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3 .12 P.M


“Holy Father, Chief Pique just called. He said that they recovered the hard disk successfully,” the Camerlengo said.

The Pope had been sitting in front of a sculpted statue of the Blessed Mother.

“Grazie a Dio. Have you received any information from the newswoman?” he said, looking up at the young clergy.

“Not yet papa. There’s bad news, the Sistine hall section of the Vatican Library has just gone up in flames.”

The Pope supports his head with his palms.

“Why the church of the Lord?” he muttered slowly.

“Papa, I understand how all this must be hard on you but it is very important that you leave the city immediately. Please, do this for your life and for your beloved church.”

The Pope shook his head remorsefully.

“I can’t, holy son. I can’t leave the church this way. She needs me most now. I was thinking about addressing the world, I am to give them hope…,” he broke off.

The Carmelengo kneels before the pope and holds his hands.

“You’re not leaving forever. Believe me, Your Holiness; millions of your sheep are out there appraising your courage. You should see how passionate the world has become about you. I can’t let them find out you are in the Vatican City… what a dishonorable story it would become when it is discovered that it has been a coy all along.”

He brought out a copy of L’osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper and handed it over to him.

“When the news gets out, no one would care why it was done. Let’s leave the city. The security agencies are handling it. When the dust settles, I believe the security agencies would handle it. You would surely return as the victorious pope.” the Camerlengo implored.

“You can go alone, padre. I’ll be better off alone here,” he said calmly and dropped the newspaper, fixing his gaze on the sacred statue.

“Santità, ricordatevi, che il buon Dio perdona. Remember, the good Lord forgives, Your Holiness.”

“Certo, lo so!” He paused. “If you insist, I’ll make a confession lest I die in my sins.”

“When we get on the jet successfully, you may confess. We need to hurry up. The plane has been readied.”

He said, opening the mahogany doors of the wardrobe and getting out a designer tuxedo and a matching pair of loafers he had given the Pope on his seventy-fifth birthday. He helped him dress up and accompanied him downstairs to a waiting tinted Bentley.

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