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PART 5+

By Jacob Mcdonald,2014-01-24 22:43
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PART 5+

    CHAPTER 91

    stairs and hurried down a darkened Inside Cathedral College, Langdon and Katherine bounded up the basement

    hallway looking for a front exit. No longer did they hear the sounds of helicopter blades overhead, and Langdon felt hopeful they could slip out unseen and find their way up to Kalorama Heights to see Peter.

    They found him. Hes alive.

    Thirty seconds earlier, when theyd hung up with the female security guard, Katherine had hurriedly hoisted the steaming pyramid and capstone out of the water. The pyramid was still dripping when she lowered it into Langdons

    leather bag. Now he could feel the heat radiating through the leather.

    1Excitement over Peters discovery had temporarily trumped any further reflection on the capstones glowing

    messageEight Franklin Square but there would be time for that once they got to Peter.

    As they rounded the corner at the top of the stairs, Katherine stopped short and pointed into a sitting room across

    the hall. Through the bay window, Langdon could see a sleek black helicopter sitting silent on the lawn. A lone pilot stood beside it, facing away from them and talking on his radio. There was also a black Escalade with tinted windows parked nearby.

    Staying in the shadows, Langdon and Katherine moved into the sitting room, and peered out the window to see if they could see the rest of the field team. Thankfully, the huge lawn outside the National Cathedral was empty.

    They must be inside the cathedral,” Langdon said. They‟re not,” a deep voice said behind them.

    Langdon and Katherine wheeled around to see who had spoken. In the doorway of the sitting room, two black-clad figures aimed laser-sighted rifles at them. Langdon could see a glowing red dot dancing on his chest.

    2Nice to see you again, Professor,” said a familiar raspy voice. The agents parted, and the tiny form of Director

    Sato sliced effortlessly through, crossing the sitting room and stopping directly in front of Langdon. Youve made some

    exceedingly poor choices tonight.”

    The police found Peter Solomon, Langdon declared forcefully. Hes in bad shape, but hell live. Its over.”

    If Sato was surprised Peter had been found, she did not show it. Her eyes were unflinching as she walked to

    Langdon and stopped only inches away. Professor, I can assure you, this is nowhere near over. And if the police are now

    involved, it has only become more serious. As I told you earlier this evening, this is an extremely delicate situation. You never should have run away with that pyramid.”

    Ma‟am,” Katherine blurted, I need to see my brother. You can have the pyramid, but you must let—”

    I must? Sato demanded, spinning to Katherine. Ms. Solomon, I assume? She stared at Katherine with fire in her

    eyes and then turned back to Langdon. Put the leather bag on the table.”

    Langdon glanced down at the pair of laser sights on his chest. He set the leather bag on the coffee table. An agent approached cautiously, unzipped the bag, and pulled the two sides apart. A little puff of trapped steam billowed up out of the bag. He aimed his light inside, stared for a long, puzzled moment, and then nodded to Sato.

    Sato walked| over and peered into the bag. The wet pyramid and capstone glistened in the beam of the flashlight. Sato crouched down, looking very closely at the golden capstone, which Langdon realized she had only seen in X-ray.

    The inscription,” Sato demanded. Does it mean anything to you? The secret hides within The Order?” “We‟re

    not sure, ma‟am.”

    Why is the pyramid steaming hot?

    We submerged it in boiling water,” Katherine said without hesitation. “It was part of the process of deciphering the

    code. Well tell you everything, but please let us go see my brother. Hes been through—”

    You boiled the pyramid? Sato demanded.

     1 trump n. 王牌; 最后的手段; 最后的良策 >>> vt. 出王牌赢牌 || 超过, 胜过, 打赢

    have the trumps in one's hand (=hold some trumps) 手里有王牌; 有必胜把握 play a trump 拿出王牌, 做出惊人之举

    put sb. to his trumps 迫使某人打出王牌; 令人技穷 turn up trumps 出乎意料地令人满意, 碰上好运

    trump up 捏造;编造 trumped up a charge of conspiracy 诬陷(某人)反叛 2 rasp /r@sp, ra:sp/ n. 锉子~锉刀 || 锉磨声 >>> vt., vi. 用锉刀锉 || 发出刺耳声, 用刺耳的声音说 rasping voice 刺耳的声音

    raspy adj. 粗糙的; 发刺耳声的; 使人烦躁的

     1

    Turn off the flashlight,” Katherine said. Look at the capstone. You can probably still see.”

    The agent flicked off his light, and Sato knelt down before the capstone. Even from where Langdon was standing, he

    could see that the text on the capstone was still glowing slightly.

    Eight Franklin Square? Sato said, sounding amazed.

