Jack, in his most energetic fashion, commenced to spray the vicinity with a shower of leaden missiles. The chatter of the machine gun drowned any cries from the two men below. The Yankee plane swooped past the spot where the injured pilot still sat at bay, ready to sell his life dearly if the worst came.
The rat-tat-tat of gunfire suddenly ceased. Jack could no longer cover the spot where the two Huns were hiding behind the tree-trunks, and consequently it would be a sheer waste of ammunition to continue firing.
But already Tom had commenced to circle, and soon they would be swooping down upon the scene from another direction. Jack kept on the alert, so as to note quickly any possible movement of the enemy.
Again he poured a hot fire on the place where he knew the Germans were cowering, tearing up the ground with a storm of bullets as though it had been freshly harrowed. But the sturdy trees baffled him once more.
“Nothing doing, Tom!” he called out, vexed. “We’ve got to drop down and go it on foot if we want to save that pilot!”
“I see a good landing place!” announced the other almost instantly.
“Great luck! get busy then!”
The ground chanced to be unusually smooth, and the plane, after bumping along for a short distance, came to a stand. Meanwhile, both young fliers had succeeded in releasing themselves from their safety belts.
Together they jumped to the ground and started on a run toward the spot where those crouching figures had last been seen. Of course, the Huns must already know of their landing and would be ready to defend themselves, if not to attack; but, nothing daunted by this possibility, the pair pushed ahead through bushes and past trees.
“Better separate, and attack ’em from two different angles, hadn’t we, Tom?” panted Jack presently, as a shot was heard and something clipped a twig from a bush within a foot of his hand.
“Take the left, and I’ll look after the right!” snapped out Tom.
Both were armed with automatic pistols, for airmen can never tell when their lives may depend upon their ability to defend themselves, and so seldom make a flight without some such weapon in their possession.
“They’re on the run!” cried Jack, in a tone of disgust; for he had really hoped to have a further brush with the skulking enemy.
He sent several shots in their direction whenever he caught glimpses of the bounding figures, but without much hope of striking either of them. Still, they had undoubtedly accomplished the business in hand, which was to save the Yankee pilot.
“He’s over this way, Jack,” observed Tom, moving to the right still further, after being joined by his comrade. “I can see the opening where he must have struck. The Hun flier didn’t bother to follow him down and find out if he’d made a count. He may have been here for some time.”