The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 123

breeze there was came from the north-west, so there
was little danger that the beasts would scent me. Had they, their
squealing and grunting would have grown to such a volume as to attract
the attention of the warriors within the buildings.

Close to the east wall, beneath the overhanging balconies of the second
floors, I crept in dense shadows the full length of the courtyard,
until I came to the buildings at the north end. These were lighted for
about three floors up, but above the third floor all was dark.

To pass through the lighted rooms was, of course, out of the question,
since they swarmed with green Martian men and women. My only path lay
through the upper floors, and to gain these it was necessary to scale
the face of the wall. The reaching of the balcony of the second floor
was a matter of easy accomplishment--an agile leap gave my hands a
grasp upon the stone hand-rail above. In another instant I had drawn
myself up on the balcony.

Here through the open windows I saw the green folk squatting upon their
sleeping silks and furs, grunting an occasional monosyllable, which, in
connection with their wondrous telepathic powers, is ample for their
conversational requirements. As I drew closer to listen to their words
a warrior entered the room from the hall beyond.

"Come, Tan Gama," he cried, "we are to take the Thark before Kab Kadja.
Bring another with you."

The warrior addressed arose and, beckoning to a fellow squatting near,
the three turned and left the apartment.

If I could but follow them the chance might come to free Tars Tarkas at
once. At least I would learn the location of his prison.

At my right was a door leading from the balcony into the building. It
was at the end of an unlighted hall, and on the impulse of the moment I
stepped within. The hall was broad and led straight through to the
front of the building. On either side were the doorways of the various
apartments which lined it.

I had no more than entered the corridor than I saw the three warriors
at the other end--those whom I had just seen leaving the apartment.
Then a turn to the right took them from my sight again. Quickly I
hastened along the hallway in pursuit. My gait was reckless, but I
felt that Fate had been kind indeed to throw such an opportunity within
my grasp, and I could not afford to allow it to

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