The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 133

speed."

There was no time to be lost. We sprang to our hobbled thoats, freed
them, and mounted. Then we turned our faces once more toward the north
and took our flight again at the highest speed of our slowest beast.

For the balance of the day and all the following night we raced across
that ochre wilderness with the pursuers at our back ever gaining upon
us. Slowly but surely they were lessening the distance between us.
Just before dark they had been close enough for us to plainly
distinguish that they were green Martians, and all during the long
night we distinctly heard the clanking of their accoutrements behind us.

As the sun rose on the second day of our flight it disclosed the
pursuing horde not a half-mile in our rear. As they saw us a fiendish
shout of triumph rose from their ranks.

Several miles in advance lay a range of hills--the farther shore of the
dead sea we had been crossing. Could we but reach these hills our
chances of escape would be greatly enhanced, but Thuvia's mount,
although carrying the lightest burden, already was showing signs of
exhaustion. I was riding beside her when suddenly her animal staggered
and lurched against mine. I saw that he was going down, but ere he
fell I snatched the girl from his back and swung her to a place upon my
own thoat, behind me, where she clung with her arms about me.

This double burden soon proved too much for my already overtaxed beast,
and thus our speed was terribly diminished, for the others would
proceed no faster than the slowest of us could go. In that little
party there was not one who would desert another; yet we were of
different countries, different colours, different races, different
religions--and one of us was of a different world.

We were quite close to the hills, but the Warhoons were gaining so
rapidly that we had given up all hope of reaching them in time. Thuvia
and I were in the rear, for our beast was lagging more and more.
Suddenly I felt the girl's warm lips press a kiss upon my shoulder.
"For thy sake, O my Prince," she murmured. Then her arms slipped from
about my waist and she was gone.

I turned and saw that she had deliberately slipped to the ground in the
very path of the cruel demons who pursued us, thinking that by
lightening the burden of my mount it might thus be enabled to bear me
to

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