The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 130

from the room above, but the hall still was unlighted, nor was
any one in sight as we gained the top of the runway. Together we
threaded the long hall and reached the balcony overlooking the
courtyard, without being detected.

At our right was the window letting into the room in which I had seen
Tan Gama and the other warriors as they started to Tars Tarkas' cell
earlier in the evening. His companions had returned here, and we now
overheard a portion of their conversation.

"What can be detaining Tan Gama?" asked one.

"He certainly could not be all this time fetching his shortsword from
the Thark's cell," spoke another.

"His short-sword?" asked a woman. "What mean you?"

"Tan Gama left his short-sword in the Thark's cell," explained the
first speaker, "and left us at the runway, to return and get it."

"Tan Gama wore no short-sword this night," said the woman. "It was
broken in to-day's battle with the Thark, and Tan Gama gave it to me to
repair. See, I have it here," and as she spoke she drew Tan Gama's
short-sword from beneath her sleeping silks and furs.

The warriors sprang to their feet.

"There is something amiss here," cried one.

"'Tis even what I myself thought when Tan Gama left us at the runway,"
said another. "Methought then that his voice sounded strangely."

"Come! let us hasten to the pits."

We waited to hear no more. Slinging my harness into a long single
strap, I lowered Tars Tarkas to the courtyard beneath, and an instant
later dropped to his side.

We had spoken scarcely a dozen words since I had felled Tan Gama at the
cell door and seen in the torch's light the expression of utter
bewilderment upon the great Thark's face.

"By this time," he had said, "I should have learned to wonder at
nothing which John Carter accomplishes." That was all. He did not
need to tell me that he appreciated the friendship which had prompted
me to risk my life to rescue him, nor did he need to say that he was
glad to see me.

This fierce green warrior had been the first to greet me that day, now
twenty years gone, which had witnessed my first advent upon Mars. He
had met me with levelled spear and cruel hatred in his heart as he
charged down upon me, bending low at the side of his mighty thoat as I
stood beside the incubator of his horde upon the dead sea bottom beyond
Korad. And now among the

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