    Yes, ma‟am. That text was written with an incandescent lacquer or something. The thirty-third degree was actually—”

    And the address? Sato demanded. Is this what this guy wants?

    Yes,” Langdon said. He believes the pyramid is a map that will tell him the location of a great treasure the key

    to unlocking the Ancient Mysteries.”

    Sato looked again at the capstone, her expression one of disbelief. Tell me,” she said, fear creeping into her voice, have you contacted this man yet? Have you already given him this address?

    We tried.” Langdon explained what had happened when they called the mans cell phone.

    Sato listened, running her tongue over her yellow teeth as he spoke. Despite looking ready to erupt with anger over

    the situation, she turned to one of her agents and spoke in a restrained whisper. Send him in. Hes in the SUV.”

    The agent nodded and spoke into his transceiver. Send who in? Langdon said.

    The only person who has any hope of fixing the goddamn mess you made!” “What mess? Langdon fired back.

    Now that Peter is safe, everything is—”

    For Christs sake! Sato exploded. This is not about Peter! I tried to tell you that at the Capitol Building, Professor,

    3but you chose to work against me rather than with me! Now youve made an ungodly mess! When you destroyed your

    cell phone, which, by the way, we were tracking, you cut off your communication with this man. And this address you uncoveredwhatever the hell it isthis address was our one chance to catch this lunatic. I needed you to play his game, to provide him with this address so we would know where the hell to catch him!

    Before Langdon could reply, Sato directed the remainder of her wrath at Katherine.

    And you, Ms. Solomon! You knew where this maniac lived? Why didnt you tell me? You sent a rent-a-cop to this mans house? Dont you see youve ruined any chance we had of catching him there? I‟m glad your brother is safe, but

    4let me tell you this, we are facing a crisis tonight whose ramifications far outreach your family. They will be felt all

    around the world. The man who took your brother has enormous power, and we need to catch him immediately.”

    As she finished her tirade, the tall, elegant silhouette of Warren Bellamy emerged from the shadows and stepped

    5into the sitting room. He looked rumpled, bruised, and shaken . . . like hed been through hell.

    Warren! Langdon stood up. Are you okay?” “No,” he replied. Not really.”

    Did you hear? Peter is safe!

    Bellamy nodded, looking dazed, as if nothing mattered anymore. Yes, I just heard your conversation. I‟m glad.”

    Warren, what the hell is going on?

    Sato intervened. You boys can catch up in a minute. Right now, Mr. Bellamy is going to reach| out| to this lunatic and communicate with him. Just like he‟s been doing all night.”

    Langdon felt lost. Bellamy hasnt been communicating with this guy tonight! This guy doesnt even know Bellamy

    is involved!

    Sato turned to Bellamy and raised her eyebrows.

    Bellamy sighed. Robert, Im afraid I havent been entirely honest with you this evening.” Langdon could only stare.

    I thought I was doing the right thing . . .” Bellamy said, looking frightened.

    Well,” Sato said, now you will do the right thing . . . and wed all better pray to God it works.” As if to

    67substantiate Satos portentous tone, the mantel clock began chiming the hour. Sato took out a Ziploc bag of items

     3 ungodly /^n'godli/ adj. 不敬神的, 不虔诚的 || 邪恶的, 有罪的 || []荒唐的; 不可容忍的 4 outreach vt. 超出...范围; 超过, 胜过 The demand outreaches the supply. 供不应求。 5 rumple vt. (把织物、纸等)弄皱; (把头发等)弄乱 >>> vi. 起皱 6 substantiate /s^b'st@nSieit/ vt. 证明~证实 7 portent /'po:t..nt/ n. 预兆, 凶兆 portents of earthquake 地震的前兆 > portentous /po:'tent..s/ adj. 预兆的~凶兆的~有„危险的

     2

and tossed it to Bellamy. Heres your stuff. Does your cell phone take photos?

    Yes, ma‟am.”

    Good. Hold up the capstone.”

    The message Malakh had just received was from his contactWarren Bellamythe Mason he had sent to the

    Capitol Building earlier tonight to assist Robert Langdon. Bellamy, like Langdon, wanted Peter Solomon back alive and

    had assured Mal‟akh he would help Langdon acquire and decipher the pyramid. All night, Malakh had been receiving

    e-mail updates, which had been automatically forwarded to his cell phone.

    This should be interesting, Malakh thought, opening the message.

    From: Warren Bellamy

    got separated from langdon

    but finally have info you demanded. proof attached. call for missing piece. wb

    one attachment (jpeg)

    Call for missing piece? Malakh wondered, opening the attachment. The attachment was a photo.

