A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 104

penetrated to the buildings surrounding the plaza. For two days
and nights he had explored their quarters and their dungeons in search
of his beloved princess only to fall into the hands of a party of
Warhoons as he was about to leave, after assuring himself that Dejah
Thoris was not a captive there.

During the period of our incarceration Kantos Kan and I became well
acquainted, and formed a warm personal friendship. A few days only
elapsed, however, before we were dragged forth from our dungeon for the
great games. We were conducted early one morning to an enormous
amphitheater, which instead of having been built upon the surface of
the ground was excavated below the surface. It had partially filled
with debris so that how large it had originally been was difficult to
say. In its present condition it held the entire twenty thousand
Warhoons of the assembled hordes.

The arena was immense but extremely uneven and unkempt. Around it the
Warhoons had piled building stone from some of the ruined edifices of
the ancient city to prevent the animals and the captives from escaping
into the audience, and at each end had been constructed cages to hold
them until their turns came to meet some horrible death upon the arena.

Kantos Kan and I were confined together in one of the cages. In the
others were wild calots, thoats, mad zitidars, green warriors, and
women of other hordes, and many strange and ferocious wild beasts of
Barsoom which I had never before seen. The din of their roaring,
growling and squealing was deafening and the formidable appearance of
any one of them was enough to make the stoutest heart feel grave
forebodings.

Kantos Kan explained to me that at the end of the day one of these
prisoners would gain freedom and the others would lie dead about the
arena. The winners in the various contests of the day would be pitted
against each other until only two remained alive; the victor in the
last encounter being set free, whether animal or man. The following
morning the cages would be filled with a new consignment of victims,
and so on throughout the ten days of the games.

Shortly after we had been caged the amphitheater began to fill and
within an hour every available part of the seating space was occupied.
Dak Kova, with his jeds and chieftains, sat at the center of one side
of the arena upon a large raised platform.

At a signal from Dak Kova the doors of two cages

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