"I reckon that's the one weak place in my plan. I'm figgerin' they'll never think of that till it's too late. But if they do, well, Sol can outrun Diablo. An' I can always kill the white devil!"
Ladd's strange hate of the horse showed in the passion of his last words, in his hardening jaw and grim set lips.
Gale's hand went swiftly to the ranger's shoulder.
"Laddy. Don't kill Diablo unless it's to save your life."
"All right. But, by God, if I get a chance I'll make Blanco Sol run him off his legs!"
He spoke no more and set about changing the length of Sol's stirrups. When he had them adjusted to suit he mounted and rode down the trail and out upon the level. He rode leisurely as if merely going to water his horse. The long black rifle lying across his saddle, however, was ominous.
Gale securely tied the other horse to a mesquite at hand, and took a position behind a low rock over which he could easily see and shoot when necessary. He imagined Jim Lash in a similar position at the far end of the valley blocking the outlet. Gale had grown accustomed to danger and the hard and fierce feelings peculiar to it. But the coming drama was so peculiarly different in promise from all he had experienced, that he waited the moment of action with thrilling intensity. In him stirred long, brooding wrath at these border raiders--affection for Belding, and keen desire to avenge the outrages he had suffered--warm admiration for the cold, implacable Ladd and his absolute fearlessness, and a curious throbbing interest in the old, much-discussed and never-decided argument as to whether Blanco Sol was fleeter, stronger horse than Blanco Diablo. Gale felt that he was to see a race between these great rivals--the kind of race that made men and horses terrible.
Ladd rode a quarter of a mile out upon the flat before anything happened. Then a whistle rent the still, cold air. A horse had seen or scented Blanco Sol. The whistle was prolonged, faint, but clear. It made the boood thrum in Gale's ears. Sol halted. His head shot up with the old, wild, spirited sweep. Gale leveled his glass at the patch of mesquites. He saw the raiders running to an open place, pointing, gesticulating. The glass brought them so close that he saw the dark faces. Suddenly they broke and fled back among the trees. Then he got only white and dark gleams of moving bodies. Evidently that moment was one of boots, guns, and saddles for the raiders.
The Romanian, who is seeded sixth, next faces Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands after the 15th seed beat Australian qualifier Daria Gavrilova 6-3, 6-3.">arolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 7-6 (9).Advertisement
Muguruza raced into a 4-0 lead against Williams, who was seeded ninth, and comfortably closed out the set.
The 36-year-old Williams used her experience to bounce back in the second, although she had to save three break points immediately after earning her first break of the match.Advertisement
It seemed as if the match was going Williams’ way when she broke in the first game of the deciding set but Muguruza broke straight back and earned the double break when the American double-faulted twice.
Muguruza broke again in the final game, sealing it when a Williams forehand down the line landed wide.
Anett Kontaveit’s dream debut ended as the Estonian qualifier lost 6-2, 6-4 to Madrid Open champion Simona Halep.
The 21-year-old Kontaveit, who beat top-ranked Angelique Kerber in the second round, saved two break points before succumbing to Halep’s clay-court prowess.Also ReadNovak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz set to meet again in group stage of Dav...Watch: Jannik Sinner wins a 46-shot rally against Tommy PaulDoes Steffi Graf ever age? Husband Andre Agassi has the perfect replyBoris Becker’s wife terms the tennis great as ‘a devil’
The Romanian, who is seeded sixth, next faces Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands after the 15th seed beat Australian qualifier Daria Gavrilova 6-3, 6-3.