    When Mal‟akh saw it, he gasped out loud, and he could feel his heart start pounding with excitement. He was ooking at a close-up of a tiny golden pyramid. The legendary capstone! The ornate engraving on the face carried a l

    promising message: The secret hides within The Order.

    Beneath the inscription, Malakh now saw something that stunned him. The capstone seemed to be glowing. In

    disbelief, he stared at the faintly radiant text and realized that the legend was literally true: The Masonic Pyramid

    transforms itself to reveal its secret to the worthy.

    How this magical transformation had occurred, Malakh had no idea, and he didnt care. The glowing text was

    clearly pointing to a specific location in D.C., exactly as prophesied. Franklin Square. Unfortunately, the photo of the

    capstone also included Warren Bellamys index finger, which was strategically positioned on the capstone to block out a critical piece of information.

    The secret hides

    within The Order

     Franklin Square

    Call for missing piece. Malakh now understood Bellamys meaning.

    8The Architect of the Capitol had been cooperative all night, but now he had chosen to play a very dangerous game.

    CHAPTER 92

    Beneath the watchful gaze of several armed CIA agents, Langdon, Katherine, and Bellamy waited with Sato in the Cathedral College sitting room. On the coffee table before them, Langdons leather bag was still open, the golden

    capstone peeking out the top. The words Eight Franklin Square had now faded away, leaving no evidence that they had ever existed.

    Katherine had pleaded with Sato to let her go see her brother, but Sato had simply shaken her head, eyes fixed on

    Bellamys cell phone. It sat on the coffee table and had yet to ring.

    Why didnt Bellamy just tell me the truth? Langdon wondered. Apparently, the Architect had been in contact with

    Peter‟s captor all night, reassuring him that Langdon was making progress deciphering the pyramid. It was a bluff, an attempt to buy time for Peter. In fact, Bellamy was doing all he could to interfere with anyone who threatened to unveil

    the pyramids secret. Now, however, it seemed that Bellamy had switched| sides. He and Sato were now prepared to risk the pyramids secret in hopes of catching this man.

    9Take your hands off me! shouted an elderly voice in the hall. “I‟m blind, not inept! I know my way through the

     8 architect /'a:kitekt/ n. 建筑师, 设计师 || 创制者 the architect of one's own fortunes 缔造自己命运的人 || the Great A- 造物主 9 inept /i'nept/ adj. 愚蠢[], 可笑的 || 不相宜的, 不合时宜的an inept comparison 不适当的比较

    笨拙的; 无能的, 不称职的, 不合适的 He's quite inept at tennis. 他打网球太笨。

     3

    college! Dean Galloway was still protesting loudly as a CIA agent manhandled him into the sitting room and forced him into one of the chairs.

    Whos here? Galloway demanded, his blank eyes staring dead ahead. “It sounds like a lot of you. How many do you need to detain an old man? Really now!

    There are seven of us,” Sato declared. “Including Robert Langdon, Katherine Solomon, and your Masonic brother

    Warren Bellamy.”

    10Galloway slumped, all his bluster gone.

    We‟re okay,” Langdon said. And we just heard that Peter is safe. Hes in bad shape, but the police are with him.”

    Thank heavens,” Galloway said. And the—”

    A loud rattling caused everyone in the room to jump. It was Bellamys cell phone vibrating against the coffee table. Everyone fell silent.

    Okay, Mr. Bellamy,” Sato said. Dont blow it. You know the stakes.”

    Bellamy took a deep breath and exhaled. Then he reached down and pressed the speakerphone button to connect

    the call.

    Bellamy here,” he said, speaking loudly toward the phone on the coffee table.

    The voice that crackled back through the speaker was familiar, an airy whisper. It sounded like he was calling from a

    hands-free speakerphone inside a car. “Its past midnight, Mr. Bellamy. I was about to put Peter out of his misery.”

    There was an uneasy silence in the room. Let me talk to him.” “Impossible,” the man replied. Were driving. Hes

    tied up in the trunk.”

    Langdon and Katherine exchanged looks and then began shaking their heads at everyone. Hes bluffing! He no

    longer has Peter!

    Sato motioned for Bellamy to keep pressing.

    I want proof that Peter‟s alive,” Bellamy said. “I‟m not giving you the rest of—”

    Your Worshipful Master needs a doctor. Dont waste time with negotiations. Tell me the street number on Franklin

    Square, and I‟ll bring Peter to you there.”

    I told you, I want—”

    Now! the man exploded. Or I will pull over and Peter Solomon dies this instant!

    You listen to me,” Bellamy said forcefully. If you want the rest of the address, youll play by my rules. Meet me

    at Franklin Square. Once you deliver Peter alive, Ill tell you the number of the building.”

