Nick entered his apartment, shutting the door quickly lest he have any curious eyes watching him.  From his jacket, he lifted the Rajah's Star, reverently, gently, cradling it with all the care one would give a newborn child.  Another hope for him...another possible chance to regain his humanity and save his unworthy soul.  He placed the gem on the coffee table, kneeling before it as if in prayer.  The moonlight streamed in, the only light he had ever known it seemed.  The silvery beams shone on the large ruby, causing it to glow with an unearthly crimson fire.  /The glow of possibilities./
 He placed the jewel in a carved box on his mantle.  Tomorrow, the moon would be full and he would ascend to the highest place in the city to offer his wish to the God he had so long ago forsaken.
 Nicholas' mind turned to the earlier events in the evening.  He almost snarled as he remembered the other thief.  /Insolent bastard!  Hers is not the heart to be broken in lightness!/  He was also more than a bit worried.  The dark-haired thief would place her association with him.  That did not bode well for Laura...nor did Lacroix's obsessive bloodlust towards her.  Damn!  He threw the bottle of cow's blood against the wall, shuddering at the crystalline sound of broken glass.  Why did the evil ones in the world take so much pleasure in destroying the innocent?  Nick looked out the window towards the direction of Laura's hotel.  His mind reached for hers, coming into a realm of swirling dreams and peace, an inner song of mature strength which seemed to resound throughout Laura's entire being.  Nick smiled.  /Sleep, little one.  Sleep and shine./
 A dark angel kept a distant watch over a sleeping girl, as the beast had kept vigil over beauty in long ago fairy tales.

 Edward Ashby huddled in the doorway of an archway, watching as Interpol and the French police went through their rounds.  He was fuming.  /Damn him!  Damn him and that old fox he partnered with!/  Ashby was enraged.  He had been planning to steal the Rajah's Star for months!  He knew it had to be Harry and Daniel Chalmers who now had the French authorities hopping like damned jack rabbits trying to find the blasted thing!  Ashby's gripped tightened on the gun he kept so carefully hidden in his coat.  Chalmers and his protégé had bested him one time too many.  This was payback time, for this and a lot of other old scores that needed settling.

 Harry sat in the apartment, brooding.  He still couldn't believe what he had seen!  Nicholas LeCavalier with the ruby in his hand, looking damned near inhuman, if he had to say so.  His mind was reeling at the fact that the tiny little thing who had eaten dinner with the man was his accomplice!  He wondered briefly if she was also Nicholas LeCavalier's lover, though she looked too young to have sampled any physical pleasures.
  /She had me so bloody convinced!  So damned convinced with those innocent eyes and shyness!  My Lord, old sport, how could you have been taken in by the oldest con in the book?  What a damned ripping good actress!/
 Harry's mind drifted back to his plan.  He was sure there was no woman who couldn't be seduced by him without a bit o' charm and some pretty words.  This one though; he's have to be at his best to beat her at her own game.  He looked at the painting on the wall-an oil-painting of the Lady of Shallott.  Funny, it reminded him of the nameless little thief.  Tenneyson's poem sprang to mind.  He found himself repeating the last stanza.  "Lancelot mused a little space, he said she has a lovely face.  God in his mercy lend her grace, the Lady of Shallott."
 He frowned.  She did have a lovely face, covering up a very deceitful little heart, apparently.  Harry grinned.  Then again, so did he.  Tomorrow could prove to be unusual.  He'd find her and /convince/ her to give him the Rajah's Star, or at the very least, help him steal it from her partner, Nicholas LeCavalier.  As he went to sleep, his dreams were filled with seductions of maiden unknown, body and soul.

 Laura sat up from a deep sleep with a start.  Pushing her hair out of her face, she looked across the room at Amy, who was snoring loudly and definitely asleep.  Laura shook her head.  She had distinctly heard someone tell her to sleep.  Didn't she?  Laura looked around the dark room.  At least, she thought she had!  Growing annoyed and giving herself the willies, Laura fell back onto her pillow, burrowing under the covers.  /Just a stupid dream./
 Her eyes closed, pulling her back into a dream in which a dark figure watched her from a corner.  She hugged the pillow to herself.