I went back in our hotel room and closed the door. I stood facing the door for a few seconds and listened to make sure the troopers began the disposal of the bodies from the hallway. When I was assured they had begun the process, I turned to see Daphne observing me from across the room. She had donned the everyday garb that she normally wore.
I said, “Are ya alright?”
She nodded and then began to cry. I opened my arms and she ran into my embrace. “It’s alright, Darling. It’s alright,” I cooed.
“I was so fearful for yar life, Jim. I couldn’t bear to lose ya. I love ya so much, “she sobbed.
“I know, Liebchen. I promise to be as careful as I can be, but these times call for drastic measures,” I explained.
“Oh, Jim,” she wailed.
Taking her by the shoulders and gently moving her out of my embrace so I could see her face, I promised, “We are about at tha end of tha tunnel in dealing with tha secret forces that have been opposing us. It shouldn’t be much longer and we’ll be rid of ‘em.”
“Oh, Jim, I hope so. I’m so scared,” she confessed.
Fixing her with a loving gaze, I said, “Liebchen, I’m gonna ask a big favor of ya.
I need ya to be my rock because I’m scared, too. So, if ya will summon that will of iron that I’ve seen ya exhibit and exhort me to vanquish our foes, I can accomplish my mission that much faster.”
Daphne looked at me for a long moment. I guess that I must have shocked her with my admission of fear. Gradually, she stopped crying, and I saw her transform before my eyes from a sobbing young wife in fear for her life to a strong-willed women bent on eradicating the evil threating the future of her family. Slowly she reached up and took my hands from her shoulders and grasped my hands in hers.
With a determined glare, she ordered me like the Spartan wives of old, “Crush our enemies, Jim.”
I smiled and said, “Gladly.”
I put on my coat with a grimace, donned my hat, and walked to the door. Before I opened it, I turned to look her and commanded, “Don’t go out until I return. Lock the door and don’t open it to anyone. If anyone tries to enter, shoot ‘em.”
I turned back to the door and opened it. Looking down the hall, I saw that the bodies were gone. I closed the door and proceeded down to the front desk. I informed the clerk that the bodies had been disposed of and that he could get the hallway cleaned up.
He nodded fearfully and asked, “Will y’all be departing anytime soon?”
I smiled grimly and said, “Not hardly.” I left as he gave me a despondent look.
I left the hotel by the back door, and keeping a sharp lookout for any lurking men, who might be taking an excessive interest in me, I quickly strode to the livery stable.
On entering the front entrance, I yelled, “John Lee, are ya in here?”
I heard an answering shout, “Yeah.”
John Lee appeared from one of the stalls down toward the end of the building. About the same time, I heard a loud whinny from another stall across from where John Lee appeared. Then the unmistakable head of Stonewall appeared as he looked at me from the open top door of his stall.
I hurried toward them. I shook John Lee’s hand and asked, “Did ya have any problems during tha night?”
He shook his head and said, “Nary a one.”
“Good,” I replied. “Could I ask another favor?” I begged.
“Course,” he answered.
“Could ya go to tha hotel and sit outside Daphne’s room til I get back?” I pleaded.
“Sho ‘nuff,” he said and began to trot toward the hotel.
“Don’t let ‘em give ya any trouble ‘bout acting as a sentry for Daphne. Get a chair and sit outside tha room. Tell ‘em Captain Hager commanded ya to do it,” I yelled.
He waved his hand that he understood as he left the livery and headed toward the hotel.
I turned toward Stonewall and walked over to his stall. He lowered his head and I began our ritual of gently rubbing his jaws, while he rested his head against my chest. After a few minutes, I said, “We’ve got to get to the cavalry camp.”
Stonewall gave a disgusted snorted and added a whinny to make it known that he didn’t like the fast paced life we were living. I quickly saddled him, got aboard his strong back, and rode out of the livery like the wind.
We made it to the cavalry camp without mishap. At the entrance to the fortified area, I was waved through toward the Colonel’s tent.
Once I galloped to the Colonel’s headquarters, I jumped down from Stonewall and advanced on the guard, who quickly ushered me into the presence of the Colonel.
My abrupt entrance to the Colonel’s tent caused him to exclaim, “What tha?”
I promptly saluted, which brought the Colonel back to his senses. Once he returned my salute, I stated, “Colonel, I know who’s probably tha head of tha spy ring that’s been operating in our region.”