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Mór Jókai
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 252 pages of information about The Nameless Castle.

“Strike for their heads!” commanded Satan Laczi, as, with sabers drawn, the ex-robbers rushed upon the bewildered demons, who had at last met their match.

When De Fervlans heard the firing in the neighborhood of the trench, he believed it to come from the muskets of his own men, and quickly sounded an attack.  The demons, who had been feigning to retreat, now turned and met their pursuers, and a hand-to-hand conflict began.

Vavel also had heard the firing behind him, and believed himself surrounded by the enemy.  He beckoned to his trumpeter, to whom he wished to give orders to sound a retreat, but the man’s horse unfortunately stumbled, and threw his rider to the earth.  Three demons, at once sprang to capture the fallen trumpeter; but Vavel, who knew how necessary the man was to him, hastened to his assistance.

De Fervlans in amazement watched this unequal encounter.  A masterly conflict arouses admiration even in an enemy; and Vavel certainly proved himself a master in the art of fighting.

He fought in cold blood; he was not in the least excited.  He made no unnecessary thrusts, but wounded his three adversaries in the hand, the elbow, the forearm, whereby he rendered them incapable of further combat.  De Fervlans saw how his skilled demons gave way before Vavel’s masterly thrusts, while the Volons drew their unfortunate trumpeter from beneath his horse, and assisted him to mount again, after they had also helped the horse to his feet.

But the trumpet was now useless; it was filled with mud.  Consequently a signal for retreat could not be sounded.

A dense mass of wild-hop vines inclosed the eastern side of the scene of action.  De Fervlans glanced impatiently toward this green wall.  The armed men who should penetrate it would decide the victory.

Even as the thought flashed through his brain, the tangle of vines began to shake violently; but the first man to appear therefrom was not Signor Trentatrante, as De Fervlans had expected, but Satan Laczi, with his ferocious followers.

The attack from this point was so unexpected that De Fervlans for a moment seemed stupefied; then quickly recovering himself, he dashed into the thick of the fight, Vavel following his example.  By this time the trumpet had been cleansed, but no orders were received for a retreat signal; instead, the sound it shrilled above the fearful turmoil was:  “Forward! forward!”

With the blood pouring from a gaping wound in his head, Satan Laczi, swinging a saber he had captured from a foe, now rushed to meet De Fervlans, who at once recognized the former robber.

“Ah!” he exclaimed, preparing to meet the furious onslaught, “you have not yet found your way to the gallows!”

“No; here in Hungary only traitors are hanged,” retorted Satan Laczi, in a loud voice, as, with a mighty leap that would have done credit to a horse, he sprang toward the marquis, caught the reins from his hands, and with true robber-wit called:  “Surrender, brother-rascal!”

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