Days became weeks, and weeks became months, and the months followed on_nother in a lazy procession of hot, humid days and warm, humid nights. Th_ugitives saw never a Wieroo by day though often at night they heard th_elancholy flapping of giant wings far above them.
Each day was much like its predecessor. Bradley splashed about for a fe_inutes in the cold pool early each morning and after a time the girl tried i_nd liked it. Toward the center it was deep enough for swimming, and so h_aught her to swim—she was probably the first human being in all Caspak’s lon_ges who had done this thing. And then while she prepared breakfast, the ma_haved—this he never neglected. At first it was a source of wonderment to th_irl, for the Galu men are beardless.
When they needed meat, he hunted, otherwise he busied himself in improvin_heir shelter, making new and better weapons, perfecting his knowledge of th_irl’s language and teaching her to speak and to write English—anything tha_ould keep them both occupied. He still sought new plans for escape, but wit_ver-lessening enthusiasm, since each new scheme presented some insurmountabl_bstacle.
And then one day as a bolt out of a clear sky came that which blasted th_eace and security of their sanctuary forever. Bradley was just emerging fro_he water after his morning plunge when from overhead came the sound o_lapping wings. Glancing quickly up the man saw a white-robed Wieroo circlin_lowly above him. That he had been discovered he could not doubt since th_reature even dropped to a lower altitude as though to assure itself that wha_t saw was a man. Then it rose rapidly and winged away toward the city.
For two days Bradley and the girl lived in a constant state of apprehension, awaiting the moment when the hunters would come for them; but nothing happene_ntil just after dawn of the third day, when the flapping of wings apprise_hem of the approach of Wieroos. Together they went to the edge of the woo_nd looked up to see five red-robed creatures dropping slowly in ever- lessening spirals toward their little amphitheater. With no attempt a_oncealment they came, sure of their ability to overwhelm these two fugitives, and with the fullest measure of self-confidence they landed in the clearin_ut a few yards from the man and the girl.
Following a plan already discussed Bradley and the girl retreated slowly int_he woods. The Wieroos advanced, calling upon them to give themselves up; bu_he quarry made no reply. Farther and farther into the little wood Bradley le_he hunters, permitting them to approach ever closer; then he circled bac_gain toward the clearing, evidently to the great delight of the Wieroos, wh_ow followed more leisurely, awaiting the moment when they should be beyon_he trees and able to use their wings. They had opened into semicircula_ormation now with the evident intention of cutting the two off from returnin_nto the wood. Each Wieroo advanced with his curved blade ready in his hand, each hideous face blank and expressionless.
It was then that Bradley opened fire with his pistol—three shots, aimed wit_areful deliberation, for it had been long since he had used the weapon, an_e could not afford to chance wasting ammunition on misses. At each shot _ieroo dropped; and then the remaining two sought escape by flight, screamin_nd wailing after the manner of their kind. When a Wieroo runs, his wing_pread almost without any volition upon his part, since from time immemoria_e has always used them to balance himself and accelerate his running speed s_hat in the open they appear to skim the surface of the ground when in the ac_f running. But here in the woods, among the close-set boles, the spreading o_heir wings proved their undoing—it hindered and stopped them and threw the_o the ground, and then Bradley was upon them threatening them with instan_eath if they did not surrender— promising them their freedom if they did hi_idding.
“As you have seen,” he cried, “I can kill you when I wish and at a distance.
You cannot escape me. Your only hope of life lies in obedience. Quick, or _ill!”
The Wieroos stopped and faced him. “What do you want of us?” asked one.
“Throw aside your weapons,” Bradley commanded. After a moment’s hesitatio_hey obeyed.
“Now approach!” A great plan—the only plan—had suddenly come to him like a_nspiration.
The Wieroos came closer and halted at his command. Bradley turned to the girl.
“There is rope in the shelter,” he said. “Fetch it!”
She did as he bid, and then he directed her to fasten one end of a fifty-foo_ength to the ankle of one of the Wieroos and the opposite end to the second.
The creatures gave evidence of great fear, but they dared not attempt t_revent the act.
“Now go out into the clearing,” said Bradley, “and remember that I am walkin_lose behind and that I will shoot the nearer one should either attempt t_scape—that will hold the other until I can kill him as well.”
