When he woke from the dream, he found Tyr Henriksen watching him.
Drake sat up, groggily reaching for his gun.
Henriksen nodded. “It’s all right, Mr. Drake. Your weapon is still there and still loaded.”
Drake’s hand closed on the butt of the gun, but he didn’t take it out of his waistband. The guttural drone of the engine made him blink, and only as he glanced around did he remember that they were on an airplane chartered by Henriksen for the journey from Greece to China. Out the oval window beyond Henriksen the sky was dark. He wasn’t sure how long they had been flying or how long he’d been sleeping, but it was still night.
The plane Henriksen had chartered was of a sort he rarely had been inside: a private jet with seating for twelve in the center and a cabin for business in the rear, complete with a narrow conference table. Henriksen, Olivia, and Corelli had been in the back when Drake had fallen asleep, and it disconcerted him to wake with the man studying him as if he were some kind of exotic pet.
“You slept soundly,” Henriksen said. “You snore.”
“Back off, pal. You’re freaking me out.”
Feeling something sticky on his chin, Drake wiped his mouth and realized he had been so deeply asleep that he had been drooling a little. Henriksen had had the good grace not to mention it.
“I guess I was more tired than I thought,” Drake said.
Henriksen leaned back in his seat. “We all were. I dozed for several hours myself. Jada is still sleeping.”
Drake craned his neck to look back along the aisle and saw her stretched out in her wide, fully reclined seat, a blanket over her. She looked peaceful, and Drake felt happy for her. Peace had been hard for Jada to come by of late. Only sleep offered any respite from her grief and the fears and tensions of recent days. Olivia and Corelli were nowhere to be seen, which he assumed meant they were still in the rear cabin. Whether they had gotten any sleep, he didn’t know. Not that he had a lot of concern for their well-being.
“How much longer?” Drake asked, sitting up straight.
He had fallen asleep so quickly that he hadn’t even taken the trouble to recline his seat completely, and now his back ached from slouching in the chair for so long.
“We have several hours yet,” Henriksen replied.
When he shifted in the seat, he winced, and Drake realized that the knife wound was bothering him badly. Corelli had stitched him up, and it seemed their first aid kit had included some serious painkillers, but if Henriksen had taken anything, Drake hadn’t seen him do it.
After escaping from the labyrinth beneath the Goulas in Akrotiri village, they all had spent a little time recovering and letting their clothes drip-dry on the rocks at the bottom of the cliff not far from the village. Getting topside had been a time-consuming process. Drake had hoped the taxi that had dropped him and Jada off in the morning would be there waiting, but night had fallen by the time they returned to the village, and he and Jada had reluctantly accepted a ride back to their hotel from Henriksen. They had ridden in relative silence, all the suspicion and ill will poisoning the air in the limousine.
Drake and Jada had returned to the suite, entering with guns drawn, just in case the hooded men were waiting. Not that Drake had believed they would be. All they seemed to want was for everyone to stop searching for the fourth labyrinth, and now that they realized Henriksen and Jada were both on the verge of locating it, Drake figured they would retreat and just wait. He wondered how many killers would be waiting for them when they got to China.
They had showered and put on clean clothes, then packed up what little they had. Without a word, Jada had put all of Sully’s things in his duffel, including the sweater he’d bought when they had shopped the night before. Neither one of them was willing even to consider the possibility that he wouldn’t have need of the contents of that duffel again.
A door clicked open at the rear of the passenger cabin. Drake turned and saw Corelli poke his head through.
“Mr. Henriksen,” the short man said. “Olivia has something you’re going to want to hear.”
Drake frowned, turning to Henriksen, who popped up from his seat with the exuberance of a child.
“Well?” he said, turning to Drake. “Are you coming?”
“What is it?” Drake asked, still not completely awake. The echoes of his dream had lingered like cobwebs in his mind.
“I’m going to guess it’s a translation of all the ancient Chinese back in that chamber,” Henriksen said. “Or don’t you want to know if my people have figured out the location of the fourth labyrinth?”
Drake stretched and started to rise. “I’m coming.”
