The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 86

her prison
advancing toward the door that separated them from her. She pressed the
point of the daimio's sword close to her heart. A heavy knock fell upon
the door and at the same instant the girl was startled by a noise behind
her--a noise at the little window at the far end of the room.

Turning to face this new danger, she was startled into a little cry
of surprise to see the head and shoulders of the mucker framed in the
broken square of the half-demolished window.

The girl did not know whether to feel renewed hope or utter despair. She
could not forget the heroism of her rescue by this brutal fellow when
the Halfmoon had gone to pieces the day before, nor could she banish
from her mind his threats of violence toward her, or his brutal
treatment of Mallory and Theriere. And the question arose in her mind as
to whether she would be any better off in his power than in the clutches
of the savage samurai.

Billy Byrne had heard the knock upon the door before which the girl
knelt. He had seen the corpses of the dead men at her feet. He had
observed the telltale position of the sword which the girl held to her
breast and he had read much of the story of the impending tragedy at a
glance.

"Cheer up, kid!" he whispered. "I'll be wid youse in a minute, an'
Theriere's out here too, to help youse if I can't do it alone."

The girl turned toward the door again.

"Wait," she cried to the samurai upon the other side, "until I move the
dead men, then you may come in, their bodies bar the door now."

All that kept the warriors out was the fear that possibly Oda Yorimoto
might not be dead after all, and that should they force their way into
the room without his permission some of them would suffer for their
temerity. Naturally none of them was keen to lose his head for nothing,
but the moment that the girl spoke of the dead "men" they knew that Oda
Yorimoto had been slain, too, and with one accord they rushed the little
door.

The girl threw all her weight against her side, while the dead men, each
to the extent of his own weight, aided the woman who had killed them in
her effort to repulse their fellows; and behind the three Billy Byrne
kicked and tore at the mud wall about the window in a frantic effort
to enlarge the aperture sufficiently to permit his huge bulk

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" The next morning Sarkoja was gone, nor was she ever seen after.