    How do I know you wont bring the authorities?

    Because I cant risk double-crossing you. Peters life is not the only card you hold. I know whats really at stake tonight.”

    You do realize,” the man on the phone said, that if I sense so much as a hint of anyone other than you at Franklin

    Square, I will keep driving, and you will never find even a trace of Peter Solomon. And of course . . . that will be the least

    of your worries.”

    11Ill come alone, Bellamy replied somberly. When you turn over Peter, Ill give you everything you need.”

    for me as Center of the square,” the man said. It will take me at least twenty minutes to get there. I suggest you wait

    long as it takes.”

    The line went dead.

    Instantly, the room sprang to life. Sato began shouting orders. Several field agents grabbed their radios and headed

    for the door. Move! Move!

    In the chaos, Langdon looked to Bellamy for some kind of explanation as to what was actually going on tonight, but

     10 bluster vi. ()狂吹; ()汹涌 The wind blustered around the house. 狂风呼啸着吹过房屋周围。

    咆哮; 咆哮地说 ~ about 叫嚣~ oneself into anger 勃然大怒 He ~ed his way through the crowd. 他吆喝着挤出人群。

    n. 狂吹; 咆哮the bluster of the wind and rain 暴风骤雨 || 恫吓; 夸口boastful bluster 夸口的狂言 || 大吵大闹

    blusterous adj. ()狂吹的 || 叫嚷的, 咆哮的, 虚张声势的, 夸大的 11 somber /'somb../ adj. 忧郁的;郁闷的 || 阴暗的~幽暗的

     4

the older man was already being hurried out the door.

    I need to see my brother! Katherine shouted. You have to let us go!

    Sato walked over to Katherine. I dont have to do anything, Ms. Solomon. Is that clear?” Katherine stood her

    ground and looked desperately into Satos small eyes.

    Ms. Solomon, my top priority is apprehending the man at Franklin Square, and you will sit here with one of my men until I accomplish that task. Then, and only then, will we deal with your brother.”

    You‟re missing the point,” Katherine said. I know exactly where this man lives! Its literally five minutes up the

    road in Kalorama Heights, and there will be evidence there that will help you! Besides, you said you want to keep this quiet. Who knows what Peter will start telling the authorities once hes stabilized.”

    Sato pursed her lips, apparently registering Katherine‟s point. Outside, the chopper blades began winding up. Sato frowned and then turned to one of her men. Hartmann, you take the Escalade. Transport Ms. Solomon and Mr. Langdon to Kalorama Heights. Peter Solomon is not to speak to anyone. Is that understood?

    Yes, ma‟am,” the agent said.

    Call me when you get there. Tell me what you find. And dont let these two out of your sight.” Agent Hartmann

    gave a quick nod, pulled out the Escalade keys, and headed for the door. Katherine was right behind him.

    Sato turned to Langdon. “I‟ll see you shortly, Professor. I know you think I‟m the enemy, but I can assure you thats

    not the case. Get to Peter at once. This isnt over yet.”

    Off to one side of Langdon, Dean Galloway was sitting quietly at the coffee table. His hands had found the stone pyramid, which was still sitting in Langdons open leather bag on the table in front of him. The old man was running his hands over the stones warm surface.

    Langdon said, Father, are you coming to see Peter?

    Id just slow you down.” Galloway removed his hands from the bag and zipped it up around the pyramid. Ill stay

    right here and pray for Peters recovery. We can all speak later. But when you show Peter the pyramid, would you please tell him something for me?

    Of course.” Langdon hoisted the bag onto his shoulder.

    Tell him this.” Galloway cleared his throat. The Masonic Pyramid has always kept her secret . . . sincerely.”

    I dont understand.”

    The old man winked. Just tell Peter that. He will understand.” With that, Dean Galloway bowed his head and began

    praying.

    Perplexed, Langdon left him there and hurried outside. Katherine was already in the front seat of the SUV giving the agent directions. Langdon climbed in back and had barely closed the door before the giant vehicle was rocketing across the lawn, racing northward to Kalorama Heights.

    CHAPTER 93

    Franklin Square is located in the northwest quadrant of downtown Washington, bordered by K and Thirteenth streets. It is home to many historic buildings, most notably the Franklin School, from which Alexander Graham Bell sent the worlds first wireless message in 1880.

    High above the square, a fast-moving UH-60 helicopter approached from the west, having completed its journey from the National Cathedral in a matter of minutes. Plenty of time, Sato thought, peering down at the square below. She

    rrived. He said he wouldnt be here for knew it was critical that her men got into position undetected before their target aat least twenty minutes.

