Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 9

of such an act, which would cut down the only man who could
lead the way to Dejah Thoris' prison before the long Martian year
had swung its interminable circle.

If he should lead Matai Shang to that hallowed spot, then, too,
should he lead John Carter, Prince of Helium.

With silent paddle I swung slowly into the wake of the larger craft.




UNDER THE MOUNTAINS


As we advanced up the river which winds beneath the Golden Cliffs
out of the bowels of the Mountains of Otz to mingle its dark waters
with the grim and mysterious Iss the faint glow which had appeared
before us grew gradually into an all-enveloping radiance.

The river widened until it presented the aspect of a large lake
whose vaulted dome, lighted by glowing phosphorescent rock, was
splashed with the vivid rays of the diamond, the sapphire, the ruby,
and the countless, nameless jewels of Barsoom which lay incrusted
in the virgin gold which forms the major portion of these magnificent
cliffs.

Beyond the lighted chamber of the lake was darkness--what lay behind
the darkness I could not even guess.

To have followed the thern boat across the gleaming water would
have been to invite instant detection, and so, though I was loath
to permit Thurid to pass even for an instant beyond my sight, I
was forced to wait in the shadows until the other boat had passed
from my sight at the far extremity of the lake.

Then I paddled out upon the brilliant surface in the direction they
had taken.

When, after what seemed an eternity, I reached the shadows at the
upper end of the lake I found that the river issued from a low
aperture, to pass beneath which it was necessary that I compel
Woola to lie flat in the boat, and I, myself, must need bend double
before the low roof cleared my head.

Immediately the roof rose again upon the other side, but no longer was
the way brilliantly lighted. Instead only a feeble glow emanated
from small and scattered patches of phosphorescent rock in wall
and roof.

Directly before me the river ran into this smaller chamber through
three separate arched openings.

Thurid and the therns were nowhere to be seen--into which of the
dark holes had they disappeared? There was no means by which I
might know, and so I chose the center opening as being as likely
to lead me in the right direction as another.

Here the way was through utter darkness. The stream was narrow--so
narrow that in the blackness I was constantly bumping first one
rock wall and then another

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