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Under the Andes Rex Stout

We Are Two

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Just as Harry opened his mouth to reply a more decisive answer came from another source. The rock that had fallen, obstructing the path of the Incas, must have left an opening that Harry had missed; or they had removed it--what matter?

In some way they had forced a passage, for as Desiree spoke a dozen spears whistled through the air past our heads and we looked up to see a swarm of Incas climbing and tumbling down the face of a boulder over which we had passed to reach our resting-place.

I have said that we had halted in a level, unbroken stretch that still led some distance ahead of us. At its farther end could be seen a group of rocks and boulders completely choking the lane, Beyond, other rocks arose to a still greater height--the way appeared to be impassable.

But there was no time for deliberation or the weighing of chances, and we turned and made for the pile of rocks, with the Incas rushing after us.

There Desiree and I halted in despair, but with a great oath Harry brushed us aside and leaped upon a rock higher than his head with incredible agility. Then, lying flat on his face and extending his arms downward over the edge, he pulled first Desiree, then myself, up after him. The whole performance had occupied a scant two seconds, and, waiting only to pick up the three spears he had thrown up the sloping surface of the rock to another yet higher and steeper.

"Why don't we hold them here?" I demanded. "They could never come up that rock with us on top."

Harry looked at me.

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"Spears," he said briefly; and, of course, he was right. They would have picked us off like birds on a limb.

We scaled the second rock with extreme difficulty, Harry assisting both Desiree and me; and as we stood upright on its top I saw the Incas scrambling over the edge of the one below. Two or three of them had already started to cross; many more were coming up from behind; and one, as he made the top and arose to his feet, braced himself on the sloping rock and raised a spear high above his head.

At sight of him I started, crying to Harry and Desiree. They turned.

"The king!" I shouted; and I saw a shudder of terror run over Desiree's face as she, too, recognized the black form below. At the same instant the spear darted forward from the hand of the Child of the Sun, but it landed harmlessly against the rock several feet away.

The next moment the Inca king had bounded across the rock toward us, followed by a score of others.

I was minded to try my luck with his own weapon, but we had no spears to waste, and Harry was dragging Desiree forward and shouting to me to follow. I turned and ran after them, and just as we let ourselves down into a narrow crevice below the Incas appeared over the edge of the rock behind.

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Under the Andes
Rex Stout

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