The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 165

we had laid nearly a year ago
had been carried out.

"It has taken much longer than we had expected," replied Kantos Kan.
"The fact that we were compelled to maintain utter secrecy has
handicapped us terribly. Zat Arras' spies are everywhere. Yet, to the
best of my knowledge, no word of our real plans has reached the
villain's ear.

"To-night there lies about the great docks at Hastor a fleet of a
thousand of the mightiest battleships that ever sailed above Barsoom,
and each equipped to navigate the air of Omean and the waters of Omean
itself. Upon each battleship there are five ten-man cruisers, and ten
five-man scouts, and a hundred one-man scouts; in all, one hundred and
sixteen thousand craft fitted with both air and water propellers.

"At Thark lie the transports for the green warriors of Tars Tarkas,
nine hundred large troopships, and with them their convoys. Seven days
ago all was in readiness, but we waited in the hope that by so doing
your rescue might be encompassed in time for you to command the
expedition. It is well we waited, my Prince."

"How is it, Tars Tarkas," I asked, "that the men of Thark take not the
accustomed action against one who returns from the bosom of Iss?"

"They sent a council of fifty chieftains to talk with me here," replied
the Thark. "We are a just people, and when I had told them the entire
story they were as one man in agreeing that their action toward me
would be guided by the action of Helium toward John Carter. In the
meantime, at their request, I was to resume my throne as Jeddak of
Thark, that I might negotiate with neighboring hordes for warriors to
compose the land forces of the expedition. I have done that which I
agreed. Two hundred and fifty thousand fighting men, gathered from the
ice cap at the north to the ice cap at the south, and representing a
thousand different communities, from a hundred wild and warlike hordes,
fill the great city of Thark to-night. They are ready to sail for the
Land of the First Born when I give the word and fight there until I bid
them stop. All they ask is the loot they take and transportation to
their own territories when the fighting and the looting are over. I am
done."

"And thou, Hor Vastus," I asked, "what has been thy success?"

"A million veteran fighting-men from Helium's thin waterways man the
battleships, the transports, and the convoys,"

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