Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 17

smooth words.

Beyond the therns several doorways opened off the guardroom, and
toward the one upon the extreme right Lakor motioned.

"That way leads to Thurid," he said.

But when I would have called Woola to follow me there the beast
whined and held back, and at last ran quickly to the first opening
at the left, where he stood emitting his coughing bark, as though
urging me to follow him upon the right way.

I turned a questioning look upon Lakor.

"The brute is seldom wrong," I said, "and while I do not doubt your
superior knowledge, Thern, I think that I shall do well to listen
to the voice of instinct that is backed by love and loyalty."

As I spoke I smiled grimly that he might know without words that
I distrusted him.

"As you will," the fellow replied with a shrug. "In the end it
shall be all the same."

I turned and followed Woola into the left-hand passage, and though
my back was toward my enemies, my ears were on the alert; yet
I heard no sound of pursuit. The passageway was dimly lighted by
occasional radium bulbs, the universal lighting medium of Barsoom.

These same lamps may have been doing continuous duty in these
subterranean chambers for ages, since they require no attention
and are so compounded that they give off but the minutest of their
substance in the generation of years of luminosity.

We had proceeded for but a short distance when we commenced to pass
the mouths of diverging corridors, but not once did Woola hesitate.
It was at the opening to one of these corridors upon my right that
I presently heard a sound that spoke more plainly to John Carter,
fighting man, than could the words of my mother tongue--it was the
clank of metal--the metal of a warrior's harness--and it came from
a little distance up the corridor upon my right.

Woola heard it, too, and like a flash he had wheeled and stood
facing the threatened danger, his mane all abristle and all his
rows of glistening fangs bared by snarling, backdrawn lips. With
a gesture I silenced him, and together we drew aside into another
corridor a few paces farther on.

Here we waited; nor did we have long to wait, for presently we saw
the shadows of two men fall upon the floor of the main corridor
athwart the doorway of our hiding place. Very cautiously they
were moving now--the accidental clank that had alarmed me was not
repeated.

Presently they came opposite our station; nor was I surprised to
see that the two

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