The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 51

appear like sleep, since his lidless
eyes were unchanged; but he lay quietly in a corner. Tara of Helium
enacted a thousand times in her mind the scene of her escape. She would
rush to the side of the rykor and seize the sword that hung in its
harness. Before Ghek knew what she purposed, she would have this and
then before he could give an alarm she would drive the blade through
his hideous head. It would take but a moment to reach the enclosure.
The rykors could not stop her, for they had no brains to tell them that
she was escaping. She had watched from her window the opening and
closing of the gate that led from the enclosure out into the fields and
she knew how the great latch operated. She would pass through and make
a quick dash for the hill. It was so near that they could not overtake
her. It was so easy! Or it would have been but for the banths! The
banths at night and the workers in the fields by day.

Confined to the tower and without proper exercise or food, the girl
failed to show the improvement that her captors desired. Ghek
questioned her in an effort to learn why it was that she did not grow
round and plump; that she did not even look as well as when they had
captured her. His concern was prompted by repeated inquiries on the
part of Luud and finally resulted in suggesting to Tara of Helium a
plan whereby she might find a new opportunity of escape.

"I am accustomed to walking in the fresh air and the sunlight," she
told Ghek. "I cannot become as I was before if I am to be always shut
away in this one chamber, breathing poor air and getting no proper
exercise. Permit me to go out in the fields every day and walk about
while the sun is shining. Then, I am sure, I shall become nice and fat."

"You would run away," he said.

"But how could I if you were always with me?" she asked. "And even if I
wished to run away where could I go? I do not know even the direction
of Helium. It must be very far. The very first night the banths would
get me, would they not?"

"They would," said Ghek. "I will ask Luud about it."

The following day he told her that Luud had said that she was to be
taken into the fields. He would try that for a time and see if she
improved.

"If

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