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Chapter 5 (continued)
"Go on!" I cried. "Make for the other shore, and then follow down until you find my friends. Tell them that I sent you, and with orders that they are to protect you. Go on! Go on!"
But she only waited until we were again swimming side by side, and I saw that she had drawn her long knife, and was holding it between her teeth.
"Do as I tell you!" I said to her sharply, but she shook her head.
The lioness was overhauling us rapidly. She was swimming silently, her chin just touching the water, but blood was streaming from between her lips. It was evident that her lungs were pierced.
She was almost upon me. I saw that in a moment she would take me under her forepaws, or seize me in those great jaws. I felt that my time had come, but I meant to die fighting. And so I turned, and, treading water, raised my rifle above my head and awaited her.
Victory, animated by a bravery no less ferocious than that of the dumb beast assailing us, swam straight for me. It all happened so swiftly that I cannot recall the details of the kaleidoscopic action which ensued. I knew that I rose high out of the water, and, with clubbed rifle, dealt the animal a terrific blow upon the skull, that I saw Victory, her long blade flashing in her hand, close, striking, upon the beast, that a great paw fell upon her shoulder, and that I was swept beneath the surface of the water like a straw before the prow of a freighter.
Still clinging to my rifle, I rose again, to see the lioness struggling in her death throes but an arm's length from me. Scarcely had I risen than the beast turned upon her side, struggled frantically for an instant, and then sank.
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