, April, 1935
Tate Shevlin pits himself against mighty powers smashes through
incredible oriental horrorsin his last magnificent adventure with the
UP AHEAD, high wheeled drivers crashed thunderously over a dark draw.
Back through the night floated the shrill wail of the locomotive's
whistleeery, ominous foreboding. Like a hurtling comet the Linchow
Limited sped through the impenetrable darkness of the Asiatic night.
Tate Shevlin, American soldier of fortune, stared out through the
window of his first-class compartment, stared out grimly into
nothingness. Again there came to him the wailing moan of the
locomotive's whistle, like the rising shriek of a soul in torment.
Shevlin shuddered. And then, abruptly, his muscles bunched under his
Someone had knocked on the closed door of his compartment.
Tate Shevlin's hard right hand dropped imperceptibly toward the cold
butt of the Webley automatic in his coat pocket. His grim eyes
narrowed. Come in! he rasped.
The door opened. A man entered.
The American stared at the newcomer. He saw a tall, broad-shouldered,
slant-eyed Manchurian. A Manchurian who bore in his outstretched hand a
It was a mask of yellow silk.
That was all. Yet it was enough to send Tate Shevlin's blood pounding
hotly through his veins. He had been awaiting that fragile silk token
for three days, ever since he had boarded the Linchow Limited back in
Shanghai seventy-two hours before. Now it had come; and the sight of
that yellow domino brought him a pulse-stirring mental image of the
The Golden Girl, with her bright yellow hair and her mysterious,
enigmatic blue eyes! Tate Shevlin's heart pounded at the very thought
of her. Once more, in imagination, he clasped her seductive young
feminine body close to him, smelled the faint fragrance of her hair,
felt the sweet firmness of her rounded breasts against his chest.... He
stared into the slanted almond eyes of the broad-shouldered Manchurian.
Who are you? Shevlin demanded quietly.
I am a messenger in the service of Chen Tsing Gat, the Manchurian
responded in flawless Mandarin dialect.
TATE SHEVLIN'S hand still rested upon the hard butt of his Webley.
His voice was still cold with suspicion as he said, What has that to
do with me?
The Manchurian smiled faintly. You are Tate Shevlin, he answered.
Months ago, you entered the service of a mysterious American woman
known only as the Golden Girl. She, in turn, served an ancient Chinese
whose name is Chen Tsing Gat.
Go on, Tate Shevlin spoke brusquely. Chen Tsing Gat plans to
overthrow the present corrupt government of Linchow Province, the
Manchurian continued his calm recital. There were five famous jewels
of fabulous value called the Claws of the Dragon. These jewels Chen
Tsing Gat planned to sell in order to get money with which to equip a
Tate Shevlin said, And then?
And then Chen Tsing Gat's enemies captured you and the Golden Girl.
To rescue her, you were forced to part with the jeweled Claws. Since
then, Tate Shevlin, you have succeeded in recovering four of those five
lost jewels. And now you are on your way to a meeting- place, where you
are to see the Golden Girl and lay plans for the recovery of the final
Claw. The Manchurian smiled. I am Chen Tsing Gat's messenger,
assigned to the task of guiding you to the place where the Golden Girl
Satisfied at last, Tate Shevlin's fist emerged empty from his coat
pocket. He did not notice the glitter that leaped into the Manchurian's
hooded eyes. Instead, he said, It is well. You have proven yourself to
be what you claim. Now tell me where I am to meet the Golden Girl.
The Manchurian shrugged. Not yet, he said slowly. Not until you
have satisfied me as to your identity, even as I have satisfied you as
What proof do you want? Shevlin spoke with some surprise.
Give me a glimpse of the four Claws which are in your possession.
They alone can prove that you are the real Tate Shevlin.
The American's eyes narrowed; he felt a throbbing sense of impending
danger leap into his chest. He stared at the Manchurianand abruptly
he knew that the man was an imposter, a spy. Because Tate Shevlin did
not have the four Claws; they were in the possession of Chen Tsing Gat
himself ! And Chen Tsing Gat, having the Claws, would not have
instructed his messenger to request them of Shevlin!
The soldier of fortune got slowly to his feet, braced himself against
the swaying of the hurtling Limited. His steel-hard muscles tensed.
You've been lying to me, you dog! he rasped. You're not Chen Tsing
The words died in his throat as the Manchurian leaped at him with an
upraised, glittering knife!
