A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 141

the task
of entering the city seemed, to my escort of green warriors, an
impossibility. The fellows who had been detailed to accompany me were
of one of the smaller hordes, and therefore did not know me.

Placing three of them with their faces to the wall and arms locked, I
commanded two more to mount to their shoulders, and a sixth I ordered
to climb upon the shoulders of the upper two. The head of the topmost
warrior towered over forty feet from the ground.

In this way, with ten warriors, I built a series of three steps from
the ground to the shoulders of the topmost man. Then starting from a
short distance behind them I ran swiftly up from one tier to the next,
and with a final bound from the broad shoulders of the highest I
clutched the top of the great wall and quietly drew myself to its broad
expanse. After me I dragged six lengths of leather from an equal
number of my warriors. These lengths we had previously fastened
together, and passing one end to the topmost warrior I lowered the
other end cautiously over the opposite side of the wall toward the
avenue below. No one was in sight, so, lowering myself to the end of
my leather strap, I dropped the remaining thirty feet to the pavement
below.

I had learned from Kantos Kan the secret of opening these gates, and in
another moment my twenty great fighting men stood within the doomed
city of Zodanga.

I found to my delight that I had entered at the lower boundary of the
enormous palace grounds. The building itself showed in the distance a
blaze of glorious light, and on the instant I determined to lead a
detachment of warriors directly within the palace itself, while the
balance of the great horde was attacking the barracks of the soldiery.

Dispatching one of my men to Tars Tarkas for a detail of fifty Tharks,
with word of my intentions, I ordered ten warriors to capture and open
one of the great gates while with the nine remaining I took the other.
We were to do our work quietly, no shots were to be fired and no
general advance made until I had reached the palace with my fifty
Tharks. Our plans worked to perfection. The two sentries we met were
dispatched to their fathers upon the banks of the lost sea of Korus,
and the guards at both gates followed them in silence.




CHAPTER XXV

THE LOOTING OF ZODANGA


As the great gate

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