    On Satos command, the pilot performed a touch-hover on the roof of the tallest building aroundthe renowned

    One Franklin Squarea towering and prestigious office building with two gold spires on top. The maneuver was illegal,

    of course, but the chopper was there only a few seconds, and its skids barely touched the gravel rooftop. Once everyone had jumped out, the pilot immediately lifted off, banking to the east, where he would climb to silent altitude and

    provide invisible support from above.

     5

    Sato waited as her field team collected their things and prepared Bellamy for his task. The Architect was still looking dazed from having seen the file on Satos secure laptop. As I said . . . an issue of national security. Bellamy had

    quickly understood Satos meaning and was now fully cooperative.

    12All set, maam,” Agent Simkins said.

    On Satos command, the agents ushered Bellamy across the rooftop and disappeared down a stairwell, heading for

    ground level to take up their positions.

    Sato walked to the edge of the building and gazed down. The rectangular wooded park below filled the entire block. Plenty of cover. Satos team fully understood the importance of making an undetected intercept. If their target sensed a presence here and decided just to slip away . . . the director didnt even want to think about it.

    13The wind up here was gusty and cold. Sato wrapped her arms around herself, and planted her feet firmly to avoid getting blown over the edge. From this high vantage point, Franklin Square looked smaller than she recalled, with fewer

    buildings. She wondered which building was Eight Franklin Square. This was information she had requested from her analyst Nola, from whom she expected word at any moment.

    Bellamy and the agents now appeared, looking like ants fanning out into the darkness of the wooded area. Simkins positioned Bellamy in a clearing near the center of the deserted park. Then Simkins and his team melted into the natural cover, disappearing from view. Within seconds, Bellamy was alone, pacing and shivering in the light of a streetlamp near the center of the park.

    Sato felt no pity.

    She lit a cigarette and took a long drag, savoring the warmth as it permeated her lungs. Satisfied that everything below was in order, she stepped back from the edge to await her two phone callsone from her analyst Nola and one

    from Agent Hartmann, whom she had sent to Kalorama Heights.

    CHAPTER 94

    Slow down! Langdon gripped the backseat of the Escalade as it flew around a corner, threatening to tip up on two tires. CIA agent Hartmann was either eager to show off his driving skills to Katherine, or he had orders to get to Peter

    14Solomon before Solomon recuperated enough to say anything he shouldnt say to the local authorities.

    The high-speed game of beat-the-red-light on Embassy Row had been worrisome enough, but now they were racing through the winding residential neighborhood of Kalorama Heights. Katherine shouted directions as they went, having been to this mans house earlier that afternoon.

    With every turn, the leather bag at Langdons feet rocked back and forth, and Langdon could hear the clank of the

    capstone, which had clearly been jarred from the top of the pyramid and was now bouncing around in the bottom of his bag. Fearing it might get damaged, he fished around inside until he found it. It was still warm, but the glowing text had now faded and disappeared, returning to its original engraving:

    The secret hides within The Order.

    As Langdon was about to place the capstone in a side pocket, he noticed its elegant surface was covered with tiny

    15white gobs of something. Puzzled, he tried to wipe them off, but they were stuck on and hard to the touch . . . like plastic. What in the world? He could now see that the surface of the stone pyramid itself was also covered with the little white dots. Langdon used his fingernail and picked one off, rolling it between his fingers.

    Wax?” he blurted.

    Katherine glanced over her shoulder. “What?

    There are bits of wax all over the pyramid and capstone. I dont understand it. Where could that possibly have come

    from?

    Something in your bag, maybe?” “I dont think so.”

     12 all set [美俚]准备就绪 13 gusty adj. ()阵风的 || 唱高调的 a gusty speech 唱高调 的演说 || 有劲的, 有活力的 a gusty man 一个精力充沛的人 14 recuperate /ri'kju:p..reit/ vt. 恢复(健康); 使复原 recuperate one's health 恢复健康 recuperate after losses 损失之后恢复元气 15 gob n. 粘性物的块,如痰块:

     6

    As they rounded a corner, Katherine pointed through the windshield and turned to Agent Hartmann. Thats it!

    We‟re here.”

    Langdon glanced up and saw the spinning lights of a security vehicle parked in a driveway up ahead. The driveway gate was pulled aside and the agent gunned the SUV inside the compound.

    The house was a spectacular mansion. Every light inside was ablaze, and the front door was wide open. A

    half-dozen vehicles were parked haphazardly in the driveway and on the lawn, apparently having arrived in a hurry. Some of the cars were still running and had their headlights shining, most on the house, but one askew, practically

    blinding them as they drove in.

