The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 187

as we fought. As we swung toward the great
windows which overlooked the gardens of Issus a sight met my gaze which
sent a wave of exultation over me.

"Look!" I cried. "Men of the First Born, look!"

For an instant the fighting ceased, and with one accord every eye
turned in the direction I had indicated, and the sight they saw was one
no man of the First Born had ever imagined could be.

Across the gardens, from side to side, stood a wavering line of black
warriors, while beyond them and forcing them ever back was a great
horde of green warriors astride their mighty thoats. And as we
watched, one, fiercer and more grimly terrible than his fellows, rode
forward from the rear, and as he came he shouted some fierce command to
his terrible legion.

It was Tars Tarkas, Jeddak of Thark, and as he couched his great
forty-foot metal-shod lance we saw his warriors do likewise. Then it
was that we interpreted his command. Twenty yards now separated the
green men from the black line. Another word from the great Thark, and
with a wild and terrifying battle-cry the green warriors charged. For
a moment the black line held, but only for a moment--then the fearsome
beasts that bore equally terrible riders passed completely through it.

After them came utan upon utan of red men. The green horde broke to
surround the temple. The red men charged for the interior, and then we
turned to continue our interrupted battle; but our foes had vanished.

My first thought was of Dejah Thoris. Calling to Carthoris that I had
found his mother, I started on a run toward the chamber where I had
left her, with my boy close beside me. After us came those of our
little force who had survived the bloody conflict.

The moment I entered the room I saw that some one had been there since
I had left. A silk lay upon the floor. It had not been there before.
There were also a dagger and several metal ornaments strewn about as
though torn from their wearer in a struggle. But worst of all, the
door leading to the pits where I had hidden my Princess was ajar.

With a bound I was before it, and, thrusting it open, rushed within.
Dejah Thoris had vanished. I called her name aloud again and again,
but there was no response. I think in that instant I hovered upon the
verge of insanity.

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