In the open he halted them. “The girl will get upon the back of the one i_ront,” announced the Englishman. “I will mount the other. She carries a shar_lade, and I carry this weapon that you know kills easily at a distance. I_ou disobey in the slightest, the instructions that I am about to give you, you shall both die. That we must die with you, will not deter us. If you obey, I promise to set you free without harming you.
“You will carry us due west, depositing us upon the shore of the mainland—tha_s all. It is the price of your lives. Do you agree?”
Sullenly the Wieroos acquiesced. Bradley examined the knots that held the rop_o their ankles, and feeling them secure directed the girl to mount the bac_f the leading Wieroo, himself upon the other. Then he gave the signal for th_wo to rise together. With loud flapping of the powerful wings the creature_ook to the air, circling once before they topped the trees upon the hill an_hen taking a course due west out over the waters of the sea.
Nowhere about them could Bradley see signs of other Wieroos, nor of thos_ther menaces which he had feared might bring disaster to his plans fo_scape—the huge, winged reptilia that are so numerous above the southern area_f Caspak and which are often seen, though in lesser numbers, farther north.
Nearer and nearer loomed the mainland—a broad, parklike expanse stretchin_nland to the foot of a low plateau spread out before them. The little dots i_he foreground became grazing herds of deer and antelope and bos; a hug_oolly rhinoceros wallowed in a mudhole to the right, and beyond, a might_ammoth culled the tender shoots from a tall tree. The roars and screams an_rowls of giant carnivora came faintly to their ears. Ah, this was Caspak.
With all of its dangers and its primal savagery it brought a fullness to th_hroat of the Englishman as to one who sees and hears the familiar sights an_ounds of home after a long absence. Then the Wieroos dropped swiftly downwar_o the flower-starred turf that grew almost to the water’s edge, the fugitive_lipped from their backs, and Bradley told the red-robed creatures they wer_ree to go.
When he had cut the ropes from their ankles they rose with that uncann_ailing upon their lips that always brought a shudder to the Englishman, an_pon dismal wings they flapped away toward frightful Oo-oh.
When the creatures had gone, the girl turned toward Bradley. “Why did you hav_hem bring us here?” she asked. “Now we are far from my country. We may neve_ive to reach it, as we are among enemies who, while not so horrible will kil_s just as surely as would the Wieroos should they capture us, and we hav_efore us many marches through lands filled with savage beasts.”
“There were two reasons,” replied Bradley. “You told me that there are tw_ieroo cities at the eastern end of the island. To have passed near either o_hem might have been to have brought about our heads hundreds of the creature_rom whom we could not possibly have escaped. Again, my friends must be nea_his spot— it cannot be over two marches to the fort of which I have told you.
It is my duty to return to them. If they still live we shall find a way t_eturn you to your people.”
“And you?” asked the girl.
“I escaped from Oo-oh,” replied Bradley. “I have accomplished the impossibl_nce, and so I shall accomplish it again—I shall escape from Caspak.”
He was not looking at her face as he answered her, and so he did not see th_hadow of sorrow that crossed her countenance. When he raised his eyes again, she was smiling.
“What you wish, I wish,” said the girl.
Southward along the coast they made their way following the beach, where th_alking was best, but always keeping close enough to trees to insure sanctuar_rom the beasts and reptiles that so often menaced them. It was late in th_fternoon when the girl suddenly seized Bradley’s arm and pointed straigh_head along the shore. “What is that?” she whispered. “What strange reptile i_t?”
Bradley looked in the direction her slim forefinger indicated. He rubbed hi_yes and looked again, and then he seized her wrist and drew her quickl_ehind a clump of bushes.
“What is it?” she asked.
“It is the most frightful reptile that the waters of the world have eve_nown,” he replied. “It is a German U-boat!”
An expression of amazement and understanding lighted her features. “It is th_hing of which you told me,” she exclaimed, “—the thing that swims under th_ater and carries men in its belly!”
“It is,” replied Bradley.
“Then why do you hide from it?” asked the girl. “You said that now it belonge_o your friends.”
“Many months have passed since I knew what was going on among my friends,” h_eplied. “I cannot know what has befallen them. They should have been gon_rom here in this vessel long since, and so I cannot understand why it i_till here. I am going to investigate first before I show myself. When I left, there were more Germans on the U-33 than there were men of my own party at th_ort, and I have had sufficient experience of Germans to know that they wil_ear watching—if they have not been properly watched since I left.”
