A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 21

voluntarily without a weapon of
destruction.

As we neared the plaza and my presence was discovered we were
immediately surrounded by hundreds of the creatures who seemed anxious
to pluck me from my seat behind my guard. A word from the leader of
the party stilled their clamor, and we proceeded at a trot across the
plaza to the entrance of as magnificent an edifice as mortal eye has
rested upon.

The building was low, but covered an enormous area. It was constructed
of gleaming white marble inlaid with gold and brilliant stones which
sparkled and scintillated in the sunlight. The main entrance was some
hundred feet in width and projected from the building proper to form a
huge canopy above the entrance hall. There was no stairway, but a
gentle incline to the first floor of the building opened into an
enormous chamber encircled by galleries.

On the floor of this chamber, which was dotted with highly carved
wooden desks and chairs, were assembled about forty or fifty male
Martians around the steps of a rostrum. On the platform proper
squatted an enormous warrior heavily loaded with metal ornaments,
gay-colored feathers and beautifully wrought leather trappings
ingeniously set with precious stones. From his shoulders depended a
short cape of white fur lined with brilliant scarlet silk.

What struck me as most remarkable about this assemblage and the hall in
which they were congregated was the fact that the creatures were
entirely out of proportion to the desks, chairs, and other furnishings;
these being of a size adapted to human beings such as I, whereas the
great bulks of the Martians could scarcely have squeezed into the
chairs, nor was there room beneath the desks for their long legs.
Evidently, then, there were other denizens on Mars than the wild and
grotesque creatures into whose hands I had fallen, but the evidences of
extreme antiquity which showed all around me indicated that these
buildings might have belonged to some long-extinct and forgotten race
in the dim antiquity of Mars.

Our party had halted at the entrance to the building, and at a sign
from the leader I had been lowered to the ground. Again locking his
arm in mine, we had proceeded into the audience chamber. There were
few formalities observed in approaching the Martian chieftain. My
captor merely strode up to the rostrum, the others making way for him
as he advanced. The chieftain rose to his feet and uttered the name of
my escort who, in turn, halted and repeated the name of the ruler
followed by his

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