The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 153

the Black Chief
after her and away from U-Dor; but in that he had failed. He now
discovered that he might play his own Odwar into personal combat with
Gahan; but he had already lost one Odwar and could ill spare the other.
His position was a delicate one, since he did not wish to engage Gahan
personally, while it appeared that there was little likelihood of his
being able to escape. There was just one hope and that lay in his
Princess' Panthan, so, without more deliberation he ordered the piece
onto the square occupied by the Black Chief.

The sympathies of the spectators were all with Gahan now. If he lost,
the game would be declared a draw, nor do they think better of drawn
games upon Barsoom than do Earth men. If he won, it would doubtless
mean a duel between the two Chiefs, a development for which they all
were hoping. The game already bade fair to be a short one and it would
be an angry crowd should it be decided a draw with only two men slain.
There were great, historic games on record where of the forty pieces on
the field when the game opened only three survived--the two Princesses
and the victorious Chief.

They blamed U-Dor, though in fact he was well within his rights in
directing his play as he saw fit, nor was a refusal on his part to
engage the Black Chief necessarily an imputation of cowardice. He was a
great chief who had conceived a notion to possess the slave Tara. There
was no honor that could accrue to him from engaging in combat with
slaves and criminals, or an unknown warrior from Manataj, nor was the
stake of sufficient import to warrant the risk.

But now the duel between Gahan and the Orange Panthan was on and the
decision of the next move was no longer in other hands than theirs. It
was the first time that these Manatorians had seen Gahan of Gathol
fight, but Tara of Helium knew that he was master of his sword. Could
he have seen the proud light in her eyes as he crossed blades with the
wearer of the Orange, he might easily have wondered if they were the
same eyes that had flashed fire and hatred at him that time he had
covered her lips with mad kisses, in the pits of the palace of O-Tar.
As she watched him she could not but compare his swordplay with that of
the greatest swordsman of two worlds--her father, John Carter, of
Virginia, a Prince of

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