A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 132

other than Sab Than. He was slightly put out
at being detected and commanded me to keep the matter to myself,
explaining that the passage from the tower led directly to his
apartments, and was known only to him. If I can reach the roof of the
barracks and get my machine I can be in Sab Than's quarters in five
minutes; but how am I to escape from this building, guarded as you say
it is?"

"How well are the machine sheds at the barracks guarded?" I asked.

"There is usually but one man on duty there at night upon the roof."

"Go to the roof of this building, Kantos Kan, and wait me there."

Without stopping to explain my plans I retraced my way to the street
and hastened to the barracks. I did not dare to enter the building,
filled as it was with members of the air-scout squadron, who, in common
with all Zodanga, were on the lookout for me.

The building was an enormous one, rearing its lofty head fully a
thousand feet into the air. But few buildings in Zodanga were higher
than these barracks, though several topped it by a few hundred feet;
the docks of the great battleships of the line standing some fifteen
hundred feet from the ground, while the freight and passenger stations
of the merchant squadrons rose nearly as high.

It was a long climb up the face of the building, and one fraught with
much danger, but there was no other way, and so I essayed the task.
The fact that Barsoomian architecture is extremely ornate made the feat
much simpler than I had anticipated, since I found ornamental ledges
and projections which fairly formed a perfect ladder for me all the way
to the eaves of the building. Here I met my first real obstacle. The
eaves projected nearly twenty feet from the wall to which I clung, and
though I encircled the great building I could find no opening through
them.

The top floor was alight, and filled with soldiers engaged in the
pastimes of their kind; I could not, therefore, reach the roof through
the building.

There was one slight, desperate chance, and that I decided I must
take--it was for Dejah Thoris, and no man has lived who would not risk
a thousand deaths for such as she.

Clinging to the wall with my feet and one hand, I unloosened one of the
long leather straps of my trappings at the end of which dangled a great
hook by which air sailors are hung to

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