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A Princess of Mars

by way of the interior of the building. I glimpsed him just before he reached the doorway
and the sight of him, now roaring as he perceived his lifeless fellow stretched upon the
floor, and frothing at the mouth, in the extremity of his rage, filled me, I must confess,
with dire forebodings.
I am ever willing to stand and fight when the odds are not too overwhelmingly against
me, but in this instance I perceived neither glory nor profit in pitting my relatively puny
strength against the iron muscles and brutal ferocity of this enraged denizen of an
unknown world; in fact, the only outcome of such an encounter, so far as I might be
concerned, seemed sudden death.
I was standing near the window and I knew that once in the street I might gain the plaza
and safety before the creature could overtake me; at least there was a chance for safety in
flight, against almost certain death should I remain and fight however desperately.
It is true I held the cudgel, but what could I do with it against his four great arms? Even
should I break one of them with my first blow, for I figured that he would attempt to
ward off the cudgel, he could reach out and annihilate me with the others before I could
recover for a second attack.
In the instant that these thoughts passed through my mind I had turned to make for the
window, but my eyes alighting on the form of my erstwhile guardian threw all thoughts
of flight to the four winds. He lay gasping upon the floor of the chamber, his great eyes
fastened upon me in what seemed a pitiful appeal for protection. I could not withstand
that look, nor could I, on second thought, have deserted my rescuer without giving as
good an account of myself in his behalf as he had in mine.
Without more ado, therefore, I turned to meet the charge of the infuriated bull ape. He
was now too close upon me for the cudgel to prove of any effective assistance, so I
merely threw it as heavily as I could at his advancing bulk. It struck him just below the
knees, eliciting a howl of pain and rage, and so throwing him off his balance that he
lunged full upon me with arms wide stretched to ease his fall.
Again, as on the preceding day, I had recourse to earthly tactics, and swinging my right
fist full upon the point of his chin I followed it with a smashing left to the pit of his
stomach. The effect was marvelous, for, as I lightly sidestepped, after delivering the
second blow, he reeled and fell upon the floor doubled up with pain and gasping for
wind. Leaping over his prostrate body, I seized the cudgel and finished the monster
before he could regain his feet.
As I delivered the blow a low laugh rang out behind me, and, turning, I beheld Tars
Tarkas, Sola, and three or four warriors standing in the doorway of the chamber. As my
eyes met theirs I was, for the second time, the recipient of their zealously guarded
applause.
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