"Shore it's all goin' to be as queer as the Yaqui," said Ladd.
Indeed, the strange mien, the silent action, the somber character of the Indian had not been without effect upon the minds of the men. Then the weird, desolate, tragic scene added to the vague sense of mystery. And now the disappearance of Rojas's band, the long wait in the silence, the boding certainty of invisible foes crawling, circling closer and closer, lent to the situation a final touch that made it unreal.
"I'm reckonin' there's a mind behind them Greasers," replied Jim. "Or mebbe we ain't done Rojas credit...If somethin' would only come off!"
That Lash, the coolest, most provokingly nonchalant of men in times of peril, should begin to show a nervous strain was all the more indicative of a suble pervading unreality.
"Boys, look sharp!" suddenly called Lash. "Low down to the left --mebbe three hundred yards. See, along by them seams of lava --behind the choyas. First off I thought it was a sheep. But it's the Yaqui!...Crawlin' swift as a lizard! Can't you see him?"
It was a full moment before Jim's companions could locate the Indian. Flat as a snake Yaqui wound himself along with incredible rapidity. His advance was all the more remarkable for the fact that he appeared to pass directly under the dreaded choyas. Sometimes he paused to lift his head and look. He was directly in line with a huge whorl of lava that rose higher than any point on the slope. This spur was a quarter of a mile from the position of the rangers.
"Shore he's headin' for that high place," said Ladd. "He's goin' slow now. There, he's stopped behind some choyas. He's gettin' up--no, he's kneelin'....Now what the hell!"
"Laddy, take a peek at the side of that lava ridge," sharply called Jim. "I guess mebbe somethin' ain't comin' off. See! There's Rojas an' his outfit climbin'. Don't make out no hosses....Dick, use your glass an' tell us what's doin'. I'll watch Yaqui an' tell you what his move means."