The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 134

deliberately slipped to the ground in the
very path of the cruel demons who pursued us, thinking that by
lightening the burden of my mount it might thus be enabled to bear me
to the safety of the hills. Poor child! She should have known John
Carter better than that.

Turning my thoat, I urged him after her, hoping to reach her side and
bear her on again in our hopeless flight. Carthoris must have glanced
behind him at about the same time and taken in the situation, for by
the time I had reached Thuvia's side he was there also, and, springing
from his mount, he threw her upon its back and, turning the animal's
head toward the hills, gave the beast a sharp crack across the rump
with the flat of his sword. Then he attempted to do the same with mine.

The brave boy's act of chivalrous self-sacrifice filled me with pride,
nor did I care that it had wrested from us our last frail chance for
escape. The Warhoons were now close upon us. Tars Tarkas and Xodar
had discovered our absence and were charging rapidly to our support.
Everything pointed toward a splendid ending of my second journey to
Barsoom. I hated to go out without having seen my divine Princess, and
held her in my arms once again; but if it were not writ upon the book
of Fate that such was to be, then would I take the most that was coming
to me, and in these last few moments that were to be vouchsafed me
before I passed over into that unguessed future I could at least give
such an account of myself in my chosen vocation as would leave the
Warhoons of the South food for discourse for the next twenty
generations.

As Carthoris was not mounted, I slipped from the back of my own mount
and took my place at his side to meet the charge of the howling devils
bearing down upon us. A moment later Tars Tarkas and Xodar ranged
themselves on either hand, turning their thoats loose that we might all
be on an equal footing.

The Warhoons were perhaps a hundred yards from us when a loud explosion
sounded from above and behind us, and almost at the same instant a
shell burst in their advancing ranks. At once all was confusion. A
hundred warriors toppled to the ground. Riderless thoats plunged
hither and thither among the dead and dying. Dismounted warriors were
trampled underfoot in the stampede which

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