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The Angel Of The Revolution George Chetwynd Griffith

An Embassy From The Sky


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"Yes," replied Natas. "He tempted his fate to the last moment. The guns were already trained upon C├╝strin and thirty seconds more would have seen his headquarters in ruins. He did wisely, if he acted tardily."

So saying, Natas broke the imperial seal. On a sheet of paper bearing the imperial arms were scrawled three or four lines in the Autocrat's own handwriting--

I accept your main terms. The air-ship has joined the Baltic fleet. She will be delivered to you with all on board. The four men are my subjects, and I feel bound to protect them; they will therefore not be delivered up. Do as you like. ALEXANDER. "A Royal answer, though it comes from a despot," said Natas as he refolded the paper. "I will waive that point, and let him protect the traitors, if he can. Colonel Alexandrovitch," he continued, turning to the Russian, who had also boarded the air-ship, "you are free. You may return to your war-balloon, and accompany us to give the order for the release of your squadron."

"Free!" suddenly screamed the Russian, his face livid and distorted with passion. "Free, yes, but disgraced! Ruined for life, and degraded to the ranks! I want no freedom from you. I will not even have my life at your hands, but I will have yours, and rid the earth of you if I die a thousand deaths!"

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As he spoke he wrenched his sword from its scabbard, thrust the Professor aside, and rushed at Natas with the uplifted blade. Before it had time to descend a stream of pale flame flashed over the back of the Master's chair, accompanied by a long, sharp rattle, and the Russian's body dropped instantly to the deck riddled by a hail of bullets.

"I saw murder in that man's eyes when he began to speak," said Natasha, putting back into her pocket the magazine pistol that she had used with such terrible effect.

"I saw it too, daughter," quietly replied Natas. "But you need not have been afraid; the blow would never have reached me, for I would have paralysed him before he could have made the stroke."

"Impossible! No man could have done it!"

The exclamation burst involuntarily from the lips of Professor Volnow, who had stood by, an amazed and horrified spectator of the rapidly enacted tragedy.

"Professor," said Natas, in quick, stern tones, "I am not accustomed to say what is not true, nor yet to be contradicted by any one in human shape. Stand there till I tell you to move."

As he spoke these last words Natas made a swift, sweeping downward movement with one of his hands, and fixed his eyes upon those of the Professor. In an instant Volnow's muscles stiffened into immovable rigidity, and he stood rooted to the deck powerless to move so much as a finger.

 
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The Angel Of The Revolution
George Chetwynd Griffith

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