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Robert Langdon stood beneath the lofty cupola of the deserted Chapter House and stared into the barrel of Leigh Teabing's gun.

Robert, are you with me, or against me? The Royal Historian's words echoed in the silence of Langdon's mind.

There was no viable response, Langdon knew. Answer yes, and he would be selling out Sophie. Answer no, and Teabing would have no choice but to kill them both.

Langdon's years in the classroom had not imbued him with any skills relevant to handling confrontations at gunpoint, but the classroom had taught him something about answering paradoxical questions. When a question has no correct answer, there is only one honest response.

The gray area between yes and no.


Staring at the cryptex in his hands, Langdon chose simply to walk away.

Without ever lifting his eyes, he stepped backward, out into the room's vast empty spaces. Neutral ground.He hoped his focus on the cryptex signaled Teabing that collaboration might be an option, and that his silence signaled Sophie he had not abandoned her.

All the while buying time to think.

The act of thinking, Langdon suspected, was exactly what Teabing wanted him to do. That's whyhe handed me the cryptex.So I could feel the weight of my decision.The British historian hoped the touch of the Grand Master's cryptex would make Langdon fully grasp the magnitude of its contents, coaxing his academic curiosity to overwhelm all else, forcing him to realize that failure to unlock the keystone would mean the loss of history itself.

With Sophie at gunpoint across the room, Langdon feared that discovering the cryptex's elusive password would be his only remaining hope of bartering her release. If I can free the map, Teabingwill negotiate.Forcing his mind to this critical task, Langdon moved slowly toward the far windows... allowing his mind to fill with the numerous astronomical images on Newton's tomb.

You seek the orb that ought be on his tomb. It speaks of Rosy flesh and seeded womb.

Turning his back to the others, he walked toward the towering windows, searching for any inspiration in their stained-glass mosaics. There was none.

Place yourself in Sauniere's mind, he urged, gazing outward now into College Garden. What wouldhe believe is the orb that ought be on Newton's tomb? Images of stars, comets, and planets twinkled in the falling rain, but Langdon ignored them. Sauniere was not a man of science. He was a man of humanity, of art, of history. The sacred feminine...the chalice...the Rose...the banishedMary Magdalene...the decline of the goddess...the Holy Grail.

Legend had always portrayed the Grail as a cruel mistress, dancing in the shadows just out of sight, whispering in your ear, luring you one more step and then evaporating into the mist.

Gazing out at the rustling trees of College Garden, Langdon sensed her playful presence. The signs were everywhere. Like a taunting silhouette emerging from the fog, the branches of Britain's oldest apple tree burgeoned with five-petaled blossoms, all glistening like Venus. The goddess was in the garden now. She was dancing in the rain, singing songs of the ages, peeking out from behind the bud-filled branches as if to remind Langdon that the fruit of knowledge was growing just beyond his reach.

Across the room, Sir Leigh Teabing watched with confidence as Langdon gazed out the window as if under a spell.

Exactly as I hoped, Teabing thought. He will come around.

For some time now, Teabing had suspected Langdon might hold the key to the Grail. It was no coincidence that Teabing launched his plan into action on the same night Langdon was scheduled to meet Jacques Sauniere. Listening in on the curator, Teabing was certain the man's eagerness to meet privately with Langdon could mean only one thing. Langdon's mysterious manuscript has touched a nerve with the Priory.

Langdon has stumbled onto a truth, and Sauniere fears its release.Teabing felt certain the Grand Master was summoning Langdon to silence him.

The Truth has been silenced long enough!

Teabing knew he had to act quickly. Silas's attack would accomplish two goals. It would prevent Sauniere from persuading Langdon to keep quiet, and it would ensure that once the keystone was in Teabing's hands, Langdon would be in Paris for recruitment should Teabing need him.

Arranging the fatal meeting between Sauniere and Silas had been almost too easy. I had inside information about Sauniere's deepest fears.Yesterday afternoon, Silas had phoned the curator and posed as a distraught priest. "Monsieur Sauniere, forgive me, I must speak to you at once. I should never breach the sanctity of the confessional, but in this case, I feel I must. I just took confession from a man who claimed to have murdered members of your family."

Sauniere's response was startled but wary. "My family died in an accident. The police report was conclusive."

"Yes, a car accident," Silas said, baiting the hook. "The man I spoke to said he forced their car off the road into a river." Sauniere fell silent." Monsieur Sauniere, I would never have phoned you directly except this man made a comment which makes me now fear for your safety." He paused. "The man also mentioned your granddaughter, Sophie."

The mention of Sophie's name had been the catalyst. The curator leapt into action. He ordered Silasto come see him immediately in the safest location Sauniere knew - his Louvre office. Then he phoned Sophie to warn her she might be in danger. Drinks with Robert Langdon were instantly abandoned.

Now, with Langdon separated from Sophie on the far side of the room, Teabing sensed he had successfully alienated the two companions from one another. Sophie Neveu remained defiant, but Langdon clearly saw the larger picture. He was trying to figure out the password. He understands the importance of finding the Grail and releasing her from bondage.

"He won't open it for you," Sophie said coldly. "Even if he can."

Teabing was glancing at Langdon as he held the gun on Sophie. He was fairly certain now he was going to have to use the weapon. Although the idea troubled him, he knew he would not hesitate if it came to that. I have given her every opportunity to do the right thing.The Grail is bigger than any one of us.

At that moment, Langdon turned from the window. "The tomb..." he said suddenly, facing them with a faint glimmer of hope in his eyes. "I know where to look on Newton's tomb. Yes, I think I can find the password!"

Teabing's heart soared. "Where, Robert? Tell me!"

Sophie sounded horrified. "Robert, no! You're not going to help him, are you?"

Langdon approached with a resolute stride, holding the cryptex before him. "No," he said, his eyes hardening as he turned to Leigh. "Not until he lets you go."

Teabing's optimism darkened. "We are so close, Robert. Don't you dare start playing games with me!"

"No games," Langdon said. "Let her go. Then I'll take you to Newton's tomb. We'll open the cryptex together."

"I'm not going anywhere," Sophie declared, her eyes narrowing with rage. "That cryptex was given to me by my grandfather. It is not yours to open." Langdon wheeled, looking fearful. "Sophie, please! You're in danger. I'm trying to help you!" "How? By unveiling the secret my grandfather died trying to protect? He trusted you, Robert. Itrusted you!"

Langdon's blue eyes showed panic now, and Teabing could not help but smile to see the two of them working against one another. Langdon's attempts to be gallant were more pathetic than anything. On the verge of unveiling one of history's greatest secrets, and he troubles himself with a woman who has proven herself unworthy of the quest.

"Sophie," Langdon pleaded. "Please... you must leave."

She shook her head. "Not unless you either hand me the cryptex or smash it on the floor." "What?" Langdon gasped." Robert, my grandfather would prefer his secret lost forever than see it in the hands of his murderer." Sophie's eyes looked as if they would well with tears, but they did not. She stared directly back at Teabing. "Shoot me if you have to. I am not leaving my grandfather's legacy in your hands."

Very well.Teabing aimed the weapon.

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