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Even if Shen Yi graciously overlooked the absence of polite formality, would not the romantic imagination of Melodious Vision be distressed when she learned that she had been approached with so indelicate an absence of ceremony? "Here, again," said Chang Tao's self-reproach accusingly, "you have, as usual, gone on in advance of both your feet and of your head.

"Tell him, Miela, I think we can rid the Light Country of Tao's emissaries send them back without causing any disturbances among the people. Ask him if that would not be a good thing." The king nodded gravely as this was translated. "He asks you how?" Miela said next.

And in the latter case the person in question might then irrevocably contract him to a maiden of the house of Tung, or to another equally forbidding. Not inaptly is it written: "To escape from fire men will plunge into boiling water." Nevertheless, along the Stone Path many doubts and disturbances arose within Chang Tao's mind. It was not in this manner that men of weight and dignity sought wives.

Mercer could hear their words, but of course understood nothing he heard. "What do they say, Anina?" he whispered impatiently after a moment. "Baar is here with two or three of his men. He talks with Tao's men. They talk about men from Twilight Country. Waiting for them now. Speak of storm. Worried because men do not come. Waiting for light-ray." "They'll have a long wait," Mercer chuckled.

I need not go into details. I was right in assuming that the king desired to help us prevent Tao from his attempted conquest of the earth. This was so, but only in so far as his actions would not jeopardize the peace of his own nation. He sadly admitted his error in allowing Tao's emissaries into the Light Country. But now they were there, he did not see how to get them out.

Beams of light from Tao's larger projectors were constantly roaming about the entire plateau that surrounded it, and every higher point of vantage from which one of ours could have reached them must have been struck by their rays a score of times a day.

The girl alighted on the stern of the boat for a moment; Mercer slid the cloth over his face and held himself motionless. Then he heard Anina's voice calling to him softly. He slid the cloth back; the girl had gone. "She says Tao's men live, there large house, of wood," said Anina, pointing off to one side. Mercer nearly rapped his head against the seat above him in his excitement.

We had our army of girls in active operation, and that was all. Tao's boats would reach the Light Country shore in a few hours. There was no time for anything but the hastiest of preparations. We decided then to call the army of girls and meet the boats in the Narrow Sea, turning them back if possible. I have now to explain the method of defense against the light-ray.

We flashed on our little light-rays, and in a moment the sulphur was on fire at a score of different points. We drew off a few hundred feet to one side and sat down to watch it in the darkness. Overhead Tao's red beams swept like giant search-lights across the inky sky. The sulphur started burning with tiny little spots of wavering blue flame that seemed, many of them, about to die away.

They made it plain to me at once that they would not concern themselves in any way with government affairs. Two years before they had recognized Tao's menace, and had been preparing for it by the manufacture of large quantities of war material which, in case of extreme necessity, they would turn over to the government.