“Stop!” cried Butzow to Maenck. “Are you mad, that you would kill the king?”
Maenck lunged again, viciously, at the unprotected body of his antagonist.
“Die, you pig of an idiot!” he screamed.
Butzow saw that the man really meant to murder Leopold. He seized Barney by the shoulder and whirled him backward. At the same instant his own sword leaped from his scabbard, and now Maenck found himself facing grim steel in the hand of a master swordsman.
The governor of Blentz drew back from the touch of that sharp point.
“What do you mean?” he cried. “This is mutiny.”
“When I received my commission,” replied Butzow, quietly, “I swore to protect the person of the king with my life, and while I live no man shall affront Leopold of Lutha in my presence, or threaten his safety else he accounts to me for his act. Return your sword, Captain Maenck, nor ever again draw it against the king while I be near.”
Slowly Maenck sheathed his weapon. Black hatred for Butzow and the man he was protecting smoldered in his eyes.
“If he wishes peace,” said Barney, “let him apologize to the princess.”
“You had better apologize, captain,” counseled Butzow, “for if the king should command me to do so I should have to compel you to,” and the lieutenant half drew his sword once more.
There was something in Butzow’s voice that warned Maenck that his subordinate would like nothing better than the king’s command to run him through.
He well knew the fame of Butzow’s sword arm, and having no stomach for an encounter with it he grumbled an apology.
“And don’t let it occur again,” warned Barney.
“Come,” said Dr. Stein, “your majesty should be in your apartments, away from all excitement, if we are to effect a cure, so that you may return to your throne quickly.”
Butzow formed the soldiers about the American, and the party moved silently out of the great hall, leaving Captain Maenck and Princess Emma von der Tann its only occupants.
Barney cast a troubled glance toward Maenck, and half hesitated.
“I am sorry, your majesty,” said Butzow in a low voice, “but you must accompany us. In this the governor of Blentz is well within his authority, and I must obey him.”
“Heaven help her!” murmured Barney.
“The governor will not dare harm her,” said Butzow. “Your majesty need entertain no apprehension.”
“I wouldn’t trust him,” replied the American. “I know his kind.”
BARNEY FINDS A FRIEND
After the party had left the room Maenck stood looking at the princess for several seconds. A cunning expression supplanted the anger that had shown so plainly upon his face but a moment before. The girl had moved to one side of the apartment and was pretending an interest in a large tapestry that covered the wall at that point. Maenck watched her with greedy eyes. Presently he spoke.