Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 19

which
my earthly muscles endow me under the conditions of lesser gravity
and air pressure upon Mars.

Yet even so I came near to tasting death that day in the gloomy
corridor beneath Mars's southern pole, for Lakor played a trick
upon me that in all my experience of fighting upon two planets I
never before had witnessed the like of.

The other thern was engaging me at the time, and I was forcing
him back--touching him here and there with my point until he was
bleeding from a dozen wounds, yet not being able to penetrate his
marvelous guard to reach a vulnerable spot for the brief instant
that would have been sufficient to send him to his ancestors.

It was then that Lakor quickly unslung a belt from his harness,
and as I stepped back to parry a wicked thrust he lashed one end
of it about my left ankle so that it wound there for an instant,
while he jerked suddenly upon the other end, throwing me heavily
upon my back.

Then, like leaping panthers, they were upon me; but they
had reckoned without Woola, and before ever a blade touched me, a
roaring embodiment of a thousand demons hurtled above my prostrate
form and my loyal Martian calot was upon them.

Imagine, if you can, a huge grizzly with ten legs armed with mighty
talons and an enormous froglike mouth splitting his head from ear
to ear, exposing three rows of long, white tusks. Then endow this
creature of your imagination with the agility and ferocity of a
half-starved Bengal tiger and the strength of a span of bulls, and
you will have some faint conception of Woola in action.

Before I could call him off he had crushed Lakor into a jelly with
a single blow of one mighty paw, and had literally torn the other
thern to ribbons; yet when I spoke to him sharply he cowed sheepishly
as though he had done a thing to deserve censure and chastisement.

Never had I had the heart to punish Woola during the long years
that had passed since that first day upon Mars when the green jed
of the Tharks had placed him on guard over me, and I had won his
love and loyalty from the cruel and loveless masters of his former
life, yet I believe he would have submitted to any cruelty that I
might have inflicted upon him, so wondrous was his affection for
me.

The diadem in the center of the circlet of gold upon the brow of
Lakor proclaimed him a Holy Thern, while his companion, not

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