The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 91

the guard.

"I know not," replied Xodar. "He was here even as you entered. I am
not his keeper--go find him."

The black grumbled something that I could not understand, and then I
heard him unlocking the door into one of the other cells on the further
side. Listening intently, I caught the sound as the door closed behind
him. Then I sprang once more to the top of the partition and dropped
into my own cell beside the astonished Xodar.

"Do you see now how we will escape?" I asked him in a whisper.

"I see how you may," he replied, "but I am no wiser than before as to
how I am to pass these walls. Certain it is that I cannot bounce over
them as you do."

We heard the guard moving about from cell to cell, and finally, his
rounds completed, he again entered ours. When his eyes fell upon me
they fairly bulged from his head.

"By the shell of my first ancestor!" he roared. "Where have you been?"

"I have been in prison since you put me here yesterday," I answered.
"I was in this room when you entered. You had better look to your
eyesight."

He glared at me in mingled rage and relief.

"Come," he said. "Issus commands your presence."

He conducted me outside the prison, leaving Xodar behind. There we
found several other guards, and with them the red Martian youth who
occupied another cell upon Shador.

The journey I had taken to the Temple of Issus on the preceding day was
repeated. The guards kept the red boy and myself separated, so that we
had no opportunity to continue the conversation that had been
interrupted the previous night.

The youth's face had haunted me. Where had I seen him before. There
was something strangely familiar in every line of him; in his carriage,
his manner of speaking, his gestures. I could have sworn that I knew
him, and yet I knew too that I had never seen him before.

When we reached the gardens of Issus we were led away from the temple
instead of toward it. The way wound through enchanted parks to a
mighty wall that towered a hundred feet in air.

Massive gates gave egress upon a small plain, surrounded by the same
gorgeous forests that I had seen at the foot of the Golden Cliffs.

Crowds of blacks were strolling in the same direction that our guards
were leading us, and with them mingled my old friends the plant

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