A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 5

provisions on two of our
burros, and bidding me good-bye he mounted his horse, and started down
the mountainside toward the valley, across which led the first stage of
his journey.

The morning of Powell's departure was, like nearly all Arizona
mornings, clear and beautiful; I could see him and his little pack
animals picking their way down the mountainside toward the valley, and
all during the morning I would catch occasional glimpses of them as
they topped a hog back or came out upon a level plateau. My last sight
of Powell was about three in the afternoon as he entered the shadows of
the range on the opposite side of the valley.

Some half hour later I happened to glance casually across the valley
and was much surprised to note three little dots in about the same
place I had last seen my friend and his two pack animals. I am not
given to needless worrying, but the more I tried to convince myself
that all was well with Powell, and that the dots I had seen on his
trail were antelope or wild horses, the less I was able to assure
myself.

Since we had entered the territory we had not seen a hostile Indian,
and we had, therefore, become careless in the extreme, and were wont to
ridicule the stories we had heard of the great numbers of these vicious
marauders that were supposed to haunt the trails, taking their toll in
lives and torture of every white party which fell into their merciless
clutches.

Powell, I knew, was well armed and, further, an experienced Indian
fighter; but I too had lived and fought for years among the Sioux in
the North, and I knew that his chances were small against a party of
cunning trailing Apaches. Finally I could endure the suspense no
longer, and, arming myself with my two Colt revolvers and a carbine, I
strapped two belts of cartridges about me and catching my saddle horse,
started down the trail taken by Powell in the morning.

As soon as I reached comparatively level ground I urged my mount into a
canter and continued this, where the going permitted, until, close upon
dusk, I discovered the point where other tracks joined those of Powell.
They were the tracks of unshod ponies, three of them, and the ponies
had been galloping.

I followed rapidly until, darkness shutting down, I was forced to await
the rising of the moon, and given an opportunity to speculate on the
question of the wisdom of my chase. Possibly I had conjured up
impossible dangers,

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