The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 82

The Warlord guess
that a simple panthan aspired to her hand and heart?

The dawn found them moving rapidly over an unfamiliar landscape. The
wind had increased during the night and had borne them far from
Bantoom. The country below them was rough and inhospitable. No water
was visible and the surface of the ground was cut by deep gorges, while
nowhere was any but the most meager vegetation discernible. They saw no
life of any nature, nor was there any indication that the country could
support life. For two days they drifted over this horrid wasteland.
They were without food or water and suffered accordingly. Ghek had
temporarily abandoned his rykor after enlisting Turan's assistance in
lashing it safely to the deck. The less he used it the less would its
vitality be spent. Already it was showing the effects of privation.
Ghek crawled about the vessel like a great spider--over the side, down
beneath the keel, and up over the opposite rail. He seemed equally at
home one place as another. For his companions, however, the quarters
were cramped, for the deck of a one-man flier is not intended for three.

Turan sought always ahead for signs of water. Water they must have, or
that water-giving plant which makes life possible upon many of the
seemingly arid areas of Mars; but there was neither the one nor the
other for these two days and now the third night was upon them. The
girl did not complain, but Turan knew that she must be suffering and
his heart was heavy within him. Ghek suffered least of all, and he
explained to them that his kind could exist for long periods without
food or water. Turan almost cursed him as he saw the form of Tara of
Helium slowly wasting away before his eyes, while the hideous kaldane
seemed as full of vitality as ever.

"There are circumstances," remarked Ghek, "under which a gross and
material body is less desirable than a highly developed brain."

Turan looked at him, but said nothing. Tara of Helium smiled faintly.
"One cannot blame him," she said, "were we not a bit boastful in the
pride of our superiority? When our stomachs were filled," she added.

"Perhaps there is something to be said for their system," Turan
admitted. "If we could but lay aside our stomachs when they cried for
food and water I have no doubt but that we should do so."

"I should never miss mine now," assented Tara; "it is mighty poor
company."

A new day had dawned, revealing a less desolate country and renewing
again the hope that

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