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CHAPTER 94

THE SOUND OF running footsteps echoed through the subterranean basilica as a Guardia agent sprinted toward the three men gathered in the deepest recesses of the church.

“Your Majesty,” he called out, breathless. “Edmond Kirsch … the video … is being broadcast.”

The king turned in his wheelchair, and Prince Julián spun around as well.

Valdespino gave a disheartened sigh. It was only a matter of time, he reminded himself. Still, his soul felt heavy to know that the world was now seeing the same video that he had seen in the Montserrat library with al-Fadl and Köves.

Where do we come from? Kirsch’s claim of a “Godless origin” was both arrogant and blasphemous; it would have a ruinous effect on the human desire to aspire to a higher ideal and emulate the God who created us in His image.

Tragically, Kirsch had not stopped there. He had followed up this first desecration with a second, far more dangerous one—proposing a profoundly disturbing answer to the question Where are we going?

Kirsch’s prediction for the future was calamitous … so disturbing that Valdespino and his colleagues had urged Kirsch not to release it. Even if the futurist’s data were accurate, sharing it with the world would cause irreversible damage.

Not just for the faithful, Valdespino knew, but for every human being on earth.

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