The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 32

had not
eaten for nearly twenty-four hours, nor slept.

I was fagged out, and for the first time in years felt a question as to
my ability to cope with an antagonist; but there was naught else for it
than to engage my man, and that as quickly and ferociously as lay in
me, for my only salvation was to rush him off his feet by the
impetuosity of my attack--I could not hope to win a long-drawn-out

But the fellow was evidently of another mind, for he backed and parried
and parried and sidestepped until I was almost completely fagged from
the exertion of attempting to finish him.

He was a more adroit swordsman, if possible, than my previous foe, and
I must admit that he led me a pretty chase and in the end came near to
making a sorry fool of me--and a dead one into the bargain.

I could feel myself growing weaker and weaker, until at length objects
commenced to blur before my eyes and I staggered and blundered about
more asleep than awake, and then it was that he worked his pretty
little coup that came near to losing me my life.

He had backed me around so that I stood in front of the corpse of his
fellow, and then he rushed me suddenly so that I was forced back upon
it, and as my heel struck it the impetus of my body flung me backward
across the dead man.

My head struck the hard pavement with a resounding whack, and to that
alone I owe my life, for it cleared my brain and the pain roused my
temper, so that I was equal for the moment to tearing my enemy to
pieces with my bare hands, and I verily believe that I should have
attempted it had not my right hand, in the act of raising my body from
the ground, come in contact with a bit of cold metal.

As the eyes of the layman so is the hand of the fighting man when it
comes in contact with an implement of his vocation, and thus I did not
need to look or reason to know that the dead man's revolver, lying
where it had fallen when I struck it from his grasp, was at my disposal.

The fellow whose ruse had put me down was springing toward me, the
point of his gleaming blade directed straight at my heart, and as he
came there rang from his lips the cruel and mocking peal of laughter
that I had heard within the Chamber of Mystery.


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