The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 28

the interval of his absence Barney paced the length of his prison
time and time again. He thought the fellow would never return.
Perhaps he had been detected in the act of spying, and was himself a
prisoner in some other part of the castle! The thought came to
Barney like a blow in the face, for he realized that then he would
be entirely at the mercy of his captors, and that there would be
none to champion the cause of the Princess von der Tann.

When his nervous tension had about reached the breaking point there
came a sound of stealthy movement just outside the door of his room.
Barney halted close to the massive panels. He heard a key fitted
quietly and then the lock grated as it turned.

Barney thought that they had surely detected Joseph's duplicity and
had come to make short work of the king before other traitors arose
in their midst entirely to frustrate their plans. The young American
stepped to the wall behind the door that he might be out of sight of
whoever entered. Should it prove other than Joseph, might the Lord
help them! The clenched fists, square-set chin, and gleaming gray
eyes of the prisoner presaged no good for any incoming enemy.

Slowly the door swung open and a man entered the room. Barney
breathed a deep sigh of relief--it was Joseph.

"Well?" cried the young man from behind him, and Joseph started as
though Peter of Blentz himself had laid an accusing finger upon his
shoulder. "What news?"

"Your majesty," gasped Joseph, "how you did startle me! I found the
apartments of the princess, sire. There is a bare chance that we may
succeed in rescuing her, but a very bare one, indeed.

"We must traverse a main corridor of the castle to reach her suite,
and then return by the same way. It will be a miracle if we are not
discovered; but the worst of it is that next to her apartments, and
between them and your majesty's, are the apartments of Captain
Maenck.

"He is sure to be there and officers and servants may be coming and
going throughout the entire night, for the man is a convivial
fellow, sitting at cards and drink until sunrise nearly every day."

"And when we have brought the princess in safety to my quarters,"
asked Barney, "what then? How shall we conduct her from the castle?
You have not told me that as yet."

The old man explained then the plan of escape. It seemed that one
of the two huge tile panels that flanked

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