The Prince Commands: Being Sundry Adventures of Michael Karl, Sometime Crown Prince & Pretender to the Thrown of Morvania

The Prince Commands: Being Sundry Adventures of Michael Karl, Sometime Crown Prince & Pretender to the Thrown of Morvania by Andre Norton Read Free Book Online

Book: The Prince Commands: Being Sundry Adventures of Michael Karl, Sometime Crown Prince & Pretender to the Thrown of Morvania by Andre Norton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Andre Norton
against the door below. The Wolfmen were forcing an entrance. Michael Karl arose painfully to his feet and, catching sight of a dull gleam among the American's scattered papers on the table, lurched over to arm himself with a wicked looking revolver.
    The American had tiptoed to the door and was listening.
    “It looks,” he informed Michael Karl, “as if we are going to have some fun.”
    Michael Karl twisted his sore face into a battered smile.
    “It does, doesn't it?” he answered.
    And then blackness settled down about him. He swayed and crumpled to the floor.
    Then he was warm, warmer than he had been for a long time. Michael Karl opened his eyes. He was lying half buried in a feather bed while the American cut the water-soaked boots off his swollen feel. It was good just to lie and let the waves of warmness beat about his chilled body while some one else struggled with those punishing boots of his.
    He sighed with pleasure and the American looked up.
    “Feeling better?” he asked.
    Michael Karl nodded and then frowned. There was something he must remember, something he must guard.
    “There,” the American tossed aside the last bedraggled strip of leather.
    “I say, son, what have you been doing to your feet?”
    “Walking,” answered Michael Karl dreamily, “walking miles and miles—in the water,” he added.
    The American produced a roll of bandage, a couple of bottles and a basin of water.
    “Carry a first-aid kit with me,” he explained. “You never know what might turn up.”
    “Like a Cro—” began Michael Karl and then changed it hastily to “captain.”
    Then he suddenly remembered. “Did they come in?”
    The American laughed and shook his head. “I just threatened them with Uncle Sam, and they backed out. They know better than to go fooling around with Americans.”
    Michael Karl was puzzled. He didn't believe that the Werewolf would let the Crown Prince go with such little effort to retain him.
    “Now, how's that?” The last bandage was fastened.
    “Much better, Though they feel like they need a vacation.”
    “They're going to get one. You can't walk on those for a couple of days, young man. I wonder if these will fit.” He produced a pair of pajamas amazingly long in sleeve and leg.
    “I hardly think so.”
    “Well, we can try.”
    Before Michael Karl could protest the peasant's blouse was whipped over his head and his torn shirt was all that hid the Cross.
    “You look as though you've been in a fight,” commented the American.
    “They weren't any too gentle about searching me,” admitted Michael Karl.
    The diamond Cross lay heavy. He wished with all his might that he had left it to share the Crown's hiding place in the Royal Train.
    “Good Lord, what are you, a walking jewelry store?” The Cross had slipped through a rent in his shirt to catch the American's attention.
    Michael Karl laughed wryly. “Just about that. One of my late master's possessions. He had no desire to let it fall into the Werewolf's paws even if he himself did, and as I had been searched and so was safe, I was elected to wear the thing. I'm to take it to Rein and turn it over to some one in authority. The thing's a nuisance.”
    He pulled it off and handed it to the American. If he acted the role of frankness it would bolster up his story of being an imposed-upon American aide-de-camp of the Prince.
    “I've seen this somewhere before,” his host declared. Michael Karl's eyes narrowed. “I know, it was on display with the Crown jewels at some sort of a benefit. One paid half a gruden and went in to see the Crown jewels and the coronation robes and things. The money went to charity. There was some sort of a legend about this. One of these arrows is supposed to be hollow and contain a sliver of one of the arrows which made Sebastian a martyr. The thing is only worn by the Crown Prince, a curse rests on it for any one else.”
    “Then I'm in for it,” sighed Michael Karl. “Well, curse, do your

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