And yet, shrewd as was Ziffak; he really believed he had deceived his royal brother. No suspicion of the distrust in the mind of the king came to the chieftain, when he was directed to return to the village and bring ten more warriors with him.
But this errand secured the absence of Ziffak for a couple of hours at least, and that was the sole purpose of Haffgo in sending him out of the cavern of diamonds.
When the chieftain was gone, the archer was directed to ascertain how far he could steal around the cavern, by taking the opposite course. Haffgo followed, directing the others to stay where they were until further orders were given them.
The archer set out at once, ahead of the king, both doing their best to avoid detection.
Fortune favored them in an unexpected manner. The ledge was found easier of travel than they expected, and, by using great care, they worked their way to a point less than two hundred feet from where the fugitives were standing on guard. They had traversed the whole distance, too, without detection.
When King Haffgo peered carefully over the shoulders of the crouching bowman, he saw the couple standing with their backs toward him, as they faced the chasm which had been found impassable for the Murhapas.
The slumbering anger in the parent’s breast was kindled to a white heat, when he observed the white man holding the hand of his daughter, and he saw him lean over and touch his lips to hers. He whispered to the warrior to lose no time.
The latter quickly examined his arrows, and picked out the one which not only seemed the best, but was most plentifully provided with the deadly poison. This was speedily fitted to the string, and he deliberately took aim, his nerves like steel, for the king had whispered to him that he must not fail.
At the instant the string twanged, something caused Ariel to look behind them.
She uttered a faint scream as she caught sight of the two crouching figures. She descried a flitting shadow which she knew was the approaching missile on its deadly mission.
Knowing that it was aimed at her lover, she threw both her arms around his neck and interposed her body to protect him while he stood bewildered, not comprehending what it all meant.
Her figure was too slight to serve the purpose of a shield. The poisoned arrow whizzed straight at the breast of Ashman, who had turned about, but instead of entering his body, the point, surcharged with venom, was imbedded in the snowy arm of Ariel herself!
The horrified Fred Ashman saw that the poisoned arrow, aimed at his own heart had buried itself in the fair arm of Ariel, as she clasped him about the neck anxious to shield him from harm at the expense of her own life.