The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 86

vision of her
radiant face.'"

"What do you mean?" he whispered in an affrighted voice, so low that I
could scarcely hear him.

"I mean that I thought her the most repulsive and vilely hideous
creature my eyes ever had rested upon."

For a moment he eyed me in horror-stricken amazement, and then with a
cry of "Blasphemer" he sprang upon me.

I did not wish to strike him again, nor was it necessary, since he was
unarmed and therefore quite harmless to me.

As he came I grasped his left wrist with my left hand, and, swinging my
right arm about his left shoulder, caught him beneath the chin with my
elbow and bore him backward across my thigh.

There he hung helpless for a moment, glaring up at me in impotent rage.

"Xodar," I said, "let us be friends. For a year, possibly, we may be
forced to live together in the narrow confines of this tiny room. I am
sorry to have offended you, but I could not dream that one who had
suffered from the cruel injustice of Issus still could believe her
divine.

"I will say a few more words, Xodar, with no intent to wound your
feelings further, but rather that you may give thought to the fact that
while we live we are still more the arbiters of our own fate than is
any god.

"Issus, you see, has not struck me dead, nor is she rescuing her
faithful Xodar from the clutches of the unbeliever who defamed her fair
beauty. No, Xodar, your Issus is a mortal old woman. Once out of her
clutches and she cannot harm you.

"With your knowledge of this strange land, and my knowledge of the
outer world, two such fighting-men as you and I should be able to win
our way to freedom. Even though we died in the attempt, would not our
memories be fairer than as though we remained in servile fear to be
butchered by a cruel and unjust tyrant--call her goddess or mortal, as
you will."

As I finished I raised Xodar to his feet and released him. He did not
renew the attack upon me, nor did he speak. Instead, he walked toward
the bench, and, sinking down upon it, remained lost in deep thought for
hours.

A long time afterward I heard a soft sound at the doorway leading to
one of the other apartments, and, looking up, beheld the red Martian
youth gazing intently at us.

"Kaor," I cried, after the red Martian manner of greeting.

"Kaor," he replied. "What do you

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