    16Agent Hartmann skidded to a stop on the lawn beside a white sedan with a brightly colored decal:

    PREFERRED SECURITY. The spinning lights and the high beams in their face made it hard to see.

    Katherine immediately jumped out and raced for the house. Langdon heaved his bag onto his shoulder without taking the time to zip it up. He followed Katherine at a jog across the lawn toward the open front door. The sounds of voices echoed within. Behind Langdon, the SUV chirped as Agent Hartmann locked the vehicle and hurried after them.

    Katherine bounded up the porch stairs, through the main door, and disappeared into the entryway. Langdon crossed the threshold behind her and could see Katherine was already moving across the foyer and down the main hallway toward the sound of voices. Beyond her, visible at the end of the hall, was a dining-room table where a woman in a security uniform was sitting with her back to them.

    Officer! Katherine shouted as she ran. Where is Peter Solomon?

    Langdon rushed after her, but as he did so, an unexpected movement caught his eye. To his left, through the living-room window, he could see the driveway gate was now swinging shut. Odd. Something else caught his eye . . .

    something that had been hidden from him by the glare of the spinning lights and the blinding high beams when they drove in. The half-dozen cars parked haphazardly in the driveway looked nothing like the police cars and emergency vehicles Langdon had imagined they were.

    A Mercedes? . . . a Hummer? . . . a Tesla Roadster?

    In that instant, Langdon also realized the voices he heard in the house were nothing but a television blaring in the direction of the dining room.

    Wheeling in slow motion, Langdon shouted down the hallway. Katherine, wait!But as he turned, he could see that

    Katherine Solomon was no longer running.

    She was airborne.

    CHAPTER 95

    Katherine Solomon knew she was falling . . . but she couldnt figure out why.

    She had been running down the hall toward the security guard in the dining room when suddenly her feet had become entangled in an invisible obstacle, and her entire body had lurched forward, sailing through the air.

    Now she was returning to earth . . . in this case, a hardwood floor.

    Katherine crashed down on her stomach, the wind driven violently from her lungs. Above her, a heavy coat tree teetered precariously and then toppled over, barely missing her on the floor. She raised her head, still gasping for breath, puzzled to see that the female security guard in the chair had not moved a muscle. Stranger still, the toppled coat tree appeared to have a thin wire attached to the bottom, which had been stretched across the hallway.

    Why in the world would someone . . . ?

    “Katherine! Langdon was shouting to her, and as Katherine rolled onto her side and looked back at him, she felt her blood turn to ice. Robert! Behind you! She tried to scream, but she was still gasping for breath. All she could do was watch in terrifying slow motion as Langdon rushed down the hall to help her, completely unaware that behind him, Agent Hartmann was staggering across the threshold and clutching his throat. Blood sprayed through Hartmann‟s hands as he groped at the handle of a long screwdriver that protruded from his neck.

     16 decal /di'k@l/ n. (陶器,玻璃器皿的)贴花釉法, 贴花纸

     7

    As the agent pitched forward, his attacker came into full view.

    My God . . . no!

    Naked except for a strange undergarment that looked like a loincloth, the massive man had apparently been hiding in the foyer. His muscular body was covered from head to toe with strange tattoos. The front door was swinging closed, and he was rushing down the hall after Langdon.

    Agent Hartmann hit the floor just as the front door slammed shut. Langdon looked startled and whirled around, but the tattooed man was already on him, thrusting some kind of device into his back. There was a flash of light and a sharp electrical sizzle, and Katherine saw Langdon go rigid. Eyes frozen wide, Langdon lurched forward, collapsing down in a paralyzed heap. He fell hard on top of his leather bag, the pyramid tumbling out onto the floor.

    Without so much as a glance down at his victim, the tattooed man stepped over Langdon and headed directly for

    Katherine. She was already crawling backward into the dining room, where she collided with a chair. The female

    security guard, who had been propped in that chair, now wobbled and dropped to the floor in a heap beside her. The

    womans lifeless expression was one of terror. Her mouth was stuffed with a rag.

    e enormous man had reached her before Katherine had time to react. He seized her by the shoulders with Th

    impossible strength. His face, no longer covered by makeup, was an utterly terrifying sight. His muscles flexed, and she felt herself being flipped over onto her stomach like a rag doll. A heavy knee ground into her back, and for a moment, she thought she would break in two. He grabbed her arms and pulled them backward.

    With her head now turned to one side and her cheek pressed into the carpet, Katherine could see Langdon, his body still jerking, facing away from her. Beyond that, Agent Hartmann lay motionless in the foyer.

