Twenty million euro.
The sum would buy Aringarosa power far more valuable than that.
As his car sped back toward Rome, Aringarosa again found himself wondering why the Teacherhad not yet contacted him. Pulling his cell phone from his cassock pocket, he checked the carriersignal. Extremely faint.
"Cell service is intermittent up here," the driver said, glancing at him in the rearview mirror. "Inabout five minutes, we'll be out of the mountains, and service improves.""Thank you." Aringarosa felt a sudden surge of concern. No service in the mountains? Maybe theTeacher had been trying to reach him all this time. Maybe something had gone terribly wrong.
Quickly, Aringarosa checked the phone's voice mail. Nothing. Then again, he realized, the Teachernever would have left a recorded message; he was a man who took enormous care with hiscommunications. Nobody understood better than the Teacher the perils of speaking openly in thismodern world. Electronic eavesdropping had played a major role in how he had gathered hisastonishing array of secret knowledge.
For this reason, he takes extra precautions.
Unfortunately, the Teacher's protocols for caution included a refusal to give Aringarosa any kind ofcontact number. I alone will initiate contact, the Teacher had informed him. So keep your phoneclose. Now that Aringarosa realized his phone might not have been working properly, he fearedwhat the Teacher might think if he had been repeatedly phoning with no answer.
He'll think something is wrong.
Or that I failed to get the bonds.
The bishop broke a light sweat.
Or worse... that I took the money and ran!