The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 112

you value your life."

But Tara of Helium made no reply. Already had she spoken. She stood in
silence now facing the burly warrior who approached her. He came close
and then quite suddenly he seized her and, bending, tried to draw her
lips to his.

Lan-O saw the woman from Helium half turn, and with a quick movement
jerk her right hand from where it had lain upon her breast. She saw the
hand shoot from beneath the arm of E-Med and rise behind his shoulder
and she saw in the hand a long, slim blade. The lips of the warrior
were drawing closer to those of the woman, but they never touched them,
for suddenly the man straightened, stiffly, a shriek upon his lips, and
then he crumpled like an empty fur and lay, a shrunken heap, upon the
floor. Tara of Helium stooped and wiped her blade upon his harness.

Lan-O, wide-eyed, looked with horror upon the corpse. "For this we
shall both die," she cried.

"And who would live a slave in Manator?" asked Tara of Helium.

"I am not so brave as thou," said the slave girl, "and life is sweet
and there is always hope."

"Life is sweet," agreed Tara of Helium, "but honor is sacred. But do
not fear. When they come I shall tell them the truth--that you had no
hand in this and no opportunity to prevent it."

For a moment the slave girl seemed to be thinking deeply. Suddenly her
eyes lighted. "There is a way, perhaps," she said, "to turn suspicion
from us. He has the key to this chamber upon him. Let us open the door
and drag him out--maybe we shall find a place to hide him."

"Good!" exclaimed Tara of Helium, and the two immediately set about the
matter Lan-O had suggested. Quickly they found the key and unlatched
the door and then, between them, they half carried, half dragged, the
corpse of E-Med from the room and down the stairway to the next level
where Lan-O said there were vacant chambers. The first door they tried
was unlatched, and through this the two bore their grisly burden into a
small room lighted by a single window. The apartment bore evidence of
having been utilized as a living-room rather than as a cell, being
furnished with a degree of comfort and even luxury. The walls were
paneled to a height of about seven feet from the floor, while the
plaster above and the ceiling were decorated with faded paintings of
another day.

As Tara's eyes ran quickly over the interior her attention was

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