The Lost Continent

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 82

clubbed his rifle and felled him with a single
mighty blow.

A moment later, I had burst into the room beyond. It was empty!

I gazed about, mad with disappointment. Two doors opened from this to
other rooms. I ran to the nearer and listened. Yes, voices were
coming from beyond and one was a woman's, level and cold and filled
with scorn. There was no terror in it. It was Victory's.

I turned the knob and pushed the door inward just in time to see
Menelek seize the girl and drag her toward the far end of the
apartment. At the same instant there was a deafening roar just outside
the palace--a shell had struck much nearer than any of its
predecessors. The noise of it drowned my rapid rush across the room.

But in her struggles, Victory turned Menelek about so that he saw me.
She was striking him in the face with her clenched fist, and now he was
choking her.

At sight of me, he gave voice to a roar of anger.

"What means this, slave?" he cried. "Out of here! Out of here! Quick,
before I kill you!"

But for answer I rushed upon him, striking him with the butt of the
rifle. He staggered back, dropping Victory to the floor, and then he
cried aloud for the guard, and came at me. Again and again I struck
him; but his thick skull might have been armor plate, for all the
damage I did it.

He tried to close with me, seizing the rifle, but I was stronger than
he, and, wrenching the weapon from his grasp, tossed it aside and made
for his throat with my bare hands. I had not dared fire the weapon for
fear that its report would bring the larger guard stationed at the
farther end of the corridor.

We struggled about the room, striking one another, knocking over
furniture, and rolling upon the floor. Menelek was a powerful man, and
he was fighting for his life. Continually he kept calling for the
guard, until I succeeded in getting a grip upon his throat; but it was
too late. His cries had been heard, and suddenly the door burst open,
and a score of armed guardsmen rushed into the apartment.

Victory seized the rifle from the floor and leaped between me and them.
I had the black emperor upon his back, and both my hands were at his
throat, choking the life from him.

The rest happened in the fraction of

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