The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 132

four more toward the great gates.

Tars Tarkas rode ahead and, leaning down to the latch, threw the
barriers open, while I held the loose thoats from breaking back to the
herd. Then together we rode through into the avenue with our stolen
mounts and, without waiting to close the gates, hurried off toward the
southern boundary of the city.

Thus far our escape had been little short of marvellous, nor did our
good fortune desert us, for we passed the outer purlieus of the dead
city and came to our camp without hearing even the faintest sound of
pursuit.

Here a low whistle, the prearranged signal, apprised the balance of our
party that I was returning, and we were met by the three with every
manifestation of enthusiastic rejoicing.

But little time was wasted in narration of our adventure. Tars Tarkas
and Carthoris exchanged the dignified and formal greetings common upon
Barsoom, but I could tell intuitively that the Thark loved my boy and
that Carthoris reciprocated his affection.

Xodar and the green Jeddak were formally presented to each other. Then
Thuvia was lifted to the least fractious thoat, Xodar and Carthoris
mounted two others, and we set out at a rapid pace toward the east. At
the far extremity of the city we circled toward the north, and under
the glorious rays of the two moons we sped noiselessly across the dead
sea bottom, away from the Warhoons and the First Born, but to what new
dangers and adventures we knew not.

Toward noon of the following day we halted to rest our mounts and
ourselves. The beasts we hobbled, that they might move slowly about
cropping the ochre moss-like vegetation which constitutes both food and
drink for them on the march. Thuvia volunteered to remain on watch
while the balance of the party slept for an hour.

It seemed to me that I had but closed my eyes when I felt her hand upon
my shoulder and heard her soft voice warning me of a new danger.

"Arise, O Prince," she whispered. "There be that behind us which has
the appearance of a great body of pursuers."

The girl stood pointing in the direction from whence we had come, and
as I arose and looked, I, too, thought that I could detect a thin dark
line on the far horizon. I awoke the others. Tars Tarkas, whose giant
stature towered high above the rest of us, could see the farthest.

"It is a great body of mounted men," he said, "and they are travelling
at high

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