The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 154

shooting over our heads purposely. If they
deliberately attempt to pot us later, then go for them, but to do it
now would only draw their fire upon us. I doubt if they wish to harm
your highness, but they certainly would fire to hit in

The girl lowered the firearm. "I am becoming perfectly
bloodthirsty," she said, "but it makes me furious to be hunted like
a wild animal in my native land, and by the command of my king, at
that. And to think that you who placed him upon his throne, you who
have risked your life many times for him, will find no protection at
his hands should you be captured is maddening. Ach, Gott, if I were
a man!"

"I thank God that you are not, your highness," returned Barney

Gently she laid her hand upon his where it gripped the steering

"No," she said, "I was wrong--I do not need to be a man while there
still be such men as you, my friend; but I would that I were not the
unhappy woman whom Fate had bound to an ingrate king--to a miserable

They had reached the grade at last, and the motor was straining to
the Herculean task imposed upon it.

Grinding and grating in second speed the car toiled upward through
the clinging sand. The pace was snail-like. Behind, the horsemen
were gaining rapidly. The labored breathing of their mounts was
audible even above the noise of the motor, so close were they. The
top of the ascent lay but a few yards ahead, and the pursuers were
but a few yards behind.

"Halt!" came from behind, and then a shot. The ping of the bullet
and the scream of the ricochet warned the man and the girl that
those behind them were becoming desperate--the bullet had struck one
of the rear fenders. Without again asking assent the princess turned
and, kneeling upon the cushion of the seat, fired at the nearest
horseman. The horse stumbled and plunged to his knees. Another, just
behind, ran upon him, and the two rolled over together with their
riders. Two more shots were fired by the remaining horsemen and
answered by the girl in the automobile, and then the car topped the
hill, shot into high, and with renewed speed forged into the last
quarter-mile of heavy going toward the good road ahead; but now the
grade was slightly downward and all the advantage was upon the side
of the fugitives.

However, their margin would be but scant when they reached the
highway, for behind them the remaining troopers were

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