A few moments later we were climbing through the window of Moriarty's lodgings. There were plants all over this room, as far as I could tell in the darkness. I was still trying to get my bearings when I saw a pair of lamplike eyes in the darkness, and then something rubbed up against my leg. It was far too big to be a housecat.
Holmes stealthily disappeared up the stairs then returned without bothering to be quiet.
"No one's here, Sherwood, come on," he said.
"I can't. There's something here… what is it?"
Whatever it was, it was under my skirts now, which I lifted so that he could shed some light on the situation.
He looked surprised for a second or two then said. "Oh, it's an ocelot. If Moriarty hasn't been savaged by now, I imagine you can move."
He took a step closer to me, and the cat hissed menacingly. He retreated.
"Marvelous," I said. "So this is the exotic animal you mentioned before. Did you find out anything else?"
"He's been shaving. He's had that beard for years, why would he suddenly shave it tonight?"
"Oh good God! He was that police sergeant from the Tower! There was an attempt made to steal the ruby, but Sir Ronald said they dropped it. He let them get away."
"That doesn't sound like Moriarty at all. Why would he do this?" Holmes lit the nearest lamp, extinguishing his torch at the same time. "A guidebook? He knows London like a cab driver."
I let go of my skirts, and the little beast disappeared into the darkness. "What's that page that's marked?"
"The Tower of London," Holmes frowned at the book. "The Brandon case was created to distract me, but why? He can't have wanted the ruby. He spoke of the 'crime of the century,' the crowning glory of his career…."
We both had the same thought.
"Good God," I said again. "St. Edward's crown… that's it, isn't it?"
"We're wasting time!"
He was already halfway out the door. I ran after him to an empty cab and got in; he claimed the driver's seat. What followed was the most unpleasant ride of my life. When we got to the Tower, Holmes turned too sharply and it tipped over. The poor horse screamed, and I felt like doing the same.
The guards ran out, and set to freeing the horse and me.
"What in blazes were you trying to do?" One asked me, taking my arm roughly.
"Where's the driver?" I asked.
There was some muttering as they looked. My raven alighted on my shoulder again.
"No one's there," the guard who seemed to be in charge said. "You trying to batter into the Tower, or what?"
"Certainly not! But there's an attempt that's about to be made, if it isn't already underway, to steal the crown jewels!"
"How would you know this?"
Before I could answer there was a gunshot from inside the Tower. Sir Ronald appeared.
"Did you hear a shot?" He asked then noticed me at the mercy of the guards. "Miss Sherwood!"
"Professor Moriarty," I said by way of explanation. "Holmes is in the Tower now, there isn't much time."
He gestured to the men. "Come on! You stay here."
"I will not!"
"We're wasting time like this. Just go!"
Up the Tower stairs we went. I admit I was huffing by the third flight, but the thrill of the chase and my worry for Holmes kept me going. I found Holmes' revolver on the steps and pocketed. Then another shot came from above, and our pace quickened.
Reaching the roof we could see a figure standing by the edge, looking at something below. I knew it was Holmes. I handed the revolver to the person nearest to me and ran over to him, shamelessly throwing my arms around him.
"You scared ten years off my life, and I can't spare any," I said.
"I'm fine," Holmes gave me a tentative squeeze then made me end the embrace. "And the Crime of the Century is yet to be committed."
Holmes gestured at the edge with his head. I looked and turned back around.
"Better than he deserved."
"Yes." I saw his coat on the ground nearby and picked it up, holding it out to him. "Let's go back to Baker Street."