The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 172

one explanation.
They were being pursued by another hostile fleet. Well, the situation
could be no worse. The expedition already was doomed. No man that had
embarked upon it would return across that dreary ice cap. How I wished
that I might face Zat Arrras with my longsword for just an instant
before I died! It was he who had caused our failure.

As I watched the oncoming ten I saw their pursuers race swiftly into
sight. It was another great fleet; for a moment I could not believe my
eyes, but finally I was forced to admit that the most fatal calamity
had overtaken the expedition, for the fleet I saw was none other than
the fleet of the First Born, that should have been safely bottled up in
Omean. What a series of misfortunes and disasters! What awful fate
hovered over me, that I should have been so terribly thwarted at every
angle of my search for my lost love! Could it be possible that the
curse of Issus was upon me! That there was, indeed, some malign
divinity in that hideous carcass! I would not believe it, and,
throwing back my shoulders, I ran to the deck below to join my men in
repelling boarders from one of the thern craft that had grappled us
broadside. In the wild lust of hand-to-hand combat my old dauntless
hopefulness returned. And as thern after thern went down beneath my
blade, I could almost feel that we should win success in the end, even
from apparent failure.

My presence among the men so greatly inspirited them that they fell
upon the luckless whites with such terrible ferocity that within a few
moments we had turned the tables upon them and a second later as we
swarmed their own decks I had the satisfaction of seeing their
commander take the long leap from the bows of his vessel in token of
surrender and defeat.

Then I joined Kantos Kan. He had been watching what had taken place on
the deck below, and it seemed to have given him a new thought.
Immediately he passed an order to one of his officers, and presently
the colours of the Prince of Helium broke from every point of the
flagship. A great cheer arose from the men of our own ship, a cheer
that was taken up by every other vessel of our expedition as they in
turn broke my colours from their upper works.

Then Kantos Kan sprang his coup. A signal

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