A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 134

I could gain.

Donning my trappings and weapons I hastened to the sheds, and soon had
out both my machine and Kantos Kan's. Making his fast behind mine I
started my engine, and skimming over the edge of the roof I dove down
into the streets of the city far below the plane usually occupied by
the air patrol. In less than a minute I was settling safely upon the
roof of our apartment beside the astonished Kantos Kan.

I lost no time in explanation, but plunged immediately into a
discussion of our plans for the immediate future. It was decided that
I was to try to make Helium while Kantos Kan was to enter the palace
and dispatch Sab Than. If successful he was then to follow me. He set
my compass for me, a clever little device which will remain steadfastly
fixed upon any given point on the surface of Barsoom, and bidding each
other farewell we rose together and sped in the direction of the palace
which lay in the route which I must take to reach Helium.

As we neared the high tower a patrol shot down from above, throwing its
piercing searchlight full upon my craft, and a voice roared out a
command to halt, following with a shot as I paid no attention to his
hail. Kantos Kan dropped quickly into the darkness, while I rose
steadily and at terrific speed raced through the Martian sky followed
by a dozen of the air-scout craft which had joined the pursuit, and
later by a swift cruiser carrying a hundred men and a battery of
rapid-fire guns. By twisting and turning my little machine, now rising
and now falling, I managed to elude their search-lights most of the
time, but I was also losing ground by these tactics, and so I decided
to hazard everything on a straight-away course and leave the result to
fate and the speed of my machine.

Kantos Kan had shown me a trick of gearing, which is known only to the
navy of Helium, that greatly increased the speed of our machines, so
that I felt sure I could distance my pursuers if I could dodge their
projectiles for a few moments.

As I sped through the air the screeching of the bullets around me
convinced me that only by a miracle could I escape, but the die was
cast, and throwing on full speed I raced a straight course toward
Helium. Gradually I left my pursuers further and further behind, and I
was just congratulating myself on

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