Hinkle fired three times, he was sure at least one of his bullets had found his target. Sanders said not to get to close, so he couldn’t do anymore. He had to trust Larkin to get it, so Hinkle ran.
Larkin had used the excuse of a delivery to get into the house. Sanders had thought of everything. They would know the box was empty later, but not before Larkin retrieved the prize. The Frenchman had betrayed Sanders, now Sanders was going to make him pay through the nose.
Larkin grabbed the deed, while pretending to check the Frenchman’s pulse. He was still alive, and Strand was back in play. Larkin started whimpering as if he was upset, then quietly bolted for the door before the bodyguards saw what was missing.
Later that night, he presented the trophy to Sanders. “The Frenchman thought he could double cross me, and use this to blackmail Strand. If he lives, he’ll learn better. Now, Hinkle, take this letter of mine to Strand. Tell him I’m willing to negotiate, for a price.”
Hinkle was let in by a servant. Strand was glad to be back home. He was back in pleasant surroundings, even if things were complicated right now. He showed no expression to the man that had shot him, intending to have him killed as soon as the opportunity occurred.
“So your boss wants to blackmail me does he? I expected as much when they carted The Frenchman off to my special doctor. Tell Sands he had better hope the man doesn’t recover quickly. He’s a big and angry man.”
“Also, tell him, I’m not. I’ll pay his price, have him wait a week. It’ll take that long to gather the first installment. Hinkle, come back then and get the first payment.”
Hinkle left, and Strand smashed a vase. He wasn’t angry, he was seething. “No one is going to mess up my plans. Not that overgrown convict, or Sands. I’ll take care of them both.”
“Right now, I have to play along, it will take a week to set everything in motion. Then I’ll pay them all, starting with Hinkle, but I set the price, and it won’t be the currency they expect.”
He stared at a portrait of his Grandfather. “You couldn’t have used an assumed name could you Grandfather? It would have been so much tidier. No matter, Aunt Minerva and I will correct your mistakes. We’ll finish what you started, and in the end, bank roll an empire.”