The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 99

reached out from behind my
adversary and clutched his elbow as the blade was falling upon me. The
youth sprang to my side and ran his sword through the fellow before he
could recover to deliver another blow.

I should have died even then but for that as my sword was tight wedged
in the breastbone of a Dator of the First Born. As the fellow went
down I snatched his sword from him and over his prostrate body looked
into the eyes of the one whose quick hand had saved me from the first
cut of his sword--it was Phaidor, daughter of Matai Shang.

"Fly, my Prince!" she cried. "It is useless to fight them longer. All
within the arena are dead. All who charged the throne are dead but you
and this youth. Only among the seats are there left any of your
fighting-men, and they and the slave women are fast being cut down.
Listen! You can scarce hear the battle-cry of the women now for nearly
all are dead. For each one of you there are ten thousand blacks within
the domains of the First Born. Break for the open and the sea of
Korus. With your mighty sword arm you may yet win to the Golden Cliffs
and the templed gardens of the Holy Therns. There tell your story to
Matai Shang, my father. He will keep you, and together you may find a
way to rescue me. Fly while there is yet a bare chance for flight."

But that was not my mission, nor could I see much to be preferred in
the cruel hospitality of the Holy Therns to that of the First Born.

"Down with Issus!" I shouted, and together the boy and I took up the
fight once more. Two blacks went down with our swords in their vitals,
and we stood face to face with Issus. As my sword went up to end her
horrid career her paralysis left her, and with an ear-piercing shriek
she turned to flee. Directly behind her a black gulf suddenly yawned
in the flooring of the dais. She sprang for the opening with the youth
and I close at her heels. Her scattered guard rallied at her cry and
rushed for us. A blow fell upon the head of the youth. He staggered
and would have fallen, but I caught him in my left arm and turned to
face an infuriated mob of religious fanatics

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