Shevlin's hand dived for his Webley. Before he could draw the weapon,
the burly Manchurian was upon him. The American grunted a snarling oath
as his attacker's knife descended
Grunted an oath, and swept aside the Manchurian's arm with a crashing
sweep of his left fist. The two men smashed together, locked in savage
embrace. Shevlin felt the steel tip of the deflected blade slice
through the shoulder of his linen coat, graze his skin. He grabbed for
his adversary's wrist, twisted with all the strength of his sinewy
muscles. The Manchurian gasped in sudden pain; the knife clattered to
Now, you louse! Tate Shevlin rasped out. His right fist thudded
viciously against the other's mouth, splintering teeth under the
terrific impact of his iron- hard knuckles. The Manchurian swayed, spat
bloody froth from between puffed lips. The American leaped in, fists
flailing like steel pistons....
The Manchurian staggered backward. Shevlin followed grimly.
Followedand stepped into a cunning Oriental trap!
HIS adversary leaped forward with unexpected suddenness. The man's
hard arms encircled Tate Shevlin's panting body. He lifted,
gruntedand flung the soldier of fortune backward against the wall of
the compartment. Shevlin's head smashed against a steel bracket; a
blinding cascade of pain coursed through his skull. For an instant,
everything went blurry-black before his eyes. He pitched forward to his
knees blindly, numbly
The Manchurian grinned bloodily and sprang for his dropped dagger. He
grasped the weapon, poised it, sprang at Tate Shevlin with an animal
snarl of triumph.
The soldier of fortune pitched side-wise just as the glittering blade
slashed downward. The knife missed him by the merest fraction of an
inch. Shevlin went white. His hand darted to his coat pocket, snatched
at the Webley. He fired through his coat, blindly, instinctively.
The weapon's barking roar was drowned out in a wailing blast of the
whistle from the locomotive up ahead. The Manchurian stopped dead in
his tracks, an expression of frantic amazement on his brutish Asiatic
features. A dark, ever-spreading stain appeared on the center of his
gray jacket. Abruptly the yellow man toppled and collapsed at Tate
Shevlin's feet. He gasped once; his huge body quivered sickeningly.
Then he lay still.
Shevlin stared down at the man he had killed. He shook his head to
clear it of the raging pain where his skull had brought up against that
steel bracket. Then be said, By God!
A thought had come to him. If this Manchurian had been a spy, an
imposterthen how had he come into possession of the Golden Girl's
yellow silken mask? The answer leaped into his brain with stunning
abruptness: the Golden Girl's real messenger must have been somewhere
on the train! And this Manchurian had, in some way, overpowered the
true emissary, stolen the yellow mask
Tate Shevlin gathered his muscles under him, leaped for the door of
the compartment, flung himself out into the swaying, dimly-lighted
corridor that ran the full length of the first-class
He staggered toward the front of the lurching car. And then,
suddenly, he froze.
From beneath the closed door of a compartment in the center of the
corridor, he saw a trickle of crimson!
Tate Shevlin backed off three paces. Then he launched himself at that
closed door. It smashed inward under the rocketing impact of his hard
shoulder. He stared.
The compartment was similar to his own. The lights were on. A woman's
limp form sagged on the couch- berth before him.
She was young, and she was Chinese. Her rounded body was clad in
Oriental pajamas of flowered silk. Her face was flower-like, wistful,
lovely with an arresting Asiatic loveliness. Her eyes were closed; and
the haft of a knife protruded from her side!
Shevlin leaped toward that still, exquisite form. He grasped at the
knife, wrenched it out of the girl's quivering body. Then he ripped
away the coat of her pajamas, disclosing the naked beauty of her
swelling, virginal breasts. With a handkerchief he stanched the sudden
gush of blood that flowed from the gaping wound in her ivory side.
His hand went to her left breast pressed against the mollescent ivory
flesh. The girl's heart fluttered faintly. Shevlin leaped for the
wash-stand in one corner of the stateroom, doused a towel in cold
water. Gently he held it against the Chinese girl's forehead.
SHE drew a sharp, painful breath; her long, curving black lashes
trembled open. She stared up at Tate Shevlin. Her almond eyes widened.
YouShevlin! she gasped faintly.
Yes. I'm Tate Shevlin. What happened?
Aa manan enemya Manchurianstabbed me. Then he stole the
yellow mask which I was to have brought to you asas a tokenfrom the
Golden Girl Her voice trailed off weakly.
You were the Golden Girl's messenger?
Yes. Butbut now thereis dangerfrom this Manchurian
Not any more! Tate Shevlin answered grimly. He's dead. I killed
The Oriental girl sighed with sudden relief. It is good! she
whispered. Then she tried to struggle to a sitting posture.
Wherewhere are we?
Shevlin glanced swiftly at his wrist-watch. We should be approaching
Fungow-Lin, about two hundred miles this side of Linchow.
