Chapter 8 Summary
Back at the Star Palace, everyone is amazed by the sum of money Prosper has managed to get for the loot. Even Scipio is stunned. He seems oddly troubled, and he asks what Barbarossa liked best. The boys mention the sugar tongs, and Scipio mutters that they must have been valuable.
Scipio sends Riccio to buy bread and sausage, and everyone sits down for a meal. With a cup of grape juice, Hornet toasts the Thief Lord for his stealing abilities and Prosper for his excellent bargaining. Bo often feels impatient with his big brother, but tonight he seems proud. Scipio announces that Prosper will henceforth be “chief loot-seller” but that they had better take a break from stealing for a while. “A thief should never become too greedy, or he’ll get caught,” he says.
The mention of thieves makes Riccio remember Barbarossa’s job offer. He tells Scipio about it, and Scipio seems surprised. He takes a long time to answer, but when he does, he sounds unsure of himself. When asked his opinion, Prosper says he does not trust Barbarossa. He wishes he could say he hates stealing in general, but he knows that it would be ridiculous to do so. After all, his survival depends on Scipio’s thievery. Scipio seems like he is about to take Prosper’s advice and turn down the job—until Bo speaks up. He looks at Scipio with shining eyes and says that the Thief Lord can do anything. Prosper begs his brother to stop “talking such complete nonsense,” but Bo keeps it up, begging Scipio to accept the job and let him come along. Riccio and Mosca get excited and say they, too, would like to go along.
Hornet tells the boys to stop being stupid. She points out that Scipio himself said he needs to take a break from stealing and that it would be “madness” to commit another crime while the police are busy looking for the man who did the last one. Besides, she adds, Barbarossa does not know Scipio is only a child.
This makes Scipio angry, and he says he is going to take the job. He tells Riccio to deliver his acceptance to Barbarossa tomorrow. He gets up to go, but Hornet stops him. She says the redbeard will laugh at Scipio when she sees his “grown-up playacting.” Nobody ever insults Scipio in this way, and he is livid. He insists that he will do the job without ever letting Barbarossa see his face.