Chapter 9.

19 Feb

What should I do now? Raxis asked himself. It was impossible to return home and have his usual night of sleep. No, he had to learn all he could about the threat as soon as possible. His decision was to walk to the crossroads and the public house to perform a reconnaissance.

The young telepath slowed his steps as he neared the entrance of the dimly lit tavern. The glow of a lantern through a thin shade drew his attention. He approached nearer through the overgrown field, forgetting to keep a long distance from the old building.

When he was only a few span from the wall, a voice from inside became audible to him.

“…the time for taking action is now, because the doctor I hoped would assist us has proved a disappointment. I do not trust him, for he is reluctant and hesitant. Fear controls the man.

“I am forced to conclude that we have to act on our own. The responsibility will rest on me, because there is no need for any of you to participate. I am the one most concerned about stamping out the activities of the three psychics.”

“What is it you plan to do?” said a squeaky voice in the regional dialect.

“I have studied explosives for years and have now been working on a bomb composed mainly of coal-tar and rock oil. It is small enough to transport by hand, but will be powerful enough to incinerate the house on the Tunc farm. That shall be my target tonight.

“There is no need for any of you to become directly involved. The weight of the canister that I use is low enough for me to handle all by myself. The object is easily transportable.

“By morning, we will be rid of two-thirds of our enemies.”

Raxis sensed himself growing breathless. He had never thought he would face such difficulty. What was he to do? How should he deal with the dreadful event that was planned?

Leaving his position by the open window, the eavesdropper slowly made his way to the side door through which the bomb-maker would probably exit at some time.

I will wait and watch, the telepath said to himself. He will have to leave the public house from the side, not the front where the drunken patrons drink all night.

Should a psychic message go to Clata so that she can escape in good time? But what about her father, who is probably now asleep and difficult to move?

No, whatever is to be done must be carried out as far from the farm as possible.

But what was he to do under the existing conditions?

Raxis waited and calculated, his mind seeking the right answer to the puzzle.

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