The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 80

not
be denied. Suddenly an inspiration came to her. It was a forlorn hope,
but well worth putting to the test.

"Hush!" she hissed through the closed door. "Oda Yorimoto sleeps. It is
his wish that he be not disturbed."

For a moment there was silence beyond the door, and then the woman
grunted, and Barbara heard her turn back, muttering to herself. The girl
breathed a deep sigh of relief--she had received a brief reprieve from
death.

Again she turned to the window, where, with the short sword, she
commenced her labor of enlarging it to permit the passage of her body.
The work was necessarily slow because of the fact that it must proceed
with utter noiselessness.

For an hour she worked, and then again came an interruption at the door.
This time it was a man.

"Oda Yorimoto still sleeps," whispered the girl. "Go away and do not
disturb him. He will be very angry if you awaken him."

But the man would not be put off so easily as had the woman. He still
insisted.

"The daimio has ordered that there shall be a great hunt today for the
heads of the sei-yo-jin who have landed upon Yoka," persisted the man.
"He will be angry indeed if we do not call him in time to accomplish
the task today. Let me speak with him, woman. I do not believe that Oda
Yorimoto still sleeps. Why should I believe one of the sei-yo-jin? It
may be that you have bewitched the daimio," and with that he pushed
against the door.

The corpse gave a little, and the man glued his eyes to the aperture.
Barbara held the sword behind her, and with her shoulder against the
door attempted to reclose it.

"Go away!" she cried. "I shall be killed if you awaken Oda Yorimoto,
and, if you enter, you, too, shall be killed."

The man stepped back from the door, and Barbara could hear him in low
converse with some of the women of the household. A moment later he
returned, and without a word of warning threw his whole weight against
the portal. The corpse slipped back enough to permit the entrance of the
man's body, and as he stumbled into the room the long sword of the Lord
of Yoka fell full and keen across the back of his brown neck.

Without a sound he lunged to the floor, dead; but the women without
had caught a fleeting glimpse of what had taken place within the little
chamber, even before Barbara Harding could slam the door again, and
with shrieks of rage and fright they

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