The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 121

he stepped out to meet them. Ah, my Prince, such fighting! For
an hour they swarmed about him, until the Warhoon dead formed a hill
where he had stood; but at last they overwhelmed him, those behind
pushing the foremost upon him until there remained no space to swing
his great sword. Then he stumbled and went down and they rolled over
him like a huge wave. When they carried him away toward the heart of
the city, he was dead, I think, for I did not see him move."

"Before we go farther we must be sure," I said. "I cannot leave Tars
Tarkas alive among the Warhoons. To-night I shall enter the city and
make sure."

"And I shall go with you," spoke Carthoris.

"And I," said Xodar.

"Neither one of you shall go," I replied. "It is work that requires
stealth and strategy, not force. One man alone may succeed where more
would invite disaster. I shall go alone. If I need your help, I will
return for you."

They did not like it, but both were good soldiers, and it had been
agreed that I should command. The sun already was low, so that I did
not have long to wait before the sudden darkness of Barsoom engulfed us.

With a parting word of instructions to Carthoris and Xodar, in case I
should not return, I bade them all farewell and set forth at a rapid
dogtrot toward the city.

As I emerged from the hills the nearer moon was winging its wild flight
through the heavens, its bright beams turning to burnished silver the
barbaric splendour of the ancient metropolis. The city had been built
upon the gently rolling foothills that in the dim and distant past had
sloped down to meet the sea. It was due to this fact that I had no
difficulty in entering the streets unobserved.

The green hordes that use these deserted cities seldom occupy more than
a few squares about the central plaza, and as they come and go always
across the dead sea bottoms that the cities face, it is usually a
matter of comparative ease to enter from the hillside.

Once within the streets, I kept close in the dense shadows of the
walls. At intersections I halted a moment to make sure that none was
in sight before I sprang quickly to the shadows of the opposite side.
Thus I made the journey to the vicinity of the plaza without detection.
As I approached the purlieus of the

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Lo.