Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 35

the journey was accomplished
at last, and it was with relief that I felt my fingers close about
the lowest of the stone cylinders.

It is true that these projections were too far apart to make the
balance of the ascent anything of a sinecure, but I at least had
always within my reach a point of safety to which I might cling in
case of accident.

Some ten feet below the roof, the wall inclined slightly inward
possibly a foot in the last ten feet, and here the climbing was
indeed immeasurably easier, so that my fingers soon clutched the
eaves.

As I drew my eyes above the level of the tower's top I saw a flier
all but ready to rise.

Upon her deck were Matai Shang, Phaidor, Dejah Thoris, Thuvia of
Ptarth, and a few thern warriors, while near her was Thurid in the
act of clambering aboard.

He was not ten paces from me, facing in the opposite direction;
and what cruel freak of fate should have caused him to turn about
just as my eyes topped the roof's edge I may not even guess.

But turn he did; and when his eyes met mine his wicked face lighted
with a malignant smile as he leaped toward me, where I was hastening
to scramble to the secure footing of the roof.

Dejah Thoris must have seen me at the same instant, for she screamed
a useless warning just as Thurid's foot, swinging in a mighty kick,
landed full in my face.

Like a felled ox, I reeled and tumbled backward over the tower's
side.




ON THE KAOLIAN ROAD


If there be a fate that is sometimes cruel to me, there surely is
a kind and merciful Providence which watches over me.

As I toppled from the tower into the horrid abyss below I counted
myself already dead; and Thurid must have done likewise, for he
evidently did not even trouble himself to look after me, but must
have turned and mounted the waiting flier at once.

Ten feet only I fell, and then a loop of my tough, leathern harness
caught upon one of the cylindrical stone projections in the tower's
surface--and held. Even when I had ceased to fall I could not
believe the miracle that had preserved me from instant death, and
for a moment I hung there, cold sweat exuding from every pore of
my body.

But when at last I had worked myself back to a firm position
I hesitated to ascend, since I could not know that Thurid was not
still awaiting me above.

Presently, however, there came to my ears the whirring

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