The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 46

after us directly," said Barney.

"Yes, your majesty," replied Rudolph, "but in the darkness they will
not see that we have turned up this ravine, and so they will ride on
down the other. I have chosen this way because their horses cannot
follow us here, and thus we shall be under no great disadvantage. It
may be, however, that we shall have to hide in the mountains for a
while, since there will be no place of safety for us between here
and Lustadt until after the edge of their anger is dulled."

And such proved to be the case, for try as they would they found it
impossible to reach Lustadt without detection by the brigands who
patrolled every highway and byway from their rugged mountains to the
capital of Lutha.

For nearly three weeks Barney and the boy hid in caves or dense
underbrush by day, and by night sought some avenue which would lead
them past the vigilant sentries that patrolled the ways to freedom.

Often they were wet by rains, nor were they ever in the warm
sunlight for a sufficient length of time to become thoroughly dry
and comfortable. Of food they had little, and of the poorest
quality.

They dared not light a fire for warmth or cooking, and their light
was so miserable that, but for the boy's pitiful terror at the
thought of being recaptured by the bandits, Barney would long since
have made a break for Lustadt, depending upon their arms and
ammunition to carry them safely through were they discovered by
their enemies.

Rudolph had contracted a severe cold the first night, and now, it
having settled upon his lungs, he had developed a persistent and
aggravating cough that caused Barney not a little apprehension.
When, after nearly three weeks of suffering and privation, it became
clear that the boy's lungs were affected, the American decided to
take matters into his own hands and attempt to reach Lustadt and a
good doctor; but before he had an opportunity to put his plan into
execution the entire matter was removed from his jurisdiction.

It happened like this: After a particularly fatiguing and
uncomfortable night spent in attempting to elude the sentinels who
blocked their way from the mountains, daylight found them near a
little spring, and here they decided to rest for an hour before
resuming their way.

The little pool lay not far from a clump of heavy bushes which would
offer them excellent shelter, as it was Barney's intention to go
into hiding as soon as they had quenched their thirst at the spring.

Rudolph was coughing pitifully, his

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