The Chinese girl clutched weakly at his sleeve. Wemust leave this
Shevlin stared at her. ButI thought I was to meet the Golden Girl
No. The planswere changed. Thatwas why I was to come to
youand tell youof the new meeting-place. She swayed to her feet,
clung to him for support. Her face was corpse-pale.
Shevlin tried to push her back on the couch-berth. You're in no
shape to get off the train! he whispered harshly. That wound in your
Itdoes notmatter. My hours arenumbered. But before Igo to my
ancestorsI must finish my mission! I musttake you toChen Tsing
Gat and the Golden Girl! Her pale features were contorted with
sudden agony; she clutched at the wound in her side.
And at that instant, the locomotive up ahead whistled for the
station-stop at Fungow-Lin. Shevlin heard the hiss of escaping air as
the brakes bit into the car wheels. The train slackened speed.
The American leaned forward, swept the Chinese girl into his brawny
arms, lifted her. I'll carry you, he whispered. We'll get off the
blind side of the train; nobody will see us. He held her close to him,
gently, protectively. Her firm ivory breasts were bare and warm against
his chest; she closed her eyes wearily, content to relax in his
The train panted to a halt at the tiny Fungow-Lin station. Shevlin
stepped out into the deserted car corridor with his feminine burden. He
came to the vestibule of the carriage, unfastened the door on the wrong
side of the tracks. He leaped forward into the black and sinister
shadows of the night.
IN the protecting gloom of a freight-car on a siding he crouched,
waiting. In three minutes the Limited ground forward, away from the
little station. Shevlin watched as the train sped westward into the
distance like a many-eyed dragon. Then he lifted the Chinese girl once
more into his arms.
She opened her eyes mistily. Go forward along that road, Tate
Shevlin, she whispered faintly. At a distance of about two English
miles you will come to a series of ancient royal tombs Her voice
caught in her throat; she choked wetly.
The Golden Girl's hiding-place is among those tombs? Shevlin
Yes. Sheand Chen Tsing Gatawait youin the middle tomb
Abruptly the girl quivered, drew a deep, sobbing breath. And then she
grew still and ominously silent.
Tate Shevlin cursed, felt for her heart. No flutter answered his
questing fingers as his palm flattened against her naked breast.
Dead! he rasped....
Very gently he laid the Chinese girl's body by the side of the road.
The shadows of the night were to be her shroud; the soft earth her
Shevlin's jaw was grim, his eyes smoky, as he left her and strode
forward toward his meeting with Chen Tsing Gat and the Golden Girl....
BLACKNESS enshrouded the crumbling stone tombs as Tate Shevlin
approached them. Sinister and silent, they loomed before him like
ancient symbols of death. Great carven pillars of marble jutted upward
to support pagoda roofs worn and chipped with the erosion of centuries.
Cautiously, silently, the soldier of fortune went forward toward the
middle tomb. He gained the crumbling stone entrance, hesitated. He
heard a sound.
He clenched his Webley in his right fist, crouched in the shadows.
And then, suddenly, his heart leaped into his throat. Through the gloom
of the night he saw a figure
The well-remembered figure of the Golden Girl! Wraith-like, she had
approached from within the dark interior of the tomb. Now he saw her;
saw the lilting curves of her virginal body beneath her clinging robe
of golden-yellow silk, the cascading gold of her soft hair as it
tumbled about her warm shoulders.... Beloved! he whispered, and went
to her. She met him with a glad cry, melted into his arms, fused her
soft body against him. His lips descended toward her waiting mouth,
clung there for a long time. His hand sought and found her breast
beneath the clinging folds of her silken robe. His fingers caressed her
firmly-resilient flesh hungrily, avidly.
At last she broke free of his embrace. I have been waiting for you a
long time, Tate Shevlin, her bell- like voice was husky, warm,
It has seemed ages, he answered her slowly. And then he caught her,
held her tightly in his arms. Beloved! he whispered. Why can't we
put all this waiting behind us? Why can't we go nowback to America ?
Back to safety? All China swarms with your enemies; and I have a
premonition that danger lies in wait, unless we leave at once!
Slowly she shook her head. It cannot be, Tate Shevlinuntil my task
is finished, she answered gently. As you know, Chen Tsing Gat once
saved my father's life. My father died before he could repay the debt.
And to discharge the obligation, I vowed a year of my own life to Chen
Tsing Gat's service. That year is nearly over; but until its end, I
must go on. Her hand crept into Tate Shevlin's hard palm. You will
stay with me until my work is finished, won't you?
Until the end of time! Shevlin whispered tensely. Then come. Chen
Tsing Gat awaits us.
The soldier of fortune followed her into the dank, musty tomb.
Downward they stumbled through the blackness, down a long series of
broken stone steps. And at last they came to an open door. Faint light
gleamed from within that subterranean chamber.
