The Mad King

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 84

Tann, Barney was convinced, was on the point of
deserting him, and going over to the other side. It was true that
the old man had carried out his instructions relative to the placing
of the machine guns; but they might be used as well against him,
where they stood, as for him.

From his window he could see the broad avenue which passes before
the royal palace of Lutha. It was crowded with throngs moving toward
the cathedral. Presently there came a knock upon the closed door of
his chamber.

At his "Enter" a functionary announced: "His Royal Highness Ludwig,
Prince von der Tann!"

The old man was much perturbed at the rumors he had heard relative
to the assassination of the true Leopold. Soldier-like, he blurted
out his suspicions and his ultimatum.

"None but the royal blood of Rubinroth may reign in Lutha while
there be a Rubinroth left to reign and old Von der Tann lives," he
cried in conclusion.

At the name "Rubinroth" Barney started. It was his mother's name.
Suddenly the truth flashed upon him. He understood now the reticence
of both his father and mother relative to her early life.

"Prince Ludwig," said the young man earnestly, "I have only the good
of Lutha in my heart. For three weeks I have labored and risked
death a hundred times to place the legitimate heir to the crown of
Lutha upon his throne. I--"

He hesitated, not knowing just how to commence the confession he was
determined to make, though he was positive that it would place Peter
of Blentz upon the throne, since the old prince had promised to
support the Regent could it be proved that Barney was an impostor.

"I," he started again, and then there came an interruption at the
door.

"A messenger, your majesty," announced the doorman, "who says that
he must have audience at once upon a matter of life and death to the
king."

"We will see him in the ante-chamber," replied Barney, moving toward
the door. "Await us here, Prince Ludwig."

A moment later he re-entered the apartment. There was an expression
of renewed hope upon his face.

"As we were about to remark, my dear prince," he said, "I swear that
the royal blood of the Rubinroths flows in my veins, and as God is
my judge, none other than the true Leopold of Lutha shall be crowned
today. And now we must prepare for the coronation. If there be
trouble in the cathedral, Prince Ludwig, we look to your sword in
protection of the king."

"When I am with you, sire," said Von der Tann, "I

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