A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 136

accuracy of their aim my little craft was instantly a ruined
wreck, sinking erratically to the ground.

I fell almost directly in the center of the fierce combat, among
warriors who had not seen my approach so busily were they engaged in
life and death struggles. The men were fighting on foot with
long-swords, while an occasional shot from a sharpshooter on the
outskirts of the conflict would bring down a warrior who might for an
instant separate himself from the entangled mass.

As my machine sank among them I realized that it was fight or die, with
good chances of dying in any event, and so I struck the ground with
drawn long-sword ready to defend myself as I could.

I fell beside a huge monster who was engaged with three antagonists,
and as I glanced at his fierce face, filled with the light of battle, I
recognized Tars Tarkas the Thark. He did not see me, as I was a trifle
behind him, and just then the three warriors opposing him, and whom I
recognized as Warhoons, charged simultaneously. The mighty fellow made
quick work of one of them, but in stepping back for another thrust he
fell over a dead body behind him and was down and at the mercy of his
foes in an instant. Quick as lightning they were upon him, and Tars
Tarkas would have been gathered to his fathers in short order had I not
sprung before his prostrate form and engaged his adversaries. I had
accounted for one of them when the mighty Thark regained his feet and
quickly settled the other.

He gave me one look, and a slight smile touched his grim lip as,
touching my shoulder, he said,

"I would scarcely recognize you, John Carter, but there is no other
mortal upon Barsoom who would have done what you have for me. I think
I have learned that there is such a thing as friendship, my friend."

He said no more, nor was there opportunity, for the Warhoons were
closing in about us, and together we fought, shoulder to shoulder,
during all that long, hot afternoon, until the tide of battle turned
and the remnant of the fierce Warhoon horde fell back upon their
thoats, and fled into the gathering darkness.

Ten thousand men had been engaged in that titanic struggle, and upon
the field of battle lay three thousand dead. Neither side asked or
gave quarter, nor did they attempt to take prisoners.

On our return to the city after the battle we had gone directly to

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