The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 88

upon two warriors standing upon
either side of the entrance to a building upon his right. It was
impossible for them not to be aware of his presence, yet neither moved,
nor gave other evidence that they had seen him. He stood there waiting,
his hand upon the hilt of his long-sword, but they neither challenged
nor halted him. Could it be that these also thought him one of their
own kind? Indeed upon no other grounds could he explain their inaction.

As Turan had passed through the gateway into the city and taken his
unhindered way along the avenue, twenty warriors had entered the city
and closed the gate behind them, and then one had taken to the wall and
followed along its summit in the rear of Turan, and another had
followed him along the avenue, while a third had crossed the street and
entered one of the buildings upon the opposite side.

The balance of them, with the exception of a single sentinel beside the
gate, had re-entered the building from which they had been summoned.
They were well built, strapping, painted fellows, their naked figures
covered now by gorgeous robes against the chill of night. As they spoke
of the stranger they laughed at the ease with which they had tricked
him, and were still laughing as they threw themselves upon their
sleeping silks and furs to resume their broken slumber. It was evident
that they constituted a guard detailed for the gate beside which they
slept, and it was equally evident that the gates were guarded and the
city watched much more carefully than Turan had believed. Chagrined
indeed had been the Jed of Gathol had he dreamed that he was being so
neatly tricked.

As Turan proceeded along the avenue he passed other sentries beside
other doors but now he gave them small heed, since they neither
challenged nor otherwise outwardly noted his passing; but while at
nearly every turn of the erratic avenue he passed one or more of these
silent sentinels he could not guess that he had passed one of them many
times and that his every move was watched by silent, clever stalkers.
Scarce had he passed a certain one of these rigid guardsmen before the
fellow awoke to sudden life, bounded across the avenue, entered a
narrow opening in the outer wall where he swiftly followed a corridor
built within the wall itself until presently he emerged a little
distance ahead of Turan, where he assumed the stiff and silent attitude
of a soldier upon guard. Nor did Turan know that a second followed in

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