The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 30

actions might be observed
from without.

At length a plan of action occurred to me, and backing quite close to
Tars Tarkas I unfolded my scheme in a low whisper, keeping my eyes
still glued upon my end of the room.

The great Thark grunted his assent to my proposition when I had done,
and in accordance with my plan commenced backing toward the wall which
I faced while I advanced slowly ahead of him.

When we had reached a point some ten feet from the secret doorway I
halted my companion, and cautioning him to remain absolutely motionless
until I gave the prearranged signal I quickly turned my back to the
door through which I could almost feel the burning and baleful eyes of
our would be executioner.

Instantly my own eyes sought the mirror upon Tars Tarkas' back and in
another second I was closely watching the section of the wall which had
been disgorging its savage terrors upon us.

I had not long to wait, for presently the golden surface commenced to
move rapidly. Scarcely had it started than I gave the signal to Tars
Tarkas, simultaneously springing for the receding half of the pivoting
door. In like manner the Thark wheeled and leaped for the opening
being made by the inswinging section.

A single bound carried me completely through into the adjoining room
and brought me face to face with the fellow whose cruel face I had seen
before. He was about my own height and well muscled and in every
outward detail moulded precisely as are Earth men.

At his side hung a long-sword, a short-sword, a dagger, and one of the
destructive radium revolvers that are common upon Mars.

The fact that I was armed only with a long-sword, and so according to
the laws and ethics of battle everywhere upon Barsoom should only have
been met with a similar or lesser weapon, seemed to have no effect upon
the moral sense of my enemy, for he whipped out his revolver ere I
scarce had touched the floor by his side, but an uppercut from my
long-sword sent it flying from his grasp before he could discharge it.

Instantly he drew his long-sword, and thus evenly armed we set to in
earnest for one of the closest battles I ever have fought.

The fellow was a marvellous swordsman and evidently in practice, while
I had not gripped the hilt of a sword for ten long years before that
morning.

But it did not take me long to fall easily into my fighting stride, so
that in a few minutes the

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