The American blinked as his eyes grew accustomed to the illumination.
An ancient, wrinkled yellow man came toward him. It was Chen Tsing Gat.
Welcome, my son, he held out his gnarled hand to Tate Shevlin. You
are in time to learn of my plans plans which must bear fruit within
the next four days.
You meanyou've located the fifth Claw? Chen Tsing Gat shook his
head. No. I have decided that there is not time to attempt the
recovery of the final jewel. Instead, I shall dispose of the four I
already have. An army must be recruited and equipped immediately.
Linchow Province grows restless under the iron hand of its corrupt
military governor, Wu Shang. The time has come to strike. Wu Shang must
be removed, and an honest government installed. No more days can be
Then you plan to Tate Shevlin's question died on his lips as the
Golden Girl suddenly cried out. Her voice held a note of horror, of
The soldier of fortune whirled, whipped out his Webley in
unconsciously-reflex action. He was a split- second too late.
SILENTLY, unheard and unperceived by Shevlin, Chen Tsing Gat or the
Golden Girl, a band of uniformed soldiers had crept to the doorway of
the underground tomb-chamber. Now they smashed into the room with
savage snarls, their rifles upraised!
Wu Shang's men! the Golden Girl cried out. And then two yellow
soldiers grabbed her, pinioned her struggling form!
Tate Shevlin's lips drew back in a snarl of sheer fury. Lust of
combat flared into his eyes as he launched himself head-first toward
the Golden Girl's attackers. His Webley vomited flame as he sent a
crashing volley full into the faces of the advancing men of Wu Shang.
Then the weapon's hammer snapped down on an empty clip. Shevlin hurled
himself full into the midst of the lunging soldiery.
Arms flailing, fists knotted, he crashed against the hard body of an
officer. The man grunted, staggered backward. Shevlin raised his
clubbed Webley, brought it smashing down full into the slant-eyed
features of his adversary. The man's face disappeared in a gory welter
of blood-ooze. He slumped to the floor.
The soldier of fortune pivoted on his heel. He saw Chen Tsing Gat go
down under the bludgeoning blow of a rifle-butt. Shevlin leaned
forward, grabbed at the sword from the lifeless hand of the officer he
had smashed down. He raised the blade, flung it
It whistled through the air, buried itself in the uniformed back of
the soldier who had battered Chen Tsing Gat into unconsciousness. The
man shrieked wildly, clawed at the point of the blade where it
protruded from his chest. He pitched forward.
The Golden Girl screamed as clutching yellow hands tore at the silk
of her robe, ripped it from her perfect body. She was lifted in strong,
Tate Shevlin saw red as a surging anger mounted to his temples.
Caution tossed to the winds, he lashed himself ahead in great, leaping
strides. A yellow visage loomed before him. He smashed at it with his
bare fists, battered the man to death. And then two other soldiers of
Wu Shang catapulted into him, bore him backward. A rifle-muzzle smashed
down against his skull; fists beat into his face. He staggered,
stumbled, went to his knees. A heavy boot thudded into his groin, and a
raging inferno of agony cramped at his muscles, sickened him.
The blunt snout of an automatic was thrust against his temple.
Weakly, ineffectually, he tried to smash it aside. A yellow finger
tightened on the trigger
And then a commanding voice said No! Do not shoot him! Wu Shang
desires all three of these plottersdesires them alive! Then Shevlin
felt a crashing blow at the base of his skull and black unconsciousness
WHEN next he opened his eyes, he was in a softly- lighted room. His
hands and ankles were roped; his body was a torturing hell of aching
pain. Dully he stared about him. Similarly gyved and helpless, Chen
Tsing Gat's ancient form was stretched out alongside him on the floor.
Just beyond Chen Tsing Gat, the soldier of fortune beheld the
breath-taking nakedness of the Golden Girl.
Her yellow silken robe hung in pathetic tatters about her virginal
white body. She was fettered, hand and foot; and in her deep blue eyes
Shevlin saw frantic fear. Her revealed, pink-centered breasts rose and
fell sharply under the stress of her terror-stricken breathing.
There was a desk at the far end of the room. Behind it sat a man,
huge, almond-eyed, leering. He was clad in the field uniform of a
general in the Chinese army; and his slanted eyes glittered with an
He spoke, and his voice was like the harsh rasp of a saw biting
through living bone. I am General Wu Shang, governor of Linchow
Province! he snarled. His lips drew back, baring yellow, fang-like
teeth. This is my headquarters; and my soldiers have accomplished a
splendid task in capturing you three!
It was Chen Tsing Gat who answered him. Yes, Wu Shang, he said
wearily, bitterly. You have triumphed.
Aie, dog! Verily I have triumphed. And I shall take great delight in
watching you dieall three of you!
