Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 100

finally my captor
announced that he would lead me back to my cell.

An officer ordered several other warriors to accompany him, and a
moment later we were retracing the way I had just come. My friend
walked close beside me, asking many silly questions about the
country from which I had come, until finally his fellows paid no
further attention to him or his gabbling.

Gradually, as he spoke, he lowered his voice, so that presently
he was able to converse with me in a low tone without attracting
attention. His ruse was a clever one, and showed that Talu had
not misjudged the man's fitness for the dangerous duty upon which
he was detailed.

When he had fully assured himself that the other guardsmen were not
listening, he asked me why I had not followed the rope, and when
I told him that it had ended at the five corridors he said that it
must have been cut by someone in need of a piece of rope, for he
was sure that "the stupid Kadabrans would never have guessed its
purpose."

Before we had reached the spot from which the five corridors diverge
my Marentinian friend had managed to drop to the rear of the little
column with me, and when we came in sight of the branching ways he
whispered:

"Run up the first upon the right. It leads to the watchtower upon
the south wall. I will direct the pursuit up the next corridor,"
and with that he gave me a great shove into the dark mouth of the
tunnel, at the same time crying out in simulated pain and alarm as
he threw himself upon the floor as though I had felled him with a
blow.

From behind the voices of the excited guardsmen came reverberating
along the corridor, suddenly growing fainter as Talu's spy led them
up the wrong passageway in fancied pursuit.

As I ran for my life through the dark galleries beneath the palace of
Salensus Oll I must indeed have presented a remarkable appearance
had there been any to note it, for though death loomed large
about me, my face was split by a broad grin as I thought of the
resourcefulness of the nameless hero of Marentina to whom I owed
my life.

Of such stuff are the men of my beloved Helium, and when I meet
another of their kind, of whatever race or color, my heart goes
out to him as it did now to my new friend who had risked his life
for me simply because I wore the mate to the ring

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