Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 42

dropped quickly toward me, and before I could
escape had grasped my shoulder between its powerful jaws.

Time and again the now useless stub of its giant sting struck futilely
against my body, but the blows alone were almost as effective as
the kick of a horse; so that when I say futilely, I refer only to
the natural function of the disabled member--eventually the thing
would have hammered me to a pulp. Nor was it far from accomplishing
this when an interruption occurred that put an end forever to its
hostilities.

From where I hung a few feet above the road I could see along the
highway a few hundred yards to where it turned toward the east,
and just as I had about given up all hope of escaping the perilous
position in which I now was I saw a red warrior come into view from
around the bend.

He was mounted on a splendid thoat, one of the smaller species used
by red men, and in his hand was a wondrous long, light lance.

His mount was walking sedately when I first perceived them, but the
instant that the red man's eyes fell upon us a word to the thoat
brought the animal at full charge down upon us. The long lance
of the warrior dipped toward us, and as thoat and rider hurtled
beneath, the point passed through the body of our antagonist.

With a convulsive shudder the thing stiffened, the jaws relaxed,
dropping me to the ground, and then, careening once in mid air,
the creature plunged headforemost to the road, full upon Woola,
who still clung tenaciously to its gory head.

By the time I had regained my feet the red man had turned and ridden
back to us. Woola, finding his enemy inert and lifeless, released
his hold at my command and wriggled from beneath the body that had
covered him, and together we faced the warrior looking down upon
us.

I started to thank the stranger for his timely assistance, but he
cut me off peremptorily.

"Who are you," he asked, "who dare enter the land of Kaol and hunt
in the royal forest of the jeddak?"

Then, as he noted my white skin through the coating of grime and
blood that covered me, his eyes went wide and in an altered tone
he whispered: "Can it be that you are a Holy Thern?"

I might have deceived the fellow for a time, as I had deceived
others, but I had cast away the yellow wig and the holy diadem in
the presence of Matai Shang, and

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