The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 104

us were we apprehended;
however many more might come from the temples and gardens of Issus
would not in any way decrease our chances.

We were now in a quandary as to how to pass the guards who patrolled
the island about the pool. At last I hit upon a plan.

"What is the name or title of the officer in charge of these guards?" I
asked the boy.

"A fellow named Torith was on duty when we entered this morning," he
replied.

"Good. And what is the name of the commander of the submarine?"

"Yersted."

I found a dispatch blank in the cabin and wrote the following order:


"Dator Torith: Return these two slaves at once to Shador.

"YERSTED"


"That will be the simpler way to return," I said, smiling, as I handed
the forged order to the boy. "Come, we shall see now how well it
works."

"But our swords!" he exclaimed. "What shall we say to explain them?"

"Since we cannot explain them we shall have to leave them behind us," I
replied.

"Is it not the extreme of rashness to thus put ourselves again,
unarmed, in the power of the First Born?"

"It is the only way," I answered. "You may trust me to find a way out
of the prison of Shador, and I think, once out, that we shall find no
great difficulty in arming ourselves once more in a country which
abounds so plentifully in armed men."

"As you say," he replied with a smile and shrug. "I could not follow
another leader who inspired greater confidence than you. Come, let us
put your ruse to the test."

Boldly we emerged from the hatchway of the craft, leaving our swords
behind us, and strode to the main exit which led to the sentry's post
and the office of the Dator of the guard.

At sight of us the members of the guard sprang forward in surprise, and
with levelled rifles halted us. I held out the message to one of them.
He took it and seeing to whom it was addressed turned and handed it to
Torith who was emerging from his office to learn the cause of the
commotion.

The black read the order, and for a moment eyed us with evident
suspicion.

"Where is Dator Yersted?" he asked, and my heart sank within me, as I
cursed myself for a stupid fool in not having sunk the submarine to
make good the lie that I must tell.

"His orders were to return immediately to the temple landing," I
replied.

Torith took a half step toward the entrance

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