Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 31

as
one they turned and marched back into their dens.

"You need not fear them now, John Carter!" cried Thuvia, before
they could silence her. "Those banths will never harm you now,
nor Woola, either."

It was all I cared to know. There was naught to keep me from that
balcony now, and with a long, running leap I sprang far aloft until
my hands grasped its lowest sill.

In an instant all was wild confusion. Matai Shang shrank back.
Thurid sprang forward with drawn sword to cut me down.

Again Dejah Thoris wielded her heavy irons and fought him back.
Then Matai Shang grasped her about the waist and dragged her away
through a door leading within the tower.

For an instant Thurid hesitated, and then, as though fearing that
the Father of Therns would escape him with the Princess of Helium,
he, too, dashed from the balcony in their wake.

Phaidor alone retained her presence of mind. Two of the guards she
ordered to bear away Thuvia of Ptarth; the others she commanded to
remain and prevent me from following. Then she turned toward me.

"John Carter," she cried, "for the last time I offer you the love
of Phaidor, daughter of the Holy Hekkador. Accept and your princess
shall be returned to the court of her grandfather, and you shall
live in peace and happiness. Refuse and the fate that my father
has threatened shall fall upon Dejah Thoris.

"You cannot save her now, for by this time they have reached a
place where even you may not follow. Refuse and naught can save
you; for, though the way to the last stronghold of the Holy Therns
was made easy for you, the way hence hath been made impossible.
What say you?"

"You knew my answer, Phaidor," I replied, "before ever you spoke.
Make way," I cried to the guards, "for John Carter, Prince of
Helium, would pass!"

With that I leaped over the low baluster that surrounded the balcony,
and with drawn long-sword faced my enemies.

There were three of them; but Phaidor must have guessed what the
outcome of the battle would be, for she turned and fled from the
balcony the moment she saw that I would have none of her proposition.

The three guardsmen did not wait for my attack. Instead, they
rushed me--the three of them simultaneously; and it was that which
gave me an advantage, for they fouled one another in the narrow
precincts of the balcony, so that the foremost of them stumbled
full upon my blade at the first onslaught.

The red

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