The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 129

the floors above, and in a moment
were lost to view beyond a turn in the corridor.

The torch had been stuck in a socket beside the door, so that its rays
illuminated both the corridor and the cell at the same time. As I saw
the two warriors disappear I approached the entrance to the cell, with
a well-defined plan already formulated.

While I disliked the thought of carrying out the thing that I had
decided upon, there seemed no alternative if Tars Tarkas and I were to
go back together to my little camp in the hills.

Keeping near the wall, I came quite close to the door to Tars Tarkas'
cell, and there I stood with my longsword above my head, grasped with
both hands, that I might bring it down in one quick cut upon the skull
of the jailer as he emerged.

I dislike to dwell upon what followed after I heard the footsteps of
the man as he approached the doorway. It is enough that within another
minute or two, Tars Tarkas, wearing the metal of a Warhoon chief, was
hurrying down the corridor toward the spiral runway, bearing the
Warhoon's torch to light his way. A dozen paces behind him followed
John Carter, Prince of Helium.

The two companions of the man who lay now beside the door of the cell
that had been Tars Tarkas' had just started to ascend the runway as the
Thark came in view.

"Why so long, Tan Gama?" cried one of the men.

"I had trouble with a lock," replied Tars Tarkas. "And now I find that
I have left my short-sword in the Thark's cell. Go you on, I'll return
and fetch it."

"As you will, Tan Gama," replied he who had before spoken. "We shall
see you above directly."

"Yes," replied Tars Tarkas, and turned as though to retrace his steps
to the cell, but he only waited until the two had disappeared at the
floor above. Then I joined him, we extinguished the torch, and
together we crept toward the spiral incline that led to the upper
floors of the building.

At the first floor we found that the hallway ran but halfway through,
necessitating the crossing of a rear room full of green folk, ere we
could reach the inner courtyard, so there was but one thing left for us
to do, and that was to gain the second floor and the hallway through
which I had traversed the length of the building.

Cautiously we ascended. We could hear the sounds of conversation
coming

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