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2023-11-30 05:54:40source:readingClassification:reading

"I reckon so," said Lash, and for once his easy, good-natured tone was not in evidence. His voice was harsh.

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Gale's eyes, keen as they were, were last of the rangers to see tiny, needle-points of light just faintly perceptible in the blackness.

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"Laddy! Campfires?" he asked, quickly.

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Ladd did not reply; but Yaqui held up his hand, his fingers wide. Five campfires! A strong force of rebels or raiders or some other desert troop was camping at Coyote Tanks.

Yaqui sat his horse for a moment, motionless as stone, his dark face immutable and impassive. Then he stretched wide his right arm in the direction of No Name Mountains, now losing their last faint traces of the afterglow, and he shook his head. He made the same impressive gesture toward the Sonoyta Oasis with the same somber negation.

Thereupon he turned Diablo's head to the south and started down the slope. His manner had been decisive, even stern. Lash did not question it, nor did Ladd. Both rangers hesitated, however, and showed a strange, almost sullen reluctance which Gale had never seen in them before. Raiders were one thing, Rojas was another; Camino del Diablo still another; but that vast and desolate and unwatered waste of cactus and lava, the Sonora Desert, might appal the stoutest heart. Gale felt his own sink--felt himself flinch.

"Oh, where is he going?" cried Mercedes. Her poignant voice seemed to break a spell.

"Shore, lady, Yaqui's goin' home," replied Ladd, gently. "An' considerin' our troubles I reckon we ought to thank God he knows the way."

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