By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 128

themselves, when the ground about the entrance rose
suddenly into the air, to be followed by a terrific explosion and a
burst of smoke and flame that shot high in company with dirt, stone,
and fragments of cannon.

Perry had been working on two more of these giant bombs as soon as the
first was completed. Presently we launched these into two of the other
entrances. They were all that were required, for almost immediately
after the third explosion a stream of Mahars broke from the exits
furthest from us, rose upon their wings, and soared northward. A
hundred men on lidi were despatched in pursuit, each lidi carrying two
riflemen in addition to its driver. Guessing that the inland sea,
which lay not far north of Phutra, was their destination, I took a
couple of regiments and followed.

A low ridge intervenes between the Phutra plain where the city lies,
and the inland sea where the Mahars were wont to disport themselves in
the cool waters. Not until we had topped this ridge did we get a view
of the sea.

Then we beheld a scene that I shall never forget so long as I may live.

Along the beach were lined up the troop of lidi, while a hundred yards
from shore the surface of the water was black with the long snouts and
cold, reptilian eyes of the Mahars. Our savage Mezop riflemen, and the
shorter, squatter, white-skinned Thurian drivers, shading their eyes
with their hands, were gazing seaward beyond the Mahars, whose eyes
were fastened upon the same spot. My heart leaped when I discovered
that which was chaining the attention of them all. Twenty graceful
feluccas were moving smoothly across the waters of the sea toward the
reptilian horde!

The sight must have filled the Mahars with awe and consternation, for
never had they seen the like of these craft before. For a time they
seemed unable to do aught but gaze at the approaching fleet; but when
the Mezops opened on them with their muskets the reptiles swam rapidly
in the direction of the feluccas, evidently thinking that these would
prove the easier to overcome. The commander of the fleet permitted
them to approach within a hundred yards. Then he opened on them with
all the cannon that could be brought to bear, as well as with the small
arms of the sailors.

A great many of the reptiles were killed at the first volley. They
wavered for a moment, then dived; nor did we see them again for

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