Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 34

dismay I found that, unlike the ornamentation upon most
Heliumetic structures, the edges of the carvings were quite generally
rounded, so that at best my every hold was most precarious.

Fifty feet above me commenced a series of projecting cylindrical
stones some six inches in diameter. These apparently circled the
tower at six-foot intervals, in bands six feet apart; and as each
stone cylinder protruded some four or five inches beyond the surface
of the other ornamentation, they presented a comparatively easy
mode of ascent could I but reach them.

Laboriously I climbed toward them by way of some windows which
lay below them, for I hoped that I might find ingress to the tower
through one of these, and thence an easier avenue along which to
prosecute my search.

At times so slight was my hold upon the rounded surfaces of the
carving's edges that a sneeze, a cough, or even a slight gust of
wind would have dislodged me and sent me hurtling to the depths
below.

But finally I reached a point where my fingers could just clutch
the sill of the lowest window, and I was on the point of breathing
a sigh of relief when the sound of voices came to me from above
through the open window.

"He can never solve the secret of that lock." The voice was Matai
Shang's. "Let us proceed to the hangar above that we may be far
to the south before he finds another way--should that be possible."

"All things seem possible to that vile calot," replied another
voice, which I recognized as Thurid's.

"Then let us haste," said Matai Shang. "But to be doubly sure, I
will leave two who shall patrol this runway. Later they may follow
us upon another flier--overtaking us at Kaol."

My upstretched fingers never reached the window's sill. At the
first sound of the voices I drew back my hand and clung there to
my perilous perch, flattened against the perpendicular wall, scarce
daring to breathe.

What a horrible position, indeed, in which to be discovered by
Thurid! He had but to lean from the window to push me with his
sword's point into eternity.

Presently the sound of the voices became fainter, and once again
I took up my hazardous ascent, now more difficult, since more
circuitous, for I must climb so as to avoid the windows.

Matai Shang's reference to the hangar and the fliers indicated
that my destination lay nothing short of the roof of the tower,
and toward this seemingly distant goal I set my face.

The most difficult and dangerous part of

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