A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 116

genuine sorrow that I put it off until just before we
arrived at the city's gates; but then, finally, it became imperative
that we separate. Had nothing further than my own safety or pleasure
been at stake no argument could have prevailed upon me to turn away the
one creature upon Barsoom that had never failed in a demonstration of
affection and loyalty; but as I would willingly have offered my life in
the service of her in search of whom I was about to challenge the
unknown dangers of this, to me, mysterious city, I could not permit
even Woola's life to threaten the success of my venture, much less his
momentary happiness, for I doubted not he soon would forget me. And so
I bade the poor beast an affectionate farewell, promising him, however,
that if I came through my adventure in safety that in some way I should
find the means to search him out.

He seemed to understand me fully, and when I pointed back in the
direction of Thark he turned sorrowfully away, nor could I bear to
watch him go; but resolutely set my face toward Zodanga and with a
touch of heartsickness approached her frowning walls.

The letter I bore from them gained me immediate entrance to the vast,
walled city. It was still very early in the morning and the streets
were practically deserted. The residences, raised high upon their
metal columns, resembled huge rookeries, while the uprights themselves
presented the appearance of steel tree trunks. The shops as a rule
were not raised from the ground nor were their doors bolted or barred,
since thievery is practically unknown upon Barsoom. Assassination is
the ever-present fear of all Barsoomians, and for this reason alone
their homes are raised high above the ground at night, or in times of
danger.

The Ptor brothers had given me explicit directions for reaching the
point of the city where I could find living accommodations and be near
the offices of the government agents to whom they had given me letters.
My way led to the central square or plaza, which is a characteristic of
all Martian cities.

The plaza of Zodanga covers a square mile and is bounded by the palaces
of the jeddak, the jeds, and other members of the royalty and nobility
of Zodanga, as well as by the principal public buildings, cafes, and
shops.

As I was crossing the great square lost in wonder and admiration of the
magnificent architecture and the gorgeous scarlet vegetation which
carpeted the broad lawns I discovered a red Martian

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