The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 141

man
was A-Kor, and that he had stumbled by accident upon the very cell in
which he had been imprisoned. A-Kor looked at him questioningly. It was
evident that he did not recognize his fellow prisoner. Turan crossed to
the table and leaning close to the other whispered to him.

"I am Turan the panthan," he said, "who was chained beside you."

A-Kor looked at him closely. "Your own mother would never know you!" he
said; "but tell me, what has transpired since they took you away?"

Turan recounted his experiences in the throne room of O-Tar and in the
pits beneath, "and now," he continued, "I must find these Towers of
Jetan and see what may be done toward liberating the Princess of
Helium."

A-Kor shook his head. "Long was I dwar of the Towers," he said, "and I
can say to you, stranger, that you might as well attempt to reduce
Manator, single handed, as to rescue a prisoner from The Towers of
Jetan."

"But I must," replied Turan.

"Are you better than a good swordsman?" asked A-Kor presently.

"I am accounted so," replied Turan.

"Then there is a way--sst!" he was suddenly silent and pointing toward
the base of the wall at the end of the room.

Turan looked in the direction the other's forefinger indicated, to see
projecting from the mouth of an ulsio's burrow two large chelae and a
pair of protruding eyes.

"Ghek!" he cried and immediately the hideous kaldane crawled out upon
the floor and approached the table. A-Kor drew back with a half-stifled
ejaculation of repulsion. "Do not fear," Turan reassured him. "It is my
friend--he whom I told you held O-Tar while Tara and I escaped."

Ghek climbed to the table top and squatted between the two warriors.
"You are safe in assuming," he said addressing A-Kor, "that Turan the
panthan has no master in all Manator where the art of sword-play is
concerned. I overheard your conversation--go on."

"You are his friend," continued A-Kor, "and so I may explain safely in
your presence the only plan I know whereby he may hope to rescue the
Princess of Helium. She is to be the stake of one of the games and it
is O-Tar's desire that she be won by slaves and common warriors, since
she repulsed him. Thus would he punish her. Not a single man, but all
who survive upon the winning side are to possess her. With money,
however, one may buy off the others before the game. That you could do,
and if your side won and you survived she would become your slave."

"But how may

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