Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 44

drawing his dagger and making an incision
in the carcass a foot above the root of the sting, from which he
presently drew forth two sacs, each of which held fully a gallon
of the deadly liquid.

"Thus we maintain our supply, though were it not for certain commercial
uses to which the virus is put, it would scarcely be necessary to
add to our present store, since the sith is almost extinct.

"Only occasionally do we now run upon one. Of old, however, Kaol
was overrun with the frightful monsters that often came in herds
of twenty or thirty, darting down from above into our cities and
carrying away women, children, and even warriors."

As he spoke I had been wondering just how much I might safely tell
this man of the mission which brought me to his land, but his next
words anticipated the broaching of the subject on my part, and
rendered me thankful that I had not spoken too soon.

"And now as to yourself, John Carter," he said, "I shall not ask
your business here, nor do I wish to hear it. I have eyes and ears
and ordinary intelligence, and yesterday morning I saw the party
that came to the city of Kaol from the north in a small flier. But
one thing I ask of you, and that is: the word of John Carter that
he contemplates no overt act against either the nation of Kaol or
its jeddak."

"You may have my word as to that, Torkar Bar," I replied.

"My way leads along the Kaolian road, away from the city of Kaol,"
he continued. "I have seen no one--John Carter least of all. Nor
have you seen Torkar Bar, nor ever heard of him. You understand?"

"Perfectly," I replied.

He laid his hand upon my shoulder.

"This road leads directly into the city of Kaol," he said. "I wish
you fortune," and vaulting to the back of his thoat he trotted away
without even a backward glance.

It was after dark when Woola and I spied through the mighty forest
the great wall which surrounds the city of Kaol.

We had traversed the entire way without mishap or adventure, and
though the few we had met had eyed the great calot wonderingly,
none had pierced the red pigment with which I had smoothly smeared
every square inch of my body.

But to traverse the surrounding country, and to enter the guarded
city of Kulan Tith, Jeddak of Kaol, were two very different things.
No man enters a Martian city without giving a very

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