There were three men coming from behind now, running after him on sandaled feet, and before he could do so much as raise his arm the moon broke out from behind a cloud and showed a gleam of steel. Don Francisco de Mogente was down on the ground in an instant, and the three men fell upon him like dogs on a rat. One knife went right through him, and grated with a harsh squeak on the cobble-stones beneath. A moment later the traveler was lying there alone, half in the shadow, his dusty feet showing whitely in the moonlight. The three shadows had vanished as softly as they came. Almost instantly from, strangely enough, the direction in which they had gone the burly form of a preaching friar came out into the light. He was walking hurriedly, and would seem to be returning from some mission of mercy, or some pious bedside to one of the many houses of religion located within a stone's throw of the Cathedral of the Seo in one of the narrow streets of this quarter of the city. The holy man almost fell over the prostrate form of Don Francisco de Mogente. "Ah! ah!" he exclaimed in an even and quiet voice. "A calamity."
"No," answered the wounded man with a cynicism which even the near sight of death seemed powerless to effect. "A crime."