Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 75

them time to get well out of sight of our cave, Thuvan
Dihn and I crept out and followed them, overtaking them when they
were well into the hills.

When we had come almost to them I called aloud to their leader, when
the whole party halted and turned toward us. The crucial test had
come. Could we but deceive these men the rest would be comparatively
easy.

"Kaor!" I cried as I came closer to them.

"Kaor!" responded the officer in charge of the party.

"We be from Illall," I continued, giving the name of the most remote
city of Okar, which has little or no intercourse with Kadabra.
"Only yesterday we arrived, and this morning the captain of the
gate told us that you were setting out to hunt orluks, which is
a sport we do not find in our own neighborhood. We have hastened
after you to pray that you allow us to accompany you."

The officer was entirely deceived, and graciously permitted us to
go with them for the day. The chance guess that they were bound
upon an orluk hunt proved correct, and Talu had said that the
chances were ten to one that such would be the mission of any party
leaving Kadabra by the pass through which we entered the valley,
since that way leads directly to the vast plains frequented by this
elephantine beast of prey.

In so far as the hunt was concerned, the day was a failure, for
we did not see a single orluk; but this proved more than fortunate
for us, since the yellow men were so chagrined by their misfortune
that they would not enter the city by the same gate by which they
had left it in the morning, as it seemed that they had made great
boasts to the captain of that gate about their skill at this
dangerous sport.

We, therefore, approached Kadabra at a point several miles from
that at which the party had quitted it in the morning, and so were
relieved of the danger of embarrassing questions and explanations
on the part of the gate captain, whom we had said had directed us
to this particular hunting party.

We had come quite close to the city when my attention was attracted
toward a tall, black shaft that reared its head several hundred
feet into the air from what appeared to be a tangled mass of junk
or wreckage, now partially snow-covered.

I did not dare venture an inquiry for fear of arousing suspicion
by evident ignorance of something which as a yellow man I should
have known;

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