Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 113

would not be unlike her to
have seized a sword and fought at my side, for, though the women
of Mars are not trained in the arts of war, the spirit is theirs,
and they have been known to do that very thing upon countless
occasions.

But she did not come, and glad I was, for it would have doubled my
burden in protecting her before I should have been able to force
her back again out of harm's way. She must be contemplating some
cunning strategy, I thought, and so I fought on secure in the belief
that my divine princess stood close behind me.

For half an hour at least I must have fought there against the
nobles of Okar ere ever a one placed a foot upon the dais where I
stood, and then of a sudden all that remained of them formed below
me for a last, mad, desperate charge; but even as they advanced
the door at the far end of the chamber swung wide and a wild-eyed
messenger sprang into the room.

"The Jeddak of Jeddaks!" he cried. "Where is the Jeddak of Jeddaks?
The city has fallen before the hordes from beyond the barrier, and
but now the great gate of the palace itself has been forced and
the warriors of the south are pouring into its sacred precincts.

"Where is Salensus Oll? He alone may revive the flagging courage
of our warriors. He alone may save the day for Okar. Where is
Salensus Oll?"

The nobles stepped back from about the dead body of their ruler,
and one of them pointed to the grinning corpse.

The messenger staggered back in horror as though from a blow in
the face.

"Then fly, nobles of Okar!" he cried, "for naught can save you.
Hark! They come!"

As he spoke we heard the deep roar of angry men from the corridor
without, and the clank of metal and the clang of swords.

Without another glance toward me, who had stood a spectator of
the tragic scene, the nobles wheeled and fled from the apartment
through another exit.

Almost immediately a force of yellow warriors appeared in the
doorway through which the messenger had come. They were backing
toward the apartment, stubbornly resisting the advance of a handful
of red men who faced them and forced them slowly but inevitably
back.

Above the heads of the contestants I could see from my elevated
station upon the dais the face of my old friend Kantos Kan. He was
leading the little party that had won its way into the very

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