Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 32

stain upon my point roused to its full the old blood-lust
of the fighting man that has ever been so strong within my breast,
so that my blade flew through the air with a swiftness and deadly
accuracy that threw the two remaining therns into wild despair.

When at last the sharp steel found the heart of one of them the
other turned to flee, and, guessing that his steps would lead him
along the way taken by those I sought, I let him keep ever far
enough ahead to think that he was safely escaping my sword.

Through several inner chambers he raced until he came to a spiral
runway. Up this he dashed, I in close pursuit. At the upper end
we came out into a small chamber, the walls of which were blank
except for a single window overlooking the slopes of Otz and the
Valley of Lost Souls beyond.

Here the fellow tore frantically at what appeared to be but a
piece of the blank wall opposite the single window. In an instant
I guessed that it was a secret exit from the room, and so I paused
that he might have an opportunity to negotiate it, for I cared
nothing to take the life of this poor servitor--all I craved was
a clear road in pursuit of Dejah Thoris, my long-lost princess.

But, try as he would, the panel would yield neither to cunning nor
force, so that eventually he gave it up and turned to face me.

"Go thy way, Thern," I said to him, pointing toward the entrance
to the runway up which we had but just come. "I have no quarrel
with you, nor do I crave your life. Go!"

For answer he sprang upon me with his sword, and so suddenly, at
that, that I was like to have gone down before his first rush. So
there was nothing for it but to give him what he sought, and that
as quickly as might be, that I might not be delayed too long in
this chamber while Matai Shang and Thurid made way with Dejah Thoris
and Thuvia of Ptarth.

The fellow was a clever swordsman--resourceful and extremely
tricky. In fact, he seemed never to have heard that there existed
such a thing as a code of honor, for he repeatedly outraged a dozen
Barsoomian fighting customs that an honorable man would rather die
than ignore.

He even went so far as to snatch his holy wig from his head and
throw it in my face, so as to blind

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