A Princess of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 92

I had come. My plan of action was formed
upon the instant, and crossing the square and the bordering avenue upon
the opposite side I soon stood within the courtyard of Tal Hajus.

The brilliantly lighted apartments of the first floor told me where
first to seek, and advancing to the windows I peered within. I soon
discovered that my approach was not to be the easy thing I had hoped,
for the rear rooms bordering the court were filled with warriors and
women. I then glanced up at the stories above, discovering that the
third was apparently unlighted, and so decided to make my entrance to
the building from that point. It was the work of but a moment for me
to reach the windows above, and soon I had drawn myself within the
sheltering shadows of the unlighted third floor.

Fortunately the room I had selected was untenanted, and creeping
noiselessly to the corridor beyond I discovered a light in the
apartments ahead of me. Reaching what appeared to be a doorway I
discovered that it was but an opening upon an immense inner chamber
which towered from the first floor, two stories below me, to the
dome-like roof of the building, high above my head. The floor of this
great circular hall was thronged with chieftains, warriors and women,
and at one end was a great raised platform upon which squatted the most
hideous beast I had ever put my eyes upon. He had all the cold, hard,
cruel, terrible features of the green warriors, but accentuated and
debased by the animal passions to which he had given himself over for
many years. There was not a mark of dignity or pride upon his bestial
countenance, while his enormous bulk spread itself out upon the
platform where he squatted like some huge devil fish, his six limbs
accentuating the similarity in a horrible and startling manner.

But the sight that froze me with apprehension was that of Dejah Thoris
and Sola standing there before him, and the fiendish leer of him as he
let his great protruding eyes gloat upon the lines of her beautiful
figure. She was speaking, but I could not hear what she said, nor
could I make out the low grumbling of his reply. She stood there erect
before him, her head high held, and even at the distance I was from
them I could read the scorn and disgust upon her face as she let her
haughty glance rest without sign of fear upon him.

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