The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 9

glossy green hide and the metal ornaments which
denoted the tribes to which they belonged, I would have known them on
the instant for what they were, for where else in all the universe is
their like duplicated?

There were two men and four females in the party and their ornaments
denoted them as members of different hordes, a fact which tended to
puzzle me infinitely, since the various hordes of green men of Barsoom
are eternally at deadly war with one another, and never, except on that
single historic instance when the great Tars Tarkas of Thark gathered a
hundred and fifty thousand green warriors from several hordes to march
upon the doomed city of Zodanga to rescue Dejah Thoris, Princess of
Helium, from the clutches of Than Kosis, had I seen green Martians of
different hordes associated in other than mortal combat.

But now they stood back to back, facing, in wide-eyed amazement, the
very evidently hostile demonstrations of a common enemy.

Both men and women were armed with long-swords and daggers, but no
firearms were in evidence, else it had been short shrift for the
gruesome plant men of Barsoom.

Presently the leader of the plant men charged the little party, and his
method of attack was as remarkable as it was effective, and by its very
strangeness was the more potent, since in the science of the green
warriors there was no defence for this singular manner of attack, the
like of which it soon was evident to me they were as unfamiliar with as
they were with the monstrosities which confronted them.

The plant man charged to within a dozen feet of the party and then,
with a bound, rose as though to pass directly above their heads. His
powerful tail was raised high to one side, and as he passed close above
them he brought it down in one terrific sweep that crushed a green
warrior's skull as though it had been an eggshell.

The balance of the frightful herd was now circling rapidly and with
bewildering speed about the little knot of victims. Their prodigious
bounds and the shrill, screeching purr of their uncanny mouths were
well calculated to confuse and terrorize their prey, so that as two of
them leaped simultaneously from either side, the mighty sweep of those
awful tails met with no resistance and two more green Martians went
down to an ignoble death.

There were now but one warrior and two females left, and it seemed that
it could be but a matter of seconds ere these, also, lay dead upon the
scarlet sward.

But as

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