The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 164

worm the information from him. And so I caused Hor
Vastus to be harnessed in the metal of a Zodangan soldier and chained
in Parthak's cell beside him. For fifteen days the noble Hor Vastus
has languished in the darkness of the pits, but not in vain. Little by
little he won the confidence and friendship of the Zodangan, until only
to-day Parthak, thinking that he was speaking not only to a countryman,
but to a dear friend, revealed to Hor Vastus the exact cell in which
you lay.

"It took me but a short time to locate the plans of the pits of Helium
among the official papers. To come to you, though, was a trifle more
difficult matter. As you know, while all the pits beneath the city are
connected, there are but single entrances from those beneath each
section and its neighbour, and that at the upper level just underneath
the ground.

"Of course, these openings which lead from contiguous pits to those
beneath government buildings are always guarded, and so, while I easily
came to the entrance to the pits beneath the palace which Zat Arras is
occupying, I found there a Zodangan soldier on guard. There I left him
when I had gone by, but his soul was no longer with him.

"And here I am, just in time to be nearly killed by you," he ended,
laughing.

As he talked Carthoris had been working at the lock which held my
fetters, and now, with an exclamation of pleasure, he dropped the end
of the chain to the floor, and I stood up once more, freed from the
galling irons I had chafed in for almost a year.

He had brought a long-sword and a dagger for me, and thus armed we set
out upon the return journey to my palace.

At the point where we left the pits of Zat Arras we found the body of
the guard Carthoris had slain. It had not yet been discovered, and, in
order to still further delay search and mystify the jed's people, we
carried the body with us for a short distance, hiding it in a tiny cell
off the main corridor of the pits beneath an adjoining estate.

Some half-hour later we came to the pits beneath our own palace, and
soon thereafter emerged into the audience chamber itself, where we
found Kantos Kan, Tars Tarkas, Hor Vastus, and Xodar awaiting us most
impatiently.

No time was lost in fruitless recounting of my imprisonment. What I
desired to know was how well the plans

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