Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 122

wicked face would have convinced
me. Beyond Thurid I could see my Dejah Thoris, wide-eyed and
horrified, struggling at her bonds. That she should be forced to
witness my awful death made my bitter fate seem doubly cruel.

I ceased my efforts to climb across the gunwale. Instead I took
a firm grasp upon the rail with my left hand and drew my dagger.

I should at least die as I had lived--fighting.

As Thurid came opposite the cabin's doorway a new element projected
itself into the grim tragedy of the air that was being enacted upon
the deck of Matai Shang's disabled flier.

It was Phaidor.

With flushed face and disheveled hair, and eyes that betrayed the
recent presence of mortal tears--above which this proud goddess had
always held herself--she leaped to the deck directly before me.

In her hand was a long, slim dagger. I cast a last look upon
my beloved princess, smiling, as men should who are about to die.
Then I turned my face up toward Phaidor--waiting for the blow.

Never have I seen that beautiful face more beautiful than it was
at that moment. It seemed incredible that one so lovely could
yet harbor within her fair bosom a heart so cruel and relentless,
and today there was a new expression in her wondrous eyes that I
never before had seen there--an unfamiliar softness, and a look of
suffering.

Thurid was beside her now--pushing past to reach me first, and
then what happened happened so quickly that it was all over before
I could realize the truth of it.

Phaidor's slim hand shot out to close upon the black's dagger wrist.
Her right hand went high with its gleaming blade.

"That for Matai Shang!" she cried, and she buried her blade deep
in the dator's breast. "That for the wrong you would have done
Dejah Thoris!" and again the sharp steel sank into the bloody flesh.

"And that, and that, and that!" she shrieked, "for John Carter,
Prince of Helium," and with each word her sharp point pierced the
vile heart of the great villain. Then, with a vindictive shove she
cast the carcass of the First Born from the deck to fall in awful
silence after the body of his victim.

I had been so paralyzed by surprise that I had made no move to reach
the deck during the awe-inspiring scene which I had just witnessed,
and now I was to be still further amazed by her next act, for
Phaidor extended her hand to me and assisted me to the deck, where
I stood

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