The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 88

take him from
behind. The battle could not last long, so unequal were the odds. She
saw the room beyond filled with surging warriors all trying to force
their way within reach of the great white man who battled like some
demigod of old in the close, dark, evil warren of the daimio.

She shot a side glance at the man. He was wonderful! The fire of battle
had transformed him. No longer was he the sullen, sulky, hulking brute
she had first known upon the Halfmoon. Instead, huge, muscular, alert,
he towered above his pygmy antagonists, his gray eyes gleaming, a
half-smile upon his strong lips.

She saw the long sword, wielded awkwardly in his unaccustomed hands,
beat down the weapons of his skilled foemen by the very ferocity of its
hurtling attack. She saw it pass through a man's shoulder, cleaving
bone and muscle as if they had been cheese, until it stopped two-thirds
across its victim's body, cutting him almost in two.

She saw a samurai leap past her champion's guard in an attempt to close
upon him with a dagger, and when she had rushed forward to thwart
the fellow's design she had seen Byrne swing his mighty left to the
warrior's face with a blow that might well have felled an ox. Then
another leaped into closer quarters and she saw Byrne at the same
instant bury his sword in the body of a dark-visaged devil who looked
more Malay than Jap, and as the stricken man fell she saw the hilt of
the mucker's blade wrenched from his grip by the dead body of his foe.
The samurai who had closed upon Byrne at that instant found his enemy
unarmed, and with a howl of delight he struck full at the broad chest
with his long, thin dagger.

But Billy Byrne was not to be dispatched so easily. With his left
forearm he struck up the hand that wielded the menacing blade, and then
catching the fellow by the shoulder swung him around, grasped him about
the waist and lifting him above his head hurled him full in the faces of
the swordsmen who were pressing through the narrow doorway.

Almost simultaneously a spear shot through a tiny opening in the ranks
before Billy Byrne, and with a little gasp of dismay the huge fellow
pitched forward upon his face. At the same instant a shot rang out
behind Barbara Harding, and Theriere leaped past her to stand across the
body of the fallen mucker.

With the sound of the shot a samurai sank to the floor, dead, and the

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