Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 67

neck in a
parting hug. He rubbed his cheek against mine in a final caress,
and a moment later was speeding through the Carrion Caves toward
the outer world.

In my note to Carthoris I had given explicit directions for locating
the Carrion Caves, impressing upon him the necessity for making
entrance to the country beyond through this avenue, and not to attempt
under any circumstances to cross the ice-barrier with a fleet. I
told him that what lay beyond the eighth cave I could not even
guess; but I was sure that somewhere upon the other side of the
ice-barrier his mother lay in the power of Matai Shang, and that
possibly his grandfather and great-grandfather as well, if they
lived.

Further, I advised him to call upon Kulan Tith and the son of
Thuvan Dihn for warriors and ships that the expedition might be
sufficiently strong to insure success at the first blow.

"And," I concluded, "if there be time bring Tars Tarkas with you,
for if I live until you reach me I can think of few greater pleasures
than to fight once more, shoulder to shoulder, with my old friend."

When Woola had left us Thuvan Dihn and I, hiding in the seventh
cave, discussed and discarded many plans for crossing the eighth
chamber. From where we stood we saw that the fighting among the
apts was growing less, and that many that had been feeding had
ceased and lain down to sleep.

Presently it became apparent that in a short time all the ferocious
monsters might be peacefully slumbering, and thus a hazardous
opportunity be presented to us to cross through their lair.

One by one the remaining brutes stretched themselves upon the
bubbling decomposition that covered the mass of bones upon the
floor of their den, until but a single apt remained awake. This
huge fellow roamed restlessly about, nosing among his companions
and the abhorrent litter of the cave.

Occasionally he would stop to peer intently toward first one of
the exits from the chamber and then the other. His whole demeanor
was as of one who acts as sentry.

We were at last forced to the belief that he would not sleep
while the other occupants of the lair slept, and so cast about in
our minds for some scheme whereby we might trick him. Finally I
suggested a plan to Thuvan Dihn, and as it seemed as good as any
that we had discussed we decided to put it to the test.

To this end Thuvan Dihn placed himself close against the cave's
wall, beside the

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