Chapter 28 Summary
It is getting light outside by the time the children return to the Star-Palace. They write a message claiming that they have stolen the wing. Then they carry the pigeon out to the canal and release it into the air. As they watch it fly away, Prosper reminds everyone that the Conte told them he would send his reply through Barbarossa. The Conte said he would answer them the day after they released the pigeon, so Prosper guesses that the Conte’s home cannot be far away. Scipio disagrees. He says pigeons can fly long distances very quickly, so they have no way of knowing how far away the Conte may be.
This statement calls everyone’s attention back to their disgust with Scipio, and they all tell Scipio to go home. Riccio is aggressive about it, but Prosper and Hornet try to be more gentle. Hornet says that Scipio’s father will look for him if he does not go home, and the police will be sure to check the Stella. It is too dangerous for him to stay.
Scipio grows angry at the injustice of this, pointing out that the gang let Prosper and Bo stay even when they were being hunted:
But I—I’m not allowed to stay. I showed you this place. I gave you money and warm clothes.... When it got cold, I even brought you blankets and heaters.
He asks if they think it was easy to steal for them, and Mosca replies that he thinks it probably was easy. He guesses that Scipio’s parents blamed one of the servants instead of him. When Scipio blushes, Riccio laughs. It is clear that Mosca is right. Scipio reluctantly admits that his parents blamed his nanny for the missing objects. He was too afraid to tell them the truth, so he did not defend her. She was fired, and now he does not have a nanny.
This last detail leaves the others even more disgusted than before. Riccio shoves Scipio and says they should never have let him back into the Star-Palace. Scipio protests that the building belongs to his father, so he is the one who allows others to come and go, not the other way around. He and Riccio get into a fistfight, but the others pull them apart before they can do too much damage.
Hornet tells Scipio to go but promises to let him know what they hear from the Conte. Prosper promises too. Scipio slowly makes his way toward the door, clearly hoping that the others will call him back—but they do not. As Prosper watches him leave, he realizes that the grand and arrogant Thief Lord is scared to go home.