The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 83

recently quitted and spoke
to the nobles of Lutha who were gathered there.

"Coblich has found the body of the murdered king," he said. "I have
directed him to bring it to the cathedral. He came upon the impostor
and his confederate, Lieutenant Butzow, as they were bearing the
corpse from the hospital at Tafelberg where the king has lain
unknown since the rumor was spread by Von der Tann that he had been
killed by bandits.

"He was not killed until last evening, my lords, and you shall see
today the fresh wounds upon him. When the time comes that we can
present this grisly evidence of the guilt of the impostor and those
who uphold him, I shall expect you all to stand at my side, as you
have promised."

With one accord the noblemen pledged anew their allegiance to Peter
of Blentz if he could produce one-quarter of the evidence he claimed
to possess.

"All that we wish to know positively is," said one, "that the man
who bears the title of king today is really Leopold of Lutha, or
that he is not. If not then he stands convicted of treason, and we
shall know how to conduct ourselves."

Together the party rode to the cathedral, the majority of the older
nobility now openly espousing the cause of the Regent.

At the palace Barney was about distracted. Butzow was urging him to
take the crown whether he was Leopold or not, for the young
lieutenant saw no hope for Lutha, if either the scoundrelly Regent
or the cowardly man whom Barney had assured him was the true king
should come into power.

It was eleven o'clock. In another hour Barney knew that he must
have found some new solution of his dilemma, for there seemed little
probability that the king would be located in the brief interval
that remained before the coronation. He wondered what they did to
people who stole thrones. For a time he figured his chances of
reaching the border ahead of the enraged populace. All had depended
upon the finding of the king, and he had been so sure that it could
be accomplished in time, for Coblich and Maenck had had but a few
hours in which to conceal the monarch before the search was well
under way.

Armed with the king's warrants, his troopers had ridden through the
country, searching houses, and questioning all whom they met.
Patrols had guarded every road that the fugitives might take either
to Lustadt, Blentz, or the border; but no king had been found and no
trace of his abductors.

Prince von der

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