The rest happened in the fraction of a second. There was a rending crash above us, then a deafening explosion within the chamber. Smoke and powder fumes filled the room. Half stunned, I rose from the lifeless body of my antagonist just in time to see Victory stagger to her feet and turn toward me. Slowly the smoke cleared to reveal the shattered remnants of the guard. A shell had fallen through the palace roof and exploded just in the rear of the detachment of guardsmen who were coming to the rescue of their emperor. Why neither Victory nor I were struck is a miracle. The room was a wreck. A great, jagged hole was torn in the ceiling, and the wall toward the corridor had been blown entirely out.
As I rose, Victory had risen, too, and started toward me. But when she saw that I was uninjured she stopped, and stood there in the center of the demolished apartment looking at me. Her expression was inscrutable--I could not guess whether she was glad to see me, or not. toy strap
"Victory!" I cried. "Thank God that you are safe!" And I approached her, a greater gladness in my heart than I had felt since the moment that I knew the Coldwater must be swept beyond thirty.
There was no answering gladness in her eyes. Instead, she stamped her little foot in anger. where can i buy a strap on
"Why did it have to be you who saved me!" she exclaimed. "I hate you!"
"Hate me?" I asked. "Why should you hate me, Victory? I do not hate you. I--I--" What was I about to say? I was very close to her as a great light broke over me. Why had I never realized it before? The truth accounted for a great many hitherto inexplicable moods that had claimed me from time to time since first I had seen Victory.
"Why should I hate you?" she repeated. "Because Snider told me--he told me that you had promised me to him, but he did not get me. I killed him, as I should like to kill you!"
"Snider lied!" I cried. And then I seized her and held her in my arms, and made her listen to me, though she struggled and fought like a young lioness. "I love you, Victory. You must know that I love you--that I have always loved you, and that I never could have made so base a promise."
She ceased her struggles, just a trifle, but still tried to push me from her. "You called me a barbarian!" she said.
Ah, so that was it! That still rankled. I crushed her to me.