Making their way through a fringe of wood that grew a few yards inland the tw_rept unseen toward the U-boat which lay moored to the shore at a point whic_radley now recognized as being near the oil-pool north of Dinosaur. As clos_s possible to the vessel they halted, crouching low among the dens_egetation, and watched the boat for signs of human life about it. The hatche_ere closed—no one could be seen or heard. For five minutes Bradley watched, and then he determined to board the submarine and investigate. He had risen t_arry his decision into effect when there suddenly broke upon his ear, uttere_n loud and menacing tones, a volley of German oaths and expletives amon_hich he heard Englische schweinhunde repeated several times. The voice di_ot come from the direction of the U-boat; but from inland. Creeping forwar_radley reached a spot where, through the creepers hanging from the trees, h_ould see a party of men coming down toward the shore.
He saw Baron Friedrich von Schoenvorts and six of his men—all armed—whil_arching in a little knot among them were Olson, Brady, Sinclair, Wilson, an_hitely.
Bradley knew nothing of the disappearance of Bowen Tyler and Miss La Rue, no_f the perfidy of the Germans in shelling the fort and attempting to escape i_he U-33; but he was in no way surprised at what he saw before him.
The little party came slowly onward, the prisoners staggering beneath heav_ans of oil, while Schwartz, one of the German noncommissioned officers curse_nd beat them with a stick of wood, impartially. Von Schoenvorts walked in th_ear of the column, encouraging Schwartz and laughing at the discomfiture o_he Britishers. Dietz, Heinz, and Klatz also seemed to enjoy the entertainmen_mmensely; but two of the men—Plesser and Hindle— marched with eyes straigh_o the front and with scowling faces.
Bradley felt his blood boil at sight of the cowardly indignities being heape_pon his men, and in the brief span of time occupied by the column to com_breast of where he lay hidden he made his plans, foolhardy though he kne_hem. Then he drew the girl close to him. “Stay here,” he whispered. “I a_oing out to fight those beasts; but I shall be killed. Do not let them se_ou. Do not let them take you alive. They are more cruel, more cowardly, mor_estial than the Wieroos.”
The girl pressed close to him, her face very white. “Go, if that is right,” she whispered; “but if you die, I shall die, for I cannot live without you.” He looked sharply into her eyes. “Oh!” he ejaculated. “What an idiot I hav_een! Nor could I live without you, little girl.” And he drew her very clos_nd kissed her lips. “Good-bye.” He disengaged himself from her arms an_ooked again in time to see that the rear of the column had just passed him.
Then he rose and leaped quickly and silently from the jungle.
Suddenly von Schoenvorts felt an arm thrown about his neck and his pisto_erked from its holster. He gave a cry of fright and warning, and his me_urned to see a half-naked white man holding their leader securely from behin_nd aiming a pistol at them over his shoulder.
“Drop those guns!” came in short, sharp syllables and perfect German from th_ips of the newcomer. “Drop them or I’ll put a bullet through the back of vo_choenvorts’ head.”
The Germans hesitated for a moment, looking first toward von Schoenvorts an_hen to Schwartz, who was evidently second in command, for orders.
“It’s the English pig, Bradley,” shouted the latter, “and he’s alone—go an_et him!”
“Go yourself,” growled Plesser. Hindle moved close to the side of Plesser an_hispered something to him. The latter nodded. Suddenly von Schoenvort_heeled about and seized Bradley’s pistol arm with both hands, “Now!” h_houted. “Come and take him, quick!”
Schwartz and three others leaped forward; but Plesser and Hindle held back, looking questioningly toward the English prisoners. Then Plesser spoke. “No_s your chance, Englander,” he called in low tones. “Seize Hindle and me an_ake our guns from us—we will not fight hard.”
Olson and Brady were not long in acting upon the suggestion. They had see_nough of the brutal treatment von Schoenvorts accorded his men and th_specially venomous attentions he had taken great enjoyment in accordin_lesser and Hindle to understand that these two might be sincere in a desir_or revenge. In another moment the two Germans were unarmed and Olson an_rady were running to the support of Bradley; but already it seemed too late.
Von Schoenvorts had managed to drag the Englishman around so that his back wa_oward Schwartz and the other advancing Germans. Schwartz was almost upo_radley with gun clubbed and ready to smash down upon the Englishman’s skull.
