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The outlines of the old adobe mission building showed faintly through the obscurity as the little party headed westward, and advanced at a moderate walk, on the alert for the Apaches, of whom they had detected signs now and then during their wearisome watching.

The action of the red men had puzzled the trapper as well as Strubell and Lattin. It was[330] hard to understand why they had not stumbled on the truth, but there was good reason for believing they were still ignorant of the presence of the white men so near them. It was upon this theory that the success of the daring enterprise was based.

Eph Bozeman placed himself at the head, Herbert coming next, with one of the Texans on either side. The veteran was the best qualified to lead, while the disposition of all was with a view of protecting the younger and less experienced member of the party.

Nothing was seen of their enemies until half the distance 长沙桑拿最好的场子 was passed, when Lattin, who was on Herbert’s right, exclaimed in an undertone:

“Yonder are the varmints!”

The horses were in excellent condition because of their long rest, and up to this moment moved at a moderate trot. As the Texan spoke, the trapper, who had detected the danger, struck his animal into a brisk gallop, the others doing the same without any urging of their riders.

The Apaches must have relaxed their vigilance toward the latter part of the night, for[331] most, if not all the group, were observed to the south of the structure instead of being near it. They were closer to it, however, than the whites, and showed their daring by immediately riding forward to meet them.

The trapper turned his head and said: “Let ‘em have it the minute they’re near enough to hit.”

These were words which had meaning, and 长沙桑拿可以选 Herbert, like his companions, looked at his Winchester to make sure it was ready for instant service.

“I think they’re all there,” added Lattin.

“I don’t believe it,” remarked Strubell, “for there isn’t more than six or eight.”

“And Nick isn’t with them,” Herbert could not help exclaiming, with a thrill of pleasure.

No reply followed this, which might signify nothing, for all were too intent on what was before them.

The interest deepened each moment. The Apaches, numbering exactly eight, were advancing at a speed fully as great as that of the whites, riding close together and apparently all eagerness for the conflict. They[332] indulged in no shouts, whoops, or gestures, but came on like the grim demons they were.

Each carried his gun, and he was not afraid to use it whenever the chance offered. Nothing could have looked more 长沙桑拿吧 frightful than they, their chests naked, their irregular features daubed with different colored paint, their long black hair dangling about their shoulders, while each rode like a centaur.

A distance of two hundred yards separated the parties, neither of which had made the slightest variation in its course. Our friends were heading directly toward the building and did not swerve to the right or left. To have done so would have shown fear, and brought the redskins down upon them like a cyclone.

One of two things was inevitable, and that within the space of a few seconds: the Apaches or white men must turn to one side, or there would be a fierce fight. Eph Bozeman and his comrades were resolved to keep on until the noses of their ponies should touch. What was the purpose of the red men must appear immediately.

[333]

The break 长沙桑拿洗浴全套会所 came from an unexpected source. Belden

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Rickard and Harman Slidham had not forgotten the parting words of the trapper, and were on the watch at the upper front windows. The rapidly increasing light showed the four horsemen coming down the slope, and they saw the Apaches set out to meet them. Matters were on the eve of explosion when Rickard took deliberate sight from his window and fired at the warriors. The shot was a long one, but so accurately aimed that a dusky horseman, with a rasping screech, rolled off his pony, the animal breaking into a gallop, circling away from the others, and, facing toward the building, whinneying with fright and dashing aimlessly hither and thither in a panic.

The other Apaches acted as if the report of the gun was the signal for them to break apart, for they did so with a suddenness that 长沙桑拿按摩一条龙 could not have been surpassed had a bombshell burst beneath them.

Several turned to the right and others to the left, while one, as if he absolutely feared nothing, headed his black pony directly at[334] Bozeman and thundered forward on a dead run.

The miscreant was actually charging the whole party.

He emitted a terrifying whoop, leaning almost on his horse’s ears, as he brought his rifle round in front to fire, but a master hand at that business had not taken his eye from him since he started on his daring ride. The raising of the gun and the aiming and firing seemed to take place all together, and in the twinkling of an eye.