The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 110

me. Unbuckling my harness I snapped it together with a
single long strap which I lowered to the waiting Xodar below. He
grasped the end and was soon sitting beside us.

"How simple," he laughed.

"The balance should be even simpler," I replied. Then I raised myself
to the top of the outer wall of the prison, just so that I could peer
over and locate the passing sentry. For a matter of five minutes I
waited and then he came in sight on his slow and snail-like beat about
the structure.

I watched him until he had made the turn at the end of the building
which carried him out of sight of the side of the prison that was to
witness our dash for freedom. The moment his form disappeared I
grasped Xodar and drew him to the top of the wall. Placing one end of
my harness strap in his hands I lowered him quickly to the ground
below. Then the boy grasped the strap and slid down to Xodar's side.

In accordance with our arrangement they did not wait for me, but walked
slowly toward the water, a matter of a hundred yards, directly past the
guard-house filled with sleeping soldiers.

They had taken scarce a dozen steps when I too dropped to the ground
and followed them leisurely toward the shore. As I passed the
guard-house the thought of all the good blades lying there gave me
pause, for if ever men were to have need of swords it was my companions
and I on the perilous trip upon which we were about to embark.

I glanced toward Xodar and the youth and saw that they had slipped over
the edge of the dock into the water. In accordance with our plan they
were to remain there clinging to the metal rings which studded the
concrete-like substance of the dock at the water's level, with only
their mouths and noses above the surface of the sea, until I should
join them.

The lure of the swords within the guard-house was strong upon me, and I
hesitated a moment, half inclined to risk the attempt to take the few
we needed. That he who hesitates is lost proved itself a true aphorism
in this instance, for another moment saw me creeping stealthily toward
the door of the guard-house.

Gently I pressed it open a crack; enough to discover a dozen blacks
stretched upon their silks in profound slumber. At the far side of the
room a rack held the swords and

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