Brady and Olson were charging the Germans in the rear with Wilson, Whitely, and Sinclair supporting them with bare fists. It seemed that Bradley wa_oomed when, apparently out of space, an arrow whizzed, striking Schwartz i_he side, passing half-way through his body to crumple him to earth. With _hriek the man fell, and at the same time Olson and Brady saw the slim figur_f a young girl standing at the edge of the jungle coolly fitting anothe_rrow to her bow.
Bradley had now succeeded in wrestling his arm free from von Schoenvorts’ gri_nd in dropping the latter with a blow from the butt of his pistol. The res_f the English and Germans were engaged in a hand-to-hand encounter. Plesse_nd Hindle standing aside from the melee and urging their comrades t_urrender and join with the English against the tyranny of von Schoenvorts.
Heinz and Klatz, possibly influenced by their exhortation, were putting up bu_ half-hearted resistance; but Dietz, a huge, bearded, bull-necked Prussian, yelling like a maniac, sought to exterminate the Englische schweinhunde wit_is bayonet, fearing to fire his piece lest he kill some of his comrades.
It was Olson who engaged him, and though unused to the long German rifle an_ayonet, he met the bull-rush of the Hun with the cold, cruel precision an_cience of English bayonet-fighting. There was no feinting, no retiring and n_arrying that was not also an attack. Bayonet-fighting today is not a prett_hing to see—it is not an artistic fencing-match in which men give and take—i_s slaughter inevitable and quickly over.
Dietz lunged once madly at Olson’s throat. A short point, with just a twist o_he bayonet to the left sent the sharp blade over the Englishman’s lef_houlder. Instantly he stepped close in, dropped his rifle through his hand_nd grasped it with both hands close below the muzzle and with a short, shar_ab sent his blade up beneath Dietz’s chin to the brain. So quickly was th_hing done and so quick the withdrawal that Olson had wheeled to take o_nother adversary before the German’s corpse had toppled to the ground.
But there were no more adversaries to take on. Heinz and Klatz had thrown dow_heir rifles and with hands above their heads were crying “Kamerad! Kamerad!” at the tops of their voices. Von Schoenvorts still lay where he had fallen.
Plesser and Hindle were explaining to Bradley that they were glad of th_utcome of the fight, as they could no longer endure the brutality of th_-boat commander.
The remainder of the men were looking at the girl who now advanced slowly, he_ow ready, when Bradley turned toward her and held out his hand.
“Co-Tan,” he said, “unstring your bow—these are my friends, and yours.” And t_he Englishmen: “This is Co-Tan. You who saw her save me from Schwartz know _art of what I owe her.”
The rough men gathered about the girl, and when she spoke to them in broke_nglish, with a smile upon her lips enhancing the charm of her irresistibl_ccent, each and every one of them promptly fell in love with her an_onstituted himself henceforth her guardian and her slave.
A moment later the attention of each was called to Plesser by a volley o_nvective. They turned in time to see the man running toward von Schoenvort_ho was just rising from the ground. Plesser carried a rifle with bayone_ixed, that he had snatched from the side of Dietz’s corpse. Von Schoenvorts’ face was livid with fear, his jaws working as though he would call for help; but no sound came from his blue lips.
“You struck me,” shrieked Plesser. “Once, twice, three times, you struck me, pig. You murdered Schwerke—you drove him insane by your cruelty until he too_is own life. You are only one of your kind—they are all like you from th_aiser down. I wish that you were the Kaiser. Thus would I do!” And he lunge_is bayonet through von Schoenvorts’ chest. Then he let his rifle fall wit_he dying man and wheeled toward Bradley. “Here I am,” he said. “Do with me a_ou like. All my life I have been kicked and cuffed by such as that, and ye_lways have I gone out when they commanded, singing, to give up my life i_eed be to keep them in power. Only lately have I come to know what a fool _ave been. But now I am no longer a fool, and besides, I am avenged an_chwerke is avenged, so you can kill me if you wish. Here I am.”
“If I was after bein’ the king,” said Olson, “I’d pin the V.C. on your nobl_hist; but bein’ only an Irishman with a Swede name, for which God forgive me, the bist I can do is shake your hand.”
“You will not be punished,” said Bradley. “There are four of you left—if yo_our want to come along and work with us, we will take you; but you will com_s prisoners.”
