The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 33

so he died, his thin lips curled in the snarl of his hateful laugh,
and a bullet from the revolver of his dead companion bursting in his
heart.

His body, borne by the impetus of his headlong rush, plunged upon me.
The hilt of his sword must have struck my head, for with the impact of
the corpse I lost consciousness.




CHAPTER IV

THUVIA


It was the sound of conflict that aroused me once more to the realities
of life. For a moment I could neither place my surroundings nor locate
the sounds which had aroused me. And then from beyond the blank wall
beside which I lay I heard the shuffling of feet, the snarling of grim
beasts, the clank of metal accoutrements, and the heavy breathing of a
man.

As I rose to my feet I glanced hurriedly about the chamber in which I
had just encountered such a warm reception. The prisoners and the
savage brutes rested in their chains by the opposite wall eyeing me
with varying expressions of curiosity, sullen rage, surprise, and hope.

The latter emotion seemed plainly evident upon the handsome and
intelligent face of the young red Martian woman whose cry of warning
had been instrumental in saving my life.

She was the perfect type of that remarkably beautiful race whose
outward appearance is identical with the more god-like races of Earth
men, except that this higher race of Martians is of a light reddish
copper colour. As she was entirely unadorned I could not even guess
her station in life, though it was evident that she was either a
prisoner or slave in her present environment.

It was several seconds before the sounds upon the opposite side of the
partition jolted my slowly returning faculties into a realization of
their probable import, and then of a sudden I grasped the fact that
they were caused by Tars Tarkas in what was evidently a desperate
struggle with wild beasts or savage men.

With a cry of encouragement I threw my weight against the secret door,
but as well have assayed the down-hurling of the cliffs themselves.
Then I sought feverishly for the secret of the revolving panel, but my
search was fruitless, and I was about to raise my longsword against the
sullen gold when the young woman prisoner called out to me.

"Save thy sword, O Mighty Warrior, for thou shalt need it more where it
will avail to some purpose--shatter it not against senseless metal
which yields better to the lightest finger touch of one who knows its
secret."

"Know you the secret of it then?" I

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