Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 14

to his side, and
passing him looked into the aperture at our right.

Before me was a fair-sized chamber that, from its appointments, I
knew must have at one time been a guardroom. There were racks for
weapons, and slightly raised platforms for the sleeping silks and
furs of the warriors, but now its only occupants were two of the
therns who had been of the party with Thurid and Matai Shang.

The men were in earnest conversation, and from their tones it was
apparent that they were entirely unaware that they had listeners.

"I tell you," one of them was saying, "I do not trust the black
one. There was no necessity for leaving us here to guard the way.
Against what, pray, should we guard this long-forgotten, abysmal
path? It was but a ruse to divide our numbers.

"He will have Matai Shang leave others elsewhere on some pretext or
other, and then at last he will fall upon us with his confederates
and slay us all."

"I believe you, Lakor," replied the other, "there can never be
aught else than deadly hatred between thern and First Born. And
what think you of the ridiculous matter of the light? 'Let the
light shine with the intensity of three radium units for fifty
tals, and for one xat let it shine with the intensity of one radium
unit, and then for twenty-five tals with nine units.' Those were
his very words, and to think that wise old Matai Shang should listen
to such foolishness."

"Indeed, it is silly," replied Lakor. "It will open nothing other
than the way to a quick death for us all. He had to make some
answer when Matai Shang asked him flatly what he should do when he
came to the Temple of the Sun, and so he made his answer quickly
from his imagination--I would wager a hekkador's diadem that he
could not now repeat it himself."

"Let us not remain here longer, Lakor," spoke the other thern.
"Perchance if we hasten after them we may come in time to rescue
Matai Shang, and wreak our own vengeance upon the black dator.
What say you?"

"Never in a long life," answered Lakor, "have I disobeyed a single
command of the Father of Therns. I shall stay here until I rot if
he does not return to bid me elsewhere."

Lakor's companion shook his head.

"You are my superior," he said; "I cannot do other than you sanction,
though I still believe that we are foolish to remain."

I, too, thought that they were foolish

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