“It suits me,” said Plesser. “Now that the captain-lieutenant is dead you nee_ot fear us. All our lives we have known nothing but to obey his class. If _ad not killed him, I suppose I would be fool enough to obey him again; but h_s dead. Now we will obey you—we must obey some one.”
“And you?” Bradley turned to the other survivors of the original crew of th_-33. Each promised obedience.
The two dead Germans were buried in a single grave, and then the party boarde_he submarine and stowed away the oil.
Here Bradley told the men what had befallen him since the night of Septembe_4th when he had disappeared so mysteriously from the camp upon the plateau.
Now he learned for the first time that Bowen J. Tyler, Jr., and Miss La Ru_ad been missing even longer than he and that no faintest trace of them ha_een discovered.
Olson told him of how the Germans had returned and waited in ambush for the_utside the fort, capturing them that they might be used to assist in the wor_f refining the oil and later in manning the U-33, and Plesser told briefly o_he experiences of the German crew under von Schoenvorts since they ha_scaped from Caspak months before—of how they lost their bearings after havin_een shelled by ships they had attempted to sneak farther north and how a_ast with provisions gone and fuel almost exhausted they had sought and a_ast found, more by accident than design, the mysterious island they had onc_een so glad to leave behind.
“Now,” announced Bradley, “we’ll plan for the future. The boat has fuel, provisions and water for a month, I believe you said, Plesser; there are te_f us to man it. We have a last sad duty here—we must search for Miss La Ru_nd Mr. Tyler. I say a sad duty because we know that we shall not find them; but it is none the less our duty to comb the shoreline, firing signal shell_t intervals, that we at least may leave at last with full knowledge that w_ave done all that men might do to locate them.”
None dissented from this conviction, nor was there a voice raised in protes_gainst the plan to at least make assurance doubly sure before quitting Caspa_orever.
And so they started, cruising slowly up the coast and firing an occasiona_hot from the gun. Often the vessel was brought to a stop, and always ther_ere anxious eyes scanning the shore for an answering signal. Late in th_fternoon they caught sight of a number of Band-lu warriors; but when th_essel approached the shore and the natives realized that human beings stoo_pon the back of the strange monster of the sea, they fled in terror befor_radley could come within hailing distance.
That night they dropped anchor at the mouth of a sluggish stream whose war_aters swarmed with millions of tiny tadpolelike organisms—minute human spaw_tarting on their precarious journey from some inland pool toward “th_eginning”—a journey which one in millions, perhaps, might survive t_omplete. Already almost at the inception of life they were being greeted b_housands of voracious mouths as fish and reptiles of many kinds fought t_evour them, the while other and larger creatures pursued the devourers, t_e, in turn, preyed upon by some other of the countless forms that inhabit th_eeps of Caprona’s frightful sea.
The second day was practically a repetition of the first. They moved ver_lowly with frequent stops and once they landed in the Kro-lu country to hunt.
Here they were attacked by the bow-and-arrow men, whom they could not persuad_o palaver with them. So belligerent were the natives that it became necessar_o fire into them in order to escape their persistent and ferociou_ttentions.
“What chance,” asked Bradley, as they were returning to the boat with thei_ame, “could Tyler and Miss La Rue have had among such as these?”
But they continued on their fruitless quest, and the third day, after cruisin_long the shore of a deep inlet, they passed a line of lofty cliffs tha_ormed the southern shore of the inlet and rounded a sharp promontory abou_oon. Co-Tan and Bradley were on deck alone, and as the new shoreline appeare_eyond the point, the girl gave an exclamation of joy and seized the man’_and in hers.
“Oh, look!” she cried. “The Galu country! The Galu country! It is my countr_hat I never thought to see again.”
“You are glad to come again, Co-Tan?” asked Bradley.
“Oh, so glad!” she cried. “And you will come with me to my people? We may liv_ere among them, and you will be a great warrior—oh, when Jor dies you ma_ven be chief, for there is none so mighty as my warrior. You will come?”
Bradley shook his head. “I cannot, little Co-Tan,” he answered. “My countr_eeds me, and I must go back. Maybe someday I shall return. You will no_orget me, Co-Tan?”
She looked at him in wide-eyed wonder. “You are going away from me?” she aske_n a very small voice. “You are going away from Co-Tan?”
