Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 7

my boat farther and farther in beneath the
overhanging wall, but at last it became evident that their craft
was holding the same course. The five paddlers sent the larger
boat ahead at a speed that taxed my energies to equal.

Every instant I expected to feel my prow crash against solid rock.
The light from the river was no longer visible, but ahead I saw
the faint tinge of a distant radiance, and still the water before
me was open.

At last the truth dawned upon me--I was following a subterranean
river which emptied into the Iss at the very point where I had
hidden.

The rowers were now quite close to me. The noise of their
own paddles drowned the sound of mine, but in another instant the
growing light ahead would reveal me to them.

There was no time to be lost. Whatever action I was to take must
be taken at once. Swinging the prow of my boat toward the right,
I sought the river's rocky side, and there I lay while Matai Shang
and Thurid approached up the center of the stream, which was much
narrower than the Iss.

As they came nearer I heard the voices of Thurid and the Father of
Therns raised in argument.

"I tell you, Thern," the black dator was saying, "that I wish only
vengeance upon John Carter, Prince of Helium. I am leading you
into no trap. What could I gain by betraying you to those who have
ruined my nation and my house?"

"Let us stop here a moment that I may hear your plans," replied the
hekkador, "and then we may proceed with a better understanding of
our duties and obligations."

To the rowers he issued the command that brought their boat in
toward the bank not a dozen paces beyond the spot where I lay.

Had they pulled in below me they must surely have seen me against
the faint glow of light ahead, but from where they finally came to
rest I was as secure from detection as though miles separated us.

The few words I had already overheard whetted my curiosity, and I
was anxious to learn what manner of vengeance Thurid was planning
against me. Nor had I long to wait. I listened intently.

"There are no obligations, Father of Therns," continued the First
Born. "Thurid, Dator of Issus, has no price. When the thing has
been accomplished I shall be glad if you will see to it that I am
well received, as is befitting my ancient lineage and noble

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