He dressed quickly and methodically, just as Ulysses did everything else. He was the first, though only by fifteen minutes, the other two didn’t know that. They couldn’t, it was part of Grandfather’s plan.
He had sacrificed much for this scheme, still he had been happy. Ulysses Zade Monopole was his name to outsiders, but he was a Strand. The firstborn of twins, however he and Artemis didn’t look alike.
His mind drifted back to Mother’s story, Aunt Minerva, was there at the beginning. Carla Elise Strand had three sons, Ulysses Zade Strand, Artemis Xavier Strand, and Edwin Wynton Strand. They were given unusual names on purpose, to instill the Piper pride in them.
Oliver Strand never knew he had three boys, only the two last ones. The doctor had said there would be only one, and the sisters felt he didn’t need to be informed. Carla asked Minerva to raise Ulysses, knowing that it was the only way to protect him from a mad man. That of course wasn’t the reason she had told Grandfather and Mother. He didn’t learn this version until he was twenty.
By then, Ulysses had formed his own opinion of the Grandfather that everyone else idolized. Mother, or as they called her, Aunt Minerva, had been good to him, giving him everything that he had wanted or needed. She wasn’t able to have children of her own, so she loved being a Mother to him.
Still, it pained him to watch his brothers from a distance, never being able to share their lives. He was raised as a Monopole, Mother’s first husband, she had taken the maiden name back upon his death. The finest schools, the military, and now his current position all were part of the Piper grand plan.
He smiled at himself in the mirror, he still cut a dashing figure. The uniform fit him well, and he enjoyed the job. Ulysses would enjoy more, his new position, the one he had been promised for going along with the arrogant scheme. It would be his reward for a life of illusion and misdirection.
Edwin Wynton would get the position of Machiavelli, the power behind a throne. Artemis Xavier would be the head of an international criminal network, making things possible that Edwin Wynton needed accomplished. Ulysses Zade would be the last piece, the head of the military arm. Between the three, they would rule the country, secure Grandfather’s treasure, and begin a dynasty.
Mother had left specific instructions, he was to enter the room at precisely 12:34. No sooner, and no later, it was a flare dramatic, but so was she. Every Piper was, he knew he had inherited the Piper arrogance too, it had kept him alive as a prisoner.
Now it would pave the way to their final success. He placed the hat on his head, adjusted his tie, and walked towards the suite. The last Strand was in place, and ready to meet his family. Then, to activate Grandfather’s plan, and forget him, finally, for good.