A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 140

supreme among the
green men of all Barsoom. What say you?"

It was a chance to fight, an opportunity to loot, and they rose to the
bait as a speckled trout to a fly.

For Tharks they were wildly enthusiastic, and before another half hour
had passed twenty mounted messengers were speeding across dead sea
bottoms to call the hordes together for the expedition.

In three days we were on the march toward Zodanga, one hundred thousand
strong, as Tars Tarkas had been able to enlist the services of three
smaller hordes on the promise of the great loot of Zodanga.

At the head of the column I rode beside the great Thark while at the
heels of my mount trotted my beloved Woola.

We traveled entirely by night, timing our marches so that we camped
during the day at deserted cities where, even to the beasts, we were
all kept indoors during the daylight hours. On the march Tars Tarkas,
through his remarkable ability and statesmanship, enlisted fifty
thousand more warriors from various hordes, so that, ten days after we
set out we halted at midnight outside the great walled city of Zodanga,
one hundred and fifty thousand strong.

The fighting strength and efficiency of this horde of ferocious green
monsters was equivalent to ten times their number of red men. Never in
the history of Barsoom, Tars Tarkas told me, had such a force of green
warriors marched to battle together. It was a monstrous task to keep
even a semblance of harmony among them, and it was a marvel to me that
he got them to the city without a mighty battle among themselves.

But as we neared Zodanga their personal quarrels were submerged by
their greater hatred for the red men, and especially for the Zodangans,
who had for years waged a ruthless campaign of extermination against
the green men, directing special attention toward despoiling their
incubators.

Now that we were before Zodanga the task of obtaining entry to the city
devolved upon me, and directing Tars Tarkas to hold his forces in two
divisions out of earshot of the city, with each division opposite a
large gateway, I took twenty dismounted warriors and approached one of
the small gates that pierced the walls at short intervals. These gates
have no regular guard, but are covered by sentries, who patrol the
avenue that encircles the city just within the walls as our
metropolitan police patrol their beats.

The walls of Zodanga are seventy-five feet in height and fifty feet
thick. They are built of enormous blocks of carborundum, and

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