The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 83

had been low within them. Suddenly Turan leaned
forward, pointing ahead.

"Look, Tara of Helium!" he cried. "A city! As I am Ga--as I am Turan
the panthan, a city."

Far in the distance the domes and walls and slender towers of a city
shone in the rising sun. Quickly the man seized the control and the
ship dropped rapidly behind a low range of intervening hills, for well
Turan knew that they must not be seen until they could discover whether
friend or foe inhabited the strange city. Chances were that they were
far from the abode of friends and so must the panthan move with the
utmost caution; but there was a city and where a city was, was water,
even though it were a deserted city, and food if it were inhabited.

To the red man food and water, even in the citadel of an enemy, meant
food and drink for Tara of Helium. He would accept it from friends or
he would take it from enemies. Just so long as it was there he would
have it--and there was shown the egotism of the fighting man, though
Turan did not see it, nor Tara who came from a long line of fighting
men; but Ghek might have smiled had he known how.

Turan permitted the flier to drift closer behind the screening hills,
and then when he could advance no farther without fear of discovery, he
dropped the craft gently to ground in a little ravine, and leaping over
the side made her fast to a stout tree. For several moments they
discussed their plans--whether it would be best to wait where they were
until darkness hid their movements and then approach the city in search
of food and water, or approach it now, taking advantage of what cover
they could, until they could glean something of the nature of its

It was Turan's plan which finally prevailed. They would approach as
close as safety dictated in the hope of finding water outside the city;
food, too, perhaps. If they did not they could at least reconnoiter the
ground by daylight, and then when night came Turan could quickly come
close to the city and in comparative safety prosecute his search for
food and drink.

Following the ravine upward they finally topped the summit of the
ridge, from which they had an excellent view of that part of the city
which lay nearest them, though themselves hidden by the brush behind
which they crouched. Ghek had resumed his rykor, which had suffered
less than either Tara or Turan through their enforced fast.


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