The Chessmen of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 92

and died with her,
ready always to protect her, than to have left her at the mercy of the
hideous Bantoomian.

Now Turan detected a heavy odor in the air. It oppressed him with a
feeling of drowsiness. He would have risen to fight off the creeping
lethargy, but his legs seemed weak, so that he sank again to the bench.
Presently his sword slipped from his fingers and he sprawled forward
upon the table his head resting upon his arms.

* * * * *

Tara of Helium, as the night wore on and Turan did not return, became
more and more uneasy, and when dawn broke with no sign of him she
guessed that he had failed. Something more than her own unhappy
predicament brought a feeling of sorrow to her heart--of sorrow and
loneliness. She realized now how she had come to depend upon this
panthan not only for protection but for companionship as well. She
missed him, and in missing him realized suddenly that he had meant more
to her than a mere hired warrior. It was as though a friend had been
taken from her--an old and valued friend. She rose from her place of
concealment that she might have a better view of the city.

U-Dor, dwar of the 8th Utan of O-Tar, Jeddak of Manator, rode back in
the early dawn toward Manator from a brief excursion to a neighboring
village. As he was rounding the hills south of the city, his keen eyes
were attracted by a slight movement among the shrubbery close to the
summit of the nearest hill. He halted his vicious mount and watched
more closely. He saw a figure rise facing away from him and peer down
toward Manator beyond the hill.

"Come!" he signalled to his followers, and with a word to his thoat
turned the beast at a rapid gallop up the hillside. In his wake swept
his twenty savage warriors, the padded feet of their mounts soundless
upon the soft turf. It was the rattle of sidearms and harness that
brought Tara of Helium suddenly about, facing them. She saw a score of
warriors with couched lances bearing down upon her.

She glanced at Ghek. What would the spiderman do in this emergency? She
saw him crawl to his rykor and attach himself. Then he arose, the
beautiful body once again animated and alert. She thought that the
creature was preparing for flight. Well, it made little difference to
her. Against such as were streaming

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