The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 74

had told them that when he had reached the scene of the
conflict in company with the gardener he had found them and another
lying upon the sward.

Their companion, he said, was quite dead.

"That must have been Stein," said Butzow. "And the others had
escaped with the king!"

"The king?" cried the interne.

"Yes, the king, man--Leopold of Lutha. Did you not know that he who
has lain here for three weeks was the king?" replied Butzow.

The interne accompanied them to the gate and beyond, but everywhere
was silence. The king was gone.




X

ON THE BATTLEFIELD

All that night and the following day Barney Custer and his aide rode
in search of the missing king.

They came to Blentz, and there Butzow rode boldly into the great
court, admitted by virtue of the fact that the guard upon the gate
knew him only as an officer of the royal guard whom they believed
still loyal to Peter of Blentz.

The lieutenant learned that the king was not there, nor had he been
since his escape. He also learned that Peter was abroad in the
lowland recruiting followers to aid him forcibly to regain the crown
of Lutha.

The lieutenant did not wait to hear more, but, hurrying from the
castle, rode to Barney where the latter had remained in hiding in
the wood below the moat--the same wood through which he had stumbled
a few weeks previously after his escape from the stagnant waters of
the moat.

"The king is not here," said Butzow to him, as soon as the former
reached his side. "Peter is recruiting an army to aid him in seizing
the palace at Lustadt, and king or no king, we must ride for the
capital in time to check that move. Thank God," he added, "that we
shall have a king to place upon the throne of Lutha at noon tomorrow
in spite of all that Peter can do."

"What do you mean?" asked Barney. "Have you any clue to the
whereabouts of Leopold?"

"I saw the man at Tafelberg whom you say is king," replied Butzow.
"I saw him tremble and whimper in the face of danger. I saw him run
when he might have seized something, even a stone, and fought at the
sides of the men who were come to rescue him. And I saw you there
also.

"The truth and the falsity of this whole strange business is beyond
me, but this I know: if you are not the king today I pray God that
the other may not find his way to Lustadt before noon tomorrow, for
by

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