The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 188

Issus? Search the temple for her,
but let no man harm her but John Carter. Carthoris, where are the
apartments of Issus?"

"This way," cried the boy, and, without waiting to know that I had
heard him, he dashed off at breakneck speed, further into the bowels of
the temple. As fast as he went, however, I was still beside him,
urging him on to greater speed.

At last we came to a great carved door, and through this Carthoris
dashed, a foot ahead of me. Within, we came upon such a scene as I had
witnessed within the temple once before--the throne of Issus, with the
reclining slaves, and about it the ranks of soldiery.

We did not even give the men a chance to draw, so quickly were we upon
them. With a single cut I struck down two in the front rank. And then
by the mere weight and momentum of my body, I rushed completely through
the two remaining ranks and sprang upon the dais beside the carved
sorapus throne.

The repulsive creature, squatting there in terror, attempted to escape
me and leap into a trap behind her. But this time I was not to be
outwitted by any such petty subterfuge. Before she had half arisen I
had grasped her by the arm, and then, as I saw the guard starting to
make a concerted rush upon me from all sides, I whipped out my dagger
and, holding it close to that vile breast, ordered them to halt.

"Back!" I cried to them. "Back! The first black foot that is planted
upon this platform sends my dagger into Issus' heart."

For an instant they hesitated. Then an officer ordered them back,
while from the outer corridor there swept into the throne room at the
heels of my little party of survivors a full thousand red men under
Kantos Kan, Hor Vastus, and Xodar.

"Where is Dejah Thoris?" I cried to the thing within my hands.

For a moment her eyes roved wildly about the scene beneath her. I
think that it took a moment for the true condition to make any
impression upon her--she could not at first realize that the temple had
fallen before the assault of men of the outer world. When she did,
there must have come, too, a terrible realization of what it meant to
her--the loss of power--humiliation--the exposure of the fraud and
imposture which she had for so long played upon her own people.

There was just one thing needed to complete

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