Chen Tsing Gat went pale. One moment, General Wu Shang! It is
fitting that you should kill me, because I have plotted to overthrow
your government. But these other twothese Americansthey have had no
actual hand in my scheming. They merely aided me in the recovery of
certain jewels which had been lost
Yes. The Claws of the Dragon! Wu Shang interposed swiftly. l know
all about that. Because I myself happen to possess one of the Claws!
He reached into a pocket of his tunic, withdrew a glittering
coruscating diamond-and-emerald jewel of pulse- stirring beauty; a
jewel whose diamonds glistened iridescently with imprisoned fire,
,whose emeralds were like congealed green flames. Wu Shang grinned. I
have had this a long time, oh Chen Tsing Gat; and long have I desired
its four mates. And now I shall have them! Now I shall possess all five
Claws! He turned to one of his men; his harsh voice rose. Search him!
Bring me the four Claws he possesses!
Chen Tsing Gat spoke quickly. Search me if you wish. But you will
not find the Claws. The jewels are not with me, Wu Shang!
Wu Shang's yellow face darkened thunderously. Then where are they,
son of an unmentionable tortoise? he rasped.
Desperately, craftily, Chen Tsing Gat's eyes narrowed. The time has
not yet come to me to tell you that secret, Wu Shang, he said softly.
No? Then perhaps I have a means of hastening that time! Wu Shang
barked. When you have witnessed a little scene in my private
torture-dungeon, your lips perhaps will unlock! Or it may be that you
prefer to taste some of the torture yourself! He turned to his men.
Take all three of these dogs down below, into the torture-chamber!
TATE SHEVLIN felt himself being lifted, carried out into a corridor,
down a long flight of stairs into the bowels of the earth below the
house. Then, at last, as he flung callously, brutally, into a corner of
an underground chambera dungeon that smelled sickeningly of carrion,
of putrescent flesh, of death....
The Golden Girl and Chen Tsing Gat were brought into the dungeon,
propped in the corner beside the soldier of fortune. Flaring,
flickering torches illumined the place with ghastly, ghoulish light. At
the far end of the room there was a torture-rack; nearer, Shevlin
perceived other weird and diabolic engines for producing exquisite
agony upon human flesh. He shuddered.
Wu Shang strode, grinning, into the dungeon. Now I shall stage an
entertainment for you! he grated. Two others who had the temerity to
plot against my regime fell into my hands this morning. Now I shall
demonstrate what happens to those who dare rebel against me!
He clapped his hands. A group of uniformed men belched into the
underground room, shoving two prisoners before them. Shevlin stared.
One of the two captives was a womana Chinese. Her clothing had been
ripped from her cringing body, and her eyes were wide with fear. Her
companion was a mana huge, muscular Asiatic whose bare torso was like
that of a wrestler. Both were bound with strong ropes.
Now bring my torture-woman! Wu Shang commanded.
In a moment a girl entered. She was a half-caste, and she was naked
to the waist. Smooth, rippling muscles writhed in her bare shoulders
and arms; and she moved with feline, pantherish grace. There was a
savage, sadistic gleam in her eyes; a lustful glitter that brought cold
chills to Tate Shevlin's marrow as he watched her. Her firm breasts
undulated slightly as she stepped forward.
Begin! Wu Shang snarled.
The half-caste torturess smiled grimly. Tate Shevlin quivered as she
approached the athletic figure of the yellow man who was to be her
victim. She gestured; and the prisoner was strapped upright to a
Then the pantherish torture-woman picked up a long, snake-like lash
and stepped back four paces. She raised the whip, poised it
The singing lash hissed through the air with a sharp crackling noise.
The bound man screamed out in sudden agony. Tate Shevlin winced as he
saw what had happened. The end of the lash had flicked forward across
the prisoner's face...had plucked out his right eye by the roots,
leaving a gory, bleeding hole....
The soldier of fortune felt a nausea welling into his belly as the
lash ripped forward again and again. Now the prisoner's face was a
bleeding shambles of lacerated flesh.... The man collapsed, hung limply
against his fetters.
The torturess leaped toward him, pressed her bare breasts against his
naked, muscular chest, undulated in a wild frenzy of passion-crazed
excitement. Her long fingers caressed the crimson-dripping flesh of her
victim's features; her face contorted in orgiastic pleasure. She
withdrew a knife from her breech-clout, slashed at her prisoner's
bonds. He toppled forward at her feet.
