The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 106

drink of water," replied the American, and stepped
toward the door.

Behind him Peter of Blentz sat up in bed.

"That you, Maenck?" he called.

Instantly Maenck was out of bed, for the first voice had come from
the vicinity of the doorway; both could not be Peter's.

"Quick!" he cried; "there's someone in our room."

Barney leaped for the doorway, and upon his heels came the three
conspirators. Maenck was closest to him--so close that Barney was
forced to turn at the top of the stairs. In the darkness he was just
conscious of the form of the man who was almost upon him. Then he
swung a vicious blow for the other's face--a blow that landed, for
there was a cry of pain and anger as Maenck stumbled back into the
arms of the two behind him. From below came the sound of footsteps
hurrying up the stairs to the accompaniment of a clanking saber.
Barney's retreat was cut off.

Turning, he dodged into his own room before the enemy could locate
him or even extricate themselves from the confusion of Maenck's
sudden collision with the other two. But what could Barney gain by
the slight delay that would be immediately followed by his

He didn't know. All that he was sure of was that there had been no
other place to go than this little room. As he entered the first
thing that his eyes fell upon was the small square window. Here at
least was some slight encouragement.

He ran toward it. The lower sash was raised. As the door behind
him opened to admit Peter of Blentz and his companions, Barney
slipped through into the night, hanging by his hands from the sill
without. What lay beneath or how far the drop he could not guess,
but that certain death menaced him from above he knew from the
conversation he had overheard earlier in the evening.

For an instant he hung suspended. He heard the men groping about
the room. Evidently they were in some fear of the unknown assailant
they sought, for they did not move about with undue rashness.
Presently one of them struck a light--Barney could see its flare
lighten the window casing for an instant.

"The room is empty," came a voice from above him.

"Look to the window!" cried Peter of Blentz, and then Barney Custer
let go his hold upon the sill and dropped into the blackness below.

His fall was a short one, for the window had been directly over a
low shed at the side of the inn. Upon the roof of

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