“There’s someone coming,” snarled Black, using his keen powers of hearing.
“Wait and I’ll introduce you,” mocked Tom Reade.
“We won’t wait. Neither will you,” retorted Black. “You’ll come with us. About face and walk fast!”
“I’m not going your way tonight,” replied Reade calmly.
“If he doesn’t obey every order like a flash, Pete, then you pull the trigger and wind this cub up.”
“All right,” nodded Pete. “Cub, you heard what Black said?”
“Yes,” replied Tom, looking at Pete with smiling eyes.
“Then come along,” ordered Black, seizing Tom by one arm.
“I won’t!” Tom declared flatly.
“You know what refusal means. Pete is steady on the trigger.”
“Is he?” asked Reade coolly.
Watching like a cat through his sleepy-looking eyes, Reade suddenly shot his right hand across his abdomen in such fashion as to knock away the muzzle of the revolver. Bad Pete felt himself seized in a football tackle that had been the terror of more than one opposing High School football player.
Crash! Pete struck the ground, Reade on top of him.
’Gene Black darted to the aid of his companion, but shrank back as he caught the glint of the revolver that Tom had twisted out of the hand of the bad man.
“Duck, Black!” warned Tom, in a quiet tone that nevertheless had a deadly note in it.
“Where are you?” called the voice of Harry Hazelton, not two hundred yards up the trail now.
“Here!” called Tom.
“Wow-ow-ow! Whoop!” yelled a chorus of college boys.
It all took place in a very few seconds. Black, hesitating whether or not to close with Reade, decided on flight. He turned and fled.
Whizz-zz-zz! The sound was made by the captured revolver as Tom, leaping to his feet, threw it as far from him as he could. It sailed through space, next disappearing over the edge of a steep precipice.
“What’s your hurry, Peter?” drawled Reade, as, jerking Bad Pete to his feet, he planted a kick that sent the bad man down the trail a dozen feet.
Tom started after Pete, intent on another kick. Bad Pete sped down the trail blindly. Like most of his gun-play kind, he had little courage when deprived of his implement of murder.
“What’s up, Tom?” demanded Harry Hazelton, leaping to the spot.
“What’s the row, chief?” asked one of the university boys eagerly. “Anyone you want us to catch? Whoop! Lead the way to the running track while we show you our best time!”
“There’s nothing to be done, I think,” laughed Tom. “Do you all know Black by sight?”
“Yes,” came the answer from a score of throats.
“Well,” Tom continued, “if any of you ever catch sight of him in the camp again you are hereby authorized to run him out by the use of any kind of tactics that won’t result fatally.”