The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 178

that crosses the threshold of Issus."

So I was to be thwarted in the end, although I had performed the
miraculous and come within a few short moments of my divine Princess,
yet was I as far from her as when I stood upon the banks of the Hudson
forty-eight million miles away.




CHAPTER XXI

THROUGH FLOOD AND FLAME


Yersted's information convinced me that there was no time to be lost.
I must reach the Temple of Issus secretly before the forces under Tars
Tarkas assaulted at dawn. Once within its hated walls I was positive
that I could overcome the guards of Issus and bear away my Princess,
for at my back I would have a force ample for the occasion.

No sooner had Carthoris and the others joined me than we commenced the
transportation of our men through the submerged passage to the mouth of
the gangways which lead from the submarine pool at the temple end of
the watery tunnel to the pits of Issus.

Many trips were required, but at last all stood safely together again
at the beginning of the end of our quest. Five thousand strong we
were, all seasoned fighting-men of the most warlike race of the red men
of Barsoom.

As Carthoris alone knew the hidden ways of the tunnels we could not
divide the party and attack the temple at several points at once as
would have been most desirable, and so it was decided that he lead us
all as quickly as possible to a point near the temple's centre.

As we were about to leave the pool and enter the corridor, an officer
called my attention to the waters upon which the submarine floated. At
first they seemed to be merely agitated as from the movement of some
great body beneath the surface, and I at once conjectured that another
submarine was rising to the surface in pursuit of us; but presently it
became apparent that the level of the waters was rising, not with
extreme rapidity, but very surely, and that soon they would overflow
the sides of the pool and submerge the floor of the chamber.

For a moment I did not fully grasp the terrible import of the slowly
rising water. It was Carthoris who realized the full meaning of the
thing--its cause and the reason for it.

"Haste!" he cried. "If we delay, we all are lost. The pumps of Omean
have been stopped. They would drown us like rats in a trap. We must
reach the upper levels of the pits in advance

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