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19. CHAPTER XIX : THE MENACE OF THE DEAD
THE night was still young when there came one to the entrance of the banquet hall where O-Tar of Manator dined with his chiefs, and brushing past the guards entered the great room with the insolence of a privileged character, as in truth he was. As he approached the head of the long board O-Tar took notice of him.
"Well, hoary one!" he cried. "What brings you out of your beloved and stinking burrow again this day. We thought that the sight of the multitude of living men at the games would drive you back to your corpses as quickly as you could go."
The cackling laugh of I-Gos acknowledged the royal sally. "Ey, ey, O-Tar," squeaked the ancient one, "I-Gos goes out not upon pleasure bound; but when one does ruthlessly desecrate the dead of I-Gos, vengeance must be had!"
"You refer to the act of the slave Turan?" demanded O-Tar.
"Turan, yes, and the slave Tara, who slipped beneath my hide a murderous blade. Another fraction of an inch, O-Tar, and I-Gos' ancient and wrinkled covering were even now in some apprentice tanner's hands, ey, ey!"
"But they have again eluded us," cried O-Tar. "Even in the palace of the great jeddak twice have they escaped the stupid knaves I call The Jeddak's Guard." O-Tar had risen and was angrily emphasizing his words with heavy blows upon the table, dealt with a golden goblet.
"Ey, O-Tar, they elude thy guard but not the wise old calot, I-Gos."
"What mean you? Speak!" commanded O-Tar.
"I know where they are hid," said the ancient taxidermist. "In the dust of unused corridors their feet have betrayed them."
"You followed them? You have seen them?" demanded the jeddak.
"I followed them and I heard them speaking beyond a closed door," replied I-Gos; "but I did not see them."
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