    Cold metal pinched Katherine‟s wrists, and she realized she was being bound with wire. In terror, she tried to pull away, but doing so sent searing pain into her hands.

    This wire will cut you if you move,” the man said, finishing with her wrists and moving down to her ankles with frightening efficiency.

    Katherine kicked at him, and he threw a powerful fist into the back of her right thigh, crippling her leg. Within seconds, her ankles were bound.

    Robert! she now managed to call out.

    Langdon was groaning on the floor in the hallway. He lay crumpled on his leather bag with the stone pyramid lying on its side near his head. Katherine realized the pyramid was her last hope.

    We deciphered the pyramid! she told her attacker. “I‟ll tell you everything!

    Yes, you will.” With that, he pulled the cloth from the dead womans mouth and firmly stuffed it into Katherine‟s.

    It tasted like death.

    Robert Langdons body was not his own. He lay, numb and immobile, his cheek pressed against the hardwood floor. He had heard enough about stun guns to know they crippled their victims by temporarily overloading the nervous system. Their actionsomething called electromuscular disruptionmight as well have been a bolt of lightning. The

    17excruciating jolt of pain seemed to penetrate every molecule of his body. Now, despite his minds focused intention,

    his muscles refused to obey the command he was sending them.

    Get up!

    Facedown, paralyzed on the floor, Langdon was gulping shallow breaths, scarcely able to inhale. He had yet to lay eyes on the man who had attacked him, but he could see Agent Hartmann lying in an expanding pool of blood. Langdon

    had heard Katherine struggling and arguing, but moments ago her voice had become muffled, as if the man had stuffed something in her mouth.

    Get up, Robert! Youve got to help her!

    Langdons legs were tingling now, a fiery and painful recovery of feeling, but still they refused to cooperate. Move!

    His arms twitched as sensation started to come back, along with feeling in his face and neck. With great effort, he

    managed to rotate his head, dragging his cheek roughly across the hardwood floor as he turned his head to look down

     17 molecule /'molikju:l/ n. 分子 A molecule is made up of atoms. 分子由原子组成。

     8

into the dining room.

    Langdons sight line was impededby the stone pyramid, which had toppled out of his bag and was lying sideways on the floor, its base inches from his face.

    For an instant, Langdon didnt understand what he was looking at. The square of stone before him was obviously the base of the pyramid, and yet it looked somehow different. Very different. It was still square, and still stone . . . but it was

    no longer flat and smooth. The base of the pyramid was covered with engraved markings. How is this possible? He stared

    18for several seconds, wondering if he was hallucinating. I looked at the base of this pyramid a dozen times . . . and there were no markings!

    Langdon now realized why.

    His breathing reflex kick-started, and he drew a sudden gasp of air, realizing that the Masonic Pyramid had secrets yet to share. I have witnessed another transformation.

    In a flash, Langdon understood the meaning of Galloways last request. Tell Peter this: The Masonic Pyramid has

    always kept her secret . . . sincerely. The words had seemed strange at the time, but now Langdon understood that Dean Galloway was sending Peter a code. Ironically, this same code had been a plot twist in a mediocre thriller Langdon had read years ago.

    Sin-cere.

    Since the days of Michelangelo, sculptors had been hiding the flaws in their work by smearing hot wax into the cracks and then dabbing the wax with stone dust. The method was considered cheating, and therefore, any sculpture

    without wax”—literally sine cerawas considered a sincere piece of art. The phrase stuck. To this day we still sign

    our letters sincerely” as a promise that we have written without wax” and that our words are true.

    The engravings on the base of this pyramid had been concealed by the same method. When Katherine followed the capstones directions and boiled the pyramid, the wax melted away, revealing the writing on the base. Galloway had run his hands over the pyramid in the sitting room, apparently feeling the markings exposed on the bottom.

    Now, if only for an instant, Langdon had forgotten all the danger he and Katherine faced. He stared at the incredible array of symbols on the base of the pyramid. He had no idea what they meant . . . or what they would ultimately reveal, but one thing was for certain. The Masonic Pyramid has secrets left to tell. Eight Franklin Square is not the final answer.

    Whether it was this adrenaline-filled revelation or simply the extra few seconds lying there, Langdon did not know, but he suddenly felt control returning to his body.

    Painfully, he swept an arm to one side, pushing the leather bag out of the way to clear his sight line into the dining room.

    To his horror, he saw that Katherine had been tied up, and a large rag had been stuffed deep into her mouth. Langdon flexed his muscles, trying to climb to his knees, but a moment later, he froze in utter disbelief. The

    dining-room doorway had just filled with a chilling sighta human form unlike anything Langdon had ever seen.

    What in the name of God . . . ?!