She leaned over him, lifted him with amazing strength. She dragged
him to a dangling rope, knotted his wrists to the hanging loop. Again
she undulated her bare body against the victim's muscular torso, as
though the contact brought her sensual gratification.... Then she
leaped toward a winch, began turning its huge wooden crank
THE Asiatic prisoner's unconscious form was lifted high into the air
as the dangling rope tightened in its overhead pulley. Then Tate
Shevlin, watching, felt his scalp prickle. The torture-woman's victim
hung suspended over a huge open vat. Beneath the vat a red fire raged.
Shevlin stared. The vat was full to the brim with boiling, bubbling,
The American's eyes widened with horror. That huge iron vat contained
molten lead! And the Asiatic prisoner was being lowered slowly,
inexorably, toward the seething surface of the cauldron!
The man's bare feet plunged into the white-hot metal with a hissing,
frying sound. Consciousness returned to him. He screamed once,
horribly...and then his entire, writhing form plunged downward into the
Wu Shang laughed insanely. Thus do I end the lives of my enemies!
he exulted. Then he grabbed for the other prisonerthe unclad Chinese
girl. Now it is your turn, little passion-flower! he gritted. But
first, before you taste the torture-whip, I shall enjoy the beauty of
your young breasts, slake my desire with your feminine charms! He
lifted her, carried her through a doorway.
Wu Shang's men leaped aside to let him pass. Then they scrambled
toward chinks in the wooden partition separating the dungeon from the
adjoining room into which Wu Shang had carried his feminine victim.
Chuckling fiendishly, the soldiers peered through the cracks, watching
the scene that was taking place. Tate Shevlin heard the girl cry out in
sudden fear, in abrupt agony....
Five minutes later Wu Shang emerged from the next room. In his arms
he bore the limp, lifeless figure of the girl he had assaulted. There
was a knife thrust into her quivering left breast. She was dead.
Callously, brutishly, he tossed her body into that seething vat of
Wu Shang turned to Chen Tsing Gat. Now will you tell me where you
have secreted those four jewels? Or do you wish a taste of the
lashand the torture- vat? he snarled.
Chen Tsing Gat's voice trembled as he answered. II would bargain
with you, oh Wu Shang! he pleaded. Spare the lives of this American
girl and her companion, Tate Shevlin; and in return I will lead you to
the four Claws of the Dragon!
Wu Shang hesitated. Then he grinned. It is well. It shall be as you
wish. But they will not be released until I have the Claws!
Chen Tsing Gat nodded silently.
IT was late that night, and the torture-dungeon was solidly dark.
Tate Shevlin sat propped in his corner, staring out into the blackness
that surrounded him. By his side, the Golden Girl breathed softly,
Shevlin spoke in a whisper. Chen Tsing Gat has been gone a long
while, he said. Do you suppose he actually intends to lead Wu Shang's
men to the hiding- place of the jewels?
Yes, the Golden Girl answered bitterly. He will do it in order to
gain your freedom and mine, Tate Shevlin, I Abruptly she fell into
startled silence. Footsteps sounded in the corridor outside the
Shevlin tensed. And then he saw a figure enter the dungeona figure
bearing a flickering, smoking torch. He stared. It was the half-caste
womanWu Shang's torturess!
Her slanted eyes gleamed oddly as she thrust the torch into a niche
in the wall of the chamber. Then she approached Tate Shevlin, leaned
over him. She was still clad only in a breech-clout, and her hard
breasts became inverted cones as she stooped forward. She had a
short-bladed dagger in her hand!
The American's flesh quivered in anticipation of her knife-thrust.
But it did not come. Instead, the half- caste woman spoke sibilantly.
Listen, American! she whispered. Chen Tsing Gat has returned here
with his guards. He has turned over the Claws of the Dragon to Wu
Shang. But Wu Shang does net intend to keep his promise. Instead, be
plans to kill Chen Tsing Gat, you and the yellow-haired woman!
Shevlin's eyes narrowed. He had feared some such treachery on Wu
Shang's part. But why did the half- caste woman tell him all this?
The torturess seemed to read his question in his eyes. She smiled.
You wonder why I tell this to you? Abruptly her hands went out,
pawed at his muscular shoulders. It is because I like you! And now I
make you an offer. I shall release you, and together we will go away
from this place. You will belong to me; we will lose ourselves in
passionate drunkenness! Let Wu Shang be satisfied with killing Chen
Tsing Gat and this slender yellow- haired womanshe gestured toward
the Golden Girl. But you and I will escape.... She leaned far
forward, so that the quivering tips of her breasts stirred the air near
Shevlin's lean cheek....
The soldier of fortune was silent.
The torturess stared at him, her eyes narrowing. You do not think me
desirable, oh American? she hissed. Her hands went to her naked
bosoms, cupped those twin resilient mounds suggestively. Her palms
traveled slowly downward over her bare body, voluptuously, sinuously.
She undulated.... You do not think my passion better than...death?
