The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 1

or ravines
upon the opposite side of the plain of Lustadt.

Peter of Blentz was filled with rage and, possibly, fear as well.

"I tell you, Coblich," he cried, addressing his dark-visaged
minister of war, "there's more than coincidence in this matter.
Someone has betrayed us. That he should have escaped upon the very
eve of the arrival at Blentz of the new physician is most
suspicious. None but you, Coblich, had knowledge of the part that
Dr. Stein was destined to play in this matter," concluded Prince
Peter pointedly.

Coblich looked the Regent full in the eye.

"Your highness wrongs not only my loyalty, but my intelligence," he
said quietly, "by even so much as intimating that I have any guilty
knowledge of Leopold's escape. With Leopold upon the throne of
Lutha, where, think you, my prince, would old Coblich be?"

Peter smiled.

"You are right, Coblich," he said. "I know that you would not be
such a fool; but whom, then, have we to thank?"

"The walls have ears, prince," replied Coblich, "and we have not
always been as careful as we should in discussing the matter.
Something may have come to the ears of old Von der Tann. I don't for
a moment doubt but that he has his spies among the palace servants,
or even the guard. You know the old fox has always made it a point
to curry favor with the common soldiers. When he was minister of war
he treated them better than he did his officers."

"It seems strange, Coblich, that so shrewd a man as you should have
been unable to discover some irregularity in the political life of
Prince Ludwig von der Tann before now," said the prince querulously.
"He is the greatest menace to our peace and sovereignty. With Von
der Tann out of the way there would be none powerful enough to
question our right to the throne of Lutha--after poor Leopold passes
away."

"You forget that Leopold has escaped," suggested Coblich, "and that
there is no immediate prospect of his passing away."

"He must be retaken at once, Coblich!" cried Prince Peter of Blentz.
"He is a dangerous maniac, and we must make this fact plain to the
people--this and a thorough description of him. A handsome reward
for his safe return to Blentz might not be out of the way, Coblich."

"It shall be done, your highness," replied Coblich. "And about Von
der Tann? You have never spoken to me quite so--ah--er--pointedly
before. He hunts a great deal in the Old Forest. It might be
possible--in fact, it has happened, before--there are many accidents
in hunting,

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