A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 75

There were Dejah Thoris, Sola,
and Sarkoja, and as my fleeting glance swept over them a little tableau
was presented which will stand graven in my memory to the day of my

As I looked, Dejah Thoris turned upon Sarkoja with the fury of a young
tigress and struck something from her upraised hand; something which
flashed in the sunlight as it spun to the ground. Then I knew what had
blinded me at that crucial moment of the fight, and how Sarkoja had
found a way to kill me without herself delivering the final thrust.
Another thing I saw, too, which almost lost my life for me then and
there, for it took my mind for the fraction of an instant entirely from
my antagonist; for, as Dejah Thoris struck the tiny mirror from her
hand, Sarkoja, her face livid with hatred and baffled rage, whipped out
her dagger and aimed a terrific blow at Dejah Thoris; and then Sola,
our dear and faithful Sola, sprang between them; the last I saw was the
great knife descending upon her shielding breast.

My enemy had recovered from his thrust and was making it extremely
interesting for me, so I reluctantly gave my attention to the work in
hand, but my mind was not upon the battle.

We rushed each other furiously time after time, 'til suddenly, feeling
the sharp point of his sword at my breast in a thrust I could neither
parry nor escape, I threw myself upon him with outstretched sword and
with all the weight of my body, determined that I would not die alone
if I could prevent it. I felt the steel tear into my chest, all went
black before me, my head whirled in dizziness, and I felt my knees
giving beneath me.



When consciousness returned, and, as I soon learned, I was down but a
moment, I sprang quickly to my feet searching for my sword, and there I
found it, buried to the hilt in the green breast of Zad, who lay stone
dead upon the ochre moss of the ancient sea bottom. As I regained my
full senses I found his weapon piercing my left breast, but only
through the flesh and muscles which cover my ribs, entering near the
center of my chest and coming out below the shoulder. As I had lunged
I had turned so that his sword merely passed beneath the muscles,
inflicting a painful but not dangerous wound.

Removing the blade from my body I also regained my own, and turning

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That you are a princess does not abash me, but that you are you is enough to make me doubt my sanity as I ask you, my princess, to be.