Again Tate Shevlin was silent. The half-caste grinned sardonically.
Perhaps you will change your mind when you see the woman you love
being put to torture! she whispered. She flung aside her dagger,
stepped over to the cringing form of the Golden Girl, lifted her up.
The Golden Girl gasped in sudden terror as her savage feminine captor
carried her toward the torture- rack at the far end of the chamber.
Shevlin cursed, strained at his bonds. And then his eyes lighted
savagely as he saw the knife which the torturess had dropped....
DESPERATELY he struggled forward. His bound hands reached forth,
touched the handle of the dagger, grasped it
Now the Golden Girl was being bound to the rack with leather thongs.
Your white breasts will not be so beautiful when they have tasted the
fire of my branding- irons! the half-caste torture-woman chuckled
And when your beauty has been utterly destroyed, your American
sweetheart will turn to me!
Silently, with bitter desperation, Tate Shevlin sawed at his hempen
gyves. Strand after strand parted. Sweat stood out on his pale features
as he saw the half-caste woman draw a glowing iron from a charcoal
brazier and approach the Golden Girl
Shevlin's last fetter parted. With a wild cry he leaped to his feet,
flung himself forward. The knife glittered in his clenched fist as he
The half-caste woman whirled as she heard him. She raised the glowing
branding-iron, flung itflung it straight at Tate Shevlin's face. He
leaped aside, and the red-hot iron smashed into his shoulder. He felt
the searing, fiery agony dart through his flesh. Then the iron
clattered to the floor amid a shower of sparks. Unmindful of pain, the
soldier of fortune closed in.
The torture-woman backed away, her features suddenly pale. Shevlin
sprang at her. She leaped backward
Leaped backward, and crashed full against the vat of molten lead! It
overturned on its stand. The half- caste woman shrieked in sudden agony
as the liquid, white-hot metal cascaded over the sides of the tottering
vat and ate into her yellow flesh.... She swayed, staggered, grasped at
the sides of the vat to steady herself. Then, as she toppled to the
floor, she pulled the huge pot of molten metal crashing over on her.
Bubbling molten lead streamed thickly over the woman's unclad body in
a fiery Niagara of death!
But Tate Shevlin was not looking. He had flung himself toward the
rack upon which the Golden Girl was bound. Now he slashed at her bonds
with his knife. The leather thongs parted. He started to lift her
One more move and I'll shoot you where you stand, dog! a harsh
voice snarled from the doorway.
Shevlin whirledand stared into the muzzle of an automatic in the
hands of General Wu Shang!
THE soldier of fortune hesitated a brief instant. Then, desperately,
savagely, he launched himself forward in a vicious flying tackle. Wu
Shang's automatic barked a staccato stream of lead; but Shevlin's
sudden dive had spoiled the Chinese general's aim. With the impact of a
hurtling meteor, Tate Shevlin's hard shoulders crashed into Wu Shang's
knees. The man smashed backward to the floor. Shevlin raised his knife
and brought it plunging downwardfull into Wu Shang's constricted
throat. Wu Shang choked, gurgled; a crimson gush of blood spewed from
his snarling lips. He went limp.
And then Tate Shevlin heard footsteps coming down the long stairs
from above. Trapped! he gasped.
And then a fantastic, tenuous plan leaped into his seething brain. He
grabbed at Wu Shang's body, carried it into the next roomthe room
into which Wu Shang had dragged that screaming Chinese girl victim
hours before. Swiftly, with the speed of desperation, he stripped Wu
Shang's uniform from the yellow man's limp body, donned it himself. He
flung the undressed corpse into a dark corner, behind a couch. Then he
leaped back into the torture-chamber, snatched the Golden Girl from the
It's our only chance! he whispered into her ear, pantingly,
bitterly. And as he spoke, a band of Wu Shang's soldiers eddied into
Shevlin's back was toward them as he bore the Golden Girl toward the
next room. He raised his voice in harsh simulation of Wu Shang's tones.
Stay where you are, my braves! I take this woman in here to taste her
sweet beauty! Afterward, she is yoursshe will be your plaything until
you tire of her! He leaped into the adjoining chamber, slammed the
door behind him with a kick of his foot.
Whatwhat do you plan to do, Tate Shevlin? the Golden Girl
whispered silently, fearfully.
The American soldier of fortune kept his back toward the door through
which he had come. Gently he laid the Golden Girl on the couch at the
far end of the chamber. His pulses raced strangely as he beheld her
undraped loveliness.... They're watching us through the chinks in the
wall! he answered grimly.
They think I'm Wu Shang. For the moment, we're safe from attack.
