Chapter 33 Summary

When Prosper, Mosca, and Riccio arrive home at the Star-Palace, they find the door unlocked. This makes them all nervous, but Mosca says maybe Hornet just wanted to make sure they could get in if she fell asleep. Inside the auditorium, they find candles still lit. Hornet is usually very careful about fire, so the boys’ uneasiness increases.

When find Hornet’s bed empty, they think at first that she and Bo may be hiding. They call out and say they are too tired for games. Riccio shouts that they now have “piles of money.” When they hear no response, a feeling of dread descends on Prosper. Then Riccio finds a note from Hornet in which she says she can hear someone, maybe police, trying to get in. She is taking Bo to the gang’s emergency meeting point.

The boys think immediately that Victor must have told the police about their hideout. Furious, Prosper rummages through the mattresses until he finds the detective’s gun. He says he will point it at Victor’s face and force him to confess how much information he has revealed. The others tell Prosper to calm down. They convince him to come with them to the emergency meeting point and make sure Hornet and Bo are safe.

There is no way for the boys to carry their things away from the Star-Palace, so they take nothing but their money. They give their home a last look, wondering if they will ever be back. Then they blow out the candles and head to the streets. The emergency meeting point, a monument called the Book Man, is far away, but the boys cover almost the whole distance at a run. Around them, Venice is starting to wake up for the day. Normally the sight of the boats bringing supplies to the city would captivate the boys. Today, there is no room in their heads for anything but the horrible crises that may have befallen Hornet and Bo overnight. They reach the Book Man, but Hornet and Bo are not there.

Mosca and Riccio stop to catch their breath, but Prosper does not. Instead he turns and runs toward Victor’s apartment. Mosca calls out to stop him. He says it is crazy to go after the detective, especially because he lives miles away. Prosper does not acknowledge the protest, so Mosca grabs Riccio and follows. He tells Riccio they have to prevent Prosper from doing something that might get him in terrible trouble.