The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 138

opening in the stone walls, but his search revealed a heterogeneous
collection of odds and ends of arms and apparel, of harness and
ornaments and insignia, and sleeping silks and furs in great
quantities. There were swords and spears and several large, two-bladed
battle-axes, the heads of which bore a striking resemblance to the
propellor of a small flier. Seizing one of these he attacked the door
once more with great fury. He expected to hear something from I-Gos at
this ruthless destruction, but no sound came to him from beyond the
door, which was, he thought, too thick for the human voice to
penetrate; but he would have wagered much that I-Gos heard him. Bits of
the hard wood splintered at each impact of the heavy axe, but it was
slow work and heavy. Presently he was compelled to rest, and so it went
for what seemed hours--working almost to the verge of exhaustion and
then resting for a few minutes; but ever the hole grew larger though he
could see nothing of the interior of the room beyond because of the
hanging that I-Gos had drawn across it after he had locked Turan within.

At last, however, the panthan had hewn an opening through which his
body could pass, and seizing a long-sword that he had brought close to
the door for the purpose he crawled through into the next room.
Flinging aside the arras he stood ready, sword in hand, to fight his
way to the side of Tara of Helium--but she was not there. In the center
of the room lay I-Gos, dead upon the floor; but Tara of Helium was
nowhere to be seen.

Turan was nonplussed. It must have been her hand that had struck down
the old man, yet she had made no effort to release Turan from his
prison. And then he thought of those last words of hers: "I do not want
your love! I hate you," and the truth dawned upon him--she had seized
upon this first opportunity to escape him. With downcast heart Turan
turned away. What should he do? There could be but one answer. While he
lived and she lived he must still leave no stone unturned to effect her
escape and safe return to the land of her people. But how? How was he
even to find his way from this labyrinth? How was he to find her again?
He walked to the nearest doorway. It chanced to be that which led into
the room containing the mounted dead, awaiting transportation to
balcony or grim room or whatever place was

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