Bradley looked down upon the little bowed head. He felt the soft cheek agains_is bare arm; and he felt something else there too— hot drops of moisture tha_an down to his very finger-tips and splashed, but each one wrung from _oman’s heart.
He bent low and raised the tear-stained face to his own. “No, Co-Tan,” h_aid, “I am not going away from you—for you are going with me. You are goin_ack to my own country to be my wife. Tell me that you will, Co-Tan.” And h_ent still lower yet from his height and kissed her lips. Nor did he need mor_han the wonderful new light in her eyes to tell him that she would go to th_nd of the world with him if he would but take her. And then the gun-crew cam_p from below again to fire a signal shot, and the two were brought down fro_he high heaven of their new happiness to the scarred and weather-beaten dec_f the U-33.
An hour later the vessel was running close in by a shore of wondrous beaut_eside a parklike meadow that stretched back a mile inland to the foot of _lateau when Whitely called attention to a score of figures clamberin_ownward from the elevation to the lowland below. The engines were reverse_nd the boat brought to a stop while all hands gathered on deck to watch th_ittle party coming toward them across the meadow.
“They are Galus,” cried Co-Tan; “they are my own people. Let me speak to the_est they think we come to fight them. Put me ashore, my man, and I will g_eet them.”
The nose of the U-boat was run close in to the steep bank; but when Co-Ta_ould have run forward alone, Bradley seized her hand and held her back. “_ill go with you, Co-Tan,” he said; and together they advanced to meet th_ncoming party.
There were about twenty warriors moving forward in a thin line, as ou_nfantry advance as skirmishers. Bradley could not but notice the marke_ifference between this formation and the moblike methods of the lower tribe_e had come in contact with, and he commented upon it to Co-Tan.
“Galu warriors always advance into battle thus,” she said. “The lesser peopl_emain in a huddled group where they can scarce use their weapons the whil_hey present so big a mark to us that our spears and arrows cannot miss them; but when they hurl theirs at our warriors, if they miss the first man, ther_s no chance that they will kill some one behind him.
“Stand still now,” she cautioned, “and fold your arms. They will not harm u_hen.”
Bradley did as he was bid, and the two stood with arms folded as the line o_arriors approached. When they had come within some fifty yards, they halte_nd one spoke. “Who are you and from whence do you come?” he asked; and the_o-Tan gave a little, glad cry and sprang forward with out-stretched arms.
“Oh, Tan!” she exclaimed. “Do you not know your little Co-Tan?”
The warrior stared, incredulous, for a moment, and then he, too, ran forwar_nd when they met, took the girl in his arms. It was then that Bradle_xperienced to the full a sensation that was new to him—a sudden hatred fo_he strange warrior before him and a desire to kill without knowing why h_ould kill. He moved quickly to the girl’s side and grasped her wrist.
“Who is this man?” he demanded in cold tones.
Co-Tan turned a surprised face toward the Englishman and then of a sudde_roke forth into a merry peal of laughter. “This is my father, Brad-lee,” sh_ried.
“And who is Brad-lee?” demanded the warrior.
“He is my man,” replied Co-Tan simply.
“By what right?” insisted Tan.
And then she told him briefly of all that she had passed through since th_ieroos had stolen her and of how Bradley had rescued her and sought to rescu_n-Tak, her brother.
“You are satisfied with him?” asked Tan.
“Yes,” replied the girl proudly.
It was then that Bradley’s attention was attracted to the edge of the platea_y a movement there, and looking closely he saw a horse bearing two figure_liding down the steep declivity. Once at the bottom, the animal came chargin_cross the meadowland at a rapid run. It was a magnificent animal—a great ba_tallion with a white-blazed face and white forelegs to the knees, its barre_ncircled by a broad surcingle of white; and as it came to a sudden sto_eside Tan, the Englishman saw that it bore a man and a girl—a tall man and _irl as beautiful as Co-Tan. When the girl espied the latter, she slid fro_he horse and ran toward her, fairly screaming for joy.
The man dismounted and stood beside Tan. Like Bradley he was garbed after th_ashion of the surrounding warriors; but there was a subtle difference betwee_im and his companion. Possibly he detected a similar difference in Bradley, for his first question was, “From what country?” and though he spoke in Gal_radley thought he detected an accent.
“England,” replied Bradley.
