Edward Mallory sat on a park bench. Those who knew him felt sorry for him, although they couldn’t risk admitting it. At least not now, after what had happened. Edward had been up against two of the shrewdest operators in the country, three if you count the ghost of Thorn Piper.
He knew it all now, or at least, believed that he did. It seemed they always had another card to play. He asked himself if he should have tried at all, but then, he knew the answer to that.
His Uncle had taught him that, while politics is a hard life, if your ethics and motives dictated your methods, you would be in the right. Now his Uncle was at home in his bed clothes, having not left the house for two days.
Apparently, one of Minerva’s meetings orchestrated his Uncle being removed from the position of party leader, in favor of one of her operatives. Edward’s hero had lost his job because of him.
Worse than that, Pin had been beaten up, and St Louis’ cover had been exposed. He was laying in a hospital bed, clinging to life. Thy had gotten the bullets out, but only time would let them know if he would pull through.
At least Harriet was safe, Edward knew at least part of what her plans were. St Louis hadn’t revealed that she was still alive until they had gotten back to Washington. An only then, because he discovered how entrenched Strand was.
St Louis felt Edward was her only protection. Staying with the Mallory family had probably kept her from being shot that morning. They got him a few feet from his home, hitting him twice. One bullet lodged in his chest, and one in his shoulder.
Mallory couldn’t forget the look in her eyes when he told her. First, fear for her husband, then anger at his assailants, and determination to bring anyone involved to justice. Harriet calmly loaded her gun, disguised herself, and left.
Edward tried, but knew after the tortured, calm look on her face, it was useless. She had suppressed her pain to do her duty. His only fear was her methods, did she have justice, or vengeance in mind?
He didn’t know, and didn’t know, still questioning his own motives. The people that knew him assumed he was feeling sorry for himself in the park. They would have been wrong. Edward wasn’t there out of self pity, no more than his Uncle was depressed.
His Uncle hadn’t changed out of his bed clothes because he was too busy, not having the time to do it. He was spending all of it pulling strings, trying to take his party back. Once Edward knew his hero had decided to fight, he put together a plan of his own.
Edward was in the park, waiting to meet with his rival. The Adams Hotel was right across from it, and he was going to see Edwin Strand. Edward wasn’t stupid enough to face him on Edwin’s turf, that would have been suicide. He would take the same tactic, minus the gun, that St Louis’ would be killers had.
Strand’s men would try to prevent him from talking, but he had backup. A mayor with a revolver, a policeman with two side arms, and a fugitive with a pistol. The park was busy, even this early, so they fit right in, their weapons concealed until needed.
Edward was about to push his enemy and see how well he liked it. There was no more time for games, this was war. Edwin Strand had intentions of conquering Alaska, and America, now a few of her sons were ready to share their opinions.