THE RESCUE

“Git away out av that!”

Boom, bang!

“Go it, ye divils! Go it!”

Crash, boom!

First it was Barney’s voice.

Then it was the roar of the grenades.

Next it was a chorus of oaths, yells, and cries of pain.

At last it was a general stampede of the pirates before they had time to
fire the fatal volley with which they designed to kill Frank and his two
companions.

“Hurrah! A rescue!” cried the inventor.

“Fire at them!” gasped Zamora, using his pistol.

Pomp bent over, charged on a man who was in his way, butted him like a
goat, and knocked the fellow over.

“Clar de track!” he bawled. “De coon bullgine am comin’!”

Bang!

Bang!

Bang! went their pistol shots!

It was lucky Barney had taken it into his head to arm himself with
grenades and follow his friends, for he had seen what happened, and made
a bold charge to save them.

The pirates fled in all directions.

Many were wounded by the bursting grenades.

The electric lantern showed the Irishman where his friends were, so that
he was enabled to use his arms in such a way as not to hurt them.

Some of Diavolo’s men fired back, but were so panic-stricken their aim
was bad, and they did no damage.

A grand rush was made for a secret exit which they had entered, but many
had fallen never to rise again.

“Chase them!” cried Frank.

“Oireland foriver!” howled Barney, for the fighting Irishman was in his
glory when a row was going on.

Away they rushed in pursuit of the fleeing pirates.

Only half a dozen reached the courtyard, and the diabolical captain was
in the lead.

He knew that his life would pay for his capture.

Bang!

Bang!

Bang! went a second volley from Frank’s party.

Several of Diavolo’s party fell in their tracks, wounded, and our
friends chased the rest through the corridor.

As Frank dashed out the door he saw the leader and several of his men
rushing toward the water.

They were heading for a rowboat.

Far over the water, lying almost hidden against the dense shrubbery and
trees along the shore was a schooner.

The pirates were evidently bent upon reaching it.

“There’s Diavolo’s other craft!” cried Zamora.

“Your son is doubtless aboard of her, too,” said Frank.

“Dios mio! Can we save him now?”

“Perhaps; if we can prevent Diavolo getting aboard.”

“We can’t overtake him.”

“Oh, yes; we can.”

“How?”

“By using the airship.”

“Bueno!”

They ran to the Jove and scrambled aboard.

Within one minute more Frank had her rushing swiftly across the square,
and she rose on the wind.

Up she soared like an eagle.

A turn of the wheel directed her over the water, and she shot along at a
rapid pace.

Below, Frank saw Diavolo in a skiff with three men, and they were rowing
furiously toward the schooner.

“Barney, take the wheel.”

“I have it.”

“Now watch that skiff vanish.”

And so saying Frank rushed inside and got several bombs.

Going out on deck, he leaned over the side, and taking careful aim, he
let one of the grenades fall.

It went down as straight as an arrow.

All hands watched it with deep interest.

Bang!

It had struck squarely in the boat.

In one minute more the tiny craft was gone.

Only one of the occupants survived, and that was Diavolo.

They saw the burly rascal swimming feebly for the shore.

He finally reached it, waded out, rushed away, and darting a scared look
up at the Jove, he plunged into the bushes.

There he vanished.

“What a pity he escaped!” said Zamora, disappointedly.

“He wor wounded,” said Barney.

“It won’t be long before we meet him again, I feel quite confident,”
remarked Frank, in dry tones.

“Gwine fo’ de schoonah?” queried the coon.

“Yes, yes, by all means—at once,” Frank replied.

“See!” muttered the Mexican, nervously, as he pointed at the vessel.
“The crew seem to realize what has happened, and are preparing to sail
away.”

“Drive the Jove over there, Barney,” cried Frank, quickly.

The airship was about five hundred feet above the sea, and she glided
straight toward the schooner.

“Ahoy, there!” cried Frank, at the top of his voice.

No reply came back.

Indeed, the chances were his voice was not heard.

But he saw the crew of the vessel elevating the muzzle of a gun to bear
upon the airship.

Seeing that he had better make his intentions known by actions rather
than words, the young inventor hurled a bomb down at the deck.

It struck there and burst with a violent report.

That scattered the men from about the gun, and stopped the work of
raising the anchor and sails.

Another bomb wounded several more, and drove the crew overboard,
whereupon they took to the land.

“Now send her down, Barney.”

“Can you distinguish my child?” eagerly asked Zamora.

“No,” Frank replied. “I’ve watched keenly, and did not see a child leave
the schooner. In their panic those fellows only thought of saving
themselves. Doubtless they have left the boy behind.”

“It is very dangerous, then, to use more bombs, as you might hit him,”
said the Mexican.

“Very true! I’ll stop. Those fellows are greatly afraid of this airship.
They may not be afraid to fight people on an equal footing, but when it
comes to an attack from the sky they realize their helplessness and lose
courage.”

Frank had told the truth.




Shortly the airship arrived close to the schooner, and there she was
driven in circles in order to keep her in the air.

Frank could now see what a lot of damage the bombs had done to the
vessel.

He went inside and put on a suit of chain mail.

It was very light, as the metal was aluminum.

“I’m going aboard the schooner,” he announced.

“Let me go with you,” pleaded Zamora.

“No; it’s too dangerous. I’ll go alone.”

“Den we guard you from heah wif our rifles,” said Pomp.

“Do so, by all means.”

Frank got out a wire ladder and carried it to the deck, where he
fastened one end and let the other end down.

He then descended.

When half-way down the ladder he heard volley after volley of rifle
shots coming from shore, and saw the crew shooting at him from behind
trees and rocks.

Scores of bullets hit the daring fellow, and hundreds whistled and
hummed around him like a swarm of bees.

“Fire at them, boys!” he cried.

His friends promptly carried out his order, and an occasional yell of
pain coming from the bushes told that their shots were not all wasted.

Moreover, the firing at Frank diminished.

He lost no time about getting down the rest of the ladder, and as the
airship circled over the schooner he alighted.

Some of the pirates rushed from their coverts, and were about to dash
over, board the vessel, and try to capture him, when a deadly volley
from the Jove checked their impulse.

Frank hastened down the cabin steps.

He found the room filled with smoke.

“They’ve fired the vessel!” flashed across his mind.

He groped his way around and shouted:

“Leon! Leon!”

But he received no reply.

“The little fellow isn’t here,” he muttered.

These words had scarcely left his lips, though, when he stumbled over a
soft object lying on the floor.

One glance showed him that it was the missing boy.

He was senseless.

A cruel blow on the head, dealt by one of the pirates, had knocked him
down, wounded and unconscious.

Frank picked him up.

“Now to escape!” he muttered. “If the fire reaches the magazine, the
schooner will blow up and kill us!”

He reached the door with his little burden, but to his dismay found it
closed with a spring lock.

The knob was broken off, and he therefore could not open it; nor were
the windows big enough to let him out.

It made a chill of horror go over Frank.

“By heavens! I’m in for it now!” he gasped.

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