The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 142

a stranger and a hunted fugitive accomplish this?" asked
Turan.

"No one will recognize you. You will go tomorrow to the keeper of the
Towers and enlist in that game for which the girl is to be the stake,
telling the keeper that you are from Manataj, the farthest city of
Manator. If he questions you, you may say that you saw her when she was
brought into the city after her capture. If you win her, you will find
thoats stabled at my palace and you will carry from me a token that
will place all that is mine at your disposal."

"But how can I buy off the others in the game without money?" asked
Turan. "I have none--not even of my own country."

A-Kor opened his pocket-pouch and drew forth a packet of Manatorian
money.

"Here is sufficient to buy them off twice over," he said, handing a
portion of it to Turan.

"But why do you do this for a stranger?" asked the panthan.

"My mother was a captive princess here," replied A-Kor. "I but do for
the Princess of Helium what my mother would have me do."

"Under the circumstances, then, Manatorian," replied Turan, "I cannot
but accept your generosity on behalf of Tara of Helium and live in hope
that some day I may do for you something in return."

"Now you must be gone," advised A-Kor. "At any minute a guard may come
and discover you here. Go directly to the Avenue of Gates, which
circles the city just within the outer wall. There you will find many
places devoted to the lodging of strangers. You will know them by the
thoat's head carved above the doors. Say that you are here from Manataj
to witness the games. Take the name of U-Kal--it will arouse no
suspicion, nor will you if you can avoid conversation. Early in the
morning seek the keeper of The Towers of Jetan. May the strength and
fortune of all your ancestors be with you!"

Bidding good-bye to Ghek and A-Kor, the panthan, following directions
given him by A-Kor, set out to find his way to the Avenue of Gates, nor
had he any great difficulty. On the way he met several warriors, but
beyond a nod they gave him no heed. With ease he found a lodging place
where there were many strangers from other cities of Manator. As he had
had no sleep since the previous night he threw himself among the silks
and furs of his couch to gain the rest which he must have, was he to
give the best possible account

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