The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 35

she whispered, "leave them to me," and pushing me advanced, all
defenceless and unarmed, upon the snarling banths.

When quite close to them she spoke a single Martian word in low but
peremptory tones. Like lightning the great beasts wheeled upon her,
and I looked to see her torn to pieces before I could reach her side,
but instead the creatures slunk to her feet like puppies that expect a
merited whipping.

Again she spoke to them, but in tones so low I could not catch the
words, and then she started toward the opposite side of the chamber
with the six mighty monsters trailing at heel. One by one she sent
them through the secret panel into the room beyond, and when the last
had passed from the chamber where we stood in wide-eyed amazement she
turned and smiled at us and then herself passed through, leaving us

For a moment neither of us spoke. Then Tars Tarkas said:

"I heard the fighting beyond the partition through which you passed,
but I did not fear for you, John Carter, until I heard the report of a
revolver shot. I knew that there lived no man upon all Barsoom who
could face you with naked steel and live, but the shot stripped the
last vestige of hope from me, since you I knew to be without firearms.
Tell me of it."

I did as he bade, and then together we sought the secret panel through
which I had just entered the apartment--the one at the opposite end of
the room from that through which the girl had led her savage companions.

To our disappointment the panel eluded our every effort to negotiate
its secret lock. We felt that once beyond it we might look with some
little hope of success for a passage to the outside world.

The fact that the prisoners within were securely chained led us to
believe that surely there must be an avenue of escape from the terrible
creatures which inhabited this unspeakable place.

Again and again we turned from one door to another, from the baffling
golden panel at one end of the chamber to its mate at the
other--equally baffling.

When we had about given up all hope one of the panels turned silently
toward us, and the young woman who had led away the banths stood once
more beside us.

"Who are you?" she asked, "and what your mission, that you have the
temerity to attempt to escape from the Valley Dor and the death you
have chosen?"

"I have chosen no death, maiden," I replied.

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