The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 70

snapped Peter. "There is an impostor in the
palace at Lustadt. But the real Leopold of Lutha was slain by Yellow
Franz's band of brigands weeks ago."

"I heard the man at Tafelberg tell another that he was the king,"
insisted the fellow. "Through the keyhole of his room I saw him take
a great ring from his finger--a ring with a mighty ruby set in its
center--and give it to the other. Both were bearded men with gray
eyes--either might have passed for the king by the description upon
the placards that have covered Lutha for the past month. At first he
denied his identity, but when the other had convinced him that he
sought only the king's welfare he at last admitted that he was
Leopold."

"Where is he now?" cried Peter.

"He is still in the sanatorium at Tafelberg. In room twenty-seven.
The other promised to return for him and take him to Lustadt, but
when I left Tafelberg he had not yet done so, and if you hasten you
may reach there before they take him away, and if there be any
reward for my loyalty to you, prince, my name is Ferrath."

"Ride with us and if you have told the truth, fellow, there shall be
a reward and if not--then there shall be deserts," and Peter of
Blentz wheeled his horse and with his company galloped on toward
Tafelberg.

As he rode he talked with his lieutenants Coblich, Maenck, and
Stein, and among them it was decided that it would be best that
Peter stop at Blentz for the night while the others rode on to
Tafelberg.

"Do not bring Leopold to Blentz," directed Peter, "for if it be he
who lies at Tafelberg and they find him gone it will be toward
Blentz that they will first look. Take him--"

The Regent leaned from his saddle so that his mouth was close to the
ear of Coblich, that none of the troopers might hear.

Coblich nodded his head.

"And, Coblich, the fewer that ride to Tafelberg tonight the surer
the success of the mission. Take Maenck, Stein and one other with
you. I shall keep this man with me, for it may prove but a plot to
lure me to Tafelberg."

Peter scowled at the now frightened hospital attendant.

"Tomorrow I shall be riding through the lowlands, Coblich, and so
you may not find means to communicate with me, but before noon of
the fifth have word at your town house in Lustadt for me of the
success of your venture."

They had reached the point now where the road to Tafelberg

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