Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 21

had never before assailed my
vision. It would be futile to attempt to describe them to Earth
men, since substance is the only thing which they possess in
common with any creature of the past or present with which you are
familiar--even their venom is of an unearthly virulence that, by
comparison, would make the cobra de capello seem quite as harmless
as an angleworm.

As they spied me there was a concerted rush by those nearest the
entrance where we stood, but a line of radium bulbs inset along the
threshold of their chamber brought them to a sudden halt--evidently
they dared not cross that line of light.

I had been quite sure that they would not venture beyond the room
in which I had discovered them, though I had not guessed at what
deterred them. The simple fact that we had found no reptiles in
the corridor through which we had just come was sufficient assurance
that they did not venture there.

I drew Woola out of harm's way, and then began a careful survey
of as much of the Chamber of Reptiles as I could see from where
I stood. As my eyes became accustomed to the dim light of its
interior I gradually made out a low gallery at the far end of the
apartment from which opened several exits.

Coming as close to the threshold as I dared, I followed this
gallery with my eyes, discovering that it circled the room as far
as I could see. Then I glanced above me along the upper edge of
the entrance to which we had come, and there, to my delight, I saw
an end of the gallery not a foot above my head. In an instant I
had leaped to it and called Woola after me.

Here there were no reptiles--the way was clear to the opposite side
of the hideous chamber--and a moment later Woola and I dropped down
to safety in the corridor beyond.

Not ten minutes later we came into a vast circular apartment
of white marble, the walls of which were inlaid with gold in the
strange hieroglyphics of the First Born.

From the high dome of this mighty apartment a huge circular column
extended to the floor, and as I watched I saw that it slowly
revolved.

I had reached the base of the Temple of the Sun!

Somewhere above me lay Dejah Thoris, and with her were Phaidor,
daughter of Matai Shang, and Thuvia of Ptarth. But how to reach
them, now that I had found the only vulnerable spot in their mighty
prison,

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