The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 39

and peace in the blessed Valley of Dor is a rank and
wicked deception. We know that the valley is not sacred; we know that
the Holy Therns are not holy; that they are a race of cruel and
heartless mortals, knowing no more of the real life to come than we do.

"Not only is it our right to bend every effort to escape--it is a
solemn duty from which we should not shrink even though we know that we
should be reviled and tortured by our own peoples when we returned to
them.

"Only thus may we carry the truth to those without, and though the
likelihood of our narrative being given credence is, I grant you,
remote, so wedded are mortals to their stupid infatuation for
impossible superstitions, we should be craven cowards indeed were we to
shirk the plain duty which confronts us.

"Again there is a chance that with the weight of the testimony of
several of us the truth of our statements may be accepted, and at least
a compromise effected which will result in the dispatching of an
expedition of investigation to this hideous mockery of heaven."

Both the girl and the green warrior stood silent in thought for some
moments. The former it was who eventually broke the silence.

"Never had I considered the matter in that light before," she said.
"Indeed would I give my life a thousand times if I could but save a
single soul from the awful life that I have led in this cruel place.
Yes, you are right, and I will go with you as far as we can go; but I
doubt that we ever shall escape."

I turned an inquiring glance toward the Thark.

"To the gates of Issus, or to the bottom of Korus," spoke the green
warrior; "to the snows to the north or to the snows to the south, Tars
Tarkas follows where John Carter leads. I have spoken."

"Come, then," I cried, "we must make the start, for we could not be
further from escape than we now are in the heart of this mountain and
within the four walls of this chamber of death."

"Come, then," said the girl, "but do not flatter yourself that you can
find no worse place than this within the territory of the therns."

So saying she swung the secret panel that separated us from the
apartment in which I had found her, and we stepped through once more
into the presence of the other prisoners.

There were in all ten red Martians, men and women, and

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