The rest of that unholy crew were grinning, and their eyes were shining with anticipation. They closed in upon me eagerly, each apparently doing everything in his power to invite my attention. It was bewildering, and I watched them warily, suspecting a trick. There were only three more cartridges left in my gun, and I did not dare replace the fired shells for fear they would rush me when the action was open and the gun momentarily useless.
* * * * *
I was just about to risk one more cartridge when another figure materialized in the ranks of the enemy; a taller, commanding figure, with a shining jewel, perhaps a mark of authority, dangling from his corded brown throat.
The others fell back instantly, and the newcomer approached me swiftly, holding out his hands as though in supplication.
So I was to receive a cordial welcome after all! I breathed a sigh of relief, and pocketed the weapon--and instantly the dark