Then he raised his voice once more in a rasping counterfeit of Wu
Shang's tones. Aie, white passion-flower! Now I shall drink my fill of
The Golden Girl blanched as his hands went out, pawed at her naked
breasts. TateTate Shevlin! she gasped.
We've got to go through with it! It's our only chance! he answered
in a silent whisper. His head lowered; his mouth clamped to her parted
lips. She panted, struggled weakly in his grasp. He kissed her eyes,
her shoulders, the sweet hollow of her flawless throat.... His hands
touched her breast, pressed gently into the firmly-pliant flesh....
Tatebeloved! the Golden Girl trembled as her slim arms crushed
him to her.
His hands strayed over the smooth perfection of her naked curves. At
last...! he whispered hoarsely. After all these monthsyou are to be
mine...my darling! And even though we die, at least we shall have had
Over the throbbing in his temples, the surging pound of his heart, he
could hear the ribald chuckling of Wu Shang's soldiers in the next room
as they watched....
MOMENTS later Shevlin thrust himself up from the couch, sprang toward
a torch that flickered in a niche in the wall. He grabbed it, plunged
it against the floor to extinguish its guttering light. The chamber was
immersed suddenly in darkness marked only by the faint illumination
filtering through cracks in the partition which separated the room from
the adjoining torture-dungeon. He raised his voice, once more imitated
the harsh tones of the dead Wu Shang. Now, my men! he called out. It
is your turn!
Then he leaped for the couch, pulled Wu Shang's stripped corpse from
behind it. He grabbed at the Golden Girl in the darkness, pulled her
toward the door; together they crouched in the shadows.
The door punched open. Wu Shang's soldiers burst ribaldly into the
room. One bore a torch. He held it high
Abruptly the soldiers saw Wu Shang's stripped body lying on the floor
in a far corner. What is this? the torch-bearer cried out. He lunged
toward Wu Shang's body, with his companions at his heels.
And in that brief instant, Tate Shevlin grabbed the Golden Girl,
lifted her in his arms and leaped out of the room, into the
With plunging, racing strides he crossed the dungeon, smashed out
into the dark corridor beyond. He gained the stairs that led upward. He
vaulted at them, took them three at a time. His shoulder thudded
against a closed door at the top, splintered it open.
HE stared about him. He was in Wu Shang's headquartersand on the
floor beside Wu Shang's desk lay the trussed form of Chen Tsing Gat!
The American leaned forward. His knife licked out, slashed at the
fetters which bound the ancient Chinese. Chen Tsing Gat staggered
weakly to his feet. Tate Tate Shevlin! What?
Come on! No time for talk! the soldier of fortune rasped. Already
he could hear the thudding footsteps of Wu Shang's men as they plunged
upward along the stairs from the subterranean torture-dungeon; already
he could hear their savage, vengeful cries. He grabbed Chen Tsing Gat's
arm. Let's get going!
Then, bearing the Golden Girl in his arms, with Chen Tsing Gat
trailing behind him, Shevlin raced through the house to a rear door and
plunged outward into the night.
Butbut the Claws of the Dragon! Chen Tsing Gat panted.
I have them. All five of them. They were in Wu Shang's tunicand
I've got it on! Shevlin barked.
And Wu Shang?
Dead! Your revolution won't have him to cope with when you start
it! Shevlin answered grimly. His hand plunged into a pocket of the
uniform he wore. He extracted the five glittering Claws, passed them to
the ancient Chinese.
Then, in the darkness before them, Shevlin saw a sleek,
speedy-looking automobile. Wu Shang's armored sedan! Chen Tsing Gat
wheezed harshly, triumphantly.
Shevlin leaped for it, flung open its doors. The Golden Girl sped
into the tonneau; Shevlin and Chen Tsing Gat flung themselves into the
front seat. The American crouched behind the steering wheel, stepped on
the starter, clashed the gears. The sedan plummeted forward into the
FANWISE, the steamer's wake spread backward on the blue surface of
the Pacific. At the aft rail, Tate Shevlin and the Golden Girl stared
backward toward Shanghai Harbor receding in the dim distance.
The soldier of fortune turned to the girl at his side, captured her
tiny hand. It fluttered in his palm, like a captive bird's wing. Her
blue eyes grew misty. She smiled tremulously....
Tate Shevlin spoke. Thenyou have forgiven me for...what took place
in that underground room?
She pressed her vibrant body close to his. There is...nothing to
forgive, Tate Shevlin, she whispered shyly. I am yours, body and
soul. Always and forever!
The soldier of fortune caught her in his arms. Beloved! he said.
And as the steamer nosed eastward on its long run toward San Francisco,
Tate Shevlin knew that adventuring was doneand that at the end of
adventure he had found happiness....
EText from pulpgen.com /
2005 Blackmask Online.