The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 135

and retreat to a wild panic. In another moment they
were racing as madly away from us as they had before been charging down
upon us.

We turned to look in the direction from whence the first report had
come, and there we saw, just clearing the tops of the nearer hills, a
great battleship swinging majestically through the air. Her bow gun
spoke again even as we looked, and another shell burst among the
fleeing Warhoons.

As she drew nearer I could not repress a wild cry of elation, for upon
her bows I saw the device of Helium.



As Carthoris, Xodar, Tars Tarkas, and I stood gazing at the magnificent
vessel which meant so much to all of us, we saw a second and then a
third top the summit of the hills and glide gracefully after their

Now a score of one-man air scouts were launching from the upper decks
of the nearer vessel, and in a moment more were speeding in long, swift
dives to the ground about us.

In another instant we were surrounded by armed sailors, and an officer
had stepped forward to address us, when his eyes fell upon Carthoris.
With an exclamation of surprised pleasure he sprang forward, and,
placing his hands upon the boy's shoulder, called him by name.

"Carthoris, my Prince," he cried, "Kaor! Kaor! Hor Vastus greets the
son of Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium, and of her husband, John
Carter. Where have you been, O my Prince? All Helium has been plunged
in sorrow. Terrible have been the calamities that have befallen your
great-grandsire's mighty nation since the fatal day that saw you leave
our midst."

"Grieve not, my good Hor Vastus," cried Carthoris, "since I bring not
back myself alone to cheer my mother's heart and the hearts of my
beloved people, but also one whom all Barsoom loved best--her greatest
warrior and her saviour--John Carter, Prince of Helium!"

Hor Vastus turned in the direction indicated by Carthoris, and as his
eyes fell upon me he was like to have collapsed from sheer surprise.

"John Carter!" he exclaimed, and then a sudden troubled look came into
his eyes. "My Prince," he started, "where hast thou--" and then he
stopped, but I knew the question that his lips dared not frame. The
loyal fellow would not be the one to force from mine a confession of
the terrible truth that I had returned from the bosom of the Iss, the
River of Mystery, back from the shore of the Lost Sea of Korus, and

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