The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 58

soon permit her to reduce the number by one at least. Then
things happened with such amazing rapidity that I can scarce comprehend
even now all that took place in that brief instant.

The three rushed me with the evident purpose of forcing me back the few
steps that would carry my body over the rail into the void below. At
the same instant the girl fired and my sword arm made two moves. One
man dropped with a bullet in his brain; a sword flew clattering across
the deck and dropped over the edge beyond as I disarmed one of my
opponents and the third went down with my blade buried to the hilt in
his breast and three feet of it protruding from his back, and falling
wrenched the sword from my grasp.

Disarmed myself, I now faced my remaining foeman, whose own sword lay
somewhere thousands of feet below us, lost in the Lost Sea.

The new conditions seemed to please my adversary, for a smile of
satisfaction bared his gleaming teeth as he rushed at me bare-handed.
The great muscles which rolled beneath his glossy black hide evidently
assured him that here was easy prey, not worth the trouble of drawing
the dagger from his harness.

I let him come almost upon me. Then I ducked beneath his outstretched
arms, at the same time sidestepping to the right. Pivoting on my left
toe, I swung a terrific right to his jaw, and, like a felled ox, he
dropped in his tracks.

A low, silvery laugh rang out behind me.

"You are no thern," said the sweet voice of my companion, "for all your
golden locks or the harness of Sator Throg. Never lived there upon all
Barsoom before one who could fight as you have fought this night. Who
are you?"

"I am John Carter, Prince of the House of Tardos Mors, Jeddak of
Helium," I replied. "And whom," I added, "has the honour of serving
been accorded me?"

She hesitated a moment before speaking. Then she asked:

"You are no thern. Are you an enemy of the therns?"

"I have been in the territory of the therns for a day and a half.
During that entire time my life has been in constant danger. I have
been harassed and persecuted. Armed men and fierce beasts have been
set upon me. I had no quarrel with the therns before, but can you
wonder that I feel no great love for them now? I have spoken."

She looked at me

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