Henriksen went on without him, hurrying excitedly to the back of the plane and slipping through the door to the rear cabin. As Drake watched him go, a voice from his dream came back to him.
You’ve gotta learn to hiss, but that doesn’t mean you have to slither.
He crouched to shake Jada awake. When he saw that she had been drooling as well, he smiled and used the edge of his shirt cuff to wipe her mouth.
“Wake up, sleeping beauty.”
She blinked and then sat up quickly, pulling away from him in a tangle of blanket, eyes wide. For a second she seemed almost not to recognize him, and then she relaxed, remembering where she was and how she had gotten there.
“Bad dreams?” he asked.
“No. Good ones,” she replied, but she didn’t elaborate. Jada glanced around. “And now I wake up to the nightmare.”
Drake nodded, giving her a moment to come more fully awake. Then he hooked his thumb toward the rear of the plane.
“Henriksen just went into the back. I guess Olivia’s got something new.”
At the mention of her stepmother’s name, Jada’s eyes darkened. She didn’t bother using the control to put her seat upright, just shoved the blanket aside and joined Drake in the aisle. She ran her fingers through her sleep-mussed hair and nodded to him, then led the way to the door to the rear cabin.
Jada didn’t knock, just opened the door and stepped through.
Olivia and Corelli were seated at the narrow conference table and glanced up from the laptop open in front of them when Jada and Drake entered the cabin. Henriksen had expected them and did not bother to turn away; he stood over the nearer end of the table, studying one of the maps Luka had left with his journal for Jada to find. Drake knew the sight must have given Jada pause—her father had hidden his research to keep it out of Henriksen’s hands, and now she had handed the journal and maps over to the man who’d been his rival. It had been the right choice at the time, the only choice—they had more dangerous enemies to be wary of—but Drake could tell the decision didn’t sit right with Jada at all.
Drake had no doubt they would come to regret it. The only question was when that moment would arrive and whether they would be ready for it.
“What’ve you got?” Jada asked, staring at her stepmother. Henriksen might be Olivia’s boss, but when the two women were in the same room, the bitterness and tension existed for the two of them alone.
Olivia smiled thinly. Either she had wearied of her stepdaughter’s hatred and suspicion or she had decided it was time to stop pretending she gave a crap what Jada thought. Whatever happened now, it was all business. They shared certain goals—all of them—and for the moment that was enough to keep them cooperating.
“Quite a lot, actually,” Olivia said. “Why don’t you have a seat.”
Drake waited for a cue from Jada, wondering if she might refuse to sit. But she hesitated for only a moment before sliding into one of the remaining chairs around the table. Drake sat next to her, glancing for a moment at the large screen at the rear of the cabin, which flickered with blank light. The monitor was on but displayed nothing at the moment.
“Are we gonna have a slide show?” he asked. “Fair warning, I tend to fall asleep. Unless it’s the one on fire safety. I like the sirens. And the Dalmatian.”
Henriksen shot him a disapproving glance, and Corelli scoffed like a man about to start a fight in a bar. The women ignored them all. Jada stared impatiently at Olivia, who tapped a couple of keys on the laptop. The plane’s engine whined loudly enough that they had to raise their voices slightly to be heard, and the pungent smell of urine and industrial cleanser came from the bathroom. Drake figured no amount of money could build an airplane without those two elements, but wealthy people liked to pretend they didn’t notice them. The thought crystallized a feeling he’d had in the back of his mind all day: Henriksen was a brat, just a spoiled rich kid grown up into a spoiled rich man. He wanted the secrets and treasures of the fourth labyrinth because he liked to own things that nobody else could have.
“Phoenix Innovations employs a man named Emil Yablonski,” Olivia said. “Yablonski is the most brilliant man I’ve ever met, but he’s almost incapable of functioning socially. He’s a historian and archaeologist, but he hadn’t done fieldwork in more than twenty years. He doesn’t mind e-mail or even the phone, but he doesn’t like talking to people in person. He’d rather you be in the next room than in his office.”
Henriksen waved a hand to indicate she should move along. He slipped into a chair, though still studying the map unfolded in front of him.
