Warlord of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 62

intention to move cautiously by day over the ice-pack
that I might discover, before I had run into a trap, if there
really lay an inhabited country at the north pole, for there only
could I imagine a spot where Matai Shang might feel secure from
John Carter, Prince of Helium.

We were flying at a snail's pace but a few feet above the
ground--literally feeling our way along through the darkness, for
both moons had set, and the night was black with the clouds that
are to be found only at Mars's two extremities.

Suddenly a towering wall of white rose directly in our path, and
though I threw the helm hard over, and reversed our engine, I was
too late to avoid collision. With a sickening crash we struck the
high looming obstacle three-quarters on.

The flier reeled half over; the engine stopped; as one, the patched
buoyancy tanks burst, and we plunged, headforemost, to the ground
twenty feet beneath.

Fortunately none of us was injured, and when we had disentangled
ourselves from the wreckage, and the lesser moon had burst again from
below the horizon, we found that we were at the foot of a mighty
ice-barrier, from which outcropped great patches of the granite
hills which hold it from encroaching farther toward the south.

What fate! With the journey all but completed to be thus wrecked
upon the wrong side of that precipitous and unscalable wall of rock
and ice!

I looked at Thuvan Dihn. He but shook his head dejectedly.

The balance of the night we spent shivering in our inadequate
sleeping silks and furs upon the snow that lies at the foot of the
ice-barrier.

With daylight my battered spirits regained something of their
accustomed hopefulness, though I must admit that there was little
enough for them to feed upon.

"What shall we do?" asked Thuvan Dihn. "How may we pass that which
is impassable?"

"First we must disprove its impassability," I replied. "Nor shall
I admit that it is impassable before I have followed its entire
circle and stand again upon this spot, defeated. The sooner we
start, the better, for I see no other way, and it will take us more
than a month to travel the weary, frigid miles that lie before us."

For five days of cold and suffering and privation we traversed the
rough and frozen way which lies at the foot of the ice-barrier.
Fierce, fur-bearing creatures attacked us by daylight and by dark.
Never for a moment were we safe from the sudden charge of some huge
demon of the north.

The apt was our

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