    Langdon rolled, kicking with his legs, trying to back away, but the huge tattooed man grabbed him, flipping him

    19onto his back and straddling his chest. He placed his knees on Langdons biceps, pinning Langdon pain fully to the

    floor. The mans chest bore a rippling double-headed phoenix. His neck, face, and shaved head were covered with a

    20dazzling array of unusually intricate symbolssigils, Langdon knewwhich were used in the rituals of dark

    ceremonial magic.

    Before Langdon could process anything more, the huge man clasped Langdons ears between his palms, lifted his

    head up off the floor, and, with incredible force, smashed it back down onto the hardwood.

    Everything went black.

     18 hallucinate /h..'lu:sineit/ vt.,vi. (使) 生幻觉 19 biceps /'baiseps/ n. biceps〈解〉二头肌 20 sigil /'sidZil, -gil/ n. 印章 || (被认为有神秘意义或力量的)图象, 符咒

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    CHAPTER 96

     His home looked like a battlefield. Robert Malakh stood in his hallway and surveyed the carnage around him.

    Langdon lay unconscious at his feet.

    Katherine Solomon was bound and gagged on the dining-room floor.

    The corpse of a female security guard lay crumpled nearby, having toppled off the chair where she was propped. This female guard, eager to save her own life, had done exactly as Mal‟akh commanded. With a knife to her throat, she

    had answered Malakhs cell phone and told the lie that had coaxed Langdon and Katherine to come racing out here. She

    had no partner, and Peter Solomon was certainly not okay. As soon as the woman had given her performance, Malakh

    ed her. had quietly strangl

    To complete the illusion that Malakh was not home, he had phoned Bellamy using the hands-free speaker in one of his cars. Im on the road, he had told Bellamy and whoever else had been listening. Peter is in my trunk. In fact, Malakh

    was driving only between his garage and his front yard, where he had left several of his myriad cars parked askew with the headlights on and the engines running.

    The deception had worked perfectly. Almost.

    The only wrinkle was the bloody black-clad heap in the foyer with a screwdriver protruding from his neck. Malakh

    searched the corpse and had to chuckle when he found a high-tech transceiver and cell phone with a CIA logo. It seems

    even they are aware of my power. He removed the batteries and crushed both devices with a heavy bronze doorstop.

    Malakh knew he had to move quickly now, especially if the CIA was involved. He strode back over to Langdon. The professor was out cold and would be for a while. Malakhs eyes moved with trepidation now to the stone pyramid

    on the floor beside the professor‟s open bag. His breath caught, and his heart pounded.

    I have waited for years . . .

    His hands trembled slightly as he reached down and picked up the Masonic Pyramid. As he ran his fingers slowly across the engravings, he felt awed by their promise. Before he became too entranced, he put the pyramid back in Langdons bag with the capstone and zipped it up.

    I will assemble the pyramid soon . . . in a much safer location.

    He threw Langdons bag over his shoulder and then tried to hoist Langdon himself, but the professor‟s toned

    physique weighed much more than anticipated. Malakh settled on grabbing him beneath the armpits and dragging him across the floor. Hes not going to like where he ends up, Mal‟akh thought.

    As he dragged Langdon off, the television in the kitchen blared. The sound of voices from the TV had been part of the deception, and Malakh had yet to turn it off. The station was now broadcasting a televangelist leading his congregation in the Lords Prayer. Mal‟akh wondered if any of his hypnotized viewers had any idea where this prayer really came from.

     . . . On earth as it is in heaven . . .” the group intoned.

    Yes, Malakh thought. As above, so below. . . . And lead us not into temptation . . .” Help us master the weakness

    of our flesh.

     . . . Deliver us from evil . . .” they all beseeched.

    Malakh smiled. That could be difficult. The darkness is growing. Even so, he had to give them credit for trying.

    Humans who spoke to invisible forces and requested help were a dying breed in this modern world.

    Malakh was dragging Langdon across the living room when the congregation declared, Amen!

    21Amon, Malakh corrected. Egypt is the cradle of your religion. The god Amon was the prototype for Zeus . . . for

    Jupiter . . . and for every modern face of God. To this day, every religion on earth shouted out a variation of his name.

    Amen! Amin! Aum!

    22The televangelist began quoting verses from the Bible describing hierarchies of angels, demons, and spirits that

     21 prototype /'proutoutaip/ n. 原型, 模型, 典型 > proto- comb. 表示“第一、首要、原始、初”之义 22 hierachy /'hai..ra:ki/ n. -chies 等级制度~阶层 a sense of hierarchy 等级观念

    The government is a hierarchy. 政府是个官阶分明的统治集团。

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