The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 190

heart.
But something stayed my hand, and I am now glad that it did. It were a
terrible thing to have struck down a woman with one's own hand. But a
fitter fate occurred to me for this false deity.

"First Born," I cried, turning to those who stood within the chamber,
"you have seen to-day the impotency of Issus--the gods are impotent.
Issus is no god. She is a cruel and wicked old woman, who has deceived
and played upon you for ages. Take her. John Carter, Prince of
Helium, would not contaminate his hand with her blood," and with that I
pushed the raving beast, whom a short half-hour before a whole world
had worshipped as divine, from the platform of her throne into the
waiting clutches of her betrayed and vengeful people.

Spying Xodar among the officers of the red men, I called him to lead me
quickly to the Temple of the Sun, and, without waiting to learn what
fate the First Born would wreak upon their goddess, I rushed from the
chamber with Xodar, Carthoris, Hor Vastus, Kantos Kan, and a score of
other red nobles.

The black led us rapidly through the inner chambers of the temple,
until we stood within the central court--a great circular space paved
with a transparent marble of exquisite whiteness. Before us rose a
golden temple wrought in the most wondrous and fanciful designs, inlaid
with diamond, ruby, sapphire, turquoise, emerald, and the thousand
nameless gems of Mars, which far transcend in loveliness and purity of
ray the most priceless stones of Earth.

"This way," cried Xodar, leading us toward the entrance to a tunnel
which opened in the courtyard beside the temple. Just as we were on
the point of descending we heard a deep-toned roar burst from the
Temple of Issus, which we had but just quitted, and then a red man,
Djor Kantos, padwar of the fifth utan, broke from a nearby gate, crying
to us to return.

"The blacks have fired the temple," he cried. "In a thousand places it
is burning now. Haste to the outer gardens, or you are lost."

As he spoke we saw smoke pouring from a dozen windows looking out upon
the courtyard of the Temple of the Sun, and far above the highest
minaret of Issus hung an ever-growing pall of smoke.

"Go back! Go back!" I cried to those who had accompanied me. "The
way! Xodar; point the way and leave me. I shall reach my Princess
yet."

"Follow me, John Carter," replied

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