Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 102

myself with the unfamiliar weapon of the
yellow man.

At first I had a time of it dodging their villainous hook-swords,
but after a minute or two I had succeeded in wresting a second
straight sword from one of the racks along the wall, and thereafter,
using it to parry the hooks of my antagonists, I felt more evenly

The three of them were on me at once, and but for a lucky circumstance
my end might have come quickly. The foremost guardsman made
a vicious lunge for my side with his hook after the three of them
had backed me against the wall, but as I sidestepped and raised my
arm his weapon but grazed my side, passing into a rack of javelins,
where it became entangled.

Before he could release it I had run him through, and then, falling
back upon the tactics that have saved me a hundred times in tight
pinches, I rushed the two remaining warriors, forcing them back
with a perfect torrent of cuts and thrusts, weaving my sword in
and out about their guards until I had the fear of death upon them.

Then one of them commenced calling for help, but it was too late
to save them.

They were as putty in my hands now, and I backed them about the
armory as I would until I had them where I wanted them--within reach
of the swords of the shackled slaves. In an instant both lay dead
upon the floor. But their cries had not been entirely fruitless,
for now I heard answering shouts and the footfalls of many men
running and the clank of accouterments and the commands of officers.

"The door! Quick, John Carter, bar the door!" cried Tardos Mors.

Already the guard was in sight, charging across the open court that
was visible through the doorway.

A dozen seconds would bring them into the tower. A single leap
carried me to the heavy portal. With a resounding bang I slammed
it shut.

"The bar!" shouted Tardos Mors.

I tried to slip the huge fastening into place, but it defied my
every attempt.

"Raise it a little to release the catch," cried one of the red men.

I could hear the yellow warriors leaping along the flagging just
beyond the door. I raised the bar and shot it to the right just
as the foremost of the guardsmen threw himself against the opposite
side of the massive panels.

The barrier held--I had been in time, but by the fraction of a
second only.

Now I turned my attention to the prisoners. To

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