The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 109

Then he addressed Ghek. "How long have you been
here?" he asked.

"Who knows better than those who placed me here and chained me to a
wall?" he returned in reply.

"Saw you this warrior enter here a few minutes since?"

"I saw him," replied Ghek.

"And you sat there where you sit now?" continued the officer.

"Look thou to my chain and tell me then where else might I sit!" cried
Ghek. "Art the people of thy city all fools?"

Three other warriors pressed behind the two in front, craning their
necks to view the prisoner while they grinned at the discomfiture of
their fellow. The officer scowled at Ghek.

"Thy tongue is as venomous as that of the she-banth O-Tar sent to The
Towers of Jetan," he said.

"You speak of the young woman who was captured with me?" asked Ghek,
his expressionless monotone and face revealing naught of the interest
he felt.

"I speak of her," replied the dwar, and then turning to the warrior who
had summoned him: "return to thy quarters and remain there until the
next games. Perhaps by that time thy eyes may have learned not to
deceive thee."

The fellow cast a venomous glance at Ghek and turned away. The officer
shook his head. "I do not understand it," he muttered. "Always has
U-Van been a true and dependable warrior. Could it be--?" he glanced
piercingly at Ghek. "Thou hast a strange head that misfits thy body,
fellow," he cried. "Our legends tell us of those ancient creatures that
placed hallucinations upon the mind of their fellows. If thou be such
then maybe U-Van suffered from thy forbidden powers. If thou be such
O-Tar will know well how to deal with thee." He wheeled about and
motioned his warriors to follow him.

"Wait!" cried Ghek. "Unless I am to be starved, send me food."

"You have had food," replied the warrior.

"Am I to be fed but once a day?" asked Ghek. "I require food oftener
than that. Send me food."

"You shall have food," replied the officer. "None may say that the
prisoners of Manator are ill-fed. Just are the laws of Manator," and he
departed.

No sooner had the sounds of their passing died away in the distance
than Ghek clambered from the shoulders of his rykor, and scurried to
the burrow where he had hidden the key. Fetching it he unlocked the
fetter from about the creature's ankle, locked it empty and carried the
key farther down into the burrow. Then he returned to his place upon
his brainless servitor. After a while he heard footsteps approaching,
whereupon he rose and passed

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