impending death there came, as
there comes to every coward and bully under similar circumstances, a
crumbling of the veneer of bravado which had long masqueraded as
courage and with it crumbled his code of ethics. Now was Es-sat no
longer chief of Kor-ul-JA--instead he was a whimpering craven battling
for life. Clutching at Om-at, clutching at the nearest pegs he sought
any support that would save him from that awful fall, and as he strove
to push aside the hand of death, whose cold fingers he already felt
upon his heart, his tail sought Om-at's side and the handle of the
knife that hung there.
Tarzan saw and even as Es-sat drew the blade from its sheath he dropped
catlike to the pegs beside the battling men. Es-sat's tail had drawn
back for the cowardly fatal thrust. Now many others saw the perfidious
act and a great cry of rage and disgust arose from savage throats; but
as the blade sped toward its goal, the ape-man seized the hairy member
that wielded it, and at the same instant Om-at thrust the body of
Es-sat from him with such force that its weakened holds were broken and
it hurtled downward, a brief meteor of screaming fear, to death.
As Tarzan and Om-at clambered back to the vestibule of Pan-at-lee's
cave and took their stand beside Ta-den in readiness for whatever
eventuality might follow the death of Es-sat, the sun that topped the
eastern hills touched also the figure of a sleeper upon a distant,
thorn-covered steppe awakening him to another day of tireless tracking
along a faint and rapidly disappearing spoor.
For a time silence reigned in the Kor-ul-JA. The tribesmen waited,
looking now down upon the dead thing that had been their chief, now at
one another, and now at Om-at and the two who stood upon his either
side. Presently Om-at spoke. "I am Om-at," he cried. "Who will say that
Om-at is not gund of Kor-ul-JA?"
He waited for a taker of his challenge. One or two of the larger young
bucks fidgeted restlessly and eyed him; but there was no reply.
"Then Om-at is gund," he said with finality. "Now tell me, where are
Pan-at-lee, her father, and her brothers?"
An old warrior spoke. "Pan-at-lee should be in her cave. Who should
know that better than you who are there now? Her father and her
brothers were sent to watch Kor-ul-lul; but neither of these questions
arouse any tumult in our breasts. There is one that does: Can Om-at be
chief of Kor-ul-JA and yet stand at bay against his own people
Instantly my brain cleared and there swept back across the threshold of my memory the vivid picture of the horrors of that ghostly Arizona cave; again, as on that far-gone night, my muscles refused to respond to my will and again, as though even here upon the banks of the placid Hudson, I could hear the awful moans and rustling of the fearsome thing which had lurked and threatened me from the dark recesses of the cave, I made the same mighty and superhuman effort to break the bonds of the strange anaesthesia which held me, and again came the sharp click as of the sudden parting of a taut wire, and I stood naked and free beside the staring, lifeless thing that had so recently pulsed with the warm, red life-blood of John Carter.Page 6
As it came quite close to me I discovered that its strange movements, running its odd hands over the surface of the turf, were the result of its peculiar method of feeding, which consists in.Page 27
themselves, who conceived both Life and Death, avert their eyes from its fiendishness and close their ears against the hideous shrieks of its victims.Page 28
And so it launched its great bulk toward me, but its mighty voice had held no paralysing terrors for me, and it met cold steel instead of the tender flesh its cruel jaws gaped so widely to engulf.Page 34
But why would you return to face again the fierce banth, or whatever other form of destruction they have loosed within that awful trap?" "Because my friend fights there alone," I answered, as I hastily sought and found the keys upon the carcass of the dead custodian of this grim chamber of horrors.Page 35
Then Tars Tarkas said: "I heard the fighting beyond the partition through which you passed, but I did not fear for you, John Carter, until I heard the report of a revolver shot.Page 48
The therns fear the awful denizens of this cruel and hopeless world that they have fostered and allowed to grow beneath their feet.Page 60
" I caught a fleeting grin passing across the features of the black as he heard her words.Page 64
Nor could I be mistaken in the swift gleam of triumph that brightened those dark orbs for an instant.Page 68
She was even more steeped in superstition than the Martians of the outer world.Page 70
" Now we swung a little north of west, leaving the valley of lost souls, and shortly I discerned over our starboard bow what appeared to be a black mountain rising from the desolate waste of ice.Page 74
We were going down swiftly.Page 84
As he slept I leaned over and looked at him.Page 125
I might plunge headlong into some terrible pit or meet with some of the ghoulish creatures that inhabit these lower worlds beneath the dead cities of dying Mars.Page 139
Tars Tarkas, Jeddak of Thark, is Tardos Mors' best beloved ally.Page 155
Kantos Kan and Xodar were to attend to the remodelling of the ships.Page 157
At length they halted within a fair-sized chamber.Page 164
At the point where we left the pits of Zat Arras we found the body of the guard Carthoris had slain.Page 173
I could see the thin features of the man from where I stood.Page 192
As the dagger fell toward the unprotected breast of my love, Thuvia was almost between them.