In a few minutes Komoru was back. “Dogs are no good,” he said; “they produce nothing but noise.”
“Will you kindly get aboard, Miss Ethel? There is much to do.”
[Illustration: By carefully shielding his flash lamp, Komoru was able to read a duplicate of the notice he had just fastened up.]
Ethel obeyed; meanwhile Komoru inspected the surface of the ground for a few yards in front of the plane. Returning he climbed into his seat and started the engine. They arose without mishap.
Within a mile or two, Komoru picked out another farm house and made a landing nearby.
“I will go with you this time,” said Ethel courageously.
Approaching an American residence, Ethel suddenly found herself conscious of the fact that she was dressed in a most unladylike Japanese kimo. For a moment the larger sentiments of the occasion were replaced by the womanly query, “What will people say?” Then she laughed inwardly at the absurdity of her thought.
Komoru produced the roll from his pocket and unwound a small cloth poster. This he fastened to the door jam by pressing in the thumb tacks that were sewed in the hem. Then noting another white blotch on the opposite side of the door, he carefully shielded his lamp, and made a light. It was a duplicate of the notice he had just fastened up and read:
“Two hundred thousand Japanese have invaded Texas and are desirous of possessing your property. You are respectfully requested to depart immediately and apply to your government for property elsewhere. All buildings not vacated within twenty-four hours will be promptly burned—unless displaying a flag truce for sufficient reason. Kindly co-operate with us in avoiding bloodshed.
(Signed) The Japanese People.”
“We were late,” said Komoru as they walked back toward the plane. “Two hundred thousand,” he mused; “what you call ‘bluff,’ I guess.”
“It’s growing light,” said Ethel, as they reached the plane.
“Yes, a little,” replied Komoru, as he walked around to the front. “An ugly ditch,” he said. “We shall have to use the helicopter.”
Taking his seat he threw down a lever and what had appeared to be two small superimposed planes above the main plane assumed the form of flat screws. Letting the engine gain full headway, Komoru threw the clutch on this shafting, and the vertical screws started revolving in opposite directions with a great downward rush of air. The whole apparatus tilted a bit, and then slowly but steadily arose.
When they had reached altitude of a hundred feet or so, the driver shifted the power to the quieter horizontal propeller and the plane sidled off like an eagle dropping from a crag.
Tilting the plane upward, Komoru circled for altitude. Presently he called back over his shoulder, saying that he saw the signal fire at Beaumont at the same time heading the plane in that direction.