No farther advance was undertaken. The Yaqui headed south and traveled slowly, climbing to the brow of a bold height of weathered mesa. There he sat his horse and waited. No one questioned him. The rangers dismounted to stretch their legs, and Mercedes was lifted to a rock, where she rested. Thorne had gradually yielded to the desert's influence for silence. He spoke once or twice to Gale, and occasionally whispered to Mercedes. Gale fancied his friend would soon learn that necessary speech in desert travel meant a few greetings, a few words to make real the fact of human companionship, a few short, terse terms for the business of day or night, and perhaps a stern order or a soft call to a horse.
The sun went down, and the golden, rosy veils turned to blue and shaded darker till twilight was there in the valley. Only the spurs of mountains, spiring the near and far horizon, retained their clear outline. Darkness approached, and the clear peaks faded. The horses stamped to be on the move.
He did not point with arm, but his falcon head was outstretched, and his piercing eyes gazed at the blurring spot which marked the location of Coyote Tanks.
"Jim, can you see anything?" asked Ladd.
Darkness increased momentarily till night shaded the deepest part of the valley.
Then Ladd suddenly straightened up, turned to his horse, and muttered low under his breath.
"I reckon so," said Lash, and for once his easy, good-natured tone was not in evidence. His voice was harsh.
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.