The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 163

him. As
he entered he heard a knock at the door.

"Do not disturb me now," he called. "Come again in half an hour."

"But it is Her Highness, Princess Emma, sire," came a voice from
beyond the door. "You summoned her."

"She may return to her apartments," replied Barney.

All the time he kept his revolver leveled at the king, from his eyes
he had removed the blind after they had entered the apartment. He
crossed to the table where the king had been sitting when he
surprised him, motioning the ragged ruler to follow and be seated.

"Take that pen," he said, "and write a full pardon for Mr. Bernard
Custer, and an order requiring that he be furnished with money and
set at liberty at dawn."

The king did as he was bid. For a moment the American stood looking
at him before he spoke again.

"You do not deserve what I am going to do for you," he said. "And
Lutha deserves a better king than the one my act will give her; but
I am neither a thief nor a murderer, and so I must forbear leaving
you to your just deserts and return your throne to you. I shall do
so after I have insured my own safety and done what I can for
Lutha--what you are too little a man and king to do yourself.

"So soon as they liberate you in the morning, make the best of your
way to Brosnov, on the Serbian frontier. Await me there. When I can,
I shall come. Again we may exchange clothing and you can return to
Lustadt. I shall cross over into Siberia out of your reach, for I
know you too well to believe that any sense of honor or gratitude
would prevent you signing my death-warrant at the first opportunity.
Now, come!"

Once again Barney led the blindfolded king through the dark corridor
to the room in the opposite tower--to the prison of the American. At
the open panel he shoved him into the apartment. Then he drew the
door quietly to, leaving the king upon the inside, and retraced his
steps to the royal apartments. Crossing to the center table, he
touched an electric button. A moment later an officer knocked at the
door, which, in the meantime, Barney had unbolted.

"Enter!" said the American. He stood with his back toward the door
until he heard it close behind the officer. When he turned he was
apparently examining his revolver. If the officer suspected his
identity, it was just as well to be prepared. Slowly

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