A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 27

room.
I felt fairly secure in my belief that I could escape him should he
pursue me once I was outside the building, for I had begun to take
great pride in my ability as a jumper. Furthermore, I could see from
the shortness of his legs that the brute himself was no jumper and
probably no runner.

Slowly and carefully, therefore, I gained my feet, only to see that my
watcher did the same; cautiously I advanced toward him, finding that by
moving with a shuffling gait I could retain my balance as well as make
reasonably rapid progress. As I neared the brute he backed cautiously
away from me, and when I had reached the open he moved to one side to
let me pass. He then fell in behind me and followed about ten paces in
my rear as I made my way along the deserted street.

Evidently his mission was to protect me only, I thought, but when we
reached the edge of the city he suddenly sprang before me, uttering
strange sounds and baring his ugly and ferocious tusks. Thinking to
have some amusement at his expense, I rushed toward him, and when
almost upon him sprang into the air, alighting far beyond him and away
from the city. He wheeled instantly and charged me with the most
appalling speed I had ever beheld. I had thought his short legs a bar
to swiftness, but had he been coursing with greyhounds the latter would
have appeared as though asleep on a door mat. As I was to learn, this
is the fleetest animal on Mars, and owing to its intelligence, loyalty,
and ferocity is used in hunting, in war, and as the protector of the
Martian man.

I quickly saw that I would have difficulty in escaping the fangs of the
beast on a straightaway course, and so I met his charge by doubling in
my tracks and leaping over him as he was almost upon me. This maneuver
gave me a considerable advantage, and I was able to reach the city
quite a bit ahead of him, and as he came tearing after me I jumped for
a window about thirty feet from the ground in the face of one of the
buildings overlooking the valley.

Grasping the sill I pulled myself up to a sitting posture without
looking into the building, and gazed down at the baffled animal beneath
me. My exultation was short-lived, however, for scarcely had I gained
a secure seat upon the sill than a huge

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