A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 88

pointed out as Helium. There were
other cities closer, but she said she feared to enter many of them, as
they were not all friendly toward Helium.

[Illustration: She drew upon the marble floor the first map of the
Barsoomian territory I had ever seen.]

Finally, after studying the map carefully in the moonlight which now
flooded the room, I pointed out a waterway far to the north of us which
also seemed to lead to Helium.

"Does not this pierce your grandfather's territory?" I asked.

"Yes," she answered, "but it is two hundred miles north of us; it is
one of the waterways we crossed on the trip to Thark."

"They would never suspect that we would try for that distant waterway,"
I answered, "and that is why I think that it is the best route for our
escape."

Sola agreed with me, and it was decided that we should leave Thark this
same night; just as quickly, in fact, as I could find and saddle my
thoats. Sola was to ride one and Dejah Thoris and I the other; each of
us carrying sufficient food and drink to last us for two days, since
the animals could not be urged too rapidly for so long a distance.

I directed Sola to proceed with Dejah Thoris along one of the less
frequented avenues to the southern boundary of the city, where I would
overtake them with the thoats as quickly as possible; then, leaving
them to gather what food, silks, and furs we were to need, I slipped
quietly to the rear of the first floor, and entered the courtyard,
where our animals were moving restlessly about, as was their habit,
before settling down for the night.

In the shadows of the buildings and out beneath the radiance of the
Martian moons moved the great herd of thoats and zitidars, the latter
grunting their low gutturals and the former occasionally emitting the
sharp squeal which denotes the almost habitual state of rage in which
these creatures passed their existence. They were quieter now, owing
to the absence of man, but as they scented me they became more restless
and their hideous noise increased. It was risky business, this
entering a paddock of thoats alone and at night; first, because their
increasing noisiness might warn the nearby warriors that something was
amiss, and also because for the slightest cause, or for no cause at all
some great bull thoat might take it upon himself to lead a charge upon
me.

Having no desire to awaken their nasty tempers upon such a night as
this, where

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