The Mucker

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 91

veins with
that of the descendants of Taka-mi-musu-bi-no-kami.

Three-quarters of the distance had been covered in safety before the
samurai came within safe spear range of the trio. Theriere, seeing the
danger to the girl, dropped back a few paces hoping to hold the brown
warriors from her. The foremost of the pursuers raised his weapon aloft,
carrying his spear hand back of his shoulder for the throw. Theriere's
revolver spoke, and the man pitched forward, rolling over and over
before he came to rest.

A howl of rage went up from the samurai, and a half-dozen spears leaped
at long range toward Theriere. One of the weapons transfixed his thigh,
bringing him to earth. Byrne was at the forest's edge as the Frenchman
fell--it was the girl, though, who witnessed the catastrophe.

"Stop!" she cried. "Mr. Theriere is down."

The mucker halted, and turned his head in the direction of the
Frenchman, who had raised himself to one elbow and was firing at the
advancing enemy. He dropped the girl to her feet.

"Wait here!" he commanded and sprang back toward Theriere.

Before he reached him another spear had caught the man full in the
chest, toppling him, unconscious, to the earth. The samurai were rushing
rapidly upon the wounded officer--it was a question who would reach him
first.

Theriere had been nipped in the act of reloading his revolver. It lay
beside him now, the cylinder full of fresh cartridges. The mucker was
first to his side, and snatching the weapon from the ground fired coolly
and rapidly at the advancing Japanese. Four of them went down before
that deadly fusillade; but the mucker cursed beneath his breath because
of his two misses.

Byrne's stand checked the brown men momentarily, and in the succeeding
lull the man lifted the unconscious Frenchman to his shoulder and bore
him back to the forest. In the shelter of the jungle they laid him upon
the ground. To the girl it seemed that the frightful wound in his chest
must prove fatal within a few moments.

Byrne, apparently unmoved by the seriousness of Theriere's condition,
removed the man's cartridge belt and buckled it about his own waist,
replacing the six empty shells in the revolver with six fresh ones.
Presently he noticed the bound and gagged Oda Iseka lying in the brush
behind them where he and Theriere had left him. The samurai were now
sneaking cautiously toward their refuge. A sudden inspiration came to
the mucker.

"Didn't I hear youse chewin' de rag wit de Chinks wen I hit de dump over
dere?" he asked of Barbara.

The girl, oddly, understood him. She

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