The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 149

to halt, and then, of a
sudden, gave an order to one of the men at his side. Immediately the
fellow raised his carbine and fired at the escaping couple.

The bullet struck the water behind them. At the sound of the report
the girl raised the gun she held and leveled it at the group behind
her. She pulled the trigger. There was a sharp report, and one of
the troopers fell. Then she fired again, quickly, and again and
again. She did not score another hit, but she had the satisfaction
of seeing Maenck and the last of his troopers dodge back to the
safety of protecting trees.

"The cowards!" muttered Barney as the enemy's shot announced his
sinister intention; "they might have hit your highness."

The girl did not reply until she had ceased firing.

"Captain Maenck is notoriously a coward," she said. "He is hiding
behind a tree now with one of his men--I hit the other."

"You hit one of them!" exclaimed Barney enthusiastically.

"Yes," said the girl. "I have shot a man. I often wondered what
the sensation must be to have done such a thing. I should feel
terribly, but I don't. They were firing at you, trying to shoot you
in the back while you were defenseless. I am not sorry--I cannot be;
but I only wish that it had been Captain Maenck."

In a short time Barney reached the bank and, helping the girl up,
climbed to her side. A couple of shots followed them as they left
the river, but did not fall dangerously near. Barney took the
carbine and replied, then both of them disappeared into the wood.

For the balance of the day they tramped on in the direction of
Lustadt, making but little progress owing to the fear of
apprehension. They did not dare utilize the high road, for they were
still too close to Blentz. Their only hope lay in reaching the
protection of Prince von der Tann before they should be recaptured
by the king's emissaries. At dusk they came to the outskirts of a
town. Here they hid until darkness settled, for Barney had
determined to enter the place after dark and hire horses.

The American marveled at the bravery and endurance of the girl. He
had always supposed that a princess was so carefully guarded from
fatigue and privation all her life that the least exertion would
prove her undoing; but no hardy peasant girl could have endured more
bravely the hardships and dangers through which the Princess Emma
had passed since the sun rose that

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