The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 52


"The therns do not dare. They tried it once, ages ago, but the next
night and for a whole moon thereafter a thousand great black
battleships circled the Mountains of Otz, pouring tons of projectiles
upon the temples, the gardens, and the courts, until every thern who
was not killed was driven for safety into the subterranean galleries.

"The therns know that they live at all only by the sufferance of the
black men. They were near to extermination that once and they will not
venture risking it again."

As she ceased talking a new element was instilled into the conflict.
It came from a source equally unlooked for by either thern or pirate.
The great banths which we had liberated in the garden had evidently
been awed at first by the sound of the battle, the yelling of the
warriors and the loud report of rifle and bomb.

But now they must have become angered by the continuous noise and
excited by the smell of new blood, for all of a sudden a great form
shot from a clump of low shrubbery into the midst of a struggling mass
of humanity. A horrid scream of bestial rage broke from the banth as
he felt warm flesh beneath his powerful talons.

As though his cry was but a signal to the others, the entire great pack
hurled themselves among the fighters. Panic reigned in an instant.
Thern and black man turned alike against the common enemy, for the
banths showed no partiality toward either.

The awful beasts bore down a hundred men by the mere weight of their
great bodies as they hurled themselves into the thick of the fight.
Leaping and clawing, they mowed down the warriors with their powerful
paws, turning for an instant to rend their victims with frightful fangs.

The scene was fascinating in its terribleness, but suddenly it came to
me that we were wasting valuable time watching this conflict, which in
itself might prove a means of our escape.

The therns were so engaged with their terrible assailants that now, if
ever, escape should be comparatively easy. I turned to search for an
opening through the contending hordes. If we could but reach the
ramparts we might find that the pirates somewhere had thinned the
guarding forces and left a way open to us to the world without.

As my eyes wandered about the garden, the sight of the hundreds of air
craft lying unguarded around us suggested the simplest avenue to
freedom. Why it had not occurred to me before! I

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