrayal.

Light begins to dawn, Teabing thought. The Temple Church was the perfect location to steal the keystone from Robert and Sophie, and its apparent relevance to the poem made it a plausible decoy. Remy's orders had been clear - stay out of sight while Silas recovers the keystone. Unfortunately, Langdon's threat to smash the keystone on the chapel floor had caused Remy to panic. If only Remy had not revealed himself, Teabing thought ruefully, recalling his own mock kidnapping. Remy was the sole link to me, and he showed his face!

Fortunately, Silas remained unaware of Teabing's true identity and was easily fooled into taking him from the church and then watching naively as Remy pretended to tie their hostage in the back of the limousine. With the soundproof divider raised, Teabing was able to phone Silas in the front seat, use the fake French accent of the Teacher, and direct Silas to go straight to Opus Dei. A simple anonymous tip to the police was all it would take to remove Silas from the picture.

One loose end tied up.

The other loose end was harder. Remy.

Teabing struggled deeply with the decision, but in the end Remy had proven himself a liability. Every Grail quest requires sacrifice.The cleanest solution had been staring Teabing in the face from the limousine's wet bar - a flask, some cognac, and a can of peanuts. The powder at the bottom of the can would be more than enough to trigger Remy's deadly allergy. When Remy parked the limo on Horse Guards Parade, Teabing climbed out of the back, walked to the side passenger door, and sat in the front next to Remy. Minutes later, Teabing got out of the car, climbed into the rear again, cleaned up the evidence, and finally emerged to carry out the final phase of his mission.

Westminster Abbey had been a short walk, and although Teabing's leg braces, crutches, and gun had set off the metal detector, the rent-a-cops never knew what to do. Do we ask him to remove his braces and crawl through? Do we frisk his deformed body? Teabing presented the flustered guards a far easier solution - an embossed card identifying him as Knight of the Realm. The poor fellows practically tripped over one another ushering him in.

Now, eyeing the bewildered Langdon and Neveu, Teabing resisted the urge to reveal how he had brilliantly implicated Opus Dei in the plot that would soon bring about the demise of the entire Church. That would have to wait. Right now there was work to do.

"Mes amis,"Teabing declared in flawless French," vous ne trouvez pas le Saint-Graal, c'est leSaint-Graal qui vous trouve." He smiled. "Our paths together could not be more clear. The Grail has found us." Silence. He spoke to them in a whisper now. "Listen. Can you hear it? The Grail is speaking to us across the centuries. She is begging to be saved from the Priory's folly. I implore you both to recognize this opportunity. There could not possibly be three more capable people assembled at this moment to break the final code and open the cryptex." Teabing paused, his eyes alight. "We need to swear an oath together. A pledge of faith to one another. A knight's allegiance to uncover the truth and make it known."

Sophie stared deep into Teabing's eyes and spoke in a steely tone. "I will never swear an oath with my grandfather's murderer. Except an oath that I will see you go to prison."

Teabing's heart turned grave, then resolute. "I am sorry you feel that way, mademoiselle." He turned and aimed the gun at Langdon. "And you, Robert? Are you with me, or against me?"

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