Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 96

upon a large, burnished lever that protruded from
the opposite wall.

"No! No!" cried the little old man, springing after him, with a wild
shriek. "Not that one! Not that one! That controls the sunray
tanks, and should you pull it too far down, all Kadabra would be
consumed by heat before I could replace it. Come away! Come away!
You know not with what mighty powers you play. This is the lever
that you seek. Note well the symbol inlaid in white upon its ebon
surface."

Thurid approached and examined the handle of the lever.

"Ah, a magnet," he said. "I will remember. It is settled then I
take it," he continued.

The old man hesitated. A look of combined greed and apprehension
overspread his none too beautiful features.

"Double the figure," he said. "Even that were all too small an amount
for the service you ask. Why, I risk my life by even entertaining
you here within the forbidden precincts of my station. Should
Salensus Oll learn of it he would have me thrown to the apts before
the day was done."

"He dare not do that, and you know it full well, Solan," contradicted
the black. "Too great a power of life and death you hold over the
people of Kadabra for Salensus Oll ever to risk threatening you
with death. Before ever his minions could lay their hands upon you,
you might seize this very lever from which you have just warned me
and wipe out the entire city."

"And myself into the bargain," said Solan, with a shudder.

"But if you were to die, anyway, you would find the nerve to do
it," replied Thurid.

"Yes," muttered Solan, "I have often thought upon that very thing.
Well, First Born, is your red princess worth the price I ask for
my services, or will you go without her and see her in the arms of
Salensus Oll tomorrow night?"

"Take your price, yellow man," replied Thurid, with an oath. "Half
now and the balance when you have fulfilled your contract."

With that the dator threw a well-filled money-pouch upon the table.

Solan opened the pouch and with trembling fingers counted its contents.
His weird eyes assumed a greedy expression, and his unkempt beard
and mustache twitched with the muscles of his mouth and chin. It
was quite evident from his very mannerism that Thurid had keenly
guessed the man's weakness--even the clawlike, clutching movement
of the fingers betokened the avariciousness of the miser.

Having satisfied himself that the amount was

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