The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 80

two and arrest
them "with all found in their company," as his order read, he felt
sure that he would be able to deliver the missing king to his
subjects in time for the coronation at noon.

Barney looked straight into the eyes of old Von der Tann.

"You have given us the opinion of others, Prince Ludwig," he said.
"Now you may tell us your own views of the matter."

"I shall have to abide by the decision of the majority," replied the
old man. "But I have seen your majesty under fire, and if you are
not the king, for Lutha's sake you ought to be."

"He is not Leopold," said one of the officers who had accompanied
the prince from Peter's camp. "I was governor of Blentz for three
years and as familiar with the king's face as with that of my own
brother."

"No," cried several of the others, "this man is not the king."

Several of the nobles drew away from Barney. Others looked at him
questioningly.

Butzow stepped close to his side, and it was noticeable that the
troopers, and even the officers, of the Royal Horse which Barney had
led in the charge upon the two batteries in the wood, pressed a
little closer to the American. This fact did not escape Butzow's
notice.

"If you are content to take the word of the servants of a traitor
and a would-be regicide," he cried, "I am not. There has been no
proof advanced that this man is not the king. In so far as I am
concerned he is the king, nor ever do I expect to serve another more
worthy of the title.

"If Peter of Blentz has real proof--not the testimony of his own
faction--that Leopold of Lutha is dead, let him bring it forward
before noon today, for at noon we shall crown a king in the
cathedral at Lustadt, and I for one pray to God that it may be he
who has led us in battle today."

A shout of applause rose from the Royal Horse, and from the
foot-soldiers who had seen the king charge across the plain,
scattering the enemy before him.

Barney, appreciating the advantage in the sudden turn affairs had
taken following Butzow's words, swung to his saddle.

"Until Peter of Blentz brings to Lustadt one with a better claim to
the throne," he said, "we shall continue to rule Lutha, nor shall
other than Leopold be crowned her king. We approve of the amnesty
you have granted, Prince Ludwig, and Peter of Blentz is free to
enter Lustadt, as he will, so long

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