The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 152

before the return of her beloved lord.

"'I do not blame you for loving him, Thuvia,' she said; 'and that your
affection for him is pure and sincere I can well believe from the
candour of your avowal of it to me.'

"The fleet continued north nearly to Helium, but last night they
evidently realized that John Carter had indeed escaped them and so they
turned toward the south once more. Shortly thereafter a guard entered
our compartment and dragged me to the deck.

"'There is no place in the Land of the First Born for a green one,' he
said, and with that he gave me a terrific shove that carried me
toppling from the deck of the battleship. Evidently this seemed to him
the easiest way of ridding the vessel of my presence and killing me at
the same time.

"But a kind fate intervened, and by a miracle I escaped with but slight
bruises. The ship was moving slowly at the time, and as I lunged
overboard into the darkness beneath I shuddered at the awful plunge I
thought awaited me, for all day the fleet had sailed thousands of feet
above the ground; but to my utter surprise I struck upon a soft mass of
vegetation not twenty feet from the deck of the ship. In fact, the
keel of the vessel must have been grazing the surface of the ground at
the time.

"I lay all night where I had fallen and the next morning brought an
explanation of the fortunate coincidence that had saved me from a
terrible death. As the sun rose I saw a vast panorama of sea bottom
and distant hills lying far below me. I was upon the highest peak of a
lofty range. The fleet in the darkness of the preceding night had
barely grazed the crest of the hills, and in the brief span that they
hovered close to the surface the black guard had pitched me, as he
supposed, to my death.

"A few miles west of me was a great waterway. When I reached it I
found to my delight that it belonged to Helium. Here a thoat was
procured for me--the rest you know."

For many minutes none spoke. Dejah Thoris in the clutches of the First
Born! I shuddered at the thought, but of a sudden the old fire of
unconquerable self-confidence surged through me. I sprang to my feet,
and with back-thrown shoulders and upraised sword took a solemn vow to
reach, rescue, and revenge my Princess.

A

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