“They don’t care about Yablonski,” Henriksen said. “The guy works for me, and I don’t care, either.” He shot a look at Jada. “Part of my company is a think tank. Yablonski has his own division. Now we move on.”
Olivia smiled at her employer, but there were sharp edges to her expression and it was clear she didn’t like being spoken to so brusquely. Drake couldn’t muster much sympathy.
“Yablonski is practically paralyzed with geek joy over the information he’s getting from these translations,” Olivia said. “His exact words were, ‘This changes everything.’ Frankly, I think that’s a rash overstatement. The ancient Chinese writing on the walls and on the ceremonial jars clarifies certain things, confirms others, and gives us some vital clues as to our next step.
“We start with Daedalus. With the writings from the three chambers in the labyrinth of Sobek for comparison, Yablonski has confirmed that Daedalus designed the first three—Knossos, Crocodilopolis, and Thera—though if you want to refer to the Thera structure as the labyrinth of Atlantis, it would make Yablonski very happy.”
“He really thinks Atlantis was there?” Drake asked.
Olivia shot him a withering look, cold and beautiful. “Atlantis is a myth, Mr. Drake. The labyrinth of Poseidon on Thera is the seed from which the roots of that myth grew.”
“Are you saying Daedalus didn’t design the fourth labyrinth?” Jada asked.
Olivia arched an eyebrow. “Someone was listening. Let me back up, though. The temple at Knossos was built around 1700 B.C., the same era in which the Egyptians built Crocodile City. But what’s become clear here is that these cities were already under way or already built by the time the labyrinths were constructed. We’re putting our best guess at around 1550 B.C. Knossos came first. Daedalus tried to impress Minos—or Midas—in order to win his approval so that he could marry Ariadne. But one entire wall of the Chinese worship chamber on Thera is given over to telling the story, and it’s clear that Daedalus only met Ariadne when he went to the king with his plans to build the labyrinth.”
Henriksen grunted. “The labyrinth came first.”
Olivia nodded. “It did.”
“So what was Daedalus? The traveling inventor?” Drake asked. “He just wandered around the ancient world saying, ‘Hey, want me to build you something cool?’ ”
“He was an alchemist, of course,” Olivia said, her smile genuine for once.
“That’s crap,” Jada snorted.
Corelli hit a key on the laptop, and an image appeared on the monitor screen on the rear wall of the cabin, showing several paintings and a lot of ancient Chinese characters.
“The people who wrote this disagree,” Corelli said.
Drake stared at him. “Relax, junior. The grown-ups are talking.”
Corelli froze, his features practically turning to stone. For a moment, Drake thought he might lunge across the table or pull a weapon, but then Olivia put a firm hand on his arm and he relaxed, forcing a smile.
“Go on, then. Why don’t you tell me what it says?” Corelli said.
Drake shrugged. “It’s all chicken scratches to me,” he said, looking back at Olivia. “But I know a little bit about alchemists. You can’t make gold.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Henriksen said. He pointed to the screen. “They believed it could be done, and they believed Daedalus could do it.”
Olivia leaned back in her chair. “Exactly.”
“So Daedalus was a snake-oil salesman,” Jada said. “He didn’t fulfill a need; he invented it.”
Drake glanced down at Luka Hzujak’s journal, which had been in the center of the table since they’d entered. He picked it up and flipped to the first maze sketches he found, and then he looked up at Jada, ignoring the others.
“Your father had figured that part out, I think.”
“Why do you say that?” Olivia asked.
Drake ignored her, opened the book, and leaned over to show Jada a page where Luka had titled one maze drawing “The Labyrinth of Anygod.”
Jada’s eyes were bright as she lifted her gaze. “He knew.” She looked at Olivia and Corelli and then turned to Henriksen. “Daedalus went to the kings and high priests with the labyrinth design and claimed he could make them all as much gold as they could ever want. And he promised them that the labyrinth would be the perfect treasury, a place for them to store their own gold where it could never be stolen.”
“And then he stole it,” Drake said, grinning. “The lovable bastard.”
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