A broad smile lighted the newcomer’s face as he held out his hand. “I am To_illings of Santa Monica, California,” he said. “I know all about you, and I’_ighty glad to find you alive.”
“How did you get here?” asked Bradley. “I thought ours was the only party o_en from the outer world ever to enter Caprona.”
“It was, until we came in search of Bowen J. Tyler, Jr.,” replied Billings.
“We found him and sent him home with his bride; but I was kept a prisone_ere.”
Bradley’s face darkened—then they were not among friends after all. “There ar_en of us down there on a German sub with small-arms and a gun,” he sai_uickly in English. “It will be no trick to get away from these people.”
“You don’t know my jailer,” replied Billings, “or you’d not be so sure. Wait, I’ll introduce you.” And then turning to the girl who had accompanied him h_alled her by name. “Ajor,” he said, “permit me to introduce Lieutenan_radley; Lieutenant, Mrs. Billings—my jailer!”
The Englishman laughed as he shook hands with the girl. “You are not as good _oldier as I,” he said to Billings. “Instead of being taken prisoner myself _ave taken one—Mrs. Bradley, this is Mr. Billings.”
Ajor, quick to understand, turned toward Co-Tan. “You are going back with hi_o his country?” she asked. Co-Tan admitted it.
“You dare?” asked Ajor. “But your father will not permit it— Jor, my father, High Chief of the Galus, will not permit it, for like me you are cos-ata-lo.
Oh, Co-Tan, if we but could! How I would love to see all the strange an_onderful things of which my Tom tells me!”
Bradley bent and whispered in her ear. “Say the word and you may both go wit_s.”
Billings heard and speaking in English, asked Ajor if she would go.
“Yes,” she answered, “If you wish it; but you know, my Tom, that if Jo_aptures us, both you and Co-Tan’s man will pay the penalty with you_ives—not even his love for me nor his admiration for you can save you.”
Bradley noticed that she spoke in English—broken English like Co-Tan’s bu_qually appealing. “We can easily get you aboard the ship,” he said, “on som_retext or other, and then we can steam away. They can neither harm nor detai_s, nor will we have to fire a shot at them.”
And so it was done, Bradley and Co-Tan taking Ajor and Billings aboard to “show” them the vessel, which almost immediately raised anchor and move_lowly out into the sea.
“I hate to do it,” said Billings. “They have been fine to me. Jor and Tan ar_plendid men and they will think me an ingrate; but I can’t waste my life her_hen there is so much to be done in the outer world.”
As they steamed down the inland sea past the island of Oo-oh, the stories o_heir adventures were retold, and Bradley learned that Bowen Tyler and hi_ride had left the Galu country but a fortnight before and that there wa_very reason to believe that the Toreador might still be lying in the Pacifi_ot far off the subterranean mouth of the river which emitted Caprona’s heate_aters into the ocean.
Late in the second day, after running through swarms of hideous reptiles, the_ubmerged at the point where the river entered beneath the cliffs and shortl_fter rose to the sunlit surface of the Pacific; but nowhere as far as the_ould see was sign of another craft. Down the coast they steamed toward th_each where Billings had made his crossing in the hydro-aeroplane and just a_usk the lookout announced a light dead ahead. It proved to be aboard th_oreador, and a half-hour later there was such a reunion on the deck of th_rig little yacht as no one there had ever dreamed might be possible. Of th_llies there were only Tippet and James to be mourned, and no one mourned an_f the Germans dead nor Benson, the traitor, whose ugly story was first tol_n Bowen Tyler’s manuscript.
Tyler and the rescue party had but just reached the yacht that afternoon. The_ad heard, faintly, the signal shots fired by the U-33 but had been unable t_ocate their direction and so had assumed that they had come from the guns o_he Toreador.
It was a happy party that sailed north toward sunny, southern California, th_ld U-33 trailing in the wake of the Toreador and flying with the latter th_lorious Stars and Stripes beneath which she had been born in the shipyard a_anta Monica. Three newly married couples, their bonds now duly solemnized b_he master of the ship, joyed in the peace and security of the untracke_aters of the south Pacific and the unique honeymoon which, had it not bee_or stern duty ahead, they could have wished protracted till the end of time.
And so they came one day to dock at the shipyard which Bowen Tyler no_ontrolled, and here the U-33 still lies while those who passed so man_ventful days within and because of her, have gone their various ways.