Chapter 9 Summary
That night, Prosper cannot sleep. He gets up and sneaks outside to look at the moonlight on the canal. He thinks about Venice and takes some comfort in the fact that the city’s old buildings have existed since long before he was born. In the short time he has lived in the city, Prosper has fallen in love with it. He feels Venice has welcomed him and Bo; it has provided them safety in its winding alleys, and it has given them a wonderful group of friends. He wants to stay forever.
However, he cannot discount the incident with the detective. If Prosper and Bo are caught, their friends will be in trouble. Mosca comes from a family that does not love him. Riccio comes from an orphanage and does not want to return. Hornet’s history is so sad she refuses to talk about it, and he does not want to send her back to it. Also, if Prosper and Bo are caught, Scipio may be arrested. That would be “a fine thank you” to the Thief Lord for taking care of them.
Prosper decides that he has to tell the others about the detective, even if it means getting kicked out. He decides to do it now, while Bo is asleep, to make sure Bo does not find out. Prosper wakes Hornet first, and when she hears that he has important news, she asks him to tell her before waking anyone else. They wrap themselves in blankets and sit in two of the old theater seats. When Prosper tells the story about the detective, she has trouble believing it. Prosper insists that the detective was looking for him. He feels sick to his stomach as he mumbles that his aunt and uncle will put him in boarding school and prevent him from ever seeing Bo.
Hornet comforts Prosper, saying that the Star-Palace is the perfect hiding place. She suggests cutting Prosper’s hair very short and dying Bo’s hair black. Prosper doubts that Bo will let them do this, but Hornet says they can ask Scipio to say thieves cannot have blonde hair. “Bo would fly if Scipio asked him to,” she says, and Prosper has to agree—even though the idea makes him both jealous and worried.
Prosper is somewhat reassured by Hornet’s arguments, but he still worries about putting everyone else in danger. Hornet points out that at least half of their gang is likely to draw the police. Riccio refuses to stop stealing, and the Thief Lord’s increasingly risky raids are dangerous, too. She tells him to stop worrying and go back to bed. Prosper does as she suggests, but he has trouble getting back to sleep.