The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 72

of the shadows beside him, and with the report of the revolver a
heavy fist caught the trooper on the side of the chin, crumpling him
to the ground as if he were dead.

The blow had been in time to deflect the muzzle of the firearm, and
the bullet whistled harmlessly past the lieutenant.

"Your majesty!" exclaimed Butzow excitedly. "Go back. He might have
killed you."

Barney leaped to the other's side and grasping him by the shoulders
wheeled him about so that he faced the gate.

"There, Butzow," he cried, "there is your king, and from the looks
of it he never needed a loyal subject more than he does this moment.
Come!" Without waiting to see if the other followed him, Barney
Custer leaped through the gate full in the faces of the astonished
trio that was dragging Leopold of Lutha from his sanctuary.

At sight of the American the king gave a muffled cry of relief, and
then Barney was upon those who held him. A stinging uppercut lifted
Coblich clear of the ground to drop him, dazed and bewildered, at
the foot of the monarch he had outraged. Maenck drew a revolver only
to have it struck from his hand by the sword of Butzow, who had
followed closely upon the American's heels.

Barney, seizing the king by the arm, started on a run for the
gateway. In his wake came Butzow with a drawn sword beating back
Stein, who was armed with a cavalry saber, and Maenck who had now
drawn his own sword.

The American saw that the two were pressing Butzow much too closely
for safety and that Coblich had now recovered from the effects of
the blow and was in pursuit, drawing his saber as he ran. Barney
thrust the king behind him and turned to face the enemy, at Butzow's
side.

The three men rushed upon the two who stood between them and their
prey. The moonlight was now full in the faces of Butzow and the
American. For the first time Maenck and the others saw who it was
that had interrupted them.

"The impostor!" cried the governor of Blentz. "The false king!"

Imbued with temporary courage by the knowledge that his side had the
advantage of superior numbers he launched himself full upon the
American. To his surprise he met a sword-arm that none might have
expected in an American, for Barney Custer had been a pupil of the
redoubtable Colonel Monstery, who was, as Barney was wont to say,
"one of the thanwhomest of fencing masters."

Quickly Maenck fell back to give place to Stein,

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