A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 74

dagger, my hatchet, or my fists had I wished,
and been entirely within my rights, but I could not use firearms or a
spear while he held only his long-sword.

I chose the same weapon he had drawn because I knew he prided himself
upon his ability with it, and I wished, if I worsted him at all, to do
it with his own weapon. The fight that followed was a long one and
delayed the resumption of the march for an hour. The entire community
surrounded us, leaving a clear space about one hundred feet in diameter
for our battle.

Zad first attempted to rush me down as a bull might a wolf, but I was
much too quick for him, and each time I side-stepped his rushes he
would go lunging past me, only to receive a nick from my sword upon his
arm or back. He was soon streaming blood from a half dozen minor
wounds, but I could not obtain an opening to deliver an effective
thrust. Then he changed his tactics, and fighting warily and with
extreme dexterity, he tried to do by science what he was unable to do
by brute strength. I must admit that he was a magnificent swordsman,
and had it not been for my greater endurance and the remarkable agility
the lesser gravitation of Mars lent me I might not have been able to
put up the creditable fight I did against him.

We circled for some time without doing much damage on either side; the
long, straight, needle-like swords flashing in the sunlight, and
ringing out upon the stillness as they crashed together with each
effective parry. Finally Zad, realizing that he was tiring more than
I, evidently decided to close in and end the battle in a final blaze of
glory for himself; just as he rushed me a blinding flash of light
struck full in my eyes, so that I could not see his approach and could
only leap blindly to one side in an effort to escape the mighty blade
that it seemed I could already feel in my vitals. I was only partially
successful, as a sharp pain in my left shoulder attested, but in the
sweep of my glance as I sought to again locate my adversary, a sight
met my astonished gaze which paid me well for the wound the temporary
blindness had caused me. There, upon Dejah Thoris' chariot stood three
figures, for the purpose evidently of witnessing the encounter above
the heads of the intervening Tharks.

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